Saturday, June 16, 2018

ornge

I was still in bed when I heard the crash, but being half awake it didn't really register... I should have been running out there with my phone in hand... it wasn't until several minutes later when I heard sirens that my mind woke up. Carm and I dashed outside to see what was going on. Two vehicles were crashed at the corner of our road - one pretty badly damaged. We watched for a while as firetrucks and police cars raced up. I went into the house, but Carm walked up the road to the accident.

A vehicle, driven by a young guy with a young woman as his passenger, had driven through the stop sign. Unfortunately his luck wasn't good and he was slammed into by an older guy, minding his own business. The young woman may not have been wearing her seatbelt.

I went outside again when I heard the helicopter. The 'ORNG' orange helicopter landed in a field beside the accident and loaded the victims. Lets hope they are both okay.


We got some terrible news this morning. Spike's cousin Sunny passed away from a possible reaction to flea/tick medication. Sunny was only 9 and should have had 9 more years ahead of him. Carm's brother Joe and his family are of course devestated, he was their first dog and taught them the joys of canine companionship.

I cried. I cried for Sunny. I cried for Joe & Sandy. I cried for all the dogs, cats and birds we have lost. I cried for the pets we are yet to lose.


I baptized my new camera this afternoon, and started my swimming season at the same time. Carm has been in the pool several times, but I couldn't get myself excited about the cold water. This changed today :-) After an afternoon of errands and driving, a dip in the pool sounded like the perfect ending to a rather up and down day. Plus I wanted to try out my camera.

The feeling of cold water on hot skin blotted other thoughts out of my head. For a moment it was just me and the water. It felt like summer, and thoughts of years of sultry afternoons eased my mind.



Wednesday, June 13, 2018

I'll bore you with more photos of peonies

I'm trying to get my fill of the peonies, dashing outside whenever I think of it to soak in their beauty. I stuff my nose into the lush flowers without regard for ants. It is due to rain today and we know what that does to them.

They have always been a favorite of mine, and are actually the only stand of flowers planted in my garden. They remind me of decorating my bike with tissue flowers when I was 7 - the fake flowers as suscepticle to rain as the real thing. In my minds eye I see a rubenesque women (me), laying on a bed of peonies, petals strewn everywhere (the ants that frequent the flower are nowhere in sight in my fantasy). There is a word that perfectly describes their lush, sensousness, but I can't think of it... oh wait: voluptuous.


Spike is bored with being at home. He lies down with a big sigh, and can barely get himself to walk down the laneway, except, occasionally, in an incredible burst of speed he races at top speed.


How does that song go? 'Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens... these are a few of my favorite things.


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

swinging in the sun

I had a few minutes of swing time today... the first time this year. The pleasures of the summer are fleeting and this year maybe even more so. Grace came out with me and basked in the sun. She's never crazy about being out there by herself and I was flitting in and out of the house and about the property, so I had to keep her company for a bit.

The wind roared through the trees making them shake their castinette limbs as they did the flaminco in the breeze. It was energizing.


I looked out the living room window to see a blizzard of white petals being shaken from their lofty perch. The black locust trees are covered with flowers - they almost look like clusters of grapes from a distance - but the wind is losening them and sending the petals all over the property, including into the pool on the other side of the house. They are not well-behaved trees.

We zipped over to liquidation this afternoon - there was nothing I wanted but Carm wanted to look around. I always say that and I alway find a bunch of stuff to fill my closet with. Today was no exception: two non-t-shirt tops, earrings (yes, me who hasn't worn jewllery for eons), and a little bag to pack small things in. Strangely, I dressed up to go and wore my new gold shoes. I have been infected with a weird virus that has me putting on makeup and nice clothes to even go to the store. I will probably get over it when my next little depression happens... in the meantime, I'm getting all sorts of nice compliments from Carm :-)



Monday, June 11, 2018

celebration

Yesterday we had a small family celebration in honour of Grace's 20th birthday. It seems impossible to believe that 20 years had passed since I first saw her partially in her shell. The crazy thing is - she's not even middle aged yet! The average lifespan for an African Grey Congo is 50 years... we have her mentioned in our will, but gosh, that's a long time to plan for.

Anyway, we brought home chicken wings which are Grace's favorite food, or at least is tied with chicken shwarma. Luckily she doesn't know what she's eating :-o  We don't tend to do much meat in the house so it was a big treat for her (although she did score wings 3 times at the rally). There were wings from RAXX, but also Edna saved her one after the potluck. I think Edna was amazed to watch Grace scarf it down so quickly - even some of the marrow.

We have to get back to healthy eating though. The past week & 1/2 wasn't good... way too much eating out. Miraculously I didn't gain any weight with all that indulgence - it just goes to show how important exercise is. All those walks with the dogs paid off!


The peonies are starting to blossom. The one at the top of the page is the same flower I've shown the last few days.


Saturday, June 9, 2018

out of balance

I feel slightly out-of-balance, discomboulated, since hearing about the suicide of Anthony Bourdain. We watched his show religiously, in fact it might of been my favorite. I felt that, in a way, I knew him. He seemed so real and genuine, although tormented as well. It is a shock to hear that someone so talented and successful would do something so drastic and final as hang himself. Did his friends know that he was on the brink? Or like men often do, did 'self' never enter into the conversation?

I haven't been in that frame of mind for several years, but I remember it well. I know that the effect on others never enters into the internal conversation - the mind is sick and doesn't think straight. But I like to believe that a small part of me would remain sane enough to reach out for help. Perhaps Tony did, but there was no one that could hear.


Thankfully my reality today is better: it is a beautiful sunny day; we are safely home from a week of social contact.; we had supper with good friends last night; I have a loving life partner; it feels like summer might actually arrive; and maybe I'll even get on the swing this weekend.


When the people are away the birds will build nests. This one is tucked under a fake christmas tree on the front deck.


Friday, June 8, 2018

home sweet home

The turbulence from a hundred transport trucks buffeted us most of the way home. I am always happy when we exit the 401 onto highway 416, and so it was today. Too soon to breath a sigh of relief as there are still a few obstacles between the exit and home.

We were not paying attention when the exit to our way home flashed by... on to the next exit with miles of crappy roads that are falling apart at the edges. Luckily there was a long stretch in the middle with decent pavement.

Next bit of fun? Backing the giant trailer into our laneway and along side our house. I dread it as we've had some pretty nasty fights getting backed in. Today though: perfect. Carm only had to stop when he was almost at the final resting place to cut down a tree that had miraculously grown in our absence. Now we could breath a sigh of relief.

It didn't take too long to get the essentials unloaded and then we had time for a bit of lunch and a well deserved coffee.

There wasn't much rest for Carm though - the grass hadn't taken a vacation while we were gone and turned the yard into a hayfield. I guess cutting the grass is one way to burn off all those dinners out (I think we only ate 2 in the camper). I'd spell him a bit but it is a 'person propelled' mower and our lawn is a bumpy plot with no smooth bits. Instead I'll sit inside and eat bon bons ;-)



Thursday, June 7, 2018

teary Thursday

My arms just about got pulled out of their sockets this morning: a cool breeze and 1 week of walking have added some spunk back into the dogs. I'll have to figure out a way to keep the exercise up once we get home. I don't like to walk them out of the gate as it might (will) give Spike the idea of going for a walk on his own. The hay in the field will be tall and slightly impassible, plus I don't want to tamp down the grass before it is cut at the end of this month. So I guess I'll have to drive them somewhere which will get old really fast...

Most of the Titanium trailers headed out today. It is the last day of the rally and people are anxious to get home to vote. There were many cries of 'farewell until next year' and hugs all around. We had a good time so it is a little sad to see it end, but on the other hand, I am exhausted and need a few days of quiet.


I wasn't too exhausted for one last night of ribs at RAXX though! We will get back to being nearly vegan tomorrow when we are home safe and sound. It will be a big hardship to have to cook every night so I'll have to dig deep for the motivation. Perhaps a full-length mirror and a step on scale will help ;-)


Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Theatre Tuesday and Friendly Wednesday

Tuesday morning we went for our morning walk a little bit later - it could have been the thick cloud cover obliterating the sun.

After a few more hours of sleep, showers, and breakfast, we realized that it was senior's day at the Bay. I had seen a little purse there last week that would match my new gold shoes... so... we got in the truck for a drive. Once in the store I found the display of the brand of bags, but sadly there was not the one I wanted. I thought I'd look around to see if someone had put it somewhere else, and when I turned around there it was, huddled amongst some others. Score.

We wandered around the rest of the mall which turned out to be quite big. We got some steps in :-)

Once we got back to camp we hooked up with Marilyn & Mark for a lovely walk, and then it was time to get ready for supper and the theatre. We saw a show called 'Two Pianos, Four Hands' which was an enjoyable musical show. We didn't get back until late though which started to stress me out, but the dogs were fine.


Saturday's pot luck


Marilyn and Mark at the pot luck


Supper at our place on Monday night. It was too cold to eat outside so we crammed in for a cosy meal.


Wednesday we hung close to the camper with some visiting at Edna's, and then a quiet afternoon until it was time for a walk. Marilyn and Mark joined us for a leisurely stroll through the back 40.

We went out again for supper (oh that belt buckle has had to go out a notch...), but instead of the Titanium group, we met up with Lana and Peter for wings at RAXX. We met them last December on our cruise and have kept in touch. It was lovely to see them again.

Once back at camp we gathered around the campfire for the final flames - at least until next year.


Monday, June 4, 2018

Monday, monday

The rain came down in buckets at times last night. It was nice to be so cozy in the camper, the sound of raindrops on the roof easing me to sleep. Luckily it stopped in time for our morning walk. We didn't do the whole loop, instead we skirted around puddles and mucky areas to keep mainly on the grass. We dashed back inside before the rain could catch up with us again.

I main sure I was decent to be able to say goodbye to Christine and Peter. Oh, the working years... it used to be us leaving early to get back to work. After they pulled out we arranged another supper at our place. With the weather keeping us inside we kept it to the same 6 people as last year: Andy & Edna, Mark & Marilyn, Carm and I. We'll keep the camper warm with laughter.

I made Italian beef in the instant pot this afternoon while we visited with Mark & Marilyn. Then we split ways for lunch and a dog walk (the dogs and I got caught in the rain), then we joined up with them again for an afternoon at Costco (girls) and Princess Auto (men). Time flies when you are having fun.

The rest of the afternoon the sun was in and out of the clouds like a yo-yo. We didn't know from one moment to the next if it will be hot and sunny or rainy and cold. Such is June.


I was going to add photos of our supper festivities, but by the time I was back from the campfire (now... 10 pm), the last thing I want to do is start fussing with my camera... so sufice it to say... we had a lovely supper with Andy & Edna, and Mark & Marilyn (or did already say that - hard to tell as this software break things up by section and it is hard to look back on what I've already said.).

We (the dogs and Carm and I) will be cuddling up tonight as we can see our breath in the air. Brrrr.


Sunday, June 3, 2018

Sunday

In his haste to get outside this morning, Spike tumbled head over heels down the camper stairs. I don't know what the big rush was... my head was still foggy and I didn't get the leashes untangled for the transit.

I'm sitting outside amongst the raining white seed fluffs that are floating in the breeze, looking for a place to put down roots - better than the rain that is forecast this afternoon.

Grace is outside with me, muttering to herself and enjoying this lovely morning.


The days have developed a rhythum... up early to walk the dogs, back to bed for a few hours, coffee & shower, outside visiting for a few hours, lunch and a bit of quiet time or maybe an outing, visiting in the afternoon, then supper. Today  we missed the campfire due to heavy rain.

I visited at Christine's place in the morning - Mark & Marilyn were there too. The time flew by.

After lunch Mark dropped over to let Grace listen to some awesome flute music. I don't know how impressed she was - I think she would have more appreciation without so much company. After that a bunch of us went for a long walk. We got spit on, but mostly the rain held off.

Supper was cooked by Red Lobster tonight. Seventeen of us headed out from the campground just as the rain started pouring down. A good, but very long, supper took up the evening hours. And full circle we were back with a rained out campfire. Christine and Peter came by for a short visit. And then it was time to walk the dogs (still raining a bit), and now bedtime.

A good time was had by all.


Saturday, June 2, 2018

sunny Saturday

I was awake before Spike this morning. Could it have been the wild wind rattling the vent over our bed, or the icy breeze blowing down on me? Either one, I got up, got dressed, put on a coat and walked the dogs. The cold wind made them a little more frisky than they had been but we managed.

Wildlife this morning: 1 rabbit, 1 snapping turtle. Did I mention yesterday's critters? One beaver and 1 snapping turtle.

There was no point in staying up so I got back in my pjs and crawled under the warm comforter for another few hours. Even the naughtiest of dogs is always happy to go back to bed and doesn't stir until a human gets up.

It was a slow morning until brunch at Mark & Marilyn's place. After that it was time to do some grocery shopping to prepare for tonight's pot luck supper.


The day passed like the others... lazy with moments of social butterfly talks. Then it was time to get the meatballs into the instant pot (5 min), and to get ready for the pot luck. The men gathered early and like strongmen muscled a bunch of tables into a row along the road. Surely there'd be seats enough for everyone... or not. One more table was added for the food - two long picnic tables groaned under the load of food. Would there be enough for everyone? Well, in fact, yes. And then some.

After supper was tidyed up, we gathered around the campfire. At one point, with the light of flickering flames lighting our legs, we stood and watched the miracle of science fly over our heads. The space station made a beautiful arc high above the horizon. It was a strange juctiposion of caveman fire and 20th century science.


I did take a few photos tonight (and spilled a glass of wine all over my camera - thank goodness it is waterproof), but it is 10:15 and I am exhausted. Maybe tomorrow will be illustrated.


Friday, June 1, 2018

friday fun

I'm sitting under a tree, sipping my coffee. It is almost 1 pm. I drank my first coffee while 'out and about' visiting with a group of ladies at Edna's. There is a haze in the sky (I refuse to call them clouds) and the temp has dropped from this morning. When the breeze blows it is slightly cool. Grace is in her outside cage beside us.

This morning I got another 10 minutes of sleep before Mr. Naughty decided I had to get up and take him for a walk. Does he rule our lives... perhaps at times ;-) He's good for the rest of the day so I guess I can't complain.



... hours later and it is now 9:50. I'm in from the fire but Carm will probably linger for another hour (I hope he doesn't get hit by lightening).

We had a quiet afternoon then got a bunch of people over to our 'place' for supper. Everyone brought their own supper and we shared two picnic tables. It was very congenial and there wasn't too much politic talk. There are a few die hard political fiends though so the subject did come up (multiple times, multiple countries/provinces). Luckily everyone is more or less in agreement.

The dogs were out for a few short walks but boy, can I ever tell they are aged. It is heartbreaking as it seems like just yesterday that they were vibrant beasts who needed an hour of walking twice a day.

Time for bed to rest up for another day of fun.


Thursday, May 31, 2018

first day at the rally

Of course I was right, and believe me, I so wanted to be wrong, but at 6:30 Spike woke up. He lay there for maybe 5 minutes, then jumped on top of me... there was no convincing him that he wanted to go back to sleep. So I dragged myself out of bed, threw a bit of water on my hair (it stands on end when I get out of bed), and riffled through the closet for walking clothes. Ugg.

In all fairness to the dogs, all three of them had done their business before we had walked 200 yards. So I guess it was a legit outing.

They aren't the dogs they used to be though. There was very little tugging as we walked our old route through the 'back 40'. It is a lovely walk, especially so early in the morning on a sunny day. So it wasn't all bad ;-)

Grace is happy to be in her corner window cage. She loved her time outside yesterday afternoon, but wasn't upset about coming inside. This cage is a huge upgrade from the one she was in in (in in?) the old camper. She loves this one.




It was cloudy with on and off again showers thru the afternoon so Carm and I went to the outlet mall. I went crazy and bought two things - yes, grown-up clothes and not t-shirts. I wonder if this is what they mean by 'dressing in age appropriate clothes'? Hummm...

More people arrived in the afternoon so we wandered around outside talking to people, and then it was time for RAXX to cook us dinner again - this time RIBS. Wonderful ribs :-)

By the time we were back it was time for the dogs to go outside, and just enough time before bed to spend a few minutes at the campfire.

We are having a good time!


Wednesday, May 30, 2018

on the road again

I started off narrating this to my phone as we roared down the road this morning, but it was quickly clear that I wasn’t a quick talker or a clear speaker.

Here’s my first few sentences before I gave up:

“Ben 10 and we're on the road temperature is already at 23 so it looks like we're going to have a nice sunny day and maybe even if what's the summer for a first ending. “

This is what really happened: It was ten past ten and we are on the road. The temperature is already 23C, so it looks like we are going to have a nice sunny day, and maybe even summer, for our first camp of the year.

We had a safe trip, although there was a question about one of our brake calipers - it seemed seized. Braking was still good so we carried on our trip and by the time we got to Kingston all was well.

Not many people are here yet so we’ve had a relaxing afternoon and evening. We went to RAXX for supper for the chicken wing special - oh, yummy. Perhaps the best wings we’ve ever had.

The dogs are excited, although the heat has worn them out. I fully expect Spike to wake me up at 6am...


Monday, May 28, 2018

having the right words

What do you say to a man standing in the reception line beside the urn with the ashes of his wife? A man that we know was madly in love with his wife. His 56 year old wife. Well, I really don't know and I can say with some degree of certainty that I fubbed it up. "Nice to see you" is not the right thing to say. I couldn't say what I wanted to say or I'd burst into wild tears. Which is probably worse than saying the wrong thing.

We were at another visitation on Friday, this time for Carm's first cousin Aldo's wife. All the family was there, including many aunts, uncles, and cousins from Toronto. So it was a 'good time' (for some, very bad for others).


Saturday was a more up-lifting outing. We drove the 1 1/2 hours to see Olaf & Tammy to help celebrate Freya's 6th birthday. Luckily it was a lovely evening so we were able to sit outside. The dozen or so kids ran around the backyard like a bunch of hellions - they had a good time. We adults sat sedately around tables decorated with lovely tablecloths and bunches of flowers. Very grown up. Our conversation digressed to talks of nail polish, and from there: brazilions (look it up) :-0


We are close to being ready for our trip. A few (if few means 10s and 10s) things to load on and then all the food. I've planned out some meals so I won't be bringing the whole pantry/fridge, but I'll have some 'just in cases' along for backup. Poodles faces have been clipped, a blood letting this morning shortened their nails, and hotdog treats were made to encourage good behavior.

I'll get most of the last minute things loaded tomorrow, like my favorite silicone spatula and tongs, the instant pot, griddler, and my awesome little vacuum. Everything else will load Wednesday morning. It will be a rush: we plan on leaving at 10am but may be a bit later - since nobody is depending on us being on time we won't stress if we are a bit later.

I'm getting a bit excited.


Thursday, May 24, 2018

rub a dub dub

Lilacs perfume the air like a luxurious perfumery in Paris. I walk outside just to bathe in the scent. Heaven. Not much from the apple trees though, they are mostly devoid of blossoms and are certainly not putting on the show that they did last year. Maybe the trees need a little rest this year.


Today we got busy with the hose, pressure washer, and long brushes to scrub the villetta. The giant white whale of a beast was grimy from a winter resting in the laneway, and yes, a fall of camping. She scrubbed up good and now shines in the sun. If we were super energetic we’d get some wax and start buffing, but honestly, that’s a million year job - it would take days of hard work. We are not that dedicated.


I think I was struck by lightening or stung by a weird bee as I have, at the age of 55, developed a shoe thing. I had gone through much of my life wearing nothing but blundstone boots and a pair of sturdy sandals, but now... I can't seem to pass a shoe store. Yesterday I picked up a pair of gold mules/slides/sandals. So not like the old me! These days I don't leave the house without makeup and my hair gelled up. Invasion of the body snatchers.


Friday, May 18, 2018

some photos from the last few days using my new camera

Jo Ellen and the two poodles. Our icy limoncello - Mediterrean sunshine in a bottle.


Around the property. This was a few days ago so the apple buds are a bit more formed. There aren't as many as last year - they must have been harmed by the ice storm we had mid April.


Spike, still alive and posing for the camera.

These were all taken with my new Fujifilm XP130. I'm reasonably happy with it as many of these photos were taken in extreme conditions. The ones of Jo Ellen and the limoncello were taken inside, in the evening, with no flash. The one of Spike is a little dark but we were in blazing sun so the camera overcompensated - I think there is a setting for bright sun that I should experiment with.


Thursday, May 17, 2018

the whole world fell in love in spring

I’m slowly getting over my shock. I relived and ruminated several ‘what if’ versions of the screeching tires yesterday, until finally I gave myself a virtual slap and got busy with something else. That something was putting back all the stuff that we had removed from the camper last fall. Except for food - I’ll do some actual planning and just bring what we need for our first trip, not everything that I can think of that we might use for the rest of the year… Yes, I will try not to overpack this time.

But that means I have to do some serious menu planning, and how can I plan for 8 suppers when these days I’m having trouble figuring out what the next meal will be. The campground is a bit of a ways from the city, otherwise I’d just plan that we’d eat out most every night :-0

Raxx for ribs will be a must-do on the first Thursday night. (just checked the menu - Tuesday is fish & chips, Wed is wings, Thur is ribs, Fri is steak - maybe we can eat out every night after all!)

Another good diversion from my overactive imagination was a visit from Jo Ellen and Don last night. I whipped up a minestrone soup so the meal would be reasonably healthy but then ruined it by baking biscuits, and if I do say so myself, they are the best and hard to resist. We were celebrating the 1 year anniversary of our time in Sorrento where we bought a bottle of limoncello to bring home. We enjoyed a sip of the golden sunshine after our supper last night. Not the same bottle, as that one is LONG gone ;-)

I was walking with the dogs in the field this afternoon enjoying the faint scent of flowers on the breeze. The sweet fragrance of summer buoyed my spirits: summer is surely on the way.

And the birds sang their songs of love. And the flowers serenaded with their sublime fragrances. And the whole world fell in love in spring!”
~Avijeet Das

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

a very close call

The sound of screeching tires assaulted my ears. I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth, the bedroom window was open and Carm was at his computer in the kitchen.

My heart lurched. Were all the dogs inside? I knew that Carm had let them out several minutes earlier, but I had only heard Kabira come in… I rushed out to the hall, grabbing Carm on my way out. Oh, that walk down the laneway was long… Bella was there... I called, and didn’t see Spike, but then Carm saw Spike outside the gate. On all four legs and looking scared.

I can’t get the sound of those screeching tires out of my head. He was almost killed. Who knows how close he was to being a dead dog. I didn’t really freak out until we were on our way to town, then I had a silent cry and I’ve felt slightly sick ever since.

Before we headed into town we did some alterations on the gate to make it harder to get through. That was a start, but I knew that when I got home I’d be beefing up the electric fence and setting up a training session. Yes, I’m a meanie… after a few hours of frustrating work I got the gate charged. Got Spike on a leash and pushed him up against the gate till he got a good shock. Twice. And I’ll do it again tomorrow.

The day started with rain, but by the time we got back from Costco the clouds were parting and the sun was shining. Beautiful day for stupid fence work.

Monday, May 14, 2018

greener and greener

Last  Tuesday (yes, a week ago, oh how I’ve let this blog writing slip), at 5:30pm I declared it to be ‘Green Day’. It might be a stretch as there are still lots of bare patches but I was anxious to hurry things along.

Maybe I was influenced by our job working on the camper fridge that afternoon. We had to disconnect a few things and push the fridge several inches into the camper so that we could access the back panels. The hose that drains the condensation had crumbled with age, leaving us with a near impossible task, but by persisting past the time we wanted to give up, Carm got the old hose off and the new one on. We worked in the sun and it was hot. Joy!

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Since then we’ve had lots on our calendar. There have been a few golf games for Carm. A trip to the Acapulco for me to celebrate Leo’s birthday. Carm had another engagement: the funeral visitation for his cousin with the same name. As is often the case, these events are sad but also renewing as well. Death is a time to reaffirm life and renew old relationships. As strange as it sounds, I think he had a good time, and perhaps better as he didn’t have to worry about me and could talk to his heart’s content with long lost relatives.

Thursday was the funeral and as I sat in the church listening to the priest talk about Carmelo’s life, I had to focus my attention on the relics dotted around the premises, lest my imagination take the not so big leap to a funeral hopefully far in the future where the name will be the same…

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Since we were just around the corner from where Carm’s mom stays we popped in to visit for a few minutes and then drove around the next corner to the Green Papaya, a fabulous Thai place that makes the best Pad Ki Mao - so spicy that our mouths were burning but delicious.

Friday we did some house cleaning then popped into the car for a trip to Liquidation. From there is was a long hop skip and jump to Freshco which happens to have a shawarma place next door, and gosh could we walk past that when it was hours past lunch… Costco was next and then home. Whew.

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Saturday we had Mom & Dad, and Graham & the kids over for a family Mother’s Day lunch. It is so rare that we have them all over…

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Sunday we dashed into town AGAIN, this time to drop in quickly to Carm’s mom to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day. The ravages of Alzheimer's were weighing heavily on her though so I don’t know how much she was aware. A few more stops after that and then to Best Buy to buy me a new camera. This little beauty is just a small handful to replace my old pocket camera and as a bonus (well, actually why we got it in the first place), is waterproof down to 65ft. Not that I’ll ever be that deep (I hope). It will be fun to take it to the Caribbean for some beach shots.

All the photos in this post were taken by the new camera either today or yesterday.

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Oh, and one other thing. A certain type of madness took hold in our brains and we booked two more cruises. They aren’t till November of 2019 though so we have lots of time to change our minds. The first one is a 7 day trip in the Mediterranean, and the second one ponies up to that for 14 days across Spain and Portugal, ending up with 7 days across the Atlantic to Fort Lauderdale!  Twenty one days away from home. Can we manage it? Will Pat go mad looking after the beasts. Time will tell.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

in the dark on a sunny day

I’m sitting here in the dark… not literally because it is daytime and actually sunny, but figuratively because the power is out. Again. The ice storm was less than 3 weeks ago and here we are, powerless, and rethinking our generator solution.

It was a wind storm that brought us down this time - apparently we had gusts almost to 100kmph. At times the wind would die down a bit, but then, like a runaway freight train it would roar down on the house. Shrubs scraped against the windows, which were flexing so much that I was sure they were going to break. Who knew that glass was that flexible.

We drove around to see where the damage is but couldn’t find anything. Hydro Ontario outage map suggests that we might get our power back by 4pm tonight. We shall see - 3 weeks ago they were several hours past the estimated time.

The good news though is that it is sunny and the grass is an incredible emerald green. It is the impossible green that is only seen this time of year: fresh from the earth and not weathered by the rays of the sun, it is the colour of hope. I can see a few tiny buds on the trees around the house, they are delayed by a few days but the life force is strong and will overcome the autumn like weather we’ve been having.

We saw ‘Avengers, Infinity War’ with Jo Ellen and Don on Thursday. Great movie with lots of action. I was exhausted when we finally emerged from the dark - sitting in my chair tense from the action wore me out.

The poodles are freshly clipped and are breathing a sigh of relief as they were supposed to get a bath today. They don’t know it yet, but it is only postponed, not cancelled. Their last hair cut was a few weeks before we left on our trip to the Caribbean so they wern’t too long, but even still, they are cooler and much more frisky. I think they like the shorn feeling.

It was such a spring day as breathes into a man an ineffable yearning, a painful sweetness, a longing that makes him stand motionless, looking at the leaves or grass, and fling out his arms to embrace he knows not what.”
~John Galsworthy

Sunday, April 29, 2018

it had nearly failed

Glum… the perfect word to describe another dreary “spring” day. We did have a few days of warmer weather, and even some sun on one or two of the days, but the spring showers to welcome May flowers have descended.

Good news though: my cold is mostly over leaving a slight cough. Bearable, and I feel like I can join the human race again. I even got myself out of the house for a trip into the city yesterday. A bit of shopping (scored some great sandals that will be good for cruising and also around the house this summer, assuming we get summer).

After all that shopping I even had to energy to have Trudie & Leo over for a last minute visit after supper.

In the past the trees have been close to bursting forth with leaves and flowers threaten to overwhelm the senses with their beauty and fragrance.  But this year, the trees barely have buds (there have been some years that we’ve thought for sure it would be an early green day), and the tulips are barely up with no signs of bloom. There is no sign of apple blossoms. The garlic is about 6 inches tall. Everything is delayed.

I slid open the camper slides yesterday - too many asian beetles and dead flies to deal with at the moment. I’ll drag the vacuum out the first warm day and get the place ship shape for our upcoming trip. The grey skies are like a curtain between winter and summer and seem impossible to shift.

3:45 Cheeks red, eyes watering and a bit of an earache… yes, I was just outside around the field for 5 minutes. The dogs didn’t mind, but the spitting rain and cold wind was not my idea of spring, has it forsaken us? Or have I been asleep for half a year?

With so many trees in the city, you could see the spring coming each day until a night of warm wind would bring it suddenly in one morning. Sometimes the heavy cold rains would beat it back so that it would seem that it would never come and that you were losing a season out of your life. This was the only truly sad time in Paris because it was unnatural. You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintry light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person had died for no reason.

In those days, though, the spring always came finally but it was frightening that it had nearly failed.”
― Ernest Hemingway

Monday, April 23, 2018

the proof is in the pudding

I made a terrible discovery today… I can make passable rice pudding in under 30 minutes using the instant pot. It isn’t nearly as good as the glop from Country Kitchen (I think it needs more cream for that), but it is a reasonable facsimile.

When I finally dragged myself out of bed yesterday for some supper I had a hankering for rice pudding. The creamy concoction seemed like it would perk me up and somehow make me feel better. But alas, I didn’t have the heart to send Carm out to the store and it didn’t occur to me that I could make my own. Not that I would have had the energy to anyway. But this morning I was feeling more capable and made a go of it. Now I have heaps (Carm is not a fan), luckily Grace likes it so she’ll help me finish it up… burp.

Today is a BEAUTIFUL day!!!! It was hot enough for me to drag one of the lounge chairs out of the barn and soak up some rays. Surely a bit of vitamin D will help me through my misery. Looking out the window it is almost impossible to reconcile that just one week ago we were fresh from the Caribbean, without power, and everything covered with a thick layer of ice. How could it be that one week later I was in a camisole with flip flops enjoying the sun. Crazy!

I was reading back in my blog that some years we have our first camp on May the first. Well, that isn’t going to happen this year. We haven’t even put the slides out for the inaugural washing of every surface to clear away the flies and asian beetles. Usually by now we would have at least one supper in the villetta, usually with a bottle of bubbles. I’d normally be itching to get out there, but this year I can’t even be bothered to put the lantern back. Maybe tomorrow I won’t be so wiped out by coughing.

I think that because I’ve been sick, and the ice storm with its power outage, I’m having trouble repositioning myself back into reality. Cruising is weird as we are living in an alternate reality. There is nothing about it that is like home and I feel that I’m in a bubble or perhaps a happy twilight zone. Coming home to an emergency state was another twilight zone, that one not so happy. And here I am, back at home in a regular way, but still I feel buffered with cotton wool. One of these days I’ll be back to reality, maybe tomorrow.

Then I’ll get the slides out and start preparing for our next adventure!

Carm has gone to the driving range in prep for his first golf day of 2018 tomorrow.

She turned to the sunlight
   And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
   "Winter is dead.” “
~A.A. Milne

Saturday, April 21, 2018

thar she blow

A cup of green tea laced with sweet honey steeps in front of me. I hold a faint hope that it will soothe my throat and calm the wicked cough that is threatening to overcome me. I am exhausted: partly from being awake much of the night and partly from the cold meds I have been taking. It is day 9 and I’m ready to be well again… or at least let me sleep without hacking my lungs out.

Wednesday we visited our accountant to sign off on our taxes and then did a giant run through Costco. The fridge was pretty empty but no so anymore. So now I have the ingredients to cook and am just lacking the will. Well stocked freezer to the rescue! We ate frozen soup last night and I’ll pick out another variety for tonight. Add a kale salad and supper is ready.

Yesterday was ‘record store day’ or something to that effect. I was reminded of the first albums that I bought with my own money. It was in the supper of 1975 at the KMart at Portage & somewhere, in Winnipeg. I bought two albums and they couldn’t have been more different. 10cc How Dare You album was alternative rock, while the Partridge Family’s album was kiddy pop - I was never truly conventional.

The weather has turned! It actually looks like spring out there, although I haven’t even ventured the tip of my nose out yet (still in pjs). The sun is shining and it looks like the temp is rising up to 11C. Wowzers.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

photos from our trip

The map of the second leg of our trip. From Fort Lauderdale to Princess Cay (a private beach resort), to Falmouth Jamacia, to Grand Cayman, and finally to Cozumel Mexico before heading back to Fort Lauderdale where we had a boat tour of the canals.


Grand Cayman tour to turtle farm and hell.


Cozumel Mexico: tour of Mayan ruins, drive along coast, tour chocolate factory


Around the ship on the sea day. We toured the stage area and performers dressing room. The guy was on of 4 main singers and had a terrific voice. It is obvious that there isn't much to do around the ship as he seems to spend lots of time in the gym - look at those 'guns'!

We met Mary and Chuck on the first day of this leg of the cruise. They are an interesting couple from Colorado that we hit it off with. Shared political views, and of course they were both IT people made for interesting conversations... We met up for a few dinners and lunches - we find the cruise is made more special when we meet nice people.


Fort Lauderdale - the overcast sky matched our gloom at heading home. Little did we know then what we'd be coming home to! The drive from hell and then 2 days without power quickly brought us back to reality.

So long Regal Princess.