Thursday, July 28, 2016

Another great time was had by all. On Monday, July 25 the Snelgrove sisters got together for another year. Now that all but 1 of us is retired we realized that we didn’t need to have our get together on a weekend as we typically do. Here are my sisters, each with their own individually. 

Wendy, our youngest sister, who lives in Owen Sound took a few days of vacation and we worked with that. We met at Chatsworth, in a sister’s home and used that as our home base. Her husband took their 5th wheel out to Durham where the guys would spend their few days.

Bill left our Suite at The Ridge and just scooted back and forth for visiting and meals with the guys.
He has a few projects on the go so travelling the 8 km back and forth was worth it for him. Both he and Clemson, our pooch, like to sleep at home in their own bed.
Cargo carrier installed
Car shelter erected
By 11 pm on Monday all 6 girls had arrived at Chatsworth. Hugs all around and rooms and bed mates were chosen. This was a shopping day in Owen Sound for us gals and as always we went into Value Village to see what treasures we could find. Each of us walked out of there with some neat things, either clothes or handy kitchen gadgets before we went to Wendy’s beautiful little home in the city for a cold drink. We all decided on Norma Jean’s for supper and called for a reservation. What a quaint place with many momentous photos of Marilyn Munroe and Mick Jagger etc. adorning the walls.

Dinner at Norma Jeans Bistro
Wendy’s daughter joined us so it was like an initiation of sorts for her! At 10 the chitter chatter of her 5 aunts with her mom kept her deeply involved in her hand held device. She is a shy young lady so we didn’t push ourselves into her space. We would often catch the rolling of those gorgeous green eyes when attention was directed at her. She is charming! I had a fabulous Seafood Crepes entre with mussels and a spicy curry soup for an appetizer. The soup was a little spicy for my taste but good and the entre was to die for!! OMG! No dessert required, heh heh.

Tuesday we moved a little slower after a delicious breakfast of bacon and eggs, cheeses and many homemade paleo concoctions. We had no obligations outside of the Chatsworth home. It was nice to just sit and relax together while we caught up on each other’s lives. There was discussion regarding Mom with her surgery booked for Thursday but only in brief interludes. We were all being positive without fooling ourselves into ignoring the risks.

By 2 o’clock in the afternoon, our unconventional group Scrabble game was in full swing, and typically I was near the bottom of the scoreboard! “No good letters” was my excuse. 
Scrabble game just underway.
We had invited a Medium from Sauble Beach to come and give us a reading so when Nancy showed up at 2:45 and was escorted into the dining room we were a hubbub of energy and excitement.
Nancy  Fortier, the medium
We had a lot of laughs, some tears and even some surprises, especially from the skeptics in the group. Let me tell you though, those who were doubtful when they sat down, left with a different opinion. My sister Donna and I have been full- fledged believers for quite a few years and not much she said surprised us. I'm glad I recorded the whole visit on my playbook. Lots of information!

The most special message was from our dad, who didn’t let us down in a time when we all needed confirmation. There wasn’t enough time, in my opinion, with such a large group, so we have put it on the list of things to do again in 2017. We all loved the experience and Nancy is a very special lady.

Breakfast prepaarations
Early on we decided that we would rather purchase ingredients for a great breakfast that would last us through the day and splurge every evening for dinner. 
I figure when I am on this type of getaway, I don’t want to cook! So, Tuesday evening we went to the popular home country Kettles restaurant on Hwy #6, essentially just down the road from where we were staying.

There was a fly that seemed to be following us from day to day, no matter where we dined, but other than the odd hand waving it away in the air it did not deter us from getting our fill. At Kettles I had a hot roast beef sandwich with yet again another soup that didn’t quite fit the bill. It was an asparagus with just a tad too much peppery spice for this gal. Otherwise a great meal.

Most evenings we were in bed by 11 and quite exhausted, physically 
and mentally. Wednesday morning, we were up sporadically, one sister up and walking at 7  to Williamsford Mill
and a couple of us by 7:30 checking in with our men at the Acreage/Ridge and still a couple more slept in until closer to 8:30. I’d say our days were bounty filled.

Gayle and I were into the hot tub before we got dressed and for someone who doesn’t experience that joy often, it was wonderful! I knew when enough was enough though so didn’t over stay, letting the other 3 girls get in. It was good for what ails you.
Hot tub pix from a couple of years ago
Lots of discussion again about Thursday plans by everyone. I had made up my mind early to scoot home to The Ridge after a visit with Mom and dinner Wednesday evening in Hanover but the choices were more difficult for others. It was tough for Cathy who came from up north especially when so much depended on Mom’s surgery results.

We left to meet Wendy and Morgan at The Village at 4 and had a lovely visit with Mom. For someone in such pain, she was a real trooper taking part in our ‘forced’ photo shoot (ha ha) and the lively loud conversation taking place around her.

A  very special photo with Mom

When we left, we walked her down to her supper in the dining room and she was the centre of attention with all 6 of her daughters and a granddaughter giving her farewell kisses and hugs. I knew I wouldn’t see her until sometime after her ordeal so fought back a few tears in my embrace.

Us girls went to Queen’s Bush for dinner and had another great dinner. Quesadilla with shrimp and a marguerita was enough to top off my evening. I was very sated for my drive home to see my boys.

This is a lot of garble; I hope you didn’t mind my recollection. I feel it is good for me so I remember our goings on.

Thank you for reading and comments are welcome!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Dealer Campground and a New Week Started

After a ‘quiet’ weekend (def of quiet: absence of noise or bustle; silence; calm.) at the Chatham airport for Bill’s fun fly
 (see his blog “On Our Way” for details), we headed to our RV dealer in London for some minor service on the Suite.

Everyone’s definition of quiet must be different. For some it means no kid noises, no animal sounds, no traffic. For us, it means no sirens as well. It doesn’t necessarily mean no overhead air traffic sounds, obviously. Yes, there were pretty constant sounds of rc jets, While there we met up with Jeff and Joan, fellow rc flyers.
They sure love Clemson

wing tips even had wheels!

rc chopper

It took a few tries to get all 5 WW1 war birds in one shot.
and the occasional drone of a Harvard or 2 seater 
but this type of sound has been part of our life together. We can still find peace amid it all.

We arrived at CanAm
 around 1:30 pm on Sunday (it isn’t really a campground but for us, it worked as one) to a fairly empty front parking lot with only one couple transferring belongings from one 27’ Airstream to a larger 30’. 

Once we backed in and unhooked both trailers it soon became apparent that we were only to be the first arrivals of many.

Airstreams pulled in one after the other plus a couple of travel trailers and the empty lot soon transformed into quite the compilation of rvs leaving only a space large enough for a single vehicle to pass through. It was quite a show and we were happy to be on the sidelines, out of the way. 

Well, since Bill has a knack for parking rv’s and has worked for CanAm, he was out directing traffic if they needed assistance. Never shy, Bill even drove a 30’ Airstream into the tight space for a young owner who admittedly said “I’m not very good at parking this thing yet!”. They’d had their new unit for 2 weeks so it is understandable that he is out of practice. Our new American friends called Bill the "Welcome Greeter".
We all have our calling, right?
Bill pulled a 30' Airstream from the top left corner of the lot through
the narrow path here
....and that is the Airstream to the left of the photo neatly parked
Some rv’s were in for service and others here for storage. People from Toronto who purchased their rv’s here are quite happy to take their vacations and return the unit here for storage because they have no room at home. I’m sure the prices at CanAm for storage are much more appealing than anything closer to home in that case.

Who says parking at your dealers can’t be fun? We’ve met a few fellow rv’ers in the 2 days we have been here. Everyone who ‘trips’ to Arizona in the winter highly recommends a spot or two to stop at, with Quartzsite being at the top of the list.
Steve, Phil and Don, Airstream owners, are great guys with whom we have exchanged information and plan to meet up with in the desert. Yes, Quartzsite in January will be the next time we see them, at least that is the plan. Looking forward to that for sure!

On Monday morning, bright and early Steve and Dan (?) brought out the tractors and made short order of the mess we created in the lot. *sigh* I know Bill is good at moving trailers but these guys had them all moved within just over an hour. 
Lickety-split! (Def: as quickly as possible; immediately
Synonyms: at full speed, very quickly, on the double)
Yup, just like that!

Next thing we know, our Suite was being hooked up and taken in. The 3 new batteries, a couple of shelf additions and a backup camera were done by Andrew and it was ready for us by the end of their shift at 5 pm. The little tractor brought it back out front, we plugged into hydro and settled in for the night.

While all this work was being done, Bill and I nipped into London to run a few errands. Clemson got a manicure, pedicure, shampoo and haircut at Rose's home salon while we tidied up some of Mom’s investments that were due. Dealing with the traffic of the city made us so very grateful for our chosen country summer living.

At dinner time we decided to use a gift card from Swiss Chalet and enjoyed a nice meal and a caesar. Yum. It was a beautiful night for sleeping with the windows open so said goodnight to Don and called it a night.

Tuesday morning we were up, wandered around the lot and chit chatted, took some photos and said Bon Voyage to our friends at CanAm and new acquaintances. A stop at Costco on the way through London and Henry's for a tripod and lens and we were on our way home.

We made arrangements to meet my son, Patrick, in Milverton after he finished a job in Stratford so I rode with him in his CRV and turned at Teviotdale to Hanover while Bill carried on through to The Ridge.

It was a lovely visit with Mom,
even though she wasn’t up and about as easily as she’d like and after an hour we said our goodbyes. Patrick was glad to have the opportunity to see his Grandma before her surgery.

Bill and I were happy to have the 2nd of 6 children come to see our home on The Ridge and glad that he was able to stay for supper before he hit the road at 7:30pm for St. Thomas. I wasn’t too bright, enjoying my time with him rather than snapping photos. Darn!
So, not a picture from Tuesday but my handsome son all the same!
That was our weekend and into the week. Things are busy but I couldn’t be happier. I feel so content with every decision we have made that brought us here.

Thank you for reading, I hope your summer is going well!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Aging Parents

Most of us have aging parents, some in good health, others not and then there are those of us who have sadly already lost either one or both mom and dad. No matter what age we are or what age they are, it isn’t easy for any of us. A good parent devotes much of their life to their children and we can't help but feel a void when they are gone even in our later years.
'Your Dad was a character!' ...well, yes he was!

An anniversary photo of yore

In the garage at the Zurich, On farm house, Daddy shows off

My father passed away when I was 41 and he was in his 72nd year. Daddy, as all  8 siblings fondly called him, was all of 130 lbs. in his good years and below 100 when he was failing. He was a farmer and then a farm machinery mechanic and worked on everything from ‘soup to nuts’ in that category. I can remember so many of his ‘daddy-isms’ and each one makes me smile. Soup to nuts was one of them.
My little sister, Wendy, doing the 'Daddy squat' and my daughter, Bridgette
on her Grandpa Sunflower's lap
When I was a teenager living in Lucan I remember when he ecame ill and started to slow down and stop working a regular job. For a small man, he worked a lot and hard and when he became sick with emphysema he still managed to work on small engines in our back yard. He was always asking us to hand him this 'thingamajig' or that 'whatchamacallit'. Daddy was the best squatter in the world and was either propped on the sidewalk fixing a lawn mower for a friend, a chainsaw for a neighbor or he was inside the house in one of many chairs up on his haunches cleaning his nails with a jack knife. We always teased him with the small space he took up.

In his later years, in Zurich and then Vanastra, he had a favourite recliner that we could find him on when we visited. By that time he was receiving oxygen full-time with many feet of tubing at his feet so he could make it down the hall to the  bathroom. He was generally happy, even at that time of ill health and  a steady batch of shingles. He would have his cb radio at his side and friends from all over the world at his beck and call. “Breaker 1-9, this is Sunflower from Ontario, Canada, come in” . And they usually 'came in' for a lovely little chit chat with Daddy.                                                                    
a field of my favourite flower....for obvious reasons.
In June of ’95 he passed peacefully overnight and few of us were lucky enough to have seen him within his last 48 hours. I’d never seen a loved one looking so frail and when I think back, I’m not surprised he was on his way to heaven. Blessings come in disguise, sometimes. He was not comfortable in his every day existence any more.

Today, my mom is 90 and had an absolutely wonderful birthday party

Mom in her prime

Always a clown!
at the end of April. We saluted her great spirit by calling her party "Hats off to Marj" and wore hats in her honour. 
With a diagnosis of dementia since 2012, Mom is slowing fading each year. She lives in a great home with her own apartment and daily meals prepared for her in the dining room. 

Mom and her remaining children
Dining room lunch
My sister lives in her town and has been one of those blessings I mentioned since 2010 when we moved Mom into The Village.
Family group from 1984ish
Mom is having some issues now that has set all of us back on our heels and we know she has a fight ahead of her.  I want to yell “She’s 90 for crying out loud! Leave her alone!” but no, even Mom, who has come so far in this life, devoted all her time to 8 children and 2 wonderful men is not immune.
Moving Mom from her house in Vanastra

Gathering to clean the sold house
So, with surgery near the end of July, the family prepares. We all know the risks because of her age but at the same time know that Mom is a fighter and is in generally good health. At least 6 out of 7 remaining siblings will be by her side before during and after the procedure. 

I couldn’t be more thankful that Bill and I chose to move to this area so I am only 20 minutes away and can visit her as often as I like and as much as I need to, to help my sisters with appointments and such.
I didn’t want this to be a sad post, instead just sharing a period of my life that is inevitable for a lot of us.

Strength: (def) the quality that allows someone to deal with problems in a determined and effective way.

Thank you for reading and whispering a prayer for Mom.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Surprise Visits

Very few clouds these days
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that people who like to travel to the south for the winter would enjoy the kind of heat wave we’re having here in Ontario. My oh my, we are in heaven! 
Every day waking up to the beautiful blue sky and gorgeous sunshine! It is indeed hot and humid some days but there is always shade to be found and a lovely breeze up on The Ridge. It is nice and cools off enough in the evening to have a campfire once in a while. We are very careful with the size and containment and so far there are no bans in this area.

Clemson loves Gerry's lap
Bill has mastered the fire ritual
My sister, Donna, and I relax in the new king chairs
Another revelation for us is that we love to have company and now that we are retired, we can entertain any given day of the week. On weekends we go back and forth to my sisters' property for camp fires when it works for all of us. I have 3 sisters in the area so if it isn't Hanover for a visit with Mom, it might be Chatsworth or Owen Sound. 

Our door is always open to any visitors so we were pleasantly surprised when we received a text on Sunday morning from our daughter #4 (Bill’s 3rd), Krystal, asking if we would be around for a visit that afternoon. It made our day so we extended an invite to stay for dinner and awaited her arrival.

Within an hour of her text, Bill received a phone call from his cousin, Peter, in Peterborough (fitting!) that they would be in the Priceville area on Monday and would like to come and see us and our set up. This is fantastic, we haven’t seen them for a couple of years. We invited them to come for lunch.

Krystal arrived around 2:30 or 3 and after a bit of a visit 
Krystal and Bill catching up
and before dinner we hopped in the truck and took a drive over 2 concessions to show her where my sister and her husband have their summer retreat, The Acreage. Krystal had heard of the many long Civic holiday weekends we had spent on that property.

We had a nice dinner of bbq chicken, baked potato and salad. My sister, Donna, had given me some fresh strawberries from the Ayton area so they topped off vanilla ice cream for dessert. Everything goes down with wine so we opened a bottle of Hardy’s Gewurztraminer Riesling. Delicious! Thank you Heather for that suggestion! She left around 8:30 and texted us when she arrived home. What a wonderful visit!

Monday morning we scooted in to Hanover for a few things including some cold meat and buns for sandwiches. Peter and Linda arrived at 1 pm and I had a little lunch all set up to go. They loved our home and surroundings and we were so happy to see them again. When families drift apart the way they traditionally do, it is a blessing when our paths cross, each and every time.

Clemson and Bill greet our guests

Shady visits.....not that kind of shady!

Clemson enjoys his company too! Ellie May comes to see us from next door.
Shade is found in the neatest places
By 3:30 they were on their way for the 3 hour drive home with promises to meet again in September in Inverhuron.
Bill, Linda and Peter catch up too

Linda loves our Ridge Restroom
 Thank you for stopping in Peter and Linda and the rest of you for reading. Feel free to comment as you enjoy the summer here in Ontario!