Saturday, May 29, 2010

Rainy Saturday

The rain has been relentless around here. I almost feel as if I live in Vancouver or some equally rainy coastal city. No use complaining. As I said before we take what we get.So, what do you do when the temperature is barely above 0 degrees Celsius and the rain is pouring down?

You put on a country music radio station.

You make soup.

Bacon potato and corn chowder to be exact.

You bake some bread.

You search for the perfect button for your denim jumper.

You play with your magnet set.

You help Daddy organize the tackle boxes.

Daddy tells you that you get one all your own.

And then you paint it of course.

Since Daddy bought an old boat this spring.

You cuddle on the couch and watch a movie with oil popped corn, made in a pot. Lots of butter and salt.

You relax and enjoy because it is that kind of day.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Possibly Worst Blogger Ever

It is possible that I have become the worst blogger ever, excepting my daughter Jen who is much worse than I. ;) Since we came back from our trip I have been busier than I have been in a long while. I am sure you all have. At least those of you who live in Canada and plant by the May Long weekend rule. As I said before, my neighbor across the road allowed me to use his garden this year. Paul tilled it and raked it for me and Athena and I planted it last week. It took hours to do. It is the biggest garden I have ever had. I think the dimensions are something like 15ft x 50 feet. We planted carrots, radish, spinach, mesclun, parsnips, beets, turnips. We did some green beans, wax beans, scarlet runner beans, two kinds of pumpkin, cucumbers, zucchini. In our back alley we planted potatoes. Red and yellow. Needless to say my body aches. Aches I tell you. I am almost 45 years old and I am not the spring chicken I used to be. My yoga mat is calling from the studio "Come use me. You need it."

In addition to all that veg, we did our annuals too. Lots of annuals. This years theme is "Oh Canada!" You guessed it, red and white flowers. Only red and white. ( If you haven't already gleaned that information, I LOVE CANADA. Except the wine.) That was for the front yard. In the back we planted all my favorites. Fragrant favorites. Sweet pea, stock, alysssum, four o'clocks, Cosmos (I know, not fragrant but lovely all the same), morning glory, evenings scented stock. The flowers I love are not that showy but the smell is summer to me. Plus, we put up a bat house and scented flowers are said to attract bats.

I have literally fallen into bed (after a long hot shower) every night by 9:30. That is how tired I have been. Couple that with having had company all weekend, (which was so nice. All the girls came home!) the laundry, cooking and cleaning that accompanies that and the schooling and you have one tired Mama.

The lilacs are blooming and the crab apple tree is full of flowers. The scent of summer is wafting through the air. And yet... and yet, it is forecast to snow this weekend. Again. But you know what? In this part of the country, here in dear Canada, we take what we get. I see some popcorn, a movie or two and some birch wood fires in the fireplace in our near future. An possibly corn chowder and home made mac and cheese.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Victoria In Pictures

My Great Blue Heron, right outside the hotel window. Oh joy!

The best "wine" I had all week. Victoria likes to promote BC wines and although I am a great Canadian patriot I have a huge distaste for Canadian wines.

This was Paul's joy, not mine.

I was taking pictures of this little guy when he leaped toward me. Since I had the lens on macro it seemed as if he would jump on top of me. Of course I let out a shriek which made those around me laugh. I laughed at that myself.

This shot made Paul's trip. It was a little cove and he could just imagine himself living out his days there.

My Japanese Maple. Can't grow that in zone 2b.

An odd brown gull. Not sure of the genus and species.

I have never seen a bird such as this. When we got home I looked it up in my bird encyclopedia, (yes, I am that geeky) and found out it was an Oyster Catcher.

Looking for whales and seals. None to be found.

Through the hotel window. Last night there I sent him for pints at the nearby pub. He went but felt guilty and was back inside of an hour.

Okay, this crow sat not 4 feet from me when I was eating a fish taco on the wharf. I saved some of the tortilla shell for him as he was watching me so forlornly.

Red Fish Blue Fish. Totally sustainable "restaurant" where I ate said taco. By 11:30 am the place was packed with people wanting lunch. The waiter at the hotel restaurant recommended the place to us. Good food. Cheap prices, and yes that is a shipping container.

The Empress Hotel. Ahh. I stood outside this hotel while on a school trip when I was 12 years old. We lived outside of Edmonton. I will never forget that day as it was the day I vowed to grow Virginia Creeper wherever I lived. And I have unto this day. (Yes, I guess I was a geek way back when too.)

MY Great Blue, closer up.

The view out our hotel window.

Couldn't resist capturing this picture. It was prominently displayed in our room. Heehee.

Found on many of our 5 hour long walks. You read that right. I lost 2 lbs on the trip.

Never dreamed starfish were purple. Did you?

Right outside our $259 a night hotel. So sad.

We have Franklin's Gulls in Saskatchewan. These gulls are huge! They should be, they feast on fresh seafood every day.

Arbutus trees. Smooth as a baby's bottom. They shed their bark year round. Lyse, are these the trees you have in North Carolina?

Our hotel. Our room was on the far right. First one with the arch.
All in all it was a great trip, as far as trips go. One thing I learned, or already knew but did not admit: I like my feet firmly planted on the earth, preferably the earth that is very nearby my own home. It was nice to be with Paul all week. Really nice. But as the old adage goes, "Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home!"

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Victoria Update

Well, we arrived and I did not die in a plane crash. Imagine that. Our hotel is situated on the inner harbor. What a busy place. Planes in and out all day. Whale watching boats, harbor tour boats, boats from Seattle, tug boats, barges, sailboats, kayaks, canoes, sailboats. Lots and lots of boats. Lots and lots of noise. Coming from small town Saskatchewan, we are NOT used to noise, except for the trains, which I will not complain about in this venue. Not today anyway.

The weather has been coolish. Windy too. Wind off the water is very chilly. Today has been the nicest day yet, but alas, the wind is picking up. It has been lovely to be alone with Paul though, but my oh my can that man sleep!! He is sleeping again as I type this little post. He sleeps 9 hours at night and then has a nap every afternoon. Sheesh! Must be nice to be a man.

I have had several excellent experiences here which I will document in a later post with photos. I was privileged to watch two otters playing in the water. I was able to watch a Blue Heron wading in the ocean, easily catching fish. I saw a seagull hop into the water and pull out a crab and then proceed to rip its legs off one by one (not pleasant) and then eat the meat.

Speaking of which, last night at the restaurant the waiter informed us that Spot Prawns were in season for only a short time. Of course Paul thought that we should try them. He ordered some as an appetizer. Well, my goodness, when he placed the four of them in front of us I immediately thought of something my sister Lyse said. She said that she couldn't eat shrimp because they look like a bug. These Spot Prawns were cooked with the shell and legs and head and antennae on and they were huge, four in a row, just presented like that on a plate. Paul, knowing that I would not like that, immediately told me he would shell it for me. He did so and after breaking the tail of a grayish slime oozed onto the plate from the head portion. He place the prawn on my plate and I ate it quickly. I had to lest I lose my courage and run to the bathroom. It was not bad tasting but the visual I had just witnesses was beyond bearing. I had salad and a crab cake for my dinner. I couldn't even think of eating more. And yes Lyse, they do look like bugs. I may forever be altered.

Athena is doing well with Jen. We called yesterday and she does NOT miss us. She is however teaching Jen all about Fungus Gnats and such so not all is lost.

We are away to Butchart Gardens tomorrow. I am really looking forward to this part of the trip. We will rent a car and then drive up the coast a bit to walk upon the sand and collect some shells. This is more my style, nature, wide open spaces, quiet.

Hey Dawn and Sarah, wanna meet us there with your children? Bring Derek and Andy too. I am sure they could go for pints somewhere.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Home Schooling One

Home schooling an only child can present its unique trials. For instance, hearing "Mama, pretend you saw... (fill in the blank)" about a hundred times a day. Another example "Mama, ya know what?" about a hundred times more. Don't get me wrong, I love that little squirt. I love watching her learn, watching her play, watching her eat, sleep, breathe. She brings me joy beyond measure but there is only so much patience in this middle aged woman. Couple that with a husband who is gone a lot, A LOT, and you have one Mama who is ready for a small break.

As luck would have it, Paul and I are away for 5 nights to Victoria, beginning on Monday. All alone. Just the two of us. It is the first real vacation that we have had alone together in 27 years. You read that right. We have been married just short of 27 years and this will be our first trip. I am looking forward to being alone with him. No children, no responsibilities. No housework, laundry or cooking. One would think that this would be every woman's dream. One would think.

But not me. I am a little anxious about the whole thing. Anxious about flying. Anxious about being away from home. Anxious about the entire trip really. Isn't that pathetic? Isn't that just horrid?

I have never been one to travel. If someone told me I just won a trip for two to Hawaii I would immediately think "Oh crap." What is the matter with me? I have been like this since I was a child. I loved being invited to sleep overs but more often than not had to be taken back home because I was "sick". I was sick. Home sick. And now, at the tender age of 44 years and 10 months, I feel no different.

But my sister Lyse said to me today to try to focus on the good things. The food, the wine, the sleeping in, the lounging around, Butchart Gardens, being alone with Paul. All good, to be sure.

And dagnamit, I will relax. I will enjoy. I will. I will. I will. And maybe, just maybe... I'll see a whale!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Taking What We Get

My goodness it has been a cool rainy week. We are not used to so many days of rain. Makes us feel like we live in Vancouver, but not nearly as warm. Yesterday, just yesterday we had our down filled coats and gloves on while we did some outdoor chores. We just had to get outside!

This morning the skies were blue and it warmed up quickly. I had quite a bit of schooling planned for this morning so I actually had to wake the girl up at 8:30 so we could get at it. You will notice that she is often in her pjs. I am not sure if I should have her get dressed before we start or if it doesn't make a difference.

We got our Cuisenare Rods in the mail last week and so today we worked on addition up to 5 with them. We also made as many different combinations of numbers we could to make 10. She found them amusing at the start but quickly tired of them.

We worked on some Handwriting Without Tears, reviewed the Bob Books 4 and 5, and went over some flash cards for the sight words of the and I a are do. She is quite comfortable with those words now. While I was folding some laundry she played a "spot the animal in camouflage" game from Brain Pop Jr. Thanks again Tara. Then I sent her outside. She loves being outside. She called to some Mourning Doves, watched Parker hop from tree to tree and dug in the sandbox. She didn't come in for lunch until half past 12 and went straightaway back outside.

We took advantage of the break in the rain and did some bark rubbings, which she thought was the coolest thing. We hunted for different types of pine cones and found 4 varieties. A good day.

And now the sky has clouded over and the temperature is dropping. We are expecting snow/rain through the night and into Tuesday. I have learned in my almost 45 years of life to take what you can get when it comes to weather. In fact, one of my new favorite quotes is "There is no such thing as BAD weather, only the wrong clothes."