Thursday, June 28, 2012

Views from Centre Island

Saturday was my first time going to Centre Island. It was a hot, blue-skied day, and even though I got badly sunburnt and exhausted by the end of the day, I thoroughly enjoyed it and plan on returning as often as I can this summer!

I think that if I didn't have these adventuring weekends, I would go insane. My husband and I are both still desperately looking for jobs. The silent phone is so discouraging and frustrating, but we're still trying, and that's all we can do. Staying busy keeps my mind from taking a downhill turn.

One of two Geocaches that we found! In this one I finally dropped off the travel bug that's been sitting at our place for the past two weeks. We ran across another trio of cachers who took the bug shortly after we placed it, and now it's off on new adventures :)

I hope you Canadians have a great long weekend! I'll have more pictures for you guys on Monday!


Monday, June 18, 2012

The Virginia Accent

The biggest problem - and it's not really a problem, just a severe annoyance - with living in Canada is that everyone notices my slight southern twang. I mean EVERYONE. Because of my anxiety disorder, I dislike drawing attention to myself, but as soon as I open my mouth, I catch it.

I get everything from "what a cute little accent!" to "you're definitely not from around here, are you?", "Oh, you're American??", "Wow, you're the only smart American I've ever met!", followed promptly by a delighted imitation of my speech, a chuckle, a stare as though I'm an unwelcome visitor, or (and this is the most common), an insult about the USA and Americans. Anything to try and rile me up.

This is the opposite of what I used to get in Virginia. Down there, no one ever heard a southern accent in my words, but instead they thought I was straight from the north! This displeased some people, because there's a general Yankee-hating attitude around where I lived. I'd get a lot of comments on it. One time, one of my coworkers even said, "We're working on getting that northern poison out of her blood!". Eek!

I understand that the USA has a lot of idiotic people and idiotic politicians. I don't try to pretend that the country I come from is in any way perfect. It's far from it! But really, what do people expect me to say when they come up to me, knowing I'm from the US, and openly dole out insults?

Really, it's no different from me insulting the homeland or countrymen of any immigrant, whether they're from Italy, or Russia, or India, or the Philippines, or Ireland, or anywhere in the world. It's incredibly rude. It's one thing if you know a person well and can lightly joke with them, but complete strangers? It doesn't matter if I'm from the country that everyone hates. That's just not a good excuse.

I realized that I've been trying my hardest to "get rid of" my accent, so that people wouldn't notice it any more and would think me as just another Canadian. But I see how silly this is. I may have been born in western New York, but I lived most of my life in north-central Kentucky and southwest Virginia. My slight accent is my voice seasoned with memories, living, and loving.

I'm a northern girl at heart, always have been, and now I will be for the rest of my life. Yes, according to some, I'm just redneck trailer trash, a stupid American, etc. But who I am doesn't matter but to those who matter to me.

One day I shall conquer the north with sweet tea and biscuits & gravy!

So there, eh?


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

My container garden this week!

Freshly watered as the sun began going down (I took this pic around 7:30).

My cucumber plant is trying to climb right on out! It's got several little vines curling all over the place, too. I ended up moving it away from the tomato plants because it was fixing to latch on.

I was checking the cucumber plant and I spotted this! Congratulations, it's a little... uh... cucumber!!

My garlic is finally growing! Yay!

I'm so impressed with how well my little garden is doing. If all continues to go well, the size of the garden will be increased next spring. I want to find some really deep containers to plant carrots and potatoes in. Maybe I'll try radishes and broccoli as well!

The weather is still yo-yoing around here. The past couple of days were ridiculously hot and we had smog advisories up, but that didn't stop me from talking super long walks that left me exhausted and dripping sweat. My MIL and I geocached the other evening and it started pouring down rain on us; by the time I had finished diving into the tree, getting scratched and my pants ripped before I finally extricated the lock & lock container, we were completely soaked through despite our umbrellas.

And guess what, today I have a cold.

But for REALLY GREAT NEWS, Trevor's finally gotten a job and started this evening at Dolce Camerata! It's a neat little cafe that opened up a few months back in Centerpoint Mall. The general manager is great and he and Trevor get along wonderfully. He's wanting to open another location soon and make Trevor manager of this one, and he wants to hire me to make a banner poster that he'll get printed! I'm not going to count chickens before they hatch, but I'm really, really excited for Trevor. He's so happy and stress-free right now, which in turn makes ME happy! :)


Monday, June 11, 2012

Damselflies and Geocaching

Have you guys heard of Geocaching? If you haven't, why not? It's a worldwide, real-life, outdoor treasure hunt game. Sign up, plug in coordinates to your GPS-enabled device, and off you go to find all the hidden containers--called geocaches--in your area and beyond.

My MIL and I got into geocaching about two weeks ago thanks to our friend Jeff. So far, she's logged three geocaches and I've logged two. There are so many in our area, I can't believe it! I want to find them all!

We found a small, basic cache at Oak Bank Park two weeks ago...
It contained a tiny log, which we signed, then we logged our find online and left a comment!

Yesterday we went walking with a family friend, Carol, to Pomona Mills Park here in Thornhill. It's one of our favourite spots, and it stays nice and cool from the blazing June sun. We knew there was a geocache at the entrance of the park, so we began hunting for it. After my MIL got attacked by stinging nettles, she retrieved the cache and we took it to a bench where nobody could see us (in geocaching, you have to be VERY careful that people don't see you retrieving or placing caches, because they run a high risk of getting stolen and countless numbers of them have).

Like most geocaches, this one contained small trinkets. It also contained a travel bug, which I'm very excited about! A travel bug is a small item that has a code on it, and it can be tracked online. It's not a trinket that a cacher can keep; they have to move it to another cache as soon as possible. This one originated in New Hampshire. I would love to move it north to Lake Simcoe or Muskoka or something, but I might place it closer than that since it needs to happen ASAP. It may just wind up in the cache at the end of the Leslie Spit in Toronto this weekend!

Besides the excitement of geocaching, we also came across some gorgeous ebony jewelwing damselflies fluttering all over the riverbanks. I had never seen these before. It was like we had come across faeryland.

The brightly coloured males were aggressively pursuing the paler females; I learned later (thanks, Wikipedia!) that they mate in the summertime.

Here's a shot of the Don River and one of several beaver dams :)

I hope you all have a lovely Monday and don't melt in this heat! I'll update in the next couple of days with how my container garden is progressing, and then again on the weekend after we hit the St. Lawrence Market and the Leslie Spit! :)

Monday, June 4, 2012

St. Jacob's (Photo Heavy!)

Hi guys! This past Saturday, I FINALLY got to explore bits more of Ontario that I'd never seen before. We went on a mini road trip with family friend Jeff to St. Jacob's. I tell ya, the only bits of Ontario I've seen outside of the York Region have been Brampton, Newmarket, the area leading up to Tichborne, and then from Toronto down to Niagara Falls. We went through Kitchener-Waterloo, then found ourselves at the St. Jacob's farmers market.

Approaching the Niagara Escarpment. This reminds me a little of the lower mountains of West Virginia.

The trip there was roughly two hours long. Because of terrible weather, we didn't spend a lot of time at the booths and stalls outdoors and decided to head inside where it was warm and dry. Forgive the terrible quality of these next few photos... :)

We wandered out into the next building, which wasn't as big but was still full of awesome stuff. I got a pickle on a stick, Trevor got some food into him to quiet his grumpiness, and then we ventured back outside as the skies let up. Jeff and Elisa got roasted corn on the cob, and Trevor got a delicious pulled pork sandwich and a deep-fried Mars Bar.

On our way out, we went food shopping! We came away with focaccia, candy apples, lots of gorgeous and HUGE produce, and Jeff bought American Hershey Kisses that tasted a LOT waxier and stranger than Canadian Kisses. Wow. I had never noticed the Kisses thing before!

Next, we explored the quaint little town of St. Jacob's. This included a Mennonite museum, an Anglican church that had been turned into an awesome toy store, a scrapbooking store, and a set of silos that had been repurposed into an art and craft gallery. The building beside the silos had a home hardware museum in the basement; a Scottish store, beadery & cafe, and other handmade goods on the first floor; a maple museum on the third floor; and a model train museum on the third floor.

We walked down to the banks of the Grand River, which you could see in one of the above model train depictions! The skies finally cleared and revealed a hazy, pale sun.

Then we piled up with all our goodies and started back home. We took a different route this time, hitting Guelph, Acton, and more. I've got to say, the Ontario countryside is very green and refreshing to the eyes. However, as I've lived in this type of setting for my entire life, I'm definitely not ready to get a driver's license and leave my lovely urban area just yet! LOL

At around 7:30, we discovered a Denny's in Brampton and Jeff had to pull a u-turn to get to it! LOL. Trevor and I hadn't eaten at a Denny's in four years, so it was a real treat. I had to laugh at seeing grits and country fried steak on the menu and my tablemates gawking at both.

Psst, Trevor ordered the country fried steak on my recommendation and he LOVES it! Now to just introduce him to biscuits 'n gravy, proper American KFC (seriously, what is with the lack of mashed taters & gravy, biscuits, sweet tea, and true cole slaw at the KFCs here??), and chili dogs! ;)
Ahead of us was a huge thunderstorm that was tracking toward Toronto. We rode behind it all the way home, and it wasn't long before Trevor and I had passed out from our awesome day =)

This is a GPS map of our trip. What an awesome day! I can already mark this up to being one of my favourite memories of 2012.