Saturday, March 19, 2011

Why have One when You can Have Two

Networking has gone digital.  Never before would I have imagined that I'd be a blogger on a Sci-Fi e-zine or get a job by responding to a forum post.

Schrodinger's Mouse features stories of tomorrow today.  What I like about SM is that the site is not limited to short story.  Schrodinger's Mouse publishes poetry and hopefully graphic novel soon.

Personally, I like balancing out my writing via travel and sci-fi.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Frozen Thousand Islands

Frozen Pier, Canada Travel by Melissa Ruttanai
A sheet of ice slates over the river.  Little houses dotting the islands look lonely and almost ready to shiver against the wind cutting through the trees.  I'm on the Canadian side of the St. Lawrence River, camera in hand, ear muffs, double-scarves, and thick gloves poorly insulating me against winter thrash.

My fingers gnarl from the cold and the hot tea my cousin Elyse had made for me that morning seems like a pathetic dream.  On the frozen pier, I couldn't even believe Gananoque was only 15 km away.

Her house sat next to an old cathedral.  But it wasn't scary.  It was serene, like the little town with its tea shop and second hard book store.  

Gananoque, Canada Travel by Melissa Ruttanai
Parked on the street, we meandered up one side of town, crossed the street and came back on the opposite sidewalk.  People chattered on their way to wherever they were going and the little town seemed to be just cracking out of hibernation.  Elyse laughed when she showed us the two ethnic food options in town:  a Chinese restaurant right next door to... another Chinese restaurant.  Hysterical.

Heritage Home on The Thousand Islands by Melissa Ruttanai
The tea shop was a warm reprieve from the wind. Black canisters lined the shelve and we sniffed our way through shelves of herbals, oolongs, green teas, and chamomiles.  

Herbal Tea Ball, Canada Travel, by Melissa Ruttanai
Back at the heritage house, Elyse made a flowering tea ball to  wash down fresh salads, salmon, breads, and veggies.  It was a vegetarian feast.

Summertime rentals are popular on this side of the river.  Vacationers flock to the area, setting up holiday homes in buildings like Elyse's. With high ceilings, big windows and the water so close, I can see why.

This is a shot I took 4 years ago, during summer on the American side of the Saint Lawrence River.  What a difference!  But...still both are equally beautiful!

American-side, St. Lawrence River by Melissa Ruttanai

Canadian-Side St. Lawrence River by Neil Friedman

Friday, March 11, 2011

Organics and Family Day in Toronto

We drove north on I-87, a direction most people would think to be ludicrous during a snow heavy winter.  And it did snow, in fat flakes and sideways drifts.  My brother-in-law Dave kept the speed steadily at 60 MPH even in the storm and all the while Neil, my husband yelled at him to slow down, use two hands, watch out for crackpot drivers.  But Dave continued in his own vein, according to his own mental checklist of what is safe and what is not.

After 12 hours, we pulled into Thornhill, a suburb of Toronto.  After shakily unfastening my seatbelt and praising some deity for sparing me a snowy-death on the side of the road, we grabbed the bags and rushed into the well lit house of our Canadian cousins, the Schliefmans.  Miriam and Aimee had come home to meet us.  Theresa couldn't wait to introduce us to her dog.

Food is the mainstay of any family visit.  The Schleifman’s set the bar high with fresh organic salads, homemade bread still warm from the oven, and sulfite-free wine bottled by cousin Steven himself.  It didn’t matter that it was 11pm.  It didn’t matter that they’d been waiting around all day for us.  We talked into the night, past midnight and almost to dawn.  Steven retrieved more bottles from the cellar.  The little dog Daisy got friendly with Dave.  And although we don’t get to see each other too often, we picked up where we'd left off without delay.

With 5 hours of sleep, we woke up to a bright sun and a national holiday:  Family Day!