Monday, July 31, 2017

summer freshness of newly picked basil

Ring… ring… huh? what? I opened my eyes and made a grab for the phone. I was not fully awake when I heard Trudie’s voice at the other end of the line - I was supposed to go to her place on Saturday to pick basil. It was now Monday… Oh dear. “Could I come now?”. I staggered out of bed into the bathroom. The visage in the mirror was barely recognizable: bed head was out of control. A few splashes of water and it was somewhat flattened.

No coffee for me, instead I headed directly out the door and into the truck. It isn’t far to Trudie’s, maybe a km or two (she’s our neighbor on one side) so I barely had time to wake up.

I should mention that Trudie has the energy of a manic person and I’m pretty sure she has never had a bleary moment, so I sucked it up and pretended I was bright and chipper.

I received instruction on how she wanted the basil picked and got to work. The ‘trug’ that I had brought to put everything in was full to the brim with the summer freshness of newly picked basil. I could almost taste the pesto.

A pile of freshly picked garlic was wrapped into a bag and away I went home. There was work to do.

First a swim though ;-) and that cup of coffee.

I picked through the giant bin of basil and soon I had a mountain of leaves with a tower of stems beside it. Carm peeled a bunch of garlic, then the food processor got to work chopping the basil and spinning it with garlic. I don’t put the cheese in until I’m using it as many times I just want basil and garlic.

I think I did four full bowls in the food processor before I had several baggies and two small containers ready to freeze. I kept some aside to use tonight (fresh zucchini from Trudie’s garden in the actifry and tossed with pesto - my mouth is watering just thinking about it.)

It is a summer day again today - hot with a little cool in the shade. This morning was cloudless, but some are moving in this afternoon. Yesterday was nice too and Graham came out for a visit. We sat on the swing enjoying an afternoon in the country.

Four years ago today we had already been in Medicine Hat for a day. I was happy to re-read the blog entries for that day - a little reminder of how wonderful that trip was. We’ve had a few fantastic trips in the last few years and I would be hard pressed to choose a favorite, but if I had to, I think it would be our Alberta adventure. Almost everything about that trip was a journey home to the happiest times of my youth. So many memories were revisited and relived. The west is my heart’s true home.

I was merely looking at the prairie as a human being, savouring it for its beauty which engaged all the senses and brought with it a feeling of well-being, contentment and often even joy.”
~Sharon Butala - The Perfection of the Morning

Saturday, July 29, 2017

I'm content

“Don’t touch it!”, she said, too late to save herself. We were doing our daily round of the hay field and the newly formed Norwegian Spruce cones hung tantalizingly over the fence. I couldn’t help but reach my hand to cup this marvel of nature. That was before I noticed the spruce gum dripping.

A good scrub with hot water and dish soap got rid of most of the sticky residue.

The sun is shining, and while it isn’t hot, it is a lovely day. Not a baking, languid one to be spent by the pool, but a regular summer day.

Yesterday was nice too. Carm golfed and when he got home I drove into the city to see brother Graham. We had a nice lunch of sushi and good conversation.

For supper we went to Trudie & Leo’s and sat outside in her lovely garden, mosquitoes held at bay by some special lanterns. We had bbq meat - a treat for us as we’ve been all beans & legumes for the last few weeks - and lots of veggies and fruit, so all was not lost ;-)

I had the urge to get out of the house, and maybe in the past we would have gone out for lunch, today we made the trip to Liquidation with no noshing at the Greek diner. I had seen some glass chargers (big plates for the table) when we were there last time but took the time to sleep on it. They were still there so today we checked them over and loaded a bunch into my cart. Now I’ll have to plan a dinner party to break them in (or not).

With healthy eating comes lots and lots of time in the kitchen. I’m on a roll now and hope that continues. Carm has been pitching in cutting and chopping so that’s a big help. It doesn’t seem like quite as big a chore when we are shoulder to shoulder at the cutting board.

It's easy to impress me. I don't need a fancy party to be happy. Just good friends, good food, and good laughs. I'm happy. I'm satisfied. I'm content.”
~Maria Sharapova

Thursday, July 27, 2017

beans, beans, the musical fruit

Black-eyed peas are cooking in the Instant Pot. I’ll make bean burgers to save in the freezer. A quick meal, even one that can be served to friends, will be at the ready. Yesterday I cooked chickpeas in the IP - 2 cups of dried expands into a full container of hummus (once I add all the good stuff).

Yesterday was my monthly psyc dr. appointment. I’m sad to say that I have only two more appointments left with Dr. N before she retires. She’s been a voice of reason for me for 6 ½ years and I’ll miss her.

The weather has still been overcast and cool. The sun might shine for an hour or two first thing in the morning, but the remainder of the days have been dismal. What a summer :-(  I can count on one hand the number of swing days.

Since the Instant Pot, I’ve gone on a dry bean marathon which is good… except… the beans take up so much room and have turned my pantry into a chaotic mess. A trip to the store netted us a few containers so I can unbag the beans, and while this little corner of the pantry is good, I have the detritus from where I put them to sort out. I think I’ll have to start from ground zero and empty the pantry so I can start from fresh, and maybe get rid of some of the stuff I don’t use as much.

I don’t have the energy for that. Maybe if I ate a DQ blizzard I’d be able to tackle Mount Ever-so-full, but I’ve given up on those naughty calories, at least for the moment.

Maybe the cat has fallen into the stew, or the lettuce has frozen, or the cake has collapsed. Eh bien, tant pis. Usually one's cooking is better than one thinks it is. And if the food is truly vile, then the cook must simply grit her teeth and bear it with a smile, and learn from her mistakes.”
~Julia Child

Monday, July 24, 2017

the old man is snoring

And now for something completely different… it is pouring cats and dogs and has been since before sunrise. Huge thunderstorms have rocked the house, rain is coming down in sheets, and the swale in the field is a torrent of water.

The saturated ground cannot absorb any more moisture. I expect that the creek will flood.

I don’t know where the saying ‘raining cats and dogs’ came from. On a rainy day my dogs can sleep remarkably late compared to a sunny day when they HAVE to go outside asap, and even then, they must be pushed out the door. There is no lingering outside, checking out the smells around the barn, nor is there any venturing out to the field. No, it is a mad dash to get back to the house where they huddle against the door waiting for us to let them back inside.

Mine are not ‘outside’ dogs, tied to a chain all day. They know only comfort and ease. In fact, they are all asleep on cushions as I type this.

The sound of the rain on the windows was lulling me, no, luring me back to bed. Snuggling under the covers with a book seems like a really good idea. It still might happen, but I did motivate myself to get on the treadmill – no huge achievement though, it was only for 14 minutes (3/4 mile). Still, it’s better than nothing.

129 days till we are sailing in the Caribbean again. Which means that Christmas is just a few days more.

I’ve been drinking gallons of mint tea made from freshly picked leaves from the garden. It’s good hot, warm or cold.  It is delightful! I think I must transplant some into a pot for inside this winter.

“I went to bed and woke in the middle of the night thinking I heard someone cry, thinking I myself was weeping, and I felt my face and it was dry.
Then I looked at the window and thought: Why, yes, it's just the rain, the rain, always the rain, and turned over, sadder still, and fumbled about for my dripping sleep and tried to slip it back on.”
~Ray Bradbury

Sunday, July 23, 2017

frustrates the intellect

Just hit the dam% ball! Yes, we are watching the British Open and Jordan Spieth has hit a bad drive, declared an unplayable lie and is futzing around trying to find a place to drop… omg - I can’t believe I know all that. I guess stuff rubbed off on me after 30 years of watching golf.

The rain is holding off… fingers crossed because it is overcast and cold.

Venison is not vegan but gosh it was tasty. We had supper at Trudie & Leo’s and since Leo is an intrepid hunter we ate some of his prey. You might think that I’d be anti hunting with my love for animals, but actually, I feel that an animal that has lived a natural life and is suddenly killed is more humane than one raised for meat in a feedlot and then trucked to the killer’s.

Tried to take a walk in the field tonight but the mosquitoes drove us inside.

Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated; it satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect. It is at the same time rewarding and maddening - and it is without a doubt the greatest game mankind has ever invented.” ~Arnold Palmer

Saturday, July 22, 2017

blossom in my heart

That thunderstorm that I wrote about a few days ago never came so now we’ve had a few days (3?) with no rain. The hay was cut yesterday and now lays in the field, flat and shriveling. Our fingers are crossed for a few more nice days.

Soon we’ll have our field back and there will be no excuses for not going for a walk.

Carm golfed again yesterday, and I putzed around the house getting the odd thing done. It seems I can fill my time with a whole lotta nothing to show for it. I did get some of the cooking done for supper though.

We had Cathey, a friend of Carm’s from early days of university, over for supper last night. They’ve kept in touch all these years and we manage to get together a few times a year. Cathey is sometimes a strict vegan so can be a challenge to make something. I generally cook vegan(ish), but am not adverse to using chicken broth, worcestershire sauce and other taboo ingredients. We are cutting way back on salt and added fats as well which makes for some tricky cooking.

I’m out on the swing with the dogs. In the past I wouldn’t normally relax with them loose, Spike would be sure to disappear on some game trail or another. It’s a sign he’s getting older now though - he went for a totter around the grass and was back up on the deck before I could call him. It’s nice that he’s so good but horrible that he’s getting old.

Scrap that thought about Spike. He and Bella just raced off to the barn where the critters are :-( … back from chasing them down from the middle of the hay field. Grrrr... The poodles do like to track things down.

A trip to the utility room in the basement last night revealed a watery stream snaking its way across the floor. We followed the track to the water pipes and spied a leak. Droplets of water dripped onto the floor in some sort of slow motion water torture. Luckily there is a shut off valve for that section of pipe. No air conditioning until we track down a plumber, but we’ll survive - it’s not been horribly hot.

Oh! Four years ago today we left on our epic journey to Alberta.

And when you crush an apple with your teeth, say to it in your heart:
Your seeds shall live in my body,
And the buds of your tomorrow shall blossom in my heart,
And your fragrance shall be my breath,
And together we shall rejoice through all the seasons.”
~Kahlil Gibran

Thursday, July 20, 2017

eyes turned skyward

Mid afternoon: inside, watching black clouds gather, severe thunderstorms in the forecast.

Carm has already gotten a patch of grass cut, pressure washed Grace’s cage, threw a load of dog stuff into the laundry, and washed the car and truck. Some of it before I was even out of bed. Me? I got a pot of beans cooked and then transformed it into delicious, healthy hummus. Oh, and I scrubbed the area that Grace’s cage sits in. And I did do a few steps on the treadmill - one day closer to creating a new habit.

Driving the back way to Jo Ellen and Don’s last night with my earworm on my mind, I thought of the trips we used to take when I was a child. Unlike other people who took road trips, we often flew to our destination. My view out the window wasn’t of ditches and fields. Well, that isn’t exactly true - I did see fields, just from above, and the whole thing at once, a flat patch of colour on the ground. Roads formed a grid across the earth. Farms and houses were just tiny toys. I still like the birds-eye-view and fight for the window seat when travelling by air.

I never tire of the view from the ground though. I love to see the landscape flash by the window. I savoured every moment of our 2013 trek across Canada to Alberta and don’t recall ever being bored of the changing landscape.

Maybe it’s time for a road trip!

Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”
~Leonardo da Vinci

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

makes the world go round

Cloudy… rain in forecast… so much for the 3 days of no rain they forecast yesterday. So far in July there have been 5 days without rain. Last year was the opposite - we prayed for rain as we watched the vegetation turn brown.

I sorted the bottom shelf of the kitchen cupboard I did yesterday and the utensil drawer. A grocery sized bag of garbage and recycle later I was done. I will admit to opening the doors for a peek every now and then. And to be honest, even though you’ll think I’m crazy, I still get pleasure when I open my clothing drawers (I did them in April and am keeping up with the exacting folding methods). All my t-shirts, underwear, and shorts are lined up like soldiers, easy to see and easy to pick out. Oh, so tidy.

I still have way too much stuff.

Carm went golfing again today. He’s burning off calories like crazy and he’s changed his eating habits. I’m also making healthy meals so he is melting in front of my eyes. His shorts needed to be cinched up with a belt or they’d be beyond his knees. I’m so proud of him but wish I could be motivated to get on the treadmill and burn some calories as well.

Maybe for 5 minutes as a start.

a little while later… did 10 minutes which isn’t anything to cheer about but if you knew how tired I’ve been since the Med trip you’d understand.

I was listening to my massive collection of sappy 70s music when I was reminded of an earworm. I’ve had ‘Candy man’ (Sammy Davis Jr.) as an earworm a number of times but one time in particular always comes to mind. It is a bit of a time warp, taking me into the back seat of a little one engine airplane going somewhere that I can’t remember. I’m sitting behind my dad and he’s wearing headphones (maybe yellow), my Mom is in the co-pilot seat navigating. Kirsten sits beside me. I don’t recall looking out the window and have the feeling that we were flying through clouds. I sang that song to myself over and over that day hopefully under my breath, but perhaps louder driving everyone else in the plane crazy.

Oh oh. Earworm here we are again. (the Candy man can cause he mixes it with love and makes the world go round..) AAAACCCKKKK!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

food and cheer and song

We celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary on Saturday. As is our usual custom, we wrote sappy notes to each other and looked at our wedding photos. At the back of the album are a few photos of us with our three dogs and two cats from around the time that we got married. I am shocked to realize how long ago it was that these animals were with us. I think of having an Irish Wolfhound as something that happened not that long ago, but I was wrong. I think it was 1996 when Max left us.

We’ve always had dogs in sets of three: Chetta, Ranger & Max; Pan, Grizzle & Titan; and this last group, Bella, Kabira & Spike. That’s a lot of dogs.

We finished our celebration with supper at the Keg with Peter and Julie. They were married on the same day that we were, just ½ hour before us. We told the staff at the Keg and they treated us to a dessert. I wonder if they believed us? We also go to the Keg on Carm’s birthday with Bruce and Tina. Bruce & Carm share the same birthday, but not on the same year.

Sunday we did a quick trip into the city to visit my parents.

Yesterday we got haircuts. It was a reasonably nice day and I’d like to say that it didn’t rain Sunday night… but… it did.

Trudie & Leo came by for an easy soup supper Monday night. I’m starting to get the hang of the instant pot, but I was working from two recipes again yesterday so may have flubbed a few things. As soon as I’m in the mood I’ll re-write into one so that I know better what I’m doing.

Today (Tuesday) is hot as heck. Carm is away for the day doing car maintenance stuff, while I lollygag around the house. Actually I got busy and went through all my mixing and serving bowls - I have stacks of them - and cleared out a bunch to go to the thrift shop. Then I tackled the two (yes t w o) cupboards with plastic containers. There are heaps for recycle. My cupboards look tidy, and only mildly overstuffed :-0 I did wimp out on one of the shelves (non plastic related) so will have to face that pile of junk still. It felt good to move forward for a change.

Now (2:30pm), I’m on the swing, sipping some Earl Grey tea. The air feels soft and warm, like a caress from a cashmere sweater. I’m just a stone's throw from the pool so once I get hot enough I can splash in the cool water. Summer bliss. There hasn’t been enough swing time this summer and it is already past mid July.

Now again (after supper), I’m on the sofa, watching the news. Weather forecast is calling for 3 days in a row with no rain! We are nicely full after a vegan supper cooked in the actifry and the instant pot. I could have used the stove and microwave but it’s more fun using my new appliances.

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”
J.R.R. Tolkien

Friday, July 14, 2017

the notebook

It is pouring rain… again… for the umptheeth day in a row.

I can’t say that it has affected my day much, aside from the fact that I’m not writing this from the swing.

I made a double batch of hummus this morning - double because we are going through heaps on our lunchtime pita with hummus and arugula. I didn’t use canned beans but instead used dried and cooked them for ages in the instant pot so they were nice and creamy. Of course I can’t remember how long I gave them but I think it was around 35 minutes (gotta remember to take notes next time).

I sorted through a couple of shoeboxes of pet stuff that I had on the counter and in the appliance cupboard. There was a giant pile of stuff to throw out and I was able to consolidate into one metal shoebox which looks tidy on the counter. It freed up space in the cupboard so that I can see my extra spices better.

The tidying that I did in the kitchen a few months ago was timely. I had space in the pantry for the actifry, I moved the bread maker (which we haven’t used for a few years) into another space in the pantry. The instant pot and blender/food processor fit into the appliance cupboard. The cupboards have power outlets in them so I just have to open the door, pull out the appliance and cook away. I love my kitchen.

Oh, I’m just babbling. I’m a little bit bored and don’t know where the day is going.

… a little while later…

I’ve just had a ride on the “you can’t get there from here” rollercoaster. What fun. I am just about ready to give up on technology. The “opportunity”? Installing MS Streets and Trips onto my wablet. Install - check. Run - skid to a stop. I need a product key and for the life of me I can’t find what I did with it. I can’t read it on the PC where it is already installed. It isn’t in any file on my laptop. It doesn’t seem to be in my Outlook email. I can’t believe it but it seems that I stored it NOWHERE!!!

… more time has passed…

HOLD THE BOAT! I found it! I have a little spiral bound notebook that I keep notes in. Almost anytime I write something down, or at least I used to. I got out of the habit a year or two ago, but since I never throw anything out it was still on my desk. I skimmed though it and on a page all by itself was the word ‘Streets’ followed by the key.

I found some good recipes too :-)

Thursday, July 13, 2017


I checked my watch for the third time. I had gotten to the cafe early (really early) as I didn’t want to be late and I tried to be patient as the clock slowly ticked to the meeting time. Right on time I saw two light coloured heads round the corner and appear in the doorway: Diane and Mary.

I haven’t seen either of them for months so it was a great pleasure to catch up on everyone’s news. I wondered why I hadn’t made more of an effort to get together. That’s my fault. It is sometimes difficult to overcome inertia. For every action there is an equal but opposite reaction that keeps me in place.

I had barely backed the truck down the laneway when Carm returned from golf. We quickly decided on a trip to Bulk Barn for some spices. The smoked paprika was 1/10th the grocery store price so I got enough for a big jar. I’ve never used the SP but many of the recipes that I’ve been making lately call for it.

Now I’m back home and getting ready for dinner guests (Jo Ellen and Don). When I’m in cooking mode, like I have been for the past few weeks, it is easy to have company, especially if they don’t mind that the house is a bit of a wreck or that they are served vegan fare.

… the next day (Thursday)...

Note to self - don’t make a new recipe in a new appliance if you have company. There were a few times that I stood immobile looking at the two recipes while I tried to figure out what to do next. Everything took way longer than I estimated and we didn’t eat until nearly 7pm. The soup, which was a mash up of two recipes, turned out really well. There could have been more beans (1 cup dry soaked overnight), and less pasta for more of a fagioli soup. I also made zucchini and mushrooms in the actifry.

I’m reading the rules for Mahjong, over and over again, as I’m sitting with a group of friends this afternoon to see if I’m a fit. It is super complicated and I may not be smart enough.

… later in the day Thursday…

I’m home from Mahjong and my head is slightly fuzzy and I have a faint headache. It is reminiscent of my first days with my wablet. Nicole gave me a great introduction and was a patient teacher. So much to learn! I sat at the table watching for the first two games, but for the last one I was left on my own and what a mashup that was. But I survived, had fun visiting everyone, and even exercised the old noggin a bit. :-)

Then you must teach my daughter this same lesson. How to lose your innocence but not your hope. How to laugh forever.”
Amy Tam, The Joy Luck Club

Monday, July 10, 2017

all the days with rain

I’ve read to chapter 3 in my re-read of ‘Writing Tools’. I am inspired to write, but since I haven’t been doing much other than cook and lie around, there isn’t much to write about.

Outside the kitchen window a red-wing blackbird flashed its red and yellow epaulettes as it took flight. This morning a pair of flickers foraged in the grass. They are big birds, bigger than a robin, and their spotted feathers blend with fallen leaves for perfect camouflage. A pair of robins has a nest outside the bedroom window, their chicks just barely tall enough to see out of the nest. I keep the curtains closed so we don’t disturb them.

So much life.

It is murky in the living room where I’m sitting. It’s like being deep in the forest, accentuated by leafy trees pressing against the windows. Not even a flicker of sunlight squeezes its way out of the clouds. A few drops of rain that turn into a downpour are a poor substitute for golden rays. I wish for sun as the gloom is weighing me down, leaving me feeling like Eeyore as I struggle against the impulse to go back to bed (drink coffee instead).

(note to self: I cooked the green beans and mushrooms in the Actifry last night but made the mistake of cooking the beans too long. I need to remember to cook the mushrooms for 7 minutes, then add the green beans for another 7 minutes. There is no better way to cook mushrooms.)

It’s pouring rain now. Again. Not a day has gone by without some precipitation. The farmers are going crazy about getting the hay off the fields. Ours is still standing - I’d like it gone so I can start walking in the field again… We need 3 full days without rain.

Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark.” ~Rabindranath Tagore

Sunday, July 9, 2017


I walked down the laneway to open the gate for Carm, my head in the clouds, oblivious. “LAURA LOOK AT THIS” (caps on purpose). I rushed back up to the house urged on by the urgency in his voice. It was a ssssnake. A garter snake about 45cm long. A snake that disappeared into the garage as I skidded to a stop.  A plethora of junk leaning against the wall hid it from sight as it slithered into the darkness. Carm started rattling some of the detritus and soon we saw its head appear back at the door, followed by the rest of it. It undulated along the outside of the garage and disappeared under the deck.

I’ve been seeing lots of snakes this summer, mostly small ones too small to eat mice.

Pat the pet sitter came for supper last night. Grace was happy to see her, as were the big dogs, but one little brown dog seems to associate her with us leaving so for part of the night he hid out in our bedroom.

Today has been a grab bag of weather, cool with some sun and intermittent showers. I took Grace out to the deck for a shower au natural but she wasn’t impressed.

We were examining a big hole with two entrances. The burrow sloped into the ground at a gentle angle, so that we could see where the two corridors united, and the floor was dusty from use, like a little highway over which much travel went. I was walking backward, in a crouching position, when I heard Antonia scream. She was standing opposite me, pointing behind me and shouting something in Bohemian. I whirled around, and there, on one of those dry gravel beds, was the biggest snake I had ever seen. He was sunning himself, after the cold night, and he must have been asleep when Antonia screamed. When I turned, he was lying in loose waves, like a letter "W". He twitched and began to coil slowly. He was not merely a big snake, I thought - he was a circus monstrosity. His abominable muscularity, his loathsome, fluid motion, somehow made me sick. He was as thick as my leg, and looked as if millstones couldn't crush the disgusting vitality out of him. He lifted his hideous little head , and rattled. I didn't run because I didn't think of it - if my back had been against a stone wall I couldn't have felt more cornered. I saw his coils tighten - now he would spring, spring his length, I remembered. I ran up and drove at his head with my spade, struck him fairly across the neck, and in a minute he was all about my feet in wavy loops. I struck now from hate. Antonia, barefooted as she was, ran up behind me. Even after I had pounded his ugly head flat, his body kept on coiling and winding, doubling and falling back on itself. I walked away and turned my back. I felt seasick.”
~Willa Cather

Saturday, July 8, 2017


whack… grumble grumble… whack

my phone is my writing pad this afternoon as I sit on a worn chair at the golf driving range. I am practicing a two thumb typing with limited success and not much speed. Practice makes perfect though (ha ha).

a few drops of rain splattered on my screen - the clouds are bunching together, squeezing a bit of water out and blocking the beautiful sky. There is still the odd bit of sun that peeks out to remind us that it is summer.

I went for a swim before we left, I think there were fewer clouds at home. There was no swimming (by me) when we got back home. Sitting around at the driving range, and walking the aisles of the grocery store did not warm me up enough for a dip.

Even though we rarely buy meat, we always look in the sale bin at the grocery store. Today we scored chicken legs with backs attached for $0.99 lb. The dogs will feast tonight!

Last night we joined friends at the Acapulco restaurant for supper. Marie had her brother and his wife visiting from Czech Republic, and along with her husband Vashek and Trudie & Leo we made a raucous bunch. I had the delicious but waistline unfriendly shrimp.

The actifry is busy roasting up some chickpeas for snacking. I read a post by someone who hated her actifry but had only used it once. I thought she was crazy.

I’ll end this post with a walk down the laneway. Apple trees crowd the lane, branches heavy with rapidly growing apples. It’s going to be a bumper crop this year. I close my eyes to imagine a dish of hot apples and cinnamon.  

On the other side of the grey gravel, a tangled bed of cultivated flowers mixes wildly with Nature’s intruders. Their fragrance combines into a heady sweetness, the kind that I want to capture in a bottle to uncork in the white stillness of winter.

I close my eyes (just for a moment or I’m sure to trip) and breathe in the smell of summer. Everything green and blooming create wonders for all the senses. The sterility of winter seems so far away.

Friday, July 7, 2017

chained to the stove (or actifry, or instant pot)

I stare blankly at the page, willing inspiration to take control and whirr my fingers over the keyboard, creating lovely prose as each key is struck. Instead, a dull, grey haze seems to have been drawn across my eyes.

Could it be my glasses? I’ve had to go back to an older pair for reading books and screens. They are great for close-up work, but distance is another matter and things are blurry. Perhaps my brain has been blurred as well.


My new Instant Pot and Actifry have been put to good use this week. I’ve been cooking and cooking, some for immediate consumption, but some for stashing in the freezer for a quick meal. I made two kinds of bean burgers on Wednesday: lentil and black-eyed pea. I served the lentil ones with roasted potatoes and green beans to Trudie & Leo the other night. They are confirmed meat eaters but didn’t complain about the vegan menu, although they may have politely choked back the burgers.

As soon as Carm came in the house on Wednesday and announced that they were home, I was on the phone to invite them for supper. A month is a long time to be away and we did miss them.

Carm has been dieting (hence all the cooking…) and has lost well over 10 pounds so far. Me? I’ve lost 1 - where is the fairness in that!!!! Granted, he has been golfing and cutting the grass almost daily while I’ve been chained to the counter cooking, hardly moving at all.


Thursday I went to Kari’s house to pick up Meryl, my step-grandmother, for lunch. She graciously ate the lukewarm lentil soup that I served up (note to self: keep warm setting on instant pot does not keep things hot, just warm). BTW - the instant pot did a great job on the soup and it was hands free enough for me to leave it for ½ hour while I picked up Meryl.

Friday Carm  played golf again…

“There is a comfort in the strength of love; 'Twill make a thing endurable, which else would overset the brain, or break the heart.”
William Wordsworth

Monday, July 3, 2017


A week has flown by in a flurry of doing both nothing and everything. It has been a perfect mixture of alone and crowds.

Last Thursday Bjorn and Ingeborg joined us for another night of tall tales and laughter. They are such a lovely couple to be with – I think if they lived closer we’d be very good friends. Their English is amazing, which is good as our Norwegian is non existent.Tusen tukk (many thanks), and a drinking song is about the limit of my vocabulary.



Friday it was raining (again) so instead of Upper Canada Village (which is a primarily outdoor activity), we drove down to the locks at Iroquois and waited for a big ‘Laker’ to come. We had to  be patient though… and I’m afraid we wasted too much time there. By the time the giant ship had made its way through we were starving for lunch and went to the Basket Case for our favorite club sandwich. We certainly didn’t show Ingeborg and Bjorn the beauty of our area which means they’ll have to come back for a better look ;-)

After lunch we raced home in time to get some meatballs into the crockpot and get changed to go to Mom & Dad’s for their party.

My aunt Kari had all her family visiting from Western Canada so it was a wonderful treat to meet up with them again. Some I’ve seen recently but it has been decades since I’ve seen Linda who was closest to my age. I used to trail after her when we visited my grandfather. I’m sure I was a big pest.

Canada Day was hot on the heels of those festivities, and I’m half ashamed to say that we didn’t venture down to Parliament Hill. Instead we waited for Olaf & Tammy to arrive from Montreal and we all went to the local village activities. It was much more kid friendly than the crush on the  hill and Freya had fun dancing to the band and splashing in puddles.


Olaf & family stayed with us for the night which was a special treat. We haven’t had a one on one visit with them since they arrived from NZ 1 1/2 years ago. Olaf is still my baby brother (I was 14 when he was born) and I’m always shocked to see him all grown up!

The dogs are not used to kids – I could probably count on one hand the number of times they’ve been around them, but they were wonderful with their human cousin. Bella was a sweetheart and followed Freya around the whole visit. She wore feathers in her hair and lay with Freya on a fort of pillows. The two of them were precious.


By now the calendar had rolled over to Sunday, July 2nd, the date for Kari & Trevor’s huge party. There was swimming, a band, a whole roasted pig, and lots of visiting with friends and family. We had such a good time. Mom & Dad and Bjorn & Ingeborg were there so we took our final opportunity to visit. It was with pang of sadness that I waved goodbye when they all left as the Norwegians are starting on the rest of their trip today and are on their way to Western Canada.


Today, well, Carm played golf early in the morning and I stayed snoring in bed for a few more hours. It is finally sunny, and I don’t even think rain is in the forecast. Someone told Carm that it has rained for 18 days in a row. We’ve given our out of country visitors the wrong impression about summer in eastern Canada. It is usually sunny and hot – Honestly!