Tuesday, July 31, 2012

With a Fresh Eye

Last night we went out for supper with friends Trudie and Leo, after which we all stopped at Vashev and Marie’s for a glass of wine. It was a lovely warm evening so we sat out in their back garden enjoying our surroundings and trading stories. The cat was stalking a chipmunk who teased and taunted. Birds came to the feeders for a bedtime snack. The cardinal wowed us with his bright red plumage.


As I was sitting there, I was thinking how much our property was missing places to pull up some chairs under a tree and started formulating plans in my head. Well, this morning I took stock of what we’d have to do and wouldn’t you know it… not much is needed at all! We just need some comfy chairs – they had plastic Adirondack chairs which seemed perfect. If we build some stairs from the deck down to grass level we’ll end up in a pleasant shady spot with easy access to the house. If we go a bit farther afield there’s a spot in the front near the flower beds that would be lovely. Just moving the truck reveals a lovely spot with a vista of the pond and lowlands of the creek.




I guess I just had to look at our property with new eyes (sort of like how I looked in the mirror the other day, but this time better!). So many of the trees have grown now, and some of the landscaping is more mature. Adding a few more spots of flowers or shrubs will finish it off nicely. We’d still have a “rural” look but it would be somewhere that a picnic blanket and basket of food would not look out of place. It is no longer the barren landscape that we started with 18 years ago.

Today I’ve been blessed with a bounty of produce from Trudie’s garden. She shared zucchini (lovely small ones), cucumbers, giant bulbs of garlic, hot little peppers (so good and the perfect hotness), and a huge pile of basil. So of course I spent some time making pesto, or at least the starting of it. I just did basil, garlic and olive oil to freeze in small batches. I can include some in any number of dishes, including Thai stir-fries with some sesame oil and hot peppers. Oh the eating possibilities!

Tonight supper is whole wheat pasta with a proper pesto, with grilled zucchini tossed in. Yum. Is it supper time yet?

If we do not permit the earth to produce beauty and joy, it will in the end not produce food, either.
Joseph Wood Krutch

Monday, July 30, 2012

A Slight Wavering at the Edges

In an email today Ruth commented about my depressed feelings. I know I mentioned them,  but really I'm okay. There's just a slight wavering of my mood at times. Everything feels good and then there's just a tiny ripple on the edge. Enough for me to know that I have to take some care and watch my thinking. By catching this mood early I should be able to keep things in check.

There are some things that I know I can do to keep my mood in check. For starters, sitting around does not help. I have to get busy and do something, even tidying up the place is a good start. Sometimes though I just can't think of anything to do so I slip further into the fog. I think my mood has something to do with not being able to think of anything though.

Other things that are good to do are: going for a drive or other outing, walking outside can help but sometimes not, putting on some fast music and dancing a bit. I have a list of other things that I refer to in those times of need.

BUT! Right now I'm good :-)

Perhaps I'm just more aware of the tiny changes than others.

Today we washed the outside of the camper, so it is now spic and span for our next trip. We ran a few errands, and then made dinner plans with friends. A good day with beautiful weather.

Oh, and Dorothy, today I'm wearing a pale pink lipstick... it helps ;-)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Campfire by Nissa (age 10)

I slowly chew my gooey soft sticky marshmallow. I push another onto the long thin stick that I grasp in my hand. The warm glowing fire crackles and burns as sparks fly into the smoky but clean crisp air. I look into the darkening fields and see the dark shapes of trees standing motionless.
Little sparkling lights appear and then disappear. Firefly's. The gently and gracefully dance through the air. I look back down at the fire and giggle as the fire has started to creep over my marshmallow.

Grace by Nissa (age 10)

Grace is an amazing bird. Not in just one way but in many ways. She talks and says things at the right moment, whistles and barks, stands on one leg and beeps like an oven. She can say hello and hang upside down. She plays with her toys and swings on her swing.
Grace is a pretty bird with short grey feathers, a large sharp black beak and white mask on her face. She has a long ruby tail and sharp claws on her feet. She picks up her food and carefully nibbles it. But sometimes she drops it down onto the floor.
That is Grace, the pretty amazing bird, the one that is loveable and easy to remember. That is Grace, the one that I care about, the one that I love.


I'm glad I got that aging/meaning of life panic out of my system (for now).

After some thought I realize that what I meant by meaning, was really "productivity". Humm. And so I gave myself permission to not be productive for now. It was as easy as that. Life doesn't have to have some grand meaning, but instead every moment should be savoured for what it is. Sometimes that's the feeling of creating something new, but sometimes (and often for me) it means truly enjoying the pleasures around me.


It has been several weeks since I’ve done my daily circuit of the field. This morning I finally got out there. It was one of those beautiful mornings with just a gentle breeze, a vivid blue sky and the sun warming the earth. The field is dry from the drought we've been having, and possibly because of this it was filled with Queen Anne's lace, one of my favourite wild flowers. I picked a few to press to remind me of today's beauty. There was also blue cornflower, and purple clover. How could I be unsatisfied?


20120729_property_005I also reminded myself that I have an extra burden to carry and that sometimes it takes most of my energy, leaving little else for grand "productive" pursuits. That's okay, it is what it is, and someday I'll turn what I have learned living with bipolar into something that can help others.

Faint feelings of depression still lingered... I felt tired and wanted to go back to bed, but I knew that wouldn't help... I had to keep busy and do something and focus on the positive thoughts I had while out in the field. So I spent the rest of today doing tasks towards our upcoming camping trip to Presquile. It helped.

Life is good.


Nissa's Anniversary Poem (age 10)

In all these happy golden years you have conquered many fears.
Through good times and bad, happy times and sad, your love has always been there and you will always care .
no matter what will happen after the air is always filled with laughter.
We are all so very fond of the way you wave the magic wand, the one that helps us through and keeps us close to you.
I hope you are enjoying your very special day.
This was written by Nissa to be read out at my parent's 50th Anniversary. I wish I had a video of her speaking it as she was just so poised and a natural public speaker.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

I don't normally look too closely at myself in the mirror - I prefer to view myself though my minds eye, the one that keep me looking as I did when I was 30. Today was different though, you see I purchased hair dye the other day with the plan of going back to my younger, blonder hair. What does that have to do with anything you may ask...

After waiting the requisite 48 hours after testing on a patch of skin, I was ready to proceed. I carefully followed the steps and emerged from the shower 30 minutes later with a strawberry blonde head of hair. Without my glasses on I put on some bright coral lipstick, my new "kiss me" mascara, a pair of dangly earrings and a nice top. Time for the glasses for careful scrutiny. OMG. Who is that old person in the mirror? I realized full on that I now look like an almost 50 year old woman.

There is just no denying it. I am struggling to come to terms with it - is that really even possible? How does one make the leap from young woman (in my delusional mind), to woman growing old. I'm FREAKED OUT!!! Where did the years go? How could I have deluded myself for so long (sure I knew I didn't look 20 any more but I never really looked, or I looked but didn't see).

Where have the years gone? What have I accomplished? Sure we had the parrots and the horses - those were life dreams for me, and yes I've spent the last 8 years battling bipolar (and isn't that a waste in itself?). But where is the meaning? What do I mean by meaning? I don't even know. I suppose working might have had meaning - I like to believe that what I did helped our government department have better computer systems (again, there's that delusional thinking!). Breeding the parrots started out having meaning as we felt that we were helping to save species in the wild, or at least creating a domestic genetic pool that could be drawn upon to help re-introduce species to the wild. But I think that was just delusional as well. Breeding the horses helped to fill a demand for quality family/show horses - I don't think I'm deluding myself here). But what about now?

Growing older isn't just about looks (although I'd happily take my 20something year old looks back), it is also about being content with oneself.


I thought I was ready to turn 50, but now I'm not so sure.

Then again, maybe it's just the coral lipstick...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


I was going to go through my calendar and try to figure out what we did each day when Kirsten was here. However, since I don't really remember the exact days we did things I thought instead I could capture the essence of what we did and how their visit was.

Here are some things we did, sort of in order, but not totally:

First day they were here we went to the Sunset Ceremonies (written about previously)

The next day was Canada Day, and I drove in to visit.

I think the next day (Monday) my brother Graham brought Kirsten and all the kids out for a swim. Kirsten & girls stayed over.

Tuesday we went camping.

Wednesday we were camping. We did a bit of shopping in Morrisburg.

Thursday my mom came camping and we went to Upper Canada Village.

Friday they all left and Carm came to help me tear down and drive the camper back home.

Saturday & Sunday Kirsten and the girls were in Montreal with their aunt Kenda.

Monday... is that the day we went shopping with Mom for her dress?


blur of shopping, visiting, swimming & sleepovers (Wed I didn't see them - dr. appointment). One of the nights they stayed over - I can't remember what we had for supper. We did go to St. Albert for curds and an icecream.

Friday we did something but I can't remember what. Maybe swimming?


Sunday I went to Jade's shower (Carm's nephew's wife to be)

Monday Kirsten, Shenna and I went shopping for a dress for Shenna for the party. We found a pretty (demure) black lace one for $10.00 at one of the cheesy shops for young adults. Then Graham and Carole took us out for supper (delicious sushi!).


Tuesday during the day the kids were over for more swimming. Kirsten must have brought them out for just a few hours. Juliette is so much more comfortable around the dogs. I think it is really great that she is overcoming her fears – you go girl!


Tuesday evening I had dedicated time to do the music for the anniversary party - power outage from 3pm to 3am. Instead we went in for a visit - Uncle Graham and Aunt Barb had arrived from Medicine Hat, and the Foleys from Scotland. It was a full house!

Wednesday was the music day. Everyone else went to Mackenzie King's estate for tea, but I was stuck in front of my computer - ALL DAY and into the night. Who knew it would take so long...

Kirsten and the girls came out Wednesday evening for the night. We had a quick supper of gnocchi and then dashed over to the Dairy Queen before it got too late.  Everyone enjoyed their last taste of Dairy Queen (blizzards for Kirsten, Nissa and I, some kind of chocolate sauce icecream bowl for Shenna and a strawberry sundae for Carm.

Thursday we all (except Carm) headed back to town where we helped out and ran some errands.  I had an appointment at 4pm at Brittania Yaght club where the party was being held. Kirsten drove and I navigated... what can I say, between the traffic from rush hour and the bad directions we didn't make it there till 4:30. Luckily Brianna was still there... so we could find out that their cd player didn't work at all... and their ipod dock may or may not have an input. It certainly didn't have one that matched my mp3 player so off to Best Buy to see what we could find. Through the rush hour traffic we forged. Luckily they had the part so we rushed back to see if it worked. Hurrah! It did.

A few more errands and a stop to share a hamburger (the place was voted best hamburger in Ottawa, of course we had to try it - it was good). Finally we were home by almost 8pm. We were wiped, but I still had to finish up with the music. Mom had a few more songs she wanted to add, and then finally it was time to load  the music onto my mp3 player (Creative Labs Zen). When I first opened the Zen software it showed a list of music that was a fraction of the songs, then right before my eyes the number started going down. 31...30...29...28...27... At this point I'm hyperventilating and quickly checked the directory using Windows My Computer - all the songs were there. I figured it might have something to do with the number on songs in the directory so I quickly divided it up into 5 directories. Suddenly it all started working and I was able to load the music. Whew. It was past 9:30 and I was done for - I couldn't remember feeling that tired. I was glad I was staying the night and not driving home (plus it gave me a few more minutes with Kirsten!).

Friday was the big day - my parent's 50th Wedding Anniversary Party. Excitement was high as Mom, Jane Foley, and Shenna arranged the flowers.


In the afternoon (Uncle) Graham and I ran over to DiRenzios to pick up an order of sandwiches that Carm had placed. More things to organize, showers to take, and dresses to arrange. Finally by 4:15 flowers, cake, dresses, etc. was loaded into the van and off Kirsten, Shenna and I went... through rush hour again. The Foleys went in their own “packed carefully with flowers” car. They took a different (better) route and got there way before us. We finally got there in one piece and got to work. Once we were done the place was transformed. It looked so pretty, I knew my Mom would love it. We got into our dresses and got the music playing with some romantic big band music just in time for the guests to start arriving.


The night turned out perfectly. Except... hardly anyone danced... my music was a bust. Kirsten had to play the hip hop music on her phone so that at least the kids would have fun. The place didn't have any air-conditioning and it was hot which most certainly contributed to the lack of motion on the dance floor.



Kirsten, Shenna and Nissa


Juliette is always colourful


Carm and Dad


Graham, Carole, Juliette and Erik (looking so cool!)

No rest for the weary though - Saturday Mom was hosting a get together for the out-of-town family. I knew that bbqing for 25 people would be a bit of a hassle so Carm and I made Pepproncini beef in the crockpot - with some pre-made salads, rolls, and the desserts that Carole had made we had an easy supper. And no one had to bake out by the bbq.

After everyone had left I followed Kirsten up to their room. She and the girls had to pack. With the scale out they made sure their bags were loaded within limits, and the items were evenly distributed. We joked that she'd have to pack the Frosted Wheat cereal that she got for Shawn in separate pieces - distributed in every nook and cranny. Luckily the box fit ;-)  After the packing was done the girls fell asleep and Kirsten and I talked into the night.

I've already talked about Sunday - the day they left. No need to rehash that misery!

I guess I ended up laying out much of what we did. Except that I missed what I really wanted to capture which was the essence of their visit. Suffice it to say we spent a lot of time together, but not enough. The girls are lovely, warm, funny, cute and it was just so wonderful to get to know them again. Shenna is reserved and a bit shy, but when she smiles it lights a room. Nissa is a clown and a bit of an actress. She is just a joy to be around. She's a bit of a nut! Kirsten is a bit zany, she likes to goof around and is very funny. She's a great mom. She's easy to talk to and fun to be around. We laughed at the same things. They are all a bit animal crazy like me (on their farm they have dogs, cats, budgie, ponies, sheep, chickens, ducks and who knows what else). Kirsten and I could talk and talk and it seemed that we never ran out of things to say.

They live too far away.

Finally, the essence of their visit can be boiled down into one word - LOVE.

I'm pleased to say that even with all the sleep disruption and excitement I managed the 3 weeks without slipping into hypo-mania. I'm glad we (doctor & I) bumped one of my meds back up a notch as I hardly experienced any anxiety. I felt good the whole time. Since they've left I've been catching up on my sleep (oh my gosh I was so tired by the end) and relaxing a bit. I am keeping myself busy enough to hopefully keep any depression away. We head out in just under 2 weeks for a trip to Presquille, and I'm planning a trip to NZ in late January so having those trips to look forward to is really helping.

Of course sitting here writing this brings back some damp eye, but that's okay - it just means I had a good time :-)


Sunday, July 22, 2012

My Crying Eyes

Kirsten and the girls visit started with a few tears, but ended with a torrent, of tears that is. For the last 24 hours we were all tired and emotional. Shenna was blue and teary on and off, Nissa had red eyes. Erik & Juliette, well, lets just say that I heard they cried themselves to sleep. And my eyes? I shouldn't have worn mascara...

Sunday morning after their bags were all loaded in the van we all clung to each other, weeping and telling each other how much we loved each other. We were all wiping tears away, except 8 year old Erik. He told us quietly that his eyes weren't crying, but his heart was.  I tried to tell the kids that our tears meant that we had all had a great time and that was something to be happy about. I don't think they bought it... But it's true.

We did have a fantastic visit. I spent every minute I could with them. We had sleepovers on the camper, at my house and at my Mom's house. We shopped, we ate Dairy Queen, Tim Hortons, Cinnabuns, and any other treat that can't be found in New Zealand. We laughed (alot), cried (a bit), goofed around, swam and played in the pool. We had late nights talking over tea and early mornings talking over coffee.

Over the next few days I'm going to sit down with my calendar and piece together the last three weeks to do a bit of reminisce so that I have a record to print out, so bear with me!

Writings by Nieces and Nephews

Stormy Night by Juliette (age 10)

Once upon a time I was outside late at night. Leaves were falling, rain was pouring, it was all a big fright.

I did not know what to do, I really needed you.
It was a spooky night, a spooky night. It was just a big fright, so much I was bursting to flames Oooohhhh
Just bursting to flames oooooohhhhoooo.

Dark clouds in the background. Don't forget the crazy lightning. Spooky noises, it was a big fright.
Shivering cold wind


By Nissa (age 10) written to be sung the day before she and Shenna left to go home

You are the ones that keep me going,  without you near I'd disappear.

Please stay, don't go, I need you near with me forever and ever so please don't go away
stay with me, hold me, stay with me.

Please stay don't go
What I would I do if you all went away I don't know so just stick around with me

If I leave I will always return but sometimes I just need to go away from home
If you and you'll come back but you don't
What would I do for the rest of my life?

Mars and Moon By Erik (age 8)
Mars and the moon, are the big bro's of the crew. They have big sharp teeth, enough to swallow another moon.

They always have a pen star as big as the sun.

The sun swallowed the moon and Mars cried so much that the sun spit out the moon.

The sun got mad and he exploded. Then the moon was so scared that he ran away.

And Mars was annoyed when the moon ran away. Mars got hurt when the sun exploded.


Aren't kids the funniest! I love their imaginative minds :-)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Sleep over again

I'm having a sleep over at my parents again tonight. This time it was to go through old photo albums to pull out pictures to scan. We are putting together a cd of photos to play at Mom & Dad's 50th wedding anniversary party next friday. I think we have about 50 photos to take to my house to scan...

It's fun looking at all those old pics - there was lots of laughter to be sure! Did I really wear my hair like that? And why did the dresses I wore to my brother's weddings look like old lady dresses? What was I thinking? Sure I was a bit overweight, but really! Did I have to wear a sack?

Tomorrow we take all the kids out to my place for an afternoon of swimming. It should be fun!

It's late now though, and I'm tired. Time for bed.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Spike Was Skunked

Of course it was just before I went to bed, freshly out of a bath... Carm let Spike in and as he ran through the door - "Laura!!! Skunk!!!". We always keep a large bottle of Nature's Miracle or Skunk Off in both the trailer and in the house. It is a liquid that is poured, full strength on the skunky bits (all of him). It works surprising well, and is quick to do. I've had to do it going out the door to work and unless the people at work thought I had bad BO and were too polite to say anything, it neutralizes the odour quite well.

Spike was foaming at the mouth - it seems he got a close up spray, but his eyes were spared. How could a little dog be so stinky? We soaked him pretty good with the stuff and he "mostly" smells okay, but I can tell that he needs a bit more work. And now that he's tried drying himself on every soft surface in the house the house "mostly" smells okay... I see a big laundry day coming up...

Tomorrow when we have more time we'll give him a good bath with just regular shampoo and another wipe of the Miracle stuff.

For tonight we got him reasonably cleaned up and have vowed to keep him off the bed tonight, and certainly from under the covers!

I wonder if they have skunks in New  Zealand?

I have lots to write about the past few days, but haven't had time to devote to a proper write up. The next few days are really busy too so it is possible I'll just have to keep notes and do a good write up when Kirsten is gone.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Our Visit to Upper Canada Village

After my Mom arrived at the campground Thursday morning we all bundled into her van to go to Upper Canada Village (after walking the dogs, setting the air conditioning, closing the blinds and putting the TV on loud).

Upper Canada Village is a gem situated along the St. Lawrence River. It is a collection of houses and businesses that have been collected and restored and set up to look like an authentic village from the 1800s. There is a saw mill, a flour mill, a shoemaker, a printer, a blacksmith, a woollen mill, a schoolhouse, a doctor’s house, a farmer’s house, a tenant farmer’s house, the farm hand’s house, to name but a few. And to bring everything to life there are re-enactors in each of the buildings to describe life as it was in those times. Dressed in period costume they really make the experience come alive, especially for the children.

As you come into the village there is an interpretive centre that describes life in those times, and also talks about the Battle of Chrysler Farm, fought on November 11, 1812. It is particularly interesting to us as our great great great (how many greats we couldn’t figure out) Grandmother hid in the basement of the farm and watched the battle. There was even a picture of her (Catherine Fetterly Harkness) in the display (why didn’t I take a photo of that?).


Shenna and Nissa were entranced. They loved the schoolhouse where the school mistress described what school was like. We practically had to drag Nissa from the building!

There were even wagons pulled by beautiful black Canadian Horses. I think the girls are missing their ponies from home.


At the bakery we watched the bakers remove bread from the oven and pack it into baskets to go to the store. As the baskets were loaded into the wagon the girls were invited up.

Later we picked up a loaf of this very bread to have as our supper. And since we also visited the cheese factory it was only fitting that we have some cheese as well.


The village was very rural so there were a few farms. They had chickens, pigs (the piglets were running around all over – the girls even got to feed them), beef cows and calves, horses (and a foal), and of course dairy cows. We were each given a go to milk them. It gives a new appreciation for what goes into a glass of milk – or used to as now farms are very mechanized. The “farmer” said that each cow would take 10 minutes to milk – he had very  strong hands and wrists!



We were there for over 5 hours and still missed several buildings, didn’t take the barge ride, nor did we take the train. We were exhausted but satisfied.

When we got back to the camper I was sure to ask the neighbour if the dogs had been quiet – she said they didn’t make a peep – good dogs!


Our Time at the Campground

What a wonderful time we had! We talked, walked and ate. We had an outing to some shops, and a day spent at Upper Canada Village (post to follow). We cooked our dinners on the bbq and had some marshmallows over the campfire. We had a tea party complete with pretty tablecloths and teacups (root beer for the girls, champagne for the ladies).

Every day was hot, hot, hot! And coming from New Zealand the girls were not acclimatized to all this heat. They wore their bathing suits and we set up the hose so they could douse themselves with icy water. Unfortunately the swimming at this park is yuck, but wading was fine and we dipped our toes at the beach a few times.


This is the view of the camper from across the water. It is a bit of a hike to the beach but with the girls’ boundless energy it was no problem for them (maybe for me a bit though!).


We also had some relax time at the site. Bella soaked up all the attention. She loves nothing more than being petted and the girls were happy to oblige.


At night we all crammed in. The sofa bed was deployed. Complete with a strange downward slant. We figured it was because the floor of the slide is about 2 inches higher than the rest of the floor, so the bed ended up with quite a slop. I don’t think it is the most comfortable place to sleep – especially for big people.

Kirsten and Shenna bunked together on the slope the first night, Nissa with me up in the nose. The next night Kirsten swapped with Nissa. Kirsten and I lay talking into the night – it was fun.

In the four and 1/2 years that had passed since I last saw Kirsten I had forgotten the comfort and ease of time with a sister. Our conversations were easy and it seemed we never ran out of things to talk about. It makes my tear to think of them going back and being so far away (the tears are pricking at my eyes right now).


We made sure to walk the dogs first thing in the morning when it was a tiny bit “cool” – okay, it was never cool, but it wasn’t 32C either.


We used the outdoor cooking facilities as much as possible, even for our breakfast pancakes. The grill that Mom & Dad gave us for Christmas saw good use. Kirsten was a pro and managing pancakes and flipped them like a pro.

Kirsten quickly made herself at home which was really great. It didn’t feel like having company at all, in fact I felt a bit like I had a vacation! Which is unusual when there are extra people around. There were a few times that I was doing something (like the awning) when Kirsten stopped me from screwing up. She’s really with it and very capable. Not having Carm around I sometimes felt a bit stunned (he does so much) so it was nice to have Kirsten step in.

The girls were both really helpful as well. The participated in numerous tasks around the camper. Clearing the table, dishes, and any other requested task. On the last day I asked Nissa to clean up around the fire pit so it was tidy for the next guests – even the charred remains of logs were neatly arranged. I never heard them complain or whinge once, rather they seemed happy to be involved. What good girls!


Of course the girls didn’t bring sun hats with them all the way from New Zealand, but luckily I had a few in my cupboards that suited them well. Nissa is a bit of a clown and is happy to pose for photos.


Shenna is more reserved but has a beautiful smile for the camera too.


On our walks, after Spike had done all his business I passed him over to Nissa. Perhaps he felt like a big dog walking with a little person!


On the final night, when Mom was with us, we finally had a campfire. Just a small one. We made enough coals to toast our giant marshmallows. The mosquitos quickly found us and swarmed in thick clouds. Shenna got several bites that welted up and drove her crazy with the itchies. Poor thing – she was miserable.


That last night, with Mom there, we really had to cram ourselves in. Thankfully Nissa is still small enough that she could fit in the little floor that remained. We had to be careful not to step on her!


Throughout the visit the girls talked and whistled with Grace. It wasn’t long before she was talking right back to them, even with them right up close to the cage. I’ve never seen her like that. She had the most wonderful time!

Grace also got a new cage – you can see just the corner of it in the photo above. Instead of the dark cage in the cubby hole under the TV, this one is a bit larger and is sitting beside a window. When I first put her into it she gave it the “hairy eyeball” for a minute or two and then was happily eating, preening and playing with her new toys. She is a most unconventional Congo! (they are known for being pretty high strung)

In summary, I think we all had a great time – I sure did. It was great to spend time with Kirsten and the nieces in such close quarters where we really got to visit. I wished it had never ended and of course I cried (just a bit) when it was all over!

A happy family is but an earlier heaven.
George Bernard Shaw

Friday, July 6, 2012

A camping we will go

Tuesday (written tuesday, posted later - no internet!)

I've been having the most wonderful time visiting with Kirsten and the girls. But now we are going to have even more fun! We've gone camping! Carm has been gracious enough to drive the camper down and help me set up, and then leave us girls for girl time. If we weren't all so tired we'd be having a great time, as it is we are just having a fantastic time.

Monday Carm and I rushed around getting the house clean and preparing food for our trip. Brother Graham brought everyone out for a swim in the afternoon, including Eric & Juliette, whom I'm ashamed to say have never been swimming at our place before. For shame Aunty Laura! Kirsten and the girls stayed behind to spend the night and come camping with us today.

We had a few things to do in the morning and then it was time to go. Ladies in the car, Carm and pets in the truck. The trip was so short there wasn't even one "are we there yet".  It was fun having all the extra hands for set up, it was another scorcher today so we all wore our bathing suits under our clothes so we could hose off when we got to hot.

After a lunch of dip, veggies and hummus, Carm took his leave and we went for a short walk. A supper of quinoa burgers and sesame lime beans followed. Then some rain and a showing of Gone with the Wind. It will be an early night tonight!

Guest Post by Nissa (age 10)

My little 10 year old niece keeps a journal so I borrowed a few entries for my blog. She's also written one about our campfire and another about Grace that I will include in a few days. So cute! Pictures to follow tomorrow.


I woke up at 5:20 and lay there until 5:50. then I read my book for a while. When everyone was up we had "two" breakfasts. One was nuts and hot chocolate then the next one was smoothie.

After that we went for a walk along the path and stopped by a small lake to dip our feet in the cool refreshing water. We arrived back at the camper and had our "third" and final breakfast consisting of pancakes, eggs, maple syrup and fruit.

We played for a little while and then headed to Morrisburge to do some shopping at Giant tiger, two dollar stores and the grocery store. I got a summery dress, a swimsuit and that's about all. We drove back to the campsite had a snack and headed out to the lake. We wore our swim suits and waded around for what seemed like three minutes when we saw large dark clouds and heard thunder. We walked back briskly and got to the camper just as the sun and blue sky came back.

We played for a while and are just serving up a delicious dinner. (This time only one).

I also lost my tooth that had been wiggly. I finally decided to pull it out when everyone stopped telling me to.

I didn't think it was three breakfasts though only one large breakfast. Everyone else thought it was three breakfasts!


The large yellow sun blazes down on my warm skin. We finally come nearer to the sparkly blue lake. I shake off my shoes and throw my things down onto the bright green grass. I  sprint across the sand my feet sinking into the soft golden grains. I splash into the cold refreshing water and wade around. I hear the loud rumble of thunder so I pick up my things and hurry back to the camper. The thunder stops the clouds disappear and the sun shines down once again.

Monday, July 2, 2012


I believe that last I wrote it was late Thursday night and I was waiting to see if Kirsten made her connection. Unfortunately her plane was late and they missed the last flight here. Everyone was very disappointed, but none as much as Kirsten and the girls. After 24 hours travelling they got shuttled off to a cheap hotel to spend a few hours hopefully sleeping before rushing off to catch the flight here.

And wouldn’t you know it, that flight was an hour late!

As it was we got to the airport just in the nick of time. While Mom was parking the car, Dad and I rushed off to arrivals. No sooner were we situated at the bottom of the escalator when down they come. Hugs all around – I gasped at how big the girls had grown – but what did I expect? It had been 4 1/2 years. I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried. It was so good to see Kirsten again. We talk on the phone regularly, but it just isn’t the same as face to face. I couldn’t stop staring at them all, I was just that glad to see them. They must be thinking their Aunt is a little bit off her rocker!


There were a few surprises for them over the day. Firstly, Kenda, their other Aunt arrived from Montreal. The second surprise was a visit to the RCMP Sunset Ceremonies. Several years ago the girls had the honour of naming one of the musical ride foals. As the years passed it seemed that Dancer might not make the ride – he was a little too small. But he did! And this is his first year.

Kenda rode in the Musical ride a few years back, so she had connections. We got a private tour of the stables and a personal introduction to Dancer and his female rider.



By 7:30 pm the show started. Unfortunately we were only able to get a spot with the sun in our eyes. We all wished for clouds! It was a good show, until the ride came in. WOW! They are Fantastic! If you ever get a chance to see them – GO. They were the opening act for the Queen’s Jubilee show – they are just that good. Anyway, they made sitting though a loud, crackly, screechy speaker blaring at us all worthwhile.




The day must have seemed to go on forever, but they all held out with only a short nap.


Now I have 3 weeks to get my fill of them – sounds impossible doesn’t it!