Lake Muskoka

I just spent a weekend, the first of my summer holidays, in a cottage on Lake Muskoka. The cottage belongs to a friend’s family, and she assembled a hodge-podge of friends and family to enjoy the sun, the lake and the laughs over the weekend.

It was a four and a half hour drive up. I’m not always a good road tripper, but I enjoyed spending time with my friend Kara as she told me about her cottage and how she used to live there when she was in high school. She had to cross the lake by boat to go to school. How awesome is that?

IMG_0449

We spent a lot of time on the boat, a lot of time on the dock and a lot of time in the water.

dock

IMG_0462

There were a lot of people around, all the time. The first night, the girls decided to go out to the mainland for drinks and I stayed at the cottage. A few years ago, I would have gone with them, even if I didn’t want to. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss anything, or look like I was being a party pooper. I love the freedom that comes from not caring what other people think.

The second night, there were, again, many people at the cottage. We wanted to make a fire, but it rained, so we stayed in. Late in the evening, everyone decided to play a game. Sometimes, when I’m around people I don’t know very well, I get uncomfortable. It’s all very well and good not to care what people think if I don’t go drinking at a bar, but I also don’t want to be rude. I don’t think the term anxious is the right one here to describe how I feel, because I know people suffer from anxiety, while I mostly feel uncomfortable. I decided to remove myself from the party and go to bed.

While I’m completely fine with my choices, I do feel like not everyone understands them. Some people are naturally outgoing and talk easily to everyone, regardless of the situation. Some people need a lot of time alone. I, like a lot of people, need a mix of both. I’m not anti-social or super-social, I’m regular-social.

All that being said, I had a good weekend at a wonderful cottage. There were magical sunsets and adorable 2 year olds singing Let it go. There were cookies and boat rides, suntans and swimming. The summer is off to a great start!

10511179_10101026069820377_4321597597449044007_n

10501611_10154381415135624_1256980011730397039_n

 

Summer days, drifting away

It’s starting to feel like fall. I love fall. I love sweaters and pumpkin spice lattes. I love wearing skirts and boots with no thights. I love the colours of the leaves. I love the way the air smells and how it’s cool but not cold.

However, I also love summer and I wasn’t quite ready to let go! September is usually a slow transition from one to the other, but it feels like fall is here all of a sudden. I’m not quite ready to give up my sandals and summer dresses.

August was a great month for me. After my yoga-bubble month of July, it was nice to have some time to just hang out. I had no plans, I just kind of floated around from beach to cottage, from yoga class to drinks on a patio.

Doing yoga on a boat. Then falling out of fallen angel pose on a boat!

1148913_10200273035060640_1462699753_n

Yay, I did it!

1098445_10200273041660805_95010748_n

More yoga poses!

1148747_10200273056181168_1939969565_n

And finally just hanging out on the boat!

1002577_10153067596355123_2080337499_n

Taking pictures by the lake. (This photo shoot did result in a pulled muscle that’s not completely healed, but the pictures are nice!)

019

Yoga on Parliament hill.

017

Going out for dinner one last time with my friend Julie before she went back to Abu Dhabi. (Also, I cut my hair!)

1080148_561276203933759_1762704261_n

More happy moments at the cottage.

024

Enjoying the last little bit of summer on the very last day of August.

026

Getting some treasures from my mom’s garden.

031

I’ve already made potato-leek soup, apple crisp and apple sauce, a yellow bean casserole that was the most amazing bean dish I’ve ever eaten (not that hard since I didn’t think I liked beans until this summer), not to mention salads and juices!

I’ve had a great summer, so I guess I am ready for fall, hot chocolate, crunchy leaves and pumpkins!

Winter cottage life

You know you live in Canada when you say “It’s only minus 18 degrees outside, let’s go for a walk!” (For my American readers, minus 18 degrees celcius is 0 degrees Fahrenheit.) It was cold all week. And I mean cold, even for Canadians. The temperature was around minus 25 all week, with a wind chill making it feel like minus 30, and colder! Like most people, I spent a lot of time indoors.

I had a weird neck issue all week, so I couldn’t even do yoga. I finally went to see a massage therapist on Saturday, and I am happy to announce that I can now turn my head from side to side without making an “ow, this hurts” face. I felt like a robot all week, turning my whole body to talk to people. I don’t think the cold helped my neck at all.

I had planned to go to a yoga class this morning, then out to brunch with a friend, but decided yesterday to cancel, fearing that my neck might not be ready. I was right. I have mobility, but I feel like I got run over by a truck.

So, yesterday, after deciding to go yet another two days without yoga, I went to visit some friends at their cottage. I was planning on staying for dinner, then coming home, but since I had canceled my yoga date, I stayed overnight.

We had homemade pizza and apple pie, then played a game of “Name the country’s capital” (Yes, we are dorks.) It was hard. I’m not as smart as I thought I was.

This morning we went for a walk, since it was so mild out. (And by mild, I am referring to the -18.) I had my new camera with me and I was on the lookout for photogenic trees, as my assignment for my photography class was to take a picture of a tree. I wanted a picture where the tree was in focus, but the backround was blurry. This one is my favourite.

IMG_0061

I was on the roof when I took this picture. It was nice and sunny, so we hung out for a while.

IMG_0069

IMG_0068

I’m also really happy with this picture. It’s pretty and it looks the way I wanted it too! I love that I’m starting to figure this out.

IMG_0057

All in all, it was the perfect winter weekend, even with my sore neck and cold weather. There’s always fun to be had, pictures to take and people to laugh with. Winter’s meant to be enjoyed. Next up, skating and snowboarding!

Cottage Country

It’s been very hot and dry here all summer. So dry, in fact, that campfires are not allowed and so hot that I’ve been melting a little bit every day. I’m not complaining. I like the heat, but it does make it kind of uncomfortable to stay indoors when you live on the third floor. It’s perfect cottage weather. Sadly, I do not have a cottage. Lucky for me, some of my closest friends do! And they’re the kind of friends I can call up and say “Hey, I’m hot. I’m coming over. Save me a chair by the water.” I don’t have to wait to be invited.

If you haven’t guessed already, I spent my weekend at the cottage. There were a bunch of people there and it has never felt more like summer than it did at that moment. Or, those many moments.

The lake is accross the street, so we have to walk, like, 3 whole minutes to get to the water! It’s not a beach, and it’s a little weedy, but you just swim over the weeds and hang out in the middle of the lake with a pool noodle. In my case, it was a ginormous pink blow-up ring. A-ma-zing.

There was lots of wildlife, including, but not limited to : a beaver, some ducks, a frog, a purple dragonfly and a turtle. The beaver was swimming at the same time we were. It was strange. At one point, he was coming right towards me, but then he changed his course and headed off into some tall grass. I could hear him munching.

The ducks were obviously used to being fed, because they came really close and had this “Dude, where’s my bread?” look on their faces. We didn’t have any bread, so they dived under the water for some weed roots, or whatever it is they eat.

Also, they came really close to my feet and I was a little worried they would think my toes were berries or something, what with my toenails being painted pink and all.

What great about this cottage is that my friends used to live there, before they bought a house. Yeah, it’s kind of backwards. They’re like that. So, not only does it have everything a great cottage has, in my opinion (water, a deck, trees and beer) it also has electricity and a fully renovated bathroom. I like nature, but there are some things best done inside.

We even watched a movie after dinner on Saturday. On tape. We had to fast-forward through the previews. It was Miss Congeniality and it’s one of the movies my friend Claudine and I know by heart. We tried not to say all the lines at the same time as the characters did, but it took a lot of self-control!

On Sunday it was supposed to rain, and it did, for about 10 minutes. We didn’t even go inside. We just sat by the water and waited it out. Hopefully it rains soon, because all the leaves are starting to droop.

Sunday afternoon, we played a board game called Stone Age. I had never played before, but it was lots of fun. We played for so long that eventually, we had to bring everything inside, as the mosquitoes decided we were a good snack.

All in all, perfect cottage weekend!

Happy Canada Day!

Today is Canada Day. I love this holiday. I am very lucky to live in such a wonderful country. I think sometimes, people forget how good we have it here.

I live minutes away Ottawa and there were festivites going on in different parts of the city. Parliament hill was where it was really happening. I decided to go with some friends to check out the show and see the sea of red and white. There were so many people!

The hill was closed when we got there, as the Prime Minister, the Governor general and other important people were arriving, so we waited across the street for the opening ceremonies to be over. There was a big screen, so we could see what was going on.

There were some speeches, then everyone sang O Canada. I think that was my favourite part. It’s very special to see and hear everyone sing together and right at the end, the Snowbirds flew over the Parliament. The Snowbirds are Canadian Airforces pilots, and they are incredible.

After that, they opened the gate to Parliament hill again, so we could go in and find a spot to watch the show. I think it’s amazing to live in a country where the Parliament is opened to the public and is the site of so many wonderful events.

Many Canadian artists performed, including Simple Plan, Feist and Roch Voisine. There is another show in the evening, with the same artists, but it’s a little longer.

After the show, we decided we had enough of the crowds and the heat and went back to the cottage for dinner. I didn’t take many pictures there, as I was holding the world’s cutest baby for part of the evening. My friend Dalia, who’s 7, took some pictures for me. However, she likes to take close-ups of peoples faces, so we all come out looking somewhat surprised. I did get a few good ones though.

And there you have it. To my fellow Canadians, and my readers from around the world, this is what a perfect Canada Day looks like!