Saturday, August 31, 2013

Ah Muskoka

I am at Southwinds, Bala, our new home. It is still with all the contents of my mother's place. I have to catch myself from calling it "mom's place" or "mom's bedroom", or...

I am alone. I came up from the city with Elizabeth and Steve who were with me here for 2 days. Now I am on my own, and with no car. I can walk in to town but do not relish walking back with groceries. (I hope my sister down the road will lend me her car for groceries.)

It is truly beautiful here. It makes me realize, though, that it is more fun to share something beautiful with others. The water has warmed up. I swim, but really just get wet and out. Swimming alone just ain't that much fun. I putter through drawers and closets purging the place of things that have been collected over the years. It is hard to make decisions myself about what to keep and what to purge. Alas, I have to do it.

I imagine the changes we are going to make. This place is only 10 years old. My parents' place that was built in 1955 burned to the ground in 2002. Insurance rebuilt it to be very like the 50 year old place. It originally was designed by my grandfather and his neighbour builder on a paper napkin. So although it is new, and in very good shape, it is designed for the kind of living 60 years ago. Very cutting edge for then, a teens' back room isolated from the adults in the living room. The result is a long (dark) hall and a door to the back half. We really hope to open it up, and have one great room with two living areas. That seems to be the way we live now.

I have booked some builders to come by when Tim gets here. In talking with an architect friend in TO, he has given some great ideas to work on. Also Elizabeth's boyfriend Steve and cousin Eliot, who have come up weekends and had the conversation "Oh the Callahans should do this and that". They are full of good ideas. It is a challenge for me to see past what it is now, because it worked so well for my mother so many years. But we will put our stamp on it, and live in it differently.

I have a series of friends coming up over the next 2 weeks. I look forward to sharing this glorious place with them.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

It's been a while

I am in Toronto at my daughter Elizabeth's. I was out to Regina for the weekend. My girlfriend Patty was celebrating her 60th birthday. I surprised her. She was surprised. Didn't know I was in Canada! (That tells me she doesn't read my blog! HA) When she saw me she had the classic "am I seeing a ghost" look.

Had a great weekend, superb weather, a party with the gang, a swim at the lake.

Headed then to Kelowna, and met by my friends there, Heinz and Sylvie. Had a wonderful visit with them. Saw their new condo. They made many wonderful changes to the condo I had seen last time I was there. It is beautiful, right on Lake Kelowna, walking along the beach, boardwalk, walking to everything. Wonderful.

Up to Vernon, stayed with Rae and Brian, and looked at the painting. We bought a VERY BIG painting in South Africa and had it sent to Vernon, Tim imagining a wall it might fit on. Well, it is very big. Bigger than I thought. We'll see where it will hang. Saw our place, being so well looked after by our tenants/friends Ron and Jean. We are very lucky.

Kelowna to Vancouver fine, but Vancouver to Toronto not. An equipment change, to a smaller plane,  rendered Air Canada with a long standby list. The joys of flying the way we do. My 9:00 flight became the 10:00. then the 11:00, then the 12:00. I finally made it out to TO at 1:30.

Missed a dinner (with Elizabeth, Steve, his parents, Ray and Jan , and brother Chris) but came directly to the restaurant and got dessert!

Have been loving walking everywhere. The weather is perfect September weather, crystal bright blue cloudless sky, cool in the shade, hot in the sun, and cooling down at night. It is heaven. Or taking the TTC. I am like a tourist here and having fun.

Off to a bbq tonight at a friend Val's, tomorrow to Hamilton, to a shower for the bride of the Sept 28th wedding we are here for, on Sunday afternoon.

Then off to Southwinds in Bala for a few weeks. Alex has lent me his car, I will drive it down next Thursday and get a ride back up to Southwinds Friday with my brother-in-law Friday. Then I will be at Southwinds without a car, for a few weeks. That is a first! I do like making do without a car!

Hang in with me. Do not fade away. I will be back to exotic travelling, I promise. I am now starting to look at Myanmar, and a safari to India, with a yoga retreat attached.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Oh I am happy

I am back in Toronto, and seeing my kids. I am happy.

Flight over was as painless as it could be. I had a positive space on Tiger to get to Hong Kong. Then a comfortable 4 hour layover to get bags, and go to Air Canada. I got "J" seat. We had bought a "J" pass. You don't need to know the details, but there were J seats empty and I got one.

Even better, there was one seat open on take off, so Tim could look at the load and know I was on. Whether I slept or not, I never really know, but much shut-eye, and felt pretty good upon arrival. Alex and Heidi were there to greet me. Oh it was so wonderful. We never meet the flight, we arrange to drive past outside and pick up. It was wonderful to see them as I came out the door.

A visit with them, dinner with them (Elizabeth was in Muskoka and expected back Monday afternoon).
I am staying at Elizabeth's and went to bed early, not bad sleep, and was up early. I left the house, Elizabeth's apartment,  just before eight. Apparently she had come down late the night before and was going to surprise me by showing up at 8 a.m.! Best laid plans. She saw I was out and thought I must have gone for a walk. By ten she was wondering where I was. I had slowly made my way to Yorkdale to get my phone set up. As soon as it was hooked up there was a message from her- where are you? I had spoiled her surprise.

But also a message came in from my friend Dianne asking if I could come to Collingwood the next day. Ski buddies were doing a golf/pot luck BBQ and could I see the gang. Alex lent me his car, and I was not too sleepy, so I drove up for supper Tuesday. What fun. To see about 20 of my BC skiing buddies. Wonderful happenstance that I could make it on such short notice.

Am heading up to Southwinds this afternoon for the weekend. Elizabeth and Steve are coming. Also my dear niece Cindy and her two boys (3 and 5?). Can't wait.

I realize some things I miss and don't miss. How wonderful to get COLD water out of the taps. Singapore taps never give cold water. I can have a shower that is "cold". It is cool only. I find the lack of variety in the weather in Sg means getting dressed is a no brainer. Tank top, pants, sandals. That's it. Here, should I wear a sweater? wear closed in shoes? socks?OMG!, umbrella. In Singapore a no brainer, rain doesn't matter because if you get wet you dry so quickly. And I can walk outside. I don't do a lot of walking outside in Sg because it is so damn hot. It is wonderful to stretch my legs outside. And the parks in downtown TO are wonderful. Everything is so lush, because of all the rain.

I won't be posting as often in the next 2 months. No exotic trip, just hanging with my chillens and sisters and friends. Yum. I will back to Singapore and "exotic life" HA early October. with my sister Marne!!!

My tel # here is 416 420 6112. If any Toronto types want to text or call. I would love to get together. I have time!