Monday, August 22, 2011

Sigh, only two more days of holidays left.  I know I shouldn’t complain because I have had six weeks off, but. . .

. . . the thought of returning to work just makes me tired.

I had such high hopes and a ridiculously long list of things to do at the beginning of summer.  Here it is, nearly over, and I got but a fraction of my list checked off.

I did, however, have some great times and created some wonderful memories.  And that is infinitely more important than painting the guest bedrooms.

The time we spent at my sister’s place in Ontario was magical.  Having my son and his family there with us was a dream come true.  Watching my three little ones laugh and swim and run around chasing bugs was pure joy.  Hailey learned how to play UNO and became quite the little card shark!  Timothy discovered that swimming is fun and Ethan, well Ethan he just had us all at his beck and call (he is, after all, only 22 months old).  Well, and with a smile like his, who could resist doing what ever it was he wanted you to do?

The food was fabulous, the drinks refreshing — had my first beergarita — thanks Sis! — the weather absolutely gorgeous and the water cool, clean and blessedly near at hand.  We couldn’t have asked for a better vacation than the one we had at Pistol Lake this summer.

When we left Ontario it was to return home and do a quick one-night turn around before heading to Yahk, BC. to spend a week camping with Tim’s brother, Rick and his wife, Connie.  Two of my most favorite people in the world.  We arrived about 9 o’clock on the 9th with just enough light left to throw up the tent.

Again, we had a fantastic time.  The company was wonderful, and the weather was incredible.  My hubby spent a few hours widening and deepening the natural pool in the tiny river that flows along the edge of the campground (we had a lovely spot right on the river) and here we spent a few  ‘happy hours’ in an effort to escape the heat.

We drove in to Creston one afternoon to buy cherries and peaches and fresh veggies at the market gardens.  Of course, you get taken at these places because they know us dopey tourists will pay anything for a taste of BC’s bounty.  But, you know that going in, so it’s not too bad. And the cherries were wonderful!  The peaches?  Not so much.  a little dry and mealy — I was very disappointed.  However, the cukes, tomatoes, peppers and onions were delicious and fresh.  They made a tasty marinated salad to go with our barbecued steaks.

Creston was very disappointing.  It’s really gone down hill since the last time we were there, about 4 years ago.  Nearly a third of all the stores on the main street were closed and it doesn’t appear that there’s much effort being made to spruce things up. As with all small tourist towns the prices are steep, but in Creston, they’re ridiculously so.

Connie and I wandered a bit while the guys checked out a pawn shop and then went for a beer (or two or three) and we found a lovely little book/gift/coffee shop/store called The Black Bear.  I bought my husband a book called “The Beer Belly Blues”  a very good book about the changes men go through as they age.  I wasn’t sure if he’d be offended or not, but he has had some struggles as he’s gotten older and I think this book is giving him some really good answers.

I also bought a CD by the artist Adele.  It’s called 21 and is amazing.  She has a smoky, powerful, soulful voice.  I highly recommend her.

Eventually, we hooked up with the guys and went for Chinese food.  I was ravenous by this time and I can’t believe how much I packed away — and I don’t even really care for Chinese food!  Then we headed back to Yahk, but stopped in to see a friend of Rick and Connie’s along the way.

He and his wife have built a B&B up in the mountains and are in the process of creating a mini-resort for campers.  They have a beautiful home and tons of ambition.  They’re in their seventies and still entrepreneuring!  Made me feel a little humble, I have to say.  But, back at camp a couple of beers and a few rounds of Crazy 8’s fixed that!

The next day we spent a late afternoon in Cranbrook (where Connie and I found yet another terrific bookstore, this one specializing in used books.  They also had a rather amazing and diverse collection of magazines.  We picked up a couple to help while away the hours spent in our lounge chairs back at camp.)  Then it was on to check out the casino at St. Eugene’s.

Quite a lovely place, as far as resorts and casinos go.  We played games for a while — I came out about $60 ahead.  Then we had a dinner, played  a little bit more and then headed for camp.  Unfortunately, we took the wrong turn and were headed towards Kimberly.  Tim was tired and stressed, Connie gets motion sickness from driving on too-wind-y roads, Rick and I in the back were arguing over which way we should have gone, and we were short on gas.  Great fun!  Luckily, we managed to get ourselves turned around before reaching Kimberly, made our way to only open gas station in Cranbrook, loaded up with coffees and Slurpees and hit the road back to Yahk.  Where we decided we weren’t leaving again until it was time to go home.

We made one other excursion, and that was to take the logging roads up behind Yahk to go find some waterfalls on Hawkins Creek.  We had a great time.  Got some beautiful photos, picked saskatoons that were as big as grapes, oohed and aahed over the scenery, and then, just when we’d given up hope of finding the falls, we stumbled across them.

Some very remote country back up in the hills, and there are all these little campgrounds in there with absolutely no amenities.  Other than an immaculately kept outhouse or two.  We came across a couple of campers, but saw no people.  They were probably off hiking or fishing, and all I could think of was “this is bear country, serious bear country, I’d be terrified to be up here on my own.”

I would not have made a good pioneer.

As with all holidays this one, too, had to end.  We packed up on the 15th and headed back to Lethbridge with Rick and Connie for a night.  There to get cleaned up and get a good night’s sleep before making the trek back to Bon Accord.  After supper I went and soaked in the tub for about an hour.  The smell of my hair when I got it wet was enough to make me gag.  Campfires are lovely when you’re around them, return to civilization, however. . .

So, now I’m back to real life.  A house to take care of, bills to pay, a job to return to.  I’ll start parceling my time out again in weekends and to-do lists.

Whenever I start feeling a little sorry for myself, I’ll remember that I had a great summer and I’ll be grateful that I did.

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

It’s a glorious March morning here in Bon Accord.  The sun is shining, the birds are chirping and my husband is ironing his work shirts — in the nude.  I know, I know, but hey, I live with him. And part of why I love him is for quirky little things like that.

I would never and I mean NEVER even consider doing anything in the nude.  Just all that exposure — can’t handle it.  He, on the other hand, revels in his ‘freedom’.  It’s like his challenge to the world — see me! — and always with a huge, crooked grin on his face.  I just pray he stays away from the windows.

Although I’ve had an extremely busy, somewhat stressful week just passed, it was for the most part pretty good.  I felt like I really accomplished some good and put in some good time at work.  We are close to Spring Break and emotions are always running a little high for a couple of weeks before.  The kids are itching to get out of school, teachers and staff are stressed about report cards and parent/teacher interviews and parents are concerned that their kids aren’t learning up to their potential or are being short-changed somehow.

Give us all a week off in the sunshine and fresh air and we’ll settle down and revert to normal.  Whatever normal is.

Personally, I can hardly wait for the break.  I need some serious ‘down’ time.  Time to get some writing done, time to read, time to start cleaning and purging.  Time to do anything but think of work.

Now, I’ve got to make a comment about the avalanche in Revelstoke yesterday.  The second one.  The first one was bad enough.  The deaths, injury, destruction, recriminations, talk of legislation, etc., etc..  My reaction, like a great many others, was: What a bunch of stupid yahoos!  How do they justify stupidity as a sport?  And how do they justify putting so many people’s lives in danger for what they call their ‘love of nature’?

Yeah, I just love the thought of people being buried under tons of suffocating snow.  I love the thought of someone’s child living without one or both of his/her parents because Mommy and Daddy died doing what they ‘loved’.  I love the thought of parents burying their child and having to explain their heartbreak was caused by a recessive gene for stupidity.   The ensuing arguments over whose side it came from must be a laugh riot.

All the bullshit that came out following that first avalanche about how these ‘nature lovers’ and  ‘thrill seekers’ are not just redneck morons, but actual doctors and lawyers and accountants and. . .  just about made me want to. . . well, I don’t really know what it made me want to do, I just know it made me insane for a moment or two.  As if looking to their ranks and proclaiming that they’ve got ‘professionals’ amongst them somehow legitimizes their complete and utter lack of brains.  An education or initials behind a name is certainly not an indicator of intelligence — merely an indicator of choice and opportunity.

Now, yesterday, another avalanche, bigger and more devastating than the first was yet again triggered by idiots on snowmobiles.  One person is confirmed dead and the search is on for more buried beneath a mountain of snow and debris.

There’s always the argument tossed out that you can’t paint an entire group with the same brush as you would one or two of its members because of stupid or reckless behaviour and questionable personal beliefs and morals.  Not all Nazi’s were bad, if you get my drift.  They just happened to belong to the same organization that sanctioned whole-sale slaughter and ethnic cleansing, but they didn’t all actually DO any of that, or, so they say.  They were, they’ll tell you, good people, caught up by an idea that just went wrong.

and if you believe that. . .

. . .then you’ll believe that snow mobilers are just innocent victims of the nature they so dearly worship and love.  They are seduced by pristine, virgin snows and clear blue skies to drive, en-mass, into the wilderness with their pollution-chugging trucks and SUV’s.

They churn up the valleys and river banks with their high-priced toys and then they leave their garbage and their beer cans, the butt-ends of their celebratory cigars, their baby’s diapers and their children’s snack wrappers littering the place they swear they revere.  They disrupt the habitat of countless species of wildlife, none of which they ever see, because they make so much noise and wreak so much havoc that the wildlife flees in desperation.

Yes, these people are not rednecks, these people are not reckless and selfish and thoughtless and moronic, these people are ‘getting out there’ , they’re ‘experiencing’ life, they’re spending ‘quality time’ with family and friends.  Somehow, I’m just not buying it.

Why, I ask, did this second group of snow mobilers go back to an area that they knew was unstable?  Someone give me an answer to that, one that makes sense and I’ll stop spewing my derision for this group of idiots.  I seriously hope that no one else was killed or injured in that massive avalanche, but I think that’s pretty naive on my part.  I also seriously hope that the government steps in and starts making these people take some responsibility for their reckless behaviour and that they make them accountable for the cost of rescue efforts and clean up.

One more thing — do you know who I feel the most sorry for in all of this?  It’s the police, the avalanche patrol, the rescue workers, the health service providers and the rational people of Revelstoke who have stepped up and provided assistance, help, aid and comfort to the victims of these preventable tragedies — they’re the true heroes.