Sunday 31 May 2015

.......And More Rain

   It was raining when I got up this morning and has continued all day, on and off, so I have not been able to get out in the garden. The pool is full to the brim (up to the top of the skimmer, hope it doesn't overflow) so at least I won't have to fill it again for a week or so. And no need to water the garden - it is well and truly soaked!

   Pottered in the house in the morning, and watched some tennis. Since then I have been very lazy - got out a jigsaw puzzle this afternoon but didn't do much else. Luckily, I have a good book on the go and also am all caught up with the weekend papers.

   I had a nice dinner at Judy's last night - ribs, corn and baby potatoes - as I was called on to babysit the grandkids. So tonight it's back to my leftovers and the rhubarb crumble. I have just consumed half a smoked mackerel fillet on bruchetta slices and goat cheese, washed down with some wine (delicious), so will wait a bit before fixing a salad to have with the quiche. Should be some good shows on TV tonight and, of course, "Outlander" as it is Sunday.

   May need to light the fire tonight as it is unseasonably cold. Brrr!

Saturday 30 May 2015

Rain, Finally!

    The day started bright and sunny but around 1:00 p.m. the skies became dark and within minutes rain was lashing down and thunder was grumbling in the distance. Soon the gutters were overflowing and puddles forming in the garden. The earth was parched so really needed a good soak and it has continued to rain off and on for the last few hours.

    The temperature has remained in the low 20'sC and I did manage to dash out between showers to pick some lettuce and a few rhubarb stalks. I didn't have any pastry left over yesterday but will make a small rhubarb crumble today. Dinner will be the rest of the Asparagus Quiche and some salad. Yesterday I had the quiche with some of my homemade pickled beetroot. They make a good combination.

    Just chores today - a load of washing in the machine this morning and while it was going I got out the Windex and gave the glass tables a polish. It was long overdue! Then I went grocery shopping and stopped in at the liquor store. So now I am all stocked up for a weekend at home. All the bills paid online for the end of the month and I still have some money left over. Yippee!!


Friday 29 May 2015

A Surprise in the Garden

   I managed a little longer at tennis today although it is still hot.  I got there early (8:10) and left for home at 10:45. But the most remarkable thing was... my first dip in the pool. It was seriously refreshing but I only stayed in long enough to get my body temperature back to normal. I hadn't cooled down during the drive home and, although the water was barely 70F, I took the plunge!

    A quiet afternoon, some tennis on TV, a nap, and a short stint in the garden, watering and digging borders. They are still rather untidy but I will work away at them over the next week or two. They are very dry as we seriously need some rain, so it is rather hard work.

    Interestingly, while digging and cutting, I found what looked like a nest or burrow under the Mountain Ash - may be rabbits as I have seen a rather large rabbit in my front border a few times recently. He/she may vacate it now as I cleared away all the weeds and shoots around it and it is now rather exposed.

    I plan to make an asparagus quiche for dinner tonight to use up the last of the bunch I bought last week. It only keeps for so long. If there's any pastry left over I will pick some rhubarb and make a small open-topped turnover. I think it's called a crostini.

   No big plans for the weekend, just chores and shopping so I won't blog again until Monday.


Wednesday 27 May 2015

Hot! Hot! Hot!

   Two hot and humid days but it is supposed to be fresher later in the week. Yesterday the temperature was 28C but with the humidity it felt like the mid 30's. The water in the pool is warming up and I wouldn't be surprised if it gets into the 70's F tomorrow.

    I played tennis on Tuesday but it was really too hot and I didn't last long. I came home for a second shower, change of clothes and lunch then headed over to the Senior's Centre for the last bridge lesson of this session. I don't think I will sign up over the summer - too much to do outdoors -  but will get back to it in the Fall.

  In the evening I went to a movie as I had a free pass. It was "Far From the Madding Crowd" - excellent, such a heart warmer! The scenery and music were especially impressive and I would definitely recommend it.

   Started today with the Stretch and Strength class. Only two more and this also I think I will take a break from over the summer, although I will miss sitting over coffee with the other ladies afterwards! Then I stopped at the garden centre on the way home for some more King Coleus plants. They went in the garden this afternoon. I watched the French Open for a while but no big upsets now that the two Canadian players have been eliminated.

   Book Club this afternoon and we discussed "The Girl Who Was Saturday Night" - almost exclusively panned by all. It was a very tough book to read and I would have been happy to give it a miss if not for having to come up with an opinion today.

    Monday was a busy day - took the car in for an oil change in the morning, then ran a couple of errands. I hit the bank, library and grocery store on the way home so plenty accomplished without too much running around. The car only cost me $55 as nothing was amiss. Usually they can find something that needs repair but not this time!

   Having a light dinner tonight as I have had a rather upset stomach all week (probably the pills I have to take). I have made a potato salad with egg and will make a smoked mackerel salad with lettuce from the garden. I won't use a cream dressing for either - just olive oil, vinegar and mustard. So healthy!

Sunday 24 May 2015

Soon Be Swimming

    Although I have been going regularly to swim at the community centre pool, it will be lovely to use my backyard pool exclusively - no splashing or poky swimmers! It's now filled and ready for start up so I hope the pool guys will be here early this week. The water is rather chilly (58C this morning) but with the heat today and forecast for the rest of the week,  that should gradually change.

    Tennis this morning at Bridlewood. It was quite busy but we only had a short wait for our second set. I played with Kathy against John and Cathy - we won one and lost one, mainly because I was running out of steam. But it was a satisfying result as we were quite close in skills.

   Pottering in the garden today - got all my hanging baskets out, watered the vegetables and planted a couple of cuttings in the planters that go by the front door. I planted the King Coleus plants yesterday but will need a few more to complete the border.

    The French Open was on TV this afternoon and I watched a couple of early round matches. I am so happy to have more channels to choose from without an increase in my monthly rate. Outlander tonight, yaay!

   I cooked a beef tongue today - it was on special - and hope it will be tasty and nourishing. It required boiling for 2 hours but I forgot to check the water level and it got a bit dry so it may not be as tender as expected. I am going to serve it with a mustard-horseradish sauce, mashed sweet potato and asparagus.

Friday 22 May 2015

Good Food and Good Fun

    Yesterday I had to skip tennis as it was the day of the RTO AGM and lunch. The meeting was short and sweet so lots of time to socialize with other members. I was introduced as the new Secretary - hope I don't live to regret THAT decision. Bonnie assured me it was an easy job and I do have more time nowadays. My duties don't start until the next Executive meeting in June so I have time to prepare mentally for it.

   The lunch was excellent and we were even offered seconds and it would have been rude to I didn't! Salad to start, then chicken escalopes with cheese and a tomato sauce, roast potatoes, carrots and asparagus. Then a creamy cake and coffee as we listened to the very funny entertainer, Steve Brinder. He had us in stitches!

Salad with Spelt bread and the olive oil from Portugal.
   On the way home I detoured along Lawrence Ave. to Edwards Gardens where there is a farmer's market on Thursdays. I bought a loaf of spelt bread (no sodium) and a bag of arugula which I planned to use for supper. I was so stuffed from lunch I only needed something light so made a salad. I picked some kale from the garden and combined it with the arugula and added cucumber, red pepper, tomato, half a grapefruit and a hard-boiled egg. For the balsamic dressing I used the olive oil I brought home from Portugal. It's quite peppery and not for cooking (too expensive!) so is ideal for salads. I had the salad with the bread I bought and that was plenty for me.

   I didn't get off very early for tennis this morning and, as a result, found the traffic moving along quite well. I got there in 20 minutes, a big improvement over Tuesday. It suddenly turned cooler around 11:00 a.m. and the wind from the north was bitter. However, there was a decent turnout and coffee and bagels, courtesy of Jasmine.

     The pool guys had arrived by the time I got home, to remove the cover and start cleaning up the water, and I have the pool filling as I type. There's the chance of frost tonight so I have covered the vegetable plants with plastic and will pray that they survive. I have made a mini polytunnel using the tomato cones. It should hold until the weather warms up tomorrow. One sad note, I happened to look out a little later and saw a dead bird floating in the pool. It wasn't there earlier so I'm not sure how it ended up in the water, but it is well and truly deceased!

   Shrimp for dinner tonight, probably in some more salad but with more protein. I may make a garlic potato salad as well.

Wednesday 20 May 2015

A Productive Day

    I can't believe how much I achieved today!

   First stop this morning was the "Stretch and Strength" class at the Senior's Centre. There's a rumour going around that all the classes next year will be drop-in which could be monumentally challenging, given the number of people who already attend plus the waiting lists. We shall have to see how that works out. 

   Second stop was the garden centre where I bought 6 King Coleus plants to go along the pathway to the front door (where my hedge was before being killed off in the winter storm last year).  I removed the last of the hedge and dug up the soil but I won't put the plants in until the weekend as we have some frost warnings for later this week. They should be OK in the garage.

    Made a pot of soup for lunch, celery and carrot. The, after a short nap, cooked up a batch of rhubarb and ginger jam. Yesterday at the RWTO lunch there was rhubarb for sale and I bought two bunches. I picked up sugar, ginger pieces and Certo on the way home from the lunch and mixed the rhubarb and sugar to sit overnight. I got 5 jars for the price of the rhubarb ($4) and sugar and ginger (about $3) so quite economical.

   I put some beets on to cook while I cut the front and side grass, then skinned and sliced them to pack into jars and pickle. Easy-peasy! I also finished two books that have to go back to the library soon. Now I need a quiet restful evening of TV. Dinner is leftovers with some fresh vegetables added, probably brussell sprouts. The fridge is getting remarkably empty.

   Bonus yesterday. I had some coupons for items at Metro and when I got to the checkout, the cashier asked if I wanted to cash in my Air Miles! My bill was $7 instead of $23.50. I love coupons and Air Miles!
Rhubarb and Ginger Jam, ready to add to my storage shelf!

Monday 18 May 2015

Victoria Day

   Tennis this morning - it was the Don Mills Victoria Day social and the traffic was very light. I got there quite early and played three short sets before lunch. It was delicious as usual (for just $2), BBQ chicken, two kinds of salad, green and Greek, rice and a bean, corn and chickpea salad. Also pita and humus. Desserts were scrumptious, especially a chocolate brownie of which I had three pieces. There was lots left over so I hope we have it at Kaffeklatsch tomorrow.

   Did a bit of gardening this afternoon but it was so hot and humid I came in after half-an-hour to cool off. It was a two-shower day today! I am trying to tidy up the back yard before the guys come on Friday to open the pool. Not before time! I could have done with a swim today.

   Leftover stew for dinner but right now I am not in the least bit hungry. I will wait until later to eat.
Bleeding Hearts - always the first perennial to appear. I must put in another one.
All that's left of the climbing rose but I did spot one bud. Maybe it will come back to all its former glory!
Early days for the Dragon Redwing begonias. They should fill the baskets with blooms soon.

Sunday 17 May 2015

Sunny and Warm

   An hour and a half of tennis this morning with Kathy, Susan and Iona. I was on the losing side for the first set and the winning side for the second. Iona was the big winner as she was on the winning side both times. Of course, she's younger than the rest of us. But I was pleased to be able to play two sets. Then home to watch the final of the Rome tournament - the Joker won, Roger not playing at the top of his game.

   Cut the back grass this afternoon and tidied the garden a bit. It's looking good and I have the hanging baskets out as the weather is set for warm for the next few days. The vegetables are well established so should start to take off soon. It's almost time to pick some rhubarb but I'll give it a few more days of sun and heat.

    Another "Outlander" episode tonight! Can't wait.

Saturday 16 May 2015

A Loss in the Garden

    I had planned to have the leftover lentil and quinoa soup/stew I bought yesterday, for dinner tonight, but I was invited out to Judy's to babysit and they had ordered in a pizza so I was tempted. I very rarely have pizza but this one, from Regiano's, was particularly good.

   The grandkids were really well-behaved and I had them all in bed before 9:00 p.m. Elliot even got me set up with my favourite Saturday night TV show before he headed for bed - such a good boy! He told me jokes and read some fascinating facts from his magazine to amuse me, instead of my reading him a bedtime story. He's too old for that although the other two still like one.

   It was a lovely day today - quite hot in fact - but I found my climbing rose had suffered badly over the winter and so I had to cut back all the dead wood. That was hot work! There are a few new shoots coming in at the base so I can only hope it recovers.

Friday 15 May 2015

A Little Blip

   Fell off the food wagon today! I had a coupon for Panera Bread, a new store at The Shops at Don Mills. As I was down that way anyway at tennis, and the coupon expired today, I decided that would be my lunch. I got a broth bowl, lentil and quinoa, which was soupy but tasty and had kale wilted in it, and, the free part, a half salad, quite substantial and VERY tasty. It had a lettuce and tomato base, some bacon bits and blue cheese, a hard-boiled egg and a substantial amount of avocado. I only ate half of each although I did dig through the salad for all the bacon bits, cheese and avocado! I will have the rest with a salmon fillet for dinner tonight, poached and smothered with a mustard sauce.

   It was very cool at tennis and, as I was court monitor, I didn't get to play much so was quite blue around the lips by noon.Thank goodness there was plenty of coffee to warm us up. Let's hope that's the last of the cool weather. It's raining now but I did manage to pot up my hanging baskets in between showers. I have filled them with Dragon Redwing begonias which I used last year with considerable success. Pictures to follow.


Thursday 14 May 2015

Keeping On Track

     I did quite well on the food front today. Cereal, and banana for breakfast, a coffee and (small) piece of toast before I left for tennis at 9:00 a.m. Then nothing until I was at the Senior's Centre to play bridge. I took my lunch - half an apple and a croissant with cream cheese and roasted red pepper. This was around 1:00 p.m. - we eat when we are the dummy hand. Then off for a swim so I had a reasonable amount of exercise today.

   I did have 2 squares of chocolate when I got home from the pool, just needed a quick fix.  My 5:00 p.m. aperatives tonight were veggies and dip with a few whole grain crackers. Dinner will be rissoles (left over lamb roast from the freezer, chopped finely then mixed with onion, herbs and an egg, then coated in breadcrumbs and fried) along with the last of the sweet potato mash and some green beans. Frying the rissoles won't be the best way to cook them but I will use olive oil.

   Last night's late snack was yogurt and blackberries so I felt quite virtuous when I headed for bed. I wonder what tonight will bring? I have an early rise tomorrow as I have to be on the road by 7:50. I'm the monitor at the tennis club, so will want to get off to sleep fairly promptly.

Wednesday 13 May 2015

Watching My Food Intake

   As I mentioned earlier, I have been over indulging as far as food is concerned recently so have decided to try to reduce my food intake - not really dieting, that's too stringent - just being more careful. My experiment on Sunday worked out fine, except with my late evening apple I had some peanut butter (that's a yummy combination) so kind of defeated the purpose of cutting back!

   However, today I have been more careful and only transgressed once. I started the day with a small bowl of cereal and banana with milk and a glass of orange juice. After my exercise class I had a coffee and a cookie around 10:00 a.m.

   Lunch was at 1:00 p.m. and was fairly substantial. I had a bowl of homemade carrot and lentil soup with a sandwich (two slices of bread) of yogurt based cream cheese, cucumber and tomato, with some fruit to follow. Then came my transgression - 4 cubes of chocolate as I lay in bed reading!

    That was it until 5:00 p.m. when I had 4 crackers, some cheese (applewood smoked cheddar, yummy!) and a few grapes with a glass of White Zinfandel (also yummy!). Finally dinner at 7:00 p.m. was a 4oz. salmon fillet poached in milk then doused in a delicious mustard sauce with green onions. I served it with a few green beans and some sweet potato mash, probably about 1/3 of a sweet potato. I just drank water with my meal. That should hold me until bedtime but I may have a hot drink and small snack before I retire as I find it helps me sleep.

   Wednesday is my day to weigh myself and I was still 150 lbs. I will continue to keep track of my weight but I'm not expecting to lose any - just maintain a healthy weight.

Sunday 10 May 2015

Mother's Day

   Nice dim sum lunch at Judy and Dave's for the moms, after a morning of tennis. Came home with a bunch of flowers and a hanging basket for the back yard.

   Pulled some weeds this afternoon but now it's raining so I was forced to quit.

   I've been overeating recently so am trying an experiment tonight - no dinner, just an avocado and salsa dip. It will be interesting to see if I can go without any more food this evening. I may have an apple later.

Friday 8 May 2015

Just Like Summer

   Another hot, sunny day - we may be lulled into a false sense of summer arriving early, but there can still be frosty nights this early in May. I hope not as I wouldn't like to lose the herbs and vegetables I have already planted.

   We had a 2 hour power outage last night just as I was preparing dinner. It seemed to be quite localized as the lights were on in the park and the traffic lights were still working at the corner. Until this happens you don't realize how dependant you are on electricity. I was able to sit outside reading for an hour but when it became too dark to read I was at a loose end, and I was getting hungry.  At last the power returned and I was able to cook supper and watch TV.

   Tennis at Don Mills this morning and I had a horrendous drive to get there! I left as usual around 8:30 and didn't arrive until 9:20. The mornings are usually slow but that's just ridiculous. Road repairs and lane closures were the main culprit today but there did seem to be an inordinate amount of traffic on the road. It makes me wish I could just pull up stakes and move closer to the courts but then I would be further away from my other locations. Coming home around noon, in comparison, is a breeze - usually just under 15 minutes.

   It was very hot ( high 20's) on the courts and we had one player who suffered a nasty spell while playing. Fortunately she recovered after moving into the shade and a judicious application of ice to her head, so there was no need to summon medical help as we have had to do in the past. Most of us are well used to the heat but it is still rather early in the year for these conditions to arrive. Also, many of the players are getting on in years - quite a few in their 80's and one 93 year old!

   After lunch and a nap I was back out in the sun, tidying up the back yard and planting some nasturtium seeds. Then I practiced the dances for the West End Ball tomorrow night. Most of the dances are quite easy or familiar so I shouldn't have any trouble with them.

   Still eating leftovers but with the addition of some fresh vegetables. I have planted kale but I am considering putting in some lettuce plants as and addition to my diet. I really should eat more salad as I do like it but am too lazy to chop vegetables.

Thursday 7 May 2015

Super Day!

    Brilliant sunny day and HOT!!! Played tennis for an hour this morning but had to quite by 10:30 as the temperature was rising. It hit 27C this afternoon.

    Bridge after lunch - just a small crowd, they were all probably at home working in their gardens. I had pretty bad cards and only played one hand which I did, in fact, win with two overtricks. We didn't keep score but I'm pretty sure the other pair came out ahead.

   When I got home I planted the two tomato plants that I bought yesterday. There's still room for a couple more which I will pick up next week. Got my hair cut later this afternoon. Eating leftovers again tonight but will cook up a broccoli casserole to go with it. I have been craving greens this week and am much in need of a nice big salad.

Wednesday 6 May 2015

Homemade Soup and Bread

    Over to the Senior's Centre for the "Stretch and Strength" class and coffee afterwards. The ladies told me Wednesday was Senior's Day at the garden centre so that was my next stop. I bought a couple of tomato plants, some herbs (although I forgot basil), red peppers, eggplant and kale. I will make another visit next week to pick up begonia for my hanging baskets, some more tomatoes and the basil - if I remember.

   My smoke detector was beeping last night so I bought a new battery for it. However, once installed, the smoke detector failed to pass the test. I may have to buy a new one. Luckily I have a second one installed in the upstairs hallway.

   Made some soup when I got home and got a loaf in the bread maker just before lunch. I love my bread machine! 
The finished product - it sank a little so I will cut back on the yeast next time.

   I dug up the vegetable garden this afternoon, added some plant food and planted most of the herbs and vegetables. Then they got a good watering and are on their way (hopefully!) to a fruitful harvest.
New plants - first week.

Tuesday 5 May 2015


   First day at Kaffeeklatch - and we ran out of coffee! It was rather a cool morning so people were keen to have a warming drink in between tennis games. We made another pot and it was gone by 11:00 a.m. but that was it, so the late comers had to do without.

    I had 4 (yes, 4) games and stayed until almost 12:00 p.m. so had to rush to get home for lunch and then over to the Senior's Centre for my Bridge lesson. Quite a busy day.

   I am cooking a stew tonight using a beef heart that was on special at No Frills, so am interested to see if it will be tasty and tender. It has been cooking in the slow cooker all afternoon and the accompanying vegetables certainly look tender. My freezer is full so I won't need to shop much this weekend. I have a beef tongue and beef liver, also on special this week so will just need vegetables and fruit and a few other staples. All the meat I bought this week, as well as being on special at 30% off, was bought using my PC points so really cost me nothing. My favourite way to shop! 

Sunday 3 May 2015

First Cut

   The back lawn got its first cut of the year today. I was surprised how long it was in places - and the dandelions have sprung up too. I will have to wait until we get a good bout of rain before trying to remove the weeds.

   A beautiful weekend, weatherwise. Blue skies and warm temperatures. In fact yesterday was almost too hot for this time of year. We were all sweating at Don Mills Tennis Opening Day. I didn't play much tennis but it was great to see everyone after the winter hiatus and lunch was excellent. Barbecued chicken, salad, rice, beans, and roasted onions and peppers. What a feed! Plus there were several kinds of dessert so no supper for me last night.

   To make up for my laziness yesterday, I played for a good hour this morning with Cathy, Kathy and Iona. Iona and I won in a tiebreak so it was a close match.

   I caught a monster raccoon plodding across the pool cover last night. He didn't scamper when I opened the door and put on the outdoor light - just stared at me. He left me a nasty present by the composter which I luckily managed to avoid stepping in. But at least it wasn't as disgusting as the headless mouse I found on the patio the other day! At least I think it was a mouse but it was a huge one.

    Looking forward to another episode of "Outlander" tonight. I can't wait to find out what happens to Claire and Jamie!


Saturday 2 May 2015

Spring Flowers

  Spring has sprung, the grass is beginning to rise and, finally, some tulips!