Friday, June 29, 2018

peaceful easy feeling

I had that peaceful easy feeling this morning as I walked around the edge of the hayfield. The short stubble is bounded by tall grasses and wild flowers. They grow close to the fence safe from the mower. Butterflies flitted. Birds sang. The sweet smell of summer was ambrosia. I walked along the edge, shaded by the tall poplars, at least on the south and east part of my journey. They whispered their secrets to one another as I was too late for the dawn calm.

I looked across the field, past the rough grazing land to the trees by the river, and marvelled at the natural beauty and my incredible good fortune to live here.

It was already 25C at 9:30 am, and even at that the dogs lagged and didn't run around quite like they often do. By noon it was 30C, not counting the humidex. Perfect for a swim and lounging around on my shady swing. I'm writing this part as I bask in the sultry air.

Grace is in her outside castle pruning the giant branch that I shoved in there for her. She seems content.

We spent the afternoon basking in the glory of summer.

The dogs didn't get in swimming (we did though!), but spent some time under the hose.

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

Thursday, June 28, 2018

heat wave in our future

A massive heat wave is bearing down on us, and while some people might not be happy about it, I am thrilled to jump into summer with both feet. Or is that both feet into the crystal clear waters of the pool? Today there'll be a bit of rain to soften the ground up and feed the wilting plants. It has been dry, terribly dry.

Nothing exciting has happened over the last week, but there have been the simple pleasures of living in the country. The fragrance of summer plants and the heat of the sun brighten every day. I think my favorite thing about summer is the smells. Winter is austire, summer is a riot. What is that quote? 'the earth laughs in flowers' or something to that effect. It's true. Clover, vetch, some little purple flowers, bright yellow ones, all tuck themselves amoung the taller grasses. Weeds? Some would say that, but I rejoice in each blossom.

We have had some lovely social interludes. Tuesday Jo Ellen and Don came for supper. We sat outside on the swing enjoying the late afternoon until it was time to make supper. We were having a simple supper of rice cooked with  pork & red pepper, and roasted green beans, so it was a matter of turning on the actifry and a bit of work with the instant pot. Easy Peasy!

After supper we relaxed on the swing until the first mosquito showed its face.

Wednesday night we were lucky enough to be invited to Trudie & Leo's for some turkey burgers. After supper the topic turned to shoes and before the conversation had barely started Trudie had 2 pairs of sandals for me to try on. They were too small for her, but fit me perfectly. They are super comfortable with cushy soles and leather uppers. I had to make room on my shoe shelf this morning :-)

Through all of that and some days last week, I was visiting with my brother Graham. Olaf was in town but some mixed up communications meant that I didn't get to see him. Note to self: skip the middle man in making plans...

I can't forget to include the morning spent with Christina and her puppy Devi. I got some hands-on puppy time :-) Which was fun, and reminded me that having a puppy is no relaxing walk in the park. There is no sitting back with your feet up when every moment is a training time of some sort.

There is no puppy in my foreseable future... I figure that I need a good year at home with no trips away (other than camping, lots of that will be a good thing), before I could leave it in the care of a sitter. And with FIVE cruises already booked that isn't happening anytime soon :-0

Yes... you read right... we've got 5 cruises booked over the next 2 years. TWO years!!! What are we thinking? It gives me anxiety just thinking of it. The problem with us, and that's both of us, is that when we start doing something we are almost obsessive. Take camping: the first 8 years we camped almost 90 nights a year, even when we were working. Horses? we were up to 11 at one point. Parrots? We started with one pet and ended up with 5 breeding pairs, plus one pet. No, we don't do things in a half hearted way. Dogs? Three, sometimes four.

I don't know if it's my bipolar tendancies that let us get carried away, or maybe Carm and I are both wired that way, but we don't do anything in small degrees.

I can't forget to mention that the hairdresser had a field day on my head on Monday, leaving me shorn like a poodle. I've gotten used to it I guess. I was bored yesterday and decided it would be better pink - it is!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018


A walk down the laneway is like strolling through a bowl of potpourri. Each step garners fresh smells: crystalized sugar and nutmeg, a bit of honey, and the sweet smell of newly mown hay all mingle to create the essense of summer. Sometimes the heavy smell of gasoline overrides all the sweetness, but as the wind blows it away the odour fades and the crisp green smell of grass takes over.

Just saw a flash of orange and black: an Oriele bright against the sky.

The dogs are bathed and are drying in the sun. I've gone swimming and am drying on the swing. Carm? Well he's out mowing the lawn, the ever growing grass, fighting back Nature as she threatens to overwhelm us.

The sheer energy in the earth always astounds me. How can all these trees grow, and grow bigger still, on just the earth. Grass competes for the nutrients, but it seems that there is plenty to go around. From the earth to plants to insects and animals and finally us... we grow (sometimes bigger than we want) from the dirt.

Take up a handful of soil and marvel at the magic.

To see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower Hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour.
~William Blake

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

I snapped

It finally happened... I'd reached my saturation point... too much news. I could feel it happening days ago and tried to warn Carm. He didn't hear me and could only focus on how great it was that I was keeping up to date with world happenings. He didn't realize that it was my mental health that was in danger. Nightmares and feelings of rage and anger let me know I was reaching the breaking point, and sure enough, last night, I erupted and stormed out of the room with a few explictives colouring the air. All day in the car with news talk radio and when finally home the tv tuned to CNN at 4:30... I need a break.

We had a long day in town yesterday, starting with a 'blood letting', i.e. getting my veins pierced multiple times to get a bunch of vials of blood. It was all worth it though as my results were all normal - yeah! I could cut down my salt consumption a bit though to get my lithium level up just a bit - the two go hand in hand: two much salt: not enough lithium; not enough salt: too much lithium. But, (aside from the news breakdown), I've been feeling pretty good lately so I'm not going to stress about it.

After that we had a quick bagel for lunch - Montreal style which is my absolute favorite. Slightly crispy and covered with seasame seeds, oh my, I could eat one now!

We had a visit with Carm's mom which as always is a bit sad. She seems content though which is all that matters. I could see a woman across the hall that looked to be my age that was being fed her lunch. Don't take your health for granted!!!!

From there we zoomed across town to our eye doctor appointments. The usual 'this one or that one' as different lenses flicked in the machine. Soon we were done and on our way home, squinting our eyes in the bright light.

Sunday we had lunch at the cemetary where Carm's dad is interned. The funeral home puts on a free bbq every Father's day and it seems like a good time to get together with some of his family.

We saw Joe & Sandy, and shed a few tears together over Sunny. As we were leaving Joe asked 'how long does it take? How long does the pain last'. Well, we pet owners all know that the pain never truely goes away but that it does fade with time and is less immediate. There will sometimes be things that remind us and trigger the feelings again, but I guess that is the price of love. And I'd pay that price over and over again for the joy that our pets bring.

Saturday, June 16, 2018


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


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


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.