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.

19984368_300672613737531_701385614183890944_n

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.

19986147_510238932701217_5108655657750364160_n

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.

20066983_1390077154379163_3914982683100315648_n

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 a Camping We Go Again

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

19120303_170238556847011_6289388858010238976_n

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.

18889270_139740423259872_5603223336613052416_n

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!

19050600_1892294084376279_6750231848074346496_n

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.

19051856_315257478902730_2991667746430779392_n

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.

18949504_1960853574159163_4734607578711982080_n

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.

18949584_237096016782248_6499504778458955776_n

Dogs deserve a chair, too!

First Camping trip of 2017

There’s been a lag in my blogging.

You see, there was Mother’s Day at my parents’ place…

18382369_297742903990192_8741073181181214720_n

Orchids for my mom – her favorite color is purple

And then there was the business trip to Vegas the morning after where I saw just snapshots of Vegas during short lunch breaks, between meeting to meeting or the most I saw of the actual Vegas strip, my ride in the cab back to the airport…

18444279_420442105007603_1348795266257387520_n

View from my room

18443840_1880623015556790_2071706543564259328_n

The Mirage Atrium

18579795_228662257618938_3758459020973703168_n

Las Vegas airport – butterflies

18512356_1505122942860575_6645018429361225728_n

Las Vegas strip – on the way to airport

It was a crazy week and I’m questioning how I survived. But somehow I managed to survive. A part of me questioned if I was really going mad when I decided to take a red-eye out of Vegas Thursday night so I had time to pack and go camping for our Victoria Day long weekend starting Friday evening.

At the time, I regretted it but as soon as I arrived at Balsam Lake Provincial Park and we set up for our campfire, all was good.

I looked up at the stars as the sky was crystal clear that night and said to my husband, “This is what I needed. I came from Vegas, a busy week where there was constant bright lights and big noises all the time… to this! Quiet. And the only bright lights are from the campfire and the millions stars above us.” What a difference, to come from one crazy world into another one so opposite it’s difficult to believe they both exist on the same planet.

18514037_828658913953253_5575057117179543552_n

Hobbes the Dog guarding our site from dangerous wildlife – like birds and squirrels

18580375_1370063806406603_5746973877670510592_n

My belated Mother’s Day gift

Knowing the week before wasn’t ideally a great mother’s day for me, my husband and daughter saved my present for after our first brunch in our trailer. I saw this book a couple of months ago and had to get it – Glamping with MaryJane. I immediately put it on my wish list and now, my wish has been granted.

I love the style and sass of this book but more importantly, as we will be a proud owner of a 20 foot trailer next summer, it gives all the essentials in taking care and maintaining one’s trailer. As well as how to make it a home away from home with stylish decoration and craft tips.

18644769_136760930203687_3164627857557159936_n

Our traditional steak dinner over the campfire.

And hubbie got creative – using our tripod from our outdoor cast iron dutch oven, he fashioned some chains to a round bbq grill so the steaks could cook further away from the flames. It worked. That’s all I can say – it worked very well!

We did do a 1hr hike on the Saturday but since it rained all day Sunday, we went to a friend’s cottage 20 minutes away (after sleeping in, having a late brunch and doing some chill-out time in the trailer – it’s a small trailer but it’s still nice to chill out in it). I finally got to meet his two kids (both in their 20’s) along with the daughter’s boyfriend and another friend. So odd to be sitting there among the “young folks” but I enjoyed it very much. The boys were so kind they even gave me a hug good-bye! I assume I passed their ‘coolness-test?’

Monday, we left right at check-out time, trying to enjoy our stay as long as we can as the rain let up and gave us a comfortable temperature. Heading back to the city, we had several  hours left before the end of the day to clean-up and relax a little. Aside from the rain, it was a successful first camping weekend – and we’re off again for a 2-night camping trip in a couple of weeks!

18644984_1549647451714432_1805817161357197312_n

Hobbes the Dog was so pooped the last night of camping – he feel asleep on his back (he rarely does this)

Giacomo

I woke up this morning after dreaming of a time in my 20’s. I was on a cruise. Single, bored and hungry for an adventure.

Not long into the cruise I saw him. A head waiter (as it turns out, our head waiter) from Sicily. His name was Giacomo.

I was sitting at one of the buffet tables, finishing my lunch, plugged into my tunes and book in tow. I looked up as I was about to leave. He was standing there next to some of his fellow waiters and bus boys, chatting away. It sounds awfully cliché but I don’t know how to explain it any other way – our eyes locked. My confidence at the time was pretty high – I knew I had him right there and then. I made up my mind I was going to have my fun with him. I suppose at the time, I was preying on him. In the end, it was somewhat the other way around (not that I cared – it wasn’t a contest; we both won out in the end).

I got up and started to walk the opposite direction of him as I made my way to the pool. I glanced back over my shoulder not surprised to see him staring back at me. He smile and laughed. And I continued to walk away. I was not in a rush – the rest of the week would develop the way it should. Naturally, no pressure but paced out for the fun and excitement of the chase.

I will be honest here. While I spent most of my free time (or his free time since he had to work most days) with him, obviously, we knew nothing about each other. Why would we? What would have been the need? We were there for each other for the same reasons – to fill a gap in our lives on a very temporary basis. To create a small memory. To bide time.

We talked about ourselves, of course. But who knew if he was even telling me the truth? How old was he? I don’t know. He didn’t want to tell me – so I guessed he was younger than me and was afraid me knowing would make me retract from him. As if I cared. He was obviously in his 20’s or 30’s and not a minor.

He said he was single but I knew better than to believe that. No doubt he had a girlfriend back home. Maybe even a wife – with children? It was a possibility.

So I woke up thinking about him today since his face and the touch of his skin was so fresh in my memory. I was awake but half in that dream-state. What a glorious feeling to wake up that way. In that half-awake and half-dreaming phase.

I’m about to get personal here – nothing graphic of course. There’s a reason why I remember him. A friend of mind asked me, after I came back from the cruise and met this friend for drinks, what was it about Giacomo that had me so excited and full of life upon my return to reality.

I said, “He was in command of me.” That’s about it. Giacomo filled that fantasy of mine – of possibly most women – of being dominated. To a lesser and much softer extent, he was my Christian Grey. Minus all the heavy bondage.

It was the type of encounter which was intriguing, mysterious and perhaps a little dangerous (there were dark corners of the ship I had never been to – nor had I ever been in the Captain’s mess after hours). The risk of getting caught elevated the excitement.

Okay – I promise. That’s as personal I will get here.

It was also the type of vacation romance which was best suited for one week (okay – maybe two weeks max!) You may be wondering why I am writing about something so risque and personal after being happily married for over 13 years to my dear husband.

I suppose it’s just the side of me whom loves to wax nostalgic from time to time. There are no regrets with my experience with Giacomo. I barely can envision his face or even the sound of his voice. I have fleeting pictures of moments we’ve had in my head – but that’s about it. Fleeting.

I can’t, however, forget how alive I felt from the wilder side of my youth – perhaps, I’m also grateful for the chance to be free. Committing myself to a forever-and-ever would have not been successful if I hadn’t let Giacomo kiss me that first night.

 

Not really a bucket list. Just a list.

There are things I want to do in my life that wouldn’t, I think, count as a bucket list.

Because bucket lists usually are of pretty big things. Huge things for some people. Like, doing 5 Iron Mans or climbing Mount Everest.

I don’t get that. Why would I want to increase the chances of shortening my life as part of something on my bucket list? Wouldn’t that take away from actually finishing my bucket list? Imagine… Bucket List item no. 1 – Sky diving. *SPLAT* The end.

Even if one’s bucket list isn’t all about adrenaline rush and near-death experiences, most people have some pretty high-end accomplishments they want to achieve. I do, too. I want to have a pint of beer in a British pub IN Britain. I want to explore vineyards in Tuscany or go to Naples for a traditional slice of margherita pizza . I want to visit the Hobbiton in New Zealand. I want to rent a house for two months in Hawaii. I want to snowboard in powder, get my scuba diving license, master mindful meditation. I want to go on a shark dive. Okay, maybe my last one can be deemed a bit daring. But that’s as daring as I get with my bucket list!

There are other things I want to do that are not as glamorous. Things that I might even be embarrassed to admit. And these are things I want to do out of sheer curiosity only – because I’m not sure if I’ll like it and in fact, have a strong suspicion I’ll even regret it. Like:

  1. A full body scrub. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with it but the idea of me lying naked on some table and having my skin abused like that sounds a little horrifying. It’s the after-glow I wonder about. I can’t help but to think about The Hunger Games. You know – when she is exfoliated from head to toe leaving her skin super soft. It sounded like torture with great results. I’d want them to leave my nipples be, though. In fact, can they skip my breasts entirely?
  2. I want to visit a psychic. I came close to visiting one. I was walking along the Santa Monica Pier one evening while I was away on a business trip. The red wine I had with my dinner was making me feel pretty good. There was this lady selling psychic readings on the pier. I walked pass her and thought if I should give it a go. On my way back, I passed her again. She had a customer. So I sat at a close-by bench and waited. And waited. And waited some more. I didn’t want to intrude. I didn’t want to say, “I’m sorry for interrupting but would you mind telling me when you will be free?” I know very little about this sort of thing. Would if I disturbed her chi? Or the current customer’s aura? What if I put a dent into the cosmos of the universe? And so, I went back to my hotel and got ready for bed.
  3. Going on a Maid of Mist boat tour of Niagara Falls. Seriously – what is the fascination here? They make you wear these rain ponchos which from far away makes it look like a boat full of people wearing body-size condoms. Yet I can’t imagine they actually keep you dry. It’s horribly expensive and one of those cheesy tourist traps people seem to fall for.Yet – it draws me in like a moth to a flame.