Tuesday, July 27, 2010


I don't think I've ever heard anyone who golfs describe themselves as "good" golfer. Every golfer I ever knew moaned about their short game or their tendency to slice or how that last shot off the 18th tee could have been better. I have a solution: play with my daughters and me. We will make you look like both Tiger Woods and Arnold Palmer on their very best days in comparison.

My father, a very experienced and dedicated golfer of many years, offered to take Thing 1, Thing 2 and I out for 9 holes last night; a very generous offer, considering it would take years off his life and scar his very soul.
Thing 2 has had some lessons, but Thing 1 and I are very new to the sport. All three of us have a LOT to learn.

While my dad hit the ball like it was supposed to be hit, and went more or less straight towards it's target, the rest of us flailed away like electrocuted monkeys, occasionally making contact with the ball, sometimes making it go towards the hole and even sometimes both at the same time. I made one memorable shot at one point where the ball went exactly 90° to the direction in which I meant for it to go...how does that even happen?.....it was like physics took a holiday. Thing 1 took out a few divots out of the ground that were the size of your head. Thing 2 managed to put a ball exactly and precisely in the middle of an enormous puddle.....she couldn't have done it again if her life depended on it.

And although everyone kept their sense of humor and no one (including dad) got too frustrated, I'm sure golfing with us was a memoral departure from his usual golfing experience.

Things My Father Does Not Usually Hear From His Golfing Partners:

  • "It's my turn to play the pink ball, you played it last time."
  • "Wait a second, I broke a nail."
  • "My pants are falling down"
  • "I lost my hairband"
  • "Which way is the hole?"
  • "Oh, look! A baby duck!"
  • "I want a golf cart for Christmas!"

Without a doubt, the highlight for the girls was driving the golf carts. Driving a golf cart is all kinds of fun, even when you are used to driving an actual car. Something about a golf cart lends itself to hilarity, and the ever present possibility of driving it into a pond or tipping it over gives the whole thing an air of slightly contained hysteria.

Despite our lack of prowess, I think we all enjoyed ourselves. I'm pretty sure my dad is almost over it.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Cheap at Twice the Price

This is what I dream of in February.
When there is snow up to my armpits and the wind cuts through my coat and the slush and the cold are making me want to hibernate, what gets me through is knowing that the summer will arrive. And the best part is, summer is free. It costs nothing, but is infinitely wonderful.

Here is a sunset over Lake Huron. This sort of gorgeousness happens every night. For free.

I would wager that there are few places more gorgeous than southwestern Ontario in the summertime. Last year, we had a rather cold, petulant, sulky sort of a summer, which makes this year all the more delicious. It has been hot and sunny and utterly beautiful for weeks already, and it's only the end of July.
We've had some very hot and humid weather recently, which makes for some pretty theatrical thunderstorms. And rainbows. This was last week, one night after dinner. Again, totally free of charge.

Yesterday, Big Liver Girl and I took various children to the beach. The wind was up, so the waves were high, providing a solid afternoon's entertainment for all involved.
Here I am, testing the undertow before letting the kids in.

And here are three of the kids wave running and having a ball. Despite the cool wind, the water was incredibly warm. Warm for a lake in Canada, anyway.
Wavy lakes are fabulous entertainment, and again, free.
Here is the sky last night, from my back yard.

This is how I spent the last week of my vacation, and every unclaimed moment since. And since I got that book out of the library, that week was pretty cheap. The only cost was the glass of ice cold riesling that's just out of camera range.

Summer gives good value, no question.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Mister Makes Me Laugh

The Mister and I stopped off at Costco on our way home from work, to get supplies for the salon.

On our way to the check out, we passed a guy who looked and sounded EXACTLY like Jackie Chan. I mean, exactly. And in his cart were 6 huge birthday cakes and 4 ginormous watermelons. Nothing else, just that.

I said "did you see Jackie Chan there? I didn't know he shopped at Costco." And the Mister replied "did you see what was in his cart? I want to see that movie!"

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Read 'Em and Weep

One of the things that thrilled me when I was finished my formal education was that I could read books at my leisure, read whatever took my considerable fancy, and I didn't have to analyse or remember one single thing about them. I still read an awful lot....it always amuses me at New Years, when I hear people say "one of my resolutions is to read more." Really? Because I always have to vow to read less...."Officer, I know I was supposed to renew my driver's licence, but you see, I got into a really good book, and there went that week."

I am fortunate that we are blessed with a phenomenal library system in my city. Seriously, my reading habit would seriously hamper our morgage payments if I had to actually buy all the books I read.

Our library system allows you to get on your home computer and access their system, to see if they have the book you want. You can then put that book on hold, they will bring it to the branch nearest to you, and then e-mail you when it gets there. You can keep the book for three weeks, and then they will e-mail you again to tell you that the book is due in a couple of days. If you are not ready to bring it back, you can re-new your book for another three weeks, as long as no one else is waiting for it. All for free. Is there a better deal anywhere?? I doubt it. PLUS, the librarians are delightful and friendly and they know me by name. They even know my dad. (They tell me I've missed him if I come in soon after he does, and they even ask if everything is okay if he doesn't come in for a while.)

I went to the library today after work, to find that there were no less than 7 books on hold for me. I took all of them out, and now feel a terrific pressure to read all of them in as short a time as possible, because the library system is so good to me, and I want to return the favor. I can "freeze" my holds, and allow other people to get my books before me, and the I jump back into the queue where I left it, but for some reason I misjudged how quickly I would get these particular books and I zoomed up the waiting list and ended up with about 90 kajillion pages to read by tomorrow.

Adding to my self-inflicted reading gauntlet, is that I took a gig reviewing books for a small, local magazine recently. (Usually I spew my opinions out to the world for free, I had no idea anyone would actually PAY me for them!) So, now I have to read two more books to review them.

I may have to take some time off work to get all my reading done. It would sort of be like being in university again.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Nutrition-Free Week

One of the nice things about holidays is the suspension of routine; the normal rules of living are loosened somewhat, because no one has to be out the door at a particular time, meal and bed times can be fluid, everyone can sleep in. It's a "get out of jail free" card for the duration.

This has translated into a "nutrition-free" week at the cottage. It started when the girls were younger, and as part of the week away from routine, we would get considerably more "treat" food for our week away than we ever had any other time of the year. And as that meant that I was constantly trying to beat them out of the kitchen, and eternally being the "treat police" and it was distinctly unpleasant, mostly for me. After a while, I threw my hands up and figured "it's one week out of the year, have at it". You want Pringles and pudding for breakfast? Be my guest. Lunch is some licorice and a popsicle? Not a problem. Popcorn at 2 in the afternoon? Great idea. You're not hungry for dinner because you ate your weight in Pop-Tarts? Why didn't I think of that?
It's tradition.

I'll admit, I've had some sober second thoughts regarding this policy on more than one occasion. One morning, when Thing 2 was about 6 years old, I woke up to find her sitting on the couch, watching a DVD and eating vanilla icing straight out of the can with a spoon. I was mostly horrified, but a teeny bit impressed at her intestinal fortitude. And Thing 1 once ate an entire chocolate cream pie by herself over the course of a day.
And it's not just the kids, oh no. The Mister and I can hold our own in the "Red Dye Number 2 Festival"....I don't know what it is about sitting on the beach, but I crave potato chips like a meth addict when I'm there. I can not only eat a bag of chips every day, I have also been known to put a serious dent in a bag of cheezies, which is completely unheard of any other time of the year. The Mister, who usually never eats breakfast at all, will almost always have a bowl of whatever chocolate flavored, sugar coated, morally dubious cereal that's around, every day.

I do make dinner every night that week, and although I'm a bit more lax than usual, I do try to have something that gives everyone's pancreas a fighting chance. And I do have plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables around. It makes me feel a bit better to have some baby carrots with my lunch of bacon and egg bagels and a fudgesicle.
And I notice that 'round about Wednesday or Thursday of our week, someone will ask if there's going to be salad with our dinner, or if we have any apples. The nutrition-free week works itself out pretty nicely....eventually your body will start to demand fuel that has only one or two syllables in its name.

It's nice to have one week where you kick the rules to the curb and let loose. But truly, one week is enough.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Things The Cat Would Do Well To Remember

  1. Standing in the middle of the driveway when the van is being driven into it is a Very Bad Idea.
  2. Flopping around on the floor exposing your belly invites people to touch it. If you do not like your belly touched, you should keep it hidden.
  3. The second step from the top is a bad place to "hang out".
  4. The computer monitor is not there simply to provide a lovely back light for one's tail.
  5. The shower sprays water. Yes, every time.
  6. Every can does not contain tuna. That means that every time a can is opened, it may not be tuna.
  7. Those big, smelly black and white "cats" outside at night do NOT like to play.
  8. The bed belongs to the humans. The cat is a guest. Not the other way around.
  9. The garbage bags have never done you a bit of harm. There is no need to freak out when one of them is snapped open.
  10. One can live perfectly well without ever climbing the curtains.
  11. A closed door is not a challenge.
  12. Even if you creep up very, very slowly, someone is still bound to notice you trying to share their yogurt.
  13. Balancing all four paws on someone's full bladder is strongly discouraged.
  14. Yawning does not have to be a full-body activity.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Beach

We went south, to the "other" Great Lake yesterday. Usually Lake Huron is where we go for a beach day, mostly because of habit, but Lake Erie has a lot going for it, too, and we went there yesterday afternoon.

I love the beach, and we are incredbily lucky to have two enormous lakes with dozens of fabulous beaches within an hour's drive of us. We have beaches with sand dunes, beaches with towns, quiet beaches, gravelly beaches and shallow beaches and deep beaches. There are beaches with really good waves, beaches that get nary a ripple, beaches that can drive on and beaches that can only be gotten to by precarious staircases down daunting cliffs. A beach for everyone.

You really do see that God in His Great Wisdom has a wicked sense of humor....there is every size, shape and configuration of human body on this earth, and you get to see most of them at the beach. And for the most part? everyone looks like they are hungover and have been shot out of a cannon at the beach. For the past few years there have been hair products on the market designed to give you "beach hair", which baffles me utterly....to me, beach hair usually looks like it's been styled with vaseline and leaf blower. That shower when you get home from the beach is purely delicious.

The beach we went to yesterday has a big restaurant right on the beach, where we went for dinner. Somehow, eating our fries outside by the lake, shooing the gulls away while watching the sun get lower and lower in the sky makes everything taste so much better. Any other time of the year, a dinner of french fries and ice cream would seem slovenly and gross, but on a breezy, warm summer evening by the lake, it seems perfectly acceptable.

I love watching dogs at the beach. Some dogs can't get enough of the water, and exhaust themselves in endless games of fetch, and some dogs are perfectly content to sit on the sand and pant. The Mister once was at the beach with a bunch of friends and one of them had a dog. The guys all stood in the lake, throwing a frisbee around in a circle, and the dog gamely swam around and around trying to get it. After a while, the dog was getting tired and sinking lower and lower into the water, and they all stopped the game and got out of the lake, increasingly afraid that the dog would drown in her single-minded attempt to catch the frisbee. If the van smells a bit rank with 4 or 5 damp, sweaty children in the car after a day at the beach, I can only imagine how it smells with a lake-wet dog in there.

My summer is infinitely improved by being able to go to the beach easily and often, and we are lucky to have so many clean, safe, beautiful beaches within easy distance. And the french fries and ice cream don't hurt, either.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Awesome Things About Summer

  1. Sleeping with the windows open. Especially when you get a cool breeze on a hot night.
  2. Ice cream sundaes for dinner.
  3. It is easy to get dressed in the morning....no more than underwear, a t-shirt and shorts. Some days it is even easier: bathing suit.
  4. Watermelon. And raspberries. And blueberries. And corn on the cob.
  5. Getting up really early......summer mornings are spectacularly beautiful and precious, and it's SO much easier to get up in the summer.
  6. Watching a sunset.
  7. Not knowing what day it is when you are on holidays.
  8. Summer music.....no matter how old you are or what the time of year, there are certain songs that remind you of hot, sticky summer nights when all you had to do was have fun.
  9. BBQs.
  10. Diving into a pool on a hot day.
  11. The feeling of things being less serious than other times of the year. I don't care how long you've been out of school, you feel like you can take it a bit easier in July and August.
  12. A cold beer outside on a patio after work.
  13. Napping in a hammock.
  14. No socks.
  15. The smell of bed sheets dried out on the line.
  16. The feeling of adventure and excitement when setting off on a road trip.
  17. The shower you take after a day at the beach. You will never feel cleaner.


Back home. We arrived into the real world on Saturday, having spent a blissful, soothing, lazy week at the cottage. And as much as I love that week away from my life every year, I really love coming home, too.

We have been renting the same cottage on Lake Huron for 13 summers now, and this was, easily, THE hottest week we've ever had there. The temperatures rarely went below the 30s, and it was hazy and hot and humid for the duration. It was a perfect week to be at the beach, living in a bathing suit and napping every day. It was heavenly to be able to read in the shade all day, drinking something icy cold and snoozing whenever the feeling came over you.
And the best part is that we still have a whole other week of holidays left! Usually, go to the cottage on our second of our two weeks, but this year, because Thing 1 got a job (yay!!) we went up to the lake on our first week. AND, it started raining yesterday and is still raining today, so we definitely got the better of the two weeks.
This is last week:
It was so hot that the Mister and the girls literallly spent the day in the lake. That's the Mister on the left, sitting in a chair in Lake Huron, and that's the girls on the right, going out far enough to submerge themselves in the water.
This is today....soggy and wet. (Although, it is a welcome relief from the heat and humidity.)

This week, we will go blueberry picking and see some movies. I plan on reading even more books, and surfing the net. I can do some errands, but when I feel like it. And I can sleep in my own bed.

I love holidays, where ever they happen.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Out On Parole.

It's official! I'm off work and on holidays!
We are heading up to the cottage for a week, just as soon as I am all packed. (Which, if I don't get off the computer, might be Tuesday.)
The Mister is bringing his laptop for the first time, which, for me, it part heresy and part wonderful....I'm not sure which feeling is winning the battle for my soul. On the one hand, I feel like the cottage is the one week where this far-too-electronic-addicted family unplugs and enjoys life without distractions. On the other hand, I love my computer. So, I am conflicted.
But the up-side is that, if there is a decent wi-fi connection at the beach, I can still post on the blog. If not, I will see you all in a week!!