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Archive for August, 2012

An Ode to Canada

My parents have owned a summer cottage in Pointe Au Baril, Ontario since 1999.  It is the source of many, MANY folkloric family stories, a great repository of Christmas gifts for my dad (another wooden duck?  something moose-themed?  Sounds good!) and our family’s home away from home for over a decade.  It’s also in the middle of nowhere.

Nowhere: Middle of,

Because my parents’ bought their abode after I was already out of the house (and it goes without saying that this fact meant I no longer had to be dragged for 12 hours in the car by them for family vacations as I was an independent 19-year-old adult thankyouverymuch!), my visits were a little more sporadic than my sisters’, and as of last month, I’ve been there 8 times (Alice, who was young enough to be forced into the 12 hour trip multiple times per summer has double that under her belt).

But, it is gorgeous up there.  And now that I’m much older, the whole middle of nowhere thing is suddenly very appealing …

Canadian cottage love

After spending this summer with the loons in Canada, my dad was approached by a family asking if he’d ever considering selling the place.  They had been looking for one of their own for two years with no luck and it was the perfect house for them.   And that’s that.  Next month, the house with the name “SMITH” blazoned in red on the side will go under new ownership.

One of our favorite Canadian hobbies – puzzles!

Photo evidence of our last full family trip – 2009

One of my favorite nights ever – Lisa teaching us the proper rugby stance.

I’m happy that my folks have found their home a good home.  I’m happy that we have so many entries in the “Up North” journal from every visitor that has ever crossed its threshold.  I’m happy that we were all old enough to really appreciate and enjoy this house and have so many memories that will last and last.  The Canada house will surely live on as the place with the scary seaweed forest, white bread and unlimited cookies, bunk beds, improv games, mosquitoes, fires, the Baileys, our crap boat that lost its steering wheel once when we were all in it, Belle the rowboat, bats in the rafters, Euchre and lots and lots of chatty family time.

Miss you already Canada.  xoxo.

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Life in a Small Space

Since I moved to NYC, two frequently asked questions that keep heading my way:

1. How long will you live in NY?

2. How hard is it to live in a small apartment?

Answers:

1. I don’t know and it would be weird if I did

2. I love it

After we bought our house (smallish but plenty big for 2 people) I realized that most of our space was unnecessary.  In our house I spent 90% of my time in 25% of the house (and when I started working from home, it was 90% in 30%).  I literally never went in our guest room unless we had a guest arriving or leaving.  I had an extensive cookbook collection that I referenced rarely.  I had all the back issues of my favorite travel magazine for 5+ years that I referenced literally never because I could find anything I wanted from any issue online for free.

Truly downsizing out of that house into 500 square feet was liberating.  I have a penchant for getting rid of stuff, feel nearly no connection to anything I own (which I admit sounds harsh), and love the idea that in a small space every single item must be chosen specifically and with a purpose.  No new clothes unless some go out the door.   No knick knacks.  I saw a cute coffee mug the other day, but NO!  There is no room.

Here’s what life looks like now.

All of our pens, and one pair of scissors.

Our DVD and video ‘collection’

 

Our scaled back cookbook collection – about 2% of the original group!

My casual summer clothes – 4 bottoms, about 8 shirts, 2 belts. I wear these all…the…time…

 

All silverware and kitchen utensils. We have one teeny drawer so they’re on the counter.

Basil – how did he get in here? Well, proof that he now does like his own bed. I’m using my 50MM lens now, which I love when I have the patience for manual focus.

 

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Update on Summer Bucket List

Back in June, I put together a bucket list of all the fun things I wanted to make sure to do in New York this summer.  Now that the summer is eeking out its last weeks of crushing humidity, I took a look at the list to make sure I was still on track to do it all.

The list:

1. Go kayaking at Pier 40 – not done yet.  It’s been more difficult than you’d think wrangling some company on this excursion, and I really would prefer to not do it solo.  This is staying firmly on the list!

2. Brooklyn Flea Market – not done yet but on the plan for a visit next week with an old friend

3. Coney Island – DONE!  Alice and I went a couple weeks ago on a Friday afternoon.  I sucked it up and went on the Cyclone with her, even though I’m not a huge fan of roller coasters.  From the ground it looked small enough…

Scarier than it looks…

4. Brooklyn Cyclones baseball game – DONE!  This was a lot of fun.  Tickets are cheap, the field overlooks the water, and there’s plenty of Carvel ice cream on site to satisfy me.

5. Rent a bike – not done yet.  I’m considering taking this off the list given the high cost (almost $50 for 4 hours).  I would have gone with my mom, but we never did, and it’s just so freaking hot here.  Keeping it on the list for now…

6. DeKalb Market – going this weekend!  Finally 🙂

7. US Open – still on the list.  Drew is a huge tennis fan, so it’s a no brainer.  We will be there!

8. Gotham Girls Roller Derby match – Today is the only day this summer with a match and I have other plans. Boo!  I’m taking it off the list.

9. Gay Pride parade – DONE!

10. Attend one outdoor movie – DONE!  Outdoor movies are super popular and crowded, but that’s the fun!

11. Attend one outdoor concert – DONE!

12. Have at least one proper picnic – DONE! On the 4th of July, we met up with some friends for a picnic before fireworks.  Which were insanity.

I didn’t take this picture, but it captures the size of this city’s display…

13. Go to one Broadway show – sadly, not done yet, but next week with one last visitor for the summer I hope to check this off the list!
That’s it for the summer list.  Now Drew and I have a new list of 10 of the best pizza places in the city and we’re trying to check them all off – 2 down, 8 to go.  And they’re amazing.

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