Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Re-branding - new blog

Hi! I'm rebranding to a happier-sounding, more positive image, so I'm redoing my blog over here at http://bright-suburbanite.blogspot.ca/

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Gorgeous December Weather

The days have been so, so beautiful recently. Yesterday it was a high of 10 Celsius, sunny and warm.  I went rollerblading by the Ottawa River, feeling happy and free.

The usual weather here is below zero for the high, and colder for the low. Also, there is no snow on the ground yet, and I definitely remember driving through snow in early November some years.

I know can't avoid winter completely, but I'm sure enjoying the hiatus!

Friday, October 30, 2015

On Loss-Dexter's passing

Once again, I haven't been blogging, or really being productive at all. And, again, I vow to blog more, do more, be more.

I've suffered a great loss this week. On Wednesday, October 25th,2015,  my Dexter passed away.

I'd adopted him on October 12th,2010. And I loved him. He was the smartest dog I've ever known. He definitely had personality,and could be stubborn. We had our learning curve, which is to be expected when you you adopt an older dog. And, although the SPCA had estimated that he was six months old, I am certain that they were totally wrong. You see, they estimate age based on teeth, and I discovered not long ago that someone at some time had removed Dexter's back teeth.

Long before that, though, we figured he was much older. Especially when he got SARDS,  and really slowed down. My guess is that he had to have been at least ten years ago old when he died.

Anyway, losing him after five years together is painful, and leaves a huge hole in my life and home. I miss coming home to him. I miss how he got so excited by little things like going for a drive in the car, or a walk around the block. I miss having him snuggle up with me on the sofa, and I miss having him hog the bed.

Losing a pet, especially for a childless, single woman,  is a deep loss, and not one that everyone can understand.

Will I get another dog? Oh, eventually. And the pain of this loss will fade.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Cream of Carrot Soup

The cool weather is here, and, for a change, I am not bemoaning the loss of summer. We honestly had such nice weather, so hot and steamy, that I find the cool refreshing. And - I get to make lots of homey comfort food.

Today was Saturday. There were a few garage sales, so, of course, I hit those before coming home to cook! This day's culinary extravaganza? An easy pasta sauce for tonight's dinner (recipe to follow) and a super creamy and dreamy carrot soup.

I basically followed the recipe here, at Food.comhttp://www.food.com/recipe/cream-of-carrot-soup-59155

The recipe above has precise measurements. Mine are approximate!


Two tablespoons of butter
One biggish yellow onion
about 8 medium to large carrots
2 medium potatoes
1 tsp ground ginger
4.5 cups of chicken broth
2 cups of 10% cream
a bit of rosemary
salt and pepper to taste
Small bit of parsley

Dice the onions, and saute them in a large pot in the butter. Add the small-chopped carrots and small-cut potatoes to the pot, as well as the chicken broth and the ginger. Cook covered til veggies are nice and soft. Let it cool a bit, then puree the soup with a handy stick blender (found cheap most places and super great for making creamed soups!). Add the cream and rosemary, warm it up. Salt and pepper to taste. Add a sprig of parsley when serving to make it look nice!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sick Dog, Struggling through summer

Ok, so I know, I definitely know, I have been truly slacking in my blogging. Not only that, I haven't even touched my camera in ... who knows how long?!?

But, aside from simply lacking motivation, I've been a bit slammed with issues. Dexter is my biggest worry, and finances my second biggest right now.

I took Dexter to the vet at the end of August, since I wanted to get his thyroid tested. You see, I didn't want him to die of heart disease, or become disabled in his old age. $320 later, way higher than the vet office quoted me, I discover to my shock that Dexter, in fact, has severe kidney disease.

The vet (the Eardley Veterinary hospital, to which I will never return!!), impressed upon me the urgency of getting Dexter admitted to the emergency Ottawa Vet Hospital and have him on fluids. I took him in immediately - if he was dying, I needed to try to save him.

Three days on fluids and antibiotics, and another $2000 charged to my Mastercard, I was told his numbers are still too high, no change, and so, it could be days or weeks. But, my dog was dying.

I was also told to take him back to my vet for another blood test to check his numbers. I did so three days later, and another $160 dollars at the very unsatisfactory Eardley Vet, only to be told his numbers are still high, so, says the vet (not the same doctor as last visit. I have never seen the same vet twice at that vet, but as I never intend to use them again, I will let that drop).  Anyway, the vet says, "So, now we'll have to check his blood pressure, take an ultrasound..." blah blah blah. Seriously?? I am not rich. And she made me feel like a bad person, like a real heal, when I said we couldn't do that.

Anyway, it's two weeks later, and Dexter seems great. He never even looked sick. And now that I fear we have him on borrowed time, I'm no longer worried about Dexter's weight. I'm letting him eat whatever he wants, as many treats as he can handle.

If he does sicken, at least he's having a really nice life!

Exploring Winter and Unmarked Trails!

So, as you know, I have become an avid hiker over the past two years. I love being outdoors, in the fresh air, and walking in the hills. And it doesn't hurt that I live on the edge of Gatineau Park :)

I haven't been doing many group hikes this year, as Jivka has been leading on Saturdays, and I've become lazy about leading on Sundays.

But, fortunately, Jivka and Gord, another hiker, have been available and agreeable to weekday afternoon hikes. I know our time is limited because the days are getting so much shorter, but the past two Thursdays, we've had really good fun exploring some winter trails, and some unmarked trails to try to find our way around the park a bit and get off the beaten path.

Honestly, I really wish I'd brought a notebook and pencil to make notes of our explorations.... these maps. kindly recording by Gord, will have to do for now.

But, the basics are: We started from P7 both days. The first exploratory hike, on September 3rd, we took trail 34, and had to navigate around a large swamp/ lake. We luckily stumbled upon trail 22 at that point. And we discovered a gorgeous lookout at Camp Fortune!

The next week , September 10th, we also started from p7, wandered an unmarked network of trails til we got to trail #1. Then we stayed on 1 and went right on trail #19. We wandered and explored, finally coming back along #22, veering off an unmarked trail to trail #6 (The Skyline Trail), and back to trail #1 and then the parking lot!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Hiking Loop from Keogan to Western and back

I'm actually writing this up a couple of weeks after my hike. It was such a good hike in Gatineau Park. Only about 9km in the end, but really good. I went with a few hiking friends, and, led by Jivka, we got off the main trails and had fun taking a windy rout from the Keogan cabin to Western and back. From the Keogan cabin, take trail #11, then, go off the trail, over a mesh barrier. You should find a path there, easy to navigate, and you'll meet trail #9. Turn left and take all the way to Western cabin. Return on the well-marked trails #9, #1B, #1.

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