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Saturday, 24 August 2013

In Packing Mode

   Clothes all washed and dried, ready for ironing tomorrow, then into the suitcase. Have spent the day scurrying up and downstairs with additional items to pack, but I think I have everything ready. We depart Toronto at 7 p.m. tomorrow and arrive in Frankfurt Monday morning just before 9:00 a.m. The flight to Barcelona leaves 50 minutes later so I can only hope we get there on time. I'm hoping to be able to post some news while away but that's not always possible. Will be back September 3rd. Goodbye!!

  

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Last Days of Summer

   Grandkids over for their last day in the pool. I will probably be in on Friday, but the "pool guys" will be here Saturday morning to close it for the year. It is sad to see the end of summer but there was really no point in keeping it open while I was away. When I get back there wouldn't be too many opportunities for swimming.

    They had an excellent time this morning, coming over to the park to meet me after tennis (including snacks and play at the splash pad), and returned home for an hour in the pool. Then we took a break for lunch, after which Natalie and Elliot were back in the water for further fun while James slept. When he woke, he was back in the water for another half-hour as the jollity continued. It was sad to see them leave, but there's always next year.

  

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Counting down

    Only four days until I depart for Spain! This will be my first trip in two years and I am very much looking forward to it. The suitcase is gradually filling and all my important documents have been assembled. Can't wait!!

   The weather in Madrid is very hot at the moment but, hopefully, it will be cooler in the north where we are headed. We start in Barcelona and then travel across to San Sebastian on the Atlantic coast. There are many interesting architectural and cultural sights to see. Learning about the Catalan and Basque cultures are a major part of the trip.  We will be visiting a UNESCO World Heritage sight featuring the works of the renowned Spanish architect, Antonio Gaudi. I am also looking forward to sampling all the great food from this region. Another excursion will be to the Penedes wine region where I am sure we will get to sample some of the local wines. It's only a short trip but packed full of interesting experiences!

Sunday, 18 August 2013

In the Pool

   Had a fun day with the grandkids while Judy was taking part in a 15k run - she did well, finishing in 1:39.

All kitted out but no swimsuit.
   The kids had a great time in the pool as it was a perfect afternoon. James took a little while to make up his mind about going in but was eventually persuaded to get in to his swim suit. Once in, he was splashing with the best of them!
We finally got out and dried off by 5:00 p.m. and they kept themselves busy while I cooked dinner. I had decided on baked chicken drumsticks in a crispy coating, corn-on-the-cob and sweet potato fries. They were all good and hungry by the time it was ready and cooled off, so not much was left. Natalie ate the best - three drumsticks and two corn cobs - but the boys ate their share too. Dessert was rhubarb cake and ice cream with a variety of toppings.
   James hadn't slept in the afternoon (too much going on) so he faded later in the evening and was sound asleep when Judy arrived to take them home. The other two managed to stay awake but I'm sure slept in the car! I will find out today when I go to their house for a barbecue.
Not sure about the temperature!
 


Friday, 16 August 2013

More better

   Managed three short sets of tennis this morning and a bit of a swim so things are definitely looking up. Now I will take a break until Tuesday and should be back to normal by then.

   Judy and the boys over for lunch (egg salad sandwiches again but at least they are popular!). Elliot helped(!) me clean the pool and then we had a brief dip as the water was still a bit on the chilly side. They were off to watch Natalie's final dance performance later in the afternoon so I had an opportunity for a nap and felt better for it.

   Basa fillet for dinner. I think I will fry it in a little butter and make some quinoa with peas. I have started on the onions from the garden so will add one. Should take me all of 20 minutes to prepare. My kind of meal!

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Food

   I made a tasty dinner yesterday, rotini pasta tossed in a cheesy veggie sauce. It started with an onion, then I added a couple of mushrooms, a tomato from the garden, sun-dried tomatoes and, finally a couple of ounces of goat cheese to make a sauce and, lastly some shrimp from the freezer. This time I defrosted and peeled the shrimp first which made for easier eating. It made a huge plateful but was so good I ate the whole thing!

   Tonight I have a big corn cob from the farmer's market - picked this morning - and garlic and bacon mashed potatoes. Some cherry tomatoes from the garden will round off the meal. Sadly, there are only a few tomatoes left on the vine but I am enjoying them while they last.

   I hit a bit on the tennis courts this morning but not able to run for any balls yet. Will try again tomorrow.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Almost Back to Normal

   Woke up feeling good yesterday and managed to play two sets of tennis this morning. I think the secret was a good long break between sets! Spent an hour or so over coffee and chats with friends. It was a perfect day for tennis - quite cool, a mix of sun and clouds and with a bit of a breeze. Surprisingly, for August, the temperature only reached 21C.

   I went to a movie in the afternoon - Tuesday is "cheap" day at the movies! The film was "Blue Jasmine", a Woody Allen film quite different from his usual light comedies. Kate Blanchett gave an outstanding performance as a disgraced socialite having to endure reduced circumstances. You couldn't help feeling sorry for her although she definitely deserved her comeuppance.

   I picked up some sushi on the way home for a supper treat. Can't believe I ate the whole thing! But it was yummy.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Feeling Better

   This has been one eventful week! As well as doing 6 shifts at Roger's Cup I spent a whole day at the emergency department getting a load of test for my sore back and hips. I had gone to my GP early that morning thoroughly exasperated with the lack of improvement so he sent me to Emergency. Mostly I sat around waiting but, finally at 5:00 p.m. the doctor arrived with a diagnosis and a prescription. Next day I felt considerably better but I think there will need to be some tinkering with the dosage to get me back to normal. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that all will be well before I depart for Spain on the 25th.


Women's Final live in Toronto
   Roger's Cup is over for another year - we (the volunteers, not the players!) had a great party after the Final on Sunday and said our goodbyes until next August. No rain outs but a couple of the players withdrew which made for a rather lacklustre field. Great excitement at the Men's Tournament in Montreal as two Canadians got to the semi-finals. One went on to the Final but wasn't able to put up much of a performance, probably exhausted by the preceding matches. 
Men's Final on the big screen from Montreal

   Judy and the boys came over for lunch today - Elliot actually got in the pool for half-an-hour although it wasn't a very warm day. He is quite a little fish! Natalie is at dance camp this week and I am interested to hear how she likes it. Elliot's outdoor camp was a big success, by all accounts. 


Monday, 5 August 2013

Two good books

   Had a quiet day at home watching Tennis from Montreal, a little light housework and gardening, and finished a very dramatic book. It's "The Storyteller" by Jodi Picoult and has two main themes: family ties and The Holocaust. I am not usually able to stand to read about the atrocities of the concentration camps, but this story was very compelling. I couldn't put it down!
   I also just finished a biographical account of the life and times of the 5th Countess of Carnarvon called "Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: the Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle". The author is Fiona, 8th Countess of Carnarvon who is a historian in her own right. Lady Almina not only brought fabulous wealth to the estate (her father was the banking tycoon, Alfred de Rothschild) but also spearheaded a tremendous war effort to help wounded officers of the Great War recuperate at Highclere Castle. She seems to have been an amazing woman. 

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Rainbow Trout

   Got this lovely rainbow trout fillet the other day for just over $5! I think it was a mistake as the price per kilo was $19 and it weighed 10 ozs. I cut it into 3 parts, grilled the first one with an orange ginger sauce and tonight I will have the second one, grilled, then flaked on top of a grapefruit and avocado salad with a potato and egg salad. Plenty of food for less than $3 each meal! 


  

 The first day of the Roger's Cup went off well but was very long. Left the house a 7:50 a.m. and got home by 6 p.m. but I had stayed to watch a match after my shift ended. I'm not back until Tuesday, so will watch the matches on TV, but then every day until Sunday's Final. Very windy today so I imagine some of the players found it very tricky. It will be interesting to see which of the qualifiers survived. Lots of games and activities for the kids as it was "Family Weekend"

Friday, 2 August 2013

Rain and more rain

   It has been belting down since about 3:00 p.m. and still shows no sign of stopping. The pool, which was already full to the top of the skimmer from Wednesday night's rain, is approaching full capacity. At least I won't have to worry about filling it or watering the garden during "Roger's Cup" week. Natalie had lots of fun in the pool today but was the only one who ventured in. James just wandered around the edge, wearing his "floaties" and throwing in things for her to dive for. Luckily she had had her fill before the rain arrived.

   Early start tomorrow - I have to be across town by 8:30, parked and waiting for the shuttle to the Rexall Centre and arrive there by 8:45 (this includes stopping by "Volleys: for a coffee). Our shift starts at 9:00 a.m. but the gates don't actually open until 9:30. Hopefully the rain will have passed over and the qualifying matches will all be completed. The first day is usually quite easy although it is Family weekend - free to families. Not many hassles or difficulties. It's my only early start and Saturday traffic isn't too horrendous.

   I have taken a few days off tennis this week as I have been very stiff and aching. The mornings are the worst so I hope I will be moving OK tomorrow to get away on time.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

First post of August

   The rain was pouring down during the night so rather a damp start to the day. I had the last of the raspberries on my cereal then went to check out the tennis courts around 9:00 a.m.(we usually have a social on Thursdays) but they were pretty soggy, so came home for a quiet morning. It's now a comfortable mix of sun and clouds. I hope the rain is finished for the next week as the Roger's Cup starts on Saturday with the qualifying rounds. The Main Draw starts on Monday.
  
   Later my travel package arrived so I was able to spend a pleasant half-hour going through it - the names and locations of my fellow-travellers (mostly Canadians), bios on the Campus Director and guest lecturers, and more information on the itinerary, hotels etc. So now it's time to start collecting my travel documents and making sure everything is up-to-date.

   Last night's dinner came almost completely from my garden, except for some pasta, two mushrooms and a few shrimp from the freezer. I used an onion, cherry tomatoes, swiss chard and parsley to make a very colourful plateful. I chopped the swiss chard and wilted it like spinach. Topped it off with grated parmesan.