Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Blogfodder

WHERE did the weekend go?
I have no idea. It went somewhere, though and I got nothing but a drool streak on the couch and a few photos to prove I did anything other than snooze.

On Saturday Dave and I ventured up the road to Port Sydney, where the welcome sign reads "Home to 800 Nice Families and 1 Old Grouch." The grouch in question certainly isn't my good friend Pamela Steel, who invited us up to her annual neighbourhood Sugaring Off Party.
Pamela (who happens to be a bestselling Canadian cookbook author) lives in a stretch of three or four homes where neighbours are more like family than merely good friends. They live in amongst a natural forest of sugar maples and, for several years now, have been tapping the trees and boiling down the sap together. They make an astounding fire over which an evaporator bubbles creating enough syrup for everybody. That's Dave and Pamela in the photo, above, which also features Cocoa, the family dog. Check out her ears in the picture – she looks like she's a helicopter about to take off.

That's me with Pamela. I look like a big red Hulk compared to her cute wee self. She is one of the nicest, funniest people I know with a big soft heart and a dazzling work ethic. If you entered my beaver writing contest, I may have sent you one of Pamela's cookbooks as part of your prize package.

The biggest surprise of the day was discovering Pamela's neighbour, Jo Walton, is from my home town of Markham, Ontario. Her maiden name was Zavitz and her father, in fact, was the well liked vice principal of Markham District High School. What a lovely person she is and, boy, does she look like her dad! Her brother Jeff was in the same grade as me. Jo's a wee bit younger. She's the Martha Stewart of the neighbourhood, creating huge feasts and family gatherings at the drop of a hat. Above, she makes maple candy for the delighted youngsters.

Today we mostly schlepped around the house in our pajamas. At one point we drove into town to pick some stuff up at the hardware store and on the way back we took the long way to see how other parts of the river are doing. Above is the rushing water at Muskoka Falls, a few miles west of us.

This is the dam at Trethewey Falls. For some reason the yellow safety barricade wasn't working. I guess that's how that dock floated down so close to the dam. We saw that dock in our section of the river about a week and a half ago. At the time it was still mired in ice. Then one day it floated away and we didn't see it again until today. Somebody, hopefully the owner, has tied it to a tree and will retrieve it when the water warms up. Docks are horribly expensive. Last year we built a teeney tiny one and it cost almost a thousand bucks. Crazy!!

Despite the bright sunshine it was still freakin' cold today. When we got up this morning it was a balmy 0 degrees outside. That's Dave on the Trethewey Falls bridge. Don't worry if you can't say Trethewey – we still have problems with that word. Try not to spit on anybody as you say it, ok?

This is the Muskoka River from the Trethewey bridge. Pretty, huh? There are hydro-electric dams spaced up and down along the river and this particular section, the one we live on, is about 10 km long. There are people living or cottaging along its banks but not at this end. We fished here last summer and we felt like we were a zillion miles away from civilization. Heaven.

A couple of shout-outs - one to my husband Dave who is beginning to post automotive advice on his blog, Bootcamp Dave. He's also more than willing to answer any questions you might have in that regard. His e-mail address is at the end of today's post. If you got car troubles, my man is the man you need to talk to.

And don't forget to pop by Mari's Randomites to see the story she wrote in my honour. On Tuesday she posted an interview we did and on Friday she posted the story she wrote with Dave and I as the main characters. How often do you get written into a story? Even better, she used many of the interview facts in the story so it mentions my fear of bears, my crush on Tony Soprano and my love for the colour pink. It's a fabulous, mind-blowing event and I want to thank Mari for her fun story and all her sweet comments. 
Make sure you pop in many times at Randomites in the next few weeks as she honours fellow blogger friends, including author Mizz Laura Eno and many others.

I haven't disappeared although it's true I haven't written a #fridayflash in the last two weeks. I'm going to try and refrain from writing a flash while I work on another writing project I've been dallying with. Having only so much time and energy, I thought it would be better to devote myself to the project rather than flash, if only for a while.
That doesn't mean I won't be submitting a story for Volume 2 of the Friday Flash anthology. I'm having a heck of a time choosing one story, though. I've written more than 50 since January 2010. Looking back on them, some are better than I remembered and some, meh, not so much. But I'm proud of all of them and grateful to #fridayflash. The weekly deadline and the support of the flash community was what drove me to do an incredible amount of writing. No way I'd have ever written that number of stories without flash. So thanks, Jon Strother, for coming up with such brilliance. And thanks, CJ, for inspiring me to try.

By the way, time is running out for you to enter my Knocked Up April Fool's door contest. Send me a photo of your door and then try to match up your favourite bloggers with their front doors. I am having a great time seeing everyone's doors and I know you will, too. Click that pink door badge at the top of my blog for details.

Finally, next week is Tony Noland's April Fool's blogswap, where a bunch of us flash writer types will be swapping blogs for the day. So yeah, I will have a story this week, if I can just get off my lazy arse and write one!

April Fool's day is also my son Angus' 14th birthday, as well as my Auntie Ellen's. I'm hoping both of them have a fabulous day and, Angus? Don't be expecting much, my sweet... mommy spent all her money on a Kindle. I hope you like your new underwear!!! 
Sorry, Auntie Ellen, I didn't get you any.
Maybe Angus will share?


  1. Hey, it's looking very spring-like there. The snow we've gotten the past few days makes me think that we've just started winter here on The Rock. Dave's looking a bit greyer in that married life doing that to him? (Har)

    Word verif- asshat

  2. Alan, when you saw Dave last fall his hair was dyed because of "the boo-boo" in which I tried to streak his hair weeks before the wedding and he looked like a bloody skunk and the hairdresser had to fix him up. I was NOT popular then, I'll tell ya.

  3. Isn't the river amazing? It's fast and cold. We live right across the street from a sugar bush!

  4. Great pics! Looks like you had a fun weekend. (Maple Candy!!! YUM.) :D

  5. Sounds like you had a great weekend. Maple Candy...I would have gotten down on my knees and pretended to be a kid for that. (at 5' 8" there is no way I could get away with it standing up)

    The pictures are great and your VP's daughter even has the same hairstyle as Martha Stewart.

  6. It may still be cold but it's gorgeous up there! And how great is a Sugaring Off party? Sounds like a pretty great weekend! Going to read your interview now.

  7. Pamela Steel, I know that name. Jonathan's father makes maple syrup in Magnetawan. We've never actually seen it done though. Sounds like you had a great weekend. And lookit Dave, all handsome on that bridge. You guys are the cutest couple in Ontario.

    PS: Taking a photo of my door this morning...

  8. Lovely picture of the river, Cathy! It's more or less how I imagined it, can you believe it? :)

    Thanks for the shout out! I'll be at Tony's blogswap too. Can't wait to see what you're coming up with!

    I'm thinking on submitting to BOFF #2 too... *hums* Which story, tho? O.O Same dilema here!

  9. Sounds like the perfect weekend. Awesomeness.

    Gorgeous photos, too!


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