Monday, 29 September 2014

Monday Moanings - September 29, 2014

Moaning Moratorium

It seems just plain wrong to moan about anything on this, another glorious Autumn day in southern Ontario. The sun is shining; the sky is brilliant blue; it's a warm 24°C. And the leaves are exploding with colour. They are also falling. I couldn't help but notice a constant dripping sound, something like the sound small raindrops make when they meet a solid surface. A reminder that these amazing days of Indian Summer will not, cannot, last. So it's best to make the most of gems like this.

But the umbrella is up on the deck,
          and a chair invites me to come,
                     sit a spell.

I dare not refuse such hospitality.

Happy Monday!

©2014 April Hoeller

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Thursday, or Thereabouts - September 25, 2014

Indian Summer

There was a frost last week, a morning dusted in white.

And now we are basking in Autumn days filled with warm, almost high summer temperatures and brilliant blue skies - Indian Summer.

I stepped outside my front door last evening and into a place of stunning beauty. The last rays of the sun angled high to light up the tree tops. The greens, the golds, the reds and even the browns vibrated with colour.

I took a stroll around the outside of my house this afternoon and even in full light the colours dazzle.
It is the reds though that always take my breath away.

And I am so privileged to live here in the middle of an Indian Summer in full bloom.
"With the golden glow of peaceful contentment
        may I truly appreciate this autumn day."
Edward Hays - Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim

©2014 April Hoeller

Monday, 22 September 2014

Monday Moanings - September 22, 2014

Out of Order

My writing almost always begins with ink on paper. Nothing draws out my thoughts better than a perfectly balanced fountain pen gliding across a lined smooth white page. And so it was this morning as I sat down at the table with uncapped pen poised and opened  the blog journal...

Two blank pages sandwiched between pages one and two of last Thursday's writing!

I love order; I thrive on things being in their proper, logical place. Equally I hate waste; I simply cannot abide disposal of perfectly useful goods. This morning's discovery generated a disturbance in the force; it unleashed an irritating dilemma: do I ignore the waste to uphold good order and discipline, or do I take a walk on the wild side and plant today's writing in the middle of last Thursday's and continue as necessary on blank pages following the previous post? Can I truly allow myself to be that out of order?

It's a very small problem in the big wide world, nevertheless it stole a whole 25 minutes of my time while I alternately wrestled and ignored it. Two news items caught my attention during my excursions away from the dilemma on the writing table.

One was the People's Climate March.

courtesy of the Sierra Club, Facebook page

According to the Sierra Club this was "the biggest climate action in history" with over 310,000 people filling the streets of New York City yesterday. Impressive! The cynic in my soul, already stirred by the blank pages in my blog journal, rose higher in the air to wonder how many would so eagerly pay 10¢ more per litre of gasoline AND welcome wind and solar farms in their neighbourhood? It's so much easier to march for a cause than to make it happen.

But then a second article caught my eye. The Rockefeller's, or more correctly the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, valued at $860 million, announced that it will divest itself of all fossil fuel company assets to invest in cleaner alternatives. Now that is BIG, and part of growing trend. The believer in my soul warmed up and overcame the cynic. I dared to wonder if just perhaps the tide is turning, that the word is getting out that green energy can make both dollars and sense. Yes!

Back at the writing table, I flipped my blog journal open again, turned to the blank but out of order pages and began to write. A walk, or even a write, on the wild side is a good thing, from time to time.

©2014 April Hoeller

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Thursday, or Thereabouts - September 18, 2014

Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow

I threw my legs out of bed this morning and right into a pair of cranky pants. I didn't mean to. I certainly did not lay them out on the chair last night as today's wardrobe,  but I'm sure wearing the moody blues today. Irritable doesn't even begin to describe the bear living in my body today. Sure it was cool, raw and overcast this morning but there's plenty of warmth, light, hot tea and lovely music where I live.

What the crap is this all this about? Why am I so ornery today?

I had a great day yesterday. I got the white wine purchases from last week, all 54 bottles, catalogued and bedded down in the cellar. Now I'm a bit of a nutter about this process. The wines must be ordered by varietal (blend, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Vidal, Sparkling) and within that, alphabetically by winery and all is recorded meticulously on a Excel spreadsheet. I told you I was a nutter, right? But I'm an organized nutter!

Okay, so integrating the new with the 38 wines already on the shelf is a big job which elicited some head scratching and one or two instances of hair pulling yesterday, but in the end I got the job done. Every glass soldier had a place to lie down, save one, an old un-oaked chardonnay. It died a hero's death at supper.

Tomorrow, my love and I have a full day planned. First stop is IKEA®; I need two more shelves for the wine racks. Forty-one red coats stand waiting for a place to rest and there's not enough room at the inn. Then we're off to the Toronto Fall Home Show to scout out some bathroom ideas and few other updates. I have to confess that such sales expositions are not my idea of fun - I hate crowds, I hate noise, and I really hate high pressure sales tactics - but the tickets were free and the ideas will be too. As a reward for enduring the cacophony of the home show, the day ends with a divine supper, a sedate, flavourful Italian meal with wine of course! One red soldier will fall tomorrow night.

Tomorrow will be a good day. Yesterday was a great day. Today, not so much, but when viewed as a day bookended by two successful, fun days, it acquires a certain measure of tolerance, even acquiescence. I can mooch around cranky pants and all today, comfortable in the knowledge that tomorrow, just as yesterday, I'll be wearing something else.

©2014 April Hoeller

Friday, 12 September 2014

Thursday, or Thereabouts - September 12, 2014

It's an "or Thereabouts" kind of day.

Nothing like a few days away to put me weeks behind, or so it seems. We returned home Thursday just after 3pm having enjoyed 5 idyllic days in the land of  Niagara wine and the Shaw Festival. No problem I thought in putting together a post before the end of the day ... ah but then there was the unpacking of the car, the trip to town for a physio appointment, the clean up windfall debris (two large tree branches) brought down by a storm Wednesday night, followed by the phone mail, the email and the laundry.

Oh and then someone had to make supper! No printed menus to peruse, no ice water shimmering in fine glassware, no gleaming cutlery, no executive chef, no one to chop and clean, no servers, eager to please, and no artistry on a plate.

Just me, flash thawing some haddock and rescuing veggies that had made it three-quarters of the way to the compost bin all because the house sitters did not eat them, tossing all in the oven then slapping it on a plate in some ill fated attempt at presentation craft. Well - it tasted good.

And now it's Friday. Afternoon. What began with a lovely leisurely massage was soon morphed into a morning swept away by grocery shopping, a trip to the Zephyr Organics farm for our weekly supply of veggies followed by the unpacking, washing and storage of my acquisitions.

Is it nap time yet? Nope, it's time to get a blog post out!

For the record, and because I know you all are just dying to know, the stock at 7 Niagara wineries has diminished by 95 bottles. My next job is to get them out of the boxes lined up in the hallway, catalogued and tucked away into our inventory. I'm so glad we cut back this year...

©2014 April Hoeller

Monday, 8 September 2014

Monday Moanings - September 8, 2014

Days of Wine and Roses - a Celebration Love and Marriage

We'll leave the moaning to others this week as we bask in the latest offerings from Niagara Wine Country. Our traditional celebration of our years together (now marking #39) began yesterday, when we made our way along the QEW to Niagara-on-the-Lake and the Shaw Festival. We dove right in to the theatre experience - there is nothing like live theatre! - to take in The Mountaintop (K. Hall) in the afternoon and Arms and the Man (G.B. Shaw) in the evening - a very civilized beginning to 5 days of absolute pleasure. Later in the week we take a seat to experience The Charity that Began at Home (St.John Hankin) and When We Are Married (J.B. Priestly).

Today the Shaw is 'dark', and so the entire day is dedicated to wine. We are not just tasters but serious buyers who love the smaller wineries. It is not unusual for us to truck home 7+ cases of reds and whites, most of which are only available at the wineries. But this year we are going to cut back...
Yeah, well we say that every year. Here is our record of "cutting back" from past years:

  • 2009: 75 bottles purchased
  • 2010: 69
  • 2011: 74
  • 2012: 91
  • 2013: 88

There are four vineyards on our list today, three are our 'old' faves - Angel's Gate, Thirty Bench, and Vineland Estates (I'm looking forward to a lovely lunch at Vineland); one is a new favourite - Kew Vineyards.  I've got the list of wines currently in our cellar; I've got the tasting notes from all the wines to cross our palate; and, I've got a box of crackers for consumption between wineries. Now it's off to a good breakfast then out to the vineyards. I can smell the grapes and hear the cannon shots that keep the birds away. It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it!

So while my love and I are out among the vineyards today, enjoy some images of past adventures in the grape stomping grounds of Niagara:

©2014 April Hoeller

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Thursday, or Thereabouts - September 4, 2014

"Hurricane" Norbert

What began as a tropical depression in the Pacific Ocean, grew into a tropical storm and is now Hurricane Norbert.

NOAA - National Hurricane Center

What's so special about this? Well not very much - an entirely normal event in the eastern Pacific Ocean at this time of year has followed an entirely normal pattern of development - EXCEPT this tropical cyclone share's my Love's name. It had my attention the moment NOAA posted the first advisory and I have followed Norbert all week.

The name is not a popular appellation, not a Tom, Dick or Harry kind of name at all and I was thrilled to imagine this naming as an entirely unique event - the very first time Norbert had been a hurricane. Alas, a few keystrokes and the fount of all knowledge, Google, dumped a deluge on my bravado. No less than three other Norberts have churned up wind and rain in the Pacific (September 1984, September 1990, and October 2008); two of these, 1984 & 2008, were major hurricanes (Category 4).

At this writing Hurricane Norbert is about 255km south-southwest of the southern tip of Baja, California and is not expected to intensify too much more. I couldn't help but smile as I read through the rest of NOAA bulletin - there were definite similarities to the Norbert I know so well.
sustained winds of 150km/h; moving NW at 11km/h: "Yeah," says my love reading over my shoulder, "that's me - lots of spin but lacking significant forward motion." 
a little more organised this morning: good to know and indeed yes he was, in the morning. 
Category 1; absolutely, no question, he is my #1.
September 6, 1975

My "Hurricane" Norbert and I celebrate 39 years of storming through life together on Saturday (Sept. 6).
We are a loosely organised system that tracks all over the globe with no sign of dissipating in the foreseeable future. We have two spin-offs that are well on their way to becoming well developed systems with their own pattern of travel and landfall. We are blessed.

May 6, 2014 - The Great Wall of China, Badaling Hills

©2014 April Hoeller

"Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking together in the same direction." 
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Monday, 1 September 2014

Monday Moanings - September 1, 2014

Labour Day 2014

Tomorrow morning it all rev's up again.
7am will NOT be blissfully silent.
Tomorrow, the windows will resonate with the rumble of school buses.
Tomorrow, the 3pm 'rush hour' convoy of those same buses returning their precious cargo home, will be back.

Tomorrow, the rhythm of my day will be picked up and transported by that fleet of yellow rumblers out of lazy summer mode and into active mode. There's work to be done: jobs to be started, jobs to be completed, and dream jobs.

But today is a day of rest.
Today is a day of gratitude for the work and workers who keep this society functioning.
Today is a day of celebration of freedom:
the freedom to choose our work, 
the freedom to choose our leisure,
the freedom to write.

Today is a day of gentle anticipation of the harvest of delights that lie ahead.
It's like New Year's Eve all over again, minus the hype and the carousing.

Enjoy this day.

©2014 April Hoeller