Not So Innocent

Swing Ball

Don’t let how innocent the ball and rope appear while they hang still on this pole fool you. Swing Ball, is a fast-paced game for players and entertaining for spectators.

It’s like the old playground, Tether-Ball, except you use a racket rather than your hand. The nylon rope easily glides on the smooth plastic corkscrew, and the tennis ball has much less wind drag than a volleyball. Making the main difference, the velocity the neon ball circles the pole with when it’s hit.

This game tests hand-eye coordination, and if you’re not standing in the right place, quick duck and swerve reflexes.

We bought Swing Ball months ago, but because of Mister’s sore shoulder, and either lack of time or uncooperative weather whenever our kids were out, it remained in its box collecting dust.

Sometimes it takes youths to motivate a person which for me was three recent surprise guests.

One of Mister’s nieces from British Columbia called us when the semi she was driving stranded her and her two daughters in a nearby city. When the three got bored with city shopping and such we picked them up to stay with us until the repairs were completed.

It didn’t take long before the energetic youngen’s, age 13 and 11, spotted the unopened game box and asked if they could try it.

Setup took only minutes, then us three adults sat on the deck ready to be entertained. These two tough country girls held nothing back when they swung at the ball. Neither whined though, if they got nailed by the rubber projectile, mostly because they were too busy laughing.

The girls refer to Mister and I as Auntie and Uncle, and soon it was, “Auntie, come play.”

That’s when the valuable lesson, “Never underestimate someone of age,” began.

Here’s a small detail before I continue. I was on a fair amount of school sport teams, Volleyball, Basketball, Badminton, Floor-Hockey, Track and Field, Soccer, Baseball, and Dodgeball.

The relationship we have with these girls and their mother is where joking, teasing and polite sass is common.

Fresh into my game with the 13-year-old, I cracked her up with a statement that became her favourite to repeat and share. To some it may sound cruel but I said it with love and sportsmanship. It followed her apology after a shot that nearly hit me when I replied, “Don’t apologize if the ball hits me because I won’t if it hits you.” I smiled, we laughed, but I think that’s when she realized Auntie has a hidden competitiveness.

During the evening activities no-one thought to snap pictures while four of us took turns playing the game.

It is a cardio workout, but I’m sure that is because we had to grasp for air between fits of laughter.

To the girl’s surprise, I beat them each in well fought rounds. As we sat to regroup, wipe sweat from our brows and gulp water they kept saying they didn’t think I had it in me.

The next day I’m not sure which ached more from the pervious exertion, my arm or laughing muscles or perhaps my knee from when I missed the ball once and whacked it with my paddle hard enough to bruise.

At least I fared better than the two young ones as to how many times the tennis ball ricochet off a body part. Instead of complaining about a sore spot though they bragged, “Remember this one, I got it when…”

Of course, there were rematches the next day before we took them to pick up their fixed truck.

Embraced in so-long hugs the girls teased and warned me, “Wait until next time, Auntie”.

The truck breaking down was unfortunate, but we all enjoyed this fun unplanned visit.

Since then I’ve talked the son and his wife into trying the game, battling against each other and myself. His wife and I even tried with our left hands and did better than we thought we would.

Look out anyone visiting us that may be up for a game, I really enjoy this one.

If you bruise easy, it might not be a game for you, although I figured out, the ball only makes contact if you are too close.

Have you played Swing Ball yet?

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Sailing, Boat Names, and Seven Dwarfs

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Last week began with our extra beds occupied and a house filled with laughter during a sibling sleepover.

Monday I had my first sailboat experience as a passenger on the 21 foot, “Huhn Wetter” captained by my big brother. He trailered her to our lake for a couple days visit.

The sailing adventure was extra special because there was five siblings onboard. To bad the other two stayed ashore.

It was also Brother’s first official day of retirement. What better way for him to start a new chapter of his life than giving many of us our first ride on his pride and joy.

Have you ever walked a dock reading boat names?

They Intrigue me, and I often wonder the reasons behind them.

Names usually represent someone special to the owner, a favorite quote or cliché, or they may reference a goal, a dream or a destiny.

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“Huhn Wetter” is named in memory of our mother. These two German words were one of her favorite muttered curses. A habit passed down from her mother and one shared with her sisters.

Why would anyone use curse words to name their boat?

Hold on, I’ll explain.

“Huhn Wetter,” translated means, “Chicken Weather.”

Yes, our mother had a real potty mouth. (Smiley Face)

Sailing has no history amidst our immediate family, so my brother is sure when he bought this boat he heard our mother curse his new hobby. She wasn’t a water fan, and she always worried about us kids’ safety.

The gang woke on Tuesday to clouds, wind and a coat wearing chill, so the boat stayed in the marina. Three of us girls went beach combing for driftwood in the morning getting quite a haul for a sister’s lamp making project. By the afternoon the boys suffering with cabin fever went out and worked on the boat trailer.

Wednesday once the morning fog cleared, and the sun came out, Captain Brother, his wife, and I went for another sail. He had me man the rudder while he raised the sails. Once done he surprised me when I went to move for him to take over, and he said, “Nope, she’s all yours.”

He explained how to make slight shifts in the boats course to catch the breeze instead of us swinging the sails, and how to watch the dangling string on the front sail as a guide. I steered for a spell, and even managed a turn, but when we caught stronger winds and picked up speed, I chickened out and handed her back to her rightful captain.

Mister and I own a pontoon boat which we’ve enjoyed for years, and I doubt we would ever trade. Now, I can understand though what about sailing appeals to my brother. It’s the peace and quiet. Here’s to him for learning the skill.

I would consider learning the craft if the mast was maybe 6’ high making the sail’s surface small enough that the boat would stay rowing speed slow. Something about being at the weather’s mercy and being so tall when the boat lists that would take me time to get use to. No matter how many times the brother says they wouldn’t sink even if they fill with water. Laying over or flipping really doesn’t sound fun to me, either.

Since the sleepover had seven participants, I thought it would be fun to match each of us to a Disney’s Seven Dwarf character. It got complicated though. I could have assigned, Sleepy, Sneezy and Doc, but none of us are Bashful, and if I labeled someone Grumpy or Dopey, I would get in trouble. Plus, all of us qualified to be, Happy, so it wouldn’t have been fair to choose only one.

Could you match your siblings to any of Disney’s Seven Dwarfs?

Have you ever been on a sailboat?

Torturer or Green Thumb

Tigers

Tiger Lilly

I’m glad we’re home to enjoy these beauties. I wish all the buds were open for this picture, but not one of my 4 bushes listened when I told them what day this post goes out. Even telling them they were the headliners didn’t speed up the process.

Tiger Lillie’s, are high on my favorite outside flower list that I can grow with my faint green tinted thumb. Next on the list would be Daisies, Pansies and Phlox, all hardy, faithful perennials. I do love Begonias, Geraniums, Gazanias, and Portulacas, but I didn’t plant any annuals this year, they just end up being fancy rabbit food.

Lilac bushes are a must for me, wonderful for both their beauty and their fragrance.

A somewhat unique outside plant for where we live, yet we have had luck growing them in our yards for years is, Prickly Pear Cactus. Even being buried under snow for months doesn’t stop them from coming back to life each summer. Keeping them weeded is a pain, sometimes literally, but my trick is long handled needle nose pliers, or a long handle fish hook remover.

Cactus

Roses are a favorite, but I didn’t include them above because I’m ashamed to admit I’ve been torturing a bush for ten or so years. I water, prune, occasionally fertilize and sprinkle slug pellets when necessary, so it’s either a trooper or ornery. Don’t get me wrong it flowers, but is still only about a foot tall and often has less leaves than flowers. It’s planted in the sun as its tag suggested, I just don’t know how to make it happier.

Rose

Do you have a green thumb?

What flowers do you enjoy?

Which can you grow best?

Is This Lighthouse View Worth It?

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Roadside viewpoints, even with fantastic scenery, sometimes aren’t worth the anxiety getting to them causes.

You can’t really tell from the picture how high above sea level it is.

This is a promised post about a lighthouse visit forever etched in my mind.

In our average sized unit for Alberta, a 4×4 crew-cab truck and 30ft. fifth wheel RV, we set out on a cross Canada dream trip, celebrating Mister’s retirement.

The further east we traveled signs that a smaller unit would have been more practical started to occur. Like outside, Quebec City, when we pulled into a roadside rest area for lunch and the road back onto the highway made a tight half circle that was narrow and curbed on both sides with jagged rocks. Mister knew we were too long to make the bend, but it was the only exit. He drove slowly, and we hoped for the best, which was only one trailer tire’s sidewall being ripped open and the wheel hub damaged.

Thankfully, that was the only costly incident we encountered,

BUT

his driving skills were tested multiple times, and white knuckling on my part occasionally took place.

We started asking size related questions when heading to attractions. Then, if needed we would leave the RV at a nearby campground, or a couple times Mister got permission to park the 5th wheel for a few hours at tourist information centres.

I wish we had gotten a second opinion for one nerve-rattling adventure I call, “The road to hell.” Slightly inappropriately named, because in fact the road zigzagged up a mountain, and the destination was not hellish.

Before leaving our campground near Hopewell Rocks, NB. we asked a local fellow about getting to Cape Enrage Lighthouse. If we should pull our 5th there or not? If there would be parking? He replied, “It should be fine, tour buses go up there.”

That was good enough for Mister. The next morning we headed down highway 114 which became rough enough to make us wish for air ride seats.

We took the lighthouse exit, and soon it opened into a flat stretch. The ocean glittered on one side of the road, a marsh was on the other, but a massive, tree covered mountain loomed ahead.

There was a roadside gravel area there big enough to park, probably used by fisherman to get to the ocean, but a sign indicated several Kilometers yet to the lighthouse.

A squiggly switchback warning sign and a high incline percentage one also came into view, and that’s when my anxiety began.

I told mister, “It’s fine, we don’t have to continue.”

I suggested, “Since there’s room here, let’s just turn around.”

I reasoned, “There will be other lighthouses to see along our route.”

I even tried straight out stating, “Honest, I don’t want to go up there.”

I rambled and muttered more, but those were my main arguments.

Mister simply replied, “We’ve come this far, we’re not turning back. Quit worrying! If a bus can make it, we can.”

But, worry is what I do best.

I pleaded some more, but our speed remained steady, the discussion was over.

A cliché comes to mind, “Come hell or high water,” he was taking me to see that lighthouse. (Now, isn’t he sweet, or maybe he needed revenge for some previous nagging I’d done? Smiley face)

Don’t get me wrong, Mister’s driving skills impress me. He can also maneuver a trailer pretty much anywhere, but I really never wanted to find out if controlling a rig sliding backwards on a narrow mountain road was in his repertoire.

When we slowed for the first corner, I braced my feet on the floor and one arm on the console between us. My other hand clutched the dashboard, “Oh sh…!” handle. Why, I’m not sure, we weren’t going fast or off-roading. Another smile.

With only slight exaggeration, I swear on the tight switchbacks I could have stuck my arm out the window and been able to touch the side of the 5th wheel.

Oh, have I mentioned the road was hard topped but was littered with small pebbles.

When we crept up a particular steep and sharp hairpin turn, the truck began to spit those loose pebbles. My worst fear came to life, the tires lost traction, and we were sliding backwards.

Mister, all calm and collected steered and engaged the truck’s 4 wheel drive. We started to inch forward again.

I on the other hand, broke into a sweat, muttered curses and silently prayed.

Finally we got to the top where we had to stop on the road and help guide another unit around the corner so they could head back down the hill.

The actual parking lot had a designated spot for tour buses but the public part was not big enough for larger RV’s.

Mister found a grassy plateau before the lot and wedged our rig in so we could get out to explore and take pictures of the lighthouse. The views were spectacular, but I’m not sure they were worth my stress.

70 start of road to hell Cape Enrage NB

Road Before Cape Enrage Lighthouse

 

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Coming Down Again

If I’d known this story would become a blog post, I would’ve tried taking better or at least more pictures, and maybe washed the bugs off the windshield. Who am I kidding, between hanging on and my shaking hands I’m impressed I got these few. Pictures don’t do justice to heights, inclines, etc. anyway.

The trip down wasn’t much better for me because I couldn’t stop picturing those darn loose pebbles causing us to careen off the edge.

How busses negotiate the trip, I’ll never know, maybe traffic is stopped for them. For sure, I would never want to meet and have to pass one or any other big vehicle for that matter.

If planning to visit this sight, the scenery is gorgeous once up there but be aware of the road getting there, especially, if you are pulling an RV.

Do certain road conditions cause you anxiety?

Do you like road-trips?

Flowerbeds and Spring

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The Goal

The snow has melted and uncovered pitiful flowerbeds. Filled with last summers dead stalks, dead annuals and fallen leaves which act as cold weather insulation for roots and bulbs. I don’t prune perennial’s in the fall, because my mother believed not doing that keeps frost from going down the steams and damaging roots. She taught me most of what I know so, of course, I honor and garden by her rules.

Here’s another tip of hers that I’m certain has no real merit, yet it makes me smile and I still follow it, “Don’t water your plants at night”. She would add, “Do you like to go to bed with wet feet?”

Last Tuesday the beautiful spring day enticed my cleanup to begin.

A lack of this type of activity during the winter decreases my stamina for being bent over picking up leaves and pruning plants so after 3 hrs my back screamed, enough for one day.

It took three heaping wheelbarrows to get 4 out of 8 flowerbeds cleaned out. One more bed than planed because why walk a half full wheelbarrow to the compost bin.

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2 Back Corner Beds Before Clean-up

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After Clean-up

I miss the days when I could complete all my yard-work in one shot. Maintenance free landscaping sounds more appealing each year. I can picture graveled beds with large placed boulders, unique driftwood and waving sea grasses, but I know I’d miss the colorful blossoms come summer.

Wednesday morning, I struggled out of bed. My back hadn’t forgiven me and using a very technical term, my bend-over-butt and leg muscles also expressed great displeasure with yesterday’s activities.

With coffee in hand I sat in my recliner regretting, again like every year, my gung-ho approach for that first-day of yard-work.

Why can’t I learn to space it out, do one flowerbed to start or at least in the weeks ahead prepare my body by stretching and maybe exercising those dormant muscles? As I blow my nose, probably from all the dust and pollen stuff I disturbed the day before, I know the answers.

  • I enjoy being active but devoting time to actually exercising has never been something I can stick with for more than a few consecutive days.
  • Weeding is a chore I dread doing. I’m not one who says, “Oh, I love to putts in flowerbeds.” For me, it can’t end fast enough. Sometimes, I wonder what I’m missing that makes me not find the so-called pleasure in gardening.

Mister’s pride shows in how he takes care of our lawns. He may grumble once in a while about how quick it grows, but that’s because he keeps fertilizing it. They are still too wet for his work to start.

The flowerbeds are mine to tend. I wouldn’t consider myself having a green thumb but plants grow and blossom. I do the necessary things, I fertilize, water, weed and prune. The problem is I’d rather do just about anything else.

If you’re a returning reader you’ve heard me mention before,

I’m a winter girl.

I have indoor plants that bloom all year and I don’t have to kill my back, sweat, get sun burned, or swat mosquitos while tending them.

Okay, I’ve whined enough.

Attitude changes everything. It’s time for me to practice what I preach. Find the positives.

I’m grateful I woke and could get out of bed, many don’t or can’t.

I’m grateful for sunny days even though the snow is gone.

I’m grateful to have a yard and yes maybe even the demanding flowerbeds.

Most of all, I’m grateful for every extra day with Mister, family and friends.

Once the season gets into full swing, every morning like other years, I’ll be checking flowerbeds anxiously watching things grow.

Do you have a least favorite outside chore?

Do you enjoy gardening and have a green-thumb?

How Many is Too Many Lighthouses?

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Lighthouses, whether anchored on a rocky shoreline or perched high on a hillside ledge, tall or short ones, white, red, or striped, simple or with buildings attached, they fascinate me.

Built to endure, they stand through blistering heat and rugged storms. Their importance for men and women on the water is undeniable, and the lives they have saved makes them man-made heroes.

When we travel a coastal road, I’ll search our route in advance for these majestic landmarks. Mister, kindly feeds my obsession whenever possible, and we’ll stop and even take a slight detour so I can photograph a lighthouse. Getting close is sometimes an adventure though, and I promise to write a future post about one particular hair-raising experience.

Ornaments and accents in our family home had a definite country flare, but we left bronze horse statues and Western themed pieces behind when Mister retired and we moved.

How could I decorate a lake cottage, especially one with a turret that reminds people of a lighthouse, with such things? Yes, I know I could have.

I chose to go nautical, and in part, that gave the new phase in our life a fresh feel.

I’ve always loved sea shells, water creatures, sea horses and starfish. Unique pieces of driftwood or crafts made from driftwood. Boat anchors, steering wheels or anything related to boating. So now, ornaments, decor pieces, throw pillow covers, accent upholstery, it’s mainly nautical.

At last count and not including the few pieces outside, 41 lighthouses or things with lighthouses on them, have found a place inside our home. This is counting sets like, salt and pepper, cream and sugar bowls, or the four dining chairs only as one unit.

Does that sound like too many? Perhaps it’s somewhat of a fetish.

Not that it’s all you see when you step inside, but there is at least one lighthouse visible from any seat in the kitchen or living room, which is just one big room.

To me, I’ve kept their numbers and placement to a tasteful scattering, not an overpowering tackiness. Isn’t that what all people say about their collections, LOL.

kit 1See, just a few lighthouses tucked here and there with a side of nautical.

Other than furniture, most everything in our place is a travel souvenir or gift. Each item has an attached memory, and maybe one day I’ll write their little stories so when they are left behind someone, if interested, will now their history.

My decorating skills are minimal at best, and if I didn’t contain myself to a theme, my wide variety of likes would create a mismatched mess. Some people can make a collective style work, but I’m drawn to individual pieces and that can cloud the big picture.

Do you have a decorating theme or preferred style in your home, or an interest for certain collectables?

 

Interesting Lighthouse facts?

Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse pictured above is one of the most-photographed structures in Atlantic Canada and one of the most recognizable lighthouses in the world.

The first lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove was built in 1868. It was wooden with a beacon on the roof. In 1914 the current structure was erected, an eight sided reinforced concrete one that stands almost 49 feet (15 meters) high.

The older wooden lighthouse became the keepers dwelling until 1954 when Hurricane Edna damaged it and it was removed.

It was a treat for me to see Peggy’s Cove lighthouse in person.

Have you visited Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia?

A Romantic Drive, Resort Style

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Our carriage awaits. Because of their narrowness, Mister and I jokingly refer to cruising in a golf cart as a romantic drive.

This picture was taken on Valentines Day. It was a warm plus 9 Celsius, for this cruise with my man. We didn’t even roll down the plastic doors when we went to the storage lot to shovel snow off the boat tarp. How’s that for a romantic outing? Funny thing was, we were content because together we enjoyed beautiful spring-like weather, and it put a taste of coming summer days into our hearts.

After completing the chore we cruised around and snooped at the new lakeside homes being constructed. Then we stopped by T & E’s house for a quick visit and to arrange our next card night.

Here, golf carts aren’t just on the course, they are a preferred choice of summer transportation. Hundreds travel the resorts roads, and their variety is extensive.

One would think with Mister’s vehicle interests our carts would be among those with custom rims, paint, or fancy modifications. But nope, ours are older and pretty plain except for a second seat conversation added to one.

Golf carts out and about in the winter is rare, but not unseen. One family, when they’re here on weekends even pulls an occupied toboggan around. Our kids sure would have been game for that activity when they were young. Wait, as adults they still would if our carts went faster.

Mister gets the above cart out when weather permits which helps break-up the long winter months. It handles well on snow covered roads, and it goes through a surprising amount of slush. With that said, I hope we don’t get stuck the next time we are out for a cruise.

Throughout our years together, going for drives has been a common and enjoyed pastime, although most of them are done in an actual vehicle.

I have had some of the most heartfelt and genuine conversations with family members and friends during road trips.

Do you enjoy going for drives?

Have you shared great conversations with someone while on the road?