Friday, July 30, 2010

Summertime Hues

The sun is streaming in my window lending a ray of warmth. The humidity has finally dissipated. It's a perfect summer's day and it's been a perfect summer (for me) so far. Plans, possibilities, good times swirl and waft into a delicious myriad of summertime happy. I am looking a long weekend in the eye - and it's hard to think about anything else. We're heading to our cottage with a couple of kidlets in tow. My girls are all grown up now (including Kidlet) so I suppose I am going to have to lose the "kidlet" moniker. *rephrase* Two of my daughters are also going up North and will be seeing our little cottage for the first time. It's a tiny  cosy little cabin and with 6 adults and 2 dogs, I am just praying for good weather. No cabin fever please!

My recent travels and new cottage responsibilities have sucked most of the air out of the summer and a byproduct is that I haven't seen my parents as frequently as I am used to. Drive-by drop-ins several times a week were part of my regular routine and are what I miss so badly when they are away half the year in Florida.

So last night I got me a good ol' Dad and T fix. I stopped in after work, wrestled a bottle of T's homemade wine from her iron grip and stayed for a nice steak dinner. We debated discussed everything including Kenyan culture, poisonous snakes of Ontario, wildlife attacks on humans, Greg Mortenson's work in Afghanistan, Dad's upcoming surgery, T's recent birthday famjam, Nunavut and the Inuit, and the trip to the east coast they have planned. Five hours of animated conversation pretty much put T to sleep exhausted us and satisfied the family quotient at least for now. I am going to have to figure out how to go forward a  little better. As someone who has lost a parent, my appreciation and love for my Dad is that much deeper and I realize that the time we have is now.

So in few hours I will unplug from this virtual electronic community and reconnect with my inner earth goddess. I will learn to tame the falcon, catch fresh fish for our dinner, fetch water from the lake and chop firewood for heat. Who am I kidding? I was having a Hestia (Goddess of Hearth and Home) moment. I'll probably be horizontal most of the weekend lakeside with a good read and cool beverage, grateful for electricity and propane.

To all of you who are also staring down a long weekend, ENJOY!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tuesday Ten: Things That Make Me Happy

  1. seeing the sparkle of pride in my father’s eye and softness in his face when he looks around a room bursting with the flesh, bone and intelligence of the tribe that he help create
  2. savouring the last piece of cherry pie
  3. getting a call from someone who calls me mama
  4. hearing the call of a chickadee
  5. inhaling deeply the first air of the day from our cottage deck, and knowing “it’s ours”.
  6. feeling unsolicited hugs from hubby
  7. rubbing the silky fur on the top of my dog’s head as he lay in my lap
  8. feeling my camera in my hand as I walk and watch
  9. watching a hummingbird flittering blossom to blossom, reminding me that power and strength can come from the small and mighty
  10. smelling freshly washed pillowcases when I lay my head down at night
What makes you happy?

Monday, July 26, 2010


The summer is flying by. The date on my computer tells me that July is almost over already. And although it feels as though it has been brief, this summer has been one of the best I can remember. The cottage is the main reason for that I think. The days are just so long there - and not in a bad way either. We don't have a clock there so we wake up when we are rested (or when the sunrises and floods the cottage with dawn's first light), we eat when we are hungry and do just as we please. Occasionally I sneak a peek at my Blackberry for the time to confirm that we aren't on some crazy a$$ schedule, but time is not the ruler of our day. Freedom. It was like that in Kenya ... no one seemed to have a watch and we were constantly asking what time is was, and what the date was (for our journals). It was almost therapeutic to break free from regiment and timelines and let the day take where it willed.

It makes me wonder how different day to day life would be without the incessant "tick, tick, tick" ...

For now I am grateful for the weekend reprieve and the tranquility that we get from our cottage time. MIH Shirl loved our retreat and I am not shy to admit that I am enjoying each "reveal" to our families. There is something satisfying and pleasurable about sharing the goodness in our lives with the people we care about most. Highlight from the cottage time was washing my hair in the lake and swimming out to the closest island. I smell a tradition taking root!

We came home Sunday to a famjam to celebrate my step-mom's birthday. As usual it was a little noisy and chaotic with at least three conversations being urgently expressed at any given time; the food was finger lickin' good (Papa's chicken wings); and well, what can I say -- I love the reminder that I belong to this big, expanding, unusually-pieced-together tribe!

The summer has rocked! The weekend rocked! And I can't wait to see what else is in store. Whatever the rest of the summer brings ... I know the gifts will be priceless -- and timeless!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Summer Love

This is what summer tastes like ... GOOD!
"I love summer!"
Can you hear me singing that mantra over and over as I dutifully tend to my laundry?
Upside - it means we are packing up again for the weekend and thus we must tend to home "work" to earn our cottage weekend. It also means I am at home on my compressed day off! Eureka!

I just checked Environment Canada to get a reading on the weather for the weekend. It is showing rain and thunderstorms with unbearable humidity. Close that window and go to the WeatherNetwork.  They have Saturday as being "light rain" all day with humidity. mmmm I'll go with window number 2! Who cares?? If we have to be hot and sweaty we may as well up North where we can supplement with mosquito and black fly bites tossed in with a few falcon attacks.

So I'll toss my cargo pants and flip flops (can't forget the calamine lotion, bug spray and sunscreen) into my "going-somewhere-fun" bag, pack some healthy snacks (do pretzels and corn chips fall under the grain or salt category?) and be ready and waiting when hubby gets home from work.

Then we'll jump in the car, race to the highway at a perfectly lawful speed, and then crawl along for an hour or so at 40 km an hour with all of the other stress-relief seeking city dwellers. Think of the gas we'll save.

My MIH Shirl is joining us this weekend. She has never seen the place yet and I could sense a shred of envy in her comments regarding last weekend's cottage post.  : )    Just joking of course. She met her hubby on the lake so I think she is really looking forward to rekindling some favourite memories.

So I must depart. The beeper signals yet another load dried and ready for my folding magic. God I love doing laundry - and after seeing how the Mamas in Kenya have to do theirs, I have lost all complaining rights. But I must brag say, no one can fold a pair of Calvin Klein boxer briefs into a perfect square as well as me!!

That being said, have a wonderful weekend. And did I tell you, I LOVE SUMMER!
Even better!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


So it is a week now since we returned from Kenya and in some ways it feels so much longer. Something as huge as this -- somehow feels like I dreamed the experience rather than lived it. My duffel bag lay opened in the laundry room - cold hard evidence. It has been emptied of laundry but not quite empty enough to put back into storage. I stare intently at the images I captured; faces and places that I am sure will be emblazoned in my memory for years to come. I smile at each memory that is triggered. My stack of travel "paperwork" remains piled on the dining room table with my passport. I should really deal with this stuff but a part of me doesn't want it to be over.

I am distracted. Ideas on how to integrate this experience into my life ping pong around my brain colliding with the order of the day - work deadlines, birthdays, laundry, grocery shopping, my dad's book.

I am sure it will sort itself out. One thing I know for sure -- Kenya heightened feelings, opinions, and passions that I already had and I feel as though I have received the biggest gift imaginable. And better yet, I got to share it with Kidlet.

PS I will spare you all from further meanderings about my trip and save them for our trip blog: Africa Calling.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Falling Into Place

Life is fascinating and complex.
Some day you will look back on your life;
and what seemed like utter chaos and troubled times,
years later, will look like a perfectly put together puzzle,
with all of the pieces having fallen into place.
Life is funny like that.
I have learned to trust that my life is unfolding as it should.
It's what makes life the ultimate orderly adventure that it is.
And for that I am truly grateful.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Picture Perfect Weekend

It was a cottage weekend for hubby and I and judging by my drooping eyelids, our jam packed two days has left me just a little tired - happy and contented - but sleepy.

My dad and step-mom made their first trip to our cosy cottage and worked their buttocks off.
My dad built hubby and I a super-sized bed fit for a KING!

The Fort Knox bed held up to the jumping test.

Ever slept on a king sized cloud?

My Pops endured some war wounds during the tree clearing.

Mr Hawk turned out to be a Kamikaze Peregrine Falcon.

Step Mom had to take drastic defensive measures to protect us from the falcon.

All of hubby and Pop's tree clearing left us with a priceless sunrise view.

It was sad to watch them drive away up the lane. Thank you ...

With the lump in my throat barely swallowed, hubby's uncle from across the lake pulled up to our dock and coaxed us off for a tour of the lake.

Falcons. Family. Fun. Did I tell you that the weekend was picture perfect?!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Pinching Myself

I am back home safe and sound - and more than just a little dazed with disbelief. Now that the trip is over, I can't believe  all that I experienced. When I was in Kenya, I keep asking Kidlet if she could believe that we were actually there, inhaling that fresh air, feeling the vibrations of the land and hearing the songs of the animals, and singing and dancing with the people with wide smiles and kind eyes. It was surreal - like walking in the the best dream you could possibly dream.

Africa soil is wet with my tears - I left many behind. Countless times I found myself overwhelmed and overcome with emotion, unable to speak. I could never explain why - just that I experienced full blown sensory overload.

Africa was even more beautiful than I had imagined - majestic and grand; lush and sweeping; humming with life. The people I encountered were the warmest and most welcoming I have ever experienced. I fulfilled my lifelong dream of photographing elephants in their natural habitat ... but funny enough, that was not the highlight of my trip. Rather it was the human connections we made there speaking the universal language of love.

As I hiked the animal trodden paths in the wilds of Kenya I knew I was creating memories that would last a lifetime. For now I am just basking in the afterglow of the little taste of heaven I experienced, and pinching myself!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Homeward Bound

Blogging from Nairobi ...

It was fantastic; better than anything I could have ever dreamed. Kenya will soon be a distant memory but for now - for these final few hours, she holds us tightly in her grasp. Kidlet and I are just catching our breath in Nairobi before we head to the airport for the long flight home.

Since the first moment we arrived here in  Kenya, we were welcomed warmly  by people with wide smiles, caring eyes and warm hugs. They say that Africa is the birthplace of humanity, and after this trip, I believe it. I felt it.

But for now, we are homeward  bound and soon I will share the beautiful stories and pictures of our adventure.

Peace my friends.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Last Thought

I didn't think it was going to get to me, but it did. I got a humongous lump in my throat as I watched hubby pull out of the driveway, with only the fuzzy top of Fritz's head in sight.

The house is dead quiet. My family are all on my ex's boat to watch the Canada Day fireworks; hubby and Fritz are headed for the cottage and Kidlet is at a cottage with her pals. I am alone with my thoughts and reflections - along with a pile of clean laundry and a suitcase that needs packing.

It is becoming real to me - this African adventure of mine (and Kidlet's). Tomorrow afternoon we will be on a plane headed for Nairobi via Amsterdam. Excitement is racing up and down my spine, through my tummy and surging up my veins to my head via my heart. I can barely contain myself. And why should I? There is no one here to bother; no one to offend with my unrestrained yodeling and singing at the top of my lungs. I have so many reasons to be

I have always said that I thought I would hit my stride in my fifties and as luck would have it, this year in which I turned fifty has been absolutely incredible. It has been jam packed with milestones, dreams fulfilled and adventures. It just can't get any better.

So I am packing up my netbook and camera equipment and I'll post when I can - although I am not sure how much Internet access I will have. Sending a huge hug to your collective hearts and wishes that you may all live fully and create the life you want to live.