Friday, June 28, 2019

overused tissues

Between last nights thunderstorm and the downpour this afternoon, my beloved peonies look like overused tissues. The petals are battered and the whole flower droops like its been at the ball too long.

The last week of activities caught up with me last night - I felt like one of my past its prime peonies - I couldn’t keep my eyes open so toddled off to bed before 9. The last I saw of the clock was 9:06 until this morning when I peeled my eyes open at just past 9! I obviously needed a massive recharge.

There wasn’t much on the agenda today, just golf for Carm, and a less strenuous manicure for me. Then Carm cut the grass and I painted my toes. Not quite an even splitting of duties 😉

The dogs were quiet today and perhaps Spike was wondering when Freya would come again. He’s not used to kids at all but goes along with things for a bit.

There was something rather blousy about roses in full bloom, something shallow and raucous, like women with untidy hair”
~Daphne du Maurier

Thursday, June 27, 2019

first swim day

It was a father/daughter/auntie day with a bit of Carm thrown in at the end. It was blazing hot and the cool waters of the pool invited us in (although some of us had more trouble getting in than others!

We splashed around for over an hour until the cold water had us chilled.

It was my first day in the pool and what a day it was!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

in a funk

I had been out of bed for a while - making up the sofa bed with new sheets and other puttering around tasks… cue the music. Uptown Funk blared from my little speaker and as I danced around the house like a mad woman I realized that I do have some craziness left in me! I was happy to find that I’m not a lost cause.

Rain in the morning changed to hot, humid sun in the afternoon. Summer.

The peonies are amazing and the rose bush in the front has burst into bloom. There was a pesky deerfly though.

We made a trip to Winchester to pick up Kabira’s anti-inflammatory meds (our kitchen counter is littered with dog meds. A detour into liquidation netted a bunch of stuff, including new sheets for the sofa bed. We made a trip back there this afternoon to get a few more treasures to replace some old, ratty stuff.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

party time

It is a rainy rest day that has come none too soon. Perhaps not so restful though as my goal is to finish clearing out the ‘sofabed room’ - there are many trips to the cavernous basement to be made, starting with all 5 suitcases :-0

The party went well. Unfortunately two of the guests got lost so didn’t make it for lunch, but otherwise everyone was here. During setup (while the power was off!) Carm and I brought in a couple of extra tables so we had enough seating for everyone. If I knew it would work out that well I would have tweaked the menu a bit and swapped out the buns for rice.

There was enough food. Counting potatoes in the middle of the night perhaps wasn’t necessary, but I think we would have run out without the extras. I’m glad we bought the sausages to augment the chicken as they were mostly gobbled up. The chicken was a bit dry as it spent too much time in the instant pot as we were waiting for lost guests. The cake from Costco was huge so there was lots of that. We just served lemonade and fruit punch - we have some leftover.

My brain overload a few times and I had to get Carm and Graham to help for a bit till I got my bearings again.

By 5pm most of the guests were gone and the cleanup began in earnest… tables and chairs back outside and downstairs, a million dishes run through the dishwasher, several glasses washed by hand, food packaged up… and then… whew… crash on the couch to enjoy the company of Olaf and Freya, here on one leg of their amazing father/daughter summer vacation. We talked and laughed till I was almost sick with fatigue.

Olaf is 14 years younger than me and I still can’t get the image of him as a little boy out of my minds eye. It is always a pleasure to spend time with him as an adult to see what a fine man he has grown into.

He’s still kept a bit of the kid in him though - I wish I had been able to do the same - I’m just reminded how serious I always am, especially since I’ve been drugged up, I’ve lost the childish wonder and fun. I think to myself that I should work harder at recapturing that, but then I see that I’ve used the serious word ‘work’ and think that it may be of no use! Maybe I need to spend more time with young people to get the silliness back inside me.

Monday morning Carm was up at the crack of dawn for a golf day. I slept in later. Once I put some water in my hair to stop it from standing straight up, and slipped on some nicer clothes, I joined Olaf and Freya and a cup of coffee before making a huge pancake breakfast. That small girl, just 7 years old, managed to eat SIX pancakes! She’s a tall, slender girl so must burn a lot of calories playing around.

After breakfast we went to Aunt Kari’s house for a swim (in Olaf’s rented convertible Mustang - so much for taming my hair! It was standing straight on end by the end of our adventure), and then DQ for a quick lunch and blizzards. So much fun!

Olaf dropped my off home and then I hung around until it was time to load Kabira and Spike into the truck for their vet appointment. It couldn’t have come at a better time as something happened to Kabira on Sunday - she went from a dog who could get around reasonably well to an old dog who could barely walk. She’d aged 10 years.  We were pretty worried and wondered if this was the end for her.

Dr. Carty took a good look at her and determined it was something with her neck and prescribed pain medication. Kabira seems a bit better today.

Spike was not a good dog - where did all his training go? But he cooperated enough for Dr. C to get a good look at him. He’ll be scheduled for a dental in the next month or so.

Leftovers for supper then I was into bed before 9 and asleep not long after. I was beat!

Sunday, June 23, 2019

power play

It was with no small measure of dismay that I listened to the message from Ontario Hydro about a planned power outage from 7am to 10 am (barring any problems)… scheduled for Sunday, June 23rd… Mom’s birthday party when we’d be expecting 18 people for lunch :-0  Minor freakout.

Luckily, Carm quickly reminded me that we have a generator and that it should handle anything we throw at it (except maybe the washer & dryer), and that actually it would be a really good test of the noisy beast. Crisis averted.

It’s nearing 10am now and the monster is still roaring, but we’ve gotten a lot done. I’ve cleaned a million baby potatoes, and a few big ones for good measure. Carm’s swept, vacuumed, and washed the floors, a gargantuan task. I’m getting ready to move a small table and chairs into the house for some extra seating. Then the cucumbers will be cut, dishes laid out, and a myriad of other small tasks. Things are well in hand.

I didn’t think so last night though. I had a major freak out after I went to bed. Would there be enough food? Did I have enough small potatoes for the roasted potato, sun-dried tomato and arugula salad? Probably not!!!! Get up… count potatoes… a few short… panic… Carm told me there were some big ones downstairs… bring them up and evaluate… sigh of relief and I could go to sleep.

Yesterday was busy too, but we did take time out for a marathon drive to Costco for supplies. When we leave the house, I walk down the laneway to open the gate and it is a minute or two of mindful enjoyment. I love that little walk. Yesterday I thought of the austere air of winter and compared it to the riot of roccoco of summer. Flowers, grass, and what was that other smell, painted the air with curlicues of fragrance. It made my head reel in pleasure.

How blessed I am to live such a wonderful life.

11:18 - generator still running. Hydro website estimate is ‘reassessing’ completion time. Thank goodness for the generator or my hair would be standing on end as I had a giant meltdown. Hope it is soon though so we can run the A/C.

Funny anecdote - when we were carrying a chair in Carm bashed the leg against the table - Grace immediately said ‘Be Careful!’. Who says they just mimic.

11:20 - generator off and power back on!!!

It’s now 9:20 and I am about to fall into bed. It was a fun day, and yes, there was enough to eat! My brother is visiting for the night so we’ve been ‘chewing the fat’. As soon as it is dark out we’ll wake my niece to take her out to see the fairys in the field.


Friday, June 21, 2019

the world smelled of roses

Mosquitos nipped at my bare ankles, but couldn’t distract me from the marvel I was seeing. A thousand fireflies flickered in the hayfield, mirroring the stars above. From my vantage point I could see down the field, into the dips and swales, tall grass home to a fairy universe. I stood there entranced, until the pesky mosquitoes could no longer be ignored.

It was a fitting end to a rather hard day. I don’t know what is going on with my brain but near paralyzing anxiety washes over me in waves as I go about my days. There seems to be no rhyme or reason… I just tell myself that I can carry on and somehow I do.

Pat was over for supper Wednesday night, and Trudie & Leo came over later in the evening. As usual there was spirited conversations about all sorts of topics. Strangely, I had no anxiety then - perhaps company is a good diversion. Thursday we met T&L at Country Kitchen for ½ price fajitas - they were okay.

It’s raining today. (that was yesterday)

Today the sun shone, warming the air pleasantly. I dashed around the house, spinning from one task to the next, occasionally grinding to a halt by anxiety. I’d shake it off and spin again. We got lots done today! Things are shaping up for Sunday’s celebration.

I did take a few minutes to go pull some skapes from the garlic and to linger by the rose bush that Kirsten gave us for an anniversary years ago. The fragrance is incredible… it is exactly like the ‘rose’ soap that was in my Christmas stocking one year.

I might cut a blossom to tuck into my pillowcase tonight.

It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside.”
~Maud Hart Lovelace

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

hung in the light of the moon

The chain clanged on the gate and behind me I could hear the car’s tires crunching on the gravel laneway. I turned around, every sense tuned to the wonders around me. The sweet smell of freshly cut grass hung in the still, moonlit air; the moon was bright enough for me to see the embryos of apples nestled in the leaves of the trees. My eyes scanned for the bright fairy lights of fireflies, but I didn’t see any until I got close to the house. A lone light blinked like a solitary lighthouse. They are late this year.

The next morning I repeated my walk, this time in a blazing sun. The smells were different - the grass had dried out, filling the air with the summer scent of hay. Oh, the memories that brings back. At the front of the house a few locust trees tower with crowns of white scented flowers. The hum of bees dazzled. Birds sang; a goldfinch flashed across to the spruce tree (does it have a nest in there?). Different shades of green with a pop of purple iris painted the scene. It is hard to tell which of my senses is most pleased. I try to memorize the moments to be recalled on a bleak winter day.

Okay, enough of that drivel! But seriously - I try to be mindful and to drink in every precious moment.

We’ve been busy enough: Sunday we had a visit with Trudie & Leo; yesterday Carm played golf and then we went shopping for bedding plants for the big tubs on the back deck. I think in a few weeks they will look lovely! Since we are staying home for the summer again it is worth sprucing up the deck.

I had to shear Spike’s ears as I was a bad dog mom and let them get matted. Now he looks like a dork with a big puffy head and skinny little ears like a Bedlington terrier. I hope they grow back quickly!

I’ve started emptying the room that we call the dining room, but really it is a den or a third bedroom. There’s a hide-a-bed in there underneath a mountain of junk that has no where else to live - things like the extra quilts for the camper, other extra bedding that doesn’t fit in our miniscule linen closet. Spare pool towels are in another pile. Suitcases crowd in a corner. You get the idea - a big mess. But I’ll need the bed for when Kirsten, Shawn, and the girls are here.

I might just go and read on the swing - only the second day this year to do so…

“I hold this to be the highest task of a bond between two people: that each should stand guard over the solitude of the other.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

Saturday, June 15, 2019


Home sweet home… for us and the dogs. Everyone has settled back into their routines, including Grace (although I suspect she’d rather be camping). Kabira’s guts have settled and Bella is her old self. I probably put myself through much of the angst without cause. They really didn’t need to go outside every two hours - we are back to three times out a day with no issues. Well, when Kabira had her gut ache some of our trips outside were just in the nick of time.

It is raining, but I suppose that is no big surprise this year. The grass is like a hayfield so Carm has his work cut out for him in the next few days, that is, if it ever dries up.

I’m back into a routine but it’s not a good one. I’m tired and don’t feel particularly up-beat. In fact, it is quite the opposite. A bit of lunch-bag-letdown I guess. Time to start focusing on the fun yet to be had this summer - namely a visit from Kirsten and her girls :-)

I’ve started contacting Rhodesian Ridgeback breeders about puppies - they are few and far between and I’m glad to be getting onto a few waiting lists for next year. I have mixed feelings about getting a puppy, but when I get thinking about all the fun in early training I feel a bit excited. This puppy will have the benefit of the experience I had training Spike to be a SD. I’m looking forward to it!

Speaking of Spike… I’ve been going thru years of photos putting together albums of each of the dogs and it is hilarious to see him posing for every single one. I’m lucky to get a good shot of the big dogs, but Spike is always ears up and ready for a photograph. ❤

I have found a few of the other dogs, and lots with the three of them.

Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Discard them and their value will never be known. Improve them and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, June 13, 2019


By 10 am this morning the last rig had pulled out and headed home leaving us suddenly on our own. It is strange having no dinner plans other than leftovers on our own. No crowds of people or intimate suppers for six are on the agenda for tonight. No group of people gathered in the camper to watch the basketball finals. Just us… alone.

We made a quick trip to the grocery store for some pumpkin - for the dogs guts. They gobbled it down plain, no tripe or other flavour addition needed. Hopefully this will firm up the rest of the dogs. Kabira has been good since the imodium.

A nap was on the agenda early afternoon. The sound of rain pitter pattering on the roof lulled me into a deep sleep. I’m still tired - I expect it will take me a few days to recover.

It was a great rally despite all the ups and downs with the dogs. I suppose though that I wasn’t in a terribly social mood; I was more than happy with small groups - in fact I had some periods of PEF (peaceful easy feeling Eagles) while sitting with people under the maple tree. I had times when I felt supremely relaxed and no, not alcohol fueled. Having suppers and gathering here was great. Large groups were another matter - I just wasn’t geared up for that.

We’ve already made our reservation for next year :-)

Once we got the crate and then the ramp, things went better with the dogs. They are older and need concessions but it was unfortunate that we had to figure all this out now. There were times when I wondered if this will be Bella’s last camping trip, but now I think she might make it to the fall. We shall see. If she does we’ll have to figure out what to do when we go away in November. But one day at a time.

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more”
~Lord Byron

Wednesday, June 12, 2019


Soft jazz played in the background while we sat around the table enjoying another supper together. Edna, Andy, Marilyn and Mark gathered around our table again, sharing another feast. It was M&M’s last night so it seemed right to spend time together.

It was sunny, but not as warm as it had been. A cool wind and sheer exhaustion kept me inside for much of the afternoon but I eventually emerged to sit with Edna for some congenial conversation.

Kabira’s upset seemed to settle down, although today she’s had a few tummy trouble’s prompting a trip to the pharmacy for some Imodium. I guess she must have eaten something, or perhaps picked up a bug from here. It never ends… I’ll be glad to get home and get them back to a regular routine.

We were outside early today to spend some time at Tony’s for a coffee gathering and to see M&M off on their journey home. It was one of the rare times that I joined a big group - I haven’t exactly been avoiding them, but I don’t find myself desperate for the conversation confusion.

This afternoon I’ve barely stuck my head outside and instead had a long nap. Oh gosh, I’m beat!

The dogs are up and down the ramp like champs. They seem to like it and are unruly when coming outside, rushing down before I even make it to the ground on the little bit of stair left to me. Now that we have all our ‘opportunities’ worked out things with the dogs are going smoothly. Bella is doing great and is managing well. She’s bright and happy.

Everyone got together for pizza and a final campfire tonight. I wimped out once the mosquitoes showed up and am holing up in the camper, perhaps about to get ready for bed.

Because of the dog's joyfulness, our own is increased. It is no small gift. It is not the least reason why we should honor as love the dog of our own life, and the dog down the street, and all the dogs not yet born.”
~Mary Oliver

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

a dark and stormy night

We were out of the camper early again yesterday, with coffee in hand and smiles on our faces. Christine and Peter left mid-morning so we wanted to give a proper good-bye to them. Andy and Edna joined us, our chairs pulled under the shade of the maple on our site. It wasn’t hard to pass that sunny time. Finally hunger drove us into the camper - we hadn’t had breakfast and it was past noon.

It was Grace’s 21st birthday and she celebrated in fine style with wishes from lots of people and best of all a giant chicken wing from Edna. There was only a shred of bone left by the time she was finished.

Rain clouds roiled in, forcing a relaxing afternoon inside. So much for the beautiful weather that we’ve enjoyed for so many days.

The rain poured down, but not hard enough to keep our dinner guests home. Andy and Edna were first, laden with wine and food. Marilyn and Mark followed soon after, their hands also full. We had the makings for another great meal made better with the company of some good friends. I had brought in one of the little cream tables so we were able to sit all of us at the extended table.

With the sound of the rain pattering on the roof and the flickering of our fake fireplace, it felt very cosy.

At 9pm the tv was flipped on and we gathered around to watch the Raptors basketball game. They could have won the series but at the last minute lost by 1 point. So that means another late night.

I am my mother’s daughter as she loves nothing more than gathering people together. I love having company and luckily Carm does too.

So, the first part of the night was fun… the second part, not so much…

Kabira had an upset stomach and had to go outside at 3am. I walked and walked, water coming up to my ankles at times (thank goodness for my crocs), rain and wind lashed, and still we walked. Finally back inside and back to bed. I heard her crying again at 5am so out we went again, this time walking for probably ½ an hour. At least it wasn’t pitch dark with rain. Poor dear dog. Once she was done I dashed the other two out and then back to bed for a few hours. Ask me again why I want a puppy :-/

On a good note: the dogs have almost mastered the ramp, only needing a bit of guidance on the way up.

When we adopt a dog or any pet, we know it is going to end with us having to say goodbye, but we still do it. And we do it for a very good reason: They bring so much joy and optimism and happiness. They attack every moment of every day with that attitude.”
~ W. Bruce Cameron

Sunday, June 9, 2019

ramping up

The steep and slightly slippery stairs of the camper have always been a challenge for the dogs, but now they are having an even harder time getting up, and especially getting down. Even Spike has trouble and tries to take them in one giant dangerous leap. Christine happened to mention that she had gotten a ramp for her elderly dog and that it had made a world of difference. So… out to PetSmart again…

We were excited to give it a try, but the darn thing is like a skating rink as they try to dig in their claws to get purchase. It was a bad scene. Off to Canadian Tire for some rubber mats. They aren’t quite the right size but did make a big difference. When we get home we’ll do some cutting and gluing. Now they just have to get used to using it. Note to self: train the ramp when the dog is young and agile.

On a better note, we’ve continued to have fine weather (perfect actually), and are both having a good time. I don’t find myself in the most social of moods; I’m very happy to have some company but don’t go seeking it out like I have in the past. I feel an overwhelming sadness which at times is hard to shake.

Last night was the potluck. Thirty two people huddled onto 6 picnic tables, while 3 more tables held mountains of food. I brought meatballs, and so did three other people. I guess great minds think alike. The evening stretched out and when it was time to go to the campfire Carm was away like a shot, not thinking that I had 3 dogs to walk, among other things. In the end I skipped out of the crepusular fun and had a quiet evening instead.

This morning passed quickly with visits with Edna, Andy, Marilyn, Mark, and Christine. It is very pleasant sitting under the shade of a tree with people you like.

Supper was in Kingston with Andy and Edna and then ‘home’ to talk under the maple tree. I zipped over to the campfire for a bit and when I came back Andy, Marilyn, Mark, and Carm were still deep in conversation.

The dog lives for the day, the hour, even the moment.”
~Robert Falcon Scott

Saturday, June 8, 2019

glorious sunshine

Miracously the skies cleared leaving a bright blue sky with not a cloud to be seen.This year the rally is 1 week later and it seems that was a good idea (I voted no as I didn’t want to miss my peonies, but everything is a week or more behind so I’ll likely catch them in their prime).

It’s 10:45 and I’m sitting outside in the dappled hade of a maple; there is a slight breeze whiffling the leaves and cooling the skin. Very pleasant. So far today we haven’t done any socializing, but I expect that to change in a little while. Meanwhile, I’ll bask in the loveliness of the day.

Yesterday we set out to get a few things at Canadian tire, but by the time we finished visiting with everyone who stopped by it was lunch time. Perfect! A quick check of google maps turned up a shwarma  place in the outlet mall, and since we hadn’t had breakfast…

After our tummies were full we wandered to a few shops in the outlet: an Adidas store for Carm (new golf shoes), and Laura for me (2 lovely tops, perhaps a bit dressy for around the campsite but good for almost anywhere else). It was turning into an expensive day. We easily found the Canadian tire and on our way to asile 17 where the tarp clamps were, we passed the Keurig’s on sale for a huge discount. One box was added to our cart. Oh, I should have mentioned coming in the door there were some melamine plates that coordinate with the interior of the camper PERFECTLY! And you know how I love plates and stuff like that.

The truck groaned under the weight of our purchases so we turned towards home (our villetta home).

I had a nap and then the fun began again. Christine organized a bunch of people to come to our site for a ‘bring your own supper’ gathering. Four picnic tables skirted the site and the conversation flowed. We did the same thing last  year when a bunch of people left for somewhere else. The tables are still there, easily placed to be distributed for the pot luck tonight.

We had the usual rally campfire and then Edna and I came back to our place to watch the Raptors game. We had hardly gotten settled when Carm, Mark, and Marilyn joined us. There was much cheering when they won :-)

Now for the bad… Bella’s incontinence has gotten worse since she’s been on the prednisone. We don’t have laundry facilities handy so I lay awake the second night wracking my brain for solutions. Some sleuthing on the PetSmart site gave me the answer: a fabric crate (they have vinyl floors) and extra large puppy pads for the bottom. It works! The pads absorb any leakage  and are cheap and easy to replace. She’s adapted to the crate.

She’s not much good for any walking, but thankfully there is a good potty area off the back of the site. In fact none of the dogs are up for a long walk, or even a medium one. Yesterday afternoon I went out with Kabira and Spike to do the ‘big’ loop and it wasn’t pretty. I won’t take them again. Even Spike, or especially Spike, was dragging ½ way through. He’s only 11, but I guess  he’s getting old too. It’s all rather sad and I don’t see any happiness in the future.

I better remind myself often to ‘live in the moment’.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

on the road again

On the road again
I just can't wait to get on the road again
The life I love is makin' music with my friends
And I can't wait to get on the road again
~ Willie Nelson

We hit the road at 10:28am, besting our time by 2 minutes. The new brakes were good, and the truck pulled the villetta as if it were built for it. As the landscape whizzed by we eventually fell silent… the past few days had been hectic getting the camper ready. I made countless trips back and forth from the house and a million trips up and down the stairs. At times I was frozen with anxiety and had to remind myself that I’d done this before and that, yes, I can do this. At times I had to break tasks down to micro units so that I could tell myself that I just had this small thing left to do and so I could move one foot in front of the other and not crumple onto the ground.

It’s crazy and makes no sense. These feelings crash over me out of the blue - there doesn’t seem like there are any triggers. My brain chemistry is wonky at times. But I don’t give in to the lying thoughts of my errant brain - or at least not often.

So where was I? Oh yes, all the hoopla getting the beast ready. What do people do when their camper is stored somewhere else? I guess I’m spoiled or maybe I’d simplify....

Eventually we got far enough from home and the radio crackled off so I dug out a mix cd. Soon we were singing along with our seriously out-of-tune voices, but we didn’t care!

We knew we were getting close when the bones of the earth reared out of the dirt. Pink granite outcroppings are an unusual sight in this end of Ontario, but geology has dipped a bit of the shield this far south.

Bella got some trazodone a few hours before we left and it did the trick. She was calm and quiet in the truck - no heavy breathing to exasperate her laryngeal paralysis. We were blessed with cool, cloudy weather which helped. Once we got all settled in we took the dogs for a short walk. Bella was slow - no big walks for her this week. I took Kabira and Spike a bit farther. It was a far cry from our first years here where I’d have to walk them around the big loop at top speed - multiple times.

So here we are at the Titanium rally for the 10th year! How can so much time have passed? Our first rally was 2008 in Ottawa, and I think we came to Kingston the year after. Carm remembers that we missed a year.

Our site is reasonably dry, but many of the sites are islands in a sea of water. And of course it is raining… not buckets, but each drop raises the water levels. Did I mention the mud? 16 feet need to be wiped after every outing.

Two other rigs arrived after us: Sue & Doug, and Sharon & Tony. We all got together for a supper at RAXX… Wednesday is wing night. I gobbled mine down, a) because they were good, and b) they were so messy that the sauce ended up all over my face (thank goodness for dim lights) so I didn’t want to sit there blithely conversing with sauce from ear to ear.

And so it begins - a pre-beginning actually as the rallly doesn’t officially start until tomorrow. We are looking forward to seeing all our friends, and perhaps making a few new ones.

But every memory of friendship shared, even for a short time, is a treasure, like sunshine and warmth in our lives, like a cool breeze on a humid day, like a shower of rain refreshing the earth.