Shut up and fish

Author with fish

I remember driving home years ago listening to the CBC, when this song came on the radio. It was about a guy whose wife gave him an ultimatum, saying if he went fishing that day, she’d pack up her bags and leave him. That was the first time I heard Brad Paisley’s The Fishing Song. The lyrics go something like this.

“Well, I’m gonna miss her,
When I get home.
But right now I’m on this lake shore,
And I’m sittin’ in the sun
I’m sure it’ll hit me
When I walk through that door tonight
That I’m gonna miss her
Well lookee there, I gotta bite…”

I mean really. Can you blame the guy? I would have went fishing too.

We went fishing tonight to cap off Father’s Day. Dave always said his favourite time to fish was Sunday nights, when the lake was quiet and he knew the cottagers were stuck in traffic on their commute back to the city.

It was a beautiful evening—still blissfully warm with blue skies and feathery clouds. A deer meandered down to the shore to drink in the cool lake water on our neighbour’s property as we cast in the weed beds. Owls serenaded us with their nightly calls in the distance.

Deer at lake

 

 

 

 

 

One of the many things I love about fishing is it is a time to be still and quiet. It’s great to talk and spend family time together, but sometimes it’s even better to just shut up and fish.

Clare and I each caught a rock bass; Dave had better luck the night before. Murphy sat on the dock and howled. It was a good night.

girl with fish

This week’s #HappyAct is to shut up and fish. Here is a video clips of Maddie and Tae’s Shut Up and Fish to get you in the mood.

Advertisements

Bring back Happy Days TV

Does anyone else wonder what happened to happy TV? Everything on TV is so dark these days.

Clare is a huge Archie comics fans, so when she heard they created a TV show based on the comic series, she was excited to start watching it on Netflix. I thought it might be fun to see how Archie, Jughead, Veronica, Betty and the gang were portrayed on the small screen, so I watched the first few episodes of Riverdale with her.

It became clear in the first ten minutes this was NOT the Archie comics I grew up with. Moose shot by a rogue serial killer, Veronica ordering hits on her ex-boyfriend, characters cruising the woods after dark looking for a potential hook up. WTF?!?

I miss the days of happy TV. The days of Friends, Seinfeld, The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, and yes, Happy Days, when teenagers were teenagers who hung out in soda shops or coffee shops, and when the biggest drama was who you were going to ask to prom.

We were telling Clare the other night about Fantasy Island, where people flew in (who can forget Tattoo yelling, “ze plane, ze plane”) each week to live out their fantasies and The Love Boat, where Julie, Isaac and the crew helped people find love by the end of each episode. Call me nostalgic, but I miss those shows.

When did shows like NCIS, Dexter, Breaking Bad, and The Walking Dead take over the airwaves? The next generation of dark TV is even darker, shows like 13 Reasons Why, Stranger Things and Riverdale, ridden with themes like suicide, murder and blackmail.

No wonder teenage mental health is in crisis. TV used to be a place where we could escape the harshness of the world; today angst, anxiety and negativity washes over us from the airwaves.

This week’s #HappyAct is to boycott dark TV. Let’s all call on Netflix and HBO and the networks to bring back happy days TV, shows with positive messages and themes. Clare last week said she’s had enough of Riverdale. Let’s follow her lead.

Ten happy facts to put a smile on your face

bunnies

If you’re having a bad day, sometimes just thinking something silly or happy can clear the clouds. Here are ten happy facts to put a smile on your face.

  1. Young giraffes have kindergarten. One adult female stays with the young in a herd to watch them during the day. Their spot is on a hill so that the other mothers can see how they are doing. Adults rotate duties but scientists still do not know how it is decided.
  2. You were once the youngest person in the whole universe.
  3. There is a basketball court on the top floor of the U.S. Supreme Court Building. It’s known as the “highest court in the land.”
  4. A group of bunnies is called a fluffle and a group of hedgehogs is called a prickle
  5. Wayne Allwine (the voice of Mickey Mouse) and Russi Taylor (the voice of Minnie Mouse) were married in real life. 
  6. Male penguins use pretty pebbles to propose to their mate.
  7. If you took the whole solar system and shrunk it down so that the Sun was at your head and the orbit of Pluto was at your feet, Uranus would be just where you’d expect it to be.
  8. Elephants produce the same chemical that we produce when we see something cute when looking at people.
  9. The dot above an i or j is called a tittle.
  10. There is always the possibility today could be the best day of your life.

Have a happy week! Ed. note: Most of these I lifted from a conversation on Reddit.

Stop and smell the lilacs

Lilacs in front of author's house

Washington is known for its magnificent cherry trees. Ottawa is known for its tulips. In my region, the unofficial flower is the lilac, and there’s no better time to come visit the area north of Kingston than now, when the roads and trails are infused with the intoxicating smell of our lavender treasure.

When I moved to this region more than 20 years ago and experienced my first spring, I was delighted and entranced to see the fields burst into soft purples and whites as the lilac bushes bloomed to life. Hundreds of years ago, wise farmers planted lilacs as wind breaks beside the roads and in fields. Today, if you choose your routes wisely, you drive down country lanes where the lilac bushes stretch in hedgerows for kilometres. It’s breathtaking.

I don’t remember ever seeing so many posts on Facebook and social media as this year of lilacs. I follow Jeff Scott who shares post from his blog, The Countryside View on Facebook. Scott and I need to get together because he blogged about this same topic last week, calling on Kingston and the Township of South Frontenac to explore how we could capitalize on the beauty of the lilacs in this region for tourism (you can read his blog post here.)

Several communities have lilac festivals—I’ve been to two in this area. Warkworth, a charming upcoming arts village near Peterborough hosts one every May. They created a Millennium Lilac Trail, (which is still maturing), and hold all kinds of events, including concerts, street sales and gardening forums to celebrate the lavender flower.

The Franktown Lilac Festival is a one-day event on the last Saturday in May, featuring wagon rides and walks through a field full of lilacs, a pancake breakfast, craft sales and more. Both festivals are a fun day for all ages.

Let’s hope one day soon, we’ll have a lilac festival in our region. The only thing that would make it even better, would be to combine it with a butter tart festival, featuring Mrs. Garrett’s butter tarts!

This week’s #HappyAct is to go for a drive north of the 401, find a country road, and roll down your windows to breathe in the beautiful aroma of lilacs.

lilac trees

white lilacs

 

 

 

 

Explore nature in a bioblitz

Wintergreen bioblitz banner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last December we participated in the annual Christmas bird count, North America’s longest running citizen scientist project. We recorded all our sightings and reported it to the National Audobon society, which uses the data to study trends.

The Christmas bird count is one example of a bioblitz—an intense period of biological surveying that records all living species in a designated area.

Next weekend, Wintergreen Studios near Westport is hosting its fourth annual Land Art BioBlitz for five days, from May 30th to June 3rd. All five days are free, and they invite you to come and explore their 200-acre property and learn more about sustainability, and the biodiversity of our region. The idea is to bring together scientists, naturalists, and the general public to track and learn about wildlife identification and explore the outdoors.

You can drop in any time—no registration is necessary and the events are geared to all ages. Over the course of the five days, there are workshops, guided hikes, music jam sessions featuring sounds of nature, art installations and forest therapy walks. Matt Ellerbeck, the snake man will be there and they’re even holding a square dancing session/astronomy lesson under the stars.

If you’ve never been to Wintergreen Studios, it’s a marvel and a treat. The main lodge is straw-bale construction. There’s a small cut-out in one of the walls so you can see the thickness of the bale. We’ve mainly attended dinner concerts there and have always had a wonderful time.

This week’s #HappyAct is to get back to nature this spring and learn something new about sustainability and the biodiversity of your region.

More happyacts on biodiversity

Have a mother daughter paint nite

Painting of me

Last week, Clare’s school organized a paint nite, hosted by Salmon River studios in Tamworth.

Our project was to paint a portrait of each other. Our instructor Gabriel had us sit across from our partner, then showed us the technique of drawing the person first, then using a pastel outline, finished by light watercolours to complete our portrait.

Since most people who aren’t artists feel inhibited by portraits, Gabriel had us do a short three-minute warm-up activity. We had to stare at our partner and do a pencil drawing of the person without looking at our paper. The results were pretty funny, but I actually liked my blind pencil sketch of Clare better than my portrait of her.

It was inspiring to see the creativity in the room and the final portraits after the hour was over. Some of the kids used bold colours, painting their parents like cartoon characters or caricatures. One Dad painted his daughter as an amazing fairy-like Jedi. There were some incredible likenesses, and all were very special.

One tip Gabriel shared: when drawing portraits, there’s a tendency to make people’s eyes too close together. The distance between the eyes should be the same as the width of the eye itself.

I spoke to Gabriel afterwards, and he said while some instructors follow a very prescribed approach, he prefers to provide just a few simple instructions, then give people’s creativity full reign.

I especially loved that Clare painted me more beautiful than I actually am.

This week’s #HappyAct is to have a paint nite. I should add that while this is a perfect parent/child activity (perfect for Mother’s Day!), this would be a great activity for any teambuilding event, birthday party, or girls fun night.

More about Salmon River Studios: Located in Tamworth, the studio runs summer arts camps for kids, Sunday afternoon pottery workshops for all ages, school programs and more. Check out their website and sign up for a course today.

Drawing of girl
My pencil sketch of Clare

Group paint nite photo

 

In quest of the ultimate tacky souvenir

Donald Trump bottle opener

This year for our family vacation, we spent a week in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina in April. As always, we had a great time exploring the area, hanging on the beach and enjoying some much needed sunshine after a long Canadian winter.

Just like most tourists, we scour the souvenir shops looking for the perfect souvenir to remember our trip.

This trip I SCORED BIG.

I found one of my favourite souvenirs of all time, and it didn’t cost me a dime. I ordered a Shark Bite, a refreshing mix of rum, blue curacao and grenadine, and it came in the most classic, Jaws-dropping, great white and blue shark mug.

And then, just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, I found a souvenir that scored 11 (1 better) on the tacky souvenir scale.

It’s a fridge magnet bottle opener of Trump with bright orange hair in a blue suit. The hole where you crack open your beer is Trump’s pie-hole flashing a ghastly teethy grin, like he’s hailing-to-the-chief expletives at Omarosa, Spence or Comey or defending himself at his impeachment hearing in Congress.

I will treasure it for always.

This week’s #HappyAct is to seek the ultimate tacky souvenir. I’ve thrown down the gauntlet. See if you can trump mine.

souvenir shark mug