Thursday, July 31, 2014

I’m Fawning Over You

Walking to the camper this morning I saw a deer off in the distance on the hill we call homestead. There is an old stone foundation over there, the original homestead. We don’t walk over there much anymore as there are heifers grazing. When we first bought the land we’d take picnic lunches there in the summer, in the winter we’d snowshoe across the fields with hot chocolate and cookies. Once we had our house built it seemed we were always too busy for such frivolities.

Later in the afternoon I glanced out the kitchen window and saw a fawn grazing in the hay field. I got the binoculars out – they live on the window sill – and had a good look at it. From its size and spotted coat, it could be one of the ones we saw a month ago. I didn’t see the mother or other fawn though.

My friend Christina came by for a walk and a swing. She and her husband had recently returned from a camping trip that included Samuel de Champlain… the campground that the awning had a fight with last summer on the last night of our trip. They had a much better experience  than we did; apparently the hiking is great.

I suppose it has been good to be home - for one thing, in the morning I can just let the dogs outside without having to get dressed and walking a mile… The dogs are taking the opportunity to sleep and sleep.

Spike’s journal is coming along – I’ve got 4 chapters posted, and many more formatted and embellished with photos. I may be putting a few too many photos in, but it is hard to choose!

Chapter 1; Chapter 2; Chapter 3; Chapter 4

Last year on July 31st we were already in Medicine Hat…

The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity... and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself. ~William Blake

Monday, July 28, 2014

In the moment and in retrospect

A cold, grey rain pelted down all day. We were cosy in our luxurious villetta, but we could see tenters struggling to create more shelter. The small blue tarp that they strung over the picnic table was not large enough to protect even a solitary bottle of beer, so they retreated into their tent. I could imagine how damp and cold they must have been. Late in the afternoon I gave up waiting for the rain to let up, and ventured out across the campground to the showers. With my eyes squinted against the driving rain I made my way, rudely cutting through campsites in my haste to get to the hot shower.  There was plenty of hot water so I took my time and luxuriated in the steamy room, the heat driving away any chill.

In a futile action, I dried myself and got dressed. There was no getting around it, I had to get back to the camper, and the only way there was in the rain. The ground squished beneath my feet, seeping over the sole of my shoe, as I traversed the path. The chill that had been briefly dispelled returned as cold tendrils of water ran down my neck. Brrrr. Up three steps and into the door, I was safely home. The fireplace had been doing its work warming the air, and the golden glow of its flames invited me in. With a sigh of contentment I greeted the dogs, and shut the door behind me. Like walking into a safe cocoon, I savoured the feeling, which had been made more wonderful by the contrast.

That was yesterday - bored in the rain! I find that I'm getting addicted to writing, so you'll have to bear with me as I try out some prose. I plan to take a writing course this winter, but until then I'll bumble along getting the feeling for putting words together. When I started this blog, it was to practice writing, mainly because it was hard for me, and I wanted to practice. At the beginning it would take me all day to put together a few paragraphs - it was hard work. It isn't as much work now, instead I find it a wonderful outlet.

Today has been sunny, but cool. I've been in and out of the camper, puttering around making lists of what to re-provision, clean, remove and add for the next trip.  I've sat outside in the sun, and enjoyed time inside. Is it wrong to sit inside on a nice day? I talked with a lady from Port Perry who had an aviary full of canaries and finches. Carm said we talked for an hour! Time can fly (ha ha, pun intended). She took a bunch of photos of Grace, and said that sometimes she sells her photos to card makers.

This trip there has been much less tv watching. In the evenings, after the news we've been putting on music and instead of focusing on 'the idiot box' (I wrote a paper called that for school all those years ago), we focused on each other, or our books and other reading. We have not been practicing our dance moves though...

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” ~Anaïs Nin

A Dog's Perspective

I've been busy writing Spike's journal of his trip last summer. It has been fun to write, and a good exercise in getting first person, and correct tense right. Not to mention trying to capture it in a "dog's" voice. Sometimes a bit challenging.

I've created a new blog ( to keep all the chapters together. I posted the first chapter this afternoon. Be forewarned... there are many more to come! I hope you'll let me know what you think, and where I can make improvements.

Today we've been holed up in the camper due to the rain. A young couple came into the site across from us earlier, and my heart goes out to them. I do remember the romance of being stuck in a little tent though ;-)

Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby. ~Langston Hughes

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Border Crossing and other ancient tales

Around 1 o'clock this afternoon Carm decided we should take a trip to the US - it was cloudy and cool - a good day for spending time in the truck. I wasn't really fussed on the idea, especially since we couldn't bring the dogs. I hummed and hawed and finally gave in - away we went!

I will admit to experiencing a lot of anxiety sometimes, and this afternoon was one of those times. I don't really like leaving the dogs when there are a lot of people around, even though I was pretty certain they wouldn't bark - they haven't yet, and it has been 8 years. Still, the anxiety persisted.

On our way, we stopped at A&W to fill our tummies. I always remember the time when I was almost 5 years old - I peeked through a window and saw a doll buggy in the living room. I knew I wasn't supposed to peek, but I had, and now I felt really guilty. I had peeked and now I knew what my birthday present was. I didn't have a thrill of knowing a secret, quite the opposite, I felt sick with guilt.  I knew that my parents wanted to surprise me, and I had disappointed them.  That night my mom and dad took me to A&W for a treat - I couldn't bear to have a treat when I knew I had been deceitful, so I pretended that I really didn't want it. Of course I feigned surprise when my birthday finally came, I don't know if mom and dad ever knew.

I look back at that incident and find it interesting to see that one of my basic character traits was in me so young, and so strongly. Not guilt, but having a strong desire to be honest and true and not disappoint or hurt people. Nature or Nurture?

Back to the present... we continued on our way across the border. As we passed the Canadian customs we could see that there was a huge lineup and that we'd be waiting a long time to get back home. Of course I stressed about that. We finally made it to our destination - the mall, only to find out that many of the stores were gone. You could have fired a cannon and not hit anyone. There were no bargains, so we got in the truck to take a drive around the town. It was a reasonably well kept town, but was oddly deserted. There were few cars on the roads, and even the driveways were empty. I could imagine a horror film being made - all you needed was a giant monster of some sort. I suppose there was a monster there already - slow economy and unemployment.

In case you are wondering, we did make it back through the border, and we did wait. But only 1/2 hour which was better than what I had awfulized. The dogs were fine when we got back and there wasn't an angry mob at our door. Beside which, even if they had barked, they wouldn't have been heard over the screaming of little children. Or the ridiculously loud music that has been blaring next door. Ha ha!

True guilt is guilt at the obligation one owes to oneself to be oneself. False guilt is guilt felt at not being what other people feel one ought to be or assume that one is. ~R. D. Laing

Friday, July 25, 2014

A fun walk with flat collars

I took the 3 dogs out by myself this morning. I take them every morning as soon as I get up, but since it is usually just a quick walk to the business area I don't bother with anything other than their flat collars. This morning we were out for about an hour - we saw a big turkey, a deer, a rabbit, some geese with a bunch of fluffy chicks. And another deer - we stood staring at each other for what seemed like minutes, we were not much farther than 100 feet, so we could almost see into each other's eyes. I wondered if it was confused by Kabira, who could pass for a deer at times.

Oh, and deerflies... my mom suggested dryer sheets, so I stuck one in my hat, and in the dogs collars... perhaps the deerflies hadn't read the internet!

Yesterday and today were days much like the previous few. It was cooler, lovely for spending time outside. Carm went off to the driving range both days, and I sat and wrote, starting to do some editing. I have a lot to do... my aim for Spike's travelogue is to make it as good as I can, almost as if I were publishing it. Of course that's not my plan, not only is the subject slightly weird, I'm not of a publishable caliber. Maybe someday ;-)

Thursday night we had our last dance class for a while. We learned a few fancy Samba steps, or at least I tried to learn. I just couldn't get them through my head. Dennis, the instructor, was so patient, and showed me over and over again. I've got the steps on video so that we can practice over the next few weeks. I'm not sure what class we'll take next, but for sure it won't be until the fall.

Sun is shining. Weather is sweet. Make you wanna move your dancing feet. ~Bob Marley

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

To lie in the grass and count the stars

With showers in the forecast for the early part of the day Wednesday, we decided we'd leave the camp and run a few errands. We got some new bungies to secure down the ^&^%@ satellite dish, and a few other things. We even stopped for lunch at the golf course. When we finally got back it had stopped raining, but was still too wet to sit outside so we bunkered down inside for some reading and writing.

My muse was with me again today and I wrote and wrote - the words came pouring out with barely any thought. It was if I was possessed by Spike and he was narrating as I typed. I couldn't believe how much I wrote! I've gotten the main story written for his travelogue, now I can start editing and perhaps fleshing some bits out. It is over 8000 words already! When I'm happy with the writing I'll add some photos for interest. I wonder where I could get something like this printed? Or what software I might use to turn it into a PDF.

In the evening we watched a documentary about a family that owns a strip club in Guelph. Their lives are nothing like mine, and they aren't like any people I've known. It seemed sordid and dirty, and they seemed shallow and mean. But as the documentary progressed I started to see other sides to them, and see that there was more to their stories. The mother had an eating disorder - she was anorexic - but she was always preparing food for her husband who was hugely overweight and always eating. One of the sons was helping to run the business, and seemed satisfied with what he was doing. The other son was the one directing the documentary - he was questioning his life. It was a program of contradictions.

I like watching programs like this because they stretch me out of my comfort zone and open my eyes to ways of life other than the typical middle class life that I have had. When I was young my father was in the military, where everyone is alike. After he was a civilian, we lived in middle class neighborhoods and I went to school with middle class friends. When I graduated from school I got a job with other middle class people. I've lived a sheltered life. I look at people around me and wonder about their lives and if they are different? Some of what Alice Monroe writes about addresses these questions, and perhaps that one of the reasons I enjoy her stories so much.

Perhaps programs about other sides of life also help me to appreciate all that I have. Not material things, but a loving family and friends that aren't in jail for assault! A peaceful life.

On my way up to bed, I slipped out the door when I saw that the sky had finally cleared. Instead of lying in the grass (bugs!), I sat on my chair and tipped it back so that I could enjoy the starry night. I didn't stay out long - I wanted to get back inside before the mosquitoes found me - but it was wonderful. Oh Starry Starry Night.

This morning I took the dogs for their walk first thing. It is cooler with a breeze so I hope there would be fewer deer flies, and perhaps there were... but I still got 4 bites.

Silently, one by one, in the infinite meadows of heaven, Blossomed the lovely stars, the forget-me-nots of the angels.” ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

To sit on a branch and study the clouds

After Tuesday morning's battle with the deerflies, we spent the day sitting languid in the shade. The heat was high, as was the humidity, so even the effort of going inside for a drink of water warranted a shower with the hose. The dogs spent some of the afternoon inside away from the bugs, but we stayed outside to enjoy the day.

The beautiful setting inspired me to write over 2000 words for Spike's travelogue; the words were coming easily. Eventually I had to stop to recharge my tablet, and by then it was time to walk the dogs again.

I had our cooler bandanas charged up with cold water, so I tied those around everyones neck to keep us a tiny bit cooler, but even so it was so hot that when we got back from the short walk we had to turn the hose onto the dogs before dousing ourselves. Grace even had a soak, although she was none too pleased!

We spent the rest of the afternoon sipping on icy coranitas; feasting on crackers with blue cheese and honey; and nibbling on grapes, strawberries and huge cherries. The sound of cicadas triggered both of our memories, and we started talking about the summers of our youth. I have so many strong memories of summer, snap shot memories of specific moments in time.

I don't know if it was because it is summer now, in in the heat it seemed impossible to think of the cold, but very few winter memories surfaced - maybe there wasn't as much to remember? Summer is a magical time for me, and I guess it always was.

Carm remembered his summer jobs working construction, carrying sheets of drywall and bags of cement up flights of stairs in the blazing heat. My memories were more carefree, with grass and trees, and the smell of clover featuring heavily. I hope I knew how lucky I was.

We had a cold supper of salads, sitting at the picnic table out under the awning. Grace's cage is right on the picnic table - she is always happy to have her meal sitting right next to us. She ate all the healthy things we were enjoying, and didn't even ask for junk instead.

At bedtime I checked the weather forecast, and wouldn't luck have it, our heat wave was over and chance of thunderstorms was in the forecast instead. Sure enough, I woke up early to deafening claps of thunder and pouring rain. Thankfully Spike had the good sense to know we would not go out for a walk so snuggled down for a much longer sleep. As it was, by 9am they couldn't wait any longer, so we had to dash out between the rumbles. The back of the site is about 100' from the back of the trailer, and is partially underwater, so we made an exception and just went there. Unfortunately it is among huge trees which didn't make me feel very comfortable in a thunderstorm.

Summer is the annual permission slip to be lazy. To do nothing and have it count for something. To lie in the grass and count the stars. To sit on a branch and study the clouds.~Regina Brett

Paradise Lost

We arrived at UCBS campground yesterday early afternoon. After a reasonably quick set up and a cold adult beverage, we set out to walk the dogs. You may remember from about a month ago that I waxed poetic about the beautiful walk... not so now... DEERFLIES up to ying yang. We had a few swarming us yesterday afternoon and figured hats would help us beat them away.

This morning Spike had me up at 7 - I think he wakes up early in anticipation of a walk when we are camping - little begger (change e to u). So I leashed everyone up, grabbed the poo bags and marched quickly past all the campsites to the rough area. Well, once we got there the deerflies swarmed us. There must have been at least 30 flying around us. The dogs were going crazy and I was slapping at my head and arms. I got bitten once and who knows how many times the dogs got bitten. It was NOT fun. We dashed out of there, and luckily I found a relatively fly free area for them to do their business (they weren't doing it with all those flies around).

I don't know what we can do to repel the deerflies from both humans and dogs. I don't know what we will do about walks. We won't come here again in the summer...

Yesterday it was really hot and humid, so I got a chance to use my induction burner. It is a little one burner unit that I pack away in a briefcase. I had it plugged in outside to keep some of the cooking heat out of the camper. I loved it! It is almost like cooking with gas, as it responds quickly to temperature changes.

I had thought about packing our little bbq for our Presquille trip, but now I'm not so sure. I think with the griddler and the induction burner we are covered for outdoor cooking and grilling. I have a list a mile long of extra things to bring for that trip, so if I can cross one thing off, that will be a good thing!

We brought Grace's "new", giant outdoor cage with us for the first time. We had forgotten that it is much taller than the one we used last time, which puts it above the level of the overhang of the 5th wheel part of the camper. I got out for the first turn to make sure we weren't going to hit - it looked like we'd be okay, but I craned my neck to see every other turn. It was a bit stressful, and not 100% sure that we'd never hit... we'll switch back to the mid-sized cage, which still gives her plenty of room.

“By having good memories on every place you just visit, you are building paradise in your own heart and your life.” ― Toba Beta

Sunday, July 20, 2014

I wasn't expecting the Spanish Inquisition

Tears were starting to dampen my cheeks, and my sides were getting sore from holding in the laughter. I was certain that my contained mirth was shaking every seat in the theatre. Well, that is a slight exaggeration, but I was laughing and laughing. I kind of felt that if I really started to laugh, I might never stop! I was getting a bit giddy...

A few weeks ago Jo Ellen called to see if we'd be interesting in going to the live showing of the last Monty Python show being held at a local movie theater. I had barely hung up the phone and we had the tickets bought and printed. Carm has been a big fan since 1969 when the show first started. He knows the words to many of the sketches, and most of the three movies as well. I had not grown up with Monty Python, and have never seen much of them. I wasn't really sure what to expect, or even it it would be very funny.

This morning we got going early, had lunch with Carm's mom, dashed to Costco for poop bags, then to Critter Jungle for dog food, and finally Food Basics for cherries. Whew. Finally we were on our way to the movie theater to meet up with Jo Ellen & Don. We got there with plenty of time to spare, and as soon as we met up went to the right theatre. Even though we were there 25 minutes before the show started, the place was packed! We had to sit in the 3rd row from the front - luckily the seats recline so we didn't strain our necks!

While we were waiting for the show to start, there were snippets of Monty Python on the screen, with a countdown timer in the corner. Finally it started! The screen zoomed out for a full view of the stadium where they were actually playing (it was live!!!), and then back in close to the conductor. The music rang out (did you know that John Philip Souza wrote the original theme song?), and the show began.

It was a mix of the original guys (now in their 70s) redoing some of the favorite sketches, with video snips from the originals. When they showed the original "Munich 1972 Olympics" I just about choked with laughter. The race for people with incontinence issues just about had me incontinent.

Of course they did Canada's anthem "I'm a lumberjack and I'm okay".

I really enjoyed myself, and don't actually recall laughing that hard for a very long time.

Below are the lyrics for the last song of the last show, advice to live by:

words and music by Eric Idle

Some things in life are bad They can really make you mad Other things just make you swear and curse. When you're chewing on life's gristle Don't grumble, give a whistle And this'll help things turn out for the best...

And...always look on the bright side of life... Always look on the light side of life...

If life seems jolly rotten There's something you've forgotten And that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing. When you're feeling in the dumps Don't be silly chumps Just purse your lips and whistle - that's the thing.

And...always look on the bright side of life... Always look on the light side of life...


And now for something completely different!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Blessings of Old Friends



From the time our parrots started having babies, we've been friends with Ruth and John. You know sometimes when you meet someone, and almost immediately there is a deep connection, a friendship that endures even though it is sometimes ages that you go without seeing them. Someone who if you sit down with a cup of coffee, you start off immediately where you left  off, as if you saw them yesterday.  Well, that describes our relationship with Ruth and John. So we were thrilled that we finally got our schedules aligned for them to come for the night on Wednesday.

John and Carm left for golf as soon as the van was unloaded with dogs, cats and parrots, not to mention heaps of food. That left Ruth and I to spend the afternoon relaxing on the swing trading stories and sorrows. It was a wonderful time!


Before we knew it Thursday morning had come, a leisurely breakfast then they were on their way. But not before I made Ruth promise she'd come to the camper this fall for our annual girls gala ;-)

Bella and Spike were excited to have Sadie & Gus for a visit, Kabira not so much. She spends all her effort trying to make sure that everyone behaves and doesn't do anything wrong. The self imposed responsibility really stresses her out, so she takes no time to enjoy herself and play.

Bailey and Cato knew where they  were as soon as they turned into the laneway. I'm not sure if that's  a good or bad thing, but they did seem to enjoy themselves.


Oh, I almost forgot. In the morning as we were puttering about getting breakfast, we saw a few deer ducking in and out of the hayfield. One would push through the fence and go zooming and leaping around, then it would exit, and another would come in and do the same thing. We think we saw 3 in total  - I wonder if was the doe and her two fawns that we saw a few weeks ago.

We learned a few more steps of Samba in our class last night. I wonder when it will all sink in and my feet will behave properly. I feel like I have a learning disorder - the instructor can show a few steps, and once he's done I can't remember a thing. He must want to tear his hair out...

This morning I got cracking right away and did tons of cooking for our trip, and the next few suppers, which luckily left me the afternoon to enjoy the swing and even slip into my makeshift dipping pool. The sun was hot, the breeze was cool, and the bugs were few. Bliss.

It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Twenty Five Years!

Tuesday marked 25 years of wedded bliss. I think back to then and know that I had no idea how long 25 years was, let alone the rest of our lives. But it has worked out remarkably well for me. We are still happily married, in some ways even more happy than all those 25 years ago.


The day started off okay... but I had a doctors appointment in town, and it was raining. Our plan was that since we were in town we would get our favourite takeout Thai food to bring home for supper. Fate had other ideas though - the restaurant was closed until 5pm – it was just 2:30. So we just trudged on with the rest of our chores, thinking we'd console ourselves with Chinese food from a local restaurant. Come supper time, with our order in our hand, I made the phone call only to be told they were taking a short vacation. WTF. Luckily there is another Chinese restaurant in town... you guessed it... they were out of what we wanted to order. Was it going to debase to DQ burgers? Luckily I remembered from a long ago visit that the second restaurant served one or two Thai dishes. A quick phone call and we had something ordered.

While Carm was gone I got out the white linen tablecloth, some white candles, white flowers from the garden, silver chargers, and silver flatware -  voila, a pretty table set. With the tv playing a big band music station we were all set.


It turns out that the Thai dish from our village was good (although nothing is as good as the stuff from in the city), and with a bottle of real champagne, courtesy of Jo Ellen and Don (thanks!), we had a lovey supper. We lingered over the table, talking about all the good times we've had.

Eventually we got up and did a few practice dances then moved to the sofa to look at our wedding album. With familiar rock tunes in the background we gushed over how young everyone was... At the back of the book were a few cards from our first few anniversaries. Carm has always written lovely things in his cards - it was a real treat to read them last night.

I think we'll start a new tradition of writing something about our year and sticking it into the album – it would be fun to see what we find on our 50th anniversary! I'm thinking maybe a photo of the two of us, with a blurb written on the back might do the trick!



Marriage is an act of will that signifies and involves a mutual gift, which unites the spouses and binds them to their eventual souls, with whom they make up a sole family - a domestic church.  ~Pope John Paul II

Monday, July 14, 2014

I have to shake my head

I was looking for a book by Farley Mowat that I was sure that I had… unfortunately, last winter in a fit of manic madness I tore through the reasonably neat & organized library of books that we have in the basement. I ruthlessly chucked books into boxes to go to the second hand store. Boxes and piles of books are strewed all over the room, making it  difficult to walk, let alone find anything. Sadly (or maybe happily), my mood switched and the room remains in this chaotic state. This week I’ll have to decide if I want to wade through the boxes looking for the book, or tape them all up and send them away.

Saturday we packed up camp in the morning to get home by noon. It was beautiful, and honestly I thought of checking to see if the site was open for one more day. Thankfully I didn’t, as by Sunday morning it was pouring rain off and on. So instead of breaking camp in the rain, we are nice and dry and already have the laundry done and the bed remade!

Late in the afternoon yesterday Trudie and Leo came over to drop off a dog crate they had picked up at a flea market. I had switched Grace’s tiny outside camping cage for the Spikes bigger one; however, the smaller crate was way too small for Spike so we were on the hunt for a bigger one. If you are wanting a bargain put Trudie on the case. She found this one (albeit a bit battered) for $10!

The afternoon turned into evening so I whipped up a quick pasta dish and we sat  around the table for hours.

I updated my last story (Cemetery) back to my original ending.  With much discussion it was decided that it made more of an impact, carrying the message that I trying to convey more clearly.

Latest ear worm: 5th Dimension - (Last Night) I Didn't Get To Sleep At All

Last night I didn't get to sleep at all, no, no
I lay awake and watched until the mornin' light
Washed away the darkness of the lonely night, lonely night

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Cemetery - story #2

This is my second try at writing a short story. It was more difficult than the first, perhaps because I had to make up more of the story. I was inspired by the sight of two women standing at the gates of the cemetery near where we camp. I'm getting ideas every where I turn, and should carry a notebook with me. And yes, Jo Ellen, some of them are happy! I'm looking forward to your comments.

Note: I updated it to change the ending, but left the old ending for comment. Which is more impactful?


They stood at the cemetery gate, its weathered roof protecting them from the grey drizzle. They were sisters, but aside from these few minutes every year on their mother's birthday, they rarely saw each other. As children they had been inseparable, but when they were older something had happened. Neither could remember the exact details, but the hurt still lingered.

The smell of decaying leaves scented the air with a sickly sweet smell that reminded them of death. Hardly glancing at each other, they spoke only of the triumphs of the previous year, not willing to let the other know of the tragedies and discomforts that had also passed. Their conversation soon faltered and they turned away from each other. As they walked away, each felt an urge to turn back, to get back what they once had, but neither did.

Every fall they repeated this ritual, placing flowers on their mothers grave, superficial conversations, each woman wanting to reach out to the other, but letting the moment pass, unwilling to make the first overture.

She stood at the cemetery gates alone, its roof shading her from the bright sunshine. Spring had arrived, and sunny yellow daffodils poked their heads along the church wall. Buds on the trees were swollen with life. She recalled one spring when they had gone to a festival, with bright flowers and music surrounding them. They had shared a freshly made cinnamon bun.

Slowly, she walked between the headstones until she was in the right place. As she stood at the foot of the freshly dug grave, a memory of she and her sister as young girls skipping down the road, holding hands and laughing, stuck in her head.

She sighed and turned away, tears of regret tracing down her cheeks.


Slowly, she walked between the headstones until she was at the right place. As she stood there at the foot of the three graves, one freshly dug, a memory of she and her sister as young girls skipping down the road, holding hands and laughing, stuck in her head. Reaching out, she took her sisters hand; they turned to each other and smiled, skipping between the grave stones.

The minister of the church thought he heard laughter, but saw nothing but a glimmer of light when he looked out of the window.


Friday, July 11, 2014

Mom, Samba, Doe

Carm left for home on Wednesday morning, leaving me time to prepare for my mother's visit. At least once a year we get together on the camper for a girls night gabfest. When she arrived mid afternoon it was still warm enough (barely) to sit outside and enjoy the sun. By supper time we were driving inside, no eating outside for us! The wind died down a bit after supper, so we leashed up the dogs and went for a stroll. Oh it was lovely to enjoy the evening - large moon shining faintly in the sky, my mom's company - what more could a person ask for.

The next morning we had a coffee, then put on our shoes for a longer walk. We were still out walking when Carm arrived back around 11am. The afternoon was conducive for resting under the shade of the trees canopy'ing our site, conversation flowing easily.

After mom left, Carm and I had a snack and got ready for dance. Classes were starting again - this time 3 weeks of Samba. The instructor was trying to review with us steps that we learned last fall, but I'll have to be honest, I had no memory of them, and even the basic step seemed difficult. Carm fared better. I took a video of our instructor so that we'll have something to refer to as we practice.


On our way home we saw a young doe in the campground - she was beautiful. We tried to sneek up closer to her in the truck so I could get a photo. As she ran off she passed right beside our camper. Good thing the dogs were inside!


Today we've already heard 3 times how beautiful our dogs are.  I agree with them ;-)


A trip to the golf course for breakfast and the driving range finished up our morning. This afternoon we relaxed outside, under the shade of the giant maple, unfortunately listening to the music of the people across from us... the older couple came in, and as soon as they were set up had the music blaring... their trailer has giant outdoor speakers built into it which I think should be outlawed. We were playing music ourselves (it couldn't be heard outside of the fence - I checked), but we had to turn ours off cause we couldn't hear it!!! We are just living with it for now, its no big deal really. And they have played a few songs that we could practice the samba to ;-)


I've been working on my second short story, but it isn't coming as easily as the first. It will be a day or two before it is posted!

"The journey in between what you once were and who you are now becoming is where the dance of life takes place." ~Barbara De Angelis

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Pandemonium of Poodles Again

Jo Ellen, Don and tiny Lady joined us yesterday afternoon for a relaxing afternoon. With a poodle of each size, Kabira was the odd dog out, but she didn't seem to mind and mostly relaxed inside the camper.


I like entertaining on the camper as I tend to keep things simpler and stress out less. I had made the "burgers" at home and had them in the freezer; a bag of coleslaw with sliced red pepper and zucchini added, topped with a Thai inspired dressing using some of the basil in my travelling herb garden; potatoes with lemon and rosemary finished the meal.


The afternoon had been partially cloudy, but there was rain in the forecast; sure enough as we sat down at the picnic table for supper it started sprinkling. We squeezed ourselves under the awning and ate with an eye to the sky. It is much easier to eat outside, so we were all keeping our fingers crossed. We were lucky! It wasn't long after we ate that the rain started coming down in sheets. Time to move inside, where we have lots of room. We eventually inflicted an episode of Graham Norton on them to pass the time till the rain let up.



We had a good time, and look forward to our next get together - Monty Python at the movie theatre.

The rain stopped eventually but only after a brief lull that lured me outside with the dogs for bedtime constitutional. As I was outside with them the rain suddenly came down in sheets, soaking all of us. The dogs hurried to do their business and we ran inside, dripping with water. Luckily I keep lots of towels for that eventuality; the dogs love have the towel roughly run over their bodies, drying them.

As the rain subsided, the wind took its place, buffeting the trailer all night (and still today), waking me up at times with the feeling that we might become airborne.

It is cooler today and could almost pass for fall.

The rain to the wind said, You push and I'll pelt.' They so smote the garden bed That the flowers actually knelt, And lay lodged--though not dead. I know how the flowers felt. ~Robert Frost

Monday, July 7, 2014

Alone – story #1

It has been showering on and off again all day. Aside for a few brief "outs" with the dogs, and a trip to Morrisburg for some lemonade, we've been reading, and in my case writing.

I am having some sort of writing mania - Spike's story about our trip (I'm on chapter 2), and a short story about a person that I saw. Each story is quite different,  Spike's is fun to write, but I find the other one a bit depressing. Sometimes as we go about our business, a person will catch my eye; there is something about them that moves me, causing me to wonder about their lives. They are usually people a bit down on their luck in some way (at least as I imagine). I've always wanted to capture the essence of my impression and feelings - this is my first try.


<edit - I had pasted the wrong version>

He sat in his car outside the restaurant, thoughts of the past and present swirling through his head. He knew he wanted a good meal, there had been too many nights of canned soup by himself in his apartment, but eating alone was always hard, no matter how many times he'd done it. He'd never really fit in anywhere, and often sat on the sidelines watching other people live their lives. Finally, with a sigh of resignation, he stepped out of the car and walked to the restaurant. On his way in he could hear music playing on the patio and quickened his step in time with the beat.

He'd always loved music, it had been his dream to be a performer - Frankie Vallie, Frank Sinatra, and more recently Michael Buble were his idols. He remembered singing in front of the mirror in his room as a teenager, playing his few records over and over until his mother would shout up at him. Once he even tried out for a talent show at school, but was jeered for his efforts. Not because he couldn't sing, he wasn't 1/2 bad, but because he wasn't one of the in crowd, he was shy and a bit of a loner. Not that he didn't long to be part of a group, it just didn't work out that way.

With strains of the music wafting through the restaurant, he ate his meal and dreamed of what might have been. After he finished eating, he walked over to the patio door so he could watch the fun. As he stood there, a woman came inside, and as she passed he asked her if it was a private party. She shook her head and smiled, inviting him to join in the fun.

He walked out onto the deck, passing several couples on the dance floor. Standing against the back wall he watched. He always felt that with his grey hair and sallow complexion that he was like a ghost, invisible; it was unlikely that he'd be invited to join any of the groups gathered around each table.

There was a pause in the music as the two entertainers stepped away, no one else seemed to be taking their place. He felt that this was his chance, a chance to live, even if for just a few minutes, his dream of being a singer. Spurred into action, he sought out the owner and asked if he could sing just a song or two. With her okay, he waited till the entertainers returned so he could have his turn at the kareoke machine, then walked over and introduced himself. A song was selected and as the first notes hit the air, he closed his eyes and imagined himself in another place. The people sitting around the patio became a cheering crowd. Women crowded the edge of the stage. He was a star.

After the song ended he stood quietly for a few more seconds, unwilling to let the illusion go. Reality eventually intervened, and he saw not a cheering crowd, but people gathered in the same groups, talking together, oblivious to his performance. His shoulders slumped. And he walked out of the restaurant alone.


Enjoy your week!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Oh Deer, What is Kabira doing outside?

As I was moving about the kitchen this morning, a bit of brown near the pond caught my eye. My first thought was Kabira, as the colour was almost identical. As a doe moved out onto the lawn, with two fawns frolicking at her side it was immediately apparent that I was wrong.


A mad dash ensued - I had to get my camera!

Transfixed by this glimpse into the secret lives of these beautiful creatures, I hoped that one or two of the shots would capture their wild grace. Sadly, they didn’t linger in our sights for long, perhaps the smell of dog became too over powering for her, and they bounded away out of sight.


We felt that our day had been blessed.


We are at Riverside camping again. It is warm, hot really, and the wind is blowing like the dickens. There are a few large trees on our site that I’ve been watching carefully, but it doesn’t look like they’ll be coming down on our heads.

As usual the set up went well… but when it came time for the satellite… lets just say that it didn’t go well… we’d better enjoy the tv after all that excitement. (so much for the deer blessing!)


Last night we were invited to the Sol de Acapulco for a music night. Alicia had organized for a few entertainers to open the deck. It wasn’t the official opening as the liquor licence hadn’t come through yet – lots of coffee and ice tea was consumed instead - but with some music, and dancing, the deck was christened. On a night like last night (a bit of a breeze, warm, bright moon) I can see it being full of people enjoying our short summer. Add a bit of music and it will be packed!

You can see from the photos that it overlooks an inlet of the St. Lawrence – such a pretty view!


We did deek into the restaurant to get a proper meal (the shrimp special was outstanding), but the lure of the beautiful evening brought us back outside as soon as we were finished. We even got a few practice dance steps in (under the cover of darkness!).


“Your growing antlers,' Bambi continued, 'are proof of your intimate place in the forest, for of all the things that live and grow only the trees and the deer shed their foliage each year and replace it more strongly, more magnificently, in the spring. Each year the trees grow larger and put on more leaves. And so you too increase in size and wear a larger, stronger crown.” ― Felix Salten, Bambi's Children

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

It's the hundred and 47th anniversary of Confederation

Monday afternoon we escaped the heat the classic way – going to the movies. We met up with my mom and some other relatives to see ‘Jersey Boys’. It was well acted with an interesting plot. It took a few songs for the music to grow on me - Frankie Valli is not my all time favourite – but in the end I enjoyed every note, and will buy his greatest hits album. It was incredible to see them produce hit after hit - a creative assemblage of talents. I will admit to have the urge of clapping after some of the music numbers (thankfully I kept my wits about me)!


I started the day yesterday with the onerous task of clipping the poodles. Although I dreaded it, once I got down to business the job went well, and time flew by. Isn’t that often the way – time spent procrastinating is greater than the actual effort required to accomplish the task! The next hair cut will be in just a month – right before we go to Presqu’ile for almost 4 weeks!


Today is Canada Day – a celebration of our wonderful country! I always remember back to the two Canada Days that I participated in on Parliament Hill – 1977 &  1978. I’m not sure exactly how I got involved, it might have had something to do with my friend’s sister, but there I was, singing and marching on the main stage – televised and all!


We were in the same show as Bruno Gerussi, Maureen Foresster, the Irish Rovers, and other Canadian icons that I can’t remember. While the memory of specific details has faded, I do remember the essence.

The song we were singing was an “updated” version of the “Centennial Song” written in 1967 by Bobby Gimby.

(One little two little three Canadians)
We love thee
(Now we are twenty million)
(Four little five little six little Provinces)
Proud and free
(Now we are ten and the Territories sea to sea)
North south east west
There'll be happy times,
Church Bells will ring, ring, ring
It's the hundred and tenth anniversary of
Ev'rybody sing together!

We haven’t gone up to the hill to enjoy the celebration for a few years, but I always keep my ears and eyes on alert for the CF-18s flying over! No luck  seeing them this year though :-(

20140701_084245-spikeSpike started writing an essay about our trip to Alberta last summer. He hasn’t gotten very far, but here is a first draft excerpt for comment.


My name is Spike, I'm a dog, but they also tell me that I’m a poodle, whatever that is. I've been around for more than a few summers, but last year's was the best.

Summer time is when we go camping, which I think is great fun. When I see my people carrying stuff out to the house on wheels, (they call it a camper), I start to feel excited. But sometimes they take days and days to get all my beds and toys loaded, not to mention my food, so I try to wait patiently... On the day we leave I sense an extra urgency, so then I keep a really close eye on them. Bella and Kabira, my dog sisters help.

We know it is really going to happen when Laura gets out the collars that we wear camping. Then I leap and jump, I just can't help myself, I feel that we are in for an adventure.

Last summer was different though. I could tell that my people were getting ready for something big. It seemed like they were running things out to the camper for weeks. Sometimes is was stuff for us dogs, but often it was boring things. Even if I could count, I don't think I'd be able to count the number of times L. emptied and reloaded the front of the camper. Not even the truck was spared this attention - even our beds in the backseat were changed and rearranged. I wondered what was going on.

I’m not really sure where I’m going with this, but it will be a fun writing exercise, although writing in past tense, dog eye might be a bit tricky.

Happy Canada Day!!!

My dream is for people around the world to look up and to see Canada like a little jewel sitting at the top of the continent. ~Tommy Douglas