#26 – Go on a Picnic

I’m sure when someone says the word “picnic” a vision of what that is, comes to mind. The word “Pique Nique” is a 17th – century French word and simply means a meal where everyone brings food and eats outdoors.


I love picnics on a camping trip, out on a boat, being in a field or on a picnic table at some rest stop. Somehow food just tastes better. My Mom always had a roasted chicken on her picnics, especially on the many summer road trips we took from Ontario to New Brunswick. I would love to crash an “al fresco” someday, anywhere in Italy. That would be the ultimate picnic.

I’m settling for the next best thing. A picnic with our close friends from the “Merb” on “Large Marge the Party Barge” in Moon Cove at Merigomish Harbour.

The Barge

Large Marge the Party Barge

After a pleasant “randonnée” in the different coves, Black Hall Gut, Moon Cove, Quarry Island, we settled for our picnic. The sun was shining, the food was scrumptious, the beer was cold, and the water inviting.

Picnic Food

We eventually rafted with other friends on their sailboat and motorboat. These kids, who are now grown up into beautiful young adults were our kids’ best friends. And age for them does not matter as long as everyone is having a good time.


#17 – Host at least 6 Dinner Parties

All of our family loves to cook and we enjoy having dinner parties. My husband and I have a pattern. He likes to decide what the main dish will be and prepares it. I do all the accompaniments, most appetizers and dessert.


Some accompaniments and dishes we have prepared

We work well together in the kitchen and clean as we go so not to have a pile of dirty dishes when the guests arrive. Our dinner parties usually end up as kitchen parties and we never go to bed until the dishes are done. Most dinner parties are thought out in advance but the last minute impromptus are always a success.



I like to layout a nice table and use dishes given to me by my mother, aunts or in-laws. My mother-in-law always set an elegant table with a centerpiece of some sort. This varied from flowers to small ornaments she found around the house. Touching the ornaments seemed to be the norm while waiting between courses.


We’ve had fun with our dinner parties and don’t stress if something fails. One party in particular, we asked guests to come with an apron. Upon greeting them at the door, they were given a recipe and were paired with someone other than their spouse. Little did they know they were helping with the cooking! We had a time line so we knew when things had to be prepared. It was a fun evening but some recipes didn’t turn out. Someone didn’t like onions and the dessert needed more time to set. That was a learning experience.

I have a notebook (like my book club notebook) where I keep a record of all our dinner parties. Actually, I have 2 books as I started this back in 1988.

Dinner BooksI have kept track of who we invited, the occasion for the dinner, what we served and from what cookbooks the recipes came from, what worked and didn’t and I try to keep track of the wines we served. That proves to be difficult at times. If you come for supper more than once, rarely will you be served the same thing because I go back to my book.

I started this because when I got to know my father-in-law he kept records of things. For example, when the ice formed on the river, the high tide lines, birds that visited. He did this for reference and that is why I like keeping track of my parties. Plus, it’s fun to read back and see the trends as the years go by and the friends we have entertained. While living in Quebec, fondues were very popular. We had a “plethora” of parties around that theme. Today, it seems brazing, tagines and slow cooking are in.

Dinner Parties:

  1.  December 19, 2014 – Braised Lamb Shanks
  2.  December 31, 2014 – Lobster Boil
  3.  January 17, 2015 – Pâté à la Râpure
  4.  May 18, 2015 – Roast Chicken
  5.  May 31, 2015 – Leg of Lamb
  6.  August 22, 2015 – Pacific Sockeye Salmon

#3 – Take Grandson Sailing

His Mom loves to ski and his Dad loves to sail. We like doing both. Since there was no snow on our local mountain this year and I doubt we will get our grandson out skiing later this year, we decided to take him sailing instead. After all, it’s all about having a get-a-way weekend with our grandson, spending time doing fun things together and introducing him to sports we did with our kids.

The weekend weather did not cooperate but we managed to get a day sail in. Our grandson was so excited and nothing dampened his spirits and excitement of being the newly appointed 1st mate sailing the good ship Rugosa. Not even the swell from the 30knot wind the day before or choppy seas.

Before leaving the wharf, the crew had to swab the decks from the early morning rain. “Ahoy, all hands on deck” our grandson chants, “Report to Captain”.


Getting Ready

He is so inquisitive and eager to help. He needs to know what everything does and why, from the navigational instruments to all the fasteners on the hatches. He listens to the radio and imitates the Coast Guard calls. He laughs at hearing a boat called “Banana Peal”. In no time, he finds his sea legs and by instinct straddles, feet apart, while he walks inside the cabin. Not easy when the boat is rocking.

He is a natural sailor. He took control of the wheel, sailed a straight line and did a perfect tack. How exciting! We sailed back and forth, visiting the various islands within Schooner Cove watching the eagles and the seals.

Captain and 1st mate

Captain and 1st Mate

After being all over the boat, helping with lines, going up and down from the cabin to the cockpit, he settled and fell asleep. Fresh air and blowing wind did him in. My husband and I doused the sails, motored back to the marina, tied up all the while he was fast asleep.



That evening we heard his rendition of Coast Guard calls over a marina and fleet of boats made of Lego.


#41 – Attend a Sports Event

I am a huge sports fan. When I was young, I watched all sports on TV and secretly whished I could do them all. I’m convinced I learned how to play golf and curl by watching the pros.

Growing up, our town did not have much in terms of sport facilities. Before they built the arena, kids helped clear the outdoor skating rink to play hockey and broom ball. Our high school gymnasium was the size of an official volleyball court. I remember attending tournaments in bigger cities with gyms that held 4 courts. That was something.

Pan FB

It’s a real treat now to live on the West Coast where we can attend top end professional sporting events. The Maritime Provinces have always been deprived of the big leagues. There has never been any major team of any kind, be it football, baseball, hockey, soccer or basketball.

Last Thursday my husband and I went to Vancouver and attended a CFL football game between the BC Lions and the Edmonton Eskimos at BC Place. Currently, Edmonton is on top of the leader board in the west division. We chose this event because we both enjoy football. We keep track of both the CFL and NFL, especially during playoffs leading to the Grey Cup and Super Bowl respectively. My husband is a huge Calgary Stampede fan and I, a Montreal Allouette fan. At this game, we cheered for the hometown team.FlagGame1

We enjoy live sports but sitting inside this building, after being in the wilderness for almost 2 months, was a bit overwhelming and very noisy. There is way too much distraction; cheerleaders, music, a drum section, prizes being shot into the crowd and crazy fans getting you to cheer louder and make even more noise. At the same time, it was fun to take in the pre-game events and watch the game without commercial breaks. It’s colorful, alive and you definitely get into the game more. “Touchdown” and everyone is on their feet cheering and yelling.

Game2Most of the game seesawed back and forth, with the odd touchdown and convert. Eskimos were leading by the half 23 – 10. Lions had to come out stronger and start completing their passes if they wanted to get on the scoreboard. At the 3minute mark in the 4th quarter, Eskimos were in the driver’s seat. BC had possession but threw an interception. Fans were leaving looking dejected.

RoofThe Lions got possession of the ball again and quarterback, Travis Lulay threw a pass to Andrew Harris, “touchdown!” They finished it off with a 2 point conversion giving them the win or at least get them into overtime should Eskimos respond with a 3 point kick. No such luck, ball is intercepted and Lions take possession again and that’s all she wrote. [Lions 26 – Eskimos 23]

Like the saying goes, “It ain’t over until the fat lady sings”.

Too bad those fans left because the last 3 minutes were the best part of the game.

#11 – Visit and Walk the Capilano Suspension Bridge

Follow me through the “Story Centre” that portrays the early pioneers who shaped Vancouver and the Capilano Suspension Bridge. StoryWalk with me amongst the “Kia’palno” totems that connect you to local First Nations. TotemsUse all of your senses; see the beauty, listen to the forest, smell the moist moss and trees and feel the presence of nature surrounding you. With all of your senses and a bit of courage, take the walk across the “Capilano Suspension Bridge”.BridgeNow that we are across, follow the boardwalk trail around the perimeter of the park. The plaques explain the many types of trees, plants and wildlife that play an integral part in this coastal rainforest. Beware of the species that are endangered. Did you hear that? It’s the barred owl screeching, it’s feathers puffed up. The prairie falcon is quiet and does not like the attention of visitors. Both birds have piercing eyes.Bwalk

Look up!Look upIn the trees, there is a series of suspended walkways connecting tree to tree. It’s a different perspective from up here to the forest below. How they built this without disturbing the trees and using no machinery is quite a feat.TreeTopMake your way back on the bridge. If you dare, take the “Cliffwalk”.Capilano Suspension Bridge CliffTour complete and time to enjoy the live music and peruse the “Trading Post Gift Shop”.TPost

Like little kids, we made sure we collected all the stamps on our passport, proving we visited everything. We thought we would just cross a bridge but instead we experienced an array of things to see, touch and do. We were pleasantly surprised with the park experience and hope you enjoyed the tour.

My husband is a real trooper and has been on many of my adventures this year. This one he dreaded the most because he is afraid of heights. He kept telling himself, “this is safe, it is well built”. After all, a 46ton tree fell on the bridge back in 2006 and there was no damage. The bridge spans 460 feet and is 230 feet above the river secured by a steel cable net wire. If the height doesn’t get you, the wobble while you cross will. My husband said afterward that if we are doing #22. Ride a Zipline he will wear Depends.

PS The best tip off the website, go early or late afternoon.

#48 – Fly in a 2-Seater Plane

My friend Dave is a pilot. He just retired after 36 years of service with Air Canada. We have many things in common but one is that we worked for the same company. I was a flight attendant during the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. I didn’t know him then but maybe we flew together at some point.

Dave and I

Photo op before take off

Dave’s passion is planes. He co-owns a 2-seater Glasair Super II RG made of fiberglass and composite. He is also building an aluminum Van’s RV-8. Both planes have the same type of engine, a Lycoming IO-360.

I got strapped in like a race car driver, went through the pre-flight checklist and down the runway we went.  I’m glad I am not tall or plump as I filled the tiny passenger seat.



We climbed to 6500 ASL (above sea level) at 114 knots. What a great sensation. It’s like having your own wings and flying like a bird. I did not feel comfortable when he let me handle the controls. I was too short to see over the dash and couldn’t see where I was going. I was just fine looking and snapping pictures.


View from my seat. Up!

We did a maneuver called “Wing Over”. The nose goes up and then down slightly as the plane rotates 180° on the right wing and continues in the opposite direction. We executed the move on both sides.

We flew over our homes, the Schooner Cove Marina, the Fairwinds Golf Course and Mount Arrowsmith. I didn’t realize Mount Arrowsmith had a lake at the top. I wonder if there are any fish? I was shocked to see how much clear cutting occurs on the island. The good thing is that the lime green colour shows new growth. I particularly liked seeing part of the vast amount of water we just covered on our sailing trip and the many trails we use on our runs.


Schooner Cove Marina


Fairwinds Golf Course

We slowly descended, dropping altitude and lined up for the Qualicum runway. The landing is smooth. You would think he knows what he is doing. As you can see from the pictures it was a perfect clear day for flying.

Thank you Captain Dave