Monday, 22 February 2016

Monday Moanings - February 22, 2016

Blue skies, Sunshine, Smooth Sailing

The luggage is up and open in the living room ready to receive shorts and swimsuits. The fridge and freezer are well stocked for the house-sitters. And I'm getting a haircut tomorrow.

My love and I are sailing away later this week. Our timing could not be better:

While southern Ontario lies under the threat of this major winter storm we will be headed to the sunny south where the forecast looks like this:

And a week today in the British Virgin Islands, we'll have to cope with 28°C in the sunshine.
It's a tough job but somebody's got to do it!

If there is one moan to be whined, it is that this vacation will have a bit of a learning curve. What? Well yes - because we've never taken a holiday in which the primary focus is Rest and Relaxation. We go on adventures to faraway places with strange sounding names. We trek, we scuba dive, we hike through rain forests and across lava fields. We don't know how to go slow.

But our intrepid travel mascot Schwartz von Bear is willing to be our teacher. Seems he's had plenty of experience.

Can two old dogs learn new tricks? Check back here in two weeks to find out.

©2016 April Hoeller

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Thursday, or Thereabouts - February 18, 2016

Throwback Thursday

Throwback winter!
Throwback the jet stream!

Throwback the snow shovels, the mitts and the tuques!

Yet another sinister swirling mass of arctic air has hijacked positive temperatures.

Remember this breathtaking chill when the weather patterns reverse engines and fire breathe out a blistering heat wave.

I will be among the first to rant about that too. There will be feverish discussions of those malevolent "3H's" -
Hazy, Hot & Humid. 

Sweltering, sweating, bug swotting,
sunscreen slathering, hammock swinging, lemonade drinking,
barbeque smokin', strawberry picking, corn boiling, tomato reddening


I can feel it, smell it, taste it!

©2016 April Hoeller

Monday, 15 February 2016

Monday Moanings - February 15, 2016

Family Day 2016

Rather than write something pithy or otherwise on this holiday Monday, I've spent some time trolling through family photos, stopping by a few memories and considering just how fortunate I am to have the family I do. No place for moaning today!

Here's to each and every one of you. Good health, good fortune and great happiness.
Thanks for bringing me to where I am today.
Heaps of love.

And our lives would be so much less without the four-legged wonders who have graced us with their tails and trust.

©2016 April Hoeller

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Thursday, or Thereabouts - February 11, 2016

Away with You! Be Gone!

According to forecasters, the barrage of frigid temperatures, -17°C this morning,  will continue for four days with just a little snow.

Alright Old Man Winter I'll take this as your last stand, then it's time to hop it to the southern hemisphere. Oh and don't expect a good grade from me for this season's performance. Quite frankly it's hard to give a grade to someone with an absentee record like yours this year! But if a Truant Officer hassles you as you try to leave, just offer up a frigid huff and continue on your way south. Got it?

And while I'm in a commanding mood, let me also read the riot act to a few too many bacteria partying in my body. Buzz off! Or perhaps the metaphor should have more to do with water, seeing as it's a kidney infection that is gumming up the works. How about "haul up your anchor and set sail"?

This is the fourth time since July that microbes have attacked my plumbing and the second time that they have progressed as far as the kidneys. Visits to doctors and urgent care centres have taken over as my #1 social activity. I am impressed with neither such prowess nor such success! It's time for these little nasties to hop it too!

"Go find someone else to populate! 
Or better yet, 
latch on to Old Man Winter's tailcoat and die of the cold!" 

Now there's a thought that brings a smile to my face, as does this:

In the mean time, I'm off to another 'social engagement' this afternoon - all will be well, in due course all manner of thing shall be well!

©2016 April Hoeller

Monday, 8 February 2016

Monday Moanings - February 8, 2016

Let the Dragons Dance

While I'm feeling somewhat under the weather at the top of this week - there's plenty of moaning going on here, none of which you need or want to hear - the dragons are dancing in the Chinese New Year around the world. It's a fun, noisy, and exciting way to kick off a new week. Way better than hanging out with me. So

"Gong Hey Fat Choy"

Today's Google® Doodle

If the New Year resolutions made back on January 1, need a dose of renewal or have fallen by the wayside, we all get to start anew again today. Chinese proverbs offer these pearls of wisdom for inspiration: 

“If you want one year of prosperity, grow grain. If you want 10 years of prosperity, grow trees. If you want 100 years of prosperity, grow people.”

“A single conversation with a wise man is better than 10 years of study.”

“A closed mind is like a closed book, just a block of wood.”

“If heaven made him, Earth can find some use for him.”

“Without sorrows, no one becomes a saint.”

“With virtue, you can’t be completely poor; without it, you can’t be truly rich.”

“To have principles, first have courage.”

“Honest scales and full measure hurt no one.”

“If you always give, you will always have.”

“If you hurry through long days, you will hurry through short years.”

“Simple to open a shop; another thing to keep it open.”

“Don’t waste your hour; the sun sets soon.”

Bring on the dancing dragons and the happy monkeys!

Make this a good week.
Don't worry - be happy!

©2016 April Hoeller
All images, except the first two, are from our trip to China, April 2014

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Thursday, or Thereabouts - February 4, 2016

A February Pilgrim

Meandering, just meandering. Like a leaf, dappled in sunlight, on a gently flowing woodland stream, I've been going with the flow, occasionally diverting into intriguing byways and circulating in pools of calm.  No specific goal or destination; no plan or urgency, just Simon and Garfunkel's 59th Street Bridge Song playing in my head.

Slow down, you move too fast.
You got to make the morning last.
Just kicking down the cobble stones.
Looking for fun and feelin' groovy.

Ba da, Ba da, Ba da, Ba da...Feelin' Groovy.

Hello lamp-post,
What cha knowin'?
I've come to watch your flowers growin'.
Ain't cha got no rhymes for me?
Doot-in' doo-doo,
Feelin' groovy.

I've got no deeds to do,
No promises to keep.
I'm dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep.
Let the morning time drop all its petals on me.
Life, I love you,
All is groovy.

It's lovely to just traipse through the days leading to the edge of Spring, to simply be a traveller through the land, a kind of February pilgrim, come wind, come weather. When I grow tired of feelin' groovey, I dance to Maddy Prior's rendering of the words of John Bunyan (1684).

Who would true valour see,
Let him come hither;
One here will constant be,
Come wind, come weather
There's no discouragement
Shall make him once relent
His first avowed intent
To be a pilgrim.

I know some seeds of discontent will begin to stir even as I hum and dance through these days.
            There is so much that needs DOING.  
Long lists of  'coulds', 'should's' and 'ought's' beg for strike outs and check marks:

clear out closets: bedroom, den, hall x 2
clean out basement
redecorate living room: new flooring, painting, furniture, lighting
get stuff together for cruise
bathroom reno plans
attic clear out (comes after basement)
digitize slide photos (there are 20 years worth of these)
finish family cook book for kids

and more, 

So for now I'll continue on my way, kicking down the cobble stones, come wind, come weather.

©2016 April Hoeller

Monday, 1 February 2016

Monday Moanings - February 1, 2016

In-Between Time

The ship of this not quite so ancient mariner has arrived in the quiet eddies of the "in between time". Old Man winter has grown tiresome. He was late arriving to begin with and sulked through January, summoning up only a few feeble signs wintertide. And now it's February. It's time for winter to just give up and go, but he won't of course. He'll drag the anchor.

Unwanted, unwelcome yet predictable, this annual sojourn in the doldrums always appears on my itinerary February. Now one would think that such regularity would give rise to highly effective coping strategies, or even better yet a calculated manoeuvre to avoid this navigational hazard, but no. This vintage mariner, (not ancient but maybe a tad forgetful?), charts the same course every year: smile and wave at the Candlemas Day lighthouse on February 2, take a quick dip in the pool of joy and warmth amongst the Valentine hearts and flowers, and then...

"Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, no breath no motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean."
from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Ah but this is no dark place. Along the great wheel of the year, February is an In-Between month - it begins at the midpoint between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox (Brigit's Day) and ends at the very edge of Spring. And the light is returning - at a rate of almost 3 minutes a day!

I am not lost, I know where I am. I know that soon the winds will pick up and I'll be on my way again under full sail. In the mean time, I'll sit up on deck and befriend the calm, smile at winter's last gasps, and await the freshening breeze.  I know what's coming...

©2016 April Hoeller