Thursday, August 18, 2011

Up with People!

     We've had a very full week, spending time with lots of folks up North. I ended up being able to visit all of my cousins from my mom's side of the family, except for Martha who lives in Texas (and who we saw in March). Beth had another week of holidays that ended up being extended because of her switch over to shift work (13 days off altogether!). Before we left though we did spend a couple of days cleaning and organizing around the house, focussing on the shed in the backyard and the fruit cellar storage area downstairs.
     On Wednesday we headed up to North Bay to my Aunt Marilyn and Uncle Don's where they arranged and hosted a great supper with my cousins Grant (and his wife Cathy) and Mary (and her husband Peter). Later in the evening a number of us (including Grant and Cathy's children Graham and Courtnery [and her husband Cody]) went over to the Northgate Mall to help Uncle Gordie Love take down his sauna display - that was a 3 hour job!
     Thursday we drove up (with Don & Marilyn) to the Cobalt area for a visit with my cousin Pam and her family at the house they've recently had built on a lake outside of town. We love this area of Ontario, especially as I spent many summers up here as a teenager at the Love cottage on Fairy Lake (15 minutes outside of New Liskeard). Pam & Dave have a beautiful new home (all wood inside) and we enjoyed chatting with them (interesting discussions about world finances). On the trip up I was surprised to see that the old Hiway Book Shop had closed - this was a place we often stopped at on our trips north. On the way home we stopped in Temagami for awesome ice cream cones. In the evening we played a couple of games of Aggravation - that's a game we played lots of in Hanover growing up, and Beth and I played many games of it with my grandparents when we'd visit them back in the '80's.
     Friday we went exercising at the Y with Don & Marilyn, enjoyed a pizza lunch and then drove back down to Huntsville to hang out with our friends Steve and Rachel at the Harp Lake cottage. Steve cooked chicken over the fire and we played some rousing games of Wizard and Dutch Blitz in the evening.
     On Saturday we headed over to the nearby cottage of my cousin Pattisu (and David) for a visit with them, which included a couple of saunas and swims (well, the guys did that, not Beth). Then we picked up Swiss Chalet for a quick supper with Aunt Shirley and Uncle Gordie before driving to the MBC camp for a concert by Michael Card. I've been listening to his music for decades now and have seen him perform a number of times. He's really a bible scholar who uses music to teach in a very creative, deep manner. Michael has a wonderful stage presence but he plays a right-handed guitar left-handed (meaning the guitar is upside down!) making it nearly impossible to emulate his playing (though I have learned a few of his songs [right side up!] over the years).
     Sunday we went to church with Gordie and Shirley and then had lunch at the Wendy's in Huntsville before travelling 30 minutes up the road to Camp Kahquah, near Magnetawan. We'd been encouraged to check out this church camp run by our denomination (BIC = Brethren in Christ) by some folks in our Friday night small group who have come up to the family camp time for many years. And we're glad we took their advice because we had a wonderful time! We decided to keep it simple by staying in a room in the lodge for 3 nights and getting the meal plan provided by the camp kitchen. It was a great opportunity to get to spend more time getting to know families from our church (there were actually 4 Westheights families there, but we spent more time with the Cobers and Wiens from our small group). We even got invited out for supper a couple of times! We contributed fresh baked pies from the nearby Cornball General Store. One day Karl rented the pontoon boat which we took to a small island for a swim and into Magnetawan for ice cream cones. Another day Kevin took us around the lake in his powerful fishing boat and Beth even went water skiing behind it! I enjoyed leading some songs around the campfire each night, we had quite a few fun games of Wizard, and we got to connect with a number of other campers, especially at meal times. Kitchener MP Harold Albrecht is a regular camper at Kahquah and he baptized his niece in the lake one morning. We introduced ourselves to him, as Mom & Dad are big supporters of his work and we had a really nice conversation with him (he's lost his wife suddenly this year so we ended up sharing about excellent books on grief). We also got to know and appreciate the worship leader, Andrew Thompson and his family who were from the Welland area. I recorded a couple of the sessions on my computer so I can learn a few of the excellent songs he introduced. He also showed me how he uses his iPad as a song stand, which is pretty cool. A young lifeguard at the camp played an electric cello during the music and it was an awesome addition (probably my favourite instrument).
     I finally finished the huge science fiction book Anathem, which took me almost 2 weeks to complete. The sad part is that it really wasn't that enjoyable! Way too much philosophical discussion and invented vocabulary to try to keep track of, and the story actually moved so slowly that it didn't get really interesting until about page 750.
     Lots of travelling music as we drove around this week: Jars of Clay, Lamb III, Mark Heard - Eye of the Storm, Victims of the Age, Dry Bones Dance, Second Hand; Michael Card - Present Reality, Hymns; Switchfoot - The Beautiful Letdown, Undercover - God Rules, Boys and Girls; Supertramp - Crime of the Century, Moulin Rouge soundtrack.

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