Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Random Tuesday: Summer Fun

Summer officially hit last week, and it's already brought so much fun!  The past week and a half has just been jam-packed with good days and happy moments.  Here's some of the random highlights thus far:

  • On Saturday, June 16th, my cousin Brandon married his sweetheart Meghan, and we had SUCH a good time at their wedding reception!  The barn setting was beautiful, the band was awesome, and I don't remember the last time I danced that much.  Such a fun evening!! 
  • The next morning, I was up bright and early to get ready for our church's Sunday School picnic, which was held at my friends Lindsay & Ryan's.  A casual service was held in the shelter of the garage, followed by a potluck lunch and fun in the pool.  Nothing I love more than a day at the pool!  
  • Last Wednesday evening, something VERY exciting happened to me.  Like, I was ridiculously excited.  Wednesday evening is 3-pitch night, and I'm playing this year for the Lollygaggers, a group of great friends of mine.  We are just out to have fun and get some exercise, and I think any one of us would admit without hesitation that we aren't very good at playing ball.  I especially struggle with it.  Having grown up in a sports-oriented family, I have watched a LOT of ball in my lifetime, and I KNOW in my head what to do, but I can never seem to be able to execute.  I am also very competitive, but don't have the athletic chops to back it up.  This means most games are filled with frustration for me.  Anyways, last Wednesday we were playing against a team with a few of my friends on it, including my friend Lindsay's husband Ryan and my friend Sharon's husband, Wayne.  And they were kickin' our butts.  I was trying to do some trash-talking, but it wasn't going well for us at all.  Anyways, late in the game, I'm out in my rover position, basically praying balls aren't hit to me because I never even come close to catching them, when Wayne came up to bat.  And the ol' Hobberknocker drove one right to me.  Like, literally.  I didn't even have to move.  I just stuck out my glove and heard the "smack".  I caught the ball.  I friggin' CAUGHT. THE. BALL.  And I celebrated as if we had won the World Series.  It was probably a little excessive, but I have never - and I do mean never - had such a rewarding sports moment in.my.life.  So, we lost the game and I have no idea what the score was but it was probably like 22-0 or something like that, but you could not wipe the smile off my face.  Every now and then the sun shines on a dog's rear-end! ;)
  • Following up on that big night, the next evening I completed my art project with Shannon that we've been working on for 9 weeks!  So rewarding and thrilling to be finished!  It was supposed to be an 8-week course, but we had to add an extra week to finish it.  We started out with a black-and-white photo that Shannon had taken and then painted the picture in black and white.  It was just oozing with detail and it seemed very daunting at the beginning, but it was amazing how quickly it all came together, and it was neat to see the little tricks she taught us along the way.  I love my final result!
  • This past weekend was a fun one to kick off the summer.  On Friday evening, we gathered at my sister's place to celebrate my niece's 6th birthday.  We had a BBQ and cake and presents, and just some great family time.  We also were celebrating the end of the school year, as Friday was the kids' last day of school!  My nephew graduated from Grade 6 and received the Citizenship Award and Male Athlete of the Year.  We are so proud of him!
  • Saturday was overcast and kind of dreary, but I was up and off to Shawville to get groceries early in the day.  I spent the afternoon relaxing and napping before getting up and getting ready for my friend Stacy's bachelorette party.  We enjoyed a delicious dinner at Milestone's downtown, then went on a Rideau Canal boat cruise.  We had lots of laughs and it was a great evening!

  • On Sunday, I went to church and had brunch with my mom and brother, then just went home to do some stuff around the house.  I made homemade bagels and pinwheels for lunches this week, then vegged the rest of the day.  I read out on the deck, I did some crocheting, and watched Downton Abbey (almost done!) - then in the evening I settled in to watch the movie The Shallows.  It kept me jumping, and it was a perfect summery scary movie!
  • Last night, I was just sitting out on the deck reading when I got a text from my friend Josee to say she was going to be at the ball field if I wanted to come down and meet her new baby girl, Gracynn.  So I quickly grabbed a bite to eat and then headed to down to meet the new babe!  I was excited to give her the blanket I had crocheted for her - it's the first one I've actually given to anyone!  Jo said she loved it, and I was so glad I finally got to give it to her.  It was made with lots of love! :)
  • This coming weekend is going to be a scorcher, and I am spending the rest of this week preparing for it, as we have lots going on.  I have family coming on Saturday to celebrate Canada Day Quyon-style, so I have to get my grass cut, my house cleaned, and groceries done.  Then on Sunday we'll be going to my aunt & uncle's to celebrate Canada Day on the beach, and I can't wait!  Canada Day festivities are the best, bring it on!!! :)

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Summer Memories: Going to Grandma's

I don't know what exactly it is about this day, but it has me reminiscing and thinking about summer days from my childhood when we would go to Grandma's.  The cloudless blue sky, the emerald green of the grass, the breeze ruffling the leaves of the trees... even just the clean, fresh smell of the outdoors.  It's carrying me back to perfect summer days at my grandma's.

We spent a lot of time at my grandma's when I was a kid.  During the summer, at least once a week, we'd spend a day up there at her house, on the outskirts of Shawville.  Mom would be going up to cut her grass or do her hair or help her with flower beds, and she'd tow us along with her.  When I was little, it was always a joy to go to Grandma's.

Now, I know what you're thinking:  This sounds like a lot of outdoor stuff, and Jill, you're not an outdoor girl.  Very true.  And yet, while I avoided any of the hard labour in the garden or flower beds, I love the memories of wandering around Grandma's property, or going for a walk down the road.  Sitting in lawn chairs outside while she admired her flowers and I pretended to care.  Swinging on the old wooden swing that hung from ropes in one of her trees.  Exploring the old sheds and garage.

On really special occasions, there'd be a trip next door to John's to visit the chickens.  It was always a delight when she'd take us over there, and he'd give us a tour of all his chicken coops outside.  In my mind, going to John's was like walking into a jungle. Elaborate flower beds and trees every where, little paths to walk through, and then emerging in the back yard to find chickens everywhere.  I don't even like birds, and yet I fondly recall these trips to visit the chickens.

Now, don't get me wrong, if I could hang out inside the house, I would, as much as possible.  Couch potato all my life.  But even inside, watching Mr. Dressup or Sesame Street, it still felt like summer.  Windows open, breeze blowing through, wind chimes tinkling, the front screen door slamming as others came in and out.  The sound of the lawn mower.  I mean, how silly is that?  I hear lawn mowers all the time, yet today, it makes me think of Grandma's...

And what would my memories be if they didn't somehow involve food?  This time of year, it would be a light lunch of  toasted tomato sandwiches or even just little bits of this and that - some cold meat, some crackers and cheese, a dish of pickles, carrot and celery sticks, the ever-present butter dish.  All enjoyed out on the summer porch.  If there's one part I miss most about Grandma's, it's that summer porch.  It was just a small little room off her kitchen, closed in yet so bright with big windows and a screen door.  Sitting out there almost felt like sitting outside.  Just outside the big window hung her hummingbird feeder, filled with that bright red liquid, and she'd hush us if one drew near.

After dessert was served - and there was always dessert, whether it just be a few cookies from the freezer or a lavish platter of freshly baked tea biscuits topped with homemade jam and whipping cream - she would collect the tea bags and get us to go out and sprinkle the insides of them in her flower beds.  I have no idea why.  I have never heard of anyone else sprinkling damp tea leaves in their flower beds.  But it was a job I simply loved, tearing open those soggy bags and dumping the insides of them in the dark soil.

A summer day at Grandma's was never complete without a stroll through her garden.  As I mentioned, I avoided the hard labour like the plague, but never minded the walk-through when all the work was done. Grandma's garden was always immaculate, carefully weeded, tended in perfect rows.  When the peas were ready, she'd let us pluck a few pods and split them open, eating the raw peas fresh.  Only kind of peas I ever enjoyed.  We now joke about those garden tours as a delay tactic, a way of her getting us to stay longer.  "We have to be going now."  "Oh but wait!  You haven't seen the garden yet!"  I don't think anyone minded having to stay a little longer, though.

When it was time to go, she'd stand on her front step and say good-bye, waving one finger at us, up and down, a bright cheery smile on her face. 

I don't know why those visits to Grandma's are so forefront in my thoughts today.  I'm fortunate to work on a farm, in an office with big windows that allow me to gaze out at beautiful scenery all around me.  Today, that blue sky, bright green of the foliage, breeze swaying the trees, are all bringing me back to that childhood haven.

I know it's a place I can't go back to, and even if I did, it wouldn't be the same.  But just for a day, how I wish we could.

I'd go back in a heartbeat.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Summer Lovin'

Happy Wednesday friends!

Work is still super hectic - yesterday I felt like my head might explode I was being torn in so many different directions - but going to try to take a few minutes and bang out this post!  I miss blogging!!

I saw this writing prompt on another blog, and decided it would be a quick one to play along with, with a summer vibe.  Here we go!

1. Walk or Bike Ride?  Lately?  Neither. LOL  I am such a sloth.  But I'm a walker when I am motivated.  Bikes always hurt my butt.  I don't even have one.  Walking is by far my favourite form of exercise.

2. Favourite Picnic Food?  I can't say I picnic very often, but it makes me think of an array of sandwiches, fresh fruit, potato chips, stuff like that.  For our Sunday School picnic, I usually make some sort of salad or snack food, like a nacho dip.

3. Pool or Lake?  I'm a water girl.  I'm happy no matter what form I'm water I'm closest to.  That said, for swimming, I prefer the clear blue of a pool that I can see the bottom of. lol  I can spook myself thinking of the "things" that go unseen in the depths of lakes and rivers.  But I sure as heck wouldn't turn down a day at the lake, trust me!

4. Favourite flavour of ice cream?  I'm a plain ol' vanilla kind of kid.  Especially with soft ice cream, just a nice vanilla cone, or a chocolate dip... mmmmm... If I'm picking from hard ice cream flavours, I'm drawn to mint chocolate chip, chocolate chip cookie dough, anything like that.  I now I'm DYING for ice cream!!!

5. Ice cream cone or in a dish?  Depends.  If I have the freedom and the time, cone.  If I'm driving or doing something else at the same time, gotta go with dish. 

6.  Flip flops or slides?  Flipper floppers, always!!

7. Jean shorts or jean capris?  Sigh.  I have reached an age (and a size) where I'm uncomfortable showing off my tree trunk legs.  I usually opt for capris, unless I'm going to be alone on my deck and not worried about anyone seeing my legs.

8. Favourite summer fruit?  Ooooh gotta go watermelon on this one.  Especially a nice sweet seedless one.  Just tastes like summer!

9. Corn on the cob or off the cob?  ON the cob, with lots of butter, salt & pepper.  One of my favourite summer treats, can't wait for fresh corn on the cob!!

10.  Favourite summertime song?  This is like, IMPOSSIBLE.  But because I've been in a Beach Boys mood lately, I'll go with one of them... "Wouldn't It Be Nice" or "Rock 'n Roll Music" or "Surfin Safari"...any of them really!

11. Favourite summertime activity?  Anything the involves being on the water!  At a friend's pool, at my Aunt Marion's beach, at the camp, out on Kerry & Jeff's pontoon... anywhere where there's water, I'm in my happy place.

12. Favourite berry? Strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, or blackberry?  Strawberries = summer to me, but the berry I love most is blueberries.  (Raspberries are the fruit of the devil, I loathe them!!!)

13. Bikinis, tankinis, or one piece?  Most of my bathing suits are two-piece, I guess you'd call them tankinis, but I'm completely covered. Ain't nobody wanna see this belly. 

14. Dresses or skirts?  Hard to choose!  I have a few of both.  I guess I'll go with dresses though, I think I have more dresses.  Maxi dresses and sun dresses.

15. One word to describe Summer?  Carefree!!  Or at least, that's the way I like it to be!!