Friday, June 29, 2012

It Was "The Best Day Ever"

After three days of rain in a row the sun finally came out on Monday!  I guess all that praying we did in church on Sunday worked!  I decided that it would be the perfect day to visit Prince Edward Island with Marathon Girl and her mom who will hereby be referred to as The Bag Lady (the kind that you sew and embroider).  It was not going to be a real beach day at the shore and while they are in Canada we might as well add another province to their travel log.  It turned out to be "the best day ever"!  Feel free to use this as your unofficial Prince Edward Island tour guide in the future and you too will have the best day ever!

We started off by doing something I have always wanted to do but was never in the car with anyone else willing to pull over. 
Not that.... this!

take pictures of the Confederation Bridge!

Once over the bridge we stopped briefly at the tourist info center and gathered our maps, so old school.  The information gal highlighted a path for us to take on the map and we proceeded to go in the exact opposite direction.  It paid off!  What does she know anyway, she only works there.

We are going rouge and heading left instead of right on the map, so rebellious!

We headed to Summerside.  We visited the College of Piping and found a very helpful lady who directed us to the perfect lunch spot and mentioned that if we came back around 1:30 or 2 we could sit in on rehersals for a while since there was no performance that day.  We had a great lunch at Miss Daisy's Bistro.  It was just too cute, we felt like we had gone to a friend's house for lunch.  A friend with a quaint house who can really cook!

We are smiling because we are about to have some delicious food....and the sun is shining!

The College of Piping did not disappoint.  What can I say?  I love bagpipes!  They stir something deep inside me. 

Our own private show....without costumes.

After our private concert we went in search of the Bottle House so we could check off another one of the 1000 things to see before you die.  I had always heard of this house but once again never had a willing participant to visit but with MG and BL as my hostages I was pretty excited.  It was super cool!  Not nearly as hokey as I expected either. 

Great way to recycle those old bottles!

On our way to the bottle house, in the middle of nowhere, we passed a massive church.  It was just so out of proportion to it's surroundings and begged a photo shoot.  We obliged.

Notre Dame du Mont Carmel

Sometimes when you go off road you are rewarded.  Here are pictures of a few of our off road rewards!  It was just one beautiful thing after another.  We were looking for the beach with the rocks.....because none of the beaches around here have rocks....hahaha!  But we were looking for one particular location and we sorta found it. 

One postcard view after another on PEI!

Luckily we did not run over Mrs. Stinky and her baby hiding underneath all that fur!
We found the most amazing lupin field in North America on our trail!
We found a very picturesque oyster farm.  I think whoever runs this place is very orderly! Everything was so tidy.

We did yoga on a rock

We did not run over this family of foxes but did stop traffic to take their pictures!
We finally ended up at one place the information gal highlighted, Cavendish Beach.  So different than the beach we are used to or the beach with the rocks. 

So peaceful

Our final destination was Charlottetown and the Gahan House.  We sampled some of the beer, had a yummy dinner and headed back to reality....well not reality, the farmhouse.  We did not run over the family of racoons on the road home either, unfortunately we did not get their picture because it was so late and so dark, but they were there!  It was "the best day ever"!
Cheers to a great day!  We came, we saw, we enjoyed!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Road Trip

About a week ago I packed the car and all my worldly possessions....almost, and began my drive to Nova Scotia.  There were feelings of excitement along with dread at the beginning of the trip.  You know, it is a long way from Houston to Nova Scotia.  Not that it hasn't been done before, with four children and a dog.  But we were much younger then!

And so the road trip begins...Nova Scotia or bust!
When we left Houston the weather had gotten to that point where walking outside and sweating go hand in hand, it was time to head north!  It took us a few days before we got a small reprieve from summer in the south.  It happened in Georgia...I knew I always liked that place!  We were treated to a rare low humidity and not scorching hot couple of days while we visited our friends and I picked up my co-pilots/drivers.  Over the next few days we would spend every waking....and sleeping moment together.  They really had no idea what they were in for! 

Along the way we stopped at a mutual friend's house and visited.  They live in North Carolina and they have chickens!  Sadie thought the chickens were great and tried to get them to fly out of their coop and play with her but we had to put Sadie in her own cage aka the sun porch.  She sat there and watched those chickens with great intensity.  It was her favorite part of the trip.

It is hard work watching chickens, it makes your head heavy.

New Jersey went up a few notches in my book after this trip. (It had a long way to go ...sorry NJites).  I usually want to just twitch my nose and get through the state as fast as I can. I think this year we traveled early enough in the summer that we missed the massive vacation traffic.  We also got to stop and see my LG!  We stayed in Newark at a very nice hotel and they welcomed Sadie with open arms.  Seriously!  Sadie was famous among the staff, they were so happy to see a dog.  I also got to bond with all the weird people in front of Penn Station while I took Sadie out to walk.  We were also situated near a Portuguese and Spanish neighborhood with excellent food choices for our dinner that night.  Our excellent wait staff served us enough food to feed a small country!  It was all delicious!  And LG brought enough leftovers home with her for the rest of the week!

Here I am in Newark with Marathon Girl and my LG, enjoying the neighborhood but not the heat!

half of the food we were served

After consuming mass quantities of food in a Spanish restaurant we said goodbye to my LG and watched her ride off into the dark on the train.  It was totally worth the NJ Turnpike drive!  The next day was not too bad but it was long!  To pass the time the passengers played games drawing pictures and playing word games on phones and iPads...comments heard while driving were, "A man eating a baby on a plate?"  "yes, cannibal!"  We also listened to Catching Fire, the second in the Hunger Games trilogy.  Both were great ways to pass the time!  We did stop in one of my favorite places....the New Hampshire Liquor Store!

This time I decided to declare all of the wine we brought into Canada!  Turns out... "honesty is the best policy."  The border guard did not even flinch when I declared the case of wine we had among the three of us.  We were each two bottles over our limit but he was more concerned about whether we had any mace or pepper spray.  Thank you, nice border crossing guard! 

Apparently escaping the heat of the south took a little longer than expected.  We traveled through the northeast during a heatwave.  Temperatures were over 100 in New Jersey, over 95 in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.  Finally, when we made it to Maine we were blessed with lower temperatures.  "Be careful what you wish for", they say. Ever since we arrived here in Nova Scotia, we have had rain, clouds, cool temperatures and beautiful sunsets like this.....

My excitement over sharing our little part of heaven with my friends has been tempered a bit. The sun has not shone it's face since we arrived. My house guests are beginning to question their decision to stay for a week.   I can only hope they are treated to at least one day like this....

Thursday, June 14, 2012

For The Love of a Dog

To what extremes have you gone for your dog....or cat?  Have you had to clean up disgusting messes?  Have you walked them in rain, snow, sleet, wind, heat and cold?  Have you paid ridiculously expensive vet bills?  Have you swept up piles of fur rolling along on your floors and brushed it off your furniture?  Have you battled fleas and ticks?  The answer to these questions is probably yes, if you own a dog or a cat.  BUT....have you spent 7 days in a car driving 3,000 miles so they can spend the summer with you at the shore?   Didn't think so.

"You talkin' bout me?" 
As you may or may not recall, last year and the year before, getting our dog to the shore presented a bit of a challenge.  There were planes, automobiles, hurricanes, many days of travel and lots of money involved in getting the dog to the shore.  Oh, we missed those years of living in Toronto and being a mere two day drive to the shore!  After weighing all the options we decided our best option this year is just to drive all the way to Nova Scotia....for the love of a dog. 

We used to make this drive every year with our kids because we were too poor to fly everyone up there and then rent a car for 6 weeks...makes sense.  We were usually babbling idiots by the time we arrived at the shore but it was always worth the drive.  Once the kids were gone and we had a little cash in the bank we flew, it was luxurious after all those years of driving.  Well, I can't believe I am back in the car all because of a dog.  To say I am not looking forward to all those hours in the car would be an understatement. There are some people who love to drive for days on end, I am not one of them.  Just get me there already! 

I will have some co-pilots on the trip though.  Marathon Girl has offered to help with the driving and her mother is also coming along for the trip.  We are going to try to make this an adventure, oh, it will be an adventure alright!  So, as I pack 3 months of stuff in two...or more suitcases and clean my house and organize my life down here, I pray that we have smooth travels.  I can feel my hair turning gray(er) already!

I am sure this will make for at least one amusing post upon arrival!  Stay tuned for the Canadian part of the Chronicles.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Benefits of Aging

I am going to choose to look at my most recent birthday in a positive light.  Yes, I am a year older....there must be something good about being older.  More gray hair to cover, more wrinkles to spread anti-wrinkle cream on, a few more aches and pains to deal with, a day closer to the end?  Hmmm, not such positive stuff.  I need to be a little more creative here to come up with the positives.  OK, "it beats the alternative" as TJ would say!  So getting older is not that bad.  I could also quote my sister and say, " You are never going to be as young as you are today, so enjoy it while you can!"  I'll buy that!  Then today it hit me!  A few good things about aging!

As we enjoyed a beautiful day at the new lake house of some very good friends, I looked out and took in the scenery and thought, "None of our friends had houses like this when we were younger!".  Benefit of aging...upgrade in places to hang out.
A view that makes you forget  you are only an hour away from Houston!
A very nice place to spend the day!

As I sat there enjoying the breeze I thought of a few other good things about aging.  We have known these friends since high school and went to college together.  They got married young, like we did...and we have fun sharing many of our family stories.  The times we were at our wits end while raising our children as well as the good times. We made it through the hard candy times and are young enough now to enjoy the fruits of our labors.  Our children are grown...and gone, leading productive lives of their own.  As much fun/work as it was when they were young, I really enjoy my adult children!  Benefit of aging!

On Sunday there were two First Communions at mass.  The parents looked so young....and excited and happy for their children.  I don't think I could have appreciated their feelings if I had not experienced the same thing myself.  I could appreciate their happiness but not truly know what it felt like if we had not gone through it ourselves.  There are a lot of life experiences that you only empathize with after experiencing them yourself.  Childbirth, child rearing, death in a family, relocating to another city or country, losing a job...  just to name a few.  The older you are and the more you live, the more you can relate to others in the same situation.  Perspective is a benefit of aging. 

I also think of a quote from the character Kathy Bates played on Fried Green Tomatoes.  "Face it, girls. I'm older and I have more insurance." — , to the women whose car she's just slammed into — repeatedly — after they stole her parking space and said "Face it, lady. We're younger and faster,".  There is something to be said for being older and not giving a flip about some things! 

So even though I may be a year older, there are some benefits to aging! 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Angry Birdies

Remember those goals from a few months ago?   Well, I am the last to finally realize mine.   Only 5 months into the year!   Yesterday I played 36 holes of golf...for the first time ever.  Amazing by itself, since there have been entire decades that I have not played 36 holes of golf!  All the planets were aligned, nothing was hurting and the opportunity presented itself so I just played golf all day.

My first round was at 8:20 in the morning with some friends.  We had a great time and I was not displeased with my score.  I came home and did a little sewing and TJ said he was thinking playing golf and asked if I wanted to join him.  I was still in my golf clothes from earlier and said "what the heck".   We went out to play 9 holes.   We ended up playing 18... it was just so nice out and I was drinking a gin and tonic on the final 9 holes, what did I care?   The best part of the story is that finally.....after 2 years...I broke 100!   I shot 99 on the second 18 of the day.  Time to set a new goal!  Maybe to do it again! 

I may have been hallucinating on the back nine due to exhaustion...or gin, but I actually lost my temper with TJ.  Imagine that?  With 30 holes of golf under my belt for the day, my beloved tried to "coach" me after I flubbed a  shot. This lead to me losing my temper and telling him I really did not need any coaching this late in the day.  I knew what I did wrong without his help only goal at this point was to finish.  A couple of holes later some rude people drove through while my "coach" was about to tee off which teed him off enough to shout something rude which I may or may not have thought was directed at me.  Anyway, I decided to take my anger out on the ball and hit my tee shot smack onto the green very close to the hole (it was a par 3 hole).  I made my birdie putt and TJ proclaimed I had just made an Angry Birdie!   We both laughed and made up. 

My original thought for a post this week was going to be focused on marriage.  So much more boring than golf.  Our 34th anniversary is today and after our recent trip to Nova Scotia I have had a few thoughts floating around in my head about marriage.  While we were at the shore we had a couple visit us who have lived together for a few years and say they don't plan to get married.  We have had some interesting conversations with them about marriage, their beliefs and ours....and we are still friends!  They mentioned that very few of their friends get married any more, they just live together.  We know quite a few people who have chosen to live together.  Is marriage dying?  I find this sad and disheartening. Then I start to wonder why this bothers me.  Is it because of my religious background?  Is it because as a married person I believe in marriage and think living together is taking the easy road?   Is it because I am a hopeless romantic?  Is it because I believe that if you love someone and want to spend your life with them that by getting married you are truly committed spiritually and legally?   Maybe I am just old fashioned.  I still believe in happily married ever after.  So far, it is working for us and I guess I just want that for my friends and family....Angry Birdies and all!
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