Saturday, 31 July 2010


We are looking after the YD's dog this weekend while the YD careens down rock filled rivers - not something that her very timid pooch would appreciate.  It's not a hard job, Shammy sitting, because Shammy spends a lot of time sitting.  Well, more accurately, she spends a lot of time lolling around in the shade of the maple trees in our front yard or lying like a heap of grimy wool on the living room carpet.  She does not snore and you can easily step over her to get out to the screen porch. She sleeps in.  A model dog guest.

The squirrels do not like her.  They cling to tree branches and chrr away at her; she pays no attention at all.  If you throw her ball for her she will bounce after it, grab hold of it and refuse to give it up.  If you suggest a walk, she will pad along for a while but soon lose interest and return to her nice soft grassy spots.  Obviously, she is missing the YD who plays with her, runs with her and provides her with water to swim in and other dogs.  I don't do the running bit, nor does JG.

What does attract her attention is nice shiny bowls full of kibble or cold fresh water.  As long as said bowls appear in regular progression, she seems content.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

More Reflections

This is a wreck on the Oregon beach at Astoria.  I took this one in May.  I figure anyone with a camera who has even been on this beach has taken this same shot.  But why should that stop me - I still love it.

I am working on 'sustenance', really I am, but those are still on the camera.  Dentist day.  Ow.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Photo Essays - Project 365.

I've just joined a crew that has committed to taking a photo a day for the next year.  The purpose is to change and enhance the way we see the world.  The rules are fairly loose - there will be a weekly theme word and the photos can be posted daily or in batches.  The home site is shown as a link in the right hand column.

Last week, however, I took over three hundred photos while vacationing with my family at a cottage on Lake Opinicon in the Rideau Canal system.  I just have to use some of them.  One of the consistent challenges I set myself when photographing is to see if I can pick up contrasts in light and I also love reflections.  The sunsets from our cottage were gorgeous and I can't resist using some that came out fairly well.

And so - here is a sunset shot across Opinicon Lake.
In the series, this is 001/365.

It's clouds' illusions I recall,
I really don't know clouds at all.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

What I Did On My Day Off

We took Little Stuff home yesterday afternoon, after a nine day visit while her parents were at a conference and then took a mini holiday. She's hardly 'little stuff' any more, at seven, but that's how I still think of her.

We had a good time, given that the heat and humidity were severe for Eastern Ontario -- humidexes in the 40's mostly (That's 40 C, American friends, equating to 104 F). Luckily we have aquaintances with a cottage on a small lake nearby and we spent a lot of time on their beach. Not only does it have frogs and minnows and a crayfish, but it also has northern water snakes, at least two, much to the child's joy. ('Can I catch it, Grama?'. 'No, better not, we have nothing to keep it in,' said Grama, trying to keep her voice from quavering.

On the weekend her aunt (the YD) came out to stay and we ventured to a public beach at a nearby park, where the YD's dog decided to join a baseball game, necessitating a lot of chasing on the YD's part and a lot of giggles from Little Stuff. On Sunday we took the big boat out on Big Rideau Lake, Grandpa opened up the throttle and we zoomed up the channel, bouncing over the wakes of all the other boats, including a couple of big cruisers. Ouch - my poor butt. But Little Stuff and her aunt had huge grins on their faces and shrieked with delight at the wildest bounces and sheets of spray.

Inside we did lots of crafts and painting - and it took me a lot of time to remove blue spray spots from her brand new white pants.

There was one interesting difference in this visit. Little Stuff was homesick at times, mostly in the late morning when things were slow. She never has been before. 'I miss my mommy and daddy,' she would say, the big brown eyes glistening with unshed tears. Her mother and I figure she is now at a cognitive level where she realizes how long nine days are - and that much time does seem like a very long stretch to a child. I vividly remember feeling like that at about the same age, on a week long visit to my grandparents. But I suspect I was not as disciplined about it as Little Stuff. She didn't whine or pine and if given an engrossing activity she would come out of it pretty fast. It did keep me jumping to provide a steady stream of such activities, however.

A few photo highlights:
A visit with Milly, a neighbour's two month old miniature horse.

Batting practice with Grandpa.
 With Grama and Octoraft.  The weater fostered a horde of horseflies.  Little Stuff floated around on the raft looking at fish through her goggles with Grama standing guard to fend off the evil critters.  Chlorine and all, there is something to be said for indoor pools.

And now it is my day off and I get to blog in peace.  Ahhhh.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Oh, Where have You Been, Mary G, Mary G.

Number one Fan of Them's My Sentiments has just demanded that I get back on track and start posting again. NOF is, of course, my Younger Daughter, who reads my blog, I suspect, to keep track of what her dotty mother is doing from time to time. But, I have my orders, so here is an update.

In early May JG and I left on a marathon driving vacation. Our goal was a wedding to take place in early June in Washington State but the attendance at the wedding was really an excuse. We had both had a really tough spring and needed the break. And we had a good one. I am putting together a trip diary, this being a great excuse for not posting, don't you think, and may put up some of the best bits. With a few of the best of the photos. If I ever do get it done. We went across the continent through Nevada to Sacramento and detoured to Yosemite National Park. Then skirted San Francisco and drove Highways 1 and 101 north along the coast of northern California and Oregon. We left the coast at Astoria and drove along the Columbia River, with some detours, to the Methow River and up to Twisp, went to the wedding and, JG being totally tired of touring by then, drove east to the Ottawa Valley in five days. Zoom, zoom. 16000+ km on the car, I think JG calculated.

I got back just in time to fall into the last meetings and events of the several committees where I volunteer. That, plus trying to remedy what the neglect of five weeks of a May and June absence had done to the yard and gardens, not to mention dust, cobwebs and assorted wild life inside the house, seems to have used up the rest of June. We are now hosting Little Stuff, who is not so little all of a sudden, for nine days while her parents are overseas. Then we go to a cottage en famille for a week.

Then I may get a day off.

It always puzzles me as to what to say to acquaintances who invariably say 'HOW was your trip?' the first time they see you after you return. There may be a few who actually are interested and who will sit still for a short summation and even ask questions, but for the majority who ask, I think the question is a social noise similar to the 'How are you?' that people have to throw in after a greeting. I try never to ask that, mainly because the answer, if honest, would take longer than summing up a five week trip. I can't believe that anyone wants a comprehensive answer, really, at that level of superficial interaction.

For instance:
'Hey, Sally, good to see you. How have you been?'
'Well, my dear, my bunions are giving me hell and my blood pressure test came back way too high, the deer have eaten all my tomato plants and my husband hasn't spoken to me for a week.'
'My dear, can you believe it, I just won a lottery, my daughter has been granted a Rhodes Scholarship and I have the best tomatoes in the valley.'

In either case, caveat rogator. Too much information is not, in my opinion, a good thing, especially in the soup aisle at the supermarket where the interaction is blocking off the Campbell's chicken noodle.

If I am a close enough friend of the person I encounter, I will ask, specifically, 'How has ____ turned out?' or some other defined query to which I want an answer. Or if the friend is in uncertain health, I will ask about it. But to answer a greeting with 'How are you?' seems to me to be a silly, or even futile thing to do. The only possible polite and socially acceptable answer is a quick version of 'Fine, thanks. And you?' Mostly, the answer to that is a variation on 'fine' and no one is better informed.

And so I have been answering the question of 'HOW was your trip?' with a one sentence generality, mostly. I find it frustrating. I love to talk with people but I get horribly bored with meaningless conversations, party chit chat and other abuses of good communication. Most large parties cause me to long to be home with a book. This may sound weird, but I really enjoy riding or driving with someone and talking as we go; a very good opportunity to explore a subject or just chat. I also like writing letters or comprehensive emails and getting a detailed response. And just hanging out with a few other people is my ideal of a good time - if I don't have to cook, serve and clean, duties that really cut into the conversation.

Of course, there's blogging. Here I am, after a two month hiatus, saying that blogging is a conversation. Bad, bad Mary G. But for me, it is.

And, in the same vein, what do you do when someone asks you about your health or your trip?