Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Reading Between the Lines…

Today was a scorcher temperature wise, and otherwise as well.
In an effort to chill a little, I decided to go for an enticing swim at the lovely Gravenhurst pool – new, modern and indoors.

Despite the fact the location is poorly signed at the main road, and entry somewhat convoluted, new visitors will be pleased with their discovery.

I parked my car in the shade, alongside 4 others. Upon exiting, I heard the slurpy syrupy sound of a Bylaw Enforcement vehicle burbling with fulfillment as it moved away from the area. Aghast and alas, parking tickets for all the patrons’ cars parked in a delectable row. Easy pickings for the picker.

It must be noted that there is no signage whatsoever indicating this was an undesignated parking area, and in fact, concrete barriers were in place to ensure one’s front wheels were not moved too far forward and off the pavement.

Not being a resident of the Town of Gravenhurst, and unlikely to return within seven days, I went to the Municipal Offices to pay the ticket; and then returned to take this photo at the site of my infraction – written up as “parking in an undesignated area”.

Would you park here? One of the aggrieved commented that he parked there every day – and others as well. Perhaps, this being Monday, the bylaw officer sought refuge under the shade of the yum-yum tree to watch and wait for unwitting victims; similar to a bird of prey lurking/watching/waiting.

Facility staff at the pool did remark that the parking areas had been recently set back from the wooded, shady area – sadly no sign to say so. I know that no means no, but how would anyone know to “no”?

Poor devil, perhaps he is a non-swimmer who either fears the water or has never dreamed of finding refreshment from the summer heat. And feeling scratchier as well under a synthetic-fiber uniform.

Discerning where or where not to park was about as clear as reading between the lines of the printed ticket.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Diggin in...

The time frames between youth, middle age, the “zoomer” years and the golden years can easily be identified by changing viewpoints as we progress. Some things do hold fast however, and one of those passions is love of nature.

I have often thought I would have been a wonderful farmer, or perhaps a farmer’s partner – in my younger years when I could heave mightier weights and toil almost tirelessly. A love of animals and skills to be self-sufficient felt like two necessary qualifications, even then!

My zeal was not quelled as life cycled along, gardening know how became a focus and included the design and building of a 25-foot waterfall when the number of years notched on my belt exceeded fifty-five. Countless hours of landscaping my in-town property was a labour of love, much to the head scratching of neighbours who didn’t quite share my dream.

Magazine subscriptions or off the rack publications which relate to gardening, nature, decorating and the search for a peaceful environment are always popular!
In late winter, the seed catalogues or bulbs and perennials available by mail order are avidly pored over and items circled in highlighter marker for future reference. Graphing and planning the plot is always fun, and many city dwellers are feeling inclined to abolish green lawns and turn to xeriscaping or other styles that are natural and require less maintenance.

Mother Nature rules when it comes to planting dates. Seedling vegetables may be too fragile until they are toughened up; and if there’s a frost warning announced gardeners scurry to cover their precious window boxes, planters and flowerbeds to save both their investment and the probabilities.

Truckloads and multi-tiered rolling racks of plants are shipped in late April and hordes of eager buyers may be seen in both rain and snow trudging ecstatically around garden centers and other outlets. 

The Victoria Day weekend is the “go” date that signals eager gardeners to start digging in.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Keeping in step….

Keeping In Step

On certain occasions such as military marches, parade route exhibitions, dancing recitals or even arm-in-arm strolling, it’s easily noticed when one participant falls out of rhythm and is “out of step”. We are immediately aware that a double skip or lagging back might rectify the fluidity, or maybe not!

Some people naturally lead the pack, with long striding steps and authority. Others may set a pace that enables several to walk as a group, each confident in their progress and in solidarity.

Of late, popular personalities have emerged on television and in print media as “whisperers” of horses, dogs, and even ghosts - influencing behavior and responsiveness with persuasiveness.

A Realtor® who may represent both Buyer and Seller clients, offers assorted communication skills; aural or visual/emphatic/or otherwise suggestive. Some clients like to be seized firmly by the halter and move through the entire process by following the lead. Anyone who’s ever tried to cajole a balky horse to walk smoothly and calmly knows that the secret is being in rhythm of movement – whatever the direction.

If the client is headstrong and foot stomps or shakes his head wildly, a different manner of communicating is required. Jerking the bridle, yanking or pulling likely will result in hooves flying. Conversely, finding a pace that suits both parties will reduce anxiety; ease flailing and bucking just for the sake of it, and eventually progresses to moving smoothly along side by side.

Whether the natural gait is walk, trot or gallop headlong with eagerness, a steadying hand and sweet whispers in the ear can earn a tasty carrot – the completion of a transaction without rodeo-style athleticism. Synchronized, measured movement with hardly noticeable cues takes practice and tenacity when learning the how-tos of keeping in step.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Staying Afloat...

The ravaging floodwaters experienced this year by so many Muskoka residents, as well as points north and east, caused a rude awakening and plenty of grief.
Year round homes located in what is usually a passable area were affected significantly - electricity turned off, and no way to get supplies or relief.

Absentee cottagers could only anguish about the state of their property and possessions – insurance company adjusters and claims consultants felt sadly popular – and in some instances perhaps an ounce of prevention invested at an earlier time could have contributed to a cure. We never think “it will happen to us”, and then wham!

Whatever our circumstances, wherever we live, and whatever our profession or source of income, the “what ifs” of life and living can be so enormous that often they are shelved without due consideration. Hindsight, as we all know can be either valuable or with regret!

In addition to the popular topics of “weather” and/or “health”, conversations turn both literally and figuratively to the meaningful subject of staying afloat!