Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Sisters' Weekend 2015

I've mentioned earlier in one of my posts, I think, that my 5 sisters and I get together once a year without spouses and children. Since our children are grown with the exception of my youngest sister, who has a 9 yr. old, it is easy to commit to the time away from home.

This year, Bill and I had our rv loaded Thursday evening, July 23, and all hooked up ready to go. When us girls get together, the guys make a camping weekend out of it too going back and forth between two properties owned by my sister and her husband. We pulled out of our driveway by 6 am on Friday. The weather looked perfect!

Our temporary home near Durham, On.

Arriving at the Ridge just outside of Durham around 9 gave us time to set up before my sisters, Audrey and Donna, arrived to pick me up. I loaded my suitcase and camera in the car and we were off to Chatsworth.

Gayle and John's place 
                          We stay at Gayle's place for the weekend, she has lots of room for all of us. Ignore the snow in the picture, it is the only picture I had of her place!

Cathy arrived around noon, we had a nibble and the four of us headed off to Owen Sound to begin the day properly with some special bargain hunting.

preparing a snack
My youngest sister, Wendy, works at the Grey Roots Museum and the Community Waterfront Heritage Centre. in O.S. and wasn't done until 4. She didn't mind missing Value Village and the other second hand stores this time.

We always have a great time shopping together, finding clothes for each other and helping someone else find that one thing they were looking for. I found a toolbox for Bill that I thought might be perfect for his downsizing in the rv so I snapped it up.
The price was right. If it doesn't work, we can sell it.

By 4:30 we were pretty much shopped out and each of us had a few bags in the trunk of Gayle's car when we arrived at Wendy's house. After a catch up chat with the babe of the family, a cool drink and a small photo shoot we walked downtown to find a place to eat. We found a place we visited last year and decided to give the new management a chance under the new name of Avalon Jazz Lounge.
My first No Tipping restuarant!

Gary, owner and waiter for the night
It was a long wait for dinner but we had quite a time with the owner, Gary, over placing our orders, asking our questions, changing our entree choices because they were out of beef and in general just laughing at his antics throughout the process.

The colour coordination was not planned.

We walked away with an awesome meal under our belts and a great experience. They hadn't been open that long so we remained very positive and understanding for their few shortcomings. I can definitely see us going back.

We then walked to the waterfront and Wendy gave us a private tour into the museum where she is curator/administrator etc. 
This is a new position for Wendy where she shines. She is a great historian and provided us with many stories. We left with an ice cream cup, Chapman's no less!

Wendy, Gayle, Cathy, Donna

Wendy and Audrey

Donna and I chose our bed in the bedroom off the patio and slept well. Saturday brought us a whole new experience. We had made reservations to go to Windsong Carriage & Ranch for trail riding.  This was a suggestion Wendy, our event planning sister, made to us a month in advance. She didn't expect quite the positive feedback since she didn't know whether we had ever ridden before. None of us really had and speaking for myself, never had the desire to try. Yes, I have always been fearful of large animals, horses being one. Although admitting they are beautiful I have always chose to stay my distance. When everyone else said they had never ridden and wanted to try I took the opportunity to jump on the bandwagon. Something to cross off the bucket list that was never on there in the first place!

Nerves were settling in by the time we'd eaten breakfast at Kettles and arrived at the ranch. LOL what had I gotten myself into? Gord and Heather greeted us with a smile even though we arrived very early and soon took us on as beginners.

With an introduction and wee sum up of who we were in our working/retiring lives we were aligned with a horse that would suit us individually. I admitted my fear/nerves and was told that he would help me get over that.

Sitting pretty letting Magic graze
Our horses were all drafts with the exception of Jack who was a western. Jack was the smallest but also the only one with different instructions on how to handle him. Wendy accepted the challenge. We all walked our 'own' saddled and bridled horse to an inside arena where we were taught how to talk to them. "Walk on" "whoa" echoed throughout the building as we learned to control. I wasn't too far around with Magic, a beautiful big black beauty, when Gord said 'okay Pat, bring Magic in here and we'll get you in the saddle". Sitting atop his broad back I was totally overlooking everyone else.

Gord  led us all out into the fields, through the woodland, down inclines, across the creeks, up the path and followed a trail for an hour with his helper, Lincoln, bringing up the rear. Immediately I could feel my body relax, Magic behaved much better outside behind Gayle's Holly than he did inside. He is 8 yrs. old and still playful with his bit which was a challenge to keep his head steady. He lost all interest in his tom foolery when we were in the great outdoors, thank goodness!

Because of the wide berth of Magic's back, my knees were giving me grief within the first half hour and throughout the whole ride, but it didn't deter the feeling of pride and accomplishment I was experiencing. I was RIDING A HORSE!!

Gayle on Holly, Magic and I, Audrey on Daisy
When we were on the last field before 'home' Gord advised that we could stop and let our horses graze. They deserved a rest, so we lowered the reins and relaxed a bit more. Gord took a few pictures of us on our animals.

Audrey, Lincoln, Pat, Gayle, Wendy, Cathy, Donna
Daisy, Magic, Holly, Jack, Bonnie, Marley

Getting off was worrying me because of my knees and I was the last to dismount. Our hosts helped my sisters off in traditional cowboy style and Gord came to me and asked if I would like to get off cow  girl style. Oh goodness...........what the heck is that? I lifted my leg up front over the saddle horn as instructed and sat side saddle before sliding down off Magic into his outstretched arms. Phew! My right knee gave an inner groan and failed me for a minute but within the time it took to walk him back to the stall I was fine.

Later that day after Gayle and I had a hot tub and we all relaxed a bit and shared our purchases, we dressed up, another photo shoot with my Canon and tripod, and headed to Hanover to have supper with Mom.

Cathy, Donna, Wendy, Audrey
Pat and Gayle
She did not remember we were coming and we weren't expecting her to, so was very very very (6 x) surprised to see us all. Donna had reserved the separate dining room/kitchen at the Village for our special dinner.  Roasted chicken, salads, bread, cheese and wine was just what the doctor ordered.
A special dinner with Mom. Cheers!
Wendy expressing what I was feeling!
 As a matter of fact, by this time our butt muscles were screaming and a doctor may have been a good idea! Well at least the wine we consumed didn't hurt! We took advantage once more by taking pictures with Mom. She will not remember by nightfall but we will.

Our special guest, Mom, 89 yrs.
After dinner photo shoot
1000 pcs of hell!

 We spent some time after cleanup in Mom's apartment trying to piece together a very difficult jigsaw while topping off the meal with some vanilla ice cream and berries.

Puzzle making with the girls

Back to Gayle's for the night. My weekend was cut short, by choice, only because Bill and I had a friend coming in on a business trip from B.C. to take us out for a belated anniversary dinner. We don't see Colin often enough since they moved from London 4 years ago so since he was making a special trip from Toronto we wanted to be home for his visit. He has never seen our 'soon to be our forever' home and we didn't want to miss this opportunity to share it with him.

Bill picked me up in Chatsworth at 10 pm on Saturday and we slept at the Ridge before heading out early on Sunday for home. With the laundry done and showers out of the way, we were ready when Colin called at 6 saying he had arrived at the Delta Armories downtown.

We had a wonderful dinner at earls on Wellington Rd. S and would recommend it to anyone in the area. On top of our regular drinks, Colin bought us each a sparkling bubbly to toast with. It was our first time there and being a Sunday it was quiet, not crowded and perfect for visiting while we ate.

earls for dinner

We spent the evening in the rv with drinks and more photo shoots before Bill drove Colin back to his motel. You may ask why he doesn't stay with us when he comes............but he has his own way, the motels are paid for and he isn't feeling that I am going out of my way to make our home accommodating for him. He is just an all 'round great friend and doesn't want special treatment. Hopefully he will be back on his next trip to T.O. at the end of the month.

The weekend ended and it was great for all of us.

Until next year ladies!

Thank you for stopping in for a peek, Your comments are always welcome and appreciated.