The ocean is where I belong

In July, I decided I wanted to take a trip somewhere. Anywhere, really. I went to a travel agency, picked one lucky agent, told her what my budget was and said “Send me somewhere.”

Then, I proceeded to stalk her for days, asking if she had any good deals for me, anywhere exciting to send me. I was hoping for an African safari or a tour of Iceland. My adventurous side was screaming “Egypt!” while my budget was whining “A bus to beach.”

I wanted to leave as soon as possible, but I discovered that the whole “I waited until the last minute to book my trip and I got a great deal!” thing was actually a myth. I decided I needed to be more flexible and added August to my available travel dates. After all, I am off all summer.

I was planning on going by myself, because that’s number 3 on my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days.

After a few days, I realized I had to adjust my expectations when it came to the destination. What I really wanted was a change of scenery and a plane ride. If you fly somewhere, it’s a real trip. (Not always, but this summer, yes.)

My travel agent suggested Cuba. I said “When do I leave?” I was telling my mom about my awesome deal, and asked her if she wanted to come. I did not expect her to say yes, but she did! This is amazing because number 22 on my list is “Take a trip with my mom”. It’s going to be just the two of us!

Here is where we’ll be for the next week.

I’m going to be completely disconected from technology. No phone, no computer, no Internet. I’m really looking forward to that part. I’m bringing a book (ok, 4 books) and I’m going to relax, drink, read and swim in the ocean. I’m going to do whatever I want to.

See you in a week!

We’re more than friends, we’re like a really small gang

I have a lot of friends. Writing that kind of feels like I’m trying to make myself sound really popular, but it’s true. I have work friends, university friends, high school friends, family friends, old friends, new friends. I don’t have the same kind of friendship with all of them, but they all mean a lot to me.

I also have favourite friends.

Julie is one of my favourite friends. We’ve only known each other for a couple of years, but she totally gets me, and I get her. We work together, do yoga together and try new things together. At work, she’s my person. Like Meredith and Cristina. Rachel and Monica. Buffy and Willow.

The thing is, Julie is moving to Abu Dhabi in a few days. That’s on the other side of the world! I’m losing my person and that makes me sad. I’m so happy for Julie and her husband Pete, because they’ve been planning this for a while and they’re going to have so many amazing adventures over there, but who will go out for coffee with me at lunch time?

I realize that this isn’t about me, it’s about Julie being awesome, because that’s just the way she is. I admire her so much for doing this. I don’t know if I could leave for two years to teach in another country. She’s so adventurous and curious, and those are some of the reasons I like being her friend so much.

I would never have done 30 days of yoga without her.

She’s the reason I developped a Booster Juice addiction.

Julie and Pete taught me how to snowboard. Now I love it, but I won’t have my snow buddy with me, she’ll be in the desert.

We’ve tried so many new things together, like hula-hoop dancing, aerial silks, Madonna yoga and hip-hop dancing. We talk about yoga, about boys and about what we want out of life. We take turns talking and really listening. She’s funny, kind and compassionate. I’m going to miss her very much.

I love being Julie’s friend. I know she will be happy wherever she goes, because good things are waiting for her, I just know it. I can’t imagine going back to work without her, but I guess it’s going to happen anyways! I’m not worried about our friendship, because it’s stronger than the distance that will seperate us. We already have plans for me to visit in March anyways, so watch out Abu Dhabi, I’m coming!

When lawn-bowling becomes an extreme sport

I come from a large family. My mom has 3 sisters and 8 brothers, so I grew up with a lot of cousins. I think the family motto is “Any reason for a party is a good reason.” We used to have family olympics when I was really young, then we had a golf tournament. I played for a few years, but then I decided I didn’t like golf so much and I volunteered to baby-sit all the kids while everyone else played golf. It worked out well, because the kids and I hung out by the pool all day, then went to the party when everyone else got back all tired and sweaty. Now, we have a lawn-bowling tournament every August.

This is brilliant for many reasons.

1. You can play while holding a drink.

2. You don’t have to be any good.

3. You can talk while playing.

This year about 75 people were there. That’s most of the family. Some people were missing.

These are a few of the lawn-bowling courts. Or fields. Or whatever. I think there were 10.

It was HOT. So hot that the weather channel had an extreme heat warning and was telling people to stay indoors and avoid any outdoor activity. I have never been so hot in my entire life, except maybe the summer I went to Spain.

There was a big tree that gave off a lot of shade where everyone collapsed after a game to cool down a little. Someone also thoughtfully brought freezer pops and water guns so we were all wet and full of sugar. The kids kept pretty cool in the turtle pool.

Here are some of my favourite moments of the day.

This face. I don’t know what she’s doing or thinking, but it’s hilarious!

My partner and I. We didn’t win, but that’s ok, we didn’t really want to. The winners had to keep playing and we just wanted to crash under the tree. I’m all wet because I thought I could outrun all the kids after I sprayed them with water. They got me back.

Dirty feet from the water fights and the dry, dusty dirt that seems to be everywhere!

Trying to get a picture of six toddlers. It was never going to happen.

It was an awesome day. I really do love my family. There are a lot of kids and babies, and that’s my favourite part. I love seeing everyone and catching up on their lives. Many of my relatives told me they read my blog, which was great! My uncle Ray really wanted me to start a yoga session so he could be featured in a special post. Hi Uncle Ray! Even thought it was hotter than the surface of the sun, it was the perfect day.

Also, on a side note, I’m thrilled to report that this is my 100th post! I’m so happy it was a post about my family.

Country Roots

I live in the city. It’s not a huge city, but it’s got 24 hour restaurants, a variety of yoga studios and many theatres, museums and lots of great people watching activities too. I like it. I enjoy living here.

However, I grew up in the country. I spent my childhood building cabins in the woods, trying to figure out the architecture behind a beaver dam and picking wildflowers. I could light a campfire and put up a tent like nobody’s business. I perfected reading on a blanket under the apple tree. I had a tire swing. I was a country kid.

Sometimes, it still surprises me that I’m a city grown-up.

I just spent the last few days in the country with my family. They all still live there and it kind of made me wish I did too. I think it’s mostly a summer thing. I’m on holidays, so I have lots of time to enjoy the garden, the views, the frogs that sing at night. If I was working every day, it might not seem so magical.

Here are some of my favourite moments.

Sunday coffee at the farm. It’s a very casual thing. Aunts, uncles, cousins, everyone just shows up. This week about 25 people were there. That’s a small part of the family. It was a special treat spending time with my cousin Isabelle and her son, as they live in New Zeland and I don’t see them very often.

Getting some great loot from the garden.

Felix just decided to chill out in the beets.

Looking for frogs. Haha, ok, not really. I don’t need any frogs.

Checking out the grapes on the vines. There are lots, but they’re still small. Hopefully the birds don’t get them all before they’re ready.

The view from my Adirondack chair as I read by the river.

It was great taking the time to appreciate the small things. Moments spent with family. Getting water off the dock to water the garden as everything is so dry. Going out for ice cream with my mom and grandma. We each got huge ice cream cones and it cost a total of 3.25$ That’s just crazyness. I see myself going back to get my country fix as often as I can this summer!

Summer days

I love summer. I really do. I love the sunshine, the heat, the days off, the time spent with friends and family. I love staying up until 2 am reading a really good book, not worrying about having to get up early the next morning. I love the beach and I love ice cream.

The last few days have been a lovely mix of great summer fun.

Spa day

I got a gift certificate for a spa from a student at the end of the year. I love this place. It’s got Turkish baths. First, you do hot. Your options are a hot tubs, steam rooms or a Finnish sauna (my favourite!). Then, you go into icy water or stand under a really cold waterfall! After that, you relax, either on a lounge chair, a hammock or a tempered bath. There are also really cool relaxation rooms for winter where you can make tea, listen to music and sit by a fire. It’s brilliant!

I didn’t think it was appropriate to bring my camera with me, so I got this picutre from the website.

Parliament Hill Yoga

Yesterday, I went to a yoga class on Parliament Hill with some friends. The goal was to get a thousand people, and we were 1059! It was a great class, even if the beetles were out in full force. Nasty little bugs, but we were on their lawn, I guess.

I went to another yoga class that same evening. I love that yoga is my busy.

Beach day

Today, I went to the beach with my sisters, my cousin and her kids. It was the perfect beach day. Hot and sunny, with a great sandy beach and kids who say things like “You’re a shark and you have to get me!” I’m exhausted, but it’s ok, it’s part of my summer fun.

I hope you’re enjoying your summer as much as I am!

Garden Spells

My mom grew up on a farm. No one “farms” it now, but she and her brothers and sisters still own the land. My mom and my aunts plant a huge garden every year. It’s enormous! They plant the regular stuff like carrots, potatoes, tomatoes and cucumbers and also more interesting things like asparagus, beets, chard and parsnips. I use the word interesting here instead of saying “things I won’t eat”. They also have huge patches of pumpkins, squash and melons.

On Saturday, my mom and I went over to the farm to check on the garden. Groundhogs eat some of the vegetables and deer really like the melons. Last year, one of them ate a few bites out of almost all the melons. Not the brightest crayon in the box.

It’s still a baby garden, meaning not much is ready yet. The beets are ready. Interesting. The potatoes are also ready. Score! I got some to bring home. I even helped to weed, although most of it had been done already. The garden is bigger than it looks in the pictures. I couldn’t get it all in.

My aunt was there with her granddaughter and we had fun chilling on the tractor. She kept trying to turn the key. That little girl knows what she’s doing!

The title for this post was inspired by one of my favourite books by Sarah Addison Allen. It’s about family, love, magic and a tree that throws apples at people. You really should read it! 

Fringe Festival

I had a great weekend with my mom. She came to the city for her high school reunion and she stayed with me. I love it when she does that! Friday night we went out for dinner on a patio. Can you say “smells like summer”? Last night, she and my dad went to the party, and today, we went to see a show at the Fringe Festival.

What is the Fringe Festival, you ask? Good question. I’m not sure.

It’s a festival that travels to different cities. I believe there is music, and other kinds of shows. The show I saw was called “Vernus says Surprise”. It’s a one-man show.

My mom wanted to go because the guy who wrote and acts in the show grew up next door to her and she hadn’t seen him since they were kids. I was happy to go to spend time with my mom. My aunt and uncle came too. What I wasn’t expecting was that it would be so funny!

It’s about an 89 year old man who tries his best to do ordinary things like answer the phone while battling voice-mail, taking the bus and buying a gift for his granddaughter’s birthday. It’s very entertaining and so funny! He plays an old man very well. It’s also kind of sad and touching at times, when he struggles with teenagers who are impatient and when he gets lost.

Ken, the actor, is bald. My uncle, who came with us, does not have much hair. I think my favourite part was after the show, when a little kid came up to my uncle and said “Hi Ken!”

The only video I could find is a promo for the festival, but watch it if you need a laugh! Also, check to see if the festival is coming to your city, because Vernus is a hoot!