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Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday

Last Sunday was Capital City Pride Parade day in Ottawa.  I love Pride parades---they are joyful, they are over-the-top, they are inclusive and representative, and in Ottawa, mostly extremely well-received. What's not to like?  I'll tell you. 


  • Walking in the Pride Parade with a camera you always hold in such a way that your finger takes up one-third of the screen. 
  •  Not finding any pictures to prove you were there.



What I can prove is that my daughter Emily, and her daughter Robyn, were there, in a float some of the time, but mostly dancing, singing, swinging rainbow ribbons over their heads, offering PFLAG stickers to people in the crowd and generally making me glow with pride.  At Pride. 

Monday was a bureaucratic bore.

Tuesday, Dave and I decided to give ourselves a treat:  we packed up the Miata, put on sunscreen, motored the top down and headed out for an overnight stay.  Somewhere.  Dave always chooses a route that is not quick but is always panoramic.  We drove down to the St Lawrence, and followed the roads that took us closest to the river, heading towards Kingston, but not determined to end there.


We stopped in Gananoque after a truly beautiful drive looking at the Thousand Islands and choosing which houses and estates we would like to own,and found ourselves at a charming place that turned out to have rooms and a great reputation for fine dining.  Pulling in at this place and realizing how photogenic it was made both of us discover that our camera/phone batteries were down, and we didn't have a portable charger, so we decided that this would be an experience like in the old days when you might not even own a camera. As it turns out, like in the old days, we could refer to brochures (and websites).


Dinner almost made us forget how wonderful our day had already been.  This photo was not of our dinner, but it shows the artistry that we enjoyed that evening and the next morning in this lovely garden. 



Two ferry rides on and off Howe Island, and there we were in Kingston.  I made that sound just like I didn't sit there rigidly and barely breathing both times we crossed the water.  I had to stop myself from asking Dave if he would try to save my e-reader if the ferry sank.

Kingston is always a joy for me, because there are so many wonderful places to lunch, and because there are a high percentage of stores downtown that sell flowy clothes and Indian, Thai
and Mexican jewellery.  So with a bag of clothes and a bag of bracelets, we sat outdoors on a bench, eating a tuna sandwich on artisan bread (Dave) and the thickest ever pain au chocolat (moi) while sharing a just-made lemonade from le restaurant Pan Chancho, which I hold in high esteem.

Life is good.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Be afraid...be very afraid

Can you imagine how easy it would be for a giraffe to sit in a rocking chair?  a baby to spell its own name?  a shooting star to play baseball?


That's how easy it is for me to work on a budget---and that's just the part where you make the spending choices, not where you actually achieve synchronicity between choices and resources.

I've been reading budgeting tips and calculating, and researching appropriate percentages and calculating, and screaming and calculating and I can't get it right. 

There was a time when our budget was easy.  Dave and I lived with my brother and we put our names on the receipts for things we'd agreed to share and got to use the rest of the money, if there was any, for improving our lifestyle.   It was an up and down  existence but very simple.

Generally though, as we matured, Dave worked on the budget, shared it with us all and sweetly reminded us of the consequences if we overspent.  Some of us always did, and I am obviously using the royal "we".  

It really got messed up if I got vacation pay or a union boost because I had already spent that money several times over by the time it actually hit my bank account, and then there was our incompatibility about the wonder of credit.....only I thought it was wonderful, and worth the high interest rate.  We chugged along though, mostly because I only thought of budgets and money responsibility twice a year---just before Christmas and just after, and because David is the most forgiving and generous of men. 

We're now at a place where we really have to live on our pensions though, so it's start from scratch.  And because I am the person who seems to spend the most outside of what we consider our necessities, it seemed like a good idea for me to work on the budget and get to undestand our new realities.

I'll have to stop buying books, but we've got a great library system. I'll have to choose between cosmetics and skin care and I know where that takes me.  We'll have to actually look at the price of groceries and I might have to cut back on my wine intake.  Maybe I can grow my hair, get involved in a shoe exchange, learn to make soap and candles or remember how I used to make clothes.  

Or maybe we'll give up the condo and just rotate amongst the kids. We promise to buy the beer.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Where I am Monday

I am back from the cottage we rented.  We are all back from the cottage we rented, one of us relieved.
Whew!!!

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

E--y and W------ul

Dave and I have been married now for 35 (not, as I recently told a bunch of my family, 39) years.

As a rule, we're either collectively or singly busy on our anniversary, and celebrate it on another day.  It works fine for us. This year though, we were both free, our car was available and we decided to have breakfast out and see what happened after that.

Sleeping in, and getting congratulatory calls from our kids, made us change our plan to having brunch, and we got in the car, put down the top and headed into town where we planned to brunch at the Sheraton, where we had had many a Sunday mid-morning celebration over the years.  We could have walked there, but because we had plans for the day, we drove and ran into the most horrendous traffic jam we'd hit in years, because of the memorialization of the start of the First World War which was being held at the national Cenotaph.  We twisted and turned our way through it and finally had almost arrived at the hotel, when we got stopped, siren and flashing blue lights, for turning left at an intersection where only cyclists are allowed to turn left.  

"Oh well," we said to each other, "this was a righteous call and we'll have to pay for it."  Little did we know.  We couldn't find our ownership papers or our insurance papers and Dave uncharacteristically fumbled being charming to the man in blue. Amazingly, what we had to pay was only half an hour of our special-to-be-day, even with the lack in charisma---and we got off with 3 different warnings.  Did you know you can't tear up a plasticized warning?  Did you guess that the Sheraton no longer serves brunch?  Did you see the horrendous rain storm we encountered on our drive in the countryside, in which we went about 40 miles out of our way by mistake?  Did you know that almost none of the stores in touristy Almonte were open on the holiday?


Almonte Inn and Kitchen view
You'd think all that might have ruined our day, but we found a wonderful bookshop open and just by luck wandered into the store that carries the Chalk Paint I've been wanting to buy for months. Then just as we should have been running out of luck and heading for home, I saw a road sign advertising an open patio at the Almonte Inn and Kitchen, where we sat overlooking the river, just beyond the garden and the green green grass and we listened to birds, tried unsuccessfully but hilariously to identify local trees, had sweet corn and ribs we saw done on the bbq, and I had lots of wine.

35 great years, topped off with a day both edgy and wonderful.
Still crazy, and happy, after all those years.
 

Friday, 1 August 2014

What do these things have in common ?


  • fill the kettle
  • place coffee in the plastic cone on top of my cup
  • combine washed berries with yoghurt and grab a quick taste
  • pour boiling water through the cone
  • make the bed
  • start up the laptop
  • refrain from Facebook
  • collect my book/magazine from the side of the bed
  • turn my black coffee into a double, double
  • finish the yoghurt and berries
  • sit down in the living room with my coffee and book/magazine
  • look up, puzzled


These are all things I do while Dave is putting on his runners in the front hall.  I dearly and deeply love this man, and his qualities are myriad and amazing, but the man has no relationship with time. Should it matter?

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Unremembrance of things past

Today and yesterday I spent hours reading my old blogposts and the comments people have left on them, and it was so much fun.  I would look at the title and try to figure out what the post was about, and seldom was I right.  To make that seem less doltish, I often couldn't find a connection between the title, which I always slipped in last, and the content.  Imagine what that must have been like for people who read those posts.

It saddened me a bit to see comments from people I don't hear from anymore---mostly because they've gone to Facebook or Google Plus, and stopped writing blogposts.  When I was reading the 2010 posts, especially the ones written around our trip to California, I was reminded how amazing it was to have actually met some of the people whose blogs I read.  Blogging seems to make stronger links between people than Facebook or Google Plus, probably because so much more of the writer is invested in blogs.

Most surprising was the change in our grandchildren as evidenced by the photos and videos.  I thought I could remember everything about those kids, so I was delighted to see them in forgotten photos where they were younger, rounder-faced, not-walking-yet or still wowed by things that are old-hat to them now.   

I always hoped from the time I first started blogging that I would take pleasure in it.  What I hadn't realized that the pleasure wouldn't be just in the writing.  

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Paradise Regained

 Two years ago, after convincing my family that I wasn't just infatuated, but in real love, with the iPod nano, I was gifted with one for a significant birthday.  With the help of my talented kids and grandkids, I learned how to use it, and downloaded a lot of music I really loved.  Heavy on:
Meat Loaf

Evanescence

The Civil Wars

Hart Rouge

Lucinda Williams

Ron Sexsmith

Heart


And I know I'm going to be annoyed at the loved albums I haven't referred to.  I didn't include any of the classical ones, because although I thoroughly enjoy it, I can't line up the music with the concertos, movements and symphonies, not to mention the composers.

I loved walking with an iPod, crocheting with one, sitting in a chair with popcorn and one, or drinking wine and eating chocolate with one.

Last summer, I lent the Nano to Emily.  She is a sweet and generous person, and I decided that I wouldn't ask for it back, knowing how full of babies and work and meals and kickboxing her life is.  And now I have an iPod shuffle, which is teeny tiny efficient, cheerful and did I mention inexpensive.  It's perfect.

I'd totally forgotten how much I love having music beating in my ears, and how happy it makes me to find ways to do stuff with music in the foreground.  




Monday, 21 July 2014

Lucky? I guess!!

I took none of the following photos, which explains why I really love them.  I wish I had more.

Last Friday, Chris was home overnight, and Dave was just a week past his birthday, so we had a family dinner to celebrate those two things.  It was an excellent evening, at which only one of us took photos, which was really a shame because we'd spiffed up the patio, laid on a good-sized meal which included Chris's special request for roast beef and yorkshire pudding and shared the hand-made birthday greetings that some of the people at Dave's 60th birthday had given us to present to Dave on his next significant birthday.  Food, drink, friends, family, balloons, kids, and emotion---it couldn't have been better, unless it had been bigger, which Dave had especially asked that we not do.

Dave, post-food, pre-birthday greetings:

Me and our friend Merv, watching kids' hi-jinks:



And an especially lovely photo of Emily:



We have been so lucky to have such wonderful days to treasure.


Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Why there is no image with this post

Is there a "Selfies for Dummies" site?  

This evening, Dave and I went out for dinner---just us; a date.  I changed into a brand-new dress, chose the exactly right necklace and earrings, added my favourite wedge heels and did the make-up thing to what felt like perfection.

"Hmm" said I, "I could take a picture of me as a grown-up in a dress I really like, and post it on my blog and just relax and enjoy the compliments."

AAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

I couldn't figure out how to get a selfie that showed the dress without cutting off my head, or without showing just the top of a dress whose specialness is in the bottom half.

Never mind.  Dave and I went to a place called Salt on Preston St., and got 600 times our money's worth in date qualities.  The bartender introduced himself, remembered our names and used them until we left, the wine and the food were superlative, the owner came round and asked us if we were enjoying ourselves, and the bathroom was a place I could live in for the rest of my life.  Photos were extraneous.

Just imagine a time we were together and you thought I looked the best I'd ever looked.  Then add the magic of a couple of glasses of wine, flattering candlelight and the love of my life.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Memorable

Last week, we went to Barrie for our granddaughter Phoebe's graduation from high school.  There were 350 graduates.  When I graduated from high school, I was at a girls-only Catholic high school and we had 6 graduates.  Quite a different event.  

Here are Phoebe's photos:
diplomaed 


diplomaed and flowered



Phoebe and proud Dave 
Phoebe and proud but short Lorna