Monday, March 19, 2018

First Monday without Kelsie

Today was the first Monday without my little pal.
It was an easier day than yesterday.
Yesterday it felt like my heart was physically broken with pain. I never knew you could feel like that over the death of a little dog. 
It helps that Robert is recuperating from gall bladder surgery from only 5 days ago. What a week this has been.
As I remember the things Kelsie did, and how many memories I have of her, I'm writing them down and will share some of them here. These photos were taken Sunday, Sept 23, 2001. It was Kelsie's first walk in Central Park in Burnaby. She just loved it!

I'll never forget that day as in the evening, Robert's mother, Ruth Houben, died. Twelve days before that was 9/11. It was a terrible time in my life, but Kelsie added such joy.
Here Kelsie has spotted her first squirrel. Matthew enjoyed walking her, and played with her for an hour after school each day. They were best buddies. When Matthew moved out in Nov 2008, Kelsie didn't know where he had gone. He visited once a week every Tuesday since then, and Kelsie would often wait and watch for him at the kitchen door, when it was time for him to come home on Tuesday evening. Somehow she always seemed to know it was his day.

Kelsie was always happy, and whenever I had a migraine, she sensed something was wrong, and she would lay by my side in the bed the whole time I was recuperating, or she would sit on my feet. She was my ray of sunshine on the darkest day. It helps to write about her, and remember all the good times. We had 17 years together!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

First Sunday without Kelsie

Today, March 18, 2018, was a very sad day.
When I got up and went downstairs, there was no little sleepy dog in the laundry room curled up in her warm bed. Sometimes she would be waiting at the gate, anxious to be let out. Lately she slept in often, and had to be called to go outside. I had taken her bed and blankets out yesterday and thrown them away. I had also thrown away her water and food dishes, as it hurts too much to be reminded that dear Kelsie will no longer need them.

The saddest thing of all was when I made French toast for breakfast, and as I was eating it, the tears began to flow. I always saved a little piece for her; I had done so recently as she loved French toast with real eggs; she wouldn't eat the kind that Robert made with his artificial eggs as part of his low fat diet. I cried and cried because she was no longer there at my feet and nor will she ever be again.
Today has been a really hard day.
I thought I wouldn't stop crying. It was awful.
I can leave the kitchen door open again. I've had to keep it closed since last June, when dear Kelsie had incontinent problems. She never could understand why she was kept out of the living room. It became too hard to clean up the rug.
We tried to spend a lot of time with her in the kitchen, but the past few months she was sleeping a lot in the daytime. She was very old and tired and her energy level went way down. I even had to tape pieces of wax paper on the bottom of the glass French door, so she couldn't peer in at me sitting on the couch; she would bark really loud. She couldn't understand the paper being there either. She would sometimes stand way back by the sliding door, and bark at me from there if she needed out.
I cannot believe how much I miss that dear dog. It actually feels like my heart is breaking. It hurts so badly.
Yesterday after I'd cleaned out the laundry room, I noticed this little paw print. It was like Kelsie said good-bye to me.
Goodnight, me sweet Kelsie. xo

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Farewell, my sweet little Kelsie. 2001-2018

April 28, 2001 - March 17, 2018
Kelsie, the best little dog that ever lived, is now romping at the Rainbow Bridge with all the other dear little dogs who've gone before. Little Kelsie lived a good full life, and brought us all much joy, laughter and love. There will never be another dog quite like her. How I will miss her sweet affection and funny little ways. She loved her long walks together with me and Robert, her rambles in Central Park or Foreshore Park, her doggie treats, and laying in the back yard in the sun, or watching me garden. Rest in peace my dear sweet canine friend.
These were the last photos taken of her, on Feb 6 and Feb 20th.

Celebrating Year of the Dog, February 20.
I had hoped it would be a good year...

February 18, 2018: Kelsie's paw prints in the snow for the last time. Something caused me to take a picture of this. Exactly one month ago...

Farewell dear little doggie friend of mine.
It feels like my heart is breaking.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Grandpa John G Williams 130th birthday!

130 years ago today, February 17, 1888, my paternal Grandpa, John Griffith Williams was born to Joseph and Elizabeth Williams, in Blaenau Ffestiniog, Wales. 
He seems to have been quite a character. He immigrated to Canada in 1910 at the age of 23. He was the only one in his family to do so. He never went back to Wales. 
He married Ellen Egerton in approximately 1918 or 1919. She was also from North Wales, so I have a hunch they met over there. They had 2 sons together, but sadly one of them died in 1925, and then Ellen died in 1926. 

Thankfully for me, Grandpa re-married Alma May Palmer in 1928 when he was 40, and their first son, my Dad, John Herbert, was born in 1929. Grandpa had 6 more children, 9 in total.
This photo shows my grandparents in my parent's home celebrating their birthdays together. Grandma was born January 20, 1908. She was 20 years younger than her husband.

Grandpa on the left, Robert in the middle, William on the right. Blaenau Ffestiniog, Wales, approximately 1910.

A young Grandpa on the prairies, probably Alberta.
He lived there for a while, then moved to Spalding SK.
He loved horses all his life, winding up taking care of the horses for Crystal Dairies in Vancouver BC in the 1940's.

This is my favourite picture of Grandpa. You can tell he was a real character. He moved to Vancouver in 1941, and began a new life working at Burrard Dry Docks during WWII, and having 3 more children here. By the time I knew him, he was a very quiet man, and quite frail. At least that's how he appeared to me. He died in June 1974. 
Happy birthday, Grandpa! Thank you for your adventures which led you to Canada.

By Loretta Houben

Friday, February 16, 2018

A Valentine's gift...

I participated in a Valentine swap exchange for the first time in a Facebook group I belong to. Today (Feb 16) I received my gift from Louise White, a new friend. She lives in the USA, so the package was held up at customs, I suspect. I sent her a gift too. I forgot to take pictures of it.

Louise's gift was packaged in a red box with red polka dot tissue paper. It was so pretty when I opened it! And very well packaged. Inside there was a delightful array of lovely gifts, including chai tea, chocolates, serviettes, a lacy doily, Valentine decorations, a pretty card, a beautiful beaded stuffed heart ornament, and stickers for my dolls.

I just love it all.

I think I love the stuffed heart the best, and the darling doll stickers. What a sweet gift!

By Loretta Houben

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

A Christmas tea!

I really miss having teas. I used to do it quite often, but lately all is very quiet in the House of Houben. Last Saturday Robert was at Camp Icicle and Leona was finally over her winter illness, so she came over for a hot cup of water, as she no longer drinks tea. I really need to find some tea buddies! My parents rarely come over now as my Dad is very frail, and my Mom won't come alone. 

I set out my fine Royal Albert china, with the beautiful poinsettia pattern. Leona gave me the teapot for a Christmas gift in 1981. The rest of the collection was also gifts. I just love this set.

I used a red cloth tablecloth. I usually buy them at Winner's store so they are quite inexpensive. I set out my candles each season in the fall and winter, as it brightens up the dreary dark nights. I love candles!

I had given all my baking away, so I set out Walker's shortbread and Cadbury fingers with fresh raspberries. Leona may have stuck to hot water, but I had reams of cups of hot tea!

By Loretta Houben

Monday, December 11, 2017

Robert's first book!

I'm thrilled to report that Robert, my husband, had his first book published!
Well, self-published, but it would have taken reams of money and time to publish it any other way, and then it might have been difficult to find a publisher, so Robert decided to go through Amazon and now his book is available on Amazon dot com or dot ca.
It's either $3.02 US for an electronic version or $6.99 US for a paperback version.
It's also available for $3.83 Cdn for electronic.

November 21, 2017: Robert holding a copy of his first book which arrived from Amazon on this date! It's very thrilling. Congratulations, Robert!

I finished reading Robert's first book last evening. It was weird to read a book written by him. I was filled with a bit of angst that he'd beat me to publishing his first book, but I always was as slow as molasses in winter, so it isn't very surprising. Then after the first few pages of set up and description (always necessary for any story) I delved right into the plot and was immersed in the time and era of Israel, Jerusalem and Bethlehem and the accompanying lives of the characters in scenes which took place just before the birth of Christ. I found the characters to be believable and likeable, even King Herod (to a point) and my favourite scenes were the ones with Thomas, the little shepherd boy, and of course David and his journey along the way to Bethlehem. I found it to be thought provoking and enjoyable. If you haven't yet bought a copy, please do so! 

By Loretta Houben