Monday, June 26, 2017

cleave to gentle things

Our Norwegian guests packed up and left Saturday morning, leaving Carm and I feeling a little deflated and antsy. Luckily they’ll stay with us again for a few days at the end of the week.

The restless energy got us out of the house to the grocery store on a quest to find a large glass jar with a tight fitting lid - limoncello was on my mind and I had a recipe picked out. Once home, I washed two lemons and suspended them in cheesecloth over some vodka. It will sit like this for at least 40 days, at which point I’ll add the zest from two more lemons and some simple syrup to soak for 15 minutes, then it will be strained, bottled, and put in the freezer. I can hardly wait although I don’t hold out much hope that it will be as good as what we brought back from Italy.

Back at the store: we found the jar quickly which left us still at loose ends. Carm convinced me that Liquidation would be a good destination. I protested saying that I’d be sure to buy something (I always do)... sure enough, a cute pair of faded skinny jeans for $12, plus some pretty ‘lounge’ pants for $5 found their way into my cart.

Sunday I finished going through the Europe photos to select out 48 to include in the little album that I have. Well - that was an impossible task. Narrowing down to 48 would mean I’d have to exclude some of my Sagrada Familia photos, amoung others. I ended up starting over with 96 as my goal. Once I had a good subset I sent them on their way to Costco for their $0.10 print special.

I took a break at one point to make a snack - using the actifry of course. The ‘Deep fried’ dill pickles were easy to make and super yummy.

You might wonder with all this actifrying going on if we are ballooning into even greater dimensions. Actually, we are both losing weight :-)

I used it again last night to make a stir fry of red pepper and asparagus with asian sauce. YUM. It is so easy to use and I love how it cooks things - it didn’t steam the asparagus into soggy green things, but roasted them to perfection. Tonight I’m making mushroom gnocchi and am debating if I’ll try making it in my new, favorite toy.

It has been a beautiful day today and I’ve spent the last hour or two out on the swing. It is cool and would easily pass for September - socks have been on my mind. Not long ago, a ‘Great Crested Flycatcher’ landed near me - I’ve never seen one before and had to run for my book.

Be mild, and cleave to gentle things,
thy glory and thy happiness be there.”
~William Wordsworth

Saturday, June 24, 2017

fetter (cousins)

Carm and I were out and about yesterday (Friday): getting the temp sensor on the car fixed; breakfast of eggs Benedict; return shoes (yes, again); pickup clipper blades from sharpening; groceries; LCBO; … and  on it goes. Unexpectedly Carm’s phone rang (on the car’s bluetooth system) - it was my Mom - my dad was not feeling well and Bjorn & Ingeborg were on their way from Quebec City, due to arrive in an hour and half - could we call them and have them stay at our house for the night?

Of course!!!

So we dashed to Costco (our last planned stop anyway) and stocked up on some groceries for company and raced home, hoping that our house wasn’t too messy/dirty. Once home I dashed through the house, picking up and tidying, did a quick wipe of the guest bath and we were ready. Thankfully Carm had done a really good vacuum the day before.

The dogs started barking - they are here.

I didn’t realize it at the time but Ingeborg is afraid of dogs. I would have locked them in the bedroom but instead let them rudely mob our guests. Bella quickly wormed her way under Ingeborg’s hand, assuring her that our pack means no harm. Bjorn took a photo of her with the three dogs this morning to send to their kids thinking that they wouldn’t believe their eyes.

We had a lovely afternoon of visiting, sharing a bottle of bubbles, and then a leisurely supper (hello actifry potatoes!), followed by a congenial evening. I should mention that they are from Norway but speak excellent English. Communication was no problem and we managed a few laughs :-)

After supper Bjorn dashed into ‘their’ room and came back carrying a giant box - what the heck? Could that have been in their suitcase? To our delight it was a grill for making lefse - they obviously remember our trials with giant batches of lefse at Christmas. With this we may be inclined to make it more often. We just have to figure out how to make the electricity work.

Our busy day and their time change sent us to bed early.

Carm got up in plenty of time to make sure they had coffee and we sat around having breakfast until it was time for them to leave to see my parents. They’ll be back again in a week (or sooner if we are lucky).

Lets travel back a day to Thursday afternoon: I just spent 15 minutes looking for Grace’s spare food dish ring that I had STASHED somewhere on the camper. I searched all the cupboards and hiding places before I found it with the DVDs between her cage and the TV. Logical right? I read a bit of an article that talked about forgetting and how we aren’t meant to remember everything. Yeah, I get that, but why the heck can’t I remember things like this rather than all the words to ‘Muskrat Love’. Seriously.

I’ve cooked a few more things with the Actifry. Last night supper was a mix of peppers, mushrooms and broccoli that I served with pasta with tomato sauce. Easy, no stirring for me, and totally delicious. Today I tried some tofu which turned out better than the griddler, and played around some more with caramelized onions. It’s getting there but I think I need more water to steam the onion a bit before I add the balsamic vinegar. Still - pretty darn tasty and it raises a hotdog to a ‘whole nother level’. Tonight I roasted some potatoes which turned out better than I could have dreamed,  and tossed that with roasted pepper, onion, and mushroom. So far the experimentation is going well but soon I’ll start cooking some regular food too ;-)

The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time.”
~Friedrich Nietzsche

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

in any weather

With a quiet groan I rolled over to look at the clock. 12:30 am: summer. I thought of getting up and going outside to do a celebratory dance, but rolled over, turning my back on the clock, and went back to sleep. It could wait until morning.

I didn’t actually dance, instead I buried my nose in what is left of the peonies. We’ve had rain on and off the last few days and it has battered the lovelies. Petals lie in heaps. If only there was something that I could do with them. I thought of floating them in my bath but the idea of ants is off-putting. Plus I figure fishing them all out at the end would seriously put a damper on the mood.


I’m out on the swing, at least for now. The hot weather has broken, leaving us with wind chill. It is a mix of sun and cloud – I wouldn’t mind being in the sun but the swing is firmly set in the shade.


I’m in reorg mode (a bit) – what should I do with my wedding dress? It was cleaned and then stored in a special box so should be in good shape, but I can’t see any of my family wanting to wear it (it isn’t heirloom quality). I’ve scoured the internet looking for consignment shops with no luck. Should I just send it to Salvation Army?


“In any weather, at any hour of the day or night, I have been anxious to improve the nick of time, and notch it on my stick too; to stand on the meeting of two eternities, the past and the future, which is precisely the present moment; to toe that line.”
~Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

hovering in hot air

After the visit to the cemetery where Carm’s dad resides we hit up Costco for a few things. After much deliberation and surfing the web for recipes, we forked out for an Actifry. At the rally people had raved about the thing, and I figured if it would encourage me to cook more vegetables it might be worth the hefty price tag.

The first night I did chicken wings. We were both pleased at the result. They were perhaps the best wings EVER. The crispy outside and moist meat made us want to gobble more than the 4 each that I had cooked. I also tried some mushrooms and they were awesome as well.

For lunch on Tuesday I sliced up some onion and tossed it in with a tsp of oil. They turned out ‘okay’ but not how I wanted. I’ll have to do some experimenting. It would be great to figure out a recipe for caramelized onions.

Tuesday night we had wings again, and as a side sweet potato fries. Yum. Carm thought they were at least as good as the ones at the Works, and with less than a tablespoon of olive oil they are more waist friendly.

Wednesday is the last of the wings, some sweet potato fries, and roasted brussels sprouts. More experimentation! The brussels sprouts turned out great, although next time I’ll up the time a minute or two from the recommended 15 min.

I won’t normally cook 3 dishes at a time as each thing takes ages but since I’m experimenting we’ll drag the cooking out for over an hour.

Recipe suggestions are welcome ;-)

There has also been some shoe shopping going on. The pain and suffering for Carm is unbelieveable. Not to mention my difficulty in finding shoes that feel good. I’ve already returned a pair of red converse - really cute but the trial wear around the house wasn’t successful. Now I’ve got a pair of Bob’s to try (a subset of Sketchers). It’s a good way to get me on the treadmill for a lap!

Life as a consumer is filled with ups and downs.

There is no spectacle on earth more appealing than that of a beautiful woman in the act of cooking dinner for someone she loves.”
~Thomas Wolfe

Sunday, June 18, 2017

family and love

I clipped the poodles last Thursday and I’ll have to admit that it was a butcher job. I don’t know if something is wrong with my ‘30’ blades but I slashed both Bella and Spike’s feet a few times. My hands were bloody with my mistake. Thankfully they didn’t seem to notice… me though? I felt sick. Carm thought I had the shakes really bad, but I’m going to blame it on the blades - surely they are dull or something.

Do you watch ‘Anthony Bourdain, Parts Unknown’? It is always an interesting show with a combination of food, culture, and political climate. The last show we watched was about the Antarctic. The researchers there are studying the ice, and coincidently I read an article about the same thing yesterday. Apparently the ice is melting at a much faster rate than predicted. Not good news for coastal cities where the water is expected to rise by 10’ by 2100. That’s only 80 years from now.

Yesterday we dropped by my parents for a short visit. It was Mom’s birthday last Wednesday and of course Father’s Day today. I am so lucky to have both my parents living so close.

The day before I had mentioned to Spike that we’d be seeing Grandma and Papa. As usual he perked his ears up and looked around. Fast forward to Saturday afternoon when I was putting on some lipstick. Spike saw and started crying and jumping around. I told him he couldn’t come but his excitement didn’t wane. He was waiting by the door when it was time to leave. Normally it is not such a big deal when we go out. Did he remember the comment about Grandma or did he hear me talking on the phone with her earlier in the day?

The most important thing in the world is family and love.”

~John Wooden

Friday, June 16, 2017

from there to here

You might be wondering how I got from there to here. I’m still a bit tired, but my mood is good and I was even able to get the big job of poodle haircuts done. It isn’t easy but I’ve learned a few tricks over the years

Sometimes all I need are several days of quiet rest. It always helps to let myself off the hook. I allow myself to take some time off and stop the cycle of self loathing and blame for not getting things done. I give myself permission to sleep in and be lazy. It’s what my brain needs sometimes!

The other important thing is to remember to enjoy the idle pleasures in life. I can’t be negative when I’m enjoying the sound of the wind ruffling the leaves in the trees. Who can be depressed when feeling the heavy blossom of a peony? Every minute that I can be mindful is a minute of not being depressed.

Taking the right medications can make all the difference in the world. I think sometimes that I would be lost without help for fixing the chemical imbalance in my brain.

Contact with family and friends always helps, if even for a moment.

Sometimes it is hard work, and sometimes my mood is too deep for anything to help but even at my darkest moment something keeps me from giving up.

This afternoon I even had a few of what I call ‘Peaceful Easy Feeling’  moments (or pef for short).

And when at last you find someone to whom you feel you can pour out your soul, you stop in shock at the words you utter— they are so rusty, so ugly, so meaningless and feeble from being kept in the small cramped dark inside you so long.”
Sylvia Plath

Thursday, June 15, 2017

breezy harp

The swing is rocking me gently as I listen to the sounds of Nature and man. Dump trucks roar down Groves, 400 and onto our road, surrounding me with rumble. The thunder of engines tries to overwhelm the sound of the wind in the trees. ‘Who can see the wind’? I can today. It blusters through the leaves, rattling them in a frenzied dance.

Still, wind aside, I am outside on the swing, my favorite spot in the summer (it’s even better than sitting under the awning in a dusty campsite). Life seems good here.

Last night my trip outside was accompanied by tiny fireflies, stars in the grass mirroring those in the velvet sky.


The peonies burst into bloom sometime between last night and this afternoon. I grabbed my camera to take some photos before the rain. Every year I take tons of photos in the vain hope that I’ll actually be able to capture one and hold and smell and feel it it forever. I’d like a divan with pillows of voluptuous peonies to rest on, their cool petals a balm to my sun-soaked skin.



The mods to the deck by the pool were completed on Tuesday. Carm did a good job of getting it done with my limited ability to help. Still, I did hold boards being sawed and passed the right tools. The whole deck needs to be redone, boards and all. It would be good to have a designer to finish the look, but we’d rather spend the money on a trip to Italy, so it will have to do for now. We don’t mind that it doesn’t have railings and such – it is a better view to the rest of our property without them.

Grace is out here with me, wind ruffling her feathers. I don’t think it is her favorite thing but she makes the best of it. Perhaps, like myself, she enjoys her swing in the sunshine. She’s started making the strange sounds that she heard from Mark last week. She’s  been quieter than usual and I think she misses being camping.

20170615_703Spike here, I want Laura to take me camping again. It is boring, boring, boring here. All the grass in the field is too high to walk in – Laura reminded me that it was hay and would be cut soon so we’d have somewhere to walk, but for now there is just the boring laneway. I don’t know when we’ll go – Laura said we have to wait till our cousins from Norway visit. She says that I’ll like them and that one of them admired me quite a bit when we were on our Alberta adventure. I guess that will be okay.  bye for now.

Every string of nature's breezy harp is touched to answer thy sighs. The green oak and cedar—the dark pine, the yellow and silvery-barked willow—each majestic old tree; hath its own peculiar tone and whisper for thine ear. ~Elizabeth J. Eames

Monday, June 12, 2017

I love life

It’s been hot. The kind of hot that exhausts. Or maybe it’s not the heat that is exhausting me but instead is the extra meds that I’ve been having to take. They make my limbs feel leaden and turn my brain into stodge.

I was doing so well and now this little (temporary I hope) blip. Maybe all the fun days have caught up with me and so I need a little break. Anxiety is tightening my muscles leaving a sickly trail. I ruminate about getting the trailer into the driveway and think that I never want to camp again. I don’t want to do anything - almost can’t do anything - but try anyway which makes me irritable and mad. I don’t want to get out of bed, but do eventually.

Spike makes me smile as he looks at me expectantly. Do I want him to bring me socks? Or maybe a tissue? Or perhaps I’m going to take them outside. He’s so innocent (well, he is a little rascal so not totally), and ernest.

We (meaning mostly Carm), built a bit of deck yesterday, in the heat. I helped where I could, handing tools, carrying wood, and holding boards being cut, but didn’t have the heart/energy for full participation. Carm did the rest.

Later this afternoon I’m in bed, back curled against… what? Reality? the world? I think about how I had planned my life. Thoughts of mares heavy with foal, udders tight with ready to flow milk. I’d test the milk as it would tell me when to start night time foal watch. Foals still wet from the uterus lean against me, finding their strength from me. Later, mares and foals frolicking down by the creek. Soft noses nuzzle. I miss that… tears come easily at the loss.

I don’t normally indulge myself, keeping instead to positive affirmations and living life as it is now, but sometimes they leak through the barrier.

I have to remind myself that this will pass and I’ll again be full of energy and life. Another day or two of rest, and perhaps a trip to DQ for a Skor Blizzard will get the world back right.

The locust trees near the house are in flower - their heady aroma competes with the irises delightful perfume.

Can you understand? Someone, somewhere, can you understand me a little, love me a little? For all my despair, for all my ideals, for all that - I love life. But it is hard, and I have so much - so very much to learn.”
~Sylvia Plath

Saturday, June 10, 2017

19 years

Grace deserves special mention today as it is her 19th birthday. She happily spent the afternoon outside watching the robins feed their young. We haven’t decided exactly what to have for supper tonight but it will be something that she likes. No cake though.

idle pleasures

The irises are in the midst of their bloom. They are beautiful to look at, but perhaps they are more beautiful to smell. I keep going out the front door to bathe in the sweet fragrance. The sweetness has merged with the smell of freshly cut grass which draws me out over and over.

You can guess that Carm has spent several hours over the last two days tackling the hayfield that is our lawn. This is the time of year that Nature’s boundless energy is more apparent. It is a miracle to me that grass and trees, not to mention vegetables and herbs, get their life from the brown dirt. The trees have stretched out their branches even farther than last year and will need clippers, a saw, and perhaps a chainsaw, to keep them from engulfing us.

Carm swam - first time this year - we need to do some deck modifications and get a new pool ladder to make it guest ready though, so Carm went into town for some lumber.

I’m on the swing - first time this year - and am being serenaded by the rustling of the wind in the trees (it’s own secret language), and birdsong. Red-winged blackbirds call out in the field and a robin calls to her chicks from a nearby tree. A small flock of Canada Geese just passed overhead.

Through the long winter I had forgotten about my little piece of paradise. Our visitors the other day never got a chance to experience our domain, and perhaps the worn out deck and uncut grass were a distraction.

We talked about how my blog got its name, talking about the small daily pleasures that I try to notice and find joy in.

Friday, June 9, 2017

rally is over but the fun continued

I think I left off on Wednesday afternoon (oh yes, it was a beautiful day and I was just about to make mojitos for a bunch of people). Several of us sat at our place, sipping our summer drinks and chatting about trips and other adventures. We didn’t linger into the evening though as the farewell dinner was that night.

We drove into Gananoque to Maple Leaf, a Czech restaurant with schnitzel on the menu. We sat with a few people we hadn’t visited with much which was great. Doug & Sue are full-timers and Jane & Paul might as well be as they are gone so much. We spent lots of time with Andy & Edna and consider them to be good friends. Everyone is an ardent traveller, some taking 3 or more trips a year. We’ll have to catch up!

After supper it was back to camp for the final fire. It was a good turnout and the circle was large. All things come to an end though and before I knew it the time for bed had come.

We were up early for leaving day which was a good thing. There was much to do to break camp plus we had friends that were following us home. Mark & Marilyn were ready much before us, but they waited patiently for us to lead the way.

It’s funny how a drive that doesn’t normally seem that long can seem like forever when looking through the eyes of what you think someone else might see. KM after KM of trees and bush line the highway, and wide fields of brown dirt (the crops are very slow this year) line the side roads. The green is overwhelming. Black & white dairy cows add some colour to the landscape.

Then came the laneway… it was our first time in this year and it took us a few tries to get lined up right but we made it without any (loud) yelling. Then it was Mark’s turn. He took direction well, especially since it was coming from many different places… and got through the gate with no yelling. His big rig and truck took up a good length of our laneway.

Lunch, some CNN to catch up on the Comey testimony, and lots of good conversation completed the afternoon. Mark was a professor of Entomology at the University of Guelph and as luck would have it I had a carcass of a ‘tick’ that I’ve found crawling up the walls. He got out his eyepiece so he could have a look. Hurray! They are not ticks but are ‘pseudo scorpions’. I was so relieved.

Supper, more conversation, and a walk down the road filled the evening.

This morning they left for the long drive home. We hope they will come back again soon. At the beginning of the rally they both proclaimed that they are not animal people, and certainly not dog people. Hummm? I’m not so sure. Kabira loved Mark and would go to him for a pets (which is totally out of character for her), and Bella got long pets from Marilyn. Grace was thrilled by all the attention she received from Mark. I feel certain she will be singing some of his song.

Now comes the hard work: grass cutting for Carm, emptying the trailer for me (and maybe a nap). It seems so long ago that I was loading up for the trip, and yet how could the rally be over so quickly. This was the best rally yet for us, I think because we became closer friends with some people.

I wish I had a photo of all of us to attach, but alas :-(

I don't make friends based on how big their pockets are or how well connected they are; rather I make friends based on how positive their minds are. It is hard to end up with a very complicated lifestyle if you are always surrounded by positive minded individuals.”
~Edmond Mbiaka

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

despite the rain

It is mid afternoon and I’m sitting outside in the shade watching Carm wash the camper. There isn’t a cloud in the sky, which is a turnaround from yesterday when all it did was rain and rain and rain. I’m waiting for the clock to tic to 3 to make some mojitos for Edna. The dogs and I have already been for our afternoon walk.

So far it has been quiet, with just us enjoying the day. That will change soon!

Yesterday the dogs slept in but they still needed to go out. They don’t like the rain, and I was too lazy to put on their slickers (and where or where is my slicker hat?), so we didn’t have productive outings. If only they knew that we wouldn’t have had to go out the extra three times they might have made more of an effort, instead of cringing against the raindrops.

Carm and I relaxed with the pitter patter of rain on the ceiling. It was good to have the chance to re-charge. Later in the day Marilyn called to invite us over to show our Med cruise photos, which we did. Time flew by and it was time to leave for Costco and better still RAXX for fish & chips. Mark drove (again) and we met up with Andy & Edna. We had hoped that other rally goers would have come but I guess they were put off by the infernal rain.

The fish was crispy and tender, and the tarter sauce was homemade.

Back home Mark & Marilyn came back for their fix of CNN. I think I’ve mentioned before how often conversations turn to the political situation in the US.

Despite the rain it was a good day.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017


Yesterday was a full day with no time for writing. We had a great time visiting with everyone (well, not everyone, not many people were outside as it was grey with the shadow of rain overhead all day).

Christine and Peter were leaving so I kept an eye out the window and dashed out before they left. Andy and Edna came over and so did Mark and Marilyn. We decided that no matter what we’d book our same sites for next year, even if the rally wasn’t going on. After C&P pulled away Marilyn came up with the idea of getting together for supper. The rest of us jumped on the idea and I offered up our camper for the venue. We all had something to bring so the work was shared.

We parted ways for only a bit. We were going shopping to the outlet mall with M&M - even Carm agreed to come which is amazing as he is not a keen shopper! He was having too much fun with everyone and didn’t want to be left out.

As it turns out, shopping was fun and even productive. I wanted a light windbreaker/rain shell that wasn’t black and found a lovely pink one that I totally love. It has a hood and will roll into a tiny ball. Carm got a bright blue golf shirt, perfect for picking him out in a crowd. M&M found what they were looking for too. There were plenty of laughs along the way.

By the time we got back to the camper there was only 1 ½ hours to walk the dogs, clean the trailer, and get ready for 6 of us for supper. Since it was cold and threatening rain we ate inside. Yes… six people to eat in our little villetta… and yes it can be done and even with a bit of room to spare. Two people sat at the dining table, two people on the sofa with the lift up coffee table, and two people on hard chairs sharing a small patio table. We could have fit two more in a pinch.

Six pm and there was a counter full of dishes and a living room full of people: Andy & Edna, Mark & Marilyn, and Carm & I, and of course Grace. The dogs were locked in the bedroom so they wouldn’t be under foot.

Once we were finished supper we reluctantly headed outside to the campfire - people were already bringing their chairs. It is at Andy & Edna’s so there was no way out for them. I’ll be honest and say that I was pretty knackered by that point and was glad when Marilyn and I slipped away to watch some CNN. (yes, you aren’t hallucinating we were catching up on Trump news!)

Whew! What a FANTASTIC day we had!

The rain is coming down hard this morning, hard enough to lull the dogs into sleeping in. They aren’t crazy about getting rained on so I had to drag them out for a short walk. I’ll wait until the rain lets up before we go on a proper walk.

A trip to Costco might be in our future today and for sure Fish & Chip night at RAXX.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

grey and cold outside but warm in my heart

The dogs and I saw a coyote on our afternoon walk into the ‘back 40’ wilderness area. I was daydreaming when I saw Kabira alert to something and looked up just in time to see it running off. It wasn’t too far from the camper and it ran down a path that I had thought to take one day… maybe not… or at least not until Carm is with me.

I really do love this park. It is so green and has so many ‘rough’ areas away from campers that it is easy to walk the dogs. So far we’ve only done the back loop, but if I wanted a longer walk we could stroll among the seasonal camp roads. There is another hike that takes us to a rocky outcrop overlooking a lake that we’ve never taken but will this trip.

It is dark and dreary inside and equally dark and dreary outside. Splatters of rain occasional dampen the ground. So far (it’s almost 3 pm) I’ve only been outside visiting with people twice. One of those times I sat with Christine and Peter until I was frozen. The fireplace has been going all day.

The TV has also been on for much of the day :-(  More politics. It has been very interesting over the last few days how many conversations turn to the American situation. I haven’t heard any conflict except over what is the most effective focus for the media to take. In the past there has been no political talk - now it’s on everyone’s mind.

… supper time …

Our guests just left. Earlier I saw Bill and Margaret walking by and dashed out to invite them in for a visit. Later Peter and Christine were back from their motorcycle ride so I dragged them over as well. We had lively conversations (that didn’t get too political) which brightened up the afternoon. Many of the rally folk went out to a play and dinner so it was nice to find some company!

… 11:30 pm …

Just in from the campfire. It started late in the evening as it was threatening to rain earlier. We were lucky as the raindrops seem to have missed us. Editor is still there. Yawn.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

a beautiful day

We slept in till almost 8 am today! I was able to convince Spike to go back to sleep at 6:30 and quickly got back to sleep myself. After last night’s late to-bed I was happy for the extra zzz’s.

When the dogs and I finally got going, we stepped outside to a blazing blue sky with nary a cloud. It was cool with a bit of wind, but with the sun it seemed like the nicest day of the year. I managed to do the loop without getting tangled once - the dogs are less excited but still very happy to get out for a walk. We didn’t pass another dog though, that would have ‘complicated’ things! We did pass a couple that called us over to their camper so they could admire the beasts, and another one that admired them from a distance. Even in their dotage they attract attention.

later in the day… actually it is 10:15 pm…

It would be harder to design a more perfect day. The weather was perfect: sunny and warm without being hot (a few sunburns around though). We had a slow start to the day but as soon as it was warm enough I brought Grace outside and ensconced myself into a chair. A bevy of people stopped by to chat. Soon we had Christine & Peter, Andy & Edna, and Mark & Marilyn settled into chairs.

It was so beautiful out.

One of us, (I think it was Christine), thought we should try to pull together a pot luck for tonight. Carm went off to let others know and we disbursed to make our plans. Carm headed off to Costco with Mark & Marilyn, while I held down the fort. I did, but from across the lane at Andy & Edna’s site.

More sun.

At 5 pm we got together to pull picnic tables together for the gathering. We had a good turnout with 26 in the end. A few joined us later for dessert, and a few more again at the campfire.

It was a grand ole time.

One couple brought venison and wild boar which was a big hit with everyone. They also showed up at the campfire with popcorn popped in their special popper.

The dogs have spent lots of time outside, gone for a few good walks, and watched the supper fun from the camper window. It has been great having all the events down at our end of the park - very easy to dash to the camper to take care of things.

But now… I can hardly keep my eyes open and feel slightly shamed that I’ve written this quick post and not even read it over again.

Friday, June 2, 2017

wrapped up

It was 6:45 am and I was standing on a gravel road with leashes wrapped around my legs. Why the heck did I think having 3 dogs would be a good idea. At that time and place I could have done with none.

They (Spike) usually sleep in until well past 8 am when we are home, but in the trailer his eyes fly open before the rooster has finished his cock-a-doodle-do. And yes, there are roosters here, but thankfully they don’t hang out at this end of the campground. Once awake there is no getting him back asleep so I dragged myself out of bed and got dressed for a walk. I figure getting them out and ‘businessed’ means I can go back to bed. And that’s what I did. Once we got the leashes all figured out.

It was a lazy day with some visiting in the lane and a trip to Kingston for a few supplies. Once back we visited outside with whom ever was passing by. The time flew by and it was time to go to the clubhouse for the Greek supper.

Then it was time for a campfire (across the ‘road’ at Andy & Edna’s). Christine, Marilyn and I did some camper comparisons, traipsing around the campground into each others trailers. It was fun to see different layouts and how they work for everyone.

The weather was variable and cold but thankfully it didn’t rain. Not nice for sitting around outside though. Getting together with people took a concerted effort.

I’m back in the camper from the campfire - lots of people are still there having fun, but I’m exhausted. This is a hastily written post, and with my editor outside there are bound to be some oddities.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

First day of 2017 Titanium Rally

We were up before the dogs this morning and getting cracking with our day.  By 9 am the dogs were crying and running to the door every time we turned around. How did they KNOW? We were careful not to talk about camping or car rides or any other things that get them going. By 9:45 we were out the door to hitch. The dogs ran to the truck, milling around until I let them in. Grace jumped onto my hand with unusual fervor and went into her little carrier with barely a ruffled feather. It was time to go and everyone was keen.

We hitched carefully (after 6 months we were out of practice and so much can go wrong), and were out of the laneway by 10:06 - a mere six minutes after desired departure time.

My lists did their duty - so far there is nothing that I’ve forgotten. I had a bit of a scare last night when I tried to update one of them on my wablet… the uncheck and clear completed buttons were too close and suddenly my list was empty. My heart sunk - it had taken me ages to get this list and with over 100 entries it seemed unlikely that I’d be able to re-enter it… but, before I totally lost my head I did a quick google search and if I pressed this button and then that one my entries would be returned. It worked and now I’ve done an export as a backup.

Anyway, it was an easy 2 hour drive from home with little traffic on the 401. We felt lucky to be the ones that didn’t have far to go. Check-in was easy, getting set-up and at home was a breeze. I took the dogs for a quick walk and then it was time for a light lunch.

There is a mix of sun and cloud with cold, gusty winds that keep me in a sweater. We’ve been in and out of the camper for short walks and wanders down the camp road to greet people coming in. It’s fun to be here but am reminded of how cliquey it can be…

I’ve been running around letting people know that a group of us are going to RAXX for $7.99 ribs - we’ve been looking forward to this for ages!

11:30 pm and we are back from supper and our evening guests have left - whew!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

trust and pixie dust

When I opened my eyes this morning I could see little bits of blue sky through the half moon window. By the time I dragged myself up clouds had moved in, obliterating any hope of a sunny day. Still, I couldn’t use that as an excuse to drop back onto the mattress…

As soon as my coffee was brewed I checked my lists – yes, multiple lists – to see what had to be done today. I was half way into my coffee before I had it all worked out.

Carm was visiting his mom and doing some grocery shopping so I shuffled his tasks to tomorrows lists and then got busy. Dog water, stuff for the freezer, golf clothes, computer, pick mint for mojitos, tonic water for g&t’s, blah, blah, blah. I was in and out of the house all day.

I did do some stuff on my wablet, including testing the Mobidb database software that I downloaded yesterday. It is the same software that I have on my android tablet so I’ll do double entry of my daily log for several days to make sure it is working properly. Unfortunately, I can’t get the two devices to sync over Google drive. It is a feature, but I can’t be bothered to send in a error log just yet.

I clipped the dog’s faces yesterday and had to use my #30 blade, which is a really short cut… unfortunately I gave them both a bit of clipper burn – I feel terrible!!! I’ll be doing their nails this afternoon and am sure to nab one of them – it’s a wonder they don’t bite me but somehow the dear creatures still trust.

Bees are making music around the flowering honeysuckle.

All the world is made of faith, and trust, and pixie dust.”
J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

Saturday, May 27, 2017

great bursts of leaves

I’m sitting in the villetta looking around and wracking my brain to figure out what’s missing… what else should I pack? I haven’t tackled food yet, that will come tomorrow, but in the meantime I am mapping out a menu plan so I just pack what I need and not what I might need if we were going to be 100 miles from a store for two months. I’m a bad one for ‘just in case’ (which btw, rarely happens).

I’ve got my Google tasks set up and am editing them on my phone, tablet, and wablet. Each has its strengths, but it is fairly ridic to be using so much hardware. Uber Geek. (and fyi fighting with windows 10 tablet at every try).

The mosquitoes are fierce today – all my comings and goings from the trailer has filled it up with the pesky things. Thankfully we are having a summer day – hot and sunny. Nice for me (although the front of the trailer is now over 80F), but maybe not as nice for Carm as he’s been chopping the grass/hay. It is growing quickly and may have even put on an inch or two today.

The dogs are clueing into the idea that we might be going camping. They leap from their beds every time I go into the house, circling me so as not to be forgotten. Grace has been out of the picture as she has spent the day outside on the back deck. She looks content to be watching the comings and goings of the robins that are nesting nearby. She must have been relaxed as she had a bath in her oversize water dish.

One last flurry of activity: swing onto deck! It really is summer now :-)

And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” ~F. Scott Fitzgerald

Friday, May 26, 2017


The mosquitos were flying around me in thick clouds and I thanked my lucky stars that they hadn’t organized themselves as surely then there were enough of them to carry me off.

Slowly the camper is returning to its summer configuration. There is still much to do but today we took a break. A funeral in town and drizzly rain meant we didn’t progress. No worries – if the worse happens and I don’t get any food loaded we’ll just have to eat out ;-) The dogs food is loaded so they are safe though.


Today we went to the funeral of a distant cousin of Carm’s. Theresa had helped Carm’s mom out at the retirement home, helping her to settle in and keeping an eye out for her as she advanced in Alzheimer's. Through the service I remembered some of the churches, cathedrals, and basilicas that we visited on our trip. St. Anthony’s is a modest church in the heart of little Italy and it really isn’t fair to compare it to anything that we saw. I remembered the Sistine Chapel and tried to visualize how big it was compared to the church I was in. The Sistine Chapel seemed huge but when I checked the size on Google (after the service of course) it seems that the two churches are of equal size.

The service was done just after 11 so thoughts turned to lunch and we quickly agreed that Pho would suit us both. After that we deeked into Canadian Tire and then Sears where I found what I was looking for and also scored some really cute strappy sandals that will be perfect on our next cruise (and of course sometimes this summer).


The air around me is black & blue with echoing swearwords as I try to get this post done on my Windows tablet. I’m having no end of trouble and frustrations…

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

the earth laughs

Preparations for our next trip started today. Actually I should say tripS as our cruising clothes are washed and packed for our next cruise.

The camper needs its spring repack as well. I went through my clothes and stripped the sheets of the bed for washing. The backseat of the truck was pulled apart with a quilt for the laundry and old foams stored. New, thinner, denser foams will be installed tomorrow after the laundry is done.


In between each task I wandered down the laneway and basked in the fragrance of apple blossoms. The front of the house, by the steps, was awash in the aroma of honeysuckle and lilac. It is a heady delight.

I did have to dodge the cow plops on the laneway as I went about my day – the neighbors cows got loose yesterday and came to our place, taking down some of our fences and leaving calling cards.

Carm is the fourth of the intrepid travellers to come down with a cold – he’s lucky though as he’s nicely at home with no amazing sights to miss out on.

Earth laughs in flowers. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, May 22, 2017

Our travels

My plan today was to write a summary of our trip but my brain is trapped somewhere between here and there and doesn't seem to be accessible. I stupidly forgot my meds two nights ago which has left me in a worse state than normal jet-lag. Coffee isn't helping - I'll continue to try though ;-)


Travel is wonderful except for getting there and back. We flew Air Canada Rouge on the way to Barcelona. It's a bare bones, no frills, airline that didn't even have in-seat entertainment. It was a long 8 hours sitting cramped on hard seats with nothing to distract. Airline food continues to degrade… Flying out of Montreal was easy. Flying into Barcelona was a pain - getting through the long lineup for customs took at least an hour. Overall though the trip wasn't too bad - excitement overrode any discomfort.

The way home was another thing. We were tired from our trip and had mixed feelings about the vacation being over. Rome was no big deal although waiting at the gate wasn't very comfortable. Frankfurt though was another matter. It is a horrible airport where nothing is easy. The distance from arrival to departure is long and confusing (bus, train, bus). I was glad none of the airports on my trip to NZ measured ‘up’ to Frankfurt – they seem positively luxurious now. We were tired and getting cranky. The flight was long but at least there was in seat entertainment, although my headphone jack didn't work very well. There were tons of babies but they weren't too screamy. The food sucked. But we were on our way home!

Air travel is not like the olden days. But the main thing is we got there and back so it's all good :-)

Leaving the pets at home is hard, but with Pat staying with them I hardly worried at all. She took good care of them and even befriended Grace enough that she sat on Pat's hand. That is amazing!

We travelled with Jo Ellen and Don who were perfect travelling companions.


Barcelona was our first city and it was an amazing introduction to Europe. I had been there before when I was 11 but don't have any real memories of the visit so it was brand new to me. Our drive from the airport took us on wide boulevards lined with old low-rise apartments decorated with fancy wrought iron railings and fancy cornices. Plane trees added some green. Our hotel was right in the Gothic quarter and only a few blocks from Las Ramblas - the perfect location for on-foot exploration.

Rome was our departure point and this was a city to blow our minds. Orange trees with bright orange fruit right in the old streets of the city made a big impression on me. Rome is apparently the 2nd greenest city in Europe, second to Stockholm. Statues, fountains and ancient ruins were everywhere. We will return.


Everything in-between has started to blur. The cruise was a great introduction to Europe - we'd wake up in a new place every morning. We had full-day excursions in most places and would get back in time to chill for a few minutes then head to the buffet for our supper. We were too tired to go to any of the shows. The grueling pace gave us a good taste of where we want to return.

I didn't gain any weight, which is a bit of a miracle as we ate like pigs. Breakfast buffet usually included smoked salmon, scrambled eggs, maybe a bit of frittata or French toast. If we were on the ship we ate lunch at the buffet. The excursions often included delightful lunches with wine. Or we'd eat at a little restaurant somewhere. We went to a specialty steak restaurant one night of the ship; I had filet mignon and lobster tail. The rest of the nights we ate at the buffet - it was good, but not as good as the ship we were on last November. It was nice not to cook! I ate more meat than I have in a few years total.

We saw so many amazing things and places, but there are three that stand out in my mind. I was excited about seeing Sagrada Familia and wondered if it would be one of those things that aren't as good as expected. My first glimpse gave me a thrill, but when we stepped inside I was awe struck and immediately choked up. It was magnificent. The arching space was like standing in a sacred forest. Stained glass lit the interior. I would love to go back.


We were walking down a narrow street in Florence when around a corner we came to a large square. Dominating that square was Il Duomo. The towering façade with its multi-coloured marble and statues all over was astounding. I was surprised at my response.


There were lots more interesting sights, but none that impacted me the same as Sagrada Familia or Il Duomo until I stepped into the Pantheon in Rome. The light coming through the oculus in the roof and the ceiling itself brought tears to my eyes. It has been in continuous use for over 2000 years. Yes - two thousand. Unbelievable.

Well, I guess I managed to eek out a long summary of our trip - that extra coffee seemed to do the trick!



“A journey, after all, neither begins in the instant we set out, nor ends when we have reached our door step once again. It starts much earlier and is really never over, because the film of memory continues running on inside of us long after we have come to a physical standstill. Indeed, there exists something like a contagion of travel, and the disease is essentially incurable.”
~Ryszard Kapuściński

Saturday, May 20, 2017

journey home

3:15… AM… barely asleep for fear of sleeping in, the alarm clock chimed. Up and at 'em for our long way home. Quick showers and after the last minute pack it was time to check out of our hotel (the Savoy) and catch the taxi to the airport.

Hurry up and wait was the drone of the day.

Hurtle through the dark streets of Rome to reach the airport. Check our bags and find the gate. Wait for 2 hours. Finally the plane arrived and we boarded, just in time for an extra 1/2 hour on the tarmac.

Land at Frankfurt. De-plane and cram onto a bus. Try to figure out where to go (flight was a few hours off and gate not yet posted). Guess. Take train to another terminal. Try to figure out where to go. Gate still not posted. Walk, walk, walk. Have breakfast (a typical German breakfast of white steamed/boiled sausage and pretzel). Try to figure out where to go. Walk some more. Check board, flight posted, more walking. Wait, stand in line, wait, stand in line to board bus, cram onto bus, wait in line to board plane in rain, get to seat, wait and wait (over an hour) for clearance to take-off. Sit on plane for 9 hours.

Finally land in Ottawa and we are close to home. Mom is a sweetheart and picks us up. Quick visit in their driveway and we are in the car and on our way home. Relief (and dismay at tall, overgrown grass) as we pull into the laneway. The dogs are released from the house to their great joy. Crying and leaping for joy all the way around.

It was wonderful walking into our own house with our own pets. Pat had vacuumed and cleaned up so it was especially nice. Grace was the only one not happy to see me - she declined a scratch and puffed up at me. She's either mad, or has transferred her affections over to Pat.

Carm was a whirling dervish at unpacking his bag, but I slowly worked at mine. I was too tired to figure out what I had to do so eventually collapsed on the sofa. We did a load of laundry. Too tired to eat anything but chips. My plan was to stay up until 9 or 9:30 but I couldn't stay awake and succumbed not long past 8:30 pm. I may have been asleep before my head hit the pillow, and stayed asleep, (with a little break to have a snack), until 12:30 pm. Even then I had to drag myself out of bed.

Carm was up at the crack of dawn (still on Rome time). He got some paperwork done, printed out applications for a NEXUS card (will get us through customs without a 30 to 60 min wait). And then, while I was sound asleep, got cracking on the grass. He was still at it a few hours later when I emerged from the bedroom.

The grass is green (stating the obvious), and the apple trees are in full bloom. The first one in the row has more blossoms than I have ever seen. It is beautiful! The pink tulips are at the last of their glory. All together it is a wonderful welcome home.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

day 13 more Roma

Last night after my post we went for a walk to the Spanish Steps. It wasn’t too far away, just 15 or 20 minutes later we arrived at the top of the steps. It was a game of ‘Where’s Waldo’ when we sent Carm on his own to the very bottom. He made it down and then back up, arriving out of breath but really thrilled.

We strolled back to the hotel, stopping at a nearby restaurant for a fantastic meal. There aren’t many restaurants nearby so we’ll go to the same place tonight.

We got going early again this morning, not 5am early but 7am. A quick breakfast in the hotel and then we made our way to the first ‘on off’ bus stop to wait for the first bus.

First stop: colosseum and forum.

After a quick visit inside the Colosseum we boarded the bus for the next attraction: Trevi Fountain.  Jo Ellen and Don stayed on the bus to get back to the hotel, but we still had a bit of energy left.

The crowds at the fountain were out of this world. Row upon row of people filled up every space. Selfie sticks were everywhere. It was chaos, but wow, what a fountain. It had been under renovation until a few weeks ago so we were lucky to see it. Freshly washed, the white marble glowed in the hot sun.

From there we wandered down some side streets till we found the Pantheon. The imposing facade dominated the square.

Stepping inside I felt a wave of emotion. This is the third building that has caused an emotional response. The ceiling was incredible and the way the light came through the centre was goosebump making.

We made our way back to the hotel at this point for a short rest, afterwhich we met Jo Ellen and Don on the rooftop terrace for a cold drink. We are having a little break now and will soon be meeting for supper and then an early night. The alarm will be set for 3:15am...

Our last day of vacation was unforgettable. Hot Mediterranean sun and amazing sights made the day. Rome is an incredible city and we will certainly visit again, next time for longer. Orange trees growing along busy streets, narrow busy streets, cars and people everywhere, scooters driving like maniacs - it is all so wonderful.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

day 12 ROME!

The alarm sang its cheerful song early this morning but we had no choice but to get up and get the show on the road. Showers, a quick run at the buffet for breakfast, last of the stuff into our carry-ons, and we were ready to go.

More hurry up and wait. We got to the meeting spot for our disembarkation tour with time to spare, but as luck would have it things weren’t ready on shore for us yet. Wait wait wait. Carm running to the bathroom at the last minute. Me freaking out that he’s gone off. He’s back in time for more waiting. Finally our row is called and we are on our way off the ship into a warehouse full of suitcases. Find our suitcase. Leave the building. Find our bus. Carm runs away to the bathroom again leaving me with 2 suitcases and 2 carry ons, plus the shoulder bag and my camera. Struggle to load into bus. Don helps. Find a seat on the bus. Wait. Carm returns. Wait some more. Trouble with bus. Wait. Finally all is settled and we are on our way.

The countryside on the 1 ½ hour drive from the port to Rome was beautiful. Gentle hills dotted with olive trees, and fields of cut hay, made a bucolic picture. We moved along at a good clip until suddenly we ground to a stop and it was ‘stop and go’ the rest of the way into Rome.

Driving through the city was amazing. The buildings are so old and there are statues and frescoes and big trees everywhere. Even orange trees. And the traffic was out of this world. Cars everywhere and scooters/motorcycles in every available spot, zipping in and out between the cars and busses as if they were immortal.

Our tour this morning was the Vatican.

Of course we couldn’t take photos of the Sistine Chapel so I’ll have to say a 1000 words instead. But actually it left me speechless.

Once the tour was over we reloaded onto the bus for the drive to our hotels. The driver took the long way there and seemed to drive us past every statue and memorial in Rome. It was fantastic.

Checked into our hotel then wandered off to look for a late lunch (it was after 2 by then).

Now I’m exhausted and ready for a nap (Carm’s snoring beside me), but I wanted to get this off before I forgot more than I already have.