Monday, 25 June 2018

Monday Moanings - June 25, 2018

A cool wet nose presses up against my bed-warm face. "Mommy, I saw the suitcases. And that little bear too. I just know that You're leaving on a jet plane. I don't know when you'll be back again."

Poor puppy. The resident canine doesn't quite understand time. She gives me one of those 'omg you've been gone so long whole body wiggle greetings' even if I've only been gone five minutes.

Ahh well, she gets to stay in her own home. The house sitters are here - two of her most favourite people -  and Sophie has already over-written all my dog care instructions with her own - more treats, more walks, more treats, more treats.

This 75 pound German Shepherd - Alaskan Malamute will not starve. She'll romp in her own yard, go for walkies in the forest she knows so well, and sleep in her own bed every night. She'll get lots of lovies - but perhaps not quite as many treats as she would like.

And the travelers? Well, we'll be fine too. The ToDo list has shrunk to the few things that can only be done on the day of departure - more instructions for the house sitters, final carry-on pack, and document check (this for the umpteenth time!).

With Schwartz von Bear in charge of the tours, adventure is always assured... is ample refreshment!

Time to go. See y'all back here in three weeks or so.
Be well.

©2018 April Hoeller

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Thursday, or Thereabouts - June 21, 2018

Schwartz sits calmly atop my backpack ready to go. His packing is done. Seasoned traveler that he is, he really knows how to pack light! Actually he just really knows how to choose the best sherpas. AND he knows how to have fun!

"He is truly wise who has traveled far and knows the ways of the world."

Meanwhile, I'm in danger of being clobbered by an ever-faster swirling tether ball of things to do before Tuesday's flight to Iceland. With just five (5, FIVE!!) days to go until departure, the accumulation of scribbled post-it notes, scrawled lists and neat entries in the official travel prep booklet does not seem to be diminishing as planned.

This was supposed to be the most organized departure ever. This was supposed to be the least stressful departure ever. Of course, I make these predictions every time we travel.

Each adventure teaches me how to pack less clothing. Coordinating pieces, washable, crushable, rollable are de rigueur.

But with the turn of the age clock to the 65 mark, the "drug bag" expands with every adventure. The trip to China in 2014 taught me a tough lesson: always travel with the over-the-counter medications I know work for me. Prescription meds, of course, are never optional. So the little pharmacy store in a kit bag needs an expansion.

What would truly ease the space problem would be to have pill bottles that were actually more full than empty. We're told it's important to have meds in original bottles with original labels. Well, that's no longer just for customs and border control folks. With so many capsules and pills at hand, it's hard (and maybe dangerous!) for me to remember what's what based solely on size, shape, and colour. So the drug bag has acquired a pup trailer.

All part of growing up?  AND going on adventures!

This time the adventure addicts (the vintage edition - tee hee) are heading first to Iceland then flying to Bergen, Norway to start a cruise following the midnight sun (Bergen, Geiranger Fjord, Molde, Tromso, Honningsvag, and Lofoten) followed by Scotland (The Shetlands, The Orkneys, and Edinburgh) and ending in London. Oh, the places we're going!

I gotta get back on track with the mighty ToDo list. I'll let you know Monday how I fare.

In the meantime - Happy Summer!

©2018 April Hoeller

Monday, 18 June 2018

Monday Moanings - June 18, 2018

A time to sew...

This takes every morsel of my concentration and determination, every ounce of my courage and fortitude. When it comes to that branch of the domestic arts and sciences that has to do with fashion, fabric, needles, and thread, I have little more than rudimentary skills and even less desire. But I do have a sewing machine, a 25+-year-old Kenmore that was bought when money was scarce and babies needed flannelette blankets, clothing repairs and rooms needed rod-pocket curtains. It was the best we could afford at the time.

If it’s a straight line with a straight stitch I can usually accomplish it, but only after spending a minimum of 30 minutes making friends with the machine again, figuring out how to load a bobbin and place it in the bobbin case, prepare the needle and top thread, then picking up the bobbin thread. Phew! And my palms begin to sweat just hoisting the machine out of the closet. And a straight line? Surely you jest!

After putting off the task as long as possible the day comes when I must tackle the sewing job. The trekking pants I bought at a store that does not offer petite (aka short legged gals) sizes must have three inches trimmed off the legs. With just eight days until we head out of the country, today is the day.

Actually, yesterday was the day, but the thread I pulled from my late mother-in-law’s sewing box was so old – I think it was one she brought here when she came to Canada in 1953 – that once set up in the machine it broke every few inches of stitching.  So off I went to the shops this morning to buy new thread. Now I’m ready, again. The pant legs are pressed and hems pinned, the bobbin is in place and I’ve managed to thread the top needle – only swearing twice (okay maybe six times) – and now the top and bottom threads lie daintily out behind the gleaming needle. My clammy hands flutter over the stretchy fabric while my right foot hovers over the presser foot…

                    ...April is sewing.

For the record, it took the sum total of six hours to accomplish this sewing feat including travel time to the shops and a quick lunch with a good friend, (lunch is included because procrastination is the road to success, isn't it?).

I'm sure a practiced seamstress would have suffered a fit of apoplexy had she witnessed my efforts and final higgeldy-piggledy sewing line, but still, when all was said and done, three pairs of pants were ready for packing and no one is going to study the hem of my pants! If they do, it says more about them than me.

©2018 April Hoeller

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Thursday, or Thereabouts - June 14, 2018

Feeling a bit restless, I took the furry beast out for a hike in the forest this morning. It was a lovely tromp along the dirt paths, through the long grasses, and by the streams. Truly an over the river and through the woods kind of trek, without the snow and sleigh of course, (Well I should ruddy well hope so - it is June)!

The play of light and shadow, the waft of warm and cool, the fragrance of earth and flower, all accompanied by birdsong was calming, restorative, and stimulating. In short, it was idyllic. There are few things that can't be solved by a walk in the forest.

It helps to have a beloved dog lead the way too!

©2018 April Hoeller

Monday, 11 June 2018

Monday Moanings - June 11, 2018

It's a beautiful day in the neighbourhood, a magical combination clear skies, warm temperatures, and very low humidity. It is a perfect summer day, one that I am enjoying to the fullest. All too soon, like tomorrow, the humidity will return, dulling the blue skies and heaving her damp blanket over all. I can moan about that another time but, not today.

Today, I have already worked myself up to a good sweat with a kick-butt workout at the gym, and then treated myself to a leisurely lunch out with a good friend. The garden is looking grand in its new and improved design. I'm happy and proud to say that all my efforts have paid off.

And now as I sip a soothing macchiato, my mind takes me back to summers of my childhood. As a kid, I loved the summer. Happy days of wind in my face bike riding and hot days cooled in the backyard pool made summer an absolute delight. We didn't have a heater so a pool freshly filled in June began at 16C (or less!) and crawled its way to a blistering 23 by mid-August. Those were the days of Fahrenheit, so "Arthur" our pool thermometer actually registered 74. One banner year I recall 'Arthur' made it all the way to 78F.

Me chillin' in the pool, 1978

For years, in the early part of June, while Dad was at work, Mom and I added buckets of hot water to the pool. When my Dad came home, he splashed his hand in the pool and announced, "It's warming up nicely!" Mom and I just smiled. It was our little secret.

My Mom, 1971
Mom - the hostess with the mostest at summer pool parties. , 1971

I had another childhood summer secret. I hated thunderstorms; they scared the living daylights out of me, especially the night time ones. Lightning lit up my bedroom, casting scary shadows across the walls. But the thunder was worse. Those ear-splitting, room shaking, gut vibrating booms were beyond my worst nightmare.

I recall lying in my dark bedroom, hands cupped close to my ears. A flash of lightning gave life to the shadows and I began a countdown, my small voice quavering in the dark, "One and one thousand, two and one thousand, three and one thousand, four and one thousand..." until the crash of thunder stopped the count. Each group of four in the countdown, that is every four seconds, between lightning seen and thunder heard measured one mile of distance to the storm centre, or so my Dad the weatherman said.

As the number of seconds between flash and bang decreased, fear increased - exponentially. I never cried out - at least not that I remember. I took it to be a badge of courage to make it through the storm (there's got to be a morning after?). Instead, I counted and shuddered, and counted and moaned, and counted and whimpered, drenched in sweat under blankets and pillow. Truly, the end of the world was at hand.

Well, we don't have a pool here now, and I'm not so terrified of thunderstorms. In fact, I love a good thunder boomer, a ringtail snorter of a rang dang doo, as the character Charlie Farquharson would have described it. Nothing can beat that rambunctious, flashy splash of refreshment. Honesty demands that I confess to a few vestiges of thunderstorm terror in the dark hours.

A low rumble in the distance rouses me. A flash of light dances around the room and the familiar countdown sequence so deeply imprinted on my being begins again. My gut clenches involuntarily in memory of stormy nights past. Most often I just roll over and fall back to sleep but every once in a while the storm is big enough, flashy enough, noisy enough to fully waken the old fear machine.

I tug the pillow tightly around my ears, stretch out my leg until toes touch a sleeping husband for reassurance that I am not alone. In the darkness, a whimper is heard. Surely not I? Hot panting breath hits my not quite buried face, then a cold nose nudges my cheek followed by a heavy paw on my arm.

"Just thought you should know mummy," seventy-five pounds of hyper-vigilant canine warns, "truly, the end of the world truly is at hand."

©2018 April Hoeller

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Thursday, or Thereabouts - June 7, 2018

I'm done with all the pollsters' prognostications, media soundbites, backtalk, nastiness and fearmongering. I'm done with all the noise!

I have cast my ballot.
My vote is in.
Que sera, sera.

Tomorrow I have every confidence that the sun will come up as usual. I trust that I too will rise with the new day and go about my business as usual - with one exception - I will absent myself from all social media and newsfeeds. I'm unplugging from the too many beeps, squawks, alarms, and vibrations good or otherwise.

I have no room in my head for post-election rants, no desire to hear any "shoulda's, woulda's, or coulda's" from politicians or political commentators or backseat experts. I do not want to hear or read any bombastic diatribes or any cranky pants whining from any corner. Neither do I want to hear grandiose exhortations about glorious things to come. I want to hear of neither cheers nor jeers.

I want calm. 
I want space. 
I want silence. 

So tomorrow you will find me in my garden probably talking to the pansies, dahlias, and any other blooming thing I find hanging around.

If the weather does not cooperate, then I'll be inside baking bread...

...starting the packing lists for our next great adventure (just nineteen days to takeoff), and generally putzing around. If you want to connect with me, pick up the phone and give me a call or email me and I'll get back to you when I'm feeling refreshed.

Have a great weekend, folks. 

Whatever the weather, there will be wine!


©2018 April Hoeller