Thursday, October 9, 2014

Oh my it has been so long

Why things are so busy I do not know.

Our garage plods along. It is a gorgeous colour of navy blue. I am thrilled with the colour. I have not seen any home/garage with this colour. I will take a pic which I am sure will not show it to advantage.
We have been working with a designer. He is wonderful. Gerald. He saves us much wandering the internet. We asked him to give us some ideas for the house next year. He said he would come up with a few. He sent the first one and we said don't bother with any more. We LOVE what you have designed. The work on the house should start next Sept 2015.

The navy just does not copy. This looks flat and dull. It's not. It is rich.

I am in the sprint position to head back to Singapore. The last six months, YES SIX MONTHS. have been interesting. The planning of garage takes a great deal of time. Buying anything involves searching on the internet, then shopping an hour away.

I got out of doing yoga. The summer classes, which are done on a private dock were just okay. I think any class would be a distant second to my experience in Singapore. Also the classes started at 8:30. Just that little bit earlier. I am relishing sleeping, after years of very poor sleep. So I just don't make it for 8:30.

Then I was gardening, and kneeling on stone. My knee hurt but I thought oh it will be fine tomorrow. But then tomorrow I was kneeling for another 4 hours. Oh well, it will take a little longer to feel better. Well, 6 weeks later it was still very painful, in fact more painful than the next day. Long story short I am doing physio for an MCL. So as a result, out of shape, out of exercising, and feeling it and looking it. Weight on. YUCK

Two weeks until we head back to Singapore. I can not believe it has been 6 months. As I think of packing, I have to tell myself, I do not need long sleeves, in fact not short sleeves, just tank top. We plan my yoga retreat in Phuket, go sailing with our dear friend Norm, go biking in Vietnam, and go to Laos. Be away about a month. Home end of November and then off to BC! Yikes.

We had visitors from Germany. Our nanny when Elizabeth was born, Annette Appel and her husband Berndt. It was wonderful to see them and to get together with the kids. A photo of 28 years later.

Norm came for a week. He is the gentlest, most friendly, interesting guy. I do love him. He has become a very important person in our lives.

The colours are as beautiful as I have ever seen them. Of course flying over them is spectacular. We
have had some lovely flights

But it is very much the end of summer. It is 7', windy and wet. We will start putting things away for the winter. We have a trip  to TO and have been invited to the Toronto Art Show. We will pick up a painting we bought at the Affordable Art Show in Singapore last year. To save shipping we waited and had the gallery bring it over with their stock for this show. I am excited to see it.

Repatriating is tricky. We have come back to a new/old place. A place we know very well. but new to us as our home. We are living in a small town. Through the summer it had a vibrancy. But now it is grey Fall, and the population from 5000 to 350. We have an election which has a very divisive nature. The issues have polarized folks into for or against. It is sad to see.

Thanks for hanging in with me, blogging buddies.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Yikes busy but progress to show

It has been ages. It is busy

This is a luna moth caterpillar. As big around as my fifth finger, and longer. Beautiful colours. One of the landscapers was studying this branch of a tree he was taking down. Then he got his phone out to take a pic. I went out to see what he was photographing, and this was it. The moth that comes out is big too. And exquisite colouring. Somewhat similar to this colouring. A soft green with big turquoise spots. Beautiful. I hope he stayed in the area and I might see him transformed.

I was at a wedding in the country and started to eat a rib of pork. A wasp was interested in the same piece. I thought I had shooed him away, but didn't and he bit me on the inside of my lip. Oh my, did it hurt. Benadryl did not help. It took about a week to go away. Ouch.

The garage is above ground, enclosed in plastic, shingles on the roof. Tomorrow the siding, next day the windows, and Wednesday the cement floor.  The electrical and plumbing to go. Tim is looking at a Danish toilet that does not require septic. Completely self-sufficient. More on the that later.

Our landscaping is done. I thought I would do the planting now. But we are doing stuff to the house, including reroofing, so I want to give the workmen 6' perimeter to work. So I am only transplanting the flowers I rescued before the landscaping started. The real garden will have to wait.

Our patio is lovely. In shade all day til about 4 in the afternoon mid August.  Lovely to have shade to eat at, at lunch.

It is all coming along. It is always slower than you wish, but it is fun to see it transform.

Hang in there blogging buddies. Who ever you are!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Some better photos.

No photo captures the real effect. At least not my photos.
From what will be a stone patio down to the lake with our dock and red Muskoka chairs.

These stairs are amazing. He works with a level to set them. He has a stone cutter to slice the sides of the stones to give an even edge.

From our dock up the steps to the digger at the patio. See our steps in to the water on the right. This is an alternative to digging a sand beach. Minimal change to the shoreline for water habitat.
Steps are sort of hidden a little from the dock. Lovely. Sand under the hammock. A sitting area that is right at the water but in shade all day.

Of course our other dock happily docking CF-LIL and our sea-doo named Evie. My mother (Evelyn/Evie) did not like sea-doos. But that was because they used to be so noisy. This one is quiet. I am sure she would love it. It is  SO much fun.

Here is our plastic wrapped garage. That orange beam could hold up a 747, or an ocean liner, or a ....
The view will be lovely.

So we are above ground. I don't even have an up to date photo. We have three guys working. Today they were on the ceiling of the first floor  putting up the beam for the roof on the second floor. It is massive. Should hold up 10 times the weight of snow from this past winter. The regulations are just so overkill says our builder Al. Our cottage next door which has been up for 100 years has no such beam.

Again, this photo is out dated. I would update the photo but I have lost the wonderful lens on my iPhone. I dropped the phone from a height of 2 feet out of my pocket on a cement floor. It slivered into broken glass. So I found a guy who can replace the back glass panel of the phone for $20. Sounds great. But the camera lens is like it is covered in vaseline. So back to Bracebridge tomorrow to see about this.

It is fascinating watching this guy moving these rocks. The pieces are easily 4'X4'X 6". Huge. He picks them up and places them down like they are feathers. It truly looks like ballet. I am the first to tell him he looks like ballet.

We have been having great weather. No more bugs. Sitting at the dock good. A slight overcast, so not deadly hot. Just perfect. Workers have had dry days. But it is dusty work. My ballet dancer out front at the stone patio kindly sprinkled the hose on his work to keep the dust down. 

It is very exciting. Slow motion, but exciting. I am going to go out now and take up to date photos to post.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Garage is above ground. Now it should seem to go faster.

It seems that this job is so slow. The prep work always seems to go slowly. You don't see the progress. And our builder Al says everything that can go wrong has gone wrong with the Township and permits and bureaucracy. I am totally happy. Remind me of this when I am steaming mad at the slow progress.

We have the cement floor poured, the inspector in, and the walls went up today. So we can see where the doors and windows will be. It is very exciting.

We had a family reunion on the weekend. The Callaghans. My mother's family. This very weird being a Callahan. My mom was a Callaghan, married Walter McAdam, so I grew up McAdam, and then  I married a Callahan. So this was a reunion of my Mom's family. My great grandfather Callaghan bought here in Bala in the early 1900's. I am fourth generation on this land. And am named Callahan.  It is sort of weird.
We had over 100 show up, some I had never met, grand children of my cousins. My Mother's progeny counted for over 30 of them! It was a wonderful day.

I just have to add photos of my kids. Alex and Heidi

Elizabeth and Steve.

My Aunt Gracey Callaghan, the lone representative of my Mom's generation. She is the widow of my Mom's brother John

Our place is a hive of activity. Along with the garage guys, we have the landscapers. Very exciting. Doing hard scape, rocks, stone patio, stone paths. The rocks they have are magnificent.

You are very patient if you are still reading. Thanks

Sunday, July 6, 2014

My golly it has been weeks!! So much for wondering how to keep busy in retirement.

So we are doing a garage. And I know I should double the price and double the time. We naively thought it would start May 1. Well that was the first mistake. We, two months later, have a pit in the driveway, which in heavy rain looks like a moat. The preparation for the garage takes a bit. Some very beautiful trees had to be taken down. Some very big ones.

We had a sawyer come on the property and he milled our large trees. We have beautiful oak, maple and pine. Some beautiful lengths. And we have a maple plank 10" deep, 5 '' high and 12' long with a live edge. (bark left on) We hope to use it for a mantle piece.

The trunks of these huge trees had to be dug up and we have a very low part of the property. In the past we have loaded all our leaves when raking in the Spring to this area. It is a joke to think we could fill this to make it less wet. We have had the soil dug out of the garage site taken to this corner of the property. We had a little road, because of all treks back and forth. The roots of these magnificent trees were dug up and carted over there too. One was so huge it took two diggers to get it over there. They thought it was a tonne!!!

Tim and Elizabeth did the Ride for the Cure early June. They were team Callahan The Peddlejets.
It was two days of 100 k's a day. They had a ball. Tim was surprised that he did not feel badly the next day. Don't you love E's hat "Look mommy no hands".

We have had some lovely weather and much sitting on our new dock. We have a Blue Heron who flies past daily. We have a resident mink. I watched him swim from across the way. He did sort of a breast stroke. Up for a breath, underwater for a bit, and up for a breath and then swim underwater a bit. We have seen foxes, deer, and the best was this snapping turtle. He was trying to cross the highway. His head and legs are the size of my fist. He looked like a senior citizen. There is one on our lake that has painted on his belly "1932". I think it is even bigger that this one I saw.
 It is so wonderful to see nature. We are on a busy highway and close to the road. To know some animals are still happy to be here.

This is why I am so happy. Here is the table set for supper, a fire in the fireplace. It is lovely.

I did a 5 k yesterday. Power walking. I had been doing 5 k, but my time was not what it was 10 years ago when I did the last one. Well, the day of the race, I got caught up in the energy of the crowd, and worked hard. I did my personal best, besting my time ten years ago. I was very happy with my result. I was hoping to do a half marathon for my 70th, having done one for my 60th. But my foot which has had surgery on it, was not happy at all after 35 minutes, so a 3 hour half (my time) my foot would not like. So I will just try to keep besting my time on a 5 k.

I hope I post more regularly. I wonder who actually visits. It says still about 70 hits a week. I am very surprised. Patient friends? Not sure.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Things are starting

Our project of building a garage has started.Slowly. By inches. Tree guys are here for the second day. They only work half a day. Don't know why. It is not because it gets too hot in the afternoon. It is 11 o'clock on morning of June 5, and it is 9'. That would be cold for the 5 of May. It is like a cold, very cool, October morning. But the sun is not right for Oct. The trees are not right for October.

We are looking at a patch of logs. Beautiful oak and pine, maybe 20" in diameter are down,  in long chunks, to be piled for the sawyer. A portable saw will come on the property and mill us lumber. To watch the two men work. One climbs the tree, with spurs on, and he ropes himself in, and jabs his feet in to the trunk and climbs up. With a chain saw roped to his belt. He then lops off the big branches, and then 10/12' pieces of the trunk. They then drag the branches to a corner of our property that is low ground. We will have a chipper come in and chip these big branches to put as filler in this low land. Another pile of the big long logs are piled for the sawyer.

Here is the patch of downed trees.

The trunk of this topped off oak is probably 20" in diameter.

The other day we saw a fox go by the front of the house. They always seem so majestic. This one stopped to check us out. Maybe 10 seconds stare, then casually sauntered off.

I had a lovely weekend last weekend.  I have spoken of how I yearned for a feeling of belonging. In Singapore, I knew so few, and none with a shared history. Well, I am finding that in spades here. Saturday night we were invited to dinner with a friend of mine from high school. Jane Templeton. A girl who grew up in Bala. We were summertime friends. We have said hello over the years, but she married at 18, and started her family right away. She has a daughter 50, and she has great grandchildren. She is so a lap ahead of me. But we had a wonderful time. At dinner were some old Balaites, and we talked the olden days. Like 50-60 years ago. Summers in Bala. Jane has just bought an old original Muskoka cottage. It is fabulous, but it will be their home, so in fact they will tear it down. She feels guilty doing that, but it just won't work as a full time year round residence.

That weekend at church, we were asked to read. First time I have ever seen Tim read. I have many times, but not up here. We both read, and people came up to us after to chat. Who were we, new to town? and we left church feeling we had made a lovely connection with our church community.

Had company up this week. Dianne and I were out for a drive, stopped in Port Carling. Saw the Wenonah pass throughout the locks. I have not been there at the right time since I was a kid, maybe 60-65 years ago!. It really is a wonderful thing to watch. This steam boat going from Lake Muskoka to Lake Rosseau, throughout the locks that allow for the 12" or so water level change.

This weekend Tim and Elizabeth are doing the Ride for the Cure. Bike Toronto/Hamilton Saturday, and Hamilton/Niagara on the Lake Sunday. I will tag a long in the truck and get them back to TO Sunday. Tim has been training, did a 90 k the other day. It will be 100 k but for two consecutive days. The second day will be the killer. I will take the day Sunday as a tourist in Niagara on the Lake. Looking forward to that.

But looking more forward to the new dock arriving next Thursday!! And the garage finishing. Great excitement. Even greater patience.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Hey wait just a minute.

We are retired! We are supposed to have all the time in the world. Well one big HA to that. 

It is crazy busy. We are north, settling in to Bala (pop 400) and loving it. But much to do.

We have met with our builder Al. But our request for a variance wasn't through council, and just passed last week. We planned this last September. Urgh. So we now wait the 20 days for neighbours to complain. I was joking with our neighbour, my nephew, Gord Wade, and he said he was joining the class action suit against our permit. Ha.

We can start taking down trees. But I don't see any tree guys around. Urgh.
Life this time round for me , is a lesson in patience. 

So here is a photo of us leaving Singapore. Dramatic exit.

Here are our suitcases in the airport. We usually travel very light, but we sure didn't this time! Seven, count 'em, seven suitcases! But that all got through and on and home, and we didn't even have to pay extra. I do not know how that happened, but I wasn't about to ask questions.

Now Momma is happy. We stayed at my sister Marnie's and the first night the kids came up for pizza and beer. It was, needless to say. wonderful to see them and be back in the fold.

Elizabeth and Steve

The first week home had lots to do. Get an Ontario driver's licence. A temporary one here and mine is in the mail. I don't even need a medical. In Sg you need a medical as of 65 and every year thereafter!.

BothTim and I bought cars. I bought the smallest one I could get- a mini cooper, and Tim bought the biggest he could -  a Ram 1500 truck.

In Bala, a lovely goldfinch is fascinated with himself and perches on the door of the car, or truck, to gaze at himself in the rearview mirror. BUT he poops on my new car!

There is much to be done. We furnished our 4 bedroom apartment in Singapore with IKEA. We then gave it to the thrift shop at our church when we left. Now we are buying at IKEA for here. At least we are getting good at putting stuff together. We have to get storage things. Oh so much stuff to stuff in to a "cottage" that was design with very little storage. It's a cottage right? Not now. So many summer clothes. A full twelve month's worth, not just the summer months here, but 12 months in Sg. Mr IKEA handyman manages a smile, it is getting so easy for him.

This is what it is all about. Home to kids. And home to family. My two sisters. My twin sister on the left, my younger sister Marnie in the middle, and me (the one taking the selfie, looking like a deer caught in the headlights). We had three days together. Marnie and I went to stay with Judy in Port Colburne. It was food for the soul. And the heart. And all that is good.

This is what I wake up to. Glassy water, sunlight through the pines,  so peaceful, so quiet, so beautiful. Culture shock from Singapore, population 5 million, and an energetic huge bustling vibrant centre. To Bala, Long Lake, population 400. I am fourth generation on this property. From a feeling of no roots and being disconnected from all I knew when I moved to Singapore, to Bala, where my roots run deep, and I am so honoured to be here.

Tim had lit me a fire. I will now put my feet up, snuggle in to the fireside. Oh how I dreamed of this. I am living my dream!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Wow is this busy

I so appreciate that you check in for a new post. I can see that many still connect. I am so busy. I have much to say but just can not do it justice yet, so hang in with me, and I will be back. It is an amazing repatriation. A mind bender.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Tim's last day wearing a tie

Tim is on his last flight. He will get in 5 pm, and a group meets his last flight. Five of us are going out to be at Arrivals. Some management will be there and they do a little thing and cut his tie off. Last flight that Tim will wear a tie. He still has his little airplane that will sit at the dock at Southwinds, but no tie need. No shoes needed. No shirt needed.

But his last flight in a uniform, and this is the last photo of the "twins" at Tiger. Everybody confused Rod with Tim. They both look alike!? I guess to the Asians. But Tim is known as "the nice one" says Rod. They joined at the same time at Air Canada, were in line together signing up, and followed each other, one number away in seniority for 33 years. But funnily enough, Rod, 3 months older, retired before Tim, so Tim now has priority over Rod at AC. Finally a catch up.

I am really thinking I am going to find a closet full of junk that I have not dealt with. I had NOTHING to do yesterday so went off to Gardens by the Bay to see the tulip showing. It was voluptuous. The scent of tulips, the mass of colours. I have a zillion pics (at least) but will post two. Wafts of colours, and wafts of that delicate scent. It fed my soul. And primed me for my first Ontario Spring in three years. Whoopppee!

I find myself saying goodbye to things and people. I remember doing that when were packing from Connaught Circle, but wish I had a stronger memory of those farewells. So here are some for Singapore. The iconic Marina Bay Sands Resort downtown, the a amazing infinity pool on top, the views of the city magnificent, the logistics of the engineering with the curve supporting what is at the top. I love it. It commands a view from all over, it is the first place I suggest visitors go to, and I am so glad we did a staycation and I experienced that roof top pool.

Our apartment. 23-05 of Aquamarine Tower at 50 Bayshore Park, on Bayshore Road. The condo complex is wonderful. The grounds are very green and quiet and spacious, and wonderfully landscaped. (except the fake grass they have started to put in!)

The view from our now empty balcony. A somber day with some haze. I have heard that the haze is coming soon and going to be worse that last year (is it possible?) and for 2 months. Yuck.

So the last flight tonight. The party tomorrow night, then Friday Saturday empty !!! and we fly out very early Sunday. To Hong Kong. And then standby to TO. With 6 oversized suitcases, ($$$) and oversold flights. We could get in as early as Sunday night. 12 hours in the plane and get to TO the same time we left HK.

So this might be the last post from Singapore. Or it might not be.