Monday, August 22, 2016

LIVING IN TWO WORLDS


The last two days have been contrasting ones for me! This is our week at the cottage but I, unfortunately, did not get the full week off. 

That means I left my husband, my kids, their spouses and my dog at the cottage while I did the 2 1/2 hour trip back to Belleville so I could work the next couple days. It is like living in two totally different worlds.

Sheldon and I arrived at the cottage on Saturday and first on my list was a swim. Afterwards, I did not brush my hair, just ran my fingers through it to dry.  To add to the new hairdo, Sunday dawned grey, wet and damp. The outcome was a total frizzy mess. 

Yesterday, I watched the grey waves jump up to meet the grey sky. I drank my coffee laced with Baileys like some sort of hippie: with wild frizzy hair and bra-less. I walked Lulu along the dirt cottage road looking at nothing but layers of green, brown and grey. I listened to the sound of the wind in the woods and on the water and the loons crying. I hung out in a tiny cramped cottage surrounded by my family.

Today I got up and washed, blow dried and straightened my hair into submission. I put on make up, heels, a skirt and my bra. I looked at a parking lot full of glinting metal and monitor screens. I now am alone, save for my couple of cats, in a house that seems large and empty. Talk about yin and yang!

After work tomorrow I will make the 2 1/2 hour trip back to the cottage and enjoy the rest of the week with my family at the cottage. I'm going back to that other world of water and wood and leaving the car infested, pavement thick one behind. 

I'll tell you all about it when I get back!













Saturday, August 13, 2016

I OPENED A NEW RESTAURANT

I opened a new restaurant in my back yard last night. Actually Sheldon and I prepared it last night for the grand opening this morning. 

It is a flashy affair with an elegant hook to swing from and a shiny copper roof and perches but initially it did not cause much of a stir in the neighbourhood.


My old birdhouse came with the house, where we have now lived  for 12 years. After that length of time it was starting to malfunction. The other morning I got up to see a raccoon shuffling about underneath it. As I stepped outside (careful to keep Lulu in!) it rambled off. But what did I see sitting right inside the bird feeder mowing down on the birdseed?


It was not a bird, I can tell you that! Pretty dang adorable but I am not buying birdseed for him. 

Eventually my new restaurant started to draw some attention. 


You can always count on the curious chickadee to be the first one at the table. 

Soon I had more customers. 


A sparrow and white breasted nuthatch!

I love the art of cooking and feeding, the whole process of it and the joy and sustenance it provides. 

We have been going to the market each weekend. Everything is so fresh right now I want to take advantage of the amazing flavours at my fingertips. 

Tonight, not to be outdone by the new restaurant in my backyard, I created a dish of roasted vegetables with salmon.


Here is the recipe, should you want to give it a try!

I made a marinade of salt, pepper, garlic powder and whatever seasoning I had on hand with some olive oil. I mixed that up and put in red pepper, sweet potato, and mushroom. Once they were well oiled I roasted the pepper and potatoes at 380 degrees for about half hour on a parchment lined pan (I added the mushrooms near the end). 

The fresh market corn was husked and boiled and I just used a knife to scrape off the kernels. 

The salmon was marinaded in a maple syrup glaze and pan fried in lemon infused olive oil. NEVER overcook salmon!! 

Then I put the veggies and salmon on a bed of spring greens and sprinkled the corn on top.  I used a beautiful balsamic vinegar for a dressing but you don't really need one.

Top that off with some fresh Ciabatta and local County Cider and the birds and raccoons will be quite envious. 


Bon appetite!!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

ENJOYING THE PERKS OF SUMMER

I mentioned a couple blogs back how very hot and dry this summer has been. Our city has put us all on red alert to decrease our water use by 50%! My sweaters are beginning to wonder if we are still friends anymore; they are neglected and listless, hanging on chairs and hooks. 

In the midst of hot hazy days and endless blue skies, there are perks to enjoy, and I'm about to show them to you, so scroll on.

Outside summer concerts and definitely a summer perk.


This one took place in Port Milford way out in Prince Edward County at a summer music camp, held each year. These kids blew my mind with their talent!

The market, regardless of the lack of rain, is showing off it's bounty. I rode my bike down to check out the goods!


Who could resist these sunny faces? I did, only because I could not stuff them in my back pack.

But the vegetables and fruits could be carried so I loaded up on them.

Fresh fruit is soooooo much better than when it arrives in the dead of winter. 

The strawberry season has passed but we now have a new ever bearing type to enjoy. 

And let's not forget the vegetables to be had!


Corn on the cob anyone??


I whipped up a batch of vege chilli to enjoy


Yesterday as hubby and I were perusing the market we discovered Sheldon's bike had a flat tire. Never fear, just around the corner is a handy Bike repair shop called "The Brake Room".


This is not your average Bike Repair shop. It's hip and trendy with cool vibe music playing. 


And you can buy a snack and have a bevy while you wait!


I enjoyed this cold coffee (yes, it's coffee) while the young, hip and cool dudes fixed up Sheldon's bike. 

Enjoy the perks of summer - outdoor concerts, fresh fruit and veggies, eating al fresco, cold coffee bevies and so much more. 

And don't worry sweaters, I have not forgot you. We will soon be inseparable again. 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

LIVING A MUNDANE LIFE

I don't know about you but my life is pretty mundane. 

Mundane: dull, monotonous, unexciting, repetitive, ordinary.

I work Monday to Friday. There is always housework waiting for me: dusting, dishes, vacuuming, yard work, cooking etc.

I spend a lot of time letting pets in and letting pets out. 




Even when they are standing looking in that does not mean they will sally forth if I open the door. See that vague look in Frodo's eyes? That's because he is now 14 and he may just sit there while I hold the door open waiting for him to remember which direction he plans to go. And Lulu? Well if she sees you have food handy no problem but then, there are squirrels outside. So me, the Mundanian, will open and close this door numerous times daily, sometimes hourly!

On Saturday's there are bathrooms to clean

And Laundry is endless

I think most of you, except for the Adrenaline Junkies who are ALWAYS doing something exciting, can relate to a mundane life.

But then I think about all those people out there who would love to be able to do the mundane things but they are unable to anymore. They are physically, emotionally or mentally incapable. 

I take a walk on my lunch break. The usual route with nice trees and bits of shade. But my right knee is murmuring a bit, reminding me she is now over 50 and there could be trouble brewing. She is grumbling that I may not be able to stroll about  so freely in the future.

I remember taking my sister Heidi to the laundromat. She had less than a month left on this earth and the cancer in her body was well advanced. But, she wanted to do her laundry, so that is what we were going to do. She shuffled along with her walker, little wisps of angel hair on her bald head. This once vibrant 25 year old  woman, wanting to do the mundane task of laundry. I remember the urine bag half filled with dark urine attached at her side. A young man came in to get some change and Heidi thought he was pretty good looking. I am eternally grateful to him just because he gave her a moment of joy! Of course, she could not do the laundry, I did it, but she went through some of the motions. 

Our lives are not filled always filled with excitement. Most of the time we have routine, everyday, boring tasks and jobs that we do. But even the mundane life has it's place and purpose.

This is your life. And it's ALL good.


Sunday, July 24, 2016

A BIT OF A DRY SPELL

This is my front lawn right now:


No, that is not a pile of straw. This is what is left of my grass. We are having a bit of a dry spell. The infamous weather man teases us with possibilities like 40% or even 60% chance of rain, but nothing comes of it. So, like a good citizen, I'm trying to conserve water and the lawn is paying the price. My flowers are barely keeping their heads up. Some have given up the ghost altogether. I decided to put water in the fountain as it occurred to me the birds my appreciate it!

Dry spells can affect any area of our lives: emotionally, spiritually, physically. 

So what does one do in a dry spell? Well, if you're thirsty find someplace to get a drink! 

I recently went on a camping trip. Getting out into the woods, listening to the sounds of woods, water and wind always refreshes me like an ice cold bevy. 

A couple of weeks ago, Sheldon and I came across "Prince Edward County Lavender". We are fortunate to live so close to Prince Edward County which holds so many jewels.




We sat ourselves down in some comfy chairs under the shade of a tree. There is the slight scent of lavender with the gentle breeze and a large smattering of tourists snapping photos of these frothy purple fields.

Bees are busy buzzing around everywhere doing what they do; a juxtaposition to us humans moving slowly (for a change) as we meander through the purple haze.


If you are having a dry spell find some way to get refreshed. Read a few Psalms in a quiet place, go for a walk in a field of lavender or the woods. Take an afternoon nap. The heavens may not open immediately and rain down but it will help. Eventually you will feel more like yourself and not a dry, easily fired up hayfield like my front lawn. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

MY BACK-UP CAMPING PLAN

For over 30 years I have been camping, and except for on two occasions when I had a newborn to feed, I've never missed a year. And in all those 30+ years, I have camped with my husband.

Except for this year....Sheldon dropped the bomb that due to work he would not be able to go camping. 

Camping without Sheldon? Never been done. Who is going to cook the steaks or ascertain the canoe would not fall off the car or hoist the food up into the trees to amuse the racoons and bears?

Time to put my "back-up" plan into place! 

My back-up meant bringing in a full support team consisting of an Engineer (son), Teacher (daughter), Nurse (daughter-in-law) and a Really Strong Philosopher (son-in-law). 

With the A-team in place I fearlessly headed into Algonquin Park sans husband. 

We had the canoes up and on the car in no time


I'm a pro at cooking salmon but not so much at steak so the A-team helped. They were delish!

My Engineer son built expert campfires using carefully arranged and prepped wood piles in small, medium and large.

Unfortunately he did burn his hand at one point but no fear, Nurse Carolyn was at hand to assess and provide care!

My teacher Randi was a "Monsta" on portages and provided us with interesting facts and would read to the philosopher until he conked out.  

Good thing cause Really Strong Philosopher Dan was always asking probing questions like "what is your favourite camping memory and your worst camping memory?" He was also mighty handy for chopping wood, carrying canoes etc. 


So, with all the basics covered we enjoyed our trip and the scenery


If you get the chance to canoe through Barron Canyon, I recommend it! The scenery is stunning. 


I'm sure you are wondering what skills I brought to this Trip? Well, as administrator, I prepped for the whole thing and am proud to say, forgot nothing so we all had tents to sleep in and food to eat. 

I did forget the cherries on our lunch day trip, but they were at least packed in!
Nope, doesn't look like anyone starved.

So there you have it, camping without Sheldon is indeed possible.


My plan however fell through at night when I would crawl into my tent wearing socks, track pants, shirt, sweater and zip up the sleeping bag. I was frozen and there was no hubby to warm me up! 

As good as my back-up plan was, I hope the A-team will have  "Lieutenant Colonel" Sheldon back on board the canoe. 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

A SPA DAY IS AN AHH DAY!


Let me be clear. I'm no princess. In fact I lean towards the tomboy side. Things like manicures, pedicures, primping and pampering have little appeal to me - I'm just too earthy.

So when my husband booked us a day at Ste. Anne's Wellness Resort along with two friends of ours I was like....meh. 

We left early on a gray, misty day but by the time we arrived at this little slice of heaven on earth the heavens cleared to sparkling blue skies with cotton fluff clouds floating by. 

My, My....what have we here!


Flowers, fountains


Little pathways to meander through and find quiet places


This is not so bad....even for a tomboy-type like myself!

After a brief rundown on our day's activities and where to find them, we started our day in one of the hot tubs.

Once you are warmed up in there, you slip around the corner to a smaller pool filled with much, MUCH cooler water.


Time to close those pores! I went in up to my neck (briefly and vocally) before I quickly slipped back into the welcome arms of the hot tub.

But this is where I spent most of my time - by the Olympic size pool!

I swam, sunned and basically did little else.

Food is included in the spa excursion and they feed you well!


Everything is fresh and well presented


This little morsel of lemon/blueberry cheesecake was scrumptious!


You will notice the men are wearing white robes. This was the typical attire, people garbed in white like some strange commune. I'm always a bit of a rebel so I did not wear mine much! 

My friend Shari and I both had facials (had to do something spa-ish). "Amanda" did mine and we talked food and restaurants. I enjoyed it very much and would recommend it! That's saying something coming from a no fuss no muss girl! The white robed guys each had a massage. 

We finished our day with a final walk around the grounds feeling loosey-goosey and relaxed. 

Given the opportunity, I would go again. Even us earthy types can appreciate a Spa Day!