A History in Photos 28 (FGK 185)

More photos of Jean Mackenzie-Grieve (Jean Russell) and her family. Enjoy!!

This isn’t very good of Tracy. It was taken down at Didsbury at Christmas time.
Tracy 6 months
Tracy and Rusty – 7 months. I will send along some new snaps soon.
Jean Russell
Jean Mackenzie Grieves and Edna Copithorne
Jean Mackenzie Grieves
Jean – Abraham Lake August / 92. West of Nordegg.

A History in Photos 27 (FGK 184)

The next two days include photos of Grandma’s best friend Jean Russell (or Jean Mackenzie-Grieve).

Mr John Russell. Jean Mackenzie Grieve’s Dad
Georgie, Tracy, Mitzi. Summer 1947
Tracy 3 years (McKenzie Grieve)
Tracy 1 year old take a few days before his birthday
Georgie and Tracy winter 1951
Georgie and Tracy Winter 1951

Power of Friendships

I have to pick up my mail at a drug store in the city. At first this seemed like kind of a pain, but Mercatos West is right beside it, and now when I need to pick up a parcel I usually walk through their deli and grab some fresh pasta (or a slice of chocolate cake that is to die for, let’s be real, we all know I get the cake every time).

The other day I was standing in line at the drug store waiting my turn while two older ladies were paying for their items. One went without any issues. When it was the second lady’s turn she couldn’t remember which card she used, or where to find it in her wallet. She was laughing, her friend was laughing and grabbed her wallet, but leaned over and helped her friend find her cards. Then the lady couldn’t figure out how to tap her card and burst into laughter again and announced this is what happens when you don’t leave the house for a year.

They grabbed their bags and continued to giggle while they left the store.

There is something about the older woman friendships that has always intrigued me. I want a circle of women with whom I can laugh and grow old – or perhaps laugh at how we are growing old – as we become adults there’s so much emphasis placed on “adulting” but not on how vitally important it is that we have fun and maintain happy and healthy friendships.

Maybe it’s because I was a teenager watching Rose, Blanche, Dorothy, and Sophia eat cheesecake while supporting each other through life, but I always had a huge expectation that we would always have time to make for our friendships.

So, here’s to our old friends, our new friends, the dear ones, and the ones who drive us nuts. The older I get, the more I cherish the bonds I have with the amazing women in my life!


Fondue with friends 

One of my lifelong friends rolled into Alberta today and the kids and I got to join her and her family for some fondue and laughs at the Grizzly House in Banff. 

I love and am so grateful for this friendship. We live a long ways apart, but when we get together it’s like no time has passed. I’ve been lucky enough to get to see her twice this year – once where she lives and today. 

Good friendships carry me through the good and the hard times. They’re some of my most important relationships. And that is happiness 


Gaping wounds alongside the steel armor 

I had a conversation with someone last night that triggered off an emotional shitstorm I wasn’t even a little bit prepared for. 

In fact, it threw me into emotions I thought I had long ago dealt with. Pain, hurt, sorrow, and worst of all – inceteible anger with myself for ever having accepted staying in that situation and allowing it to continue. 

I was taking with a healer and friend yesterday about how you heal and deal with something on one level and think it’s done. Then WHAM it hits you on another level out of the blue. It was like that conversation prepared me for the one I had that upset me last night. 

And to be clear, the person I was talking to didn’t say anything wrong, had no intention of hurting me, or has any idea of the affect it had on me. It was completely innocent. 

I was describing it to a girlfriend today, complaining that I couldn’t believe I wasn’t healed yet, and she said:

You have every right to have gaping wounds right alongside your steel armor
That’s it exactly. I’m so strong in so many ways and still have so much healing to do. 

But I talked it out with her and another awesome girlfriend and I think that if I haven’t sorted it all out yet, at least I’ve been able to acknowledge the feelings. That’s happiness 

In a pure and simple happiness moment I got to have a wonderful visit with my cousin who is home visiting. I treasure these moments – sometimes you have to maximize the little moments to fully appreciate them. 


Laughs and love 

I and an early morning email that pushed me much further towards seeing Celebrate Every Child come to life. It’s funny, I decided I wanted to see this impossible dream come to life, and by completely disregarding the how and just moving ahead on faith it seems to all be falling into place. That is love in motion, that is happiness. 

I had lunch with an old friend who has been dealing with very similar issues in the last year. We get each other because we’ve known each other forever, but also now because we have seemed to found ourselves on paths that not a lot of other people seem to be on. And the fact that we are both horse crazy allows us to talk horse without anyone rolling eyeballs. That is laughter happiness. It’s also love happiness. We talked about how important our tribe is and how we would never be able to hold it all together without the support of our people. 


Memory lane is a strange place 

Tonight I watched my boy play basketball in the high school my best friend went to a bazillion years ago. Lots of other things may have changed over the last 30 years, but not in the halls of that school. 

It was weird to take that walk down memory lane. We were best friends from birth until we hit the age where we got married and started having kids and then our friendship seemed to have run its course. A lifetime of things have happened since then and I hadn’t thought about her in a long time. 

It was weird, fun, sad to sit in that gym where we had watched games, gone to dances, crushed on boys, and laughed with our friends. It was having a little memory movie run in my head. 

That part of my life seems so long ago. At the time everything was so urgent and important and I’ve since forgotten so much of it. There were lots of good times though. 

And to add more weirdness to the weird memory lane path, we passed the hospice dad went to right before he died on our way to the school. Another thing I’ve worked hard to banish from my mind. So there was an unexpected hit of emotion before I even walked into the school. 

But there was happiness in there too. Bringing myself back to the present and being in the moment allowed me to watch my boy and his team run up and down the court. They have such great heart, and although they didn’t win they never quit. I drove my boy and his friend to and from the game and I loved listening to them discuss strategy and be so excited to play. It’s awesome. 


Sweet Sunday 

I took the girl and her friend up to Canmore today so they could go for a swim. I love being surrounded by the mountains and to me it’s a no brainer when they ask to go to the pool – Calgary or Canmore – the mountains will always win. 

I love that she’s building strong girl friendships, and that she’s very mindfully choosing her friends. There is a lot of thought that goes into the girls she builds her bonds with – and she makes really good choices. That is happiness. Building that tribe of women that walk you through life is huge. 

The girls earned money babysitting yesterday and couldn’t wait to spend some of it at the candy shop. It’s kind of a ritual. 


Too many cats

I celebrated a birthday lunch today with a girlfriend whom I’ve known since forever. We both grew up doing the Pony Club thing and many of the shared fondness and horror stories – Robert Coates’ manure pile anyone?

Her past year has been a difficult, growing journey as well as she is letting go of her marriage. We talked about many things at our lunch – but one of them was the weird rebellion that the two of us went through at the end of our marriages. We know other women who have rebelled in many different ways – dating different men, building careers, being angry, feeling freedom – but we both ended up doing much the same thing. We celebrated by allowing dirty dishes to be left in the sink without worrying about getting in trouble, and by adopting cats. Then we laughed about what badasses we are. Which is funny because back in the day we used to actually be badasses – how did we ever allow ourselves to become so lost?

How can you not love these guys? They remind me all the time of what real love is.

The divorce thing is not a lot of fun, it’s painful for everyone involved. But I’m so thankful that there’s this smaller tribe of women in my circle who have been through the same thing and that we are there to lift each other up. Mostly though, I’m glad that I am back in an area where I have lifelong friends like this that I can celebrate the joys of life with.

It was a fantastic happiness moment – enjoying a beautiful fall day with a dear friend. We know so much of each other’s history. We reconnected this summer in a way that brought all of our defenses down and put us in a place where we rebuilt our friendship in a very raw and authentic way. There is a lot to be said for a friendship where both people simply accept each other exactly as they are and show nothing but loving support. All relationships should be like that.



In the tree 

Jenna had her friend over last night for a sleep over. Finally she has made the great girlfriend here that she prayed for.  The two are such a great combination. They laugh well together and do an amazing job of supporting each other. Both have had some family shit go on over the past couple of years and they speak the same language when it comes to that. 

This morning I was looking for them so we could leave. It took me a while but finally I found them here: 

It brought back great memories of my childhood – climbing trees behind the house with my cousin. I’m so thankful this is her childhood.  My happiness moment.