Monday 30 June 2014

Long Weekend

   Family over here on Sunday for swimming and a meal. I decided to go with my version of Swiss Chalet's Festive Special since we are half way between last Christmas and the next.

  It was warm enough to swim without the heater on, amazingly. Everyone was in the pool, even Steve and James who were both rather reluctant initially. Natalie is a little fish, diving and bobbing all over, and Elliot had lots of fun on the inflatable rocket.

   Dinner was a great success. Alison had brought a delicious roasted corn and avocado salad with a hint of cilantro. Judy's salad was crunchy and exotic too. The only mistake was the potatoes which I cooked - they didn't crisp up and, although cooked, were a bit soggy - too many pieces in the roasting pan!  I had picked up a couple of rotisserie chickens from Metro and we had stuffing and Chalet sauce (which Elliot prepared). A few sausages rounded out the feast, although I forgot to serve the cranberry sauce - it will be saved for next Christmas.

   Once everyone had digested their meal, we had strawberries, blueberries and cream for dessert. Then it was back in the pool (even me!) as it was still warm and pleasant.

   Today Judy and the kids were back for another dip as it continues to be very hot. James was in for the longest time, not even wanting to come out to eat his lunch. He is becoming quite the water baby!

Friday 27 June 2014

It's Heating Up

   Wimbledon party at Don Mills TC this morning and James and I baked sausage rolls to contribute to the feast. Lots of sandwiches and salads, and strawberries and cream for dessert. Needless to say, James bypassed the nutritious stuff and headed straight for the sweet stuff. Luckily there was also lots of other fresh fruit which he devoured too.

   As a special treat for behaving himself (i.e. stayed off the court while I played one set of tennis), on the way home we stopped at the subway station and rode the subway for half-an-hour. He was quite thrilled by the long train and the dark tunnel! It was a really cheap thrill - just 75 cents for him.
   Home for a swim, although I couldn't get him in the pool, other than his feet. I had two dips as it has been really hot today, up in the high 20's. The water has been warming up nicely. I may not need to put the heater on when the family come over on Sunday.

Thursday 26 June 2014

A Trip to the Beach

   I had a brain wave yesterday - take James to the beach! We do have one, even though it is just on the lake but there was lots of sand and the water was relatively clean. The sky was overcast but the temperature was quite comfortable. There were a few spots of rain but nothing to really get us wet. He played with his bucket and spade for a while, collecting water from the lake and making moats and tunnels. He had fun chasing the seagulls and we saw some redwing blackbirds that were very friendly. Then we had a picnic lunch before heading home.

   Today was extremely hot, even at 9:00 a.m. when we went to play tennis. I only lasted for about 50 minutes before having to head home for a swim. Luckily there were some interesting matches on at Wimbledon which is how I spent the rest of the morning. Two of the Canadians made it through to the next round. The high today was 28C and with the humidex, around 30C, our hottest day so far this summer. I am testing out my new air conditioning so it is quite comfortable inside, although the upper floor is still a bit on the hot side. I hope I can sleep well tonight. I cut the front grass this afternoon, requiring another swim and will go out after the sun goes down to trim off the borders. Everything is growing quite rapidly after all the rain we have had this week.

Sunday 22 June 2014

Summer Is Truly Here

   Yesterday was my garage sale so I was up early to set up and get the signs up for 8:00 a.m. Lots of browsers (and lots of drive bys) but not too many people willing to part with their money! I did sell some big items but most of the purchases were from the $1 table or the 50 cent bin. Tons of stuff left over and now piled in the garage. I think I will need to have another sale in the Fall. At least I managed to get back the money I spent on signs and a bit more for my effort. Closed up around 1:00 p.m. and spent the rest of the day packing up and recovering!

   Played two long sets of tennis this morning with Susan, Kathy and Iona. I much prefer Ladies doubles to hitting aimlessly with the guys. By the time we stopped it was getting very hot and I was in the pool as soon as I got home. Once I had dried off sufficiently, I made some carrot and lentil soup for lunch to have with a croissant, roasted red pepper and cheese sandwich. 

   Some gardening this afternoon once the shade had crept around a bit. Still, it was hot work and another dip was called for. I finished the tidying up in my wet swimsuit which was much more comfortable. Spent half an hour stretched out on the lounger with a book to recover from the effort.

    A light dinner tonight - roasted vegetables with an as-yet-to-be-determined sauce or gravy - no meat. Not much on TV tonight, all my favourite shows are still being pre-empted by the soccer. However, Wimbledon starts tomorrow and I will be following that avidly. Poor James will just have to watch it with me.

Friday 20 June 2014

Summer Solstice

    The weather continues to be cool and comfortable for this time of year as we arrive at the longest day. Temperatures have been consistently in the low  to mid 20's, cooling off overnight. The down side of this is that my pool is warming up very slowly and, although I haven't had to resort to using the heater, it has been rather chilly for my daily swims!

   Tomorrow is my big Garage Sale! Since getting home from tennis this morning (and taking a nap) I have been organizing, pricing and writing labels and signs. I'm hoping to get rid of most of the toys I've accumulated for the grandkids to play with when they are here and also some household items that have sat in cupboards for most of my years in this house. It will be interesting to see how much of it goes and how much will have to be consigned to the garbage. Most of it will not be coming back into the house!

   The garden is flourishing although the peonies, which usually keep blooming for a couple of weeks, took a beating in the storm on Tuesday. We had a mammoth amount of rain and wind (close to tornado conditions) but it was short lived and no major damage, at least not here. I did hear that many people lost power and that a tornado did touch down in Angus, a small town about 120 kms. north of the city, and there was considerable damage to houses there.
This beautiful dragonfly was, unfortunately, dead on closer inspection!
The first rose of summer - it was much more beautiful earlier in the day as it began to open but I didn't have my camera handy at the time.

Sunday 15 June 2014

Pleasant Weather

   Beautiful day, sunny but not too hot. I had my first dip in the pool after an afternoon of gardening. It was only 72F but, once I was in, it was very refreshing! The garden is in dire need of a good weeding but my back gets too sore from bending down to pull up the blasted things. It was much more pleasant to sit under the awning with a book so that's what I did.

   Two sets of tennis this morning - not too many at the courts. I guess all the Dads were being treated to breakfast in bed. I played with Susan, Iona and Chan and we split the sets so quite  a satisfying result.

   Pasta and shrimp for dinner tonight, in a cheese and mushroom sauce. Green beans on the side to make it a reasonably healthy meal.

Saturday 14 June 2014

......And It's Saturday Again!

   Thursday started out cool and overcast so we didn't have a great turnout for the Bridlewood social tennis  just 5 of us. It's not my favourite as the other guys just like to hit, no games, and I find that both boring and tiring. I only lasted an hour and a bit. I much prefer Don Mills as we play actual games.

   On Friday James and I had a last visit to the play group and took a present as he won't be back. He got big hugs from all the teachers as he has been going for three years now and they were genuinely sorry to see him go. He stayed long enough to make a Father's Day card for Dave and play with some of the toys. After lunch he didn't seem to need a nap so we spent an hour at the park. It wasn't too hot and he had fun running in and out of the splash pad.

   Today, just my usual chores and a bit of gardening. The garden seems to have suddenly taken off, especially the weeds! I have a few tomatoes forming and a pepper. The parsley and basil are going like gangbusters and I picked another green onion today. Nothing special for dinner tonight, just some cooked chicken from the freezer, but I had a delicious lunch - blue cheese and pate on a cranberry and pumpkin seed loaf - all compliments of my Air Miles at Metro! I also got some smoked mackerel which I have been looking for, for ages.

   Television tonight has been usurped on most channels by the FIFA World Cup. I may have to resort to reading!

Wednesday 11 June 2014

Time Flies

   I barely turned around and already it's Wednesday. Monday was as usual, James here and he declared he is done with Play Group, so we won't be going there any more. While at the mall I took him for a haircut - not as neat as his last one but, can't complain when it's only $6. Following that we had a treat at Tim Horton's as he sat so very still for the cut.

   Tuesday, tennis in the morning, I managed 4 sets with breaks in between, even though it was quite hot and humid. I stopped at Starbucks for a Frapaccino on the way home, it was delicious, very refreshing,  and I had a "dollar off" coupon. Dancing with Natalie in the evening. While dinner was cooking (Spaghetti with a nice tomato sauce) we practiced the dances.  We tried three dances but, as it turned out, she was pretty exhausted by the last one so maybe it was too much. Next week we will go back to just two. It was a lovely evening and DITP was much better attended than last week. Hope they made some money!

   James here again today (this is the last three-day week) and we spent the morning hunting for a replacement bulb for my Tiffany lamp. Seemingly they are discontinued but I managed to find a similar one at Canadian Tire. He was very good about trailing from store to store so I took him to the indoor pool for a swim after lunch. I ate the leftover spaghetti for lunch while James had his usual sausage and egg. Tonight I am still eating leftover pork pie. I'm getting very bored with it and, since there is still almost half of it to eat, I may have to send it back to the freezer for a future time. Peas and some Swiss Chard from the garden will be all I will need for a balanced, healthy meal.

Sunday 8 June 2014

A Busy Weekend

   I have a lamb shoulder chop braising in a tasty gravy at the moment and will shortly have it with garlic mashed potatoes and a salad. I have also been nibbling on tostitos and an avocado and salsa dip so I will be well fed tonight.

   Last night was the White Heather Ball, held in Oshawa at a Polish banquet hall. The food was fairly ethnically accurate, cabbage rolls, perogies, breaded chicken cutlets (a version of Viener Schnitzel), very filling and plenty of seconds. We had been practicing the dances for several weeks so they went well. I only sat out one dance and managed to last to the final one, "The Reel of the Royal Scots". A wonderful evening, all told.

   Today I woke up too late to head to the tennis courts, so watched the finals of the men's French Open instead. My favourite won, so I was happy with the result. The rest of the day has been spent relaxing over the newspapers as some rain this afternoon prevented me from toiling out in the garden! It's fairly mild still (20C) so no need for either heating or air conditioning. Saw some goldfinches pecking at the seeds from the forget-me-nots this afternoon, two pairs, and they hung around for some time. I bought a new bird bath last week (the other one was leaking) so the garden has become a favourite refuge for all sorts of wildlife. There was a drowned mouse in the swimming pool last Monday!

Friday 6 June 2014

Belated News

   Tennis on Tuesday morning - It started off slowly as we had rain overnight and the courts were still very wet. Stan had come early and got Court #1 dry enough to play and we worked on Court #3 for half-an-hour and got it playable by 9:00. After that the sun came out and pretty well took over the job. I was in charge of the board but it was an easy task as people dribbled in slowly as the weather improved and I managed a couple of sets.

   I had promised Natalie I would take her dancing on Tuesday evening and showed up at her school in a thunder and hail storm. I have never seen so much water on the roads and didn't hold out much hope for the dancing. However, the storm was fairly localized and didn't hit Edwards Gardens so we headed down there around 7:00 p.m. She had learned two of the dances and we watched the others. Back to Markham around 8:30. We will try it again next week.

   I have spent most of the last three days watching tennis matches from Paris, especially the Canadian players who have, unfortunately, all now been eliminated. Today, while at Don Mills, we saw the two men's semi-final matches in between taking to the courts ourselves. It was so pleasant that I managed three sets before parking myself in front of the TV. The ladies final is tomorrow and the men's on Sunday.


Monday 2 June 2014

The Heat Returns

   It is a scorcher today. The morning was quite pleasant but now I feel the humidity rising and the sun has a real bite to it. The water in the pool is not quite warm enough for a dip so, for the time being, I am hiding out indoors.

    I needed a new pump for the pool filtration system, and it was installed today - another major expense on top of the floor, the furnace and air conditioner. I have had to dip into my savings this year but, what the heck, that's what they are for!

   James here today and we had to hang around while the pool guy worked, so our routine was quite disrupted. When we did finally get out to the park, James was done quite quickly (usually he can amuse himself there for over an hour) so we came home, had an early lunch then he went for a long nap. I woke him around 3:30 so he must have been bushed, poor wee chap.

   Leftover rice and asparagus tonight, to which I will add some jumbo shrimp in a homemade tomato sauce. I picked a green onion from the garden the other day, so that can go in the sauce along with some basil, also from the garden. If it cools off this evening I plan to dig up a couple of raspberry canes to get Judy's raspberry patch started. I have been promising her some canes for quite some time and I have plenty to spare.

Sunday 1 June 2014

Garage Sale

   Judy's neighbours were having a street garage sale and she agreed to participate. However, Sunday may not have been a wise choice as customers were few and far between. I took over some stuff and managed to sell a few items. She will try again next Saturday which is usually more lucrative as far as customers go.

   I came home with less money than I had when I arrived, courtesy of Natalie's cookie sale and the lemonade stand. But the kids had fun participating in the sale. I will have a garage sale later this month and Judy will bring over whatever she has left.

   Pottered in the garden this afternoon and finished filling the pool. The guys will come back tomorrow to start up the pump, heater and filter. Then we just have to wait for the water to warm up. Right now it's only 60F! It needs to get up to 80F for us to venture in.

   Dinner tonight is salmon and asparagus, the first of the season. I will also cook some brown rice with cremini mushrooms. No dessert but I might have some fruit or yogurt later.