Monday, August 31, 2015

wagon ho!

The honey wagon dropped by this morning. While the word honey may conjure up visions of hot buttered toast drizzled with the sweet nectar, this honey is anything but sweet. It is a turid sludge pumped from our black and grey tanks. Black tanks are not exactly black, but the colour closest to it on the colour spectrum; grey describes the effluent from dishwashing, handwashing, and if we didn't use the park ones, showers - a greasy, soapy, food particle ridden soup.

Ed, the friendly angel of emptiness (we don't shake hands), first tackles the black tank, the pulsating hose freeing us to use our own bathroom facilities. Oh mercy! No walk in the dark down unlit campground roads, crocs crunching on the gravel, feet dampened by the dewy walk across our grassy site to the road. He does the grey one next, its soapy water flushing the hose for his next appointment. His is a truck you do not want to run into - 350 gallons of honey! This service didn't exist for the first few years we came here so we'd skimp and conserve to last to the halfway point of our visit (about 12 days). Then we'd ready the camper for travel and drag it to the dump station (a hole in the ground into which honey is dumped). It was a hassle. Now we are happy to fork over $20 once a week.

We had other, equally (actually, more) welcome, but much less stinky guests this afternoon. Bill and Brenda have arrived for their 2 week camp and are across the road and two sites down from us. I foresee much hilarity and good cheer which starts with tonight's ribfest. We are waiting for them to setup so that we can have a swim.

It is thankfully warm today but (as usual) the wind is whipping across the waves. Too windy to have our awnings out, instead we have our less valuable, easier to repair, unlikely to rip out of the side of our camper, shade tent up. It is rocking to the blasts of wind, shuffling on its spindly legs. But giving us a little bit of shade. Surprisingly, even with the wind, there is a mist over the water, partially obscuring the horizon and the island that is not far off-shore.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

the MegaLoad

The jumbotron flashed black, blue and brown on its vibrating round screen. The timer flashed 23 minutes. What a way to spend a Sunday afternoon but with hot sun in the weather forecast for the rest of the week it seemed like a good time to do laundry.

Brighton has a bright and clean laundromat with a variety of machines to chose from. We chose the easy way: stuff all clothes, sheets and towels into the giant maw of the MegaLoad.

We stepped out into bright sunshine. Having lunch and getting our laundry put away made us hot enough for a swim - the water was wonderful. We'd thought the several days of wind and waves would have brought the cold water from the depths of the lake but we were pleasantly surprised :-)

I have another parrot memory to write about today.

By the time Zack, our blue and gold macaw, was a year old we had decided to make a contribution to the domestic parrot trade by breeding our lovely pets. Finding a mate for Zack was no easy task but we eventually found Bubbers who was just an hours drive away. We went to see her and decided on the spot that she would be the one. We could only hope that Zack would feel the same way. Parrots generally mate for life and chose their partners carefully so BubbersZena (her new name) was not a sure thing.

Instead of putting her directly with Zack in his big cage we setup two large dog crates next to each other so they could get to know each other before we risked fowl and feather when we put them together. When we brought her into the room Zack let out a big OHHHHHBOYYYYY. It was clear from the beginning that they were a good match. They'd sit on adjacent perches in their separate cages, looking at each other with googly eyes.

We didn't wait many days before letting them out of their cages together. Zack climbed to the top of his cage and when he saw BubbersZena ascend he started running around, shouting "oh boy, oh boy, yummy…" with the energy and excitement that only a macaw can conjure. She had the same level of enthusiasm, but didn't yet have the words to express herself. They devoted themselves to each other from the day they met, eventually producing many fat chicks.

I think it was love at first sight.


The weather forecast for the next week is pure summer!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Ghostly Galleon

The nearly full moon hung like a golden orb in the indigo sky last night. Around the camp, details not normally seen at night were fully visible. The wind was absent and the waves almost silent. I could hear the faint strum of a guitar and wished that I was there. Groups of people gathered around campfires, an activity as old as mankind. Safe in the circle of light there was laughter and murmured conversations.

We hadn't bothered to pick up firewood so we retreated to the brash light from the TV.

This afternoon I was feeling antsy, even after a walk down lighthouse lane, so invited the people across the way for a beer. John, Maureen, and their daughter Catherine, joined us for a few hours of conversation. I don't know what Carm and John talked about (maybe some of it was about working for the Ottawa Fire department), but the rest of us talked about dogs, training, feeding, and anything else canine. They have a chocolate lab that was with her breeder having just had puppies - they are getting the 2nd pick of the litter. Puppies! I love puppies.

The writing books that I have been reading suggest writing a memory every day. I don't know if I remember enough to do this for long, but I'll start today with this memory that I was recalling with Mom just the other day.


In 1991 we got our first Blue & Gold macaw, Zack. There were few supplies, toys and cages to chose from in Canada but Zack needed a proper cage so I started looking farther afield. I poured over 'Bird Talk' magazine, a US publication, comparing features and prices until I found what I wanted: a large black iron cage with outside access feeders for a reasonable price. I placed my order with the company in California and started waiting, impatiently I might add. Googgle maps was years away from being created, so I checked my paper atlas as it made its way across the US and into Canada.  Zack was quickly becoming too big for the dog crate he was in - his new home couldn't get here fast enough.

There was one problem though - we had a small hatchback and this was a huge iron monstrosity. Mom to the rescue with her trusty van. She picked me up from work and we wended our way through the industrial area until we found the depot. The freight guys squeezed it into the van and may have wondered how we'd get it out again. We hadn't thought that far but knew we'd find a way. My mom has passed her resourcefulness to me, so together we are a formidable pair! Oh, we struggled, lugged, and heaved and hawed and finally got it across the grass to the front door. As we stepped onto the cement sidewalk we looked at each other and laughed, nearly falling down at the hilarity of our 'dooh'. We could have simply parked the van further up the laneway, removed the cage from its box, installed the wheels, and simply wheeled the cage down the path! Resourcefulness arrived several minutes too late.

With our sides still aching from so much laughter we man-handled the cage in the door and up the stairs. We'd done it!

I installed an assortment of toys and perches then put Zack in his new home. He seemed pleased and oblivious to the trouble it had taken to get it to him. The next day he learned how to open the door to let himself out. Hummm. Technology, in the form of a padlock put an end to that!

Zack stopped living in that cage many, many years ago - now it casts its shadow on the back deck as Grace's outdoor playground.


The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas.  ~Alfred Noyes

Friday, August 28, 2015

Who has seen the wind?

Yesterday morning the camper was vacuumed and dusted before 10am. We were having company! First my mom arrived and we visited over coffee, had a quick lunch of hotdogs (yes, we served them to guests), then Mom and I went for a long walk while Carm hit up the grocery store.

I brought the three dogs with me on our walk - they behaved like 3 rotten children, pulling me, tangling their leashes and generally being unruly. They took advantage of my distraction.  Contrast that to this morning when they were perfectly behaved…

We weren't back from our walk when Uncle Ken and Marilyn arrived for supper, luckily Carm was home to greet them. The wind had picked up throughout the day and the clouds obscured any possible heat from the sun so we stretched the limits of the camper and visited inside. When it came time for supper we all gathered around the various coffee and side tables or just balanced our plates on our laps. It didn't matter that we didn't have a beautiful table set, we were having fun.

Around 8pm everyone took their leave and the camper suddenly seemed empty. I curled up on the sofa with my tablet for a few minutes and wondered what tomorrow would bring.

In the early morning I slung my arm over Spike, pinning him to the bed, forcing him to endure another hour of sleep. It was past 8am when his wet licks woke me up! I happily leashed up the dogs (in a much better mood than yesterday) and stepped out the door. Wow. It was a picture perfect morning, the lake like glass and a sailboat anchored not far from shore. The line between sea and sky was barely discernible. I could imagine the boat sailing right over our heads towards the sun.

As the afternoon wore on (that sounds so negative and tiring, but it wasn't that way at all), the on-shore breeze picked up. It wasn't blowing a gale, but I found it difficult to keep warm, even with a long-sleeve shirt on, in or out of the sun. And I couldn't see my tablet's screen very well, although I did get 1/2 of this written outside. I gave up and came inside where I can still see and hear the water.

Who has seen the wind? Neither you nor I but when the trees bow down their heads, the wind is passing by.  ~W.O. Mitchell

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

What should my theme be?

The wind is still making its presence known, not by blowing us away, but by keeping up a steady 12 kph draught. Crossing the expanse of lake it absorbs cold from its watery highway. It was too windy for Grace, and frankly, too windy for me too. So it was another quiet day of reading, an outing to walk the dogs along lighthouse lane, some shopping at the gift shop, and an icecream. I suppose those are perfect holiday activities, but I'm waiting for the heat to return so we can get swimming again.

Please don't think I'm complaining because I'm NOT! Being inside is not a hardship. We have views of the lake from nearly every vantage point, and lets face it, the camper is luxe. If I had one complaint to make it would be the all-day BNN (business news network) broadcast. I'm not a big tv fan and really don't like it during the day. I'm keeping my mouth shut though because of the stock market crash that is happening. I deserve a star ;-)

I've been noticing a theme running through my posts...

Voiceless it cries,
Wingless flutters,
Toothless bites,
Mouthless mutters.
― J.R.R. Tolkien

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Socks, sweaters and pants

I needed socks today… and changed out of my shorts and into capris. We are hoping that this is just a blip into fall weather - it is too soon to lose summer!

It isn't as windy today, 15 kph with a few gusts, it died down sometime overnight. I noticed because our trailer stopped rocking so much! And the noise dropped down to a low roar. Unfortunately it wasn't soon enough for our tenting neighbors - they pulled out this afternoon, cutting their outing short.

Since the day was so grey, after lunch we drove to Trenton to see if we could find a 12v water pump that would give Carm's aching arms and shoulders a break. We have no water tap onsite, instead it has to be carried from a common location and hoisted onto Carm's head to dump into our tank. Dave had shown us his solution to the water problem, and it was a good one with a 50 gallon carrying tank and a pump. We could use 1/2 of his solution to make life a little easier. If we had a pump Carm would be able to pump the water into the tank without any heavy lifting (5 gal=42 lbs). He'd still have to carry it, but Art (who we've seen here for years), has offered to let Carm borrow his cart. Problem solved. Except that it isn't.

We checked several stores in a search for that 12v water pump, but to no avail. Unfortunately there isn't a Princess Auto nearby as they have two in their online catalogue. Maybe the full solution will have to wait till next year.

Monday, August 24, 2015

The other cheek

Last night we had front-row centre seats for Nature's show. Two large dragonflies darted, dove, and astounded us with their skills. Five spiders put on an acrobatic high-wire show as they built their webs for the night's catch. The sky was a peach backdrop with pale blue then indigo at the ceiling. The wind had died down to a gentle caress, letting the others have centre stage. The lapping of the water against the rocks on the shore was a gentle symphony.

This morning another side of Presqu'ile showed itself. I woke up early to the sound of the wind incessantly buffeting the trailer. I got up to look out the window at our plants and saw that they were bent over and the tablecloth was in danger of being whisked off the table. The sky to the west (where the wind was coming from) was dark with rain. Oh well… get dressed, rescue plants, walk dogs before it rains. Rain started on our way back from walk (whew, glad I didn't wait). Back to bed…

The wind was relentless all day, keeping us inside except for walks. A young family pulled in behind us … and started putting up a tent. They were right outside the window where I was sitting so I watched their struggle to get it set up. With a futile hope for a break from the wind they positioned their van to block some of it. I don't think it helped.

The bluff is a great place to camp - in a trailer. You couldn't pay me to camp here in a tent. One year friends that were visiting us insisted on sleeping in their tent despite the weather forecast. The wind picked up overnight, flattening their tent till it was inches from their faces. We were bright and chipper the next morning… they were bleary eyed but claimed they were glad they slept out there - something about the thrill of survival or some such bull!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

they recede on the plain

Yesterday's fun didn't end at sunset - we joined Jill and Dave for a farewell campfire.  With the fire flickering in the foreground, the lake spread out in front of us like an ocean, the moon lighting a path to the horizon on the gently rippling water. Stars were strewn like diamonds in the black velvet sky. I took a few photos, but as you can see they are a bit blurry - I'll blame that on my shaky hands - I forgot to bring my little gorilla tripod.

This morning was much like yesterday with a light breeze and beautiful sun - it was near perfect.  I did go out for a short walk instead of being so lazy and going back to bed after taking the dogs out. I'll need a nap this afternoon as Mr. Naughty had to go out at just past 7am. I can pretty much count on 11 hour of peace, so I have to try harder to get them out later in the evening.

There were a few watery eyes this afternoon as we bid adieu to Jill and Dave. We will be sure to keep in touch and hopefully we'll met up again next summer… unless we are in Alberta! Carm was on his way into town when he spied Tom at the dump station so good-bye's were bandied about again. We meet some real fine people when camping - especially here.

What is that feeling when you're driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? - it's the too-huge world vaulting us, and it's good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.  ~ Jack Kerouac

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Peaceful Easy Feeling

It is 2:30 and I'm sitting outside, in the shade right now, enjoying the cool breeze and spectacular view. The water stretches out beyond the horizon with tones of blue from every hue. The crashing waves of yesterday have been replaced by gentle ones that ripple against the shore. Early this morning there was barely a ripple, every toe-stubbing rock on the bottom easily seen. An occasional sailboat can be seen slicing across the indigo strip of water just below the distant clouds. I could be in heaven.

We were in for our first swim before noon, after the arduous task of putting up the shade tent (which isn't in use yet). It took 10 minutes but gave us an excuse to dip into the water. Carm figures the water is around 74F - refreshing! At 4pm we were in the water again - this time we laid in the sun until we were hot enough.

After lunch, just to say I did something, I washed two of the windows - the ones with a view. I saved the third window for tomorrow. Don't want to do everything in one day ;-)  It has been that sort of lazy day. The dogs didn't even get a proper walk. They aren't complaining though, they are getting their exercise moving from the sun to the shade, and back again, as they heat up and cool down. We've been doing the same thing.

Grace has been huddled in the corner of her cage where she has some shelter from the cool onshore wind. It ruffles her feathers which doesn't please her much. Still, I think she'd rather be outside than in.

"I've got a peaceful, easy feeling" from the Eagles is the refrain that is the backdrop to life here. The sound of the water washes away anxiety, and the expanse of the sky (it is a watery prairie) lifts my spirits.

hark, now hear the sailors cry,
smell the sea, and feel the sky
let your soul & spirit fly, into the mystic...
~Van Morrison

Friday, August 21, 2015

A Blast from his Nostrils

We travelled just over one km this morning, and in that distance we've come to another world. Our last site was sheltered from the wind and aside from the kids that one day, quiet. We've moved to the bluff where the winds are wild and the sounds of crashing waves drown out any other noise. The view out over the water is spectacular, made even more so by the rawness of the weather. Even a perfectly lovely sunny day is made an adventure if the wind is up.

Getting here was our first adventure of the day. Carm started by checking us in and then taking Grace's cage over to this site. Getting it out of the back of the truck means we don't have to worry about jackknifing the truck and crushing the cage (remember a few months ago when we had our fubar getting out of here).

Once back we finished tear-down and started sweating a bit about the drive out. The exit road has trees on both sides and a few tricky curves. At one point the trees on either side of the road leave only 8" on each side… this route kept us awake a few nights.

We had Tom's expert help to get hitched at the right angle to pull out.  Tom was a long-haul transport driver and knows his way around trailers. He suggested backtracking down the one-way. It was 1/4 of the distance and a clear run. With his help we got turned around (ever try to turn 50' in a small space?) and on our way. It was uneventful! Thanks Tom!

So here we are, enjoying Presqu'ile in all its windy glory! And we've already been in for a swim, and the bubbles are chilling :-)

"God opens the sea with a blast of his nostrils"  - recognize this?

Thursday, August 20, 2015


Raindrops… softly pattering on the trailer roof... then pounding... hope we don't get hail. We jump up to check windows and adjust awnings (love the electric ones!) I was already prepared for the change in weather. Dogs were walked. Grace was inside, the towels, shoes, books, and other detrus was brought in.

The storm hit about 1/2 hour before the radar showed, it must have roiled up over Lake Ontario and appeared out of nowhere.

I took my book into bed, but didn't stay awake to read more than a chapter. The soothing sounds of rain lulled me right to sleep. Don't they use these sounds on relaxation cds?

By supper time the rain was finished, leaving the earth drenched with puddles of mud - I wonder if we'll get stuck tomorrow morning when we pull our monstrous home to its next backyard? We did get into the truck for a final pre-flight down the slalom of trees to get out of this place. Our last time at this end of the campground nearly ended in disaster… we are hoping for a better outcome tomorrow.

We scoped out our next site, the one we were in last year. There is a little pop-up there now, and the gentleman said they'd be leaving between 10 and 11 - that takes care of one big question mark.

The wind was howling out on the bluff. Dave and Jill's screen tent was buffeting, flaps were flapping, and waves were crashing. We can hardly wait!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Corn, Tomatoes, Peaches and Basil

The temps hovered in the high twenties, maybe even cresting over 30C today, and with the high humidity it was a day for doing not much of anything. Even reading seemed like too much effort.

We did get the dogs out for a walk this morning even going a little farther than yesterday, but it was too much for them. They were dragging behind us, tongues lolling. We let them dip their feet in the lake but weren't wearing the right footwear to take them in swimming. That would come later.

Once back at the camper we peeled off our soaked walking clothes to exchange them for bathers. The dogs were locked inside with the A/C on high. With a pool noodle in one hand we walked the 100 or so yards to the lake. There was a bit of a breeze and the waves were crashing - not super high, just enough to have a bit of fun with. Oh… the water felt so good. Is there any greater feeling than hot from a walk dipping into cool but not cold water?

Once we had our fill in the lake we came back for the quadrupeds. Leashes on, we dragged them into the water, forcing them to get cool. There was far too much wave for Spike, they were crashing over his back; Kabira wasn't in the mood and with short Spike also attached to me I couldn't force the issue. Carm dragged Bella away from the shore till the waves threatened to whisk her to shore. I'm pretty sure they wouldn't be thanking us.

We all drip dried back at camp, luxuriating in the hot, silky air. After lunch Carm started hauling water to fill our tank. A nice neighbor lent him a trolley but it was still hard work, hot work, work that needed a swim to cool down with. 1:30 and we'd had a second swim.

A trip into town for some fresh corn and basil filled in the bits of time between reading and dozing on my chair.

It's good now… but just wait till we are camped right on the water - wowzers! (we probably would have gone for that 3rd swim!).

Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair...  ~Susan Polis Schutz

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Friends old and new

It was a typical Presquile day… sleep in (thanks dogs!), walk dogs, have coffee, take a longer walk, then prepare for a quick trip into town.

On our way out of the park we drove to the part of the park we normally camp at so that we could say hello to Dave and Jill who we met last year. It's a funny thing about meeting people then being away from them, then meeting up again. It's like the time between has grown and cemented the friendship.

After leaving D&J's we drove to Bill and Brenda's new house in Brighton. Bill wasn't there, but it was nice to see Brenda, and to share a little bit of her excitement in her new home.

The rest of our afternoon was spent napping and reading. The heat and humidity are high so we didn't feel much like walking (not to mention the heat is hard on the dogs). It was quieter today with only intermittent little girl screaming ;-0

After supper Carm invited Tom for a visit… I've come to bed, but they are still outside the camper… Carm is good at many things, but bringing a conversation to a close is not one of them!

Monday, August 17, 2015

The sound of silence

When you eat chips do you wish on the ones that are folded over, edges touching? I call those wish chips and carefully make a wish each time I chomp down on one. Wishes are hard to make though, you don't want to make one that could go wrong so the phrasing has to be exact. For example, I could wish that I'd go to NZ, and that wish could come true, but maybe not for 10 years. Or worse still because of some emergency. So I'd have to wish that I'd go to NZ this year for a happy visit! This is very serious stuff!

I lift my feet off the car floor when driving over railroad tracks for good luck too. Do you do the same thing?

We watched a bit of TV over the antenna last night. Unfortunately the channel was lost at the climax of Sherlock! Drat. I hadn't seen any of the ones with Cumberbatch and Freeman and was enjoying the program immensely when the screen went black… this is a good reason to sign up for Netflix when we get home.

The charming group of kids from next door were over again. The little boy sat on the ground with Bella and Spike, giving them lots of pets and cuddles. The two girls were fascinated with Grace. They had a million questions about her, all the while sitting close to her cage talking to her. Grace encouraged with a few words and when I suggested they try singing she beeped and booped to the music. All three girls, avian and human, danced to the songs played on the music player. I'm not sure who enjoyed themselves more, but I'm pretty certain that this encounter will be remembered by our visitors.

Carm has made a new friend. Tom is a bachelor and camps by himself. When you think bachelor I think of Oscar from the Odd Couple, but Tom would be Felix - his camper is ultra tidy, and all his bins and brooms outside match. We went over to his camp for a visit after supper - I left after a while, leaving them to boring boy talk.

It has been far from quiet here today - the 3 little boys across the way make enough noise for a whole boy scout camp. Even something as simple as riding a bike has been accompanied by the sound effects of roaring race car engines… It wouldn't be so bad if there was a break every now and again, but these kids must be hopped up on sugar or something. Carm's friend adds to the noise with his loud stereo which competes with the one from across the way. Dueling banjos never sounded so bad.

I think what bugs me about the assault on my ears is that I take much effort to keep my dogs quiet so they don't interfere with others enjoyment of the park. To not do so would show total disregard for everyone else. Ya, your kids are nice, but why don't you enjoy them and let me enjoy the things that I might prefer. I had trouble even having a nap (tongue in cheek, but it's true!). I may not be cut out for camping at these busy spots.

It is 8:30pm and still there is yelling and shouting, and now a few little girls have entered the fray with their ear splitting shrieks - will it never end?

But the weather was nice and the swimming perfect.

The quote is a little late, but I was saving it for Presqu'ile. And since it is a hot, but not motionless day it is still fitting - there is a cooling breeze making it comfortable for blog writing outside.

The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color.” ― Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Wowie Zowie

I was going to start writing this while we were hurtling down the 401 towards Presqu'ile but the traffic was horrific and the road as rough as a goat track. Instead we talked and listened to music. The four hours passed in no time, including a stop at a rest stop for Timbits and coffee.

Our planned time of departure was 10:00 am but we missed it by 3 minutes - not bad considering we aren't NASA. We got to the park at just past 2pm, check-in time. After a small adventure getting the camper level, we set up without dog fence for now, and no satellite either. Our site is nice, although a bit small for our monstrosity. We do have some grassy area, and should be good for shade too.

It is a perfect summer day and the lake called us for a swim after the sweaty set-up. We aren't right on the lake, but it is just a few hundred feet, close enough to tempt me to waddle up to the lake in my bathers without covering up as if it were winter. The dogs even had a little dip.

Back at the campsite we have become 'party central' for all the little kids in the area. Grace is the star attraction. They wade through the dogs, stepping over leashes (tripping hazard), making a beeline for her cage on the picnic table. They are all lovely kids, but it was getting a little much. Maybe the novelty will wear off.

Wowie Zowie
Your love's a treat
Wowie Zowie
You can't be beat
Wowie Zowie, baby
You're so neat
I don't even care
If you shave your legs  ~Frank Zappa

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Friends to Cherish

There was laughter, a bit of snorting, and understanding "I hear you"s here on Tuesday. Ruth and John were over with plans to stay the night. Carm and John golfed during the day, leaving Ruth and I to discuss the funny, absurd, irritating, and sad without interruptions of politics and oil prices (alas, that would come in the evening).

Every time I spend time with a woman, and am then in mixed company, it becomes apparent how different men and woman are. We talk of matters of the heart, things that affect us personally. Men talk about impersonal things that don't involve feelings or love. Why is it that when we are together the default conversation is man talk?

We had fun though and wondered why we didn't do it more often.

I need a clothesline, even one of those circular ones would do. Since we are busy on the weekend, when we normally do laundry because of time of use electric rates, we are doing it today. I didn't want to use the dryer for everything and so have clothes, sheets and towels, draped over every available space on the deck. When I was staying with Kirsten in NZ I loved looking out the window and seeing white sheets billowing in the breeze, chickens going about their day, and horses in the distance. I can't have the chickens and horses, but a clothesline would do.

Oh! Wednesday morning we happened to look out the kitchen window and saw the doe with FOUR fawns! We haven't seen her for weeks, but when we did I had thought I'd seen four, but figured they were moving in and out of the grass making it hard to count. There was no mistaking yesterday and everyone else saw them too. Could the doe have adopted some orphans? Or did she really have quadruplets?  According to Google it is possible, although rare.

I got a haircut yesterday and while sitting in the chair I made a comment about having a lot of grey. Yes, the hair dresser said. I have been trying to deceive myself, saying it is just really light blonde hair… She may have thought I was a senior too… in my mind I might be 'carded' at the liquor store any day now. I am delusional and would like to keep it that way!

In your entire life, you can probably count your true friends on one hand. Maybe even on one finger. Those are the friends you need to cherish, and I wouldn't trade one of them for a hundred of the other kind. I'd rather be completely alone than with a bunch of people who aren't real. People who are just passing time.  ~Sarah Ockler

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Trees in the Breeze

The pool pump drones like the backup singers for a pop band. The lead singer is an un-seen bird chirping behind the barn. The trees join in on the chorus, their leaves rustling in the breeze that has stirred from its slumber. They are greedy for attention and drown out the pump for a moment. They sway to the time of the music, the green of  their outfits styled in 70s bright green. A dried leaf skitters across the deck, joining in on the song for a bar, a triangle struck once.

The background is power puff blue with white clouds dabbed on its surface. The pool dominates the lower left corner, its surface like a silvery blue mylar sheet.

Yes, it is swing time and I'm trying to get my 15 minutes of writing done. I clipped the poodles this morning, finishing up just before 1pm. Cleanup, then window washing has left me limp. Carm was at his mom's, helping with moving the final belongings from her house. Closing date is in a week. His mom is going to live with Carm's brother Joe - getting her out of the house and no longer living alone is a good thing.

I need a bird feeder hanging from one of these trees just off the deck. Would it hurt the tree if I put a few screws into it?

I love the sound of the trees in the breeze. If the forest is so clearly musical, why can’t it play the guitar while I sing Nirvana covers?  ~Jarod Kintz

Saturday, August 8, 2015

A Life Well Lived

There are a special few people that as they pass through your life, leave a lasting impression. Evelyn from my writing group was one of those people. Her early life was difficult in ways you can't imagine, but instead of letting those experiences knock her down, she turned her circumstances around with her positive spirit. I could say that she made the best of it, but that is far too negative - she lived her life to the fullest, with joy and passion. She was an inspiration.

I say "was" because she passed away from cancer the other day at the respectable age of 86.

The funeral was at the local Catholic church. I could say it was a plain church, but that makes it sound like a dry piece of bread. Simple is a better word. Light maple floors, oak pews, soaring oak wall behind the altar, combined with the white walls and numerous opening windows made for a light and airy space that was uplifting. It was free of overstatement and the obvious. It was a space that I felt at peace in. It was the perfect place to say goodbye to Evelyn.

The priest spoke for 5 or 10 minutes about Evelyn - it was clear that he knew her well and cared for her deeply. He had the crowd laughing as he mocked his heavy Nigerian accent, admonishing everyone to pay attention. There was singing and prayer, and a feeling of community, and I thought to myself for a moment or two that I might like to join the church.

Unfortunately I couldn't stay for the reception and eulogy as Carm's grade school reunion was this afternoon. I would have loved to stay, but it was nice to see, if only for a moment, my friends from writing group. It seems so long ago that we had our farewell potluck - oh wait… it was a long time ago… almost 3 months.

The reunion was a fun gathering of people that have grown up to be all sorts of things. As we stood talking with some old friends I felt a dark shadow pass by me. I turned around to see an apparition from an 80s heavy metal hair band, complete with long black hair, tight black jeans and requisite black t-shirt. My immediate thought was that this middle-aged man was mired in the past, unwilling to grow up. It turns out I was wrong though - he and his band Exciter, still tour Europe and South America, making a living for himself and the rest of the band. There is something to be said about that.

Friday night we had friends Marie, Vashek, Trudie, and Leo, over for an evening of spirited discussion. So much for eating veggies only… the chips were in front of me and somehow made their way into my tummy. Drat!

When Christ shall come, with shout of loud praises,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim, "My God, how great Thou art!"

Thursday, August 6, 2015

pompoms and toast

The second of the two writing books I ordered arrived in the mail today. They are a treat to take with me on our next trip (which is a long one) so I've only allowed myself a quick peek and I was happy with what I saw. One is about writing memoirs, while the other is about 'becoming a writer'. I'm hoping that the memoir one will help me improve the WYL writing group exercises.

I did peek enough to see the suggestion that I sit down and write for 15 minutes, so here I am. Suddenly with nothing to say…

My brother Graham and I watched 'Pitch Perfect' when I visited him today. It was a cute movie with lots of singing - I like singing (think back to Les Miserables, which reminds me, I think it is time to watch again!).

When I got home I took my tablet to the swing and got busy with Ruth and my calendar to plan some get-togethers - yay! We were able to coordinate our schedules for two visits: one next week with husbands along, and the other in September for our annual girls gab.

I can see and smell the purple clover that has carpeted the hay field. Each clover pompon drips with the fragrance of honey, sweet and thick. It inflamed my appetite for toast. A cup of Earl Grey tea and a towering stack of toast slathered with fresh butter and bee nectar… oh boy… if only I hadn't given up bread for the next few days. I'll make due with homemade unsweetened cranberry juice diluted with sparkling water (I'll bet you thought I was going to say something else sparkling or bubbly!) .

I visited Christina last night and was treated to photos of her trip out west this summer. They didn't get as far as we did in 2013, but in their 16 day trip (we had 6 weeks!) covered much territory. I thought we were whirlwind travellers! Last week I re-read my blog posts from our trip, and now Christina's photos… well! I want to go again next summer! We'd stay at some of the same places, but go to new ones as well for a combination of familiar and new. We won't plan anything until we find out if any visitors are coming from Norway but I will dream.

A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him I may think aloud. I am arrived at last in the presence of a man so real and equal, that I may drop even those undermost garments of dissimulation, courtesy, and second thought, which men never put off, and may deal with him with the simplicity and wholeness with which one chemical atom meets another.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Clover in the air

I stepped out the door this morning and took a deep breath. It is clover time and the aroma is on the breeze. Ahhh… one more deep breath. We have been getting use of the pool and have been spending more time on the deck enjoying the summer. Good thing too as the sweltering days are about to come to an end.

Saturday we took a break from the deck and drove into town to visit Carm's mom and go (wait for it)… shoe shopping. If you've been following along for a while you know that this is a dreaded activity. But shoes wear out and need to be replaced - even my favorite ones. I scored my current summer sandals 9 or 10 years ago. They are (were) super comfortable, even from day one, but alas, the soles have worn out, leaving me walking on what seems like concrete.

Online searches led us to try Sail first. I was making my final decision (neither were exactly what I wanted) when the fire alarm started blaring and the store was evacuated. Hurrump.  But wait - across the parking lot was a Skechers outlet! My beloved sandals are Skechers. Away we went. Rows and rows of shoes greeted us, however the twin of my shoes was not to be found. I started trying on shoes. One pair was really comfy - not at all what I wanted, and in fact not a sandal at all (I need my head examined). There was a sale so I chose another pair - these shoes were birkenstock look-alikes but with a better (to my mind) sole. Ka-ching and we were out the door.

Once home I started test driving them around the house a bit more. The black GoWalk shoes - good. The brown birk-a-likes - not. They'll have to go back to the store. Or maybe they'll both go back and I'll get one of the pairs from Sail. I'll waffle until the last moment. Why is this so hard for me? I chose the hardwood for the bedroom in 15 minutes!

All very boring and stressful.