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Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Still Mild

    Double digit (11C) weather again today, but rainy, and I heard that Windsor (the most southerly point in Canada at Latitude 42 degrees) got up to 18C! Hard to believe for the last day of November.

   My usual Wednesday - fitness class at 9:00 and again at 11:15 (although the second one I only stay for 30 minutes as my shift in the coffee bar starts at 12:00), then serving coffee and snacks for a couple of hours. However, I closed up early and went to Book Club. We had a great discussion of "The Illegal" by Lawrence Hill (a Canadian author) although most people had some misgivings about it. His first book "Book of Negroes" was so well written that I think quite a few of us were disappointed that this one didn't quite meet expectations. At least it engendered strong opinions which made for an interesting afternoon!

    Last night's fish dish was not the unqualified success I had expected, but I finished it tonight with a broccoli casserole, followed by a perfectly ripe kiwi. Now I am stuffed and definitely won't need any more food tonight!

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

A Productive Day

   The bad news - Frank, our Bridge teacher didn't show up for the lesson today. Hope nothing serious is the matter. The good news - there were enough of us to play a few hands so we had a pleasant two hours. That was to have been our last lesson and I am in two minds whether to sign up for the next session starting in January. I will think about it over the break.

    I had done my shopping before the class started and was home by noon, just in time to do a bit of yard work before lunch. I got the last of the leaves binned, and cut back a couple of evergreens that were looking rather bushy and encroaching on my neighbours yard. He will be happy! I even sat out in the sun and decided it was warm enough to have lunch at the picnic table. It was 15C, sunny and only a slight breeze. I wonder if that will be a record for November 29th. Can't believe Thursday will be the start of December.

   After a nap I tackled another Christmas chore - mincemeat tarts. They turned out beautifully and will go in the freezer until needed. I think the secret is to spray the pan with cooking spray as not one of them stuck.


Enough for everyone!


   Dinner tonight is an inspiration - basa fillet baked with onions, mushrooms, salsa and grated cheese. It should be delicious. Stop by tomorrow for the verdict and some photos!

Monday, 28 November 2016

Out And About

   Still feeling a bit queasy and have hardly eaten anything so far today. Unfortunately, my pills are supposed to be swallowed with food so I had to force down some yogurt for breakfast. Lunch was half an apple and dinner will be an egg and some toast.

    However, I didn`t let my queasy stomach stop me from going to Have-a-Java club this morning! This was the inaugural meeting so I didn`t want to miss it. 23 people showed up, quite a few familiar faces and some I hadn`t seen in a while so it was a very social couple of hours. The location is ideal for our group and there`s lots of parking so we will be returning in January for our next meeting. I went straight from there to Bridge and played with Maria - not our best day but we will blame it on the cards.

   Tonight is the St. Andrew`s Day party at dance group and I am in charge of refreshments. I iced some Empire biscuits this afternoon and will take the tablet I made on Friday. Thank goodness I got everything done before I got sick!

Don`t they look yummy!


Sunday, 27 November 2016

Change of Plans

   This was supposed to be a busy weekend but now I have had a change of plans due to a stomach bug which hit me right after lunch. I was fine this morning but now am shivery and nauseous, no way could I make it to Donna`s birthday celebration! I slept most of the afternoon and took some Pepto-bismal which should stop some of the symptoms.

    Yesterday was busy as I had an afternoon ticket for `Don Giovanni` at Cineplex, on their `Live From the Met` series. It was quite spectacular although I think I nodded off during one of the longer arias! I got home around 4:00 and had a short nap before heading over to Cathie and Frank`s for dinner. There were seven of us altogether so it was a convivial meal. I just hope that wasn`t what made me sick today. No more food for me until tomorrow!

Friday, 25 November 2016

A Productive Day

    I was a busy little bee in the kitchen today, starting at 8:00 a.m. preparing breadcrumbs and dried fruit (soaking it in brandy and Marsala) for the Christmas plum pudding. After I got home from fitness class around 11:00 a.m. I got mixing and had the pudding steamy shortly after.

   After lunch and a short nap I decided to try my hand at making tablet, a delicious sugary Scottish treat! It requires lots of sugar and a can of condensed milk. Unfortunately I grabbed a chocolate version from the cupboard and had it open before I realized - of course, the fact it was brown instead of creamy yellow was a definite clue!

    Once I got the right ingredients in the pan it was just a matter of stir, stir, stir (25 minutes) until it was thickened. In fact I think I let it go a bit too long but it turned out OK. Now the problem is to try to avoid nibbling on it before I take it to our St. Andrew's Day party on Monday.

    So now the plum pudding is wrapped and maturing in the cupboard, that's one course of Christmas Day lunch taken care of!  

     

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Just a Quick Post

    Fitness classes this morning and the afternoon spent behind the counter at the coffee bar. It wasn`t too busy so I had plenty of time to read my book.

   Temperature still hovering around zero and we are expected to get some snowfall overnight but it will turn to rain later and tomorrow is to be slightly warmer. I hope all the snow melts and we have a few mild days as I`m not ready for winter yet!

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

A Busy Few Days

Sunday and today I was out from early morning to early evening but I managed a morning at home on Monday. The weather has been bitterly cold - temperatures hovering at or just below freezing and a very strong north wind. It felt like it was coming directly from the North Pole. We're just not ready for this cold yet!

    Into the bargain there was a reasonable amount of snow to contend with although not enough that it required shovelling. Hopefully it will all be gone later in the week when it's supposed to be a bit milder. One can only hope. I spent Sunday with the grandkids - it was Natalie's birthday so I stayed for dinner and cake (actually 3 as It was Steve and Alison's birthdays a few days previously and Judy made them each a cake.

    I have managed to stay warm without burning too much fuel. Monday afternoon I spent at the Senior's Centre playing Bridge and I was back there again today for the Bridge class. This morning I played tennis at Hendrina and Carol's condo and we were sweating after an hour and a half. After Bridge class I did a bit of shopping ( buying the ingredients for the plum pudding) and then went to Cineplex to see "Arrival" - a very confusing film which I don't think should have received four stars. I will have to ask someone who has also seen it to explain it to me.

   I got home around 6:30, had a quick dinner of leftovers, and am now cosily tucked up by the fire, watching TV. Nothing much on tonight but since I didn't have a nap, I think I will have an early night.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

A New Recipe

    Quite a change in the weather today, 7C this morning, dull with a few raindrops, down to 4C by the afternoon and will probably be close to freezing overnight.

   I slept in again this morning - it was 8:45 before I surfaced. I had a late night last night as I was "ushering" at Markham theatre for the production of "Doubt" and didn't turn off the light until 11:30. It was well into the play before I realized it was the script from the movie of the same name which I saw a couple of years ago. The acting was excellent and I thoroughly enjoyed it, especially since the ushering duties are minimal.

   With the late start to the day I felt behind the 8-ball all morning. But I did get all my chores taken care of before lunch, had a nap then watched the semifinals of the tennis. The Murray/Raonic match was extremely close but Murray won in the final tiebreak. Too bad for the Canadian! The other match was rather one sided so it will be Murray and Djokovic in the final tomorrow.

   Chicken legs and veggies roasting in the oven but I have been nibbling so won't eat for another hour. Forsyte Saga on TV at 8:00 - I have ordered the series from the library as I missed a couple of episodes while on holiday - and I've had the gas fire on so the room is nice and cozy. I am currently watching an Italian chef cook a simple version of Eggplant Parmigiana and it looks so easy and tasty I might just try it. Reminder to self - buy an eggplant and some pecorino cheese tomorrow! Now he's cooking stuffed calamari but I think I'll give that a pass.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Kept on my Toes

   A busy morning - I slept late but was showered, fed (half a banana with peanut butter and some yogurt) and out for fitness class by 8:45! Left there around 10:30 after coffee (two cookies) and chat, and stopped off at the plaza for a birthday card for Natalie. I decided to hop into the drug store to get my 'flu shot which took a while but I was home by 11:30. A quick change then back out to rake leaves and generally tidy the garden. All my bins are now full, in fact I had to store the last of the leaves in plastic bags (can't put them out) and will transfer them to the bins after Wednesday's pickup.

    It was an extremely nice day so I sat out in the sun, reading the newspaper, until lunch time (half an apple and a bowl of carrot lentil soup) and was quite ready for a nap after all that activity and fresh air. Right now I am watching tennis from London - they're in the third set so it won't be long - then I plan to make a quiche or frittata with cheese, tomato and red pepper. Then the cupboard will be virtually bare, ready for grocery shopping tomorrow.

     Valencia: the old and the new.






Thursday, 17 November 2016

Socializing

Lots of colourful houses by the sea in Villajoyosa, south of Benidorm. We took the train there.
   Another mild, sunny day with the high around 12C.  Probus meeting this morning - the speaker was from "Dignitas", telling us how to pre-plan our funerals! But I had a nice chat with friends over coffee, signed up for next week's lunch at "The Pickle Barrel" and won a freezer lunch bag which won't go wrong. So worthwhile attending despite the depressing subject matter (one friend went home before the speaker - couldn't stand being forced to think of such a morbid topic).

    I had to wait in for the furnace guy this afternoon so didn't get to enjoy the nice weather. However, he got my gas fire started for the winter so I am nice and cozy again. The remote isn't working but he showed me how to start it manually so I guess that will do for now. I only use it in the evenings to warm up the family room while I'm watching TV.

    Thursday is a good night on TV so that's what I will be doing shortly. Fried fish, Brussel sprouts and mushrooms (from last night) for dinner and I think I will fry up half a tomato for a bit of colour. Also must remember to eat the red peppers I bought this week as the last lot got soft before I got around to them. Trying to eat more vegetables and less carbs is tricky!

   More photos:


Underwater fish viewing while visiting Benidorm island - we were crowded into a little submarine.

Sunrise from my balcony - quite spectacular some mornings!


Socializing

Lots of colourful houses by the sea in Villajoyosa, south of Benidorm. We took the train there.
   Another mild, sunny day with the high around 12C.  Probus meeting this morning - the speaker was from "Dignitas", telling us how to pre-plan our funerals! But I had a nice chat with friends over coffee, signed up for next week's lunch at "The Pickle Barrel" and won a freezer lunch bag which won't go wrong. So worthwhile attending despite the depressing subject matter (one friend went home before the speaker - couldn't stand being forced to think of such a morbid topic).

    I had to wait in for the furnace guy this afternoon so didn't get to enjoy the nice weather. However, he got my gas fire started for the winter so I am nice and cozy again. The remote isn't working but he showed me how to start it manually so I guess that will do for now. I only use it in the evenings to warm up the family room while I'm watching TV.

    Thursday is a good night on TV so that's what I will be doing shortly. Fried fish, Brussel sprouts and mushrooms (from last night) for dinner and I think I will fry up half a tomato for a bit of colour. Also must remember to eat the red peppers I bought this week as the last lot got soft before I got around to them. Trying to eat more vegetables and less carbs is tricky!

   More photos:


Underwater fish viewing while visiting Benidorm island - we were crowded into a little submarine.

Sunrise from my balcony - quite spectacular some mornings!


Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Tennis on TV

     Firstly an addendum to yesterday's post. I forgot to mention that after the RWTO lunch yesterday, the entertainment, a flute ensemble, had us singing along to carols. They played so well that it was no effort to join in and sing along. Yesterday was also the day for our members to bring in Christmas gifts which will be distributed to needy families by our local police station which does a huge toy drive next month.

   Today started off mild (14C) but rainy. However, it dried up in the afternoon and the temperature dropped to around 10C. I think we have some colder weather coming. I took some paperbacks into the Senior's Centre this morning prior to my exercise class. They sell them for the princely sum of 25 cents to raise money for special events.

    It has been a great week for tennis on TV as the Sports channel has been showing the Masters tournament from London. Usually there is a dearth of tennis matches on our channels but I guess this is of sufficient importance to earn coverage. This round robin contest showcases the top eight players of the year battling for the top spot and there is a Canadian in the mix. He's not doing too well but there are still several matches to go.

     One last photo from my garden which I took a couple of days ago. The plant, echinicea, is now cut back and smothered with mulch to ensure it survives the freezing winter temperatures.


    I have eaten lightly today (except for a couple of cookies as I was working the coffee bar) and I have a nice piece of fish to cook for dinner. I think I will coat it in a breadcrumb mixture and fry it. That should keep me until tomorrow's breakfast.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

A New Assignment

   Another Christmas first today - turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce at the RWTO lunch; it also included salad, mashed potatoes and buttered carrots - all delicious. It was followed by apple pie and coffee which I haven't had in some time so I was a very happy camper!    

I have taken over the name tags assignment at the lunches and came home with a box of tags ready for January's lunch. I'm hoping to have some help as I plan to keep on the book sale table - can't be in two places at the same time.

   Another beautiful Fall day with a high of 13C. We have been truly blessed with mild weather this Fall. Long may it continue.

   Some more photos from my trip:

View from a mountain summit north of Benidorm.

A Salvador Dali statue in the town hall of Alicante. That's where he was born.

Me, after climbing Benidorm Island. It took about 20 minutes.


Monday, 14 November 2016

Say It's Not True!

    Last Friday my first Christmas card arrived in the mail, and today I noticed my neighbours across the road have lit their Christmas lights. C'mon guys, it's still only November! I haven't even made the plum pudding and it's supposed to soak for six weeks!

   Bridge this afternoon and Marie and I had terrible cards. We only played two hands but made the contract both times. June and Pinky had all the good hands but we put them down a couple of times when they were overconfident.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

The Weekend

   Didn't even get the computer fired up at all yesterday as I was at the RSCDS tea dance all afternoon. It was quite dark by the time I got home so I just had a quick dinner and settled in front of the TV.

   Today has been sunny and quite mild. After a late breakfast of a boiled egg, toast and coffee, and a few chores, I was out in the garden doing the last of the preparations for winter. I raided the composter for some compost to cover the plants and then cleaned up the deck. I even sat out enjoying the sun for half-an-hour; there was quite a bit of heat in it. Soup for lunch then a short nap and I have been reading ever since  "The Last Child" by John Hart - not my usual choice of book but I am enjoying it.

   Chicken and green beans for dinner - the chicken is already cooked so just the green beans to prepare, my kind of cooking! I am watching Lidia prepare stuffed eggplants on her TV show. They look delicious, but too much work for me to be bothered with!

   As promised (finally!) some photos from my recent vacation.

There were lots of palm trees in Benidorm and many interesting walks. This was in the old town.


The view from my hotel room. I was on the 7th floor. On the horizon is Benidorm Island which we visited.

Exercise class on the beach.  This only happened on the weekend. Usually the beach was much quieter.


Friday, 11 November 2016

Wednesday November 9

    Depressing start to the day - the results of the U.S. election was not what I was hoping for. 'Nuff said!

    I am feeling slightly better today but didn't have a very good nights sleep so I went down to the drugstore today for something to dry up my sniffles and repress the cough. I also got a coffee at Tim Horton's using my TH card. I love free stuff!

   I decided to skip fitness class this morning and stayed in bed an extra hour. I also had a nap this afternoon so feel more rested now. Just as well I have some good books to read!

Almost Better

   This is the first day I have felt more like my normal self although still a bit stuffed up. I went to fitness class this morning and almost didn't manage to keep  it up for an hour. Either I am out of practice, having been away from it for three weeks, or my lung capacity is slightly reduced. But I hung in and managed to keep going at an easier pace.

   Nothing else on the schedule - it was bitterly cold this morning, although the sun was shining, and got even colder this afternoon, so no outdoor chores today.  I got out all my winter woollies yesterday, and had gloves on for the first time this year. The weekend is supposed to be warmer and my main job is to put compost on the roses and other delicate perrenials.

   Yesterday I raked the front lawn and bagged up a ton of leaves ready for the next pickup. The grass got its final mowing but I will need to rake again (unless it snows first) as all the leaves aren't down yet.

   Still eating chicken but I made a brocolli casserole with lots of cheese, onions and roasted red peppers. It was yummy!

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

A Bad Cold

   Feeling a bit under the weather today - it started with a scratchy throat yesterday and now I am sniffling and sneezing and a bit shivery. I had to go out this morning to the RTO meeting but went straight to bed when I got home and slept until 4:00 p.m. I think I will skip Fitness class tomorrow unless I am feeling considerably better. Luckily I had booked off my volunteer job in the kitchen at the Senior's Centre as I would just be spreading my germs around!

   The meeting this morning was at Black Creek Pioneer Village and they gave us lunch - a very nice salad and assorted wraps and sandwiches, with yummy little cakes for dessert. I am still stuffed so haven't thought of eating anything tonight although I am very thirsty. An early night I think - once the U.S. election results are in!

Monday, 7 November 2016

I'm Baaack!!

     I'm munching on a delicious artichoke cheesy dip with a glass of beer so all's right with my world! The artichokes, from a can, were left over from the Tuscan chicken I made last night - chicken thighs, sundried tomatoes, chickpeas and the aforementioned artichokes, one of my favourite ways to cook chicken, and there's lots left for later in the week.

   Got back from my trip on Friday and seem to have overcome the jet lag pretty well. I even went to demo pool practice yesterday although I have a painful foot that started bothering me on the flight home - probably from sitting in one position for eight hours. We had wonderful weather for the whole two weeks and I was in the sea several times and the hotel pool most days. Only negative thing was the food which was served buffet style and tended to be rather repetitive. I had a serious bout of food poisoning in the second week and didn't eat anything for a couple of days, but it was no great loss. The best meals were two we ate at local restaurants, lovely salads and fish at one and paella at the other.

   We finished off the trip with a day in Valencia which is quite an unusual city - a mixture of ancient and modern. I would love to go back there for a proper tour some time.

   Bridge was cancelled today which was disappointing as I was looking forward to playing after a long break. We may not get to play next week either unless we can find a substitute. I spent the afternoon in the garden - it was a gloriously sunny day - and got several bins ready for the garden refuse pickup on Wednesday. Cut the back grass on Sunday to take advantage of the nice weather. A little piece of salmon for dinner tonight - it's dance group and I don't want to eat too much.