Miller Family Reunion – The British Are Coming – family gatherings

With my sister visiting from England after many years and the weather so nice and warm, everyone wanted to have BBQ’s for them.  Great Alberta Beef (world renowned) was on the menu.

A BBQ at my son's place.

A BBQ at my son’s place.

Mary and family













The British said they were having too many hamburgers so my niece, Chandra decided to do BBQ steak. Oddly enough I guess we were all so excited we forgot to take pictures. It was another beautiful day and the most exquisite of meals. The steak was perfection.

A BBQ at Jim and Tanya's place.

A BBQ at Jim and Tanya’s place.


Miller Family Reunion – The cousins; The Food

On Saturday we gathered for food and a wonderful time of ‘catch-up’, good food and lively conversations.  Most of my cousins I hadn’t seen since I was in my teens.  It was amazing to see how we’d aged.  I had a picture in my mind of each and every one of my cousins who attended – all as teens.cousinsAs children we often visited Aunt Mary (dad’s sister) and Uncle Emil (mom’s brother) on Sundays. Aunt Mary was a fantastic cook. We were double cousins – but the best part was they had a child to match every one of me and my siblings.  We always had playmates and things to do when we visited back and forth.  It was so enjoyable to reunite with them.









The food served was reminiscent of the old day when families gathered on Sundays to enjoy our day of rest.

food at reunionreunion






Miller Family Reunion – The Siblings

This summer – August long week-end we had a Miller Family Reunion outside Regina, Saskatchewan. Regina is the Capital of Saskatchewan the province I grew up in.



Regina Parliament Building

Regina Parliament Building






It was nice to meet my sister Isabelle and her family. I had not seen them in fourteen years. We stayed at the same hotel and had time together there so our visits extended into mornings and late evening as well.


Isabelle and Larry – with George hiding his face.

I brought print copies of my books and sold them all – thanks mainly to Kevin and Lynette McGill – our hosts.
Life Changing Days - Cover

Sleep Inn

Sleep Inn the hotel we stayed in

I was also happy to see my brother Larry who lives in the east. I hadn’t seen him in nine years. He was always my playmate and buddy from the time we were kids.

Larry and I at reunion

Larry and I on the smoking verandah.


Smoking verandah

George and I on the verandah

And of course my sister Nola who I see often and never tire of seeing. Her son and his wife hosted the reunion.

Nola and I at Reunion

Nola and I. No, it’s my books in the box. We are not for sale at $10.00 each.


CWO – Weather Observing – Social Activities

I was at NAV Canada for 6 weeks.  We had school for the standard 9 to 3:30 with an hour off for lunch.  Our week-ends were free.  There was a long winding path by the St. Lawrence River that took us to Tim Horton’s.  Sometimes Sarah, Jamie and I would walk there and back, even though it was so hot.  Sometimes we played volley-ball or made plans to cross the St. Lawrence to get contraband cigarettes from the Native reservation (which were so cheap compared to ours.) As I was a writer, our stories intensified drastically as the course deepened. 2008-06-07 06.03.14 

Dark, rolling CB’s crossed the sky with malicious intent. We stood by the shore of the river determined to cross and find those cheap cigarettes.  ‘I don’t know how to swim’ I whispered in fear.  ‘No problem,’ Isadore said.  ‘Just hop on me and pretend I’m a raft and we’ll float across.’

With laughter and outlandish suggestions we made plans although it was easy enough in Cornwall to get those cigarettes.  2008-06-10 15.24.35

All the other students had no trouble including an old lady in their activities.  It was a great experience and a wonderful way to re-introduce myself back into society again.

But it was an intense course and required studying.  After six weeks I left to go back to the tiny little town I lived in.  Exchanging e-mails and promising to become Facebook friends it was a sad departure.


CWO – Weather Observing – New Places, New Faces

Our instructor was originally from Saskatchewan.  As he was around my age we got along quite well.  I met the others in class and some stick out in my mind.  James and Preston were from the James Bay area (a very isolated community) of Hudson’s Bay.  Not used to the modern conveniences, and barely out of their teens, they couldn’t get enough food it seemed. Besides piling their plates in the buffet cafeteria they would go out to McDonald’s, Burger King or Wendy’s every night for that fast food fix.  It was hilarious and their enjoyment was fun to watch.  Preston reminded me of my son as he was obsessed with sports and especially hockey. 2008-06-10 15.24.25James, who is the only one who got a consistent 100%, told me a story, native legend that they used to believe.  He said that Natives didn’t like their pictures being taken because they believed the camera stole their souls.  But they both agreed to let me take their picture.

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We learned how to ‘clean-up’ after a thermometer broke and my instructor said ‘Hey Mary, remember when we rolled the mercury around in our hands in Science class’.  I did remember, although the young ones looked at us in disbelief.  When it was my turn to decide the Sea Level for a plane landing my instructor said ‘And Mary just crashed a plane’ when I got it wrong.  It was funny at the time but upon thinking I can safely say I don’t think Weather Observers are given enough money for that.  The pay in Princeton was minimum wage.

Another two people were going to work up in Eureka, one going in as the other came out. There is an army base there.  When I found out Sarah’s turn would be over Christmas I asked if she minded.  She was a young, sweet girl, also from the west.  She said ‘No, Eureka is only about 30 miles from the North Pole.  Santa will find me first.’2006-02-18 Arctic sun and moon

CWO – Weather Observing – Think Outside the Box

It was many years since I had attended a school.  Although I had taken many on-line or correspondence courses in the old days, I rarely had time to go to school during the day.  Now in my 50’s I was about to embark on a new adventure.

I was picked up in Ottawa along with two other classmates.  Isadore and Jamie (who turned out to be the youngest in our class) were two natives from Saskatchewan.  I was going right back to my child schooldays.  I too was from Saskatchewan and had attended schools with many natives as well.  Even after all these years I felt comfortable going back in time. Isadore is one of the funniest, most fun people I met in years.  Jamie was a sweet, girl with the most beautiful complexion I’d ever seen in person.  We chatted and immediately formed a bond.2008-06-10 15.24.35

There was a mall we would go to, sharing a cab on our week-ends off.  In the mall was a nice wine shop.  In Ontario there is an area near Niagara Falls where they grow grapes and make wine.  I was however from the Okanagan Valley where the wineries are now known around the world.  There is the largest winery in Osoyoos  owned by Native Americans.  So I chose to question the salesgirl in the store while Jamie and Isadore stood giggling by the door.

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“Do you have any wines from Np’ Mip?”  – “Pardon?  What is that?”  – “You haven’t heard of it?” Finally I explained it was the largest Native owned winery in North America.  She did not have any wine from Np’Mip, but carried a few Okanagan wines.  I didn’t buy any wine that day.
2008-06-07 06.03.30
I was pleased to see the NAV Center had a huge courtyard for smokers.  It was packed with people but had beautiful gardens and fountains, all surrounded by a huge, square building.  We soon discovered where our classes were held as well as learned of the different courses being taught. There were groups from all over the world.  I met a group from Israel there for the simulated pilot training and learned from there they would move on to Oklahoma to fly real planes.  The conversations were enlightening and stimulated the mind as they explained what it is like to live in daily, continuous danger.  Yet all said they would not move to safety regardless of the opportunity.  Hats off to these brave, courageous men and women.


2008-06-07 06.03.14

Thoughts of Spring

Wild Tiger Lily
Tiger Lilies/Saskatchewan’s flower emblem.

In the cold blustery weather of a 2013/2014 Canadian winter, my mind wanders to our spring.  Today thoughts of spring long ago brings the memory of my mother’s Mother’s Day flowers.

My dad would go out to the pastures and bring back a bouquet of the loveliest of flowers. The Tiger-Lily grew wild in the northern prairies, looking delicate but so hardy.  Their vibrant color and their unique beauty is in my mind today.

A year ago


In Caberette  - Dominican.

Dinner at an Italian Restaurant in Cabarete, Dominican Republic

Last year at this time I was in the Dominican Republic with two of my brothers and one of my sisters.  I wish I had gone again this year.  Instead  I sit here, frozen and longing for the Pina Colada I had there, made with off the tree, fresh pineapple.  Mmmm.Pina Colada

At the Russian Resort - Dominican

Dinner at the Russian Resort, Dominican Republic


Life Changing Days – Released

“Life Changing Days”

In Dreams – You can be anyone you want.

From reading my mothers romances, my father’s westerns to playing cowboys and Indians in the isolated prairies of Northern Saskatchewan I followed my dad’s advice – I could be anything I wanted.  When I became too old to play like a ‘wild Apache’ (a term my dad applied often to describe me) I could still create my beloved cowboys and romance through by writing.

Life Changing Days – memories of a time past and why I am who I am today.

Life Changing Days by Mary M. Forbes

Life Changing Days‘ is tracing my ancestry and stories. I thank Bill and Emma Miller, my parents, for giving me the best lessons to prepare me for life – and the best parents anyone could ever wish for.

Some may think it’s from simple times, making it easier to find happiness. But as I made a journey through my childhood I realized my life could be experienced anywhere or at any time.  It was parenting skills and lessons that created such a happy childhood.

Life Changing Days – Nature

In the isolation of living in the middle of nowhere we were definitely taught to understand nature in a visual manner as well as learning the true meaning of nature. We were also a part of the whole laws of nature. We didn’t live in a concrete city and decide or think about what we should do or what nature was.  To think and ponder is fine, but do we really know if we are just guessing but don’t know the truth?

Recently I moved to a small town in the wilderness.  Maybe in the back of my mind I wanted to go back to nature, but my reality was that house prices were cheaper there.  I didn’t enjoy the experience like I thought I might.

January 31st - House and yard in winter

Our home in the winter

I soon discovered the majority of the people were determined to build a concrete – village. The deer took shelter in my huge yard, the bears enjoyed fruit trees and wandered around in the fall, scrounging for their winter supply of food.  Even dangerous mountain lions ventured into town upon occasion.  But that wasn’t what people wanted – living in the wilderness.  I had people complain about my neglected yard with its’ masses of pine trees.  I even had a guy come to the door and say he would cut down my trees before they died and fell, destroying something.

I merely pointed out that them trees would probably be alive long after we were gone.  But if any fell – it would be my house that was destroyed. So it shouldn’t concern others.

A Bear by the Apple Tree

This bear was enjoying the apples in my neighbor’s backyard. He stood and growled at us when we decided to take a picture – carefully, at the back door.

In town the deer were just other local residents.  They crossed streets, waiting for cars and even though a highway ran through town our deer never were hit.  It truly astounded me to hear most wanted to get rid of the deer – they were messy, they ate flowers, shrubs and trampled everything.  The bear were the same, but they were dangerous as well.  All I could think – if you wanted meticulous lawns, safe concrete sidewalks and no wildlife – why on earth would you live in this small wilderness town?  These are the people who would dictate how we are abusing nature?  Unfortunately, I could see very few signs of  anyone who truly understood nature.

mother deer and her baby

A mother deer kisses her baby beneath my trees. The deer use the trees for shelter when it’s storming and trample everything. But a sight like this is priceless. Flowers can be replaced.

I moved back to a concrete city I love, the place where family and friends are easily available.  But in this concrete city it’s very easy to drive outside and experience nature again.  But if you live in a concrete city – you really don’t know or understand nature because you are never shown and might be better off to leave it to actual people who do. And be wary of those who might not tell the truth.

On the farm we learned to understand and respect nature.  But reality was that if they encroached on our territory (we being part of nature too) – we took the necessary steps to prevent it.  We couldn’t allow the grasshoppers to eat our crops. City dwellers especially have to appreciate a farmer having his crops produce in abundance.  Without that there is no food in grocery stores.  We couldn’t allow the masses of gophers to eat all our crops either. We couldn’t allow weasels or fox to get into our chicken barn and eat our chickens.

It was just a simple matter of understanding the laws of nature. Can anyone living in a city and only visiting nature sometimes think they know?  Do they get their knowledge from opinions in books and can you truly understand if you don’t experience it first-hand?