Friday 31 October 2014

Bad News

     A letter arrived today from the Ministry of the Attorney General. I am requested (or "ordered") to appear at the Law courts on December 8th for Jury Duty! I can only hope I am not selected as it is a tedious chore, sitting waiting to be called for selection. The last time I had this onerous duty I read two Dan Brown novels before we were released.

   It has rained all day and been decidedly cold. Not a glimpse of sun all day. I have to go out this evening although I would rather stay at home, but I am on "tea duty" tonight. I would be very unpopular if I didn't show up.

    Going to have a quick dinner of leftovers soon. I've just eaten some chips and a whole avocado , mashed and topped with salsa and grated cheese so I am not starving. Then it's off to pick up Sue and Erich to take them with me to dancing. They will be happy not to have to take public transit on this miserable night!

Thursday 30 October 2014

Two Busy Days

   No tennis this morning. I had arranged to take the car in for its rust check, plus it was rather chilly, though sunny. This afternoon was the free swim at Agincourt Rec. Centre so I did my minimum, 12 lengths, then had a soak in the hot tub. I plan to make this a regular activity now that the weather is getting colder and will try to increase the number of lengths I do..

   Yesterday I went down to Dentonia Golf Course (a par 3 course). I have decided it is more my speed although it is a longer drive to get there and the course is very hilly. I felt much less tired after 18 holes there than I did after 9 holes at the longer regulation course. It was a little cool to start off with, even though the sun was shining, but by half way I had my sweater off. There are only a couple of more weeks before the courses close and the nets will probably be coming down this weekend at the tennis courts. The garden still requires some more work but soon that will also be over until Spring.

   Last night was Book Club but we were usurped from our usual spot at Chapters as they were inundated with new arrivals getting ready for the Christmas sales. We ended up in Starbucks but it was very noisy and not conducive to a friendly discussion of the book we had read for this month. Several people went away quite disgruntled. Lee is hoping to find a better location for next month as our group has grown quite large (15 there last night). Next month's book is "The Orphan Train" which I think I will have to buy as the library only has a few copies.

  I got my 'flu shot today while I was down at the drug store to renew a prescription. It's so easy to get it there instead of from the doctor - no need for an appointment, no waiting in a room full of sick people, just show up and bare your arm!

   Dinner tonight is kedgeree (a fish, rice and egg dish flavoured with curry). This afternoon I made some roasted tomato soup as I was experiencing a glut of ripe cherry tomatoes brought in from the garden. It is very tasty, flavoured with basil , garlic and balsamic vinegar. I'll have it for lunch tomorrow. Right now I am nibbling on some hummus made with the chick peas left over from the Tuscan chicken I made earlier this week. Making sure I use up everything in the fridge before it expires is always a challenge for me, but I manage to not throw out too much food. Yesterday I made a yummy dip from artichoke hearts (also left over from the Tuscan chicken), mayo and parmesan cheese. I had it with slices from a sour dough loaf that has been lingering in the freezer for quite some time.  

   "Big Bang Theory" is back to Thursday nights so my evening viewing is all set. Yaay!!!

Tuesday 28 October 2014

A New Class

   It has rained on and off most of today but I didn't mind - I started my new winter activity today - bridge lessons! When I was at the Recreation Centre last week to vote in the Advance poll, I picked up a brochure advertising all the activities available for seniors. There are several drop-in activities but I discovered that free bridge lessons are offered on Tuesdays so I signed up for them and went there this morning. There are three classes, the first on bidding for beginners, the second on conventions (I skipped that as it was for more experienced players) and the third  was "Play of the Hand" where we actually got to deal hands, bid on them and play them out. I watched for the first part then got to play a couple of hands. It is coming back to me, but slowly (it's been at least 20 years since I last played) and a lot of the terms are new. It may take me a while to get up to speed but I have signed up for all the winter sessions.

   Yesterday the grandkids were here (a P.A. day in York region schools) and kept me hopping. James and I made soup for lunch (Elliot made the devilled eggs and Natalie helped with the sandwiches), they singlehandedly decorated a gingerbread Hallowe'en house, we planted crocus bulbs, visited the library, and spent an hour at the park. Luckily it was quite mild and I took along the tennis raquets. Elliot had fun hitting the balls over the fence although I told him the idea was to keep the ball in the blue court. He has quite good eye-hand coordination whereas Natalie had trouble connecting with the ball. James just chased the balls around the court. Even with all these activities we still had time left over so I let them use my computer for the last hour before Judy arrived to pick them up. After they left I had a nap!

    Dinner tonight is the leftover Tuscan chicken with garlic mashed potatoes and green beans. Just a matter of some chopping and reheating. Easy-peasy, just the way I like it!

Saturday 25 October 2014

Still Mild

   Friday was another brilliant day. I spent the morning on the golf course - at Tam O'Shanter which is 5 minutes from me. Rather a challenging course for my ability level so I just played 9 holes. However, I think I will  go back to the easy par 3 course I usually play even though it's a longer drive. But with the sun shining, 13C and the trees in all their glorious fall colours, it was an exceptional morning.

   That evening was the AGM for my local tennis club and as I am the designated note-taker, my presence was required. It started late and there were many long-winded arguments that I tried to document, but at last it was over and I now just have to type up the Minutes before I forget what my scribbled notes mean! I have until the Spring to do this but if I leave it too long it will be an arduous process.

   A quiet day today apart from the usual Saturday chores - laundry and grocery shopping. I was a bit late getting out and the store was crammed but eventually I was home, had a light lunch and headed for bed. Some rain this afternoon but my laundry was dry enough to bring indoors and is now folded and put away. An evening of TV awaits and there's a chicken casserole in the oven (my favourite, Tuscan chicken, thighs with chick peas, artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes. I also threw in the tiny eggplant from my garden, hope it tastes OK).  

Thursday 23 October 2014

Brilliant Weather!

   I had made tentative plans to meet friends at the tennis courts this morning and we were in luck. The sun was shining, not much wind and reasonable temperatures. We played for an hour then I had to leave as I was heading out to the RTO craft sale and lunch.

   I got to Qssis around 11:15 and checked out the craft tables. I had been looking for the vendor that had marmalade last year but she wasn't there. Nothing else I was interested in but  I met up with two friends from the book club so we sat and chatted about our most recent book until it was time for lunch. Lunch started with a delicious carrot and pumpkin soup. Then roast pork (a bit dry) and vegetables; we were even offered seconds. I had another potato and some more asparagus. Dessert was apple pie and butterscotch ice cream followed by coffee, and once I had polished that off I was well and truly stuffed. All that for just $20!

     Since I was already near by, I went to Edwards Gardens for the Farmer's Market on the way home. I was looking for corn and a special cheese but neither were available. However, since I was already inside the garden centre I picked up some crocus bulbs which the kids and I will plant on Monday, if the weather cooperates. While there I spotted a bush just like the brightly coloured ones I have in my garden. They are Japanese Barberrys, planted by the previous owners. I was very pleased to find out their name. It was so warm and pleasant wandering around the grounds I was very loath to leave.

    Still stuffed from lunch so just going to have leftovers again for dinner.

Wednesday 22 October 2014


   I had nothing planned for today other than the thought of a round of golf. But it really was too chilly so decided to give it a pass. However, I had a notion to make some marmalade as I had bought some oranges at Adonis yesterday. Squeezing and slicing the oranges (and one lemon) was quite a tedious chore but was made up for by the delicious aromas created once the sugar was added. From the three oranges I got three reasonable sized jars of marmalade which should set nicely as I used my candy thermometer to reach the "setting point".

So comforting to have home made preserves in the pantry!

   A little gardening this afternoon as it warmed up and the sun was out. The roses are protected for the winter and another border is cleaned up. Kathy and Cathy both contacted me regarding tennis tomorrow and we will give it a go. I just hope it's not too chilly.

   Still some ribs to eat up but I will cook some fresh vegetables, probably potatoes and broccoli.

   The news today has been full of an attack on the Parliament buildings in Ottawa. A bit too close for comfort! Tragically, a soldier has been killed and this comes on a recent killing of another soldier in Quebec. Both attacks appear to have been perpetrated by Jihadists.  It is very sad that conflicts in other parts of the world are now coming to our peaceful country. 

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Still Cold and Rainy

   It only got up to 9C today - it's too early in the year for these chilly temperatures! We have been promised a warmer few days soon but I'm not holding my breath.

   Lunch out today. It was the RWTO Craft show, lots of interesting tables but I didn't feel tempted to buy anything. Lunch was very good, Caesar salad, steak in a spicy pepper sauce, vegetables and a delicious chocolate dessert.

   Later in the afternoon, as it was still raining, I went to the movies. Also because Tuesday is bargain day - $6 tickets! I saw "The Judge" with Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall. Both were excellent and the story was quite gripping. I must say I didn't notice the time passing and was quite disappointed and reluctant to leave when it ended.

   Just a light supper tonight. I stopped in at Adonis on the way home and picked up some treats which I had with a bowl of soup - a wholewheat baguette, some blue cheese and a smoked mackerel. Unfortunately the fish was terribly salty so I may not be able to eat it. Also it was full of bones. You win some and you lose some.

Monday 20 October 2014

Putting the garden to bed

   Although the weather has been pretty dreary for the last few days, I have managed (in between rain showers) to get the last few garden chores done. Yesterday I planted the overwintering garlic cloves, nice and deep so the squirrels don't dig them up, turned off the outside tap and put away the hose and watering can. All the hanging baskets are indoors and we shall see which survive until Spring. The only task remaining is to cover the roses with compost. My compost bin is almost full and it will be good to dig out some of the finished compost to make room for the leaves which are already falling off the trees.

   Today I trimmed some evergreens but they should really be cut right down as they have outgrown their location, and then some! Not  a job I am keen to tackle right now. I would rather be indoors with a good book which is what I am currently doing. Dinner tonight is leftover ribs which I barbecued yesterday. They were delicious and there's enough for two more meals. No dessert tonight as I pigged out on chocolate cookies last night and went to bed feeling very guilty (and stuffed).

    I am very disappointed that the "Outlander" series is over. It seemed as if it had only just begun. I think there were only 5 or 6 episodes. Seemingly we have to wait until next April for the second season.
A colourful bush in my back yard.
As well as brilliant leaves it has lots of berries.

Saturday 18 October 2014

Getting Chilly

   A few glimpses of sun yesterday but, other than that, it has been dull and rainy for the past few days. Today is decidedly cooler but I have got all the outdoor plants inside in case of frost tonight. I dug up my huge poinsettia and have got it in the house. It will be interesting to see if it survives the transplant! It is now three years old.

   Yesterday was the end of tennis at Bellbury and it almost didn't happen as the day started out rainy. However, ever the optimists, we dried the courts with just a few sprinkles coming down and managed to start play by 9:45. There was only a small group so we played pretty continuously until about 11:15 when I left to meet Judy for lunch. The others stayed for an impromptu pot luck lunch, organized by Jasmine in her usually competent manner. I sneaked a devilled egg and a samosa before I left! I will see them all again next May.

   Judy is celebrating her birthday this weekend so I treated her to a lunch of sushi and teriyaki at a local Japanese place. I hadn't been there before and was quite happy with the meal - more than enough food (including miso soup and ice cream) and only $10 each. After all that food a small dinner of leftovers tided me over well enough and it's also leftovers (chicken and sweet potato) again tonight with the addition of a cauliflower and broccoli casserole which I have just in time rescued from the oven. I have had a very lazy day and am looking forward to some good TV tonight.

Wednesday 15 October 2014

A Day At Home

   I had thought of golfing today but woke up to overcast skies and wet underfoot, so decided not to chance it. It drizzled on and off all morning and is still threatening a heavier downpour this evening. The temperature is still mild for mid October, 17C.

   I managed to keep busy - got a loaf in the bread machine first thing, finally vacuumed the family room (the carpet looks so much better, I had been thinking it needed cleaning but I may put that off for a while) and took my bike down to the drug store for a prescription refill in between rain showers.

    When I got back I made a huge pot of Winter Minestrone soup from Giada's cookbook. I used Swiss chard and parsley from the garden, beans and lots of vegetables but had no pancetta, a key ingredient in her recipe. It didn't seem to affect the taste - it was quite yummy. The secret ingredient was a rind of parmesan cheese which definitely rounded out the flavour. I had it for lunch with a toasted tomato and cheese croissant.

    Tonight I am braising a shoulder lamb chop in tomatoes left over from preparing the soup. I will also add the rest of the beans - that's the problem in cooking for one, everything comes in too large containers. So I have to organize meals around using everything up. I will also add some mushrooms later and have it with the rest of the quinoa I cooked earlier this week. Still have some of the almond apple cake to finish too!

Monday 13 October 2014


   Lunch at Judy and Dave's today. All in attendance including Lucy the dog. Natalie is seriously attached to her and can't wait to dog-sit her sometime soon.

   First was roasted pumpkin soup, very delicious. Then came the turkey with stuffing, pumpkin risotto, two kinds of potatoes (roasted and cheesy), brussell sprouts with bacon, goat cheese salad, cranberry sauce and gravy. By the time I had sampled a little of everything I was seriously stuffed! And there was more, pumpkin pie and Judy's speciality, pumpkin cheesecake, with whipped cream optional. I managed to hold off on only having a small slice of cheesecake and no pie but it was hard.

    While we ate we went around the table sharing what we were thankful for. After we had  digested all the great food we took Lucy for a walk around the block, all except James who was on his bike and about half a mile ahead of us. Luckily Uncle Steve was up to the challenge of corralling him in, so he never quite got out of sight.

   Came home for a nap, after getting restocked with Girl Guide cookies - no more food for me today!
Table set ready for the meal.
Plates loaded and ready to eat.
Dishing out dessert - the cheesecake was the best ever (in my humble opinion.).

Saturday 11 October 2014

Ho-Hum Days

     I'm trying to think back to my last entry - it's been a busy week. No golf this week but managed tennis on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. We had a little party on Friday at Bellbury as it was Magda's 80th birthday and Jasmine had brought in treats and a cake. It was lots of fun and some good tennis but next week is our last week before the nets come down. However, we should be playing at Bridlewood for a few more weeks, weather permitting. I am keeping gloves in my tennis bag just in case!

    I went to a movie on Tuesday afternoon - "My Old Lady" - it was quite good (Kevin Kline and Maggie Smith) but I got home too late to attend the Don Mills TC annual meeting. Oh, well, there's always next year!

   Just a day of chores today - laundry and shopping in the morning and a bit of gardening in the afternoon. I really need a rainy day to get caught up on the indoor chores. The carpets need vacuuming and it's time to get out the Windex for the glass tables, They are pretty disgusting!

    Salmon and quinoa for dinner tonight. I picked the last of the basil and mint today so will make a pesto to put on the salmon. Also found some Swiss Chard to have on the side. I will cook it like spinach. The next garden chore is to get some garlic in the ground before it freezes and some compost on the roses. It's supposed to get down to zero tonight but hopefully they will survive a little frost.

I have brought some of my planters indoors and have been rewarded with this beautiful bloom - probably the last of the year.

Wednesday 8 October 2014

Some Domesticity

    Just made a batch of "Mediterranean Chutney". It has tomatoes, eggplant, garlic and zucchini as well as other spices and vegetables and is quite zingy. The day started out sunny but clouded over quite early and became very windy.

   This morning I attended a workshop on Parkinson's disease. It was sponsored by RTO and I signed up for it to find out if there were some indicators to follow so as to avoid the disease. Other than keeping active and eating sensibly, there was nothing else one can do to avoid it. It's almost purely genetic. However, treats were provided so the morning was not entirely wasted.

    I bought some winter hardy plants for my front porch planter on the way home, and got them installed before lunch. Now that the chutney is cooling in its jars I am going to make some cabbage rolls using the last of the Swiss Chard from the garden. The tomatoes and garlic in the chutney were also from the garden making it a cheap condiment. There are still lots of tomatoes on the vines and one lonely red pepper. I am just going out to pick some parsley for the cabbage rolls. My garden has given me lots of produce this year.

The last of the summer's bounty - lots of tomatoes, a red pepper, a tiny eggplant , and some Swiss Chard.

Fall colours on my front porch.

Monday 6 October 2014

Rainy Morning

    Normally I would be heading over to the golf course on a Monday, but today I had a dental appointment and it was wet and drizzly anyway when I got up. By the time I got out of the dental surgery, teeth shiny clean but with an appointment for tomorrow for a filling, it had dried up. First stop was Starbucks as I had a coupon for a Pumpkin Latte, mmmmm, delicious!

    I suddenly had a burst of energy (maybe the caffeine?) when I got home and stripped the covers off the family room couch and, while they chugged around in the washing machine, cut all the grass, front and back. Then I hung the covers outside so thank goodness it had dried up. There was even some sun!

    After lunch and a nap it was time for the struggle to get the covers back on the cushions. I did this while they were still a bit damp as that makes it easier to stretch them. I think this will be the last time for these particular cushions to get a cleaning as they are getting a bit threadbare. By the time they are in need of another cleaning it will be time for a visit to Ikea for a new sofa.

    I had some e-mails to compose and despite problems with Messenger, got them out in the airwaves just before heading out to dancing group. I just had time for a quick dinner of leftover pasta and scallops with some green beans on the side. Quite a lot accomplished today.

Sunday 5 October 2014

Still Lots of Outdoor Fun

   The lemon curd did, in fact, turn out well. It thickened up nicely once it cooled and made a tasty spread on my toast this week. I will be interested to see how long it lasts.

   The weather stayed nice all week and I had golf on Monday - 18 holes at Tam O'Shanter, really too much - and tennis on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. I didn't play at Bellbury on Tuesday as there was a meeting of the RWTO committee to which I now belong as the guardian of the "book table". We meet at the Marleigh which provides us with a very generous refreshments table at which I indulged heavily. Note to self: don't have any breakfast on meeting mornings!

   Judy took me to Red Lobster for a birthday treat on Thursday; I had shrimp and scallops and she had her usual shrimp taco. Much oohing and aahing as we ate! After lunch I headed over to the library to pick up the book we are reading for the next Book Club meeting, Terry Fallis's "No Relation". Yesterday was the first of the monthly Scottish Country dances at Crescent School. There was a smaller than usual turnout but the band was in good form and we had some great dances. My favourites were "Glastonbury Tor" and Mrs. McLeod", both lively reels.

   Saturday saw a significant drop in temperature and now the furnace is on for the first time; the house was only 13 degrees when I got up this morning! I went over to the tennis courts but there were only a few of us. I played until 10:30  (wearing gloves for the first while) then headed home to catch up on some chores. This afternoon the demo pool met at Broadlands for a practice and Keith put us through our paces with some new dances. Now I am snacking on the last of the Balsamic onion cheddar cheese I bought last week at the Village Grocer. I have some scallops defrosting to put in a pasta dish later. "Outlander" is on tonight so I will be waiting with baited breath for Claire's next adventure!