The real perception of time


To the people who work at Shamrock Lodge, the weeks of the summer of 2015 are flying by. It seems like only a few days ago we were saying hello to the first of our summer families but that was weeks ago! We have officially begun week five of our ten week season and it has gone by in a blur.

But time is a funny thing. To us it hurtles through some time-space continuum at warp speed while to others, to children who are anticipating their days at the Shammy, time moves slower than a turtle.

Their restless nights are spent planning their days in the Kid’s Klub. Their exciting visions of their little legs on water skiis, making it around the circuit for the first time, disrupt their sleep. Their predicted screams as they skip across the lake in the tube echo in their minds. Their week of fun and games at the lodge is as tangible as the parents longing for some quiet moments while the kids are busy being entertained from morning to night.

Many lounge chairs are filled with dozing parents while their children are, not only waterskiing and tubing but, playing soccer, going on scavenger hunts, bouncing on the water trampoline, building sandcastles, playing tennis and having canoe races.

Time, from the perspective of the parents and children who have already come to the lodge and returned home, has gone by in a blur of sunshine, laughter and memories. But for those children waiting for their chance at their Shammy vacation, time seems to go by one very slow second at a time.

“Touricide” and a message to the transient population


It has already begun.  The simple act of easily turning left onto any of our local roads is a shadowed memory of its former self.  They have descended upon us and the seemingly mundane tasks we used to perform with ease now require an expletive filter and a great deal of patience (or high blood pressure pills) (or both).

Almost two years ago, I wrote this post about the tourist season in our small town.  It was that post that sparked some interesting conversation about these wayward travelers and also got me Freshly Pressed.  To those of us on the WordPress blog site, being freshly pressed is a nice pat on the back.  We are recognized for writing something interesting that would encourage a discussion, and that it did on many levels.

I will preface the words that follow by reminding you I work in the hospitality and tourism industry.  My job is to serve people and I truly enjoy it.  Our lodge guests have slowly become like friends and family and it is a pleasure to go to work. But the cottage dwellers are a like a box of chocolates and as Forrest Gump so eloquently put it, “you never know what you’re gonna get”.   I realize that these summer vacationers are the bread to our butter, the wind beneath our small town wings, but, as each year rolls into the next, the level of courtesy and manners shown by some of these visitors leaves much to be desired.


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The act of “Touricide” has crossed my mind at many points throughout our busy seasons.  I’m sure if the facts of my potential case were presented to a jury of my peers the charges against me would be dropped and the crime would be ruled justifiable.  I don’t mind that our population explodes exponentially in the summer months.  I plan accordingly knowing my routine tasks will take much longer because the lines have quadrupled in length.  I leave my house much earlier to deal with the sudden onset of traffic in a town where six cars on the road in the spring is considered gridlock.

What I cannot tolerate is the arrogant attitude of so many of these visitors, thinking we live in this town only to serve them in the summer.  You have entered our home.  We have greeted you with courtesy and respect and all we ask is the same in return.  We will bend over backwards to meet your needs and we ask so little of you.  Smile.  Say thank you, and mean it.  Take a moment to appreciate that you are on vacation and relax.  Things may not get done at city speed, but they will get done and we will make sure they get done properly and that they meet or exceed your expectation.

I wish everyone celebrating the long weekend a safe and happy holiday.  Take the time to smile and say hello to a stranger.  Perhaps all they need is a little small town warmth to melt that cold city shell.


Taking a breather to chase some tail


Now before your mind wanders into dangerous territory, I meant the Easter Bunny’s tail.  I am taking a brief hiatus from blogging this weekend to enjoy some much-needed R&R – Red wine and Rabbit (of the chocolate persuasion).


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Hopefully a few days of not pressuring myself to write every day will ease the feeling of having a deadline and coax back the enjoyment of the creative process that I seem to be missing.  This weekend signifies rebirth and I am taking the meaning of the holiday to heart.

I wish all of you a very Happy Easter weekend.  May your days be filled with the love of family and friends, and maybe a little bit of tail for good measure.  The chocolate….I meant the chocolate!

The fireflies at the windows


We are rapidly approaching the last of the “firsts” since we lost my mom almost a year ago.  I stumbled blindly through my birthday last year, which was three weeks to the day after she passed.  We muddled through the rest of the birthdays in our immediate family, except for one still to come, and celebrated mom’s birthday by having her celebration of life on that same day.

Valentine’s Day will be a quiet one for me this year.  After my dad died, mom and I made a pact to be each others Valentine.  Even after I was married, mom and I had a standing ‘date night’ on February 14th because my now ex-husband always had to work at the restaurant.  She and I would go out for a nice dinner and always gave each other either a lovely arrangement of flowers or a cry-inducing Hallmark card full of sentiment that we both honestly meant.

My youngest nephews’ 12th birthday will be the last of the firsts.  That will be an odd feeling.  But it got me thinking about all of the other milestones, the new ‘firsts’, my parents may see from where they are, but will not be able to physically participate in.  This is the calendar year that my brother will turn fifty.  I’m sure nobody in our family ever thought that momentous day would come and neither of our parents will be here to help him celebrate and embarrass him with untold stories of his youth.

They will miss my oldest nephew, in just over a year, getting his G-1 (the Canadian version of the Learner’s Permit) and creating a new crop of grey hair on the heads of my brother and sister-in-law.  They will miss both of their grandchildren deciding on what field of study they wish to pursue and their subsequent University years and future careers.  And they will not be here if the Gods decide to shine favorably and allow me to fall in love again, the right way this time with the person who deserves my heart.  (although I know my mom will be doing her best to send that person my way)


I know in my heart that both of my parents wouldn’t miss any of these events.  They will be those dancing specks of light we see at dusk, hovering by the window to watch our lives move forward.  It would just be so much nicer if they were standing right beside us to share in all of the new firsts yet to come.






Willie, may the odds be ever in your favor


Superbowl Sunday has arrived!  The culmination of seventeen glorious weeks of watching the pigskin, followed by Playoffs and now it’s time for the Big Show!!  Even the groundhogs get a reprieve this year and get to watch the game in the comfort of their burrows without being dragged into the daylight until tomorrow.

Ah, Groundhog Day – that magical morning when we put our faith in an abundantly nourished, rotund mass of fur to predict the arrival of Spring.  This over-sized rodent is depended upon to prognosticate to the best of his ability and tell us, by virtue of seeing or not seeing his shadow, when we can expect the return of Spring.

Last year my post about this auspicious day focused more on the history and process of Willie’s predilection for weather.  This year I thought I would look at things from the perspective of poor Wiarton Willie (the Canadian version of Punxsutawney Phil).  First, he is rudely roused from his winter-long slumber to come out of his burrow and predict something even educated meteorologists cannot agree on.  Second, when he finally does make his appearance, he is greeted by a bemused but somewhat urgent crowd as they try to keep themselves warm enough to endure the period-costumed pomp and circumstance.

I am inclined to guess that Willie’s urge to get back into his cave has nothing to do with seeing his shadow.  I don’t know about you but, if I awoke to large crowd focused solely on me, I would be in one Hell of a hurry to bury myself back under my nest of blankets, shadow or not.  I feel somewhat sorry for Willie.  After being forced from his snug home out into an artic-like morning, the New England Patriots are probably not the only ones with deflated balls.

Given the success rate of these whiskered weather forecasters, the only prediction I would really take to heart is perhaps Willie’s prophecy about Superbowl 49.  Enjoy the game Willie and good luck with the madding crowd on Monday!


Alas, another year has gone by


The year 2014 has almost tucked itself under the covers, waiting for the sun to rise and shine its light on 2015.   I have never been a big fan of the loud, drunken New Years party.   I have attended my share of dinner parties with friends and enjoyed the company of those I love but I had stealthily left the party as the decibel level and the uncomfortable amount of alcohol consumption increased.  When it comes to the later hours of the last evening of the year, I prefer the solitude of my home, a robust bottle of red wine and a quiet reflection of the year that has passed.

Although some of my evening is spent looking back on the events that shaped my year, most of my time is spent looking ahead without making promises that may be broken.  My New Years Eve is not about making resolutions.

2014 took the best of me when my mom passed away in March but the many months following her death, although emotionally exhausting, were filled with wonderful memories and the yearning to succeed in the things that I was doing that gave her such pride.


My writing and my desire to become a published author are tiny flames glowing in the distance of the new calendar year.  Each moment I sit at my keyboard and weave ideas into paragraphs, that flame will burn brighter.  With dedication, and help from my muse, hopefully that flame will grow into a raging inferno and my mom and dad will be able to enjoy the warmth of the fire I created with my imagination.

And now that January 1st is lurking just around the corner, I want to wish all of you a very Happy New Year.  May 2015 bring you peace and joy.  May the changing of the calendar year ease the burdens of the past year and bring you prosperity and deep and honest love in all aspects of your life.  To quote Henry David Thoreau ~ “live deep and suck out all the marrow of life”.

It’s time to  start writing our new chapter.




Boys will be boys, and then they make you cry


I knew this Christmas season would be difficult for me.  I’ve done my best to write my feelings into submission but they are stealthily lying just below the surface, waiting to bubble up when I least expect them.

Last night I celebrated Christmas with my brother and his family.  Nagging work schedules bumped the holiday up by a couple of days but any change in the old routine is a welcome change.  I arrived at the house with my food contributions, my secret Santa gift and the scrapbook I made of pictures of my mom so she could be with us in spirit.  What I wasn’t expecting was this:


My nephew had taken one of the candles I made for my mom’s memorial service in May, created a beautiful Christmas display and placed it in the middle of the room so she was with us during our celebration.  I now know how the Grinch felt when his heart grew three sizes.  I was so moved and my heart swelled so much that I thought it would burst out of my chest.  It was all I could do not to hug him until he turned blue.

That gift, that display made by a 14-year-old boy to honor the memory of his Nana, is, by far, the best gift of 2014.  I could not bring myself to show too much emotion for fear that the tears would come and never stop.  Instead, we high-fived and continued on with the merriment.  Gifts were opened, food was consumed and a great amount of laughter was shared.  I learned to never again go in a swimming pool with my brother (future blog post) and I learned that the spirit of Christmas was not tarnished by the absence of my mother, but lives on in the way we keep her spirit alive.

The tears finally came shortly after I got home.  They did not come slowly or poetically but exploded out of my body to make room for my swollen heart.  I can only hope that both of my nephews learned a few things about Christmas.  It isn’t about the material things wrapped in bags or boxes.  Christmas is about the people who are wrapped in your heart and doing everything you can to make sure they stay there.

Merry Christmas to all of you and may you enjoy the true spirit of the holidays.