Thursday, October 31, 2013

It Felt Good

The rain poured down and the wind lashed at the house, but we were cosy inside with lights blazing as I clipped the poodles. I’m never sure if they are keen or not, but they do seem perkier at the end of the cut (relief that it is over I suppose!).


DSCN4150 DSCN4152

After I was done I went online to find out how to make felt – surely poodle hair had to be good for something! As it turns out it supposedly felts well… but we shall see. I messed around for a while with one technique – another technique requires a few things that I didn’t have on hand. A black circle of Bella’s hair is drying now, but I don’t think I worked it enough to make it really tough.

Supper tonight was a wrap that took me over ONE HOUR to make! Seriously, an hour. Carm gave it a 5/5 so I guess it was worth it. The grill got a total workout with zucchini, red peppers, portabella mushrooms, tofu and mango (yes, mango). I was trying to formulate a replacement for chicken shwarma so used tons of garlicky hummus, pickles, and even jalapeño peppers. All of this was assembled on whole grain tortillas. They were YUM.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~  Edgar Allan Poe

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Half Smiling… again… remember this time!

As we entered the hay field this afternoon we could see that Spike had found something by the focused way he was looking at the ground. We got closer, but as soon as we were within grabbing distance he was outta there… with a mouse tail hanging out of his mouth….

Gross! And what immediately came to mind was the time Bella swallowed one whole, and then barfed it up in the living room – DISGUSTING! I can deal with straight puke, but dead animals in the puke… lets just say that I was close to puking myself.


With a re-enactment of that in my mind I knew we had to get it away from Spike. Luckily I had stuck a few hotdog treats in my pocket before we left the house. And luckily, he has a pretty good recall if I use the right words, so over he came, mouse in mouth. I quickly grabbed his jaws and pryed them open for the mouse to fall out, and then gave him his treat. Carm took the mouse by the tail and flung it into the trees. Another treat to distract and it seems that he forgot all about his most recent killing spree.

Which brings up the question: would he have swallowed it if it had still been alive and moving? Or do they make sure they are motionless? Questions that don’t really bear thinking about!  (I found it interesting that he dug his rat toy out of the toy box later in the afternoon!)

While I was outside and walking past the trailer I had the thought that if we were a bit more footloose and fancy free we could just load up the camper and head to Myrtle Beach and Charleston. Wouldn’t that be a blast.

Alas, we have responsibilities, not the least of which is Grace.


By my calculation, we could be there at the end of 3 medium days (8am to 3pm). There is a state park nearby that is apparently quite nice. And beaches that the dogs could run on. Certainly we wouldn’t be having days at the beach like we did at Pancake Bay, but it would be fun none-the-less. Looking at the map shows me that we could spend a few days in Washington seeing the sights. No doubt that with a little research we would find lots to see and do.

I was looking through my blog for the Butternut Squash Risotto recipe (didn’t find it), when I came across a long forgotten post about half smiling. I’m including it again as a reminder as I have been practicing more of a half frown lately… I like the idea of hanging a branch or something as a reminder.

'Half smiling' mindfulness exercises by Thich Nhat Hahn

Half-smile when you first wake up in the morning

Hang a branch, any other sign, or even the word "smile" on the ceiling or wall so that you see it right away when you open your eyes. This sign will serve as your reminder. Use these seconds before you get out of bed to take hold of your breath. Inhale and exhale three breaths gently while maintaining the half smile. Follow your breaths.

Half-smile during your free moments

Anywhere you find yourself sitting or standing, half-smile. Look at a child, a leaf, a painting on the wall, anything which is relatively still, and smile. Inhale and exhale quietly three times. Maintain the half smile and consider the spot of your attention as your own true nature.

Half-smile while listening to music

Listen to a piece of music for two or three minutes. Pay attention to the words, music, rhythm, and sentiments. Smile while watching your inhalations and exhalations.

Half-smile when irritated

When you realize you're irritated, half-smile at once. Inhale and exhale quietly, maintaining the half smile for three breaths.


Art is the stored honey of the human soul, gathered on wings of misery and travail. ~ Theodore Dreiser



Monday, October 28, 2013

Habitual Nourishment - Week One – again…

The week has been good. I’m feeling better and more energetic.

I was having a lot of acid reflux over the summer, sometimes to the point of almost throwing up. Not good. I was pretty sure it was my crummy eating habits and it seems I was right, as I haven’t had any since the second day in. The crazy thing is that I knew this was the case, yet kept eating the culprits anyway. I’m pretty sure that wheat and sugar are what cause the problem, and that is a cumulative sort of thing. So I’ve cut out all the wheat, most grains, and of course sugar that doesn’t come directly from a plant. And it goes without saying – no processed foods. (oh, I cheated on Sat and had a slice of homemade whole-wheat flax bread – no reflux).

That pretty much leaves me eating a plant-based, whole foods diet, which isn’t hard once you’ve got some recipes and get over having meat as the star of the meal.

Wednesday we had supper at my parents. With the smell of roast beef and yorkshire pudding cooking it really tested my resolve. I’m pleased to say that I didn’t slip up at all, and wasn’t all that tempted to – perhaps just the right frame of mind! I did bring my own supper – roasted brussels sprouts and sweet potato spiced up with a bit of hot sauce; oranges for dessert. I was actually quite delicious!

No cravings again Thursday, but I did succumb to a glass of bubbles that a friend brought over (oops!). I started the day with a green smoothie, lunch was some leftover lentil soup and a mixed baby green salad with chickpeas and a grilled portabella mushroom – FULL!

To add some omega 3s I add some ground flax to my smoothie everyday, and to boost it a bit I allow myself some fish every week or two, so Saturday night we had salmon with green beans and brown rice. Yum. Carm had picked up a few bottles of bubbles at Vintages so we tried one of those to see if we should get some more (they only carry things for a week or two).

I read an article (1, 2) that suggests that there may be a correlation between low Omega 3s and Parkinson's. They didn’t have any hard facts to support it, but since they are supposed to be good for mental illness, I’m back to trying to swallow those giant pills. We have a friend with Parkinson’s and it isn’t nice.


The secret of getting ahead is getting started
Mark Twain


Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
Oct 20 (0) 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 (-3) 28 29 30 31    


= good day  = a small diversion from Eat to Live   = oh, oh (#) total pounds lost

I try to keep to a whole foods, plant-based diet based on ‘Eat to Live’ by Joel Fuhrman M.D.. Nutritional information is from . I use this tool to help me to see the foods I require to get all my nutrition. I don’t use it to count calories.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Compulsion to Clear

The zoomies continued into Sunday, including a little burst in the middle of the night. The compulsion to organize is usually an indication that I'm either about to become hypo manic, or already there. I feel okay though, so I'm hoping it is just pre hibernation tidying and purging. I wish I could conjure up this energy to get things organized, but unfortunately it comes of its own volition. Today I got the rest of our bathroom done, and then moved on to the guest bathroom. Done!

I tried a new recipe tonight that I adapted from one I found on the internet: Roasted Sweet Pota
to & Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries & Pecans (and some salty tofu). Carm gave it a 3 1/2 out of 5 which isn't a bad score, but I think it I could do better. Next I'll make a spicy cranberry sauce as it was a bit dry - that should bump it up to a 4 or even a 5.

Happy Tails!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Home is where the Head Rests

It may have been dark and rainy today, but I was in the mood to clean up and throw out! I tackled under the kitchen sink on the island, and our bathroom cupboards. It felt good to get rid of all those old, almost empty bottles of cleaners and lotions. I hope the mood continues into tomorrow!

Aside from that there hasn't been much going on. We had friends over on Thursday night; Ruth came and picked up Cato and Bailey on Friday (we miss their cheerful chatter); we picked up the truck from the service garage; and I've done lots of cooking (all ETL). I wanted to pick some of the apples off our trees today, but with the wind blowing a gale, and intermittent rain, we just didn't get out there. Perhaps tomorrow. I even pick some of the wormy ones as I toss those into Grace's cage for her to tear apart.

Does anyone else watch Dr. Who? Space channel is having a review of all 11 from the past. Strange.


When I was looking for todays quote, this one by Laura Ingalls Wilder caught my attention. Home is a word dense with meaning. For me, home is either here at the house, or when we are camping, the trailer/villetta/camper. So when we are out and I say something about "when we get home", it means something different depending on where we'll go to sleep that night.

It caught my mind also because of the Dr. Who connection - the Tardis, his home that is smaller on the outside than the inside, is sort of like our villetta. You may recall that we thought that we'd call the camper Tardis II.

Home is the nicest word there is. ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Two Can Almost Tango

We learnt the basic steps to the Tango on Tuesday night – it was fun and we were able to catch on to the steps quickly, despite my serious case of brain fog. We didn’t even step on each others feet all the time (just a bit). At the beginning of the class we reviewed the samba, and I’ll be honest, I just can’t seem to get the step right. It has to be done with bent knees, and there is this little flex movement that feels awkward. More practice required!

Yesterday… we did the first steps of putting the camper to bed – boo hoo. Everything that can freeze has been brought into the house. Plus, I went through the cupboards that I can’t get to when the slides are closed to make sure to get anything out that I might want later. And I removed everything that might attract mice.

We blew out the water lines yesterday, and today we ran some rv anti-freeze (non-toxic) through the lines. There are also a few holes that I stuffed with steel wool to hopefully block ingress by mice.

Our visitors are doing well, although they are probably missing the hands on attention they are used to getting. With all the running around yesterday, and then running off to my parent’s for supper (where we met up with Uncle Ken and his son Jeff with his family), they barely got out of their cages. Grace is used to that sort of neglect.



Cato and Bailey are pretty darn cute little avians with charming personalities. Carm likes them because they don’t attack him like Grace does!



The sincere friends of this world are as ship lights in the stormiest of nights. ~ Giotto di Bondone

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Birdie Guests

This morning we welcomed Grace’s “cousins” Cato and Bailey to our home for a few days. They are offspring from our Timneh African Greys (a different sub-species from Grace, she’s a Congo) – Cato was the first Grey hatched in the house.

The first clutch came with me to work for hand-feeding. At that stage in their lives they were quiet and unobtrusive – not many people even knew they were there with me in my office. I can still picture Cato looking up at me with her big dark eyes from under my desk. Since they were with me 24/7 I developed quite an attachment to them, especially Cato who was the oldest and most precocious. I was devastated when Ruth picked her. Of course it has turned out well, as I didn’t really lose a bird, but instead made a really good friend.

Our guests settled in right away, it wasn’t long before they were both digging into their dishes to finish their breakfast.

The photos below aren’t of Cato and Bailey – they are some of their brothers and sisters from different clutches. The three Amigos were cuties.



For supper we all (birds included) shared bowls of homemade soup: lentils, summer squash, kale, red pepper, onion, pesto, sirracha. Yum! I should have gotten a photo of Bailey stuffing himself with squash.  Grace wanted me to tip the spoon to feed her like a baby – which doesn’t work so well with a soup spoon! She looked a bit like the babies above.

I was listening to music this afternoon when the Doobie Brothers “Old Black Water” started playing. I was immediately wisked back in time to the summer between grade 7 and 8, I guess I would have been 12 or 13. My friend Robin (from Rainbow Ridge riding place) had a little party in her basement. I can almost feel the nubby fabric on the old sofa; a table was set up with soft drinks and chips; the lights were dim (or is it the memory that is dim!); and of course music was playing. I even think I had a boyfriend there, but I can’t remember his name. Gotta love those time travel songs!


Whether it's the best of times or the worst of times, it's the only time we've got. ~ Art Buchwald

Habitual Nourishment - Green Smoothies

A good start to the day that leaves me feeling energized!



The blender had trouble with today’s smoothie, too many big chunks. I’ll have to do some more chopping tomorrow!


Note that these are not flavour sensations… they don’t taste horrible, but they aren’t milkshakes either, but knowing that they are so nutritious I never have difficulty drinking them.

Also, frozen blueberries are a good addition, but unfortunately turn the smoothie into a gross brownish colour. So I save my blueberries for something else! In fact, today I’m going to try making “icecream” with blueberries, chia seeds, and almond milk. I’ll let you know tomorrow how it worked out.


Maybe we need to re-engage our smart, energetic youth around the world to be farmers and find fresh, green technologies that will feed the world more fresh greens.  ~ Ellen Gustafson

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Our Trees all Topped

We are back home, or I should say back at the house home. The prediction of rain all day yesterday didn’t pan out so we had an easy breakdown and were on the road fairly early. We were greeted by a beautiful rose on one of our bushes! What a surprise this time of year.


We are really glad we had taken a chance on the weather forecast those last 4 wonderful days! It didn’t rain during the day at all, and only rained a bit overnight 2 of the nights. The forecast had called for rain every day.

So here it is Saturday – we are done camping for the year - I feel discombobulated and at loose ends. I’d love to go for a walk, but not on the speeding traffic roads that are around the house.  I guess a walk around the property would have to do. Unfortunately, it wasn’t going to help my mood any.

Before we left on our latest trip, the Ontario Power Corp were by to tell us they’d be cutting down some trees. Carm talked with they guy about our slow growing spruces that are along the power lines, but hardly under them. It would be decades, if ever, before they would interfere. Only a few might need trimming.

Well… we came home one day to find most of the trees on that stretch “topped”. They had come and cut the tops off of many of our beautiful trees!!!!! Even the trees in the next row were impacted. I couldn’t speak, and can still barely think about it. OPC was so heavy handed in what they “pruned” or cut down – I can’t think of a nice word to say…


A few of the trees barely brush the fence at the bottom; the fence is several feet from being underneath the lines. The trees would have to be 100’ tall before they’d be close to the lines. Oh my gosh – It makes me so mad – I’m getting myself all worked up about it again.



Usually when I sit down to write my blog I find so much to write about, even if there was nothing in my mind to start. Not so today, but as I was sitting here the file directory was open in the window next to my blog writer – I decided to randomly open one photo to paste here.


This is a photo of Petra, one of our foals. She was our first filly, and I had every intention of keeping her for our breeding program. She had everything: a good temperament, she was so easy going; athleticism; good conformation; and good bloodlines. Oh rats – I didn’t pick a good topic, it just leads my thoughts into why I didn’t keep her and all of those depressing memories… Not Helpful Today! (but it is cool photo so I’ll leave it at that!)

I watched a bit of “The Hobbit” last night as it was on the movie channel. It seemed more childish this watch, but there are still many great moments.

“Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.” Gandalf ~ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Life is but a dream

It has been a slightly more typical October the last few days - still warm, but more overcast, and today it is windy with the odd rain shower, and even sunny periods. Still nice to be camping!

I've been taking the dogs down the road to the group camping areas. It is a nice walk that I can make it as long as I want to. This morning I met Trudie and Leo (camping across the road from us) at group camping area 1 - they had been there yesterday and discovered 2 heritage apple trees begging to be picked.

The deer had eaten all the low hanging fruit so Leo tucked the truck up against the tree so we could shake it. It didn't take long before we had a good bag full of russet apples - tart and firm. The next tree was some sort of red apple, also tart and firm. Both are good cooking apples; I think I'll put some in tonight’s supper.

The group camping area is along the river and is an open, grassy area, dotted with large shade trees. Really pretty. There was a little beachy area that would be good for swimming with the dogs. I’ll hope for some unoccupied periods next summer so we can spread our beach towels. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me as it was spitting a bit of rain when I left the camper.

Carm left this morning for his dentist appointment, and to have a visit with his mother. It is a long drive for him, but it is worth it to have these few extra days of camping! (I hope he feels the same way)

Last night at dance class we learned the Samba. I think we can practice this one in the trailer - if we can remember the steps.

Row, row, row your boat

Gently down the stream.

Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,

Life is but a dream.

I lie in bed beside my little sister, listening to the singing in the yard. Life is transformed, by these voices, by these presences, by their high spirits and grand esteem, for themselves and each other. My parents, all of us, are on holiday. The mixture of voices and words is so complicated and varied it seems that such confusion, such jolly rivalry, will go on forever, and then to my surprise—for I am surprised, even though I know the pattern of rounds —the song is thinning out, you can hear the two voices striving.

Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, Life is but a dream.

Then the one voice alone, one of them singing on, gamely, to the finish. One voice in which there is an unexpected note of entreaty, of warning, as it hangs the five separate words on the air.

Life is. Wait. But a. Now, wait. Dream.

~ Alice Munro, The Moons of Jupiter

Monday, October 14, 2013

Sunshine is Music at the UC Bird Sanctuary!

It rained on and off through the night, and when we woke up the sky was a dark grey. We'd been thinking that we might camp a few nights at the UC Bird Sanctuary (UCBS), but gosh, it was so grey...

Either way we had to pack up and vacate our site so we got busy and were out by noon and in line for the dump station. It was a reasonably long line up as today is the last day for all but the Bird Sanctuary, plus it was the end of a long weekend to boot. As we were finishing up at the dump station we could see tiny bits of blue in the sky. It wasn't long before there were huge blocks of blue sky. It was sunny again!

That cinched it and off we went, down the highway and then the long washboard road to the campground. We stopped in at the registration office to get the list of open sites and then drove around picking our spot. By 2 pm we were sitting in the sun, shading our eyes with our hands :-)


Minutes later the little kids from next door were over (for the first of two visits) with their dad to see the dogs, and to their delight, Grace. She was a big hit and even whistled a bit to further entertain.



Unfortunately it seems these kids have one of those mini motorized atvs and were driving across the grass and along the road. Those things are NOISY!!! They have a loud, high pitched whine that grates on the nerves... and the decibel level increases exponentially when driven on gravel. This was not our idea of an idyllic afternoon in the sun ... With any luck it has a weak battery ;-) And maybe their sound system will crash as well.



I escaped to take the dogs for a walk while Carm set up the "dish" - it was a long shot through the trees (somewhat like Gas City Campground in Medicine Hat) but he did it. And better still without my help. Although he did have the help of the pretty young mother... hummmm.


The park is pretty and has some nice walking areas. The down side is that these areas are far from the camper. It will be a long walk first thing in the morning to get the dogs away from campsites - as they are desperate to pee! Apparently the park is also crawling with deer and other wild critters - hang on tight!


Music is sunshine. Like sunshine, music is a powerful force that can instantly and almost chemically change your entire mood. Music gives us new energy and a stronger sense of purpose. ~ Michael Franti

One might also say that sunshine is like music.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

precious as autumn sunshine

As incredible as it may seem, the weather for the last two days has continued to be outstanding. It was up to 22C today and sunny. Another shade seeking day, Hurrah!

I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air. ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

This morning we were scheduled to meet up with Trudie & Leo at the buffet brunch at the Mac. I ended up skipping out as I wasn't feeling all that great after eating a big steak dinner the night before - no wine involved!

I did get up in time to make them coffee when they returned just after 11. From there Carm and I went to the flea market for bargain haircuts, Canadian Tire to see if there was anything good on sale (there wasn't).

The rest of this incredible afternoon was spent catching some sunshine, and visiting with people in neighboring campers. I'm beginning to wonder if it isn't just a little easier to meet up with people without our fancy fence... I'm conflicted - it is great not to tie the dogs up, but it is also nice to wander out to the road to talk with passers by.

We watched a program on CNN with an interview of Malala, the young Pakistani girl that was shot by the Taliban - what an incredible young woman. Despite, or perhaps because of, the attack on her life she has a resolve and an insight rarely seen in adults, let alone a 16 year old. I think that her attitude towards life as she overcomes her injuries can be an inspiration to us all.

I raise up my voice – not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard. ~ Malala Yousafzai,

Friday, October 11, 2013

A story is not like a road to follow

I was pleased to hear that Alice Monroe, a Canadian author, won the Nobel Prize in Literature yesterday! Coincidentally, I read " The Moons of Jupiter", a book of short stories written by her, over the summer and liked it so much that I'm reading it again. I foresee that I'll read it yet again - the third time paying more attention to the grammar, her sentence structure - the mechanics of writing. Then it will be a trip to the bookstore for something else by her.

I love short stories, especially ones that are about the human condition. They don't have to have much going on in them, but are best if they delve into character. I think it takes a particularly skilled author to write a good short story as every word counts - there is no room for superfluous language.

I have a dream that through the rereading of her stories I will somehow become imbibed with a grain of her talent. A girl can dream...

We had a really cool sunset last night while we were eating supper. It looked almost other worldly.


Carm couldn't join me on our walk this morning, so since the dogs have been somewhat bad (squirrels are everywhere), I put them on their prong collars. Immediately their behaviour changed and were fun to walk again. We stopped to talk to a few people, so I explained the benefits of these ugly collars - the main one being that they get a correction at exactly moment that they pull, and every single time, consistently. FYI - if we are just standing around talking, they do sometimes lean into the collar so it mustn't be that uncomfortable.


I had the pleasure of a visit from Jo Ellen and Don this afternoon. We sat around and enjoyed the sun, the views, and each others company. Oh yeah – October 11th and a high of 21. Wowzers!


A story is not like a road to follow … it's more like a house. You go inside and stay there for a while, wandering back and forth and settling where you like and discovering how the room and corridors relate to each other, how the world outside is altered by being viewed from these windows. And you, the visitor, the reader, are altered as well by being in this enclosed space, whether it is ample and easy or full of crooked turns, or sparsely or opulently furnished. You can go back again and again, and the house, the story, always contains more than you saw the last time. It also has a sturdy sense of itself of being built out of its own necessity, not just to shelter or beguile you.” ~ Alice Munro

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Summer Afternoon

Here it is October 10th at 1pm and I'm sitting outside in shorts, happy to find a spot of shade. I've got a glass of icy lemon water beside me, and the satellite 70s music channel is playing. Life is good.

We moved sites this morning, just across the camp road, to our preferred site for the spring and fall. It gets full, blazing sun from morning to evening. It also has a lovely view of the water - I'm looking at the fall colours reflected. Serene.


We were lazy with our homemaking this trip and didn't set up the fence – I’m already sick of moving the dogs around to follow the shade so I just put them inside. The fence does make things much easier...

The chorus of John Denver's song comes to mind:
Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy
Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry
Sunshine on the water looks so lovely
Sunshine almost always makes me high

later in the day

I just read my email to find out that we could have had visitors today – that would have made a perfect day, even more perfect (can I say perfecter?).


Last night we had an invite to Burt and Susan's campfire. So after a supper of crab ravioli with a homemade tomato/red pepper sauce, and a side salad of arugula and pear with a Dijon maple dressing, we walked next door.

The fire was beautiful, and we had a congenial evening. The down side? Every little bit of me smelled like campfire… which even woke me up in the middle of the night – washing my hair at 2am seemed like it would be a good idea (I didn’t). It was as bad as the olden days when people smoked everywhere.



Summer afternoon, summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language. ~ Henry James

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Back, break, 1 an 2 an 3 an 4

After a long walk in the park (where I took all the tree photos in this post), I sat outside reading and watching the ships float by. With the sky reflected so clearly in the calm waters they looked like they were floating on air.



The sun shining into the camper yesterday woke up all the Japanese beetles (they look like lady bugs but bite!). We captured/vacuumed up over 170 of the little orange invaders. We had an infestation! Thank goodness they weren't spiders or ticks - I would have been totally creeped out at that!



Last night at dance class we learned the Triple Swing. It is a complicated series of steps that one of us couldn't get right. It seems that Carm had put his two left feet shoes on... It was fun none the less with lots of laughs. I love this class!

As the instructor was showing us the steps I couldn't help but remember Monty Python's skit, "The Ministry of Silly Walks", cause surely that's what our teacher was showing us. I wasn't able to keep a straight face, but at least I didn't burst out laughing. This dancing stuff is pretty funny if you look at it the right (wrong?) way!

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns. ~ George Eliot

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Last Trip to Riverside for 2013

The sun is shining down on us after a few days of heavy rain. In fact the forecast for the rest of the week has sun for every day. We are camping – making the most of the last few days that the campgrounds are open. We feel pretty lucky :-)


Saturday and Monday were spent with family as Carm’s brother’s wife’s mother passed away last week. The whole family gathered around for the afternoon wake – all 11 of us (and I may have missed counting someone). They are not a quiet bunch… there weren’t too many other people there, mostly just Tammy’s family so perhaps the emptiness was filled just a bit by their presence. Certainly Tammy must have felt supported by her extended family.

Monday was the funeral and church service. I though I might write a bit about that, but realized that my atheist views might offend – and I don’t want to press my views onto others. Suffice it to say that if I were wanting to turn to the church, I would first investigate Buddhism. I am more interested in the spiritual life than by living by a bunch of archaic rules. I’ve read some books about people who have gone that direction and the beliefs seem to be more close to my own. One quote that particularly moved my was “God is in you, God is you”. It is certainly up for interpretation, but I took it to mean that we must find within ourselves our own peace. Which is relevant to me as I live my life with illness.

Either that or I’d just find my solace in Nature. And maybe start worshipping Mother Earth!

This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness. ~ Dalai Lama


I was reading an article by a couple that had travelled to Myanmar (was Burma). They had taken a luxury cruise through part of the country with stops to visit the attractions of the area. As I read through the article I thought that this would be a wonderful way to view a country like this… and then they talked about eating their scrumptious breakfast and seeing the people on the shore with their oxen and donkeys. It suddenly struck me that there was something terrible about travelling in such luxury through a country filled with desperately poor people. It just seemed so wrong.

On a lighter note: I am loving my “griddler”! I’ve grilled “tons” of zucchini, some squash, lots of red peppers, green beans, mushrooms, and of course all of those ingredients sometimes make their way onto pannini sandwiches – yum! I’ve actually taken the bbq off the camper and will use the grill for the annual steak as well. It is just so easy to use, easy to clean, and does a bang up job on vegetables :-)

We had our “neighbours”, Bert and Susan, over for a glass of wine last night. They also have a Titanium that they love. We first met them years ago, and run into them regularly. It is fun to catch up on each other’s trips and troubles (cause you may have already guessed, an RV is a house that goes through hours of earthquake every time you drive, shaking the s&(# out of everything!)

I think I mentioned that last time we camped there were people talking down on those that aren’t outside all the time… well… it is 12:30pm with a strong shining sun and where are we? Inside! I guess we are inside dwellers. I do have the sun shining on my face though. We’ll sit outside for a while this afternoon – after we have our club sandwich at the Basket Case – and before we go to our dance class!


Religion is the opium of the masses.

Karl Marx

Friday, October 4, 2013

It’s not a Jungle Out There Anymore!

Over the last few years our property has looked more and more like it has been taken over by triffids… The trees have grown in and in some cases even reseeded themselves – wherever we looked was a jungle of green.

Well, no more! My friend Christina, (with horticultural credentials), walked the yard with me last week, giving advice about what to cut  and where.  Carm was with us and agreed on the plan. Step one accomplished.

Step two was harder to initiate. We had already done a few days of avoidance but we wanted to get it done (eventually). I didn’t feel like doing anything yesterday (more malaise), but made myself go out with Carm to trim just a branch or two. It wasn’t long before the chainsaw was out and Carm was slashing his way through our jungle. I pulled huge branches and halves of trees off to our giant brush pile. I should have gotten a photo of that – it is now about 7’ tall and at least 20’ x 30’ – good thing we have 30 acres!

All in all we cut down 4 trees, 1/2 of two others, and branches from several more. The bushes that we cut down will regrow next spring, rejuvenated by their hair cuts, but the trees will be no more.

Next spring we intend on pulling out one of the shrubs and replacing it with something with more colour, maybe a red shrub. Does anyone have any  suggestions for a shrub that doesn’t get too big?

Before: trees blocking the house completely.


After: Hummm… from this viewpoint it doesn’t look like all that much changed! Oh wait – there’s the house!





“… When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.

A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one's suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother.

So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.”
Hermann Hesse, Bäume. Betrachtungen und Gedichte

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Autumn Colours

Learning the Waltz at dance class was fun on Tuesday. I had been feeling kind of glum the last few days and didn’t want to go (or do anything for that matter), thankfully the atmosphere of the class had me laughing in no time. First we practiced last weeks dance, the Fox Trot. One lady said that we were looking so smooth and made the dance look romantic. I don’t know about that, but we were having fun!

After that we journeyed to the Bierstube for Vashek’s birthday.


Wednesday I still didn’t feel like doing much so we packed up to go to Ikea and also pick up the cars new snow wheels and tires. The trees along the 417 were resplendent with colour.



We raced through Ikea, not taking the time to look at all their displays - we had two things in mind: look at their sofas (we want a new one for the camper, but it has to be 68” or less); and take a quick look at the comforter covers as the one we have tossed over the camper bed is looking threadbare.

The current one on the camper is a long retired Laura Ashley pattern that I purchased in Syracuse about 20 years ago. It has done duty as a coverlet on our house bed for most of that time, but moved out to the camper when we got the king sized bed a few years ago. I LOVE that pattern – even after all these years I haven’t gotten sick of it, and it still makes me happy to see it. DSCN3973

Alas… we now have drab beige…


20131002_131623-ikea-lunchOf course while we were at Ikea (conveniently over lunch time), we had to avail ourselves of the $2.99 lunch special: 2 pieces of haddock fish with fries – not a green to be seen…unless you count the electric green coleslaw.



The tire pickup was uneventful, but it is a shame to spend so much money for so little fun!

DSCN3980 DSCN3981

It might be the time of year with its receding light, or maybe letdown from our trip, but fall can be a low time of year for me… not to worry though, it is all part of the up and down cycle of being bipolar, or so I keep reminding myself. But… I look at my new mug, and cry ; look at the beautiful leaves, and cry ; stand in the warm sun, and cry… you get the picture. But STOP – don’t feel sorry for me… that’s not the purpose. I wasn’t going to share, but others might be going through the same thing – so for them: don’t give up, just get up and get out there and do your best, fake it if you have to... that is the only way to get into the sun again.


Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.

Albert Camus