Friday, August 28, 2009

Book-related News

Thursday September 24th (11 a.m.) marks the beginning of a fall book sale at the Family Christian Bookstore on Guelph Line in Burlington. I'll be there signing copies of my book.

Word Alive did a wonderful author SPOTLIGHT page.

Life on the Wild Side

(not to be confused with living wild)

On our camping holiday there were a few wild things:
Snake in the hand

Coon in the bush

Coon in the tree (He galloped up there, much like Frieda the Cat gallops up the stairs.)

A frog in the bay

Spiders on the web

Loons in the lake

Beavers swimming across George Lake

A wild hike

Swimming to the island (too wild for me)

Wild wieners

Not wild at all

Thursday, August 27, 2009

How to Take a Shower—Not

During our camping trip, after a particularly strenuous hike, I felt grungy and tired. I decided to take a shower. So I gathered my clean clothes, soap and shampoo into a plastic bag and headed for the shower building. There wasn’t a line-up; I walked right into one of the stalls, stepped out of my sandals, and avoiding the dirt on the floor hung up my things. The water pouring down felt heavenly (like rain—not very warm).

I’d forgotten to bring a wash cloth, so I simply used the bar of soap. It worked. Then about halfway through my shower I realized I had also forgotten my towel. This is not like forgetting a towel in the en suite at home. Forgetting a towel at a campground shower is troublesome. I pictured myself streaking back to the campsite—not a Christian picture.

I’ll drip dry, I thought. After about four minutes I realized all this wetness wouldn’t be dripping off or evaporating away anytime soon. If I waited long enough my family would be posting ‘Lost Mom’ notes, “last seen carrying a plastic bag without a towel in it.”

I could put my clothes on over my wet body—yuck. Or, I could turn the denim shorts I had been wearing inside-out and dry myself with the clean parts. That’s what I did. It worked.

One of the best things about camping is the fresh appreciation a person gains for the conveniences of home.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hit That Birdie

Game: Hit the Badminton Birdie

Keep birdy in the air
Hit birdy back and forth
Count how many times the birdy is hit back and forth

Goal: beat the record

Record set by Marty and Elizabeth: 139

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Studying Calculus While Camping

(continued from)

In May Amanda not only landed us the most enviable site in all of Killarney, she landed herself a nasty flu and a doctor’s certificate when she wanted to be writing her calculus exam. Her only opportunity to write a deferred exam fell right in the middle of our Killarney vacation.

We wanted to change the time and/or the location of the exam. “Could she write it earlier or later? Could she write it in Sudbury?”

“Sorry, no. Just drop the course and take it over.” advised Amanda’s student advisor at McGill.

Killarney is a lovely place to study Calculus.

Killarney is only an hour from Sudbury. We pulled ourselves out of our sleeping bags early Tuesday morning to deliver Amanda to the Sudbury bus depot. She caught the 9 a.m. bus to Montreal via Ottawa.
The rest of us happily spent the day at the Big Nickel and the Mining museum.
(to be continued)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Claiming a Million Dollar Site

(continued from)
Claiming the site was not so easy. At exactly 7 a.m. three months before the date of the camping holiday we had to be the first to register our booking. This requires method. I certainly didn't have it. Marty, who is more astute than I in the ways of computer programs, didn’t have it either. Several times throughout April and early May he missed making the booking by mere seconds. Our holidays plans were being pushed from July into the third week in August. If we messed around much longer, they'd be pushed right off the summer calendar.

Amanda, our university student, came to the rescue, “Give me the MasterCard, I’ll book it from Montreal.” She’s the one with the method. She called home several minutes after seven, one fine May morning, “We got the site!” Oh, the joy on our household.

Four Sunsets
Photos taken with a simple camera. The real view was way better.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Recognizing a Million Dollar Camp Site

“Simplicity in all things is the secret of the wilderness and one of its most valuable lessons. When in the wild, we must not carry our problems with us or the joy is lost.” Sigard F. Olson

The above quote on the Killarney 2009 Information Guide contains the key to recognizing a million dollar site. Camping is simplicity.

No electricity, dirt everywhere. The nearest washroom is a pit toilet, and if we want flush toilets and showers we walk almost half a kilometre and then might have to stand in line and wait our turn. Or if we time it wrong, we might have to wait an hour while the cleaning crew hoses down the facilities. Why are we so excited about camping?

We scouted out our site in July 2008 while on a previous trip to Killarney. The site comes with twin picnic tables, a fire pit, a variety of trees including several birch and a few pine. Our site backs directly onto a large rock overlooking George Lake, and is just a stone’s throw from a dock, the canoe launching area and the beach. The rock is what makes the site. The view from the rock is a million dollar view.

How could you carry problems to such a place?

Friday, August 21, 2009

We've Been Camping

Here Marty is sitting on the rock out behind our site at Killarney Provincial Park. We called it our rock. This was the perfect spot to watch the sunset, or look up at the stars or just sit and read. I'll have to tell you more about the trip later...right now I have a pile of laundry to do.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Kids Can't Say "We're Bored"

Summer activities that counter boredom:
Unorganized sport

Organized sport

Organized party

Organizing drawer

There's always work!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What I Don’t Tell My Husband

By the time lunch is over, the freezer had firmed up the ice-cream which actually becomes the delightful surprise it was meant to be.

At three that afternoon Rina and I decide it’s time to call it a day. Volunteers generally aren’t required to do long days. I wonder where I put my keys. They aren’t in my pocket or with my sandals (I like to volunteer bare-foot). Maybe I left them in the van.

The puddle of milky ice-cream on the roof of the van and a pattern of rivulets down the side are baked into lumpy white goop.

When I open the sticking door I discover the key in the ignition where I had left it. But, the joy of discovering a lost item evaporates when I detect the soft purr of an engine. This engine must have been running at least three hours. I check the gas gauge which is down a fraction—my donation to the hole in the ozone layer. What is my net community contribution for the day?

When I get home I don’t mention the running van to my husband. You see these are the sort of experiences Marty never lives firsthand. He gets them vicariously.

So I only tell him about the forgotten lunch, the white goop, and the sticking door—enough for one day. I don’t want him to think I’m a scatterbrain.

Slight Delay in Finishing Volunteer (ice cream) Story

Our main computer fried. It's out getting new guts.

That computer holds the end of the melted ice cream story.

Everything is supposed to be back up and running later today. Until then, I hope you will consider the ending of the story worth the wait.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Happy Blog 100

At one week short of 10 months, this Blooming blog has 100 posts with 2000 visits averaging 2 minutes each.

Friday, August 7, 2009

All for a Simple Treat

I get out of the van, put the sopping carton of leaking ice cream on the roof, and clean the floor using the thoughtful McDonalds girl’s stack of napkins.

During those few moments a white stream of creamy milk begins pouring down the side of my vehicle—white on red (possible nursery room colours?).

I clutch the muffin bag between my teeth, grab the ice-cap with one hand and the flimsy leaking carton of three reduced ice-creams with the other. At the church door I place my Tim Horton’s purchases on the cement step and run the ice cream into the kitchen freezer.

Then I clean my trail of ice-cream droplets from the recently steam-cleaned carpet. Then we have lunch.

Lesson #7 Whims have hidden costs

(to be continued)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

More Lessons Learned (about ice cream)

(continued from previous post)
I carefully place the paper carton on the floor between the front seats of the van. As I turn out of the parking lot, the carton flips sideways. I quickly straighten it making a mental note to clean off the passenger seat.

I drive the five long kilometers back to the church leaning sideways with my right hand on the ice cream holder. It’s a good thing I’m left-handed.

The inside of the van is rather warm. I should have put on the air-conditioner, but now I didn’t have a free hand to do that. I am traveling behind a very slow-moving car driven by someone who is obviously looking for a place to turn. She finally does turn—onto the 6th Concession, the very road I have to use.

By the time I’m at the church, the ice cream is dripping vigorously onto the carpet.

Lesson #4 Turn on the air conditioner if you plan to transport soft ice cream
Lesson #5 Slowly moving cars are more aggravating if you are transporting soft ice cream
Lesson #6 Soft ice cream melts quickly in a warm vehicle

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Lessons Learned While Volunteering

(continued from previous post)
At about lunchtime, I realize I should have brought a lunch. A true leader, Rina offers to share her lunch with me, but I figure she shouldn’t pay for my lack of preparedness. Did the wise virgins share their oil with the foolish virgins?

So, while Rina continues painting trim, I run out to pick up a lunch at the nearest Tim Horton’s drive through. “An ice-cap and everything muffin,” I order.

“You mean everything bagel?” says the voice.

“No, an everything muffin.”

“We don’t carry those.”

I search my brain…“fruit explosion.”

On a whim I pull into the McDonalds drive through to buy ice cream cones for everyone.

“Three small ice cream cones, please.”

The girl pours the ice cream into the cones from the special machine. Then she whips together a paper carton in which to perch the cones. She smiles as she cautiously hands out the flimsy arrangement along with a handful of napkins, “I hope you don’t have too far to go.”

Lesson # 1 Don't forget your lunch
Lesson # 2 Remember the name of your muffin
Lesson #3 Watch out for whims


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

What Do I Volunteer

(continued from previous post)

On the arranged morning I arrive at the church a little late. Only Rina, our project leader and the church secretary (who is busy being the church secretary) are there. Hopefully other volunteers will be joining in later.

Rina gives me a rundown of everything to be done. We’re planning to freshen up the white trim, and paint the kitchen and nursery walls. She shows me the trendy yellow for the kitchen and the soft ice-cream colours for the nursery, a pink, a yellow and two greens—a different colour for each wall.

In preparation for this delicious makeover, I choose to strip the wide teddy-bear border off the nursery wall. This border extends around the whole room, at a height just above a toddler’s head (kind of like big teddy bears in the sky). I think the kids will definitely miss it—the border has been there for at least a decade. It has been glued down.

I spend the morning soaking paper bears, tearing little strips away, chatting with Rina (who is painting trim), listening to a Brownsville CD, and planning my next book.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Why Do I Volunteer?

A few weeks ago I volunteered to help paint some rooms in the church. Of course this means more than simply slapping paint on the wall. There are colours to choose, walls to wash, holes to fill and floors to cover.

I’m not the one in charge of this project so the details aren’t my concern. I show up and do what I’m told or rather pick from the list offered. People who run these projects know that it’s best to let volunteers pick—every little enticement helps.

My incentive for volunteering is the camaraderie, and (if I’m honest) the recognition…to do something to be appreciated. Also it gives me something to write about.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Why I Believe the Rain, Rain Will Go Away...

Outside our front door about a week ago we saw a double rainbow.

"I solemnly promise never to send another flood to kill all living creatures and destroy the earth." And God said, "I am giving you a sign as evidence of my eternal covenant with you and all living creatures." Genesis 9:11,12 NLT