Thursday 20 February 2014

Started Packing

  I got seriously down to organizing myself for my departure on Saturday, filling the suitcase with odds and ends and making sure everything is at hand for a quick final pack tomorrow night. I have an early departure on Saturday - taxi booked for 5:00 a.m. I usually hoof it out to the airport on public transit but the buses and trains won't be running that early.

   It has been a mild couple of days - Wednesday was positively Spring like - but today we were promised rain and, guess what, it's now snowing! I hope there isn't much of an accumulation as I am not in the mood to do more shovelling!

Saturday 15 February 2014

Repair Completed

   Yesterday was a little different from normal. James was here but we had been invited to a Valentine's Day Party at the Early Years Centre in the afternoon so spent most of the morning at home. We had a brief excursion to the library and Walmart to buy some more seed bells for the birds as they are clamouring for more food and I am happy to oblige.

  After lunch we headed out for the party - it was a great success, more kids and parents than usual and lots of activities which James joined in enthusiastically. His favourite thing was "snack time" - fruit, crackers and cheese and a big cake. He had seconds of everything! The local MPP showed up and circulated with her aides promoting her programs. I guess it's part and parcel of what's needed to retain her position. We are expecting a Provincial election this Spring.

   Today I had to stay home for the repair man to come and check my gas fire. I was pretty sure I needed a new remote (the only way to turn it on and off) and, sure enough, that was his verdict. It's 5 years old so was past its shelf life (even with new batteries) so I can't complain. However, I did complain about the price - $200 for the remote and $100 for the technician's time. I did ask at the store for a new remote but they said it had to be "re-programmed", thus the need for a hefty labour charge.

  It has been quite pleasantly mild for the last two days, and sunny. Maybe we have seen the last of the nasty weather. One can only hope. Dinner tonight is leftovers but I am into the wine and  snacks already (smoked mackerel) so will postpone dinner for an hour or two.

Thursday 13 February 2014

A Busy Afternoon

   Quiet morning - just dithered around until 11:30 then went for a walk as the sun was shining. I felt a bit guilty about not heading to the slopes - I've had my skis in the car for the last few weeks - but actually when I got outside, the wind was quite brisk so I was glad to not spend too much time outdoors.

   After lunch and a nap I headed to the swimming pool - 12 laps and a dip in the hot tub. Then I headed to Kennedy Commons for the Kitchen Plus store. I was looking for a new frying pan and I found a double deal - two frying pans for just a little more than the price of one! Then I headed to Metro to cash in my Air Miles and scored a stuffed chicken for $4.00 off so it was basically free. Of course I bought other stuff so ended up spending more than I meant to. Who said "never shop on an empty stomach"!

   On them way home I dropped into Home Depot to get a new cover for the drain in the basement. However it looks like the wrong size but  I will wait until I get the new floor in there before exchanging it.  Anyhoo the chicken is now roasting in the oven along with potatoes and I will cook some cabbage in an hour or so. I also got some smoked mackerel on which I am currently snacking with a glass of Cuvee Saint Pierre - it is delicious but I will ration myself to just one glass.

Saturday 8 February 2014


   Used up a large orange and two rather wrinkled lemons and got almost three jars of marmalade. For once I managed to reach the setting point temperature so I think I have  got the hang of it - finally! I used a different pot and that seemed to make a difference.

   Just to see how much snow we have had this winter I took some photos of the snow piles along my driveway. I am running out of space to put the snow so I hope we don't get too much more. It is becoming quite an effort to loft each shovellfull over my head to the top of the pile!  I also inserted a 30 cm ruler into the snow on my driveway before I shovelled it. You can see the snow is higher than the ruler. Also the windrow that the snowplough dumped across the bottom of my driveway is twice as tall as the ruler!

Wednesday 5 February 2014

Snowed In!

   It has snowed all day and the wind has blown it into huge drifts. My driveway was covered up to at least 20 cms. so I have been marooned here until I can dig through it sufficiently to get my car out. Judy made it here to pick up James and, I presume, made it home to Markham. The main roads are well trampled with constant traffic and most have been cleared at least once. Our side street, however, is still a bit of a mess as the plough won't be round until later tonight. Of course that will mean a huge windrow across the bottom of my driveway as well as the snow that has fallen.

   I was out twice to shovel but each time the wind just filled in what I had cleared. Now I will leave it until tomorrow and tackle it when I am fresh and rested. I have had several calls to fill in for teachers tomorrow but have declined them all - no way to get there until I can dig myself out. I am just as happy to stay home with a good book in my nice warm house!

Tuesday 4 February 2014

A Good Book

   I started a new library book today and I think I will really get into it. It is "Just One Evil Act" by Elizabeth George. It's an Inspector Lynley crime mystery, following up on his last adventure which I read last year.

   I had several errands to run this morning, mostly successful. First I headed to the hardware store to change my order for the basement floor. I had ordered laminate flooring but, because of the drain, I was advised by the installer to go with a vinyl product. Once that was done I headed to the store that sold me my gas fire - the remote wasn't working ( it could turn on but not off - quite scary!) and I was hoping all I needed was a replacement. No such luck - I will need a whole new ignition system plus the cost of the technician to install it. Very annoying! Lastly I hit Walmart for more bird seed bells and some dish detergent. Mission accomplished and the little sparrows will be happy tomorrow.

   No problems with the weather today but another big dump of snow is forecast for tonight and into tomorrow morning, so driving might be a bit tricky until it is over. Then back to the shovelling detail! It seems to have been never ending this winter.

Monday 3 February 2014

A Heavy Snowfall

Birds at the feeder
   We had the biggest snowfall of the winter (so far!) on Saturday and I have been working away at my driveway since then. I did two shovellings on Saturday while the snow was still coming down, and then started in earnest on it on Sunday. There's still an area between the sidewalk and the road that isn't cleared, but I have driven over it so often it is getting packed down and may be there until Spring! 
  Today James had fun playing on the snowbanks created by all the shovelling. It was a glorious day today with some warmth in the sun and we stayed out for over an hour.

Climbing Mount Snowbank
At the summit


Sunday 2 February 2014

Chinese Dumplings

   Terrible weather yesterday - drove out to Markham in a blizzard to look after the grandkids and had a tricky drive home around midnight. But all's well that ends well and I was glad to sleep in my own bed!

Chicken and cabbage filling
    While at the Athertons I had the kids help me make Chinese dumplings to celebrate Chinese New Year. The kids were great helpers, even James (for a while) but not so keen on the finished product, although Elliot ate a few. I cooked the filling beforehand - didn't want the kids working with raw ground chicken - so we just had to fill the won tons. Then they were fried slightly and steamed. Unfortunately I let the pan dry out so they stuck quite badly. However, adding a little more water loosened most of them.

   Today I woke up to a winter wonderland, everything coated with snow. I spent the day shovelling the driveway in installments and finally finished the upper half by 4:30. The snow was very wet and heavy so I had a good workout.
A wonton with filling

Ready for cooking

Ready to eat with plum sauce