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Sunday, 31 December 2017

Hogmanay

   It was a day for "sweeping out the old year", a tradition I inherited from my parents and grandparents.  They would physically open the door and brush out all the dirt from throughout the house (couldn't do that here today as it was minus 19C this morning). The idea is to start the new year fresh and rid of all the accumulated debris of the previous year. I was only partly successful but will continue with the clean-up tomorrow morning.

   I don't usually make New Year's Resolutions but I did weigh myself this morning and resolve to, at least, not gain back the weight I have lost this year. I have done quite well and am about 4 lbs. below my normal weight, given all the overeating (especially chocolate) that occurred in December, but I did get down 10 lbs at one point. The secret, I found, is to severely cut back on carbs and I didn't find that too difficult to do although I do love bread!

   Last night's salmon was delicious! I made a lemon honey mustard glaze and just broiled it briefly. It was very tender and juicy. I have another piece in the freezer and will have it later in the week.

   To all my readers I wish a happy and healthy 2018.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

A Change is as Good as a Rest

    A busy morning - laundry, shovelling snow, grocery shopping - but that's it for today. I had a call from one of my tennis friends inviting me to lunch on New Year's Day which I gratefully accepted.

   It got up to minus 7C today and we even had some sun, quite pleasant out if you were well wrapped up. I will have a piece of salmon for dinner tonight - thoroughly sick of the Christmas bird and all the trimmings! I may just poach the salmon for a nice light meal.

Friday, 29 December 2017

More Snow

  Only got up to minus 9C today. It's snowing like crazy here - we were promised just a few flurries but it is substantially more than that. I put the car in the garage and will definitely need to do some shovelling tomorrow. Luckily there's not much else on the agenda. I will plug in the battery for the snowblower tonight just in case.

  Tennis this morning and it was three good sets with Swan, Angela and Carol. I was on the winning side twice and we stopped at 2-2 in the final set so it was a good day for me. We were very evenly balanced and had several deuce games. A good workout!

   Still eating leftovers but defrosted a different soup for lunch today. Almost everything perishable is either eaten or in the freezer and tomorrow's shop will just be for fresh fruit and vegetables. I will have money left over so won't have to got to the ATM until the new year. Yaay!

   

Thursday, 28 December 2017

A Misadventure

   A not so funny thing happened on Christmas Day. While I was dashing around getting lunch on the table for my guests I was stung by a wasp. I think it came out of some packaging we had just opened and was crawling on the floor - didn't realize what it was so bent to pick it up. Bad move! It didn't hurt for long and I had forgotten about it the next day, but on day three my finger was swollen, hot and throbbing so I guess it got infected. It's a lot better today, thank goodness. The wasp was a big sucker and met an untimely death at my hand after delivering the sting. 

   Still extremely cold - only got up to minus 13C today - and it will be the same all next week. Poor weather for all the New Years revellers. I will just stay indoors. Today I drove to the mall - too cold to walk and luckily my car started - and got a new library book and a haircut. My hairdresser will be away until the end of January so I thought I should see her before she goes. I have a jigsaw puzzle on the go, knitting to do and lots to read so no problem keeping busy!

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

The Cold Spell Continues

   Finished off the last bottle of wine and now am not fit for anything. Please excuse any typos!

   Still very cold but with sunshine it is bearable. I saw people out without hats today and jackets unzipped even though it was -10C. That's Canadians for you! I'm getting worried about the extent of my heating bill next month as it gets very cold overnight and the furnace seems to be running non stop.

   I went to the mall today for some bird seed bells and while I was there looked at Fitbits. I have a notion to buy one but there were no sales people available so gave up. That is one sale they have missed out on although I may buy one elsewhere.

   Still eating leftovers but have put a bit in the freezer to eat later. 

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Boxing Day

   Beastly cold day today - in the minus double digits and the wind chill clocked in at minus 20-something Brrr!

   First job this morning was to get the capon carcass boiling down all its meaty goodness, then a handful of barley thrown in. I had forgotten to buy a turnip for the soup so a quick run to the store was required. More veg added and it was ready for lunch, delicious and warming on such a cold day. Meanwhile, here are some photos from yesterday's festivities.

My pretty Christmas mantel.
Grandkids busy with their presents
   I have made a serious dent in the chocolate reserves (Judy brought me another box yesterday), there's still some opened bottles of wine in the fridge and lots of tasty leftovers so I am a happy camper! I'll even have some plum pudding later tonight!

Ready to tuck in to the starters.






Monday, 25 December 2017

Christmas Day

   Food is cleared away, dishes are done (mostly) and I am so stuffed I don't think I'll be eating again until tomorrow. Everything went well - nothing over- or undercooked and no catastrophes. Even the flaming plum pudding was well received.

    I have a ton of food left so will just be reheating meals for the rest of the week. The family (four adults, three kids and a dog) stayed until 5:30 and we had games and a movie after the meal. Everyone pitched in, even the kids, and the cleanup was done lickety split. Dave even finished shovelling my driveway as I had to stop half way down to get started in the kitchen. We had about 5cms. of snow overnight and I was out at the crack of dawn (literally, I saw the sun come up) with the shovel.

   Now I am whacked and ready for bed but it's only 6:30 so I will try to keep my eyes open for another hour or two.

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Oh So Busy

   Barely put my nose out of doors today but the capon is cooked, dissected and ready for reheating tomorrow, the gravy and stuffing are made and in the fridge, and one side dish (sweet potato and carrot mash) is done too. So all I need to do tomorrow is prepare snacks (Steve and Alison will bring them), cook shrimp for our first course and make up a platter with them, smoked mackeral and smoked salmon, roast potatoes, and reheat everything I made today. Doesn't sound like too much, does it? But I will be in a tizzy nevertheless, especially as I will have a glass (or two) of sherry on the go! Judy and Alison are bringing another side dish each so, hopefully, there will be room in the oven to reheat them too.  All this effort to feed 8 of us. How do people manage who have big families to feed and entertain. I would go bananas!

   I had a surprise visitor yesterday - one of the kids from the house across the street with a gift for me. We don't usually exchange gifts on the street but this particular family have done so in the past. It was a big box of chocolate truffles and they are delicious! I will have to ration myself.

   I forgot a couple of other things on my "to-do" list for tomorrow - heat cranberry sauce (from a can), heat the plum pudding (the one I let boil dry last month, hope it tastes OK), heat custard and make a pot of coffee. And I definitely must remember to clean the downstairs bathroom before anyone arrives, as I'm sure it will be well used!

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Two More Sleeps

    I was "up and at 'em" this morning as I wanted to beat the crowds on the roads and at the grocery store. I had a load of laundry in by 7:15, breakfast and dressed by 8:00 and out of the house by 10 after. It was still snowing and the roads were a bit slippery but I took my time.

   The parking lot and store were quite empty so I got around lickety split. Unfortunately, I had left my list at home but managed to remember most of it. Next stop was the butchers for the capon I had ordered. It was a bit bigger than I wanted and came in at $50! But we will eat most of it on Monday and leftovers for me for the rest of the week. Nothing will be wasted including the carcass!

   After a quick coffee at home I was out again for the few things I had forgotten and a quick stop at the Pharmacy (my blood pressure was only a bit elevated which is a wonder with all the rushing around). It was still snowing so I left the shovelling until after lunch and my nap. Keeping fingers crossed that we don't get any more snow until later in the week as I could do without any more shovelling for a few days!

Friday, 22 December 2017

Heavy Weather and Other Problems

   The problems weren't mine but the weather did affect me. I was up and out by 8:30 to clear the driveway of about 5 cms. of snow. It was quite light and fluffy so no big effort required. In again at 9:00 for coffee and breakfast, then off to my tennis game.

   The roads were only partially cleared as it was still snowing and blowing but I made it safely. I had allowed myself a little extra time just in case of problems. However, we had barely got started on the court when one of our number had to leave (sick family member). We played with three for a while but eventually picked up a fourth (thank goodness for cell phones!) and played until nearly noon. 

   A bit more shovelling when I got home and I will safely be able to get in and out of my driveway tomorrow, unless there is more of the white stuff. I had a long nap - all the fresh air and exercise, I guess - and pottered around doing a bit of housework. The house is now presentable enough and most of the cobwebs are gone but I will continue tomorrow and Sunday if the notion takes me. Hope I manage to sleep tonight!

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Winter Solstice

   Supposedly the shortest day of the year but it will be a few days (or even into January) before we notice a difference. The sun (although we didn't see even a hint of it today) rose at 7:49 a.m. and set at 4:44 p.m. today. It wasn't too cold, hovering just below zero for most of the day. I walked up to the mall and back and didn't feel too cold - I was well bundled up!

    I had set aside today and tomorrow to get the house clean and tidy for the visitors on Monday and made a good start this morning. I sort of ran out of steam this afternoon but accomplished almost everything I wanted to do. However, I got a surprise invitation to play tennis tomorrow so will have to buckle down on the weekend. Not that anyone will notice but I did get rid of a huge number of cobwebs and at least I will know it's cleaner than before.

   I have a basa fillet defrosting for dinner - I'm trying to eat lighter for the next few days as I know I will be overeating come next week. Unfortunately I gave in and had a coffee and piece of cherry cake this afternoon when I got home from my walk - it's been ages since I succumbed to snacking between lunch and dinner. Naughty me! 

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

A New Gadget

   I treated myself to an early Christmas present today - an avocado slicer! I had seen it advertised on TV and, as luck would have it, Kitchen Stuff Plus carries them. I tried it out this evening and it worked a treat, so there may be one (or two) under the tree for certain someones!

The round end is for removing the pit and the other end acts like an egg slicer.
   I had a few things to pick up this morning and, apart from my grocery shop on Saturday, I think I am ready for Christmas. Of course, there are always some last minute essential items that I forget but I have left myself one day (Sunday) for emergency shopping!

   It was very quiet at the Senior's Centre today and only a few were needing coffee, pies etc. However, the Euchre group was having a little pot luck party and I was invited to join in. So, between pouring coffee and tea and heating pies, I picked at some delicious munchies. I really didn't need to have brought my own lunch but I ate it all anyway. Now just a light dinner, probably the spring rolls I brought home from my Festive Special meal last night. Another treat, I stopped in at Swiss Chalet after being at a late afternoon movie - "Ladybird" which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Monday, 18 December 2017

One Last Evening Outing

   It was off to Swiss Chalet for me last night to meet the family (8 in all) for the Festive Special. This has become a yearly treat for us all in the days leading up to Christmas. I was home just before 8:00 p.m. well fed and stuffed with Lindt truffles, their sweet offering at the end of the meal.

   Today I made an effort to shed some of the pounds from all the overeating by exercising in my basement for an hour - not all cardio, also stretching and strength training. Then off to Bridge and more indulgences! Marie brought mini meringues and fruit cake, Diane brought almond and jam tarts and I brought lavender shortbread. Never mind, tomorrow I will play tennis for two hours!

  We actually managed to get some milder weather today with a high of 4C but it snowed quite a bit first thing then turned to rain. I did a bit of shovelling before I went out and again when I got home - hope it doesn't freeze overnight!

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Another Night Out

   Out again tonight (fourth night this week) and I really don't want to stick my nose outdoors, it's so cold. It was -6C this morning and hasn't budged from there all day although the sun was out for a while this afternoon.

   Just my usual Saturday chores - laundry, grocery shopping etc. - but tonight is the Christmas dance and I am selling the 50-50 Draw tickets as usual so I have to go. It's the Family Dance so the dances are pretty easy. I had a look at them this afternoon on YouTube and I think I have most of them down pat.

   No dinner tonight as there will be tea and sandwiches at the interval but I have had a snack (avocado and salsa dip with tostitos) and a glass of wine to keep me going!

Friday, 15 December 2017

My Hectic Life

   Still in the deep freeze here, minus temperatures all day but I must be getting used to it as I didn't feel quite so chilled when I left the senior's centre after fitness class. There were only 12 of us in the class as it was a make-up session. 

   After all the food on Wednesday I was out for lunch again on Thursday. It was the Probus Club lunch and I had selected salmon instead of turkey - a wise decision as it was delicious and a much lighter alternative. There was also salad, roasted veggies and ice cream dessert, all for $30 as it is subsidized by the club, and the piece of salmon was huge!.

   No dinner yesterday as I wasn't hungry and had a date to babysit at the Athertons. I got there by 6:45 (traffic was surprisingly light) and just nibbled a few things until I got home at 10:00 when I had a sandwich and some hot milk. 

   Today I finally have a night at home but I will be out again tomorrow night and Sunday. Stay tuned. Maybe next week will be quieter.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Too Much Food

    Just a quick post - off to my second party of the day and there's another one tomorrow. Weather decidedly chilly. -12C this morning and it only got up to -9C (wind chill -15C) and it is set to go down to -18C tonight! Brrr.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

First Winter Storm

Icicles hanging from the eavestroughs.
     Quite a bit of snow overnight so I stayed home today and managed to clear the driveway in small doses. We had about 10 cms. of snow. It was quite pleasant early on but then the sky cleared, the temperature dropped and the wind got up so now it is -10C (wind chill around -15C).

    Yesterday was our Christmas party at dance group but we had a very poor turnout due to the slippery roads. But those of us who braved the conditions had some fun dances then a lovely shared feast - everyone brought something. I made sausage rolls and they were a big hit - tasty too, I actually managed to snag one! Then some gifts for the teacher and the coordinators and lots of nice things said about them so it turned out well. We will start up again in January.



    

Sunday, 10 December 2017

A Lazy Day at Home

   Don't know where the day went  - it was almost noon before I got down in the basement to do my step class video. All I had accomplished was to sort out the dishwasher and fill it with yesterday's dishes, and get yesterday's laundry ironed and put away!

    After lunch and a nap I walked up to the mall to pick up my new library book and some groceries. It was a cold walk but I was well wrapped up. Since then I have been reading "The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye" by David Lagerkrantz. It has started out very well so I think I will enjoy it. I have read the rest in the series and seen the movies.
   
    Still some Christmas cards to write and preparations for tomorrow's party at dance group but that can wait until the morning. Pork souvlaki for dinner with a home made tzatziki sauce. Must got search for a recipe on the internet.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Big Disappointment

   Judy phoned today and had to cancel tomorrow's family outing to Swiss Chalet for the Festive Special. There's a bug running through their family and James was sick today. Hopefully we will be able to reschedule but everyone is so busy at this time of year, it may be tricky. In consolation I opened a bottle of wine which turned out to be very tasty so I will have it tomorrow again with something from the freezer.

Smoking Loon 2015 - an Old Vine Zinfandel from California

    I made a pot of carrot and lentil soup for lunch  and as a different twist on an old favourite, blended it to give a smoother texture. It still had bits of vegetables but turned out really well. Lots more for later in the week.



Friday, 8 December 2017

Nothing Wasted

   Cold today with a strong wind and it's going to get progressively colder in the next few days. This is unusual for December but at least we have no accumulation of snow yet. I have lit the fire in the family room for the last few evenings so it is quite cozy indoors.

   Just my usual Friday fitness class but I did hang around over coffee at the Senior's Centre for most of the morning. When I got home I had a sudden burst of energy, wrote all my overseas Christmas cards, walked down to the post office and got them in the mail before lunch. I hope they arrive in time. Total cost of postage, $27! Luckily the cards were free as several charities sent them out last year as a promotion. I still have enough left for another year or two.

   The last of the cauliflower soup for lunch and leftover fish for dinner. I love to see an empty fridge by the end of the week, it means I haven't wasted anything. I do have a cucumber left and it's looking a bit soft - wonder if I can make cucumber soup? Other than that everything perishable will be gone before I shop again.

   

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Tennis and Book Club

   Tennis this morning - indoors of course - then we went to the Pickle Barrel for lunch. I was very good and only had a chicken and spinach salad - no bread. It was my chance to treat Carol and Hendrina for sharing their (free) tennis court with me for the last few winters. I'm hoping for a few more games before year end.

   I skipped Zumba class and went straight from lunch to Book Club and there were treats there too. I had another cup of coffee and two slices of very good pannetone. If you've never had it you should try it. Yummy!

    The book was "Quiet" a non-fiction about introverts and we had a very lively and interesting discussion. All being retired teachers we were mostly focussed on how being an introvert affects children's education and self-esteem.  

   After my tasty lunch I am just going to have a light dinner - fish and some cauliflower, and maybe a clementine for dessert.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Out And About

   I thought this was going to be a quiet day as Bridge class is over until the New Year. However, I decided to visit Bayview Village Mall for a few things. First I ordered the Christmas lunch bird at Pusateri's - I decided on a capon again, it's bigger than a chicken but not as humungous as a turkey, and also juicier. It has gone up a bit in price but still makes enough for the nine of us at a reasonable cost. I will pick it up on the 23rd.

   I found small gifts for the grandkids at Mastermind and Chapters to have under the tree on Christmas Day and finished off with a coffee and double chocolate brownie at Starbucks. Luckily I still had some money on my Starbucks card so it was a cheap treat.

   On the way home I stopped at the Bay for gift cards for the retiring coordinators at my dance group. We will be having a small Christmas and farewell party for them next Monday. They will still be dancing with us but someone else is taking on the organizational duties.

   I was home by 11:30, finished the newspaper, had lunch and a nap then went off to see a movie. "Roman J. Israel, Esq." with Denzel Washington - quite good.

   So it turned out to be a very busy day so I will have an early night.



Sunday, 3 December 2017

My Sudoku Compulsion

    First off, the Christmas tree that the grandkids decorated on Friday. They did a great job from dragging it up from the basement to unpacking and hanging all the ornaments. I only had to put the angel on top and start the string of lights on the upper branches.
Don't know why it's so out of focus.
  My main topic for today is my compulsion with Sudokus. I jump out of bed every morning and dash to see how challenging the Sudoku in the Star newspaper will be. Usually it is easiest on Monday and gets progressively more difficult each day of the week. On Sundays there are three ranging from easy to hardest and I got all three today without having to resort to "helping" numbers (that's the little numbers I put in when there are two possibilities). I always do the puzzle in ink so sometimes it can get very messy. Look how neat today's are!

  Saturday always has a very different one but it's not as tricky as it looks and yesterday's was quite easy. You can see, no "helping" numbers or errors. I was quite chuffed with myself! The answers come out next week.


Saturday, 2 December 2017

Overnight Guests

     Last night I had overnight guests, the grandkids! They were here because their parents were joining some friends in a progressive dinner. So it made sense for the kids to be out of the way and no need for a babysitter.

    I went to pick them up at 4:30, we were home by 5:00 and I had put a chicken in the oven before I left so it was soon time to eat. After dinner and an ice cream treat, they opened their first Christmas book. This is a custom Judy started when they were small -  a different Christmas story each night up until Christmas Eve. Yesterday's was appropriately called "24 Sleeps Until Christmas" and Elliot was in charge of reading it. It went down really well.

  
     They were really good guests, in other words they helped out and tidied up after themselves (with a bit of encouragement), and didn't even wake me up too early this morning. The boys helped with breakfast (pancakes and scrambled eggs) and Natalie mixed the orange juice so it wasn't too much work for me - except for cleaning up afterwards! Judy picked them up around 9:30 as James had a hockey game and, since then, I have had a restful day. 

  I walked over to the local high school this afternoon to register my vote for our new Federal M.P. Hope she is successful!

   I made a big pot of stew this afternoon but I will be eating leftover chicken and veggies from yesterday. The kids put away quite a bit of food last night (they have good appetites) but I saved some for myself for today. The stew will go in the fridge for the next few days. It's full of healthy vegetables.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

The Mandarin

    This is our local Chinese buffet restaurant and we were there for lunch today (at the princely price of $12) along with 100 others from the Senior's Centre. It was our Christmas lunch and what a feed we had! I usually try to avoid buffets as I always want to try everything (and usually do!) and there is such a great selection of salads, entrees, desserts etc.

   I had rather a long nap when I got home so may have trouble sleeping tonight. Now I am still stuffed so no dinner for me - maybe a little snack later - but I am very thirsty. Something must have been rather too salty so I will just drink lots of water. The TV is on the blink so it may be a long evening!

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

A Blustery Day

   Much cooler today but still some sun - only up to 5C. I walked over to the mall from the senior's centre between the fitness classes (the first is 9-10, the next, 11:15 - 12:00) and on the way back the wind was in my face and very cold and strong, but I survived.

   Usual group for coffee after class and then another coffee while I was behind the counter of the coffee bar. I also brought the leftovers home for tomorrow, having made a half pot of decaf towards the end of my shift which didn't get finished. No point in pouring it down the drain, I say!

   I have managed to renew the library book I need for next week's book club but I doubt I will have finished it by then. I took a quick read with me today and got quite a bit read in between serving the coffee, but I must get back to the other one!

   Fish in a cheese sauce with mushrooms and green beans tonight. I forgot to take the fish out of the freezer before I went out this morning but it will thaw and cook in the cheese sauce. 

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Nice for November

    So pleasant today! It was sunny again and reached 15C this afternoon. I walked over to the senior's centre for Bridge class around 11:00 but on the way back at 3:00 it was getting very windy indeed. Earlier I had taken the car in for rust proofing and they also lubricated the hatchback release lever and filled up the windshield washer fluid reservoir, so I am all set for whatever road conditions winter brings.

   A short nap then I left for Cineplex to see "Murder on the Orient Express", excellent with a star studded cast and the cinematography was impressive. A funny event - they started to show the wrong movie. By the time this was communicated to management we had lost about 15 minutes and had to watch the commercials and trailers all over again! So the movie was late finishing and I didn't get home until well after 7:30. I stopped on the way home at McDonald's for a crispy chicken and bacon wrap. I was so hungry by then I fairly gobbled it down.

   Since then I have been relaxing in front of the TV while I check my e-mails etc. It won't be long before I head for bed.

Monday, 27 November 2017

Battling My Introvert Nature

   Still very cold but at least it was sunny. I woke early and tried to get back to sleep but with no luck. The newspaper was late arriving so I had nothing to read with my breakfast. Usually I have the Sudoku and Jumble done before I get up from the table. It eventually arrived just before 8:00 a.m., just as I finished washing up.  

    I did my step video first thing as I had no exercise whatsoever all weekend. Then a soak in the tub for my aching muscles and I was ready to face the day. It was Hava Java morning at Calabria CafĂ© - lots of people to socialize with and a chocolate doughnut with my two cups of coffee - then Bridge at noon, so I have been very sociable today to make up for my solitary weekend. Soon I will be going out to dance group so another opportunity to chat between dances and during the tea break. I would as soon stay home where it is warm and cozy, but this is the only night this week that I will be out.

   Just soup and a sandwich for dinner as I have been overdoing the sweet stuff today.
Some pretty flowers on one of my indoor plants.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

A Quiet Sunday

     Another chilly day - it didn't budge from 1C all day - and still overcast. I barely crossed the doorstep all day and didn't accomplish much. I am not getting on very well with my current book so it will be TV and knitting tonight. Hope it warms up a bit before December hits us.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Books and Bargains

   Back to the dismal grey weather but at least it isn't cold, 9C when I got up this morning. Just my usual Saturday chores but I was late getting up so was behind the bandwagon all day. I put a loaf in the bread machine before lunch and it turned out well so that will do for the rest of the week. 

   I have made a start on the book for the next Book Club meeting in two weeks. It's a non-fiction, "Quiet" by Susan Cain, not my preference, and is about the world of introverts. So far the author has dealt mainly with extroverts so I am a bit confused as to where she's going with her theme. She has some funny anecdotes to share so I will keep reading. Luckily I have no more books on the go to distract me!

   Dinner tonight is pork souvlaki which was 30% off at the store today. I also got stewing beef similarly reduced and it has gone in the freezer. Love saving money. I am a real cheapskate!

   The fire is taking the chill off things tonight so I am cozy and comfortable.



Friday, 24 November 2017

Finally, Sun!

   Gorgeous day today - sunny and mild - so spent quite a bit of time outdoors pottering in the garden. I even had the sun lounger out for half an hour! I am busy cutting back bushes and removing ivy from the side of the house. Everything seems to have grown like crazy this year.

   Despite the nice weather I was also busy in the kitchen. First a pot of soup for lunches, carrot and lentil (the carrots were humungous - you have to wonder what the farmer is using to make them so big)  and then this afternoon a fruit cake. This is not something I make very often but I had dried fruit and mixed peel left over from the day I made the ill fated plum pudding. Hope the cake turns out better.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Too Much Exercise

   Still cold and grey but no rain or snow. I think it got to 4C this afternoon. We could do with some sun. 

   I had a tennis game arranged for this morning with Angela, Eva and Carol. The first set went to a tie break and Eva and I came out on top. After that I was playing at half strength but we still managed to keep it fairly even , 6-4 for the other guys.

   I got home around 12:15, had a quick lunch and headed out for Zumba. I started out OK but ran out of steam after half an hour so packed it in and went for a swim. The best part was soaking in the hot tub afterwards. Now I feel very relaxed and gratifyingly tired. Surely I lost a few pounds today! I will sleep well tonight.

   Jumbo shrimp for dinner -  I will cook them in garlic butter and fry some mushrooms in the same pan, a nice easy dinner. I have already had some crackers, cream cheese and grapes with a glass of wine so am not starving.


   



    

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

A Big Lunch

   No need for dinner tonight as I had a very filling lunch. It was the RWTO Christmas event at The Estates, our usual venue. They served Greek salad followed by three slices of turkey with gravy, cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes. There were lots of nicely cooked vegetables as well and I ate almost everything. A slice of pumpkin pie and coffee followed for dessert. This was followed by a musical interlude, a duo singing folk songs. We knew them all and sang along. Lots of fun!

   So the day has passed and I will be vegging on the couch until bed time. Tomorrow I will have to work it all off with some strenuous exercise!

Monday, 20 November 2017

Winter, Bring it On!

   Not much to write about today - I walked to my Bridge game at the Senior's Centre at noon (it was freezing!) and back again at 3:00 p.m. Then raked leaves for half an hour. I also secured some plastic over the air conditioning unit which is outside. Hope it stays on. Last year it blew away in a gale.

   So everything is pretty well done in preparation for Winter. All gardening equipment put away, outside taps turned off and drained. I have sealed all the windows and other places draughts creep in, in an effort to keep the heating bills down. My window cleaner called last week to say he would come one more time this year, but I think it is now too cold for him to show up. The water would freeze in his bucket! I will just have to live with grubby windows until Spring.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

That Was the Weekend

   Cold today, in the minus numbers, and a smattering of the white stuff. I had little time outside but did walk up to the mall yesterday afternoon for a few groceries. I did a huge shopping in the morning at No Frills as my freezer was very empty, but I cashed in $20 worth of PC Points so the bill wasn't too horrendous.

   Today I made a batch of sausage rolls to take to Judy's as it was the multiple birthday celebration we have every November. Alison's birthday is the 14th, Steve's the 18th and Natalie's the 21st. I just had a light breakfast as we ate at 11:00 (all of us had things to do later). It was lovely to get together - I hadn't seen most of them since I got back from my holiday.

   Demo practice this afternoon - we learned a new dance called "Brisk Young Lad" and it was a very "brisk" tempo that had us gasping for breath. Most of us are no longer Spring chickens!

   That's it for today, just a light supper as lunch was so filling. I didn't have a nap this afternoon so should sleep well tonight.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Year End in the Garden

   Finally a night at home! Well, I did skip my dance group on Wednesday but it feels like I have been out every night this week.

   Frost overnight and it only got up to 3 or 4C today. I stayed quite a long time at the Senior's Centre after Fitness class as it was nice and warm and lots of people to chat with. Home by 11:00 and spent an hour raking leaves. Despite wearing a pair of gloves under my gardening ones, my hands were frozen by the time I had got all the leaves in the composter. The rest will get done on the weekend (unless it rains or snows) and will have to go to the curb as the composter is now full. Before I did that I dug out some of the well decomposed stuff from the bottom to put on the roses so that's another chore done.

   A long nap this afternoon as I didn't sleep well last night despite all the tips from the expert on Thursday. I was working on my jigsaw puzzle until 12:45 a.m. and then read for a while - his advice to get up and do something if you don't fall asleep within 20 minutes of going to bed. That did seem to work but I was awake by 6:30 so just 5 hours of sleep. It will be an early night tonight.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

On the Go Again

   I have an early meeting of the tennis club executive this evening (6:30) so won't bother with dinner until I get back. Just to tide me over I made a bean and artichoke dip from stuff left over from last night's chicken casserole. As well as the above mentioned ingredients it had some roasted red pepper, green onions, mayonnaise and sour cream. I grated some parmesan on top and heated it through. I had it with pita bread wedges, red pepper and broccoli for dipping. It was quite filling so I may not eat again.

   Not too chilly today but quite windy. I think a new weather front is coming through overnight so who knows what tomorrow will bring. Probus club this morning - the speaker's topic was sleep disorders and he had many helpful tips for getting a good night's sleep. There were tons of questions and it seems most of the members had some sort of sleeping issue or another.

   Zumba class this afternoon and after working up a bit of a sweat I went for a swim at the indoor pool. The best part was relaxing in the hot tub after. I must have stayed in for at least half an hour!

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

My Usual Wednesday

   Not too cold today (started off at 6C) but still dull and dreary, typical November skies. I was out late last night at Markham Theatre, ushering for "Jitters", a very funny play about a theatre company just like the one performing the play. Quite an original scenario. So I had a slow start this morning but made it out to my Stretch and Strength class by 8:45. The second class at 11:15 is more aerobic and gives me quite a workout. 

    I managed to fit in a couple of errands (library, liquor store) between Fitness classes and was in the coffee bar by noon. It was a fairly quiet afternoon and I was home by 3:15. I went into the drug store on the way home to pick up a prescription and decided to get my 'flu shot. It is so easy to do at the drug store, no phoning for an appointment or waiting in the doctor's office, just in and out quick sticks!

   I have a new library book, "The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware - I read her previous book, "The Woman in Cabin 10" and enjoyed it - and a new jigsaw puzzle lent to me by one of my Bridge friends so I am a happy camper today with lots to do! Just as well as there never seems to be much on TV these days.

    Chicken casserole is in the oven and smells good. Better go check it. I will have it with some brussell sprouts. I managed to scorch the Christmas plum pudding the other day by letting it boil dry, so I don't want any other cooking disasters!

Monday, 13 November 2017

A Bit of Exercise

   Just a quick entry - off to dance group in half an hour. I slept late and pottered around until 9:30 when I fired up my step video, I had been very inactive all weekend. Finished by 10:45 then a shower, hair wash and prepared my lunch to take to Bridge. I walked there for a bit more exercise and had a small slam on one of my hands. That felt good!

    Home by 3:30, had a nap then went out to dig up some rubbish in the garden. It wasn't too cold today but dull again. Next garden chore is to put compost on the rose bushes but that will have to wait for another day.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

A Treat to Eat and a Treat for Later

   Lamb chops for dinner tonight - one of my faves! They are marinating in lemon juice and soy sauce ready to cook in half an hour. I'll have them with butternut squash and Brussel sprouts. 

    Not quite so cold today but no sun. I think it got up to 7C. It was a stay-at-home day for me. I didn't get out of my P.J.'s until 11: a.m. This morning I made the Christmas plum pudding and had it steaming by noon. It looks really tasty but will be even better after it has matured for a few weeks with occasional brandy soakings. 

   That was about all I did today - have just been reading ever since. Now I'm off to cook the lamb chops!

Friday, 10 November 2017

A New Venue

   Minus 9C when I got up this morning with a dusting of snow, Ugh! The sun was shining most of the day but it didn't budge much from there.

   Fitness class, haircut and the library this morning then finished the RTO meeting minutes after a nap. Since then I have been reading my new book "City of Friends" by Joanna Trollope. It's quite an interesting read. I am going out with Donna tonight to visit a new banquet place and I think we will be fed and watered for free. Despite the cold I wouldn't want to miss that. Verdict on the place tomorrow!

Thursday, 9 November 2017

New Activities

   6C this morning but just up to 8C for the rest of the day. Now the temperature is dropping and it is supposed to be very cold overnight and tomorrow. Raining now and it may turn into snow!

   I made a pot of soup for lunch this morning then sat at the computer for over an hour preparing the Minutes from last week's RTO meeting. I will need to work on it again tomorrow but that should be it and I can send it out to the rest of the executive. I daren't leave it too long or my notes stop making sense. I already had to phone Les for clarification of something he reported on!

   I went to Zumba Gold class this afternoon for the first time this Fall. I had managed to get into the class then was busy almost every Thursday since, but today I stayed for the whole class. It was lots of fun and not too difficult. Afterwards I went to the indoor community pool for a swim and a soak in the hot tub. Very relaxing and the pool wasn't too busy.

   A small piece of trout for dinner and I plan to make butternut squash mash to go with it. I used most of the squash for soup and will roast the last bit then mash it with sour cream and lots of pepper. Green beans as well then the last of the pineapple for dessert.

Some more photos from the Dubrovnik trip.

Entering the old city by the Pile (Peelay) gate.

This old fort is actually outside the city walls and was one of the sites used in "Game of Thrones".



Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Home Improvements

   Another chilly day, started off at 2C and managed to get up to 8C. Cold front moving in tomorrow and Friday is expected to bring snow. Too early!

   I spent most of the day at the Senior's Centre - 9:00 a.m. fitness class, coffee and cookies with friends, another fitness class at 11:15 until I took over from Juliet in the kitchen. Luckily I had brought the newspaper and a book to read as it was not busy. They hardly need me there. Leanne brought in gigantic chocolate cookies and brownies so these went down well with the art and Euchre groups. They really lucked out. I (well, not me personally)made over $40.00!

   I made a successful transplant of shower heads the other day, swopping the one in the bathroom for the one in my ensuite shower - what a difference! I should have done it years ago but now I have a much more pleasant shower each morning. I am starting to think about other improvements I need (and can afford) to make in case I feel the notion to move. The house really is too big for me to rattle around in!

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

A Bit of an Accident

   A chilly one today but it will be even colder by Thursday and may set some records. Can't wait (not!).

   Pottered around until 10:30 then got on the road to do some errands before Bridge class. I had time for a coffee before class started and caught up with some friends at the coffee bar.

   The garden refuse got picked up today (a day early) so I refilled a couple of the bins for the regular pickup tomorrow. They often do this in the Fall as there are so many bags of fallen leaves put out to the curb. However, most of the trees still have their leaves so they might have to keep coming around into December this year.

   I tripped and fell on my right hand yesterday (tripped on the computer cord, silly me) and now my fingers are tender and swollen. Luckily I am left-handed. I had a hard time shuffling and dealing the cards today and am praying the swelling will have gone down by tomorrow when I go to dance group. It's difficult to avoid hand contact in Scottish Country dancing. 

   

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Rainy and Bleak

   I had no big plans for today but it turned out to be a busy one. It was raining when I got up this morning and continued all day, but quite mild. Up early this morning because of the clock change but was busy until lunchtime. By then I was ready for a nap and didn`t surface until 3:00 p.m.

   I tried to settle at the computer (I have the Minutes from last week's meeting to type up) but got sidetracked and finally gave up around 4:00. I needed some fresh air so walked up to the library to pick up a Donna Leon book I have been waiting for. The rain seemed to have stopped, but it started up again before I got home - not too wet. It`s been an indoor sort of day.

   Dinner is on - chicken stew - thighs with lots of vegetables. I am using up most of the tomatoes that have ripened indoors. It`s actually for tomorrow as I have some leftover fish to eat tonight. Yesterday I planted some over wintering garlic as it needs to go in before the ground freezes. I also tidied up some branches from my neighbour`s tree that he very kindly let fall over the fence when he was pruning it. He pretended he didn`t notice they landed on my side of the fence! Luckily I still had some room in my bins so it will be picked up on Wednesday.

Friday, 3 November 2017

November

   I have been very lazy about blogging  - not sure if anyone is dropping by - but the last two days have just been my usual routine anyway. We had a really good discussion at book club on Thursday (I have switched groups). The book was "The Widow" by Fiona Barton and several of us had very conflicting views of it. However, we agreed to disagree.

   I worked hard at Fitness class this morning then came home to do an hour of gardening before lunch. It was very pleasant out - the first day with sun for ages - in fact I had my jacket off when I went out again in the afternoon. The bins are now full and ready for pickup next Wednesday. I made scones this afternoon as I wanted to use up the yogurt before I go shopping tomorrow. Other than sampling one straight out of the oven I have had very little carbs today so will have another one after dinner. They turned out really well!

I picked these tomatoes when they were still green and they have been ripening indoors for three weeks. Time to start eating them!

The fall colours have not been as brilliant as usual this year. These two trees were the only ones in my neighbourhood to have a decent display






Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Hallowe'en

   Another chilly day with a strong north wind. Forgot to buy Hallowe'en candy while I was at Walmart so will just turn off the lights and pretend no one's home Naughty me!

  Nothing much to write about so here are some more photos from my holiday.

The Cavtat boat heading for Dubrovnik. A view from the peninsula.

Looking across the harbour at Cavtat, the nearest town to the hotel. The water was very clean and clear.

Folk Dancers at the Folklore Festival in Cilipi.


Monday, 30 October 2017

On the Go

   Very cold and blustery today with a high of only 8C. There was a bit of sun in the morning but otherwise overcast.

   Out by 8:40 this morning for my dental appointment - just a cleaning - then straight to Hava Java. I was in charge of registering everyone as Donna is on a cruise. We had 23 participants and they seemed to enjoy the atmosphere and the coffee. Two new members.

   Straight from there to Bridge. It was nice to be back with my usual foursome and my partner and I had some good hands. Then home for a nap but I didn`t sleep so I should have no trouble dropping off tonight. I have managed to get hold of a copy of the book we are discussing at Book Club on Thursday but I doubt I will have it finished by then.

    Scottish Country dance group tonight. I hope Nigel teaches some of the dances we will be expected to know at the next dance as I have missed so many sessions. Just fish with spinach in a butternut squash and curry sauce for dinner tonight - one of my favourite flavours. It`s a nice light meal when I have to rush out and be active.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Kotor, Montenegro

   Cold and rainy today but I had several errands to run this morning so, needs must. The bank, the liquor store, the Bulk Food store, the grocery store and the drug store. I was home by noon and read and napped the afternoon away. 

   I found the photos I loaded to the computer yesterday and have picked out some from my favourite excursion - to Kotor in Montenegro. It was a longish journey complicated by long waits at the border, but the scenery was magnificent, lakes surrounded by mountains!
The Cathedral Square


The harbour from the city walls.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Rant

   I opened up an avocado today and it was completely rotten inside. I only bought it yesterday, shows how much I know about choosing avocados. That was a waste of $1.49!

   So have spent the afternoon waiting for the Enercare guy to come and give my furnace its once a year clean. The appointment was for 3:00 p.m to 7:00 p.m. What's the chance he will come just before 7:00? Pretty good!

   It was a rather chilly day (high of 13C) and that is supposed to be the warmest day for the next week. I have put away all my lighter fall clothes and got out my winter woollies. The sun did shine for a while this afternoon but has already set behind the houses. It was great to get back to my Fitness class this morning and to chat with the other fit ladies over a coffee after. I had a lot of catching up to do since I have missed the last two weeks of classes.

   I spent some time loading all my holiday photos somewhere onto my computer so will post a couple today (if I can find them).

View from my hotel room over to Dubrovnik (centre left)


Dubrovnik old city from the cable car. The harbour on the left is where the boat from the hotel docked. I walked the city walls one afternoon - marvellous views!


Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Vacation's End

  Arrived back home after a long tiring day. We had a 6:00 a.m. wake up call at the overnight hotel near Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, left there at 8:00 a.m. for our 11:30 flight, and arrived in Toronto at 2:30 this afternoon. There's a 6 hour time difference in there so now it is well past my bedtime but it is still light outside! More news of my trip tomorrow.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

A Tiring but Productive Day

  Too late and too tired for a real post so here's what I did today.
  
   7:45 - left for the tennis club to set up and run our final day and Pot Luck lunch. Played two sets.

11:30 - lunch, speeches and lucky draws (I didn't win anything)

1:15 - finished the tidy up and close down of the courts. Left but stopped in at the library to pick up a book.

1:45 - nap

3:00 - refilled the now empty bins with garden refuse

3:50 - left for the cinema to see "Victoria and Abdul". It is both funny and touching. Go see it!

6:30 - home for a meal of sandwiches left over from lunch and a bowl of soup.

7:00 - check my e-mails and blogs, TV and then bed. Tomorrow is packing day and I head to the airport around 3:30 p.m.
See you when I get back!

Monday, 9 October 2017

A BIG Disappointment

   Rain overnight but still very mild. It got up to 20C this afternoon.

   I had just got the roasted potatoes in the oven (my contribution for our holiday lunch) when I was struck with a stomach bug - so no Thanksgiving dinner for me today. I had to settle for soup and crackers instead. Steve and Alison came by on their way to Judy's and picked up the roasties. They looked so good I was tempted to sample one but decided that would not sit well in my stomach. Such a dismal day for me!

   I spent the rest of the morning reading and sleeping. I actually felt a bit better by the afternoon and was able to get out and bring in all the green tomatoes left on the vines. There were about twenty and will sit in the sun on a tray so they should be ripe by the time I get back in two weeks. I have also brought in some of the outdoor plants just in case there's a frost while I am away.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Getting Ready for Departure

   Didn't manage the third (hardest) Sudoku in the morning paper - had to give up after two tries. The first had a mistake I couldn't fix. Very frustrating. 

   I went over to the tennis courts early despite a strong wind and dark clouds. Luckily Stan arrived at the same time as me and we hit for at least half an hour. Later Kathy and Iona arrived so we were able to play a set. Stan and Iona beat us handily but I was too tired by then to make any effort against the wind. I was desperate for a coffee and had a soak in the tub and a nap when I got home.

    The rest of the day has been sunny and warm and I got a bit more tidying in the garden. The grass is cut and the bins are now full and ready for pickup. Donna came over ( so I had to tidy the house) with the binder I need to run the next Hava Java social on Oct. 30. She is to be on holiday but I will be back the week before so it will all work out.

   Salmon and peas for dinner. I had celery soup with crackers and cheese for lunch and a few cherry tomatoes from the garden. I will need to bring in the green tomatoes tomorrow in case there is a frost while I am away. There should be lots.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Something From Across the Seas

   A very late start, almost 9:00 a.m. before I surfaced.  I had a slow morning - laundry, batch of celery soup on the go and cleaned the kitchen. I did get out to the grocery store for some fresh fruit and vegetables but only spent $11!

   I found a reduced price lamb shoulder chop so that was dinner, and very tasty it was too, braised with a bit of marsala wine. Not only was it 30% off, I got 500 PC points as well to spend later. So, all in all, quite an inexpensive meal.

    A birthday card arrived yesterday from my brother in Johannesburg - their postal service is erratic to say the least. I have given up mailing things to him. But the card was very special so I'm glad it got here safely and just a wee bit late.


Friday, 6 October 2017

Summer and Fall Activities Clashing

   A little rain overnight, just enough to wet the tennis courts so it was a late-ish start today. I went to the Gentle Fit class first, really just to register and show that I wouldn't be there for the next two weeks. I did the stretching and warm-up exercises then left for tennis. I had two good sets with four good players and had some excellent shots. Overall, a satisfying morning.

    I had to take a drive down to Kingston Road this afternoon to deliver the name tags for the next RWTO lunch to Peggy. She is going to do my job while I'm away. The traffic was building up as everyone was heading home or out of town for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend so I didn't stay long at Peggy's. Home by 4:15 p.m.

   Salmon and vegetables for dinner - I'm trying to use up perishables in the fridge and won't buy very many groceries tomorrow. I will have to make some soup but will freeze whatever I don't eat by next Wednesday.



Thursday, 5 October 2017

Lunch Out, Zumba and Book Club

   Lunch with Judy today - a late birthday present and an opportunity to catch up on their news. We met at Red Lobster which is near her school and I had sole and broccoli and she had The Captains Catch which was a piece of fish and garlic shrimp.

  I went from there to my Zumba class but only stayed for the first half as this was also RTO Book Club. We had a great turnout and got to air our views on "Orphan #8". Not a book I particularly liked or would recommend but there were some interesting opinions on the subject matter.

   Another nice sunny day but it has now clouded over so I hope there won't be rain tomorrow for our penultimate Kaffeeklatsch. Sean and Angela are going to run things so I don't have to rush out and battle with the traffic!

   Just homemade minestrone soup and grilled cheese for dinner after my lunch out. Still trying to keep the weight down.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Getting Signed Up

   The Fall programs started this week at the Senior's Centre and I got into all my requests. Tuesday I have Bridge lessons, Wednesday is Stretch and Strength , Thursday is Zumba Gold (that one is very hard to get into and, right off the bat, I am going to miss the first three classes) and Friday is Gentle Fit. As well I play Bridge with friends on Monday afternoons so I am busy with something every day - just the way I like it!

   Overcast and rainy today but still very mild. I managed to walk to and from my job at the coffee bar without getting wet but I had my umbrella with me just in case. It was a bit busier today as the Line Dancing and Drawing classes were all going so the time went by fast. 

   We had rather a contentious AGM at the tennis club last night and, in a momentary lapse, I volunteered to be the clubhouse convenor! I hope it doesn't require too big a commitment. I thought that being on the executive might be the way to make some changes to the programs - we shall see! Plus no one else was willing to take it on so I was acclaimed. It is just a summer club so I'm sure I can make it through the five months the club is running.

   The trees have still not acquired their Fall colours but the leaves are falling fast. Soon it will be time to start raking.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

October Begins

    Beautiful day although it started out cool - 8C. By the time I got to the tennis courts it was considerably warmer and it didn't take me long to strip off a couple of layers. We played for almost an hour and a half but Kathy and Ohm were the winners 6-4. I was just glad we didn't have to play a tie break!

   Another treat today - my breakfast present from Starbucks. I took my own coffee and had a sausage, cheddar and egg in a muffin, very tasty. My friend from dance group, Karen, came by walking her dog and caught me out front cutting back a bush so we chatted for a while. Her dog is so cute! Then lunch, a nap and a walk up to the library for my books, and I've been reading ever since. My kind of day!

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Three Quarters of a Century

   Today is my birthday, quite a milestone, so I have been lazy and spoiled. Steve came over this morning and took me out for brunch - I had Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon, delicious! Then he did a few chores around the house, checked the tire pressure in my car, brought in my outdoor furniture and disposed of my old desktop computer - what a relic that is! I much prefer my laptop.

   In the afternoon I had a big long nap, finished my current book (must remember to go to the library tomorrow as there are now two books waiting for me), and tidied up a bit of the garden. I am still picking tomatoes although they are taking longer to ripen with the shorter hours of sun. I also picked up some groceries and drove down to see if the farmer was still selling corn. He said he will be there for another couple of weeks so I will stop off again. His corn is the freshest - just picked yesterday. I don't know why anyone buys it at the grocery store.

      There's not much growing in the garden except this one rose.

The last rose - isn't it a beauty!

Friday, 29 September 2017

Busy in the Kitchen

   Very chilly this morning and it only got up to 12C. We managed a couple of sets of tennis before the rain started around 9:45. As there were quite a few of us and lots of coffee, we stayed around chatting until 10:30. Eva had brought pastries and home made plum cake which was very good. Home by 11:00 and it was still raining so I made a pot of minestrone soup for lunch. 

    By the time I had finished reading the newspaper it was lunch time and the soup was ready. I followed that with a nap then set out for the mall to have my hair cut. Just as I left there was a clap of thunder and the heavens opened. It was torrential but the gardens really needed it. I had to wait in the car until it eased up a bit before I could sprint to the entrance, luckily it's an indoor mall. By the time I was ready to come home, the sun was out.

   Before I left for the hair appointment I got the bread machine started and wound up with a funny, squat loaf. I have been experimenting with the yeast as the last two loaves have hit the roof of the breadmaker and then collapsed. So less yeast today. But, unlike today, it was very hot on the other days so I think that was part of the problem. Next time I will try to find a happy medium.

    Roast chicken for dinner with corn and broccoli. All in all, a very productive and busy day!
The loaf, easy to slice but rather dense.

The soup, that should do quite a few lunches!