Wednesday 27 April 2016

Money Back From CRA

    Yesterday I managed to arrive at Bridge lessons on time for once (no tennis as I had a doctor's appointment). We were learning about Negative Doubles and Takeout Doubles but, even though we worked on both for some time, I don't think I could actually use either  bid in an actual game. But I'll keep trying!  

   This was my full day at the Senior's Centre with two fitness classes this morning (I only did half of the second one, just the aerobic part), then two hours behind the counter of the coffee bar. I closed up there early so I could get to the book club meeting at 2:30. We were discussing "Me Before You" by Jojo Moyes and we had lots of lively talk. Only one person didn't like it (the same person who panned last month's book!) and several people have read the sequel, "Me After You", which I have now requested from the library.

   Another low carb dinner tonight - salmon, salad and green beans - but I had half a sandwich with my lunch and soup with pasta, so I fell behind today. I will try to do better tomorrow but I am eating lunch out so that may not work. More on that tomorrow.

    I sent off my tax return the other day and I am expecting a BIG refund! I just hope I calculated correctly. It was a tortuous process with having to redo it twice but I finally got it right (I hope!). CRA had made me pay in installments  last year and obviously they had made me pay too much so, in effect, I am just getting my own money back. Maybe they will reduce this year's payments.

Monday 25 April 2016

On the Go

   Just a quick note as it is long past my bedtime. I got home from dance group at 9:45 and have been dithering around for the last hour.

   I got my teeth cleaned and polished this morning with a new hygienist and she is much more efficient than the last one who was too chatty. I knew all about her family before I got out of the chair. There was a Pancake Breakfast at the Senior's Centre earlier in the morning - two huge pancakes, bacon and sausages with orange juice and coffee all for $5, very tasty but I couldn't even finish the second pancake and didn't need any lunch. I only had half an apple in the middle of the afternoon while playing Bridge with Marie, Diane and Pinky.

    Dinner tonight was a couple of different salads - potato and mixed cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, brussell sprouts, kale, broccoli and chicory) with a tasty poppy seed dressing. Sounds very healthy, doesn't it!

   Only 8C today with rain this evening and a cold wind. Will go and soak my aching bones in a hot bath with Epsom Salts before I hit the sack - I cut the back grass this afternoon after Bridge and before the rain - plus my feet are sore from dancing. It's now 11:45 - it was a busy day!

Sunday 24 April 2016

Another New Recipe

   I am just off to make a Blue Cheese dressing for my salad before I eat all the blue cheese. It was a special treat as I used $30 worth of PC points to buy my groceries yesterday. There's nothing like free food!

   I got my tax return in the mail today and - glory be  - I am actually getting a refund! This hasn't happened since I stopped working but CRA made me pay instalments last year and I guess they overestimated my income. I only hope my calculations were correct but that remains to be seen.

   I tried tennis this morning but it was very chilly - less that 10C - so I only stayed for half-an hour. I made some bread after I got home and will sample it after dinner. It looks good. Dinner is a salmon steak (also courtesy of the PC points)  with potato salad, peas and some greens with the blue cheese dressing. Should be very tasty!

Friday 22 April 2016

In the Garden

   Rainy overnight and still damp this morning but not cold. The sun came out later - it got up to 16C - but also a north wind which I hadn't anticipated. I had only worn a light jacket to walk to Bridge this afternoon and was quite chilled by the time I got home. However, the sun has warmed up the house so no need for the fire tonight.

    I sat outside (well wrapped up) after Bridge and even did a bit of weeding but only half filled the bucket before I'd had enough. I spotted a couple of dandelions on the front lawn so that will be my next job as they will soon come up thick and fast. Also the grass already needs cutting! I had hoped to postpone it until May.

   This may have been my last Friday Fitness class as it is cancelled next week for the Senior's Executive meeting and after that I will be going to Kaffeeklatsch at the tennis courts on Fridays. I feel badly about missing it but there will be someone on the waiting list who will be glad to take my place.

    I picked up a pasta dinner at the free giveaway this afternoon (also a couple of soups) and had it with a big salad for dinner tonight. It was very filling and there are still some noodles left for tomorrow. You can't beat free food! 

Thursday 21 April 2016

A New Recipe

    I had a brainwave today and googled an easy tapenade recipe as I had some  olives left over from yesterday's dinner. As well as the olives it had a few smoked oysters (the recipe called for anchovies but I had the oysters from yesterday too so used them), capers, lemon juice and olive oil. Thirty seconds in the food processor and I had a delicious dip to nibble on with tostitos and a glass of wine.

    Yesterday's dinner was Portuguese chicken and potatoes. I used the Piri-piri sauce I brought home from Portugal (a little too much as it turned out - it was quite spicy). Piri-piri chicken is a dish that originated in the Algarve and I had it a couple of times while I was there.

   I got my shingles shot this morning - at the pharmacy by 8:45 to pick it up and straight to the doctor's office for the jab. Then it was the Probus meeting, rather a tedious presentation of a trip around the world but the photos were good. After a quick lunch it was Zumba class and I am finally getting the hang of the routines. I was quite sweaty when it finished and it went by fast!

    I have the fire on tonight as it was a bit chilly in the house. Rainy and cool today and just up to 17C. I think we are in for a few rainy days - April showers!

Tuesday 19 April 2016

Raising Money

   The sunny days continue but not quite as warm - the wind kept the temperature down in the low teens. Nice enough for pottering in the garden but I didn't do much of that as I was out from early morning until 3:00 p.m.

    First was the RWTO Executive meeting and I got there early to set up the used book table. There were no dramatic moments in the meeting but at least there was coffee! Lunch followed - first salad then roast beef, carrots and mashed potatoes (there was horseradish today, they forgot last time). Dessert was a delicious cheesecake with raspberry coulee (I think that's what it's called, anyway it was yummy!).

    The speaker was very amusing - Frankie's Flowers - gardening anecdotes and tips. He also answered some questions we had so it was an informative and entertaining hour. I sold over 100 books ($50) but still had to bring home the large bin and two boxes full of books. Thank goodness we just collect paperbacks! I intend to ask people not to donate any books next month and we will have a sale, 3 for a dollar instead of 50 cents each, so that should reduce the collection somewhat. Some of the remaining books I intend to donate to a church that is having a bazaar to raise money for orphans overseas but I will keep a few of the better ones aside for September.

   After the big lunch I just had a light supper, a salad with lots of fresh stuff - lettuce (of course), tomato, cucumber, roasted peppers, avocado, red onion and hard boiled eggs. I made my own dressing from mustard, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and EVO oil. Then topped the whole thing with grated cheese. Quite filling.

Monday 18 April 2016

The Heat Continues

   20C was the high today and sunny, although it is cooling off a bit now. I walked to and from the Senior's Centre (2,000 steps each way) for Bridge and will make up a few more at dance class tonight. I am still a bit stiff from all me exertions  yesterday but I hope it did me some good.

   Got in a bit of yard work this morning  - clearing and straightening the front border - and had my outside windows cleaned (not by me!) this afternoon so everything is looking much smarter. A quick dinner of leftovers and now I am off to dance! 

Sunday 17 April 2016

Too Much Exercise

   The show last night, a play called "Charity Begins", was quite good - for an amateur group. My job was quite undemanding and there was a nice group of others recruited by Judy to usher. One funny thing - I forgot to have any dinner before I went out and was absolutely ravenous by the intermission. However, I managed to hang on until I got home and whipped up a quick supper of leftover quinoa and a couple of samosas with  cup of tea. But it was strange eating my last meal of the day at midnight!

    Quite a busy day today. The weather was brilliant again and I decided to get out on the tennis court this morning. After a strenuous warmup with the guys I got a nice doubles game with Kathy, Ann and Tamara. Tamara and I won (just) but I was thoroughly exhausted after two hours. I went home for a rest and was out again by 1:30 for the demo practice (also strenuous as they are practicing for Gala Day and the dances are tricky ones). So I have had my feet up ever since.

    Breaded fish, sweet potato fries and broccoli for dinner tonight, with lots of lemon on the fish and broccoli. There's enough left for dinner tomorrow.


Saturday 16 April 2016

Tonight's Entertainment

   I'm off to the theatre tonight but not as a guest. Judy is in charge of the "Front of House" crew (just one of her volunteer activities) and needed an extra body tonight and I was happy to oblige. I will be taking tickets, ushering people to their seats or some such job. But I will also be able to see the show - for free!

   Another lovely Spring day. In fact the temperature got up to 17C this afternoon, really too hot to work in the garden. I did a bit of tidying and raking but it got too hot and I had to retire to the cool of the house. I'm really not ready for this much heat yet. The weeds are beginning to grow and must be dealt with lickety split before they take over. Maybe tomorrow.

   Nothing else to report as I will be heading out to the theatre soon, after a quick dinner.

Friday 15 April 2016

Progressing With the Garden

   Another beautiful sunny day - even warmer than yesterday - and I managed an hour outdoors just soaking in the rays. I did a bit of raking after fitness class this morning so the front lawn is done and ready for some fertilizer and grass seed.

   Bridge this afternoon and the last of the free cake and coffee. Just as well as I have overindulged. I had reasonable hands but wasn't in the running for the winner's prize.

   I am so happy to have my TV working again. I got to see the end of "Outlander" last night so will be up-to-date in time for this weekend's next episode. We may get some outdoor tennis on Sunday as the forecast is for really warm temperatures. Just leftovers for dinner tonight.

Thursday 14 April 2016

Soaking Up Some Rays

    I have a few days to catch up on, so here goes.

    Monday was exercise at home in the morning, bridge in the afternoon (I had terrible cards!) and dance group in the evening. Some pasta to eat up but I broke down and had a scone when I came home.

   Tuesday was tennis in the morning, bridge lessons until 2:30 then home for a nap before heading up to Markham to babysit. I left early so I could stop off at Peppertree Classics on Markham Main Street to buy some springs pants and a top. I got some nice outfits so I am all set for Spring!

   Wednesday was Fitness class in the morning (in fact, two) followed by my stint in the coffee bar. This week we are celebrating the 35th anniversary of the opening of the Senior's Centre - of course, none of us were members then - with free coffee and cake all week. So I just had to keep the coffee urn filled and the cake sliced. Easy peasy! The technician from Rogers came to fix my digital box around 4 p.m. as arranged and it was working again by 4:30 so I am back to my usual programs. It was just lucky I had things to do for the last few nights or I would have been bereft with no TV to watch. I managed to see most of the "Outlander" episode at Judy's so I can watch "Death in Paradise" tonight.

   Today was RTO Executive meeting this morning, at which I take the Minutes, followed by Zumba class this afternoon. I was home from that by 2:30 (having had more cake and coffee, must cut back on that) and after a short nap I was out in the garden clearing away some of the winter detritus from the front lawn. I filled one bin and decided to call it a day, so headed for the lounger in the back yard. The sun was lovely and warm - I think we got up into double digits this afternoon - so I relaxed there for almost an hour. It really is beginning to feel like Spring! 

   A tasty dinner tonight - broiled salmon, quinoa, and broccoli casserole with lots of cheese -yum!

Sunday 10 April 2016 TV!

   The cable company has let me down and I have no TV tonight - in fact, none until Wednesday! The cable box keeps trying to boot up but fails every time. This is doubly unfortunate as tonight is the start of the second season of "Outlander" and I was so looking forward to watching it.

   Luckily I have a video to watch. It's an oldie but goodie - "My Cousin Vinnie" - which I picked up at the Senior's Centre on Friday. The only drawback is that I will have to watch it in the basement on my old VCR and it might be quite chilly down there! I will take my blanket and try to keep cozy.

   Dinner tonight is leftover pasta with lots of vegetables and cheese. I had it on Friday and it was delicious. I will make a salad to go with it, so that's a nourishing meal. This afternoon I made some more scones to use up the last of the buttermilk and they turned out better than the last batch. Unfortunately, I was on the phone to the cable company when the timer went off so they are a bit overdone.

   I have just barely recovered from a hectic day yesterday - a dancing demo in the afternoon followed by the monthly dance in the evening. I came home a bit early to soak my feet before bed as they were aching something fierce, but I slept like a log so feel quite rested today. It was Volunteer Appreciation night so I got in for a reduced fee courtesy of my duties on the 50-50 draw table. Two people were honoured in particular, Forbes and Carole, and both very deservedly. Forbes runs the monthly dances and Carole has been the newsletter editor for many years.

   It has been a restful day for which I am grateful and I will probably have an early night tonight. Luckily I am going out tomorrow and Tuesday night so won't miss the TV too much!

Friday 8 April 2016

Still No Sign of Spring

   A little light-headed this evening as I have been working my way through a bottle of Shiraz-Grenache from Australia, so please excuse any typos! It's called "Yellow Tail" and is quite delicious. However, I have  left a glass or two in the bottle for tomorrow, showing remarkable restraint. To accompany it I have had cream cheese and smoked salmon (also known as lox) on crackers, so that will hold me for a couple of hours. Dinner tonight is the fish from yesterday with the free pasta from the Senior's Centre. I will cook some mushrooms, peppers and onions to supplement it and add extra cheese and mix up a salad. A match made in heaven! I also got a couple of soups for the freezer.

   A chilly start to the day and, although it was sunny, the temperature never did get much above zero. There was snow on the rooftops this morning but it didn't last long and I am hopeful that things are beginning to sprout. I walked over to the Senior's Centre for Bridge this afternoon so, with the fitness class this morning, I have had an adequate amount of exercise.

   Tomorrow looks like being a busy day as I have committed to doing a demo in the afternoon and will be attending the monthly dance in the evening. It's Volunteer Appreciation night so I will get in free (with a small donation) so I don't want to miss that! I will be aching by the time that's all over so don't expect a blog tomorrow.


Thursday 7 April 2016

A Bit Milder

   No sun today but at least the temperature has stayed in the positive digits. The snow is almost gone but nothing is showing any sign of growing.

   I started my Zumba Gold class today - boy, was it tough! I hope once I learn the routines I will handle it better but I was sweating up a storm by the time we were done. I'm betting when I get up tomorrow morning I will be aching in all sorts of places.

   Nothing much else to report since my last post. I spent an hour this afternoon updating the memos that will go out to the Kaffeeklatsch monitors later this month. Luckily, not too many changes were required. The schedule is done (barring any last minute changes) so I am in good shape for my first attempt as the chief monitor.

   I am going to bake a fish fillet for dinner tonight - wrapped in foil on a bed of spinach and some chutney on top. I will have it with peas and mashed potatoes. Rather too many carbs today!

   On Tuesday I had an interesting excursion - I went to hear Donna Leon, the author of the Commissario Brunetti  detective novels, at the Toronto Reference Library. I have never been there before ( it's a beautiful building) but should have gone earlier as the room was packed. I heard 500 people came to hear her talk. She was very entertaining and I can't wait to get her newest novel from the library. I am about 350th on the waiting list!

Monday 4 April 2016

Can't Wait for Spring

    Still a few errant snowflakes this morning but by noon the skies were clearing and the sun appeared. Most of the snow on the driveways and sidewalks has melted but the lawns and borders are still under a significant amount of snow - poor plants!

   I did shovel part of the driveway this morning before going out for Bridge. I had some good hands this afternoon and won a couple of tricky contracts. However, Pinkie and her partner Stephen had a small slam so won the game.

   I am well into the fifth season of "Game of Thrones" and should manage to watch all episodes before I have to return it on Friday. It's quite violent but fascinating nevertheless. I may have to borrow the books on which it's based to relive the tense sections!

   Just leftover chicken and cabbage for dinner and then out to my Monday dancing social group. We had a great turnout last week and I hope there will be a good showing tonight.

Sunday 3 April 2016

Still Wintry

    I just looked out the window and it's snowing again! It won't amount to much but is still depressing - it's April after all!

    When I went out this morning the wind was bitter and strong so we aren't done with winter yet. I am dying to get started on the garden but must wait until there is a more definite end to winter. The borders look so shabby I would love to get in and clear them and start digging. The only bonus is no grass to cut.

   To cheer myself up I made a batch of Lemon Ginger marmalade this afternoon. It turned out a treat - three small jars from three lemons and 2 cups of sugar. I feel inspired to do some more as I have a grapefruit on hand and a good recipe for orange grapefruit marmalade. Maybe tomorrow.

   Dinner tonight is chicken in a casserole with cabbage and potatoes. It's my own invention and I will bake it in the oven until the vegetables are brown and crispy. I love one-pot meals! No need for dessert tonight as I have been nibbling on scones and soda bread all day. I have really fallen off the low-carb wagon!

Friday 1 April 2016

April Fool's Day

     Still cool despite being the first day of April, 10C was the high for the day, but some blinks of sun this afternoon. The wind was quite strong and from the north and we are expecting a few very chilly (and frosty) days this weekend. Spring is still elusive but I spotted some tiny blue flowers in a sunny corner of my garden.

   Nothing much happening here today. I did my step video routine this morning, got a book I had ordered from the library (and season 5 of "Game of Thrones", yaay!) and went to Progressive Bridge this afternoon. That was it!

   Leftover fish pie with pickled beetroot for dinner again tonight, and I will have the topping from the cheesecake cake for dessert. It is actually quite tasty without the stodgy base and I am enjoying it with a bit of cream over the top. My attempt to cut back on carbs went by the wayside today as I had cereal for breakfast and a slice of gingercake with my morning coffee. Since then has been better but I am sure my weight has crept up a bit again.