Friday, June 29, 2012


I'm at my parent's house, waiting till it is time to go to the airport to pick up Kirsten and the girls. I'm tucked into bed right now, hoping to catch a few zzz's before it is time to go pick them up. Their flight is running late though, they might not get here until tomorrow - maybe I should have stayed in my own bed!

It is strange sleeping over here. I never lived in this house, so it isn't really home, but it is where my parents are so it is one of my homes. None of the bedrooms were ever mine, right now I'm sleeping in what was Olaf's room, now labeled the blue room, or the harley room (tons of harley davidson stuff). It's nice, but I miss my own room. And I'll admit that I miss my little dog Spike. Oh, and Carm, although right now I'd be in bed asleep and he'd be out in the great room watching TV.

My mom has been going crazy getting the house ready for tons of company. Right now (11:10 pm) she is vaccuming the living room. It is amazing the amount of energy she has!

Nap time... zzzzzzzzz

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sitting here...

Tuesday - On the 401. Sitting stock still. The truck driver behind us just came over and knocked on our door - apparently the road will be closed for a few hours... he thinks there was an accident involving propane tanks. Carm thinks we can get across the verge... we'll see.

A few minutes later - we made it and are now driving back to the next exit so we can take the detour. Hurrah.

Monday we drove to Lancaster to the Rob McIntosh outlet - tons of good deals on china and glassware. I could have purchased a few dish sets, but Carm was with me to put the brakes on... plus I have nowhere to store them. But there was this one with pink roses that I totally loved. There was a shoe outlet as well, but they were all high end shoes and the ones I liked were over $100... I can't spend that on a sandal.

Tuesday we decided to drive to Valleyfield to look at a Big Country camper. It was just past Lancaster (dooh - why hadn't I checked before Monday's trip), but since it was just 1.25 hours, and it was raining, it seemed like a drive was a good way to spend the time. Now, you might ask why were were going to see another camper. Hummm, I can't really answer that, except to say  that every now and then we get the urge to get a bigger camper. Insane! But ours is a 2004, so if we want to change in the next few years we pretty much have to do it now as many places won't take anything 10 years or older. If we go south for a few months we might want something bigger, but then again maybe what we have is big enough. We'd like a bigger fridge, or a place to put a small fridge, but maybe we can make do with the little electric cooler. It would be nice for Grace to have a bigger inside cage, but maybe we can work that out with the current camper.

The thing about the new campers is they all have dark wood, dark flooring, dark fabrics/curtains (except the one in Trois Riviere that I like). They really aren't my style, but I'd redo the curtains, make slipcovers for the furniture, so it would be okay.

On our way to the RV store we stopped at a little greasy spoon in Lancaster called the Perch. We each had a hamburger and a mountain of fries. Oh my. Healthy eating has pretty much gone out the window this trip. I think that bad food is addictive - after indulging in the bad, I have more cravings for it. When I'm being careful the cravings aren't there.

Today is Wednesday and the weather is a bit better, but it is still windy and a bit cool. We went for a short walk this morning - short because I did something to my shins by wearing rubber boots for a few walks. I thought some walking would make it better, but it just got worse and worse. Which is a shame because today was a perfect day for a long walk - maybe even at the Bird Sanctuary. Drat. And I was antsy for a walk all day.

Just three days till we see Kirsten and the girls!

I've been putting Spike through his tricks to get him back in practice.  He loves doing his tricks (or is it that he loves the hotdog treats that they earn him?). I need to figure out something new to teach him. Here's what he knows now: sit, down, stand, come (usually!), dance, spin, play dead, roll over, jump over my leg, jump through my arms, jump over Bella, finish (go to heel at my side), swing (go to heel at my side), walk thru my legs, tissue (get a kleenex), bring water (bring a bottle of water), bring shoe (this was a mistake), bow, around (around an obstacle), find it (find a toy or Carm), mat (go to a mat and lie down). He also knows how to open a door using the handicap button, and how to press the elevator button, put his feet on my lap. I'm sure I've missed some things. He's a smart little dog! Any ideas of other things I could teach him?
I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free. Michelangelo

Saturday, June 23, 2012

To the Theatre

Last night was great fun at the performance of "Hotbed Hotel" put on by Upper Canada Playhouse. It was very well done, and funny to boot. The theatre is small, but nicely laid out with tiered seating and air conditioning. We'll be sure to attend another performance here. And since it is only 45 minutes from home it's not that much further than going into the city.

Carm and I have never been to the theatre together, just the ballet once or twice and a few concerts. We don't get out much! And aren't very cultured.

Today has been a beautiful day with sunny skies and comfortable temps. Sitting under the shade of the big trees on our site is very pleasant - and as a bonus my internet works there as well. The weather was perfect for a few long walks.

The park has filled up as it is a Quebec long weekend and many of the parks patrons are Quebecors. With so many people it isn't surprising, although it is disappointing, to see so many people blatantly disregarding the rules for dogs. Already we've seen two people not pick up (unfortunately we were too far away to offer bags), and we've seen some loose dogs as well. Including two huge (150lb+) Leonburgers who burst out from under a  trailer at us as we went by. Luckily the owners were standing there managed to grab the dogs as they were CHARGING towards us. Goodness only knows what would have happened if they hadn't been caught. They most certainly did not look or act friendly. I guess the leash rules were not meant for them... It makes my blood boil again just to write about it - just one of those dogs weighed more than the three of mine put together. We wouldn't have stood a chance.

There is enough bad sentiment about dogs - we don't need a bunch of idiots to make it worse. We try very hard to keep our dogs as good citizens, it isn't always easy - they'd like to bark sometimes - but we work hard at it. I guess we do a good enough job as we often get neighboring campers make a point of approaching us to tell us how good our dogs are.  Last year at Presquille the neighbors behind us (who we had not met) ran over to us as we were hitching up to leave to let us know that they appreciated our dogs. They also mentioned that they like that we don't let our dogs walk and pee all over everyone's site. The year before at Presquille again, we had an older couple pull in beside us. It was a tight spot so they were pretty close. After sharing a lot line for 3 weeks they came over before they left to tells us again what good neighbors we were. Jack said that when they pulled in and saw the fence and three dogs he groaned and expected it to be a bad time. He ended this recollection by telling us that he was greatly releved to find out there was nothing to worry about. It is great to hear :-)

Supper was spent with Trudie & Leo, this time it was our turn to cook. I made salmon with quinoa and preserved lemon green beans. They might be getting tired of our low cal fare - she brought delishous maple syrup tarts. We finished the evening with a campfire (no marshmallows though). Pictures to follow tomorrow!

I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend as much as we are.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Photos from the last week

Whew! I was pretty far behind downloading photos from my camera. Getting lazy I guess – sometimes it is just easier to write my posts on my tablet and post from there!

A-hoy There!

The weather forecast for yesterday was a blazing hot 34C so our friends that we are camping with invited us out onto their pontoon boat, dogs and all. Grace had to stay behind, but she was comfortable in her big outdoor cage nicely situated in the shade of a big tree. We packed a bit of a picnic lunch, sunscreen, dog cooler coats, sun hats and bathing suits and piled onto the boat. The temperature out on the water was perfect - hot, wit a  bit of a breeze to cool us off. The pontoon boat has a nifty shade cover and we were all able to squeeze into its shade.


After motoring for over an hour we pulled up onto an island with a beautiful sandy beach. There was only one other couple there so the dogs could run and frolic in the water for a while. The poodles were in seventh heaven and once they were cool, disappeared into the forest - they must have been on the track of something. It wasn't long before they were back for a dip in the water. Trudie and Leo brought out some chairs and we laid out our food for a nice picnic lunch.  Bliss.




We got back after 4, with time for a bit of a rest (rest from what you might ask!), before starting supper preparations. It was my turn to serve supper: black bean quinoa burgers with avocado spread, sesame lime green beans, veggies for nibbling on, and vegan peanut butter oatmeal raisin cookies. I'm not really sure what they thought about it.

Trudie had brought bones for the dogs, and Grace of course got what we were eating (except the avocado - did you know it is poisonous to parrots), so everyone was content.

All in all a lovely day!

I used to spend a lot of time on the water sailing with my family, so am no stranger to a rocking boat… it seems I’m out of practice as I am STILL (almost 24 hours later) having after-motion! As I type this the trailer is swaying and rocking. It’s just outrageous!

During the last 1/2 hour of our trip yesterday Kabira started pacing around and looking over the railing. I wondered if she had to go to the bathroom, but really thought she was feeling seasick so kept an eye out for the drooling that precedes a puke. When we finally docked I got her off right away, but no bathroom stop, and when it was time to jump into the truck she didn’t make it. I guess she was seasick, poor thing. If there is a next time I wonder if it would be worthwhile to give her a gravol.

A few years back I purchased 2 wonderful chamois coats for the dogs, one for Spike and the other for the big dogs to share. I dunk them in water and they soak up a ton. As the water evaporates the jackets feel cool, even on the hottest day. I was grateful to have them yesterday, but want another one. I might try my hand at sewing them myself as they were pricey. A good winter project (what – thoughts of winter already!).


Today Trudie & Leo are off visiting friends and we are having a quiet day. It is still pretty hot, but not like yesterday, and there is a breeze that caresses the skin. Beautiful. Later we meet up with them again and then off for supper at the Macintosh Inn, and a play at the Upper Canada Playhouse! Will the fun ever end?

Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it.
Russell Baker

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Accidently Removed Comment

Sorry Merikay - I just accidently removed your comment about maintaining weight.

I know your challenge well. Both the maintaining, and the avoiding wine. Unfortunately (or fortunately) Trudie is all about food and wine. She's a fantastic cook, and although her cooking is not outrageously fatty there is still lots of it, and lots of olive oil too (note to self: eat a big salad before dinner). One of the problems with my "diet" is that it wants you to eat at least 1 pound raw veggies and 1 pound cooked veggies, plus 4+ fruits, plus at least a cup of beans. So we are used to eating huge meals. Not ideal for portion control when eating "regular" food!

And then there's the beer and wine. What can I say - I'm weak! Last night I did consume too  many calories from booze but I didn't totally overdo it and also had tons of water. Tonight it's my turn to cook so it will be a fat free vegan meal! With lime infused water to drink ;-)

Hope everyone has a fantastic day.

Countdown to Kirsten's arrival: 8

All major religious traditions carry basically the same message, that is love, compassion and forgiveness
the important thing is they should be part of our daily lives.
Dalai Lama

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I Got a Charge out of His Visit

Dad called the other morning to see if he could drop by for a coffee. When he got there I immediately saw the reason for his visit - It was bright cherry red and really fast. You've probably already guessed that he had a new Dodge Charger that he wanted us to see. My dad has always liked to share the joy of his toys so it wasn't long before we were all belted into the car and driving down the road with Carm at the helm. That car has amazing pickup so of course when it was my time to drive my foot stomped down to make it roar. I looked over at my dad and said "I would never have a car like this!". I love the feeling of being pushed back into my seat. Of course our truck is nothing like this, but, it is fun to goose - I have to be really mindful of the gas consumption and try to drive conservatively.

Supper last night was back to the Bierstube for some German fare. Trudie and Leo have friends that they meet down there every year and were kind enough to invite us to tag along. Carm had the usual schnitzel, but I had smoked pork hock. Yum! I wasn't sure what it would be like and wondered what I was getting myself into, but it was really very tasty.

This morning after a slow start we got onto the road to Riverside. I wore my bathing suit under my shorts so that I could hose myself off once we got all set up. It was that HOT. We should have a fun week - Trudie and Leo are in the next site, and already we've had an excellent meal and evening. I wonder how much weight I will gain back this week?


On one of the depression/bipolar blogs that I read there was a post about ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training). Carm took this training when I was first diagnosed and found it to be an excellent course, and thought that everyone should take it. Almost everyone comes in contact with someone with a mental illness, often someone in their family or a close friend. Isn’t it a good idea to be prepared?

Here’s a link to that post.

Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.
John Wooden

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Vegan Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Cookies

star4Vegan Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Cookies

Rookno17_vintage_cooking_food_clipart_40s-1Tasty cookies with the consistency of banana bread. They are about 150 calories per cookie, so they aren’t low cal, but they are full of healthy ingredients and can stand in for a quick meal on the go. I tried both the chocolate and raisin option – I much preferred the raisins. The recipe says they are optional, but I think the cookie needs them for the sweetness. I tried freezing them as soon as they were cool and that seems to have worked out fine.

Yields: 24 cookies (heaping T of batter each)

3 ripe bananas mashed
1 cup honey-roasted peanut-butter
2 cups rolled oats (not instant oatmeal)
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey (optional)
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or raisins (optional)

1. Throw the bananas in the blender with the peanut-butter, vanilla and maple syrup/honey until it reaches a creamy consistency.
2. In separate bowl mix the oats, flour, baking powder and salt. Add banana mixture and stir well so the batter gets a stick consistency. The oats are what will hold the cookie together.
3. On a baking sheet, place spoonfuls of the cookie batter making table-spoon sized balls. Bake for 14-16 minutes.


Monday, June 18, 2012

It Will Be Forever

The "funny" thing about living with a mood disorder is how each mood phase is perceived. When I am depressed I am sure that it will last forever, there will never be a change and I will always feel this way. The same thing occurs when I'm in a good phase. I'm sure that it will never end, I just need to do all the things I do to manage my illness and the bad symptoms will never return.

For the last few months I've been feeling great and life has been awesome. I was thinking "I've finally found the secret! I'll be this way forever!". I was smug (and probably hypo manic and not normal at all). Then reality struck and my mood changed again. This time probably because of the change in medication, but I was so sure that everything would be fine. Oddly, it was only this morning that I realized the forever thing - I generally try not to live in absolutes, but I was. I hope that acknowledgement of  the changing nature of my moods will help me to live with them with more harmony.

We had a whirlwind father's day. It started with an 8am mass for Carm's dad. It was long, or at least seemed that way cause it was 100% in Italian. Then we picked up our groceries and raced to my parents. We stashed the groceries in the cool hall, and freezing freezer so that we could enjoy some time with them. As usual my Mom made a lovely meal for us - waffles, eggs, bacon, and a lovely fruit salad. I have to admit to a certain amount of weakness - I had all items, even the non vegan ones (can't live in absolutes, right?). After breakfast we dashed off home as Carm was meeting someone for golf.

I was nicely relaxed in the afternoon when the phone rang. It was Carm. He was bringing his friend home for supper. What!!!! OMG what will I make for supper? I was happy that it only took me a few minutes to figure out a decent dinner to serve a guest. Green beans with preserved lemon (garlic & rosemary), marinated and grilled mushrooms (lemon, garlic, hot pepper flakes), and brown rice. Everything turned out great and Adrian seemed happy enough with his vegan meal. We have been living this nutrarian lifestyle long enough that I'm getting a good repertoire of recipes. There are still some to try in the new recipe books, and the internet is just filled with great recipes.

Speaking of recipes, I made a batch of cookies yesterday using a different recipe from the last batch. This one was much better than the first (Adrian ate 2 last night), and with the raisins they are plenty sweet. As soon as I have a few minutes I'll be posting it here.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Windy Windrows

The farmer from next door was over this afternoon raking the hay in our field into windrows in preparation for baling. It brought to mind our horse owning days - days when we'd keep the hay and it was so important to us. Terry would call us at work in the afternoon to let us know he was heading over to bale. We'd rush home anxious to get there in time to unload the first hay wagon. There were only three wagons so we'd have to work like crazy to keep up with the baler.

The first few years Carm and I did it ourselves but after that we tried to get help - often boys from the local group home. Once Kirsten and Deirdre also came out. It sure helped to have extra hands. Often I'd be in the wagon unloading it to the ground. On a good year I'd hoist 20 to 30 thousand pounds (in 40lb chunks) in an afternoon. Then there was the year that I had to get on top of the stack in the barn and Carm would hand them up to me. That was the last year I wore shorts for this job! If you've never handled hay lets just say that I had a million little cuts on my legs. And then I put Solarcain on them - stupid! I thought the agony would never end.

It was always very satisfying to see the barn brimming with enough neatly stacked hay for the winter. But it was a job that we came to dread so we started to get large square bales done. These would be stacked in the paddock and covered with tarps. As needed, a bale would be dragged down from the stack, sometimes with ropes and people power, but sometimes we needed to get the truck down there to pull. Then we'd cut the strings and flake by flake drag it into the barn and stack it ready for use. It was still lots of work, but spread out over the winter so easier to manage - and not all done on the hottest and most humid day of the year!

This afternoon is really the first time that I've spent any measurable time on the swing. Grace was beside me in her outdoor digs, playing and chewing on sticks.  It always amazes me how strong she is - the acrobatics that she can do with her little stick legs is amazing. I forgot to mention it the other day but she turned 14 on Sunday!  She's not even middle aged.

I've been a bit discouraged the last few days... as many of you know I've been working with my doctor to drop one of my medications. This is a painstaking process with month(s) between each small increment. Well, I was down another increment a few weeks ago and since then I've had periods of anxiety, and it is getting worse. I'd just be standing there, with nothing in particular on my mind, and this wash of anxiety would descend - not at all pleasant. So... after discussion with my doctor I'm back up to the last increment.  I had been hoping to be totally off by the end of summer but that won't be the case now. I'll try again in a few months after the summer madness has passed.

Today I did another 10K on the treadmill! I shaved off 4 minutes from my last time so finished it in 86 minutes - whew. I ran more than I've ever run in any length of time. The problem with these big workouts though is I'm STARVING for the rest of the day. DQ Ultimate burger anyone? (I resisted with great difficulty)

Wednesday I had lunch with some friends from work - my old coffee group. We went to a Thai buffet... need I say more? I LOVE Thai food, it might even be my favourite, and this buffet is particularly good. It was hard not to gorge, and I'm sad to say that I did (gorge myself that is). After lunch and my doctor's appointment we went to Marks Work Warehouse to check out what they had on sale. The next day they were having a 20% off the price, including the sale price so we wanted to figure out what, if anything we wanted to buy. As luck would have it we talked to a sales person and she suggested that we put everything on hold and pick it up on Wednesday. I can't believe the clothes we got for the price. We aren't big clothes shoppers (Costco is usually where we buy our stuff), so it was good to get a few other things to tide us over till we are skinny ;-)

Dreams are necessary to life.
Anais Nin

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

And the Rain Came Down

And ruined my peonies - sob.



The other morning I was walking on a little path Carm had mowed in the hayfield, when I turned to go back there was a little garter snake writhing on the ground. It was all coiled and moving on itself. I stopped dead in my tracks and took a step back. The grass was high on either side of the path, and I couldn't work up the nerve to step over it... As I stood there feeling stupid I remembered back to the time I fed Kirsten's boa constrictor.

She was looking after her then boyfriend’s snake while he was at university. The snake needed feeding and neither she nor my mom could do it,  so I made the trip to Montreal, went to the pet store, picked out a rat, and then travelled to the house with this rat on my lap. Hummm... grossed out yet? Anyway, when we got home Kirsten took the snake out for a little slither around her room. It came over to me and I realized that I must smell like rat! Yikes. Did I mention that this snake was over 6' long (hence the rat, not a mouse)? Kirsten put the snake away and then left the room leaving it up to me to put the rat in the cage, and then watch until the rat was safely consumed. Sometimes the snake gets a bad grab and the rat can chew at the snake, leaving it pretty injured. What I was supposed to do if that happened I have no idea! This whole endeavour was not a job that I ever wished to experience again... it took the snake ages to finally grab the rat, and then watching till the rat was fully consumed was just gruesome. No pet snakes for me!

One more snake story and then I'm done. My brother Graham was into reptiles as well and had a stream of lizards, snakes and other creatures. One day he came home with a 12' (I kid you not) boa or python... It was disgusting... I think it was overweight as it was so big around - it probably could have swallowed a basketball with no problem, and certainly the family dog and cat were in danger! Mom gave him a couple of days to find it a new home... which really goes to show how cool my mom is that she even let him bring it into the house at all!

Sunday we went to the Saint Anthony’s day parade with Carm’s family. This was one of Carm’s dad favourite times so it was special to spend it together as a family. The parade is much smaller than Carm remembers from his childhood – he recalls up to 20 bands – Sunday there were only 2 (and one of them had bagpipes!). Different groups walked by with their own special banners.



I'm now down 30 pounds from when I was working! I still have 15-20 left to lose, but I feel pretty good :-)  I'm trying to add more intensity to some of my treadmill sessions - today for the first time I was able to run for 1/2 mile straight. Of my 60 minutes on the treadmill today, 1 1/4 miles of it were done running – this is a big thing for me. I've been doing some weights too and am starting to see the results. It is so cool to see muscle definition starting in my shoulders and arms! And my abs are getting stronger too. I've never done this sort of exercise before and I'll have to say that I'm loving it :-) Of course it doesn't hurt that Carm is always saying how great I look (very motivating!).

Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don't know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!
Anne Frank

Saturday, June 9, 2012

If I Had a Million Dollars

I went out to our garden today to do a bit of weeding... I've gotta say, gardening is just not my thing. Some people have almost a meditative experience working in their gardens, but it just doesn't happen for me. I LOVE enjoying the garden, smelling the flowers, etc. but if I won a million dollars the first thing I'd do would be to hire a gardener. Carm likes growing things much like his father did, but he's not totally committed to it either. It's amazing that our house isn't one of those ones with the grass that grows right up to the foundation with not a flower or shrub in sight!

Carm was busy today opening the pool - it is summer! And the never ending task of cutting the grass. I should really help out with this, but he seems to like doing it. It's a great workout as we only have a gas push mower (not self propelled) and about 4 hours worth of cutting. With all the little hills and trees and other obstacles there are only a few places where he can just do a straight push.

I made another kind of cookie today. They are Peanut Butter, Banana and Oatmeal cookies. Not bad for a cookie with the only sweetener being 2 tablespoons of honey or maple syrup! No added fat either. They are simply peanut butter, bananas, maple syrup, vanilla, almond milk, oatmeal and 1/4 cup of whole wheat flour. I'll post the recipe later. They obviously aren't super sweet but I think we'll get used to them. Carm rated them a 4/5. Of course they don't hold a candle to the ones I made last week, but those had 1/2 cup maple syrup, some canola oil, and all whole wheat flour, no rolled oats.

I wrote some of this sitting on the swing, enjoying the late afternoon birdsong. I see robins flitting about, I wonder if they are this year's babies. The grass is no longer vivid green as the seed heads have emerged. Instead there is a slight pinkish tan colour over the fields. They look plush, almost like velour. I love seeing how the Earth's cloak changes as the seasons roll by. I feel lucky to be living here where Nature is so present.

Last night Carm saw a deer just outside our front door! She was standing eating our little elm and then one of the apple trees. From Carm's description she didn't sound very big - I wonder if she was a yearling from last summer. Or a young doe with a fawn hidden somewhere. It is a thrill to see nature so close to us, but I couldn't help but think of the deer ticks which can carry Lyme disease... The dogs have their Advantage tick stuff, but it isn't 100%.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Ants in my Nose

20120608_flowers_003We got home yesterday and lo and behold my favourite peonies were in their prime, with the other bushes yet to flower. I was sure that I'd miss them all, but the cold weather must have slowed them down. My nose has been buried in the fragrant petals at every opportunity. Bliss.


We were lucky enough to be invited to our friends place for dinner last night. It was the first time I had been in Trudie's garden in the summer and I was wowed. I didn't have the presence of mind to take photos, but just imagine a lush garden with winding paths weaving among beds filled with vegetation and sprinkled with statuary. With every turn of the path another garden area was entered. It is huge! Supper was served in the middle of the garden and miraculously there were no bugs which is very strange for this time of year.

Carm and I made a pact before we headed to the rally - no trailer shopping. Well, we didn't exactly shop... but we did look around... and today we just got back from a huge RV sale... all cheques still in our wallet... so far. (look at that fridge! Plenty of room for all our veggies.)


20120607_side-mirror_003Oh! I wanted to tell you about the great cd we have in the truck. Years ago for Carm's 50th birthday, friends Margot and Stewart brought a cd that they had created with the top 30 songs from 1954. What an amazing gift! Those songs are included on the "mix tape" that I made for the truck, so we enjoy the music whenever we take a long trip. The Happy Wanderer is one that brings many memories for Carm (he was told not to sing in a school pageant).

For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.
Carl Sagan

Green Beans with Sesame Lime Dressing

I brought these to the Titanium rally pot luck and they were a hit with the vegetable lovers. I think they are a great change to plain green beans, and with the dressing is reasonably diet friendly. 1/6th of the dressing recipe is only 38 calories!

star0Green Bean Salad with Sesame Lime Dressing

Dressing recipe makes enough for 4 pounds of beans. It keeps will in the fridge for a few days.


2 pounds green beans root ends trimmed
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon tahini paste
2 limes juiced and zested
1 teaspoon Hot sauce (I use sirracha)
1 teaspoon soya sauce I skipped this
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1. Cook green beans using your preferred method. I roast them in a 400F oven, lowest rack, for 7 minutes.
2. Meanwhile whisk the sesame oil, tahini, lime juice and zest, hot sauce, (soya), and honey into a bowl and whisk until smooth. When the beans are done place them in a bowl and toss them with the dressing. Transfer to a serving dish and serve. Sprinkle the sesame seeds evenly over the top

vegis brusselsprts vintage graphicsfairy012

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

That's the Last of It for a Year

We have lucked out with another beautiful day - the sun is strong, but the breeze is slightly cool. Perfect for our hour long walk this morning. I would have gone further, but the dogs were starting to lag - I've got to toughen them up! Carm was lucky enough to join some other gentlemen to go golfing. A camping trip with golf is a good camping trip (in Carm's eyes... me too as it is nice to just chill by myself for a while).

No chilling today though, I met a few ladies on my walk and stopped for a short visit, and then once we were home another lady (Ilene) with her little poodle bichon mix Monty stopped to talk so I quickly invited her in for a coffee and visit. We hit it right off, and after touring each other's campers (mine is the little cottage to her giant palace) a few hours had passed and it was time to part ways. Spike had fun meeting a new friend, but was so tuckered out from the long walk it wasn't long before he was asleep under the picnic table!

Tonight was the final farewell steak dinner. It seems unbelievable that a week has gone by! All that's left now is to pack up and go tomorrow morning.

We have spent a lot of time walking around the park exploring  the little roads that wind through it. It is a lovely park - the owners obviously take great pride in it. I think we will book an extra week next year.

I don't know though how cut out I am for this sort of thing. I'm not shy, but have trouble just barging into a group that has already congregated. I guess it wouldn't hurt me to get over it and just do it! Most of the people here are so social and seem like such naturals...

Till tomorrow when we are safe and sound at home!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Clouds have Cleared

It is 2:30 in the afternoon - the rain has finally stopped and the clouds are mostly gone so I am outside squinting at my tablet. I can barely see the screen so this will be a short post and one with possible typos.

It is great that we can finally be outside. With the rain and cold people hunker down in their trailers so we don't get to do much socializing. We don't know anyone well enough to invite them over to our place, plus you have to see them to invite them!

We skipped the pancake breakfast this morning - the diet actually won out over heaps of hot pancakes and reams of greasy bacon and sausage. Next on the food marathon- pot luck. I'm bringing the Sesame Lime Green Beans - Carm's going to cook the green beans on the bbq using the grill that Mom and Dad got us for Christmas. It's worked great for asparagus and zucchini so should do a crack up job on the green beans. I like them roasted/grilled so much more than steamed.

Oh, about cooking - I brought down Black Bean Quinoa burgers for two nights. This time I added the zest of one lime to the quinoa when I cooked it. They were FANTASTIC! Even better than without the lime. This recipe is perhaps a 6 out 5 star ;-) We like it as much as a beef hamburger. And it is fat free and full of protein.

Yesterday we didn't do much, aside from walking the dogs till they dropped (hummm maybe that's why my legs are so tired today!). After supper Carm went over to the campfire but I wasn't really in the mood so stayed in for a quiet night. And that was okay.

Have I mentioned the train? It runs right through the site next to us - at least that's how it sounds in the middle of the night! There must be a crossing nearby too cause it blows and blows and blows that whistle. The funny thing is I didn't really notice it the first night or two... There are other strange sounds here, although none of them as loud. Yesterday morning, before the crack of dawn I heard a rooster crowing, and every day throughout the day we hear this strange call - it took me a while and then I recognized it as a peacock. We saw him this afternoon - a beautiful blue bird with a huge tail. He is quite the fellow. Oh - there's the rooster again. Later in the day - after the pot luck: ummmm lots of yummy food. I did have 1/2 plate of green salad without dressing, but the rest... let's just say there was nothing vegan about it! It was fun and we met more people. I'm going to hand this over to Carm for the final edit, but before I do I have to mention the congregation of men at the end of our site. It seems that someone's truck is having trouble and men seem to have radar for this sort of thing and they emerge from their trailers like, well, I can't think of what - Stepford wives/men I guess.

Saturday, June 2, 2012


The cruise was great. We sat with 2 couples that we had never spent any time with (Leslie & Don, Carol & Tim) which is great cause now we know a few more people. Both couples are from Ontario (one not too far from us), but both of them spend their winters down in Texas - "deep in the heart of Texas"! Carm and I think about it, but we've never gotten past the excuses of what to do with the house while we are gone. I guess we just aren't ready to make the trip - some day though we will. 

The cruise was for dinner, and also featured an entertaining performer - some of his stuff was sort of dress up karaoke (just him though, no audience participants thank goodness!) and then dancing at the end. It was fun, but we should have done more dancing!

The boat took us through the Thousand Islands, including Trident Yacht club where my parents kept their sail boat years ago. It's too bad it was raining as the only photo I could get was the raindrops on the window...

I did pretty good anxiety wise... although I did stress about the dogs somewhat. And then it seemed like the boat hadn't turned around by 9pm - I was close to having a panic attack at that point, but then the waitress came around for last call and said we were just 1/2 hour from docking. The tension just melted from my body. I would love to find someone who stayed back to ask if they heard anything, but the people from all the campers near us were on the cruise, and it rained most of the evening so no one would have been out and about, or even had their windows open. So I'll never know! It might be time to set up the webcam to do some remote spying as there were some cushions mysteriously rearranged - just who was up on the couch!

The rain stopped mid morning today so I got out for about an hour with the dogs. I would have walked more but the dogs were lagging and Spike was really dragging. I even carried him for a bit (hey - he weights 27lbs! so I didn't carry him far). I'm not sure if he's feeling well, or it could just be that he's out of shape and carrying some extra weight. They were at the vet last week and every single one of them had gained over 10% of their body  weight. They are porkers like me! I've had the benefit of time on the treadmill but they haven't... I guess I'll have to start walking without them (how weird is that!).

Since it is a cloudy, windy, cool day there hasn't been much socializing... we've just been inside reading and taking it easy. Despite the weather Grace has spent much of her day outside. We can hear her talking and whistling away - a sure sign that she's happy. She gets pretty darn cranky when she's stuck in her little inside cage for very long (and I can't really blame her - it's small and dark). Yesterday I got her outside for just a short while, just enough for her to know she didn't really want to be outside - it stops her from biting me when I bring her back in!

I keep meaning to tell you about my pant size experience a few days ago. I've shrunk enough that I didn't really have any shorts to wear so we went shopping and I ended up getting a size 10 short - I'm not a size 10! The next day I found an old (and they must be from ancient history) pair that were size 13 - so of course I tried them on. I couldn't even do them up!!! Talk about today's sizes being vanity sizes. What does that say about our population when a size 14 is now labeled a 10? Is everyone really that much bigger? Anyway, I folded those 13's up and tucked them away to be tried on "later" when I'm closer to my goal. I wonder how long ago I wore those shorts? (and as a side note - you can see how "good" I am at clearing out old clothes... I think they were found in a bin of clothes that we took to the salvation army this winter... I guess being an optimist (or delusional) that I saved them for when I'd fit into them again!)

I hope everyone is enjoying this wonderful Saturday as much as I am.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Rideau Acres 2012 - Day 1, just a bit of rain

Here we are... enjoying ourselves at the Titanium Rally. We arrived yesterday afternoon after a uneventful drive down the 401. Traffic was lighter, despite a few places of construction. The campground was dry this year, unlike last year when it was underwater, so set up was easy. Then it was time to visit. Some people we remembered from last year, but new connections were also made. I decided before we came that I wasn't going to sit in the camper feeling awkward and shy, this year I am going to fake it and get out there! When I am a bit manic is the best time for social outings - then I'm outgoing (ish) and it is much easier for me to socialize with people I don't know. When I'm a bit depressed is it very much the opposite. Thankfully this year I'm in the middle, so it's a bit of work but not impossible.

With the park being drier they have cut the grass in many areas and the park looks just beautiful. There is a loop in the back that goes along the river. It has just a few campsites along there, and on the other side of the road there are wide open grassy areas, dotted with trees with nicely cut grass - perfect for walking the dogs. When we camp somewhere we like to pick out a "pooping field" that is away from campsites and other places campers frequent. I think people appreciate not having dogs doing their business on their campsite. Hopefully photos - of the park, not the dogs pooping - tomorrow when it is drier (fingers crossed)

I did say it was dry? Well, actually it has been raining on and off all day today. The dogs and I (and Carm for a bit) still managed to get out for a pretty long walk. Scouting for bunnies on the way (they are everywhere, much to the excitement of the dogs).

Before we came I spent a day cooking up dips, black bean quinoa burgers (this time with lime - yum), and some vegan peanut butter cookies. The dips are all vegan and mostly fat free as well.
    Sun-dried tomato & olive hummus
    Artichoke heart & red pepper white bean dip
    Sesame Lime Dressing - I'm bringing the green beans to the pot luck
    and then of course the peanut butter cookies. They used just a touch of canola oil (1/4 cup I think) and maple syrup for the sweetness. The were perhaps the best pb cookies I've had! And not scads of butter. I can't remember which recipe book it was in - either "Vive Le Vegan" or "Eat, Drink and be Vegan", both by Dreena Burton. The first two dips were from the second book.

I was determined to have some food along for satisfying snacks so we wouldn't be as tempted to eat take out (there's a KFC not too far away). As it turns out, tonight is a cruise, with dinner, Sunday am is a pancake breakfast, Sunday night is a pot luck, and then Wednesday is a steak dinner. So much for healthy eating!

Tonight will be the first time we've left the dogs in the camper for more than an hour or so. I'm not too worried about barking - the blinds will be shut and the TV on, but what if they howl?

Before we left home there were a pair of robins setting up house-keeping in a tree just off the deck... it looks like we won't get our deck back yet! Oh, and the peonies... the first one was showing colour yesterday morning... we'll probably miss them all together. It looks like it will be a fantastic year for them - I couldn't believe how many buds there were. They are my most favorite flowers...

How's that for a bunch of incoherent babble!