Tuesday, June 18, 2013

This is what friends do for other friends

Or at least, what MY friends do, okay, ONE friend, Kathy Down The Road, when it's her birthday and I invite her to the city for lunch to celebrate.

She shows up and hands me a warm-from-the-oven lemon meringue pie, a jar of lemon curd, and a can of Spotted Dick.

A homemade. Lemon. Meringue. Pie. Still warm.

I know. I know.

If you want to be my friend, the bar has been raised, people.


As I said on FB, it's not why we're friends, but I can't say it's hurting our relationship.

*That's three times Spotted Dick has appeared in this post. Can't wait to see what new readers that attracts...

Monday, June 17, 2013

World's Most Ridiculous Dog Part Deux


This goes on All The Time.

All day.

ALL night.

Every night.

And when he's not passed out and snoring so loud you'll swear his furry snout is going to vibrate and detach itself from his muzzle, he will sit and stare at me, trying to will his thoughts into my head, which are always the same three thoughts:

1. Feed me.

2. Take me outside to poop, but that of course depends on how long you wait to open the door.
Or if the ground is wet. Wet paws are the worst. So I don't do dew.

3. My bed still isn't soft enough so add a blanket or a pillow preferably one that smells like you or a stuffed animal why aren't you moving faster I thought I made myself pretty clear wha--SQUIRREL!

Try sleeping, or reading, or meditating, or watching a movie, or entertaining friends with him in the room.

He's not so much a dog, as he is some unique form of torture.

World's Most Ridiculous Dog

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Shameless Self-promotion

I posted this blurb on Facebook, but since some of you might not be on FB, I'll reiterate here. Forgive me if you are forced to read this nonsense twice.

If you have, here's a pretty peony for you. The end, move on, nothing to see here, keep walking.


I am not good at self-promotion. I don't know if it's just my nature or because I'm a Canuck or I'm channeling my inner-British-heritage reserve, but I am just not comfortable tooting my own horn. That being said, I do like to share good news, not so much for the back-patting (which also makes me feel all squidgy inside) but in order to encourage other budding writers, young and old, who may be hesitant to take that leap and send their work out into the world. Also, it lends legitimacy to my days spent on long walks or staring out the window. This is not wool gathering, it's processing information for future material. It qualifies as real work, people.

Just before we left for a trip to Jamaica, oh, a year or so ago (too lazy to look up the date) I learned of a contest for an anthology of travel/camping/cottage stories. When I say "just before" I mean that literally, as in hours before we were leaving.

Luckily the contest rules stated it was acceptable to submit previously published work. Over the past ten years or so, I've had about fifty stories published in various newspapers, magazines and anthologies here in Canada and the U.S. (something else most people don't know about me.)  I figured I'd just attach a few of those to an email and carry on packing for the trip. Easy peasy.

However, the attachments didn't attach.

Since my stories almost always come in at 800 words, I thought heck (more like ah, bloody hell and holy Moses on a bagel) I could just type in a few in the body of an email.

I weighed the urgency of packing vs sending in a few stories which may or may not win, but in the end, I sat down, typed like mad, then forgot all about it. (I learned to SCUBA on this trip to Jamaica, the thrill of which pretty much blotted out all and any other experiences before and after the trip.)

(I like talking in brackets. I feel like I'm whispering in your ear. There should be an "aside" font. Also, there is a great need for a sarcasm font. But I digress. Which is another character trait of writers.)

Quite a while later I learned that I won the contest with one of my stories, then yesterday I was asked if they could use a second one as well. So despite the fact that the dog was barfing up thongs and I'd had no sleep for several nights in a row and it was pouring rain, yesterday was a Good Day.

The anthology is tentatively titled "Never Light A Match In The Outhouse: Funny Stories From Cottage Country."  Not what I'd use as a title, but they never asked me my opinion.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Congratulations, Lake Louisa Loonies!

Once again, our friends and neighbours from Lake Louisa participated in the annual dragon boat race to raise money for the Missing Children's Network (Enfant-Retour Quebec) and I'm so proud of our team. We came in once again! More importantly, the 22 teams raised over $100,000 for the charity which helps the search for missing children. Way to go, Loonies!

The win!

Captain Tom.

Doug and Jelly Bean.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

I've been through the desert...but not on a horse with no name.

And boy, do I love me some desert. (Desert, not dessert, although I've never met a dessert I didn't like.)*

We just got back from five days in Arizona, some of them spent in Scottsdale and the rest in Sedona. You can't beat Sedona for its laid back, hippy, artist community vibe. I love it there even though it was hot as blazes. But, it's a dry heat. You know it's hot when the weather guy says "Hey folks, it's official, we're in the middle of a heat wave and we're just one degree below a record setting temperature."

Main street in Sedona
If you look closely at the middle of this photo, you'll see ruins dating back to 1125AD. Apparently people are allowed to hike up there. I'd rather see it from a chopper, thanks. It was over 100 degrees the day we were there.

We flew along the base of this canyon.


This is called The Devil's Bridge. Enlarge the photo and you'll see people huddled on the rock to the right. To the left is a narrow, bridge of rock. The chopper pilot said people routinely wave, but one afternoon, two girls decided to show off and instead of just waving, they did backflips on the bridge. He said it scared him out of his wits.

The scenery made up for the heat because it is gorgeous in Sedona. I've been there before, but this was Doug's first time. He suggested a helicopter ride with Red Rock Helicopter Tours. I'll be honest, I had to be talked into it. I was dehydrated from our walk but more to the point, I get motion sickness on a swing, so I wasn't sure how this was going to pan out. However, after climbing in the chopper the size of a Volkswagon Beetle, four of us (three passengers and the pilot, a retired Medivac pilot) took off for the wild blue (actually bright red-rocked) yonder.

We did the ancient ruins tour, twenty-five minutes of cruising through canyons and over peaks, sometimes so close I felt like I could reach out the window and touch the rock. The sensation was nothing like I expected. I go up occasionally in my friend's small Cessna, and while I love flying (LOVE flying) after about 20 minutes, I am fighting to keep my lunch down. A helicopter, on the other hand, has more of a smooth sideways motion, almost as though you are gliding side to side on ice. I like it. I would hop on another helicopter in a nano second (although it took me a tad longer than that to hoist myself into the seat and strap in.)

We had strict instructions to wait at the front of the chopper, and not to ever, ever, EVER wander back to the back end because the tail rotor would pulverize us and probably ruin an expensive machine in the process.

Best part? The Secret Canyon and the ancient Sinaguan First Nation's cliff dwellings in Boynton Canyon built between 1125 and 1200AD. (Sinagua is Spanish for "without water.") For closer shots of the ruins, go here.

Can you tell I'm having fun?
Our little red chopper.

*That's not altogether true. I hate tapioca, if that's classified as a dessert. Also I'm not a big fan of trifle or tiramisu. Basically anything with custard in it. Although, having said that, creme caramel is my favourite. And creme brulee will do in a pinch.  So disregard what I just said. Oh, and though I tried a fried Mars bar, I can't say I'd order it again. I am also fairly confident I will never order a Fried Coke which is exactly what it sounds like.