Sunday, October 29, 2023


The Oreo Gang making sure my husband is disconnecting the water intake properly.
(Miya Maria on the rock, Katie Lulu on the step, and Annie Bannanie on the hill)
TAKEN: OCTOBER 29th, 2023

Over the years, more often than not, we head into the cottage for the last Saturday in October so I can carve a pumpkin. Then, the following morning, we pack everything up and close it down for the season.

For me, this year in particular, was like no other at the cottage to date. I worked from my upstairs office space four days a week,  and usually in my bathing suit. Though my workload was grueling and my days were long, there is something to be said for looking out from your desk seeing the water.

As you know, this was our wee Katie's first year at Orillia Lake, and she embraced everyday like it would be her last. Saying that she loves absolutely everything about cottage life would be an understatement. 

Miya, though still a pup herself, simply couldn't keep up with KT's high energy zoomies. Annie, now a sexy senior in her own right, stayed at my feet the majority of the season, with the odd burst of puppy like behaviour shining through about once a week; it was perfect.

As far as upkeep goes, each year we tend to alternate from interior upgrades, to exterior elbow grease. This past season, a lot of our focus was spent outside. 

We had wanted to replace all main floor flooring this year, but a milestone anniversary had us take a last minute trip to Jamaica in June to celebrate. I love how we mutually decided, with a 'let's go for it' for good measure, that my saved flooring dollars would more than pay for our unexpected excursion nicely.

That said, though I know I will get my new floors next spring, a bush hog for the exterior is definitely a must have as well. Every second 'working the lands' year arrives with such optimism. We always have such a positive outlook on the clearing, hauling and burning brush at the cottage property from hell.

This year, we finally came to the terms that we aren't in our 30's anymore - and we are definitely Stihl in need of extra help, as no one ever offers. (Get that? Stihl, I mean still!)

Anyway, as an aside, as a woman in construction in Muskoka I can't stress enough how hard it is to find good ticketed trades to service the home and cottage industry here. 

Closing our cottage gives me hope we may have reprieve on the horizon. As you can see from my Sunday morning pic, we officially have three new furry plumbing apprentices.

All wanting wanting to help with the task of turning off the water for the season.


Thursday, October 26, 2023


Old Dominion - top left (ScotiaBank Arena) TAKEN: January 28th, 2023
Zac Brown Band - Top right (Budweiser Stage) TAKEN: July 14th, 2023
Chris Stapleton - Bottom left (Budweiser Stage) TAKEN: August 17th, 2023
Mary Chapin Carpenter - Bottom right (Ryman Auditorium) TAKEN: October 8th, 2023 

I have always appreciated all types of music, but for the last six or seven years, I have found myself gravitating to the channels offerings country on my Sirius satellite app. Suffice it to say, not many were surprised to discover that we landed in Nashville.

I think what might surprise most, is that all tickets purchased for my country music quartet were purchased with less than a month of them all landing on stage. All (except Chapin Carpenter at the Ryman Auditorium) were purchased off Ticketmaster - resale.

Now, I am not proud of what I paid for the tickets, with Old Dominion being the least expensive at a little over $100 each, and Chris Stapleton being the most expensive at just over $1,500 for the pair.

My first three experiences, were so high energy that I headed for the exit with little to no voice from yelling so loud, the fourth (an intimate acoustic presentation) moved me to my musical core. All of them left me completely and unequivocally entertained. Honestly, concert dollars very well spent!

I have always been an avid concert goer, and no genre is off limits. For instance, when we were in Nashville, we toured the Country Music Hall of Fame and explored some of the roof top honky tonk's on October 9th. Then, walked back to our condo off Broadway just in time to sit on our balcony and watch the sunset. 

On a whim, I logged onto Ticketmaster and purchased two stage left Jonas Brothers tickets at Bridgestone Arena (where the Nashville Predictors play). With less than an hour left before they hit the stage, we took our ten minute walk to the venue. They too brought down the house.

Ramping up to perform (Joe's hit) Cake By The Ocean to a packed Bridgestone Arena.
TAKEN: OCTOBER 9th, 2023

Anyway, I remember having a conversation with my brother this summer and he felt the need to point out that my dogs were a luxury. Though I understood his point, I told him that 'my dogs were a necessity that my husband and I couldn't live without'. 

Which in a nutshell, aside from being a mega fan, is why I clicked the Ticketmaster button and bought the Stapleton tickets; exactly three days later. 

My dogs a luxury? Nope. 

It is my concert going habit that wins his specific label. All the monies spent on tickets, hotels, flights, food and spirits? 

THEY... THEM....THOSE.  Will always be the biggest luxury of my life!!

Tuesday, October 17, 2023


Last week, when I posted photos of my Canadian Thanksgiving travels on social media as they were happening, I was proud to share that we had included experiencing the spectacular 'Mother Church' of country music in downtown Nashville, Tennessee. 

What I was somewhat surprised to admit (after leaving the building) was that my amazing and intimate musical experience presented at the Ryman Auditorium was simply mind blowing!!

My beautiful exterior shot from across the street, and our third row balcony
seats preshow. (No video or photography is allowed once the show starts.)
TAKEN: OCTOBER 8th, 2023
Yet, it's hard to believe our weeklong vay-cay happened somewhat coincidentally. 

You see, I have a coworker that traveled to Music City last spring to see Luke Combs perform at Bridgestone Arena. With my husband and I having two full weeks off at the end of the year, I thought I would checkout the Air BnB she'd been raving about for availability.

Turned out our festive holidays timelines weren't available, yet the week of Canadian Thanksgiving was. Without a plan, we booked The Burnham (a ten minute walk to Broadway) and we had less than a month to hatch the rest of our plan.

I knew instinctively, we couldn't go to Nashville and not experience the Ryman Auditorium. Without hesitation, I purchased tickets to see Mary Chapin Carpenter and Shawn Colvin. 

As a 1990's country follower, I was familiar with the success of Carpenter,  I only knew Colvin to have one hit with 'Sonny Came Home.' Without reserve, I clicked that famous Ticketmaster button and bought us 3rd row balcony tickets as shown above.

From the moment you approach the exterior architecture of this historic 2,362 seat live-performance venue, you could feel its distinctive vibe. An Instagram follower hit the nail on the head when he commented on my exterior shot with... "Oh the ghosts that reside there, you can feel the history when you visit!"

He's right, this is hallowed ground filled with her spiritual sounds. It truly is a sacred place for any music lover, celebrating all music genres in every sacred pew.

Oh, and the Mary/Shawn duo literally brought down the house. 

The entire evening was... Simply, unforgettable.