Wednesday, December 30, 2009

It Went like This...

The eve of 2009 gives me pause to reflect on the previous year’s accomplishments and look forward to the possibilities coming up. I see this time of the year as a magical period where anything is possible as I renew and create new intentions.

I reviewed my blog and was able to recreate some memorable moments of the past year.

The only New Year’s resolution I made in 2009 was to take Fridays off work, and I was more or less was able to do that, making this year the best year for reading books.

I read tons of great books this year, but I really, really, really, enjoyed Stieg Larsson’s trilogy. As luck would have it, I received from my hubby the last book of the trilogy for my birthday in December. Because it is not yet released in Canada he had to order it from Amazon UK and I am so glad he did. Yay!!! I am therefore blissfully ending the year reading “The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest”. I highly recommend you read all three books because in my humble opinion they are the BEST books ever.

The concert highlight of the year was seeing Leonard Cohen in concert at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. Wow!!! Double wow!!!

In 2009 I had my first vegetable garden! It was not very big but I harvested green onions, carrots, zucchini, two types of lettuce, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and various herbs. In 2010 I am going to be adding even more vegetables. But will have less lettuce because I had too many lettuce plants last season. I didn’t realize that with lettuce one could just trim the tops of the plant and it would keep growing all summer. My whole family loved the garden and helped with the harvesting. Absolutely nothing compares to vegetables fresh from the garden.

I blogged a lot about tea, here, here, and here. I must enjoy it immensely!

Sadly, the 2009 summer was a dry one. In that we didn’t have use of our swimming pool because when the old liner was removed we noticed some serious damage to the concrete putting into question the integrity of the pool. Since we plan to rebuild our house we thought it best to not invest into the pool until we have a design of the new layout.

On the bright side, a new experience for me was staying at a B&B not too far from Ottawa, which opened my mind to the possibility of staying at B&Bs in our plan trip to Scotland in 2010. Staying at this B&B coincided with another new experience, sending our son off with his schoolmates for nine days of camping in Quebec. It was the longest we have been apart!!! Fortunately, I was being pampered at Hummingbird Hill B&B Spa, creating a wonderful distraction while hubby went to meetings during the day.

I was lucky to have been able to visit briefly with my mom, some family and friends while on business trips out west. In the fall, I had a surprise visit when my cousin from Fort Chipewyan showed up in Ottawa. I had not seen him in about 20 years, and what’s up with the fact that he didn’t gain an ounce? He and his girlfriend joined me for a lovely lunch at Sweetgrass Bistro in the Market. Later, they sent me a surprise package with homemade jams and dried fish. I’m never losing contact with them again.

What do you do when there are no cookies in the house... my son baked his first batch of cookies all my himself, skyped me at work and showed me.

On the whole, I experienced a magnificent 2009 where I renewed contact with old friends and family, made new friends, wrote more, and laughed more. My very favorite pastime is spent at home, drinking tea, and enjoying the company of my family,dog, and fish.

A 2010 intention:
Inspired by the foodie blogs I read (check the blogs to the right)…to cook more healthy and creative meals! Now all I need is a sharp knife and willing taste testers. Awww, where are my hubby and son? Ok, I’ll bake some sweets too, guys, come back!

Cheers! Wishing 2010 brings you health, happiness, and peace!!!

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Saturday, December 26, 2009 What?

A neatly decorated Christmas cake.Image via Wikipedia

I guess, I wasn't as over it as I thought I was. Before the holidays I checked a name on facebook and noticed that a former friend had a facebook profile. I debated with myself before sending her a Christmas message. I never expected her to respond, but she did, and with an equally nice seasons greetings.

I admit, based on our history I was surprised she responded at all. Although, I am very pleased she did, it was as if the universe sent me a special gift. But does this change anything, after all, she didn't add me as a friend or anything. I hope we will be able to pick up where we left off before it all fell apart.

"It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend" William Blake

P.S. Just got a friend invite : )

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

It's the Season to be Stressed...

The stress can begin with the first real appearance of winter. And so it begins; it has been snowing off and on for the last several days. For the most part, I enjoy the snow. What I mean is the new white fluffy powder that is easy to shovel, ski and walk on. However, it invariably turns heavy and dense, not to mention into slippery stuff thus less likable. It is officially a winter wonderland in Ontario, beautiful, but you have to either love it or be miserable for the next five months. I choose to love it. Okay, I don’t always love it, but do you blame me, after all winter is months too darn long?

However, it not just the snow and inclement weather that creates the stress this time of the year. This, coupled with the holiday season can create undesirable pressures for even the most level headed person. Both winter and the holidays provide us with a good opportunity to take it down a pace or two. There are holiday crowds everywhere, in traffic and in the malls forces us to slow down even if we don't want to. Oh, and the shopping, or in my case, thinking of shopping. I do all my shopping in my head first, and at the very last moment I will brave the shopping malls.

A method that helps me in maintaining a happy mood while shopping in the mayhem is to listen to my ipod. I set my playlist full of cheerful Christmas music with a nice beat. A sampling would be, Brian Wilson’s First Noel, Leon Redbone’s I’ll be home for Christmas, Kate & Anna McGarrigle’s Rebel Jesus, Colin James & The little Big Band, Baby it’s Cold Outside, and my all time favorite is Tom Jackson’s The Huron Carole.

I love this!!!

Another thing I like to do is to schedule a massage at the end of the week. Looking forward to a massage never fails puts me into a fantastic mood regardless of the situation I encounter while braving the hordes of shoppers. What are your rituals to enjoy the winter, and specifically what keeps you in that festive spirit while holiday shopping?

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Are having a bad day, and need inspiration?

Monday, December 7, 2009

It's my Birthday!

Novelty candles may be used.Image via Wikipedia

I awoke to a dusting of virgin snow blanketing the cars, ground and trees. The river was as clear as glass, and the sky a spectacular color of pink, blue and purple hues. And would you believe, a flock of migratory geese placidly swimming without a care in the world (they must have missed the memo telling them that winter was immediate). I could tell it was cold, but from the warmth of my house it was picturesque. Last year on my birthday I was in Melbourne, Australia and it was hot without a speck of snow in sight. What a difference a year makes.

I love December 7th!

I like to phone my mom before she calls and wish her a happy “birth” day. It is a day to celebrate the life she gave me. I don’t understand people who want their birthdays to go by without acknowledgment. Without a birthday you would be dead, and who wants to be dead anyways. Embrace your birthdays, after all you only get one a year!
I don’t have much planned for the day other than taking the day off work, and relaxing. Yesterday, my husband took me for a lovely brunch and he and our son presented me with gifts.

Some of the things I enjoy doing on my birthday are meditating on my birth, reading by a roaring fire, drinking tea, soaking in a nice hot bath whilst listing to music…but most of all I treasure the company of family and friends. In fact, last week a friend treated me to a wonderful lunch and we decided to make it a ritual. And thus we scheduled a monthly lunch together. Based on experience, with our busy schedules, if we don’t make an effort to schedule these dates, months would pass before we met again for lunch. I was thinking, I might just have an open invitation for others to join us, making it a huge lunch party each month.

What I don’t like on my birthday are people singing Happy Birthday to me in a restaurant, I’d rather crawl under the table and die. Hey, I’m allowed to be dramatic, it’s my birthday!

My hubby decided to work from home today, and made me a cup of hot chocolate! The direction on the can of coco said " Curl up on the couch with your steaming mug and savour. Repeat." I'm going to do just that.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Don't you just hate it when...

- a new month begins and you're still are not done with the old one
-a friend you have not seen in a few months contacts you and says she is expecting a Two WEEKS!
-People contact you on facebook and write "Remember me?" and you don't have a clue who they are
-you meet someone you have not seen in years and they have not gained an ounce.
-you reserve a rental car, but have to wait an hour because they don't have any cars available
-your engine light comes on and the service center manager says "don't worry about it"
-you go shopping at Costco for a couple of items and leave with a cart full
-everyone is using acronyms and they expect you to know what they are talking about, WTH!
-it is Wednesday and you feel like it should be Friday!

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Children's Republic

On November 14, 2009, we went to an amazing play dedicated to Dr. Janusz Korczak “The Children’s Republic.” This play is about an orphanage in Poland during the Second World War. Dr. Korczak was a dedicated doctor, who gave his life to look after the interest of children, and then he followed his young charges into the ghetto even though he could clearly have saved himself.

What impressed me were the young actors, who are children themselves and how they were able to transport back into a very dark era in our history. The picture above is the Children's Court. They were absolutely brilliant! The play was the vision of Leon Gluzman who lived in Dr. Korczk's orphanage. In this video he speaks eloquently about Dr. Korczk and his experience in the orphanage. Mr. Gluzman, 90 lives in Ottawa, Canada.

I wish I were aware of Dr Korczk and the orphanage when I visited Warsaw in the late eights as a student. It would have been interesting to visit the orphanage, which I believe is still standing. When we went to Auschwitz, I did not have the heart to actually tour the barracks because the enormity of what happened there overwhelmed me. I waited at the gate until the other students returned, all the while trying to wrap my mind around how humanity could allow this type of injustice to get as far as it did.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Remembrance on November 11 (Guest Writer)

It is November 11, just after 11 a.m. Exactly 91 years ago today, World War I ended. We commemorate this day, of course, as a day of remembrance for fallen soldiers. We wear poppies on our lapels and pause for a minute of silence.

I have always been ambivalent about Remembrance Day. War is the supreme example of the emotional immaturity of the human race, and it embodies the very worst elements of humanity. On the other hand, the extreme conditions of war provides unique opportunities for human bravery, self-sacrifice and heroism. So how can we celebrate the one while wanting to condemn the other?

Like many of my generation, my father was damaged by World War II, in ways we can only guess at now that he is gone. My mother had to raise her first child alone for more than five years until her husband came home from a German prisoner of war camp. Six years after the end of the war I was born into a family that must have been still struggling with its aftermath, a family still trying to heal from everything that happened during those wartime years.

And so the sight of poppies on lapels has always triggered discomfort in me. I want to acknowledge all the sacrifices and acts of heroism, and even of simple endurance, but at the same time I want to shout out: “Never again!”

For the last 17 years, the sight of poppies on lapels has triggered another and much, much happier reaction. Because 17 years ago almost at this minute, I said “I will” to Angelina, the author of this blog and she became my wife. My good friend, then the Associate Chief Justice of the Ontario Court, Justice Roy McMurtry, presided. Present were Roy’s brother and my dear friend, who is now gone, Bill, Roy’s wife Ria, my mother, also now gone, and my good friends Wallis and Virginia Smith.

Angelina and I had met that March, about eight months earlier, but I was not until September that we had a “date.” Within six weeks of that first date I popped the question and it was only two weeks later that we were standing in Roy’s chambers uttering the magic words of commitment to one another. Apparently I was sweating profusely, but I remember being serenely happy. We took a leap of faith in each other, but even in that short time we had decided we could utterly trust each other. I think that we knew everything that we needed to know about one another.

Seventeen years have passed, and we have made a life for ourselves that I think is unique. We have found a home in the countryside, really more of a little world of our own than a home. We work together on very important work, and it sustains us both financially and in other ways.

We have made a son, our wonderful Andrew, and as he nears his 12th birthday we see both of us reflected in him, but we see him as a person unto himself.

Most of all we have created the emotional space within which we can each be fulfilled and happy. Our life is not immune from the bumps and bruises that are inevitable in human affairs, but nothing will ever call our marriage, our bond, our friendship, our love, into question. We are going to grow old together, and I think of the myth of Philemon and Baucis. If you don’t know about it you can look it up.

Angelina, I love you from the depths of my being and any success that I have achieved in these last 17 years has been made possible by the unwavering love and friendship you have given me. You have given me courage I did not know I had and you have made it possible for me to leave my self-doubts behind at least most of the time.

I hope that this short guest essay will give the readers of your blog some small idea of the special person who writes it.

All my love, Alan

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Battle between Good and Really Good

On Friday, November 6th, I received a card in the mail informing me that a parcel had arrived. Yay! Without delay, I drove to the post office to retrieve it. Receiving packages in the mail never grows old in my opinion. Even if it is stuff I ordered, it still manages to spark that twinkle in my eye, and tease my lips into a smile. What is up with that? My parcel was a box of books I ordered on-line and another special package from an aunt in England.

Two of the books I ordered are in direct conflict with one another. Actually, more to the point, the conflict is more mine than between the books. Both are about food. “A Homemade Life” by Molly Wizenberg (orangette) I first read about this summer in a blog. (Ahhh yes, Tea, I must confess to being one of the few people living under a rock because I never heard about of this book before I read of it in your blog. After your absolutely amazing review of it how could I not order it?) The other book is “The Ultarasimple Diet” by Mark Hyman, M.D. Now, herein is the conflict, two great books about food, but one is asking me to give up the best ingredients required by the other book. When I was ordering the books it didn’t occur to me that these two books would cause a battle between my taste buds and willpower.

Before the holiday season descends upon me I decided to do a detox (cleansing) thereby avoiding the dreaded New Year’s resolution and start the season all in balance. So I found myself holding both books in my hand trying to decide which to read first, in the end, my willpower won. I started reading Hyman’s book, whilst wistfully glancing at Wizenberg’s book on the coffee table beside me. Then I got a lucky break, Hyman actually recommends you prepare for the detox at least a week prior to starting the program. Enough of an encouragement for me, and so I reached across the table and picked up Wizenberg’s A Homemade Life. I am so glad I didn’t wait; it is like no other cookbook I’ve read. The stories between the recipes themselves are worth the read.

My question to myself is can I continue to do that delicate dance between good and really good. Will my willpower continue to serve me, will I complete the detox and can I pick with care those recipes that are conducive to eating healthy? Like for example, the Buckwheat Pancakes on page 68! Yummy, right?

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Is it You?

As fall transforms into winter, I feel in my bones that winter is about to dress the land in a covering of beautiful but cold white stuff.

Inspiring me to reminisce about...

hot sunny days,
ocean waves lapping on the shore,
blue, blue, skies,
sand between my toes,
people laughing,
hanging in the hammock,
drinking ice tea, and people watching at a sidewalk cafe,
wearing only one layer of clothing,
and most of all I miss the heat.

Somewhere out there are people who are enjoying these things I am thinking about, Is it you?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Awakening

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Friday, October 23, 2009

He Has a Story Worth Hearing

I find older people, elders, from all societies charming. Perhaps, it is the wealth of information they have with a life well lived. Maybe it is the twinkle in their eyes that says I have a secret to tell you, would you visit with me a spell... I could sit for hours just listening to their stories of time passed.

Our neighbor, Frank is a retired biologist is someone who's stories have entertained me for sometime. He lives alone since his wife died a few years ago, and he is in his eight decade. Although his body is failing him, his mind is still as sharp as a whip.

He is a person who possess a wealth of fascinating bits of information, taking us on trips to Africa, Fiji, and up to the Arctic, with his stories from our dinner table. We never having to leave the dinner table to experience tales from far away places. Since his wife died a few years ago, he has graciously accepted our invitation to join us for Sunday dinners at least once a month. My son, who is 11 sometimes listens passively, but I know that those stories have an impact on him.

Elders from all societies have a desire to be appreciated and acknowledged. All they want is respect and validation that they are continuing to make a valuable contribution to society. In a way, the stories they tell us are a contribution and it is worth acknowledging. In fact, when you think about it, they are telling stories not just of their generation but past generations as well. A history lesson that is worth paying attention to. No matter what the experienced shared, if you take the time and sit down to tea with an elder, you will undoubtedly be enriching both your lives.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Facebook Counts

On October 14, 2009 my 11 year old son had surgery to correct strabismus, a surgery he had when he was five years old. Sometimes the surgery has to be redone, which is what happened here. We were concerned, as all surgeries carry some risk, but Andrew was a trooper, even cracking a joke or two before they lend him down the hall to the surgery room. After examining him today at his post-op appointment, his doctor was very pleased with the results of the surgery. As the day progresses, he continues to heal and even played some piano with an icepack covering both of his eyes.

I often wonder about the difference between facebook and twitter as social tools and this provided an opportunity to see how each on-line community reacted to this story. Yesterday before his surgery I posted two messages one on facebook, and another one on twitter. Returning the message on twitter several times throughout the day to catch people on different time zones. I have 158 friends on facebook and 252 followers on twitter.

I received over 70 email messages or post on my wall inquiring about and sending get well wishes to my son from facebook. Some facebook friends I have not met in person were the first to comment. On twitter, I received 2 returns and three good wishes to pass on to my son. Hmmm, interesting don't you think?

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Fun Game

I have been tagged, and since I am home alone with nothing better to do, I did the tag. Although, I loved Monica’s questions I decided to change it up a bit in that you might learn a little bit about me. I enjoyed the guilty and innocent take on the tag and I hope you get some entertainment from the following.
RULES: Answer only guilty or innocent (you can explain your answers later if someone asks), replace questions with your own if you want, remember to delete my answers before adding your answers, copy and paste into your blog, tag your friends to do a tag, but most of all have fun.
1. Ran a marathon - innocent
2. Turned down more than one marriage proposal – guilty!
3. Proposed to someone – guilty!
4. Loved someone who didn’t love you back - innocent
5. Played with an Ouija board – guilty!
6. Had a crush on someone at work – guilty!
7. Own a motorcycle – innocent
8. Went to Gdansk Shipyard because I was curious – guilty!
9. Been fired from a job – guilty!
10. Had tea with the Queen of England – guilty!
11. Clean before the cleaning lady comes – guilty!
12. Went skinny-dipping – guilty!
13. Predicted someone’s future correctly – guilty!
14. Got more than one speeding ticket – guilty!
15. Have a tattoo no one knows about - innocent
16. Have a secret that I will not tell anyone - innocent
17. Jumped naked into a snow bank – innocent
18. Stayed awake for more than 24 hours – guilty!
19. Ate guinea pig- innocent
20. Played a prank on someone in authority – guilty!
21. Told someone their hair-do looks great even when it didn’t – guilty!
22. Stayed on a flight when I should have deplaned – guilty!
23. Have a Wiccan membership - innocent
24. Dated someone in a Band - innocent
25. Fired a gun – guilty!
26. Speak more than one language – guilty!
27. Can carry a tune – innocent
28. Stayed in pjs all-weekend – guilty!
29. Watched sports to impress a boyfriend – guilty!
30. Quit a great job on principle – guilty!
31. Talk in my sleep – innocent
32. Watched a marathon of Lost over a weekend – guilty!
33. Piloted an airplane – guilty!
34. Meditate daily – guilty!
35. Watch scary movies alone – innocent
36. Been to Lovers Park in Lima, Peru – guilty!

I am tagging, Carol, Extranjera, Tanveer, Diana,Sarah,Kathe,Heather Philip and Phil. Even if I didn't tag you should try it too.

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Because He Can

A Noble Peace Prize so you burst with pride
Same day a missile pierced my soul
Still in perfect control of the ebb and flow of the tide
What you did was so foul!

This 160 challenged was inspired by Carol's blog

Sunday 160 challenge
, come on give it a go and make Monkey Man proud!

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Friday, October 9, 2009

Feeling the Rain

This year, the only resolution I made is to take Fridays off from work. Like most resolutions it is hard to keep. Sometimes, I am able to do it and other times, work responsibilities prevent me from enjoying an extra long weekend. At any rate, it pleases me that this option is available to me. When I manage to seize the day, I like to connect with friends, maybe meet someone for lunch, or to just hang out.

Today, I was able to have a nice leisurely breakfast at Cora’s with a friend, who is unfortunately going through a difficult period. Although, most areas of her life are going well, there is a particular aspect of her life that is causing her some extreme emotional and spiritual pain. Being a practical person, I was thinking about her situation on my way to meet her, and how I might be of help to her. But the situation is complicated and really did not allow for an easy solution. My best effort was to make her laugh and to give her a book (I did come prepare with gift in hand. I brought a book I knew she would enjoy) that might provide a healthy distraction.

It is in these types of situations that I find myself reflecting on my life. I can’t help imagining myself in her predicament and thinking about how I would handle the situation. In the end, in this instance, I too would be hard pressed to find a practical resolution. Consequently, this exercise resulted in my being grateful that my life is non-complicated and my heart fills with compassion for my friend. Occasionally,we should pause and appreciate the people in our life.

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Saturday, October 3, 2009

Alarming but True

Oil on canvas.Image via Wikipedia

When I woke up this morning I was so tired. Normally as soon as my eyes open I am wide awake and ready to rumble but not his morning.

My evil alarm clock is the source of my fatigue because it went off at midnight without any provocation. I tried to turn it off, but only succeeded snoozing it for ten minutes at a time. As a last resort I unplugged it, but alas, it beeped again ten minutes later because it has batteries too. Ugh! At last, I turned it off but by then I was awake. I tossed and turned and finally fell back to sleep.

My evening started out promising enough when my massage therapist arrived on schedule. It is important that we take time for self care, but sometimes we tend to put our needs second to members of our family. This what happened to me over the summer, because of the summer craziness, my traveling and her schedule we just could not find the right time, that is until last night. I was looking forward to this massage, especially since it had been so long since my last appointment.

After an hour and a half, kneeing and massaging, trying to get those tight knots in my back, I was reduced to a rubber doll. As she was leaving she said, "I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful restful sleep tonight". No doubt, I could barely mumbled. How could I not with my body totally feeling like a wet noodle. If only that spiteful alarm clock was not set to go off at midnight I would have slept like a baby all night. However, I decided on an afternoon nap because sometimes you got to do what you got to do. I am grateful that hubby and son were nice enough to play quietly while I had my nap. When I woke up my son said, "Good morning sleepy head". And I smiled.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

160 Awesomeness

Fun does not hold any fear especially if awesomeness is what you seek. Before you leap take a deep breath and soar. Now remember make the biggest splash ever!!!

A Sunday 160 challenge. Come on give it a go and make monkeyman proud.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Don’t feed the bears
He is so cute and adorable
and does not look fierce
Cannot resist, no control, I am horrible
No, I must be strong
Why is it so wrong?

Sunday 160 challenge, go ahead give it a go and make Monkey Man proud.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A B&B Exceeds my Expectations!

I’ve maintained that staying in a stranger’s home is a bit of a bizarre concept. Well, maybe saying it’s bizarre is a slight exaggeration because evidently its popularity is known the world over and it is called staying in a B&B (bed and breakfast). Staying at a B&B never appealed to me. That is, not until last week, when we stayed here.

So how did I end up there you might ask? Well, you know how it is when your mind plays tricks, like word play? That’s precisely what happened to me. When hubby emailed me the link to the B&B I didn’t register B&B, my eyes only read “Spa” in the title. Like how Homer Simpson’s mind goes vacant and he starts drooling when he sees Duff beer. Spas are excellent, with the desired objective to be relaxing, pampering, and de-stressing. Spas yes, B&Bs not so much. What intrigued hubby to this particular B&B was the fact that it was in two geodesic dome buildings with 27 feet high ceilings inspired by Buckminster Fuller built in the seventies.

It wasn’t until we were driving in the dark on the gravel driveway to the house that I said, “Oh, it’s a B&B!” “You knew that didn’t you,” says hubby. I said that out loud, damn! “Of course.” I mumbled. Holy smokes, there is no backing up now, I thought to myself. Particularly, since we came to a complete park in the driveway at that very second. At any rate, it was too late and with only two star motels in the vicinity I suppose at that instant my aversion for anything two stars outweighed my fear of staying in someone’s private home.

The host and hostess, Marianne and Gary, greeted us and showed us our bedroom, named the “Victorian". Mmmm, our bedroom has a name, that’s cool.
“What time do you want breakfast served,” inquires Marianne as we make our way upstairs. The B&B is becoming more promising by the second I thought to myself. “Seven thirty would be great!” Says hubby.

As my head hit the pillow, I snuggled between the cool sheets with the duvet pleasantly enfolding around me cozy like, and hubby says “not bad, right?” I smile and drift off into a restful sleep to wake up in seventh heaven and that is not an exaggeration.

As we came down the stairs the next morning I can see the attractively set table and aroma of alluring cooking smells coming from the kitchen. I momentarily think that we have intruded on their breakfast. At that moment Gary says, “Have a seat and I’ll bring out coffee.” My eyes feasted on fresh fruit and the quiche as I noted immediately that although my hubby’s plate had ham mine didn’t. “You remembered I don’t eat pork.” I said. Gary replied, “We remember everything.” The quiche was light, fluffy and delicious! Everything was perfection. I could get used to this I thought, or did I say it out loud?

As we descended the stairs for the next four days we were greeted with one feast after the other, and each morning our expectations were exceeded. We had private and exceptional service, fabulous and mouth-watering breakfasts and lunches. Did I mention the home baked desserts? I never in my life consumed key lime pie that melted on my tongue leaving me wanting more, just one more tiny bite, please. It had the perfect balance of tangy and sweet making my taste buds dance the tango.

Seriously it was not all about the food, although nothing prepares you for the day better than feeling properly cared for. The grounds and gardens were beautifully appointed, a screened in gazebo right next to the babbling pond set the stage for creativity. Hubby quickly made himself at home in the gazebo whilst inspired and worked on his novel while two resting cats quietly kept him company.

Remember, my mind’s focus on the fact we were heading to a spa? I decided to give that a whirl, which too did not disappoint. It was a fabulous relaxing experience. Ahhh, this is the life. At this B&B all the senses are satisfied, the sight, smell, taste and touch leaving you wanting for nothing.

What makes this an outstanding experience is the remarkable couple who own this piece of paradise. They work together seamlessly perfectly orchestrated or so it would seem to me. Clearly their attention to detail and zeal is evident in every aspect of this B&B. Marianne playfully gives credit to Gary’s mild OCD personality for maintaining order at the homestead. They are seasoned travelers, their home tastefully appointed with treasures from exotic far away lands, a photograph here, a mask there, odds and ends peppered throughout the house invites curiosity and discussion. They are more than happy to share their stories with a captivated audience. By the end of the first day we were so comfortable we had breakfast in our housecoats the following morning.

One evening Marianne asked what we wanted for breakfast I said, “I normally have oatmeal.” “That is too boring, you should have something better than you would have at home.” She said with purpose. That says it all!

Hubby’s Comments: I had some business meetings coming up in a small town where I knew there were no particularly attractive accommodations. Our son was away on a camping trip with his school and I wanted to get She Who Must be Obeyed to come with me. I found Hummingbird Hill on the internet and emphasized it was a Spa, not a B&B, knowing something about the prejudices of SWMO.

I was able to stay in a comfortable and relaxed resort while making the short drive to my meetings. One morning I had no meeting and was able to work on my novel in the fantastic gazebo with Marianne and Gary’s two cats for company.

Marianne and Gary are the perfect couple for this spot. Marianne is the one with the big ideas, while Gary is a steadying influence. We not only found a beautiful place for a getaway but we made new friends too.

Finally, the house itself is spectacular. Built by a young couple in the early 1970's, it is two large-triangle geodesic domes connected in the middle. Sounds odd, but it really works. There are no right angles in the exterior walls, and the ceilings soar to incredible heights.

Not too shabby!

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