Tag Archives: road trip

Sharing My World 76

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Somewhere north of Lake Superior on our road trip heading home taken through the car windshield en route because yes I am exactly that lazy.

Well look what I just retrieved from various places in the drafts folder.  Proof of my good intentions.  And other not so admirable traits.

Share Your World – August 14, 2017

When you leave a room, do you turn the lights off behind you or keep the lights on throughout your house most of the time?

When I’m home alone there are a lot of lights on everywhere, upstairs and down.  Probably because there’s no one following me around turning them off.  So I guess that answers that question.

What do you feel is the most enjoyable way to spend $500?

Because of some unexpected expenses this year, the unnecessary expenditures have been put on hold.  And those are always the most enjoyable kind, aren’t they?  Three people in the last little while have asked me, while browsing through my “library”, if I have any new books on my shelves.  It feels a little alarming to me to have to say that I don’t.  Buying real honest to goodness in your hand page turning books is the best way I know to spend time and money.  Because omg, look what you bring home.  Hours and hours of awesomeness.

I’m still doing lots of reading.  Every day I download one or two free e-books from Amazon.  There have been some real doozies but there have also been a few gems.  I wonder if I’ve missed my calling as a fiction editor.  I like the idea of someone else doing all the thinking and then I just improve the way the story is told.  I do a lot of skipping over the dreadful parts.

Complete this sentence: My favorite thing to do on my cell phone is…

Well first off I have to find the damned thing.  If I’ve left the sound turned on it makes that part easier.  I check for missed calls and text messages, making a mental note of how long ago they happened.  Sometimes I’m so on the ball answering a text it must truly startle the recipient, since my normal response is hours later.  I’m working on this, I promise, trying to carry my phone around with me from room to room, but doing that is also the reason I misplace it so often.  It could be anywhere.  It’s rarely used for phone calls because we still cling to our land line.  And I never use it for game playing because the screen is too small.  It’s always with me when I leave home, even for a walk, because what if I broke my ankle or got lost or needed to take a picture of the inside of my pocket?  Best to be prepared for these things.

Share Your World – October 9, 2017

What do you consider is the most perfect food for you? (It can be your favorite food to something extremely healthy.)

Once upon a time it was rich, dark, chocolate ice cream with drizzled chocolate syrup. Then unfortunately I grew up.

The perfect food for me now that I am old and boring is low in carbs, low in sugar, high in protein and essential vitamins and minerals and fibre and all that other good stuff, tastes fantastic, and a small portion completely satisfies my hunger. If you have any idea what that food is, please let me (and the rest of the world) know so we can all feel less despondent about leaving chocolate ice cream behind.

Meanwhile I will continue to struggle with my choices. However, I have to tell you I’m astounded lately by my consistently low glucose readings so I must be doing something right. Even though I continue to periodically give in to a craving for salty crap like potato chips.

Are you focused on today or tomorrow?

Today, this moment in time. Well that would be ideal, wouldn’t it? Never dwelling on the past, never fretting about the future. Never craving potato chips.

If you could interview one of your great-great-great grandparents, who would it be (if you know their name) and what would you ask?

My great-great-great grandparents on my dad’s side of the family were probably messing about somewhere in Scotland in the late 1700’s. Pure conjecture on my part since I’ve never researched anyone so far back. They could have come from anywhere and changed their identities for all I know. Since they are all dead I think I might be inclined to ask them what they’re up to now.  Or perhaps more realistically, what they were up to then.

What inspired you this past week? Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination.

My lack of participation in the big world of blogging should be your first clue that I have been largely uninspired lately by anything at all.

 

Okay, so that ended on a bit of a low note! Must have been a bad news week.  Ever leave something in your draft files so long (because it’s not good enough to publish) that when you finally get around to cleaning them up, some of it really doesn’t sound as blah as you thought it did originally?  But as for the rest of it, the “delete” button is your friend?  I’m down to seven drafts, so on a desperate day any one of them could surface.  Apologizing in advance.

 

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Sharing My World 75

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Share Your World – November 27, 2017

Yes, it’s really me, back in this empty echoing wasteland of neglect.  I have had good intentions for almost three months but we all know what road is paved with those useless things.  It seems every time I wake up feeling like today is the day for writing something, some terrible thing happens somewhere in the world, and sometimes close to home, and then I just don’t feel like it anymore.  Because I might have to think and talk about it and be all serious for a minute.  Gah.  Who wants that.

We had a good trip east and a great visit with family and friends and I guess I got thoroughly into relax mode and have had a hard time getting out.  There are worse places to be.  Anyway, my world!  Sharing!  Ready or not!

Would you prefer a reading nook or an art, craft, photography studio?

I have an art and craft “space” but it’s beside my off white bed spread and surrounded by newly painted pelican grey walls, so messy splattering is not allowed.  Puts a bit of a damper on wildly reckless creativity.  So a studio would be nice.

A reading nook would also be super, but really you can throw one of those together anywhere there’s a comfy chair or something big enough to recline on.  I do most of my reading in bed to ensure that my dreams are totally bizarre.  If it’s a real book I read until it drops and hits me in the face, and if it’s my kindle, until my eyes burn and refuse to stay open.  So apparently in my world, reading also leads to losing consciousness.

Tell how you are feeling today in the form of a weather report. (For example, partly cloudy, sunny with a chance for showers, etc.)

Foggy with a chance of more fog, but watch for intermittent extremely sunny breaks.  They’ve been known to happen.  If there’s rain it will be gentle, warm and soothing. And it won’t freeze.  Freezing rain is also not allowed.  It should be banned everywhere actually.  Along with all other annoying dangerous shit.  Feel free to mention names if you want.  And add a bit of thunder.

If you could witness or physically attend any event past, present or future, what would it be?

The wedding (or alternatively the spectacular break up, although I’m certainly not predicting or anticipating that) of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.  Don’t want to physically be there for any of it,  but not being a witness to it all seems impossible.  Unless we’re all suddenly struck deaf and blind.  Might as well wish for something that’s likely to happen.  And if you ever complain about issues with your in-laws, just think of Meghan Markle and what she has to contend with and you’ll feel a lot better about your own comparatively boring situation.

What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week? Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination.

Obviously I am very inspired by Savage Chickens. on a daily basis because I subscribed to get emails.  I highly recommend it.

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Sharing My World 74

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Share Your World – September 4, 2017

What color do you feel most comfortable wearing?

Did you know, when it comes to clothing, there are many different shades of black?  I’m pretty sure I own a sample of every one of them.  It is possible for black pants and a black top to not match.  But frankly I don’t care.  My closet is a black hole.  For variety I might throw on a dark blue or dark purple jacket or sweater, and sometimes my shoes have splotches of colourful wildness, but black is for sure my fade-into-the-background comfort colour.  My sister has tried to steer me away from racks of black in clothing stores but for me their magnetism is strong.  “Oooh, I like this!  Does it come in black?”  (Sister fakes shooting self in head)

What is your favorite type of dog? (can be anything from a specific breed, a stuffed animal or character in a movie)

Well behaved dogs belonging to other people are my absolute favourite.  German Shepherd and Jack Russel come to mind.  I also have a little stuffed Starbucks dog on a bookshelf somewhere that I quite like.  He doesn’t shed.  Or bark or drool.  Or need to go out to the backyard to pee in the middle of the night.  I’m just imagining worst case scenarios so I’ll be less tempted while looking at pictures of adorable dogs that need adopting.

List at least five favorite flowers or plants.

Tomato plants (they smell amazing), sun flowers, daisies and Black-eyed Susans,  strawberry plants, lilac bushes.  What is wrong with me, I don’t have any of those!  I have had great success with tomato plants but we always get early frosts here and all the fussing with them in the fall is stressful.  Yes, I am that kind of gardener.  Maybe I’ll try some again next year since I’ve had several seasons break from it.  We grew dwarf sunflowers once in front of our house.  I have a picture somewhere to prove it.  They were beautiful and odd-looking  at the same time.  Sunflowers should be gigantic and in fields.

People with green thumbs are admirable.  That gene skipped a generation with me and went straight to my daughter.  I’m sure the ghost of my grandma hovers over her and her plants in a state of blissful ecstasy.

What inspired you this past week? Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination.

That magpie was pretty inspiring.  I took a photo of it on some half dead grass and it rolled its little bird eyes and flew over to a rock amongst some bushes and posed there for me instead.  That was the day W decided to accompany me on my walk but went missing a few blocks into it.  He was admiring some guys front yard and I guess stopped long enough to be noticed and struck up a conversation with him while I just kept walking because I was out for a walk dammit, not gawking at front yards or a chat with some random stranger.  I went all the way to a busy street and doubled back thinking I would meet him continuing on the walk.  But there was no sign of him, so I walked through the park and then back over to the busy street again to see if he might have gone that way, then back through some walkways and back to the exit from the park just in case he was somewhere around there.  Anyway you get the picture, me walking around in circles and W nowhere to be found.  I was home and showered and had breakfast before he finally showed up, all happy that the guy he was talking to took him into his backyard to show off his award-winning landscaping horticulturists dreamscape.  The guy has a guest book so apparently he’s delighted to entertain nosy people and take them on tours.

This is the kind of shit that happens when you marry an extrovert.  You cannot take a normal walk together.  So we haven’t tried that again.  I go walking on quiet residential streets after people have gone to work.  He goes to the busy streets around the mall.  I don’t even like to say hello to people.  He learns six peoples life stories in ten minutes or less.

Next week we are leaving on a four day road trip, from Alberta through Saskatchewan and Manitoba to southwestern Ontario where we will visit family for a couple of weeks before heading back home.  I’m excited about the family part.  He is really excited about the drive.  Weird.

So I might be around here less, although I’m not sure how that is even possible, or I might be so bored driving through places like the prairies that I learn how to use my iPad without getting car sick.  Just so you know to expect the unexpected.  Or the completely predictable.  I will probably be doing some of the driving as well, so when W is hanging out the passenger side window becoming best friends with a service station attendant I can just drive off.

Hope everyone is having a lovely Labour Day weekend.

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Art du Jour 28

imageMy inspiration for this was our six-hour road trip home on Boxing Day, when there was nothing much to look at except trees and snow.  And the strangest cloud bank I’ve ever seen.  It was straight across the sky, beginning and ending abruptly with nothing interesting to say for itself.

I could have taken a blurry picture through a dirty car window, but I like how much less realistic this is.  Let’s call it impressionistic, because that sounds like an artsy word.  I might have thrown it out but my daughter saw it half-finished and said she liked it.

The reality of how boring it was put me to sleep.  I think I’ve captured that very well.

This piece (of whatever you’d like to call it) was inspired by the pattern on the drawing paper.  I’m the kind of person who sees faces in the bathroom tiles and on the whorly things on ceilings and floors.

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I am especially enamoured of her bizarre hair.  When I am famous and there is a book written about my art, this will be referred to as my “insane coloured charcoal” period.

Well that was fun.  I’m thinking I should now do something serious, but also at the same time wondering what the hell for.

Six Things and Then Some

The highway going north, except this trip it wasn't that green.
The highway going north, except this trip it wasn’t that green.

Three things about the road trip last Sunday:

1.  Dry, bare roads in the sunshine encourage me to drive faster than the speed limit.  I used to have a little four-cylinder car that wanted to die going up the hills.  Now I have a car that wants to pass everything.  Twinned highways are the best.

2.  There are spots along this route where there is no phone service and no radio reception.

3.  I have favourite bathroom stops along the way.  Because I’m not fond of surprises.

The highway heading home, except not that bad because there was no drifting snow.
The highway heading home, except not that bad because there was no drifting snow. This time.

Three things about the road trip yesterday:

1.  There were scary sections where slushy ruts had frozen solid.  Black ice was a definite possibility.

2.  There are a lot of big truck operators who do not observe Remembrance Day as a holiday.

3.  I seem to be honing my skills for missing turns on arrival anywhere, including home.  I drove by the turn off I should have taken, took the next one, and drove into a maze of new residential developments which I then had to find my way out of.  Once I knew where I was, I took yet another TWO wrong turns.  Talk about your scenic route.

Six things that will make me read a blog. (A Nano Poblano Random Prompt)

1.  Lists and random photos.  (So, is this working for you??)

2.  Likes.  I like how Word Press suggests taking a look at the likers posts.  I like to do that.

3.  Common interests.  Or completely uncommon interests.  This is a wondrous place.  I especially like to read blog posts by people who have answered the same prompt.  Or by people who have tackled the same subject.  Or by people who have written about subjects of which I have no knowledge whatsoever.

4.  Recommendations by people whose blogs I already follow.  If I like you, chances are very good that I will also like whoever you like.

5.  Comments.  If someone new takes the time to comment on something I write, I will make a supreme effort to check out their blog.  My supreme efforts sometimes fall short, but I am trying to bump up the supreme part of that and get better at doing it.

6.  Reading the comments on other blogs often prompts me to click on the commenter to see what else they have to say.  I am really nosey.  I have found a lot of incredible blogs that way.

What makes you read a blog and decide to follow it?  Are you still reading this, or did your mind wander before making it through to the end of the first list?  Do you think I should start using the direction finder thing on my phone???

Have a great Wednesday!  I’m off to sign some important business papers.  Supposing I don’t get lost.

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Things That Make Me Smile

 

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There was no need for me to do a drawing today because my youngest granddaughter gifted me with this little family portrait which she whipped up in less than five minutes last night.   The bearded and moustached fox add a certain je ne sais quoi.  Towards the end she got lazy about adding hands and feet.  I know how she feels.

The drive up was uneventful, although even with clearly written instructions I was able to add another 15 minutes to the journey by missing turns and taking wrong streets.  I’m one of those people who doesn’t pay attention to where I’m going unless I’m behind the wheel.  Next time will be easy and I will knock down fewer garbage cans.  There’s a whole other story there but I’m not telling it here.

The mornings are earlier here than I’m used to with people rushing around getting ready and going off to work and to school.  But there’s an earlier bedtime too.  Not like being in a different time zone or anything and I’m confident I will adapt.

Today I got to break in a brand new blender making my morning smoothie.  No motors were burned out. Yay!   We have done some grocery shopping and gone out for lunch.  Before the week is out I should know my way around this city and be able to venture out on my own and end up back where I started.

So besides all of this, what else makes me smile?

Hearing my son read aloud to his kids from a Roald Dahl book.  We had a teacher in elementary school who read to us for a half hour every day after lunch (Ann of Green Gables was my favourite) and a dad who read us dozens of the Thornton W. Burgess books chapter by chapter as bedtime stories.  We never got tired of them.   I think he enjoyed them just as much as we did.  Having an adult read to you, even after you’re quite capable of reading to yourself, is a treat to be treasured.

And then there’s this word.

NOODLEDOM

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
n. The region of simpletons; noodles or simpletons collectively.

This is my new favourite word of all time.  It’s where I live.  I am the self declared queen of Noodledom.  It’s a fun place to be, and you’re welcome to visit any time.

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Rocks

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A couple of days ago, Michele at Life As A Garden ….(she has a beautiful blog – you should check it out) (go ahead, I’ll wait right here)…..wrote this comment on one of my posts:

“You could be talking about rocks and I would find the reading interesting and entertaining.”

After reading this one lovely little sentence there were so many thoughts tumbling around in my head that I was unable to form a coherent reply.  Although that’s nothing new.

I love getting comments, by the way, which I read mostly on my phone, thinking I will go back to them later when I’m on my laptop and reply to them properly.  But time goes by and I don’t get around to it and I feel bad about that, so I try to convince myself that the commenter by now has totally moved on and maybe doesn’t even remember what he or she said, or more likely who I am, and how embarrassing would it be to post a reply now, RIGHT??  So it’s not personal.  It’s just me being a super procrastinator.

But back to those tumbling thoughts I mentioned.  Here’s a few of the highlights.

1.  Holy cow, somebody finds me interesting and entertaining.  Yay!

2.  Huh – she’s right.  I rarely write about anything earth shatteringly important.

3.  And, I’m not about to start doing so any time soon, or most likely ever.

4.  Because my best posts are quite often about completely stupid things.

5.  Hey! Wait a minute!  I have a story about rocks!

Way back in 1969 or somewhere thereabouts, my dad was Reeve of our little Ontario township and got invited to go to a Good Roads Convention in Alberta, all the way at the other end of the country.  He and mom decided it would be a great idea to take their three daughters on a road trip.  We would travel to the convention, and then continue on all the way to the west coast.  We were all excited to see the Pacific Ocean for some strange reason which totally escapes me now.

We borrowed my brothers car, because he was a great mechanic and always had cars that could be trusted to drive clear across countries getting great gas mileage and not breaking down.  For me, travelling has always been something one endures in order to leave one place and arrive at a completely different place.  I’m getting better at enjoying the journey, but not much. I should have taken lessons from my mother when I had the chance.

She loved every single minute in that car, pouring over road maps and reading aloud every sign we passed, calculating how far we’d go and where we’d stop for breaks and gas and where we’d sleep.  She wrote down what we spent and the weather we encountered and what we had for breakfast, for all I know.  And every time she stepped foot out of the car, she picked up a souvenir rock.

We were all encouraged to appreciate and exclaim over the special characteristics of each unique chunk of the landscape that mom tucked away in the trunk or under the seats or in the glove compartment all the way to the coast and back. I thought she should write on them so she’d remember where they came from but she said that would spoil them.  I didn’t know that was possible, but I guess that’s how you spoil a rock.

The other thing we collected was a glass bottle full of Pacific Ocean water, complete with some kind of goopy green seaweed and a few shells and some sand.  If we had only kept the bottle sealed we might still have it hanging around somewhere looking all murky and mysterious.  But a couple of weeks after returning home we realized it smelled really bad and dumped it down the laundry tub drain.

You may be wondering what mom did with all those precious rocks she collected, and the truth is, I’m wondering too.  I’m wondering if the fun was in the collecting and she really had no firm plan for them at all.  Maybe she lost track of their numbers or just got tired of hauling them out of the car when we were unpacking.  Or she may have meant to go back for the rest of them and never got around to it.  (I did get a few of her genes).

My brother brought dads car back and picked up his own and drove it home. He probably took it to a car wash to clean it off and vacuum it out, because it wasn’t too long before we got his phone call, wanting to know why the hell his car was full of rocks.

Well you really couldn’t pretend not to know.  We told him they were moms, and he should bring them back, because she worked so hard to gather them up and haul them thousands of miles.  But Dad told him to just throw them out, so that’s what he did.

The funny thing is I don’t know where the rest of them ended up – did mom take any of those rocks out of the car?  She certainly never mentioned them again in all her ‘wonderful trip’ stories.  I guess it’s just one of our family mysteries which will remain forever unsolved because probably no one but me even remembers it.  Hey, it’s a story about rocks.  I didn’t say it was going to be exciting.

Anyway, thank you Michele for your inspirational comment.  If you never say anything to me again for fear of getting me started,  I totally understand.

Music for the Road

The best type of music to play while driving is something you can sing along to at the top of your lungs. It may not be pretty, but it will definitely keep you awake and your mind off those road trip snacks which are almost impossible to open with one hand and get crumbs all over the upholstery and down your neck. Belting out those vocals is hands-free. And relatively safe, unless you get totally carried away by your own incredible talent.

It’s a definite plus to know all the words. Or at the very least, be able to make them up as you go along. Hit those high notes! Or not. Who cares? Nobody can hear you. Practice those latent harmonizing skills. Throw in some crazy background vocals. Do you stare at other drivers at a stop light? Of course you don’t – so nobody is staring at you either and there’s absolutely no need to interrupt your own brilliant performance by humming while pretending you’re not.

The music I remember best is what I listened to in my teens. So I tune into a radio station that plays the golden oldies; perfect for this golden oldie. Hearing myself get the lyrics right is kind of astonishing; sort of like when I’m playing Trivial Pursuit and the right answers seem to pop into my brain without any effort at all. (Okay, I admit that happens RARELY, but it does happen.) I don’t know why I know all the words to every Lovin’ Spoonful song ever written but it is what it is and I’ve resigned myself to the fact.

Sharing my dubious ‘talents’ with the rest of the world would probably be mortifying, for everyone. My car acts like a little sound proof box on wheels. I can crank up the volume and turn up the bass and suddenly I sound amazing. Passengers, unfortunately, seem to ruin the acoustics and curb the enthusiasm somehow. Best to do this on your own. And if it’s a long trip, think up some plausible reasons for your croaky hoarse throat before you reach your final destination. Damned air conditioning or something like that.

I’ve tried audio books, talk shows with phone-in participation, classical stations and easy listening – they all lull me to sleep. Whereas my brilliant one woman concerts keep me focused and alert. Plus they’re funny as hell. I’m almost sorry you can’t share them with me, but keeping them private is probably for the best.

Poor radio reception? No problem. Five cd’s of Rod Stewart singing the American standards along with one jumbo pack of red licorice (no crumbs) and I’m set. You’d be surprised at how fast those deafening miles fly by.

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A Pox on Epic Road Trips

Just reading the words “epic road trip” makes me shudder because all I can think of is hours and hours and hours of driving. Have you ever driven all the way across Canada? From the North to the South, or from the East to the West? With my dear spouse, W? Don’t, is all I can tell you.

I dread long drives on my own because I alternate between being nervous about the traffic to being so bored I want to fall asleep. And I’m not a good passenger, I’m a whiny child. Are we almost there? I need a bathroom. I’m hungry. Close that window! Could we get some AIR in here please?

(Well maybe that’s just with W. who thinks trips are supposed to be non-stop marathons driven at the exact speed limit on cruise control. I kind of admire his steady determination, while at the same time I could cheerfully strangle him at the next gas station.)

Strangely enough, I think the best trip I ever took was a bus tour through Great Britain with my sister. Bus tour guide people know they’re dealing with a bunch of potential whiners with short attention spans who were too lazy to make up their own itinerary, and they cater to that kind of spoiled mentality. It was lovely.

So – after all this meandering preamble – I’ll finally answer the question. What was it again? Oh yeah. An epic road trip I’d love to take. Well, love is a pretty strong word to associate with ‘road trip’, but I’d LIKE to take a tour of Europe; by bus, and train and ferry and riverboat and gondola and whatever else it takes to see it all. Preferably with my sister, who is a delightful travel companion and likes to take just as many bathroom breaks as I do.

Or if someone else takes that trip, I’d be just as content to watch their slide show when they get back, and skip the actual ‘travel’ part of it completely.

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A Moving Movie

“Why can’t I have a normal boyfriend? Just a regular boyfriend, one that doesn’t go nuts on me!”

“Everybody wants that, dear. It doesn’t exist.”

Friendships blossom in the most bizarre circumstances, and between the most unlikely people. I love a movie that portrays characters who are more dysfunctional than I am myself. Who would believe it possible to feel sympathetic towards a racist, homophobic, obsessive compulsive, anti-Semitic, misanthropic jerk with a bad case of germophobia? Jack Nicholson can play the most obnoxious characters, and somehow still manage to make you like him. Helen Hunt was brilliant in this movie, and Greg Kinnear is consistently awesome.

I also love a movie that makes me laugh, and the interaction amongst the three main characters, especially on their road trip, was priceless.

Last but not least, who does not love a happy ending?

If you’ve ever wondered “what if this is as good as it gets?” you should see this movie.

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