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Friday, 30 September 2016

My Birthday

      I have already had one celebration of my birthday - last week when Steve took me out for lunch and chopped up my dead Mountain Ash tree. Today was full of treats (actually it started yesterday when I went out for lunch with my friends from Probus). This morning, on my way home from tennis I stopped in at Starbucks for my free birthday treat which was a double bacon, cheddar and egg sandwich - that, with a bowl of my homemade squash and apple soup, was lunch. Then, after a nap to digest my lunch, I met Judy at Marlowe's for a 5-course dinner with a glass of wine!

    The drive to Richmond Hill was stressful - the 404 highway was stop and go but I got there on time. My starter was Caesar salad, next came an appetizer of spicy ribs (Judy had seafood). After we had digested that the main course arrived. I had Australian lamb shanks with garlic mashed potatoes and roasted veggies and Judy had Surf and Turf. After a longer break we were asked for our choice of dessert. Judy chose a coffee and chocolate brownie to go (for Dave I suspect) and I chose Crème Brulee which was delicious! By then we were both thoroughly stuffed and eventually rolled out to the parking lot and drove home. I also got a box of Girl Guide cookies from Natalie - my favourite kind, chocolate covered mint. I will have to put them away for a special treat another time.

   Luckily I had a good workout at tennis this morning. It was cool and very windy which meant we had to work a bit harder but I managed 4 sets and had good partners. People trickled in slowly, due to the threat of rain, and we had to play pretty continuously - no sitting around gossiping, just time for a quick coffee between sets. The coffee urn was on the blink again but luckily I had thought to bring the spare one from my dance group. Only drawback, I had to wait until it was empty before I could leave as I had to take it with me!

    All in all it was a fun birthday with lots of celebrations. I am still stuffed so thank goodness it only happens once a year!

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Running Out of Nice Days

   Rain pretty much all day so we wouldn`t have been able to play tennis even if I didn`t have other plans. The local courts are now open again, after being resurfaced, so we may get to use them on Sunday. Meanwhile I have my fingers crossed that the rain will have moved on by tomorrow so I can go to Don Mills.

    Probus club this morning and the speaker was most interesting, explaining about her problems navigating the medical system on behalf of her husband. She has written a book about it, `The Fight of Our Life`. After, I went out for lunch with Bonnie, Diane and Elizabeth; we went to Red Lobster and I had Langoustine and Lobster Bisque. It was delicious especially with several hot buns!

    I had a lazy afternoon snoozing and reading - I picked up an interesting book at the Probus book sale about 19th century housekeepers on the big estates of England. It`s quite a change from my usual reading material. I did go out between showers to pick the last of the rhubarb to freeze for later use.

    I didn`t need a big dinner tonight so I just defrosted half a dozen shrimp and fried them up in garlic butter with some mushrooms and tomatoes. A squirt of lemon juice and I had another delicious meal - two for two!

   A couple of my favourite shows on TV tonight so I am all set for a relaxed evening on the couch.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

First Book Club of the Year

   Cooler today and a bit of a wind but I went out without a jacket around noon and was quite comfortable. I had a quiet morning at home, pottering around, until it was time to go to the senior's centre for my shift in the coffee bar. No one had come in for the morning shift so I was immediately at work. I had hoped to have half-an-hour for a coffee and cookie but that didn't happen.

    I closed at 2:00 p.m. as I was due at Book Club for 2:15. I was a little late but everyone was still getting settled with coffee or tea when I got there. We had a lively discussion - the book was "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks", a non-fiction  book which, if you haven't read it, you really should try.

    Nothing much on TV tonight although there is an old episode of "Call the Midwife" at 9:00. That will do. Salmon for dinner with a cauliflower mash and peas.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

A Perfect Fall Day

   Just a few clouds in an otherwise beautifully blue sky - and the temperature was just right. I had a bit of a late start due to insomnia but was out of the house by 8:45 and at the courts around 9:15, not as much traffic. I think I will start later from now on.

    It was quite busy due, in part, to the pleasant weather, but I got in three sets. The coffee urn was acting up again but, luckily, after the coffee was made and drunk. We made an extra pot in the small coffee maker and on my way home I went down to the church and picked up the spare one to use on Friday. Only one problem - someone brought in Timbits which I cannot resist, so now I am trying to compensate for indulging!

   A quiet afternoon resting and gardening, but the wind came up and some clouds moved in so I didn't stay outdoors for very long. The garden can wait!

Monday, 26 September 2016

A Rainy Day

   Rain off and on most of the day (very heavy for half-an-hour while I was playing bridge) but I did manage to walk to the senior's centre and back in between showers. My timing was exemplary! Big surprise, Pinky had a Grand Slam - that doesn't happen very often and she was thrilled!

   No breakfast until 9:45 this morning as I had to fast before my ultrasound. I was starving by the time I got home and fried up some tomato slices which went in a sandwich with a hard boiled egg. This was followed by coffee and toast with marmalade and this whole concoction acted as breakfast and lunch. I took half an apple and some veggies to bridge but succumbed to the temptation of a coffee and a cookie between hands. So no pre-dinner snacks today, just a bowl of soup and some crackers and cheese before I head out to dance group. However, I will be taking the leftover sandwiches from Saturday's dance so may have one (or two) of them at the tea break.

   It is getting very dark again so I think there will be another deluge. Time to find my rain gear!

Sunday, 25 September 2016

A Couple of Busy Days

    The DMTC banquet on Friday was a blast! I even got up on the dance floor although that didn't last long. The buffet was as good as usual and I managed to restrict myself to only one return visit and just fruit and one chocolate treat for dessert. Nevertheless, I went home stuffed and didn't eat again until late Saturday morning.

    A quiet day on Saturday until 6:15 p.m. when I went to Metro to pick up the sandwich tray. I was too early at the dance as I had mixed up the time but at least I had time to set up before people started arriving. I only sat out two dances and even managed the tricky ones (with a little help). There were leftover sandwiches which I brought home and stored in the freezer for a special treat at our social group on Monday.

   Today has been an "at home" day and I got a start on the Fall cleanup by using my weed whacker to trim all the borders in the back yard. It's a job that needs to be done after the pool is covered as it makes a bit of a mess, but the garden is looking much tidier. I still have the raspberry bushes to cut back and later, when frost is imminent, the vegetable patch. There are still some tomatoes ripening but I may have to pick them while they are still green.

   I have to have a fat free dinner tonight (whatever that means - everything seems to have some fat in it!) but I will try with a piece of baked fish and plain vegetables. Then I have to fast until it is time for my ultrasound tomorrow morning. After that I will come home and have a very fatty breakfast!

Friday, 23 September 2016

Fall Is Coming

Only 19C and overcast all day, and we had rain this morning. I spent 45 minutes driving to tennis only to play two games (about 10 minutes) before the rain began in earnest. However, I wasn't the only loony-tunes to show up and twelve of us had coffee and a chat before heading back home.

    Out to the lab for my ECG this afternoon, and then a bit of gardening in between showers. In about half an hour I need to get "gussied up" for the tennis club banquet so am trying to restrain myself from spoiling my appetite by nibbling (well, maybe one more glass of sherry!). The Donalda Club, where we have the banquet, always has a nice buffet dinner and a beautiful spread of desserts. I won't stay late, just long enough for the toasts and presentations - and there are usually a few door prizes. I will take my camera and try to get some photos.

   Meanwhile I must check put the videos of the dances we will be expected to know for tomorrow's monthly dance. Some are quite tricky and I will need to have my wits about me if I don't want to mess things up! Wish me luck.

   I see I have over 9,000 views of my blog since I started writing it. I wonder why I never get any comments. Any takers?

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Some Checkups

    Non-stop yesterday - New Retirees brunch at Bluffer's Restaurant in the morning, then straight to the senior's centre for my duty in the coffee bar. We had a meeting to improve the standard of cleanliness, but only three of us showed up, and we are the ones who wanted things improved! Most of the other volunteers are rather set in their ways and are unlikely to change. It's hard to lay down rules when you are working with volunteers as there is no incentive to improve. There have been complaints about food handling and we are to wear rubber gloves when we are filling the cookie trays or preparing the meat pies.

   In the evening I went to Petronella. Maureen taught us a few of the dances on Saturday night's program but also a couple of new, tricky dances which will need more practice. It was a good night nevertheless.

   I set off early for the lab for a chest X-ray this morning and had trouble finding it as it was in the East end. I also have an EKG tomorrow and an ultrasound on Monday (all routine tests) but that should be it for another couple of years. It's good to get it all over with. The rest of the day was reading, sleeping and making a batch of sugar cookies. I used the culinary lavender I bought last week and it did give them an unusual, subtle flavour. Fish for dinner tonight - I am trying to eat light as I will be out for dinner both tomorrow and Saturday. Then it will be a few days of dieting!

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Autumn Equinox

   In case I forget, tomorrow is the autumn equinox, the half way point between the Summer and Winter Solstice, and traditionally the start of autumn. It hardly feels autumnal today with the temperature still hitting 27C most days and the nights in the high to mid teens. I can't go in the back yard at the moment as my neighbour has a barbecue belching out smoke to roast her huge crop of red peppers. My red peppers have done well this year but nothing compared to her humungous crop!

    I have made a batch of spinach dip using kale from the garden in place of the spinach and am snacking on it now. It's got garlic, feta cheese and chopped red peppers in it and is quite delicious with tostitos. That just might be dinner tonight as I was out for lunch today. It was RWTO lunch and we had salad, very tender roast beef (with horseradish this time), potatoes and vegetables followed by ice cream in some sort of pancake and coffee. Another meal out tomorrow then I must cut back. I'm scared to step on the scales!

A beautiful rose in my garden - no scent, unfortunately.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Trying to Use Up the Kale

     Yesterday Norton 360 (my security app) wouldn't let me in to any of the blogs I follow, including my own! I think they were trying to sell me a new version but at least I can now check in on everybody. I wonder if they also had the same experience.

    I had my last swim in the pool yesterday (actually two) and would have swum today, after cutting the back grass, except I had arranged for the pool guys to come this morning to drain the system and put the cover on. I thought we were done with the hot weather and called them last week. Next September, if it is as warm as this year, I will leave it open a few more weeks. The water was getting a bit on the cool side (this morning it was just 70F) but when you're hot, it is very refreshing. It's been pretty hot today and at 5:00 p.m. it is still 27C.

   Bi-annual checkup with my rheumatologist this morning and he has sent me for some tests later this week. Other than that he is quite pleased with my state of health and I don't have to see him again until April. After my visit with him I went to the Mall to order a sandwich tray for Saturday's monthly dance (it's our group's turn to contribute food) and then got my hair cut.

   Nothing much for dinner tonight - maybe some butternut squash soup which I made this afternoon - as I am going out quite early to dance group. We always have tea and treats around 8:30 so I don't need a proper dinner. Right now I am steaming some kale from the garden and will use it in a dip tomorrow. There is still loads left and I will have to try to come up with some inventive ways to use it!

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Two Meals Out

      Judy had asked me to "usher" at the theatre last night so we met at Panera Bread for a light dinner. I had a delicious squash soup and a Chinese Citrus and Cashew Salad. Judy has been helping out with props at the theatre and even got her name on the program. The play was quite funny and the ushering duties were pretty easy.

    Steve came over with his chain saw this morning to take down the dead Mountain Ash tree in my front yard. It was quite rotted inside. Unfortunately it started to rain just after he arrived so we were quite soaked and finally had to stop when the rain got really heavy. We moved all the branches into the garage and finished the job in there.

   We took a break around noon and went up to "Eggsmart" for lunch - Steve's treat as my birthday is coming up. I had an omelet with a big glass of orange juice, followed by toast and coffee. No need for anything else until 8:00 p.m. when I made a tomato and feta salad, cooked a corn cob and sautéed some shrimp in garlic butter. That should keep me until tomorrow's breakfast!

Thursday, 15 September 2016

First Round of Golf

    This summer has really been too hot to be on the golf course but this morning was so nice and fresh I got out my golf clubs and headed down to Dentonia, the par 3 course I like. The first few holes were quite good but I got more puffed as the round went on. It's a very hilly course. I joined another couple of ladies so it was nice to have company.

   Home by 12:30 and spent the rest of the day napping and reading - no energy for house work or gardening!

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

A Mixture of Weather

   The day started cool and overcast and soon there was rain (not much). By the time I left the volunteer appreciation lunch at the seniors' centre the sun was out and it actually felt quite hot.

   After the big lunch - salad, steak and veg, and a delicious strawberry shortcake - I didn't need much before I went to Petronella but I made a grilled egg and cheese sandwich when I got home.

   Before lunch I went by the garden centre and picked up a couple of small 'mums front my front porch planter. It's looking much better although the plants need to open up a bit before I can get a photo.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Change In the Weather

It was quite hot on the tennis courts today but it clouded over around noon and now there is quite a strong wind. I had opened all the windows last night and the house cooled down to about 19C. It is only 21C indoors at the moment and I have put on my vest and a pair of socks!

    Bridge yesterday was lots of fun and some good hands. I had a small slam (12 tricks). Unfortunately we had only bid to the 4 level (10 tricks) but I was quite pleased with myself. Last night was the beginning of the Country dancing season but we had a very poor turnout - only 7 paid although 11 attended. Next week must be better! I am going to the Petronella group tomorrow so that I will get a chance to practice all the dances for the monthly dance next Saturday.

    I haven't been very good with my diet recently and tomorrow is the Volunteer Appreciation lunch at the senior's centre. So tonight I am having a very light meal - fish in foil with kale and Za'atar spice and peas on the side. I will have a couple of mini butter tarts for dessert (my one treat today) as I also had a light lunch of soup, crackers and cheese.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Home Made Dinner

    It has rained off and on all day and is still sprinkling. At one point this afternoon the wind was coming in strong gusts and I had to close the awning in case it blew away.  It was still warm but is cooling off now. I didn't need the A/C at all today which is good news.

    I finished my current book this afternoon and it had a very satisfying ending. I noticed it is on the best seller list this week. Now I have started a P.D. James book, "The Murder Room". I am a great fan of her books.

   I did manage a bit of gardening this afternoon but didn't need a swim after. I tried out a new meal for dinner tonight - crab spring rolls. When I cleaned out the freezer last week I found some wrappers so defrosted them today and made up a vegetable mix to which I added a can of crab meat. They were a bit greasy (I had to use olive oil in which to fry them) but were quite tasty, especially with plum sauce for dipping. There's some left for tomorrow.

Friday, 9 September 2016

TGIF

    I had to be at the tennis courts by 8:15 this morning but the traffic was horrible and I was almost late. However, the coffee was brewing by the time I had one set and the rest of the morning I was manning the board so didn't play again. It was still very hot (29C) so I was quite happy to sit in the shade.

   Nothing else on the agenda today so I spent the afternoon reading and cooling off in the pool. It clouded over around 4:00 p.m. so there was some respite from the heat and I watered the garden and pulled a few weeds - nothing too strenuous. Tonight there are the men's semi-finals to watch but I may switchover to something else if they are not too interesting. I have had my fill of tennis this week!

Thursday, 8 September 2016

No Sign of Fall

    I had a long day yesterday, only getting home just before 8:00 p.m. We had spent the day in Prince Edward County on a Wine and Cheese tour but, unfortunately, I forgot my camera. It was very hot but we were mostly in the air conditioned bus and buildings. I got some nippy cheese, two bottles of wine and a packet of culinary lavender from a lavender farm. We had a tasty lunch at a winery with several "tastings" followed by a tour of the winery. There was a huge thunderstorm on the way home that slowed us up a bit but it was dry again by the time we got back to the drop off area.

    More rain overnight but it is still very hot. Today was a quieter day as I just had the RTO meeting in the morning, home for an early lunch then the last Zumba class. Since then I have been reading "The Couple Next Door" by Shari Lapena. From the first few chapters I think it may be in the same genre as "Gone Girl", a book (and movie) I enjoyed last year. I can't put it down!

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Summer Continues

   The traffic was appalling on the way to the tennis courts this morning. Thank goodness I wasn't trying to get to work, I would have been totally frazzled. I tried several roads but what with construction and traffic light malfunctions, not one was travelling fast. Then, when I arrived there was no coffee! Luckily I had an emergency stash in the freezer so we got that going lickety split. It was fearfully hot and humid and I was not on my best game but had a nice cooling swim when I got home.

   Since then it has been reading or watching tennis on TV - too hot to work in the garden - at one point my outside thermometer registered 36C - but had a second swim just an hour ago and feel refreshed. The house is staying quite cool but tomorrow's high may put an end to that - it's supposed to be 32C. 

   Leftover chicken thighs (my favourite Tuscan chicken recipe) for dinner and I have already snacked on an artichoke and asiago dip so I won' be going hungry.

Monday, 5 September 2016

Labour Day

     Traditionally viewed as the last day of summer although it doesn't officially end for a few weeks yet, Labour Day is the last chance children and their parents to enjoy each other's company before school starts again. The weather  continues to be quite hot (29C today) so it is nice to still have the pool open so I can cool off!

    Attended the tennis social at Don Mills this morning and played from 9:30 to almost noon with a couple of coffee breaks. Then we were served lunch - big sausages in buns, salad and potato salad, followed by chocolate cake and watermelon. I am still not very hungry but I brought home an extra sausage to have once I feel peckish.

   A quiet afternoon, reading and watching an exciting tennis match on TV. More tennis this evening will complete my day. Tomorrow I will be laughing all the way to the tennis courts, as I pass all the schools filled with teachers and students on their first day back at work. Poor things - it's even worse when the weather is still nice!

Saturday, 3 September 2016

An Expensive Summer

   I got my hydro bill the other day for the last two months - over $400! I compared this with last year and it was about $30 more, which can be explained by increased use of the A/C, so quite acceptable. Nevertheless, it is a bit of a shock!

   I treated myself to a brunch sandwich from McDonald's as I had a coupon. It was very tasty and came with a free coffee. I made cauliflower soup when I got home from shopping and that was plenty for lunch. Dinner today is my version of a fatousch salad - cucumber, tomato, peppers, olives, salami and feta cheese topped with toasted pita chips and a lemon vinaigrette.

   Another lovely day with sunny skies and pleasant temperatures. I did get in the pool after doing a bit of gardening but the water was chilly, just 76C. I have been spoiled this month with it being mostly in the 80's.

Friday, 2 September 2016

A Change For the Better

    After a great night's sleep I woke to cooler temperatures and no humidity. It was so pleasant on the tennis courts that I played 4 sets and didn't head home until almost noon. Everyone was commenting on how welcome the fresh weather was. The high today was 23C and the overnight temperature will be in the low 'teens. It was still warm enough for a swim but the pool will get progressively cooler this week. I may not be swimming for much longer.

   After lunch and a nap I watched some tennis from the US Open, read my book then cut the back grass. Then more tennis until it was time to fix dinner. So quite a busy, productive day.

   An interesting phone call yesterday. Someone with a foreign accent left me a message telling me to return their call or the police would be dispatched to arrest me! I presume it is one of these pesky scammers purporting to be calling from CRA. I'm just glad I wasn't home to take the call. I generally only answer calls from numbers I recognize anyway. I figure if it's important they will leave a message. Thank goodness for call display and answering machines!

Thursday, 1 September 2016

A Day of Good Workouts

   It's only 19C right now and the high today was just 23c, quite the coolest day we've had all summer and appropriate for September 1st. We were able to play two sets of tennis this morning as it was quite cool to start with. First I played with Chan (we lost 6-3) then we switched partners and Stan and I won. It was an unusual set - first we were up 3-0, then we lost the next 4 games and finally got to the tiebreak which we won 7-5. I was amazed I managed two sets as my hip was aching. This will be our last Thursday for a while as the courts are being resurfaced, starting next Tuesday.

   Zumba this afternoon was a killer but my hip held up. Only one more class! However, since then I have been vegging in bed with my book or in front of the TV watching the US Open. No big upsets - all the remaining seeds survived.

   Fish in a cheese sauce with peas and green beans on the side. Enough left for tomorrow.