Week 1 Adventures

Well, I landed safely in Scotland on Sunday as scheduled. Flight was pretty uneventful. And airports were ghost towns, so no problem with waiting.

The town I’m living in is called the Coaltown of Balgonie. It’s just outside Glenrothes. And the scenery is wonderful! I can see the sea, hills, and there’s a castle close by. I’ve started going on short walks to acquaint myself with my new surroundings. Today I ventured to Balgonie Castle. Here is aquock video I took.

Balgonie Castle

I hope you enjoyed seeing the castle, and stay tuned for more of my adventures in Scotland!

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Saying Good-Bye

If you’ve been following my blog for awhile now, you know I am leaving Canada to return to my homeland of Scotland. Here I sit, down to my last few days here. It kinda’ feels surreal!

This is not a sad occasion, however. Even though it is hard to say farewell to family, friends and loved ones, we have been keeping things upbeat. I’m about to start a brand new adventure!

But sometimes, it’s just as hard to say goodbye to places and the memories of the good times had while at those places. That’s how I felt, as I watched Lake Huron disappear in the passenger side mirror of the truck as we drove up the hill from the Goderich waterfront. I felt a little piece of my heart break off. It was the same leaving Southampton, watching the shoreline from the ends of the streets we passed driving down the highway. I’ll miss the sunrises, sunsets, big ships, Great Blue herons, Bald eagles, cormorants and other shore birds. But I’ll always have the memories of those things stored in my heart, and the photos to remind me I was there.

Chantry Island, Southampton Ontario

Have you ever been somewhere, on vacation for example, and it’s your last day or night there, and the sunset (or sunrise) is absolutely spectacular? Like it’s saying goodbye to you, and putting on such a show that it brings tears to your eyes? I have noticed that since childhood, when I went on a week’s holidays with my friend and her parents. I’ve seen it many times since. It was hard, saying goodbye to such a spectacular lake.

Bur soon, my new adventure begins, with not just lakes, but seas, massive river mouths, mountains and castles! I look forward to sharing my journeys and explorations with you all!

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Who Has The Nicest Butt? (Artistically Speaking…)

Social Media can either be useful and educational, or totally annoying and useless. But you can be guaranteed a laugh on a regular basis. I don’t even remember how I found this page, but it was definitely a link from one of the social media channels.

Whether or not you have an appreciation for art, consider yourself a connoisseur, or if you’ve never stepped foot inside a museum, I hope you enjoy this post!

It’s funny when corporations such as restaurant chains battle on social media, but I think this one takes the cake! It all started when the Yorkshire Museum in England sent out a “Curator Challenge” (#Curatorchallenge) on their Twitter account, saying they thought they had the #BestMuseumBum. Absolutely priceless! What transpired was a plethora of responses from museums around the world, showing off their favourite bums from their collections.

The commentary in these tweets makes for a fun read as well, and at the same time we can learn a little about some art pieces from around the globe. And if you are interested, here is the Yorkshire Museum’s Twitter account: @YorkshireMuseum

Best Museum Bum Article

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My Aurora

Five years ago, my sweet girl Aurora passed. She came to me at the boarding kennel I owned in 2001, as a rescue foster dog. The poor thing was nothing but skin and bones after having lived on the streets for goodness knows how long. She had finally been trapped and taken to the “pound” in Woodstock Ontario. They named her Allie.

The first time I saw her, she was in the bed of a pick up truck owned by a member of the Canadian Alaskan Malamute Rescue group. It was a chilly January morning. When Jim had lifted her to the ground and brought her to meet me, I’m sure the poor thing had no idea what was going on. As I knelt to be at her level, she just kind of gazed off into the distance. I could see and feel every rib bone. I petted her, stroked her fur, and spoke soft words to her. And I knew within those first few minutes, that I had to give her a chance at a better life.

So, with the help of a couple of friends who had experience with rescues and Alaskan Malamutes in particular, we worked with Allie, who I renamed Aurora. As she relaxed and realized that she was finally safe, had regular meals and a comfortable place to rest, we began to see her personality show. She gained enough weight to render it safe for her to have her spay surgery done. But she hated the vets! Did not like being held still for vaccines, have her nails trimmed, or any other types of procedures. When they took her in for her spay, they discovered a Grade 3 heart murmur. She was given heart medication, but I was told she may not survive the surgery. I was devastated!

But she did survive. She healed well, and on consequent vet visits, no sign of the murmur was found. I’m thinking that perhaps she had just gotten herself so worked up at the vets, that her little heart acted up. I told the vet that I wanted to run her on a dog sled and hike with her, but I was afraid of her dying because of her heart, he told me that even if she did die doing those things, she would be happier. So, after having her for 8 months and socializing her with my friend’s male Malamute Hudson, I took her to the Malamute Rescue’s fall Pac N’ Pull event. We played agility games, had a fun pretend dog show, she participated in the weight pull competition, and we hiked into the wilds of Northern Ontario. And for every Pac N’ Pull for the next 8 years, we were there. Hudson joined our little family the year after I adopted Aurora and also participated in the events.

Things weren’t always perfect. Malamutes can be stubborn, and as with many rescues whose past stories we can never know, have personality quirks. There were a couple of scuffles between the dogs. Small, furry things were prey (Malamutes have a strong prey drive), and she was stubborn! But I learned from my friends in the rescue group, received a lot of good advice, and never gave up on her!

Here are a few pics of my beloved Aurora. In the first photo, she is sporting one of her many gold medals for either agility games or weight pulling. She lived to the ripe old age of 15. Not bad for a rescue was was 24 hours away from being put down at the shelter. She also earned her WPD (Working Pack Dog) title, and WWPD & WWPDX (Working Weight Pull Dog + Excellent) titles. Miss you, Sweetie Petitie! Your story now lives on in our book. Many people will learn about you and how you touched my life forever!

For those interested in the book I’m referring to, you can get it on Amazon.com (.ca, .uk….) Choices For Change: Courageous Decisions That Continue to Change Lives

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My Apologies

I had a plan when I started this blog. That plan has since been revised. Twice. At least…

My original plan was to come up with something to write every single day. But life is busy, and sometimes my brain doesn’t want to have to work that hard. So, I thought I’d do theme days. Which I still occasionally do, but not every week now. So, after taking an online blogging class, I found out that a lot of popular bloggers don’t write every day, so I decided to make a schedule. I figured I could write a blog for Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. To give my readers and myself a break every now and then. Which is good in theory…

Lately, I have been overwhelmed with all the details and chores related to my upcoming move to Scotland. It’s less than three weeks away now. So unfortunately my blogging has taken a seat on the back burner. And the next few weeks will be more of the same. If I do get a chance, I will try to write, or find something interesting to post about. I will try to schedule some posts ahead of time. But if you don’t hear much from me for the next few weeks, now you know why.

As for today, I’ll leave you with this image that came up in my Facebook memories. “23 Adult Truths”. It made me giggle, and we could all use a laugh with our Monday morning coffee, right?

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“Let Your Inner Light Shine” A Message From The Fireflies

Also known as “lightning bugs”, fireflies are actually a nocturnal variety of soft-bodied beetle. There are over 2000 species worldwide, and they are found on every continent except Antarctica. Did you know that not all fireflies glow as an adult, but they all do in their larval stage – fascinating! They also spend most of their lives in this larval state, up to two years, and only live maybe a couple of weeks as an adult, during which time they only mate and lay eggs. They don’t even eat as adults! So, that means that the fireflies you see tonight, were from adults who mated two years ago.

The firefly produces light without heat, using a chemical called luciferin, which originates from the Latin word Lucifer, meaning “light-bearing”. That light attracts mates of the same species (each species has a different flash pattern). The males flash their courtship light shows, and if a female is interested, she will flash back, so the male can find her.

But many people also believe in the symbolism behind animals. Animal totems, spirit animals or power animals have been a part of many cultures the world over, for generations. From the Far East, to Norse and Celtic mythology, and Native American culture. The firefly can symbolize inspiration, illumination and creativity. Firefly magic is still sometimes incorporated into modern Pagan or Wiccan magic today. They are associated with moon magic, or can represent the element of fire.

There are many great online resources if you want to find out more about fireflies, either the critters themselves, or their mysticism and symbolism. I find both the reality and the symbolism to be educational and captivating!

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Happy Canada Day!

I consider myself very lucky. Whereas I am and always will be a proud Scot, I am also proud to have lived much of my life in Canada.

Canada certainly has a lot to offer! A great education system, healthcare and many opportunities. Beautiful lakes, beaches, forests to explore, the Rocky Mountains. Canadians pride themselves on our diversity and inclusion. No matter your ethnic culture, religious background or sexual preference, in Canada, you are welcome!

Here are a couple of factoids about Canada some may not know:

  • Canada is mad up of 10 provinces and 3 territories.
  • Canada got its name through a miscommunication when the French explorer Jacques Cartier was invited by local natives to their “Kanata” – which happens to be the native word for ‘village’.
  • The Trans-Canada highway is believed to be the longest national highway in the world.
  • Canada’s official phone number is 1-800-O-Canada

So, happy Canada Day to us! Even though there won’t be any large gatherings to celebrate our National Holiday!

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Musical Monday: Presenting The Didgeridoo

I was first introduced to the didgeridoo (or didge, for short) many moons ago, while working for a fun store called Green Earth, that used to sell imported products from around the world. The store also had an extensive CD collection of world music, including the Putumayo Collection. But my absolute favourites were anything that had the sounds of the didge in them.

Didges come in a wide variety of shapes & sizes

The didgeridoo is an ancient woodwind instrument, first played by the native Aboriginal peoples of Australia. The traditional instrument is usually made from a branch from a eucalyptus tree which has been hollowed out by termites. I actually learned how to play some sounds on a didge I purchased, although I was never very good at the “circular breathing” technique required to play it properly. You can lean more about the didgeridoo on didgeproject.com.

My favourite to play in-store was a band called Cybertribe. Here’s one of their tunes on YouTube. I also enjoyed other didge players, such as David Hudson, who is world famous, and has played with other great musicians, including the incomparable Yanni. I had the huge honour of doing a photo shoot a few years ago, at the TD Sunfest in London Ontario, for a group from Quebec name Saltarello. They had a guest musician with them also, a didge player from Quebec, Rodolphe Gagnon. He was amazing, and so were Saltarello! I made friends with a couple of the band members, and still follow them on social media to this day. They also play another very cool, old-style instrument, which I will tell you about in another post! I hope you liked today’s post, and perhaps learned a little about the didgeridoo.

Saltarello & Rodolphe Gagnon, Sunfest 2015. Photo copyright owned by ThruJensLens

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Growing Basil

I love growing herbs. Most are fairly easy, they grow quickly, and my favourite part, they make our food tasty! One of my all-time faves is Basil. This is such a versatile and easy to grow herb. Its leaves can be eaten whole, chopped or ground. I love adding basil to any dish with tomatoes. It really helps bring out their flavour! Try adding basil to tomato soup too…yummy!

Green and purple basil varieties

There are many varieties of basil that are commonly available. Some include sweet basil, purple basil, lemon basil, or my favourite, spicy globe basil. Every time I smell this one, I feel hungry!

Basil can be propagated in many ways; from seeds, cuttings that you can start in either water or soil, or using a technique called “layering”, in which you take a longer branch of your plant, strip off the lower leaves and plant it in the soil. You don’t remove the branch from the main plant to do this. Here is a really good article if you’d like to learn more about Basil.

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Friday Funny: What If Humans Attracted Their Mates Like Animals?

I saw this on social media this week, and couldn’t resist! I actually giggled out loud for some of them. Hope you get a laugh too! Have a great weekend, and stay safe.

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