The Summer of Supertramp

Last night I was feeling nostalgic, not unusual for me my favorite playlist on my ipod is full of old jazz standards mixed in with music from the ’70’s and ’80’s and a very few current ones.  However, last night I was in the mood for something completely different.  Supertramp.  Not Crime of the Century but Breakfast in America, I am an ’80’s girl after all.

When I was young I used to spend summers at my friends cottage on Go Home Lake.  Our fathers were friends when they were teenagers, they were rowing buddies, you’ve heard me talk about my dad’s rowing buddies before, they all stayed in touch through the years and all us kids grew up together forming life long friendship bonds.  We’d visit each others cottages in the summer and ski in the winter, Christmas tree hunting and usually a few other get together’s though out the year.

This one summer my friend was into Supertramp. Usually it was the Beatles she was obsessed with, therefor, I was as well, she’s two years older than me, I had to emulate someone didn’t I? But for this post, it’s the summer of  Supertramp I’m remembering.

This particular summer we spent a week at their cottage, and it rained almost the entire time.  We sat around and played game after game of backgammon, ate peaches and listened to Breakfast in America, over and over and over again. This was back in the day when we had vinyl instead of MP3’s, my friend had a cassette tape that someone had made for her of the record, I’m pretty sure we wore it out.

For some reason last night something triggered a memory of this time and I just had to hear this music.  For me it really stands the test of time, I found myself washing dishes singing along, impressed that even after all these years, I was hitting all the right  beats and all the lyrics. I guess it really sunk into my subconscious that summer, oh, and the year after that I played it at home.

Immediately, that summer came flooding back to me and I was lost in the memories of the warm rain hitting the wood of the dock and the smell the water gets in the rain, the peaches, so ripe the juice running down our hands as we ate them by the twos, all the backgammon games we played and the distinctive voice of Roger Hodgson cutting through the air.

Probably why we prefer to listen to “old” music and the “kids” today don’t relate to what we listen to, it evokes happy old memories of times, places, and situations.  In this case, nostalgia heaped upon us in waves of British rockers who want to find kippers in Texas.  I popped onto Facebook after the dishes were done to find that another friend from that time, who has moved to Florida was at a “Supertramp” concert, actually I think it was only one of the singers.  What a weird coincidence.

Time to make new memories, and Supertramp will still be locked away in my heart and mind.  Anytime I feel like it I can call up those days by just listening to a track of their music, how amazing is that?

Dreaming Big from the East Coast,

Samantha

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Decorating as a meditation….

Friends have asked me to help with the re-decorating of their house.  They want to be in a position to sell in a few years and felt that their place needed an update, and lets face it I need the extra income so it’s a good situation for all of us.

Before Christmas I did the living room, it turned out beautifully if I do say so myself (no pictures as I haven’t asked permission to post them) it is a north facing room and in NS that is actually grayer than in TO so the original decor was a little cold and dark.

They lean to greens, earthy tones and spring colours, both being from the agricultural world.  We choose a very creamy white for the walls (Windham Cream Benjamin Moore HC-6 in eggshell, almost yellow) the ceiling we did in a colour instead of the usual white, in Celadon green (BM 2028-60) and the trim in Cloud White (my favorite BM cc-40).  I stripped and stained the floors using a minwax stain in slightly darker colour (who’s name escapes me right now).  The whole effect was complimented with new panel curtains, custom made, their furniture painted to match the trim, anaglyptia paper put into the blank space on the “fake” fire place and vintage table lamps.  A chandelier and medallion replaced an ’80’s “boob” light (I’m not a fan of those lights) and a large mat silver mirror hung over the mantle.   The only thing still left to do is re-upholstering the furniture and finding a carpet for the middle of the room.

Now I’m back to do the hall.  The floor has been stripped and prepped and is ready for me to stain the same colour as the living room.  The stairs to the second floor have been primed of their burgundy colour and await their new hue.  This house was built in the mid 1800’s and has amazing baseboards about, 8″ thick and trim (all plaster) in the public areas and as soon as you step into what would have been the “private” family area there is little to no adornment.  It took me about 3 hours to strip, and prep the floor and about 5 to prime out all the trim (all those spindles on the staircase!).

The hall will echo the living room and the existing colour in their kitchen, the walls and some of the ceiling will be the beautiful Celedon Green and the trim and the rest of the ceiling will be Cloud white. The treads on the stairs will be Willow (BM, CC-542) which another friend has in her home, where it is so stunning I stole it for this project.  This combination will lighten up their hall way and make their home more current.

I have to “kick” the homeowner out of the home for a few days since the hallway and stairs are the only way to the second floor and their lovely dog (Miss Scout) is loosing her winter coat … ALL OVER THE PLACE and it would end up as a permanent part of the floor and stairs.

I really enjoy this kind of work, although I have to admit I am sore from using muscles that my body isn’t used to using.  I find that this is very cathartic, this time I didn’t have music going (I usually do) although my friend had the radio on for part of the day and it was very nice jazz music I could just get lost in. Gave me lots of time to plan and think about my future.

I love the ideas that go through my head when I’m doing this kind of work, from a great idea about what colour would work where to what I’m going to do about getting a full time job to where I want to hike next weekend.  My thoughts run the gambit, like meditation, they cross my mind and leave, just like they are supposed to do while your meditating. The paint brush just keeps sweeping back and forth in rhythm with my thoughts and before I know it, the job is done.

Dreaming Big from the East Coast,

Samantha

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Reflections at 3am

Cardigan Bay

Cardigan Bay

I changed my wallpaper on my computer this weekend to a different picture of the bay at my cottage.  For ages it’s been the same picture as the one that graces the top of my blog, the beautiful sunrise.  The new one I chose is a shot that looks calm and beautiful all in shades of grey with the sun trying to shine through the clouds, and is not at all what it seems.

The rolling waves look very smooth, soft and quiet, you can almost imagine that they would calmly roll onto the beach and roll off with just a whisper on the sand.   In reality this type of wave is one of the loudest you can get here.  The bay is quiet with very little wind, the waves look small, but when they hit the shore they land with a surprisingly loud boom.

Once again it’s 3am and I’m wide awake, sitting in my living room listening to soft music, with purring cats around me, candles lit to  give a little light, the smell of spaghetti sauce that I made earlier today still permeating the air. Not bad for the middle of the night, however I’d rather be sleeping, instead of worrying about how I’m going to get everything I need accomplished and paid for.  The picture I chose seems to reflect how I feel at the moment, everything is grey and calm looking on the outside and keeps landing with a loud crash.

I moved here to this city after my relationship ended because I needed a new beginning and wanted to be happy, you’ve heard me say this before.  I’ve realized that this is actually a great place for me to live.  The city is not to big, although I do love big cities, the property prices out here allows for me to at least entertain the idea that I’ll be able to afford to buy a home at some point.  Lets face it, it’s on the ocean how can that be bad, near beautiful hiking trails.  Close to my cottage so I can spend weekends there.  Wonderful friendships are beginning to develop, some picking up from years ago and some new.  But it feels like I’m waiting for something, I’m not sure what.

Saturday was the annual Women Making Waves conference that the local chapter of WIFT-AT has hosted for the past 3 years.  I love to volunteer at this event, I get so much out of being around so many wonderful women in my industry.  Catching up with friends, listening to the panels, going to some of the workshops and helping out with whatever the organizers need me to do, which between  you and me, it seems that I get the far better deal out of this arrangement.

Then I get home and realize that I have all this marking to do, I have another teachers to do as well, another project starting this week, an on going current project and a potential root canal that I have to find the time and money. The things I’ve been avoiding are starting to become unavoidable and need to be dealt with and just like those silent rolling waves everything crashes to the shore and I’m overwhelmed.  Hence my 3am wake up call.

We all have stress in our lives, wouldn’t it be nice to live without it? Someday I hope to be like those waves and just roll on to the beach and then roll out without a care.  Until then I guess I’m going to have to pull up my big girl panties and get on with it, sigh, maybe I can get some sleep then.

Attempting to Dream Big from the East Coast,

Samantha

Posted in friendship, General, Intentions, Ocean, WIFT AT | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Teaching….not for the faint of heart..

Student evaluations came out this week.  I have to say I am shocked at what I read on them .  For the most part the students quite like me and the relaxed way that I teach but there seems to be one student in every class that needs to make a point.  The evaluations are “anonymous” or so the student’s think.  The school can always it trace back.

There is a complete disconnect in this day and age from what you “hear and say” and what you “see and write” I think people forget that once something is on the net that it stays here and that it can ALWAYS be tracked back to you as a person unless you are a hacker extraordinaire.  It seems to be a generational conception that you can put anything you want out there and no one will know.

Some “well meaning” student put on the evaluations something that shocked and made me quite upset.  I’m going to have a conversation with my manager about this because I think it needs to be addressed.  There always seems to be 1 student in every class that seems that they have to be “truthful” even when the truth isn’t actually the truth.

What I’m finding out is that teaching isn’t for the faint of heart and maybe students need to realize that teachers are human as well and can be hurt by off hand comments.  I’m not a teacher by trade, I was asked to do this because I am a professional in my field and the students are supposed to have “real life” teachers.  Maybe if I had gone to teaching school this would have been easier for me but I tend to take what the students say to me personally.

I think it just might be time to move on, I’ve been looking for a full time job and I now I know I need to step up my game, it’s been too long with teaching, it’s had a good run but it’s time now to get out and move on to greener more appropriate pastures.

Dreaming Big from the East Coast,

Samantha

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The Tooth Faerie

I’ve been on a tangent this morning, white tornado-ing my house.  Everything has been vacuumed, washed, there’s even bread baking in  my kitchen, I have lavender oil in the diffuser and a beautiful candle burning in my living room.  Spring is here and spring cleaning is in the air.

Yesterday, I had to go to the dentist, an emergency appointment, a large hole or break had appeared in one of my back molars.  Turns out it was a filling that had cracked and developed a cavity and it just took out the tooth.  I’ve been pretty down lately and my ear has been sore and it looks like this was the cause.  The dentist was amazing, cleaning out the old crap from my tooth (which was hard considering it’s the one in the very back on the top of my mouth) and putting in a temp filling.  Because of financial considerations and no insurance, this lovely dentist is going to try to get me into the Dal Dental school to see if I need a root canal or an extraction.

Both upset me, I have very good teeth and even he was surprised that this had happened to me actually questioning me on how this had occurred because of how good my teeth are.  But, I love that he’s going to help me and send me to the dental school which is far more cost effective than him doing the work.  Wouldn’t happen in TO let me tell you.

But what this started was me feeling a TON better and more positive.  I determined that I would spend the morning cleaning up my apartment which sorely needed it and just making my environment a nicer place to be in. I think the bad tooth was making me feel worse than I realized, bringing me down in spirit and in health.

I love spring, it’s the time of new beginnings, it’s when my birthday is (exactly a month from today) and its when I get to think seriously about going back to my cottage. I’m so glad that this dentist was able to help me, he certainly gave me back more than just a pain free tooth, he gave me back a positive outlook that I hadn’t realized that I had lost to that degree.   The Tooth Faerie exists – who knew?

Dreaming Big from the East Coast,

Samantha

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Chebucto Head

Chebucto Head

Chebucto Head

My friend, her dog, Arrow and I went on a short hike to Chebucto Head yesterday.  It was a grey day but warmish for this time of year.  The pictures I took don’t do the ocean justice, the waves were crashing over the rocks and rocketing up almost to the top of the cliffs. We could feel the mist on our faces, and when I licked my lips I could taste the salt from the  ocean spray.

Me @ Chebucto Head

Me @ Chebucto Head

This wasn’t a long walk, about an hour, it was colder by the ocean and the wind was so strong that I could feel it pushing me around when I’d stop to take a picture.  Arrow had a great time chasing her ball all over the brush, dodging in and out of the bushes and climbing the rocks.  We walked up to the lighthouse and took a look around the war bunkers that are still there, stripped down little concrete houses that dot the coast line all over NS.

Arrow @ Chebucto Head

Arrow @ Chebucto Head

Chebucto Head lighthouse

Chebucto Head lighthouse

We’ve decided to go back another day, there is a hiking path that leads in the opposite direction that we want to try out so I’m sure there will be more pictures to follow.  Hopefully, I’ll remember to top off the charge on my camera, I ran out of battery on this trip.

A girl and her dog @ Chebucto Head

A girl and her dog @ Chebucto Head

Today is another grey day but it’s supposed to be warmer than yesterday, I’m sure I’ll be out on a hike in a few hours.  An excellent way to spend a day.

Dreaming Big from the East Coast.

Samantha

PS: Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary to my friend Nikki in London UK!! xo xo

Posted in fitness, friendship, Hiking | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Tea, the Goddess and me.

The past month has been a little difficult for me, as you probably noticed, I’m not going to sugar coat it, it’s been awful! The next few months will get better they have to, spring is in the air, the days are getting visibly longer and day lights savings time kicks in this weekend all things that lead to summer, being warm by the ocean all good things.

Until then what’s a girl to do? I’ve been trying a few tricks to make myself feel better during these rotten times, going back to yoga, walking and trying to take care of myself and the things in my life that stress me out.

One thing from my childhood that has remained constant is tea.  I know, most of you drink coffee but tea for me has always been a ritual.  Tea was always drank in my house, my mom didn’t drink coffee at all, the few times she did ask for it I could count on 1 hand.  I was trained from an early age to drink it, even when I did drink coffee I always drank tea at home, so did my dad.  Walking into my grandparents the 1st thing that we did was put the kettle on for tea.  It was served at every meal and in between.

I remember for special occasions my grandmother had a small cup and saucer that was child size that she would let me use.  It had violets on it and matched her dishes, I remember feeling very grown up.  I also remember being served tea in a small yogourt container with lots of milk and sugar. They started me at an early age.

Tea is something that gets me through a day, when I’m feeling down in the afternoon and need a pick me up, I reach for the kettle, when I get up in the morning the 1st thing (after I feed the girls) is a cup of tea and while I’m working at my desk, chances are their is a mug with it beside me.

Goddess Mug

Goddess Mug

I don’t know what happened to my grandmothers cup, maybe one of my cousins has it.  I have a few special ones I like to start my day off with and my favorite is my “goddess” mug.  It doesn’t hold a lot so I’m back and forth to the pot every few minutes.  I love the feel of the mug in my hands, it’s old diner ware, heavy but small enough for my hands and keeps the heat in so it takes longer for my tea to cool off.  The best part is the painting on it, simple and serene, it brings a moment of calm to my day .

My tea ritual has changed slightly over the years, I have found that milk and I no longer see eye to eye so we’ve parted ways and almond milk has made its debut.  There is no sugar and it’s now organic black tea that is in the pot.  I still drink it to calm myself down, to take that moment when things are to hectic, when the world just seems a little out of control, or to just enjoy the ritual.   It is a constant for me and the Goddess in my mug reminds me to just be and enjoy.

Dreaming Big from the East Coast,

Samantha

Posted in Family, Food/ Organic / Local, General | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments