July 4th – July 17th

Day 186 – 199 — Wowza!  199 days blogged about.  NOT — to clarify — 199 blogs, but 199 days recounted in my blog.

I’ve been busy with summer and holidays, hence the break in writing.  I left on July 7th to go have a little mini-holiday with two of my sisters.  We went to my one sister, Lori, and her husband’s cottage in Northern Ontario.  Near Kenora.  I may have written about it in the past.  It’s a lovely place.  We spent the better part of a week just sitting on the dock, drinking various cocktails and beers, playing Scrabble, and jumping in the lake when it got too hot.  I am proud to say I got a tan.  Some have even said:  “you look great — all tanned and relaxed” so that made me feel pretty darned good.

Prior to leaving for my little holiday I had spent time trying to get my house in order.  Cleaning, gardening, making sure the bills were paid, etc.  Boring, but necessary stuff.

I had high hopes that Tim would have the pergola finished when I got back, but alas, it was not to be.  He has got the main beams up, so now I’m just praying that he gets it done before the end of summer.  If we have a nice autumn I’ll still be able to enjoy it for a bit.  In Tim’s defence, I have to say that it rained a lot the week I was gone.  It rained only once while I was at the lake, and only for a little it one afternoon.  And it was warm rain.  Not like the cold rains of Alberta, at all.

When I arrived in Calgary Monday night for my connecting flight I was very disheartened when the pilot came on to tell us that the temp was 15 degrees.  I nearly gasped.  For the past week I had been enjoying temps in the high 20’s and low 30’s.  Talk about a shock.  Still, when I stepped off the plane in Edmonton, where it was a wonderful 2 degrees warmer, it felt good to be home.

As much as I always dream of getting away, I’m always grateful and happy to get back home.

With so much of summer still stretched out before me I’ve got lots of plans and lots to do.  I’m going to make the most of every moment and be joyful in the moment.

A few shots of my sister’s place in Ontario:

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Well . . . I’m back

Not lots of time to post much right now, just want to let everyone know I’m back from holiday.

We got back in to town on Tuesday night, and I’ve been playing catch-up for the past two days.

You know the drill — laundry, groceries, phone calls, bills — all the stuff you run away from when you go on vacation.

For the moment I’ll just say we had a fabulous time — more fun than I’ve had in ages, with tons of great memories to treasure and share.

I’ll be posting pics of our trip over the next few blogs — hope you enjoy them.

It’s good to be back on this space — can’t wait to check out what you all’ve been doing.  (That’s a brutal, but rather fun contraction!)