I have spent an easy, lazy and incredibly relaxing day in the company of my nieces, nephews, siblings, parents, sibs-in-law and my hubby.

The most taxing things I have done today are playing with my baby nephew, dancing with the kids at their dance party, singing along with Jim’s guitar, trying to choose a new nail colour for my toes and painting three of my nieces’ finger nails in ‘Aunt Katie’s Nail Salon’.

It’s a pretty extraordinary feeling to drift from meal to meal, conversation to conversation, and idle activity to idle activity.

And now I have a sunset to watch.

Just gotta love these holidays! :)


I am delivering Day 2 of last Wednesday’s workshop in downtown Toronto tomorrow. Rather than leaving the cottage at 3:50 tomorrow morning for my 6:22 GoTrain from Barrie, I decided to make the two-hour drive from the cottage to Barrie tonight and stay in a hotel.

We had a hot, sunny and gorgeous day on the water today. An hour before I was to leave, however, we were hit with a nasty summer storm. I waited for a lull in the weather so I could leave. Well, I goofed…let’s just say that what I thought was a lull was simply Mother Nature taking a deep breath for one of the worst storms I have seen.

I am not sure I have ever had a more stressful or more challenging drive. I am pretty sure I drove down right in the eye of the storm; torrential rain, fork lightning all around the car and very high winds accompanied me all the way from Parry Sound to Barrie.

After the long and extremely sad day yesterday and the pull I am feeling towards my kids, my husband, my family, and my girlfriends, it was very hard to leave the bosom of my family tonight.

So here I sit in this unremarkable hotel room in Barrie just feeling way too far away from the love and comfort I am so badly craving.

And to add insult to injury? As I was checking in half an hour ago, the desk clerk told me that I was lucky to have made it here ahead of the severe thunderstorm that is supposed to hit Barrie tonight.

Oh man…

Uncle Jim

I am at the cottage with all 21 members of my immediate family. It is fun, busy, loud, and crazy. And the place is, quite simply, busting at the seams with love.

One of the realities of this week at the cottage is that the introvert in me gets a little weary from time to time. At the moment, I am sitting on the large screened-in-porch by myself and the place is so quiet I can hear every variety of wildlife as I look out over Georgian Bay.

This kind of quiet only happens when all 12 kids are off the point. And, at the moment, they are all eagerly trailing behind my big brother, Jim.

Jim is one of those awesome adults who has never lost touch with the fun and energy of childhood. And it doesn’t matter what Jim suggests as the latest activity, all the kids are eagerly on board.

The Canadian Shield terrain of this Georgian Bay cottage does not lend itself well to babies and toddlers. There is absolutely no flat ground and nowhere to run because it is entirely rock, tree and water. When Michael and Zachary were little babies, and Simon and I were run ragged just trying to keep up, it was Uncle Jim who took Max under his wing to be a part of all the adventures with his two boys.

They played ping-pong for hours on end, went kayaking, boating, swimming, exploring, rock skipping, and tubing. He would take them to the beach across the channel, and, of course, for the daily trips to the candy store at the closest marina.

And, when Max looks back on his cottage days as a young child, it is Uncle Jim that figures the most prominently.

This morning, Uncle Jim has mounted an expedition to the marina where the boats are stored. All the kids, in various cars, were being driven to the marina to then be boated back.

The weather this morning is slightly overcast so the kids had their rain gear in case of a few showers. Some of them were wearing their life jackets and some were wearing their rain gear as they were standing around waiting to leave. As I came upon the motley crew of excited kids, teenagers and dads, I laughed out load as I saw Jim heading up the throng.

Jim had all the kids gathered just outside the main cabin and looked every inch the weathered boatman. He was in a long yellow raincoat that looks like it has seen better days, a black skullcap and a week’s growth of salt and pepper beard on his face.

And I’m not sure who looked happier, the kids or Uncle Jim.

I am sitting quietly and watching for the two boats to come into view and I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that when I see the kids, that each and every one of them will have smiles on their faces a mile wide.

Because it has just never been any other way with my wonderful big brother! :)

Place of my Heart

We are off to the cottage this morning.

Off to my single favourite place in this world.

LoonOff to the place that is delicately woven into the fabric of my being. The place I go when I am sad or sick or scared. The place I inhabit when I am awake in the middle of the night and can’t sleep.

My feet cannot wait to walk barefoot on the rocks and connect. My body to slip into the clear waters of Georgian Bay and feel the sheer delight of my childhood. My soul to watch the sunrise and the sunset.

And my heart to awaken in the wee hours to the call of the loon.