Sunday, July 28, 2013

Fields of Gold

No, not the Sting song.

For as along as I can remember, I have had a poetic fascination with wheat fields. Once the wheat ripens and turns golden brown, the way it sways in the breeze just seems so beautiful to me. I always preferred the years that Dad planted wheat in the front field rather than the back so it was right behind/beside the house.

It makes a great backdrop for photos.

Dad - circa: 1995
Abby - circa: 2002
Janice - circa: 2013
The wheat harvest was one of my favourite times on the farm. When helping dad move wagons or just being on hand for helping with whatever, I loved watching the combine make its way across the field, taking in the grain and spitting out the chaff. I can still smell that smell and even taste what it was like to pop some kernals into my mouth as they were moving from the wagon into the auger boot.

Even now, I love to see all the combines making their way through the fields. When they are done, everything looks so neat and tidy and sometimes you'll even see bales of straw dotting the fields. A few trips to the farm in recent weeks produced some great photo opportunities for capturing these moments.

Saturday, July 27, 2013


The last time I saw her, we were parting ways in Paris at Christmas. But last week, my cousin Carol Ann made a brief stop in London on her whirlwind tour of SW Ontario this summer!

We did a couple of road trips last summer, which were fun, but she had never been to my place in London! It was just 38 hours but we sure squeezed a lot into those hours!

She joined me for my Wednesday night yoga class (which, because it's outside, was stinkin' hot yoga) and then we went to music trivia night at Morrissey House. Olga's Yogis did not fare so well with this hipster crowd but we had a great time.

After much discussion about our respective Early Bird Cafes, we lunched there and relaxed with manis and pedis at Tetherwood. A movie, and ice cream rounded out the night with plenty of catching up, stories, laughing and reminiscing.

So good to see this girl. Can't wait for next summer :)

Friday, July 19, 2013


It's hard to believe, but 14 years have passed since Abigail Elizabeth made her way into the world and I became an aunt. I have always loved that title and loved spending time with this little bundle of joy. We've done some pretty cool stuff over the years (including seeing the Wiggles - a first time for both of us!) and this weekend we continued that tradition.

To celebrate Abby's 14th birthday we did an Urban Quest around London. Urban Quests are kinda like a scavenger hunt/amazing race-type deal. It's a really fun way to explore a new city or the one you live in. It took us about 2 hours to make our way around downtown, solving puzzles and searching for answers hidden in the architecture. Along the way I got to hear stories about what's happening with this recent grade 8 grad.

What a fun afternoon! We finished off with a late lunch on a patio and frozen yogurt on the way home.

I love these special days, set aside for celebrating my favourite kids. It gives me a great chance to spend one-on-one time with them and make some great memories too.

Abby, you have become such an amazing teenager! Don't change, my dear. Love you!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Beetle Beatles

So, this just happened:

I'm not sure what is cooler, the Beetle Beatles? Or the fact that VW tweeted to me. Ya, pretty freaking cool I'd say.

I'm thinking I should really print/hang this up. The only way it could be better is if the yellow one was "Paul" and if they were classic bugs.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Photo 101

For the past 5 years, I've had a digital SLR camera that I've been meaning to get acquainted with. This summer, I decided to do it. My friend Jackie & I signed up for an intro to photography class through the city's Spectrum program. I've been really looking forward to it and last night was our first class.

I stopped at Starbucks on my way and picked up an iced chai latte. I had been wanting to try one and I had a free drink reward for being a loyal customer. Why not? Well, it was pouring rain for starters. But a little rain never hurt anyone, so I carried on.

Hmmm, well I kinda had to go pee. You see, I had just purchased my first watermelon of the season and that is all I had for dinner. Watermelon. A lot of watermelon. So, I thought I'd use the washroom at Starbucks and be on my way. That is, until I walked towards it. Eek. There was a man just coming out and the stench nearly knocked me over. I decided to wait until I got to the community centre.

I arrived at the same time as Jackie and we ran in together to avoid as many raindrops as possible. We were chatting on our way up to the classroom and I did not make a pit stop. Drat. Now I was in the classroom with a colourful cast of characters and feeling a little trapped. How could I leave after arriving and introducing myself? I would wait. Oh dear. I sat through the first hour of introduction to how the camera works and just as we were getting to ISO speed, I decided I could not wait any longer. I missed the bit on ISO so Jackie will have to catch me up. :)

Now, back to that colourful cast of characters. I know this is going to be an interesting six weeks. We have hobbyists like Jackie & I, travelers, a dad that wants to take better pictures of his daughter ...and the annoying lady. You know the kind. There's one in every class. She interrupts all the time to ask questions specific to her camera. Should be fun to watch her "develop" her skills.

However, I have saved the best part of the evening until the end. I honestly thought I might be on Candid Camera or was being Punk'd. We went around the table and introduced ourselves, including what our favourite picture is that we've taken and what our worst picture was.

Enter Crazy Cat Lady. Her intro went something like this: "My name is _____ and I have three cats. I just love taking pictures of them." The teacher asked if she used Mac or PC at home and she let us know that she does not have a computer. Hmm, ok. That's interesting when you're taking digital photos.

The piece de resistance was when she told us about her favourite photo that she's taken. That sounded like this:

"Well, I had crocheted a gingerbread house and I took some pictures of it. I'm not sure what I did, but the way the light hit the colours was just beautiful."

WHAT!?!?! She sounded like she was describing a sunset in Istanbul. Yet she was actually describing a crocheted gingerbread house. Why would you crochet a gingerbread house in the first place? It was a really surreal moment that I just had to capture and share here.

Perhaps she's going to crochet herself a computer to use with her camera throughout the course. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Country Roads, Take Me Home

This weekend I made a spontaneous trip to my parents farm. That old Joni Mitchell song came to mind "you don't know what you've got til it's gone". Now, while it's true that it's not really gone, I no longer live on the farm. And that got me thinking...

When I return, I always realize how much I miss it! The wide open spaces, the stars that come out at night, the waving fields of's all very nostalgic for me.

After dinner with the folks and a game of Racko, I hitched a ride on the three wheeler with Dad to take a look at the crops. As I climbed on the back of the tattered and spattered "Big Red" I felt like I was 12 again.

We took a spin back to the wheat field and splashed through some mud while we were at it. I have always loved the wheat fields in July when they are ripe and golden. It's just so beautiful!

After washing the mud off with the hose, I took a walk down memory lane. I found my name scratched in the cement from 1990. Dad was putting his grain bins on hoppers and when the cement pad was being poured, he told me to go out and write my name in it.

I always loved our mailbox. It was a bit of a landmarker before the 911 number system. Mom & Dad would always tell people "it's the house with the pig on the mailbox". This, of course, was because Dad used to be a hog farmer.

I think it's important to remember where you came from and appreciate your roots.

Last night reminded me of this and I drove home with a smile on my face. My parents are 2 of my favourite people and I loved my evening on the farm.

Oh Canada.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am proud to be Canadian! So, when July 1st rolls around, I like to bask in patriotism for this great country and celebrate all that is "Canadian".

This year I hosted a backyard BBQ to celebrate, complete with Canadiana Trivia. Apparently my questions were a little tough, but there were prizes up for grabs. This was no cake walk!

My guests were good sports and played along. Matt (Mr. Trivia) swooped in a took the grand prize. Runners up were Jodi, Kim and Josh. Way to go guys!

Thanks to all my friends that helped me celebrate!

Want to test your knowledge of all things Canuck?


When did O, Canada officially become the national anthem? 

Which province’s entry into Confederation had to be moved up a day because of concerns that the original date, April 1, 1949, was April Fool’s Day? 

In what year was the first commercial oil well established in Oil Springs, Ontario?


Which Canadian province has the largest land size? 

Which mountain is Canada’s highest? 

Canada has the longest covered bridge in the world (1,282 feet long). Where is it located? 


In response to the temperance movement, Toronto pharmacist John J. McLaughlin invented this drink in 1907 as a popular alternative to alcohol. 

What university developed the world's first anti-gravity suit? 

ISS Commander Chris Hadfield collaborated with Barenaked Ladies to release a song while he was in space. What was the name of the song? 

Arts & Literature

What Canadian author said "A true Canadian is one who can make love in a canoe without tipping it." 

Field of Dreams, starring Kevin Costner, was based on a Canadian author’s book. Name the book and the author.


Name 3 puppets that appeared on Mr. Dressup

Where is Ashley MacIsaac from? 
What CBC radio host had a former career in a 90s indie band? 

BONUS POINTS: Name the band, name the CBC program


How many points did Wayne Gretzky score in his career? 

What Canadian figure skater was first in the world to land a quadruple jump in a world competition? 

On Aug. 31, 1976, Carallyn Bowes became the first woman to accomplish this, a feat that took 133 days to complete. 

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Monsters University

I love the movie Monsters Inc., so when I heard there was a prequel coming out, I was super pumped. I knew it would be on my list of movies to see this summer. Fortunately it was also on my niece Madison's list :)

So, we planned a day around it to celebrate her birthday. After a trip to the Petrolia Library (wow, nostalgia!) we headed to the brand new theatre in Sarnia to see Sully, Mike and Friends. As a bonus, we saw the movie in 3D. Fun!! It was a great movie, telling the back-story on how Sully & Mike met and became friends. Very cute.

Speaking of very cute, Madison read her library book to me all the way to Sarnia. She is a great reader, rarely stumbling over words and putting expression into the characters. It was great!

We had dinner at Montana's, ice cream under the bridge and headed home for a rousing game of Sorry! I love my special days with the nieces & nephews. It's time set aside for me to spend enjoying the character of who they have become.

Happy birthday Madison. Love you loads.