Sunday, December 27, 2015

Everything Old is New Again

I had an epiphany last week.  I was in the T-Mobile store waiting for my new cell phone to be loaded with all of my old stuff and had a little time to think, because I did not have a cell phone to check while I was waiting.  I was there trading in my old phone.  It had been providing me with numerous opportunities to exercise my patience by locking up on a regular basis.  I opted for a new version of the same phone.  Nothing adventurous just the same phone...the next generation.  That's when I realized, I am either very loyal or I am just not that adventurous.

We also went car shopping last week.  Don't even get me started....I hate car shopping.  So much pressure!  I have issues.... "spending large quantities of money" issues, "fear of getting taken" issues, "you are wasting my time" issues, and they all make me dread car shopping/buying.  I've had my current car for 8 years.  I like my car.  It has served us well.  It fits like an old pair of shoes.  So we test drove the new version of my car.  Same car, just the new version.  Go figure...I liked it.  I am so boring!  I drove several other cars in the new car quest and I felt like Goldilocks.  Some were too big, some too small, some not substantial enough, some too expensive and some just didn't feel right.  When I drove the new version of my car, it felt like home.  I really tried to like one of the other cars.  I felt pressure to break out of my rut and change things up in my life.  We ended up with the same car, same color, just the new and improved version.  Loyal customer or unadventurous?  Let's just go with loyal.  I'll find adventure somewhere else, next year!

As the year ends, I wish you all a happy and healthy new year.  On today, the Feast of the Holy Family, I remember last year's post on this day.  It's as accurate today as it was then.  It really is all about family.   It doesn't matter what kind of phone you have or what kind of car you drive.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Momma Can't Be Sick

Momma can't be sick.  It's a rule of life!  Think about it....when the kids were young and Mom got sick, the world stopped!  Who takes care of the person who takes care of everyone else?  All I ever wanted when I got sick in those days was to be left alone in my room to sleep it off, and drugs...magic drugs that made me well in an hour.  Of course, there was the risk that nothing would happen in the house and everyone would go hungry when I got sick.  BUT....Mom definitely can't be sick at Christmas.  Who is going to do the shopping, the baking, the Christmas cards, the gift wrapping, the house decorating....and all those other things that make the season bright?  Believe won't be Dad.

I have been sick since Thanksgiving.  I think I am living in a giant petri dish.  I got a cold, TJ got a cold.  I got well, he went out of town.  He came home with another cold and now I have a different cold.  It's like a science experiment.  Add to all the germs and snot flying around our house a man who had knee surgery and needs someone to take care of him.  It would have been much too convenient to get sick when nothing else was happening.  Today, I had to "man up" and take my box of tissues, my cold medicine and my Clara Barton hat at 5 a.m., go to the surgery center and be the "person" for TJ.  I could not be sick!  I did a good job of not being sick until later in the day at which point the germs won.  I will say, TJ was a good patient and the surgery was successful.  But boy does it stink when momma gets sick.  Like I said, it just needs to be a rule of life...Moms do not get sick.

Friday, December 4, 2015

In Golf....or Life

I've been playing a lot of golf lately and playing golf gives me time to think.  Thinking can lead to playing well or playing poorly depending on the thoughts.  For instance, thinking about what I have to do when I get home or what is going on that weekend or how LSU blew the Alabama game or the other two they lost or why those people in front of us are so slow does not lead to a good round of golf.  Thinking about how beautiful the weather is and playing the continuous loop of whatever awesome song is playing inside my head at the moment usually leads to a good round.  I love it when the weather is perfect, I'm in good company, I'm playing well and the pace of play is not too fast or too's like all the planets are aligned.  Then again there are some days when the weather is terrible or there are swarms of mosquitoes or gnats pestering me or the pace of play is painfully slow or I am playing like I have never played the game before and yet I keep playing.  Life is a lot like golf.  Some days are all sunshine and happiness and others go by slowly, things don't work out like you want, it rains, your clothes are too tight and you just can't do anything right.  But you keep playing!

One of those perfect days!

I have not read any of the books published about golf and life and what one teaches you about the other.  I know there are many out there and my thoughts probably aren't unique.  Maybe the reason there are so many books and quotes about golf and life is because the two really are very closely tied in teaching us similar lessons.  You don't even need to be a golfer to be able to appreciate them either, which is good because otherwise why would most of you even need to read any more of this post?

A few weeks ago I played in a tournament with someone I met that morning.  We were a team.  It isn't very often that you get to spend 4+ hours with someone you just met, working together for a common goal while enjoying the great outdoors.  It was a pleasure and a privilege.  Golf has introduced me to many of my "life after kids" friends and for that I am thankful.  My new friend and I ended up having the best score of the day over about 30 other teams, yes, I am bragging because never in a million years would I have expected to be able to say that when I woke up that morning!  Golf teaches you that anything can happen on any given day.

You could see some deer frolicking on the course.  These are two of
the over 15 or 20 we saw during a game this week!
There are some days I can play great (OK, "good" because I am still far from "great") and the better I play, the better I play...until I start thinking about it.  Once it gets "into my head" things start going south.  The same can be said of playing poorly, the worse I play the harder I try and the harder I try the worse I play until my head gets to the right place again.  Usually all I need to do is step back and calm down which is easier said than done sometimes. Golf is a mental game and so is life.  Your thoughts leak into your actions on and off the golf course.  It's just so hard to change that inner voice when things start going wrong and when things are going well it's hard to just be able to ride the tide without waiting for it to change.  Playing golf is definitely a good mental exercise which I think is just as important as the physical game.

 Sometimes you end up in a bad place on the golf course or in life, don't let it get you down.  You could dwell on your bad luck or just focus on the next shot/move.  You can't change the past, you are where you are, deal with it.  I am getting very good at this mantra.  If I end up in a bad situation (sand, water, tree) on the golf course I could moan and stress about it and figure the hole is a lost cause or I can calm down, take the next shot and move on from there, it's only one shot.  In life you can dwell on the negative or deal with it and move on.  When things are good, be sure to enjoy them and be thankful too!

Regardless of the score, have some fun!  Think about it, you are outside....playing!  Sometimes that may just be the best part of the game.  There is always something positive whether it is the score, the weather, the company, or small improvements and if there isn't, there is always gin....and tonic...or lunch (if you don't drink) in golf or life!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

An Unexpected Evening

Sometimes life surprises you!  I've been plugging along in my life doing what I do everyday, nothing spectacular or blog worthy.  I won't say life has been boring because it hasn't been.  It's actually been great but who wants to read about beautiful weather, my golf game, book club, family visitors, college football and me actually making cute foods "as seen on" Pinterest?

Yes, I actually made a cheese ball in the shape of a dice for Bunco.
I have way too much time!
Last night a friend invited us to a private club for some fun, fellowship and live music.  Far be it from us to refuse an offer like that.  I'll just preface this by saying I'm not a huge country music fan. I can listen to it in small doses and I'll watch the country music awards shows and can definitely appreciate the good stuff every now and then but it is not my "go to" music of choice. The concert venue was definitely a country music place with a name like The Redneck Country Club!  I dusted off my boots and put on my jeans and we geared up for a big Friday night.  I honestly had no idea what to expect.  I was more than pleasantly surprised!

We got there early and when we walked in I thought the place was awesome!  There was both indoor and outdoor space.  Outside there were beanbag games set up, outdoor fire pits, a bar, lawn chairs and lights and inside there was a nice stage, some neat reclaimed wood walls and ceilings, beer bottle chandeliers, some redneck kitsch and the seats were old school lawn chairs!  I knew then and there I was in for a different kind of night.  

Not a bad place for a concert!
Like I said, we were early....

I had the feeling I was back at Gilley's during the Urban Cowboy days but without the mechanical bulls.  Not that I ever went there but I did see the movie.  It was as if all the people from 1980 were moved to this building 35 years later and 35 years older.  A few things caused me to pause through the night.  First, I noticed a bar stool at the bar with guns as legs and a vest hanging over the back of the chair covered with military patches.  There was a sign on the bar in front of the bar stool that said "this seat is reserved in honor of all those men and women who fought for our country and never returned home."  Sigh....  The club definitely honors veterans. 

 Before the headliner was introduced the announcer asked all of the veterans to raise their hands and everyone gave them a round of applause.  He proceeded to asked them to come to the dance floor in front.  He asked who had fought in Korea, Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam, and any other conflicts.  It was quite the moment in light of recent events in the world.  I found myself feeling very proud.  It's easy to forget that there are men and women generously serving our country every day and it was nice to be in their presence and show them some respect and appreciation.  
The crowd standing in appreciation of their service.
The music was boot scootin' good!  I had never heard of the Paul Thorn Band  (go ahead and click on one of the links and give them a listen) before but I'll probably hear them again!  I can totally appreciate a good singer/songwriter and he was definitely entertaining. I noticed there were two men who danced with several different women throughout the night and many times they were the only ones on the dance floor.  One fellow was a tall drink of water and what a dancer!  He had on boots, of course, and a black cowboy hat with a tassel that he totally rocked and boy could he dance!  I know, I already said that but it is worth repeating.  It was Texas two-step at its best.  The other fellow was older and wider and also a very good dancer.  I mentioned to our friends that I thought maybe they worked there and just danced with different women to lure others onto the dance floor.  She confirmed my suspicion.  I was in awe of their smooth steps! 

The evening was a pleasant surprise all around.  A cool venue, a touch of patriotism, great music and dancing all in one.  Unexpected and just what I needed to get me out of my day to day routine life and show me a bit of Texas.  Thanks friends!

Being the responsible drinkers that we are, we used Uber for our transportation.  Our driver on the way home was a student.  While chatting we found out he is studying nursing, is from Afghanistan, worked for the U.S. military for three years and is very homesick for his family who is still in Afghanistan.   I couldn't help but think there was some sort of cosmic message in the entire evening.  Maybe I do like country music.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Pinterest Party Season is Here....ugh!

It's that time of year again!  You know...the time of year when everyone goes Pinterest crazy with clever decorations and foods....and I work on my golf game.  It begins at Halloween and does not relent until Christmas is over.  I am sure the Pinterest gurus are licking their tasty, glittery chops just thinking of all the traffic they will be getting over the next two months!  Think of all the table decorating ideas, Thanksgiving meal ideas, Christmas nativity configurations, Griswold-esque outdoor lighting ideas and healthy gluten free turkey dressing ideas one can glean from boggles the mind!  The pressure to perform is killing me already.  Nah, not really.  I mostly look, admire and carry on.

I was reminded of all the revelry last weekend while I was visiting my daughter and her family in Madison, WI.  I had the honor of attending two Halloween class parties while I visited.  I was amazed by the effort put forth by some of the class moms.  I overheard two of the moms chatting and one asked the other, while admiring the festive table (pictured below), where she found all of the wonderful food ideas.  "Pinterest", she replied.  "Of course"... I silently groaned to myself.
It is all almost too cute to eat!

It was all adorable and the kindergarten class loved the chocolate donut spiders and the vampire donuts.  I'm still not sure I would have taken the time to put eyes on every vampire donut, spider donut, and ghostly banana.  I would have been much more like the room parents of the other class party.  The food all looked and there were fun games, which the kids and the teacher enjoyed.   I wonder if I would volunteer to be a room parent now with all of the added pressure from the Pinterest Moms.  I would probably step aside and let them shine and figure out another way to contribute that doesn't involve being creative or spending hours stalking Pintrest.

We had a great time visiting the grandsons.  We had not seen them since Easter!  I know...!  They change so much in such a short time at their ages.  We had a lot of catching up to do while we were there.  My first activity was to go on a nature hike with the two older boys and one of their friends.  I did my best to keep up with them and keep them out of the raging waters in the stream.  They were certain we could all jump right over it to the other side, I was a little less certain.  Being in or near the woods lead to boys climbing on logs, boys finding sticks and making them into weapons, boys running ahead, boys sticking things into the raging waters and getting as close as they possibly could without actually going into the water.  All of these activities reminded me that it has been a very long time since I had a little boy much less chased one.  We all survived and were gone so long their mother was beginning to wonder if we were ever coming back.  It's hard to get boys out of the woods!

This is what my view looked like most of the time.....
"hurry up, Gigi!"
Searching for a way across the raging waters.

It was getting dark but none of them wanted to go home,
there were still more logs to climb on!

This was my second trip to visit them for Halloween.  As I have said before, Halloween is not my favorite holiday, so I have decided to figure out a way to make it enjoyable.  I must say, I do enjoy Halloween with grandsons.  It's very nice to show up and reap the joy of treats, costumes and parties without doing any of the work.  That's work and all play!  Needless to say, the trip to Madison was a success and we caught up on a lot of life.  It's such a shame that I don't get to see them very often.  Living apart is not ideal to say the least.
The Grim Reaper, a Shepard and a dragon.
They covered all bases!
One more indulgence, because I can't get enough of this video.  The finer details of vampires, boys and girls....according to John.  He was having a private conversation all the way home about this topic and finally I just had to video him, I could watch this over and over.  Time needs to freeze him at two and a half for a while, he's too cute!

The three people he mentions are his very brave teachers....who are not afraid of vampires!
Have a great day and party on!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Why Not?

Beginning in 1998, we have taken an anniversary trip (almost) every year with our friends Bob and Donna.  When we first met them we discovered we had way too much in common to not become friends.  Not only did we each have 4 children...basically the same ages, we were also married the same month apart.  The similarities go far beyond sharing an anniversary year... it was inevitable that we would be friends, for many, many years.

On our 20th anniversary we started this tradition with a trip to Asheville, NC.  We laughed, we explored the area, we narrowly avoided being sideswiped on the freeway in Atlanta, we ate, we drank Dom Perignon, we listened to TJ slam the screen door multiple times very early in the morning while we tried to sleep in, we got to know each other much better and we vowed to do it again...and again.  Some years we only went as far as another city in Georgia, some years we visited new cities in the U.S., a few times we visited the other couple at their home and some years we travelled to foreign countries.  We have missed a few years... but not many.  In the years we did not take a special trip we would see each other at one of our kids' weddings or just a random visit and count it as our anniversary trip.

17 years ago
Who are these youngsters?
This year we decided to visit Portland, Oregon.  Why, you ask?  Why not!  Neither of us had been to Portland and it seemed like a good place to visit.  I really did not expect Oregon to be so beautiful! I don't know what I expected.  Bob and Donna arrived five days before we did and tempted tortured me with their beautiful pictures.  It only made me look more forward to the visit.

Tea rose at the International Test Rose Garden in Portland, Or 
and the theme of the trip!
We began and ended the trip looking at mother nature's beauty.  When you visit some cities you are there to see the city.  A trip to Portland is multi-dimensional.  The city has plenty to offer but outside the city there are amazing things to do and see in every direction!  Why not do our best to do it all?!  My introduction to Portland was a yummy lunch followed by a walk through the International Test Rose Garden.  The sun popped through the clouds at this point and the roses were stunning!

I could not take enough pictures, they were absolutely beautiful!
Our second day was spent outside again!  We explored the Columbia River Gorge and in spite of the typical northwest weather (fog, clouds and drizzle) we enjoyed the waterfalls and the scenic drive along the Columbia River.  I can just imagine how breathtaking it would all be on a clear day.  We hiked a bit to see some of the falls and deluded ourselves into thinking our exertion would justify all of the delicious food, beer and wine we found in the area!

On a clear day... we could have seen forever!
Yes, we hiked up to the bridge, why not?
That night we had dinner with my niece, her husband and the son of some friends back in Columbus.  I was expecting a nice table for 7 and found out we would be a party of 11!  Who knew we would also see another couple from Columbus and their daughter and son-in-law!  They were in the area, so why not get together?  It turned out to be quite the dinner!  Visiting everyone at a table of 11 is a challenge, so I got to have my niece and her husband all to myself and loved it!  I couldn't help but think as we dined with the newlyweds that I hope someday along their road they meet another couple like we did and form a friendship that survives time and distance and continues to grow for many years.

Saturday was the rainy day.  How does one spend a rainy day in Portland?  Wine tasting... why not?  Our driver, Roberto, chauffeured us to the Willamette Valley and we did our best to visit the most scenic wineries and taste some delicious pinot noirs and pinot gris.  It was tough work but we were up to the challenge!

Glad we all brought our rain jackets!

Beautiful....even in crappy weather!
That night we gave our dedicated driver a break and decided to stay home and eat and drink so he could participate.  It was a good idea but as "they" say, no good deed goes unpunished.  We played Euchre, snacked, drank and diligently did the dishes and started the dishwasher.  We were all fading and thinking about going to bed.  I went into the kitchen to get some water and looked down and my brain could not process what I was seeing.  A very large mass of white stuff on the floor....apparently coming out of the dishwasher!  All hands on deck!  Guess what happens when you put dish soap in the dishwasher instead of dishwasher soap?  BUBBLES!!!  Lots of bubbles!  We used every dry towel, a few sheets, bailed lots of bubbles and water out of the dishwasher, mopped and mopped, bailed and bailed, and watched very carefully when we restarted the machine.  None of us were very tired after beating down the bubbles.  We really should have gone out and let someone else do the dishes!  At least we all had a good laugh before bed!

Our last day started with donuts and ended with a sunset on the beach.  One of the most perfect days ever!  How could it not be with two of my favorite things in life?  I seldom indulge in donuts anymore because I can't stop at just one and more than one is just a road to Weight Watchers.  I do make exceptions and Blue Star donuts is an exception.  Their donuts are not just your garden variety donuts.  They have flavors like Blueberry Bourbon Basil, Buttermilk Old Fashioned, Real Maple and Bacon,  Lemon and Lime Curd to name a few.  I wanted one of each!  We ordered about 10 and shared them all so we could try the interesing flavors, why not?! The perfect way to start the day.
They sit and wait...calling my name! 
After we devoured the donuts, we walked them off at the Portland Sunday market before we headed to the coast with high hopes.  We at lunch at a brew pub and were seranaded by local sea lions, which are a town menace but great for tourists armed with cameras.
They are so LOUD!
Lunch with a view...and purple beer!
Next stop....the Pacific coast!  I expected it would be lovely and I was not wrong.  Again, the weather was not perfect but it was not bad either.  All day there was just enough blue in the sky to give us hope.  We timed our trip so we would end up at the coast in time to do a little exploring and end the day with sunset before we had to go.  I was beginning to feel like I had drug everyone on a wild goose chase in hopes of the perfect sunset that was obviously not going to happen judging by the cloud cover.  But we were so close... why not?  We were rewarded with some photo worthy vistas along the drive.
There were glimmers of hope on the horizon

And then there was just haze and clouds....
Haystack Rock is worth the drive alone.  We got lucky and it was low tide so we could walk right up to it which I think made the view even better!  I probably took 50 pictures at Haystack Rock.  It is hard to pick the best ones to share.  I was the paparazzi and the rock was the celebrity!  You know it is something to marvel when at sunset there are photographers lined up with cameras mounted on tripods waiting for the magic.  I only wish I had their knowledge....and equipment.
Aren't they cute?
So without further adieu
 Anatomy of a Sunset

The clouds are breaking, I have hope....

See?  Just wait!

Hang on, I see blue sky!  Ignore that cloud bank on the horizon.

This is our album cover photo, Odd Man Out.

I am highly encouraged by this sky!
 The low tide really was a photographer's blessing!

They are wondering if I "really" am going to wait for sunset...
or can we go now?
"yes...and no"

It's coming.....

Getting better!

Good things come to those who wait!

Thanks for waiting!
Happy37 years!

Perfect end to the perfect day!

It was a lovely evening and worth the wait....
at least for me!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Catalogs and Computers

One of the things we had to deal with once we got home is our long lost mail.  This year our mail seemed to have a bit of trouble finding us.  In other years, I would go to the post office, fill out a form and it would all be forwarded to the farmhouse.  This year, they apparently forgot where Nova Scotia was or decided they no longer forward to a foreign country.  Whatever happened, we had a lot of mail when we got home and the occasional envelope in our mailbox at the shore that was actually forwarded from the states.  There is no explaining the postal service!

One of the main things that greeted me at home were all of the fall cataloges. Remember them?  I love cataloges.  I have loved them ever since I was a kid.  I don't get as many as I used to ever since the Internet was invented!  Now I get emails from my favorite stores which I ususally delete unless I am looking for something or am very bored.  But to have a real printed cataloge is still a treat for me. So imagine my delight when I had several waiting for me when I got home.  Small things people!

Remember this catalog?
 I  remember a time when catalogs would hang around on my coffee table or in my bathroom and I would look at them over and over.  I would pick out tops, bottoms, favorite looks, dream pieces and imagine what they would look like on me.  Every time I looked at the same catalog I would find different things to love or hate.  In those days my clothing budget was limited... very limited.  So dreaming of clothes was a luxury I could afford.  On the good side, I had a body that resembled the ones in the catalog closer than the one I have now.  The looks in the book had a remote chance of looking similar on me back then!

My point is that those catalogs gave me such pleasure and provided me with delayed gratification.  Something there is a shortage of these days.  If there was something in the book that I became obsessed with or just couldn't live without I would look at it over and over and finally order the prized item.  I would wait weeks for it to arrive and sometimes be thrilled with it and others be sadly disappointed by the fit or quality and mail it back.  I bought my first pair of Reebok shoes out of a catalog before they were even sold in stores.  I just knew they were the perfect shoes for me to wear when I taught aerobics.  Yes, I was right there with Jane Fonda herself in the '80s teaching aerobics four times a week in my Reebok shoes, leg warmers and leotards!
I loved my Reeboks!
I just don't get the same pleasure out of a website on the computer.  I don't go back over and over and dream of certain things.  It just isn't the I am totally enjoying my fall catalogs!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

It's Time to Go "Home"

The signs are all around me that is is time to head back south.  Yesterday we played our last round of golf at the course up here.  The skies were gray and it wasn't too warm...or too cold, but it was very wet.  We played anyway and enjoyed the last "air conditioned" golf for about another month.  I always pay attention to the trees on the course, from afar, because I never hit into the trees!  When we first arrived they were all light green with brand new leaves.  Yesterday the apple trees had apples on them and there were bright red berries on other trees, just waiting for the deer and bears to eat them and fatten up for the impending winter.  Fall is in the air and it makes me think it's time to fly...or drive...south.

Fall berries
As we drove home from the golf course I saw the first display of fall colored leaves.  I sometimes wish we could stay here long enough to enjoy the full display of leaf color.  I'm sure one day we will, but that day is not this year.

I can only imagine what it all looks like in full color!
Another sign that it is time to go back is when I start hearing from my friends "back home".  Real life starts knocking on my door or texting me or emailing me, coercing me to reengage.  It seems that everyone else has returned to their real lives and are ready to get together.  Summer in the south really is hibernation season.  All of us either leave town or stay inside and try not to exert too much energy lest we pass out from heat exhaustion.  Fall arrives and everyone gets a little more lively and the schedule seems to fill right up.  I find myself feeling like I am missing out on things back home and this can only be seen as a sign....that it's time to head south.

When everyone else has left the's time for us to go home.  This year a few of us have stayed on a bit longer than usual and it has been a lot of fun!  We really have had a lovely last month here and I look forward to a time when more and more of my friends and family stay longer and longer.  This also means that we will all be older and older which may or may not be a positive.  I guess it beats the alternative, to quote TJ.  I still haven't quite become a local, so as a summer person, when summer goes, so must I.

The garden is just about tapped out!  This may be one of the first times in history that we have consumed most of the garden.  We have done an admirable job of using our resources this year.  We have actually eaten or preserved most of our tomatoes.  Some years we leave before we even have ripe tomatoes.  This year we had a bumper crop and totally enjoyed them!  The garden is starting to look a bit tired and trampled and we have been less than diligent with the weeding.  Must be time to go.

I feel like one of the Von Trapp family singing, "the sun has gone to bed and so must I..." because when the days get shorter and the sun sets farther and farther along the horizon it can only mean it's time to go "home".   So on this final night of yet another wonderful summer, I reluctantly say goodbye to the best place on earth.  It really was a great summer....but aren't they all?
June 2015

Sunset September 2015
When the sun sets over the trees it's time to say goodbye.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Left Behind

I know everyone thinks "staying on" is all dinner parties, sunny days, beautiful sunsets, quiet walks on the sandbars and easy living.  I guess you are right to a certain extent.  What you don't know is the sad, ugly truth behind being the last ones to leave.  There are a few things the ones who stay a few weeks or simply rent a cottage and move on don't know.  The price we pay to "stay on" is.....the final refrigerator cleaning!  There are many jobs that need to get done before you can close up the cottage or the house for the winter.  But the worst, by far, if you ask the refrigerator!
We get to turn this...

into this!
This transformation is not without it's hurdles.  Take for instance, the trash rules around here!  Add to those rules the fact that we have a septic system and no garbage disposal.  What does one do with 4 bottles of mustard, 6 bottles of half used salad dressing, 3 huge bottles of ketchup (I personally think no one should buy a huge bottle of ketchup for a 1-3 week vacation, no matter how much cheaper it is than the small one) and numerous other condiments that have been bestowed on you by those who came and went a long time ago?  You see, everyone hates to waste all those condiments when they leave so they "give" them to the ones who are "staying on".  It then becomes our job to use or get rid of the orphaned condiments.  I personally do not use one bottle of ketchup in a calendar year much less 3 in two weeks!  What to do?

I have decided I cannot let the great condiment invasion ruin my last few precious weeks.  I must detach myself from those bottles and allow myself to throw out their contents...guilt free.  I have the bin of joy to thank for making this part of "staying on" easier for me.  I threw away more stuff today than I have consumed all summer long.  I was shameless.  My green bin now has enough mayo, mustard, relish and salad dressing to last it about a year.  I hope it ultimately turns into some wonderful soil that will help someone grow a beautiful garden, full of tomatoes and cucumbers, to make more ketchup and relish!  I have chosen not to feel guilty about this...and you shouldn't either.

But seriously people... next year when you come for your vacation, splurge and buy the mini size condiments or just borrow from a neighbor who bought the ginormous bottle of ketchup and throw the leftovers away yourself, it's a very liberating feeling.  However, if you have any leftover wine...I will be more than happy to adopt it and dispose of it properly.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Dear Nova Scotia

Dear Nova Scotia,
How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways.  I love thee from shore to shore, sunrise to sunset and everything in between.

I love your rocky shores and extreme tides.  They are unlike anything I've ever seen before.
When high tide looks  like this.....
and low tide looks like this!

 I love that there are shores you can sit on and enjoy a day at the beach and shores that are so rocky they can only be enjoyed from afar.

Definitely enjoying this view!
I love that some days can be hopelessly dreary and cloudy and leave me feeling a little sluggish until evening comes and suddenly, as if Moses parted the clouds, a beautiful sky appears just in time for the sun to set and I forget all about the dreary day.

A cloudy day that ended well.  
I love the fact that I come here with my "real life" baggage and in a matter of days I am reset to a healthier, simpler life.  Not everyone has the opportunity to get back to what is really important and let go of all the clutter in their mind and their life.  I feel very lucky to have this place as my reset button every year.

I love your miles and miles of rugged coastline, green fields, forests and farms.  I love that there are cities to explore and enjoy the finer things in life and charming rural villages to appreciate the simple things in life.  I've had the pleasure to see both sides.
Enjoying the good life in Halifax!

Tatamagouche, one of the quaint towns in the area. 
I've said it before and I'll say it again, people in Nova Scotia are creative!  There are arts and crafts all around the province.  Aside from all of the Scotia Women I know, who inspire me with their craftiness, there are some very good artists in the province.  I love visiting Bass River to see this lovely artist, even though all I can afford to do is look at her paintings and maybe buy a postcard or note card.  The drive is scenic and the gallery is lovely.  Not a year goes by without a visit to Sara Bonnyman , where I have purchased all of my favorite pottery.  I use it every day up here!  I find myself wondering why I don't have any of it in my real life in Houston.  Someday.....

I love your music!  My life would be very different if I had never heard The Rankin Family.  I can thank them for some of my favorite experiences ever!  One in particular reoccurs every year during the games.  It has also happened at each of the weddings of my three married children.  There is something joyous and overwhelming that happens when all of your favorite people circle around on the dance floor and The Mull River Shuffle begins with it's infectious piano banging and reeling fiddle!
Here is an ode to The Mull River Shuffle.....Amherst Shore version.

 "Picture this ladies and gentlemen..."
It's the first weekend in August in a small seaside community
At Lesley Brown's "barn".
It's Sunday night...
You've just finished a weekend of back breaking games
And you left it all on the field.... and on the sandbars.
You're standing around on the the dance floor
under the dim light of the "barn".
Everyone is laughing and joking and telling stories...
about their athletic prowess.
You're halfway through a case of......Kieth's IPA....
And you're getting aaaalllll fired up.....for the dance!

Finally, Nova Scotia, I love exploring your many shores.  I've been to the Annapolis Valley and seen the rolling hills and vineyards.  I've seen the Fundy Shore, Five Islands and Cape d'Or.  I've driven many of the miles along the Northumberland Shore.  But possibly my favorite drive is the Cabot Trail.  I am transported to another country when I visit Cape Breton.  Our visit last weekend only confirmed that it truly is a magnificent drive.

Where the golf courses look like this....
The scenery looks like this...
The highways never cease to amaze...
And sunset is worth the wait.
Nova Scotia, I look forward to discovering more reasons to fall in love with you!  Thanks for the rainy day to spend writing and the sunshine that followed.
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