Archive for January 2010

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Organizing a Wedding - the Album

Believe it or not, the Big Guy and I are back on the road again this week. We are on our way to a big Trade Show in Essen, Germany. It's always a good show, packed with great ideas and new technology so we really want to attend.

In my absence, I have no idea if I will have good internet access......or if I will even want to have good internet access. You never know in these foreign countries what sort of situation you will find yourself in.


in order to give you something to look at while I'm gone, I am posting the photo album I just made of my Little Angel's Wedding. It's already a year ago and I've already become a grandma but it's never too late to get your photos printed. That's my new motto now that I have discovered Shutterfly, an online digital scrapbook "place". I absolutely love the way their albums turn out. If you love to scrapbook, you should check their site out. It's easy, fun, and the end product is gorgeous. is their website. Just so you know, I'm not affiliated with them in any way. Not affiliated but definitely addicted! See you (and my new album) when I get back!

Photography credits to Elizabeth Sorgell (wedding) Karin Louwerse (food)


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Spring Production is in Full Swing

Things are filling up fast here at Darvonda. Spring is in FULL SWING! Cuttings are being rooted and baskets are being planted. There's LOTS or work to be done!

Greenhouse BEFORE.....
Greenhouse AFTER......


We have our motorhome back. Very little of it remains intact. Appliances, curtains, chairs, cushions, Televisions, videos, dishes, name it, they took it. Here are a few BEFORE and AFTER shots.

Dinette BEFORE.....Dinetter AFTER......

Bedroom BEFORE......Bedroom AFTER.......

I'm not sure why they didn't take the mattress because it was a brand new Pillow Top from Sleep Country. Try as I might, I can't understand the mentallity of the people who ripped out stuff. I mean WHY would you take the old blinds and curtains which aren't going to fit ANYTHING and leave a very good mattress?! Perhaps they were SMOKING something at the time they made the decisions?

The kitchen BEFORE.......

The kitchen AFTER......What a sad sight. I cooked up a whole lot of good food in this cozy little space over the years.
The seating area BEFORE........

The seating area AFTER.......
Any ideas why they left ONE captain seat in place? Why take THREE and not all FOUR? Maybe, instead of SMOKING something they were DRINKING while carrying out this task.

Well, unfortunately, we now have 140 days to find a replacement before the insurance company closes our file. Tamara has a lot of searching online.......or going to RV dealers to find something suitable.

But how do I avoid a REPEAT of this fiasco? Will it take HIGH FENCES and RAZOR WIRE to stop the madness? I don't want to live in a compound! I refuse. I need a better solution.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

China - A Country In Constant Metamorphosis

We've just gotten back from a 1 week business trip to China, a country that is in a state of constant change. With a population numbering in the billions, there is continual building going on 24 hours a day. Huge construction projects are everywhere and giant cranes dot the skyline of every major city.

I thought I knew what China was all about before I went there. We all heard about communism in school. We were all taught what life was like for the billions living behind the iron curtain and none of it was good. That's what I expected to experience when we travelled there..........but it wasn't anything like that! China is experiencing a HUGE METAMORPHOSIS, bringing the country out of a severly repressive style of government into a more free market economy that encourages entrepreneurship and partnerships with international companies.

I am SO CONFUSED! China is just NOT what I expected.

Oh sure, there are still toilets like this.........

And factories like this.......

But take a closer look at the craftsmanship and pride the people take in their work.......

and you will find that we are all really very similar people in every way.

Just walk down the street and watch the vendors selling their bouquets of fresh cut flowers....

or stay a night in a 5 star Hotel that rivals the beauty of any 5 star hotel I've ever stayed in.....

Drive around the countryside and experience some of the ancient culture and architecture China has preserved for it's people.....

It will make you want to stop and re-think everything you every thought about China.

Over the last 20 years, ideologies appear to have shifted from that of pure communism to the acceptance of a strange mix of Western Capitalism and mild Communism.

Business has driven the economy and social change with a vengeance. Beautiful hotels abound in the big city, full of people from all walks of life who are busy sourcing product to send back to their home countries.

Factory owners work very, VERY hard to produce all their orders in a timely fashion and with a high quality product. Everything we buy in North America seems to be made in China. What would we do without this abundant source of products? Think about it? We would be hard pressed to produce it all locally. We just don't have the manpower or the infrastructure in North America.

Of course, North America has sent it's own very special products to entice the Chinese customers as well. Some things don't require translation.
A french fry tastes just as delicious in downtown Whenzhou as it does in downtown Langley!

These weary travellers were able to experience one final treat as we said goodbye to Chinese soil.....

a lunar eclipse lit the sky on fire as we waited to board our flight home. China is an unexpected place full of beauty and contrast that shines as brightly as the crescent moon.

If you ever get the chance to visit, make sure you check out the Hot Spring Spas in Guangzhou where you can get a 20 minute foot massage for under $5! You will also get to sit in assorted Hot Spring tubs infused with WINE or ROSES or VINEGAR or HERBS. There is even one tub where you can get your feet exfoliated by little fish that nibble away at your toes. That is one of the STRANGEST sensations on earth, TRUST ME!
Now make sure you stop by Between Naps on the Porch to check out all the other METAMORPHOSIS going out there in blog land. Just click the following link.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Another Exciting Visit to China

We are back from a whirlwind trip to China! Left on a Friday and got back on a Friday.......Soooooo very tired.

What's my FAVORITE THING about China? Well, the FOOD, naturally. They have CHICKEN......

and DIM SUM..........

and RATS........

I mean, who can resist a good RAT SNACK?!

But, I'm glad to be home! More to follow on Monday.


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Scrapbook Metamorphosis

I have a BIG addiction that I have to get off my shoulders. I AM ADDICTED TO TAKING PICTURES and I am powerless to stop! There I said it. The healing can begin.

This year I've started a support group for photography fanatics like myself who take pictures regularly but who rarely get them organized. I started this little "hobby" the day I met the Big Guy. He had a really nice camera and I thought it would be FUN to start scrapbooking about our lives together. That was 22 years ago........I've taken a LOT of photos since then.

I have Wedding Albums.......

Baby books......

Scrapbooks of treasured family vacations......

Books upon books of the kids growing up......

Under my staircase you can find the whole HISTORY of scrapbooking from it's infancy until today. I own hundreds of dollars of paper cutters and stickers, punches and presses. If you need scrapbooking tools, I've got them.
The problem is, over the last few years it's gotten harder and harder to find the TIME or the ENERGY to get down to organizing my pictures. I mean, where on earth am I going to find a WEEK of down time to get all my 2009 photos into a proper photo album?

Fret no longer my photography fanatic friends. Have I found the solution for you! I have discovered a website called You can SCRAPBOOK till the cows come home without making a tiny bit of mess.

No more need to agonize over which background sheets to BUY that you'll never end up using. With the click of a button you can choose which colors go with your pictures best........
Then all you do is drag and drop your photos into the album and place them according to your liking.

Don't like the pictures layout you've chosen? NO PROBLEM! Just click on the layout selection that suits your needs. From 1 picture per page to LOTS of pictures per can have it all!

I am on the road to recovery, people. It's easy as 1, 2, 3. Yesterday I organized the entire 2009 year in a ONLINE SCRAPBOOK MARATHON of 8 hours straight.

WHAT?! I had a bad cold........what else was I supposed to do? Lay in bed all day?

If you want to check it out, just click on the following link. It's really quite an amazing metamorphosis from paper to digital and I am RIDING THE WAVE baby!

Click here to view this photo book larger

Don't forget to check out all the other METAMORPHOSIS going on out there. Hop on by Between Naps on the Porch for all the fun.


Friday, January 1, 2010

It Doesn't Get Any Better Than This!

In these tough economic times you've got to be creative to keep your company in the green. Tighter budgets and demanding customers require us to think outside the box to be able to offer what the consumer is going to want......and we need to figure it out 1 year in advance. It's not easy to look that far ahead and really KNOW what direction you should go in. Anybody got a CRYSTAL BALL?!

So, this year Darvonda decided to take a corporate retreat out in the wilderness of the Rocky Mountains. It's amazing how you can get a better focus on where you need to go in 2010 when you are out smelling the crisp cold air of our majestic BC forests.......or sit in a nice warm "think tank" for a couple of hours with a glass of Okanagan Merlot and a bunch of your closests advisors.......gather round the "conference" table for a face to face brainstorming session........or just take some time to have a heart to heart discussion about what the next generation sees for the future.

This year we wanted to change it up a little. We are very fortunate to have an EXECUTIVE CHEF on staff at Darvonda who is normally busy with the logistics of trucking plants all over Western Canada. We knew that he would have a little time on his hands this week since we shut the greenhouses down for Christmas and New Year's. So we asked him to come along and help keep us well fed and energized for our gruelling planning sessions. Fortunately for all of us, CHEF GARY accepted our invitation.

We arrived at the condo in Silverstar just in time for Chef Gary to start prepping the onions for our first dinner of Stuffed Pork with Garlic,Rosemary Carrots and Roasted Herb Potatoes. Watching the CHEF was like having Jamie Oliver in the kitchen. Who needs the Food Television Channel when Gary's in the house?!

He demonstrated how to take a pork loin and cut it into a nice flat piece of meat, perfect for stuffing. Mind you, although I watched with rapt attention, I have my doubts I could do this myself at home but.......I can DREAM, can't I?!

Pay attention now, everybody, because this is going to go REAL fast. Chef Gary's a PROFESSIONAL and he makes things happen. First you spice the meat up with more than 16 assorted "things". I have no idea what those things are but they SMELL great!

Make sure you don't blink or take a sip of your MERLOT like I did 'cause you'll miss the whole part about making a fruit stuffing......and all you'll get to see is how you roll that special stuffing inside the pork loin. Basically, I missed the most important part of the whole recipe while shoving blue cheese and smoked salmon down my throat instead of paying attention.Then while I was busy pouring myself a refill, Chef Gary proceeded to dazzle us with his KNOT tying prowess.We were all in AWE......believe me!In what seemed like a matter of minutes, the stuffed pork was roasted and ready for a little bit of lovin' from some very tasty gravy, the contents of which I really am not sure. I do know that there is SOME alchoholic beverage involved in the recipe somewhere between chopping up fresh rosemary and adding the pan drippings from the meat.I am going to have to get Chef Gary to write that whole recipe down for me. I was going to do it while he was cooking up a storm but I had a grandbaby in one hand and a glass of wine in the other. I decided I wasn't willing to put either down so I counted on my STELLAR MEMORY to help me retain every detail. Now, if you know me, you will be aware that I started this blog to help me remember what I did last week. I consult it regularly to check on the details of my personal escapades on a daily basis. Suffice it to memory has already lost a crucial amount of details needed to make this recipe at home. NOTE TO SELF: Next time, put down the glass of wine and start taking notes.One thing I CAN remember.......the food tasted AWESOME and the company made a special evening even MORE SPECIAL!

Following such a wonderful meal, we all decided to work off a few calories out on the skating pond. We broke into teams, LOGISTICS and PRODUCTION verses SALES and ADMINISTRATION, for a fast paced game of ICE HOCKEY.
A few key players were missing since we needed a skeleton crew to stay behind and take care of the greenhouses while we were gone but.......we managed a pretty good game anyway. The GROWERS get an official HIGH FIVE for staying home and keeping the plants alive!

The older generation had to take a few breaks in between goals to contemplate life.........and to nurse a few bruises.

Personally, I took off on my own to glide around with a figure skaters grace and ease until........I landed on my TUSH in a very un-ladylike heap. This ice skating stuff is pretty dangerous for grandmothers, you know.

We all finally made it back to the condo for a quick cup of HOT CHOCOLATE with a dash of DISARONO to top off a wonderful start to an exciting CORPORATE RETREAT!

All them GOOD EATS and COLD AIR really hit the spot.

NEWS FLASH! STOLEN: 1993 C Class Motorhome. Taken some time this morning from a covered shelter on our yard. If you spot this vehicle, approach with caution.......OR call TAMARA who will come and give the bandits a PIECE OF HER MIND 'cause she wants her motorhome BACK!

Post Script: My apologies to anyone who witnessed my blubbering melt-down at church. I must be getting menopausal because normally I don't cry when people steal my toys. I'm gonna be fine. I promise!