Playa Junquillal, a beautiful place to be even when the Prime Minister says its time to come home.
Things have been crazy busy for myself and TLOMIL since my last post...work, helping kids - normal life stuff ya know dear invisible reader? We were thankful to have some R&R scheduled with the Vet and her Knight one of their sons and a friend of his. We returned to the area in the pic above, to be exact Playa Junquillal Eco Resort, the small family run resort that I had been to last year with the Vet. TLOMIL had never been and I was excited to introduce him to the family and to a place I knew he would love.
The morning we boarded, actually moments before we got on the plane the WHO declared the pandemic. For the first few days of our vacation things went exactly as planned, to be honest everyday went as planned really. Then the Prime Minister called all Canadians to come home we tried to get an earlier flight and were unable. Needless to say our kids were more than a little anxious that we were going to get stuck in Costa Rica (wouldn’t have been a bad place, just saying). We had to wait until our scheduled flight. The small resort soon was very quiet.
The food and drink still amazing, the location out of this world.....
Again a delay, jeez I have no excuse other than I have been away adventuring again, and once more am trying to get on track!
Back to Bologna - our first full day found us in the guiding hands of a lovely woman Elena, who took us to the Basilica we had been to the day before and answered some of our questions. We were pretty close to being correct with all of our assumptions, even with the Meridian Line. The mixture of religion and astronomy always gets to me.
We next wandered into an area called the Quadrilatero, an area filled with small shops and restaurants dating back to Medieval times. The narrow streets were crowded with locals out completing their shopping and meeting for morning coffee and sweets. The biggest group was huddled around a fish monger - the crowd was so dense that at my height there was no way to get a clear picture. We wandered into one of the many Gilberto’s shops to taste amazing chocolate and coffee - no visit there is complete with out a wee wander through the thoughtfully labeled wine cellar. We just may have carried some wine and port back to the hotel! Next was a pasta demonstration and sampling -
So very yummy! We peeked around the area a little longer then off to another spot that had a small store below with any cold meat you may want but especially mortadella which originated in Bologna (nothing like the Bologna or Mortadella we get here in Canada) and Parma ham. Upstairs we went for a wee taste - which in Northern Italy means one serving is big enough for a family of four. Of course this was washed down with a lovely glass of Lambrusco, a low alcohol sparklingly red wine that is from Northern Italy. It was a great way to end our tour. We headed back to the hotel to drop off our treasures and then back out to walk around town. A bright beautiful day, which of course had to end with...
A lovely Gin and Tonic while soaking up the Italian sun! Cheers to you dear imaginary readers. Next time - to bike or not to bike?
Getting back to the story dear imaginary readers...we arrived at our hotel in Bologna early as our flights had been moved up a number of hours. As a result our rooms were not ready when we arrived at the Grand Majestic Bologna. The decision was made to make a pit stop, then to head out for a little walk to kill the time. The vet and I made our way down the beautiful stairs which had a delicate curly q Art Deco type of wrought iron bannister to the washrooms. As expected they were marble and spacious, each stall was its own little room with a tall door which locked with a Skelton key. My only excuse for what happened next is that I was very tired. I did my business and unlocked the door, I mean I tried to unlock the door. Several times. I did start to panic a bit, was the Vet still in the outer room? How was I going to get out of there!?!?! Thank goodness I heard my friend and called out for help., with the patience of a vet working with a tired cranky pet - she talked me through the motions (took a couple of more tries!) and finally I was free!! WOOT!!!! Thanks again for the save Vet!
Soon we hit the open roads of Bologna, it was a chilly, wet day. We were thankful to be under the Porticos for a while while we we head one of the main squares. This picture is the ceiling near the surgeons museum if I remember correctly.
We wandered until we found this church,
Its is an old Gothic style church named the Basillica Di San Petronio located in Piazza Maggiore, not far from our hotel. Construction began in 1390, its facade has never been totally completed. The Knight and TLOMIL found seats to have a chat while the Vet and I wandered the side chapels trying to figure what everything was. You will be happy to know that shockingly the church is still standing even though we entered! We knew we would be taking a tour the next day, so didn’t stay to long. We strolled the side streets surrounding the Piazza finding other small churches, stopping for coffee (we needed lots to stay awake at this point!) finally deciding to head back to the hotel, fingers crossed that our rooms would be ready.
YIPEE!! The rooms were ready, TLOMIL and I settled into this room
Perhaps just a “touch” more ornate that our bedroom at home hahah! A quick nap was in order then off for dinner and a little bit of wine!
Next up was a llloonnnggggg sleep to prepare us for the next days tour. Cheers dear imaginary reader, until next time Ciao!
Well dear imaginary readers what a frustrating few days I have spent. From the time I originally attempted to add the previous post to the time it was updated and posted was a week! I was trapped in the spinning circle of app death! My post was supposedly updating and posting...please note the supposedly!
In the mean time, from the time I hit publish and thought that perhaps the web Gods would save my changes and post my newest blog entry - I had to get on with life while it worked its magic.
This past week was filled with hanging with the KB’s, another adventure in Cottage Country, this time unsupervised! KB has been sharing stories of her daily dog walks through a beautiful Park, it was time for KB2 and I to check it out, along with the trusty scardey dog Ollie.
We walked over bridges, along a spine of trail of granite boulders, dipped down to stand along a river...someone strayed in some burrs
He was very patient and allowed KB and I to remove them, thank goodness he was wearing his sweater. We walked to waterfalls, and to a beaver dam
We drank too much wine in the evening, laughed until our faces hurt at all hours of the day and night. We shopped until we dropped (ok, stopped for dinner and a glass of wine!), damn Bigley’s you get me every time :). Then sadly it was time to come home. Home has been busy - TLOMIL and I with some help from DC and the Boy got the wood finished
Have even managed to get some tarts made and into the Freezer to be shared at Thanksgiving! When a spare moment appeared I went back to my Blog app and was STILL caught in the spin zone. I guess its time to stop believing in App Gods huh? I deleted the app, reinstalled and prayed....ALOT. Et Voila! Busy times out here in the middle of nowhere dear imaginary readers. With that, I have to get back at it. For many reasons, too many to share here, I am very thankful this Thanksgiving. To you and yours enjoy a safe and Happy Thanksgiving. Cheers!
This break was brought to you by........northern italy! (And a one night adventure COURTESY of lufthansa)
Hello dear imaginary reader, how have things been? We have been back from Italy (Germany) for just over two weeks. Its taken me this long to gather my thoughts and begin working on the pile of wood in our driveway. Tag team stacking at the back of the garage and a he tosses she stacks approach in between some trees.
Ok, I’m ready to go back to Italy! Over a year ago The Knight and his Vet asked if we would be interested in traveling with them to Italy, we gave it a wee thought (lets say less then 10 seconds!) and agreed. I have spoken a about some of our travels in the past, but haven’t shared much, even though it has always been my intention. It is my plan to share our trip over the next few posts, if you don't like this plan let me know!
It took us a while to decide where in Italy we would like to go, when we had a general area we then made the decision to use the services of a travel planner, our travel companions had used this company before and had a great outcome. The company we used was Mason Horvath Travel based in Vancouver , our planner was Laurie Horvath.
We began our adventure flying from Toronto to Florence, Italy with a stop over and change of carrier in Frankfurt Germany. The Knight and his Vet suggested that we fly Business Class something that TLOMIL and I had never done, Once we got over the shock of the price, we decided to sit back and enjoy the ride! Business class gets its own civilized check in area, quiet relaxed - what a great start to a long travel day!
As we were flying Air Canada’s “Signature Class” we qualified for the Signature Lounge - Ahhhhhhh
The perfect way to head to Italy, champagne and Panna Cotta, yummmmmm. We soon boarded and settled into our personal pods. It was a lot of fun, there may have been an unboxing event of all the goodies in our amenity bag for our kids (haha!). We settled in, enjoyed lovely food and wine, a movie or two and then a nice nap on a lay flat bed. A girl could get used to that!
Upon landing we found our bags very quickly and made our way to the exit to await our driver. We had a bit of a wait, placed a call to our local travel advisor and soon a sleepy looking Eduardo appeared! I think perhaps he got to the airport early and had a little nap..no worries he found us and quickly got us to Bologna. I had forgotten the Italian style of driving, zig zagging, fast and lots of horns! A little queasy from the ride we entered the Grand Hotel Majestic Bologna, up the marble stairs lit by beautiful Murano Glass Chandeliers across an elegant foyer to the front desk. We soon found out that our rooms were not quite ready as we had arrived earlier than expected a wee wander was going to have to occur before the well deserved nap.
A sleepy walk in Bologna next time my dear imaginary readers. Ciao!
The end of the Long Weekend marks the end of summer for most of us. Last night found The Boy and DC, with a smidgen of help from me putting the cover on our pool. I always find the completion of that job sad. Another summer over, remembering fun times in the pool, garden, back yard. As LLB so eloquently put it while I was speaking with her on the phone last night, “well that’s it Ma, summer is dead”
Living as we do out in the middle of nowhere dear imaginary reader, with as many maple trees, trees in general, closing the pool earlier than most is almost a necessity. We had already been fighting the dreaded maple keys, if you don’t get those little guys they can cause havoc to your pools pipeline and pump. After the fight I had most of the summer with chemicals, this year seems a little easier to put the pool to bed. Before you know it, I will be counting down the days until we open it again next year.
Our Labour Day weekend was spent playing with these two goofballs, gardening and visiting with friends and family. Just what a good summer long weekend is supposed to be!
After a couple of hours of gardening and playing with Ollie and Murph I looked like this!
Perhaps not one of my best looks, but one full of happiness and well earned exhaustion! I love playing in the dirt, especially when the days are numbered with Old Man Winter marching toward us. If the Farmers Almanac is correct, we here in Ontario are in for a harsh one. I’ll take as many outdoor days right now as I can please!
The bees were busy in the garden, the chippies and squirrels gathering their winter treats. I’m going to do my best to hold on to the summer feeling before I officially call summer “dead”.
Get outside while you can dear imaginary readers.
I had mentioned in my last post that we had gotten some red chairs for both the front and the back of the house. I think they may be, just may be magical.
Since placing them in a nice neat organized fashion at the front of the house they seem to attract people. When folks are visiting I often hear the words, “lets grab a drink and sit out front?!” Depending on the time of day it could be anything from tea or coffee to wine or gin (surprise!). With our weather this summer the only consistent thing has been to ensure that you have applied a coat of bug spray to yourself before taking a seat. I don’t want to wish away good weather but a frost would at least slow them down.
While the front chairs and foot stool seem to be a comfy space to chill its the chairs and foot stool at the back that seem to be able to weave a magical spell. There are not placed in an organized fashion, in fact they look too crowded in my opinion. Two are placed beside each other with a single foot stool, there are a couple of others near by as well. While playing with his new to him Big Green Egg the spell was cast on TLOMIL, he drew a big red chair close to the Egg and actually sat down! In one place! While reading!!! Incredible!
Last Friday I got a text from LLB, “Ma, my Scot has to work tonight, ya wanna hang out?” As long as you stay the night, we can come get you and take you back in the morning was my reply. TLOMIL headed into Efforttown to claim LLB, run some errands and head on back to the middle of nowhere. They pop out to the back yard as I was cleaning the pool and soon LLB made the request “Dad, would you make us a gin?”. Before you can say Bob’s your Uncle, three drinks appear on the arms of Red Chairs that have been pulled together, we sat down and talked. I have no idea how long we were out there, I do know it was until the mosquitos could carry you away but we didn't even notice the bugs and we did not apply the required coating. It also got cool, that too went unnoticed.
Some would say it was the tonic that kept the bugs away and the gin that kept us warm. Maybe the tonic, but it was the shared respect and love that kept us in those seats. I/we have shared those feelings with different conversation with each and everyone of our kids this summer.
No question, dear imaginary readers, those chairs are magical. I think they will stay out all time. Let’s see what other spells they can cast.
Before this summer began TLOMIL and I decided that we would stay home and enjoy our back yard and do our best to chill. He is in charge of the lawn and I take care of the rest, of course he opens the pool but I am the one that fights with it. This year dear imaginary reader, the fight almost went to TKO. Mother Nature the fickle woman that she can be played havoc with our summer plans.
Not sure where you live, but here in the middle of no where it was a summer of the mixed bag. Some heat, lots of rain , a wee bit of cool - basically the perfect summer for grass and weed growth to be on overdrive. The flowers and trees have looked amazingly lush...and the algae almost won.
I have spent more on chemicals, time on brushing and using the creepie (got a new one, easier to use and works better, who knew that new was better than the 17 year old one hahah)
I thought I had won until yesterday morning when Ollie and I went out to begin our daily rounds. There by the ladder was more &*)*)*&&$$!!!!!! Algae! Out comes the shock and the brush again, more algaeside. This morning, we are back to normal! I think the pool knew we had purchased our closing kit and just wanted to push my buttons one more time :)
With spending more time in the back yard, and with the gardens on overdrive we got to thinking...perhaps a little less garden and the fence further back? How about adding a deck on the side with a pergola so you could see the fire pit? A tiki bar...ooooooohhhhh an outdoor fire place! Where could we put a hot tub? I guess we need to come up with a plan dear imaginary reader, and some extra cash! For now we added some lights...
And some new red chairs out back and in the front where I have wanted something for years. Yes that is a wee refreshing gin....and a lovely planter from two of my favorite peeps! We have enjoyed sitting out in them - the boys have enjoyed it as well. They always like a new place to patrol! Have a wonderful - safe Labour Day weekend cheers!
Hello there dear imaginary readers, been a long time. While I may not have posted for a while, know that many conversations to you all have taken place in the ole brain pan! Feeling that I was in a place to actually type has taken more than a wee while. Today being my 58th birthday, I felt it was time to get the ball rolling again so to speak. A time to celebrate what this past year has held, the challenges and then move on down that tightrope. I have made good progress during my time away.
January started off with a trip to Chitown with Valderah and KB - great fun, laughs, and a birthday celebration for Valderah at the Purple Pig along with a wicked snowstorm got the year started off right.
When we got back it was time to celebrate Teach’s birthday. She has had a great first year teaching and finding her way in the Big Smoke. She and her Engineer have just moved into his first house very exciting times! LLB and her Scot spent some time in Scotland, then she returned and absolutely rocked the Bar exam - such a smart cookie, so proud! They are now close by in Efforttown . Pumped to be able to see them more often!
Next up for me was a trip to Costa Rica with the Vet and a couple of her kids. We hung out at the Playa Junquillal Eco Resort - OMG! What a lovey, simple, relaxing spot that is! So happy to have been introduced to the owners, Elisabeth and Tibor and hope to make it down there again soon!
I was a bit sick while we were there, hitting the wall the day after we returned - lucky me came back with a tan and pneumonia! This turned out to be the beginning of a rough winter for me. Every bug that found its way to me stayed around for quite some time, sicker than a dog for most of the winter. It forced me to slow down, in cases not doing the things I enjoyed. I had to force myself to sit still and allow my self to gain strength and get well. Things, chores, heck all the stuff began to build up - not something I allow. When I was feeling better I began the great clean up and out! I have had to repeat to myself almost every day - doesn’t have to be perfect - just better. This was applied (honestly still is!) applied to everything, made things a bit better mentally ya know?
The only thing yet to be totally completed is the ironing - mountains of it. Oh how I HATE ironing! Now that TLOMIL is back in the game it never seems to end! Heading to the Big Smoke everyday to work = ironing for Jillie! YUCK!
I digress - of course the big event for all of us this year was the wedding and parties to celebrate the union of The Boy and DC. What a time(s)! It was the wedding that just kept on giving - all events were flawless and enjoyed by all. I will cherish the down time TLOMIL and I got to spend getting to know DC’s family better. Time with our whole family together is rare, loved and remember it - hold it as close as can be to my heart. I was and still can be a blithering idiot when a think of it! I know, I know - soft touch. I wear my badge with honor.
I have been lucky enough to go to concerts and vineyards with Valderah, dinners and laughs with my Amigas, lavender farms, food and wine with my artist and our Singer. I have taken the time to hang with friends at special birthday parties with special people - time to go slowly and regain my health and mental strength. Some days are easier than others - no matter what - ALWAYS worth the effort. Better is kinder than perfect allowing baby steps toward the beginning of the tightrope.
On that note, I will prepare to take Ollie to go hang out with his buddy Murphy. Then off of the Jays game and dinner with TLOMIL - thanks for sticking around dear imaginary readers. Cheers!
Hello dear imaginary readers, I am slow to do this but none the less, Happy New Year! If you follow me on instagram you know that what ever virus I had in November and December decided to take a good hold of me right before Christmas. I was not going to let it slow me down!
KB’s daughter teased me about forgetting to move the Benylin carton...totally forgot it was there! As you know we only get “the whole crew” every other year, me being me I want the holidays to be perfect for everyone. I made waaayyyyyy too many cookies, had to make a second batch of nuts and bolts which led to a conversation with TLOMIL. My guy had been out visiting people with out me, walking in the door as I was mixing the ingredients for nuts and bolts in my big roasting pan. Next thing you know he is weighing in as to how other people he had seen on his tour that day make their nuts and bolts. “Ya know Jill, so and so, and so and so use a cookie sheet to bake their nuts and bolts, why don’t you?” My response was simply that I wasn’t taught to make them that way. In alllll his wisdom his response was “doesn’t mean that yours is the best way, you should try it”. TLOMIL just doesn’t get it. I mean seriously, Christmas is all about tradition to me, no way I am going to change the way I make my nuts and bolts! I will continue to make them the way my Grandmother taught my Mom and my Mom taught me, haha! You choose, is that tradition or being stubborn, can you guess which TLOMIL thought? My decision was to have a sip of my rum and eggnog and set the timer for the first stir.
Our holidays ended on January 6, the last day we had visitors. I believe we were all ready to head back to routine and what ever the heck normalcy is, though we enjoyed our visit with our traveling Aussie who we had last encountered in London, England almost two years ago. My how time flies! I like to set what for our crew is a formal Christmas table, not stuffy but certainly more formal that our usual nice dinner table. This year I chose to forfeit the table in the name of the game. What game you ask? Euchre, what started off as kind, gentle, lets remind you how to play game. Some how, not sure exactly when turned into cut throat, teasing, boastful winner kind of games. No way was I going to break up the laughs, the flow of the table - heck the Christmas cheer that was going on. So Christmas dinner turned into a buffet served on the island and placemats on the table - all to be cleared quickly so the games could resume. I have to say that in my mind, even though I felt like crap, this was one of our best Christmas’ in years.
We found things under the tree that had never been there before!
In the 5 years that we have had Ollie he has never before hung around under the tree! No idea why the change, but it was cute. Love our little weirdo rescue. There was snuggles with the Scott.
A trip to the Big Smoke to see Come From Away, which we all loved; followed by dinner at the Kit Kat. What a fantastic day, then for some of us off to a Maple Leafs game. It was a different holiday, more adult which I guess is a good thing as our baby, Teach turns 26 next week. How the heck did that happen!
I finally went to the Doc and ended up on antibiotics and am feeling like I am out of the woods at long last. While our traveling Aussie and her trusty Book keeper were visiting they asked what plans we each had for the New Year. In front of real live people I announced that 2019 is the year of Jillie, to get lean and strong and healthy. For me to learn that what I need or want can come before what needs, no can, be done for others. So far I have taken two of these,
apparently such a rare sighting that it warranted having a photo taken hahah. Thanks for the evidence LLB .
I knew I wanted to get back to writing but the juices just weren’t flowing, ya know what I mean? Today while driving home after dropping TLOMIL off at the train I found myself putting this post together in my thoughts. It was time - it is time. Time to ease on into 2019, taking time for me, time with TLOMIL. This year will bring so many new adventures to our whole crew, a wedding, travel and next career steps for many of us. We will ease into it, meet the challenges head on - goodness know they will rear their little heads; we will grow - I will grow and will continue to take baby steps off the tightrope.
Cheers, dear imaginary readers!