Monday, August 31, 2009

All Good things....

...unfortunately, must come to an end. Boo-hoo! Getting back into the grind was exceedingly difficult today. I hit the snooze button at least 6 times this morning.

We had a wonderful vacation at a rented cottage on a river near the ocean. Indeed, the river ebbed and rose with the tide and you could smell the ocean through the pine needles. And it was utterly private - no neighbours at all, anywhere. Bliss!

Our first week was very hot and humid, which was fine with us - we went to the beach, walked on the sand, swam in the ocean, and left the windows open at night at the cottage to let the breeze cool us down. Two of my neices and their kids came over one day, which we spent by the ocean and had a great seafood meal at a restaurant before they went back.

Our good friends George and Barb, Don and Mar, and Shaun and Mary came over one weekend and spent it with us. Oh, the fun we had! Incredible food (thanks guys for all your contributions!), lots of wine and beer (and a little 4-20!), many laughs, midday swims in the river, midnight swims in the river (Barb in her PJs! on Brad's shoulders), a few moments of panic (for me mostly when the galldarn alarm wouldn't stop beeping and then the fire alarm went off, too! - this actually worked in my favour later in the evening, however, when we were playing charades and I had to act out Desperate Housewives!). I think it's safe to say that a good time was had by all... Brad and I were very pleased that we we able to spend part of our vacation with such great friends.

Having the dogs along was a bonus! They loved the place and enjoyed our relaxed pace. Kaiser looked at me as though I were crazy when the alarm went off at 5:35 this a.m.!

Bradley and I bickered quite a bit for the first few days, more so than usual, (I think it stemmed from being around each other 24-7), and so much so that on the 3rd or 4th day, I started the morning off by inquiring what he wanted to fight about on that particular day! LOL. But we we got over that, as we always do.

Oh, and I won $125 in the lotto while we were there! Yipee! I parlayed that into $125,000 when I first told our friends (and I had going them for a minute or so!).

All and all, it was great to get away, great to be off work for 2 weeks straight, great to share it with my friend and partner and for us to share it with our friends and loved ones. And it sucks that it's over!

Here's some pics (and we definitely need a new camera!):


A typical sunset down by the river

Part of the backyard!

Hail! Hail! The Gang's All Here! (Well, almost all - our Paulie wasn't there cuz he was on vacation out West)

Brad, Barb, and Mar cooking up a storm!

Spinning yarns on the deck

Memories of Tuscany! Shaun and Mary get serious in the kitchen!

Ye humble abode

View from the riverbank

Happy pooches!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Off to the sea shore!

Hi guys, Sorry about not posting much recently. We've been busy getting ready to take 2 weeks vacation by the ocean. We've rented a house and are taking the dogs with us. Two weeks of total down time, relaxing, reading books, going for long walks, and just chilling. Our good friends George and Barb, Don and Mar, and Shaun and Mary are coming to visit next weekend. Here's to hot sunny days and cool drinks!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

This and that...

Hope everyone had a good weekend... Ours flew by too fast... We got some stuff done around the house, mowed the lawn, got my 21 km in on the bike yesterday... Was sunny and warm for the most part, with rain starting tonight and continuing for the next couple of days...

Don't know why, but I was thinking of this song this afternoon (perhaps because a friend gave me Marianne Faithfull's new CD - Man, she been aound for a while now...) In any case, I still like her and this song (regardless of the cheesy video!)

She reminds me of my (somewhat misspent) youth! She was in her hayday in the early eighties, while I was at university. Late nights, good friends, lotsa booze, maryjane, and Marianne!

Here's another that more of you might be familiar with:

Back to the here and now... just one more week till we are on vacation and at the cottage for 2 weeks... I can't wait! I'm literally gagging ot be off work and out of town for a few weeks. Will be all the better as we will have the dogs with us and we'll be having some good friends over to visit while we are there.

Here's to a quick week!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

A Perfect Day in the Country

File this under better late than never, I guess! I've been meaning to do a little post about our wonderful day in the country at good friends Don and Marlene, but, well, life keeps happening and here we are at Thursday already!

In any case, last Saturday afternoon, Brad and I hopped in the car and drove the 40 minutes out to Shangri-la - aka Don and Mar's 20-some acres in the country. It was a spectacular day, sunny and hot, but not too humid. Every time we go out, I sigh and tell Brad that I want to live there too. It's so quiet and peaceful, no neighbours in sight, and you rarely even see a car passing on the road in the distance. I would no doubt miss the city a bit, but the tranquility and unruffled calm of country living is certainly alluring to me.

After greeting our hosts and saying hello to the 3 dogs and 2 cats, we started the afternoon off with a glass of Don's homemade mead, 3-years old, I believe, with a hint of choke cherry to tart up the honey-based libation. Refills in hand, we walked down to inspect the handsome new chicken coop, which is now home to three ducks, a number of roosters, and a gaggle of chickens. The ducks have already started laying, but it will be a few more weeks before the chickens will begin production. They are really quite pretty birds and they were quick to gobble up the blueberries that Mar and I threw in for them.

Then it was on to the garden, which was a sight to behold. Fenced off to keep munching deer out, the garden is full of tomatillos, corn, peas, beans, potatoes, beets, you name it! Walking a bit farther, we came to the vineyard that Don and Mar have been planting and tending to for years now. Their efforts are really paying off and bearing fruit, literally. Row after row of beautiful vines that now nestle clumps of small grapes that will be ready for harvest sometime next month.

Off in the distance was the fish pond where Don caught the trout that would be barbecued for our supper. We made our way back to the deck where we laughed and talked over a couple of micro brews as we whiled away the remainder of the afternoon.

By and by, Don went down to the garden to dig some new potatoes, followed by Mar who picked fresh beans. You've perhaps heard of the hundred-mile diet, well this was the 100-metre diet! Trout from the pond and mostly everything else from the garden, all except for the curried shrimp skewers. I guess we blew the distance thing with the curry used on the shrimp. Mar picked that up in Nepal when they were there with Brad a couple of years ago!

Everything was absolutely delish and absolutely fresh! All washed down with a great French white from their ample cellar and followed by a blueberry buckle that was not long out of the oven and homemade vanilla ice cream! We retired again to the cool of the deck and lingered over a tasty dessert wine.

A perfect day in the country, but alas all good things must come to an end, and we had to get home to let our two dogs out. Mar sent us on our way with 3 bars of soap, which she, of course, had made! They smell terrific and I can't wait to lather up in the shower!

Thanks again, guys! And next time I'll try to remember our camera!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Skinny Saturday 59!

Hey all! Finally getting around to doing a post on a Saturday! It's been a while! Had a drink all by myself after work last night :( Brad was off to his dad's for supper, Shaun and Mary are in Ontario, Don and Mar couldn't make it, and we'd seen George and Barb just a few nights ago, so I stopped by our regular spot and had a couple of glasses of wine before catching the bus home...

Speaking of the bus, I've met an interesting dude on board lately. He has started taking the same bus I do in the mornings. He's cute in an off-beat kind of way and I'd place him still in his mid-twenties perhaps. He sits at the back of the bus, as do I most of the time. Usually when I get on in the morning, all of the windows are closed, and the air is very close, so I almost always open at least one window to get some fresh air. Two days ago, it was raining a little, but I still opened the window next to me a crack. Dude kind of chuckled and said he was wondering if I would open the window. I laughed and said that I found it stuffy, even with the cool temps and rain. The next morning, yesterday, it was a different kind of bus where the windows are at the top and they open inwards. Dude was in his usual spot when I sat down across from him, and I purposefully didn't open a window - just to see if he'd say anything. Sure enough, after a minute or so, he pointed up to the window and smiled and said, "The windows are up here on this bus." I laughed and said, "I was just checking to see if you were on the ball!" Adding, "I guess I am kind of predictable!" He laughed again and said, "No dude, that's great. You've got your act down pat. Me, I'm usually running to make it to the bus stop on time." Then yesterday evening, he was sitting at the back of the bus I caught home after drinks. He was sitting chatting with another couple who I often see on the bus too. "Good job!" I turned around and said. "I see you've got all the windows open already!" He laughed and said, "Well, I knew you'd be coming, so I had it all ready for you!" Like I said, he's cute and our joking was fun. A pleasant little departure from the norm.

After Brad got back, we watched another episode of the first season of True Blood. That Jason... Mmm, mmm, mmm!

I got up fairly early this morning and went to the farmers' market. I bought basil, new potatoes, fresh local tomatoes, cucumber, and a few pieces of very yummy homemade baklava. I also picked up some of Marlene's favourite cheese curds and a slab of Stilton to take out to Don and Mar's this afternoon. They're having us over for a meal tonight. Then I dropped by the bakery and picked up some bread and the Saturday Globe and Mail.

Brad will soon be off to get our groceries and I am going to catch some rays on our deck. It's a beautiful sunny day here and tomorrow is supposed to be very nice, too! Cloudy with a 60% chance of showers for Monday (our civic holiday). I'll drop down to see mom on Monday to take advantage of the day.

Have a great weekend everyone. And here are the fellas!