Sunday, June 29, 2014

as though everything is a miracle

I was reminded yesterday to take a moment and enjoy the simple pleasures in life. It seems so easy to fall into the pattern of just going through the motions of living, instead of savouring every moment. Looking back over the last few days I realized that there were many, but I was forgetting to be mindful.

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I love building things, the feel of a hammer driving a nail into wood is satisfying. The smell of freshly sawn wood smells like progress. Seeing something progress from just a pile of boards to a functional space gives a feeling of accomplishment. It is not ether-ware, but a hard, tangible result. A product that will last longer than the next meal ;-)

Cooking also gives a feeling of having created something, but it is usually gone faster than it took to read the recipe!

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Walking on our property also gives great pleasure. Stopping to look at the wild flowers as they bud, bloom and fade. The fragrance of some make me almost swoon. We have roses in bloom in the front garden, sometimes when the wind is just right the perfume wafts all the way to the front door, luring me off the deck.

Most people don’t realize it, but the common Milkweed, sustenance to Monarch butterflies, has a fragrance to match even the sweetest rose. Another wild flower that scents the air is vetch. And one can’t forget the honey sweetness of clover. The miracle of nature is enjoyed with every footstep as I make my way around the edges of the hayfield.

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The amazing thing is that flowers evolved this way to attract bees and other pollen spreaders, but by some miracle we are blessed with the senses to appreciate the splendour.

Yesterday we attended a party to celebrate a cousin’s graduation from high school. She is so grown up and accomplished, no longer a little girl. I vividly remember my graduating summer. It was a summer of working hard at boarding kennels, fun with my friends, sunshine and sailing. The last carefree summer for 30 years! At that point I had no idea of what life would bring. I’m not even sure that I really thought about it in concrete terms. I am certain though, I didn’t know that at the end of the summer I would start a job in the IT field that would bring me to where I am today.

Summer officially started at our house yesterday… the swing was marched out from the basement, and early this morning, before the dew was off the grass, I took a blanket and a pillow out so that I could have my last little bit of sleep stretched out on the swing. Bliss! Heaven! I love the swing!

 

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.
― Albert Einstein

and since I couldn’t choose which one I liked best:

Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.
― C.S. Lewis

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Decked out to the 9’s

Monday at supper time Carm arrived back from helping with the deck building at Sol d’ Acapulco. Our friends Trudie and Leo were building a giant deck as a favour for the new owner of the restaurant. Alicia was a long time employee of Rudy’s, the previous owner, so when he was ready to retire, Alicia was ready to make the purchase.

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Although her budget is very limited, Alicia has big plans for the restaurant once known as Bierstube. First, she changed the name to Sol D’ Acapulco to reflect the new menu items inspired by her Mexican heritage. Hand in had with this was engaging the services of a fantastic chef capable of making the original German food that is still on the menu, but also the new menu items.

This was coupled with many upgrades to the interior which had been the original German inspired decor. Previously dated and somewhat shabby (we liked it though!), it is now brighter with a Mexican theme.

Next in her sights was the outside – she wanted to introduce a patio... Trudie & Leo have been friends with both her and the previous owner for many, many years – they wanted to help Alicia make a good go of the new restaurant. Hence the deck building. A big patio in the summer is bound to draw more clients.

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Carm and I wanted to give a little bit of help as well. So Tuesday morning I dropped Carm off there, and picked up Trudie for a quick shop at Rob McIntosh. As soon as we got back, we had hammers and nails in our hands and got to work as well.

With four of us working on the same project it could well have been chaos, but we quickly found our roles and worked together well, pairing up to work on different jobs depending on skill level. I won’t say how old T&L are, but lets just say they are significantly older than I am… but man, oh man… I could barely keep up to their pace, in fact, I couldn’t keep up with Trudie at all.

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It wasn’t long before I got going, that lunch was served to me (since I missed out when the guys ate). Toasted rye bread sandwiched an omelette, bacon and ham. Yum! Good fuel for some building.

Before we knew it, it was time to get ready for supper - we rushed back to the camper with the dogs (who had been with us), fed them, fed Grace, and got showered. Then rushed back to the restaurant to be treated to a fantastic supper.

Otto, the chef (see photo), made Carm his favourite schnitzel, he made Leo a special liver dish, and Trudi & I a shrimp dish with an orzo sauce that was delicious – way better than I’d expect to get at a little restaurant in the middle of nowhere. Otto saw Leo give me a taste of his liver, and before I could blink an eye there was a side dish of it in front of me. Oh my gosh, I was so full! Happily full.

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Partway through our meal Alicia brought Trudie & I corinitos (sp?) – a margarita with a corona tipped into it. As you sip the marg, the beer slowly mixes in. Quite a tasty combination :-)

 

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Wednesday we were due to leave camp, but wanted to help out another day, so we packed up, checked out, and drove over to Sol d’A where we parked for the day. Slides went out for the dogs and Grace, work clothes were donned, and away we went. Wed was decking day, board upon board was measured, cut and screwed. With 4 of us working we got about 1/2 of the decking put on – Trudie & Leo have a few more days left of hard work.

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At lunch time we were called in for a delicious soup, served with Salisbury steak sandwiches. It was supper time before we knew it - time to head home… but we were convinced to stay for a “quick” supper – this time we both had schnitzel and German potato salad, followed by Black Forest Cake. Full and satisfied (and a bit achy from all the bending over!), we made our way home. There is an advantage to helping people out at a restaurant! Although my waist line disagrees…

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We hope that Alicia has the best of luck with her endeavour. She’s an incredibly hard worker, has a really good chef, and soon has a giant patio overlooking the water! I hope to have photos in a few weeks of a bustling deck, filled with happy clients.

 

The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand. ~Vince Lombardi

Monday, June 23, 2014

Splish Splash I was take’n a bath

By 10 am we were back at the camper having coffee. As soon as we got up (late!), we headed off to the swimming place I'd been to yesterday, this time with Carm (but stupidly without my camera). It was another beautiful morning - still, sunny and warm. We were surprised by a medium sized animal running across the road when we were on the track, at first we thought it was a weasel, but wikipedia set us straight - it was a fisher, probably a female.

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As soon as we turned down the narrow lane, the dogs knew where we were headed. I let go of their leashes when we got close to the water so they could race straight in. Happy dogs.

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Back at the camp, people around us started to pack up.  And with Carm gone to help a friend with deck building, a quiet descended over our site, interrupted only by the sounds of birds and distant laughter. I read, watched the ships go by, and closed my eyes. Altogether relaxing.

I got out a low dish of water and put it on the grass for Grace to splash in. Remember when we were a kids, and your mom would set up a blowup pool with just a few inches of water, and how we ran and splashed and had so much fun. The pool was ceramic, but the fun was no less real. She splashed and flapped and had a grand old time.

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As the afternoon drew to a close, the dogs and I headed out for a short walk. It was still hot, too hot for the dogs to walk very far, but, the languid summer contentment continued. Phrases to describe my surroundings formed in my head... "Majestic willows, clothed in green gauze picnicked by the waters edge", "the air clung to me like a silk chemise", "honey sweetened air barely stirred". I wish I was a poet!

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As perfect as the afternoon was, I will admit to being annoyed by the air conditioner on the trailer across the lane from us. It's hot, but not that hot, and my goodness that sucker is loud. Thankfully they were away most of the afternoon and left the air conditioner off!

Have I mentioned my new, favourite snack? Crackers with blue cheese and fresh honeycomb are a real taste treat. I had purchased a block of honeycomb from Terry at the rally, and he made the suggestion. So we got a chunk of blue cheese and gave it a try. OMG. It doesn't take much of either the cheese, or the honey to have a real taste treat.

The last time I remember having honeycomb was in about 1972 or 1973 in rural Manitoba. I loved the sweet, waxy, chewiness.

Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains. ~Diane Ackerman

Sunday, June 22, 2014

It does get better

loons...  and the smell of campfires

I almost wish we were butterflies

The dogs got out for only a quick walk this morning, but oh what a morning it was. The sky was blue, not a cloud to be seen, there was only the faintest of breezes, warm and caressing. Summer.

We drove over to the Upper Canada Golf course to try out their breakfast (good), and then drive to the flea market to get a $10 hair cut. The hairdresser wasn't there, so we just poked around a bit, more interested in getting back to our camp than all the stuff (junk). I did pick up a cream jug with gold embossing, maybe about 500ml. If nothing else it will be pretty with a small bouquet. And for just $3 I couldn't pass it up. (photo taken with tablet)

Back at camp I tried to settle into some reading, but it was clear that the dogs needed to go out again. So I slathered on some sunscreen, leashed them up, and headed out. I took the same route, over the causeway, but wasn't going to go much further than that. However, the perfection of the summer day drew me further into the park. I decided to head into one of the group camping areas, I knew it was empty, and also that it had some frontage on the St. Lawrence. The two lane gravel road turned into a single lane track as I turned in. Clover, wild flowers and fresh grass perfumed the air; bees hummed as they moved from flower to flower; birds sang their summer song. Like a painting from an old English master,  the combination of open meadows, treed parkland, and shoreline was soothing to the eyes.  perfect. bliss. contentment.

Jim Croce's, "If I Could Save Time in a Bottle" came to mind.

As we got to the little rocky beach I fixed up the dog's leashes so that they could go for a swim. I waded in up to my knees, the water cool against my hot legs, the canines splashed around happily. I felt blessed to have such an auspicious start to the summer :-)

Last night at the practice dance, it was clear that we have to practice more (much, much more), if we are to be any good. So... today... outside at the camper... we practiced. We tried not to feel too conspicuous, because really, who cares if other people laugh at us or find us weird ;-) No music was played to disturb other campers, just two people with 4 left feet between them quietly tripping over each other.

The sounds of campers going about their business was background noise today. It was the sound of summer. 

The day isn't quite over yet though... 

I sit here sipping champagne and basking in the last moments of this summer day - does it get any better than this -

I think not. 

argh... fighting with the blogger app which now insists on putting each sentence on a new paragraph.


“I almost wish we were butterflies and liv'd but three summer days - three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain.” ― John Keats, Bright Star: Love Letters and Poems of John Keats to Fanny Brawne

Friday, June 20, 2014

Keeping my promise to myself

This morning we left the camper at more or less the same time, Carm off to play golf, me to walk the dogs. It was overcast and cool, but not so cool that I needed a jacket.  We followed our regular route - away from other campers, down a quiet road. Walking over the causeway (where yesterday's photo was taken), I heard splashing in the water. At first I thought maybe it would be otters, but no furry heads stuck themselves out of the water. Instead I saw a few big fins. It may have been a couple of giant fish mating, or spawning, not sure which. They were still there when I came back across 1/2 hour later.

Once back at the camper, I treated myself to a batch of pancakes, not made outside on a fire, but cooked in a giant cast iron skillet on the gas stove. Some bacon would have been perfect, but alas, we try not to have those sorts of things in the house (but wouldn't it go nicely in the potato salad that I have yet to make).

11:30 am - I'm outside enjoying my second cup of coffee. The sun is out, but the site is still completely shaded, the sounds of people going about their day surrounds me. Nobody is being particularly noisy, the reunion people in the tenting sites are way down at the end, there is just a murmur of conversation wafting on the wind. Behind me the people are enjoying themselves. I've just finished getting Spike to practice some of his tricks (oops, just had to practice him with another dog going by... he is getting better (only 1 bark and some whining)... but there is still work to be done).

More campers came in today, I think the park is pretty much booked up for the weekend as I believe it is Saint Jean Baptiste's weekend.

The tenters in the site next to us started arriving early afternoon - first a young couple with a little girl, then a family of four, and finally a family of 3. Generally they only allow 6 people per site, but perhaps exceptions were made for this weekend. So far they are quiet and good neighbors - I offered them our second picnic table. One thing about tenters though, they seem to have no qualms about walking through everyone else's site (which if you read the RV forums is considered very bad manners!).

Carm came back from golfing with his friend Peter - an easy lunch and barley beverages were the order of the day. Not long after it was time for Peter to head home, while Carm tilted his chair back into a snore.

Our day of excitement was hardly over yet. We had a quick snack, got into some dressier duds, and drove to the practice Dance!!!! Finally, after all these months we made it! It was a lovely time - we sat with another group of people who are beginners, we danced when the song was right. People were friendly, and even helped us with some of our steps. It was a good time and we will be sure to return often.

I came across this article on the web yesterday. I thought it was a good reminder to enjoy every moment.

If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.” ― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

Quiet Afternoon... until...

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We watched a tent camper come in just down from us early afternoon. Soon after they were set up (after taking 40 noisy minutes to blow up their air bed), a big class A arrived. The tenters rushed over - it was clear they knew them. As they stood in the middle of the camping area waving their arms around and pointing, I knew. It was a family reunion. Not long after I was proven right when another RV drove in, stopping in the middle of the road so they could get out for greetings.

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I made a promise to myself at that moment that I would NOT let the noisy gathering ruin my time. I reminded myself that if I wanted peace and quiet I would stay home at our house in the middle of 30 peaceful acres. I made a pact with myself to be grateful for all the dog training opportunities this would offer me. I filled my pockets with dog treats, and my glass with lemonade.

And as it got louder and louder with just 6 people so far, I reminded myself of the promise I just made to myself.

I will admit to being a bit of a Gladys Kravitz (from Bewtiched) - I like watching (out of the corner of my eye) how people get situated, and get set up on their sites. Sometimes I learn something from their efficiency, and sometimes I am reminded that Carm and I work well together and have processes and systems in place to make us more efficient. It must be our backgrounds in computing, or was it our desire for order and efficiency lead us to our careers – either way, we are how we are. (sorry about the efficient repeat, couldn't think of a better word, and the thesaurus was no help!).

Speaking of the dogs, this morning we got complimented on how good they are by the people that were across the way from us. The dogs aren't perfect by any stretch, but it is nice to hear that they aren't bothering other campers.

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On this mornings walk we saw a deer standing in a clearing. She stood at alert as we passed, giving me an opportunity to get a photo; it is taken from a distance, but I think you can see her under the tree. I also got a chance to get some photos of the geese with their goslings as we drove back into the park from having breakfast. I think that if I had stood still long enough they would have come quite close, but Carm was waiting in the truck.

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I also saw some deer tracks in the mud at the very back of our site. They weren't there yesterday.

Update 5pm: 12 reunion people and counting...  But it gets better... the site behind us filled up with another group of people who also seemed to be having a reunion themselves - based on the loudness of the voices :-/  

Are we having fun yet? Sure I am. Seriously though – YES I am. I could let all this bug me, but instead I just find it funny – not something to be endured – but fodder for some funny stories someday in the future.

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Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something. ― Robert A. Heinlein

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Starting to Unwind

It has taken almost a full day, but I am finally starting to feel relaxed - camping is working its spell. Perhaps I need a prescription for that! Hummm... I wonder if full-time rving would do the trick, or would it become the same as regular life in a sticks and bricks?

No deer on our walk this morning, but LOTS of deer flies. I hate deer flies, and so do the dogs. Luckily there have been only a few at our campsite. The majority of the walk is very relaxing as we pass no campsites (once we get to the other road),  and today there were no bikes, nor any vehicles. We also saw a few gaggles of geese with their goslings. Not close enough to take a photo, although I did have my camera slung across my chest. The walk is less than an hour, but the dogs are showing their age, and lack of fitness. I'm not sure how the walking will go at Presquille this summer - some of the hikes we normally take are pretty long. We'll all have to get onto the treadmill!

We didn't let the excuse of camping keep us away from our dance class tonight. We drove the extra distance (and passed 3 deer on our way home), so that we could be humiliated yet again. Tonight the young woman wasn't there, instead the young man's mother took her place. We'd seen her at the dance studio before, and it was obvious that she knew some steps. I felt older than ever - I'm pretty sure she is younger than me...

This afternoon a trailer came in across the way from us with just one person; Carm was talking with the camp host who told him that the fellow's wife had passed away a few years ago, so now he camps on his own. I made a point of going over later to ask him if the dogs had barked while we were out for a bit (they didn't), just to start up a conversation.  It turned out that he knew the people in the next two sites, in fact used to camp with them with his wife. He was waiting for the two couples to come back from their day trip... hoping that they'd be glad to see him.

As the evening progressed I caught sight of him standing just outside the circle of friends, part of the group, yet separate. When the group dispersed for supper, he went to his camper alone,  bbq'd his supper, then disappeared inside to eat by himself. The sight of his camper's bedroom window cracked open caused a wave of sadness - he'd be going to bed alone, with not even a dog as a companion.

So often we go though the motions of our life without thought of what we have. We take things for granted. Would I camp if Carm was no more? I certainly wouldn't keep this giant camper, but what would I do instead? On the surface I think that I would continue to camp, but imagining myself in our neighbors place I'm not so sure that the loneliness wouldn't kill me.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

After a Night of Pouring Rain

It poured all night, I was sure that our campsite at the Bird Sanctuary would be underwater after such a deluge, but happily it is not. We were in this site last autumn for a few days, but aside from that have not camped here at all. One has to be mindful that it is a Bird Sanctuary, and harbours dozens, no hundreds of geese, before one walks barefoot in the grass :-/

Once we were all set up I did pick up a poop bag full of goose poo, so at least "most" of it is picked up inside our fence. Outside, that's another matter. NO SHOES inside the camper!!!

The site here is lovely, wide and really deep with thick grass, and large shade trees. Next time we'll park a little farther back in the site to take advantage of some late afternoon shade. There aren't very many campers here, but it is mid week, I expect it will be busy on the weekend.

One good thing about this campground is that it is very close to the Ingleside grocery store. This is important when someone buys sandwiches for us from Di Renzo (Italian delicatessen in Ottawa) but forgets that I take mayo on mine. I mean, the mayo is the whole point of the sandwich. Sure the thick layer of prosccuito is good, as is the fantastic bun, but it just ain't worth eating without mayo. A big thank you to my beloved for making the trip to the grocery store.

We haven't had mayo in the house for at least 3 years, probably more, but now that we have this special treat I'll have to make a potato salad. I have green onions and celery but nothing else to put into it - any suggestions? Would some red pepper be okay? A bit of Dijon?

We've already seen a deer, and apparently one was walking around the campsites yesterday. I'll be hanging onto those leashes tightly! We did go for a walk this afternoon, but the dogs were practically falling off their feet they were so hot, so we cut it short.

I hope that wasn't a tick that was just on me...

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Some Photos from the Last Few Days

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Not much has gone on the last few days – of course there was a Father’s Day visit to my parents, and getting ready for our next trip. As usual I have over prepared and over planned, driving myself crazy in the meantime.

We did have a short break on Monday morning to meet Ruth and John for a quick breakfast, and to relinquish Bailey back to them. It was fun having another bird, especially for Carm as Bailey is well socialized (unlike Grace).

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I’ve included a couple of photos from Mom’s birthday party – not many turned out as the light was awkward – too much for a flash, not enough for crisp non-flash images.

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The ‘burger’ quest continues. Today I made savoury Lentil & Mushroom burgers. They were fantastic! I’m not sure which of the several burger types is the best, so one of these days we’ll have a burger tasting, with a quarter of each try. No photos – we scarfed them down quickly!

 

Infuse your life with action. Don't wait for it to happen. Make it happen. Make your own future. Make your own hope. Make your own love. And whatever your beliefs, honour your creator, not by passively waiting for grace to come down from upon high, but by doing what you can to make grace happen... yourself, right now, right down here on Earth. ~Bradley Whitford

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Truest Friend We Have

Practicality won out the other night and the peony petals did not come into my bath. Instead I just set the vase at the side of the tub. I figured that fishing out all the petals so they didn't go down the drain would 100% ruin the effect.

Saturday we celebrated my mom's 70th birthday! Dad had reserved a room at a quaint little restaurant in a pretty little country town. Friends and family gathered there ahead of time so we could surprise her.  I don't know how surprised she was, but there was no doubt that she was pleased. It was lovely to see her enjoying herself and being the centre of attention. Happy Birthday Mom!

The last two + months of mild depression has been a bad thing for my waist size... when my mood is such that I don't care and don't have the energy to cook or exercise, all semblance of healthy living goes out the door. So here I sit, almost 8 pounds heavier, and out of shape. I'm slowly  starting to get back to normal, but it doesn't happen overnight. I just have to approach the recovery one step at a time. I must get back to lifting weights and the other exercises I was doing daily, but it seems overwhelming... (note to self: just do it; note from self: tomorrow).

Friday night I made another "bean burger", this one from black-eyed peas. They were easy to make and tasty. With less than a 1/4 cup of bbq sauce in 6 burgers I didn't feel it was a bomb, but now that I've made them once, I'll try substituting some tomato sauce with liquid smoke which would have less sugar. If that doesn't work out I can live with the little bit of store bought bbq sauce. We had them wrapped in whole wheat pitas topped with the regular burger toppings, with roasted green beans and sliced cucumber on the side. 

Of course Sunday was Father's Day so I was happy to spend more time with the family.

I'm writing this on the tablet, so no photos. Tomorrow I'll drag out my laptop and connect the camera to see if I got any good shots.

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

Friday, June 13, 2014

the rain has stopped and my afternoon of leisure has come to an end

It has been raining for the last couple of days – today it was coming down in buckets. That put a dead stop on re-provisioning the camper, as trips too and fro were out of the question…

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It did let up raining for long enough to run out and snip a peony blossom to bring inside where I can bury my nose into its beauty at every opportunity. Oh, how I love peonies. Their lush, voluptuous blooms make me want to have a bed of them to recline on, perhaps while sipping a glass of icy champagne to complete the decadence. Maybe in a few years we’ll have enough! For now, perhaps I’ll float some petals in my bath tonight :-)

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I mentioned the other day that we have a visitor for a few days - Bailey is an African Grey Timneh parrot owned by my good friend Ruth. He is a delight… it is funny though… a parrot mimics more than just words, they are excellent at other sounds as well. We know that Sadie (the dog), sometimes yelps from her arthritis, that someone has a bad cough, and that he misses Cato, another Timneh, and that something they have sounds exactly like our bread maker. It is a bit like a window into their daily lives.

I wonder what Grace revealed about us when she was staying with them last summer.  Probably that I burp loudly when I have a pop or beer, and goodness knows what else!

Tucked in the care package that Ruth sent along for Bailey, were two “mug rugs” that she had quilted. They are fantastic, and way too nice to be under a mug! I’ve got one hung on the wall in the kitchen; the other will find a spot of honour in the camper – thanks Ruth!

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Dance class was last night – while we waited for our class to start we watched the young couple from our class, and those from the previous class, practicing. Momentarily we felt like giving up – we are just so hopeless. They moved gracefully as they learned a new step… We stuck it out, resisting our impulse to flee…

The classes have been starting at 8:30 pm, which if you know me, you’ll know that I’m almost starting to get ready for bed at that time. We won’t do that again – we are signed up for 6pm classes of Samba. Gluttons for punishment…

not much later in the day… the rain stopped and my afternoon of leisure came to an end…

Let your life lightly dance on the edges of Time like dew on the tip of a leaf. ~Rabindranath Tagore

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Home Sweet Smelling Home

The last full day of camping is always bitter sweet. I'm not looking forward to the camp ending, but at the same time the thought of getting home is alluring. Sunday was no different, after a breakfast extravaganza (don't ask), we sat around and read. Around 4pm we decided to do some early prep to ease tomorrows departure. First the fence came down, then some other odds and ends were cleaned up.

While we were outside pottering around, we noticed a couple walking around with a map looking at the empty sites. I said hi and so they walked over... well, over an hour later they were on their way!  Suddenly it was time to feed us all, bird, then dogs, and finally humans. The last day was over :-(

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Monday morning we were on our way not much later than 10:15. We had a mostly quiet drive home (don't ask), an almost perfect backup into the laneway - we were home. As I walked down the laneway I was almost overcome with the fragrance in the air. The lotus trees were dripping with white flowers, the peonies were budding, the irises were in their full glory. It smelled divine (I wanted to use the word smelt, but that seemed too much like fish). Everything had grown, including trees that weren't where they were supposed to be, plants of unknown origin, and established plants overflowing their boundaries - it was a jungle. But a beautiful one (at least to our eyes). I briefly wondered why we ever leave home.

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We got the camper unloaded, then Carm got busy with the first half of the grass - which surprisingly wasn't as long as we thought it would be. It looked like late July grass, brown and dry. There must have been higher temperatures and less rain here.

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Tuesday was a day in the city: lunch with Carm's mom; pickup Bailey, Grace’s friend coming for a sleep over; doctor appointment; Costco... and more. It was a long day!

Today (Wednesday), it was threatening to rain all morning, which brought the mosquitos out in full force. We spent some time taming the garden, but were driven in by those blood suckers!

The dull day didn’t keep the peonies from starting to open - my nose was stuck into the 1/2 open buds as soon as I saw them. Rapture. And luckily no ants up my nose ;-)

I had the windows open this morning, but the sounds of construction on the road drove me to shut them. Ruth, Bailey’s mom, may not be happy with me as the trucks seem to be backing up constantly, with their orchestra of beeps. Grace and Bailey already have a large vocabulary of squeaks and beeps – they don’t need any more!

Every day is filled with pleasures – idle and otherwise.

To be poor and be without trees, is to be the most starved human being in the world. To be poor and have trees, is to be completely rich in ways that money can never buy.  ~ Clarissa Pinkola Est├ęs

Map of our Wolfe Island Trip

 

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First Contact

Aside from the music (which did eventually cease), yesterday was a lovely day. The sky was blue with not a cloud to be seen, the sun was hot and the shade was cool. I had time to leisurely give the villetta a good clean, do a bit of reading and then get ready for guests. We were expecting special guests last night - Sheldon, Laurie and their son Tanner. They are second cousins on my maternal grandmothers side - I think Sheldon and I share a great grandfather (?), Alexander Watt. Or is it a great great grandfather?

Regardless of the level of relation it was lovely to meet them.

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They brought supper - KFC (yum), while we had some of the fixings, beer, wine and "coffee", and a simple dessert. I felt weird about them bringing the main course but now have a good reason to visit them in Carbon, AB! I must reciprocate!

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We sat around the campfire getting to know one another till the stars came out. It isn't often that we have a campfire, so I took full advantage and roasted FAR too many marshmallows! I must have been tired though as the sugar rush didn't keep me awake when I finally went to bed.

When I was growing up we always lived far from any relatives. I rarely had the pleasure of playing with cousins or being spoiled by grandparents, aunts and uncles. In fact I hardly knew any of them – they were virtual strangers, with time between visits counted in years, not weeks or months. I envy my friends that have close cousins that are best friends. So it is a special pleasure to meet new family!

Some people are your relatives but others are your ancestors, and you choose the ones you want to have as ancestors. You create yourself out of those values.  ~Ralph Ellison

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Where is the Bagpipe music when you need it?

Today is one of those days when I wish I had some good bagpipe music on my mp3 player.... why you may ask? Well, because the jerk across the road from us is BLASTING really bad country music. And stubbornly refuses to turn it down (although we haven't gone to the park office yet). I feel that I am inadequately armed!!

(a little later, when the CD started playing for the second time, I walked over and told the guy that we were happy to listen to it once, but if he was going to play it a second time could he please turn it down... he said he was sorry and complied). No bagpipes required.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Wolfe Island

The dogs got a good walk this morning, although it was clear that they were starting to go snake from not being able to run loose. At the very back of the park I let Kabira have a stretch - she zigged and zagged and zoomed all over the place;  when it was her turn, Bella just wanted to bark at Kabira; and there was no way I was letting Spike loose...  that would come later in the day.

We had our coffee and breakfast while we waited for Donna & Don to get ready  to leave - we wanted to be sure to say goodbye. They were heading "home" to Buffalo today - home in quotes because they are full-timers, so home is wherever their trailer is. There were a few couples at the rally that full-time - what an adventure it must be to be able to move your house to wherever you want to go next! Carm and I sometimes talk about it, but not in a serious manner, it would be hard for us to leave our families, plus, how would we ever get rid of the mountains of stuff that we have!

After they left, we also got on our way (without our home). We've always wanted to take the ferry to Wolfe Island - today was finally the day! The dogs were excited to go for a car ride - the first destination was specifically for them - an off-leash dog park where they could run and play for a bit. They all had a grand time, and were more than happy to get back into the truck for the rest of the ride.

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Unfortunately that ride was longer than expected as there was roadwork... we sat in one spot for at least 20 minutes. From where we were sitting we could see the ferry come into the harbour – sure that we were going to miss it I was getting crankier by the minute. Finally they started letting us through and we skidded up to the ramp just as they loaded the second last vehicle. We made it!

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It was an easy 20 minute ride over to the island – enough time to get out of the truck and wander about to get some photos. It was interesting to see all the big windmills creating electricity. I'm not sure what people think about them now, but when it was in the planning stages people went crazy protesting. It seems to me that it would be far better to have a bunch of windmills nearby, than it would be to have a coal plant. But that's just me.

Before long we were rolling off the ferry and onto the little roads of the island. The first one took us all the way to the eastern tip. It was a beautiful drive - bucolic would be the best term to describe it. The roads would be perfect for horseback riding, and even for horse & buggy. Daydreams floated in my head as I imagined myself with a Fjordhorse as my steed.

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At one point we drove up to a raccoon that was standing on the road. Not a good sign. As we slowly passed it Carm could see that it had been badly injured on one side. The true kindness would have been to back up and directly run it over. Neither of us had the stomach for that.

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Once we got to the very end of the road we turned back as we wanted to see the other side of the island. More beautiful sights, often with the water of the St. Lawrence in the background. When we'd seen enough we headed back to the ferry – the next one was due in an hour, so we parked in front of a bakery and got egg salad sandwiches on the best bread I've had in a very long time. Butter tarts too ;-) Then we got in line to wait for the ferry.

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Once back on the mainland we headed right back to camp, except for a quick stop for some fresh asparagus (yum! - finally a healthy meal!). We were back to our site not long past 3:30 - just in time for a bit of reading (and blog writing) in the sun.

DSCN5215A good day!

 

Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises.

~ Pedro Calderon de la Barca

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The End of the Rally - many goodbyes

The sound of a diesel truck passing our site woke us up this morning. It was only 7:30 and already people were leaving. We jumped out of bed, threw on some clothes and ran out to start saying our goodbyes. I will admit to feeling sad at each farewell as it will be at least a year before we see people again.

Someone asked me yesterday if Carm was an introvert or an extrovert. While the quick answer would be extrovert as he flourishes with lots of people around, I answered introvert... but it is hard to tell with him. He doesn't seem to fit fully into either description. I, on the other hand, am most definitely an introvert. While I enjoy meeting new people, and spending time with those I already know, I do need a bit of time on my own to rejuvenate.

The rain came this afternoon - after all but one couple was gone and the dogs were walked. We were quietly reading inside, so the pitter patter of rain wasn't a terrible thing, in fact it lulled us into a deeper level of relaxation (and just maybe our eyes closed for a nap).

Ribs were on our plates for supper tonight - we had to go back to Raxx for another meal of tasty meat, before we reverted back to our healthy, vegetable eating ways. After we got back from supper, Donna & Don (the remaining couple), came over for a glass of wine. We hadn't spent much time with them during the reunion so this was a great opportunity to get to know them. Isn't it wonderful when you just hit it off with someone - that's how we felt with them.

Grace is so tired after all these days of being outside, or inside with her corner window location, that she can hardly keep her eyes open. I feel a bit the same way!

Farewell has a sweet sound of reluctance. Good-by is short and final, a word with teeth sharp to bite through the string that ties past to the future.” ― John Steinbeck

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Rally Day 7 - it wasn't trivial

The sky was clear when we got up, and stayed that way the whole day. It was a bit cooler, sometimes cool enough for a sweater. We did our normal morning routine with a bit of visiting up and down the road, and saying farewell to some of the early leavers.

Carm won the trivia contest last year (who is surprised by that?), so it was his job to run it this year. We all gathered at the campfire at 1pm with blank sheets of paper and pens. He had done up 40 questions designed to amuse and sometimes stump the participants. I think the game went well, not everyone got every question so there was a good spread of scores. We had silly little prizes for first, second and third places.

After that I had a visit with Marilyn to learn about some of the tablet things she had learnt. We started at her trailer, and ended up at ours. One of the great things about this rally is getting to know people better.

A quick rush getting the dogs out and feeding everyone, and then we were walking down the road to the farewell steak dinner. We sat with different people than our other dinner events: Judy & John, Susan & Bert, Jackie & Erik. There were some lively discussions that ended with everyone still being friends.

A campfire after supper ended the day, the last day. Tomorrow everyone leaves for their respective homes, while we relax here for a few more days.

Game shows are designed to make us feel better about the random, useless facts that are all we have left of our education.” ― Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Rally Day 6 - a bit of a breather

The pitter patter of rain on the roof woke me up early. I quickly got the dogs ready to go out before the rain started coming down heavier. After the quick trip outside, I dried everyone off then climbed back into bed for another few hours. I was tired and needed the extra sleep.

The rain continued to comedown, heavily at times, until past noon which curtailed the coffee gatherings. Many of the people headed out at noon for a restaurant tour in downtown Kingston, but for whatever reason, Carm and I had not signed up for this event.  Instead we had a quiet day, with just a quick trip into town to refresh our wine supplies (one never knows when we'll have more guests!).

As supper rolled around we met up with a group of people to go to Raxx for the fish and chip special. Honestly, a big salad would have been better...

Campfire again (with blood-sucking mosquitoes) - Carm's still there. Too tired to write more...

Monday, June 2, 2014

Rally Day 5 - more of the same

Dogs were up early because they had their last out so early last night, so at 6am I walked them until they were set to go back to bed... for another 3 hours... for me anyway. Carm's alarm went off at 7am, as he had to leave for another golf day before 8. I rolled over and went back to sleep till 9 - I was EXHAUSTED!

While I was still in bed, and perhaps still asleep, I heard my name being called... maybe they'll think I'm out with the dogs I hoped... I tried to get back to sleep, but it was time to get up. So I walked the dogs (a really short walk), and by the time I was back I heard my name again, for an invite to coffee this morning.

I don't know how many people gathered for coffee this time - there had to be 12 or more. (Carm, see all you are missing by going out golfing!). It was a fun group and coffee hour turned into two (or more).

I just had time for a short rest, before I was getting ready for our turn to host. Eleven (or am I missing anyone) people made it to our site for afternoon cocktails. Even though there wasn't much shade everyone stayed for over two hours.

We had the rest of the afternoon and early evening for supper, and then it was time to lose some blood at the campfire (the mosquitoes are pretty thick at that hour).  Distant lightening drove me back to the camper before Carm. I'm not a big fan of sitting in a big field on a metal chair while there is lightening about. Just doesn't seem smart to me! 

I'm going to have to cut my editor's pay as he isn't showing up on time these days!

As much as I do like my private time, I am going to really miss all these social opportunities when we leave.

I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Rally Day 4 - a social affair

Carm had a golf game  booked with a couple of the guys (Ken & Jim), so I ventured out with the dogs on my own. We stuck with the regular route, as I wanted to get back quickly so I could shower and head to the pancake breakfast. There have been times in my life that I wouldn't have gone to the breakfast on my own, but this year is different. As luck would have it I joined up with a group walking up the road and had a great time with them.

After breakfast I gave the camper a quick vacuum and dust, then assembled a tray of baked goods to take next door for coffee. Nine people gathered at Bob & Ann's place for a morning/afternoon of tall tales and other stories. This was a different group from breakfast, and no less fun. Hummm... that doesn't read well, so I'll just say it simply - I had fun.

At 1 o'clock I headed back "home" to take the dogs out for another walk - I had the feeling before I left for coffee that Kabira had to go out again so didn't want to leave her to suffer any longer, besides which, after pancakes, bacon, and coffee treats, I felt I needed an extra walk! I was lucky enough to catch Christine out of her trailer, so we had a bit of a chat about mental health issues, before I headed back to wait for Carm. I didn't have to wait long.

We had a snack, then Carm headed out, foraging for company, while I had a bit of a rest. After a short nap I found him down the "road" visiting  with some people. Eventually I dragged him back to the camper so that we could get ready for the potluck supper.

Again, we sat with a different group of people, and again, we had a really good time. Terry, who was sitting beside me, had worked for the company that I started consulting with at the start of my career all those years ago. He was in a different city so we didn't know anyone in common. Another interesting thing about Terry and his wife Sharon is that they are now bee-keepers. We learned much about bees and their habits. We spent so much time talking about bees that we never did find out what the other couple did (other than immigrate from Great Britain).

We got back to the camper around 8, which left us time to do dishes and head out to the campfire... I ended up passing on the fire though as I was just too exhausted. Also, I've been wondering if the lack of sleep, and extra social stimulus is making me a bit manic? Better get to bed early tonight just to make sure to nip anything in the bud...

We've not been spending much time at the camper with the pets, but we have been here enough to make me worried about Spike. There have been a few times this trip that he hasn't wanted to walk on the hardwood floor, or in certain areas of the camper, and instead has sat staring at the floor trembling. When I finally convince him to traverse the expanse, he is very cautious and scared. My first thought is vision... One of his eyes had been gucking up a bit last week... I wonder if it is related. I did a bit of research on the internet about poodle eye problems, and sure enough there is a particular genetic problem that they can be prone to. I'm pretty sure his parents were tested, but from my reading it can be carried for several generations. I hope I'm just awfulizing though, as PRA always progresses to 100% blindness.

I think a visit to the vet will be first thing on the agenda when we get home.

My editor is up in smoke again tonight - campfire smoke that is... so if there are errors and omissions please be forgiving!

Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don't they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers.” ― Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine