I am having a wonderful morning so far! It's a gorgeous day - cold but sunny. There is a dusting of snow on the ground from yesterday.
Every eight or nine weeks I have to drive the dog in to Stittsville, a cute little town about a forty minute drive from my home in Ottawa. My husband's longtime friend, Paul, owns a dog grooming salon called Whiskers and Wags and, even though we could get the dog groomed closer to home, we like to give Paul our business and he always does a fantastic job. A few years ago I discovered that the public library across the street from Paul's has a gas fireplace surrounded by comfy armchairs and a sofa. I bring my Macbook now and wile away the time writing in comfort while the dog is groomed. The library has free wi-fi also and right now I am in my car typing this on my blog while waiting for the library to open :)
I love the drive along the back roads to get here. Especially when the weather is clear and picturesque like it is today. I pop a CD in the player and sing at the top of my lungs while the dog lounges beside me, occasionally giving me a weird look. Everyone's a critic ;) I love to sing, and I don't get the chance much anymore. Between the births of my first and second child, I sang in a United Church choir every Sunday. Practice was Thursday evening. It was so much fun and a chance to use my voice. When I got pregnant with my son, I found the rehearsals and performances too tiring (I was no doubt also experiencing the fatigue of undiagnosed MS at the time) so I left the choir. I keep thinking of rejoining, but with two kids and a very active social life, my husband and I are so busy I just don't have the time. And I really do love lazy Sunday mornings at home, drinking coffee, making pancakes and just enjoying not having to be anywhere. But it is something that I look forward to taking up again once the kids are grown and gone. Won't it be cool to be an erotic romance writer who sings in a church choir? I do love a paradox ;)
As I drove along the back roads I was reminded just how much I love the wide open spaces of Eastern Ontario and Quebec.
A few years ago, my husband and I were lucky enough to win two free nights at the Inn at Jackson in Jackson, New Hampshire, during a week one May that was dedicated to people with MS and their families. There were workshops, social events and it was a great opportunity to meet other people who are dealing with the disease.
This was our room:
I loved the wood stove in the corner and the view :) My husband and I, used to sleeping in our spacious King sized bed at home, had to decide whether to cram together in one double bed or take a bed each. Secure enough in our love for one another, we decided to go the separate bed route, and it was lovely!
We drove down. I think it took about six hours if I'm not mistaken. When we started through Vermont, I was struck by the beauty of the rolling hills and, as we got closer to New Hampshire, the towering mountains. Seeing how the sun hit the valleys and defined the landscape was truly magical.
Jackson, New Hampshire, also impressed me with its beauty. The view from the breakfast room in the Inn was gorgeous, and it was truly sublime to drink my coffee there with my husband each morning and enjoy the full breakfast provided for free as part of our complimentary stay. I do recommend this Inn to anyone who wants to climb Mount Washington or just spend a relaxing week in a beautiful location.
I have to say, though, that after three days I began to feel a bit closed in by the mountains. The day we left dawned rainy and cold which no doubt increased my feelings of claustrophobia. When we drove out of Vermont and crossed the border into Quebec, I remember smiling and breathing a sigh of relief that we were close to home. I had never really appreciated the expanse of sky that is visible when the land is so flat until that day. Now, whenever I drive from Ottawa to Stittsville I really look at the scenery and consciously appreciate the beauty of the open landscape.
I do hope to visit Missoula, Montana someday, which is where my friend Terry lives. I have looked at photos online and it really is an amazingly beautiful place. But Eastern Ontario will always be home for me, with its wide open vistas and flat landscapes.