Day 12 – One of “those” days

Holy hell…it has definitely been one of “those” days. You know the ones…everything you touch breaks, everything you try to get done either completely stalls or ends up in disaster. Yeah, those days.

Usually I’ll just try to keep pushing through but the frustration can be overwhelming and stressful and, in my case, can lead to some pretty ugly temper tantrums. So, instead of letting that happen, I threw my arms up and said screw it…and took the day off.

In this house I’ve been really fortunate to have a space I can retreat to when things get a little crazy. Chuck calls it my Jumanji Room and I suppose it does have that kind of a vibe. I think this cabinet (built by my Great Uncle Bill) has a lot to do with that…it’s where my entertainment stash is. Top drawer is for when I need to write or read. The second drawer is for when I need to draw, colour, or sculpt. The third drawer is for when I need to photograph without stress. The bottom drawer is still waiting to be given a job.

After a few hours of just getting back to basics, it was time to make dinner. Remember, it started out as one of “those” days so I was worried that as soon as I tried to be productive it would start all over again. Luckily, we made it through okay. It was a simple fare…peas, quinoa salad, and lamb koftas (I just learned this word today from the recipe…basically it means little meatball) which were delicious!!  Here’s the recipe.

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Even though dinner was a success, there was still a lot of tension happening so we did the best thing possible and went for a bike ride to the beach to see what people had created today and found some neat new beach art. And to end off a bad day in a really good way, we went for a sunset drive.

Oh, hey, latest news on the Canada Day setup at the beach…the carnival rides were in motion tonight! I think they were testing everything out to make sure they’re ready for tomorrow. Carnival music? Check! Lots of flashing lights? Check!! Rides designed to make you seasick? Check and double check!! It’s almost go time now…stay tuned!

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Day 11 – Back to the Sunshine

Those who have been around me long enough know that I get up ridiculously early in the morning. Most times, before the dawn breaks. And, of course, I usually make a cursory check of Facebook to see what happened overnight. When this greeted me this morning, I knew it would be a good day.

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I worked for an hour or so, anxiously waiting for the sun to come up over the sleep clinic roof next door. And when it did…oh, when it did…Narnia lit up and I knew it would be a great day!

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For the most part, it was a day filled with getting tasks accomplished, starting with a healthy, yummy breakfast.

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At the end of the day, we treated ourselves first to dinner, and then a bike ride. Dinner was from the Corfu Grill. It is an absolutely wonderful Greek restaurant right downtown on King St. (our main drag) that serves a fantastic selection, always fresh, always delicious, always affordable, and always with a smile.

On our bike ride tonight there were lots of things to see. From found art, to the next stage of a natural cycle! On the bottom is a picture of chestnut tree flowers from about a month ago…look what those flowers have made!

There’s a palpable feel of excitement in the air here in town now. The big Canada Day celebrations are only a few days away. Everyone is out walking or on a bike checking out the tents that have gone up and waiting anxiously for the carnival to start!

Who knows what tomorrow will bring! Facebook is telling me it’s rain. Ugh.

Day 10 – The Wall

Well, there it is. The wall. The first day where I sat at the table after dinner with no pictures taken, and no desire to go out and do anything. I think what got me down today was that summer seems to have completely abandoned us. Day after day of rain and cold (imagine…13 degrees celsius in June…it’s a crying shame) did me in. 70 Daze of Summer my patootie! 70 minutes maybe. Sheesh!

Luckily, I have a husband who will push me when I ask him to, so we decided to put our coats on and head out for an evening walk. Guess what? It was nice. Not as nice as 28 degrees, but not completely horrible. There were people playing volleyball on the beach, people walking their dogs, a bunch of kids playing frisbee, some fishermen, and even people at the ice cream parlour.

I have to give our town credit at this point as well. They have spirit. This Canada Day, our 150th, is a big deal down here. The tents are going up for the Waterfront Festival, the midway is already out on the pier, everyone has their flags out…Cobourg is ready to party!

Pictures tonight are just a random collection of things that caught my somewhat non-inspired-by-the-weather eye. I’ll do better tomorrow. The sun is supposed to shine all day!

Day 9 – Hey, guess what!? It’s raining!

It’s 5 p.m. and it’s really dark outside. Dark enough that the streetlights have come on. The sky is filled with lightening, the air with thunder. I’ve just retreated to the reading room to huddle up under a blankie. I’m not a big fan of storms. Can you tell? I figured I’d fill you in on the day while we wait the storm out.

It’s been a productive day! Our one and only goal was to get the lawn mowed at the farm before the storm hit. Enter, my nemesis, the old red push mower. My sister, brother-in-law, and husband can all attest to the nasty nature of this, this…beast. If you want it to start you can pull that cord until you cough up a lung and it won’t. If you want it to stop, you can choke it back, kill the fuel, throw it down a hill into a crick and it won’t. At least, that’s what it was like before Chuck fixed it. Now it starts on one pull, purrs like a happy kitten, and stops exactly when you tell it to. I still don’t trust it.

Anyway, when you’re off to meet your nemesis, you must have a hearty breakfast. It’s a rule. So, that right there? That would be farm fresh eggs with just picked oregano (thanks Chris!) alongside organic tomatoes, and Chuck’s lovingly home made sourdough bread.

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Then, it’s off to the farm where Chuck talks nice to the mower, touches up the blades, checks the fluids and starts her up. That’s where I take over. I push. That’s what I do.

Looking around after the job is done is a good thing. Accomplishments are a wonderful spirit raiser. And, we got done in time! The clouds were starting to build so we picked some lettuce and some herbs and then headed back for town before the storm let loose. On the way there were nice scenes to take in.

In the gloom of the approaching storm, we managed to get a salad and chicken together for dinner before we lost hydro (we still haven’t, I just get paranoid…). Like I said, it’s been a productive day.

Now, you’ll have to excuse me…the lightning and thunder are getting worse and I’m going to go hide in the basement.

Day 8 – The Neighbourhood & A Confession

A few weeks back we were in Walmart and I found a dingly-dangly type bracelet that I fell in love with. Yesterday at breakfast I looked at it…really looked at it and thought about why I was wearing it and what it meant to me. Aside from the fact that it’s super cute, it carries a reminder every time I look at it, to “celebrate your path” and “love this life”.  A bit more on this later…

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Where better to do that than in your own neighbourhood? We jumped on the bikes and went for a ride. All of the pictures are from places less than a 10 minute walk away from our house. The ride, however, took 2 1/2 hours because of all the stops to look, talk, take pictures, and sip.

Meet Montana! She and her hubby own The Market and Smør. They have been awarded the contract to run the Cobourg Beach Canteen. Healthy, organic food. On the beach. From a canteen. Seriously!!

It gets better…when I told Montana that I was allergic to almonds (the smoothies contain a combination almond/cashew milk), she didn’t say, “sorry, can’t help you”. She immediately started modifying the recipe to deliver an incredibly delicious black cherry and cocoa smoothie with no milk. With a smile. And genuine happiness that I loved it. I’m so grateful that these people are in my neighbourhood. We sat in the Muskoka chairs looking out at the beach and sipped away to our heart’s content.

Next up, we rode down the lakeshore to the boardwalk where we stopped at the butterfly garden and the ecology garden. We met and made a new friend, Susan, who was taking pictures along the water and we had a great long chat about all things photography. Then, Chuck did a little beach combing.

My neighbourhood was built for summer…and sometimes I worry that it sounds like I’m making all this stuff up or coming across as, I don’t know, all “hey, my world is SO perfect and just LOOK at how wonderful it is, and YOUR world isn’t as great”.

I really hope you don’t feel that I’m doing that. I don’t want to make anyone feel that’s what this is about. Here’s what I do want to do…I want to encourage people to make changes. To make better situations. To find a way to be happy. To do something about it if you’re not.

At this time last year I was living in a city that had made me mentally and physically ill. The stress was mind bending. Every. Single. Day. I was in a horribly deep depression that I thought I may never crawl out of. And, without Chuck (I love you with all of my heart and soul), and a core group of very strong, supportive friends and family, I may not have. I needed to come home. To get healthy again. To learn to want to live again. To rekindle my love of photography which, by the way, I had completely abandoned (not a great choice when it’s how you make your living). I had given up hope…and that’s a terrifying place to find yourself…

That cheap, silly little bracelet reminds me that we CAN make changes. That things CAN get better. That life CAN be good…and I want to encourage everyone out there to find a way to make it better. If you’re not happy, don’t just give up. Don’t. There are people out there who want to help. Find them. Be brave. Know that things can be different. But understand, it starts with you. What are YOU going to do to make that change?

I didn’t intend for this entry to take such a serious twist. So, let’s turn it around here and  just sing along together…”It’s a wonderful day in the neighbourhood!”.

Day 7 – Reconnecting

Sometimes people come into your life in a sideways manner…does that makes sense? Let me see if I can explain what I mean.

When my dad moved into a retirement home we would drive down from Sudbury to visit about once a month. This particular home had a really high staff turnover rate. Each time we would visit, there would be a different couple. Until Ron and Yvonne showed up. They stayed for a while. And, they were there when dad died. And they helped us. A lot.

We’ve stayed in touch via emails and phone calls and texts, but they have since moved out of town and we haven’t been able to see each other very often. Now that summer is finally here, we all agreed it was time to reconnect. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day (especially after yesterday’s floods).

These two are the most adorable couple…they know how to laugh and they take you with them on the ride. Remember what this summer’s goals were?

“I am going to enjoy every single day of this summer. I’m going to get out every day. I’m going to go for walks, and get to the beach, and do a little (safe) sunbathing, and laugh and just LIVE every day of this summer.”

Well, Yvonne and Ron got the laughing started. It was SO good to reconnect guys…I’m happy you could make it up. Come back soon!

Day 6 – The Flood

What a day! It felt at times that we should be making friends with someone who builds big boats. A normal rainy day turned into some excitement here in town.

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And, we had the pleasure of being right smack in the middle of it. We had just finished a really wonderful yoga class with Diane (thank you Diane!!) when she looked out the window and said, “Have you seen the road? Quick come look!”. And yowza…what a flood.

IMG_20170623_122455.jpg So what does one do when the town is flooding and you can’t go out and play? You do some photo editing that you’re behind on (that’s Gloria, a friend from yoga who happens to be in her 70s!! Isn’t she amazing?!?), and then get some groceries in and cook dinner of course!

Tonight’s dinner was Beef Stuffed Zucchini (the only way I can eat zucchini by the way), sprouted adzuki beans, and broccoli. As you can see, there is no evidence left…a most wonderful sight! If you want to give it a shot, here’s the recipe I use:

Beef Stuffed Zucchini

I make a couple of modifications just to create a much lower sodium meal:

  • Include 3 garlic cloves
  • Include a sprinkle of oregano, basil and parsley in the mixture
  • Don’t include the salt at all…there’s enough in the cheese
  • Replace the seasoned bread crumbs with Panko Japanese Style Breadcrumbs
  • Use diced tomatoes instead of marinara or spaghetti sauce
  • Use Swiss cheese instead of Monterey Jack
  • Oh, instead of putting the zucchini back into the microwave for the final step (see step 4 of the linked article), I put it uncovered into the oven at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. It melts the cheese nicely and browns the beef up as well.

If you decide to try it out and make your own modifications I’d love to know how you liked it!

And now that the food is away and the dishes are done, it’s time to relax.  Hopefully tomorrow will bring some much needed clear skies and sunshine. It’s going to be another busy day!