Saturday, September 30, 2017

back to camp

Bump, bump, bump… it was Friday and we were on the road again with camper in tow. It was an uneventful trip and the setup to transform an empty site into our home for the next 10 days was easy. We have the process pretty much down pat.

As usual, the dogs cottoned on to the fact we were going camping and waited by the door until it was time to leave. Grace knew too and tried to squeeze out the cage door when I opened it to get her dish.

After our usual beverage we moved inside, with the fireplace going. It is a far cry from the blistering heat of our last trip here. In fact, I had to pull on a sweater and definitely have long pants on too.

Carm thinks we saw juvenile Golden Eagles on our way here. Also on the way here, the instant pot bounced out of the cupboard and the venting knob fell off. Thankfully it didn’t break and we’ve done a test to make sure we put it back on properly. It’s actually cooking supper tonight: a cabbage, sweet potato soup from the freezer. I dump the mostly frozen soup into the pot, add ¼ cup of red lentils for some extra protein, and a bit of extra water, start it and leave it.

Speaking of instant pot… a new 8qt version arrived in the mail today. It is huge and will require that I do some reorg of the pantry. The plan is to have big cooking days every few weeks. Carm can help with the vegetable prepping and then we can do two different kinds of soup with lots of servings for the freezer. There are days when I’m too tired/lazy/time pressed to cook and we’ve turned to take out and other unhealthy choices. With soups in the freezer there will be no excuses.

The best lack all conviction
While the worst are full of passionate intensity”
~W.B. Yeats

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

the last dip

Today is the 27th of September and we were in the pool! Good thing we went in when we did too as the rain is sheeting down with a rumble of thunder accompanying it. It has been weeks since the last rainfall so this is a good thing, but it is accompanied by a cold front so our time of mid summer heat is over.

There aren’t as many butterflies in the field and the balance of species has shifted from mostly Painted Ladies to an abundance of Monarchs. It is still a lovely experience to be surrounded by a swirl of colourful wings.

Flowers in bloom now.

Photo of Carm and his brother Anthony, (the father of the bride), that I forgot to post the other day. The family resemblance is strong. I really fell down on taking photos that day - there should have been one of Carm and I, one with all his siblings, and maybe even one of the bride and groom :-0

Carm had to get his suit pants taken in 3 or 4 inches, and needs a new shirt as it billowed on him. Thirty pounds for him, not so many for me...

Sunday, September 24, 2017

love and hope and certainty

Humidex: 39C (that’s about 102F)! It is September 24th and the only way we can stand to be outside is to be freshly cold from a swim. Inch by inch I slip into the water, cold slowing my progress, then with a final jump I’m in up to my chin. It’s almost unbearably cold at first, but then, as my skin numbs, it becomes delightfully refreshing… for a few minutes anyway.

Despite the hot weather, the pool has only gotten up to 74F - if it was summer with these temps we’d be well into the 80s. But we are rejoicing that we can swim at all.

The geese have started coming - it is very strange to hear their honking while we are limp with the heat.

Despite the wilting heat I’ve dragged the dogs out to the field a few times. I can’t resist walking along the fairytale path with purple flowers brushing my legs and hundreds of butterflies filling the skies. For a few minutes I am transported into a scene from Bambi or Cinderella and I’m singing in a sweet voice and dancing, my rags being transformed into a silver gown.

Yesterday we attended our niece Grace’s wedding. It was a lovely ceremony in a park with a large stone pavilion to keep the beating sun off our backs. The bride and groom were backlit by a view out over the Ottawa River. So lovely.

After the ceremony we went to Carm’s sisters for a sandwich and for me to change into my silvery ensemble. Bracelets glittered on my arms, and the dress itself had a waistband of glitz. My shoes glinted in the sunlight. I sparkled. I love bling and this outfit was fully compliant. I should have been dancing with the butterflies.

The reception was in an old horticulture building on the fairgrounds. It has been renovated with beautiful tall ceilings and windows along one wall. No air conditioning though. It was a great party with a tasty meal, and lots of speeches leading up to a night of sweaty dancing.

The bride glowed with love and hope and certainty of her future. I could see from the long glances and lingering touches that this love had rubbed off on other couples, ones that have been married a long time. Even us.

“Butterflies are self propelled flowers.”
~Robert A. Heinlein

Thursday, September 21, 2017

flitting around in the sky

We are home after a wonderful camp. The weather was fantastic - better than any stretch this summer. I saw on the news the other day that that this has been the longest stretch without precipitation in over a year.

And guess what… we went SWIMMING when we got home. Carm took the cover off the pool and re-installed the ladder, then, with a bit of a shudder I dunked myself in the refreshing water. Imagine! Sept 21 and swimming.

Headlamps are a great invention. I strap one onto my head every night (when we are camping), to take the dogs out before bed. The only problem is that you have a bright light right over your face and all manner of flying insects are attracted. Even some with monstrous long legs and drooling mandibles. Yuck.

I’d been walking the dogs in short spurts to help boost their fitness and I think it was helping a bit. Spike was showing signs that he wanted to continue further, while the other two were not dragging as much. Bella is going crazy for the squirrels again. We haven’t tried for our ‘regular’ super long walk yet though - it is still too hot for that, maybe when we are camping in October.

We treated ourselves to ½ a Basket Case club sandwich Tuesday - it was delicious. We didn’t feel too guilty with just having half, but all these ‘treats’ are stalling the weight loss… I knew it would happen as it is just too easy to be in holiday mode in the villetta.

Oh! This afternoon the dogs and I walked along the little path at the edge of the hayfield. The clover had grown some more and was in full bloom. Some other purple flowers were decorating the fence line. But the most fantastic thing were the 100s of butterflies that flitted among the flowers. A thousand wings flashed beautiful colours in the sunshine. Painted Ladies, bright yellow butterflies, and some that looked like Monarchs all bumped elbows with the buzzing bees. It was magical.

I love it when we are camping but love it at home too.

I dreamed I was a butterfly, flitting around in the sky; then I awoke. Now I wonder: Am I a man who dreamt of being a butterfly, or am I a butterfly dreaming that I am a man?”

Monday, September 18, 2017


I tossed and turned all night thinking that I wanted to get up early Sunday so as to not miss a minute of my first day of Freedom 55. By the time morning came I was bleary eyed and dizzy from lack of sleep. Fitbit said 3 hours and it felt like it was right. Dooh - what a fine start to the day.

My first walk with the dogs was unremarkable, except that it was one of those perfect mornings with the sun just burning through the fog and not a breath of breeze. It seemed like the whole campground was in a deep slumber, even the pesky squirrels.

Once back at camp I dug out the day old Upper Canada bread and hove off a thick slice that I transformed from dry bread into eggy french toast. I would have preferred pancakes, but french toast is easy, plus I need to save room for the rest of the day's meals.

Hot cup of coffee and then we were ready for outing number 1: the flea market. Right away I found what I was looking for. Two small glass serving dishes that would fit in the toaster oven, perfect for a mound of potatoes out of the actifry. I'm using serving dishes more than I used to as some of the actifry meals are multi stage. I paid an astounding $5 for both (not each).

We returned back to the camper for another coffee, and another walking of the dogs. Then we were out the door for Upper Canada Village where we were meeting Trudie & Leo and Vashek & Marie for lunch. We had plenty of time to walk around the village fair before meeting up for our meal. I had Welsh Rarebit with mushrooms and cheddar cheese on thick UCV bread. Yum.

We returned back to the camper for another walking of the dogs and a nap for me. Later in the afternoon the big tree at the side of our site was casting the most delicious shade. I pulled my chair over and enjoyed the view of the water. Before long we fed the animals, then we were out the door for the Acapulco restaurant for supper. Trudie & Leo were already there and had decorated the table with birthday decor. The rest of the evening was spent talking and eating, talking and eating. Alicia (owner) brought over a tray of shrimp appetizers, then I had schnitzel, then birthday cake… I'm up a few pounds today.

I haven't mentioned that we were blessed with hot sun all day, as nice as any summer day we had this year.

The rest of my family was in Montreal, celebrating Olaf's birthday. We didn't feel we could go, especially with the heat. Neither leaving the dogs for several hours in the camper, nor bringing them with us in the truck, seemed like good ideas. We'll catch up with everyone some other day.

All in all it was a perfect day to turn 55.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

evening twilight fades

Fog hung like a shroud, obscuring the details of the landscape. It was early and only one lonely guy was stirring. I crunched along the gravel lane giving the dogs opportunity to stop when needed. Aside from my footsteps, there was a hush: no birds sang or crickets chirped. If I wasn’t so tired it would have been beautiful.

Speaking of beautiful the last few days have been glorious and today is shaping up to be the same. It has been hot with skies so clear they look unreal. This week of Indian Summer (can we still say that?) has been a blessing after such a crappy summer.

Did I write about Wednesday? Carm played golf and I played house in our little villetta. Thursday we did some shopping in the nearby town and then went to Upper Canada Village for a walk around. It was pleasantly quiet as we strolled up and down the dirt roads. The vegetable gardens are past their peak but we still got glimpses of goodness. We skipped having lunch there, instead coming back to camp for our healthy, low-cal meal. We had a good day eating wise (although the scale didn’t agree).

Friday Carm was up at the crack of dawn to meet his golfing friends at a far-away course. My treat was a visit from my Mom. We had a lovely day together (as we always do), and before you knew it Carm was back from the far reaches of golfdom and Mom was taking her leave. We couldn’t convince her to let us treat her to a supper at the Acapulco. The idea was in our heads though so we broke the diet (in a major way). It was the best schnitzel ever. We had fun visiting with Alicia after we’d finished eating and I joined her in the traditional tequila and lime. A slice of lime has never tasted better :-0

My heart is breaking though and occasional tears make tracks on my cheeks. The dogs are not the dogs they used to be. Even last year they were able to make it for an hour walk. This year even 15 or 20 minutes is too much for them, of course it’s been hot which doesn’t help. They aren’t even dragging me off my feet when a cheeky squirrel makes itself known. Spike has slowed down too. It is sad when the future seems much closer than you want it to.

“For age is opportunity no less
Than youth itself, though in another dress,
And as the evening twilight fades away
The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.”
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

each golden day

The music is playing over the camper’s surround sound system, except some of the speakers aren’t working - either they weren’t set up right, or the blueray is not setup to recognize them, or perhaps the music from my phone isn’t configured right. It doesn’t matter: there is music (I wanna get lost in your rock and roll and drift away…)

My duster has been flying over every surface. A summer of inactivity followed by a bumpy ride to the campground which shook every dead insect and bit of dirt from the top of the slides has left us pretty dirty. For those not familiar with slides, they stick out (with their roofs) when we are parked, but come inside when we are driving so the roof is inside spewing detrus.

We haven’t been here for a year so it was a bit of homecoming. The pets were excited to be going camping - even Grace didn’t waste a second coming out of her cage to get into the carrier for the ride here.  

I wonder what the dogs think when we get going on a trip. Do they think we are going to Alberta again and that they’ll spend days in the backseat? Do they wish for that adventure? Or are they happy to go somewhere close and familiar? I suppose I might ask myself the same questions.

It’s been so long since I last wrote that I can’t remember much of what we did, and certainly not in chronological order.

Oh, here’s my song: the Eagles ‘Peaceful Easy Feeling’. It’s a song about a relationship so all the words don’t jive, but I love the refrain. Peaceful easy feeling accurately describes those good moments of contentment that I treasure. They are sometimes elusive so I’m sure to make note of them when it happens. PEF is a feeling that I try to memorize so that I can reproduce it when I need to. Haven’t gotten that good yet but I keep trying.

Okay, back to the last week. Sunday, after a busy day of getting ready for camping, we took Pat to Sol de Acapulco for her birthday supper. Trudie & Leo were there too so it was a bit of a celebration with decorations and cake. Pat seemed to have a good time.

Saturday we went to the Russell Fair for the Craft Beer fest. We tried a few different kinds and tasted some that we’ll track down in the future. We met up with Pat and two of her friends so we sat with them. A young man came up to Carm at one point and introduced himself. He was the son of someone Carm worked with for decades. It was nice to see him and his 2 year old son, but sad to know that Leo had passed away 2 years ago from smoking related illness. He never got to see his grandkids...

Monday was a whirlwind day with haircuts and then a trip to the city to look for tummy tucking underwear for me and a grocery run to Costco. The camper fridge is full of healthy vegetables.

Now, here we are, in our usual spot that gets full on sun, living in our villetta with sun across the board on the weather forecast for the next week. It’s showing a high of 29C for my birthday :-) Wowzers!

Each golden day was cherished to the full, for one had the feeling that each must be the last. Tomorrow it would be winter.”
~Elizabeth Enright

Friday, September 8, 2017


My tablet didn’t charge again last night so I’m sitting here in slight frustration using my wablet with it’s ant sized print. I’m not even using google tasks as a few weeks ago I found out a bunch of my lists had been corrupted. Since the only new factor is this darn wablet I’m being extra careful.

I had lost some lists early in the spring (after I first got this?) and carefully rebuilt them as we got ready for the Titanium rally in June. Guess what – they were all blanked out. I could have cried. I’m rebuilding them again (only on my tablet) but don’t have the same heart for it. I just hope the stuff we REALLY need gets onboard…

The weather has been autumnal, not at all like Texas and Florida with their hurricanes and 4’ of rain, but still not what I’d hoped. The pool is away for sure. I wonder a bit if I even want to go camping – being stuck in the rain trying to walk the dogs is no great hell.

We scored some lovely red peppers for a fantastic price the other day. Stupidly I just bought 4. I roasted them this morning and tucked them into the freezer so they are ready for roasted vegetable wraps.

I had forgotten my aversion for roasting peppers but as soon as I was peeling them it all came rushing back. It started years ago, Sept 11 2001 to be exact. We had been sent home early from work due to our proximity to Parliament Hill. Carm was away so I was all alone listening to reports of the devastation. I was distraught and felt so alone. Outside, the sun shone with not a cloud in the eerily empty sky; it seemed quieter than usual – maybe everyone was home with their families and not out on the roads. Inside, the TV was glued onto CNN.

Unfortunately I had some red peppers and I’m sure you can see where this is going. I stood at the kitchen counter freaked out and tears running down my face, peeling these charred bits of skin, while reports of people burning to death blared from the TV. I should have turned the TV off, but couldn’t. I was so drawn in to the horror that I couldn’t turn my head away.

Well,enough of that. This week we have devastation from Nature to occupy our thoughts.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

horsing around

Gloomy would be today’s word of the day. Light is barely able to escape from the thick grey cloud. It’s cold too, and even drizzling a bit - too wet to do our little walks in the field.

It is the perfect day for filling the house with the spicy smell of cooking chili. I made two batches: a spicy soup, and the other slightly thicker with some room for rice later on. I had to make the latter as Grace loves the chili rice that was last week's fubar so this time I made it runny on purpose. It was a happy accident. I forgot the mushrooms on both versions though. I should write down my recipe and tape it eye level beside my instant pot…

The shelf in the freezer dedicated to pre-made meals is full - there is lots on hand for those lazy or busy days when cooking isn’t a priority.

Yesterday was a whole ‘nother matter. It was sunny and the perfect temperature for an outting to Upper Canada Village Horse Weekend Fair. We got there around 2:30 as Carm visited his mom first, but we had plenty of time to see lots of horsey displays. I'll be honest though, it wasn’t a joy filled afternoon, even though it was so lovely. I yearned for the days when I had my own ponies to play with. I miss them and often dream about them and have to remind myself that I had my turn at living my dream and now it is time for other dreams. I haven’t figured out what they are yet :-(

Upper Canada Village is always charming and we were lucky enough to get 2 free tickets so we’ll visit again before the end of the season.

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.”
~Joyce Kilmer

Saturday, September 2, 2017

silver sliders

Brrrr… it has been cold here the last few days. Bunches of trees along the highway to the city have bright red foliage - it’s too soon! My swinging days may be over, certainly the swing and swim days are gone for another year. What happened? How did summer pass so quickly. It wasn’t the greatest summer weather wise - only one day over 30C and lots of days with rain.

It was our second summer at home with no camping. I thought our camping days were coming to a close, but I realize after a summer at home that I still love spending time in my villetta. Carm enjoyed being home as he got to golf 3 days per week.

My little walks around the edge of the hayfield have been lovely in the cooler weather - there is something in the air, a sort of crispness or freshness that has added a spring to my step. The dogs seem to feel it too. I thought there was something wrong with Spike a few weeks ago. He had no energy or spunk. When we first started our little walks I’d sometimes have to drag him on a leash to get him to finish, he’d lag so far behind and would be low and panting when we reached the final slope. Well, after a few weeks of regular walks he is now running ahead and prancing around. So either he was out of shape from a winter of inactivity, or perhaps depressed. Regardless, the little walks seem to do us all good.

I spent friday with my Mom shopping for shoes and other silvery accessories. Wait, I have to backtrack one more day to Thursday when Carm suffered through dress shopping (he was actually great help with 0 griping). I wanted something new for the wedding that is coming up and to multitask as formal cruise wear. It only took an hour to find the right one, a silver grey fancy number.

So, back to the shoes… you probably remember that shoes are a difficult buy for me (understatement) and yesterday was no exception. For starters, there are not a ton of silver or black sparkly shoes to chose from especially when I don’t want 4” heels. The first pair I tried on were silver flats. Yikes… no more than three steps and I was in agony. Nix that. Look around some more… nothing. Next store - see one pair that is cute but darn, not my size. My mom headed back to the clearance section and saw a pair of nice silver wedges. Tried them on and only minor pain (I fully expect to have some pain, it is the price to pay for beauty). They were a perfect match to the dress. Yippee! All in less than an hour! Next we were on the hunt for a clutch purse. Found that in the second place we looked - perfect match to shoe, right down to silver band detail, and $14 on sale. Done :-)

Mom and I had plenty of time to have a nice lunch and even did a bit of extra shopping as well.

I had a fantastic time with Mom and it left me wondering why I don’t make the effort to get into town more often.