Sunday, 28 September 2014

Just a Cottage in Muskoka...

Last weekend we visited a cottage in Muskoka...
Aside from this first photo, all the others are not of the cottage where we stayed.
Geoff indicated that he would not like his family cottage on the interwebs...
Which is fine, because I much prefer the old and dank.
His family cottage was warm and cozy.

[from the dining room window in Geoff's cottage]

Geoff's family received the chunk of land in the middle 1800s from the Government of Canada.
Free Land Grants attracted many families to the rocky north.

They soon learnt that there was no farming to be had on their claim, but his family  managed to keep the land and succeed elsewhere, south in Toronto.

[See the owl in the window?]

They became wealthy in the south, and the land in Muskoka grew enormous 'cottages' where the rich would retreat from the humidity of the city.

Although most of these buildings are still owned by the original family, upkeep is not so easy in modern times.  These same wealthy folk in Toronto now have huge mortgages, and by the time the money filters to the cottage, it is pretty much gone.  The structures are wood,

[sinking slowly...]

I had a wonderful time traipsing through the wet forest.

In speech and example, Geoff still drips with that aura of entitlement that tends to rub me the wrong way.
It was a safe visit, all adults behaved, conversation stayed neutral.

[The roof of the boathouse from the other photo]

Living in Costa Rica has not been a walk in the park.  It has not been endless swims in the sea and breezy living.  It has been difficult for my friend, who is a hard worker.  It has been mold growing on everything, business partners cheating, lawyers failing, law suits pending.  It has been draining.

[Servants' Cottage from a time long ago, copper roof]

Again I am reminded about that grass on the other side of the fence.

[entrance to servants' cottage]

Not always so green.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Chilly Friday Ponderings

Autumn thoughts :

  • I would love to run away.  In my imagination I can.  
  • New neighbours.  Very nice.  Old neighbours gave us 2 old doors which he was going to take to the dump.  New neighbour saw them and asked about them.  Apparently old neighbour took them off 2 bedrooms and didn't replace the doors!  New neighbours happy to have the doors.  
  • A bad smell in the basement.  We suspect someone with 4 legs made a mess and we will need to investigate.  Will make husband do so.
  • Work week long and arduous.  Lots done though.
  • Lovely chilly nights and mornings.  The sky over Lake Ontario was dark grey and the lake even darker.  I took a photo from the car, but it was not as intense looking.
  • Eldest and Lovely Lu have been slowly moving to their new grown-up apartment in the beautiful end of town.  Tonight we will help them pack some more.  
  • And tomorrow we leave early, early to visit friends at a family cottage.  I will take my knitting.  I hope to breathe and relax.  I will take photos, on my camera.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

It is getting Warm in here...

Yesterday I went to Toronto to meet with my sisters for a collective birthday celebration.  Janice is 69, Kathy 62, Marilyn 61 and I just turned 52.  We went to the Mandarin, because one sister had Mandarin gift money and it worked out well.  Lots to choose from that was gluten free, and what a treat to have so much to choose from.  I have to admit that I could live on buffet, not gorging myself but choosing what to eat.  I tried lotus root, it was good.

Around 2 weeks ago I noticed that I was feeling feverish, off and on through the day.  And night.  And day again. And so on.  Took me a few days to figure it out.

Peri-menopause has set in.  I am not getting hot flashes like friends have complained about, but I get these warm flushes that come around my torso, and make me warm for about a minute or so, then I freeze.  The toe cramps I have figured out, just keep the feet covered up or wear socks at night.  I had wondered if I was going to miss the whole hot-flush/flash ordeal, but it appears not.

I have learned to dress in many layers.  And so far it is not unbearable at all, just weird.  Earlier in my office I shed my colourful scarf and sweater, and now they are both back on.  Life moves on.  This too is normal.

This weekend coming up we are heading north to Muskoka to a cottage with friends who live in Costa Rica.  They are visiting for a month, then go back to their business there, deep sea fishing tours for wealthy fishermen.  When I met Heather she had just left the fashion industry to do market gardening.  Now she co-runs a deep sea fishing company.  Life is interesting.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Finally! The Sock.

Finally finished, aside from the toe opening which I will do once sock 2 is done.
 A tad big, and certainly with some flaws!
But it is my sock.

Monday, 15 September 2014

The Gift of another Birthday

It is my birthday today and I am feeling oddly unconnected.  Yesterday I began a pile of different tasks and didn't fully complete any, and then out of the blue my back seized up and everything came to a halt.  Bits and pieces of my day were left hither-pither.  And I put my sore self to bed for a few hours.

The many people in my house keep asking me what I want for my birthday, and I keep saying nothing, but what I really want is someone to cook for me.  Cook me a meal, allow me to sit on my brown sofa with my nearly completed sock.  Let me put heat on my back, and don't ask me about whether we bought bread or apples or juice.

What I want for my birthday....  Is someone to scoop poops and wash the dishes, without my asking.

But actually, I feel blessed with this birthday.

Each year is precious.

And I need nothing but what I have.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Socks for Sanity

We have had one of those crazy work weeks, worse for Husband than I, but nevertheless, I am pooped.  Tomorrow he has an 18 hole golf tournament out of town, so I will be [blessedly] on my own for an entire day!  Hopefully I can ignore the three large adult-children who live with me.

Time to recharge my batteries.

I'll probably knit.  

What knitting is doing for me : it is releasing me from an online game that I have been [nearly uncontrollably addicted to] for a long time.  In the evenings, instead of burning my eyes out on my laptop, I am burning my eyes out knitting a sock.  I wish I had picked yarn and needles that were thicker / larger.  Less minuscule tiny stitches to count/drop/recover in the evening light.

Honestly, this has been a major challenge for me.  Every step/stitch of this bloody sock has been a learning curve.  From taking a lesson to get me started, to learning how to form a heel and gusset.  I have ripped out and re-knitted  miles of this thin, lovely, yarn until I was afraid for it's yarny-stability.  I have watched hours of heel-turning and gusset forming videos on U-Tube [at work!] and I have taken 'smoke breaks' when stressed on the job by knitting a row or two...  That works fine until I screw up and the knitting becomes more stressful than the work.

So, as I ease into the inches of rather normal knitting of the foot area, before I reach the challenge of the toe, I'm going to just breathe and mellow out a bit.

Then I have to do it all over again, with the 2nd sock.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Welcome September... Soon to be golden.

Labour day weekend was full of Labour for me, as I picked up 11 lbs of tiny cucumbers on Saturday to be dilled and pickled on Sunday.  But first, the baskets of tomatoes from my garden had to be scalded, peeled, chopped and mixed with ingredients to be made into chili sauce.  Then I scrubbed the cukes, and soaked them in a salt water brine. 

The entire neighbourhood could tell what was happening in my kitchen.  It takes me back to memories of my parents in the basement with the old stove always bubbling with some spicy pickle brew in August.  My childhood home had a nearly permanent scent of briney vinegar.

This season I have done more than usual.  My energy is bubbling, the garden has produced more this, and I just keep buying more jars.  And I'm out again.  

I might do beets this coming weekend, because I love the colour.  I might find some trendy recipe in my new Bernardin canning book.  My old faithful, bought in 1993 was left out in the rain a few years ago.  I just cannot get into canning from the internet.  I need a book to write in.  I need to record quantities and alterations for future reference.  Stains and jot notes that record a lifetime of canning.  

Gearing up for soup season though, I am ready for cool weather suppers of spicy Kima and Chili.  I am looking forward to sweaters and socks.  Maybe even home-knitted socks!  I have reached the heel of my sock now, and am entering uncharted territory.  I am hoping to not have to take a 2nd private lesson, because I just don't have time to go for a few weeks.

My friend who moved to Costa Rica last October is back for a visit, and I invited her and her partner over yesterday afternoon for a visit.  Not supper, just some nibblers on the deck, and a glass of wine.  It forced us to rip through the house, and we did a good tidy/vacuum and now my home is soooo peaceful.  It is like tiny thorns have been removed from just under my skin.  Order has been returned, it is a good feeling.   

However temporary, today I feel in control.