Friday, August 20, 2010


Some have been asking, "What's going on, no updates?" I will try to fill you in. I was glad I went to Vancouver but was exhausted when we got home. Cuylar was still having rough days and sleepless nights. I helped him back, we checked out insurance and legal issues with a lawyer. We also enjoyed some stops here and there for an espresso. Cuylar took me to Pajos where we had fish and chips wrapped in newspaper. It was awesome and very nice along the inlet. It rained a little but soon drifted away. Cuylar said the funny thing about rain showers there is that you can walk a little one direction and be out of the rain. We stopped in at his bike shop where he worked and took a look at the intersection where he was hit. On the Monday we went with Scott and Sara to Buntzen Lake. This is where they filmed the movie "Twilight" so it is quite popular now. Apparently up till that event it was a well kept secret. It was beautiful but crawling with people on this holiday Monday. It was crazy for people were settled in every ten feet or so gathered around their huge gas barbeques they hauled in off their decks at home for the day. I never saw anything like it. There was a family that even claimed the dock. They had lawn chairs, coolers and of course their huge double sided gas barbeque out on the dock. There was also a chain link fenced off area designating a 'dog only beach'. Well I think you can visualize and get a whiff of that area. We strolled around the lake a bit on the trail that somehow goes all around the lake. Cuylar managed alright but I think he was tolerating lots of pain, but glad to be on an outing. On the Tuesday we did most of the official business related to the accident and then my son somehow talks me into driving all over the city of Vancouver. Me in my Ford Fusion rental car driving all the way down East Hasting Street to Howe Street. Then the GPS took us right through the center of downtown. Of course one of the electric buses was off the wires and blocked the trail so I had to navigate with out the GPS to get back on track to Smythe Street. My grandparents last name is Smythe so this street is always a bit more comforting than the rest of them. Of course I went over the Granville Bridge and then out to UBC. Cuylar wanted to watch the 'Tuesday Nighter' which is a bike race with all the local cyclists. It was a chance to see his 'people' before he left. We were there a couple of hours early so we went to the Archeology museum, which has been on my list of places to visit for years. I was very glad to see it and view Bill Reid's 'Raven creating man'. Disappointing to me, but again an excuse to revisit, is that the outside grounds were closed as of that morning. I did not get to see the long houses or totems that are outside. I understand you also get great vistas of the ocean from the grounds behind the museum. There was always to be a reflecting pond built on this site and they finally decided to begin construction the day I was able to be there. I guess I am not finished with Vancouver. After the museum I still wanted to see the ocean and so we stopped at the beach on campus. After descending some 500 steps we found ourselves on 'Wrecked Beach', unknown to the two of us that it was a nudist beach. Not the best scenery. I put on my blinders, took off my sandles and waded in the Pacific anyway, I wanted to claim that with in two weeks my feet had taken me into the North Atlantic Sea and now into the Pacific Ocean. It was a hot afternoon and we stopped for an ice cream treat at the top of the 500 steps. Cuylar was managing well but feeling the soreness in his shoulder. We were both surprised at how many people laboured on their way up the steps and they were younger than myself. I must admit I was glad when I saw the last section of steps. The whole beach was in a time warp from the 60's. I am sure the ice cream stand and the tents selling their wares on the beach have been there for 50 years, selling the same things in the same way, with the same proprietors.

We watched the races on campus for the 'Tuesday Nighter'. Scott did well coming in second which for now secures his fist place standing overall.

We had the car packed and pointed towards the airport the night before we left. We woke up at 6:30 and were in the car at 7:00. I was glad to have the GPS though it did take us on a zig-zag route until we were on the main highway to the airport. I was glad to be on the plane, I think Cuylar was lamenting somewhat leaving his home for the past six months. I had to collect my luggage and reconnect in Calgary, however this did not take long, we were concerned that the hour in between flights was not enough for me due to our morning experience in Vancouver. I have never been in a line up to check in as we were in Vancouver. It was crazy, about an hour in the line up.

Malcolm picked us up and I we went to Dairy Queen for Blizzards. Cuylar craved one the day before so I decided to get a treat on the way to the house.

What have we been doing since August 4th when we resettled at home? Anastasia had a kitten dropped in front of her on the highway by the hand of God on August 3rd. We spend a lot of time watching her antics. She is purring on my shoulders as I type this. That cat won the lottery when she fell from the truck ahead of Ana on the highway. Lukas was in the provincial road and time trial races in Moose Jaw on the 8th and 9th of August. He got two silver medals, one should have been gold, but he made a costly error and took a wrong turn right at the end. We stayed with my Uncle Glen and Aunt Lois while in Moose Jaw.

While at home it seems I have spent every hour working on my two essays required for our U of S professor in addition to the work we completed in Europe. I seem to take so much time to complete essays, it consumes me. I need to go to town today to get colored ink and then I will run them off. At this point I may be handing them in on Monday as I do not have a vehicle since Anastasia is working at the pool and Malcolm and Cuylar are working as well. Cuylar was unable to work the first week due to his injury, but went in for the second week. I think he wanted to make sure he hung on to his job he got before he was hurt at the U of S book store. It requires a lot of lifting. Somehow he is managing it. He has seen a specialist here and is looking at booking in physiotherapy. He is also back on his bike with the idea of entering the provincial 40K time trial tomorrow out by Pike Lake. Lukas will do the criterium on Sunday. Orrin came home last Thursday so the past week was the only week this summer that I saw Orrin. I put him back on the plane for Key Lake yesterday for his last shift. He will be back home on Sept. 2d. As for me I am dreading the end of summer. It always bothers me to the point of panic attacks. I went into my classroom and set up my desk and computer just to get my feet wet. I know I have some units prepared. I am sure things will go well. I also have a lot of 'back to school' shopping to do with the kids plus the house and gardens need a lot of attention. So please do not think I am complaining, just overwhelmed. I am also taking two courses up to Christmas. The half class. History of Pop Culture will be over then and the Extended Media Studies will continue till the end of March. Then I will need only one more course to finish my double honors degree. I wonder when I will manage it? It will be a studio class either printmaking or photography.

So there you have it. I may decide to continue this blog as a personal diary, or I will suspend it till I return to Europe again. Next time it will be as a tourist, with my daughter and hopefully husband. I am sure Lukas will be along as well. My two big boys, well they are starting to branch out on their own so we will just have to wait and see what the future presents. We all want to go to Ireland as that is where my husband's family roots are. My daughter wants to go to Greece. I still want to return to France and Holland, it would also be grand to see the rest of Italy, but perhaps in cooler weather next time.

Monday, August 2, 2010


I was up early on the 31st as I was anxious to start the journey to Canada. I caught the 10:45 train to the airport and went through the check in with like 1000 other people. The KLM gal talked me into carrying on my extra bag instead of paying the 5o euros. So I proceeded and then at the security it dawned on me that I had put my toiletry bag in that extra carry on as I had planned to check it and pay for it. Well after a little smooth talking they allowed it all through except my contact solution and shampoo. On the plane I went with my manicure set, razor, razor blades, sewing kit and numerous liquids and gels. When I went through customs in the USA I retrieved my checked bag and before rechecking it I loaded it up with all my weapons of mass destruction and went through easily at US customs. Our plane left about an hour late from Amsterdam so I was glad since it cut my wait over down to only four hours in Minneapolis. I managed to fall asleep everywhere. This helped me out a lot as I rented a car in Calgary and drove to my sisters which is an hour from the airport. I hit the pillow by 1:30 a.m. on the 31st in Canada, so it was like 22 hours of travel time. Malcolm booked me an econo box car rental, however they were out so t he agent gave me a convertible mustang for the same price. DREAM CAR. I was nervous about driving it and it was very nice. I slept well till almost noon on Aug. 1st. We went out to visit Great Grandma who is doing very well. I stayed for supper with her and visited after as well. I got to bed again around 11:30p.m.

Up at 5:45 after a sleepless night. I was very tiered. I drove to the airport and the plane was half an hour late. I made it to Vancouver and rented a car and a GPS and now I am at Cuylar's place. We packed for a while and are on a break now. We may go for a walk.

Friday, July 30, 2010


My evaluation was with Merit at 9:20. We both did fantastic. Merit got A plus all the way. She is an amazing girl. I did fine too. I got three A pluses and two A grades. My two little assignments were A grades, but I am so pleased to have A plus for my presentation as well as my participation and attendance. I also did the bonus assignment so will score 5% back as well. Yeah ME!!!

Merit helped me get to this pro bike shop that Cuylar would just love. How ever the fellow there did not sell me the medium Rabo Bank Team Kit as he felt it was too big for him and he is big and modeled the top for me so I would understand. He wanted a small for Cuylar and they did not have one. I will have to order on line. The sales man was a past national team member here at a young age so I assume when he was a junior or Espoir (spelling). I told him about Cuylar's accident and he goes; is his scar like this....and pulled his shirt off his shoulder. Crazy, on the right shoulder his collar bone was repaired with plates and pins as a result from a bike crash, just like Cuylar so he gave me some advise to pass along to you son. Sit still and keep your elbow bent so your hand rests on your left shoulder, you should sling it in this position as it will lesson the scaring. He truly believes his scar is larger due to his not listening to rest it like that for at least three weeks, even six and no lifting or athletic stuff. He has quite a scare and felt you would be thankful if you do this treatment to avoid loosening and stretching anything around that plate for the next while.

I did get a few things from that shop and then we went back by bus to our certificate ceremony. This was fun and sad. We all cried when we were saying good bye. It was something. Lots of emotion. Europeans kiss three times on the cheeks as well so you can imagine the hugs, kissing and tears. Finally our instructor got us out of the room and we continued in the front lobby. It was hard. You really make some special bonds in a months time. I want to travel to see the girls in their home countries and meet their moms. It was funny when Emily from New York said yeah come bring your daughter and we will bring our mom for you.....guess I know who will hang out with who. That would be super, I hope it can happen.

I found my way to my hotel with my load of luggage. I need to make better habits in this department and then I went and bought more. I know I am missing my family and I just want to buy them so much! So I shopped around the older part of Utrecht til my feet ached. Stores close at five and that is when I came to my hotel. It is not the same out there. I am like a lost puppy. I may just stay put tonight. I will eat here at the hotel dinning room and relax in my room. I bought my train ticket already and will leave for the airport in Amsterdam just before 11:00 a.m., it only takes a half hour so I will be there three hours before my flight leaves at 2:40p.m. In many ways I can not believe the class and travel time has ended, but at the same time I am glad to go home, it is too long to be away and I have much to do at home, including two short essays for our instructor at U of S. I think truly that if Kieth could have seen the work, dedication, participation and quality of scholarship this group has exhibited he would understand that there is no need to ask for further assignments. He can be super proud of the young people (old students too) that represented the U of S here in Florence and Utrecht. They are top notch and deserve to be graded as such.

Well that is enough for now. I hope to talk to Malcolm and Cuylar tonight so I will be hanging out in the lobby for a while. But, it is dinner time so I may go and order my evening meal.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


This morning was my presentation, I was concerned about the time limit. I hardly remember it. I hope I emphasized my points, but it is a blur. Then nine of us traveled to Delft to the Porseleynen Fles, to see the Delft Blue porcelain that began here in 1615. It was fun to get out with out an assignment to do. We enjoyed the museum and observed a lady hand painting a plate and saw the workshops. Only two men were working. It was easy to understand the process, it is interesting that everything is made by hand just as it was in the 17th Century, well granted, the Kilns are more impressive and the power helps. Then we went about town. There is a great shopping area and town square. There was a huge market going on. I looked for wooden shoes for Lukas but his size was not there. I have only tomorrow after evaluations to shop. That is how I will spend my last day in Utrecht.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I am tired of museums. It was a good feeling stepping into our last one today. We had a lecture in the morning and then went to the Catherijneconvent and the Centraal Museum after lunch. The first one had more religious content in the images, but of course with added Dutchism. In the second museum we focused on the artist here that painted like Caravaggio. It was nice to stay in Utrecht. I did a bit of shopping after the museums.

I finished up my presentation and started packing for the trip home. Cuylar did have his operation today, but I had to go to bed not knowing how things went. This morning (Thurs. July 29) I am glad to report that he said on twitter that it was a success and that he is sore and nausiated which is to be expected. Pray no infections set in and that he is indeed on the way to a quick recovery.

Today is presentation day, I will blog about it later.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Tuesday, July 27. Happy Birthday Cuylar. I am writing this Wed. morning before class. Cuylar was to have his operation Tues. but I now know that he was bumped til today, Wed. So another day of waiting and not knowing how things are progressing with his injuries. He is eating well and Sara, the race director's wife, has been dressing and cleaning the wound on his back. All seems to be good so far. No infection or left over bits of glass. They had to clean the wound of shards from the windshield so it needs to be checked. I am very thankful for Sara.

We had a lively debate in class in regards to the three ways to approach Dutch Art: Symbolic meanings in the images, visual culture, or with a blank canvas for your own experience. I was on the third team and participated a lot, so I hope I sounded intelligent. It was the first debate I had participated in with peers. I do get nervous in those situations. In the end it was fun and a better way to understand the approaches than a lecture.

We went to Haarlem for the afternoon to the Frans Hals Museum. Most of the collection was behind locked doors as they are renovating. This seems to be the theme, like in Saskatoon, they all wake up in July and begin construction jobs that interrupt everyone's plans. There is actually a lot of large construction jobs going on in Holland, which is surprising as the economy is tanking and there are no jobs. Back to the museum. Haarlem itself is an interesting town. But as most Dutch towns closes their shops by 5 or 6 o'clock, thus we did not spend longer there to explore because our museum lectures were not done till 5:30. The Frans Hals are definitely worth a trip to Haarlem. I think he was 200 years before his time with those broad brush strokes and fantastic gestures. I will return to this town hopefully one day to see the rest of the collection and visit the shops and sit in the town square for a Koffie. After we returned to Utrecht, Nicole and I bought cheese cake slices as it is her Dad's birthday and Cuylar's as well, it turned out that it is Danielle's birth mom's birthday too, so we sang Happy Birthday to them and ate the cake for dessert.

Today is Wed. our lecture and two museum tours are here in Utrecht. Tonight will be refinement on my presentation and I best practice, as I will get cut off at the seven minute time limit. That will be a challenge for me.

Monday, July 26, 2010

SKYPE AT 6:00 A.M.

Monday morning, July 26 at 6:00 my s
Skype rings. It is Cuylar. It was late Sunday evening at home, July 25. He called Malcolm at the same time to let us know he was in a terrible accident. He was hit by a car in an intersection while turning through it on his bike. The light was green for both of them. He was back in his flat after a long haul at the hospital. He received a cat scan and they found his clavical to be broken. It is nasty. He also has a laceration on his back which they closed with 27 stitches. He said a fire truck and ambulance came and there were lots of bystanders. Most thought he was dead. He thinks he was conscious the entire time. He knows he could have died the way he was hit. The vehicle's windshield was completely smashed out. His bike is in a 'million' pieces, keep in mind it retails for $10,000. I literally broke out in a sweat as I listened to him tell me the details. I thought of him all day. Who will help him manage, dress, wash his hair, etc? Thanks to everyone who sent notes to lesson my worries. He will need an operation to get the collar bone plated and pinned. This is scheduled for his birthday, Tuesday, July 27.

I had a good scream on the way to class. After the morning lecture we went on to the Hague. There we went to the Mauritshuis Museum which houses the Vermeer masterpieces - 'The Pearl Earring." Our teacher was late and confused as she bought us tickets to Haarlem. I understand this happens, but it set us a half hour later and effected our museum experience. I was disappointed as I did not see the 'Young Vermeer' collection nor Rembrandt's, 'The Anatomy Lesson.' I should have been a naughty student and during the group discussions over our assigned paintings and sneaked off into those salons. OOOOOOh, I will keep it on my list for my return trip or maybe trips. I do like this place.

Most of us selected our paintings today and I will do 'the wedding couple' by Frans Hals, I did not speak early enough for 'The Merry Drinker'. It is alright as it is Frans' technique I wish to talk about, not necessarily a certain painting.

After supper with the other dorm-mates from Sask. I went to my room and did home work research about my painting. I managed to go to bed by 11:30.