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)

Easter Weekend 2017 was EPIC!

And I say it was epic because, as usual, we hosted Easter dinner for my family. This year, however, we outdid ourselves.

No. Seriously. I think we raised the bar. There’s no way we will top what we did this year unless we win the jackpot and fly my entire family to Hawaii, first class and hire high-end catering with only the most expensive vintage wine.

Oh yes… followed by a private Polynesian dance performance. And massages on the beach for all!

It’s nice to have her old enough to help now.

The menu consisted of:

Italian Spring Salad – tossed with Bocconcini, Heirloom Tomatoes and Prosciutto

French-cut Marinated and Grilled Lamp Chops

Smoked Rainbow Trout

Roasted Leg of Lamb

Grilled Asparagus

Tri-Colour Sweet Potato and Bacon Casserole

And everything turned out PERFECTLY! Plus, I paired dinner with an amazing Shiraz from Australia. It helped it was 15% alcohol level.

17880990_1981008182123123_4855271287573970944_n

I love finding boardwalks in the middle of a forest!

To back up, the weekend started off with a 1 hr and 20 min hike. It was semi-challenging due to all the constant up and down climbs. However, very much worth it because, well, as you can see, we needed to start working off our dinner even before we ate our Easter dinner the next night.

Overall, it was a wonderful long weekend!

But what made this year’s Easter shindig of ours was epic was the following conversation:

Dad: When marijuana becomes legal next year, can you get some?

Me: I suppose. Why?

Dad: I want to try it.

Most excellent!

St. Paddy’s Dinner, Winter Hike and Discovering Vintage Red Wines

We ended our staycation with a bunch of little things mixed with a whole lot of nothing.

Just the way I like it!

Friday night, we had my family over for some Irish Stew. To be honest, I am not a fan of stew. Or soup. On the occasion, I do enjoy a cup of soup as an appetizer, but unlike my husband or daughter, I don’t enjoy it as the main entree. My favorite for the evening was the beef bone marrow. We only had a small spoonful each but it was simply delicious!

17332464_783108485185315_5228957270804529152_n

Beef shank bone marrow

And no, we did not use the new Ikea dishes – I’m still saving those for Easter. However, my mother did find the hand-me -down plates with the side-rust stains in a box we were ready to dispose of. She hoarded all of them. ALL OF THEM! I tried to explain to her there was rust on the side (not that she couldn’t see herself – you can’t miss it after all!) But she insisted she needed them.

17333070_1607213639296449_3251839573684125696_n

Frozen ponds are beautiful!

Being the last weekend before going back to work, I needed to make every moment count.

I did this with: a) a walk/hike; and b) red wine. Both we managed to squeeze in. In fact, we were able to go on a hike three times during our week off. I’m very happy with that. There’s something said about winter hikes – the chill in the air is refreshing, the frozen pond is still and beautiful and that feeling of warmth when you’re back indoors is just a wonderful feeling.

17332513_1238363759545972_4080769704921137152_n

SAVED Red Wine from California

The red wine was pretty much consistent every night while we were off. Our last night, we opened a new vintage find called SAVED. Very full-body and dry with a whopping 15% alcohol level. Just my type! And while they say to never judge a book by it’s cover, I totally judged a book by it’s cover. I’m glad I did – this was delicious!

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.

 

guilty pleasures no. 70 – Christmas ornaments

Christmas Ornaments – I could actually write a post about Christmas decorations in general but I wanted to pay a special homage to ornaments. I selected the above image because of my obsession with D…

Source: guilty pleasures no. 70 – Christmas ornaments