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Sunday, 30 April 2017

The End of April

   Very chilly today - only 4C when I got up but it did reach the projected high of 9C. Now it's raining and I have lit the fire, but tomorrow is forecast to be 20C! Who knows what to expect from day to day.

   I have had a very stiff neck for the last three days, and it doesn't seem to be going away. I managed to play a bit of tennis yesterday - it was the opening social at Don Mills - but today my neck is even worse. We had a very tasty barbecue at the courts followed by yummy desserts. It was nice to see everyone again after the long winter.

   Also yesterday was the monthly dance and AGM at RSCDS - very pleasant evening and the meeting wasn't too long. We managed to get through the whole dance program. Today I have just been happy to spend a quiet day at home. I had a long nap this afternoon which seems to have helped my neck.

   I have some fish (not much) in a curry sauce to eat up tonight and have cooked two vegetables to go with it - a broccoli casserole and mashed sweet potato. A minneola to follow.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Too Many Carbs

   This has been a busy week as I have been out three evenings and will be out again tomorrow night. I will be very grateful for a proper rest on Sunday!

    I finally got my tax return in the mail this afternoon - just in time - as, after frequent phone calls and badgering e-mails, I finally got the tax receipt from Plan Canada. I think it was actually my fault as, at one point, I blocked messages from them (always asking for more money) so, who knows where my receipt was ending up? But that's it done and I just have to wait a few weeks now to find out if I will get a refund. I plan to buy a new printer if I do - fed up with running up to the library every time I need to print something.

   It has been a nice week, weatherwise, and I have got quite a lot done in the garden. I haven't bought any plants yet, just in case there's a frost. I got into the Wednesday fitness class so had coffee with all my exercise buddies on after. Then it was Book Club in the afternoon but I didn't finish the book.

   It was so nice when I got up on Thursday morning I called Kathy to see if she would meet me at the outdoor tennis courts. We hit for about an hour and a half (stopping to chat frequently, we haven't seen each other all winter!) and then I met the RODEO ladies for lunch at Montana's. I had a delicious, apple, cranberry and goat cheese salad, with a glass of wine so it was worth the trip. Also lots of chat as I hadn't been out with them since before the New Year. I have been playing bridge on Thursdays but that is over now. In the evening I was "ushering" at Markham Theatre and got to see the comedy, "Bedroom Farce", really funny!

  Today I took a pass on tennis to attend the AGM at the Senior's Centre, a tedious affair but we got lunch after - pizza, veggies and fruit but too many carbs. When I got home I put a loaf in the bread machine and, of course, had to try a slice when it was done! The first slice is always the best. It didn't rise very much but will be good for toast. Fish for dinner and NO MORE CARBS!!

  

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Still Not Quite Spring

    After a very rainy morning, it has started to dry up and I do believe there are some glimpses of sun just as it is about to set. Augers well for tomorrow. It only got up to 11C today so the fire is on to warm things up. Just when I think we have turned the corner, the cold weather returns!

   I had a quiet morning - finished my tax return and, according to my calculations, should get about $400 back. We shall see. I went to Bridge class this afternoon and learned a few new tricks. Frank is a very knowledgeable teacher but gets a bit impatient with us as we don't remember all his rules. It's the "world according to Frank" in his classroom!

   Had a quick look around the garden when I got home and everything is coming along great guns. Chives are up as is the asparagus. The rhubarb is looking healthy and I see a few green sprouts on the raspberry canes. I have already had a few cuttings of daffodils and tulips with more to come, so the house is full of flowers. Judy gave me a beautiful lily for Easter and it is blooming prolifically. It will go in the garden once the flowers are past. I have a few there already and it will bloom again next year.

   Chicken and veg for dinner but I have been nibbling all afternoon (the coffee at the Senior's Centre is so good and you get a couple of cookies with it, all for 75 cents) that I am not too hungry. It may do me another day.

  

Monday, 24 April 2017

Hava Java and Other Delights

   Just a quick post as I am going out in half-an-hour and haven't had any dinner. It will just be soup and a sandwich. Another sunny but cool day but I did sit out for a while this afternoon - too lazy to do any gardening.

   Did my step class video this morning, worked on my tax return (almost done) and was at Hava Java by 10:30 for my free coffee and pastry. It's a social for retired teachers of which I am one. I stayed chatting until noon then got on my way to my Bridge group and arrived on time. None of us was able to win a contract except Marie who was my partner, so I did help her. She made 3 contracts so was the definite winner today.

   Dance class tonight so better get my skates on!

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Lots To Do

  Out early to the tennis courts today and hit with Shirley for half-an-hour. Then Stan and Henry arrived so we played a set.  We had had enough by 10:30 so we gave up the court to another group. It was quite busy this morning. A big load of ironing to do when I got home, the table mats and napkins from last Sunday`s dinner, but that was it for the morning. It has been sunny all day.

   Transplanted two cuttings from the Bee Balm plant the other day and they have taken well. Still got lots of weeding to do as they seem to be the first things to grow. Soon it will be dandelions. It was very hot in the garden this afternoon so I only lasted for about an hour before collapsing onto the lounger!

   I have cooked a couple of chicken thighs for dinner with chickpeas and Brussel sprouts. This was all covered with a can of chopped tomatoes so will be nice and juicy. I`m not sure if the chickpeas count as carbohydrates but will chance it anyway. They are good for mashing and sopping up the sauce.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Things Are Growing

   Sunny but still a cold wind. I worked in the garden for a bit this afternoon and got quite hot. The sun felt good!

   Last day for eating leftover lamb - the rest will go in the green bin. I found some asparagus in the fridge and will have it with the one ripe stalk from the garden. I may get more later but only a couple of stalks seem to come up at a time. The rhubarb is doing well and one of last year's cone flowers has shoots coming up. It is supposed to be a perennial but this is the first plant I have been able to over winter in the garden. Lots of tulips about to open.

   I have been working on my tax return for the last couple of days and it looks as if I might get a refund! Usually I have to pay but last year CRA made me pay in installments and obviously I paid too much, so I am just getting my own money back. I am still waiting for one of my charity receipts that I need for the charitable deductions claim, to be e-mailed to me. It was promised days ago but must be lost in cyber space. I will call them again on Monday.

Friday, 21 April 2017

End of Indoor Tennis

   Carol, Hendrina, Angela and I had a spirited couple of sets on the indoor courts this morning but, hopefully, we will be able to play outside next week. The courts are open but it was still a bit too chilly to venture out today. Things should warm up over the weekend.

   It has been overcast all day with nary a glimpse of the sun. It rained on and off until around noon but nothing too heavy, just enough to moisten the garden. More grass cutting tomorrow and it`s time to spread some fertilizer. I got started on my tax return this afternoon and it looks like I may be getting a refund. I will check my figures tomorrow, complete the good copy and get it in the mail tout suite. No need to wait when I don`t have to pay!

   Still eating leftover lamb - I hope I haven`t kept it too long. I will also have the last of the rhubarb and apple crumble with some frozen yogurt for afters.

   Still unable to post photos - I keep checking but no luck. I may have to start a new blog - stay tuned!

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Ladies Who Lunch

   Probus meeting this morning and I was out early as I needed to stop by the dollar store for a new pair of reading glasses. The speaker was a dietician with lots of suggestions for healthy eating - her main one, cook from scratch, didn't go down well, but she is right, there are so many additives in prepared meals that they can't help but be unhealthy.

    After the meeting 4 of us headed for Red Lobster and were joined by a fifth friend who had been elsewhere for the morning. I had Langoustine and Lobster Bisque and several of Red Lobster's special biscuits. We had to laugh as we were all comparing the number of calories in each meal, after the lecture we had just attended! Mine had 740 calories but some of them were over 1,000 - more than your recommended daily intake!

   Not much action on the exercise front today but I did walk down to the mailbox later in the afternoon to mail Steve and Alison's anniversary card. They have been married nine years - hard to believe. I got a phone call from the Senior's Centre to say I could attend the Friday fitness class but I think I will decline. I will be playing tennis on Fridays soon so someone else can have my spot. 

   It was bitterly cold on my walk (I seem to be saying that a lot recently) on account of the strong wind. Hope it warms up soon. The fire's on again tonight!

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Catching Up With Friends

   I just had 5 mammoth sneezes (hope I'm not coming down with something) and remembered a rhyme my mother always recited when we sneezed:

One's a wish, two's a kiss, three's a disappointment
Four's a letter, five's something better,
Six is best of all and seven is nothing at all.

I wonder what the "something better" will be - perhaps some unexpected money coming my way. I haven't sent in my tax return yet!

   I decided to skip Nordic Pole Walking today as it was drizzling and a thunderstorm was forecast. It didn't materialize but "better safe than sorry", another of my mother's sayings. I snuck into the 11:15 Fitness class for half-an-hour after having coffee with some friends I hadn't seen for a while so the morning was not a complete waste



Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Easter Weekend

   It`s been a busy few days so some catch-up necessary. I had the family over for dinner on Easter Sunday and very nice it was! I roasted a lamb leg (super easy, just rub it with olive and spices and stick it in the oven) and had it with roast potatoes, green beans and asparagus. Judy brought stuffed mushrooms and creamed spinach - both delicious, in fact I saved a mushroom to have with my `leftovers` dinner yesterday. We finished with rhubarb and apple crumble and a spongy cheesecake that Judy brought. Whipped cream, strawberries and coffee (for the adults) finished off the meal. We were all well fed! The grandkids were scouring the house for chocolate eggs (yes, the Easter Bunny does visit here) so were overdosing on chocolate before and after the meal. Their capacity for anything sweet is amazing.

   Yesterday was a quiet day - just eating leftovers then out in the evening to dance group. Today was the RWTO meeting and lunch so I was out by 8:30 without much breakfast to set up the name tags and book sale before the meeting. Luckily there was coffee on tap in the meeting room so I made it through until lunch. The lunch was roast beef which I hardly ever cook so it was quite a treat. Luckily they remembered the horseradish sauce this time. I made $40 at the book table which means I sold 80 books so quite a nice contribution to our charity.  The books are donated by our members so it`s all profit.

    Today was bright and sunny but on the cool side - I`m still wearing my winter jacket. There was frost on the roofs this morning and just 4C; it only got up to 9C this afternoon and the wind was bitter. A quiet evening at home and just soup and a sandwich for dinner.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Rain Then Sun

    Steady rain all morning while I was out grocery shopping. I had a ticket for `Live at the Met`- La Traviata` and my feet were quite wet by the time I got there at noon. That`s the end of these shoes!

    The opera was excellent, quite a modern version, very dramatic, and the soprano was out of this world! By the time I got out again the sun was shining and it had turned into quite a nice day.

   I pottered around for the rest of the afternoon and just had a light dinner. I made caramelized onions and had them in a wrap with sausages.

Friday, 14 April 2017

An "At Home" Day

      Got up full of energy and started the day with a walk to the tennis courts around 9:00 a.m. I thought I might be the only one but it was nice enough to sit in the sun. Ron arrived shortly after and then Paul and Chan so we had a foursome. Unfortunately, they hit quite hard and I had had enough by 10:00 so came home to treat myself to a coffee and croissant. Since then I have been either working in the garden or cleaning the house ready for my guests on Sunday.

    After all the chores I sat out in the sun and dozed for a while - it was so pleasant! I even took my lunch outside even though I haven't got the garden furniture out yet. Must remember to ask the guys to do that for me on Sunday. It lives in the basement over the winter and it's quite a struggle to get it up the basement stairs on my own, although I have done it several times.

   Time to go fill the Easter eggs to hang on my little tree for the grandkids to collect on Sunday. I hope it isn't raining when they arrive!

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Out All Day

    Beautiful day today but I spent most of it indoors playing Mahjong and Bridge. What a waste of a lovely day! I did sit out for half an hour after I got home and it was very pleasant in the sun, probably got up to 16C. I may have to cut the grass this weekend. This was my last time replacing Diane at the Bridge table so I will have my Thursday afternoons free from now on. Maybe I'll try to get into the Zumba Gold class. And I will only go to Mahjong if it's raining. Thursday is one of my tennis days.

   Big shop at the liquor store today as they had some of my favourite wines on special. I haven't bought any booze since the middle of February but decided to break my fast now that Easter is almost here. I had a glass of sherry with my pre-prandial snack tonight and it tasted so good! Just soup and a wrap with sausage and an omelet for dinner. I will pack the omelet with any leftover veggies lurking in the fridge.

   I haven't turned the heat on at all today - the sun has done the heating for me!

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

A Chilly Day

    The fire's on tonight as it is a bit chilly in here. I was well wrapped up for the walk this morning. We went to Edwards Gardens and walked all the way to Sunnybrook Park and back - lots of bulbs coming up everywhere. It was just over an hour which is about my limit. The temperature was around 6C and really hasn't risen much all day.

    After a short rest at home I drove over to my shift in the Senior's Centre kitchen. I arrived early intending to have a quiet sit with a coffee and cookie beforehand, but no one had shown up for the morning shift so it was "all hands on deck" as soon as I arrived. I stopped around 2:30 as it was quiet (and the coffee was almost gone) so was home by 3:00 p.m. Short nap, finished my current library book and have been sitting by the fire with the computer since then. First stop tomorrow will be the library to see what I can find to read. The pile of books by my bed is down to one and I'm not finding it very interesting.

    A basa fillet for dinner, probably fried, with green beans and a Minneola orange for dessert. I am managing to keep my weight down despite the odd fall back into indulgence. Only three more days until I can have something alcoholic and my favourite chocolate bar!

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Daffodils, Forsythia and Tulips

    I started today with a visit to the dentist - just my semi-annual cleaning but it is not my favourite thing to do. The hygienist is a bit of a chatterbox and none too gentle when scraping off plaque. But I bear it like a real trooper and she rewards me with a goody bag of dental supplies - a brush, floss, toothpaste and, this time, a tongue scraper. I wonder if that's a hint that my tongue isn't in good shape!

    The forsythia is just about to bloom and it looks like it will be well covered in yellow. Some years there are very few flowers and I think it depends when I prune the bush. Daffodils are opening up and I should be able to pick them for an Easter bouquet.
  
    Funny day today - several heavy rain showers this afternoon interspersed with sunny periods. Not cold, I think it was in the high 'teens for most of the day. I dodged a bullet this afternoon as I had walked over to the Senior's Centre for Bridge class and it was beginning to rain as I left for home. As it got heavier I was lucky enough to find somewhere to shelter until it passed over and ended my walk in sunshine. I had barely got home when the heavens opened - I would have been thoroughly soaked if I hadn't reached home in time! It is still quite dark so I think more is to come. At least it is good for the garden and it isn't snow!

    The pots of tulips were delivered to the Senior's centre today so I came home with one. They are sold to raise money for Parkinson's disease by my friend Maria so I always order one. The flowers won't be open by Sunday when we have out Easter dinner but I will enjoy the splash of colour later in the month. 

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Finely, Warmth

   Got home late last night with sore feet from the monthly dance so had a slow start this morning. We have had two lovely days and I have made a dent in the garden. The rhubarb is up! A few little pink nobbly bits are showing already and it will come along quickly now that it is warmer.

   I planted out pansies this morning - some in a planter (just in case of frost) and the rest in a border by the front door. I also trimmed back a fir tree that was overhanging my neighbour's path for which he will be grateful, I'm sure.

   A senior's moment yesterday - I was eating lunch after an hour pottering in the garden when I realized I had a ticket for "Rusalka - Live at the Met" at noon!. I was already 45 minutes late for its start but rushed off anyway and got to my seat for the last 5 minutes of the first act. However, the rest was enjoyable and I'm glad I went, except I missed my afternoon nap.

   A nice quiet day at home today, enjoying the improved weather. I think it got up to about 16C this afternoon.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Now It's Snow!

    Felt like winter again today, and there was snow falling when I got up. It continued all morning but the sun came out later and the snow has pretty well  gone now. However, the wind has increased and is almost gale force. My only exercise today was to walk to the drug store to pick up the tax form (all out and no more coming) and almost got blown away!

   I had a busy morning starting with my step class video. Then I drove up to Markham to change a top at Peach Tree Designs. While there I found a nice tight pair of pants to go with the top. I'm fed up with baggy grannie pants. I need a new image! They are very comfy and I'm sure will be a well worn part of my wardrobe.

   Judy came by after work to look for something she needs as a prop for the next play she is working on. She is the set designer. Natalie is still off school but beginning to feel better. I'm glad I have avoided catching her bug.

    Last night I cooked a nice meal but didn't eat it so it just needs heating up tonight. It's chicken thighs with vegetables in a winey sauce.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

More showers!

   Fire's on and warming things up. It's been a blustery day with heavy rain. Driving on the highway was quite a challenge with trucks zipping by and spraying water everywhere! Yesterday was Nordic Pole Walking group and it was a very pleasant day so we were lucky. We walked for over an hour and then I walked to the Senior's Centre and back in the afternoon. I'm pretty sure I got my full 10,000 steps!

   It only got up to 7C today but I had lots to do so didn't have time to brood over the weather. RTO meeting this morning (scribbling like mad to keep up with the discussions) finished around 11:30. There was coffee, muffins and fruit for the break and we are easily satisfied. After the aforementioned drive on the highway I fixed a quick lunch and headed out for Bridge. Bonnie and I had wanted to skip it but Margrit complained about cancelling again so we dropped our lunch plans and arrived on time. Nobody else was there! Pauline rolled in after a bit and eventually there was a call from Margrit to say she couldn't make it. Needless to say we were a bit miffed. Fortunately we found a spare and the afternoon ended well.

    Natalie has stomach flu again and I hope I haven't caught it - I'm feeling a bit queasy. Probably the power of suggestion! I was babysitting them again last night and she was OK then. I will just have a light dinner tonight, just in case!

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

April Showers etc.

   It has rained pretty much all day today and the garden has had a good soaking - puddles everywhere! The temperature has actually dropped through the day, starting at 9C and now just 7C. We may have a few cool days coming. There are some flower heads on the daffodils so the rain has truly brought out the flowers, and it's not may yet.

   Tennis this morning (great fun - we were all on our game!). We only had time for two sets and had to stop the second one at 6-6 as we were too tired to play a tie-break. I almost dozed off during Bridge class but did learn a new thing or two. Dianne was there too, so we have decided to try what we learned when we play next Monday.

   I  was passing the Garden Centre yesterday and dropped in to pick up some pansies. They will go in a planter on the porch on the next nice day. That way I can bring them in if frost threatens. They are pretty hardy so that shouldn't be a problem. I am already anticipating what new plants and veg I will buy this year - can't wait! 

   It's rather a rather dreary evening so I have the fire lit and it's warm and cozy in here. An evening in front of the TV is called for!

Sunday, 2 April 2017

A Perfect Day

    A late start today - I stayed up until midnight last night, watching "D.I. Banks" on PBS - so I puttered around until almost 11:00 a.m. before I got my act together. 

   Another beautiful Spring day - it officially reached 14C this afternoon but I swear it was warmer than that in my back yard! I cleared some borders, cut back two lavender plants and managed to dig up a climbing rose that stopped flowering a couple of years ago. It was a real bugger to get out. I am thinking of replacing it with a clematis plant but I have not been very successful with previous purchases. Will have to consult the staff at the garden centre.

   After all that hard work I sat in the sun for a while but it clouded over later in the afternoon so I came inside to read. My current boob, "Commonwealth" by Anne Patchett, really has me hooked. It's a family drama stretching over a couple of generations of two families whose lives are intertwined. I will be sorry when it is finished.

   Chicken thighs in a tomato and cheese sauce tonight - it's smelling delicious, cooking away in the oven. I have made a salad with the leftover quinoa to which I have added red peppers, cucumber, walnuts, dried cranberries, blue cheese (yum!) with a homemade dressing. I'm ready for my meal.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Saving on My Food Bill

   Much nicer today - even some sun this afternoon! I think it got up to about 10C which is a move in the right direction. I hung out my washing this morning and it is now dry and back inside. Fresh sheets on my bed tonight!

   I had a nice surprise at the grocery store today as I had racked up $20 in PC Points so, some free groceries. I use my PC card for almost everything and it's surprising how quickly the points accumulate. I paid for my upcoming trip with the card and that got me quite a bunch. Also, by loading offers to my card on things I usually buy got me another 2,000 points today ($2).

    Finally feeling more like myself today - I had a long(ish) walk this afternoon through the park to make sure the tennis courts were open. People were actually playing but some of the wind screens still need to go up. Perhaps I will be playing outdoors this week after all.

    My favourite, salmon, for dinner tonight and I think I will break my "no carb" rule and make some quinoa. Haven't had that in ages. If there's any left over it will be a quinoa salad tomorrow. Red peppers were on "special" today and I bought two, so maybe I could make quinoa stuffed peppers. Lots of choices!