Sunday, May 8, 2022

Retreat Day Four -- Day tripping

This retreat definitely has a different vibe than many I've been on. Perhaps it's the location? I'm not sure, but it's very relaxing. I headed out in the morning for my walk, and I decided to go for a long walk. A bit longer than usual, but I was still back in two hours. 

It was brisk in the morning, and I wore my vest the entire walk. The sun was out yet again, and I was comfortable. The environment was stunning. Since it was Saturday morning, there was very little traffic, the sky was blue, the birds were chirping, and other than my feet clomping on the pavement, it was silent, except for the sounds of nature. No car noise, no boats, nothing but the birds. 

My walking path

The road stretched for KMs, and you could feel the environment surrounding you. I think they call that forest bathing or something like that, although I wasn't specifically in the forest. I would hope that everyone can experience that someday. I've had the great fortune on many occasions -- my bike trips where you ride alone and get yourself from one place to another on your own power - bike or legs. No one for miles around -- it's just amazing!!! 

What's around the bend?

I think the reason why I'm outside so much during this retreat is due to several things. The weather could not be more perfect. Not too hot and not too cold, so that's a treat since we've had some very bizarre weather. And I focus a LOT on sewing at home, and I need a break. YES -- I have many things that need to be sewn, but you know what? I'm going to go home and be so energized, I'll be worse than Murphy!!

Sometimes we need a break to go back with a vengeance, which I'll be doing when I get home. So I do not regret this little break at all. And I have got some sewing done. 

I think I walked about 4 KMs from the house and then back. I passed the welcome sign to Port Sidney, which for some reason, we keep calling Port Stanley, which is in another part of Ontario entirely. 

Welcome to Port Sidney

We want to know who the grouch is! And signs, not a lot, but at least there are signs - watch for pedestrians. The traffic is so accommodating, which is excellent considering that the roads are winding and sometimes hard to see around the next bend. I have ZERO issues walking on this road. But then, I cycled on the Trans-Canada highway with transport trucks whizzing by at high speed. There's not much that makes me uncomfortable. OK -- heights still freak me out! 

Watch for pedestrians

One of the things I love about walking is that I think of everything and nothing simultaneously. I'm not sure what is more critical on the walk -- the benefits of my mental health or my physical health? It's both, and I've learned to motivate myself to do many things that others may deem hard to do. I wish I could teach others how to motivate themselves, but that really has to come from within each of us. 

I've made it a priority in my life, and it's made such a difference for me. I've made many aspects of my health a priority - exercise, eating, drinking (although I need to drink more water), and while it's not always as fun -- I feel so healthy, I could burst! And that's so important to me. 

Along my walks, I get to see all kinds of things that you wouldn't in a car, like this little hut on a hill. Why is it there? What was its purpose? 

A little hut on a hill

And then I spotted this little house on the side of the road. Is it a house for a dwarf (are we allowed to use that word?), or was it a playhouse? It sits beside a regular-sized home. I suspect it was a playhouse, but it's very well constructed. I'd love to see inside some of these places, but I am NOT a trespasser and don't bother people. So I can imagine what it looks like inside as I walk. 

A playhouse? 

And here's another reason to walk. You can stop ANYWHERE and look or take pictures. There are NO parking spots along this road. The shoulders are narrow, and the ditches are steep. I spotted this little pull-out in front of a house on the opposite side of the road. It's private parking for that house, but no one will chase me away as I stop momentarily to gaze over the lake. It's wonderful. 

A lake view

And as I gazed a bit more, I spotted an island out there with a "cottage" on it. It's probably a single-family dwelling that is way bigger and nicer than many people's houses. I cannot imagine having a cottage where I load up the car and drive several hours in traffic every weekend to get to the cottage. Then I have to unpack everything. Perhaps I do some maintenance on the house, and then I might get some downtime. OH -- now it's time to load the car, drive back in the traffic, and unpack everything when I get home. 

I cannot imagine the added "fun" of putting all the stuff into a boat and getting to the cottage that way. NOPE -- that is why we put extra money into our backyard, and that's our cottage. I get that it doesn't have the same view, but it's tranquil considering it's in the middle of the city. Zero time wasted packing, unpacking, and traveling. And if I ever want to get away, then I'll rent. 

A cottage on an island

I also spotted this old bridge. It's tucked away in the trees on one side of the road. There are loads of streams/rivers in this area, and this used to be where the road went - over the narrowest part. But now there's a big road with HUGE culverts that cross that water. 

An old bridge

I got more sewing done on the flannel quilt. Ooops -- did not take a picture; I'll save that for tomorrow. In the afternoon, I took a little car trip to meet Maryke. I met her through the Zoom classes, so it was time to meet in person since she lives somewhat close to the retreat house. They live on a lake and SHOOT -- I didn't get pictures of her view. It's stunning and, of course, very quiet! It would drive me nuts to have that quiet disturbed by boaters in the summer. 

I love the dragonflies on the side of her house! And the other thing I forgot to do was take a picture of us! My brain was not working. 

Dragonflies on the house

Carol, who lives somewhat near to there, met us as she had also met Maryke on the Zoom calls. And guess what? There's a picture of Carol's big truck and my car! I know the angle is all off, but it's the best I can do. Trust me - my car is only as long as the box of her truck and definitely not as tall by a LOT. 

OH, and Jade snuck into the photo. What a sweet girl!! We had some stuff to exchange between the three of us, with me getting the bonus prizes. I'll share what I collected when I get home. It's all sitting on the front seat of the car. 

Carol's big truck and my little car

We had a great visit, and as we were leaving, Marke suggested that we visit a geocache not far from her house. So Carol (also a geocacher) and I headed out, and we made a quick find in a cemetery. 

Geocaching in the cemetery

Then it was time to head home as I had a cold beer waiting for me on the porch! And I needed to gas up the car as it was getting down to less than 75 KM left in the tank, and that cost over $80 to fill up! Another reason to think twice about where and when you go somewhere. 

Before I hit the porch, I did get some sewing done. Because the serger was out, and Susan wanted to see it in action, I got the sweatshirt out of the car and bravely cut it down the center. But not before Shelly checked it to make sure the cut looked straight. It's nice to have someone verify that before you make the cut. 

Cutting the front of the sweatshirt open

Then I serged up the sleeves and the sides. I tried it on, and we don't have a decent mirror here, so I'll look at it when I get home. But I love it!!! 

The sweatshirt is almost done

The big question now is how to finish the edges. Do I bind them as a quilt, or do I turn them under and use a cover stitch? Shelly suggested that I wash it before proceeding, which might be a good idea, so the binding doesn't shrink. I'm using batik for the patches, and I can't remember if anything has been washed. I don't think so. I'll serge the edges before I wash it. I hope to get it finished soon - it may not be this week, but soon as it won't take long now. 

I should be able to get some sewing done this morning and will leave sometime after lunch. While it's sad to be leaving as we've had some great laughs and good times, it's time to go! But what a great break from the routine! 

On that note, I"m out of here! 

Have a super day!!!



  1. After reading your blog for several years and considering the ups and downs of this nearly 61yo body, you have inspired me to walk! This week I walked 79,185 steps/30.36 miles. I eat too much. I sit too much. I want to be a healthy 85yo not a cremated 85yo. So I thank you for consistently writing about your consistent walking. I have been "grounded" since 2015 with severe knee injury in 1 followed by rapid cartilage loss and full knee replacement in 2019. Then rapid demise of the other knee with full replacement August 2021. When I say grounded, I could move around with a limp to prevent terrible pain (I will not take pain meds). So, with a new pair of perfect knees there is no possible excuse for continuing the habits of the last 7 years!!!!

    Question: do you wear your step counter all day or only during your walking? One day I wore it all day and exceeded 15000 steps and I'm trying to decide if I do this regularly.

    Yea for enjoying your retreat in the way you needed. And meeting Zoom friends!!!!!

    Happy Sunday and Happy Mother's Day to you :-)

    1. Elle --- I'm so proud of YOU!!!! That is awesome and every step counts. Like you -- I DO NOT want to be like my mother who has lost the ability to walk. I want to slide into home base, with skinned knees and no cartilage left!
      I do wear my FitBit all day and so all my steps count. That's a personal choice. If I didn't wear it everyday, all day, I would forget to put it on. So I set my goals accordingly. And it's surprising how many steps you can take when you are quilting or sewing.
      Good luck and if you need motivation -- well you no longer need it. It has to come from within. Walk ON!!!!

    2. Thank you for the encouragement. I hold myself accountable in 2 ways. First, I set my goal at 10000. Last night I was really tired but short by 800 steps so I went out and ended up at 11500. ;-) Second, each evening I take a screenshot of the daily steps and send it to my older sister via text. She walks most days and has taken herself to a weight she is satisfied with at age 72. (She is off today for 17days in Greece so tons of walking to come).

      I agree, the motivation has to come from within. I'll need to acquire proper "weather" walking clothing. It's too easy to do nothing on crap days. A smaller size will be easier to get a good fit.

      Thanks again for responding-I appreciate you taking the time.