Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .

Friday, April 8, 2022

Baby Names

'The Beanster'.
And a friend.
We had a good friend, Peter.
Whose parents, when he was small, called him Petey-Pie.
He thought that was his name.
On his first day of school, there was some heated discussion about what name he should respond to.
The teacher won.
And Peter, he became.
I thought Petey-Pie was a cute name.
I used it.
To the point where he regretted telling my husby and me the story.
Moving ahead . . .
We had given our first daughter a very nice name when she was born.
Caitlin Diane.
Very nice.
It suited her.
Until she started getting around.
Unlike most toddlers, who . . . toddle . . .
 . . . she hopped.
Everywhere she went.
My Husby began to call her ’Tigger-Pie’.
It suited her.
Thus, she became Caitlin ‘Tigger-Pie’ Tolley.
Until it was time to prepare her for her first day of school.
Remember Petey-Pie?
Those lessons would apply here.
We had been careful to make sure our little daughter knew her first name was ‘Caitlin’.
But we hadn’t realized that she now thought her middle name was ‘Tigger-Pie’.
For weeks, I tried to explain to her, “Caitlin Diane Tolley.”
To which she would respond.
“Not Diane! Tigger-Pie!”
She finally figured it out.
Recently, I saw her little daughter, Erini (also know as ‘Rini-Bean’, or ‘Beanster’ for short) hopping across the room.
“Wow.” I said. “Beanster, you remind me of your mother!”
She laughed.
And then I realized what I had said.
Here we go again . . .

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Talking to the Inanimate

 Ah…the three-year-olds’ view of the world…


Just arrived at Gramma’s house.

So much to see and do! 

There’s the dog to play with.


Yummies to sample.

And games to play with cousins.

But first, the all-important shedding of the all-important winter coat.

(It IS spring in Northern Alberta!)

Small grunts that turn to larger grunts.

Then… “Mom! This zipper’s not listening to me!”

Wednesday, April 6, 2022


With all the horror in the world, I’m needing ‘angel’ stories right now.

There are angels around us.
And they appear in the unlikeliest places.
When they are most needed . . .
Our family had fallen on hard times.
It happens to everyone.
It was our turn.
My Husby had been out of work for some time.
And it looked as though he would remain out of work for some time more.
We were 'economizing'.
We had given up everything that was not strictly necessary.
And we were living off our food storage.
The last thing I wanted to give up . . . and indeed the last thing I did give up was our milk deliveries.
The thought of living on skim milk powder from our storage was . . . how can I say this tactfully . . . horrifying.
But we were about to do it.
Our milkman, John, was a very nice man.
And no, none of our kids look like him.
Just FYI.
Moving on . . .
I dreaded telling him that this next delivery would be our last.
But our precious store of capital was rapidly dwindling, despite our best efforts.
And the job had to be done.
He arrived, carrying our order of milk, cheese and cream.
And I told him, tearfully, that we couldn't afford deliveries any longer.
He just grinned and handed me a note.
It read: “Happy birthday . . . or something . . . for the next four months.”
I stared at it.
Then at John.
What on earth did it mean?
“Someone has paid for your milk deliveries for the next four months,” he said, finally.
Okay, so quick, I'm not.
“Someone has taken over paying your milk bill for the next four months.”
His grin widened. “I can't tell you.”
Sigh. Some people are slow.
“I can't tell you,” he repeated patiently. “Someone, who wishes to remain anonymous, has asked that your bill be forwarded to them for the next four months.”
“It was you, wasn't it, John.”
It was more a statement than a question.
He laughed. “I can absolutely guarantee that it was not me,” he said. “Cross my heart.”
I stared at him suspiciously for a few minutes.
Then finally took the carton of dairy products from him and allowed him to carry on with his route.
And that's when the tears started.
Who knew that we were having such difficulties?
And, more importantly, who cared enough to do this for us?
Moving ahead four months . . .
My Husby once more happily employed and a steady trickle of money flowing into the family coffers, I took my last free delivery of milk.
And was happy to tell John that deliveries could continue.
On our nickel.
I never did find out who our Good Samaritan was.
They had swooped in and helped.
Just when they were needed.
Then swooped out again.
But definitely not heartless.
To my Angel, and you know who you are . . . THANK YOU!

And now, my favourite song, by Alabama that just happens to cover this exact topic . . .

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Library Crime

I rarely look inside my purse.
It’s true.
I don’t shop. And when I do, it’s so rare, I need instructions about where to slide or insert the little card thingy.
I also love to read.
All of this will become relevant . . .
When the kids were little, we went to the library.
A lot.
It builds character.
We had our routines. Which usually consisted of me hauling a great bag of books into the place.
And another great bag of books out of the place.
Why do so many of my life’s memories include me carting heavy loads?
Just wondering . . .
On many of our visits, several of the books I carried in and out were for me.
This is both good and bad. 
Because I read a lot. Which was good.
But I also brought whatever I was reading with me wherever I went in the house. And, because I’m unorganized, usually left it there. So, when the time came for our weekly library trip, I couldn’t yell at my kids for displaced books because I was the worst offender.
On this particular occasion, I had lost the book I was reading.
Really lost it.
No amount of hunting and cleaning and interrogating family members brought that little beauty to light.
Finally, in desperation, I decided I would simply have to purchase said book.
During our library visit, I talked to the girl at the counter, explained my dilemma, and paid for the stupid book.
Then gathered my kids and headed toward the exit and my great bag of books that had been slid through and was waiting for me beyond the turnstile.
As we neared the gate, a great electronic shriek filled the room. Definitely not a ‘library’ sound.
It startled all of us.
Including the people behind the desk.
“Ma’am?” one of the girls said. “Do you have an unscanned library book?”
I looked at my children, all bookless, and shook my head.
“May we examine your purse?”
Nodding, I handed it to her and she opened it.
And there, nestled among the used Kleenex, lipbalm and hairbrushes, was the lost book.
I am not making this up.
Both of us gaped at it like we had spotted a snake nesting in the warm confines of my handbag.
“That’s it!” I exclaimed unnecessarily.
She pulled it out and looked at me.
I don’t remember what happened after that. I think they gave me my money and kept the book. Everything was a blur.
I should tell you I have no idea of how that book got into my purse.
Ahem . . .
I swear I’m not indifferent to rules. I understand how a library works—the whole borrowing and returning thing. I also know that when you wish to purchase a book, you go to a book store, pay your money, and then stuff your book into your bag.
Knowing isn't doing, I guess.
So, if you’re considering going to the local library to apply for a membership card and need a personal recommendation from a friend...?
Probably you should look elsewhere.
P.S. I also have a book I checked out in 1967. The library closed for good before I could return it. I wonder what the fine on that would be?

And finally, a funny from my beloved Jenny at Procrastinating Donkey...

Monday, April 4, 2022


 I’m imperfect, yes, it’s true,

Though there are things I like to do…

I love to write, I’m sure you know,

‘Well crafted’ really makes me glow,

And reading’s great, my second thing,

Especially with a mystery’s zing,

I love to walk and swimming’s fun,

And sitting in the summer sun,

Playing with my grandkids, wow!

I’d do it anytime (or how),

Eating out with friends; yes, please,

From pancakes to Vietnamese,

Or meals at home with fam’ly, friends,

Where mealtime never, ever ends,

Movies with my Husby, yes!

Any ‘Marvel’, I confess,

I love to sit and reminisce,

And storytelling brings me bliss,

Lego-making; that I love,

It gives those sad ol’ blues the shove,

And puzzles (that love from my dad

Wherein we spent what time we had),

I like to cook, it gives me glee,

I like to clean, I’m OCD,

I’m not a shopper, don’t like sports,

I am a homebody of sorts,

But I love people in my life,

I try hard to lessen strife,

(A little kindness, Mama taught

Will help with someone’s pain a lot),

I laugh a bunch (perhaps too much),

But life is great with a light touch,

All these, I said I like to do,

Well. Or not. I leave to you.

But imperfections, they abound,

(Please know that I am well. And sound!)

But Husby made a sweet confession..

He loves my ‘Delightful Imperfections’!

Photo Credit: Karen of
Cause Mondays do get knocked a lot,
With poetry, we all besought
To try to make the week begin
With gentle thoughts,
Perhaps a grin?
So KarenCharlotteMimi, me
Have crafted poems for you to see.
And now you’ve read what we have wrought…
Did we help?
Or did we not?

Next week, something for us all...
It's PETS! We're gonna have a ball!

Thinking of joining us for Poetry Monday?
We'd love to welcome you!
Topics for the next few weeks (with a huge thank-you to Mimi, who comes up with so many of them!)...

Imperfection (April 4) Today!

Pets (April 11)

Juggling (April 18)

Brothers (April 25)

Babies (May 2)

Music (May 9)

Purple for Peace (May 16)

Turtles (May 23)

Memorial Day (May 30)

Yo-yo (June 6)

Roller Coaster (June 13)

World Refugee Day (June 20)

The Happy Birthday song (June 27)

Real Estates: All Murders Included in the Price!

Real Estates: All Murders Included in the Price!
My FIRST murder mystery!

Blessed by a Curse

Blessed by a Curse
My very first Medieval Romance!

God's Tree

God's Tree
For the Children

Third in the series

Third in the series
Deborah. Fugitive of Faith

The Long-Awaited Sequel to Daughter of Ishmael

The Long-Awaited Sequel to Daughter of Ishmael
A House Divided is now available at all fine bookstores and on and .ca!

Daughter of Ishmael

Daughter of Ishmael
Now available at and .ca and and other fine bookstores.

Romance still wins!

Romance still wins!
First romance in a decade!

Hosts: Your Room's Ready

Hosts: Your Room's Ready
A fun romp through the world's most haunted hotel!

Hugs, Delivered.

Compass Book Ratings

Compass Book Ratings

Ghost of the Overlook

Ghost of the Overlook
Need a fright?

My Granddaughter is Carrying on the Legacy!

My Granddaughter is Carrying on the Legacy!
New Tween Novel!

Gnome for Christmas

Gnome for Christmas
The newest in my Christmas Series


A heart warming story of love and sacrifice.


My novel, Carving Angels

My novel, Carving Angels
Read it! You know you want to!

My Second Novel: Kris Kringle's Magic

My Second Novel: Kris Kringle's Magic
What could be better than a second Christmas story?!

Join me on Maven

Connect with me on Maven


A scientist and his son struggle to keep their earth-shattering discovery out of the wrong hands.

Essence: A Second Dose

Essence: A Second Dose
Captured and imprisoned, a scientist and his son use their amazing discovery to foil evil plans.

Looking for a Great Read?

E-Books by Diane Stringam Tolley
Available from

The Babysitter

The Babysitter
A baby-kidnapping ring has its eye on J'Aime and her tiny niece.


Haunted by her past, Melissa must carve a future. Without Cain.


Following tragedy, Devon retreats to the solitude of the prairie. Until a girl is dropped in his lap.

Pearl, Why You Little...

Pearl, Why You Little...
Everyone should spend a little time with Pearl!

The Marketing Mentress

The Marketing Mentress
Building solid relationships with podcast and LinkedIn marketing

Coffee Row

Coffee Row
My Big Brother's Stories

Better Blogger Network

Semper Fidelis

Semper Fidelis
I've been given an award!!!

The Liebster Award

The Liebster Award
My good friend and Amazing Blogger, Marcia of Menopausal Mother awarded me . . .

Irresistibly Sweet Award

Irresistibly Sweet Award
Delores, my good friend from The Feathered Nest, has nominated me!

Sunshine Award!!!

Sunshine Award!!!
My good friend Red from Oz has nominated me!!!

My very own Humorous Blogger Award From Delores at The Feathered Nest!

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Ghost of the Overlook

Ghost of the Overlook
Need a fright?