Sunday, October 28, 2012

Scare Fair

Last weekend we headed into Elora for the annual Scare Fair.  We love Elora in the fall, and October is Monster Month ... so we always find a reason to go!  Check it out!

Even I got into a picture ... there I am, the creature is about to squish my head!

Wine Country

Earlier this month, Steve and I headed to Ontario Wine Country in the Niagara Region.  Along the way we stopped to hike along the Bruce Trail near Grimsby.  We had a gorgeous day, so bright and sunny ... the leaves of the hardwoods just starting to turn.  What a beautiful view!

After the hike, we headed to Vineland ... our first stop, 30 Bench Winery. 

30 Bench
We were directed to a table overlooking rows upon rows of grape vines.  We selected the wines we wanted to taste while we enjoyed the beautiful view.  We tasted some of the small-batch wines ... wines that never make it to the retail stores because of the limited supply.  I highly recommend this winery!

Steve in the tasting room
While we enjoyed the wine and the view, Steve made some notes in his little pad and then, while he made several purchases I dashed out into the vineyard to take this picture.  Just look at those plump juicy grapes!

Cab Franc
During Savour Stratford we tasted some wine from Tawse, and we were eager to visit their winery!

We didn't know this before hand ... but well behaved dogs, on leash ... are welcome here!  We headed into the tasting room excited to taste some of their wines.  We were not disappointed ... again, there were several that we enjoyed ... and we had over-spent at 30 bench!  Ahh hell, we tossed the budget out the window and bought several more bottles of excellent wines!

Tawse Tasting Room
Our planned next stop was Fielding, except we didn't quite make it.  We saw the sign for Malivoire ... and turned in ... we had some excellent wine from Malivoire years ago.  So, we headed in ...

More yummy wine ... and yet more wine purchases.

More grapes
After Malivoire we were both done in ... we ended up stopping for a bite to eat ... sometimes there is too much of a good thing!  Hopefully we'll make the trip later this year, I've heard some good things about Fielding wines.

VQA is A OK!

Family ... what are ya gonna do?

I have not blogged in a while ... life just keeps getting more and more busy!  I mean, really. 

So I plan on posting a few things tonight, this one will be buried, and that's maybe for the best.  Here goes ....

I'm 50 ... 50, wow ... and as I aged, I really felt that the idea of "family" had more meaning.  I grew up in a very disfunctional family ... but not as bad as some that I know of.  For us, words were weapons.  And to top it off, I was always mocked for being "too sensitive".  I grew up feeling utterly worthless, I was painfully shy ... and really, really fat.

Over the years I have gained confidence although my relationship with family was on and off ... but somehow it was always my fault.  My mother thought me "disgusting" because I didn't wear make-up ... or I was a "useless sponge" because I wasn't able to get a job immediately after graduating grade 12.  When I moved to northern Ontario I didn't see her for years, and then both my brother and my sister married and both started families of their own.  I wanted to be a part of that so I managed to find a job in Mississauga and I moved south.

It wasn't always easy, but I think that we did well ... after all, we were all grown up, right?  But after 10 years I realized that I was doing all the work.  We live just over an hour away, and I headed down at least 3 times a month ... and usually more.  But I did all the driving, and I did all the calling.  When my sister became seriously ill ... I took time off work to help out.  When my mother had her knee replacement ... I took time off work to help her get back on her feet, literally!  There was no question about it, I wanted to help. 

I started dropping hints ... but it soon became a kind of joke ... listen to her, would ja?  Finally I decided to sit back and see how long it took for someone to call me ... and 6 weeks later ... nobody did.  I was forced to make the trip to see my mother on Mother's Day ... and I got an earful ... she could have been dead and I wouldn't care.  When I asked her why she didn't call me ... well, the look on her face ... that's when she told me that she found it "frustrating" that we use voice mail.  She absolutely refused to call me.  So again, we waited until July, when again, I made the drive for her birthday.  This time the atmosphere was cold, no, freezing, sub-zero.  I tried to explain that I was tired ... I wanted someone to make an effort for me ... give me something back ... for me, a phone call ... that's it.  Soooo, Christmas rolled around and still no one called.  Steve and I made the drive down and spent an uncomfortable day ... it wasn't all bad ...I was happy to see the boys!

This year, instead of driving down, I called her for Mother's Day and her birthday.  When my aunt Marj died I picked up the phone to let her know ... hey, and guess what ... she said that she felt abandoned and unloved!  I just couldn't take it ... I was dealing with the "lump" in my neck, and well, I lost my temper and told her that I was done.

That's the last time I've talked to her.  I received a card in the mail on my birthday ... signed "your Mother".  It lasted 3 minutes ... Steve snatched it away from me ... ripped it apart and stuffed into the compost!  I am SO done.

I still love them.

I hope to continue to scrap some of the PAST family get-togethers without all the emotional bagage.  It's strange ... at first I was hurt ... then angry.  But right now, I feel humiliated.  You know, that person that's always there, but never missed when absent ... well, that's me.

So this year we have made plans to spend Christmas Eve with Jean and Joe, two wonderful people we met last year... and their family.  Then we're off to Huntsville to spend Christmas and New Years in Algonquin Park!  Restful!

Sunday, October 7, 2012


This year I'm taking thanksgiving to heart.  I'm truly blessed and have so much to be thankful for ....

First, I'm happy to be alive!  Apart from the "C" scare I had this year, I lost my aunt, and consoled a friend who lost his wife to "C" ... she was younger than I.  So, I'm grateful to be alive ... and vow to live each and every day like it was my last!

I'm grateful for my husband.  Steve is the best thing in my life ... truly!  We are two halves of the whole ... soulmates in every sense of the word ... he takes care of my every need ... there is no one luckier than I when it comes to life-mates!  I live each day with my best friend!

I'm so very grateful that fate has provided (both Steve and myself) with incredible people we call friends.  I'm on the "outs" with family right now ... that's another story ... so this year, when I so needed support, we were lucky to meet a couple ... an older couple ... who helped me through the fear, who offered us support, who cared ... you know?  So, I'm grateful to Jean and to Joe.  Jean was there ... a shoulder to cry on, advise to give ... a pillar of strength and hope ... just when I needed it ... when my own family shunned me.

I'm grateful that I have meaningful employment.  I know so many people who have been affected by these hard-times.  While my job may be very stressful ... I have survived several cut-backs ... I really do love my work ... I'm good at it, and I'm paid well.  I'm grateful for that.

And I'm so grateful for the unconditional love that I receive each and every day from my kitties and dogs!

Happy thanksgiving everyone.  I hope you are as happy as I am!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

It's out! Creating Keepsakes!

So, I wandered down the stairs yesterday and there on the table is an open magazine with gorgeous landscape photos ... I picked it up, and sighed "Oh these are beautiful." ... it took me a few moments to realize that one of the photo's I was admiring was MINE!  I totally forgot about the Creating Keepsakes Magazine issue Better Digital Photos and Scrapbooking.

Two of my landscape photos were selected ... the first is a picture of the most beautiful place that I have ever been, Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta Canada.  We visited in 2008.

Moraine Lake
And a picture that I took in 2009 ... up at Murray Lake in northern Ontario during our annual vacation there ... except for this year.  I like to call this "Autumn Fire".

Murray Lake
I've spend some time thumbing through the magazine ... and there's a tone of great ideas, tips and techniques that I'm going to employ when I get the chance ... really great stuff in there. 


This week we're having a little stay-cation ... Steve doesn't have the entire week off, but I do ... oh I so need this!  I plan on doing a little baking, some clean-up and organization, some gardening and lots of scrapping!

I'm calling this week my Birthday Week, cause I turn 50 this year ... yesterday as a matter of fact!  I think that I'll need the whole week to celebrate.

I'm glad we're sticking close to home this week ... miss Myst, my sweet little lady cat has come down with a respiratory infection.  It hit hard and fast, she's really feeling ill.  We took her to the vet yesterday and she's on medication.  I'm hoping we can knock it down fast ... and to think that we might have been away up north ...

Bailey ... welcome to the 'hood!

Our friends two doors down brought home a puppy!  Nothing helps heal a grieving heart like a brand new puppy!  In fact, I saw a quote on Pinterest ... it went something like this ... "Everytime you lose a dog, they take a little piece of your heart with them.  And everytime you welcome a new dog into your life, they gift you with a little piece of their heart."  I like that.

So without further ado ... Here's Bailey!

The gang's all here!

Algonquin Colour, at it's Peak!

Another great weekend get-away ... this time Algonquin Provincial Park ... famous for the dazzling displays of colour in the fall.  I've never seen the park so crowded ... EVER.  There was no chance of seeing any moose this visit!

We walked several trails ... even managed to hit them during a lull.  Each time we emerged from the forest after a hike, the parking lot was full to overflowing ... cars and buses even parked out on the highway!

Steve with Tuck, Syd and Alfie.  Lookout Trail

The colour was incredible!  The weather was cloudy/rainy mix ... ah well.

The only wildlife we saw was a pileated woodpecker and a red squirrel.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


I've written about Loki before ... he's an ancient golden retriever ... a real character ... he lived 2 doors down ... and whenever he was outside, he'd come over to our back door and bark ... he really loved our dogs ... and we all loved him too ...

 Loki died.  We knew the day before, he was in a bad way ... and we knew it was his time.  I'm glad that we were able to sit with him in the lush green grass and give him one final snuggle ... and say good-bye.  His owners are filled with grief ... he was such a good dog ... a real gentleman.

Happy 4th Birthday Tucker

The first day of Fall, September 21st ... Tuckers birthday ... sort of ...

Well, since Tucker is a rescue, we don't really know his date of birth ... but based on his estimated age, well, we decided to celebrate his birthday on the first day of Autumn.  He is so handsome!

So, we visited the "Barkery" in Stratford while we were there for the culinary festival and got him a special "Happy Birthday" doggie cake ... he has a sweet tooth, and he loved his cake ... this picture really makes me laugh ... he couldn't wait to eat his piece!

Happy Birthday Tucker!

Savour Stratford

On the day we were supposed to wake up from our first night in the remote wilderness of northern Ontario, we instead headed to Stratford Ontario for their 5th annual Culinary Festival.  Our first stop ... breakfast ... or rather "Bacon and Eggs", hosted by a local producer of eggs and pork products, paired with a local chief.  The first course ... egg custard served in the egg shell, with a crisp slice of bacon ... Yum!

The final offering was a deep-fried poached egg with bacon and heirloom tomato chutney on toasted brioche ... so rich!

While we savoured the chiefs creations we were given more information on eggs and pork products ... and even "candled" some eggs.

Later, we participated in a wine tasting event ... beautiful crystal and VQA wines from Niagara!

The next day, Sunday, we participated in the main event ... dozens of local producers of dairy and meat products, growers of grain and produce, wine and beer ... paired with local chiefs ... ohhhhh what a day!  We sampled all of it ... and even ate ontario lamb ... and enjoyed it.  What a great weekend!

Vacation Lost

So, well ... we are not taking our planned vacation this year.  As it turned out, it was for the best, but that's another story.  Even though we planned this vacation a year ago, as the time neared ... it was just a bad time for both of us ... so for the first time in years, we'll not be heading to Murray Lake.  I'll miss the solitude ... the peace and quiet ... the rest ...

We both ended up having to work.  I'm wound so tight ... so stressed ...

Steve made some plans for the weekends, fun day trips ... it's just the best we can do ...