Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A-Tiskat A-Tasket a Blue & Yellow Basket

I woke up at 5am (the time we used to get up to go to work)… it was dark… I went back to sleep… retirement is good!



My myriad of pleasures today: dusting with homemade lemon dusters – they smell so good and do such a good job ; getting the house all spic & span (it was cleaning day today) ; watching Grace tear apart a whole red pepper – I picked up one at the market for .25 for her to have for fun, she may have ingested a bit, but mostly she just tore it apart – a parrot’s favourite activity, after eating that is ; waking up at 5am, savouring that I didn’t have to get up and go to work, then going back to sleep ; then… waking up on my own time – I don’t miss the alarm clock! ; listening to Grace chatter away – right now she’s saying “Oh Gracie bird, you are a very good girl – woof – oh my God – come on Bella – what a good girl – here – do you want some – woof – look out – hey girl – hey Kabira – okay Grace – what’s that Grace ”, and a bunch of other stuff that I can’t make out… I never tire of listening to her ; shopping at the local farmer’s stand – everything is fresh out of the field. Tonight for supper we will have pasta with tomatoes, red pepper, a hot pepper (this is an experiment), and of course some sautéed garlic. All except for the garlic is fresh from the farmer’s stand.

The quote below really speaks to me. I got it from BPHope, a magazine focusing on bi-polar disorder and how to live with it. I’ve been doing really, really well since retirement but l know there will still be times when darkness descends… and it is for these times that I pray hope doesn’t give up on me but does keep whispering in my ear.

When the world says, "Give up,"
Hope whispers, "Try it one more time."

-Author Unknown

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

We’ve Found a Fridge

Cough cough… $$$$ installed! Yikes, yikes and YIKES. These things are mega pricey – just think of the things that you could do with that money that would be much more fun than a fridge. Good news though, the shop thinks they will be able to get it delivered and installed in time for our next trip – keeping fingers crossed.

I’ve been reading a lot this summer and have enjoyed most of the books. I just finished reading “Alice, Let’s Eat” by Calvin Trillin. It was a humorous little book about food and eating. A nice read but not good for the diet! Right now though I’m reading two others that I got from the library – “Last Call at the 7-Eleven” by Kevin Cowherd and “A Day at the Beach” by Helen Schulman. I’m just not getting into either of them. The 7-Eleven one was from the humour section, but honestly I’m just not finding it that funny – maybe because it makes so many digs at people. The other I will continue to give a try since I’m only on page 22 (surely it will capture my attention soon). What do you do when you get a book you just aren’t enjoying? Do you read it anyway (kind of like doing homework)? How many pages do you give it before giving up?

It was raining this morning so I took the opportunity to start working on my digital photo album of Presqu’ile. It is fun to putz around in the software, laying out the pages and adding “embellishments” to them. I’m still pretty much a newbie so do-overs are the norm. This is one of the pages that I’ve done so far. It will probably get re-worked as I layout the rest of the pages.



The pleasures of the last few days – I’m sorry if it’s getting repetitive but so many pleasures are things that we do/experience on a daily basis – remember to keep enjoying them!

  • seeing all the lovely dogs at the dog show. There are so many attractive breeds (and so many that have been wrecked by the show scene as well). I even like seeing the poodles in all their finery. They really prance and carry themselves proudly with their fancy haircuts ;
  • meeting up with old acquaintances and friends – sometimes in unexpected places ;
  • Here’s a repeat – waking up at home and just letting the dogs out rather than having to get dressed and walk them myself. Although getting moving early in the day is probably a good thing ;
  • tomato salads – we’ve been having them at least once a day – paired with a crusty loaf they make a fine meal and are a wonderful taste of summer ;
  • going through the pictures from Presqu’ile and re-living some of our vacation ;
  • seeing the sun peek out of the clouds after a rainy morning. Everything looks so sharp and green. A bad thing about the rain though, our hayfield got cut the other day and it’s had 2 days of rain on it so far. I wonder if the farmer will bother to bale it?


The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.
William James

Monday, August 29, 2011

Woodlands Dog Show 2011

We finally made up our mind Friday afternoon and headed out for our camping trip. We loaded our powered cooler and put some ice in the freezer – plenty of cooling power for a weekend. The day was beautiful, it would be a shame to stay home.

As soon as we got to our campsite we were greeted by Carmen, a fellow we met at the show 5 years ago – he and his wife Diane, along with their springer spaniels (Karmandi) have been camped across the way from us every year we’ve been to this show (this is our 5th). It was great to catch up with them. Diane is involved in all aspects with her dogs: conformation, obedience, rally, agility, therapy, tracking so there is always lots to learn from her.

Saturday was another lovely day – Carm headed off early for a round of golf while I hung around. I went back and forth from the dog show to our camper a few times, sometimes with all the dogs, once by myself (I saw some baskets that I wanted to buy), and again with just Spike. At one point while I was watching the show, and Spike was asleep (finally) at my feet, I turned around and saw Dawn, Spike’s breeder, about 20 feet from us – I told Spike “Find Dawn” and he jumped up and ran right over to her – he’s a smart little bugger.

Sunday though, Irene was bearing down on us. With rain and high winds threatening to batter us, we took down our fence and put everything away outside that we could. Just in case it was pouring the next day we wanted to make our getaway as easy as possible. Sure enough by noon it was raining. We holed up inside the camper, bundled in sweaters and blankets.

We had plans for supper though – an annual visit to a local German restaurant. And wouldn’t you know it – it is such a small world – we ran into our neighbours from back home and it turns out they sup here a few times a month. We were well treated by the restaurant owner and enjoyed the tastiest, crispiest schnitzel ever. It was an evening of good company and good food and I have a feeling that we’ll be back sooner than next year.

Monday dawned clear and cool – the rain had stopped in the middle of the night making way for the sun to shine. After a walk with the dogs and a quick breakfast we finished our tear-down and were home by noon. Leaving us time to start sourcing a new fridge to replace the broken camper one…

Friday, August 26, 2011

Not Cool

Last night I took a load of food out to the camper to start the load-up for this weekend’s camping trip. Oh oh, fridge is warm and everything in the freezer was thawed. Luckily I was able to salvage the steaks from the freezer as they were still cold and even had frozen bits in them – we’ll eat well for a few nights! We played around with the settings, but no go. Left it to “rest” overnight but when we looked at it this morning we could see that there was a leak in the cooling unit. Major repair which requires taking the fridge out… we are waiting for a phone call from the RV shop so that we can schedule the repair.

Do we stay or do we go? Our thoughts on this have been a whirligig of indecision. If we go we can use the plug in cooler that we normally use for dog food (looks like it will be kibble for you dogs this weekend), and maybe a block of ice in the freezer to cool some drinks.

On the other hand it just seems easier to stay at home and get the trailer ready for the shop. We normally load up the camper will all essentials in the spring and it stays loaded for the summer. To send the camper away from us means grabbing all the stuff that is shared between the house and camper, things like my camera battery charger (why is that the only thing I can think of when I know I’ll miss a million things once it’s not in our laneway?).


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Whirligig Memories

The word of the day for today from Merriam Webster is whirligig (\WER-lih-gig\ ; a child's toy having a whirling motion ; one that continuously whirls or changes b : a whirling or circling course (as of events)). I don’t recall ever having a whirligig as a toy. The favourite toys of my childhood were toy horses that I got for Christmas one year (big surprise eh).

Most of the horses were from a set of boy’s western toys that included a Colonel Custer, a chuck wagon with lovely palomino horse to pull it, some corral fence, a couple of dogs (English setter and German shepherd), and few other ponies – all Barbie doll sized! My sister and I had lots of fun with this set, getting our Barbie's  to ride the ponies (I had a Skipper with flexible legs), setting up farms & houses and general Barbie fun. I wasn’t into dressing up my Barbie (I don’t recall that we had many outfits anyway), but I loved to build houses and barns out of cardboard boxes and furnish them with whatever bits and pieces I could find. Many had barns attached right to the living room or bedroom - what better sight to wake up to than a horses head hanging over a dutch door. This may be where my interest in house design started. Luckily for Carm by the time we designed our house I realized the impracticality of the horse stalls opening onto our bedroom! But I have made the barn my bedroom on occasion :-)

Pleasures from yesterday and today: yesterday and today’s lunches were fresh tomatoes with red onion sliced thin, some Kalamata olives, slivers of parmesan cheese, all drizzled with a good extra-virgin olive oil. Yum. And to make it even better we had some fantastic Italian bread from a shop in “Little Italy”. It just needed some fresh basil to make it perfect (which we had for today’s lunch) ; more food pleasures this morning were had in a luscious fruit salad with peaches, blueberries and banana ;

Another pleasure from yesterday - we picked some apples from our trees – sure some were wormy (we don’t spray) but some were perfect. There is something so elemental about harvesting our own food. I cooked them up in an Apple Cake which was good, but I think I like Apple Crisp better ;

A few years back I scanned my parents slide collection, about 1500 photos (omg what a job) – today I was looking through them looking for a photo with my horse toys (no luck) - it was fun looking back and can certainly be considered a pleasure ; getting outside with the dogs is always a pleasure – our property is so beautiful no matter what the time of year, and it is always fun to watch the dogs play and hunt.

Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.
Carl Sagan

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

An Elephant Never Forgets

I came home with a new elephant for my collection last night. We had been at Carm’s parent’s house helping to de-clutter and stage it for the weekends open house. It was a sad time for all everyone but especially for Carm’s mom. She watched us take down all the family pictures, and pack away personal belongings, and all the little treasures and knickknacks that she has collected over the years. Some things were packed away, while other things found new homes with the family. I lucked out with this lovely elephant that I have long admired. It now has a new home where it will remind us everyday of the loving home where Carm grew up.

I’ve been collecting elephants from my early teens. It started with a small black one that was inherited from my grandmother (I think… note to self: ask Mom if she remembers) and another (a grey ceramic) from my great-grandparents on my Mom’s side. From those two a collection blossomed with elephants of all sizes and materials added as the  years passed. About 23 years ago I made a big find – a large white wicker two-headed beast that now holds some of my collection. Currently though, most of them live jammed together on the bottom shelf of a curio cabinet.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Smells Like Honey

I was trapped at my desk all morning, getting our Quicken records up-to-date so that we could get a feel for how we are doing with our budget. My legs were cramping and frankly I didn’t want to be there. I finally had enough and called the dogs out for a quick walk around the hay field. It was beautiful out there! Definitely a feel of fall in the air - even though it is warm there is an underlying coolness. The shadows are much longer now too, even at 11 am when the sun would have been blazing overhead not that many days ago.


The air had the fragrance of honey – not the sweet smell of clover but a more gentle smell of lovely honey, the smell of things ripened and ready for harvest. Speaking of harvest we have a ton of apples almost ready to be picked. Time for apple crisp, apple pies, apple cakes and maybe even some dried apple slices.


The dogs ran and ran – they seemed to enjoy the beautiful morning as much as I did (although frankly I didn’t run and run or even just run). The dew was still heavy on the ground so maybe the coolness gave them extra zoom.


Fall days are among my favourite (I think I say that about every season!).


Hope is the only bee that makes honey without flowers.
Robert Green Ingersoll

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Overnight Visit with the Family

Saturday morning we headed off to the great wilds of Quebec to have a family day and sleepover with my family. My brother’s wife’s parents were kind enough to loan us their lovely cottage for the weekend so we had a good long visit with everyone. Unfortunately the New Zealand crew weren’t with us.

On our journey there we experienced some tire problems so had to stop several times to air up the tires. In the end they settled down so we could make the rest of the journey problem free. We did make one further stop though – a little place on the side of the road (Brennan’s I think it was called) for a pogo stick and some fries for lunch. No poutine though but that would have been a more traditional lunch dish in Quebec! For those of you who don’t know about poutine, it is fries topped with cheese curds and gravy – a real trinity of fat!

As we got to within 10 miles of our destination dark clouds rolled in. The rain held off till we got our stuff loaded into the cottage, and even gave us enough time to go for a walk to a charming little church tucked in a cove on another lake. Very pretty and according to Graham, nice swimming. The slippery rock eases into the water and then has a sharp drop off. No walking for ages like Presqu’ile. Oh – and we had to watch out for poison ivy on our walk!

It was a great time! I’m already looking forward to the next time we can all get together like that… and maybe even with the New Zealand crew (I can dream can’t I).

We left the pets behind with Marc, my friend’s son. He had stayed with them once before but it was hard to leave them behind! I think I suffered more than they did though – according to his note he cuddled up on the futon with them to watch tv – what a good puppy sitter :-)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Animals are Such Agreeable Friends


Animals are such agreeable friends - they ask no questions; they pass no criticisms.
George Eliot

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cicada Song

It is a hot August day, perfect for Cicada’s to be singing their song. On a walk with my friend Christina, she was observant enough to find one sitting in the gravel of the road. Such good eyes!

It is such a song of summer for me. When I was quite young we used to visit my grandfather in the summer. His house was way up in the hills overlooking Kelowna and was surrounded by tall pines with the sounds of cicada’s zinging through the hot summer air. Now when I hear them I immediately recall those visits and if I close my eyes I can almost smell the dried pine needles and hear those long ago cicadas.

When we got back from our walk Christina’s dog Archie was ready for a good long drink!

Carm came into the house a while ago with the sad news that the Kingfisher is dead. He found his body lying on the grass. I’ll miss his regular visits to our pond.

Friends are as companions on a journey, who ought to aid each other to persevere in the road to a happier life.

GreekFest 2011

Wednesday afternoon we bundled ourselves into the car and headed into town to meet our Greek friend at Greekfest. We got there around 4pm and were even earlier getting there than the other retired people (read old) that started arriving over the next hour. By 6pm the place was pretty full and when we left at 8pm it was packed.

We had time before the band started to visit with our friend over a pitcher of beer and some Greek appetizers. We continued with our feast (gyros for Carm & I, a sausage for our friend), and a bit more beer to wash it down… The Greek music played, not really in the background as it was loud and we had to shout over it, but it was good ambience. There was lots of people watching… many Greek people come at least once and often many times over the week so we saw lots of old friends greeting each other. There were older ladies in their black, young women in trendy outfits, swarthy young men, babies, and everything in between. It was a gathering of the generations.

We ate too much food… and topped it off with baklava for dessert… talk about overdoing it….



The sweetest of all sounds is praise.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How Irish Dancing Started

Someone sent us a link to this video – I swear I was almost rolling on the floor – so for those of you who like Irish Dancing (I loved Riverdance) it is worth a look – “How Irish Dancing Started”.

Yesterday was a quiet day, just puttering around the house and garden. Not much to note. I tried to be mindful of pleasures, but I must have been in a wee bit of a funk as not much inspired me. Too much time on the computer maybe. But I’m caught up on almost all of the blogs I read – some just got a quick scan but I did get through them. I’m not sure why I didn’t just mark them all as read though…

I did tear myself away from blog reading long enough to try a new salad recipe for lunch. It was 1 cup quinoa (cook as directed on package), 2 big tomatoes, a bunch of basil, and the zest and juice from 1 lime. It was easy to make and really quite tasty. The recipe called for olive oil, which I didn’t use, and cilantro for a more Mexican flair, but since I didn’t have any I substituted the basil. I think it would be good either way. This made enough for us to have leftovers today – yum and healthy.

It’s another beautiful day today – hot and sunny. I had planned to take my book and iPod onto the swing for a relaxing morning however, I tried to add another song to my iPod and found that my whole music directory was fubared with missing songs and albums everywhere… I guess I never transferred it properly when I got my new laptop… so guess where I spent my morning… yes, in front of my computer!

I did get out this afternoon to pick up the mail though. Thank goodness I didn’t totally miss the day!


Impossible is a word to be found only in the dictionary of fools.
Napoleon Bonaparte

Monday, August 15, 2011

Greetings from Out of the Blue

The other day I got an email from someone who’s sister lives in our ancestral home in Norway. How cool is that! I have a few photos of the farm on my website and talked about why I named my horse breeding business after his ancestral home. I guess when he did a search for on the farm name he came across my website and the story behind the name. (I posted a photo way back in April – see post with photo of farm). I have come in contact with a few people this way over the years. Apparently now the farm is a designated Historical Site.

“a distant ancestor was awarded a large piece of land by the king of the day (King Christian IV 12 April 1577 – 28 February 1648) – it seems that my ancestor had killed a Scottish dog so that the Norwegians could ambush the Scots who were invading them. Our family name comes from the name of the farm (which still exists) in Norway.”

Thanks to my cousin Bjorn in Norway for more details:

“This was King Christian IV of Danmark and Norway. The Swedish king had hired 500 Scottish Mercenaries to attack the Danish troops from behind.
They were stopped at Otta 2-3 km south of your ancestors farm. Only 18 men survived the battle. It is known as the Sinclair-battle after the commander in chief. He was killed during the battle.
Some of the Scotts didn´t return to Scotland but married in Gudbrandsdalen and left their mark on some of the National Costumes from that valley. The Rutastakk with it´s color and design is originally from a Scottish kilt.“

I had an appointment with my new psych doctor today – it was just my third with her so we are still getting to know each other. I mentioned that I try to include a list of daily pleasures in my blog and gave her some examples. She thought it was a great idea that helps me to remember to be mindful… if only for a few minutes. So that is my encouragement to remember to do this everyday. I hope my pleasures remind you to take pleasure in things around you.

So, for today… the pretty peachy pink insides of a peach and the delicious burst of flavour when paired with some blueberries ;  getting three beautiful red tomatoes from my in-laws garden ; the lovely liquorishy smell of some fresh picked basil ; the taste of a pop-tart from the sample stand at Costco ; here’s a bad one – eating a Costco hotdog with all the fixings – how an they sell them so cheap? $1.99 including a large drink! When you are hungry it can really hit the spot ; watching Sunny – Carm’s brother’s toy poodle play with a squeaky toy – he really had fun.

If you are waiting for anything in order to live and love without holding back, then you suffer. Every moment is the most important moment of your life. No future time is better than now to let down your guard and love.

David Deida, American Author and Teacher

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Living in the Here and Now

The quote from yesterday’s post about being “here” has reminded me (yet again) about how important it is to live in the “now”. I tend to live in my head a lot and not really be aware of what is really happening around me. When I remember to be more present I tend to be calmer and happier. There is so much in everyday life that is wonderful – it’s a shame to spend it in a fog. That’s one of the reasons I started this blog – to remind me to pay attention to the everyday details, pleasures and beauties. I still have to remind myself though! Even on those lovely walks in the park – dooh. I think it is time to list some of my pleasures everyday, like I did for the first few months of my blog.

My pleasures for yesterday: watching the clouds as we drove home – they were fluffy but had flat bottoms as if they were sitting on a giant glass tray ; seeing a lovely black Doberman at the service center when we stopped for hamburgers – she was so pretty and sleek ; okay, I’ll admit it, the burger king hamburger really hit the spot. It even had a real tomato on it ; seeing the first glimpse of the house as we rounded the bend – it’s still here and not burned down or anything! ; now here’s a big one – getting the trailer from the road into the laneway in one shot!!! Hurray!!!! No yelling or shouting… no vowing to never RV again… whew… that is always the least looked forward to part of camping ; and here’s another one for Carm – folding the clean laundry to get it ready to load back into the camper – by bedtime 3 loads were washed, dried and folded – good work honey!

My pleasures for today: letting the dogs out the door this morning – I didn’t have to get dressed to walk them down the road for their business ; popping the dogs into the car and having a walk down the road from us – there were only 2 vehicles that passed us, the vegetation was lush, and it was peaceful. I can see that it would be a boring walk day after day, but at least I got out for a brisk 30 min walk ; going for a swim in the clean pool after my walk. The water was 74F – very refreshing ; checking out all the plant growth on the property – there are new wildflowers growing on the lawn, the apples have grown and are starting to ripen.