Sunday, September 30, 2012

Star Bright, Star Light, I'm Too Excited to Sleep Tonight

I lay awake most of the night, too excited to sleep. We went over to friends for the evening and while there decided to book my trip. So at 10pm I entered my credit card info and then it was official. Right before bedtime probably wasn't the best timing, especially as I wasn't sleeping well the few nights before (big trigger for mania is lack of sleep). However, we didn't want to take the chance of missing the good price. I had a million thoughts going through my head all night- what shoes will I wear? Do I need a new purse for my carry on, one that fits my tablet comfortably? What electronics will I bring in my carry on? Will I have somewhere to charge them? ... I'm sure you get the picture.

Today I'm still excited but had the distraction of going camping. We are here now, all set up and enjoying a glass of wine, and golf on TV (nap time anyone). Everything went really well: loading the last minute stuff went smoothly ; hitching was good ; the drive was good ; Carm backed into the site like a professional - really, it was perfect ; the rain stopped in time for us to set up ; and then... the satellite... not so great... but as you can tell from the golf mention we did get it going. I looked up roof top automatic systems - $2500 on sale - not gonna happen.

The weather for today and tomorrow is forecasting rain (and indeed it is raining right now), but then the rest of the week looks glorious! We've camped Thanksgiving weekend every year since we started rving and I can' recall any that weren't lovely (I may have selective memory though).

The weight loss challenge is going on. Dorothy facebook'd that she was losing already! I'm pretty sure Merikay will be in the same boat - especially after the amazing hikes in the mountains she has been taking. Me? Not so good... but it's not over yet so I'll be motivated by everyone's participation.

Wherever you are - be all there. Jim Elliot

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Jumbled and Jittery

I've spent the day online looking at a million combination of dates and times to get a good price for my tickets to New Zealand. There are hundreds of price compare websites to check out and the flight combinations seem endless. All the numbers started jumbling in my head till (duh) I started writing things down. I think I’ve found the good price (if only I could find that page again…)! I’m practically jumping out of my seat with excitement – perhaps I’ve just had too much tea!


My music player has been playing through all of this - mostly from a playlist of this weeks favourites. Of course it included endlessly playing the Katie Melua album, I'm nothing if not obsessive. I also have some Ella Fitzgerald playing which is also female love ballads. There is lots of other music, not just sappy! There's even some depressing Leonard Cohen. Carm has the patience of a saint.


Yesterday was beautiful, so, in a fit of work avoidance, we headed off to the big RV sale at the racetrack. We were up and down many, many stairs but didn't find anything to buy (ha ha) - we still like our old Titanium. I find the interiors of the new rigs to be so dark with all the dark cabinetry and flooring. I want bright and cheery! And not so darn formal – really, the furniture in these campers is more formal than what I have at home. We did see a pretty nice class A – cream leather and shiny off-white tile floor. How’s that for practical. Oh, and it was marked down to $299,999 – what a deal!

We met a couple that were shopping for their "fulltime" rig as they were in the process of selling their house and all its contents to hit the road fulltime. Scarily they hadn't rv'd before so they really have no idea if they'll even like the lifestyle. But I was just a tiny bit jealous - what an adventure that would be!


I believe that if one always looked at the skies, one would end up with wings.
Gustave Flaubert

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Twirling Them in a Cheerful Jig


The other night on the news there was an article about the passing away of the man who started "Sam the Record Man", an iconic record store chain in Ontario. The newscaster asked if people remembered their first purchase at Sam's, and while I couldn't remember mine, I did remember the first records I ever bought myself. It was at the Kmart on Portage Avenue in Winnipeg, probably in the fall of 1974. I can't remember who I was there with (maybe Melody), but I can picture the record isle clearly. First I picked out 10cc "How Dare You" - they were one of my favs, introduced by a family friend;  then I picked out a Partridge Family album! What the *&@ - 10cc and Partridge Family - my music tastes have always run weird. I can listen to Black Sabbath one minute and Bach the next, throw in a bit of pop and folk and a ton of 70s music and I'm good to go. I like romantic ballads, Celtic whirls, the odd bit of Johnny Cash and I couldn't do without Leonard Cohen's dirge. One might say my tastes are  eclectic or perhaps just strange!


Today I’ve been listening (and listening) to a newly discovered singer, Katie Melua – here’s one of hers, and there are several others that I like. I ended up downloading her whole album. I’m not sure if they make me feel happy or sad, but they are mostly about love. I think a romantic evening with cheek to cheek dancing is in order!


Nine Million Bicycles

I liked this one too:

A Moment of Madness

It was a beautiful day today, full of sunshine and warm temperatures. While I did spend some of inside working on our finances, there were a few trips outside to enjoy Nature. (oh – and the wind wasn’t really sighing, it was dancing over the land, sometimes caressing leaves in a soft waltz, while other times twirling them in a cheerful jig.)


I Meant to Do My Work Today
Richard Le Gallienne

I meant to do my work today—
But a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
And a butterfly flitted across the field,
And all the leaves were calling me.

And the wind went sighing over the land,
Tossing the grasses to and fro,
And a rainbow held out its shining hand—
So what could I do but laugh and go?


Monday, September 24, 2012

A Challenge

Bjorn took me up on the weight loss challenge (5lbs by the end of October) - does anyone else want to join in? I always find it motivating to have a goal and to be accountable, even if just to this blog.


Yesterday as we drove into town the colour of the leaves on the big maples down the road brought to mind my restart into riding 17 years ago. It was this time of year that my friend Deirdre and I started leasing horses at a little farm not too far from here. It was one year after moving into the house, and at the same time that I quit smoking, both events which seem like they were another lifetime ago. Anyway, I don't recall how we found out about this place but we went to see it mid September and right away signed up. We used to meet there 2 or 3 times a week, sometimes we'd putz around the arena, but most of the time we headed out on the roads. At that time there wasn't much traffic on the local roads so we were able to ride along the country lanes (not so now, the roads are busy with crazy fast drivers). We had fun - we were re-living our childhood dreams. It makes me a little sad to think that it was so long ago... perhaps it is time to re-live those dreams again!

Yesterday we had another eating frenzy (I'm going to have to do some serious fasting to get to my goal at this rate). We started off with lunch at Carm's mom's. It was the usual Sunday lunch - pasta with homemade tomato sauce, meatballs (delicious homemade ones) and sausage. And cake. Always cake.

20120919_flowers_004Then we drove to friends Eric & Betty for the afternoon, capped off with homemade pizza for supper. Yum. Friends Adrian and Julia were also there - it was the first time we met Julia - she is lovely - she immigrated to Canada from China, making the move all by herself. I think that is so brave!  Eric and Betty have an interesting story as well. Eric was in Tucson at a conference (along with Carm), he was early for a planned supper so sat down at the bar to wait, where he met Betty - they hit it off right away, and a year later they were married. They split their time between the northern climes of Ontario and the hot sunny south - a perfect mix. One never knows where love will find you :-)

Here’s how it goes with Kristen Lavransdatter – after reading this you’ll understand why sometimes I have to re-read a paragraph several times – especially as I am reading right before lights out!

“Night  after night he had knelt with close-shut senses and limbs benumbed, till he saw  the vision. The hill with the three crosses against the sky. Yonder cross in the midst, which was destined to bear the Lord of earth and heaven, trembled and shook, it bent like a tree before the storm, affrighted that it should bear that all too precious burden, the sacrifice for the sins of all the world. The Lord of the Tents of Storm held it in, as the knight curbs his  charger, the Chief of thee Castle of Heaven it bore to battle. Then was made manifest the wonder that was the key to deep and ever deeper wonders. The blood that ran down the Cross for the remission of all sins and the boot of all sorrows, that was the visible miracle. By this first wonder the soul’s eye could be opened to behold the yet darker mysteries – God that descended unto earth, and became the Son of a Virgin and Brother to mankind, that harried hell, and stormed with his booty of souls set free up to the blinding sea of light, wherefrom the world hath issued and whereby the world is upholden. And towards those bottomless and eternal deeps of light his thoughts were drawn up, and there they passed into the light and vanished, as a flight of birds passes away into the glory of the evening sky.”


Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Discombobulated and Blue

20120919_flowers_005We've been back home for a few days now (since Thursday). It is strange to have so much space - the hallway to the bedroom is almost as long as the whole camper - but it is surprising how quickly we spread ourselves out to make use of the extra. The weather took a turn for the worse after we left with days of rain in the forecast so it is just as well we are home. Sure, I don't mind a day or two when we are camping, but the rain does make it a pita with the dogs and all the mud and water they track inside. And sometimes they are loath to stay out long enough to get their business done, which paradoxically means more time in the rain for them.


I don't know if it is the grey days, being back home, or the letdown after so many days of feasting but I've been feeling discombobulated and blue. I woke up that way on Friday and haven't been able to shake it. I even MADE myself get on the treadmill this morning to see if that would get my blood flowing enough to help, but no. I suppose it is all part of the cycle and will pass when it does. But in the meantime I have to make like I'm British and "Keep Calm and Carry On"!


I'm also up 5 pounds from my lowest point in June. I can't seem to figure out how to maintain, and how not to go all crazy with treats. I think I have the basics of a good diet, but let too many things interfere. Or make excuses about eating the bad stuff. The insane part is, when I'm eating all the junk and sweets I don't feel good - but instead of using that feeling to help keep me on the straight and narrow, the bad stuff wants to be followed by more bad stuff. How sick is that! Okay - here's my challenge - lose that 5 pounds by the end of October - that should be easy right? Here we come "Eat to Live"!



Unless a tree has borne blossoms in spring, you will vainly look for fruit on it in autumn.
Walter Scott

Thursday, September 20, 2012

What a Lovely Surprise - try #2

I had this all written out last night, but something garbled it and it lost forever.

Last night we met friends Marie & Vashav and Trudie & Leo at the Bierstube (of which I've written many times). It isn't too far from where we are camping so we like to go there when we are down here. As I walked into the room, there the all were with a table all decorated with birthday banners, helium balloons and other festive bits and bobs. What a surprise!

As I got settled in my seat, Trudie passed over a gift bag with a little spoon with the handle curved into a place where a necklace goes through - very cute! It looks a bit like a "coke" spoon, so it is sure to be a conversation starter. The other gift was a fridge magnet that is a fork bent around to look like a grasshopper. Leo is very handy in the shop!

We had a wonderful meal - everyone had the schnitzel as it is the best anywhere - tender, with a crisp outer coating, not greasy at all, just totally yum. And of course we all (except Carm) had the German potato salad which is so tasty and not like any potato salad that you'd think of. Carm had a baked potato and of course he wished he had had the p.salad.

At one point Trudie asked me what I'd wish for the next 50 years. I needed no time to think of my answer - that I'd have as much happiness as I had in the first. Sure there have been bad times, but the good times far outweigh those. Trudie & Marie both had similar answers. They guys wished for Lotto 649 - men.

It was a very congenial time and I felt lucky to have such friends.

The 70s music channel was playing when we got back to the camper (we leave the tv on for the dogs when we leave them behind), and good song after good song was playing. It was nice not to have CNN blaring out news of the world for a while...

(I think I'm birthday'd out for another year... all this cake, lobster and boozy treats are making me crave vegetables and our Eat to Live diet!)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Me... At 50

50 Pleasures for 50 Years

In no particular order!

1. western bling
2. music - classical, Irish, 70s, rock ... pretty much everything
3. dogs - unconditional love
4. wide open views
5. houses with lots of windows
6. sweatshirts
7. dinnerware - what can I say, I love plates & dishes
8. the smell of baking bread
9. sunshine
10. crisp winter snow
11. tomato salads with basil pesto
12. Thai food
13. making love in the afternoon
14. snuggling up under the covers with a book on a rainy day
15. looking out my kitchen window
16. my computer and tablet
17. champagne/bubbles - any reason is a good reason
18. looking at maps
19. overgrown gardens full of flowers
20. sleeping with a little dog pressed against me
21. September - I love the cool, crisp days
22. listening to Grace (parrot) talk
23. wearing jeans
24. my house
25. cowboy boots and my Blundstones
26. having friends over for supper
27. green leaves against a blue, blue sky
28. laughing and being silly
29. white t-shirts
30. cooking
31. raunchy humour
32. Disney movies
33. merino wool socks
34. looking out over still water
35. the smell of autumn
36. lying in bed looking out the high window and seeing the tree branches
37. watching old movies
38. pink peonies
39. my bathtub and all its windows
40. pine trees
41. strong arms
42. a snowy afternoon walk (a special kind of hush)
43. dancing - at weddings, or just around the house
44. Queen Anne's lace
45. going for drives
46. my camper - truly a cabin on wheels
47. a thick rare juicy steak (for the inner carnivore)
48. my family - I am blessed
49. all the pleasures that I've mentioned here over the last few years...
50. and last but not least, Carm

I truly am blessed to have such a wonderful life. Much of it is made possible by my wonderful husband, a man who never ceases to let me know how loved I am. And my parents who always make me feel special. Of course friends and other family members play no small role. When I think to how my life could be, without all those mentioned I am ever more grateful.

Now enough of the maudlin stuff - let's PARTY!


Let us celebrate the occasion with wine and sweet words.

What has Past and What is Yet to Come

I woke up just a while ago, looked at the clock and saw that the clock had ticked over into the next day - I'm 50 now. As I lay there thinking back over the past half century scenes from the past flashed through my mind, like a choppy news reel. I remembered a happy and carefree childhood - my treasured pets; playing outside, ranging far and wide on my bike; first childhood puppy love. Then onto my teenage years - some rocky times, but many good times too; my first real love; trips with family; sailing; and the list goes on. My early 20s had good times and bad (isn't it funny how we remember the bad more than the good). Then I met Carm and life started to settle down. We bought our first house; had our first set of dogs; started with the parrots; built our next house; more dogs; horses (a dream for me). Then I got sick. And yet those years of struggle were made bearable, and even good by Carm's ever faithful and supportive preseance.

So I thought of these things and cried. For what I'm not sure - perhaps for what has passed by already. With those thoughts in mind (and still feeling teary) I got out a sparkler, went outside, stuck it in the sand and lit it. With its bright sparkly light I realized that it is good to look back and remember, but only if those thoughts bring renewed hope and anticipation for what is yet to come. And also I realized that all those remembered events and feelings are still with me as they have made me the person I am today. And while I'm by no means perfect, I am content with who I am. I have no real regrets and there isn't much I'd change about how I've lived my life.

Still feeling teary, I was just coming inside when Carm appeared at the door. He always seems to be there when I need someone. There was a nicely wrapped gift on the table waiting for me to open it, with a pretty card attached (pink roses of course). It was a beautiful black necklace, sparkly yet elegant - lovely. We talked for a while then I sent him off to bed so that I could think for a while and get it out of my system. After all, it isn't every day that one passes the 1/2 century mark.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Gorging Continues

Oh my aching stomach... the over-indulgence in food has not ended yet... last night we started out okay, but then ended badly (I'm too embarrassed to say how badly). And today after our trip to the flea market (more about that later), we feasted on a breakfast buffet at the McIntosh Inn. Tonight FOR SURE it will be a simple supper of fat-free chickpea hummus, spinach and whole wheat pita. And we've made a solemn vow that after this week it is back onto the straight and narrow.

The flea market was great! It was the same one where we got Grace's camping cage, and where I got all those teacups last June.  Today I started by finding a lovely teapot for $8 (after haggle). I've been looking for a teapot for ages, but wanted something pretty, but not too dear - this one is perfect. It isn't fine china, but for the camper fine china is just a worry. And I so love tea out of a pretty pot. I realized when we got back to the camper that I should have also been looking for a "matching" cup - not a dainty tea cup, but a bigger coffee cup size. The clunky melamine coffee cup will have to do till I get back (now I have a reason for a return trip and something to quest for).

Then I got my hair cut for $10. Yes, ten bucks. It is a good enough cut, and at that price I didn't feel I had to go super short. Hair cuts are always a bit of a disappointment for me though - they never seem to make me look thin and in my 20s - boo hoo.

Then I saw a little pitcher on a table full of stuff. I looked at it, walked away, came back and looked at it again, walked away, and then finally realized that I'd be forever wondering if I didn't at least ask the price. $5. So after a short bargain I got it for $4. What drew my eye to it is that I have a smaller one very similar that I inherited from my Aunty Jean. This one is just the right size to serve maple syrup, or some other sauce at the table. When I looked at it more closely I saw that it is Wedgewood - of etruria. It has a few tiny scratches, but is otherwise in perfect condition.

And my last find was a big piece of blue cotton fabric that I can use as the backer for the quilt I am making for the camper, plus a pretty embroidered cloth, and two small square linen tablecloths - all for THREE DOLLARS! Oh how my heart sings with the bargains made! Of course once I got to the camper and had everything laid out on the picnic table I realized I also would have liked the 4 cobolt blue with a swirl glasses - they were marked $20 for the set, but maybe they would have taken $15 - they would be beautiful on the table as water goblets.  Oh, and the other thing we saw there... a box of puppies. Oh my they were cute (wirehair fox terrier mixed with puggle) and it would have been easy to get carried away and bring one home with us but good sense prevailed (whew) and there are no extra paws on board.

We spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying the sunshine and reading. There is not a cloud in the sky, it was about 17C and really quite beautiful. Tomorrow the forecast is for 26C and sunny! I haven't decided exactly what I want to do tomorrow (except light the sparklers of course), but maybe we'll go to Rob McIntosh a dinner and giftware outlet, we can't go to Upper Canada Village as they are closed, or maybe we'll just go for a drive. Oh - we could go for a walk at the bird sanctuary... or I could just lay around and eat bon bons and sip champagne ;-) and drink tea.

p.s. I could see the people next door turning around to look at Grace so I popped over to see if she was bugging them - "Oh, no, we love listening to her". They commented about how they didn't even really know we had dogs and they wondered why they never barked. I love hearing that :-) They are coming over for a glass of wine later (Denis & Doris).

Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God's handwriting. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Rekindle the Inner Spirit

It rained cats and dogs last night so we cuddled up and watched a silly movie - Tower Heist with Ben Stiller - he always cracks me up since seeing him in Zoolander which might be one of the funniest movies ever. It was a cute movie, although there were some parts that I had to cover my eyes - serious fear of heights made it such that I couldn't watch the scenes from the top of the building.

I never mind a rainy day or night in the camper. It is so comfortable to me, not just physically, but emotionally as well. When ever I walk into it I have a feeling of being home.

After such a wet night, and with the forecast calling for showers and cloudy for Saturday we were pleasantly surprised that we had to roll down the awning to get out of the blazing sun! What a bonus :-)  It was perfect for a nice long walk with the dogs and then curling up with a book (Still Kristin Lavransatter: I). I'm  up to page 178 already - I'm finding it easier to read, perhaps my brain is getting used to the English.

Just a few minutes ago I wanted another water bottle so I asked Spike to bring it to me. He had been asleep but he got up right away and brought it to me. No encouragement needed. But he did get a little treat for being such a good little dog (for a change!). Speaking of the dogs they had a great chew yesterday and today on some lovely big knuckle bones that Trudie had given them. I don't think there is anything much happier than a dog with a bone, except maybe a dog with a bone camping.

We were in Morrisburg this afternoon looking to refresh the stock of junk food. It's birthday week you know so that's my excuse to indulge. While we were in Giant Tiger we found some more sparklers. Now I have 4 packs of 8 - not 50, or even close to 50, but it should be enough to celebrate with. I'm thinking I'll light 5 in the morning, 5 in the afternoon, then another 5 when we open the bubbles, and 5 more with dessert, and 5 at bedtime. That's 5 times with 5 sparklers which still doesn't add up to 50, but if I think hard enough I'm sure I can find a way to make it make sense! It is a pretty lame celebration I know - just Carm and I and a bunch of sparklers - but I can't think of anything else. Plus I had that fantastic trip to Alberta with my parents - that has much meaning for me.

The other day Ruth commented about not knowing what to do to help when I'm in a depressed state. I can only speak for myself but guess that others are the same - when I'm in that state of mind I can't ask for help, it is just too hard and I just want to be left alone, BUT at the same time I desperately want/need personal contact. Don't take my word for it! Leaving me alone with my thoughts is the worst thing as they can spiral down into places the mind should never go.

So, I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you suspect someone is depressed please reach out, with a phone call or email or in person - even if at first they turn away. There have been a few times that Ruth has sent me emails exactly when I needed them, it seems to me she's called at the right moment too (thank you for that). Please don't take it personally if the person rebuffs you at first, cause it is not you they are rebuffing, but is really themselves. Family and friends are more important than you can imagine to a depressed person. They may be life and death important.

Whew... that was hard to write as it conjured up so many feelings... but now it is time to get back to thinking when I'm going to sparkle all those sparklers!

(If it be your Will sung by Antony just played in my mp3 player - I can't get enough it)

In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit. Albert Schweitzer

Friday, September 14, 2012

Peeping Friday

So far so good - the calm mood is holding out (although I hardly slept a wink last night and had all sorts of really strange dreams including one where Carm dove into a pool of pcb's)

I took my  tablet for a walk again this morning and this time didn't muck up the recording. Our morning walk here is 4.43km vs the 5km at Presquile. Still, a good way to start the day. After we got back from our walk we headed out to the "Basket Case", a little mom & pop restaurant in Morrisburg. The place is decorated with antiques and all the walls are covered with paintings and prints. The tables and chairs are mis-matched sets, and every table has a tablecloth and placemats. The salt and pepper shakers are all antiques, or at least not cheap modern restaurant kinds. It is a very homey atmosphere. Their speciality is club sandwiches and I'll have to say that even though I'm not a big sandwich eater, I gobbled mine up and enjoyed every bite. Carm (an aficionado) said it was the best he's had.

Including trips to a few little shops we were back to our camp by just after 2pm. Just in to to watch the first few campers rolling in. Aside from a couple in a little camper on tues & wed night the place has been deserted, but now that it's Friday all the working stiffs will start filling the place up. I like being a nosy nessie and watching them do their setups. Watching people take 5 minutes to get the camper in just the right spot makes me feel better about our own placement exercises (cause sometimes it is an exercise - in futility that is). We have a fairly complicated setup with our carpet, tablecloth, bbq, Grace's outdoor cage, zero gravity chairs, little table, herbs, etc., etc. Oh yeah, and the fence, and the big time killer the satellite dish. It usually takes us 1 hour, or maybe 1 1/4 hours. And then it is time for a snack and the ever so nice icy corona with lime. Ahhhhh. Bliss. That's a time that I can pretty much count on that feeling of calm contentedness.

So back to my idle observations of other people setting up. They seem to need as much time as we do. I think our years of working full-time, breeding parrots and breeding horses, not to mention that we are both pretty organized people, has made us super efficient. We have systems and procedures in place to speed the process. Or maybe we are just rushing for that first cold drink! (which by the way may be the last one we have for the rest of the trip... but thinking about it now (3:10pm in the hot sun) I'm thinking that one might be in order right now.)

But back to other people's setup... the guy across the way and down a bit is laying out a long line of what look to be solar lights on tall stakes - there are 8 of them spaced about 6' apart, now the woman is adding something to them, or maybe putting out another line of something - it's very strange - oh they are big pinwheels, just two of them. But then people probably think we are strange when we start putting up our fence... until they see the dogs... at Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads. Henry David Thoreau point they probably gasp with horror! (fyi - our dogs are pretty quiet so those horrified people often come up to us later and comment on how good the dogs are).

I guess I should just get my nose out of other peoples business (until the two campers across the way come!) and get back to reading my book. At my current rate I'll be reading book three by Christmas.


Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads. Henry David Thoreau

Thursday, September 13, 2012

What a Wonderful World

Today I was going for a short walk and got to thinking... I've been feeling good - not mania good, just regular happy good - I feel calm and content, very much at peace with myself. Now how can I remember this when the "black dog" descends? When I become depressed all memory of happier times seems to vaporize - whoosh it's gone - and I feel that this black feeling will never ever go away, it is forever. Somehow though I have a way to remind myself so that at least maybe I can hold out some hope.

I thought that maybe if I write a blog post to remind myself, I will remember, or Carm can remind me to re-read it and perhaps feel some hope from that. Cause I feel sure that if I could only somehow recapture todays feeling the blackness might be shorter lived, and maybe a little less black...

And then a song started playing - Louis Armstrong "What a Wonderful World". It was our first dance song at our wedding, so it already has good feelings associated with it, but maybe I could also use it to remind me of how I feel today. And I could play it again and again next time I need to. Cause it really is a wonderful world.

Isn't Technology Wonderful

I took my tablet with me on our walk this morning so that I could map out the track for distance, etc. I hadn't used the "My Tracks" software before so I did do a minor screw up... but it is still pretty neat. Not only did it map out our route and calculate the distance (until I inadvertently stopped it), when I was done it zoomed into Google Earth and "walked" us around the route - it even paused at the right times. Not only  that but I can send the track to Google Maps and access it later at my conveniece. How cool is that. Of course it would be WAY MORE COOL if I had a phone as well and wasn't carting my tablet around in a backpack (geeks unite).

I started my career in IT fresh out of high school with  no computer experience. Mind you in 1981 there weren't computers where ever you turned. I started on a contract with my friend June's father, documenting master files. I took to it like a duck to water. While I was on that contract I was offered a more permanent job if I took a typing class (being able to type make life much easier), so of course I did. Twenty nine years later I retired/quit from the same spot. Of course I wasn't doing the same thing, but had learned some programming, how to install and manage computer systems, as well as being involved in a slight degree of Data Management, not to mention how to torment developers with requests for documentation that was actually understandable. But, back to the point I was going to make - computing came to me naturally. All these things were intuitive. I sometimes wonder what I could have accomplished if I had a university education (I would have liked engineering I think as I love to problem solve).

But I digress again - back to the early days of work. We worked on a mainframe computer as well as a PDP11 mini computer. Some things I did with PUNCH CARDS. There were no PC's. We had a terminal room where there were a bunch of "dumb" terminals for us to do our work on. It was only a few years though until PC's made their entrance, and not long after that we had connectivity to the mainframe from our PC - we could work in our office (which was good and bad - there was so much data transfer by working side by side with people). Using DOS. And then Windows came along. And years after that the internet.  Now look at the information that people have at their fingertips. No trips to the library for them.

Years ago, we got new data dictionary software (Rochade) that installed on Unix with a windows front end. It was just newly available in North America as it was a German product. Well, I can't count the number of times that I fell to the floor laughing so hard cause an error message was displayed - one giant word that was almost the width of my screen... in German.  The first time I ran to the bookstore downstairs in our building to see if they had a German/English dictionary. They did. The word was not in it. These days it would be a simple query on Google!

Anyway, despite my 29 years or perhaps because of them I am a computer junkie and a gadgeteer. I love technology and would go into serious withdrawal if I didn't have automated tools like Excel, Word (wordperfect was my favorite - I loved macros), Advanced Diary, MyMemories Scrapbooking software, digital photos, CALENDARS!!! oh and Email... and of course I can't forget Blogger.

In fact I wrote the majority of this while sitting out under the awning, glancing up at the water sparkling in the distance and hearing the rustle of leaves in the trees. It is hot - 28C - amazing for mid September. Now time for my book, Kristen Lavransdatter, which I am slowly getting through.

The sky is the daily bread of the eyes. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

chortle, laugh, gafaw

8:40 pm Tuesday night

what can I say? I can hardly type... Ruth is here for girls night and I don't think we've stopped laughing... oh we did, when we poured fresh drinks - that requires steady thinking - for a minute anyway ;-)

10:30 pm - vegan peanut butter cookies and maybe another beer... if it's vegan it must be good right! And if I told you how hard it was to write this...

11:50 pm -  I'm in bed, trying to type this, but seriously -  how could I! My stomach is sore from laughing so much... and what did we laugh so hard about... the time Grizzle killed those kittens... how could we laugh you might ask? Well, it as about 10  years ago.. and what else can you do in such heinous situation? After all, at least it was Ruth and John that were staying over that night... anyone else would have been horrified beyond reason... they did end up taking Kitty (now Cassie) home to a safer place to live. I can't say more, but I guess you had to be here/there....


10:00 am Wednesday morning

groan.... What was I thinking... I might just need the "hair of the dog" this morning. Perhaps a bit too much liquid cheer, or maybe it was just the late night...

We had such a good time last night - I can't remember laughing so much nor can I remember the last time I was so silly. It was fun :-)  Ruth had brought some knitting along so she could teach me - ha ha I hardly think so. We would have had to stop talking so much!

Grace had a good time too since she had friends over for a sleep over. Ruth has two of  our Timneh babies, including our first Timneh hatch. Cato  is a funny bird with a large vocabulary - she's quite a character. As is Bailey - he's pretty funny too and has been known to swear a blue streak (picked up from his first home - Ruth and John aren't swearers.)

I'm without an internet connection until Carm comes down so this won't get posted in a timely manner. I have serious withdrawal without the world wide  web at my fingertips.

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Muddle / Our Hearts are Divided



It is one of those perfect September days - coolish, but clear and crisp. There is a faint smell of fallen leaves in the air - just faint though as not many leaves have fallen yet. The next few days are going to be a return to summer with forecast highs in the high 20's but then we scheduled to drop down to cooler temps for the weekend. Let's hope the rain holds off...


I've been busy cooking and loading the camper as we are heading off for a 9 night trip. I've been making jugs of lemon water,  quinoa burgers, sun-dried tomato/pesto hummus, breakfast cookies, peanut butter cookies and other sundry delights.  I like to be prepared... you know, just in case there is no food to be found elsewhere for the whole 9 nights... maybe there are no grocery stores where we are going (ha ha - it's not like we are going to that Sandy Point campground in the middle of nowhere Alberta - we will be just down the road from a few grocery stores!).


For the first night Carm is going to get us set up at the campground and then leave me for the night as Ruth is coming for a girls night! Yeah hurrah. To that end I played around with cocktails this morning. I have bottles and bottles of ancient booze that I'd like to use up, so I started looking for a recipe for Pernod (I have 1 1/2 bottles!). GAGSPEWGASPYUCK straight, tried mixing it with some ice water BLECH, added a bit of lemon juice PUKE... back into the cupboard it went (for what I'm not sure, but maybe I'll find a great recipe for some dessert thing). After that I was a bit too queasy to try anything more, but I do have some Blue Curacao that I could make something with. I'll have to google that and do some more tests... after I've got something in my stomach. I'd love to make some mojitos, but I don't have the mint to muddle. Maybe I'll just stick with lemon water, but Ruth and I do have a bit of a history of downing a few too many!

20120910_book_001I've started re-reading the Kristen Lavransdatter books, starting with "The Bridal Wreath". Oh my. I had forgotten how hard a read they are. It is a series of 3 books written by Sigrid Undset about life in Norwary in the 1300s. That alone is interesting, but what brings it even more to life for me is that some of the books are set in Skjenna! Yes, the very one that I wrote about just last week. I'll share details when I get there.

"There is no man nor woman, Kristen, who does not love and fear God, but 'tis because our hearts are divided twixt love of God and fear of the devil and fondness for the world and the flesh, that we are unhappy in life and death. For if a man had not any yearning after God and God's being, then should he thrive in hell, and 'twould be we alone who would not understand that there he had gotten what his heart desired. For there the fire would not burn him if he did not long for coolness, nor would he feel the torment of the serpents' bite, if he knew not the yearning after peace."

The other night when I was in bed a screeching howl broke the silence. Chills ran down my spine but I knew it wasn't some other-worldly creature, but instead was a fisher. If you've never heard one just imagine the sound of vampires strangling little girls, there is no sound like it. I searched around on the internet to find the sound, but never found anything close. I did come across one site that claims some of the calls are really fox calls. There was one (a vixen fox call) that sounded a little bit like it, but it lacked the spine tingling, hair raising aspect. Whatever it is I can see how legends of horror get started.


I've been sickening Carm with all my latest song downloads, that is when I'm not just blaring them directly into my ears (in which case he "gets" to listen to the odd pathetic outburst of singing from me - sometimes the words just blurb out of my mouth - I can't help it). The good news though is the NY/LA ear worm never took hold. Instead I've got a mixture of Crash Test Dummies "Superman", Ella Fitzgerald's "I've Got A Crush on You", and some one else's "I Will Remember You" swirling around in my head. Add in a bit of Twisted Sister ("I'm not Gonna Take It")  for a perfect medley or perhaps muddling madness!

Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Earworms... or A Tune in my Head

20110329_food_010St. Laurent Fruit and Vegetable, our regular place to get produce, has closed. Oh no! It was in such a convenient location and had such great prices that it will be hard to replace. Eating pounds and pounds of vegetables every week makes this one important grocery shopping stop. I'd hate to have to rely on our local store as they really suck in the produce department, not to mention their outrageous prices...


poodles-graphicsfairy012Yesterday, after clipping the poodles (has 6 weeks passed already?), I lounged around surfing for music.  I came across some favourites as well as some music I haven't listened to for so long. Luckily I'm a member of a non-iTunes download site where the songs are just $0.15 - what a deal - and they seem to have everything. I even found the soundtrack for the Leonard Cohen documentary which includes the version of "If it be Your Will" sung by Antony ( I listened to that one over and over again, it is so haunting. Today, with my list of finds in hand, I loaded up my mp3 player.  One genre I'm missing though is Island, or Reggie music. If anyone has suggestions I'd welcome them!


Do you ever get an earworm in your head? You know, the songs that just repeat for days and you just can't shake it? My latest one is Home on the Range, which isn't too bad, but a few years back I got "From New York to LA" by Patsy Gallant ( stuck in my head for WEEKS. I just couldn't shake it. OH CRAP!!! I may have just fed the worm... quick! listen to something else less offensive!

I've done most of the writing for this post on my tablet. Have I said recently how much I love my prune? (Asus TF101 transformer aka productivity unit extraordinaire). It was so awesome to have with me on my trip - it is small, has a great keyboard, reads my camera from a USB, could charge on the airplane via USB, has a lovely touch screen, does a good job with Skype (hi honey), has a regular browser as well as lots of apps, and is just generally awesome. I should get a kickback for all the glowing adverts I do for it, but alas I don't.

“For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart. It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul.” Judy Garland


Antony and the Johnsons - Crazy in Love

I've been surfing around on youtube looking for a song sung by Antony on a Leonard Cohen documentary (If it be Your Will). Once I found it I started listening to some other music by him. This was my favorite - I love his voice, it is like Angels singing in the heavens.

Watch "Antony and the Johnsons - Crazy in love" on YouTube

I guess I'm a bit bored - it is windy and rainy, a perfect day for staying inside -  but a trip to the new texas bbq place should have been undertaken.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Medicine Hat and Beyond


Around Medicine Hat
20120901_medicine-hat_011Sagebrush growing in one of the many parks.
20120901_medicine-hat_021Many steps down from the heights.
20120901_mh-clayworks_011I loved this stool in the Med Alta Pottery museum. So simple and rustic.
20120901_mh-stations-of-the-cross_003This is a clay brick carving by James Marshall. This is one of the 14 stations of the cross.
20120901_medicine-hat_009Police Point Park – one of the many parks in Medicine Hat.


A Present to Me
20120902_necklace_002I got this at Lammle’s Western store. It seemed just perfect as it has the blue western stone, and the “carving” is somewhat Nordic, a little bit like my great-grandfather’s artwork. Mom and Dad got me a silver ring that also has carving on it – I love it! They are both the perfect souvenir to this wonderful trip.


20120903_drumheller_021We are just reaching the point where we descend a steep hill into the gully. It was an incredible view from here.




Calgary and Beyond
20120903_calgary-airport-horses_003This is a great statue, unfortunately a bunch of kids were sitting right against it with all of their luggage – couldn’t they have found a better place to sit where they didn’t block the whole statue? They did move some of their stuff back a bit when it was clear that we wanted to take some photos…
The next few photos don’t really need captions, except to say they were taken as we were ascending into the heavens over Calgary.



Ah, there are so many things betwixt heaven and earth of which only the poets have dreamed! Friedrich Nietzsche