Thursday, December 6, 2012

Bashing through the snow...


 'Tis the season.  Let the festivities begin. I can't believe it's December already. Time for my favourite holiday, Christmas. Although, Halloween is fun too. Oh and watching kids hunt for Easter eggs is a howl. Wait, gathering for Thanksgiving is all good too. Can't forget about the May Two Four either, they'd take away my Canuck card.

     As you may have guessed, I'm a big kid at heart. I love the holidays, all of them. This year is a bit of an exception. There is nothing twinkling, spinning or sparkling. No tree. The scent of gingerbread isn't wafting from my kitchen. No paper, ribbons or bows. Poor me, right?

     Not so much. I'm moving into a new house on the 14th, probably the best present ever. I'm pretty excited, my own place. The timing might be crushing my normal Christmas routine but certainly not my festive spirit. So... my first Coffee Chat mash up, a bit of a rant and a little bit of an over all update on life here in the kitchen. One stone, a whole flock of birds. Gotta get packing after all.

     First let's bring everyone up to speed on life here in the Kitchen.
Moving, you already know that. Does that mean I have to rename the blog?
My other half has had his diagnosis confirmed, much more on that later in other posts. We're coping.
A good friend is getting married.
In Tuscany
At a medieval fortress.
By a priest from the Vatican.
On Friday the 13th
Appropriate austerity measures translate into 19 days in Tuscany this coming September. I Know.
And that pretty much brings you right up to date with life around here.

     Coffee Chat mash up. Time has been pressing so rather than try and keep up, I'm late for this week's prompt, Traditions and early for next week's Festivities, a two-fer with a bit of a rant thrown in for good measure.

     There are three holiday traditions near and dear to me. I wait, cook and gather.

     That's right, I wait. You will see no twinkling lights in my house until December. (You may still see them twinkling in March but.....) In a world of instant gratification, we seem to have forgotten the thrill of anticipation. Waiting to open presents, decorate, listen to Christmas carols, bake those once a year treats keeps it special. You all know that old saying, "familiarity breeds contempt", I agree. If I have been inundated with Christmas music since the day after Halloween, by December I feel like my ears will bleed if I hear just one more bouncy, jingling beat. Even if it is listening to Eartha Kitt purr through Santa Baby.

     I cook. Nothing says the holidays like the smell of fresh gingerbread, my slightly scorched version of Grandma Fisher's Christmas cakes or Grandma Craig's mincemeat. The tradition of hospitality has been and is alive and well in my family. My biggest regret this year is that I may not have time to get the gingerbread houses done, the hot pepper jelly my grandmother likes so much jarred and ready to take home. The new place may have to be Santa's sweat shop this year.

     We gather. The best part of any holiday. We get together over a mountain of good food and share. Lots of laughing and good cheer. Catching up on the latest, fussing over the newest, re-connecting with each other. We always have and hopefully we always will. And that my friends is what the season is all about.

     So (this is the ranty part, there may be cussing) all of you complainers stop pissing on my parade. If you are offended by my good cheer and wishing you Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa or Hanukkah, get over yourself. There is such a thing as being too politically correct and for whatever reason the holiday season brings it to absurd proportions. No I don't wish my Jewish friends Merry Christmas, I'm not an idiot and I actually know enough about my friends and colleagues to know what or if they practice a particular faith and when in doubt, Happy holidays covers my ignorance.

     I love being able to share different holiday traditions with my friends. I may never develop an appreciation for gefilte fish but I've had that silly dreidel song bouncing around in my brain for days.

     For all of you nay sayers, too commercial, we've lost the true meaning, news flash, any holiday is only what you make of it. Stores and media give us what we want. If we don't buy, they won't push.

    Too hectic, stressful? Again, only what you make of it. If you have to have the perfect meal, in the perfectly decorated house adorned with the perfect gifts, I have to wonder if it isn't more ego than effort. Relax, the best gift anyone can give is their time. That is a gift that keeps on giving.

    Take a moment, reach out to a loved one, recapture that child like wonder, believe in the magic of the season. The real gift is fellowship, religious or otherwise.

     Yes, I do think we need a day to commemorate the best in us. No, it doesn't mean it shouldn't last all year, shouldn't be every day but we're not that clever sometimes. We need the reminder.

     I think that's enough ranting.

     Here's a quick and easy recipe for some holiday cheer.

1 1/2 oz honey bourbon
1/2 oz Amaretto
4-6 oz white cranberry juice
Splash of ginger ale, so it sparkles
Over ice in an old fashioned glass ( or Mason jar)
Garnish with some fresh cranberries

Guaranteed to put the jingle in you bells.

     Now if you're still scowling all I can say is lock your doors and stay in well into January. There's Ukrainian Christmas to get through and you know I'll be celebrating.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The choice is yours?

     Rory picked a great topic for today's Coffee Chat, Pro-Life or Pro-Choice. Lots of rhetoric on both sides, lots of mis information and inflamed passions. Sex, politics, religious views, morality judgements, scientific arguments, the debate has been raging for years. I couldn't resist throwing my two cents worth into the fray.

     Where do I stand on the subject? I could go on and on but in a nutshell, it comes down to two things for me. Honesty and responsiblity.

     I believe life begins at conception. Potential has been realised, all it needs is to be nurtured. I don't care what the scientific or religious community has to say about it.

    Woman's body, woman's choice. Sure, but the choice is to have sex or not, not what to do after the fact. Actions have consequences, always. Once you've made the choice, you've involved another person. No woman can spontaneously conceive. It isn't your choice alone anymore. Again, actions have consequences. Some good, some not so good.

    For the record, I feel the same way about a man's choices. Once you've made the decision to have sex, regardless of what age you are, be prepared for all possibilities, to accept all responsibilities.

     Everthing else is just smoke and mirrors. We're good at justifyng our decisions after the fact. Great at throwing stones at others for doing exactly as we have done but didn't get caught. Assigning fault or shame. Adept at rationalizing away anything we do regardless of what it does to others. I know, I've done it myself.

     Throwing victims of rape or incest into the debate just muddies the water. These people are victims of a crime, their choice taken from them. Women who's pregnancy endangers their lives, of course they should all have the choice.

     Personally, I may think abortion is wrong. I am however smart enough to know a few things.

    I will never be in a position to have to make that choice. What I believe to be true will never be tested. Because of that, what right do I have to judge others for the choices they make?

     I haven't the hubris to think I know best in all things in all circumstances. Wiser minds than mine have debated this for years and will probably continue to do so. I will not force what I believe on any one else. I won't take away some one else's right to exercise their free will.

     We have to be able to look ourselves in the mirror and live with whatever choices we make in our lives. Ultimately, the choice has to be yours.



Sunday, October 28, 2012

The first

     It feels like forever since I last joined in with our listmaster, Stasha. So much going on, thank you all for your support and well wishes. Little by little, I've been getting back into my routine. Never underestimate the comfort of a well worn routine. Here goes, my list of 10 firsts, thanks to Bridget over at Twinisms.

1 First bling
Check it out, my baby bracelet
Hard to believe something that won't fit around my finger, went around my wrist
Mom kept it all these years

2 First puppy
My dog Toby, followed by Buffy
Named after the twins from Family Affair
Imagine my surprise after I Googled and I found out they were called Buffy and Jody

3 First pony
My little Shetland pony Pepper
The start of a life time love of horses

4 First party animal moment
It was the '70's that's all I'm saying

5 First academic achievement
The only picture of me in a cap, sorry no gown
My other graduation pictures were so bad not even a mother could love

6 First concert
Yep, First live concert was Shawn Cassidy at the Ottawa Ex
My cousin RoryBore picked that one, blame her

7 First ride
My mom's burgundy Trans Am
The car I learned to drive in
Sweet ride that spent almost as much time in the ditch as on the road

8 First music
First music I bought,
A cassette
9 First car
The Red Rocket
A '79 Volkswagon GTI
The first, and only, car I bought
Best $1,500 I ever spent
Yes, it had a cassette deck
I may have shed a tear when I had to have it put down

10 First look
My newest little cousin,
Daniel Leo Fisher
What a cutie
Currently the only Fisher boy of his generation

And the bonus round
11 First house
That's right, the house is sold, finally 
I'm in the market for one of my very own
No business partner, the grief is all mine now LOL
     Sure there are lots of other firsts I could have shared but it's a PG blog and a gentleman never kisses and tells. I don't either, ROFL. Drop by Stasha' and see what else made the list of firsts this week.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Hardest Thing

     I've been saying, and thinking, that a lot lately. " The hardest thing has been....". The truth of the matter is, it's all hard.

     The incredible support I have received has been a God sent. I really am blessed with an incredible support system of friends, family and colleagues.

     I've decided to try and pass that on. By sharing our story, trying to be candid about what it's been like.

     Dealing with any serious illness, terminal or not, can be very isolating. The first reaction appears to be to withdraw, kind of a circle the wagons mentality. No one likes to be the bearer of bad news so you stay quiet. You make small talk with friends, smile when you're supposed to. Be a brave soldier, keep that stiff upper lip. It's like you're alone in how you feel or what you are trying to cope with. But you're not. When you do open up, the stories you hear from others are amazing and inspiring. Stories that help you deal with your situation, give you hope. You can see in another person's eyes when they talk to you that they really do understand and have been where you are now.

     Almost two months have passed since we got the news he probably has ALS. That's hard, probably. It's one of those things there isn't a test for, you rule everything else out and wait to see what or if symptoms progress. And they are, or so it seems. Finding out how much the medical profession just doesn't know isn't easy. It's frustrating, stressful and confusing. We all want answers and sometimes there just aren't any.

     Trying to wrap your head around, "a 50% mortality rate after two years, five?", is craziness. We don't come with an expiry date. It's possible he will out live me and we could have decades together. The odds are just heavily stacked against it. Trying to make sense of that, to not have it consume your every waking moment is next to impossible. Someone has set the clock ticking. I don't want it to be like that. I don't want whatever time we have left to be only about his illness. It will make its presence known anyway. I want to be able to enjoy whatever life there is given to us. To be grateful for what time we have, rather than angry and bitter for what we don't.

      It's hard that the world keeps spinning, doesn't stop and give you a chance to catch your breath or get your feet under you again. Laundry still needs to get done, still have to go to work, bills need to get paid. There are all these things to be considered and incorporated into our new "normal". I miss our old "normal". It's hard to take pleasure in the everyday things I used to enjoy, to see the point in bothering with it.

     Being strong and supportive is difficult. I've broken down in front of friends, doctors and co workers but been the shoulder he needs to cry on. Put a smile on my face to ease his fear, then cried when he was asleep. Been the voice of reason. Reassured him it will be okay, I'll be here. You won't have to face this alone.

     It's hard being on opposite sides of taking care of your self. I'm the holistic, whole body, drugs as the absolute last resort. He's the magic pill, psycho therapy is crap, give me the drugs now kind. Keeping quiet, ish, when I believe he is actually making things worse isn't easy. But it's his decision, his health, his responsibility. Very hard not to push what I believe.

     I feel guilty. Guilty that he still makes me mad. That there are days I don't want to rush home, that I just want a break. Guilty that I miss sex. That's right, I said it. I miss it a lot. Guilty that I still want to laugh and smile and have fun. That I'm okay and he's not.

     I worry, about everything. His health. Money. I don't ever want it to be the care we can afford as opposed to the best care available. Him being alone at the house. My ability to cope. His ability to cope. Getting our things in order. Are we making the "right" decisions? Is this the best way to deal with this? Are we being smart? Chose now while we still can before choices are made for us. Everything.

    There are a few things I find especially hard to deal with.

    His loss of hope. He has gone from an always out and about, laughing, singing, annoying prankster to hardly leaving the house, spending entire days in bed. The change is so pronounced. I'm who he turns to for solace. I get the tears, the silence, the constant litany of complaints, the," I don't have long left". It's heartbreaking, frustrating and maddening all at the same time.

       The loss of my equilibrium. This is always in the back of my mind. Was this the last summer we had while he could still walk? Will he see my 50th birthday? Will this be our last Christmas where he's healthy? It sometimes feels like I'm saying one long goodbye to our life together. It makes me crazy. I don't sleep. I'm laughing one minute, near tears the next. Snappy. Short tempered. Quiet. Want to talk. Don't want to talk. Sick of talking. Can't help but talk about it. All depending on which minute of the day you happen to catch me. I can't seem to find my balance or get my thoughts in order.

     Finding out you have no clue. I am so far out of my depth most days, I can't even see the shore. Everyone keeps telling me it will get better. He'll snap out of it, we'll adjust. Okay, maybe. But he's worse now than when he found out. Am I helping him by not pushing? Physically, he's still walking, breathing, swallowing, talking all on his own. Emotionally he's paralysed. Won't leave my side. Is he really much farther along than I think or is it fear and depression taking it's toll? I don't know and I don't know how to help. Ultimately, I can't help. I can't take this away, can't make it all better.

     It hasn't been a long time. Coming to terms with a terminal diagnosis? Let's not kid ourselves here, that's what this means. Strangely, facing that, the very real possibility brings a certain... clarity. I'm not going to call it acceptance or being resigned to it. I don't really have the words for what I'm feeling. A sense of purpose maybe? Hoping that I can put aside my fears and sadness. For this time, I can be the strength he needs when his is flagging so badly. That I'll do what I can. This is his journey to make but I can make sure he doesn't walk it alone.

     I have hope. There is still living left for us to do.


Friday, September 21, 2012

The man with a plan

    I am the man with a plan, a man of action. I plan everything. I have alternates, contingency plans, back ups and fall backs. I research, do my due diligence. I even plan to have plans go sideways. Those moments when all you can do is throw your hands up and just go, F**k it, I tried. It's how I deal with the world at large. Break it into smaller, manageable pieces.
     Unfortunately, the world doesn't always co operate. Some times all you can do is nothing.

     When my other half broke the news of his diagnosis two weeks ago, of course I started to plan. What did this mean, what were our options, how much time did we have, what would help? I Googled ALS, contacted health care workers, did a tentative time line, found alternative health care methods, even tentatively planned a couple of trips. It's how I cope. Except...

     There isn't really any course of treatment. Sure there are things that help some people but it affects everyone differently, progresses at it's own rate. Doesn't care about my time line, my research or alternative health care practices.

     The other thing is, he doesn't want to talk about it. At all. It's not denial exactly, he knows. He watched his mother go through this. He knows exactly what it means, how bad it will get, how devastatingly fast it can happen.

     We've spent the time doing nothing. No planning, no talking. Just being together. I don't think I have ever felt so useless, so out of my depth. For the first time in my life, I'm afraid of what the future will bring.

     My heart knows I'm not being useless. Just by being close he's drawing support, strength and comfort from me. I'm helping to ease his fears.

     My head is telling me something completely different. We're wasting time, he's still relatively healthy, we have to cram as much life as we can into whatever time we have left together.

     Then I look into his eyes. I see the fear, the uncertainty, the sadness. I can do nothing. I can just be here. Reality will intrude regardless so if this pause is what helps, so be it. I can be the man with no plan.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Three little letters

     Things are in a much different place than last week. As you all know, I love a good tune so was looking forward to this week's musical prompt. A little escape from all the crap surrounding the sale of the house. Unfortunately, I've got no music, just a need to get these thoughts outside my head.

      As with any story, keep in mind, this is only my perspective on things.

     All summer I have been trying to sell my house. Correction, our house. I own it with a business partner. When I was in the market 8 years ago, I had money for a down payment but my other half did not. In trying to raise funds, I ended up in a business partnership. Not an ideal situation but the only one available.

     The house has doubled in value, a great investment. Time to move on, work on my own future.  I was excited about it. My business partner expressed an interest in buying my share, no problem. I don't care who buys, I just wanted to sell. And it has been a non stop battle since the end of June.

     First it was the value of the house. I told him what I thought, no I didn't know what I was talking about. It went to market to determine price. A realtor was called in. Delay to add in the buy out clause, satisfying all the legals. The house listed, 7 offers, it's all good. My business partner made an offer, I accepted. It's the 3rd of August. Just need to get the financing done. BTW this is what my half is worth. No, you've made a mistake. No you don't understand how these things work. NO, you've made a math mistake. A lawyer called in to correct that. Still waiting over a month later.

     It has taken over my entire summer. All this work, time, effort and money and it feels like I am not much further ahead today than I was when we started in June.

      I've been stressed out and furious. That impotent rage. I can't do anything alone. We have to agree. We do in fact, agree, mostly. I've tried to be fair, patient, understanding. 

      During this, I also found out my dream of a house in the 'burbs with some space was not something me and mine shared. Lots of tension, not sure how or if we could reconcile this particular difference. I admit I was angry and hurt that the idea of building a future with me was maybe not that appealing if it wasn't in downtown Toronto.

     I resigned myself to the fact that I may be going it alone. Not for a lack of anything other than a shared vision of the future. And then the other shoe dropped. Suddenly everything from this summer doesn't mean quite so much.

     My other half was diagnosed with ALS this week and it feels like the sky has fallen. Three little letters and our world has changed.

Clowning around at the Ex this year

     If you're not familiar, ALS is a disease that destroys the neurons that control your voluntary muscles. Most will recognize it as Lou Gehrigs disease. No cure, no real treatment.

     I wasn't going post this. Too soon, too raw, too personal. But it helps. Just putting the words down has brought some clarity.  A bit of light into what has been dark days. I think I would like to continue posting about our struggle with this. I know we're not alone even if it feels like that right now. As much as I hate those tired cliches, a burden shared is a burden eased.

    Rather than my music, I'll leave you with a favourite of his. Don't ask me why, but he and one of my housemates screech this at each other all the time. Then they giggle like madmen.


Sunday, September 2, 2012

If I knew then

     It has been quite a while as RoryBore pointed out to me recently so I thought a quick post to let you know I'm still alive..... barely. What a summer. Who knew selling a house would be such an incredible pain? Rather than rant on and on, although I reserve the right to do that eventually, I've decided to spin today's back to school Listicles topic, 10 things school didn't cover. That's right, a few pearls of wisdom gained from the experience of trying to sell my house.

Rorybore with two of her three
Angel Girl being a real Fisher
with Zoo Zoo suitably impressed
My Mom and uncle Gord in the back ground

1 Never assume because you have agreed to all of your business partner's wishes it will be an easy process. There will always be new and interesting points to argue over.

2 Just because no one saw you spill olive oil, soy sauce, soda and what I'm hoping was ketchup behind the fridge, it doesn't evaporate and miraculously disappear. It takes hours of scrubbing and cursing to get rid of it.

3 The best way to clean a glass dining room table top is outside with a hose and a scrub brush, at midnight.

4 Hundreds of people tramping through your house picking it apart is not a fun experience.

5 "This house has great bones" is not a compliment.

6 There is a sliding scale of "tidy". Just ask my housemates.

7 Being reasonable is over rated. A screaming tirade at your realtor can be effective. Lawyer-ing up even more so.

8 Dreams of domestic bliss and building a future in the 'burbs are not universal and apparently don't compare to a downtown gym membership and "the whole lifestyle".

9 A break is a must. Sticking around trying to constantly put out fires is incredibly draining and ultimately futile.

10 It's nothing personal usually means the person saying it has wasted months of your time, effort and money. That's very personal.

      As you can probably tell, nothing is going smoothly. I'm feeling a bit bitter and overwhelmed. This summer has been one long nightmare that isn't over just yet. Deborah, when you said selling and buying a house were the 7th and 8th circles of hell, you hit the nail on the head. Oh well, back to the lawyer on Tuesday.

How can that face not make you smile along?
My cousin Emily

     Just so you know, the summer hasn't been all bad. Two great family get togethers made the world of difference. This too shall pass, eventually.

My uncle Doug with his three little water sprite grandchildren
Lindsay, Holly and Emily

     I probably won't be posting regularly just yet, still too much going on to keep on top of everything. Don't forget to swing by Stasha's and see what everyone else had to say about school this week.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

So Long, Farewell

     Wow did that week just disappear. Monday again, making lists with Stasha. Here is what she left us with last week.

I am giving you an allowance of (pretend) $1000 and ask for a list of 10 things you will spend it on

     Very timely because, .... I'm getting my house ready to sell. Huge pain in the backside but I'm weirdly excited too. Out with the old and in with the new. This time I want a real yard where I can garden to my heart's content and maybe even swing a pool eventually, but that's getting ahead of myself. I have even looked into moving to..... The 'Burbs. As a downtown boy for the last 25 years that is a truly scary proposition.

1 Paint for the kitchen
2 Tiles for the upstairs bathroom
3 Tiles for the downstairs bathroom
4 Paint scrapers for the porch railings
5 Wood screws to finish fixing the back step
6 Parging mix to fix the little crack in the basement stairwell
7 Paint for the newly scraped porch railings
8 New light for the living room
9 TSP to get ready for all the painting
10 Lots and lots of cleaners, bucket loads of cleaners.

     Done and done. I'm sorry to say, with all that is going on the Kitchen will be on hiatus. I just don't have time to keep up with everything. I'll miss you all over the summer but hopefully I'll be back on track soon. Wish me luck.

PS Here is that good for you scone recipe I promised you Stasha. No need to deny yourself. Gluten, dairy and refined sugar free but still enjoyable with your morning cuppa.

Monday, June 11, 2012


     Listicles again, time to link up with Stasha. This week our prompt came from The Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms, 10 things that make you go Hmmm. Here is my list of things I ponder from time to time.

1 Why does that time saving technology work only until you actually need it, then it crashes, can't get a signal, breaks...

2 Why are there always either pieces left over or not enough when you buy "some assembly required"?

3 Related to 2, when there are instructions in 8 languages, why does the item (when assembled) never look like the picture?

4 What the H E double hockey sticks have you been eating? You all know what I mean? Light a match.

5. Why when I have a bazillion channels is there nothing on worth watching?

6 Why do movie studios buy the options to great books then ignore the story?

7 Why does the likelihood of unexpected guests dropping by increase exponentially depending on the messiness of my house?

8 Why?
(Although watching the guy actually lose his pants then be unable to pull them back up because the belt was cinched so tight was pure comedic gold. No, not that guy in the picture, that's pulled off the interweb)

9 Not to ignore all the women out there. Why?
Yes, I know they are Louboutins. I know they cost a fortune. I even understand wanting to get a little more height. But really, why spend so much money for something you can't walk in and makes your feet look vaguely like hooves. Just sayin?

10 Why can't people just accept I'm right? With out question. Or argument. All. The. Time. Is that so much to ask?

     Swing by Stasha's to see what else has us scratching our heads.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Multigrain Scones

     Thursday again and time to link up with Susi over a Boca Frau. I think she's been peeking through my window because again this week we are on the same wave length. Both of us are doing scones. Maybe the Diamond Jubilee is to blame. Gettin' all fancy like.


     This week a healthy recipe, because I promised. Everyone seems to be getting fit and toned for summer so I give you this recipe to help along, courtesy of my friend Erin. It can be made gluten free and vegan.

Multigrain Scones


1 egg (or EnerG egg replacer)
1/4 cup maple syrup
5 tablespoons grape seed oil
1/8 teaspoon lemon zest
3/4 cup oats
1 1/2 cups spelt flour (or combination of rice, buckwheat etc.)
2 tablespoons millet
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 and 1/2 cups frozen berries
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup milk alternative (almond, soy, rice etc.)

Topping (optional):

3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons maple syrup


1 Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2 Lightly oil a cookie sheet or use a nonstick pan.
3 In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients including the lemon zest.
4 Mix the egg (or egg replacer), maple syrup, and oil together.
5 Slowly add the dry ingredients into the "egg", sugar and oil and mix into a thick dough. Add the "milk" and mix well.
6 Scoop up tablespoonfuls of the dough and drop onto the baking sheet leaving 2-inches of space between.
7 You should have enough for 8-10 scones.
8 Bake for 15-25 minutes, just until the crust is barely golden and the dough is dry.
9 Remove from the oven (and optionally, drizzle with lemon topping).
10 Let cool for 10 minutes.


You can use ground flaxseed to replace the egg. Whip 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons of water until you get a gelatinous texture similiar to egg whites. Great source of your omega acids and an excellent source of fibre as well.

You can use any vegetable oil instead of the grapeseed, same as if you were making muffins.

Use gluten free baking flour and oats to make this a gluten free treat. If you are just avoiding wheat, spelt flour is a great baking flour. Has kind of a nutty finish but a great texture similiar to wheat flour. Many people who are wheat rather than gluten sensitive are fine with spelt.

     A scone to have with your tea or coffee that you can feel good about. Enjoy.

Unfortunately, this is what's currently on my counter
I guess I can always wear a wetsuit to the beach
They're slimming right?

Monday, June 4, 2012


     Ah, the summertime. My favourite time of year, and that's what Stasha wants us to talk about this week, summer memories.

1 Being the son and grandson of farm folk, the one thing summer meant was..... Hay. Thousands of bales of hay. First cut, second cut maybe even a third in September. Good times.

Click to enlarge the pictures

Katey, Dad and Cathy out of the loft, waiting for the next wagon
I was at the bottom unloading, in shorts and sandals

2 Horses. Summer was/is the time for riding. Lazy trail rides, playing tag in the "sallies" or real cowboys. (Or chasing cattle all over hell's half acre.)

Mom training

Mom and Dad taking Katie and Julie out for a ride

Mom trick riding
Even a little bull riding LOL
My uncle Bob on Magician

3 Hand in hand with the horses, country fairs and horse shows. My grandfather carted us all over Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec.

My grandfather showing buggies

My cousin Lindsay, proudly displaying her ribbon

4 Reunions. Both sides of the family try and get together at least once over the summer.

The Fisher clan

Some of the Craigs and Dowsetts

5 Weddings. I love going to weddings. Family, friends, all good, just not mine LOL

My aunt Janice with her husband Ken
My favourite picture of the two of them

My aunt Donna with her husband Pat
And my cousins Jason and Darren

My aunt Rita (Rorybore's mom) and her husband Frank

We even have horses at our weddings
My grandfather driving the carriage for my aunt Karen's wedding

My friends, Monica and Llijah, the Pearces

6 Watching thunderstorms. I've been fascinated with thunderstorms since I was little. Now, I love watching them roll into Toronto from over Lake Ontario. Awesome.

7 Water.The beach, the pool, a cottage. Summer on the water is the best.

Rita with a bunch of us at Marlyn and Donny's cottage

Same cottage, my uncle Gordon and his wife Sue
Tried, Tested and True Mommy's parents
Another favourite picture

Aunt Jean and my Mom relaxing at either Silver Lake or Sandy Beach

Uncle Leonard coming in from water skiing

Water = Fishing
Grandpa Craig and my uncle Ken

8 Hanging out. Patios, BBQs, corn roasts, pig roasts, tailgate parties, bonfires and fireworks.
One particular memory that makes me laugh, the look of horror on my cousin Adam's friends as Ferd went on to describe, in great detail, a traditional Filipino recipe for the pig's head. Priceless.

Our hiking/canoeing day trip

Hitting the patios with Andrew after work

Mu uncle Donny BBQing
He makes the best burgers ever

Parties mean casualties

And because I live with the Nerd Herd,
FanExpo, or any comic book convention really

9 No surprise, gardening. After all, I started this, didn't I? I can't lie, summers spent weeding our or either of my grandparents gardens as a kid were not the most joyous of memories. Acres, by hand. Now however, I enjoy  gardening on my little 1/100 of an acre. As I type, pies are cooling on my counter made from rhubarb and strawberries just out of my garden. Being able to walk outside and snip some herbs, grab some beans, cucumbers, tomatoes or salad greens, incredible.

All kinds of flowers
My winter onions putting up next year's  seed sets
Peas sprouting up

I'm pretty sure this is what is happening in my garden when I'm not looking
The swath of destruction they have caused, now explained.

10 Very closely tied to the last one, picking berries. As kids, we roamed all over picking wild raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries. We'd get home with stained hands and faces with our haul and ... nothing beats wild blackberry pie. Wild raspberry for my cousin Sherry.

     When my grandmother was ill, she was telling my aunt Barb she wouldn't be able to make Sherry's favourite, raspberry squares. My aunt said she was pretty sure she could make them to which my grandmother replied, but will they be wild raspberries.

I don't have to work quite so hard any more
My thornless blackberry bushes are putting up an amazing bounty this year

     One final thought, being the musical kind that I am, a favourite tune. Have an amazing summer.