Nov 092014
 

To be honest, that title is a stretch.  In reality,  I am now a member of a Friday night mixed curling league.  So I am assuming it is official.

For those readers who are from the Southern US or other parts of the Globe, you may have no idea what I am talking about.  For starters, being a curler has absolutely nothing to do with HAIR!

Curling is that “weird” sport featured in the Winter Olympics, dominated by:

  1. Canada
  2. Sweden
  3. Scotland
  4. Great Britain
  5. Norway

(Source)

Yep, popular in all the cold countries for those looking for an indoor sport where they can still be cold!

Here’s the deal for Mr. Nice and me… In May, we joined a private golf club.  The club is over 100 years old and one day (in the nice weather) I will feature how lovely it is. 

In June 2013, after only 4 rounds of golf, I broke my ankle, thereby ki-boshing my summer golf  schedule.  I did play in the fall.  In the meantime, I met amazing like minded people close to our age (as in — well over 50) and they all encouraged us to take up curling.  The club also has a curling rink and very active program.  Another way to use our membership!

Mr. Nice and I tried curling years ago and thought is was slow and COLD.  At the time we were big on tennis and curling just did not cut it on the aerobic front.

Well, fast forward at least 25 years and we are presented with an opportunity to hang out with a bunch of great social people and well… CURL. 

We joined a Friday night mixed league.  The people are lovely but I must admit my first experiences were PAINFULThis sport is NOT EASY!  The first week and the clinic that followed two days later showed me that I DO NOT HAVE THE TECHNIQUE to throw the rock! 

You see there  is the style…  there is terminology… Sheet. Hack. Rock. and oh the comments about sweeping etc. to the non-curler can sound obscene!  I will not elaborate at this time.

When you watch this video, not once does the rock deliverer’s knee hit the ice.  Hmmm…not so with me.  I need to work on BALANCE! 

 

Source of Video: The Continental Cup – Langley, B.C., Canada, Jan 14, 2012

Basically to throw the rock, you need to push off with your left foot out of the “hack” and balance with your right leg … and oh so much more.

You are NOT meant to BANG your right knee down on the ice, but rather stretch that right leg and slide… Ya right!

Doesn’t it look graceful? 

And look at that concentration! I guess you can concentrate when you do not fall over! LOL!

Sadly for me my ability to balance with the right leg and get everything in alignment is VERY CHALLENGING! 

All of this, resulted in the HUGEST BRUISE on my right knee.  Thank goodness, my daughter had a pair of knee pads I got her for Hip Hop Dance that saved me the unbelievable pain of landing on my knee in my second session.

Now back to Mr. Nice.  I wouldn’t call him a jock because he is not a big man.  But the man is a “sportsman”.  And damn him for that!  He is such a keener and this week, he has been going to the club and “practicing” his rock throwing.  He is developing a very lovely style but in the last game, I had very BAD STYLE and still put 5 rocks in the row in the” house!”   Bruises and all!  Much to his chagrin!  I was just very happy I did not fall over.  Seriously… I tip over… often.

Look at this, they do not tip over (and no knee hits the ice) and this is SERIOUS stuff!

Oh and then there is sweeping.  This basically heats the ice so the rock will move and curl better… I think.  Sweeping I can do.  It is how you keep warm.  You REALLY want you team mate to throw too softly so you can sweep like crazy and keep warm. If you have read this far, yes, it appears to be a weird sport!  BUT very fun!

If you do not know anything about curling, this may be the most ridiculous post you have ever read! However, if you do understand curling … you will most likely relate and find the observations of a beginner to be very amusing.

Last night,  we had a match / game/ whatever they call it,  at 9:00 pm. (YES!  The second shift is very close to my bedtime!)  I had not dropped in to ractice like Mr. Nice.  So I wore my knee pad and HOPED LIKE HELL I could throw the d@m% rock into the house (the bulls eye rings).  Note: being a “first” in our team of four I feel very little pressure.  Result: I did okay!  I still threw with NO Technique and landed in the “the house” about 80% of the time and all was well.

Mr. Nice on the other hand, the man who practiced twice was terrible! but he looked good doing it!

In addition, we are SO VERY FORTUNATE to have the very best technical curlers as our Skip and Vice.  They are so patient,  so nice and SO GOOD!

All in all,  my Friday Night-out with Mr. Nice and a whole bunch of great  people has been lots of fun!   Afterwards, it is all about  consuming our favoruite beverages and being social. 

If you are bored in the winter…try curling.  Cheap and very cheerful!

 I would LOVE to hear from other curlers and curling-lovers! 
It is such a fun sport and oh so not easy!
If you can join a fun, non-competitive  group while you get the hang of it,  you may find you love the sport!
  I think.
Just bring knee pads.

 Joan

 Posted by at 7:51 pm  Tagged with:
Oct 162014
 

Book Club “Retreat” at Limberlost Forest Reserve

A couple of weekends ago, Mr. Nice and I headed a few hours north of Toronto to  Muskoka “Cottage Country” to spend time with our book club friends.  I think you will love my photos of the amazing place where we stayed.  It is an idyllic location every autumn lover would dream of.

book club retreat

Autumn in Muskoka, Ontario

Here in Toronto, the autumn colours are showing their loveliness.  But north of the city, in “cottage country”,  the fall colours have been spectacular since late September.  Friends in our book club rent a cottage / lodge every year the weekend before the Canadian Thanksgiving at the Limberlost Forest and Wildlife Reserve near the lovely town of Huntsville, Ontario.   This 3000 square foot lodge is a very spacious with SEVEN bedrooms and is on Buck Lake!  Buck Lake Lodge is the ONLY cottage on the lake.  Needless to say, the location is spectacular.

(BTW: NO affiliation)

The Good Friday Book Club is comprised of 4 married couples and 3 ladies whose husbands don’t care to participate. So seven bedrooms was just perfect.  The common area is large and spacious and the kitchen is well equipped which is important to this group of literary “foodies”.

The Lodge

book club retreat limberlost common area

Common area: There is nothing fancy making it oh so homey.

The decor has some very cool lamps made of birch logs and an elk head on the wall.

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One of the fun birch log lamps

book club retreat limberlost

The smiling elk can be a bit creepy

In the common area the dining table is so PERFECT!  And so is the view!

book club retreat limberlost

Don’t you just love this table!

book club retreat limberlost

The pictures are not magazine worthy but there were 11 of us!

book club retreat limberlost

The view from the interior upper balcony. So nice to wake up to!

 

Let’s get outside!

book club retreat limberlost

The main entrance is on the level of the deck. Below the main floor is a sauna and 3 bedrooms as well as an exit outside to the lake.

 Can you spot Chester, my fur baby, and his little nose between the rails, wondering what I am doing?

Around Buck Lake

There is a trail in the woods, near the lake’s edge encompassing the lake.

No more words are needed.

book club retreat limberlost

Winter is coming

book club retreat limberlost

Mirrored silence

book club retreat limberlost

Golden splendor

book club retreat limberlost

Courageous fern

book club retreat limberlost

Morning Mist

book club retreat limberlost

Autumn glory

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Nature’s Mirror

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Alone in the woods

book club retreat limberlost

Brillance at every turn

book club retreat limberlost

View from a lookout close to the lodge

By the way, we really did have a book club meeting and the book we discussed was Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood.  In this first book of her trilogy, the world she writes about is as far away from this idyllic setting you could possibly get!

book club retreat limberlost
Oryx & Crake by Margaret Atwood

I hope you enjoyed your visit to Limberlost Forest and Wildlife Reserve and the sampling of photos I have shared.

 

If you like photos and photograhy PLEASE stop by at my Silent Sunday Linky Party
every Sunday beginning at 6:00 am EST.



It is my new venture and I am so keen to see inspiring photos!

 

I love comments and especially dialogue with readers.
So please leave your thoughts and questions below.

Joan

Jul 172014
 

Yesterday we said goodbye to Cody, our 9 year old Golden Doodle.  It was not easy.  My heart is ripped apart. 

If you’ve had and loved a dog, you will understand.  I am grieving.  I have a good life and I have not grieved in a long time.  When you are grieving you never know how you will get over your loss but I know we can eventually.  I am not looking for sympathy, I just feel like I need to write about him and share his memory.

We said goodbye to our previous dog in 2006.  Clancy was a lovely, faithful Kerry Blue Terrier.  He was also 14 and blind at the time.  Although we were incredibly sad, it was his time.  I lasted only a few weeks without a dog.  We spotted Cody, a 6 month old Golden Doodle on Kijiji (Canadian Craiglist).  His owner had been injured and could no longer care for him.  He was a BIG pup.  Miss Nice and I drove a couple hours to pick him up in another city.  He’s been loved in his forever home ever since.  I will admit, he wasn’t a perfect dog because he liked to eat stuff that he shouldn’t have.  The list would be a LONG post on its own.

Cody was a very beautiful Golden Doodle.  He looked very Poodle-like on the outside but I believe inside he was all Golden Retriever.  It was hard not to love him and everyone did.  He thrived on affection and would insist everyone he met pet him.  And they did.  They almost had to.   His head was at most people’s hand level and he knew how  to move it.  He was so cuddly.

cody in snow copy

Cody Loved the Outdoors in All Seasons

Cody had been noticeably under the weather for about a month.  It was about the same time I fractured my leg.  Then ten days ago, we were to go visit my elderly in-laws in England.  I did not relish the idea of sitting on a plane for hours with a cast on my foot.  After much deliberation, I decided I would stay home and go with my husband when he goes again in November.  As it turns out, it was a good decision.

Just before they left, Cody stopped eating.  I took him to the vet the day they left for England.  His blood work determined he had a liver problem.  In fact his “bile acid test” came back TEN TIMES the acceptable level.  This past Monday, the day before my husband and daughter were returning, Cody had an ultrasound of his liver.  By now, he was not eating anything.  Not even peanut butter in his Kong and he was very listless.  Every day that week, my heart was breaking more and more.  I knew he was very sick and it was not going to be good.  He rarely left my side or I his.

The ultrasound showed he had a massive malignant tumour on his liver.  A few hours after I got the news,  I picked up my family at the airport.  It was a sad ride home. 

Yesterday, the three of us took Cody to his all time favourite place: THE BEACH.  Even very sick dogs will rise to the occasion if it is something they love.  And he loved the beach.  Cody fetched sticks in the water, he swam a bit, he ran in the sand and most of all, he made us SMILE! 

What is more fun and delightful than watching a happy dog play with his family on the beach? 

Cody in the rain

He loved walking by the lake, even in the rain.

After our beach outing the three of us took our wet, sandy, tired and weak dog to the vet to say goodbye.  He was brave and sweet and loyal and loving right to the end. 

That was yesterday.

Today is a gorgeous day without a cloud in the sky.  A perfect day for a long walk by the lake.  Those walks will never be the same.

My daughter and I put together a tribute slideshow of Cody to share with all his friends via Facebook.  It was a somewhat healing process but what I really want is to hug him just one more time.

I am sharing my short video.  You will see Cody had a great life and ours is so much richer having shared those 8+ years with him.

You may need a tissue.

 Joan

Jul 142014
 

Earlier this summer, I decided I would give Container Gardening a try on my second story terrace.  After doing some research, I came up with some great ways to re-purpose containers I already had.

IMG_2461 copy

I wanted to try my hand at growing a  tomato plant, a pepper plant and a bunch of herbs.   In the past, I tried to grow herbs in my little garden behind the house but because we live on a ravine, critters got into the tasty plants.  Ground hogs just LOVE herbs as do deers.  So a container garden on the upper terrace was the answer.

About the same time I was planning this little garden, my neighbours put two large fiberglass plant pots out on trash day.  As one who does not like to pass up FREE stuff, I wandered over on the pretense of taking my dog out and had a look.  They were big and blue and had no drainage holes.  The latter two features could be easily remedied!  They became MINE!!  One of them would be perfect for the tomato plant which I understand needs good soil, space and lots of light.

IMG_1924

Big and baby blue.

 I also remembered I had a RED Christmas-y wine bucket in the basement that I was using for a garbage can.  Being oval and with a medallion on the front, it would add some interest.  It was part of my Spray Paint to the Rescue post and it looks great in it’s new colour.

IMG_1918

Red to Dark Bronze in minutes!

Lastly, knew I had large EMPTY Rubbermaid bins in our storage area.  These are left over from dance costume and dress up clothes storage.  A phase in our family life that is now sadly long gone!

Using my drill I made holes in the bottom of these containers.

IMG_1926

Made good use of my trusty drill

The best find I came across was at our local Dollarama (Canadian dollar store that is EVERYWHERE!) !  They had these PERFECT flower pot supports with CASTERS for $2.50 and $3!   Bargain!

IMG_1901

These pot stands were PERFECT and so affordable!

So, I used the big, previously blue pot for the tomato, a saved poinsetta pot for the pepper and the ice bucket and Rubbermaid container for my herbs.  Best of all, they are now all on wheels!

IMG_2461 copy

I love this little plant corner!

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If these end up ripening, they will be pricey but de-lish!

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This is such a tiny plant! Not sure how big these peppers will get!

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The herbs are doing great!

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The time is a bit skimpy but I added compost recently so hopefully these will florish.

So now I have TWO two natural vignettes to look at while I rest my broken tibula, drink my tea and read the news and my books! 

I am LOVING this space more and more this year.

I have been very successful with my perennial gardens but I am not too sure about this new adventure with containers.  I don’t think the terrace gets quite enough sun for the tomato but the herbs with the exception of the thyme are thriving. 

Do you do container gardening? 
Do you have some suggestions for successful container gardening. 
I plan to try it again next year too.

I love comments and read each and everyone so drop me a line!

Joan

 

NO Affiliates in this post.

Jul 072014
 

I have been having a lot of fun sprucing up our upper terrace and in particular the very boring brick wall.  The outdoor mirror has been a real hit with us and our guests.  I just love the added dimension it gives to this outdoor space. So I decided to create an outdoor vignette.

composite copy

Most years, I add a couple pots of flowers and put them more in the centre of the railing where there is an angle to the shape of the deck.  But this year, with the added mirror, I decided to sort of “decorate” around the mirror.  This way, not only could the person sitting in the “non-view” chair see what is behind him or her, they could also look at a display of flowers and nature.

As I previously mentioned, this upper terrace gets a great deal of shade from the crappy maple tree next to it.  I say crappy because there is ALWAYS some debris falling off on to the deck.  Over the years, I have fell in love with the BEST SHADE FLOWER EVER:  Tuberous Begonias!!  Their flower looks like a rose in full bloom and they bloom well into our cool autumns here in Toronto.

So I started my vignette with a big pot with these gorgeous flowers in them.

Outdoor Vignette

Tuberous Begonias

Nice, clean look but displays are better with an odd number of items…

So how about my owl on its freshened up  plant stand.  Super!

For the third element I have used some of the birch tree branches I collected after the winter ice storm.  

pinnable miror 2 copy

I rather like this look!  It was an incredibly boring brick wall and now, it has reflection, colour and more nature!

AND for me with my fractured tibia, it is a GORGEOUS place to sit, read , contemplate while all the time my foot is up and being iced!

This is a real first time I have REALLY tried to “decorate” outdoors
but for me it makes one of my most favourite features of our home really inviting!

Do you “decorate” your outdoor spaces? 
Please share!

I absolutely LOVE comments and read each and every one of them!

Joan

Jul 042014
 

In June, before my bad luck break, I spent some time working on sprucing up our walkout deck. 

Installing an outdoor mirror was such a brilliant idea.  Not only does it fill in rather boring brick wall, it now gives the illusion of a window or moving painting.  We just love it!

When I spray  painted the mirror frame, I gussied up a few other things too.

I have had this cute little plant stand for many years and it has really rusted over time.  For the past few years, my super adorable cement and resin owl has been perched on it.  As you can see, the owl was sitting in moisture and has begun to crumble.  I currently researching how to repair it.  If you have any experience with BONDO on cement, please contact me and let me know how it went.

owl and stand

Love this owl.

rust

Rusting Plant stand

In addition to adding my usual flower pots to this walkout, I am going to try  my hand at container gardening.  Stay tuned for a post on what I used and how it is progressing.  In my search around the the house for cool containers to use, I spotted a RED ice bucket of sorts with a medallion on the side.  Very Christmasy.

I love the Rustoleum Oil Rubbed bronze and since I seem to like to use colours from nature to decorate, I decided to use it to spruce up the stand and container.

Spray Paint

Don’t they look amazing! Like new!

While I was at it, I painted up our VERY RUSTY wheelbarrow.   I didn’t take a before picture (must remember this!) but basically there was very little paint left inside the tub.  It’s also sporting a new NEVER GO FLAT wheel.  Looks like new! And at a fraction of the cost of a new item!

Spray Paint Updates

Spray paint makes things look like new!

Be sure to pop by and check out my container garden post coming up soon!

You know you are a real DIYer when you are excited about painting a wheelbarrow!!

Regardless, it just feels good to see items that are often
Nicer Than New!

 

Joan

Notice:  The links provided are NOT affiliates.  I am NOT being compensated.  I just like the products!

Jul 022014
 


pinnable miror copy

Adding a mirror to your outdoor space can be so effective.

We live in what many call a “raised bungalow”.  When you arrive at our front door, it looks like a bungalow but because we live on a ravine, we have TWO storeys at the back.  The “basement” is actually a walkout to a patio and backyard. 

However, one of the  best features  on our main / 3 bedroom bungalow floor, is the walkout rooftop patio with access from both the living room and the master bedroom.  Yes, it is VERY nice (if I do say so myself).

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Access to walkout from the living room.

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Access to walkout from Master Bedroom

When we moved in, this walkout had a wood railing and a blacktop floor covered by outdoor “turf” carpeting.  It was nice but not ideal.  The carpeting would get drenched and the large, yucky sort of maple tree next to it was always dropping stuff on it, requiring to be cleaned.  Our home up-keep philosophy is: every year, we do some sort of  a major upgrade or upkeep to our home.  This year it is the roof (…coming soon!).  However, about 5 years ago, we upgraded this walk out patio by removing the view obstructing wood railing and adding a classy glass railing.  In addition, we had an outdoor vinyl flooring installed.  Oh my!  What a difference!  In the summer, we use this area far more than our large deck with a outdoor dining table and chairs.

This walkout gets lots of shade and we love to take my morning coffee and newspaper out there.  You feel like you are in the country and not in the suburban metropolis of Toronto.

A year ago, I  saw a photo somewhere showing a covered patio with a mirror on the wall.  A lightbulb went off!   ” YES!   I want this”!!

Because as you can see, when you sit in some of the seats, you look at the sliding glass door and a brick wall.  How sad is that when everyone else sees  green nature!

Outdoor Mirror

From some seats, you miss out on the beautiful, natural view.

If you read my blog, you may know I  have been somewhat addicted to on-line estate sales.  It was through one of these sales, I found the perfect mirror!  This baby weighs a ton, is metal and was PERFECT!  Oh how I like perfect!

Outdoor Mirror

Heavy metal framed mirror for $25

So earlier this month, I taped it up and spray painted it with some Brown Rustoleum paint I had already.  Oh my, I could not wait to hang it  on my boring brick wall!

Mr. Nice did the honours of hanging and even he had to admit, it was a really nice addition.

Outdoor Mirror

Outdoor Mirror

I must admit when we did this upgrade, and we were shopping for furniture,  I knew the type I wanted.  But at the time I was not so obsesssed with colour.  AND being a very outdoor / natural  view, I wanted to see EARTH TONES when I looked out.  I am not sure I would choose brown cushions now, but it is what it is!

 

Outdoor Mirror

Enjoy the view!

This is only the beginning of the walkout freshening up!   Stay tuned for more! 

Don’t you love it?  It looks like a window!

Have you ever added a mirror to your outdoor space?

Joan

 

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