Wednesday, September 28, 2016

flying harbingers

I spied a small flock of geese circling a field the other day - a rogue group coming early to get the best seats. This morning there were more flying harbingers of winter - the honking could be heard inside the house as periodic flocks passed overhead. Sigh.

The hand of oncoming winter has started to paint the leaves yellow, orange, and red. The colour of the light is special this time of year. Tinged with gold it casts a warm light over everything.

This afternoon I paced the house - hungry for more than some celery, a burger featured heavily in my thoughts. I couldn't shake it. I succumbed to my wanton desire and we drove to St. Albert. Juicy and thick with a skyscraper's worth of fries satiated me. So much for the diet. I'm not having fantastic success losing weight - too many lapses in willpower. My new scale is discouraging too… it weighs 2 lbs heavier than my old one… so when I look at it it seems I haven't made progress in weeks :-(

"Is not this a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love — that makes life and nature harmonize. The birds are consulting about their migrations, the trees are putting on the hectic or the pallid hues of decay, and begin to strew the ground, that one’s very footsteps may not disturb the repose of earth and air, while they give us a scent that is a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit. Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns." ~George Eliot

Monday, September 26, 2016

there, here, and soon to be there again

The days have slipped away, each melding into the next in a blur of motion and somnolence. We had 4 incredible days of camping last week. The temperatures were well into the mid 20s, one of the days reaching to 28C. The glorious days of mid September fortify us for the oncoming winter.

The leaves were barely tinged with colour when we left the campground last Thursday, but looking back at previous year's blog posts for this time of year reminded me that often a riot of colour highlights our drive. Could it be the summer-like weather that we've been having is tricking Autumn?

It was with mixed feelings that I started unloading the essentials from the camper - we are only home for a week so everything will have to be shleped back into the beast. Why didn't I just book the extra days so we'd stay put at camp.

We have made full use of our time back home: Carm's visited his mom a few times, he's cut the grass, and I've started re-provisioning for our next outing. Note to self: more warm clothes.

We also went clothes shopping, and to be honest neither of us could remember the last time we bought clothes other than Costco, liquidation or some thrift shop. Yes, we actually went into a clothing store and spent more than $5.00 for a t-shirt. We got some new things for the cruise, and my things will double up for my trip to NZ. My stuff was all grey and black - I think I'll have to dig out some pink or red for a bright pop on the open seas.

Aside from puttering around the house I have immersed myself in Pinterest. There seems to be an unending number of articles on what to pack, what the food is like. I may be driving myself crazy (something that I excel at).

(p.s. are you watching the American Presidential Debate tonight?)

The sun declined, and we both fell into twilight silence. Night, which in autumn seems to fall from the sky at once, it comes so quickly, chilled us, and we rolled ourselves in our cloaks…” ~Jules Barbey d’Aurevilly

Monday, September 19, 2016

busy birthday weekend

I'm sitting here in a few minutes of quiet, just the ticking of the clock and a train whistle in the distance. After a busy weekend with family and friends it is time for a rest.

a little while later…

My eyes are squinted against the bright sun and my skin prickles with a light sheen of sweat. It may be past mid September, but the sun is at high summer wattage.

Back to my fun and busy birthday weekend.

It started Friday late afternoon when my mom arrived at her rented cottage just across the lagoon from us. She joined us for the evening after she got settled in her temporary home. We talked way past my bedtime.

Saturday Mom went home to pick up my dad. After a late walk with the dogs we hung around the front gate waiting for them, and for my brother Olaf, his wife Tammy, and their 4 year old daughter Freya to arrive at the campground. A mixup in directions meant Olaf didn't arrive till later than expected so we gave up waiting and went back to the camper.

We had hardly gotten settled back at camp when Trudie & Leo showed up laden with presents, wine and a giant cheese tray. Not long after that everyone else showed up at our camper so we all jumbled in taking every seat and standing surface. Nine people is a big load on the camper - it felt like a party.

Everyone left in pairs, leaving us with Tammy, Freya, and Olaf for a visit which is lovely as we so rarely get to see them except in a crowd.  They left at Grace & the dogs supper time so we quickly fed the beasts then joined everyone over at the cabins. It was pitch dark by the time my other brother, Graham and his kids arrived to make the gathering complete (as complete as it could be without Kirsten's family).

(You’ll have to indulge this auntie while I recount a few cute 4 year old comments: Freya asked Tammy why the cabins didn’t have a second floor. Tammy replied that they were little cottages and didn’t need the second floor. Freya responded with ‘oh, you mean a bungalow’.  After lunch on Sunday Freya tracked my mom down to tell her ‘thank you for the lovely lunch’. Cute)

Sunday was much the same: visits at our camper and visits at the cabin. The day went quickly and before we knew it everyone was hitting the road to home. Mom stayed an extra night for a bit of R&R. We were going to the Acapulco for supper but Mom turned us down in favour for an evening by herself.

A night out with friends capped off a fun filled birthday weekend :-)

Friday, September 16, 2016

calm repose on autumn day


Plans for our cruise are well underway. Jo Ellen and Don visited us on Tuesday afternoon so we could pick and book our excursions. Done. It was a hot day and windy so the awning had to be rolled up mid afternoon. We all ventured inside until the shade crept onto our site far enough to fit 4 chairs. It was wonderful to have another day of summer.

Wednesday was grey and cool so there was no sitting outside for us. We did take a marathon walk with the dogs - they were panting and dragging their feet partway through.

Today is a peaceful easy feeling sort of day. I puttered in the morning getting a curried squash soup bubbling in the crockpot, then we went for a long walk. It is just 3.5 km but that is enough for the dogs, and my shin splints (ouch). It is sunny but not really hot - a perfect September day. Until I got stung by a wasp, right on a sensitive part. I rushed in to put some Afterbite on which seemed to work as it only swelled up a bit. Hurt like crazy all night though.

We had a late afternoon visit with Burt and Susan, people we met here but also know from the Titanium rally. They were kind enough to invite us over for a campfire after supper. Back at the trailer, we did the usual pet chores and enjoyed our own supper of hot soup then geared up in lots of warm clothes for the campfire. It was freezing and I wished for some winter gear. Still, it was a lovely visit.


Hot and sunny today. Well, at least it feels hot as the temp isn't due to go over 23C, but with the sun shining so strongly it feels burny.

Carm left in the morning to see about getting our headlight replaced (it is behind one of the batteries so a bit of a trick), and to the driving range for a taste of the golf course. I sat outside with the dogs and Grace until we all needed a break from the sun (how lucky is that!). When he got back we ate drippy tomato sandwiches, then took the dogs for a longish walk. Too hot for the super walk though.

Carm ran into two ladies with their arms full of puppies and had to bring them over to see me. OMG, they were adorable, and thankfully all spoken for as I felt my resolve to eventually get down to two dogs weaken for a few minutes. There should be a special hat or something to ward off puppy breath.

Today the crockpot is host to pepperoncini beef which I'm making ahead for Sunday's lunch with the family.

"The softened light, the veiling haze,
The calm repose of autumn days,
Steal gently o'er the troubled breast,
Soothing life's weary cares to rest."
~Phebe A. Holder

Monday, September 12, 2016

glorious afternoon

We've moved our villetta several (several) miles and are now at our favorite local campground. It's almost like a second home as we've spent at least half a year's worth of nights here over the years. After a summer of not camping it is nice to be in our 'other' home.

It may have been that we were feeling too lazy to load the panels onto the back of the trailer, or maybe we wanted to try a trip without the fence, but either way, we have no fence for the dogs. When outside they are tied up to a few 'anchors' (big water jugs) or the picnic table. It is a landmine of leashes - it will be a miracle if we don't trip and land on our faces. There are pros and cons for each configuration… lets see if we can hold out or will Carm have to drive home to pick them up.

We haven't spent a summer at home since we started camping 10 years ago (oh my gosh, 10 years!), so made a decision to try it out this summer. Between Kirsten's visits and all the hot swimming days we were very glad to be home. We were blessed with a fantastic summer.

I got my birthday present a bit early (or it could be considered late) as we just booked a cruise in the Caribbean for November. We've never been cruising, and for that matter we haven't gone away on a plane together since 1991 - a long time ago. We're going with Jo Ellen and Don who are seasoned cruisers to show us the ropes. It will be fun and I've very excited. They are coming to camp tomorrow so we can make excursion plans.  

We had thought of a simple week in Italy but after checking the temperatures and rainfall we decided to wait till late next spring. We'll start planning now though, isn't that half the fun?

Blustery would be the best way to describe the weather yesterday - we didn't even feel like going for a swim. Our last swim of the year was on Sept 10 and it was lovely (not even the coldest we've been in). We've had a fantastic year for swimming and are glad of our decision to put in the new pool.

I have that 'peaceful, easy feeling' that I get on the first day of a camp. Life is good and I feel so lucky to be so privileged.

"Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring--it was peace.”   ~Milan Kundera

Friday, September 9, 2016

summer is still hanging on

It seems unbelievable, but after just one day of drizzly rain we are back to hot summer temperatures again. I was in the pool this afternoon and with the water at a comfortable 76F I even brought in a pool noodle for some float time. Bliss. Especially after a few hours of running back and forth to the camper, not to mention ages spent in the stifling hot confines of the camper. I've loaded a bunch of stuff and have the first rinse of the fresh water tank done. Tomorrow I'll vacuum and load much of the rest. Now I'm in the relatively cool house cooking Asian rice to freeze for our trip.

I like to cook some things ahead of time. Anything that requires lots of running water or fussy prep is easier done in my giant kitchen with no limit on the amount of water that goes down the drain. Plus it makes it more likely that we'll stick to healthy eating (fewer lazy trips for take-out… maybe). I have a weightloss goal for the next few trips which will be a challenge. Camping is a vacation for us and we tend to use it as an excuse for excess.

We had a lovely supper at Jo Ellen and Don's last night. Greek food was on the menu (a bloated yum!), but best of all we surfed the internet looking for fun trips to take. Nothing cast in stone yet, but there were a few temptations. 😸

I finally got a chance to drive the car :-)  It handles well and feels good to drive. I like the tight to the road feeling that it has, even though it has a higher clearance than most cars. Our last two Subarus were good in the snow and I have no doubt that this one will be a tank as well. I love the keyless entry/start. No more fussing with keys (except to get in and out of the house… I wonder if there are keyless house door knobs?). I wonder how it will work in the snow - I assume that they've thought of this.

“In the summer heat the reapers say, “We have seen her dancing with the autumn leaves, and we saw a drift of snow in her hair.”  ~Kahlil Gibran

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

laugh at the sky

Summer weather has graced us again today. We had a high 30C and skies that blazed blue. I can’t recall seeing any clouds. We did some work around the camper and after standing in the sun for a while we were both ready for a swim. Oh… 70F… splash and we were in, feeling to our limbs quickly vanishing. Actually it wasn’t that bad and we went in again later in the afternoon. WE WILL stretch summer as long as possible.

We set the alarm to wake us up early this morning as we had to take the car in to get ‘wrapped’ in a special film that will save it from rock chips. Supposedly it won’t mar the beautiful metallic black paint on the new jalopy. They had internet problems today so didn’t get it done today, hopefully we’ll see the results tomorrow.

After dropping off the car we tracked down a place for breakfast (not as easy as it sounds), and as fate would have it, it was next door to ‘Mid East Grocery’. There was a tea that I wanted from there, but unfortunately they didn’t have it. Instead I tried Green Tea with Cardamom and Green Tea with Jasmine.

Out of curiosity I looked up what Cardamom is good for, well, it seems it will fix every ailment under the sun. I had to laugh.

When you realize
how perfect everything is you
will tilt your head back
and laugh at the sky.


Sunday, September 4, 2016

Into September

It is a beautiful day for gently swinging on the back deck. The crickets are chirping, and aside from that the only noise is from the odd car hurtling along the rural road that bounds one side of our property - make that a stream of cars along what seems like a superhighway...

My back is aching and I could easily put my head down for a nap, but I'm happy. I clipped the poodles today which is a herculean task that requires a bushel of motivation. It's a job that's easily procrastinated. This time I got them done 1 day earlier than my planned scissor attack. I figured that doing them today would leave tomorrow open for going for a drive with our new car.

Oh, haven't I mentioned it yet? We decided to trade our then current car for a new model (2016 Subaru Crosstrek) with the Subaru Eyesight safety features. It looks identical, aside from the sparkly black paint (the old one was a flatter black), but it has things like brake assist to help keep us from plowing into the car in front of us. It also has lane departure warning (for those gawkers), and some other things that I can't remember. We picked it up last Friday.

Thursday night we had Dave, plus Trudie and Leo over for supper. There were some rip-roaring discussions which I think got everyone's minds activated and thinking about different points of view. It was a fun but late night, especially seeing as we had to be in the city for 10am to pick up the car.

Last night we had Cathey (from the stigma book) over for supper. I made vegan burritos - everyone stuffed their faces. Cathey brought over some East Indian desserts that were an interesting treat.

The foliage has been losing its freshness through the month of August, and here and there a yellow leaf shows itself like the first gray hair amidst the locks of a beauty who has seen one season too many.... September is dressing herself in showy dahlias and splendid marigolds and starry zinnias. October, the extravagant sister, has ordered an immense amount of the most gorgeous forest tapestry for her grand reception. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809–1894)