Saturday, May 31, 2014

Rally Day 3 - A FAN tastic time

The day started much the same as the others have, minus one walk around the back 40 - we were all feeling a bit lazy after having been up so late last night. Once we got back we took our coffees outside and sipped them in the morning sun. It wasn't long before we were talking with Steve who was on his way to Bob & Ann's for coffee. Ann stuck her head around the camper and shouted for us to come and join them as well. I don't know how long we were there, but the conversation flowed and there was much laughter. Again it was an interesting group of people. Bob and Ann are retired dairy farmers from south western Ontario, while Steve is a trucker, and his wife Henny just retired from the Food Inspection Agency. They live just around the corner from Bob and Ann.

I love how everyone is from such diverse walks of life.

Carm and I finally deeked out for a trip to Costco (our second time there already this trip). I wanted some muffins or squares to take with me when I go over for coffee tomorrow - I don't like to come empty handed. We also need some 9v batteries to replace the one we had scrounged off somebody a few days ago.

To continue my theme from the other day about stuff needing fixing... our bedroom fan stopped working. We thought it might be the battery in the remote (yes, even the fan is remote control!), and sure enough that was the problem, or at least one of the problems...

The other problem we were having was that we could  get the dome to open, but then it would immediately close. Well, shoot. We NEED the dome/fan to work as it is in the bedroom, and that is where we put the dogs when we go out. Without the fan going, well, lets just say there are 3 dogs in a very small space... We mentioned the problem to Bob this morning, and he said that he had a similar problem, but that it went away once he got on the roof and cleaned the rain sensors (the dome will close automatically if it rains). Dooh! Why did we not think of that! Of course the problem was resolved.

Many of the rally folk were off on a tour of Boldt Castle today, so the afternoon was spent quietly reading and napping, and visiting with passers-by. Late in the afternoon, after a visit with Erik and Jackie, we roused ourselves enough to take the dogs for their walk. On the way back we stopped at John and Judy's place to say hello, and before we knew it, icy margaritas were in our hands (note: holding 3 dog leashes and a drink is a feat of coordination, especially since we were basically standing in some mud). Their place is action central so we ended up  staying till well past 6, enjoying the company of all the people dropping by.

I wanted to be sure to reciprocate with Judy so set up a time for her to come to my place for a visit - but then the dilemma rose its ugly head - who else do I invite? I don't have room/wine/chairs/glasses for more than 4 or 5 so can't invite everyone. A conundrum.

It was another beautiful day with sunny skies and warm, but not hot temperatures.

Supper was quick, with just enough time to write some of the blog before it was time to slather ourselves with bug spray and head to the campfire. Time passed quickly there, and now, here I am, just after 10pm, exhausted and ready for bed... and without my editor again... I think he's talking politics with an American - I might not see him tonight at all!

I should note that my blog writing is all being done on my tablet, hence the lack of photos. Also, I'm writing it throughout the day and I don't always get it to flow right as I add the bits. But since the main purpose is so that I can refresh my memory next year I'm not stressing about it too much ;-)

“He who is different from me does not impoverish me - he enriches me. Our unity is constituted in something higher than ourselves - in Man... For no man seeks to hear his own echo, or to find his reflection in the glass.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Friday, May 30, 2014

Rally Day 2 - it's a Mystery

Today started off much like yesterday with an early  walk. I was quite smug as the dogs were behaving very well on leash... until... a squirrel ran out right under their noses. They stood without pulling for maybe 5 seconds, and then charge! They can pull REALLY hard in a harness, so I switched the leashes over the the ring at the front of the harness so they couldn't pull quite so hard. Luckily the rest of the walk went well so my arms are back to normal length.

After Carm was up and we had a coffee then we all went out again. I really wished I had my camera with me as there were a few gaggles of geese with dozens of little goslings. The light across the still lake was perfect for some really nice shots. I'll be sure to sling the camera over my shoulder the next time out, but of course all the variables are unlikely to add up :-/

Later in the morning we had Bob over for a coffee. We could hear his wife Ann running the  vacuum so I'll bet he was happy to get away. Later we each wandered around the campground talking to people

Except for a mid-afternoon thunderstorm, the weather today was pretty darn nice: mostly sunny, warm but not hot, with a slight breeze.

We were accompanied by Diane on our afternoon walk to the back 40. We had both thought to get photos of the goslings, but tenters had moved into the area. Hopefully they'll move out at the end of the weekend so we'll get another chance at getting some good photos.

Jim and Diane (another Diane!) were our chauffeurs again tonight, but tonight's destination was the Holiday Inn for a Mystery Theatre dinner. It was a fun romp that spanned the cocktail hour till past dessert. After much laughter,  it turned out I was one of the people that guessed correctly that the young man sitting next to me was the murderer.

One of the wonderful things about the rally is the variety of people that we meet. Tonight was no exception. We've sat with Jim and Dianne many times - he was a systems analyst for Esso, and together they ran an Apple orchard. This wasn't our first time meeting Marilyn and Mark, but it was our first time spending more time than just standing around outside. He was a professor of entomology and as such knew much about monarch butterflies, and bees (and I'm sure many other insects). Marilyn was a math major that became a teacher.

I'll have to ask another Ti member more about the bee problem. Apparently Terry and Sharon have 50 hives. Mark said that the problem is not a simple one of just pesticides, there are also problems with climate, and parasites. The bees that we see so much of are not native to North America, but were imported from Italy. Who knew!

Another great day done... and I'm ready for bed... again with my editor out by the campfire (isn't he socialized out? I know I am.)

“These black times go as they come and we do not know how they come or why they go. But we know that God controls them, as he controls the whole vast cobweb of the mystery of things.” ― Elizabeth Goudge

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Rally Day 1 - Hugs and Hearty Greetings

We got to the rally campground after an uneventful 2 hour drive. After figuring out where the registration was, getting that all squared away, then settling into our site we were ready for a quick lunch to fortify ourselves for visiting.

The weather was overcast, cold and windy, not ideal for standing around outside yacking - we definitely needed jackets. We chatted with the other early arrivals, walked the dogs along the "back 40" road, then settled back inside for supper. Just as we finished up, Mary (the rally organizer), knocked on the door so of course we talked her into coming in for a glass of wine. The rally is off to a good start!

Thursday morning I was up bright and early so leashed up the dogs and went out for a 1/2 hour walk, again in the back 40. It is a pretty walk, through some wild areas, as well as some more groomed grassy fields. We saw lots of critters, which as you can guess, with 160lbs of excited dogs is a challenge. I don't know which is worse: going in different directions; or, using their combined weight to just about drag me off my feet. Luckily I had lots of treats to reinforce good behavior, but next time I will take the time put the harnesses on them! (I suppose it would be better to just train them to behave, but since we don't have that excitement at home, and when we are camping I generally have all 3 at once... well, maybe I'm just lazy!)

By Early afternoon the rigs started rolling in. It was clear right away that being here early was a "good thing". We got to be the ones welcoming people. It was fun re-acquainting with everyone - hugs and happy greetings were the order of the day.  I was glad that my 2 month mood funk had passed (being down makes it almost impossible to socialize).

I even got to be the "dog expert" and remove a tick from a cute little Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (did I mention cute?). Sharon had a new tool called a "tick twister" that was easy to use and did a good job of not squeezing the tick too much. We'll be picking some up for ourselves.

As supper time neared, we made plans with the group to go to Raxx, a rib place with an amazing Thursday night deal. Despite the very slow service, we made it back to the campground in time for the 7:30 campfire. Tonight, the sought after spots were in the smoke, as that was your only chance to get away from the mosquito's... ah, May in Ontario, home of the blackfly and mosquito...

I'm beat, and should sleep well tonight.  (you'll have to exuse any errors - my editor is still out by the campfire!

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow." -Anonymous

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Clouds come floating into my life

We are getting ready to head out the door on our trip to Kingston for the Titanium Rally. The weather here has been good for the last week or more, but this morning – cold, cloudy, and chance of rain! However, it seems that it will only get better, I’m hoping they are right, as the days will be sunny, but not overly warm. Perfect for standing around outside talking (with plenty of sun screen of course!).


This morning I was startled by a loud thunk on the window by my desk. I looked out to see a stunned Oriole on the deck, and another brightly coloured male nearby. Initially we thought it had broken its neck, but a push from the other bird righted it. It sat for a while, and then the other bird attacked (?) again, this time making it fly a little bit. I took my eyes off the pair, and when I looked back they were both gone. Hopefully the little orange creature is okay.

I wondered if they were fighting? Or was the other one “helping” it get going?

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”
Rabindranath Tagore, Stray Birds

Monday, May 26, 2014

It never ends

I stepped into the spare bedroom today, and there in the lilac that grows against the window was a brilliant Oriole. As I was admiring him, a flicker of motion attracted my attention – a hummingbird was also darting about the tree. I was tempted to stretch out on the bed for the morning for some bird watching, but alas, I had a million things to do today.

Let’s see… it was Wednesday when I last wrote and there have been adventures since then.

We have investigated the propane leak, and believe (100%) that it was due to a loose fitting. We’ve aired out the camper, and continue to air it out as the odour seems to have permeated every surface. The smell has reduced considerably, but is not totally gone. We’ve run tests with a new fitting, and can detect no increase of propane smell. Also, the propane detector has not gone off again. On Wednesday, the whole outside area around the camper smelled strongly, as well as inside.

I think we are lucky that we didn’t blow ourselves into the next township… dumb luck I guess. So REMEMBER – if you smell something, the FIRST thing to do is turn off the propane…

Next job, the house’s hot water tank. We changed the thermostat, but that didn’t work, so we called the guy who put in our heat pump. JP has always impressed us with his knowledge, and he’s a helpful guy as well. Over the phone he told Carm what else to check, and sure enough, one of the burners seemed to be finished. With very little help from me, Carm got it changed. It seems to be working now, but we have to do one more test: hot bath, followed by a shower.

More minor household repairs were required – thoughts of full-timing in the trailer stirred in our heads! Although, it seems that we spend more time doing repairs on the trailer than we have on the house!


Saturday was a day of ancestor exploration with my Mom and distant cousin Tanner. We all met at Mom’s house, and piled into her van for a trip to where my great, great, great? grandparents settled when the emigrated from Scotland in the early 1800s. It is a rugged part of the country – we traveled routes they must have frequented - what a difficult life it must have been. They were of hardy stock to live and even flourish.


One of the surprising places we discovered on our quest was a calcium carbonate quarry just outside of Tatlock. Of course we had no idea what all this white rock was, nor what it was for, but some sleuthing on the internet filled us in.


And still the fun wasn’t over for us! Sunday we met up with friends at the old Bierstube, now Sol D’Acapulco, for some good food and laughs.

Meanwhile, today I’ve been cooking, etc to get ready for our next outing. Over the last few days I’ve put much into the freezer: breakfast squares, grilled tofu, cooked brown/red/wild rice, tons of roasted green beans to make sesame lime green beans for the potluck, smoky black bean sweet potato burgers, grilled portabella mushrooms, hotdog treats for the dogs, oh, the list goes on.


“A farmer depends on himself, and the land and the weather. If you're a farmer, you raise what you eat, you raise what you wear, and you keep warm with wood out of your own timber. You work hard, but you work as you please, and no man can tell you to go or come. You'll be free and independent, son, on a farm.” 
~ Laura Ingalls Wilder, Farmer Boy

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

More Noisy Machines and What is that Smell

We got home at around 12:30 pm today - the property looks gorgeous: the leaves on the trees have more fully emerged; the apple trees were just starting their bloom; the hostas had settled into their new homes; the fields looked pastoral. I was ready to get my picnic basket and take it down to the river... except... there is road construction... noisy, dirty road construction.

They are "eating" the pavement, in the aim to eventually repave. It is much overdue so I can't complain, but it seems there is no escape from noisy machines, even in the house with all the windows closed. No escape!!!! Argggh. I will have to work hard on imagining the noise is ocean waves crashing against the shore, or a beautiful rushing river roiling over rocks.

The dogs are exhausted from the camp - when we got home Spike was sitting in his usual spot looking out the window, but he couldn't keep his eyes open, I could see him 1/2 toppling over as he struggled to stay awake.

Later in the afternoon I went out to finish bringing stuff back into the house - hummmm.... something smells funny around the camper. At first I thought it was from the road construction, but it was much stronger around the camper. Got my nose going, but couldn't find a source. Once Carm was finished the grass I got him out to see if he could find anything. We checked all the sources (or so we thought), but couldn't narrow it down. Then, finally, the propane alarm started buzzing. Oh oh. I quickly turned off the tanks and we left the trailer to breathe. There are a few things that we checked that could easily have triggered off a spark... Whew, I guess today was our lucky day. They must have changed the propane smell though, as it didn't smell like it used to, otherwise we would have cued in sooner.

But the day wasn't over yet... we'd been having problems with the house's hot water heater before we left, and absence hadn't fixed it. Carm swapped out the thermostat which seemed to do the trick. Until later in the evening when I went to have a hot bath and found the water cold. Head slap - we'd forgotten to flip the breaker after finishing the work!

And still the day continued... Grace was moving around her cage in an unusual way. She seemed uncomfortable and couldn't find a place to perch. Finally she settled on somewhere and started straining. Alarmed, I jumped up and started looking for a syringe as my only thought of what to do was to syringe water down her throat. I was on my way back from looking in the camper, and there was Carm at the door with a funny look on his face. Grace had passed whatever was ailing her - an egg!

One more comment - spring is truly here and so are legions of mosquitoes - the air is thick with them!

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.  ~Thomas A. Edison

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

they remembered the years of their youth

While Carm set out to ruin a good walk (golf!), I settled in to enjoy a quiet day, or so I thought... As it turned out, by mid morning the din of lawnmowers cutting the acres of grass drowned out the birdsong.


But back to the beginning of my day. It started with me and the dogs going for a good, long walk - only an hour, and nothing like the walks that Merikay goes on, but still pleasant. The campground was almost deserted, Canada geese with their little goslings swam in the water, the sky was clear blue, there was not much wind and the roads were dry!

When we got back I did some clean-up around camp, had my coffee and breakfast - cue the lawnmowers...

When you try to avoid bread and other processed food products it can be difficult to find a quick,  satisfying breakfast. At home I've been having a bit of grilled tofu which is easy to bring on the camper. I make a big batch at a time, and just warm it up in the microwave as we need some. I take a block of tofu (which has been frozen and thawed to change the texture), cut it up into finger sized strips, marinate it for a day, and then grill it on my griddler. A bit time consuming, but then I have a few days worth. Usually I marinate it in some garlic chili sauce, soy sauce, and lemon juice, but this time I tried Frank's Red Hot, for a buffalo wing sort of taste. YUM.

Before we came here I experimented with the chickpea brownie that I've been making. I've already  tweaked it to include no sugar, only fruit to sweeten it, as well as adding 1/2 cup of oatmeal; this time I left out the cocoa and chocolate chips, instead adding cinnamon (2t) and raisons and also an extra 1/2 cup of oatmeal. Since the base is chickpeas they are a healthy, relatively low fat (only 1/2 c peanut butter), breakfast bar with some protein built in. And they even taste okay. They should freeze well also, making it easy to bring an extra batch camping.


Well... it is now just after 1pm and the giant lawnmower is doing the sites around me, and of course my site as well. It is loud and stinky, and putting me in a bad mood... I've been listening to it since 10am... I want my money back for today! I guess it is the price to pay for having all this open, grassy space around us (still makes me cranky). I haven't yet mentioned that a backhoe is doing work just over the water from here. He's banging his bucket and generally making quite a racket as well. I had high hopes for a quiet day as I have been enormously tired for the last few weeks and was sure that a day of peace would fix me up...


By the time Carm got back with his friend John D., the birdsong was finally in the forefront, as the mowing and backhoeing had stopped. We all had a great time catching up - we hadn't seen John for over a decade as he has been travelling and living around the world. He had fascinating stories to share, next time I'll have to tempt him to stay longer.

“While they talked they remembered the years of their youth, and each thought of the other as he had been at another time.” ― John Edward Williams, Stoner

Monday, May 19, 2014

The end of the long weekend

I feel bad for all the working folk - the day has steadily gotten nicer as they have packed up their trailers and headed home so they can go to work tomorrow. That used to be us. It never failed that the last day of the weekend was the nicest day of all.

This morning we got out for our walk as soon as we had a coffee, leaving no chance for procrastination or other interference. The dogs were keen and pulling us down the road a bit, but by the 1/2 way point they were back to being good dogs, and for the last 1/4 both Spike and Kabira were lagging a  bit. Nine year old Bella was still going strong! It has been a long winter of inactivity for them as well.


When we got back to the trailer Carm risked life and limb by getting Grace out of her cage in order to go outside. She tried to bite him, but he managed to distract her. She was anxious to get outside so didn't give it her all ;-) Once we were all settled outside we invited our neighbours Lynne & Rob over for a cup of coffee. Before we knew it a few hours had passed by and it was time to get on with our days. Carm headed to the golf driving range, while I just chilled at camp, enjoying the beautiful weather.





While the dogs demolished some venison bones, I was overcome with the scent of cooking meat. Oh, there is nothing like the smell of meat cooking outside… I thought about the grilled sweet potato and salad that was planned for supper… we ended up deciding to try the Mac Pub burger. Not exactly vegan, but oh, so yummy!


The feeling of Sunday is the same everywhere, heavy, melancholy, standing still. Like when they say, As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.

Jean Rhys

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Bright and Sunny... mostly

Sunday morning Spike had me up at 8am exactly... I'm pretty sure he has a precision clock hidden somewhere. But I could see blue sky through the ceiling vent, so I dragged myself out of bed to take the dogs out for their morning relief. It was sunny, but cold.

After coffee, and a walk to the field we stuck the dogs in the bedroom with some music, and headed to the flea market. I had thought to get my hair cut, but with 3 people ahead of me I decided it could grow a bit more. So we just walked the labyrinth of aisles looking for treasures. I picked up a little white casserole dish with a lid for just $5. One of the outside booths was from a nursery, and as luck would have it he had what I was looking for to put in the front bed. It is a red leafed plant (coral bells, chocolate ruffles) that shouldn't get too big. I have a spot picked out for it.

We were really just killing time until lunch! We had it in our minds to have a club sandwich at the Basket Case - one of the best clubs ever. We were just sitting down and at a table near us saw Manny and his girlfriend. Manny works for the garage (417 AutoTech), that we have been using for close to 25 years. Manny started there about 20 years ago, and has done most of the work on our vehicles since then. It is nice to have a mechanic that you trust. Anyway, we sat with them and enjoyed our lunch. (did I mention that he's a young hottie in a dark, fit, mechanic, that cooks as well, sort of way?)

By the time we picked up a few groceries and got back to the camp the clouds had taken over much of the sky, and the wind had picked up. It felt cold. So we spent another afternoon snugged up inside, only emerging for a short walk for the dogs.  At one point near the supper hour I stepped outside and was "assailed" with the fragrance of meat cooking over fire. Oh my! If the grocery store had been open we would have rushed out for a few steaks. I guess I'll never truly be 100% vegan!

So I guess the day was okay... it certainly could have been worse.

Clouds suit my mood just fine.” ― Marie Lu, Champion

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Norway's Constitution Day

While my relatives celebrated Constitution Day in Norway today, we huddled in the camper. It rained a little bit, but the temperature was low and the wind was high (read cold and blustery). The campground roads were too wet and muddy for much of a walk, so the dogs suffered as well.

So we cocooned ourselves inside our little home away from home, putzing around on our tablets, listening to music and napping. Our little electric fireplace warmed us up and created a cosy glow. The only thing that would have improved our day would have been plates of cookies and cakes to go with our tea. I didn't even have the ingredients to make anything comforting, and Carm didn't think of getting the best buttertarts ever when he dashed to Morrisburg.

We had the 70s music station on the satellite on for much of the day. Song after song played that initiated time travel for either Carm or myself. And if not time travel, a feeling of familiarity that created feelings hard to describe, almost comfort. I haven't heard many of these songs for decades, but they are deep in my memory - often even the words came to the forefront of my mind. Music affects us on such a visceral, almost molecular level.

By 2pm the sun was starting to peek out between the clouds. The campground burst into activity as people emerged from their trailers - bustling about with walks, campfires, horseshoes, fishing, and other activities. We were were not bystanders to this - we quickly harnessed the dogs and put on our shoes. A good hour of walking later we were back at the camper putting out the tablecloth, setting out the plants, and getting Grace's outdoor cage ready for occupation.

Our feathery friend clambered around the cage anxious to go outside, I couldn't open the door fast enough for her. Her outside time lasted about an hour, till the wind picked up making it feel cold again. Grace was ready to go back inside, her feet were cold when I picked her up. Once inside she dug into her food, her appetite spurred from a bit of fresh air.

This morning I lamented that we hadn't purchased a trailer with a king size bed - unlike at home (where we do have one), Spike likes to sleep on the bed with us. He may be cold, or a bit scared - and I'm too much of a softie to send him to the floor. The little bug woke me up at 6am this morning to go outside (Carm didn't even flick an eyelid)... when we got back inside I climbed back into bed and all the dogs followed suit. Every square inch was covered by people and dog - it was cosy... I had made the mistake of turning the fireplace off partway through the  night, so it was cold in the camper - it's no wonder that everyone wanted to cuddle up. Poor Grace though, she was left freezing in the living room by herself.

Do you remember a  while back that we thought we were missing a mouse trap... we found it. Underneath the slide out. Luckily it wasn't lodged somewhere where it would have hacked up our hardwood floor!

Norway’s Constitution Day is celebrated on May 17. It commemorates the date when the nation's constitution was signed at Eidsvoll on May 17, 1814. It is usually referred to as syttende mai (May 17) or Nasjonaldagen (The National Day) in Norwegian. Happy  Constitution day to all my Norwegian relatives and friends!

“The sun,--the bright sun, that brings back, not light alone, but new life, and hope, and freshness to man--burst upon the crowded city in clear and radiant glory. Through costly-coloured glass and paper-mended window, through cathedral dome and rotten crevice, it shed its equal ray.” ― Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Orange you glad to see me

The pitter patter of rain on the roof of the camper is threatening to send me to la la land. It isn't a far trip though as I have been desperately tired for the last several days. I'm hoping that a few days of camping (our first for the year!), will fix me up.

We've had beautiful weather the last several days, even though rain was forecast for most of them. No such luck for today - we did our final prep, the drive, and the entire setup in the rain.

This morning, (hours before we were due to depart), Carm made the mistake of mentioning to the dogs that we were going camping. They leapt about in joy, only to be disappointed as we waited (fruitlessly) for the rain to abate. When I finally got their "camping collars" out, they went crazy, except when it was their turn to get the collar buckled on, then they stood still, stamping their feet in anticipation. I'm pretty sure they were disappointed to be hustled right into the camper without a walk, except Kabira, who asked for her warm outfit just about right away!

Grace was also ready to go. She was on my hand in a flash and ducking into her carrier for the ride, muttering all the way to the truck. The whole family was anxious to get going.

With my head full of cotton wool I was happy to have checklists from last year to refer to. I'm working on a "template" checklist to store in Google tasks - I'm tired of using the one I have in Excel. My bliss.

A flash of orange caught my attention a few days ago. I looked out the window and there was a pair of Orieles on the tree just outside the window. The male was a brilliant tangerine, his mate a more subdued shade of the same colour. Spectacular! As I have gone about my  days I catch sight of them occasionally, although they do seem shy. I doubt that they will stick around  - oh... I just had a memory of Renee, a friend that visited last fall, commenting on nests she thought were Oriele nests, so maybe we'll see more of them!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Montys and Mothers

20140511_091604-property-dandyliAs so often happens on Mother’s Day, the bright yellow faces of the dandelions have burst into bloom. For most of the summer they are unwelcome visitors, but in early May, when everything is bursting into life, they are welcome dots of brightness.


Like some sort of insane mantra, the words "one, two, three, cha cha" are ringing in my head - proof of the amount of practice we've done. We still don't have the sweetheart move down, but it is coming, step by step.  I've been practicing on my own, and sometimes get the first turn right, and then the next time I I don't do it right and end up on the wrong foot! Argh!!!

Friday night we went to see the village theatre's group (RAPA) version of "The Full Monty". If you've seen the movie you will know that the main jist is that a bunch of un-employed men get together to be strippers for one big show. I wondered how a small amateur group would pull it off (ha ha!), and was surprised at what a great job they did. Sure, the singing wasn't always the greatest and the band was an amateur band, but they put their hearts into it and made it work. The comedic timing was great - the audience roared with laughter many times (and not just at a bunch of local men performing in their underwear).

And, like in the movie, these guys, with friends and family in the audience, bravely took off their shirts, and pants! and even at the end, the rest! None of them had "Chippendales" bodies, but they seemed comfortable with themselves. The men had a better body image than women might have had. They joked about their big bellies and other imperfections, in a way that I'm pretty sure most women would not be comfortable doing in a large crowd (or even a small one). I'm certain I couldn't go on stage and celebrate my fat in quite the same way - heck, I am even self-conscious in a tight shirt!

There were a few numbers where the men were singing in their underwear - the bravery! The laughs!


All this to say that we had a great time, with lots of laughs! The night was made better still with the company of Jo Ellen and Don. They came here for a quick supper (vegetarian chilli and chickpea brownies). We hadn't seen them for quite some time so we had lots to catch on.


Saturday was logical Mother's Day for me and my mother. I drove into town and we went out shopping, and for lunch. We had planned a bit of a family thing that turned into a bust, but I think this was better as it was just me and my mom time :-)


Saturday night Carm and I had (sort of) planned on going to the one hour dance class followed by an actual dance, but we both crashed on the sofa when I got home from town. By the time I woke up it was far too late. We've said that we'd go several times now, but never get our act together enough to actually get in the car and go. I think part of it is that we don't feel confident enough, but I suppose we will never get to that point if we don't get out there.


“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.”Washington Irving

a certain step towards falling in love

We looked like two elephants lumbering around but we made our best effort to learn the “Sweetheart” step of the Cha Cha. To say it is difficult is an understatement. Luckily I had my camera along to videotape the move (not the YouTube shown though), and this morning we tried and tried to work it out. My brain draws a big blank when it tries to put my feet anywhere other than a basic walk step! One of these days I’ll set up my camera and post a video of us to YouTube so you can all have a laugh.

We do have a good time, despite the tripping, and we tried hard not to look at the young couple that is so good! I do wonder if the instructors feel exasperated with us.



The weather has been nicer, with more sunshine and warmer temperatures. Unfortunately I had my camera colour set to vivid in the photo with Spike, but honestly, the grass is almost that green. Some of the trees have tiny leaves which looks like a green mist clinging to the branches. It isn’t full-on, everything in leaf yet though.

Camping is closer on the horizon – one week today and we’ll be on our first camp! Carm got the hitch into the truck today, which is a crucial step; I’m slowly getting all the “stuff” loaded back, next week I’ll load up the food and the basics will be done. My to-do list is still pretty long though.



To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in love. - Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

I could have flown to Rome

Yesterday was one of those hectic days that I dread so much.

It started off with me getting my papers in order for my doctor appointment. In order to manage my illness I keep logs and journals of my day to day life. My mood log contains things like sun/rain, time to bed, time I get up, hours of sleep, mood rating, extra medications taken, etc. Each day is just one line so it is easy to fill out, and easy to review with my doctor. I also review my journal and with data from the two of them I make a list of things that I want to discuss. It helps to make the most of my appointment.

After my appointment it was time for the eye doctor. I finally decided that I was fed up not being able to see. It was time for progressive lenses, there was just no more denying it…

After that we popped into the department store where dresses were on sale. I needed a new dress for our niece Laura’s wedding this summer, and found a nice one.

Costco was next on the agenda – lots of fruits and vegetables filled up our cart. For once, we purchased mostly food, just a CO detector broke the trend.

Now it was time to race home to pickup the dogs for a heartworm clinic. They were happy to jump into the truck, but perhaps not as happy to go to the vet. They were good though, and all together, after waiting our turn, we were only there for 45 minutes or so. The shocking part came when we paid the bill… YIKES! I could have almost flown to Rome (on the off season, and of course I’m exaggerating greatly!) … We normally purchase the heartworm meds and flea/tick drops a month or two at a time, which spreads the pain. Seeing six months all totalled out was a bit shocking. But since we don’t want fleas in the house, nor ticks with the possibility of Lyme disease…

It was after 7pm, and we were starving, but first we had to get another set of new batteries for the truck remote! Finally off to the shwarma place we went for takeout. I’m not exaggerating (much) when I say that once we were home and all the beasts other than us were fed, we fell onto the sofa with shwarma and beer. Whew!

It might not seem like a busy day to some people, but for me it was a marathon!

Today was less hectic, but still no lazing around for me – poodles got a hair cut and a bath. Gruelling for my back.


“I don't envy "busy." Busy means having a schedule, not living life. What I really covet is leisure and peace of mind. Those who have both, have it all.” 
~ Donna Lynn Hope

Saturday, May 3, 2014

blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in

At 3am Friday night/Saturday morning, Carm headed out into the night to go to Toronto for a 9:30 am funeral. He stayed long enough to say hello to his relatives and attend the funeral, a little over 3 hrs – then he was on his way back home. A 12+ hour journey for a 3 hour visit and funeral. But these things are important as they keep us in touch with relatives that we don’t normally see. Weddings and Funerals… (with the odd family reunion thrown in!).

I tried to go back to sleep, and I did somewhat. Bella started barking and growling intermittently from the time Carm closed the gate. I could have wrung her neck, but was somehow too tired to get out of bed (where was my insomnia last night?). And I tend to worry and awfulize…

Saturday afternoon I had a baby shower to attend in the depths of the city. Since the car was gone this meant driving our giant pickup truck… Not the ideal vehicle to go into the depths of civilization, with a driver who doesn’t drive all that much. But I was looking forward to seeing everyone and knew the parking lot at the church had plenty of room for me. I got all dressed up and headed out the door, leaving early so I’d have plenty of time. Unfortunately the truck had other ideas… my remote didn’t work (again). We had changed the battery last week and it seemed to be working fine then. A few days later Carm’s remote failed, again, a new battery. So I figured I’d just have to change the battery and I’d be on my way. No such luck.

I was reluctant to leave using Carm’s key, since it had failed soon after mine – the idea of being stuck in the middle of civilization on a Saturday afternoon did not hold any appeal. And with Carm on the road from Toronto, he wouldn’t be there to bail me out. So I got out of my fancy clothes, called my sister-in-law and settled down for a quiet afternoon.


Later in the afternoon:  Carm is safely home and it seems that I did a big blunder with the truck key… Apparently I had to “train” the newly batteryied remote plus, as it turns out, I got the battery from an old pack so it wouldn’t have worked anyway… but… guess where the pack of good batteries was – yup, you guessed it, on the console of the truck.

But the biggest blunder is that I was SURE the truck would not drive without the fob… I was POSITIVE… and as it turns out I was positively WRONG!!! What a dummy :-(  And how incredibly embarrassing…


Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882)

Friday, May 2, 2014

They danced by the light of the moon

We started a new series of dance classes last night, this time 4 weeks of Cha Cha followed by 4 weeks of Rumba. Yes, we’ve done the Rumba class already, but since we’ll be missing 2 classes we figured a few classes of review would be a good thing.

There are only two couples in the class, us, and a young couple who seem to be natural dancers. They are both tall, slender and athletic looking. They are very graceful and picked up the steps right away… even though it was their first dance class. Carm and I on the other hand, bumbled our way through the class like two buffoons! It didn’t help that the class starts at 8:30 - my brain has already shutdown by that time! I think we will be more inclined to practice at home this go around, so those young kids don’t show us up too much!


I received the printed copy of my 2013 blog posts the other day.  I started reading at January 1st and am reading my way to the end. What fun it has been to read back about my trip to New Zealand. I’m looking forward to reliving our trip to Alberta. As I am reading, I have been reminded that my mood does fluctuate, and that yes, I do get back to feeling “normal” – a good reminder for me these days…


Speaking about going back in time – today is the 27th anniversary of when Carm and I started dating. Twenty seven years! Well over 1/2 my life. Where does the time go, and what have I done with those 27 years? When I had the horses and birds, I felt a sense of purpose. I was living my dream and felt fulfilled. Now, without that in my life, I sometimes feel lost…


The sun has been playing hide and seek today – sometimes it shines, sometimes it rains… it is difficult to get myself going with the dreariness, but I did manage to make myself do some sewing. I got two small pillows done which I feel is an accomplishment given my mood… You may wonder, given my rocky relationship with my sewing machine, why I torture myself so often. If I figure out the answer I’ll let you know, but I suspect it has something to do with a compulsion to make everything look nice.


“They dined on mince, and slices of quince
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon.”

~ Edward Lear, The Owl and the Pussycat