Monday, June 30, 2014

Toast Soldiers

Whenever I make soft boiled eggs for breakfast I always cut my toast into strips, or toast soldiers, and that always makes me think of my grandmother. Granny.

And with the one memory others follow: the peanut butter cookies she would put into a small brown bag, with the top turned over once, for me to take home after a visit, the print house-dresses she wore, her sitting at the dining room table doing her word search puzzle, watching 'Another World' with her, listening to her tell me about all the neighbours comings and goings, the soda water she always sipped at parties.

So many memories in the slice of a piece of toast.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Rivers and Mountains

It was that kind of holiday. We camped right beside a number of rushing, noisy rivers over the past month. Because it was June, and despite the teachers' strike, the campgrounds were pretty empty. Often we were the only ones there.

Being alone in a campground is oddly comforting and scary at the same time. But, hey, we had our bear spray.

We discovered a few amazing free rec sites run by either BC Hydro, or forestry companies. Hats off to those who make such sites possible. They are so beautiful, and peaceful, and FREE!

We spent a couple of obligatory nights boon-docking in Wal-Mart parking lots. One in Drumheller after I drove over a very sharp object that slit our tire open. 4 hours later, thanks to Kal-Tire, and us having the best RV roadside insurance, the spare was on and we trundled to the Wal-Mart at midnight for some sleep.

Besides the scenery and a visit with our son and a golfing tournament it was a challenging trip in many ways. Both of us felt a little betwixt and between on this trip. Partly there was some trepidation about whether our truck would hold-up (it did), some worry about whether the camper batteries were holding a charge enough to run dh's cpap machine through each night (it did except at the very end we cut our trip short by one day), and mostly because when you are retired holidays take on a different flavour.

When you are working holidays are a time to sleep and read and just lie in the sun. Holidays are about leaving something behind.

When you are retired you can sleep and read and sit in the sun everyday at home. When you are on holidays you are just taking your show on the road. It is different. It took us about 3 weeks to adjust to the difference, but still and all we were glad to come home.

We talked a fair bit about next steps. We both agreed that selling the house is what we want to do, but what we don't know about is the "then what?"

And then we got home, and the sun was shining, a lovely warm breeze was blowing, and I happily tended my flowers, hung the bird feeders, did laundry, sorted mail, emptied the camper, had a l o n g luxurious bath and some yummy chinese food for dinner.

Yes, my little house is run-down, but it feels like home.

And yet, I realized this morning as I headed to the basement to put on the 4th load of laundry, home is where ever we make it. I can have flowers growing on a back deck somewhere else. This is only home because it is where I am right now.

Home for the past month was in campsites beside rushing rivers.

And that was ok too.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Golfing? What?

Old dog, new tricks.

Yes, for all my followers out there, I did it. I golfed a round yesterday for the first time ever in my life.

Fortunately for all it was a Texas Scramble format which means that a rookie (that would be me) is put with three other real golfers). Everyone tees off (and in my case sometimes that would only be a few feet) and then we all move our balls to the best drive. We keep doing that until someone, finally, sinks the ball.

It was good fun, the weather was perfect. I actually made one putt for the team, and a few of my drives were fairly respectable. Plus I got to ride around in a golf cart with a very good friend, and at one point we were so busy talking we forgot to pick up our balls and got to the next place to hit from and realized neither of us had a ball! Too funny.

The marmots were lolly-gagging around some of the holes (and I didn't hit any of them).

Our team seemed to take 5 strokes for every hole, and we ended up 14 over par (and the worse team in the tournament). However, being last garnered me a starbuck's gift card so that is a good thing.

Five hours on the course flew by. Thanks to my Tilly hat and suncream I did not get sun-burned, but was a little dehydrated by the end of the course.

Then on to a fabulous barbeque and silent auction, raffle and 50/50 draw. All to honour my friend's son who died a little over three years ago. All money raised goes to Canuck Place. The Canucks donated a signed hockey stick for the raffle and Luongo and Burrows donated a huge gift basket. (I didn't win either, but not for lack of trying).

So it was a great day. My feet didn't hurt (although my back is a bit twitchy this morning).

So on to the next adventure.

Oh, and Tiger? You have nothing to worry about!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday the 13th

I am back. Just had an outdoor shower ala Mash 4077. No really. Look.

We spent two days camping with our son at Drumheller. The birds in our campsite were plentiful and amazing. We tried to identify as many as we could, but clearly we all need to take a course!

"hoodoo hoodoo" became our favourite in-joke as we discovered these amazing formations.

The Royal Tyrrell Museum is a whole day extravaganza and I am happy to report that I spent two and a half hours looking at all the dinosaur exhibits and my feet did not hurt one little bit!

The guys tried to measure up, but they were quite a few feet short.

We did discover that my son and I weigh the same as a wolf, and my husband weighs the same as a deer. None of us came close to dinosaur weight. Phew!

We finished our trip with him at the suspension bridge.

And yes, he was bouncing even though the sign said not to!

After a teary goodbye my dh and I spent the night in Banff and then drove on to Mara. We saw a young grizzly, and a young black bear. I also saw an elk. The mountains around us were spectacular.

And now we are camped in a treed meadow, the rain is falling, the wind has finished blowing, we are fed, and I am showered (see beginning of this post),
and all is well with the world.

I had a few rough days of anxiety and stomach upset and so I have upped my medication temporarily....I am not sure why this happens when I travel. I think partly it is homesickness, partly it is worry about family, partly it is being out of my comfort zone. All it takes, though, is spotting a bear, and I am back in the game.

That, and long text exchanges with my daughter. I miss her so much and there are just so many days when I wish I could hop on a plane and be right there with her.

But I can't. She is finding her way. My son is finding his way. My husband and I are finding are way.

There are marmots playing outside our camper as we get ready for the golf tournament.

Let the adventure continue!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Grizzly Bears,and Dandelions

Day Four of our current adventure.
First night we spent in a Wal-Mart! I always get a kick out of doing that. It is free and there are always other intrepid travelers staking out their little piece of parking lot heaven.

Second day we arrived at Wells Gray Provincial Park. I don't quite know how I managed to live in BC all my life and not be aware of this amazing park. It has many waterfalls, wonderful campsites, and gorgeous rivers, creeks and lakes to picnic beside.

There were also some bad-ass biting bugs as the welts on my shin and face will bear witness too. Man, are they itchy!

We drove into Jasper at dusk and were treated to a couple of black bear sightings, and then this wonderful experience of watching a huge grizzly bear digging for dandelions on the side of the road. We watched it for quite a few minutes, up close and personal thanks to our binoculars. We each have a pair now, so no sharing necessary! (I hate sharing. Just sayin'! I think it has to do with being raised with five siblings....but I digress.)
It is amazing to me that such a magnificent, huge, fearsome creature can sustain itself on dandelions. I learned in Yellowstone a few years ago that they also eat large amounts of pine nuts, and in Wells Gray Park they like wild lily bulbs. Food for thought, no? (Pun intended).

So, I have a new respect for dandelions (if you saw my front lawn you would understand this understatement). I also have seen grizzlies in a new light. Nothing looks sillier than a huge menacing beast with dandelion flowers hanging out of its mouth.

It kind of puts life in perspective.

Even those we respect and revere greatly can sometimes look silly.

It doesn't mean we should stop being afraid of them.

It does mean we shouldn't let fear be all there is.