Friday, July 29, 2011

Idle Seashore of the Mind

The days have begun to blend into the sameness that can only be experienced on a summer holiday by the water. A lot of time is spent sitting and watching the changing show that the lake and sky puts on. It is a perfect backdrop to quiet meditations and reading.

Yesterday we had our big indulgence of the vacation – Seafood platter at Captain George’s – a real fat fest that has to be experienced once a year. It left us feeling stodgy and lethargic for the rest of the day, but that fit in perfectly with our planned activities :-)  No big long walk for us yesterday.

Today is a grey, drizzly day, perfect for getting ready to have a few friends come up for the weekend. With menus to plan and grocery lists to compile the computer is busy  (I can’t seem to do anything without my trusty laptop with its ability to help me organize – if only I had a printer with us). Oh yeah, and liquor store shopping lists too – must stock up on the marg ingredients and this really funky cooler that tastes exactly like an orange creamsicle! It is going to be really hard work having company and having to eat all that good/bad food and drink all that horrible booze… do you feel sorry for me at all ;-)

One of the things I may make is a Cucumber Black Bean Mango salad that I tried for the first time the other day. It was a tasty refreshing change and it has all healthy ingredients. See, everything isn’t a bad eat. It has fresh lime juice, a jalapeno, cucumber, mango, cilantro, and of course black beans – super easy. I think it will be a nice accompaniment to a coriander flat-bread done on the grill, and margs (of course).

Or maybe I’ll try the Black Bean and Tomato salad with Quinoa, except I’ll change the quinoa to couscous as I can’t seem to get Quinoa here. What a dilemma!


Sit in reverie and watch the changing color of the waves that break upon the idle seashore of the mind.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

6.8 km–whew!

This morning we managed to walk the whole lighthouse loop – that’s about 6.8 km or 4.1 miles. It wasn’t too hot out but none-the-less we were ready for a swim at the end of it. Even the dogs dipped their whole bodies into the lake. This afternoon will be a quiet one with icy drinks and good books.

We kept our eyes peeled for poison ivy and saw tons of it ... The route we took today was along a 1 way road with a wide bike lane. Staying in the bike lane keeps us off the grass and away from the nasty bits.

Camping is a funny thing – you leave your nice comfortable home with all the essential comforts and head out to where you are cheek to jowl with your neighbours, sharing public facilities, and “living” on a road busy with cars, trucks, bikes and kids, oh yeah, and poison ivy. And we pay big site fees for the privilege. Go figure!

I’m soon off to Margaritaville again and my book is waiting to be opened… or perhaps a nap is in order!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I Feel Blue with a Bit of Green


The weather has recovered from yesterday’s showers and thunderstorms. It is a perfect 26C with a breeze (stiff wind) from the south west. It is not a day that drives you into the water, but instead one which can be enjoyed from the comfort of a chair in the shade. I got into my bathers and lay in the sun to get myself into the mood… not.

The water is a beautiful blue with the sun sparkling off it and the sky is  another shade of blue with just a ridge of cloud on the southern horizon. The colour of the water changes according to the earth’s mood – I guess it’s like a giant mood ring (remember those from the 70’s).

This morning we drove down to the lighthouse and started our walk from there. We were mostly on the bike lane on a road that isn’t travelled much. We did have to head inland on a little trail to get to the loop on the other side. There was a lot of poison ivy but the path was wide enough to avoid it. The mosquitos though were out in full force. They especially go after Bella – sometimes there were 10’s on her…

And now I’m off to Margaritaville ;-)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Walks with the Dogs Made Complicated

Yesterday we found out what poison ivy looks like – thankfully not the hard way! However, now that we know what it looks like we can see that it is EVERYWHERE – apparently there is a big outgrowth this year. The place by the car park where we “business” the dogs has tons – how did I manage to escape getting hit when I know I picked up a poo in a little patch – whew! The shoulder of the causeway that joins our camping area to the rest of the park has a ton. Spike likes to get right into the weeds to do his business so we’ll have to train that out of him. I don’t want to be like everyone else and just let the dogs poo on peoples campsites – I can’t stand that and think it’s really rude. So we’ll just have to take our chances (gulp).

Everywhere we want to go seems to be infested. The path down the lake that we take on our walks is rife with it. This is a one lane path that bikes also use so I’m not sure what we’ll do when we meet a bike – will we move to the side (and into the pi) or let them take the hit. It will be hard to take this path out of our walks as it joins us with the lighthouse loop and the two wooded trails. Or maybe we’ll not be taking the wooded trails? We’ll give it a shot in a day or too and see how overgrown they are. Perhaps we’ll just do the roads…

Keep your fingers crossed for us!

We woke up in the middle of night to the flash of lightning and the sound of thunder . There wasn’t much wind but there was rain, in fact it rained until about 10am and was unsettled for a few hours after that. We were glad we weren’t in a tent :-)  It was cool enough to take some soup out of the freezer for our lunch (see, we are being good sometimes!).

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Definitely A Do Over

What a lovely day we had, and if every day was the same it wouldn’t be the most awful thing. Today looks like it will be another great day – a bit cooler than yesterday, and perhaps less cloud/haze. The sun is sparkling off the water, the waves are swooshing on the shore, there isn’t too much wind. I don’t think it can get any nicer.

Last night’s supper of Pepperoncini beef was GREAT! It will definitely be made again (and again). I got the recipe from A Year of Slow Cooking (a great site for slow cooker recipes). It was basically just stick a roast into the crockpot, dump in a jar of pepperoncini's and voila, after 8 hours supper is ready. I made a few changes, first we pulled the stems from the peppers before dumping them in ; second, after the meat was cooked I pulled it out and then used my “magic bullet” to puree the sauce and peppers. I didn’t pull apart the beef at this point, but next time I will so the little strands have time to absorb the totally delicious sauce. It was just so tasty we couldn’t stop snacking on the meat but the good news is we have leftovers for at least one other supper.

We tend to head into town on a near daily basis so that we can hit up the grocery store for chicken legs for the dogs ($1.57 lb) and yesterday was no exception. I made Carm stop downtown so that I could check out Dragonfly, a cute little store that I did tons of shopping at last year – they have everything from purses, to jewellery, house stuff, hats, clothes, etc. They were all out of their summer clothes unfortunately, but I did score the goofiest hat on the planet! It’s practical though as it keeps the sun off my face. They are getting more stuff in next week so I’ll have to visit again.

This morning we did the 1/2 lighthouse walk again (1 hour) and immediately went for a swim again. Today the water was FRESH… i.e. cold! We were quickly refreshed. The dogs got their chance but only went in up to their knees.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Settling in to a Routine

We are having intermittent internet connections so my posts are not going to be regular. Our phones are roaming too and we don’t know the land-line phone numbers for our cell voice mail – we managed to get online to find some phone numbers from customer service – we’ll drive over to the payphone at some point. In the meantime we are slightly out of touch.

We’ve made it out for long walks both days so far. Yesterday to the Marsh Boardwalk (about a 45 minute walk) and this morning the short loop along the lake and then inland down Lighthouse Lane (about a 60 minute walk). Coupled with our late afternoon and evening walks the dogs are kept in a worn out state (a tired dog is a good dog).

The walking is at least helping us to burn off a bit of the naughty butter tarts and pancakes, etc. Tonight we have Pepperoncini Beef Sandwiches. It is basically a roast beef cooked in the slow cooker with a jar of pepperoncini – it’s a new recipe for us but it sounded good and easy!. Last night we had Buffalo Chicken with Blue Cheese Celery/Cucumber salad. Totally delicious with Franks Red Hot sauce on the chicken – I love the stuff but since we don’t eat chicken very often it has been ages since we had it – YUM – and we have leftovers :-)

Yesterday we met a super nice couple just a few sites down from us. We hit it off right away, toured each other’s rigs (they have a brand that we’ve been thinking of if we go larger), and then got together for drinks in the afternoon. The only downside – they left this morning.

The water is pretty cool but totally refreshing. We’ve been going in after our morning walk and I went for a quick dip last night before bed – I love getting under the covers all cool and refreshed – that’s one of the things we really love about this site – easy access to the water for swimming – it spoils us for anywhere else. We even got the dogs in again today and they enjoyed it a bit more as there were less waves.

p.s. why do (some) kids have to scream when they are swimming? One thinks that they are about to drown or something… and then after a few times you just ignore (to the best of one’s ability) so if they were about to drown no one would notice… as per the dog who cried wolf...

Friday, July 22, 2011

We Made It!

Hurrah we are here and all set up. We got away just 5 minutes after our projected departure and was on the road for the 3 1/2 hour trip. It was a brutally hot day, but luckily there was cloud cover for most of the drive. As usual there was construction on the 401 but it moved quite well.

I quickly changed into my bathing suit – it was hot out - we had a long setup – with more panels and a different “yard” configuration it took us a few minutes more to get all arranged. Plus there’s the buckets for garbage, one for dirty water, dishpans, water jugs, water carrying cart, cooler, etc. etc. - we brought a lot more than we normally do. We don’t travel light!

The waves were crashing against the shore, but that didn’t stop us from going for our swim after all was setup. The water was cool but totally refreshing. Dogs weren’t too keen, but we dragged them in anyway – it had been a hot day for them too. We had a snack and an icy beer and then took a short walk to stretch our legs. Heaven :-)

Of course we had a bottle of bubbles to celebrate our arrival. Bubbles on the first night is a tradition, and a good one at that!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

One More Sleep

Yippee! The to-do list is all written up – it is over a page of small type-written print… most of it is small, last-minute type things that got done today. We’ll wait till tomorrow morning to hitch, but the truck and all excepting the last things were loaded up today.  It was a busy day. The forecast for tomorrow is calling for a high of 37! I made sure the bathing suits are handy for after we’ve gotten set up – will we swim first or cold beverage first? Hummmm – decisions decisions  :-)


Yesterday as we drove into town for groceries and other errands we passed a ditch that was just filled with Queen Anne’s Lace and Blue Cornflowers. It was so pretty that we stopped so I could take a photo. Summer in its lushness of colour is a such a contrast to the monochrome slate of winter. I suppose there is beauty in both, but I’ll enjoy the summer for now!


The price of hating other human beings is loving oneself less.
Eldridge Cleaver

Monday, July 18, 2011

Silent Gratitude

Silent gratitude isn't very much to anyone.
Gertrude Stein

We are often grateful to those who do little and large things to ease the passage of our lives. We may be grateful to a sibling who helps our parents when we can’t, we may be thankful to a friend who gives us a shoulder to cry on, or even grateful to the shop clerk who smiles and gives a kind word when we are not at our best. How often do we thank them? Today the checkout clerk at Dollarama commented on my weight loss – I of course thanked her for noticing :-)

When we were at the pool place checking the water Carm asked me “if the pool died would we get another one?”. To which I answered YES! We thought about not opening the pool this year, but oh what a mistake that would have been. It’s been hot hot hot and since we aren’t working anymore, we are at home so much more. The pool has been well used and I think worth the hassle that it takes (okay – here’s one of those grateful things that I should thank for! – thanks honey!).

This might be one of the greatest dancing songs every – fondly remembered from my time dating a Trinidadian oh so long ago. They had tons of great music like this – the whole family would go to the basement and play funky music and dance – mom and dad too – they were so much fun! (and I won’t even get into the food – yummmm).

The Queen Anne’s Lace has been starting to bloom – it is one of my favourite summer flowers. I love how it blooms wherever it may, ditches, edges of farm fields, my backyard! The blooms remind me of a hot summer day and I love their casual demeanour. I wanted to have them in my wedding bouquet, but nobody else thought it would be a good idea so I stuck with traditional flowers.



Sunday, July 17, 2011

Do You Like Your Own Cooking?

I’m going to come clean and say that yes, I usually do. Maybe I’d be more discerning if we ate out more, but the fact is we don’t so unless I want to be miserable all the time I’d better not be too critical of my own cooking.

I made a new recipe the other night - Chilli Stuffed Peppers. It was a simple low-fat vegetarian recipe from FatFreeVegan (I used 2 jalapenos though instead of 1). We had it in red peppers which were really delicious, and tonight we tried it in tortilla’s along with a coleslaw (fat-free yogurt, spices, vinegars).  (Carm interjects here to say that he thought both were great). We are occasionally going wildly off course in the healthy eating plan, but try to balance that out.


It was a typical boring Sunday for us – I clipped the dogs in the morning (yes already – I wanted them spruced up for our big trip), and then reading on the swing in the afternoon. Retirement is stressful ;-)


One of the blogs I read has been catching some flack because they write about themselves… I don’t get that. What else is a blog going to be but about the writer’s own experiences and opinions. I try to write my blog as if we were conversing at the kitchen table, maybe I’m recounting my day while you make coffee – I  know it is one sided (and I wish it wasn’t) – but I try to be genuine. I figure that if someone doesn’t like what I’m writing about they won’t read it. I do wonder sometimes about why I blog and who it is for. Perhaps it is a place for me to explore and record what is going on in my life. One of these days I’m going to print it for my records – it will be fun to read back 20 years from now – I’m sure it will all seem rather trite!

It is always brave to say what everyone thinks.
Georges Duhamel

Saturday, July 16, 2011


We had such a lovely drive yesterday. The countryside is so beautiful this time of year. The fields are a patchwork of greens and yellows as the different crops mature. There were some fields that were such a dark green they looked like deep green velvet. And then there’s the corn. Field after field of corn line the roads. It hasn’t tasselled yet, it had a late start with our cold wet spring – I hope there is a chance for it to mature before fall cuts the days short. I love driving through the countryside – it can brighten all but the darkest mood.

20110716_hotdogs_002This morning I made the dogs “hotdog” treats to bring on our next camping trip (just 5 days away). Now those who know me know that I feed a RAW diet and am a bit picky about what I feed them. So why the hotdogs? They make cheap, easy to carry treats that the dogs consider very high value, perfect for those leash-training opportunities that are sure to present themselves at Presqu’ile. I make them by cutting the hotdogs up into bits and then blasting them for 4 or more minutes in the microwave. The house still stinks of hotdog … but better than the stench from making liver treats.

Carm has been working away with the whipper-snipper and lawn mower to battle back the overgrown patch between our “lawn” and the pond. He finally finished a good part of it today – it looks great! The bad side to this though is now the dogs have really easy access to the pond and all the stinky stuff around it. Already this afternoon Spike found a particularly smelly bit to roll in – peeeuuu.

We haven’t cut down the dead tree in the middle of the photo as it is a favourite perch for the birds. Sometimes the Kingfisher even hangs out there.

Grace got a new addition to her outside cage today. Carm was trimming up some trees (the job that never ends) so I grabbed a big branch and shoved it into the cage, leaves and all. It took Grace a few minutes to get used to them after which she happily stripped bark from some branches. African Grey Congo's are notoriously known for betting skittish and neurotic. Grace is neither. It usually takes her no time at all to accept a new toy or branch, she’ll eat just about anything (the junkier the better), and she enjoys going to new places (she LOVES camping). She is an atypical Congo and we love her :-)

Begin at once to live, and count each separate day as a separate life.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Our 22nd Anniversary

Where do the years go? It surely can’t be that long ago that we got married and yet at times it seems like I’ve been married my whole life… I feel blessed to have a great relationship – sure we have our occasional bumpy bits, but the up bits far outweigh these.

Looking back at the photos was fun – but how to choose just a couple? Who do I leave out? I ended up choosing the ones with Dads in them (for obvious reasons) and the one of Kirsten (my sister and maid of honour) with Joe (Carm’s brother and best man) cause I know they read the blog. We all looked so young! Oh wait a minute – we were young – I was just 26.

The song for our first dance was “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong. Listening to it even now gives my heart a rush of love and for just a moment recalls the wedding day feelings perfectly.

To celebrate, we headed out to a little artisan town not too far away to wander through the shops, and get a nice loaf of bread. Then we headed to a little park at one of the Rideau Canal locks where we had a picnic. It was lovely just to sit by the water and watch the boats come up. We agreed that we have to do this more often.

What a lovely day. Tonight we’ll celebrate with what else but bubbles :-) (and, shhhhh, don’t tell – Kentucky Fried Chicken – it’s sort of traditional).


Oh, the summer night, Has a smile of light, And she sits on a sapphire throne.
Barry Cornwall

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Wednesday night was the family’s mass for Carm’s dad – it was in the same church that Carm & I got married, as well as where Carm’s dad’s funeral was held. It is down in “Little Italy” and has a large Italian congregation, in fact the mass was almost entirely in Italian. It reminded me of when I was a girl and went to my friends church where the service was totally in Latin (I never got that – wouldn’t you want the congregation to know what was being said?). So I just sat back (or stood or kneeled) and enjoyed looking at the decorations of the church. As I was sitting there the chorus from Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah played in my head.

I was going to include the version sung by Rufus Wainwright, but honestly, after I listened to the one sung by Leonard Cohen (he wrote it) I had to include the writer’s version. No one can sing it like Leonard. Most of the lyrics aren’t fitting for a church post (in fact they have strong sexual overtones), but the chorus does (Hallelujah) and anyway I totally love this song (and anything else song by Leonard).


Today’s word of the day is lenient (LEEN-yunt adjective - 1: exerting a soothing or easing influence : relieving pain or stress ; 2: of mild and tolerant disposition; especially : indulgent). We went to get our hair cut today at the local barber shop. It seems that everyone with a bunch of kids had the same idea. I think that parents are much more lenient with their children’s behaviour in public than they were when I was growing up. Or maybe I’m just getting old and cranky…

There's no life without humour. It can make the wonderful moments of life truly glorious, and it can make tragic moments bearable.
Rufus Wainwright

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

You Crack Me Up

We are definitely in a drought – the earth is opening in places with large gaping cracks and crevices… I mean, you could lose someone down one of these cracks. I hope we got some rain in the next few days. Although with my luck the rain will start the day we leave on our camping trip and stop the day we get back…


Every now and again I am struck with the thought that we are retired and not just on holiday – even still, after 6 months, it seems unreal at times. I still find myself surprised, and then pleased, that I can make plans during the week, or that we can just head out any day of the week to go for a drive or have a little outing, whenever we feel like it! I suppose someday it will no longer be a surprise, but for now I’ll just enjoy the little rush of happiness that comes with the realization :-)

Today’s word of the day is chasten (CHAY-sun verb - 1: to correct by punishment or suffering : discipline; also : purify ; 2a : to prune (as a work or style of art) of excess, pretence, or falsity : refine b : to cause to be more humble or restrained : subdue). Spike has been chastised many times for straying too far from the house. Spike has tremendously modified his behaviour over the last two or three months and can be trusted to stick around (mostly). When he does wander off it tends to be that he’s followed his nose into the hay field. The nice thing is we can have all the dogs outside with us when we are working or relaxing, without having to keep a close eye on the little one! The power of good treats paired with lots and lots of training and enhanced by age (he’s now 3 which seems to be when the brain kicks in)!

If we do not feel grateful for what we already have,
what makes us think we'd be happy with more?

Author Unknown

Monday, July 11, 2011

Ditches Drifted with Tiger Lilies

Today we managed to get out for a little drive in the countryside. Many of the ditches were resplendent with drifts of orange tiger-lilies. We drove by without stopping for most of them, but finally I just had to capture a snapshot for the blog, unfortunately the photo just doesn’t do them justice.


Yesterday though was a day of recuperation. I spent some time on the computer putting together the first draft of some scrapbook pages of the wedding. I want to put some text on the pages, but somehow I find that impossible, yet I manage to write things for the blog – go figure.


Today’s word of the day is raiment (RAY-munt noun : clothing, garments). The wedding was adorned with the fanciest of raiment. There were dresses embellished with pearls and sequins, some made with satin or silk, some long to the ground while others were short and sexy. All set against the backdrop of dark suits and colourful ties.

What have my pleasures been over the last few days?

  • Spending time with Carm’s family at a festive event ; seeing all the lovely dresses on the young women ;
  • listening to the drum mixed with Lebanese music – such a primal sound that strikes a chord deep inside our consciousness – there was something so elemental about the music. It was rendered even more exciting by the chain of dancers ;
  • doing a decent job putting nail polish on my fingers and toes – “she had rings on her fingers and bells on her toes” was really just referring to coral painted nails (ha ha) ;
  • looking at the sequin dress lying on the table – I left it there ‘cause I wanted to enjoy the vibrancy of it’s colour for just a little while longer – it is now wrapped up and put away in the closet for perhaps another 20 years ;
  • reading on the swing on a Sunday afternoon ;
  • eating Baklava – honey pistachio phylo packages of goodness! My first real experience with baklava was in Jordan 22 years ago – it was so incredibly good (not to be matched in North America). Dad and I bought a package to have in our room, that night I woke up to see Dad sneaking across the room to have one in the middle of the night! So that’s where I got the food calling to me in the middle of the night gene!


Today’s pleasures - watching a much needed light rain come down (not for long enough though) ; eating an ice cream cone – very yummy ; seeing all the tiger lilies in the ditch ; smelling the sweet charred smell of roasted red peppers.

Kindness is the sunshine in which virtue grows.
Robert Green Ingersoll

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Italian–Lebanese Wedding–WOW

Yesterday was our niece Jennifer’s wedding. She’s of Italian background – her new husband Chaine is of Lebanese decent. When you combine the two traditions you get a pretty interesting affair.

The day started off with the bride’s extended family (aunts, uncles, cousins) at the bride’s father’s house. Photos were taken, lunch was eaten, then the Lebanese music came on loud – the grooms family was here to make sure Jennifer got the the wedding. There was some dancing and then we all bundled off to the church.


The ceremony was much different from the typical Catholic wedding – it was an Orthodox church with the priest and others singing the entire service. There were crowns and incense, chanting, and crowns. Interesting!

After a brief interlude at Carm’s sister’s while the photos were being taken, we all headed to the reception for cocktails and then supper.

At 6:30 the doors to the dining hall were opened and we all took our places. The bridal party was introduced and then the music got loud, a drummer started drumming and then the bride and groom entered the room. They danced while the drummer kept beat with the music. Then others joined in, raising the bride and groom on their shoulders. The drum continued as more people joined the stylized dancing – it was very exciting and I could imagine a dusty village square a hundred years ago with people coming together to cement old relationships and make new ones. I love old traditions like this.

The rest of the evening continued with lots of food, interspersed with speeches, dancing, drums and wine. An affair to remember!

And then there’s the dress…  when the sun shone on it people around were blinded by the sparkle. My newly purchased nail polish and lipstick matched perfectly. It was fun to be all dressed up like a girl with no jeans in sight! There were other fancy dresses at the wedding, but none with such vivid colour (in fact an Italian/Lebanese wedding is perhaps the best place to wear something really fancy without standing out). When we were leaving a young man passed us in the parking lot and shouted out that it was the nicest dress at the wedding – sweet – it made this old broad blush.

I don’t imagine I’ll have another chance to wear it for quite awhile, maybe in another 20 years!