is our last full day in Va-Des-Lacs, Canada.

It's windy, blustery, cloudy.

A lot like it has been for the four weeks we've been here.

Except the snow has all melted; the birds are back, and spring has definitely come.

The hills are green, a few wild flowers and perennials have popped up making it lovely.

I've learned a couple of things on this home exchange.

First, I don't like isolation. we are on a small lake (GAGNON) and I can see a few lovely homes situated all around this small lake.  However, there's not really a trail to walk around the lake, so everything AND everyone, is at a distance.

The town - if it can be called that - has a little corner market, that is woefully under shelved and seems sorrowful the two times I have gone in there.  I was hoping for a chatty saleslady, but they are aloof, unfriendly, and always in a hurry to get to the back room....daytime television watchers, perhaps, on-line gamers....who knows? But they are definitely not interested in chatting with a foreigner from the states.

So, unless we drive somewhere, we sit quietly in the rustic and charming home on the lake.  (Because, with spring, has come a plethora of gnats and mosquitoes.  Those have entirely prevented me from venturing outdoors the last several days.  The minute the door is opened, they attack with a vengeance.  It's unbelievable, so that has made this setting a lot less desirable for me.)

For me, I need more human interaction.

The 2nd thing I've learned is that ONE MONTH is entirely too long!

Which is quite ironic, because we've said it before to each other.  But we did it again and are doing it in France.  Perhaps if we had been in the centre of a city, one month would be okay, but out in the far-away little village, it's difficult.

We've seen some quaint and interesting little places to visit, but not enough to consume one entire month.

So, as a one-time adventure, it was alright, but I'm glad we are saying our good-byes tomorrow.


Modern Media

I'm grateful for:

The Internet,




Google Photos,

Google Maps,





Kindle reader,


What in the heck, did we do before we had all this stuff?

I'm so grateful for it all.  It means I can be away from home and still stay connected.

And, that is good.


The Power of Words/Movies/Media

I'm feeling a little down today.

But, for strange reasons.

Not anything to do with me personally, BUT, because of the books/movie from today's reading/watching.

I'm listening to VAnITY FAIR....

It's a bleak book about a vain, selfish, social-climbing woman, who cares for nothing and no one but herself.  It's very disheartening.

I'm reading BROTHERS KARAMAZOV, about a dysfunctional Russian family.  It's also a philosophical book about good and evil.  It's long, sort of boring, and also sad.  Families are so very complicated.  Honestly, I don't know why I started reading it.  BIG MISTAKE!

I just finished watching VALKYRIE...a true story about an attempt on Hitler's life.  They came so close, but failed and all involved were executed on the spot.  It was just so very sad.  Hitler was so EVIL....and yet, he persuaded so many to believe in him and follow him.

Then, on the news, over and over, they have replayed Melania Trump's brush aside of her husband's hand as they have gone on a foreign trip.  It's all so very sad.  HE is the president of the USA, and he's so rude, obnoxious, egotistic, and treats his wife like she's just a piece of his property....no wonder she brushes him aside.  And, it just makes me sad to see how they react and treat each other.  

So, those are my feelings today.

I need a good cheery movie, book, and news report.  

For sure.



has finally arrived in Val-Des-Lacs, Canada.

The trees are greening up, the snow has FINALLY all melted.

Flowers are appearing..

The birds are flying around....

the humming birds show up for a quick drink.

AND, the bugs are out!

But, it's all good.

It's a marvelous time of the year.....

No matter where one is.

And, I love it!


Such a Waste....

of money

to order something in a restaurant and have it not taste good.

That has happened a couple of times on this trip.....

And, it's just sad....

Here was a dish we ordered after several people told us it was a Canadian STAPLE.

Poutine....French fries, cheese curds, and meat gravy. 

The waiter who served it to us said most of the people who order this item are drunk!

Another man said, "YUCK!  Disgusting!"

Ah, such a waste of money.

As is getting a parking ticket.  Which we did when we parked in front of this restaurant.

Bad decisions all around.

And, a total waste of money.



......have come on this home exchange if we had known before hand how





It would be?

The rivers are flooding all over this region.  Here it is coming up to the parking lot.
The rain has been pretty constant for 10 days.  

Likely not.

The rivers are just rushing waters overflowing banks all over the towns.  Montreal had flooding, Ottawa had flooding.
More serious water issues than in many, many years.

Today is the first day of full sun since we arrived here town days ago.

Looking out at Lake Gagnon from our back window.  The cloud cover is pretty much standard for the last ten days.

It is also probably only the 2nd day without any rain at all, but, of course, the day is still young.  (Just a note from later in the day...YUP, it's cloudy again before noon.  Total cloud cover.)

The lake is absolutely still today, which is different than any other day.  Today, I will finally feed the birds because it won't blow away or get watered over.

It's strange  how much weather really affects me.

I'm a girl who likes sunshine...

(Weather and LIFE!)


The Gospel

How would you like a Catholic Mass?

In French?

Well, that's what we did today....

Attended Mass at a Catholic Church.

The Catholic Church in Val-Des-Lacs.  The inside is rotting away, a little like their membership numbers, it would seem.

There were 21 people present, including the priest.

No one welcomed us.

Or said anything to us as we left.

But, that's okay.

I wanted to go as it is Sunday.  So, Allen acquisced.  And, we went.

The church is old; in decay, falling apart.

There were no young people there, only old people.  Allen said it was part of the decay.

But, as we sat listening, not understanding, I was so very grateful for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

I love the people, the feelings, the camaraderie, the messages - it feels like HOME to me no matter where in the world I go to a Mormon church....


And, I'm so grateful to have been born a member of the CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS.


Appreciating the Pioneers

Val-Des-Lacs, Quebec, Canada is a unique spot on the earth.

It's a little village of about 700 people year round - 2000 in the summer.  It surrounds Lake Gagnon, but the area is home to 45 lakes and other scattered remote villages.

It's 2000 feet above sea level, so it's mountainous, forested, and COLD.  The lake was still frozen a week ago!

From our view, we can see piles of snow in the front yard and all down the path to the highway.  Yesterday, there was one little crocus peeking up thru the dirt.  Birds come by sometimes, but it's still much too cold for the hummingbirds to make an appearance.

The home we are staying in has a wood fireplace, heating, and all modern conveniences.

So, why does this spark a memory of pioneers?

Because each day, we have gone for a walk, and it has been cold.  Windy.  Raining on most days.  Snowing earlier in the week.

And, as I trudge along with two jackets, good shoes with warm socks, I think of those pioneers with little or nothing to shield them from the cold.  And I am overwhelmed with gratitude for what MY relatives did to stand up for what they believed in.

I finish the walk and open the door to a warm, inviting home.  They had not that great blessing.

My heart swells with gratitude when I think of what they went through to establish a home in the West.

Will I live up to their expectations....I fear not.  But, I will keep trudging along and trying.



Or, even read at ALL.

For some reason, I had it in my head that we were flying out at 12:15 a.m. on Friday morning, so we arrived at the airport in Las Vegas at 6:00 p.m. Thursday evening.  

Were we surprised to learn that the flight was actually on SATURDAY morning?  We had 30 HOURS to use up - we were certainly NOT going to pay to go home for that short time.

So, we looked up a cheap motel.  Only to discover that it didn't have shuttle service - AND even worse - it was a LONG way from the airport, so it cost a HUGE amount for the taxi fare.  What a total WASTE of money.  (It was, in fact, the same cost to go on the shuttle from St George to Vegas, as it was to drive from the airport to the motel....so CRAZEE!)

On Friday, we checked out of the hotel - which had no free breakfast - and literally wandered around town for 8 hours with our luggage in tow.  Allen  - sort of jokingly - suggested we go to the temple, but we had no way to get there, and we were in traveling attire; jeans and casual shoes, etc.

We ate an expensive buffet lunch, went to a few shows at Circus Circus and rode the bus to the Bellagio, where we found a sort of quiet, comfortable place to sit, relax, and wait out our time.

Then, we took the bus to head to the airport.  In order to get the right bus, we had to go to the end of the line where the bus then changed directions.  Where we waited for the airport bus was very scary.  I mean, SCARY.  There were just a few people, one very helpful lady, but a few iffy characters.....on drugs, according to helpful lady.  Their behavior was just bizarre.  I was so grateful to walk in the airport and to feel SAFE.  SAFE.  SAFE.

We checked in at the kiosk, and learned that our sweet daughter, Kristi, had bought a special pass for us which allowed us to get thru security very quickly and with so little stress.  It was Such an incredibly thoughtful thing for her to do.  And, so like her.

By the time we got on the plane, I was pretty exhausted, but SLEEP was not my companion during that red-eye flight.

We arrived in Montreal, got a shuttle to our hotel, and spent the night until our host came to pick us up on Sunday morning.  All-in-all...what an adventure.

And, now, here we are in Val-des-lacs, Quebec, Canada, which is a little resort town an hour and a half outside of Montreal.  It is in the mountains, so the weather is colder than further down the mountains.  It reminds Allen and me of Island Park, Idaho.

But, here we are.......

Rain, snow, cold, and all.

Here we are.

Let the next adventure continue!

Cousins Coincidence

Dixie texted; she wanted to meet us for lunch. Dixie is Allen's 2 or 3 COUSIN; who knows, but anyway, they are related.  She is won...