Friday, December 24, 2010


Dearest friends and family, we wish you the happiest, merriest, most wonderful holiday season ever! Health, peace and joy to you and yours! All love, from our home to yours!

Last attempt!!
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Third attempt . . .
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Second attempt . . .
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Trying to get a family Christmas picture! First attempt . . .
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First attempt . . .

Sunday, September 12, 2010

We are here!!

Well - we made it :)!!

And it all went according to plan - G and Snowy the Cat flew up on August 1st. The boys and I drove them to the airport. Then N and N and I drove up I5. Following some very good advice from Janelle G., who had mad the trip about 4 weeks earlier, we had purchased a portable, 2 screen DVD player for the trip - it was great! The only problem was that naturally the boys wanted to watch the DVD the whole time we were in transit and I was still in healthy mommy mode - I wanted them to read, color, look at the scenery, do activity books and restrict their viewing time to one DVD every 4 hours, and when I insisted - they protested and screamed and fussed and cried. Still, I had my way, and in retrospect, I should have just let them watch the DVDs - I wonder, why do I create problems for myself??

We left Claremont and made it to Sally's house in Oakland the same day. We were pampered and fussed over - thank you Sally and John :) We went to dinner with Catherine and Adrian and David joined us at the last minute :) We walked by the bay with Mark and Kendra and played and had fun with young Evan :) N decided to get his hair cut while we were there - influenced by The Last Airbender posters and the Avatar cartoon series, he has been asking to have his head shaved and a blue arrow painted on his skull! The crew cut was way to short for my taste, but he loved it!

From Oakland we drove up to Oregon where we were hosted by Janelle and Tom. So gracious - I've been unpacking for about 3 weeks now, and taking care of my three and six year old and the cat and the household - Janelle had just returned to her home after 2 years away, was unpacking and restoring order and was taking care of her six year old and three year old and the under 8 months old and the cat and job hunting! Then here I came with my wild bunch to spend the night!! Thank you, Janelle and Tom!! We went to a great park near by and played in the water fountains, then off to Sonic for dinner, a first for us. The drive from the restaurant back to the house was sooo pretty. The start of the Oregon wine country. I wish we had had time to explore - but we hopped right back into the car and off we went to Washington!

In Washington we had such a wonderful time - my parents have a lovely home and they are always so happy to see us! They even had a very cool swing set installed, just for the boys to use. It was quite a hit, but it did the typical weather thing, with rain making it too wet to use and sun making it too hot! But we look forward to it for next visit. While we were there we were able to visit with our Aunt Karen and Uncle John when Cousins Dana and William hosted a pool party at their new condo. Later they were able to come up to Candle Tree Ranch for a visit and the boys went for a pony ride and swimming in the pond across the street. A lot of fun was had by all!

N went to Horse Country Horse Back Riding Camp for 10 days - To get to the stables you have to cross a suspension bridge - the only way in and out.

At the end of the camp term there is a horse show, and look! Look at that little 6 year old boy, all 70pounds of him, maneuver that horse! I'm no judge, but would you say 500 to 700 pounds of horse? I was so impressed.

And did I mention the trampoline? Susan and Matt always give us carte blanche to come and use the trampoline anytime we would like . . and we like a lot! Thank you Susan and Matt :)

All in all, our trip up the coast was about 18 days - we left Claremont on August 1st and then flew from Seattle to Calgary on August 18th. Thanks Uncle Duff for helping us all get to the airport in a timely fashion!

And I'll address what we found when we go here in my next post!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

N is excited, positive and optimistic about the move. How can I tell?

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A wall of stuff . . .

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They also told us we could leave stuff in the drawers.

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8 boxes in the kitchen

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Then around the corner . . .12 more!

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Securing the washing machine so the drum wouldn't bang around. These styrene blocks cost me $100. It took the man about 8 minutes all together.

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The packing guys said we had an 'average amount' of stuff! These are boxes in the closet, waiting for the movers to come tomorrow . . .

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The garage sale was fine. We got rid of quite a lot - there were 3 families involved altogether, and we advertised with great signs around the neighborhood and in the Penny Saver, Craig's List, Yard Friday am there were people here before we even had set any thing out! In 3 days, and 2 sales, I made just enough to pay for gas for our road trip to Seattle, I hope. The best part of the sales have been the great, warm wishes of friends who were able to drop by to say good luck, we'll miss you, - Kim C. and Monica O. were able to come.
Suraj K., Andrea M. and Erica S. have also made special trips out to see me and the boys and say good bye. Their wishes of God Speed mean the world to me. Also at church, I bid as embarrassingly emotional farewell to the congregation. St. Ambrose, Claremont, CA; wonderful music, interesting, applicable and understandable sermons and a dignified, respectful, tolerant congregation.
So, the packers came today. They worked 6 hours non-stop and finished up packing the interior of the house. Tanya, Shianne and I have been packing up the garage for a few weeks now! and still there is stuff to sort! But really, I am at the point where I'm saying "Pack it. We'll just deal with it on the other end"
and the plan when we get to where we are going - reduce!reduce! so as a family we can all healthier. You know - like wasn't there a TV show 'Is your house making you fat?" Something like that, with Peter Walsh? Isn't it Peter W something, the guy from Australia, who does the reduce clutter shows? G keeps saying, let's go for the space, not the stuff. Well, after packing up this 3 bedroom, 1 car garage house - I am so ready for it!
The movers come tomorrow. We have to take the cat to the vet for his health certificate, then dispose of whatever else is left over - like a very clean, thin mattress that we were using on the top bunk of the bunk beds. And the adjustable, portable basketball hoop - no takers on Craig's List . . . so happy G will be home tomorrow through Sunday! A week of late nights has caught up with me! To bed!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

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At the Polar Bear Plunge area, we saw these cute arctic seals!
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The Splash Animal Show was an art show - artists painting large canvases of endangered animals with their hands and brushes, sometimes painting the canvas upside down. It is always so interesting to watch an artist at work!
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N and N in front of the enormous elephant topiary at the entrance to the zoo.

Trying to relax . . .

Thinking that we should 'try to relax', you know, get away from the situation so that we can come back to it newly energized, the family took a little trip to the zoo. The San Diego Zoo. Everyone should go - it was just fantastic! Was it relaxing? Not so much, but it was distracting! I'm going to try again to post some photos - wish me luck!
Well - you can see the photos above - I'm still trying to figure out how to incorporate them right into what I'm writing, when I send them over from Picassa . . .

Our calendar - G goes back to Calgary on Wednesday the 21st, the yard sale is on Friday/Saturday the 23rd/24th, the packers are supposed to be coming next Wednesday the 28th, then the movers on Thursday the 29th, I'll be cleaning house on Friday the 30th and hopefully shipping the cat to Gary that same day as well. Then the boys and I drive up the coast to San Fran., then onto Portland, then finally up to WA. We'll be there a while - I'll either sell the car or give it to Kars for Kids and then we fly to Calgary, to join G and Snowy at our new home! It helps for me to write it all out this way - wow, it really is crunch time. Yikes.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The garage contents

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Still trying to get the hang of this blogging thing, some days are easier than others! This picture and the one below were supposed to be in the other entry . . . I'll get it, just a little more time . . .

So what have I been doing? With the help of Super Tanya! my trusty personal assistant! and Super Shyanne (sp?) {Super T's personal assistant} we have cleaned out the garage and now we are packing up, and putting everything that we want to take with us to Canada, back in! I know, I know . . . what is the point of movers if you are going to do it all yourself? Well - they can take apart the bunk beds, but I want to pack my own panty hose, thank you very much.

I'm still kind of sorting for the garage sale as well - which I hope you can all make on July 23and 24! Everything at rock bottom prices!

Also there are 2 little boys who still have play dates and swimming lessons and summer camp - and there is all that cooking that has to happen - and that means shopping - and G has to pack up his office as well and somehow our 23 days have shrunk to 16!!!! Good Heavens - I have go and sort out my cook books now!!
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We have a house!

Hello, dear friends and family!
G is home and he totally ROCKS!!! WOOO HOOO!!!! Thank you G!! After a lot of leg work and internet searching, we have a house. Check it out! Go to, then choose Calgary, then in the search box put in the number 42832. Hopefully it should take you right there! The lovely 'coral' and white split level. The house was listed on both Craig's List and this other sight . . . funny that it is still listed and doesn't have the big 'RENTED' bar across it . . .
Now we have an address and G will be calling the moving company tomorrow to set up our pick up date, probably July 30th or so, and finishing all the final details with them.
So - what have I been doing? Lounging of course - you know me!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Where we stand now

So, where do we stand now?
We are trying to hire movers. The company will pay for the move, but we have to figure out how we're going to do it -
Garage sale #1 went slow and steady - we still have lots to sell. Since our first moving estimate came out at approximately $14,000.00 (YIKES!!!) we are now getting ready for Garage Sale #2 on July 23, 24. Come on by!!
I'm still going through boxes that were never unpacked from the first move, and finding all kinds of trash and treasures, like 3 books on Feng Shui! I'm trying to look at everything objectively and decide hmmmm, do I really want to spend any kind of time/energy on this?
G was home but went back to Calgary and is checking on housing when he isn't working. Poor guy, he still has a long lasting viral infection that he's had about a month. Can you imagine - a sore throat for a month . . .horrible.
The current plan is to stay here till the end of the month, and then the boys and I will drive up the coast to my parents home for a little vacation, with stops in San Francisco and Oregon on the way. G should be in Calgary to welcome the moving truck and unpack, and then the boys and I will fly from Seattle to join him sometime in August.
Well - I'm trying to maintain, but this is tricky, planning an international move while still taking care of the kids and housekeeping. Any advice? We are kind of on a 23 day countdown here . . . .

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Contract signed!!!!!

WOHOOOO! Contract signed!! It's a go! So, gettin' ready for a big yard sale this coming Saturday - June 26 -cleaning out the garage mostly. Still not sure what our moving plans are exactly - G. is handling that with the new company, I'm just into serious get-rid-of mode this month. And about the pictures above? Nothing has changed, actually - I've just added more to do lists and the book shelf now has lots of completed school work folders on top! But , you should see the garage!!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Gettin' ready - for what?

The letter I sent a week or so ago:

"Hello everyone :),

I wanted to take a moment to fill you all in on some Mason-Leskowitz family news.

As many of you know, G has been working full time for the Joint Science Department at Claremont, McKenna, Pitzer and Scripps Colleges. His current title is Visiting Assistant Professor - a one year position. Well, last year he was contacted by a start up company out of Canada and has been working part time for them as well, traveling to Calgary over the summer, during his vacations and tele-commuting the rest of the time. He enjoys both positions and is so good at both. But this coming September there is a very strong possibility our family of four may be heading north to Stampede Country!

Now - contingent upon the company's gaining funding and then contingent upon contract negotiations, we may be leaving Claremont as early as August.

It's kind of a hurry up and wait situation, I think. They want G, but they can't offer him a contract till they get the funding. We won't know about the funding till mid to late July! However, they are very optimistic and G tells me it is a STRONG possibility, we should plan on the move . . . but nothing is definite yet! I really don't want to start packing but I don't want to get caught in a time crunch. So instead of "packing" I'm "de-cluttering"! I'm really counting on Craig's List when the time comes!

Because this has been such an undecided situation, we really haven't spoken to many people about it, but in case it does happen I wanted to let everyone know.

Our family really needs all of the prayers, good wishes and practical ideas that you can spare us! Really! So far, the plan is get rid of everything, because moving anything that can be replaced is such a hassle and with two little boys needing much attention and TLC, during this transition time especially, hassle needs to be reduced as much as possible. When G goes to Calgary in May, June, July he'll be scouting out the housing scene. When housing is decided we'll know when school starts and plan accordingly. Late July, early August we (M and the boys) would drive up north to spend time with M's family in Washington and then cross the border, joining G in time for N to start first grade in Calgary, Canada, late in August.

So, has this brief update taken up enough space? Thank you for listening!

Let us know your good ideas, and of course - let's make plans to get together soon!!

All the best,

M, G, N and N "

So - time is passing and I need to get started. I need to do this move well - I need it to proceed smoothly, I want my family to be able to transition with no scraped knees, no bloody noses.

It is just I feel like I haven't unpacked yet from the last move! And never expecting this move to come up, I have been collecting, preparing myself for the next move to be into my own home, not another rental. I have great vision of how things can work and so many reasons why we should have so much! Because we might need it! So - now, most of it has to go - and we have visas to apply for and passports, all kind of documentation to organize and of course, we are still living our regular life at the same time - grocery shopping and laundry and cleaning and school, homework, play dates . . . lots to do! Did I mention the cat? We have to take the cat with us too!

Well, I've taken some pictures and I have a plan to go through a room at a time, decluttering and organizing and packing. It has to begin - it is just that my head is spinning - I feel that I have so much to do, but I'm a little paralyzed by it all, and not sure where to start . . . maybe if I post before and after it will spur me along?

My den bookshelf - just crammed

My 'organized' bulletin board!

My moving to do lists! 5 pages long!

Well, I hope all this helps! Right now, I feel like I should be on that program "Hoarders"! AACK!

Goal: Clean out/pack up/organize the den. STREAMLINE.

Strategy: A box, a cubby, a drawer, something, done every day.