The past two days have been frantic. As usual, we managed to turn preparations for a simple 9-day road trip into a three-ring circus involving a cat recovering from surgery, furniture moving, toxic paint fumes, and six animals all on special diets with a plethora of medication and supplements. Our circus has more than three rings, now that I think about it. It was 4:45 when we finally headed northwest, ultimate destination Ottawa. We stopped for supper at Ringo’s in Fredericton. After a Picaroon’s Irish Red and a thick, creamy baked seafood casserole, I started to let my breath out. Tonight’s destination is La Dolce Vita, a charming inn and restaurant in Notre Dame du Lac, a perfect place to complete the first leg of our journey. Winter has arrived here. I need to practice my penguin walk on these hilly streets with their stealthy veneer of ice. It’s a beautiful, crisp night. The almost-full moon is peeking out from behind a lacy curtain of clouds. Christmas lights twinkle a cheery welcome. Now we’re on vacation.