End of Summer – 2017

As we go into the last long weekend of the summer, I am saddened to be saying good-bye to such an amazing 2 months! It’s been awhile since I felt this way. Of course, I’ve enjoyed many past summer months but with work always being so crazy, it really just sort of blends into the next season for me.

This summer, though… there was something very different about this past summer, which I will get into at the end of the post. First, a re-cap of some of the memories we’ve made to end our warmer months of the year!

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March boardwalk view from one of the trails.

We did go on our traditional, week-long camping trip. This time, we selected a new Provincial Park – Charleston Lake. Being a park with a lot of great nature trails, moderate to difficult hiking trails and many scenic canoeing routes (through the diverse amounts of islands in the bay), this was a very ideal park for us to go camping.

I was able to hit the trails three times on my own during the early mornings while the rest of the family slept in. I eventually got into vacation mode during the last half of the week and slept in as well but I usually am always the first to wake up. We also, as a family, hit three trails together. All in all, I tried to stay active since it was one week away from my usual workout routine.

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Found a great hidden spot on a tiny isolated island. We stayed here for a quiet picnic.

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Our last day paddling for an hour before we headed back to the city.

We managed to rent the canoe for two days. Day one was to find an isolated and deserted island for a picnic. Day two was the same afternoon we were heading back to the city. After packing everything up, we decided it was worth to rent and paddle for at least an hour before heading back. Both times did not disappoint!

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The slowest ride on earth. Seriously – I was bored after being stuck/stalled for the 3rd time.

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It’s traditional to go on the Ferris Wheel for a great view!

We arrived back for a 3-day weekend, just to give us some time to rest and relax before heading back to work the following week. We decided, since that Friday was going be the opening day of The Ex, to head there for the latter half of the day. The last time we went was 8 years ago. Chaeli doesn’t even remember any of it.

I always realize after spending some time at The Ex why we do not go every year. It’s expensive and really, pretty much the same thing each time. I imagine the next time Chaeli goes, it will be with her friends, leaving Doug and I at home (which will be fine by me).

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Caprese salad – with fresh basil from the garden.

The rest of our days have been drinking wine, making the use of our fresh basil before it’s too late and listening to more k-pop. Which brings me to my final point…

I have had the best summer bonding with my daughter. Sure, k-pop helped as she introduced me to this fun and entertaining world. But the conversations that developed out of this shared fascination has been so wonderful.

I will cherish these summer memories forever. I hope she will too!

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K-Pop Has Taken Over Our House

It’s part of parenting a teen. And no matter how you think you’re being on top of things all pop-culture, as most of my fellow parents are in my generation, it never fails – your teen will get into something which you didn’t see coming.

Lets face it – most of us have seen it all. We’ve been through the different types of fashion fads as they have recycled through time (with modifications of course). We’ve listened to all genre’s of music as well as movies and TV shows.

And until there’s a new form of STD, we’ve learned all about those, too! (And if we haven’t, we should – and we should also get up to speed of the latest drugs on the streets because it is just good practice to be prepared for these types of discussions with our kids).

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K-Pop Band – EXO

The thing is, my 13 year old daughter and her friends, are now just CRAZY over k-pop. And I mean crazy-CRAZY! I have no problem with this. I didn’t expect it, to be honest. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I am over-the-top thrilled they have discovered something outside the mainstream of North American pop-culture. I just didn’t know a thing about this subculture which actually, has a huge fan-base – and not just in South Korea but internationally.

I’ve been trying to keep up with her. She comes home and introduces me to new singles. I download them for her iPod. And I watch the YouTube music videos she sends me (well, not all, she sends me a lot!) While I have no idea who’s who in whatever band she is into at any given time, I’ve at least figured out a couple of the boys she crushes after.

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BTS – Winners of the 2017 Bill Board Awards

As I bond with her, while she teaches me everything she knows about the K-Pop culture, I have to sit back and smile.

I remember what it was like being her age – I remember becoming “boy-crazy” and crushing after popular band members and teen beat heart throbs. The feeling was new and exciting. And innocent. It was, after all, uncomplicated crushes to be shared with girlfriends who had similar crushes.

This is a stage that is both amusing and adorable at the same time. And I have to admit, some of the songs are quite impressive. I’ve been listening to the ones I’ve downloaded for her while at work. And strange as it sounds, her friends are envious that her mom is into the same music and buying the songs/albums from iTunes for her.

Who would have thought this would bump up my popularity among her friends?

Went to T-Bay and Got My Ass Chewed

I dedicate this post to The Shameful Sheep – because if you have never visited her hilarious blog before, at least start off with this post like I did. I write the following post with her in mind.

Last weekend, we flew up to my in-laws’ northern, Ontario city for a weekend visit. Well, I stayed for just the weekend but my husband and daughter stayed for a week. And you will soon learn why I keep my stay short.

I care about my in-laws a great deal. They are, at the end of the day, people with good intentions. I believe they care about me though I’m quite certain it started off with a very rocky start (one where my MIL told my mother while Doug & I were engaged that I “really knew how to spend lots of money” and where my PIL didn’t hide his distaste for my city, Toronto). 15 years later, I’ve finally come to terms with the way they are. Not that I encourage it nor agree with it, but as they are thousands of miles away from us, I know it doesn’t affect my daily life, that I’m not about to succeed in ever changing them and I sure as hell will not change myself for them.

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A view I enjoyed – for about 10 minutes.

So what is it about visiting my husband’s hometown which makes me, well, cringe a little. Hmm… lets see, is it because there’s nothing to do? No, not really. There is a lot to do. They have amazing camping there with beautiful trails waiting for us to climb.

But, I don’t get to do that. Normally whenever I’m there, we are hanging out at some one’s home because my MIL has invited half the town to come over and visit with us or I’m stuck at home because my husband is helping out his dad on some work around the house (granted my husband’s choice but it leaves me bored out of my mind).

Their foodie industry is starting to develop with great farm-to-plate restaurants. But I never get to try those out either – nor can I even suggest it without that “Toronto people like to spend money, look.” So my husband and I spend part of our afternoons shopping for the RIGHT kind of food and cook the RIGHT way for everyone. Yeah, okay. I admit that we’re a bit snobbish when it comes to food but for cryin’ out loud, whenever I stop to buy a nice bottle of red wine, I have to always stop my MIL from putting it in the fridge! YOU DON’T EVER PUT A NICE BOTTLE OF VINTAGE RED WINE IN THE FRIDGE!!!

When we go to their cottage (a cute, rustic-like cabin powered only by solar – it IS a very cool place), I do enjoy the view. And we did visit for the day on the Saturday we were there and I brought my Kindle in hopes of catching up on my reading. I never got to – every time I found a quiet spot, I was joined by the rest of them within 5-10 minutes. Which is fine – but they never ask how I am doing or even care to understand or truly know me. I indulge them by listening to their rants and complaints but it’s never really about me. So once again, I’m bored. And I don’t have the piece and quiet to read.

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My only friend during my visit.

I did, however, really enjoyed meeting my husband’s one aunt I had not met yet because she had moved to B.C. when she was very young. She was, as my husband said, the cool aunt. And now I know why! She and her long-term boyfriend (more like common-law as they’ve been with either other for 25 years), with their cool hound-mix dog in tow, drove their camper across the country to visit with the family.

I asked my hubby why she was so different from the rest of his family. His response was simple, “Because she moved away from this place a LONG time ago!”

So there you have it. The people in their small city probably wouldn’t be so grumpy or so jaded if they just all had moved out before the gloominess of the city all go to them – economically, it’s been struggling and I’ve noticed their population on a decent ever since I first visited. Every time I go, I hear the same old rants and raves. It’s like I picked up from where I left off each 12 or so months that I visit with them. My husband has become immune to this T-Bay syndrome but he is fully aware of it. I am just starting to get it – yet it’s hard for me to be around for more than just a weekend. I wish we could stay in a hotel but that would be the death of me if I ever suggested that – a true slap in their faces.

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Home sweet home!

When I left on the Sunday afternoon and stepped on the ferry from our city island airport – I watched the city line of Toronto before me. One thing is for sure, whenever I go to visit my in-laws, I am reminded of how grateful I am to live where I live.

Oh – and what does this have to do with The Shameful Sheep’s post here?

Well, while there, I got attacked by mosquitoes, black flies and some other kind of bug that likes to take a chunk of human flesh out with each bite leaving itchy and painful welts that supposedly take a month to heal, I got 2 bites right in the top crack of my butt. I got it while using the cottage outhouse.

On the way back home, I tried not to scratch it because it would have looked like I was picking my bum.

And that’s why I had The Shameful Sheep in mind when I wrote this post. I’m sure she would be very proud of me if she read this.

And the Rest of #Canada150 Weekend…

I always come back to work feeling content after a good weekend well spent. I do. I feel like I deserve a pat on the back or something. Because that’s the kind of ego I have!

Granted, some weekends are very “nothing” weekends. Ones where we are just lazy. And that’s okay – I think we need those types of weekends every now and then. Then there are weekends where we are booked with social events. These are the weekends I try to avoid – It’s one thing to spend an evening with friends or family but it’s another weekend where every single minute of our day is spent socializing.

And, no surprise, these types of weekends happen not by choice. We’re about to approach just that type of weekend when we visit my husband’s family in Thunder Bay. My MIL has this weird obsession of making sure the entire city has a chance to visit with us when we arrive – something no one in the immediate family cares for. But she INSISTS. Which is why I always stop at the liquor store and stock up for such weekends.

I’m almost positive there are rumors going around that my poor husband is married to an alcoholic. Fine by me… just give me my red wine!

So due to this impending weekend of doom approaching fast, we’re making sure this weekend is going to be one of those nothing-weekends. Today, yeah, I did play around with the idea of a hike but I have too much to do with laundry and stuff at home as it is. So I’m going to just throw in the towel and stay home. I will, however, enjoy our patio just to say I ‘got out of the house’ – how about that? Does that count?

And I’ll have a martini whilst I’m enjoying our patio.

Last weekend which was the #Canada150 long weekend, we had one of those very fulfilling weekend where we saw no one but did a lot as a family. Chaeli and I did participate in the July 1st festivities, but we also made sure to spend the rest of the weekend doing things we love to do (and take advantage of good weather)!

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Crawford Lake Hike – 1 hr 45 min

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Our first raspberries of the season

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Late afternoon stroll by the lake

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Hobbes the Dog was a happy pup!

And a Camping We Go Again

After only going camping 3 weeks ago, we were off again! This time to Darlington Provincial Park.

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Early morning view of the lake.

We’ve camped once here before and though the distance is only 45 minutes average from where we live and considered a park close enough to the suburbs, it’s surprisingly a very nice place to camp for a short, weekend! It does feel like we’re cheating being so close to home but when we’re in the park, it has that camping-like-feeling. And it is beautiful – like an oasis we can escape to for a quick trip.

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Hobbes guards our trailer from pesky squirrels

I feel like we’re counting down each camping trip we have with our little old trailer. It’s been good to us for several years but come around this time next year, we’ll be graduating to our new 20′ custom trailer. Things will work for once – like the fridge, the sink and we’ll have temperature-controlled HVAC! Of course, I’m not sure how much we will need the A/C as we tend to camp at the tail ends of the season more than the hot months, but the heating will help us stay warm in the spring and fall, and should it get hot, Hobbes can be more comfortable. Especially if we need to leave him for a couple of hours if we venture somewhere where dogs are not allowed. HVAC is a standard component for all of their trailers – But I do see it as a bonus!

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Part of our hike was along the beach.

We did the Burk Trail this time (last time we did the Robinson Creek Trail) which took us about an hour to complete.

I made the unfortunate mistake of asking the person on duty in the historical pioneer cabin if the structure we were standing it as an original. Instead of a simple answer (with perhaps a dose of a little history lesson along with it), he went on and on and on giving me what I can only describe as a history LECTURE! The whole time, Doug was outside waiting for Hobbes while Chaeli and I were trapped inside with this very odd man.

Doug said afterwards this man needs training at working in the business of volunteerism in the interpretation/historical sector. I’m sure he was harmless but it was getting VERY uncomfortable because as I tried to get away with him, he would follow me very closely and even position himself right in front of me. When he started to do the same with Chaeli, that’s when I found a way out and left.

Amazingly, he continued to follow us outside.

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Lovely inch worm came for a visit.

The 2-night weekend trip was perfect. The weather was beautiful and oddly enough, it wasn’t as buggy as I thought it to be. We spent glorious amounts of time outdoors. I could feel the stress just melt away no sooner than we arrived and set up.

As always, that first sit-down at the campfire on the first night with a mug of wine is always one of the best moments. As is the early fresh air greeting me when I step outside our trailer after waking up.

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Last view of the lake.

Unlike last time, after being exhausted from the red-eye out of Vegas that morning going into our camping trip (and the business trip was such a busy trip), I was back to my morning schedule – woke up 6:30AM, took Hobbes for a long walk (30-45 minutes), snack on half a protein bar while I read, and waited for the other two to wake up so we can make brunch.

We go again in August for our week long trip and I only wish we had time to schedule a July weekend trip.

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Dogs deserve a chair, too!