Thursday 31 August 2017

Cooling Off

   I am sitting bathed in late afternoon sunshine as I type this but it is cold outside as the wind is from the north. I was all bundled up for tennis this morning but most layers came off as I played. Susan and I had another game of singles (one set each) but that will be the last for this summer as she is back to work next week, poor thing!

   More US Open matches to watch today - I fear Mr. Federer is out as are some other top seeds. The numbers are dwindling. Not much else to report, it has been a quiet day at home.

   Late Note: Roger was 2-1 down in sets when I left the match but managed a win in 5 sets. Amazing!


Wednesday 30 August 2017

More Tennis on TV

    My usual Wednesday - fitness class, coffee with the ladies, home to watch some tennis(the Canadian woman lost) then back to my kitchen job. It wasn't busy and I closed up around 2:30 and was home shortly after. I found a Diana Gabaldon book (the "Outlander" series) among the used books and brought it home even though I had read it. I will pass it on to another fan.

    Since then I have been watching more US Open, some very exciting matches but not always coming out the way I hoped.

    I made a cauliflower and chicken casserole for dinner tonight but only managed to eat about 1/3 of it so it will be lingering another two days. For sure I won't be needing anything else tonight!

Tuesday 29 August 2017

Books and Berries

   I didn't stay long at tennis this morning - it was very busy and hot so after three sets I came home to have a swim (very chilly but refreshing) and watch the US Open. I saw several good matches but, unfortunately, it's now raining in New York so there will only be the matches on the court with a roof this evening. We could do with some rain here!

   I have just finished a very peculiar book - "The Ocean at the End of the Lane". I would describe it as fantasy. It really was very confusing and did not have a satisfying conclusion as I still did not understand it. However, it was compelling reading and I finished it over a couple of days. I can't say I would recommend it but if you want something out of the ordinary, try it.

    The blackbirds have started to devour the berries in the Mountain Ash so I thought I had better get a photo before they are all gone. There is a huge crop this year!

This is just one branch - the whole tree is similarly loaded!

Saturday 26 August 2017

Same Old, Same Old

     I had a bit of a late start this morning (the only morning I get to lie in) but it was actually due to not managing to drop off quickly last night. It must have been 1:30 a.m. before I fell asleep, having had to get up for a glass of milk and some cheese and crackers some time after midnight. I read for a while until my eyes got heavy.

   Also the only morning when I have a cooked breakfast - today a boiled egg, with OJ, toast and coffee. Then the day proceeded as usual, laundry (I hung it outside), grocery shopping, lunch, a nap, a swim and some gardening. Lunch was a bowl of soup and a small tomato sandwich - still trying to keep ahead of the mounds of ripening tomatoes.

   I walked up to the mall to pick up a library book this afternoon (4,000 steps each way) and found there were three books waiting for me! I just took two and started on one only to realize it is the story on which a movie I saw last year is based. I have forgotten the name of the movie but the book is "The Price of Salt" by Patricia Highsmith - seemingly a classic, written in 1952. I will give it a try but since I already know the plot, it may not hold my attention.

   The TV guide had promised tennis this evening, but they are showing baseball instead, so I will have to resort to reruns. Never mind, I will play Bridge on my computer with the TV on in the background!

   Garlic shrimp and green beans for dinner, and strawberries from the freezer for dessert. It will be an early night, methinks!

Friday 25 August 2017


   A long morning at the tennis courts - I left home at 8:00 a m. and was home just after noon. A quick dip (it was chilly!), lunch and a nap then some gardening. Another bin filled. My only other chore was to make a pot of soup - celery - and it's just about ready.

   A friend at tennis and I got talking about diets - her question was: how to get past the late night nibbling. This is also my downfall but I try to have a late dinner and only nibble on things like fruit, cheese, nuts or dried fruit. Cranberries are my favourite. Since I have been trying to lose weight by eating less or no carbs, I find I feel full sooner so I think my stomach is shrinking!

   Yesterday's fish with a panko topping for dinner tonight and a few extra peas. I have already had some crackers and cheese topped with red pepper jelly that was lurking in the fridge. Not exactly what you'd call a well balanced meal but I had lots of veggies yesterday.

Thursday 24 August 2017

Cool but sunny

   Susan and I played singles this morning (I won) so we were well and truly tired after an hour. I managed to hoist off my old printer on her, hope she can get it to work. It was not compatible with Windows 10 but she is using an older version so it should be fine.

   Lunch with the RODEO ladies at Nova Restaurant. I was very restrained and just had a Mediterranean salad and bruschetta. It was quite a small meal so I am cooking a piece of fish in a cheese sauce tonight. I will have it with peas and the rest of last night's broccoli casserole (no carbs).

   I was working in the garden this afternoon and decided to pick the last of the rhubarb.  There was just enough to make a batch of rhubarb chutney but when it had cooked down to the right consistency, it only filled one and a bit jars. I filled two bins with garden debris - next week is the pickup - but the garden is looking a bit tidier.

Wednesday 23 August 2017

Short and Sweet

   Definitely cooler today but still not sweater weather. The sun was in and out most of the day but no rain. Tennis this morning for about an hour and a half - just me, Cathy, Kathy and Soo. We didn't manage to finish our second set as the teams were practicing and needed the court - not too happy about that. We went to Panera Bread for a coffee after and spent an hour complaining about being kicked off the court. Next time we will refuse to leave!

   A quiet afternoon at the coffee bar at the Senior's Centre - I was left with almost a full carafe of coffee so some people had "freebies". It's very hard to judge just how much to make. Some of my regulars were "no-shows" today. I walked there and back so had plenty of fresh air and exercise today. I'll just have a relaxing evening in front of the TV.

   I have taken a fillet of trout out of the freezer and will have that, poached, with a broccoli casserole, so must away to the kitchen to get things started.

Tuesday 22 August 2017

A Change in the Weather

   I went early to tennis today as some nasty weather was forecast. We were playing by 8:20 and it lasted until just before 10:00 when the heavens opened and that was it for the day. However, we had a good turnout  - all the courts were filled - although a few just showed up as the rain was starting. Their bad luck! Since then the temperature has dropped considerably so we will have cool night.

   This afternoon, since there was more heavy rain, I took in a movie, "The Glass Castle". I had read the book it was based on and it was a good version of the book. It is based on true events and included some video and photos of the actual family. I enjoyed it immensely and would recommend it.

   An interesting dinner tonight - it was a bit late to cook when I got home from the movie so I stuffed a Greek pita with interesting stuff, roasted red pepper, avocado, cucumber on a layer of cream cheese. Delicious but rather tricky to eat. This was followed with some almonds and dried apricots so I got plenty of protein. 


Monday 21 August 2017

A Little Treat

   I had planned to defrost some fish for dinner but came across some reduced sushi at the drug store, of all places. So that will be dinner tonight.

   The grandkids were here for a swim this morning - they had great fun in the pool - then I was off to Bridge by noon. Two were away so we had replacements but it worked out well and my partner and I had some good cards. Elliot had asked me this morning how to play Bridge but my attempt to explain it was not great. I have realised it is quite a complicated game!

   I had a visit from a guy who is going to repair my front flagstone walk. It has sunk considerably but I am hoping he will be able to reuse the flagstones after he lays a concrete base.  He didn't sound too optimistic but I think he just wants to sell me some new stone. I like the rustic look of the current walk. Here's a "before" picture. I will post the "after" picture once it is done next month. Then I can get going on landscaping the border.

Sunday 20 August 2017

Busy Weekend

    Usual Saturday routine yesterday then up to Markham to babysit by 5:00. The kids were quite well behaved and we had burgers from the barbecue. Home by midnight and slept well until 8:00 a.m. In the afternoon I had time to make a batch of orange carrot marmalade. It turned out very well and now my preserves cupboard is almost full. Just some rhubarb jam and chutney to make.

   Tennis at 9:00 this morning but I must have still been half asleep as I played very badly - on the losing side in both sets even though we changed partners. I had a long nap this afternoon and hope to feel more energetic tomorrow. 

   It has been another lovely day. I was in the pool several times and spent most of the afternoon reading in the shade. I am reading an interesting memoir "Finding Me in France" by a Canadian, Bobbi French. I also cut the front grass after it got a little cooler, so it has been a busy productive day. 

   Last day for the chicken thighs. I am going to cut the meat from the bone and put it in a Fatoush salad to use up some more tomatoes. This is a middle Eastern salad and uses unusual spices - dried mint, Zattar mix, so has quite a unique taste. Some raspberries from the freezer for dessert. Yum!!

This should last me all year!

Friday 18 August 2017

Perfectly Summer!

   Lovely day although the wind got up this afternoon and was blowing things around. Tennis until 10:30 then picked up the grandkids - first stop was the "Golden Arches" (McDonald's) for ice cream then home for an hour in the pool.

   A quick lunch (I think I spoiled their appetites with the ice cream, but, hey, that's what Grandmas are for!) then another hour in the pool when Judy arrived. She was very hot from working in her classroom but it is almost ready. 

   A little gardening in the afternoon, another swim and then reading my book in the sun. That's what summer is all about!

Thursday 17 August 2017

Dull and Dreary

   The day started out pleasantly but by noon it had clouded over and soon it was raining. The temperature dropped and now I am in long pants and a sweater - Fall is not far off.

  Probus club this morning with an interesting speaker, then lunch at Red Lobster. Bonnie and I had a Caesar salad and shared the stuffed mushrooms - all for the princely price of $10!  Liz had Lobster bisque and Diane had crab cakes. Everything was delicious and, of course, there were plenty of biscuits!

   Too wet to garden this afternoon so I have been reading - luckily I have a couple of good books on the go. It wouldn't do to run out of something to read!

   A light dinner and a quiet evening in front of the TV after I get off the computer.

Wednesday 16 August 2017

Keeping Busy

   I accomplished a lot today despite having three hours in the coffee bar at the senior's centre. "Stretch and Strength" class at 9:00 a.m. followed by a coffee break with the other ladies. My friend Trudy joined us and seemed to fit in very well. She was still there chatting when I left. 

   I walked back to the senior's centre just before noon and back again at 3:00 p.m. so got plenty of exercise in total today. After a nap I made a tomato sauce, got a pot of cauliflower soup on the go  and cut the back grass. The tomato sauce went on some chicken thighs which, along with some broccoli, will be dinner tonight. Now I just have to blend the cauliflower soup for when the grandkids come for lunch and a swim on Friday. It's one of their favourites and so healthy. Now just a quiet half hour doing Sudokus while dinner is cooking.

Tuesday 15 August 2017

The Tomato Saga Continues

   I made tomato soup this afternoon, using 8 humungous tomatoes, but there are still 4 in the bowl in the kitchen for eating and another half dozen still on the vine but ready for picking. Next will probably be a tomato sauce for the freezer. I am open to suggestions on other inventive ways to deal with the glut. I can't think why I have so many (and such big ones) this year except that I removed some of the outer leaves on the plants just as the fruit was beginning to form.

   Last year I ate tomato bruschetta almost every day for lunch or a snack during the glut but this year I am trying to avoid bread so that's out. I do love a tomato and basil sandwich but there's the bread again! I put a ton of basil in the soup, really stripped the plant, so I hope it produces some more.

   Tennis this morning although the courts were wet at first. We were slipping and sliding for the first half hour. But then the sun came out and it turned into a perfect morning. We stopped at 11:30 for brunch (Jasmin's catering again) to celebrate some more 80 year olds birthdays. So, of course, there was cake! She really loves to spoil us.

Monday 14 August 2017

Back to the Normal Routine

   I had an appointment with the rheumatologist this morning and he has promised to sign me off after my next visit in six month's time. That will be a relief. Bridge this afternoon - I had terrible cards, only played a couple of hands and went down miserably. It's enough to put you off bridge for life!

   I walked to and from the Senior's Centre and did a bit of gardening this afternoon, so a swim was called for. I'm still a bit tired from the hectic week at the tennis centre but will buck up soon, I hope. So many tomatoes have ripened during the week I will have to make a soup or freeze them. I really prefer to eat them fresh but there are just too many!

   Some photos from the tennis centre:

Ladies singles semi-final.

Brilliant sunset on one of the drier evenings.

Tuesday 8 August 2017

Is Summer Almost Over?

   Terrible day at the tennis centre yesterday. Rain, a cold wind and having to hang about until the courts were dried and the last match completed. We didn't get to leave until almost midnight and I was chilled to the bone (we are only allowed to wear our uniforms which proved inadequate to withstand the falling temperature).  I was home around 12:30 a.m. and immediately into a hot tub to unthaw, then slept the sleep of the dead.

    Still cool this morning but sunny so I had a couple of hours on the tennis courts. I picked up the grandkids around 11:00, took them to the library and then home for lunch and a swim. I didn't go in but they did for half an hour. I had left the heater on all morning and the temperature almost reached 80F. The nights are getting cooler so the water is losing its heat overnight. 

    Still tired from yesterday so I will be having a light dinner and an early night. 

Sunday 6 August 2017

Another cool day

   Still very cool and windy today. This was my first day at the tennis centre, volunteering at the Rogers Cup, and I had my sweater on virtually the whole day. Today was the second day of qualifying and I didn't get to see any matches, but the main draw starts tomorrow so I may see some of the seeded players on court. It was a long day today - left home at 8:00 a.m. and got home just after 4:00. The rest of the week won't be so bad.

   No need for much dinner as we got a nice chicken and veggies lunch plus lots of fruit and nibblies to keep us going. I'll just relax in front of the TV and have an early night.

Saturday 5 August 2017

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

    So cold today! It feels like Fall and the wind is very strong. I definitely didn't venture into the pool. In fact I was indoors most of the day watching the World T & F events from London. Poor old Bolt, he almost made it a clean sweep of wins.

   Last stop on the cruise was Amsterdam with a visit to the Reiksmuseum. It was all it is cracked up to be with virtually hundreds of remarkable paintings - really too much to see in one day. It was extremely busy but we had an excellent guide who made sure  we saw the most important works. A canal tour in the evening with historical highlights rounded off our visit and then it was off to the airport in the morning. We had to fly back to Munich before getting our flight home but not too long a wait in between flights. The end of a stellar trip.

"The Night Watch"

Rembrandt "Self Portrait"

Van Gogh "Self Portrait"

Friday 4 August 2017

Colonge, Germany

   A very changeable day but I managed to fit in everything I wanted to do. It was spitting when I left for tennis and the courts were damp but we played anyway (carefully!) until they dried properly around 9:00. People started to trickle in once the sun came out but it had gone again when I arrived to pick up the grandkids. They were helping Judy set up her classroom (who says teachers have summers off - she's in there at least once a week!) and were quite happy to come home with me. Elliot cleaned the pool almost single handedly, a job I hate, and James helped too.

   After lunch they were in the pool despite it still raining and flooded the deck with their shenanigans. Never mind, we had a torrential storm later which filled it up again. As I said, a very changeable day!

   Our last day in Germany found us docked in Cologne and taking a leisurely stroll around down town with a very knowledgeable guide. What a difference from the previous one! It has a fabulous cathedral, many old historic buildings and new, interesting parks. Well worth the visit. We had been bussed into town but Kathie and I walked back although it was getting quite hot by then. Lunch, a nap followed by an ice cream social on the sun deck. Then I watched the French Open men's final in the lounge. There were a couple of other fans watching too so we had fun. Finally a tour of the galley with the head chef - hard to believe all the wonderful meals we had came from such a tiny space!

Thursday 3 August 2017

Koblenz and the Wachau Valley

    It has been a funny week so far - starting off warm and sunny, then clouding over in the afternoon with quite heavy rain. Today's shower was short and sweet but thunder was rumbling so somewhere got a soaking.

   Early tennis but we were done by 10:00 - just three of us and that is always more tiring. Bridge at noon, some good hands although I underbid a couple of times to my partner's annoyance. C'est la vie!

   Salmon for dinner tonight so that will be my serving of protein today. Just an apple for lunch. My appetite is slightly improved. I should weigh myself tomorrow.

   Next day on the cruise the morning was spent steaming up the Wachau Valley with wonderful views from the sun deck of at least a dozen castles high on the sides of the valley. We were given a running commentary of all the sites and were kept busy running from one side of the sundeck to the other as each new castle appeared. We saw the famous "Lorelei" cliff and sailed by several small picturesque towns. We didn't arrive at Koblenz until 2:30. and by then it was very hot. The guide for the walking tour was rather poor so I bailed half way through and walked back to the ship to watch the French Open women's final - much more interesting! In the evening we had the "Battle of the Universities" and U of T tied with Smith College for first place - another bottle of bubbly to share.
Not everyone was interested in the castles!

At the entrance to Koblenz.

Wednesday 2 August 2017

Miltenburg and "Fruhschoppen"

   Still not much appetite but I have an appetizing dinner planned for tonight - tomato, olive and feta salad with lemon juice and some of the real olive oil, that I bought in Spain last Fall, as a dressing. It will also have cucumber and red pepper - that should tempt me to eat. There's nothing wrong with keeping meals light but I am missing protein so will have to think about that tomorrow.

   Fitness class this morning but I came straight home after, had a nap and a swim before going back to work in the coffee bar. Another nap after that then cut the front grass just before thunder started rattling around. This was followed by a very heavy downpour - good for the garden and the pool is filled again!

   I can't for the life of me, recall our walking tour of Miltenburg but the highlight of our day was Fruhschoppen on the sun deck. This is a Bavarian Sunday morning custom - white sausages with mustard, potato salad, sauerkraut and giant pretzels and, of course, big glasses of beer! and then there was lunch. Even after all that food we were still ready for dinner which that day was Osso Buco, tender and delicious. All in all, the food on the cruise was outstanding.

Food set out on the sun deck.

This MAY be Miltenburg!

Tuesday 1 August 2017

Rottenburg and Wurtzburg

   Still feeling rather under the weather but went to tennis anyway. It was very hot and humid and I barely made it through two sets. We had a little party for one of our founding members on his 90th birthday - and he's still playing tennis! Hope I am able to last that long. There was a delicious cake, fruit, cheese,  crackers and genuine macaroons. Jasmin does treat us well. I didn't need lunch!

From the city wall in Rottenburg.
   Early start (8:30) next day on the cruise as we took a bus ride for a tour of Rottenburg. It was an interesting place with a well preserved medieval wall around the centre. I had a walk around it with some great views. After we left the boat it sailed to Wurtzburg where the bus took us, arriving for lunch. It was rather a rushed meal as we were leaving at 2:30 for a tour of the town and the Bishop's Palace there. It's a UNESCO site with a beautiful garden and well worth the visit. A very busy day (really too much for one day) and we were ready for a quiet night. The boat sailed at 6;30 and we were able to use the sundeck for watching the scenery pass by. We would reach the Rhine the next day.

We couldn't take photos inside the baroque Palace but the gardens were a photographer's dream