Tuesday 28 February 2017

The Good and the Bad

   The pie was tasty and there's more for tonight (and probably tomorrow too). I can't believe it's so easy to get three meals by just rummaging in the fridge. It feels so good not to waste anything!

   Tennis this morning - we had two and a half sets and some good rallies. I started off slowly but improved considerably once I had warmed up. It was me, Carol, Hendrina and Tamara today. That's the Polish Tamara, not the Mexican one from my other tennis club. We are a very multi-cultural group! Hendrina is German and her husband was Spanish. And, of course, I'm from "across the pond".

    I dashed home to change and grab something for lunch before getting to my Bridge class. It was fun today as we had a half hour of lecture then an hour to play. I had great cards but they didn't translate into successful contracts - I went down twice! Poor play probably. Diane was at class and hopes to be able to play next Monday. She needs a root canal procedure, poor thing, but, hopefully, it won't be on Monday.

   Mild again but no sun today. A few drops of rain and a high of 7C. I checked the borders yesterday and found a few shoots, daffodils and tulips I think. I am furious with the squirrels who hang around here - they completely destroyed the bird bells I hung out just the other day. I've no idea how they reached them but they are completely gone! That's it for this winter - the birds will have to fend for themselves!

Tonight's dinner - my salad was especially tasty, lettuce, red peppers, smoked mackerel, walnuts and dried cranberries, the dressing made with a delicious extra virgin olive oil I bought in Spain. The pickled beetroot was good with a piece of the pie. A minneola to follow.

Monday 27 February 2017

Hava Java Morning

  Met up with friends and acquaintances this morning for coffee and a pastry at Calabria Bakery, courtesy of RTO Social committee. It's free up to $3, then you pay the rest (I didn't have to). Another pleasant day, mix of sun and cloud this morning then a completely blue sky by 2:00 p.m. I sat outside for almost an hour, although well wrapped up, but the sun felt quite warm on my face.

   Bridge had to be cancelled this afternoon as we couldn't find a replacement for Diane. That's two weeks we have missed this month and Pinkie will be away for a couple of weeks later in March. Let's hope we can find someone to replace her, but at least we have more time.

    Tonight's dinner - onion and mushroom pie, using up leftover veggies - to be served with a small salad.

Sunday 26 February 2017

Back to the Cold

     As predicted, it is colder today and I saw a few flurries this morning. Back to my winter coat, hat and gloves! It was sunny later so I went for a walk but the wind was quite biting. Definitely not warm enough to sit outside but the sun coming in the windows did warm things up a bit indoors.

   That`s about it for me - watched tennis this afternoon, read my book (it`s a Ruth Rendell and I have got to the exciting part - the denoument I think it`s called) and plan to finish it before the Oscars this evening. I have only seen a couple of the movies that are up for awards but it still will be interesting to see all the celebrities.

   Waiting to hear if we have Bridge tomorrow - Diane has a toothache and is hoping to go to the dentist tomorrow morning so it will depend on when she gets an appointment. I don`t envy her, she may not feel like playing after the treatment anyway.

   Salmon for dinner with corn and green beans - a nice easy dinner.

Saturday 25 February 2017

A Day At Home

   Well, I did go out this morning for an hour - in my Spring jacket, no less, as the temp. was 10C. Did my shopping quickly and was home by 11:00 a.m. to make butternut squash soup. It has got considerably cooler since then so I think our mild spell is over.

   A big surprise this afternoon, I found some leftover Christmas cake in a cupboard. I was sure it was long gone but will try it with my tea tonight. The marzipan looks a bit dodgy.

   Just napping and reading since then, plus one tennis match from Rio. Rather one-sided so I didn't watch the whole thing. I hope tomorrow's Final is more exciting! Why they are showing this tournament when there is a Canadian in another being played in Florida, is beyond me.

   Can anyone tell me what this plant is? It's in one of the hanging baskets that is wintering indoors and is blooming like crazy - much better than it did last summer.
It has glossy leaves and has produced several clusters of flowers so far.

Friday 24 February 2017

Rain in February.

   Heavy rain this morning and just 5C for most of the day, but it is nice to see grass at this time of year. Usually we have snow cover until well into March.

   Banana, peanut butter and yogurt for breakfast today, followed by coffee and a couple of special cookies (brought in by the supervisor, Christine - my, they were good!) after Gentle Fit. I didn`t leave until almost 11:00 a.m. so that was the morning well gone.

    Homemade soup for lunch but I made a loaf in the bread machine and had a big slice (what we used to call a `doorstep`) later in the afternoon. There`s nothing tastier than fresh baked bread slathered in butter! Mine also had jam. That has somewhat taken the edge off my appetite so dinner (fish and peas) will be late tonight.

   Nothing much else going on. I watched tennis from Rio de Janeiro this afternoon but soon got bored with it as there were no big names playing. Luckily I have a good book on the go.

Thursday 23 February 2017

Still Nice Weather

   Another beautiful day, sunny, warm (15C) and the snow is gone! After I got home from Bridge I sat outside for a while, catching some rays.

    I had great cards at Bridge today, even made some contracts and only made one major blooper (plus a couple of small ones), but came away quite satisfied with my play for once. There's a bit more pressure playing with the Thursday group as they are much more serious than my Monday friends. I also had fun at Mah-jong although I didn't manage to win any games - came close a couple of times - I need to be faster at picking up discarded tiles.

    I had tennis scheduled for this morning but it was cancelled as the court was closed for repairs. Just as well as I woke up with a rather painful hip which made walking tricky. I certainly wouldn't have been able to run around the tennis court! I hope it is better before tomorrow's fitness class.

   Last of the chicken for dinner tonight, I will have it with some corn, then a minneola for dessert. That should keep me until tomorrow.

Wednesday 22 February 2017

A Better Day

     My usual Wednesday - Stretch and Strength class at 9:00 a.m., a quick errand and then Osteo fit at 11:15.  I only stay for the first half of the second class as I start my shift in the kitchen before it finishes. I closed up just before 2:00 p.m. and got to book club on time for once. We were discussing "Three Day Road" by Joseph Boyden - a lively discussion despite the morbid subject matter (The Great War in France). Most people liked it and would recommend it, so get reading!

   Just a light meal tonight as I go out just before 7:00 p.m. for dance group. The weather today continued mild, up to 8C, with a little sun although it was foggy for most of the morning. Must be a case of temperature inversion where a mass of cold air traps the warmer air and produces condensation. We won't get any more seasonable temperatures until Sunday.

Tuesday 21 February 2017

Too Much To Do

   Horribly busy day - just like being back at work - and I am completely washed out despite having a nap this afternoon. Here's how it went.

   I had an early start for the RWTO meeting this morning. I needed to get to "The Estates" by 9:00 a.m. to get the name tags set out and the books trolleyed in from the car (two trips) before the meeting started at 9:30. I had help with the name tags but, unfortunately, it took longer to explain what to do than if I had just done it myself! What complicated it was the number of guests and the people who hadn't sent in their cheques and were to pay at the door.

   The meeting was rather long and dragged out but we did get done a bit before lunch. Lunch was delicious - I got an extra serving of salad which was followed by a very tender roast beef and perfectly cooked veggies. I left some of the mashed potatoes but just had to eat the bun with the salad, it was so great for sopping up the dressing!

   By 2:30 the speaker was done and I had to pack everything up and cart it back to the car. That was the final straw as it was beginning to rain. The rain was pretty heavy on the drive home but that should get rid of the last of the snow and clean things up. I did see a couple of sprouts in my vegetable patch after the weekend's sun and warmth - probably the garlic - but I don't think the grass will need cutting any time soon!

   Just a light meal tonight. I think it will be a BLT but with roasted red pepper instead of tomato which taste awful in the winter so I never buy them, but I also have a hard boiled egg which will give me some protein. Early to bed tonight, methinks!

Sunday 19 February 2017

More Sun and Warmth

   The sun has just gone down after another day of wall-to-wall blue sky and double digit temperatures. I got my share of Vitamin D today, for sure, didn't even need a coat. I did some garden tidying where the snow has melted and ate a snack outside around noon - the first of the year.

   I made sugar cookies this afternoon as I was all out of anything sweet to eat with my cup of tea. My only other endeavour today was to empty the cupboard in the laundry room that I plan to paint - mostly throwing out junk that has accumulated over the last 20 years. Hard to believe I have been here that long. It has been the receptacle for all my painting projects so the used cans will either go down into the basement or get recycled. It feels good to freshen things up! I will sand and paint the cupboard tomorrow as I have a free day - it's a Provincial holiday, Family Day.

   Fish on the menu tonight and I am going to cook the rest of the brussell sprouts with bacon to round out the meal. I should be able to find a good recipe on the internet.

Saturday 18 February 2017

Busy in the Kitchen

   Trying to force myself to get up and finish making the pickled beets. I bought the beets a week ago and they have sat in the fridge since then. Boiled them this afternoon but that's as far as I got.

Something beginning to flower.
   It has been a beautiful sunny, warm day and the snow has melted considerably. I sat outside this afternoon for quite a while pretending I was in Florida or the Algarve. I think I have got a bit of colour as my face (the only part exposed) feels quite hot. I also went for a long walk but came home with wet feet as it was quite wet and muddy underfoot. No need for gloves or a hat - first time this winter! Unfortunately the sun shining in has revealed all the dust accumulated over the winter. Guess what I will be doing tomorrow!

   Chicken casserole again (30% off chicken thighs at the store today) but this time with brussell sprouts in it - one of my favourite vegetables but I've never tried cooking them this way.

Pickled beets - done!


Friday 17 February 2017


   I have been very lax with my blog posts this week - my only excuse, I have been out most evenings. Today's weather had a hint of Spring to it but we are still under a foot of snow so nothing is growing yet. The temperature is forecast to be all positive for the weekend which should help with the snow melt.

   Yesterday evening I was out "ushering" at Markham Theatre for a production of "Arsenic and Old Lace" - quite hilarious, I had never seen it before and it was very well done. The ushering duties were very light and I was able to watch the whole thing. A quieter day today - just Fitness class in the morning, a visit to the bank to make a deposit (I do most of my banking online) and a walk while the sun was shining.

   The afternoon was taken up with organizing the name tags for next week's RWTO lunch. Susan read me the names over the phone (about 96) which saved me making a trip to her house and I had the tags done by 4:30, all set for next Tuesday.

   I defrosted a piece of fish and some frozen spinach today which were transformed into a spinach dip which I served with naan and red pepper slices for dipping, and a delicious baked fish dish. I also roasted the rest of the red peppers before they got too soft and will use them in sandwiches next week.

   That's about it for another day!

Tuesday 14 February 2017

On The Go

   I am finishing off a few grapes with my glass of red, seems a bit like overkill but there were some crackers and cheese until a few minutes ago. I really shouldn't overeat before dinner but it is going to be a pretty simple meal so no reason not to indulge.

    Busy today - out to tennis by 9:30 (after my usual yogurt, banana and peanut butter breakfast (I was going to make a smoothie but my immersion blende, which I love, was still dirty from blending the cauliflower soup yesterday), coffee in hand. Returned tired but happier with my play compared to last week, and a quick change before heading off to Bridge class. I learned a few new things and played a couple of hands with John. Don't know what we did right but we definitely came out on top - Samia overbid as usual! She never seems to learn.

   I caught a movie later in the afternoon - "Lion" - quite good. I would recommend it. I defrosted a few shrimp before I went out and will have that with lettuce, avocado and red pepper. There will be a snack before I go to bed!


Monday 13 February 2017

Clearing the Snow

   I've had the mukluks on again today to clear the driveway - they're not true mukluks which are a type of moccasin, but they serve the same purpose, hence the name I use. The driveway only took me half-an-hour to clear using the snowblower but it doesn't do a great job, just moves the majority of the snow. I went out later this afternoon to scrape off what was left. The sun had been shining for a couple of hours which made the job easier. Tomorrow rain is forecast so I did not want everything freezing solid!

   Bridge this afternoon - terrible cards and I had some bad hands. We have to miss next Monday as it is a civic holiday but I will play on Thursday instead.

   So that was my day!

Sunday 12 February 2017

Painting Done

    I had a sleep in this morning, not getting up until 9:00 a.m. I had stayed up late watching D.I. Banks again until midnight. Breakfast was my weekend favourite, a cheese, mushroom and green onion omelet in a croissant. During the week I am very restrained, usually only have a banana and yogurt for breakfast, but on the weekend I like to indulge myself - yesterday was sausages and a fried egg. I even have a glass of orange juice followed by coffee! 

   It has snowed all day, big fluffy flakes that quickly accumulated, and I finally went out around 4:00 p.m. to clean off the car and do a little shovelling. We must have got abut 10 cms. I will plug in the battery for the snow blower before I go to bed tonight and clear the driveway tomorrow morning.

   The painting job is done and the colour is perfect! It's called Aria Ivory by Behr, much warmer than the colour I have been using, and I think I will be using it all over the house in the future. I got two doorways done (just the trim) and plan to paint the cupboards in the laundry room another day. I will have to wait until warmer weather to do the last doorway as it is the outside door and I will need to have the door open to the elements to get it done. The paint brush is cleaned for its next use and the doors back on their hinges - a good day's work!

   Salmon and green beans for dinner tonight - a nice easy meal and one of my favourites.

My pool is under there somewhere! You can just see my footprints where I went out to the composter with some veggie scraps.

I needed to wear my mukluks to venture out today.

Saturday 11 February 2017

Busy, Busy!

     I got an e-mail from my travel advisor to say the return flight from my river cruise in June will not be direct from Amsterdam after all - it will go through Munich! My geography is not great but that seems like back tracking to me. The advisor said to call her to re-negotiate but as the trip came with free air, I imagine anything other than what's offered will cost more. I am already worried what the exchange rate will be as it's in US dollars. I have to pay in full next month so am saving my pennies.

   Well, the mild weather didn't materialize so I had to clear the snow off my car and the driveway before I could go out today. It was probably 3 or 4 cms. and I got most of it done this morning. By the afternoon the temperature was up to 2C and the snow was getting very heavy but it's all cleared now - my workout for the weekend.

    I made a start on the painting job this afternoon but didn't get as far as opening the can of paint to check the colour. That will be a surprise best kept until tomorrow. I have two doors off and the wood sanded and wiped down so will start first thing tomorrow. (I will, I will! positive thinking)

   I made some bread today - not in the bread machine as it didn't work too well the last time I used it. I haven't been eating bread much recently but that all went out the window today as I had several slices straight out of the oven. It was a recipe from the newspaper and has oats and molasses in it - very tasty!

Friday 10 February 2017

Another Expense

   Another bill arrived today - nor for much but it has to be paid right away! It's from the Canada Revenue Agency and they don't let you hang around when it's money you owe them. However, when they owe you, it can take months to come. That's life, anyway it was only for $12.95 and I have paid it already. I am still waiting to hear how much tax I will have to pay in installments this year. The first one is due in March so should come soon. Last year my first two installments were around $1750 each but then they realized my income was down (due to smaller RRIF payments) so my last two were $280 each. This year's will probably be somewhere in between.

   Cold again this morning then the temperature rose and now it's snowing. I won't bother shovelling it as the next few days are supposed to be mild and it should all melt - well, that's the theory anyway.

    I finally got around to buying paint for the downstairs door trim, and I think it may be too pink. I foolishly didn't bring a sample home to check, just bought it on sight. It may or may not work out and is rather a costly mistake if I don't like it. That's my work cut out for this weekend in any case.

Thursday 9 February 2017

Keeping Track of Expenses

   Sunny but cold this morning, -12C and only reaching -5C later in the day. No wind, though, so it didn't feel too bad in the short walk from the car to the senior's centre. There's still quite a bit of ice about and I nearly came a cropper on my front path. I will have to put down some more salt before someone else has a fall!

   We met for mah-jong again this morning, just 5 of us and Bonnie had two wins. I came close a couple of times so it was still fun. After lunch we played Bridge. Bonnie was my partner again and I'm afraid I tried her patience quite severely with my silly bidding! But she got over it when she had a couple of good hands. I had one small slam!

   Finally, a night at home. I made a chicken casserole and it turned out very well; it will last another two days. I still have several meals in the freezer so should just have a small shopping list on Saturday. My heating bill came today - $250! Hopefully that will be the most costly month this winter.


Wednesday 8 February 2017

Financial Woes

    Things were a bit better on the highways, side roads and sidewalks today although still a lot of ice about. At least the parking lot at the senior's centre was ice free and that's as far as I went today. It was interesting to see all the shards of ice under the phone wires on my way there this morning. They must have had a really heavy coating which gradually succumbed to the strong winds. Seemingly, quite a large portion of the city was without power for a while but all is restored as of this morning.

   When I arrived at the centre just before my fitness class - no coffee! I quickly opened up the kitchen and made a pot and by the end of class someone had shown up to refill the pot so we were able to avoid caffeine withdrawal. After that everything went as usual, I finished my classes, ran an errand then spent the afternoon behind the counter. Seemingly the centre is in financial straights as some money was stolen from the trip organizer which has thrown the budget out of whack and the price of coffee may need to be increased - tragedy! In actual fact we only pay 75 cents for a cup which is really cheap (that includes a couple of cookies and it's really good coffee) so an increase won't affect people too much.

   I bought an individual  meat pie to bring home for dinner (they are also a bargain - $1.25) so  had that with broccoli and cheese. Now I am off to my Wednesday dance group. I wonder who will show up; some are really nervous driving at night when the weather conditions are not ideal.

Tuesday 7 February 2017

Weather Complications

   Played very badly at tennis this morning (still not 100%) but Carol and I managed to eke out a win 7-5 in the tie-break. Ice rain was forecast but I managed to get home and put the car away before it got too bad. I skipped bridge class this afternoon as, by the time I had lunch, the rain was really coming down and forming ice on contact with everything.

   I had plans for the evening and really swithered whether I should go out. But I put down some salt on the path and driveway and managed to get the car out on the road. The main roads were fine but walking was quite treacherous as the sidewalks were just a sheet of ice. I saw a lot of people really struggling to get home from work.

   The talk was quite interesting (and not too long) so I was glad I made the effort to go. The room was only half full so I think a lot of people stayed home. There was tea and cookies and I managed to bring a couple home. I got home by 8:30 and had the heck of a time getting the car up the driveway - it kept slipping back down. I finally put down some more salt , backed up and took a run at it, and just barely made it up the slope. This will probably need to be repeated tomorrow! I had some soup, cheese and crackers and a minneola when I got in - a nice easy dinner!

   Time for bed. I think I will sleep well tonight.

Monday 6 February 2017

Feeling a Bit Better

    A bit milder today, definitely above freezing, but ice rain is forecast for tonight. Car will have to go in the garage again.

   I managed to make it to Bridge and, with the judicious use of hand sanitizer, managed (I hope) to avoid infecting anyone. I'm glad I went as I had a small slam - my partner had two so we definitely came out on top today. We must have been in the lucky seats!

Sunday 5 February 2017

Still Sniffling

   A better night - I took a sinus pill before I went to sleep and that did the trick. I still slept a lot during the day but I guess my body needs extra rest to fight off the infection. I need to be better by tomorrow afternoon and I am going out three nights this week so will keep self-medicating.

   Not as cold but snow all morning and a particularly heavy snow shower around noon. I didn't venture out to clean off the car or clear the driveway - that will wait until tomorrow! I watched some tennis but I think Canada has lost the tournament as they only had two (out of 5) wins.

    Lots of good stuff on TV tonight, and I have already watched another episode of The Forsyte Saga. Last night I was up until midnight watching a new episode of DI Banks - one of my favourite detective shows from the UK - and no commercials!


Saturday 4 February 2017

Under The Weather

   I didn`t have a very good night - my coughing kept waking me up. Breakfast was an egg-in-a-cup with orange juice (hope it helps my cold) followed by coffee and a croissant. Obviously having a cold hasn`t affected my appetite. After a few morning chores I returned to bed and slept until 1:00 p.m. Very cold still, only -5C when I put my nose out the door and a strong wind.

    While I ate my lunch (soup, cheese and grapes) I watched more of  the Davis Cup, this time doubles play. It was very even but I got drowsy again and went back to bed before it was finished. Slept until 3:00 then stayed in bed reading for another hour. I have defrosted some shrimp for dinner but haven`t decided how to eat them, maybe just a shrimp cocktail. I already had half an avocado and some salsa with chips so will only need a small meal.

Friday 3 February 2017

Not 100%

   Bitterly cold this morning with a strong wind from the north. It was -8C this morning and only got up to -5C this afternoon so I am hunkering down at home.  I am very glad I decided not to go skiing with Judy and the kids but I did make it to the fitness class and, after coffee, stopped in at the library to get a DVD of `THe Forsyte Saga` which will keep me busy this weekend. I ordered it several months ago and have it for a fortnight - should be enough time to watch all the episodes.

    I felt a bit under the weather this morning and had to push myself to go out. However, I`m glad I did, just took it easy - no high impact aerobics for me today! I slept for a couple of hours this afternoon which is unlike me - usually I just doze off for around 20 minutes. I think I am coming down with something but don`t have a fever so it`s probably just a cold. Tomorrow will tell the tale!

   Davis Cup on TV this afternoon - Britain versus Canada and the Canadians are not doing too well but I will keep my fingers crossed for them in tomorrow`s matches.

Wednesday 1 February 2017

Daylight Hours

   It is 5:50 p.m. here and I have just had to turn on the lights. How does that compare to your part of the world? The days are definitely getting longer and we had sun for most of the day which was very welcome. Our high was 2C but  it is forcast to get quite colder overnight so who knows what tomorrow will bring.

   We had a couple of centimetres of snow overnight so that was my first chore today. I got half of the driveway cleared before I went to fitness class, then came home and cleared the rest before returning to the senior's centre to man the coffee pot. The sun did the rest and I came home to a nicely cleared driveway. Chicken casserole for dinner and I will be leaving in a few minutes for my Wednesday dance group. A busy but satisfying day!