Saturday, July 30, 2016

At anchor

At anchor, the boat swings with the breeze and it feels so much cooler than when you're tied to a dock. And so much easier to jump straight into the lake for a swim. Day 5 in the Bay of Quinte, we were overdue to drop our hook. Glen Island was perfect.

As we approached, we recognized Sunglimmer flying the BPYC burgee, and later invited Mike B. onboard for curry. He ended up cooking the rice on his boat as we were short on both pots and burners.

We heard a loon call and splash for the first time this season.

The island cottages seemed empty, but the solar powered dock lights switched on as night darkened. Fireflies dotted the shore. Haven’t seen those in years, what a treat! 

Also a treat was the morning swim, jumping off the side of the boat and floating about.

Day 6 was seven hours to Waupoos, with some great sailing and motoring before we dropped our anchor again. Strong winds forecast, so we took extra care as we set the hook close to shore. 

Several Bluffers were already at Waupoos. Medina was docked at the marina, with Kaarina and Mike waiting for their guests to arrive. Fellow Bluffers Laura and Peter were anchored nearby, so we dinghied over to Elusive after dinner to say hello and enjoy the sunset and a few cocktails.

By the time we went to sleep, the strong winds that were expected hadn’t yet arrived. A few hours later, the lines on the boat were tugging hard and I heard knocking sounds on deck. I called out to Rob to see if he needed help, thinking he was above and resetting lines, but he replied from inside the cabin. That’s when we saw the other boat, banging into our port side. We rushed out and started calling to them to let them know they were drifting, but it seemed they were still asleep as it took them a bit of time to come above. They’d drifted and their anchor line had crossed ours, which meant they had to cut it loose and come back for it later. The skipper later told Rob this was only the second time it happened, but the next night the wayward boat drifted again, almost colliding with Medina (Kaarina and Mike’s boat). 

Day 7, Red sky in the morning, sailor take warning. But the day turned out to be sunny and winds were fair, so you can't always rely on folk wisdom to forecast weather. The marina’s ice shipment came in, and just in time, as our cooler was starting to smell. Not a bad smell, but enough to let us know the icebox wasn’t effective anymore. 

Kaarina’s guest had arrived with a car, and Laura and I went along for the ride to explore the county and gather provisions. Vickie’s Veggies was the first stop, but unfortunately it was too early for fresh tomatoes - they’ll likely ripen enough on the vine by next week. Stopped at Black River for some cheese curds, but still needed some eggs. The nearest convenience store was a few miles away, and it turned out to a real General Store, offering freshly baked goods, light lunches, non-prescription medication, and laundry facilities. We stopped in to another place, just opened, called The Local Food Store, and it had some delicious charcuterie, frozen sausages and chops. Then to Waupoos Cidery for a light lunch and cider tasting, and a view of our boats anchored far below. A wonderful day.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Sail Away!

The night before we were to start our vacation, the mechanic was still working on the boat. We'd noticed after our trip to the Island there was an anti-freeze leak, and a gasket had to be ordered and shipped from the States. James promised Yondering would be good to go, so we went.

It is now four days in to our holiday, and we've done a fair amount of motoring. So far so good. Although we are staying on the Canadian side of the lake before we venture south, to the 'North' shore, as the New York signs proclaim their geography.

We have had a few things go amiss. The first day, on the main sail, a sail tie untied; then a batton blew itself loose in strong winds. The second day out the summer dock student at Newcastle over-filled the diesel, and it flowed into the bilge. The third day a fuse blew, so no cabin lights. And the oil changed at the docks in Cobourg, as well. Thankfully Rob has been able to fix the issues as they've come up. 

We did our provisioning, shopping on Friday and then stuffing the stuff next morning. Set sail Saturday afternoon. Fantastic! Sunny skies, fair winds, and travelling hull speed up to 7 knots. We sailed for about 6.5 hours before heading into Newcastle. Then on to Cobourg for two nights. Now we are tied up to a slip at the new Trent Port Marina, the first place WiFi has worked. Incredible facilities here: brand new docks, spa-worthy showers, free laundry... and just a short walk to Trenton downtown's grocery store and cinema.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Full Ferry Moon - July

Actually it is the Full Buck Moon, but since I saw Brian Ferry live tonight...

"oooooh catch that buzz... love is the drug I'm thinking of."

Liz, Darcy, Rob & I at Massey Hall. Great music. I remember feeding quarters into the jukebox to listen to this one over and over.

Sunday, July 17, 2016


I ended my week-long staycation with a weekend on the Island.

July 15, Rob and I dropped anchor for the first time of the season. Better late than never! Then Saturday night at Queen City Yacht club.

The Island was busy, with the Festival of India, a Comicon meet-up, family picnics and summer parties. During the day there were smiles everywhere, and the city sparkled at night. Such diversity - of ethnicities, languages, ages, cultures, styles of dress. Sikh men in colourful turbans seated at a picnic table next to a crowd of girls dressed in anime costumes and next to that Trinidadians dancing. Hare Krishnas handing out food and Baptists singing by the shore. A happy place where everyone seemed to be celebrating summer.

Next weekend we will be off on a three week sailing tour of lake Ontario, so I was making notes on things that should come on and off the boat for our get-away. Can't wait!

Grated honeydew melon with lichee liqueur. Delicious!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Yoga in the Heart of the City

A week of yoga mornings and afternoon holidays! Yoga in the Heart of the City.  Every year since 2010 I have made the get-away with Marlene at YCT: an hour of pranayama followed by an hour and half of asana. 

The intent is to open the heart, and the sequences focus on keeping the chest lifted.  At the end of the week I feel totally uplifted and renewed. 

I do love inversions and backbends, and since the focus was on opening the heart, there were lots in the sequences. We ended the week with forward bends and twists, and found the backbends in those as well.


Each yoga intensive I find myself doing something that surprises and delights me. This morning we had been doing padmasana and then went to headstand variations that included half padmasana, and since I felt like doing a full urdhva padmasana, I did. The pose was really calling to me. I used to do this one as a kid all the time, and it was a bit of time travel for me. Fun, and exhilarating.
urdhva padmasana

That word, 'exhilerating,' I just realized how close it is to exhale. Inhalation and exhalation are the twin building blocks of pranayama, according to Iyengar. We practiced viloma breathing and kumbhaka, focusing first on inhaling and then exhaling, and observing the different affects.

I experienced how focusing and deepening the inhale is energizing, while focusing on the exhale more relaxing. 

Notes/ set-ups for future pranayama reference:
- for reclined pranayama: 5 blocks (four flat and one as a pillow)
- for seated pranayma: bolster with a blanket and plank on top, blanket wrapped around ankles for increased comfort + seated on a foam block, with legs through back of metal chair and wrists resting against the chair back

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Happiness Hypothesis

The Happiness Hypothesis has been bedtime reading for awhile. I put the book on library hold after learning about it in The Happy Film and have now renewed it the maximum number of times.

Some ideas and quotes from dog-eared pages:

Things won are done; joy's soul lies in the doing.
- Shakespeare

If Passion drives, let Reason hold the reigns.
- Benjamin Franklin

A wise man chooses not the greatest quantity of food but the most tasty.
- Epicurious

The keys to flow (total immersion and effortless movement): there is a clear challenge that fully engages your attention; you have the skills to meet the challenge; and you get feedback on how you are doing at each step.
- Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced "cheeks sent me high")

Many think that people have internal 'set points' for their levels of happiness, and that some people are just born with sunnier dispositions than others. Evidence does bear this out. However, some positive psychologists have come up with a "Happiness formula":  H = S + C + V. The level of Happiness you experience (H) is determined by your biological set point (S) plus the conditions of your life (C), plus the voluntary activities you do (V).
Lyubomirsky / Sheldon / Schkade / Seligman

Gratifications are activities that engage you fully, draw on your strengths, and allow you to lose self-consciousness. Gratifications can lead to flow. Know your own strengths and use them. Choose your own gratifying activities, do them regularly, (but not to the point of tedium), and raise your overall level of happiness. Take the free survey.

Those who think money can't buy happiness just dont know where to shop. Stop wasting money on conspicuous consumption. Work less, earn less, and "consume" more family time, vacations, and other enjoyable activities.
- Robert Frank

Racing and hunting madden the mind.
Precious things lead one astray.
Therefore the sage is guided by what he feels and not by what he sees.
He lets go of that and chooses this.
- Lau Tzu

The life of cerebral reflection and emotional indifference advocated by many Greek and Roman philosophers and that of calm non-striving advocated by Buddha are lives devoid of passion, and a life without passion is not a human life. Yes, attachments bring pain, but they also bring our greatest joys.
- Robert Solomon

During one of my book shelf purges, I got rid of the book Healthy Pleasures, which I'd purchased in 1990. At the time, it was one of the few titles on the subject. Now, there are probably hundreds of books published every year on the topic. There is only one copy in the Toronto Public Library, and that is in the Reference section so can't be checked out. I wish I'd held onto my original, because it started me thinking in a very concrete way about things I could do to boost my level of happiness. 

The Time Special Edition, The Science of Happiness, explores some of the same themes published in that book almost thirty years ago.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Choose Your Own Graphic Novel

I've always been intrigued by graphic novels, and so for the Book Babes book club, picked the theme of Choose Your Own. We met down at BPYC at the end of a hot, muggy day and the lake was mercifully cooling. There were six of us, and I complemented the evening with sushi, saki and Japanese beer. 

Everyone brought one or two books along to talk about, and the table was strewn with hardcovers and paperbacks.

Book club titles:
  • The Complete Don Quixote
  • Ghost World, Daniel Clowes
  • Suzanna Moodie Roughing it in the Bush, Carol Shields, Patrick Cross, illustrated by Selena Goulding
  • A Wrinkle in Time, Madeline L'Engles
  • Gargamel and the Smurfs, by Peyo
  • Bird in a Cage, Rebecca Roher
  • Mom Body, Rebecca Roher
  • Fun Home, a Family Tragicomic, Alison Bechdel
  • Are You my Mother, Alison Bechdel

To prepare for the meeting, I binged on several more:
  • Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant, by Roz Chast
  • Thunder & Lightning: Weather Past, Present, Future, by Lauren Redniss 
  • Cecil and Jordan in New York Stories, by Gabrielle Bell
  • Logicomix, by Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos Papadimitriou
  • Happy Marriage Series (Manga), by Maki Enjoji
  • Sex Criminals (Volume One), by Fraction and Zdarsky
  • Burning Building Comix, by Jeff Zwirek
  • Sloth, by Gilbert Hernandez 
  • Melody: Story of a Nude Dancer, by Sylvie Rancourt 

Happy Marriage, translated from the Japanese, demanded pages be turned right to left, with thought balloons and sound effects reversed from the usual pattern. Burning Building Comix provided the choice of exploring apartments and characters twelve panels down, or across. Thunder and Lightning was one of those beautiful books that could be opened to any page.

Thunder & Lightning: Weather Past, Present, Future
Many of the books had linear stories and plot lines, but even then, the page needed to approached in a different way. I usually found my eye taking in the pictures and then the text, but most often there was a ricochet, back and forth and back and forth.

Such a mix of styles and themes: fantasy, memoir, history, philosophy, geography, science, suspense.

In the Happy Marriage manga I read, the heroine tried to figure out if her husband desired her enough to consummate their arranged marriage. There are ten volumes in the series/soap opera, with kidnappings and crazy family members and corporate intrigue. Fun and silly, but I stopped after one.

Logicomix recounted the life and philosophy of Bertrand Russell. Others were sheer fantasy, like Sex Criminals, where the hero and heroine gained the superpower of invisibility after they orgasm (they used the power for good though, to steal money from a bank to keep their local library open).

More poignant was Roz Chast's memoir of taking care of her aged parents, and how honest she was as she confronted her emotional struggles with her parents as an adult and child. 

Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?
The form is perfect for playing with time, moving back and forth between future and past. It also worked when playing a scene and getting inside someone's head - how people might say one thing and be thinking another simultaneously.

Use of colour sometimes seemed a budgetary constraint, with pages left in black and white or shades of grey when vivid colour could have brought things to life. As a medium the graphic novel allows the author a level of expression and independence that might not be so accessible in film.

Exploring graphic novels was a nice break from the usual texts I read, and I'll keep browsing library shelves for more possibilities.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Love the music but question the lyrics?

What do you see in the image on the right? A woman, or a man playing the saxophone? I chose this pic because it seems to fit with two songs I really like, but have come to see in different light.

The song, "In the summertime, when the weather is high, you can stretch right up and touch the sky..." appealed to me as a kid when I heard it on the radio. The Mungo Jerry original is really catchy. But, when I got older, as a teenager, I felt a bit insulted by these words:  If her daddy's rich, take her out for a meal..If her daddy's poor, just do what you feel.

Recently the song came up on the repertoire of the Scarborough Uke Jam, and I was reminded how much I hate the lyric. So instead of singing about cruising for women, why not change things up a bit and make it a song about cruising and sailing? If the wind is fair, just go out for a sail, if the weather's poor, just do what you feel / Hoist the main and jib, tie your lines and set your point of sail.

"Drinking rum and coca-cola" is another tune I thought I might play on the ukulele... until I actually listened to the words the Andrew sisters were singing with fresh ears. How bizarre to hear three white girls cheerily sing about black prostitutes. The song was banned from radio in the '40s, not for alluding to prostitution but because of the mention of alcohol and the concern that singing about coca cola could be construed as free advertising. Turns out the melody and lyrics were 'adapted' without permission from calypso musician, Lord Invader, whose lyrics are far more explicit.  Invader borrowed the song from Lionel Belasco, who in turn interpolated it from a Martinique folksong L'Annee Passee, which is actually a tragic song about a Martinique girl who turns to prostitution in Trinidad.

Incidentally, Lionel Belasco was quite a character himself. "According to rumour", he taught the mayor's daughter a bit more than simply how to play the piano.... She was shipped back to England in disgrace, and Belasco was forced to flee to New York (1903-1904).

All this to say, as I look around for songs to learn on the ukulele, I'm listening to them, really listening to them, in a new way. And if I'm going to spend hours learning something, I want to really love it on many different levels.

In the meantime, it's great discovering new dimensions. 

Friday, July 1, 2016

Enjoying the view

The inside of Yondering's cabin was upside down. For all of May and June, the engine was waiting final touches from the mechanic. Beyond frustrating! The mechanic was great at coming up with excuses, and I'm surprised one of them wasn't that "the dog ate my homework."

So all of May and June we didn't get out for a sail. When I made it down to the club I made it a point to enjoy the view.

Friends invited us for a sailing get-away one weekend, but we had Bluejays tickets. Caroline also invited me for a sail but I wanted to see Luminato.

We had a few meals on the clubhouse deck and admired the new trumpeter cygnets. There were also a few events:  book club, martini's and oysters. When Mike and Lynn B invited me for a drink on their boat in the middle of June, I realized it was only the third time I'd even sat on a boat so far in the season.

The mechanic finally showed on the boat June 23, and completed the work he'd promised, but it didn't fix the original problem of not being able to go into reverse. At that point, I started imagining what else we could do in August for our vacation. He said he'd be back the following week to fix the problem, but I had my doubts he'd even show up.

On June 28th, the engine was finally fixed! On June 29th, Yondering was back in her rightful slip on M dock.

We still have some tweaks before we can go out for a sail and put everything to the test. I'm hopeful we will be able to sail this weekend.


I recognized many of the treasures in Trove, painted on the brick walls at the Hearn. What will happen to the series now that Luminato is over? Will they be reclaimed or are they permanent? The Pavillion restaurant and art installations will disappear like Avalon. 

Many of the inside exhibits used ephemeral elements, light and space, to encourage play and wonder. There was a massive, floating disco ball that was mesmerizing. In another piece,  a colourful strip of film appeared to move into its own reflection, becoming an endless mobius. In a different corner, people were using their mobiles to paint the walls with light. 

Kids from the Regent Park school of Music performed on humble instruments - Home Depot drums turned upside down. There was a small crowd of about seventy people, and the warm lighting of the stage and audience created an intimate room without walls.

It was an eerie experience, enjoying these playful exhibits in the dark, cavernous space. Even in the afternoon, with bits of light coming in from outside, everything felt cloaked in darkness. 

Outside, I listened to a concert in the Biergarten. There was an airstream trailer set up as headquarters that I wished was part of the exhibit, just so I could explore the interior.

And there was the bee lady - a headless sculpture swarming with a bee colony. Untilled was decidedly odd. I wished I'd been there in time to hear the associate curator from the AGO talk about Huyghe's work, and the challenges associated with storing and exhibiting an art piece with living elements.

Sometimes it felt I was in a post-apocalyptic world, sometimes I felt like it was a place of beginnings. So much energy went into "turning on the Hearn" in celebration of Luminato's tenth anniversary. Is it really over?