Friday, December 28, 2018


The counters were cleared and wiped clean leaving a vast surface for the job at hand. Flour flew everywhere as the potatoes transformed from dirty tubers to white mashed potatoes, to a soft dough, and finally into lovely lefse.

No rolling this year, instead I'd take a ball of the potato based dough and place it in the tortilla press. I'd swing the top down and press. Voila! A lefse ready to be cooked. So much easier than the rolling pin, which I was never good friends with. I'd peel them out and lay them in a row for Carm to cook.

Some stats: 6lbs unpeeled russet potatoes yielded 82 small lefse. 4 frying pans plus the griddler laid flat were used for the cooking. 2 big burners were set at 2, back burners just under 4, griddler on high. I cooked the potatoes in the instant pot for 10 minutes and let them NR for about 10 minutes.

We got the poodles faces clipped today too so they'll look spiffy for New Years Eve, and won't end up looking like they've been abandoned while we are on our trip (just 6 days now!)

I've tamed the spare bedroom as well. Clothes were laid out and checked off the list the other day. Today I got them all into suitcases and carry-ons. Carm's stuff is in hand as well. Half a suitcase is shoes (I'm exaggerating of course - or am I?). It won't take much to get finished.

I still have to empty out a drawer in the dresser for Pat's stuff.

Yesterday I got busy and made the soup and green bean cassorole for New Years Eve. They are in the freezer and will pop out ready to finish cooking. I felt ahead of the game until I started writing out my task list for the 31st.

Every year I swear I will never do another roast beef the celebration and every year I let myself be talked into again. Last year's fiasco wrecked a huge prime rib and the yorkshire pudding was an exercise in anxiety to get them to cook. It spurred a shopping trip for a new stove so hopefully it will save me this year.

Oh... and I've never cooked a beef tenderloin. The internet is sometimes my friend but this time there are 2 ways to cook it - under highish heat for 25-30 minutes, or slow heat for 2-3 hours. Either way I'm left juggling everything at the last minute, with guests milling around, and me spinning in one spot in the middle of the kitchen, unsure of what to do next.

Yesterday the sun blessed us again. In the morning I curled up in a sunspot on the sofa with a hot bowl of Red River Cereal sweetened with a teaspoon of maple syrup. I had just finished feeding Grace several spoons - she loves it when I spoon it right down her gullet. She peep and sqeaks her thanks. In those moments of eating and sharing my breakfast, here was so much to enjoy.

We've been dropping into the grocery store everyday these last few days checking to see if the Christmas Puddings are on sale. I'll get one for next year and soak it with rum from our travels.

Hummm... that makes me think that some of the hard sauce that I made this year would be nice in a coffee, maybe with a touch more brandy for flavour...

I'm not freaking out that we have a party in 3 nights and are leaving on our trip in 6.  No... not at all...

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas - Great Expectations

The air is crisp and the sun is blazing: the perfect day for Christmas. Carm is even suffering through more Christmas carols. I have my favorites streaming from my phone onto the stereo... lots of choirs sing to the heavens.

We are enjoying a quiet morning and will head to my parents early this afternoon.

Last night Trudie & Leo came over for a 'cheat' turkey dinner. I had one of those butterball rolled turkey breasts and threw it into the instant pot along with onions, celery, mushrooms and rosemary to make a gravy. It cooked in 1/2 the time it would have needed in the oven and was moist and tender from the steamy cook. More mushrooms and onions simmered in the other instant pot for a savory soup. Trudie brought a mushroom risotto so woodland delishiousness was heavy on the menu.

We each supplied a bottle of Chateau neuf de Pape to wash everything down so it was a real celebration.

I haven't decided yet if Spike will come to Grandma's house this afternoon. He loves to go, but also insists on going home not long after supper. If I mention that we are going he will cry and carry on until we get into the car. Then he looks out the window until we turn onto her street... then there is no quieting him!

Christmas is a funny time filled with so much  expectation that sometimes doesn't get fulfilled. In years past we'd go to my parents early in the morning and there would be piles of presents which we'd open one at a time. It was a crazy display of commercialism but so much fun. After presents we'd gather around the table for Christmas Morning Wife Saver, a concoction of bread, milk, cheese and ham. So delicious and special.

After that Carm and I would dash away to his family's lunch. A pile of people would gather around the table for Carm's mom's canalonni smothered in rich tomato sauce. Several tables would be placed end to end to fit everyone.

Then we'd go home and collapse on the sofa... after feeding feathered friends and furry beasts. Some years it was a trip out to the barn to see the ponies - I miss those years.

It was hard for me to adapt to new traditions. Many years I'd feel depressed and out of sorts. Things weren't the same and I wasn't happy about that. This year I feel okay. We don't do stockings or presents, and I'm okay with that. We have instead spent a quiet morning and made a big breakfast together. My expectations have finally adapted.

Happy Christmas everyone. I hope you are all healthy and happy and spending the day with those you love.

Monday, December 24, 2018

tis the season

I almost flew across the room at him when he called us elders... I mean, what the heck!!!! He was a young guy, but not so young as he had 17 year old twins... but elders... wow. I can see thinking Carm might be - he has a head full of white hair, but me? Sure I have a bit of grey, but gosh...

Nick (I think) was here installing a soft-start switch onto the heat pump, the final step in making our house generator ready. With the switch in place the transition from powerline to generator should be smooth. We still can't run the hot water heater, dryer, and stove, but the fridge, freezer and water pump will all work well. And if the propane tank is full the furnace should run as well. A beauty solution.

I've hunkered down for much of the last few days, weathering the grey and rejoicing when the sun makes an appearance. I've been having lots of anxiety which I attribute to our up coming trip, but I happened to go back to last years mood log for these dates and noticed the same trend. So maybe it has more to do with the season - dark, dreary, and depressing.

Yesterday we did go to Inga & Shane's (just around the corner) for a small gathering of their family and friends. We both had a lovely time. In the past I'd have trouble with these sorts of events, where I don't know anybody, but luckily I had no trouble. Their family members are interesting so it was a true pleasure to meet them.

Carm has been subjected to countless Christmas programs and movies: 'Santa Clause is coming to town', 'Rudolf the red nosed reindeer', 'Holiday Inn', 'White Christmas', and finally last night 'Disney's A Christmas Carol'. He's been a good sport and is getting lots of reading done... although I do see him watching out of the corner of my eye ;-)

The snow is lightly falling. Christmas lights are on and some others over the sparkling table set for 4. All the cutting and prepping has been done and it will soon be time to start cooking. We have a quiet evening planned with Trudie and Leo and since it is Christmas Eve we've eached unearthed a treasured bottle of wine that has been aging in the cellar.

The elders will gather around the table and cheer the festive season.

Tomorrow we'll spend the afternoon at my parents and feast again, this time with dear family.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

I (don't) swear

No swear words joined the triumph of the skies this afternoon.

Hark the herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled"
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
"Christ is born in Bethlehem"
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Peace on earth prevailed, or at least peace in the kitchen. Hark! The shortbread was perfectly tender and just on the verge of turning brown. This has not happened in recent history; for the last few years they've either been burned or raw, but this year! success! The new stove is proving it's worth everytime it is used. I wonder how the yorkshire pudding will turn out this New Years?

I had every light on in the kitchen for this endeavour: two bulbs above the sink, 4 in the middle of the room, and 10 over the island... thank goodness for LED! The kitchen would have been 100F if they had been incandescent - I wouldn't have needed the stove :-0

'Why every light' you might ask? Because there is a thick layer of cloud between me and the blessed sun and I needed to fight the gloom for a little while. It was bright and cheery with carols on the stereo, my little tree twinkling, and the lovely smell of suger and butter cooking. Oh yeah. Sugar and butter. So long waistline. So long cruise wardrobe.

It always amazes me what you can make with some flour, butter, and milk: cookies, yorkshire pudding, biscuits, pancakes, a few extra ingredients and you have bread. None of it good for you, but oh, my, so good. It's a miracle in carbs.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

blessed sun

Sun, oh blessed sun. We haven't seen much of it so far this December, the clouds have been gathered over the house with barely a break. Oh sure, Saturday was sunny, and we took that opportunity to drive around rejoicing in the sun in our eyes. First a stop to pick up bags of dog food - we want to be stocked up for our trip. Then 'all-day breakfast' at the Country Kitchen, a favorite greasy spoon, followed by a quick deek into liquidation. We actually walked out empty handed!

Two pots of soup are simmering in their respective instant pots: Irish White Bean and Cabbage; and, Loaded Potato. Oh yum, they smell so good. As usual I tried to put too much in the pot, but I think it will be okay. Even though I use the 8qt most often for soup, I still go crazy chopping up too many ingredients. Oh well! What am I going to do with all this soup? I guess we'll eat a bit tonight and the rest will go into the freezer. I'll be ready for drop in supper guests!

The dogs had a vet visit last Tuesday... rabies shots and a checkup. Poor Kabira has a tooth that needs to come out but we can't get an appointment for the extraction till Feb 7th. I don't think it is bugging her too much though - she ate a big chunk of venison bone yesterday.

We had a great time at Kevin and Laurie's Christmas party. It is lovely to see all the neighbors and to meet new people - we didn't get home till past 1am so I guess we had a good time! We walked over, which is a bit dodgy as the traffic on the road travels at a great rate, luckily we snagged a ride home.

Three days away from Solstice!!!

Sunday, December 9, 2018

looking marvelous

The wind tried to drive me back as I trudged to the gate, but I pressed forward, each step a win over winter's wrath. Tears were pouring from my eyes as the wind blew icy breath into my face. The trees roared either in anguish or support, I couldnt' tell which. Perhaps they were also mourning the passage of summer. Be patient earth... huddle down and in 4 short months the warmth will once again tickle your toes.

I was glad to get back to the house and immediately snuggled under my lovely down blanket. It had the makings of being a relaxing afternoon, until,  donk, donk, donk... the musical notes of a dripping tap started to drill into my brain. Jump up... seems that I fixed it... this deserves one of my last gingernut cookies from NZ.

Yesterday I went with Trudie to a shop in Winchester that is going out of business. Colin, the proprietor, has racks and racks of clothes, mostly one off's so I really had to search for stuff. I did come home with a new black & white top, and a black velvet "burn-out" scarf that will be a great coverup for some of my dresses.

The dilemma is what outfit am I going to leave at home if I bring this new one. I could possibly go on a 30 day cruise with all the clothes I have now!

The other crazy thing (speaking of invasion of the body snatchers) is practicing wearing high heels around the house. I totter around and wonder "how the heck am I going to wear these on the ship without breaking my ankle". Standing on one foot is good exercise for ankles too, and I might even try them on the treadmill this afternoon. They do look good though - you must remember Billy Crystal from SNL "it is better to look good than it is to feel good"!

Marie's birthday was Thursday so we gathered at her place to help her celebrate with plenty of bubbles. Eight of us gathered around her huge table for a pot luck feast. Trudie had brought a smoked chicken (I scored the carcass to make soup). There was no lack of spirited conversation - I hope that everyone had as much fun as I did discussing these interesting topics.

Friday night I put the instant pots to use again. They line up on my counter like fat silver drummer boys. Potatoe soup using broth made from the smoked chicken carcass simmered in one pot, roast cooked in the other for a tasty pot roast. My newfound love is potroast. I had leftover coconut rice that I'd taken to Vashek & Marie's the night before which had also been made in the instant pot. The only thing I used my stove for was to keep the bowls warm, and to make garlic bread. We were joined by Pat, Trudie & Leo so we had another interesting night of conversation.

I'm groggy today. At 2:30 am I took a sleep aid as I was tossing and turning and my mind was flitting from one scene to another, the gruesome and the beautiful, the kind and the evil. We'd watched 'the Shape of Water' last night and while good (it reallly was an excellent movie), it was perhaps too much for my bipolar brain to deal with. It tends to grasp on and ruminate over anything that upsets, and there was lots of scenes in this movie to grab my attention. It's really quite irritating - I'd love to watch more movies, but it just isn't worth it, and to this day I haven't found the trick to distracting my mind or turning it off.

It's a bit like an earworm where the brain acts despite instructions otherwise. Even as I write this, and surely the exercise of writing should distract, I am reliving certain scenes. They are likely to haunt me for days.

But enough of the bad. It was a beautifully filmed movie that was a delight to the eye. I don't think any detail was accidental. The theme of water ran throughout the movie, and even the light had an erie underwater feel. Brilliant.

"“Unable to perceive the shape of You, I find You all around me. 
Your presence fills my eyes with Your love, It humbles my heart, For You are everywhere.” 
~Guillermo del Toro

Monday, December 3, 2018


The poodles had a hair cut yesterday and now are buzzing around like energizer bunnies. Bella had been panting a lot - too much fur was making her hot. Spike must have been hot too - today he galloped at top speed to get my socks, energized by the cold morning. He feels the cold more than Bella, maybe because he's little. He sleeps under a blanket at night and curled into a ball against a fluffy pillow during the day. Neither of them seem unhappy to be nearly naked.

I can see the Norway Spruce's along the road thrashing their branches. The wind gusts and howls through their limbs. We are cosyish in the house - I say 'ish' because the house still hasn't warmed up from its overnight low.

Pat came for supper on Saturday night and we were joined later by Shane and Inga. It was a lovely evening full of interesting conversations. Kirsten called while they were all there and laughed that it seems that whenever she calls we have company. I guess we might! One of my strategies for keeping mentally well is lots of company - it always perks me up.

Yesterday we were at a party for a neighbor's birthday and retirement. When we got there the house was full of people we didn't know. Oh boy... This is not a situation that I thrive in... but I girded myself and walked up to a group of ladies having a conversation and butted right in.  It wasn't my best moment, but I did it and didn't stand by the door looking lost - I survived the afternoon. It was a relief to get home after 2 hours of small talk - that's exhausting for me - I was barely in our door when I collapsed onto the sofa (after changing into comfy jammy/lounge pants of course).

We were out and about this afternoon: visiting Dad and Graham, shwarma, shopping. One of our stops brought us into a rather good liquour store so we took a lookie loo to see what was on sale. A sauvignon blanc from Hawkes Bay, NZ caught me eye - I'd been there! We always drink red wine so this was a bit outside our norm - well, chilled and with a bit of extra-old cheddar and it might be my new favorite. I love the slatey floral bouquet and the burst of flavour is well... fantastic! Yay New Zealand!

Friday, November 30, 2018

lost and found

I can't believe it! I finally found those %*&^ pink headphones. Over the last year and a half I've spent days looking. I tore apart the house several times in my mad quest. Where could the darn things have gone? I had no idea and eventually gave up looking.

Today I decided to play a bit of Christmas music from my phone. I dug out the speakers and opened the tin they are stored in... and there... in all their pink glory sat the ever searched for headphones. I will admit to shouting a few expletives, partially in joy, but also with some level of frustration. So much time wasted...

After settling into a grand old funk the last few days I knew I had to do more than what I had been doing, but what? Well, Christmas is coming, and with that our annual New Years Eve supper. I had to get the house looking a bit festive so I dug out a few bins of decorations to strew around the house while Carm carried the Christmas tree triumpantly to it's annual resting spot. With a flourish I removed the sheet that protected it through the ages. All decorated, it was an instant mood enhancer. Especially when I plugged in the lights, and the bright twinkle shone through the gloom.

Cue the Christmas music (at least until Carm gets home from his errands). A glass of eggnog would be perfect about now.

And there it is: my favorite song already playing. Davie Bowie and Bing Crosby singing 'Little Drummer Boy' and 'Peace on Earth' in an emotional medley. And over too soon.

A strange knocking sound echoed in the house. What the heck? A walk around, listening to the basement, the garage, the front door, didn't reveal anything. It was only when I noticed the woodpecker on the tree outside the greatroom that I clued in. Yup - a medium sized woodpecker was knocking on the evestroph downspout.  The house always seems to be under assault from one bird or another. In the spring the cardinal likes to fling himself against our bedroom window... at the crack of dawn :-(

Some pleasures: finding my headphones; twinkling lights on the Christmas tree; a walk around the field in this grey day - gosh where is the sun? puttering around putting out a few decorations, just enough to be festive, but not so many that it will take me ages to take them all down; duck plop soup for lunch, with a warm biscuit with butter and jam; setting the table for company tonight; a flash of blue in the spruce tree.

"A pessimist sees only the dark side of the clouds, and mopes; a philosopher sees both sides, and shrugs; an optimist doesn't see the clouds at all — he's walking on them."
~Leonard Louis Levinson

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

snow is staying

It is another dismal day... day after day the clouds have socked us in, draining all energy and will to do anything. Yesterday and the day before we had snow. It's TOO EARLY for winter!!!

I haven't been out of the house (well, I've been outside, but not in the car), since Sunday when I went into town to visit my Dad and Graham. I've been lazy and somewhat discombobulated and am having trouble on focusing on any task for longer than a few minutes.

The spare bedroom looks like a bomb has gone off. I had the big suitcase that stored some of our cruise clothes on the floor, the medium suitcase that had some of my overflow opened on the bed. Piles of clothes that I've gathered in the meantime on the desk. Yes, chaos. So yesterday I cleared out the big suitcase - we aren't bringing it - and put the two medium suitcases out so I could sort out some of the clothes. Carm's are neatly put away, at least until packing day when we'll make sure he has enough of this and that.

My clothes though... even more strewn around the room. I'm slowly trying on outfits to make sure everything fits and looks okay. That's the fun part, but I don't want to bore Carm so only tried on a few things before giving up and closing the door on the mess.

It's my second day in a row of my emergency meds... gotta remember to write down my pleasures.

Okay... lets wrack my brain to see what I can come up with...

It is not a pleasure that Kabira has been waking up in the middle of the night crying and having to go outside. Once back in she cries for ages. Is there something wrong with her? The snow is not a pleasure. The grey sky is not a pleasure. Needing to have all my sleeveless dresses tailored so they don't gape is not a pleasure.

This isn't going well. Must try harder.

Grace's chatter is a pleasure. Her little squeeks and peeps always brighten my day. The yoga pants that I got are a pleasure - they fit well and don't make me feel all stodgy. The down vest that cuddles me in my misery is a pleasure, as is the down blanket that I drape over myself when I'm cold. Spike running in the snow with his ears flying back always makes me smile.

I guess that will do. I'll try to change my focus for the rest of the day.

"But there must be some pleasure in condemning everything--in perceiving faults where others think they see beauties.'
'You mean there is pleasure in having no pleasure.” 
~Voltaire, Candide

Thursday, November 22, 2018

seasons in the sun or at least an hour or two

I'm writing this curled up in the sunspot on the sofa. Kabira is luxurating on the futon and Spike just left his sunspot as I think he was getting too hot. I can't seem to tear myself away from what has been a rare event over the last month. I feel the heat from the sun warming my spirit in a way that only it can do. Why am I so dependant on these rays?

The windows that scoop in the sunshine are perhaps what I love most about our house. The 'great room' has a 24' wall facing south and almost every inch of that is window.

Ahhhh... the pleasures

Last night we had Trudie and Leo over for a supper of Asian pork (what I was making yesterday in the instant pot). We see them often and yet the conversation never stops its flow. What do we talk about? Travel, the garden, the difference between gel nails and shellac polish (seriously), and so much more. Sometimes the conversation gets spirited but it is always fun.

It is officially winter now... my giant down-filled coat has risen from its summer shelter, out of the basement and outside. I trotted down the laneway this morning to open the gate for Carm, emersed in the black coat that engulfed me in comforting warmth; except my nose. My breath was visible in the cold (-11C) air.

"Every moment has its pleasures and its hope.” 
~Jane Austen

Wednesday, November 21, 2018


I hope these links work.

Carm sent me this great article from Time about creating optimism and building happiness. I may summarize it and paste it onto my fridge:

It was along the same lines as a youtube tedtalk that I watched a few months ago (and saved for later viewing):

Keeping a positive attitude is something that I try to work on everyday, but sometimes life, or bipolar, gets in the way and I need a reminder to work a little harder. There are (at least) four things that I should do everyday: get on the treadmill, do some planks, write something, and pay attention to my pleasures. So today I'll do a little gratitude/pleasures paragraph (and maybe after that I'll do the planks!).

We went out for a drive today and the wind was blowing across the road making for treacherous driving - but Carm drove slowly and I could enjoy the raw beauty of a winter day. It was sunny! Spike was stretched out on his back, hogging most of the sunspot on the futon - he's all puffed up from the bath the other day and was cute as can be. Smoked salmon and spicy cactus made a nice lunch - the cactus burns my mouth just the right amount. We cut up a giant pork shoulder roast for a sort of Asian pulled pork supper - the meat was tender and delicious - I love my instant pot. I love watching the constant flux of birds at the feeder. We are just feeding black sunflower this year, but it seems to attract many birds, even some tiny gold finches.

I suppose there were other pleasurable things that maybe didn't register in my memory.

"Many of us pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that we hurry past it.” 
~Søren Kierkegaard

Sunday, November 18, 2018

over the woodlands brown and bare

I watched one of the 'last' season episodes of Anthony Bourdain the other night. It might have been my imagination but he seemed not quite himself, more detached and uncomfortable with what was going on. He was in Spain with one of his chef friends, a bigger than life personality that took over the show - was he over compensating for something? The program was put together after Tony's suicide and didn't have his entertaining and insightful commentary. It rang hollow. And emphasized his absence. Maybe I wouldn't have noticed these differences if I didn't have the lens of knowlege.

It was hard to watch.  I have several more episodes on the PVR and will be taking it slowly.

The snow came and I'd like to say went, but alas it still lays white and cold, covering the brown earth. Birds flock around the bird feeder, getting some warming fat from the black sunflower seeds. There is ice in places on the laneway. Carm snowblowed. Winter is here - early.

Pat came over for supper Saturday night, straight from the ski hill where she helped with a swap meet. There are only 47 days left till she'll be making our house her home (note to self: get a drawer emptied in the spare bedroom). Speaking of spare bedroom, the suitcase is spralled open on the floor. I've started trying on a few things to make sure things still fit :-0 I'm not sure if the dogs have noticed - perhaps they are used to these shenanigans and they don't associate the suitcases with us leaving.

In the same vein, I've been having fun with 'MyCloset' app. I've figured out almost everything that I'll wear on our trip. Call me crazy, but it's fun.

"Out of the bosom of the Air,
Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
Silent, and soft, and slow
Descends the snow."
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Thursday, November 15, 2018

dizzy maze of whirling

A quick check of the weather radar shows the edge of the snow storm creeping its way towards us. We've had a few dustings of snow already but with 10-15cm about to blanket us winter will be full on here. It is a bit early this year...

I hadn't been out of the house since Sunday and with my mood wavering, it was time for an outing. Liquidation got our business today. Why liquidation? It is a nice country drive past picturesque farms and very little traffic. Sometimes the tall shelves filled with goods overwhelms me and triggers anxiety but I've gotten better with my filters.

I haven't been out of the house, but we have had people into our house. Tuesday night Trudie brought supper over here (lovely smoked sausages and homemade sauerkraut ). After supper Shane and Inga came by. We had a good evening of interesting conversations, including a spirited discussion about the difference between being a christian and a good person. Is there a difference?

"Look up at the miracle of the falling snow,—the air a dizzy maze of whirling, eddying flakes, noiselessly transforming the world, the exquisite crystals dropping in ditch and gutter, and disguising in the same suit of spotless livery all objects upon which they fall."
~John Burroughs

Sunday, November 11, 2018


A bright sunny day which is a lovely change from the neverending gloom that has dragged me down for the last several days. A bright sunny day for the service at the downtown War Memorial. We didn't go downtown but turned the TV on in time to see some of the ceremony.

I can't help crying at all the losses - so many men lost. So many families losing fathers, sons, brothers, uncles. So much grief. Some times I think that all of it washes over me.

As soon as the F18s flew over Parliament Hill I dashed outside to watch for them. In years past they have included our house in their salute and my heart thrills at the sight of them. No luck this year though. I stood with wet hair and no coat marvelling at the clear blue sky. And the silence... only the sound of birds and the odd car to interrupt my thoughts.

As I mentioned earlier it has been a week of dismal skies. I think the gloom is starting to affect my mood as I've been feeling discombulated - not exactly anxiety or panic attack, and not depression, but a feeling of up and down and wild swing as if I'm going from happy and content to miserable and back and forth so fast until I am dizzy.

I'm trying all my tricks to get this under control: out for drives everyday, some days shopping, others doing I can't remember what; cooking and having people over also isn't doing the trick. I've been making sure my sleeping is somewhat regular with moderate success - it is hard to sleep soundly as my body temp is fluctuating as quickly as my mood. I don't know what else to do except to keep trying and pay especial attention to my thoughts.

Friday Mom and my cousin Courtney came for lunch. I whipped together a creamy pumpkin soup and some garlic bread. We had a lovely visit which did brighten my day somewhat! Courtney is from Alberta but living in Kitchener/Waterloo for a few years.

Yesterday I made a giant pot of Minestrone so invited Trudie and Leo over for a bowl so we didn't have to eat it forever. Even still I have two meal sized containers in the fridge. There is no room in our freezer as we did some re-arranging yesterday. When we got the upright freezer we moved the old chest style one to the side with the idea of moving it to the garage. Well, Friday night our neighbor came by to help Carm move it. Saturday we picked up frozen dog food so it can go in the garage. We emptied the big freezer downstairs, for the winter - everything will go back to the basement freezer in the spring.

That was a really bad way of saying that we hope to save some electricity by using our brutally cold winter to help out the freezer.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

flashes of blue

Carm hung up the bird feeder on Sunday late afternoon and by Monday morning a flock of bluejays were feasting. Five blue flashes lit up the tree like errant Christmas lights, while cute little chickadees flitted around trying to get their share.

We didn't hang around to enjoy them though, but piled into the car for a quest. We bought some luggage on Sunday - sort of on a whim, but the sale was so good and we'd been thinking about replacing Carm's old cases with spinners. But since we hadn't done due dilagence we wanted to check out Capital City Luggage to see what they had. Their selection was good with similar pieces on sale and they'd match the Bay price. Sold. We'd rather support a local family business.

I scored the perfect small purse for carrying my passport, tickets and phone on our travel days, plus it is nice enough to use on the ship for a few tissues, my camera, and sail card. The strap comes off so it can be used as a 'clutch' for dressup. It has security features that will be good in Europe next year. It's small enough to be a pocket on a string. Happy :-)

Carm of course couldn't understand why I'd need yet another black purse but since men don't get it, I just ignored his bewildered comments. It's like shoes - he doesn't get why I'd need more than 2 pairs. In my previous life I'd wear my blundstones year round (and there were even years that I had no sandels for the summer), but now that I'm wearing grown-up clothes I need the right shoe for the outfit! The hard part when cruising is keeping the number down to 5. I could drop to 4 but... We'll be bringing an extra suitcase for all my dress-up clothes :-o

After the exertion of shopping we stopped at our favorite sandwich shop in Little Italy for, you guessed it, sandwiches. Carm knew of a parking place in the Arboretum with a good view over the trees. It was raining out so we stayed in the car and crumbed it up. It was a nice treat.

Saturday night we met up with Trudie, Leo and Pat (and a few others) for supper and then to the arena for a Trivia game. It was lots of fun and Carm got to be the smart one. We didn't come close to winning though, there were some pretty smart teams.

We put the winter tires on the car today... an harbinger of winter if ever there was one. Well, that and the infernal time change. The dogs pace around in the late afternoon, sure that supper time has come and gone. "We're hungry" they say, not understanding the human folly of adjusting the clocks back and forth every year.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

simmering soup will cure the gloom

I'll never lose weight at this rate... with the snow (still) falling Sunday, and the day gloomy and grey, it seemed the perfect time to use the lovely leeks that our friend Jim gave us fresh from his garden. I've never cooked with leeks but thanks to the internet a plethora of recipes was at my fingertips.

'Leek and Potato Soup with Bacon' caught my eye with the bonus that it would be made in the instant pot, my favorite kitchen tool. I washed and sliced the leeks while Carm peeled the potatoes. With both of us working it took about 30 minutes to get the soup in the sealed pot. Seven minutes (once it came up to pressure), followed by fifteen minutes of natural release and we had steaming bowls of the most delicious soup warming us. Oh my it was tasty, but gosh, not low calorie... We have soup for two more meals - hurrah.

The warmth from soup rivals the heat from the sun, warming not just my tummy, but also my mood as it chases away the gloom of a dull day.

Monday night we had another meal of beef bourginion but instead of rice made some fluffy mashed potatoes. I use the instant pot for those too - instead of losing all the flavour in a boiling pot of water, the potato chunks are steamed in chicken broth. Carm uses the broth to mash, and last night since I didn't have any butter we used goat cheese. Not low calorie...

Food, glorious food.

Yesterday I visited my brother Graham. When we run out of things to say we transition onto the ever popular topic of music. Graham is 15 years younger than me so it isn't a surprise that our tastes diverge at some points - rap isn't my favorite - but sometimes I am introduced to newer music that suits my ear.

Carm bought a water pick yesterday... the first test spewed water all over the bathroom which has necessitated reorging the bathroom counter and moving all my stuff into the depths of cupboards and drawers. Not very convenient when all I want to do is put on some lipstick! I suppose the counter looks neater, and all that water everwhere will mean that it gets cleaned up more often :-0

"The lore has not died out of the world, and you will still find people who believe that soup will cure any hurt or illness and is no bad thing to have for the funeral either.” 
~John Steinbeck

Sunday, October 28, 2018


The warmth from the roaring fire pushed back the horror of snow sleeting against the house. An east wind blew, howling through the bare branches of the trees. The dark night bore down on us as we huddled in the warm circle of light cast by a hundred LEDs. A taste of the months ahead.

This morning thoughts of caribbean cruises drift through my head. No, they do more than drift... I spend some time on the Princess site dreaming of escapes to warm blue seas.

We were supposed to go to the Acapulco last night, but a 45 min drive in the snow did not appeal, so we stayed inside off the slippery roads. I was relieved that we had said no. Instead we watched the first new Dr. Who with the new doctor - a woman! I think she'll be okay?

Earlier in the day, before the snow, we dashed into Orleans to pick up a case of a new wine we tried. 'Don David' is an interesting malbec that we had tried the night before. We both loved it so much we wanted a stockpile... plus it was $3 off this week.

I'm working backwards in time again as I can't seem to re-start a daily habit of writing. I know that it would be good for my brain so maybe I have to stop worrying about having nothing to say and just write. I don't have to alert you on facebook if it is all gobbly goop, and can let the post sit unread on my blog. I like to capture my life for myself as I enjoy reading back in time and seeing how I was in the past. I suppose my blog is a bit like the tardis - a time travel machine.

So, looking back to Friday: I visited my brother in the afternoon, we planted more garlic when we got home (133 cloves now planted), then we had supper at Trudie & Leo's. A rather busy day.  Thursday Carm dug the garlic bed bigger, we put the patio furniture away (yes, another summer on the swing has come and gone), then as an excuse to get out we went to liquidation. Didn't buy anything there for a change.

Finally, way back on Wednesday, we had Pat, Trudie & Leo over for supper. This time I tried making beef bourginion in the instant pot - the bottle of yucky wine shone in its new incarnation. It was a kluge of a few recipes so I made sure to write down what I had done. I've been dreaming about the leftovers, which I have saved for tonight's Sunday supper.

"Fall hurries you along as you walk the roads, crunching the leaves that have fallen in mad and variegated drifts. The wind makes you ache in some place that is deeper than your bones. It may be that it touches something old in the human soul, a chord of race memory that says Migrate or die—migrate or die."
~Stephen King

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

autumnal scenery

I think I overfilled the instant pot... the big one. I can't seem to make a minestrone soup without putting everything but the kitchen sink into the pot and it ends up way past the 'do not fill past here' mark. I like lots of beans and vegetables in the soup and they all add up. So my fingers are crossed for the next hour that the pot doesn't explode... I think it will be okay cause the cabbage and mushrooms will hopefully shrink at the same rate that the dried beans expand.

I'm going to flit around the calendar for a bit as I've been remiss my daily posts. I'll start with the most notable: a visit from my Aunty Kristine last Wednesday & Thursday. We picked her up from the train station and whisked her back to the chaos in the house (still some stuff from camping not put away, and only a brief whirlwind clean).

We had a wonderful time visiting over supper - the evening flew by and before we knew it the clock was striking past bedtime. It was delightful to see how much we think the same and have the same values. I was surprised that she is even more of a CNN fan than Carm! The stories about my grandmother that I didn't know warmed my heart.

Thursday we gorged on a naughty breakfast and took our time getting ready. We had to get her to my parents before 3pm, but gosh, I didn't want our visit to be over.

Saturday night Jo Ellen and Don joined us for supper. We just had a simple pumpkin with roasted red pepper soup and a tiny bit of toasted pumpernickle bread (not nearly enough of that!). As usual the conversation covered a myriad of topics, including discussion of an 'on the bucket list' river cruise. Not next year but maybe the year after?

Sunday I visited brother Graham while Carm spent some time with his mom.  On our way home we stopped at FreshCo for some groceries and had the pleasure of transiting through my niece Juliette's cash. She was like a speed demon on the register. We did have to deek into the shwarma place first for a sandwich and the best garlic potatoes ever.

The weather has been cold and blustery with a low, grey cloud obsuring the sun. When the sun does peek through we rejoice with lifted spirits, if only for a moment. The time for camping has long passed, instead we huddle with central heating in a well insulated house.

Skiens of geese fly over the house, a melody of honks singing their passage. What are they saying? Are they announcing to the world 'look at us!', or telling the guy next to him to not fly so close? It seems like a lot of energy to burn.

Yes, winter is on its way. So far I'm good and as I go about my day I keep my thoughts on what I have to look forward to. Seventy two days until we leave for our Panama cruise. My suitcase isn't packed, but I've been planning on what I'm going to wear using an app that I downloaded this summer. It's like a puzzle with all my clothes - fun and a good distraction.

I have to lose a few pounds if I'm going to fit into the dresses I bought this summer :-(

Hence, the pot of lentils that I made for lunch yesterday, and the giant pot of soup for the next unforeseeable future. Oh, and I had Carm buy some celery 😜

"Every blade in the field, every leaf in the forest, lays down its life in its season, as beautifully as it was taken up. It is the pastime of a full quarter of the year. Dead trees, sere leaves, dried grass and herbs—are not these a good part of our life? And what is that pride of our autumnal scenery but the hectic flush, the sallow and cadaverous countenance of vegetation? its painted throes, with the November air for canvas?"
~Henry David Thoreau, letter to Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

home again... no camping for seven 1/2 months

I'm sitting on the sofa, back home after a few weeks of camping. The house has warmed up to 61F from the frigid 53 that it was when we arrived home. The day is grey and it is actually raining, keeping us from the gargantuan task of unloading for the winter. That's okay, we left camp without breakfast and the necessary 2nd cup of coffee, so chilling out for a bit is okay.

I do wish the rain would stop though - I'd like to get started...

The house seems huge and starkly white after so many weeks in the villetta with its warm wood cabinetry and floors. The cosy space seems warmer, even when it is cold (although to be honest, it never got as cold as this!).

The dogs are huddled up on their various beds and Kabira is still wearing her double outfit. Grace is enjoying the extra space of her giant cage. She may be missing her corner windows though.

Time for a tea.

The rain finally let up around 2pm giving us time to unload the food and appliances. Everything is more or less neatly stored, although there is a pile of stuff on the table. Most of the laundry has been done.

It's not over yet though... all the extranious stuff that we use over the winter has to be unloaded, and more importantly, the trailer has to be winterized.

We have some special company coming on Wednesday, so our filthy house has to be cleaned and guest bed sheets washed. The patio furniture has to come in before it rains again. We need to dig another garlic bed and get that planted in the next few days. The list of to-do's gets longer with each passing hour. I had my vacation and now it is back to reality.

The next day:

Monday night Trudie & Leo dropped by with our mail. We had a rousing discussion about the 'metoo' movement and what it means for woman. Trudie is one of the few women that were never victimized by men so I don't think she really understands what it is all about. Lucky her.

I read a really good article about the topic not long ago, but I can't find it and don't remember the details enough to use it as a discussion point - very frustrating! I would like to redo the conversation as I have given more thought to the problem and could perhaps articulate better. Society blames the woman: she is too provocative and the men can't control themselves - not their fault. Well, who is to define what is provocative? Some men would be sexual predators no matter what. And whose fault is it that some men can't control themselves? Woman's? And when people aren't victim blaming they don't believe. Where's the proof? Without proof the victim isn't believed. And sometimes the situation is such that the woman can't fight back. A job might be at stake. She believes it is her fault - society tells her it is. Victim shaming... and some women are just as guilty of that as some men.

I'm left feeling sad for some women, but angry at the others who can't seem to put themselves in another's place.

"If telling men "don't rape" instead of telling women "don't get raped", is like telling thieves "don't steal" instead of home owners to "lock your houses", why don't we hear more victims of home invasion being told "you got what you deserved for having such a beautiful house on display for everyone to see" ???” 
― Miya Yamanouchi

Friday, October 12, 2018

a brighter day

It was raining when I got up yesterday. The sky was dark and the day seemed dreary. Around 11 am the day brightened, inside the camper with Jo Ellen and Don visiting us. We were cosy and warm in the villetta with spirited conversation and laughter. I made gnocci with mushroom sauce (easy to make in one pot on my fantastic gas stove).

Their tire tracks were barely cold when the phone rang. It was Trudie and they were heading to the Acapulco for supper. I put our supper back into containers (leftovers from roast beef dinner), threw on some nice clothes, then got into the truck for the rough and muddy road out to the highway.

This morning was grey with the hint of sun off to the west. Cold and a bit windy. This camp really feels the wind as it blows cold off the St. Lawerence. A quick walk, a hot coffee, then into the truck to Cornwall so Carm could get some bloodwork done. We stopped at Cora's for a ridiculous breakfast of pancake, 4 bacon strips, 1 sausage, 1 ham, and 2 eggs. And toast. And potatoes. Oh my... I had to let my belt out a notch :-0

A Value Village was across the road so we dashed in to look for a few things. Miracle of miracles we found both. We wanted a basket to cook eggs in the instant pot, and I wanted a very small black "purse" to carry my phone, passport and boarding pass when travelling, and my camera and sail card on the ship. I found something that pretty much does the trick. I might still look at a pacsafe purse though, if I could fine one tiny enough.

Once 'back to camp' we gathered the pack of dogs and went for a long walk. At group camp A the dogs got a bit of time off their leashes for some running time. The joy on the poodles faces was delightful.

It was quiet for the rest of the afternoon with a few short walks to check out all the trailers coming in - apparently it is a sold out weekend. Lots of dogs to pass (note to self: refresh treats in the walking pouch).

We had time for a quick Moroccan soup for supper (oh yeah for my stash of soups in the freezer), before Caroline and Mike arrived for an evening of discourse. Nice.

And that brings me to now. I'll do all my pleasures in one today as I am almost overwhelmed by how lucky I am. Here I am, with someone I love and who loves me, a nice camper, a cold evening which makes cudddling up in the camper all that more great.

I am blessed.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

delayed thanksgiving dinner

Well... this post starts in yesterdays voice. We ended up being too busy for me to finish, especially as I wanted to add some photos.

Bright sunshine greeted us as the wind tried to fling the door open. Yes, it is still windy, but we walked in short sleeves. The dogs were happy that we took the slightly longer loop, especially as I gave them some time to sniff. Aside from food, smelling the wildlife is the next joyful thing for the dogs. We heard there was a flock of 40 turkeys along the road yesterday, so maybe they could smell thanksgiving.

Last night we slept with the fan on above the bed instead of the 2 electric heaters that had been running previous nights. It was an easy 10F warmer in here than a few nights ago.

A funny story: the road down to this campground is 2+ miles of rough gravel road - everything gets rattled and bounced around; we wondered what the state of the inside would be. Well, when we got here, I opened the door, and there, sitting on the counter was a bottle of water and our super expensive dish soap container. Yup. Sitting on the counter almost exactly where I left them. I breathed a sigh of relief and made a mental note not to forget again.

Last night Christina and Hans biked by our site so we were keen to drive down to where they are camped to meet up with them again. As luck would have it, we caught them just as they were leaving so they dropped their bikes and we all went for a rather slow and hot walk. The dogs were dragging their feet in the heat... oh, they looked so old.

After our walk we drove to Ingleside for some groceries then came back to camp for a relaxing afternoon. Plans of Prime Rib supper swirled in my head. I did the planning and got to work. Prime rib, yorkshire pudding, mashed potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts was heaped onto plates and carried to our little table. An effervescent of bubbles washed everything down. Oh yeah!

The kitchen is small but functional. It does require some gymnastics to get everything cooked. The extra pots from the oven were stashed on the bed to get them out of the way. I cooked the brussels sprouts in the actifry which takes up a whole counter. If I didn't already have the table set I could have used it for the giant appliance. The little table that I gave back to Mom would have been handy as an extra surface. I wouldn't have thought of using it though.

After supper Christina and Hans dropped by for an hour.

This morning it is raining. Jo Ellen and Don are due at 11 - I guess we'll be huddled inside.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018


Yesterday was moving day and to be honest, we almost moved back home. But we have several more days booked at the bird sanctuary so we'll give it a try. The days have been dreary, occasionally rainy, and cold. It hasn't been the glorious fall that we've had in the past.

Friday Carm played bridge (I think I already talked about that), and by the time he was back to camp I was ready for a diversion.  Too many romantic comedies had rotted my brain. Oh, and a marathon of 'Flight of the Concords'. He got home safe and sound so I was glad.

Sunday we had a late brunch at the Basket Case and then poked around the flea market for a bit. Actually, we didn't poke, we flew through those buildings with our eagle eyes straining to see a wire basket that would fit in the instant pot. No luck, but I did see a really pretty pendant that I have to sleep on as it is a bit pricy. It had lovely blue stones and we all know how much I love blue things.

We didn't do a traditional thanksgiving dinner as I had forgotten to pack the meat thermometer and didn't want to risk ruining the prime rib by winging it. Carm is bringing it down today. Instead we had ravioli with a fresh tomato sauce using the last of the tomatoes from Trudie's garden. We are spoiled with fresh.

Yesterday we dilly dallied around camp until it seemed that the dump station would be clear. Then we said our good-byes to Riverside for another year. This was the 11th year that we'd closed out the park - every year except the first year camping. We love this park, especially our fav campsite. It is easy to walk the dogs without passing many campsites, and actually this time of year they are usually all empty so we feel we have that end of the park all to ourselves.

Today Carm played golf, leaving me to my own devices for much of the day. I walked the dogs first thing, then we all crawled back to bed for a few hours. Spike woke us up at 9:15, which is a fine time to get up. I had my coffee then tried to take a short walk, but was sent back to the trailer before we got too far as it started to rain, and I had left the door open.

Breakfast, then the sun was out luring us into a long walk. The wind was up (big surprise), and it was warm. Far too warm for the longsleeves and vest that I was wearing. Kabira wasn't too sure about the walk, perhaps she remembers from last year how far we can go. Bella and Spike were keen mentally, but their bodies couldn't hold out the enthusiasm. All three lagged for much of the walk.

It might be time to start scaling back the walks... my heart breaks looking at them trying to keep up... Kabira has been looking so old... there is a fading in her eyes that is new this fall. She's 12 1/2 which is old for a Rhodesian. She can still move pretty well, but doesn't have the spark to keep going.

Maybe we'll load the dogs into the truck so we can start our walks further down the road.

Saturday, October 6, 2018


Surely one of these days the weather is going to switch into glorious October days that are slightly reminicent of a September day...

As it is, both heaters are going and I have a light on overhead because the sky is so grey. Not even a hint of sun graces the horizon. We've had rain a few times so far, just light sprinkles, but enough to keep me from a nice walk.

Carm is at his annual bridge tournament for the day, so I am left here to eat all the pancakes and bacon by myself.

I've just come from the freezing cold showers. A trickle of hot water dribbles out of the shower head and there doesn't seem to be any heat in the building. Brrrr. Bracing. Isn't this one of the things that is supposed to put hair on your chest?

Yesterday was nicer, or at least sunny, though cold. We ended up driving around hell's half acre, going home to pick up some stuff, to Costco for a few things, Liquidation for kicks, Giant Tiger, and finally the car wash. Whew! What a marathon. It was too long for the dogs though... when they heard us come to the door they started howling and carrying on. They are usually quiet as a mouse so they must have been desperate to get outside.

We took them for a long walk then had a bit of time for supper before we headed to Caroline & Mike's for a campfire. There was some rousing conversation. Carm is like a dog on a bone sometimes...

Oh! Grace laid an egg the night before last. It was huge and only fell between the grate at the bottom of her cage because it broke from the fall. This is such a weird time of year for this - spring is when we might expect an egg, but not fall camping where the nights often drop to the low 60s inside.

I bought a great puffer coat at Costco a few months ago - I thought it would be great for travelling as it can stuff into its own pocket. As it turns out, it's great for camping, especially with the cold we've been having. It wraps me in a warm embrace.

"And myriad leaves, on which the Summer wrote
Her blushing farewell, at my feet were strown."
~Albert Laighton 

Thursday, October 4, 2018

another rainy and windy day

The rain was pouring down this morning when Spike woke me out with his demand to go outside. Usually if it is raining he holds off, but I guess if you gotta go, you gotta go. The three dogs and I dashed out and managed to get most of the peeing done under the canopy of the big trees. It wasn't that bad, although to Spike's joy, I did get the towel out for a good rubdown when we got back inside.

I climbed back into bed and as soon as they had their breakfast the dogs were up in the bedroom as well. The patter (more than a patter really, more like a pelt) of rain lulled us into a relaxed state.

Later in the morning the rain did let up for a time so that I could get the dogs out for a quick business. They were not thrilled with being out in the gusty wind even though it wasn't raining.

It's now past 3:30. The rain has stopped and the sun has come out. There is a fierce wind drying the earth. Coats and vests were shed, Kabira's outfit put away. Grace is outside. We'll enjoy the nice weather while we can as the forecast calls for 0C overnight.

We had a nice visit with Caroline and Mike this afternoon and have made plans to get together here after supper.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

blankets and heaters

Spike is cuddled against my legs and I've spread out a blanket to cover him and my lap. The fireplace is flickering and the little space heater fan is roaring. It is cold and drizzly outside, and I'd like to say it is toasty in here, but I'd be lying. Carm is out playing golf; I wonder if it is his last round unless the weather changes. If it doesn't we'll likely pack up and cut our camp short.

Monday afternoon Mom came for our annual mother/daughter night. Carm went home, leaving Mom and I to hours of conversation. Laughter and tears. Needless to say, we had a great time and can hardly wait for next year.

Carm went home not only to give Mom and I our time, but also to be there when the electric company and electrician came to install the generator. Hurrah! According to Carm, it seems to work well but glitches when the heat pump starts up. I guess it calls for so much electricity that the water pump fails. It is a simple case of repriming the water tank, but it isn't as seamless as we had hoped.

My toothache is much better but not 100% by any stretch. I'm taking asprin at 4 hour intervals and that seems to work. Last night I switched over to ibuprofin which might be better. I'm gaining weight from all the eating I'm doing to keep my stomach from aching. I guess I have a good excuse, but jeesh.

The straps to replace my broken fitbit strap arrived in the mail so I am counting my steps again. It's about 1200 steps to do the figure 8 loop that I do first thing in the morning and last thing at night. The mid afternoon walk is a bit longer, although not for the last few rainy days. Even Spike, who is always keen to go outside, is lagging at the door (and letting all the cold air in!). There are good things to having older dogs - they aren't driving us crazy with the inactivity.

The sound of that space heater fan is driving me crazy. But there is something nice and cosy about being curled up on the sofa with some music, and the bright windows behind and beside me. Inside, but a little bit outside. If we were home I don't think I'd be doing anything different, and at least being here wipes out the guilt about not painting the basement.

What can I say? Life is good.

My pleasures over the last few days (let's see if I can think of any over the ache of my jaw): salty lox from Trudie; sharing stories with Mom; being outside in the drizzly cold and then stepping into the cosy warmth of the villetta; some of the leaves are starting to change; peacefulness of having the park almost to ourselves; soft warmth of my black merino wool blend top and leggings; talking to Kirsten on my cellphone - yes! from the trailer.

"The time of the falling leaves has come again. Once more in our morning walk we tread upon carpets of gold and crimson, of brown and bronze, woven by the winds or the rains out of these delicate textures while we slept.
      How beautifully the leaves grow old! How full of light and color are their last days! There are exceptions, of course. The leaves of most of the fruit-trees fade and wither and fall ingloriously. They bequeath their heritage of color to their fruit. Upon it they lavish the hues which other trees lavish upon their leaves....
      But in October what a feast to the eye our woods and groves present! The whole body of the air seems enriched by their calm, slow radiance. They are giving back the light they have been absorbing from the sun all summer."
~John Burroughs,

Monday, October 1, 2018

not the tooth fairy

I'm sitting here in slightly less pain than I've been in for the last few days. The toothache started Wednesday night, barely there and not worth taking note of. Thursday, when we were coming to Riverside there was slightly more discomfort. Friday...OMG... it was brutal. I called the dentist and got an appointment for 11:40 Saturday morning. Whew. Only one small problem: we'd be 6 for lunch at our place.

Anyway, the dentist poked around, testing cold & hot & air & tapping - nothing. Oh brother. His conclusion is that I was grinding my teeth (which I know I do), and inflamed all the nerves on one side of my mouth. It kinda made sense as the pain was not localized to a particular tooth. So what to do? Take asprin & tylanol 3 for a few days, then get fitted with a mouthguard to wear to bed. Oh bother.

So yesterday I suffered in not so silence, the tylanol sending me to bed for much of the day. This morning, after keeping up an asprin regime I'm somewhat okay, or at least not in agony.

I think I left off on my last post Friday afternoon after Jacques visit. Our socializing didn't end there - we had the people across the road from us (Caroline & Mike) over after supper for a lovely visit.

Then Saturday was the mad dash to the dentist which was a hurry up and wait situation. While I was there, Carm went home and got some (more) stuff. Stuff that we'll just have to remove at the end of this trip... although some of it was food, which we'll probably eat.

We finally arrived back at Camp around 1:45 and had just a few minutes to walk the dogs before Mom & Dad arrived. Ed and Lynne showed up not long after that so we all sat around and had a nice visit. I dashed inside to get lunch ready - Italian beef (which luckily I had cooked a few days before), rice in the instant pot, and green beans in the actifry. It was a nice day but cool, and with clouds racing across the sky obscuring the warming sun, I decided we'd eat inside.

Six people for a sit down meal in the trailer requires a bit of organization. Carm moved the dog beds from behind the table and dug out our extra chairs. The little round table came inside and voila! Room for six. We crammed in and had a good time with lots of interesting conversation.

After a rather late lunch we piled into cars to drive over to the Harkness house which is for sale. This pretty stone home is where my great grandmother was born. It was fun to walk around the property and imagine her growing up. The property is beautiful, but I couldn't help but notice how much work needed to be done, aside from the grounds care.

Mom and Dad left straight from there, while Ed and Lynne came back to camp where we gabbed till almost 11pm!

Sunday morning (too bright and early for me as I'd been up for most of the night in agony), we went with Ed & Lynne to the Basket case for a hot breakfast. My omlette hit the spot where a giant lead weight was banging away. I felt strange from the codine in the tylonal 3s. I was miserable and didn't even want to go to the flea market, instead crashing on the bed as soon as we got 'home'. I spent most of the rest of the day dozing with Spike cuddled up against me.

All that sleep seems to have done some good. I cut out the tylonal instead taking asprin. I ate like crazy with each dose and not longer get a gut ache. My mouth almost feels back to normal, but I am being very careful to not bite down (soft food only for me!).

Friday, September 28, 2018

geese & sun & wind

It is a glorious day, alibet a bit windy. In fact, not long after I took this photo I had to furl the awning as the wind was starting to gust and whiffle the small sail. But I did get a few minutes in the sun, and more than a few minutes in the shade, and then some more sun time.

Carm golfed at Upper Canada Golf Course which was a big thrill for him. He loves that course and I don't believe he's played there at all this summer. He is just over 50 rounds for 2018 - he was hoping to hit 64, but it seems unlikely seeing that we are at the end of September.

The end of September!!!

from my spot on the sofa

It is early in the day, and maybe I'll come back later to update my list of pleasures. Waking up to a sliver of blue sky through the ceiling vent. Blessed sun. A quiet walk with the dogs. I love the tall pines and the soft hush of walking on needles. Cooking pancakes on the gas stove. I used the white frying pan and the coating is so slippery that it was hard to get the pancake onto the spatula. Looking over the empty park. No one is near us except for people across the way. I still have a nice view of the water. Spike lying peacefully outside... no sooner did I write this and he was growling at the dog across the way. It was nice while it lasted. Better still it only lasted a few seconds. Watching Grace take a bath. She fluffs and puffs and splashes water all around. Meeting Carm's new friend.

What were your pleasures today?

Not so much pleasure: toothache and gut ache from the asprin.

later on...

Carm brought his golf buddy Jacques back to the camp for a beverage. I was very happy to meet him and delighted that he is such a great guy. I'm glad that Carm met him.

The day has continued with blue skies and racing clouds. The wind blusters. I think I have a sunburn on my face.

Thursday, September 27, 2018


I watched this TedTalk the other day and had to watch it again. I found it motivating to keep working on changing my thoughts and how I experience things. When I am well I don't have much trouble doing this, but when depression sets in I find it more difficult. I'm hoping that following the steps at the end I can build habits that will carry me through a depression and maybe even stop one altogether. Wishful thinking? Maybe, but I owe it to myself to try.

When I started this blog part of my aim was to write down what I find to be grateful for every day. I've fallen out of the habit, but now is a good time to restart. I actually wrote them as pleasures, but I think it is more or less the same thing.

My pleasures for today:  Cold floor of the trailer on my hot feet. I had my coffee on the sofa with sunlight streaming through the windows. The sun didn't quite reach me but it bathed the dogs; I know how much they love a sunspot. Backing into our campsite and getting the trailer exactly where we wanted it. That first sip of beer on a new camp.

Not so much pleasure: the hearings for Kavanaugh... darn that satellite dish.

We almost didn't make it down here - the truck wouldn't start and needed a boost :-(  Hopefully it is the battery and will just need a new pair. As it was, we arrived at Riverside at 1:06, checked in, got parked, setup and the satellite done by 2:20pm. Once we got settled we wandered across the lane and sat down with Caroline and Mike for an hour or so. Then a nice long walk, long enough to wear everyone out.

This stupid hearing is on now and they go on and on - it is sickening.

But it was a beautiful day with lots of sunshine. The clouds have gathered which will hopefully keep the heat in overnight.

"The days may not be so bright and balmy—yet the quiet and melancholy that linger around them is fraught with glory. Over everything connected with autumn there lingers some golden spell—some unseen influence that penetrates the soul with its mysterious power."
~Northern Advocate

Sunday, September 23, 2018


Lots and lots of geese swirl in the sky looking for a place to land. They sound like so many couples nattering at each other as they try to decide where to go.

We didn't have any real plans for today but both wanted to get out of the house. What could we do? Where could we go? I got a really funky bracelet last week which will go well with my onyx necklace but I was missing earrings. Could Carm suffer through earring shopping? It seems he could and he did and we were successful. I even found the right thing at a bargain basement price leaving some extra $ to buy another funky bracelet.

This is all rather weird for me as I am not fashionable at all!

the bracelet that started it all

I've already scanned the new buys into my closet app and paired it with some outfits :-0

Invasion of the body snatchers.

"There is no season in all the year so beautiful, so radiant with glory, as the early autumn. There is no time when the human soul drinks in so fully the glory and beauty of nature. All objects of beauty are more beautiful while passing away from us. The closing up of a beautiful life—the fading of the holy stars in the dim light of morning—the ending of a quiet summer day and the passing away of the bright summer glory, are all more sweet and lovely as they are lost to us. The death-glow always beautifies anything that wears the trace of beauty ere it goes back to nothingness. We do not understand the secret of this principle, yet we know that it is some law of the infinite mind."
~Northern Advocate

Saturday, September 22, 2018

first day of fall

The perfume of slightly decayed leaves was released with each step I took. The dogs ran happily, hither and tither, hunting for some imaginary creature. The sun shone brightly in the impossibly blue sky. The air was crisp and dry. It's the first day of fall and it feels like it.

Last night we anxiously checked the weather radar every few minutes as we were under a tornado warning. The news showed devastation in the west part of the city and we wondered if we'd be hit. Thankfully, the weather gods spared us yet again yesterday. My parents got a glancing blow that destroyed some trees in the area, and apparently their lawn was covered with 6 colours of shingles. What a night!

"I step outside and the chilly air tightens the skin on my bare arms. Summer has ended all too quickly, and some of the leaves on the trees have already started to burn with the colors of fall. Fall colors.... so bright and intense and beautiful. It’s like nature is trying to fill you up with color, to saturate you so you can stockpile it before winter turns everything muted and dreary." ~Siobhan Vivian

Friday, September 21, 2018

good timing

I awoke with a start early this morning when my leg stretched out to a different part of the bed and encountered a cold, wet spot. Yikes. The rain sensor for the bedroom vent failed to deploy leaving a puddle where the rain flooded in overnight. Oh well, no big deal, I knew that today was the day for going home so the sheets would go directly into the washer when we got home.

Some rain had just passed so I grabbed my phone to check the weather radar - yup, we were in a bit of a hole, enough to get the dogs out and walked before the next bunch of rain. Bad news though: there was a weather warning for high winds this afternoon. If you've ever driven with a 37 x 12 foot sail behind you will know that it isn't very fun. Maybe we should start getting ready now? Now being 7am...

I walked the dogs then had a coffee. Another lull in the rain and we got cracking. Carm picked up the satellite, then the water hoses. He folded the carpet and loaded the chairs and other detritus into the front. I got busy putting stuff away inside: Grace's cage and coffee table against the back window, vaccuum, roll up carpet... and on it goes. It seems we have a lot of stuff to stow.

The rain held off.

We got to the dump station and drained our tanks. We cleaned off all the dumping stuff. We got in the truck and started to pull away.

The heavens opened up and dropped all the water that it had been saving for us. Our timing was perfect.

It rained for much of the drive home, but miraculously stopped just before it was time to back into the laneway. We were home, safe and sound and nicely dry.

I experienced the usual slight disorientation when we settled into the house. The huge great room feels strange after our walls were so close together in the camper. It didn't take long though and I was readjusted. Unloading all our junk took a while but before I knew it everything was stowed and I had eaten my breakfast and was thinking of a hot bath. Oh yeah. That's the only thing that I miss about being away from home: my lovely bathtub. That, and being able to let the dogs out the door in the morning - getting dressed and walking for 15 minutes gets old fast.

"The days may not be so bright and balmy—yet the quiet and melancholy that linger around them is fraught with glory. Over everything connected with autumn there lingers some golden spell—some unseen influence that penetrates the soul with its mysterious power."
~Northern Advocate