Tuesday 31 May 2016

Sunny and Warm Again

     Came home from three sets of tennis in a lather and went straight into the pool. The water temperature was 74F (23C) so it cooled me off nicely although getting my hot body immersed was a bit of a shock! No Bridge class today -  Frank (our teacher) was sick so I just had an early lunch and headed for a nap. Since then I have been alternating between gardening and reading in the shade with another dip in the pool when I got hot and sweaty.

   The grass is now all cut and the edges somewhat trimmed but still lots of weeds to tackle. I will do more of that soon once the sun goes down. I used the weed whacker today and for once it was working properly (for a while). It almost always jams after a few minutes and I have to reload the string.  

   I am rushing to finish "The Lake House" by Kate Morton as it is due back at the library on Thursday. The author keeps hinting about a mystery and I must find out what it is before then. I think this is called "foreshadowing" if I remember correctly from my English Lit. course, way back when.

   Nothing to cook tonight  - just leftovers to heat - but I had some of the soup I made yesterday for lunch and it was very satisfying. It was all the vegetables needing used up (including cauliflower leaves and broccoli stalks) cooked in chicken stock and  pureed with the immersion blender. So easy and cheap!


Monday 30 May 2016

Cooler and Pleasant

    I didn't get out of the house until noon and didn't realize that it was cooler (29C) and with a bit of a breeze - no humidity! I spent the morning working on the Minutes for last week's RTO AGM. They're now off to Bill, our new President, so I hope they pass muster.

   Bridge was fun this afternoon with a variety of good and bad hands and some challenging contracts. I had a proper swim when I got home, so refreshing, and had a short nap. Then cut the front and side grass. Tomorrow will be the turn of the back yard, then I can relax and enjoy myself reading on the lounger without any chores to do. Of course, there are still lots of weeds but I will just ignore them!

   I made some soup this afternoon and that will last me for the rest of the week's lunches. No Bridge class tomorrow as the teacher is sick so no rush from tennis to the Senior's centre. Leftovers for dinner and then a quick cleanup before settling in for TV.

Sunday 29 May 2016

First Dip in the Pool

   It was extremely hot on the tennis courts this morning (at least 30C) but we managed a set. I was not up to much and Iona and I lost 6-0 against Kathy and Stan. I was just happy that the set didn't last any longer!

   I was home by 10:30 and got right in the pool for just a minute to bring my body back to a normal temperature.  Then some tennis from the French Open on TV, no Canadians left in the draw but good tennis, nevertheless. I had a couple of cool hours in the movie theatre this afternoon, watching a documentary about gardens in art - Monet to Matisse. The photography was beautiful and inspired me to do more with the limited space I have for flowers in my garden.

   On the way home I stopped at Adonis for a grilled fish and Mediterranean vegetables for my dinner (don't feel like cooking as it is too hot to turn on the oven), also a pineapple for $2.50! They were giving out a couple of food samples which went down well - samosas and pastries. Then a stop at Home Depot for a nozzle for my garden hose so I can water the garden, and a packet of nasturtium seeds which I planted as soon as I got home. Mission accomplished. Then I had a proper swim, in the water for at least a couple of minutes!

   Off to warm up the fish and vegetables, then it's a night of TV.

Saturday 28 May 2016

Air Coditioner's First Workout

   I have the thermostat set for 24C and the air conditioner came on this afternoon for the first time this year. It was 31C outside but I have been keeping the house cool by opening all the windows at night. It usually goes down to 20C but that wasn't enough today so I am enjoying the cool air for a change. Tomorrow it continues hot so probably no tennis but it should have cooled down (to 25C) by Tuesday.

   The pool is still a little chilly but warming up fast. By tomorrow I should be able to try a dip. The water is still a bit murky but that won't stop me if it is reasonably warm. No gardening today - just too hot outside!

   Only a couple of chores today - laundry and shopping - so I have spent the remainder of the day reading in the shade. My current book is "The Lake House" by Kate Morton. I gave up on the Yann Martel book and it is back at the library. It was overdue anyway.

   Just about to throw some chicken drumsticks in the oven and will cook a potato and a corn cob to go with them. I don't usually buy corn until the local stuff appears (it is so much more tender and sweet) but I was tempted by cheap cobs (60 cents) at the grocery store. Still a slice of rhubarb tart left so I will heat that up for "afters". Lots of good tele tonight!

Friday 27 May 2016

Tax Refund

   Today I had a nice surprise when I checked my bank account - a deposit from Revenue Canada of $1,945! Of course it is my own money so not a windfall. For the last two years, since I started having to withdraw money from my RRIF, I have had to pay tax by installments and, last year, through a combination of circumstances, I was asked to pay too much. This year, hopefully, the amount will more accurately reflect what I actually owe the government. It galls me to hear of the wealthy who manage to pay little or no tax at all. However, I do believe in doing my part to contribute to the economy. I certainly am not in dire straits financially like some other Seniors.

   An extremely hot day today (31C and humid) and, even though I arrived early for tennis, I was sweating after one set. I did manage to play two more (with long and frequent breaks in the air conditioned lounge in between). My pool is up and running and I tried for a swim this afternoon to cool off but only got in up to my waist - it is still too cold. A few more days like today and it will be fine for swimming.

   I am going to wait until the sun is down to finish my hanging baskets but I did work in the shade, weeding, for about an hour this afternoon. No way was I going to expose myself to any more heat!

  I used up the last of the rhubarb from the RW plant sale today by making a jar of rhubarb chutney. Soon I will be picking my own for jam and pies. I have plans for an interesting dinner tonight. I picked up a container of 5 Cheese Dip at the drugstore for 99 cents (usually $3.99) and will use it to top a broccoli casserole. With it I plan to throw together a cucumber salad with blue cheese dressing. Both should be tasty and filling - and no carbs! Breakfast today was half a banana with peanut butter and some reduced sugar yogurt and lunch was vegetable soup, crackers and cheese, so I have done well on the careful eating front. Good for me!

Some shrubs in my garden:



Thursday 26 May 2016

At the Meeting

   Much more comfortable today - got up to 27C but a rain shower around noon cooled things off. It's sunny again but pleasant enough to sit outside.

   Off to the RTO AGM this morning. The meeting went well with no unforeseen problems. The new Executive was voted in with no objections, and the committee chairs confirmed for another year. The lunch (free if you attended the meeting) was salad, chicken and veggies, including delicious crunchy asparagus, and fruit and ice cream. A talented musical group entertained us. Coffee was on tap all day and I had more than I should. I missed a call from Kathy asking why I wasn't at tennis - no one else showed up and she was not happy.

   The TV service is down (again!) and I am waiting for it to come back as there are shows I want to watch this evening. Meanwhile I have potted up some of my hanging baskets with the plants I bought yesterday, and done a bit of weeding.

   Dinner tonight will be something simple as I am still full - probably soup or something eggy. I will wait and see how I feel later. And definitely no dessert!!

   TV's back so let's see what's on The Big Bang Theory.

A nocturnal visitor that greeted me one morning. He seemed a bit under the weather.

Wednesday 25 May 2016

Still on the Hot Side

     Still hot (30+C) but not humid so quite bearable. The house has stayed relatively cool since I open the windows overnight and close all the drapes during the day. I also use the retractable awning to shade the west side of the house. The south and east sides have wide eaves so not much sun comes in as it is high in the sky during most of the day.

   I picked some more plants at the garden centre this morning  - dragon wing begonias for my hanging baskets. I also picked up a fuschia plant and a small eggplant.

   The pool cover is off and the pool is filling up - unfortunately with cold water which will take a few days to warm up. The pool guys will be back in a day or two to start up the pump and then we will know if all the plumbing has survived the winter. The water is very green but they will sort that out too in a day or two.

   Book club this afternoon. We were discussing "The Light Between Oceans" by M.L. Steadman. Nearly everyone really liked it and it got many positive comments and recommendations. The coordinator, Lee, won't be leading the group next year and has asked for someone else to step up - no immediate volunteers as yet. We have one more book before we stop for the summer, "The Girl On the Train", which should make for an interesting discussion as it is slightly controversial.

    A salmon steak for dinner tonight which I will broil and have with broccoli. Then a piece of rhubarb tart as my treat!

Tuesday 24 May 2016


   30C this afternoon. Wish the pool was ready for swimming NOW!!

Monday 23 May 2016

Victoria Day

   The pool guys are coming on Wednesday to open the pool so I cut all the grass this afternoon so it won't need done again for a few days. Tomorrow I will tidy up the back yard and move the patio furniture and plants so they are not in their way when they take the cover off the pool. Once that is done it just remains to fill the pool and wait for the water to warm up. I could have done with a swim today as it got up to 27C this afternoon!

   I am hoping the pool does not require any repairs as it wasn't running too well when they closed it up last fall. But I have set aside some money just in case. This is a major expense for the next four months as I have them come in each week for a chemical check, not to mention the electricity and gas used to run the pump and the heater! But I think it is still cheaper than condo fees so I will stay here for the time being and enjoy my own private pool. Plus the grandkids like to come over for a swim occasionally.

   Tennis at Don Mills this morning and a nice lunch (sausages in buns, salad and lovely desserts). They always do a great spread on the holiday Mondays. I played three sets but it was getting too hot by noon so I came home after lunch for a nap. Still not hungry although I had some salmon and cream cheese spread with a glass of wine an hour ago. I will postpone dinner for a while and just have some leftover chicken pot pie with some pickled beetroot again.

This is my Bleeding Heart in full bloom - I have finally figured out how to load pictures!

Sunday 22 May 2016

Another Hectic Day

     The AGM report is off to the printers - not without last minute teething problems. I thought I had fixed everything on Friday and went up to Judy's to print it but, luckily, held off on going to Staples. Then this afternoon I got a message from Lee regarding some badly spaced book titles - she runs the Book Club. I think the errors occurred when I changed the font size. Now what to do?

    I could have left it but it looked really sloppy, so I phoned Marilyn, who lives nearby, to see if I could print out the corrected page. Luckily she was home and happy to let me use her computer and printer. Not having a working printer of my own (courtesy of an upgrade to Windows 10) has been a real pain. Regardless, it is now out of my hands except for picking up the 130 copies on Tuesday and delivering them to the AGM on Thursday. Fingers crossed nothing else needs fixing!

    I had a busy day today - tennis in the morning for just an hour (Stan and I won 6-3), made a soup for lunch, watched a match from the French Open and made a chicken pot pie and a rhubarb tarte tatin. I squeezed in a bit of gardening later in the afternoon and am getting the upper hand with the weeds.

    I had the chicken pot pie with my homemade beetroot, a nice combination.


Friday 20 May 2016

The Final, Final AGM Report (I Hope)

    I cancelled my Friday Gentle Fit class yesterday as it looks like I won't be able to make it for the rest of the session, due to it being a "Kaffeklatsch" day at DMTC. Perhaps someone on the waiting list will take my place.

   I had a big discussion (I was about to say "argument" but it was resolved quite quickly) with Martin this morning as he claimed that last year two keys were required to open the clubhouse. I eventually proved him wrong but I think he still believes he is right! Men!!!

  It was quite hot (20C) on the tennis courts this morning - thank goodness I went early (8:30) and got in a couple of sets while it was still relatively cool. I played a third set but was done (in more ways than one) by 11:00 and headed home for a rest but no lunch. I was meeting Judy for Afternoon Tea and wanted to be good and hungry. We had savoury and sweet things and I had "Anastasia" tea - quite refreshing.

   On the way home I stopped off at Staples to see about printing the AGM document. However, it is quite expensive so I am going out to Judy's this evening to print a copy - she has a colour printer. Then tomorrow I will be back at Staples to get the 130 copies printed for the AGM next week. What a palaver! And people are still asking for changes to be made!!

   Another episode of "Outlander" this evening. Claire and Jamie are having their problems in France at the court of Louis XV.

Wednesday 18 May 2016

At the Senior's Centre

This was my day at the Senior's Centre so I was out of the house by 8:45 a.m. Between fitness classes (Stretch and Strength at 9:00, Osteo Fit at 11:15) I went to the garden centre, which is just up the road, to pick up a few plants. Wednesday is senior's discount day (10% off) so I bought three tomato plants, basil, kale and two plants that attract butterflies, Echinicea and Bee Balm. I had dug up one border yesterday and removed all the weeds so it is ready for some plants. I'll plant them tomorrow.

   By noon I was behind the counter of the coffee bar and worked there until 3:00 p.m. Then home for a nap after which I planned to work in the garden. But it had turned quite cold so I never did get out there. Luckily I have a good book on the go, "Girl on the Train", so I spent an hour reading.

   I made an interesting dinner tonight. I had planned on fish but found I had already eaten the last fillet from the freezer. So I was inspired by an article in the newspaper to try quesadillas. Two tortillas filled with grated cheese, lettuce and chopped red pepper (basically what needed using up in the fridge) and grilled until the cheese melted. Then topped with salsa, sour cream and guacamole. Tasty and very filling!

Monday 16 May 2016

A Little Party

  It is still on the cool side for May and we had some rain this afternoon but I did manage to walk to and back from Bridge this afternoon. I can't wait to be rid of my winter jacket!

   Optometrist this morning which made it difficult to distinguish the cards at Bridge (I had drops in my eyes). However I played one hand really well - I had bid with a weak hand, hoping not to play it but managed to cross ruff to a winning score. Clever me! The rest of my hands were rubbish.

   I have just taken two dozen sausage rolls out of the oven - they are for the pot luck party at dance group this evening. So I won't have any supper, except for some crackers with a beer. We usually dance until 8:45, then get out the treats. It's our last night until September although there will be other events we can attend over the summer.

Sunday 15 May 2016

Unseasonal Weather

     I had a late rise this morning after a restless night. I had been to the West End Ball and didn't get home until almost midnight. Then my feet and legs were throbbing so much from all the dancing (even though I had a soak in the tub before bed) that I couldn't settle. It was 10:00 a.m. until I finally surfaced! Apart from a bit of ironing I have just spent the day catching up on the weekend newspapers.

    The weather has been very strange today. Yesterday was cool with a bitter wind and this morning it was still cold (5C) with rainy squalls and even some snow! It hasn't gotten any warmer since but there were a few blinks of sun this afternoon. Very unseasonal for the middle of May, I have the fire on tonight.

   Just coffee and a croissant for breakfast and homemade celery soup for lunch but I have a nice salmon fillet for dinner and will have it with quinoa and peas.

Friday 13 May 2016

A Few Hours of Gardening

    Cut all the grass this afternoon and trimmed the borders and I am bushed! The grass was really long so it was a bit of a struggle to push the lawnmower around. Fortunately, I just have to heat up dinner and an "Outlander" episode is on TV tonight so I can relax on the couch for the next few hours.

   It started out rainy this morning and I was swithering whether to go to Fitness class or tennis. Then the rain stopped and the sun came out so, tennis it was! I was on the board this morning but it was an easy task - it was 10:00 a.m. until we got a couple of courts dry and people were slow to show up. By noon we had 24 people and all 5 courts filled so it was a fairly successful morning. It turned into a beautiful day, sunny and warm but quite windy. My new screen door kept blowing open, if you can believe. I hope it's not going to be a problem this summer. I took the cover off the air conditioning unit although I don't expect to be using it any time soon as the nights are still quite cool.


Tuesday 10 May 2016


    I have had a couple of nerve wracking days as my e-mail account was hacked on the weekend - my own fault, I clicked on something I shouldn't have. Everyone in my list of contacts got a message purporting to be from me saying I was stranded in the Philippines and needed cash to get home! I just hope no one fell for it as the message said I would repay them!

   I found out about it on Sunday and immediately changed my password. However, on Monday I also found my inbox was empty (very unusual) and Judy figured out that my mail had been forwarded to another e-mail address. She fixed it but I have no idea how many messages I've missed. I just hope there was nothing important!

   The weather continues sunny but cool. I did manage to sit outside for a while this afternoon but the wind is chilly. I never did get my jacket off at tennis this morning and there was a surprisingly small number of people at the courts. I went straight to Bridge lessons but only stayed until around 1:00 p.m. as I was almost falling asleep. Came home and had a nap then did a bit of weeding. Tomorrow is the pickup of garden refuse so I had a couple of bins filled.

   A nice dinner tonight - I baked a basa fillet with lemony green beans and a topping of chutney, wrapped in foil. It was perfectly cooked and very tasty. Basa doesn't have much taste so needs to be "gussied up". I had couscous and glazed carrots on the side.


Sunday 8 May 2016

Mother's Day

    The day started off sunny but cool - the wind felt like it was straight from the Arctic although it did get up to 16C this afternoon. I never did get out of my extra layers on the tennis court this morning although the others did. Home for 10:30 and spent half-an-hour waiting on the phone to ask Statistics Canada where my census form was. They are supposed to be returned, completed, by Tuesday. Seemingly some were late being sent so mine might be in that bunch. I will phone again on Tuesday if it has still not arrived.

   Lunch at Judy's - Dave cooked a turkey while she was doing a run, and delicious it was, with roasted veggies, kale salad, stuffing and cranberries. He's quite a talented cook! Coffee and dessert (mixed berry pie and ice cream) followed so I was well fed and came home with a beautiful Calla Lily from Steve. I also came home with the news that my e-mail account had been hacked - they all got messages that I was stranded in the Philippines and needed a cash transfer. I hope no one on my mailing list fell for it. I e-mailed everyone I could think of to let them know I was fine and at home. If I missed you, my apologies.

Friday 6 May 2016

Lovely Heat Under Blue Skies

   Glorious day (finally) with blue skies and a high of 21C. Out of the house by 8:00 a.m. and arrived at Don Mills by 8:25. The traffic was heavy but I made good time nevertheless. Lots of good tennis and I stayed until almost 12:00. Hit the ATM on the way home to pay for the screen for my walkout but the guy called later to say he couldn't make it until tomorrow. We settled on next Monday.

    Cut the back grass this afternoon ( it was very long) and then went up to the Mall to get my haircut.  Also picked up another two books at the library while I was there and printed the Minutes for the RTO AGM report - it is almost ready. I got a shock this afternoon while loading one of the reports - everything froze and for a few scary moments I couldn't save or quit! I should make a backup as I would hate to lose everything at this late stage.

   Leftover fish and mashed potatoes from yesterday for dinner but I am not hungry yet so will wait until later this evening - lots to read in the meantime!

Thursday 5 May 2016

On the Go

   After my usual breakfast of banana and peanut butter and some yogurt (my appetite is coming back), I had a busy day today but nothing monumental to report. First stop this morning was the drug store to pick up my pneumonia vaccine ($116) then straight to the doctor's office to have it injected. I should get 85% of that back from my medical insurance coverage. This all happened in quick sticks and I arrived at the tennis courts right on 9:00 a.m.

   Cathy, Kathy, Joe and I had a very close match - it came out 7-5 for the good guys (Joe and me). Then we sat around chatting until just before 11:00 a.m., mostly about Cathy's upcoming trip to Barcelona, one of my favourite cities. I told them about Senior Adventure Tours as I am planning to sign up for a trip to Costa Blanca in Spain in October. Maybe one of them will decide to take the trip with me!

    A quick lunch then off to Zumba class - what a workout! I was exhausted by the time it was over, and sweaty into the bargain. A few errands on the way home, then straight to bed for a nap and I really slept for once. Got up at 4:00 p.m. and did a bit of gardening - the weeds are taking over!

   Dinner tonight is a basa fillet which I will bake in foil with some tasty flavouring. To go with it will be peas and mashed potatoes but I will tuck a couple of asparagus spears from the garden in the package with the fish, my only asparagus so far. I think I will have an early night tonight - it's been a busy day!

Wednesday 4 May 2016

No Time To Blog

    I have been working on the notes for the RTO AGM later this month, hence my lack of blogging. It's about half done with people sending me their reports on a daily basis. I have finally figured out that I can import them to the document instead of printing them and retyping everything. The only problem is they are all in different fonts so have to be converted which sometimes causes problems.

   Going back to Sunday - I promised to bring you up to speed. It was an indoor day as it rained pretty well all day (thank goodness I had cut the back grass!) and into Monday. I spent most of the day in the kitchen - first lentil and carrot soup for lunch, then some scones (I had yogurt to use up) and, for dinner, cauliflower in a cheese sauce, with a crunchy topping, and pasta with spinach.

   Bridge on Monday afternoon - I had terrible cards - and dance group in the evening. At the break we discussed whether we needed to increase the $5 fee but came to the consensus that it would just stay the same for next year at least. Our final meeting is in two weeks and we will have a pot luck party.

   Tennis at Don Mills on Tuesday and it was a lovely day. Then I went straight to Bridge lessons where we were learning more conventions. I am getting a bit out of my depth so won't take any more lessons until next year in an attempt to consolidate what I have learned so far.

   Skipped the early fitness class today as I was feeling a bit queasy but made it to the 11:15 class. I stopped that at 12:00 to head into the coffee bar and served coffee, tea and meat pies until 3:00. Then home for a nap and a light supper (eggs and toast) as I was still not feeling hungry.

Sunday 1 May 2016

Junk Food

    Well, it wasn't all junk food but more than I usually eat and a little less healthy. It started on Thursday when I attended the RTO lunch and travelogue. The meal was chicken breast and vegetables and I left most of the mashed potatoes, but - oh, the dessert! - it was a scrumptious chocolate mousse and I almost licked the plate clean! I can't remember what I ate at dinner time but it was probably salad as I was still pretty full from lunch.

   The travelogue was particularly interesting to me as it started in Lisbon which I visited in 2015. I saw many of the places that were familiar from that trip and some I would like to visit if I go there again. I had forgotten much of my trip but the beautiful photos brought it all back.

   On Friday I attended the AGM of the Senior's group I belong to. It was a rather tedious affair but we were surprised with a pizza lunch when it was over - and cake! As well as the pizza there were fruit and veggie platters and we got two humungous slices of pizza. I brought one home along with the usual free pasta. We are so well looked after!

    I was up in Markham to babysit the grandkids in the evening and had dinner with them - beef tacos with lots of fresh veggies - I ate all the red peppers - and corn and beans. Natalie and I had two tacos but the boys each had three. I am so glad they have good appetites. I was home by 10:30 and peckish again so had the extra slice of pizza before going to bed.

   Saturday dawned sunny and pleasant which was good news as it was the opening of the tennis club. I was there by 9:30, gasping for some coffee but had to play a set before it was ready. Someone had brought Timbits so I indulged again (twice). After some more tennis lunch was served - another big meal - huge sausages in a bun, green and pasta salads, corn and beans and some more delicious desserts. Although there was plenty of fruit, my favourites were chocolate brownie and lemon squares - I had several of each (they were small!).

    In the evening I attended the final monthly dance of the season and worked the 50-50 draw table. The winner got $95. At the intermission (which included tea, sandwiches and more brownies and lemon squares) we were called to order for the AGM and this was a very well run affair and was over in no time. So we were soon back on the dance floor for the rest of the program.

   Today has been wet and miserable so I have had a day at home but I think I will write about that tomorrow. Stay tuned!