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Thursday, 31 December 2015

New Year's Eve

   I'm having a quiet night at home as is my custom. I don't think I will even manage to stay up until midnight! Luckily there's lots of good stuff on TV. The library let me know (by e-mail) that the DVD I have been waiting for is at my local branch but, unfortunately, it is closed tomorrow so I will have to wait until Saturday to pick it up. It's the fourth season of "Game of Thrones". I can't wait to get stuck into it.

     My only outing today was to get my hair cut at my usual spot. It wasn't too cold so I made do without my boots or winter coat. Yesterday I went to see a really good movie, "Brooklyn" I highly recommend it. The movie theatre was very busy but I luckily found a seat middle and centre, just where I like to be.

   A salmon fillet for dinner tonight with broccoli and mushrooms. I am almost out of food as I decided not to buy any groceries until I had eaten up all the leftovers. I will do a big shopping on Saturday to replenish the fridge and larder.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

After the Storm

    The expected snowfall turned out to be only about 8cm. but, with the rain that followed, it became a waterlogged mess, very heavy to shovel. I have left most of it, hoping it will melt but the temperature is supposed to fall below freezing tonight.

   I made it to tennis this morning, leaving a little early in case of traffic problems - just one traffic light flashing red which didn't hold me up very much. We managed to play three sets but one was very short (6-0 with Hendrina and me on the zero side) so I was home shortly after 12:00.

    I had shoveled some snow before I left, really just to give the mailman a path to the letter box, so I did a bit more before lunch. Then soup, a sandwich, followed by a nap, another go at the driveway and the rest of the afternoon was spent reading. The Christmas tree is back in its box and the bins stacked neatly in the basement until next year. Time to go fix the salmon for dinner.

Monday, 28 December 2015

A Storm Coming

     So cold today! It started out at -6C but felt much colder. I just ran up to the mall for a couple of errands and have been cosily wrapped up indoors ever since. The fire is burning and giving off lots of heat so all's right with my world.

    Last day of leftovers - I bought a nice piece of salmon for tomorrow's dinner which will make a pleasant change. I have started to take down the Christmas tree (i.e. brought the bins up from the basement) but my main chore today was to prepare for the coming nasty weather.

   There is supposed to be a considerable snowfall overnight although it might also be freezing rain. In any event I have put the car in the garage (it usually just stays in the driveway) and stocked up on salt. I even got out the snow shovel and prepped the snow blower - just in case! Hope I can manage to my tennis game (indoors, of course) tomorrow.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

After The Holiday

    The family were here by 11:30 on Friday and they soon started on the presents under the tree. James was rather disappointed with his gifts but the other two were quite thrilled. Of course they had already demolished the presents at home and were very excited to find they will be going to Disneyland in February - their main gift! I got a beautiful framed photo from their cruise which I will treasure and display prominently.

    Lunch was a success although everything could have been a bit hotter, but I will definitely do most of the cooking the day before next year, it was much less stressful. Judy brought a nice salad which was very welcome and Steve contributed some starters. We will save them for New Year's Day as there was already an overabundance of food. The highlight, as usual, was flambeeing the plum pudding, which everyone had with custard and also a mince pie. After coffee Steve played Monopoly with the kids while the rest of us cleared the table and stacked the dishwasher - Dave's job, he's the expert. Steve left Lucy dog with me as he was going up north, so after everyone left, we had a walk around the block before settling in for the night.

     Saturday was spent cleaning up - unloading the dishwasher (thank goodness for that!) getting rid of all the wrapping paper, making a pot of soup from the carcass and taking down some of the decorations. Lucy and I had a couple of good long walks but, unfortunately, she rolled in something stinky so was rather unpleasant to be around. Steve decided she would need a bath when they got home! He came for her around 9:00 p.m. and I settled in with TV and some chocolates as a reward for my festive duties.

   Today has been quite restful with only some light chores and lots of reading and napping. I still have plenty of leftovers although I put some soup and chicken in the freezer for another day. Tonight I am making a sort of pot pie with the stuffing as a crust on top of meat, vegetables and gravy. I had some leftover smoked salmon and shrimp for an appetizer but the wine is all gone!

    I made a ginger cake this afternoon - not to be confused with gingerbread, this is definitely cake like, done in a loaf pan. It smells delicious and I will have a well-buttered slice for dessert later!

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Christmas Eve

    Everything went according to plan today and I was home with all the food by 10 a.m. I put the capon in the oven around 12:30 and it was ready by 4:00. While it was cooking I prepared the sweet potatoes and while it was resting I made the gravy. So now it is dissected and in the fridge ready to be warmed up tomorrow and the roasting pan cleaned. I had some pickings off the carcass for dinner tonight in an avocado and blue cheese salad - it was delicious and quite filling.

   It was another beautiful day - sunny and a high of 13C - but this is supposed to be the end of the mild weather. I did my long ( 4,000 steps) walk this morning before tackling the bird and felt better for it. I think I am all set for the company tomorrow - just few last minute chores in the morning before starting on the vegetables. Then steam the plum pudding and heat the custard and mince pies and we will be done!

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Trying to Avoid the Chaos

    Only one trip to the mall today, to get some reading material before things close down for the holidays. Other than that I only was outside for half an hour for a walk around the block.

    I did a last few Christmas chores - tidying the basement, getting the outdoor lights working and decorating the planter by the front door. I also put a garland on the banister going upstairs. So, that's it!

   Tomorrow I plan on an early departure to pick up the last of the groceries and the capon before the grocery stores get too busy. I am going to cook much of the meal tomorrow and just heat it up on Friday. Cooking the whole meal while entertaining company is just too stressful!

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Winter Solstice

     Today was the shortest day of the year but it was quite pleasant - mild and rainy in the morning, high of 11C and glimpses of sun this afternoon.

   Tennis with Hendrina, Swan and Lillian this morning. We played for about 1 1/2 hours with a couple of breaks and I wasn't as tired as last week. I stopped in at the liquor store and the library on the way home, had an early lunch and spent a couple of hours napping.  I have almost finished "Girl in the Spider Web" and am waiting for a couple of books that are in transit. Hope they arrive tomorrow or I will be out of reading material. I picked up the third season of "Game of Thrones" which will keep me busy for a week.

   I am still eating the spinach quiche I made on the weekend and had a slice for lunch with soup. Fish in a cheese sauce for dinner with garlic mashed potatoes and peas. Yogurt for dessert, all very yummy and I am well satisfied. I am trying to clear out the freezer before the end of the year and just have some chicken pieces and some sausages in there right now. What with leftovers from Christmas dinner (hopefully there will be some) that should keep me going until then. 

Monday, 21 December 2015

Rain!

    Got the last of the Christmas gifts today - just a small present for the grandkids (and Lucy) at Chapters as they are each getting an item from "Gifts For Hope" from the PLAN catalogue. Natalie chose baby chicks, Elliot chose mosquito nets and James chose a set school supplies. It is fun to get them to choose something they really are interested in.

    It was a matter of darting from car to store today as it was raining quite hard - very un-Christmasy. I got the tree out of the basement yesterday and today decorated it with all my old ornaments. I also wrapped the gifts (that is, put them in Christmas gift bags) so I am pretty much on track to be ready for Friday. I even got out the centrepiece for the table and started to decorate the mantle! I shouldn't have to go back down to the basement except for emergency supplies.

   Leftover chicken and broccoli for dinner tonight, and a piece of double chocolate brownie that I indulged in at Starbucks today - a little treat to myself for being finished with the gift shopping.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Rising Prices

     Not much to report today. I woke up to chilly temperatures so just turned over and kept sleeping until almost 9:00!

    Usual chores today, with an extra run up to Price Chopper for some things I didn't get at No Frills. Cauliflowers were $5.99 each at NF and the red pepper I picked out at PC was $2.49 - unbelievable!! I didn't buy either. It's all down to the low Canadian dollar and imported foods. I got some cheap oranges though so will have one tonight with yogurt for dessert

    I made soup for lunch. At least all the ingredients for it were local so it was relatively inexpensive. I also made a spinach quiche for  dinner, also quite reasonable. It's going to be a tough winter.

Friday, 18 December 2015

A New Bridge Group

   Quite an interesting day but it started off slowly. I stayed in bed dozing until 8:45 then had a light breakfast - egg on toast with orange juice and half a banana. Cleaned up last night's dishes then read the newspaper for half an hour. The Business section continues to be depressing as the Canadian dollar keeps falling as does the SP TSX. My investments have lost over 10% so far this year!

   I didn't exercise this morning due to my late start but did walk over to the Senior's Centre around 11:15. I stopped to chat with Samia while having my free coffee then joined the Bridge players. This is a new group I am trying out. We pay 50 cents, keep score, then someone gets the "pot" at the end of the afternoon. It was a bit more stressful than my usual game but we kept changing partners so I managed to avoid embarrassing myself too much. I did manage to win one contract, thank goodness!

    I left there with my free lunch (Lasagna Soup) by 3:00, walked home, heated up and ate the soup, and took a nap. The rest of the day has been uneventful and I will just relax by the fire for the rest of the evening with the computer and the TV. It was much colder today but is staying just above freezing. Long may it continue!

Thursday, 17 December 2015

No Snow Yet

    Two busy days left me little time to post here so I will catch you up.

    Tuesday started with tennis - I was playing a bit better but was quite exhausted when we quit at 11:40. Unfortunately I had to run a couple of errands on the way home so just had a quick lunch and headed straight for bed. I was loathe to get up after an hour but had decided previously I would go to the cinema and I'm glad I forced myself out of bed!

   I saw "Legend", a quite violent (lots of blood) true story of two gangster brothers in '60's London. One is quite demented and the other is just a petty criminal. At one point their mother says to the latter "It don't matter wot e's done, e's still your bruvver" and after the smarter brother brutally stabs a member of their gang and the other asks him why, he says "Because I can't kill you". I came out quite drained of emotion but it is well worth seeing even if just for all the 60's tunes.

   Wednesday was also hectic - up early to bake sausage rolls for a pot luck lunch at the Senior's Centre. It was the Bridge group's Christmas party but I was also on kitchen duty. Between making and pouring coffee and tea and stacking the dishwasher I managed to grab some food - there was enough to feed an army and some of it very tasty! I brought home a pie and some mini quiches which were going begging and ate more than my fair share of devilled eggs and Nanaimo bars.

    Today was a little less hectic but still busy. I did my morning exercise show and walked over for a free coffee as on Monday. It was a beautiful day for a walk, 9C and sunny, so I took my time and just enjoyed what may be the last of the good weather. I was home in time to shower and change before heading  out to Panera Bread for lunch with Judy.

   We ate and chewed the fat for an hour or so, then she went off to shop (her next to last day before the kids are home for the holidays) and I went for some tennis. I managed three sets (they're short so it wasn't too tiring) and then had a swim and soak in the hot tub. Home by 4:00 and just relaxing since then. Tonight is the last episode of the current B.B.T. season so I will watch that and the news and I will be done for the day.

B.B.T = Big Bang Theory

Monday, 14 December 2015

Still Mild and Pleasant

    The plumber came today (courtesy of my Parts Plan with Enercare) and fixed the toilet that has been running continuously for seven years! He also fixed the other toilet that was making a hugely scary rumbling noise so now everything is fixed.

    As the classes are all finished until after New Year, I did the step class at home on my video. I did the shortened version but will try to increase it next time.  After that I went for a walk - it was a beautiful morning, mild and sunny - that ended at the Senior's Centre where they were serving free coffee. I could have walked my usual route but it made more sense to end where there was free coffee! While there I bumped into Snez who asked me to come in early on Wednesday for coffee duty as Maria wasn't available. I plan to make some sausage rolls as the Euchre group is having a pot luck lunch that day and I have been invited to join them. During my walk I became aware of the traffic noise from the 401. I usually can't hear it but, obviously, the wind was coming from the south, hence the mild temperatures.

    This will be the first Monday night at home since September and I plan to use it relaxing by the fire. Leftover lamb for dinner, I will cook some sweet potato fries and green beans to go with it. I am enjoying "The Girl in the Spider's Web" so may spend some time reading. A quiet Monday night at home for a change.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Quiet on the Home Front

   I made a delicious dinner tonight (why are so many of my posts about food?). It started with two lamb shoulder chops that were reduced at the store yesterday. I decided to braise them in a red wine sauce with onion and mushrooms and they came out really tender. I also made garlic mashed potatoes and green beans so I am well fed tonight. Since the wine was opened I had a glass (or two) with the meal. Later I will have a little yogurt.

    I had a quiet day today - I slept in until 9:15 as I had a late night last night ( the monthly dance then I drove Sue home). I made a nice omelet for breakfast with toast and coffee then did a few chores. Around noon I went for a walk around the block (4,250 steps) then lunch and a nap. I didn't get up until 4:00 p.m. but spent most of that reading "The Girl in the Spider Web". Now all that is left of my day is to watch the latest episode of "Borgen" which is coming on soon - a good finish to a restful day.

Friday, 11 December 2015

An Unexpected Meal

     This evening was the "Festive Special" at Swiss Chalet with the family, but I also had a free lunch at the Senior's Centre. Quite unexpectedly we were told that, from now on, some free lunches would be delivered on Fridays from a catering company. I suspect they are what is left over after the week's deliveries. The food wasn't great - mostly pasta with or without chicken and a few chicken pot pies but also a variety of soups. I chose French Onion and it was quite tasty and enough to fill me. The meals are served cold but, rather than waiting to use the one microwave in the centre's kitchen, I took it home.

   I had stayed after fitness class for the open meeting with the centre's executive team - all volunteers. They recounted all their activities since the Spring meeting and asked for ideas and suggestions on how to improve the centre's facilities, attract volunteers or add programs, so it was quite a productive meeting. Immediately after we had cake and coffee and got a ticket for the free lunch. I will certainly take advantage of this offer in the future.

   We had a lovely get-together at Swiss Chalet this evening - the grandkids were on their best behaviour and a fun time was had by all. The Festive Special (chicken, stuffing salad or fries, cranberry sauce) was delicious as usual and the Lindt truffles were shared around. After all these treats today I will have to cut back on goodies for a few days.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

On The Go

   The weather continues mild - it got up to 10C today, but not too sunny. The Probus meeting was at Qssis today, combined with a Christmas lunch of salmon or turkey. I had chosen turkey but extra salmon was brought around so I got a piece of that  too. The only disappointing part was the stuffing which, again, was soggy! Also served was Caesar salad and ice cream and fruit.

   After the entertainment at 1:30 I left and stopped by the Don Montgomery Centre to play some tennis but I was still so stuffed I didn't play very well. I left there just before 3:00 and stopped off at the pool for a swim and soak in the hot tub before heading home. A full and busy day!

   One more stop on the way home for my prescriptions - one wasn't ready so I will have to go back tomorrow. I also stocked up on vitamins and pain pills for arthritis - really just a precaution as I reduce the prednisone. I am determined to be finished with that particular medication in a couple of months. I still haven't finished the Christmas cards but hope to get that off my plate tomorrow.

   Very depressing news about food costs here, mainly because the Canadian dollar is so weak right now. We are paying about 4% more for food this year as so much of it is imported. Just leftovers tonight as I wasn't very hungry. I am scared to weigh myself with all the heavy meals I have been eating lately, but there's no point in dieting until after Christmas!

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Mild For December

   Still very mild weather and sunny to boot! I drove to fitness class this morning but decided to walk back to the Senior's Centre for my afternoon shift in the coffee bar. It was very pleasant walking and not at all cold, although I did need gloves.
 
   Most of the classes are over for this term but the drop-in program was still going. However I wasn't selling much coffee  so I cleaned up, counted the money and left by 200 p.m. Another nice walk on the way back and I did a total of 4,000 steps. Not too shabby. I counted my steps up to Bridlewood Mall and back on Monday and it was 5,000 steps so I am getting closer to my goal of 10,000 a day.

   I started writing Christmas cards this afternoon and should be able to finish them tomorrow morning, so will buy the stamps and get them in the mail when I go to the drug store for my prescriptions. I have already received two cards and they will start to come more frequently in the next few days. Then it's just a matter of sending off cards to people not on my list who send me one.  

   Nothing much on TV tonight, just a rerun of Doc Martin, then I will watch the news and head to bed. Dinner tonight was leftover chicken and broccoli casserole and there is still some left for tomorrow. By then I will be well and truly sick of it! One good thing, I have had hardly any carbs today, just my breakfast cereal. I had a lot of my freshly baked bread yesterday so today's lighter eating should compensate for that. I'm thankful to say my bread machine seems to be working fine now, after my hard work on the paddle yesterday.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

On the Go All Day

    I had to pass up on tennis today as I had bought a ticket to the Christmas lunch at the Senior's Centre. The meal was served quickly and efficiently but was a bit lacking in quality. The salad was OK and I got dark turkey meat (my preference) and there was plenty of it. The stuffing was pretty bad but the mixed vegetables and mashed potatoes were fine. Unfortunately the cranberry sauce ran out just before my turn at the buffet, although I managed to scrape a little taste of it from the bowl. To make up for the lacks there were two desserts which were both nice - white cake and cheesecake. Punch was served during the meal and coffee after - all for $20 so we really couldn't complain.

    There was entertainment and dancing after but I just stayed until 2:00 before heading home. After a nap I went to a movie - "Trumbo" - based on a real life victim of the blacklisting of communist party supporters in the U.S. during the cold war. I found it quite revealing as I didn't know much about this scandal. Helen Mirren was marvellous as Hedda Hopper and other actors portrayed John Wayne, Edward G. Robinson, Otto Preminger, Kirk Douglas and other well known Hollywood players. Well worth seeing.

   I had put a loaf in the bread machine before I went out so it was nice to come home to the smell of fresh baking. It almost didn't happen because, once I had flled the pan and plugged it in, I realized the paddle was jammed! I had to empty the pan (very messy) and manhandle the paddle to free it up. So it was quite relief that the bread turned out well.

    I didn't feel like eating dinner tonight so just had half an avocado with some salad and the new bread. I also made some soup before I went out as I will need something to take for lunch tomorrow when I am working in the coffee bar. All in all, quite a busy day.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

A Quiet Day at Home

    A bit on the chilly side today but sunny, so I was able to work in the garden for a while this morning. This week is the last garden refuse pick up for the winter and I want to clear some of the bushes by my front walk to make room for piling up the anticipated snow. I will fill another bin tomorrow and that should be it until March or April.

   I have spent quite a bit of today reading `The Illegal` by Lawrence Hill. It is good, so far, and quite topical, although his illegal immigrant is from a fictitious country in the Indian Ocean. I enjoyed his last book, `The Book of Negroes` although it was rather gruesome.

    Chicken drumsticks done in a tomato sauce and broccoli and cheese casserole for dinner tonight. It smells delicious in the oven, and I will open a bottle of wine. Bon appetit to me!

Saturday, 5 December 2015

More Christmas Baking

   Well, I finally made the mincemeat tarts for Christmas dinner - just six, but we will have plum pudding as well so not everyone will want one.

   A little cool today but still no snow and I managed a walk this afternoon, although I was well bundled up. The sun came out briefly but it didn't provide much warmth.

   Fish tonight. I think I will make fish and chips and use up the last of the peas. My grocery bill was only $25 today but I had already picked up some staples on Thursday as I had run out of milk and a few other things. Nothing much on TV tonight but, luckily, TVO is running a repeat of "Foyle's War" which I will watch.

Friday, 4 December 2015

A Pot of Good Soup

    Fitness class this morning but only three of us stayed for coffee. It was quite nice as there was only one conversation going at a time. I stayed until 11:00 but still had time to make soup for lunch.

   Today it was celery and carrot as I needed to use up a bunch of celery. I had to throw out some stalks as they were getting mushy but there were enough decent ones left for a pot of soup. I love getting something virtually free! I also hard boiled two eggs and had egg salad sandwiches with the soup. I make this a lot in the summer, especially when the grandkids come over for a swim (it's either that or devilled eggs - they love both) but usually just put vegetables in my lunch sandwich, so this was a treat!

    I really intended to make the mincemeat tarts this afternoon but got involved with a jigsaw puzzle I am working on. It's a tough one but I have nearly completed it and just kept telling myself "one more piece". Before I knew it, it was dark outside and I still hadn't finished today's newspaper, so I did that instead.

   I have spent the last half hour playing Bridge online and am glad to say I won the rubber. My virtual opponents are not very aggressive bidders so it's not much of a challenge but fun nevertheless. Time now for my Friday TV shows. It's a hard life!

Thursday, 3 December 2015

On the Go

   On the go from early this morning. First yoga followed by a solitary coffee, no one else stayed but I had some errands to run and needed caffeine to get me going. I picked up mincemeat and pastry mix to make mince pies for the freezer, so they will keep until Christmas. I needed a few more things from the store but I was home by 11:00.

   Bridge this afternoon and we had some good hands although Samia criticized my bidding at one point (I was her partner) and I took offence and told her off. Very unlike me but she has done that quite often. I'm guessing she won't do it again!

   I stopped early with bridge and helped decorate the tree in the main hall. They are decorating for the Christmas lunch next Tuesday and have lots of lights strung up. It is getting quite festive. Afterwards I went for a swim and soak in the hot tub before heading home. It wasn't too busy so I was able to enjoy my laps.

   Salmon, peas and rice for dinner and I have just had a delicious bowl of avocado and salsa as my pre-dinner snack. That should hold me until tomorrow.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Still Late Fall Weather

     The day started out overcast but by noon the clouds were parting and soon the sun was shining. The temperature reached a comfortable 6C but out of the sun it was still quite chilly.

    I had an early start today with a fitness class at 9:00 a.m. I didn't linger very long over coffee as I needed to change and get down to Scarborough Golf Club for the RTO Christmas lunch. It was a fabulous buffet (roast beef, smoked salmon, salads, vegetables and lots more) and the desserts were to die for! I had good companions at my table and plenty of interesting conversation. I managed not to overeat but still felt uncomfortably full by the time I left. It was that last piece of chocolate mousse that did me in.

   I dropped in to the Senior's Centre to make sure my shift at the coffee bar was covered. There was no need to stay and Marion declined my offer to cover her next shift. So all's good. Tonight I am watching the last episode of "Game of Thrones" but the DVD is acting up and I have had to skip several scenes.  I hope the next season is better.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

December Begins

   A party last night at social group. We danced until 8:45 then stopped for tea and treats. We finished around 9:15 and cleaned up before one more dance - I sat that one out (too much food!).

   Tennis this morning and Swan outlobbed us something fierce! But we won a few games, had fun and a good workout. I came home for lunch and a nap and almost didn't make it to the cinema in time for the movie. I saw "Spotlight" - very entertaining.

   Finally finished the Carrot Lentil soup and the Tuscan Chicken I made on the weekend, so will have to get cooking tomorrow.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Some Good TV

   Usual Saturday chores yesterday but nothing much on TV in the evening (due to the US Thanksgiving holiday I suspect) but, luckily, I have the second season of "Game of Thrones" from the library, so watched a couple of episodes of that instead.

   It was quite a cold day but I managed to squeeze in a walk around noon while the sun was out. It was rather windy but I had a pot of hearty soup waiting for me at home for lunch which will do me a few days. Still eating the leftover pizza for lunch but cooked Tuscan chicken for dinner. This will also last me another couple of days.

    This afternoon Sheila and I went to the RSCDS meeting at Broadlands. It was quite interesting to see how the committee works but nothing of much interest to us was discussed. However, there was tea and snacks after so it wasn't a totally wasted afternoon! "Borgen" on TV tonight, can't wait to see what happens next. Before that I will watch another episode of GOT while I eat dinner.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Lunching with the Old Dames

    I was a bit achy this morning but I'm not sure if it was the 'flu shot or just my usual aches and pains. It took me a while to get going and I was almost late for yoga class at 9:00. But I managed most of the positions even though my back was sore. I didn't stop for coffee but came straight home and had some here.

    It was RODEO (Retired Old Dames Eating Out) lunch today at Milestones. It was expensive! A glass of wine was $10! I had mango shrimp and Asian cole slaw, it was a bit spicy but not unbearable. I was first up from the table and off to indoor tennis at the Don Montgomery community centre. It was quite busy so I just played two sets before departing.

   Next stop was the pool for a few laps and a soak in the hot tub to ease my sore back. It's feeling much better now.

    I have some pizza dough proofing in the bread machine and will make a pizza soon. I have lots of toppings to use up and will load it with cheese - my favourite! The house is nice and warm tonight despite the thermostat still at the overnight setting. Outdoors it got up to 13C this afternoon. I have the fire on really just for its welcoming sight and the oven has been on  high to cook the pizza. So cozy!

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Errands Galore!

   A few errands taken care of today so I am feeling quite satisfied. First off I needed a scraper to clean my windshield before heading over to exercise class. The sun had warmed up the car a bit so it didn't take long to clear off the ice. I didn't stay very long for coffee after class as I still had shortbread to make. I made a batch yesterday but left it in the oven a bit too long.

    I was back at the Senior's centre for noon to man the coffee bar but closed it up at 2:00 p.m. Next stop was Book Club and our last meeting before Christmas, hence the shortbread. A few others brought goodies too, so we had treat time with tea or coffee before we started the discussion. This month's book was "Wild", a memoir by Cheryl Strayed about hiking the Pacific Coast Trail. It was well received with mostly positive comments. I am waiting for the movie from the library.

   On the way home I stopped at the grocery store to return something, then the drug store to pick up a prescription, check my blood pressure (almost in the normal range) and get my 'flu shot. It wasn't busy so I was taken almost right away. I hope I have no side effects. So far it is fine.

   The temperature got up to 7C today but, with the sun shining, it felt warmer.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Snow!

   I woke up to a white world  and frost on the car but, luckily, the sun was out and the windshield was clear by the time I left home. I will have to hunt for my scraper - it's somewhere in the garage. The temperature is supposed to rise into the double digits in a day or two so the snow won't hang around too long. 

   Tennis this morning - Swan, Bea and Hendrina, home from her trip to Peru and Machu Pichu.  She had lots to share with us. I started out slowly on the court but managed to come up with some good shots in the second set.

    I went straight from there to bridge class and my first coffee of the day. I was desperate for some caffeine! This was the last class of the year and we learned some new conventions. We played a few hands before quitting around 3:00 p.m.
 
   I have defrosted a chicken breast for dinner but have no idea how to prepare it - probably grilled with salad. That should be quite healthy. I can use my tasty flavoured olive oil.

Monday, 23 November 2015

A Chilly Night

    I am having a lazy morning - slept until 8:15, very unusual for me - and, since I couldn't connect with the internet at all yesterday (again!), decided to try this morning. And, voila, it works!

   Yesterday was a pretty full day for me, which is unusual for a Sunday. I was out of the house by 10:15 to get to the Atherton's for brunch. It was Natalie's 8th birthday on Saturday so the family was invited to help her celebrate. We were all there, including Lucy the dog, and had a lovely meal courtesy of Judy and Dave. The grandkids were all in fine fettle (and voice) and Natalie was her usual exuberant self - only more so with all the excitement.

   I left there around 1:15 to attend a demo practice. Moira put us through our paces (and then some!) so when we finished with a rousing rendition of "Chrysanthemum" (Google it if you want to see what I mean, it's a square set dance and quite lively), I was thoroughly exhausted.  She doesn't give breaks!

   I had to go by the ATM on the way home but luckily it was a drive-through so I didn't need to get out of the car. I spent the evening with my feet up on the couch, heating up leftovers later for dinner. Today I feel much better but have another busy day ahead, so will make the most of this quiet morning at home. It got below zero last night and is still only 4C so there is no temptation to go outdoors and work in the garden.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Problems Connecting

   I wasn't able to connect to the internet yesterday until late evening, thus no entry. Nothing much happened - Probus meeting in the morning, bridge after lunch (played two good hands but my partner, Pinkie, and I were very frustrated by Sami who bid high just to prevent us from having the contract and then went down four under! That's not kosher.) Finally a nice relaxing swim and soak in the hot tub. 

   Today is much colder and very windy but sunny. No snow yet but it's forecast for the weekend. Fitness class in the morning, a stop off at the library to pick up two books and then, after lunch, card making with June and Trudy instructing us. We made three lovely cards and a little gift box. It was fun and my cards came out well. Trudy wants to have another class in January and I thought I might ask Judy if she wants to try it. 

    Fish for dinner tonight, so I'd better get cracking. Luckily it doesn't take long to cook. I'll bake it in the oven with some oven fries.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Printer Problem Still Not Solved

    The day started out nicely, sunny but a bit on the cool side. I needed gloves when I walked over to the Senior's Centre for my stint in the coffee bar. But now it is raining and I understand it is to get quite cold overnight. We really haven't had any significant frost yet but this might be the first.

   Just the usual Wednesday activities and dinner tonight is salmon and quinoa. Stephen dropped by on his way home from work - we almost missed each other - to see if his laptop worked with my printer, which it did. So the problem is definitely the compatibility (or lack thereof) with Windows 10. Be warned! We have come to the conclusion I will have to replace the printer. So, if anyone is interested in a slightly used printer (and they haven't upgraded to Windows 10) let me know.

    I have finally managed to find a way to upload photos, thanks to Steve. Here's one I have been saving.

This was taken in June at Edwards Gardens. Natalie, James and me at :Dancing in the Park".

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Turkey Lunch and a Pumpkin Tart

    Much colder today but I still went out with just my jacket. I took some gloves but didn't really need them as the sun was shining. Mind you, although it was very windy, I was just running from house to car to The Estates where we had our monthly lunch.

    The meal was good - a nice salad, rather dry turkey and stuffing, saved only by the gravy, and lots of beans and carrots. Dessert was the usual ice cream and coffee. It was our Christmas lunch so there were piles of gifts for children to be donated to charity.  There were a ton of books donated for the book sale table (which I run) and we made almost $40 - that's 80 books sold! Still lots left for the next lunch.

   After the big meal I slept the afternoon away and stayed reading in bed until almost 5:00 p.m. I hope I can sleep tonight! I still wasn't hungry so just fried up a sausage and put it in a bun with lashings of mustard for dinner. I think I had enough vegetables at lunch. Nothing much on TV tonight so I may just finish the Louise Penny book I am reading. There are two books waiting for me at the library so I had better get cracking.

   Wendy brought pumpkin chiffon tarts to bridge yesterday and I still have one in the fridge so I think I will just go and indulge myself right now! They were delicious. Tomorrow I can start on a diet.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Giving At Christmas Time

      I just came across a blog entry deploring the commercializing of Christmas. This person does not participate in Christmas in any way - no presents, Christmas tree, cards or special seasonal foods! How depressing!

    I have to admit I have cut back on my Christmas spending but I do  participate in many ways. I have already cooked my plum pudding and will send cards to people I don't see very often (just to let them know I am still alive!) Just before Christmas Day I'll get out my artificial tree and decorate it with my old ornaments although I buy a couple of new ones most years.

   We don't exchange gifts in the family but donate to our favourite charity in each person's name. I have even managed to persuade my grandkids to participate in this by having them choose from the "Gifts Of Hope" catalogue, although I do get them a small gift - a book or toy. And, of course, we still get together next month at Swiss Chalet for the Festive Special and at my house for turkey and all the fixings on Christmas Day. No "Bah Humbug" for me!

    I was out working in the garden in just a sweater today - blue skies and no wind so I was able to collect up the last of the leaves. I even sat outside reading for a while. It has been an incredible November, weather-wise, so far.

    Yesterday was a busy day - I was out by 8:10 for a Scottish Country dancing workshop and returned at 5:45 with very tired legs and sore feet. Luckily I had some leftovers for supper and then soaked in the tub for half-an-hour. After that I felt better and managed to stay up to watch my usual Saturday shows until 10:45. I certainly slept well last night. Tonight I have made chicken wings in a honey garlic glaze and they look delicious.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Winter is Not Far Off

   Cold and blustery today - I had my winter coat on while raking the leaves this morning. But the wind kept blowing them around so it was rather a wasted effort. I will wait for a calmer day before finishing the job.

   Fitness class this morning and I got a good workout. I didn't stay long after as I wanted to get the raking started. Then I finished the Minutes for the last RTO meeting and sent them off to Donna, very happy to see the back of them. I only hope she doesn't send them back for revisions!

   I have to take minutes again tonight at the Bridlewood Tennis Club AGM. There is likely to be some controversy as a new group is vying for the head positions. It will depend on how many people turn up - usually there is a very small turnout but that may change tonight.

   Leftover salmon and broccoli casserole tonight - hopefully the last of it. I made a minestrone soup for lunch from the tomato soup left over from cooking butter chicken last night. I don't think I will use that recipe again as, although it was a snap to prepare, it didn't taste very genuine. The soup was good though, full of pasta and vegetables.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Remembrance Day

    Stretch and Strength class first thing this morning and I did feel all stretched out by the time it finished. It was a little bit rainy on the way there but not too cold. I stayed for coffee but left before the Remembrance day ceremony as I had to be back again by noon.

   It wasn't too busy this afternoon at the coffee bar so I was glad I took my book. I'm reading the latest Louise Penny book, "The Nature of the Beast" and am enjoying it - the usual characters who seem like old friends now. I walked there and back which amounted to about 40 minutes and, luckily, the rain stayed away. Hopefully that took care of a few calories.

    I seem to have been snacking all day so will wait until later to have some dinner. It's just the same leftovers I had for lunch so I'm not too excited about the thought of food. I copied down a neat recipe for easy butter chicken from Ricardo.com which I will make tomorrow - that should liven up my taste buds! 

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Change in the Weather

 Tennis with Carol, Bea and Lillian this morning and I think I overdid it as I was very stiff and sore afterwards. But we did manage to win a set. I went straight from there to bridge lessons and headed straight for the coffee bar as I was gasping for a coffee. The lesson today was very interesting and we got to try out what we learned by playing several hands. I brought a sandwich for lunch and ate it between hands.

    Home for a nap but I didn't feel guilty lying in bed as it was raining quite heavily, so no possibility of working in the garden. The remaining leaves will be thoroughly soggy by tomorrow.

   I made an interesting dinner tonight - a salmon pie with broccoli and mushrooms and a mashed potato topping which I crisped in the oven. I added lots of cheese to the pie and the topping so it was very rich but delicious! There's enough left over for lunch and dinner tomorrow - and all this from one can of salmon!

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Tired But Happy

     The morning went in very quickly - a tennis match on TV, the finals in Paris (Djokovic beat Murray), a little ironing and then I made the Christmas plum pudding. I discovered I had only enough suet to make a small one so I hope it will be sufficient for the Christmas dinner!

    This afternoon I went to a dance class. Tony was teaching dances with unusual formations. It was quite a challenge. In fact for one I had to come home and watch it on YouTube to see how it should be done. But most of the other dances weren't too tricky. Only 15 people attended but with Tony's wife Lorraine we managed to make up two sets.

   Now it's an evening of TV in front of the fire. It has been decidedly cool today despite sunny skies.  I have some fish to cook but, in the meantime, I am quite happily ensconced with a glass of wine and some cheese and crackers. Lidia is cooking up a storm on TV so I will just sit back and enjoy!

Friday, 6 November 2015

End of the Indian Summer

   Well, the beautiful weather has come to an end with rain and blustery winds. The leaves were knee deep on the ground this morning and I did a bit of raking and filled up the composter. The rest will go to the curb to be picked up next Wednesday.

   Fitness class this morning, followed by coffee and chats. Home by 11:00, with a stop at the grocery store for a butternut squash - I had an urge to make soup for lunch. Got the soup on and went out to plant next year's garlic. It was still quite mild and the rain had stopped. I did a bit more garden clean-up as well as the raking but will need to cut the grass on the weekend. It is still growing! By the time I was done in the garden the soup was ready and, along with a sandwich, made a delicious lunch.

    After a half-hour nap I was still in a "clean-up" mood and tackled the dust bunnies under my bed. Since I only do this a couple of times a year, it's a big job - first a long-handled duster to get the majority of the fluff and then a wet cloth to finish the job. A lot of bending but it delivers a certain sense of accomplishment!

   Boneless chicken thighs for dinner. I will bread and roast them along with some sweet potato coins, and make a salad. Then everything will be eaten up ready for shopping tomorrow. I also have to shop for the ingredients for the Christmas Plum Pudding which needs to be made very soon, so that it can mature for a few weeks. 

   The temperature is dropping from a high of 18C, to 7C overnight. Already it is feeling colder. Goodbye Indian Summer!
.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Excitement at the Pool

   One of the lifeguards had to jump in to save a woman in difficulty at the pool this afternoon. She had just got a little out of her depth but it created a great deal of excitement among the swimmers, especially those in the conversation pool. A report had to be filed by the lifeguards and an interpreter was required as the woman didn't speak much English. At least now we know that the lifeguards are ready and able to do their job!

   This was my last stop of a very busy day starting at 8:30 a.m. I spent the morning taking the Minutes at the RTO meeting, requiring intense concentration which I'm quite unused to these days! Then I went to Arkadia, a Greek restaurant, with Marilyn, Margaret and Donna. We had a delicious lunch, I had spanakopita, and the others had fish but we all agreed the food was excellent. I hope to go back some day as there were other things on the menu I would like to try.

   After lunch, although I was quite stuffed, I went to the community centre for indoor tennis. Tamara was there and we had time to catch up while we waited our turn to play. It was quite busy with, at one point, seven people waiting to play. However, I don't think I waited more that 10 minutes at any time. Then the pool for a few laps and a relax in the hot tub. Busy, busy, busy!

   I can't decide what to have for dinner since I had such a big lunch. I've had a beer and some bruschetta but should eat something else, perhaps an omelet.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Still Indian Summer

     Still in the low 20`s today, sunny and pleasant. However, the temperature is dropping now that the sun is down. I walked to my stint behind the coffee bar this afternoon and it was a beautiful stroll - took me 20 minutes each way and saved me having to go out for a walk later.

   Keep fit this morning - I slept late and had to rush my breakfast to be there on time. Obviously I have adjusted to the time change! The class was very full - I think everyone was there since it was such a pleasant day. I stayed for coffee and tried to recruit some of the ladies for Trudy`s card-making classes. I am going on Nov. 20th to make some Christmas cards but she has lots of other dates.

   Leftover fish and barley casserole with the addition of some Brussel sprouts. I par-cooked them then browned them in butter and added some sweet chili sauce - yummy!

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Is it Really Fall?

   The temperature got up to 20C today, blue skies and a warm sun. It is set to be nice for the next few days. An Indian summer. Whoopee!

   I am currently snacking on crackers topped with Applewood-smoked cheddar,  home made chutney and a glass of red wine (left over from cooking the steak and kidney pie filling on the weekend).  Very satisfying, I really won't need any dinner but I will cook a piece of fish anyway. There's some quinoa and barley casserole left over from the weekend to go with it.

   Tennis this morning - we almost played for two hours! Then home for a quick change (I was so hot I got out some summer attire) and grabbed my lunch to take over to the Senior's Centre for Bridge lessons. First stop was the coffee bar as I hadn't had any coffee yet and was desperate for a cup. We learned about "transfer bids"  - a bit complicated for me but we tried a few hands with mixed success. It's interesting to try new things!

   The fire's on despite the warmer outdoor temperature -  it's so comforting to see its glow. The house is quite warm so won't need any other heating tonight.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Hallowe'en Has Come and Gone

   I'm afraid I was a grouch on the 31st. and didn't "shell out" for the Trick-or-treaters. Usually I only have a few kids so decided this year not to participate. No one came to the door on Saturday so it was a good decision.

    The weather was lovely again today -  mid teens, blue sky and very little wind. I did a bit of garden clean-up this morning then sat outside reading for half-an-hour. Bridge this afternoon, Pinkie didn't show up (I had a message from her on my answering machine when I got home, asking if we were playing) but we managed to recruit someone to play with us. I had one terrific hand which I think I played really well but, other than that, the cards were not good.

  I made a steak and kidney pie yesterday (delicious!) so will have that again tonight. I also had caramelized Brussel sprouts with a sweet chili sauce yesterday (also delicious!) but will skip a vegetable tonight. I don't like to eat too heavily when I am going dancing as we have tea and cookies during the evening.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Almost Through October

  Early start after a quick breakfast of cereal and juice. Fitness class this morning was pretty tough as I didn't seem to have much energy. However, after coffee and a cookie I was fine.

   Straight from there to the library in the mall to print some documents - my printer is still lost in the nether world somewhere, but luckily I don't need to print much. I just needed the sign-in sheet for the RTO meeting next week and a couple of other things and it only cost 15 cents a sheet. Then on to the hairdresser for a cut and blow dry before heading home - a busy morning!

   Lunch was my usual soup and a sandwich although I fried an egg for the sandwich which is not my norm. Then headed upstairs for a nap and actually slept for almost an hour, maybe a result of my fatigue this morning. I have finally got to the last few chapters of "Game of Thrones" but the sequel, "Clash of Kings" is waiting on my bedside table and another book is waiting at the library. I will probably spend the weekend reading.

    I have some leftover chicken and rice for dinner but will make a salad first as my vegetable course. Yogurt and fruit for dessert to use up the last of both before shopping tomorrow. I am getting much better at just buying what I need each week. I only have some grapes and half a sweet potato left this week. Must remember to buy onions as I have finally used up all of my crop from the garden.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Calmer Weather

   Things have quietened down weather wise although it is unseasonably cold, 8C, and still quite windy. The leaves won't stay on the trees much longer. I managed to avoid getting into my winter coat but only by rushing between the house, the car, the store and other indoor locations.

    Yoga this morning - I'm still finding it a struggle but will persevere for another few weeks. Hopefully it will get easier. After a quick coffee (there was free cake on offer!) I ran a few errands and was back at the Senior's Centre by 12:15. Bridge with Pinkie, Marilyn and Marie was fun - I played (and won) a couple of games although on the whole my partner and I had poor hands. Better luck next time, I say!

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Tail of the Hurricane

   Monday and Tuesday were nice although chilly but today has been continuous heavy rain and blustery winds. I have been dashing from one location to another, trying to avoid a soaking!

   On Monday I stayed home until the evening, except for a walk up to the mall for library books and some groceries. The bag was rather heavy walking home and my hands were pretty cold. One of the items from the library was the DVD of the first season of "Game of Thrones", which I am currently reading. I am trying to keep ahead of the episodes, but am watching a couple each night.

   On Tuesday I was at tennis (indoor at Hendrina's condo) by 10:a.m., home by 12:00 and changed before Bridge lessons. I took my lunch as we were there until 2:30 when I finally got home for a nap.

    First thing this morning was "Stretch and Strength" class followed by coffee and chat with the other ladies. I didn't stay long as I needed to get home to change before my coffee bar duties. It was quite quiet as many of the regulars had stayed home because of the inclement weather. No nap today as I went straight from the coffee bar to Book Club where we discussed "The Paris Architect". It hadn't been one of my favourites but I read it and enjoyed it nevertheless.

   Chicken in coconut sauce again as I have to use up the rest of the can of coconut milk. But meanwhile I am watching another episode of "Game of Thrones" - very violent!

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Giving Thanks

    Still digesting lunch - a late Thanksgiving meal with the family at Judy's. They were away on the actual Thanksgiving weekend and Steve, Alison and I had fun hearing about the cruise and all their escapades, and seeing the photos. The meal was delicious and well worth the wait - pumpkin soup, turkey and all the fixings and pumpkin pie for dessert. I will just have soup and a sandwich tonight.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

A Restful Day at Home

   I had a late start this morning - didn't get up until after 8:00. Breakfast started with a small banana while I cooked a poached egg which I had on toast with a glass of orange juice. More toast with coffee to follow and that was me set until lunch time. By the time the laundry was done, the newspaper read and the kitchen tidied it was 11:30. Where did the morning go!

   A quick run to the grocery store (rainy but mild) to pick up some fresh fruit and veg and then lunch (butternut squash soup and a tomato, cucumber and lettuce sandwich). Before retiring for a nap I put bread in the machine and set it on "dough" as I wanted to make a French loaf. It was done by the time I got up again and was soon proofing in a warm oven. I baked it in a couple of tins and it turned out well just in time to sliced it for bruschetta. The rest went in the freezer for later.

   Dinner was a salmon fillet (I was sick of chicken) and broccoli casserole. Because I had eaten so much of the bread I decided to forego any carbs and I really didn't miss them. I will probably be into the Girl Guide cookies before the evening is out!

Friday, 23 October 2015

Fall Colours

   Brilliant blue sky today but a chilly start. However, it warmed up enough by the afternoon for me to work outside without a coat. The trees are almost all turned and were putting on quite a show as I drove home from fitness class this morning. Unfortunately I am still having difficulty uploading photos since converting to Windows 10. They are in my computer somewhere but steadfastly refuse to load in here! So you will just have to take my word for it.

   I used up the last of the produce from the garden in a chutney today - a small aubergine, two tiny tomatoes, garlic and a half-red, half-green pepper. I was pretty sure the pepper was not going to survive another chilly night and, going by the last one which I had to throw out, wouldn't ripen enough indoors. So into the pot it went. I still have a few onions, which will go in my next stew, and enough garlic to get me through the winter - and some to plant soon, ready for next year.

    I also ate the last corn cob from the farmer who sets up locally. He is long gone (probably off to Florida with all his profits!) and the corn was a bit chewy but still better than store bought. I had it with leftover butter chicken from Wednesday. I was lucky that neither of the lunches I had out this week featured chicken as there is still some left for tomorrow and I will be ready to try something different by the time it is all gone.

   I tried the olive oil I bought yesterday on bruschetta today and it was delicious - a little spicy and the tangerine flavouring came through quite strongly. I am going to see if I can get hold of the seller as I would definitely like some more. It would make a terrific gift!

  

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Super Fall Weather

     A really pleasant day today, sunny and warm. I sat outside reading the newspaper for a while this afternoon. My outside thermometer registered 18C at one point - I have my doubts about its accuracy but it was up there anyway. I also did a bit of gardening clean up but there's still lots to do!

    Yoga first thing this morning - it's getting marginally easier so I will persevere - and then a quick change before heading down to Qssis for the RTO Fall lunch and craft sale. I got some nice crafts - marmalade, earrings and flavoured olive oil - as well as signing up for a card-making class in November. The meal was good - salad, pork, veggies and sweet potato mash, and ice cream for dessert. No need for much dinner tonight.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

A Ho-hum Day

     Out by 8:50 this morning for exercise class, coffee and chats after  (we had an interesting discussion about Monday's election results, some positive, some negative), then home to change and fix lunch before returning for my shift at the coffee bar. It was uneventful and I was home for a nap by 3:30.

    I have defrosted some chicken and will make butter chicken and rice for dinner tonight, broccoli  on the side. Just some yogurt for dessert.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Eating Out

   I have the fire on tonight although it's not particularly cold - just damp and rainy. It is very comforting.

    Lunch out today with RWTO, so I had to miss the Bridge lessons. It was the craft sale but I didn't buy anything, severely tempted but managed to restrain myself - the last thing I need is more junk (see my entry regarding the Fall Fair at Knox Church). The lunch was delicious, salad, roast beef and vegetables, an ice cream dessert and coffee to finish off. Since then I have been napping and vegging. Not much on TV tonight but I'm sure I will be able to entertain myself!

   Just a snacky dinner tonight as I am still full from lunch. I think I have some crab cakes in the freezer and will have them with an avocado salad.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Chilly Weather

   The nights have been below or hovering at zero for the last few days and so I have brought in all my outdoor plants that need preserving over the winter. I also gave the grass what I hope will be the last cutting of the year. At least I will leave the front grass to John next door to cut if he feels it is too long. I will rake it once the leaves have all fallen, in the next week or two.

   I have had a couple of "at home" days with only a trip to the grocery store yesterday and demo practice this afternoon. I did pop in to the Knox Church Fall Fair on Saturday (at Ora's suggestion) but didn't find anything worth buying. The last thing I need is more junk to clutter up the house! I did have a coffee there and bought some lemon poppy seed bread to have with it.

   I cooked a marvellous stew yesterday, with lots of wine, tomato paste and juice as well as plenty of vegetables, and will have the leftovers tonight. Good TV tonight (right up to 11:00 p.m.) so I am happily ensconced at home for the evening with the fire on. It should warm up a bit this week but I doubt there will be any outdoor tennis until next Spring.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Yoga, Probus, Tennis and a Swim

   On the go all day and lots of exercise. I had to leave the yoga class early to get to Probus by 10:00 a.m. The talk today was on the Solar System - not really up my alley! But at least there was coffee, cookies and time to chat with other Probus members.

    There were more people at the indoor tennis drop-in today - 12 - but I still got lots of games and didn't sit out for too long. However I was glad of the hot tub after my swim (12 lengths today) to ease my aching muscles.

  I made a cauliflower casserole to have with leftover salmon and added the last of the kale. The plants are gone to the composter. Lots of cheese in the sauce made it very tasty, and there will be lots for tomorrow's dinner.


Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Two Extra Pounds

    I had a nasty shock when I stepped on the scales this morning - I have gained back the two pounds I lost last year. I'm hoping it's just the two big lunches I've had this week and, once I get back to my usual eating habits, they will disappear. I worked extra hard at the Fitness class this morning and went for a walk this evening to compensate. Hope it works!

    Busy day today - Out by 8:45, gym class then errands, back home by 11:00 to change and fix a lunch, then back to the Senior's Centre for 12:00 to tend the coffee bar, finished there by about 3:15 after counting the cash and making the deposit. When I got home I made a jar of chutney as I still have eggplants from the garden to use. Since then I have been vegging out either on the computer or in front of the TV. That's enough activity for one day!

   A nice light dinner tonight, broiled salmon, mashed sweet potatoes and peas, all ready in 10-12 minutes. I will try not to eat too many of Natalie's Girl Guide cookies tonight (the good ones, mint and chocolate  covered) which may have contributed slightly to my weight gain, but will have a couple with hot milk before I go to bed.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Too Much Food!

    Another lunch at Don Mills TC, this one for the Kaffeeklatchers and it was "Pot Luck". Tons of food, both sweet and savoury, and Harold's turkey soup. I could have made a meal of that alone but went on to stuff my face with sandwiches, salads, turkey casserole etc., etc. We did play some tennis although it was quite windy and a mix of sun and cloud. I went straight from there to bridge lessons and got to play some interesting hands.

   Just a light dinner tonight, made up of leftovers from the lunch and a piece of apple strudel from the Senior's lunch (which I had to pass up). Everyone in bridge class got a free piece!

Monday, 12 October 2015

Something Burning!

    I was doodling through entries in Facebook a few minutes ago when I became aware of an unpleasant smell emanating from the kitchen - oh, no! I had left some red peppers roasting in the toaster oven and had completely forgotten about them. They are burned to a crisp and the smell will probably linger for days. This is not the first time this has happened and my rule to myself is to set the timer for 10 minutes, which I forgot to do today.

   Other than that, this has been another fabulous day. Warm and sunny and in the low 20's, but now some cloud cover although I feel quite sunburned. We had a couple of hours of tennis at the Don Mills Thanksgiving Social, followed by a delicious lunch and prizes. I won a can of tennis balls, although I nearly missed it as I was in the kitchen, helping with the washing up. There were lots of treats left over which will be brought out tomorrow at the Kaffeeklatsch pot luck lunch. My contribution will be sausage rolls. Today I made a kale and quinoa salad which I didn't try as there were so many other nice salads on offer.

   Later this afternoon I pulled up some more plants, including the aforementioned kale (it really has overshot itself), ready for the garden refuse pick-up on Wednesday. Most of the leaves went in the composter but the stalks were too thick.

   I am still stuffed so have forgone my usual pre-dinner snacks. There are leftover ribs waiting to be heated up with corn and potatoes but I think it will be a while until I am hungry.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Gorgeous!

    Unbelievably warm today - it actually reached 24C this afternoon! I walked over to Sir John A. Macdonald C.I. to vote in the advanced poll this afternoon and I was sweating when I got home. Later, I fertilized the lawn and pulled up most of the mint, in preparation for planting next year's garlic.

   Thankfully it was still quite cool for tennis this morning and we started in sweaters but soon we were stripping off a layer or two. Susan and I started out with singles, then were joined by Stan and Cam for a quick set. By then I was done but Stan and Susan joined Kathy and Victoria for another set while I went home and Cam went to hit with Gordon. It was surprising that there were not more people there - perhaps they were home cooking their Thanksgiving turkey or had gone out of town for the long weekend.

   I used my barbecue to brown some ribs for dinner and had them with potatoes and fried onions and mushrooms. Unfortunately the meal required quite a few dishes which are still sitting in the sink! So must get cracking.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Saturday Chores

     Just the usual Saturday chores - laundry, grocery shopping and a bit of gardening. The morning was cool but brilliantly sunny. Some clouds this afternoon but still pleasant enough to sit outside for a while.

    I made my favourite breakfast today - an egg muffin. I make this in the toaster oven in a ramekin. First layer is chopped green onion, mushroom and red pepper. Then some torn up bread over which I pour a beaten egg mixture. I add a little milk to the egg, salt and pepper and a sprinkle of herbe de provence. Finally it's all covered with grated cheese. This is baked at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes and comes out looking like a muffin. Delicious! A glass of orange juice and some toast and coffee later keeps me going until lunch time.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Feeling Guilty!

   Three days since my last post but they have been busy days (or that's my excuse anyway). We had lovely fall weather on Wednesday and Thursday so I was trying to cram in lots of stuff before it goes. Today was on-and-off rain but still mild, so another busy day.

   The Athertons left for their cruise on Wednesday, not without event - car trouble, but luckily not too far from home. They should now be aboard the cruise liner in Boston harbour, or maybe even out to sea. They are headed for Bermuda where the temperature is a balmy 27C. Lucky them!

   I had my first Yoga class yesterday and managed all right until we had to stand on one leg - I just couldn't hold it for more than a few seconds and I don't think practice is going to improve that. I can do it wearing shoes but not in my bare feet, funnily enough. Still playing tennis outdoors for another week but I checked out an indoor drop-in tennis program  at another Community Centre which I might utilize if I am stuck for exercise. It was quite fun as it was a small group but it may get busier once the outdoor courts close for the winter. We shall see.

   I made some chutney this afternoon using eggplants I had grown. They weren't fully ripe but, once cooked, became quite soft. It also had tomatoes (from the garden), onions and red and yellow peppers. Even with all these vegetables it just made two small jars but I'm sure they will be tasty once the mixture has had some time to mature.

   I went down to Don Mills for tennis this morning after Fitness class and despite the rain. We got two good sets with just a few sprinkles while we were playing and I was home by 12:30. That's the last Friday tennis. Boo hoo!  Chicken drumsticks in the oven and new potatoes ready to boil. The farmer with the corn truck had his last load for sale this week so I stocked up on cobs, so that will be my other vegetable. No dessert required after a feed like that!

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Getting Ready for Winter

    A stay-at-home day yesterday, just a little gardening, until the evening when I went to dancing group. I was on tea duty so got there earlier than usual to set up. Just a small group but we had some fun dances.

    Tennis this morning - next week is our last week outdoors - and it was very nice , no wind and quite mild. I stayed until 11:30 then a quick stop at home to change and pick up some lunch. Next stop bridge lessons and I got in quite a nice group. I played a couple of good hands, much to the disgust of the opponents. They went down on their contracts.

    After such a busy morning I didn't feel like doing anything else for the rest of the day - I didn't even go out for a run after dinner. By the time I had eaten it was already dark.

   The robins have been madly stripping the berries from my Mountain Ash trees. They swallow the berries whole in a couple of gulps - it's fun to watch. They must be stocking up before their flight south.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Technology

   The furnace was working when I got home from the monthly dance last night so I was able to cancel the service call. Who knows what the problem was but it seems to have fixed itself. I wish I could say the same for my printer!

   Steve came over today ostensibly to take me out for my birthday lunch, but I got him to take a look at the problem. He worked on it for over an hour with no success, except for a message that said the ink cartridges were low. Just to remove that possibility we went out to get new ones. We stopped at Eggsmart for brunch first as we were both hungry by then. I had a Mediterranean omelette with fresh OJ and he had the "Big Breakfast" (eggs, bacon, sausages, ham and pancakes).

   Our next stop was Walmart for the ink cartridges but, guess what, when we got home and installed them, the printer was still not responding. The next step is to try the printer with another laptop so he will stop by next week some time to give it a try with his. If that fails I guess I will have to invest in a new printer!

   Still stuffed from brunch so I think a salad will suffice for dinner tonight.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Is Winter Here Already?

   Very chilly again today and a cold wind coming right from the Arctic. I hope this isn't the end of the pleasantly warm Fall weather - it's too soon for winter!

    We had an outdoors demo this afternoon - a Street Fest - but it really was too cold for dancing in our shirts. We kept our jackets handy to pull on after each number. There was quite a crowd so we were able to cajole some into trying out the easy dances. We were done by 2:30, just in time to turn the mike over to "Elvis" while we headed for the coffee shop to warm up.

    My furnace didn't turn on this morning (indoors it was 13C) so I have a call in to a technician to fix it tomorrow. Meanwhile I am well wrapped up in several layers and extra socks. I'm sure I will survive another night. I will be out at the monthly dance tonight so will just jump into bed with extra covers when I get home. Off to make some egg salad sandwiches for the tea break!

Friday, 2 October 2015

The Temperature Drops

    I just rescued an avocado in time before it turned! I bought it last week when it was still quite green and forgot about it. Luckily it was still edible after I removed a few black spots and I made it into a salsa dip. Delicious with a glass of wine and some tostitos!

    It has been quite cold for the last two days with the mornings only 4 or 5C. I had to wear gloves for tennis! Yesterday was sunny which warmed things up a bit, but today was cloudy and quite windy - very tricky on the courts. This week was the start of the Fall exercise classes so today I did that first before I headed over for tennis. In fact this week was my last day at Thursday tennis as I got into a yoga class which starts at 9:00 a.m. I will continue on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays for another couple of weeks (unless it snows!). Then we start indoor tennis at Hendrina's condo.

   Judy took me out for lunch today for my birthday. We went to Panera bread and both had a delicious salad and a nice chat. They are off on their cruise next Wednesday so I won't see them again until they get back.

   I brought in some of the plants in pots and a few tomatoes today in case we have a frost, and cut the back grass. There are always lots of chores as we approach winter, getting the garden tidied up and put to sleep. I will tackle it a little bit at a time. Next job is to plant the garlic for next year's crop.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

A Change in the Weather

   I managed tennis on Sunday and again this morning but the rain has since set in and, in fact, was quite torrential this afternoon. Bridge class started today and by the time it finished the temperature had dropped several degrees. I went to a movie later in the afternoon ("The Intern" - quite funny) and was quite chilled by the time I got home.

    Finally finished the kale rolls I made last week! Hope I don't get sick as they really were well past their 'best before" date. The grandkids were here on Monday for a couple of hours and decorated a slab of chocolate cake for my birthday tomorrow. So I have been nibbling away at it since then. At least I will be back to exercise class on Wednesdays and Fridays and I also got into the Thursday Yoga class. Yippee!!

Monday, 28 September 2015

Pool Finished for this Year

    The pool guys were here bright and early today and drained and covered the pool. I asked them about the bubbles coming out of the return which I figured meant air was getting into the system. They agreed that was probably the case and a repair will be required when they re-open the pool next Spring. So I will have to budget for an added expense then!

    Some catchup to do - Thursday was lunch with the Probus ladies at Nova Restaurant. I had lasagna and Caesar salad and a glass of wine. With the tip it was $25 but quite worth it. Friday was the Don Mills Banquet which was lots of fun. It was held at Donalda Club - very posh! The buffet was delicious and we were seated right by the dessert table so, of course, I over-indulged. We left after the prizes and awards so it wasn't too late a night.

   On Saturday I was out at Lehman Crescent to babysit the grandkids. We had a delicious Shepherd's Pie with salad so I was well fed again. So it was Sunday before I had to cook again.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

First Day of Fall

  Another beautiful day with clear blue skies and a cooling breeze. Slept in this morning until 9:15 and, after a light breakfast, pottered until it was time to leave for the Senior's Centre. It was "Volunteer Appreciation" Day and as I had put in a few shifts in the coffee bar, I was invited for lunch. There were almost 100 folk there and the lunch was superb, so no dinner (except a salad) for me tonight!

    We also had prize draws (I didn't win anything) and entertainment (very spiffy ballroom dancers), then the floor was cleared and the music jacked up. I left at that point for a well-earned nap before cutting both the front and back lawns. All nice and tidy again although there are still some brown patches. Off to fix my salad and then my nightly walk before retiring to the couch to watch TV. A very busy day for the first day of Fall!

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

A New Recipe Using My Home Grown Kale

     I was busy in the kitchen this afternoon and now have a mountain of dishes to clean! First step was to pick some of the large leaves on the kale plants and rinse and blanch them. While they were cooling, I got some bread started in the bread machine. I used the "dough" setting as I wanted to make baguettes which need to rise and then bake in the oven. While that was happening I cooked some rice and defrosted four breakfast sausages. This was in preparation for making kale rolls (along the lines of cabbage rolls).

   Once the kale had cooled and drained, I mixed the sausage meat, rice and some chopped onion and mushrooms. I added some chopped sage from the garden and a sprinkle of garlic powder. I then spooned this onto the kale leaves, rolled them up and packed them into a baking dish. I covered it all with tomato sauce and topped the whole thing with grated parmesan. Once the bread was out of the oven, I baked the casserole for about 40 minutes and ate it with a few slices of the bread. It was very tasty  (and, I hope, healthy!) and will do me a couple of more meals.

    It was an excellent morning for tennis, sunny but comfortably cool. I didn't rush over, arriving around 9:30, but stayed until 11:45, and played three good sets. There was quite a crowd but I had only a short wait between sets. I also managed a good walk after dinner tonight so have certainly had enough exercise for one day!