Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Rusty tobacco tin

A couple of weeks ago, my mom and I went on what we now call our annual Mother's Day outing.  You see, my oldest son was born on Mother's Day.  It was a pretty cool way to celebrate my first Mother's Day although I have to admit that most of the day is a blur.  As a result, the past seven years we have tended to celebrate his birthday as a family on Mother's Day.  And as happens when you have a generous mother, she hosts the party and seems to do most of the preparation too.  (i know.  You can all shake your heads at me.  Unfortunately, I am one of those people who doesn't tend to enjoy planning big events.)  Guilt finally overcame me last year and I suggested to her that we have a day later in the summer to ourselves to celebrate Mother's Day.  A little day trip.  A little shopping.  Lunch.  She agreed and a tradition was born.

This year my aunt and her daughter joined us and we drove to nearby Elora, Ontario  situated on the spectacular Elora Gorge.  Elora is a beautiful town that is perfect for wandering, finding treasures in the unique shops and antique stores.  One antique store we explored had many theatrical treasures.  Nestled away on one of the shelves I spotted two small wrapped packages with a sign reading "Surprise Packages  $2.99  No Trades."  I can't resist surprise packages.  Neither can my aunt and we both eagerly grabbed a package.  She got a little glass jar.  I got a rusty tobacco tin.  Not much of a treasure but a nice memento of a great day.

Speaking of treasures . . . As we were preparing to leave Elora for the day, I spotted a colourful century home with a sign:   Sweet Trash Vintage Clothier .  As a side note, mom that it was a candy store and was preparing to buy treats for the boys.  She was a little disappointed, I think, until we stepped inside and found ourselves surrounded by beautiful vintage clothing.  As we made our way upstairs, we found the bridal room. I am pretty sure I want to get married again just so I can buy one of those wedding gowns.  As Plan B, I suggested to my cousin that she could buy her wedding gown  here (she's not engaged) and I would gladly be a bridesmaid.  (They also have bridesmaid dresses.)  She's very sweet and just smiled obligingly at me.

People tend to do that sometimes when I suggest something.  Just smile and nod.  My husband has it down to a science.  Just smile and nod and walk away.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

I was There

While camping, we managed to sneak in a little hike.  Our initial suggestion was met by protests from the Little Guy that he doesn't like hiking.  Funny how that once we actually start the hike, he is laughing and running along the path the entire time, almost as if he is enjoying it.  Hmm.

I seem to always be trailing behind these three.  Every so often, they would stop and wait for me to catch up.

It was around this time last year that I realized my existence in family photos was practically non-existent.  Always behind the camera, I was never a part of the action.  So last summer, I began to occasionally take a picture of myself as proof that I had also taken part in these adventures of ours.  Combined with my non-photogenicity (is that a word?  i don't think so but you know what I mean), it is not an easy task.  So much to think about.  Where to aim the camera.  Smile or no smile.  Look to the side and maybe upwards a bit to minimize the chin.  Maybe try to look soulful, thoughtful.  Anyways . . .

Proof that I was there, trailing behind, yelling words of caution to those ahead.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Just Us and the Waves

A camping trip on the shores of Lake Huron at Pinery Provincial Park has become a family summer tradition for us.  We began camping as a family four summers ago and this was our third summer at Pinery.  As a couple, Mike and I had always camped, usually at Algonquin Provincial Park, a place that from the moment I first saw it has been special, almost spiritual, to me.  Mike had even convinced me to do a back country canoe trip there many summers ago.  Quite a feat considering I had never canoed before then.  In Algonquin, one can experience almost true solitude in nature.  However, by the end of each trip, I had had my fill of dehydrated food and would have some serious cravings for potato chips.  (Yeh, I know.  After all that dehydrated food you were expecting me to say I wanted some fresh fruit and veggies.  Nope.  I wanted chips.  I think I was even chanting "Chips.  Chips"  with the last few paddle strokes of that canoe trip.)  Not so at Pinery.

The campgrounds at Pinery are more populated and the camping is easy.  You can easily have a large cone of ice cream each day at the ice cream hut.  No feelings of deprivation here.  Not much solitude either.  I sometimes saw Mike cringe at the number of people surrounding us.  (A natural born hermit, he may be.)  But the boys love it there and it wouldn't be summer for them without a trip to Pinery.  And who can blame them when this is what greets you once camp is set up.

It didn't take long for us all to fall in love with Lake Huron.  Mentally prepared for salt water, the first taste of fresh water is always a surprise.  The lake likes to pretend it is an ocean.  So do I.

The boys, especially Keegan, love the big waves that Lake Huron often offers.  On our first day, it was like the lake knew Keegan was coming and made the waves just for him.

More than the lake though, I love the time that this camping trip allows us to spend together, just the four of us.  No TV.  No video games.  No outside obligations.  No obligations to anyone but each other.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Between the Pages and Words

Lately I have been approaching drawing with a more relaxed attitude.  Not a "Now I must sit down and draw something but what" attitude.  More a "Hey, that's cool.  I think I'll try to draw it" attitude.

My fingers have been grabbing stubby pieces of graphite rather than long pencils or pens.

Usually early morning or late evening when the house is a little quieter.

My sketch book has also become more of a journal as pages of words are interspersed with my sketches.

Tomorrow we leave for our annual camping trip on the shores of Lake Huron.  The boys look forward to this week all year long and I don't think it would be summer without this trip.  We haven't started packing yet so our Sunday is going to be a little busier than I would prefer but that's what happens when you procrastinate.  See you all when we return.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Squirreling Away

It has been a great summer so far.  Lazy days intermingle with busy days, both flying by far too quickly.  Spending time with friends and family, enjoying the company of both.

Some, I know, are preparing for the cooler days ahead with canning, pickling, preserving, jamming.  As much as I love seeing other people's jars all lined up on shelves, I am just not a  canning/jamming/pickling person.  Even as I was reading my book last night, I read a passage in which the woman was taking stock of her pantry with a deep satisfaction.  "I counted over my hoard like a squirrel reckoning nuts, and felt soothed by our abundance." (Drums of Autumn, Diana Gabaldon)  As I read of Claire's rows of potatoes, jars of dried tomatoes and braids of onion and garlic, for a brief moment I felt her satisfaction and thought, "maybe next year."  Then I shook my head and realized I really didn't want to preserve food, as much as I appreciate the act itself.

But there is one thing I  am doing to prepare for the cold days of autumn and winter.  And again, this activity is mentioned in the same book but it is not Claire with whom I share this activity but the brawny Jamie.  Apparently, both Jamie and I can knit a mean pair of socks.

A recently finished pair 
in progress
to be mended
 Not that I particularly like darning socks but I set about learning how to properly do it last fall after finding that wooden sock mushroom (at least I think that is what it is called) at an antique shop.  It makes me feel very grounded to mend my own hand knit socks.

It may not be nuts but in my own way, I am squirreling away for the winter days to come.  (I know I just said the "w" word.  My deepest apologies to those I have reminded.)

**  A little aside:  I have begun listing soaps in my Etsy shop  here if you feel so inclined to take a peek.  Soaps are being added slowly as I find quiet moments during the day . . . and evening.