Monday 29 January 2018

Back To Winter Weather

   As predicted, the Spring-like weather was short-lived and we have a smattering of snow today. I am going out this evening so am hoping it won't amount to much. The temperature is just a bit below freezing.

   Quite a busy day with "Hava Java" in the morning. It was fun to get together with erstwhile colleagues and friends, and the coffee at Calabria Bakery is good (and free!). Then Bridge this afternoon with some good and some not-so-good hands, but the company, again, was great. Tomorrow's Bridge lesson is cancelled because the teacher is sick, which is a shame as I had declined to play tennis this week. But I'm sure I will survive the disappointment!

   Nothing else to report so I will close now. Wish me luck when out driving tonight!

Sunday 28 January 2018

Gardening in January?

   Yes, that is what I was doing this morning - well, just pulling up some errant mint that I had missed in the fall. The earth, which is usually totally frozen until late March, was ready to be cultivated. I wouldn't be surprised to see some of my garlic sprouting if this mild weather continues.  No doubt we will have more seasonal temperatures in the next couple of months but it was lovely to be outside enjoying the sun with my jacket unbuttoned. I even sat outside for half an hour before the clouds came over around noon.

   Earlier I had a long walk culminating at Tim Horton's for a breakfast sandwich and coffee. I have to admit I also bought some Timbits but only ate a couple. I will definitely ration myself over the next few days.

I am currently watching Lidia (on TV) preparing chicken parmigiana using chicken thighs. I know I have some thighs in the freezer so that may be a meal later in the week. She is putting sliced plum tomatoes and  Fontina cheese on them before she bakes them. They look very good! Now she is making Zabaglione and Tiramisu.

Saturday 27 January 2018

Big Disappointment

     I have been waiting all day to watch the Women's Final at the Australian Tennis Open only to find it has been pre-empted by curling. Grrr! It is now to be shown at 3:00 a.m - well, I won't be getting up to watch it so will just have to read about it in tomorrow's newspaper.

   We had another Burns' lunch today (free, because we were dancing) and it was very good. I had seconds and then thirds of haggis. Luckily we didn't have to do too many dances (I was so full) and they were mostly Ceilidh dances with the audience participating, which makes it easy for us. Just a couple more next week.

   After the big lunch it will be something light for dinner - at the moment I'm thinking some shrimp in a lemon sauce and broccoli. With a glass of white wine, that would hit the spot!

Friday 26 January 2018

The Good and the Bad

    Gentle Fit class at 9:00 a.m., coffee and cookies at the Senior's Centre, then picked up a few groceries and some bird seed bells for the sparrows. I put a loaf of bread in the bread machine just before lunch and had a short walk in the afternoon but since then have just been relaxing and reading.

    I finished the book for next week's Book Club this afternoon but will have to return it to the library before then. It was Trevor Noah's book "Born a Crime", quite disturbing in parts but also quite funny. I'm sure we will have a lively discussion on Thursday.

   Almost got above zero today so still quite unseasonably warm. No complaints from me! Salmon and broccoli for dinner (no carbs) but I did snack on an avocado and salsa dip with a glass of wine earlier. Naughty me!

A pretty nice looking loaf. I will slice it and store it in the freezer. It will last me a couple of weeks.

Thursday 25 January 2018

The Ladies Who Lunch

   A chilly start to the morning (-10C) but it was sunny in spots and no cold wind. I was out early to tennis and we had two good sets. Jerry came out on top as he was the winner first when he played with Angela and then again with me. We had to play a tie-break in the first set, it was so tight.

   I just had time for a quick change before leaving for lunch at Remezzio's with the ladies from my Fitness class. I had Minestrone soup and a beet , pecan and goat cheese salad. The pecans were roasted and crunchy and there was a balsamic drizzle over everything. Yummm!

   A quiet evening at home - there seem to have been very few of these recently - and the semi-finals from Melbourne on TV late tonight. I may or may not stay up to watch, depending on who's up first.

Wednesday 24 January 2018

Petronella Dancers

Here we are at our latest demo at Oak Ridges Retirement Residence. I'm second from  left. Donald (centre) gave the address to the Haggis and recited some Burns' poems, and there was also a piper and  a Highland Dancer. The residents thoroughly enjoyed the evening. 

Tuesday 23 January 2018

Burns' Night

   We had a fine old time last night with dancing some Burns' dances then tucking into haggis, 'neeps and tatties  (turnips and mashed potatoes for the uninitiated). Bill thrilled us all with his rendition of the "Address to the Haggis". Lots of sweet treats for afterwards and then a big clean up. I wasn't home until just after 10:00 p.m. 

   Another demo this afternoon at a Retirement Home, and more haggis but it wasn't as good as last night. We managed our dances to perfection and were well received. Another one tomorrow night then nothing until Saturday so things are winding down.

   Very mild again today - the snow is almost gone, very strange for January - and we even had some sun. The temperature has dropped quite a bit to just above zero but no snow in the forecast. 


Monday 22 January 2018

Addressing the Haggis

   A dark gray day with constant rain. Most of the snow is gone again but will be back later in the week. At least we seem to have been spared freezing rain as the temperature has stayed (barely!) above zero.

   I was all set to go to another demo this afternoon but it was cancelled due to illness at the facility. So I had begged out of my Bridge game for nothing. I did, however, get the Minutes from the last RTO meeting finished and off to Gary which is always a weight off my back. I really hate doing them but have agreed to continue as Secretary for another year. There are others on the committee who do much more than I am prepared to do. 

   A big pot of soup cooking all morning and I enjoyed it for lunch. Red peppers (my favourite vegetable) were on special last week so I have been eating them raw with cheese and crackers for lunches. I refuse to buy them if they are over $3 a pound! No dinner tonight as we are having haggis, 'neeps and tatties after dancing tonight - it's Robbie Burns' birthday!

Sunday 21 January 2018

Family Time and Fresh Air

    What a gorgeous day today! I went for a long walk this morning along the ravine - didn't see much wild life except for a few pairs of ducks in the stream - but it was just like being in the country. It was a bit icy underfoot but I wore my hiking boots and walked off the path in the worst areas. 

   I was home in time to clean up some of the winter debris from the deck, then sat outside soaking up the rays for half an hour - a very pleasant way to spend the morning! After lunch I slept for an hour - must have been all the fresh air, and then buckled down to type up the Minutes from last week's RTO meeting. Only half done but I will be home tomorrow morning and will get some more done then.

   James' eighth birthday party last night - he was pleased with his presents and we had a lovely family evening. Steve, Alison and Lucy dog were there too. Today was to be a backyard skating party for his friends but I'm afraid it was too mild - the ice was probably too soft for skating.

   The guy from Enercare came first thing this morning and got the gas fire started up. He even fixed the remote for me which hasn't worked for two years! So I have the fire lit this evening and it is nice and cozy indoors. Chicken and chickpeas for dinner - it's smelling good!

Friday 19 January 2018

Another Catchup

   So much has happened since my last post that this may be a long one. The first thing was  - no hot water for my Tuesday morning shower. The guys finally came on Thursday (I had to miss my Zumba class to stay home for that). They fixed the water heater but, in the process, caused my gas fire pilot light to go out - they had to turn off the gas to do the repair. No luck either the repair guy or me to get it lit again so I have had to call in the gas guys to turn it back on. Grrr! That will happen on Sunday morning and I will send the bill to the water heater company - it's a rental.

   Tuesday was RWTO lunch. There was supposed to be an Executive meeting beforehand but it was cancelled (a very wise decision by our President) due to bad driving conditions. I spent the morning shovelling about 6cms. of snow. By the time we headed out for the lunch the roads had been mostly cleared. The lunch was salmon (delicious) and the speaker was not only interesting but funny too. His subject was Art Forgery.

   I was out Wednesday and Thursday evenings so am very happy to have an evening at home today. I had my "Gentle Fit" class this morning and a Robbie Burns' demo this afternoon and came home from that quite bushed. That's two done and another on Monday afternoon. Probus meeting on Thursday morning and we had Sgnt. Bob again with a presentation dealing with online scams.

   On Thursday evening it was the Tennis Club Executive meeting - it didn't end until almost 10:00 p.m. I hope subsequent meetings don't run that late! Most of what was discussed didn't involve me - I'm the clubhouse coordinator - but at the next meeting I will have to come up with a report.

   The weather has turned mild again - above freezing today and sunny - but this will only last for a few days then we will be back in the deep freeze. Winter is definitely not over!


Monday 15 January 2018

Blue Monday

   The third Monday of January - the phrase was coined by a travel company, Sky Tours in the UK, to encourage people to travel to warmer climes. Although, they do say that lots of folk suffer from mild depression during this time of year.

   Still cold, minus 10C for most of the day, and it has been snowing off and on all day. Accumulation is supposed to be around 6cms. before it finally tapers off overnight. I won't bother shovelling as it is predicted to be milder by the end of the week. Currently I am sitting by the phone waiting to hear that tonight's dance class has been cancelled. So far it's still on, so I must go. Driving home from Bridge this afternoon the roads were quite slippery. I have to be out early tomorrow morning for an appointment so will have to just take it easy in order to arrive safely.

   I watched some tennis from Australia this morning and one of the Canadian players was doing well - hope he won! If he did it will be in the newspaper tomorrow.

Sunday 14 January 2018

Some Good TV

   Still chilly when I got up this morning but it managed to get up to minus 6C by the afternoon. The sun was shining for a good part of the day.

   The morning went by with chores and I did my exercise show as well. An early lunch as I had to be out to demo practice by 1:40. I put a seasoned pork  shoulder in the slow cooker before I went out and it was smelling good when I came home.  It didn't need much longer and was extremely tender and tasty.

   Now I am watching some early rounds tennis from Australia - we don't usually get it here but it looks like it will be showing most days. Yaay!!

Saturday 13 January 2018

Money Talk

   Very chilly this morning, minus 13C, and it didn't move much all day. It did help to have sun but that disappeared by late afternoon. 

   A big grocery shop this morning, several meat specials and I stocked up on fruit and vegetables. Total there was $40 and I spent another $12 at the bulk food store. On the plus side, I returned the non-working Fitbit for a credit of $145! I've decided I don't really need it, especially the frustration of trying to boot it up, and Walmart was happy to take it back.

   After a rather long nap (I'd woken quite early) I spent some time getting the name tags ready for next Tuesday's lunch. It was a bit easier to do since I put all the members' tags in alphabetical order. Must try to keep them that way. There will be about 100 of us and I think the meal will be salmon for a change.

Friday 12 January 2018

Using Up Vegetables

   Yesterday set another record, this time for the high temperature. It was 12C. That's two records this month as earlier we had a record low, minus 22C., weird weather! I was out in the evening to babysit the grandkids and it poured both coming and going, making driving tricky. At least the kids were good and we had fun times. But they didn't get to bed until just before Judy came home from rehearsal and I don't think she was too pleased to see them still awake.

   Today started out rainy and mild but the temperature dropped this afternoon and we had first freezing rain then big fluffy snowflakes. The car is safely tucked away in the garage so I won't have to scrape the ice off tomorrow morning. It didn't snow much so I probably won't have to shovel tomorrow either. I don't like rain but at least we don't have to shovel it!

   Fitness class had been postponed another week so I did my step video this morning instead. Then I made my usual carrot and lentil soup but with a good doze of cabbage in it. I have been eating cabbage all week but there is still half of it left and I am getting sick of it. Perhaps it could go in the freezer if I blanche it first. Tonight, for a change, I will put some frozen spinach in the casserole I plan to make so I will get plenty of green stuff!

   Now the cupboard, fridge and fruit bowl are almost bare so nothing has been wasted this week. Tomorrow is grocery shopping day and I will be careful to only buy what I can use in a week.

Wednesday 10 January 2018

Tricky Driving

     Horrible weather tonight with freezing rain in and around the city- dance group was cancelled because the parking lot at the church was a sheet of ice and impossible to navigate! Too bad we didn't know until we got there. I stopped at the store on the way home to pick up a bag of salt and the parking lot there was also treacherous. The temperature is supposed to rise to 8C overnight so things should be better in the morning.

   The day had started well, sunny and around zero, and that lasted until I got home from my shift in the coffee bar. It was a lovely change from the frigid weather we have had recently. My fitness classes aren't starting until next week so I did my video step class at home again this morning. It is getting very boring but I do work up a sweat! Well, that was my day.

Monday 8 January 2018

Technological Woes

    We were inundated with about 5cms. of snow this morning so I spent quite a bit of today shovelling out. It has become quite mild, we may get rain later in the week, so I didn't mind the shovelling although the snow was wet and heavy - a good workout!

   Bridge was cancelled this afternoon as two members were sick in bed, but I went to Craft club in the morning - not a great turnout because the roads are still a bit slippery. I just hope we have a better showing at dance group this evening as we need 16 people to break even - we each pay $5, the teacher gets $40 and the rent of the hall is $35. We have only been getting between 12 and 14 people most weeks so are rather in the red at this point in the year. Not good!

   My Fitbit is refusing to start up - I may need some tech support to get it going. The problem seems to be that I don't have Bluetooth (whatever that is) on my computer and the "dongle" (truly that's what it's called) which came with the Fitbit doesn't seem to like my computer. Well, I have gone without one for some time so there's no rush to get it started. But if anyone out in cyberland has any helpful advice for me it would be appreciated!


Saturday 6 January 2018

A New Gadget

   Sunny today but very cold - minus 22C when I got up this morning. I was out early as I had a few errands to run so left the load of washing chugging in the machine and hung it up (indoors ) when I got home.

   I had decided to have breakfast at "The Golden Arches" as I had a coupon to use and it was tasty - an egg McMuffin, hash browns and coffee for just over $4 - can't beat that! While in Walmart I stopped by the electronics department and spotted a Fitbit I wanted. So now I can keep track of my daily exercise. However, first I have to go online to set it up. That may prove to be a bit of a challenge as I am rather technologically challenged! 

My new Fitbit - a late Christmas present to myself!

     It is supposed to warm up tomorrow but, for just now, I am parked close to the fire to stay warm as the temperature drops again tonight.

Friday 5 January 2018

Fresh Baking Smells Good

   As forecast, very cold and windy today so I stayed home and kept myself busy with books, baking, a new jigsaw puzzle and a few light chores. I will have to go out tomorrow as I am out of almost all basic supplies, eggs, milk, fruit and vegetables etc. I didn't even have enough vegetables to make my usual carrot and lentil soup so that will be on the agenda tomorrow after I have shopped. 

   I made a ginger cake this afternoon. It's my mother's recipe and is mixed in a pot on the stove. First you melt the butter, brown sugar, syrup and treacle (I use dark molasses). Then you add an egg, some milk and the chopped ginger - I use candied pieces of ginger root - then finally flour and baking soda. It all goes in the pot and then when well mixed, into a loaf pan and baked. It is really good!

   Dinner tonight is a chicken pot pie but the topping will be leftover bread stuffing from Christmas dinner instead of puff pastry. The freezer is finally beginning to look quite empty so it's time to restock.


Thursday 4 January 2018

Hunkering Down

   Bitterly cold today and the wind is strong and feels like it is coming directly from the North Pole! The day started off around -10C but sunny - not so bad - but it's currently -13C and dropping fast. We have been promised (?) an overnight temperature of -22C! The furnace is working overtime and I have the fire lit so I am, thankfully, quite comfortable. I won't be venturing outdoors tomorrow!

    Tennis this morning and we managed three sets. I won't be playing again for a couple of weeks as I have other commitments so I was glad of a good workout today. Then Book Club this afternoon with a lively discussion of "The Break" by Katherina Vermette. You need a strong stomach to read this book but it is worth the effort.

   Dinner tonight is a broiled salmon fillet and broccoli casserole. This is my pre-prandial snack - a glass of wine, a small avocado, smashed with lemon juice and a splash of Lea and Perrins, topped with mild chunky salsa and grated cheddar cheese. Notice the healthy addition of some celery sticks.

I may have a slice of the Christmas plum pudding for "afters" (or not, it keeps forever). Then an evening in front of the TV with my knitting and early to bed. Time to refill the wine glass, it's been a busy day!

Wednesday 3 January 2018

A Lazy Day

   An "at home" day, just pottered about, nothing much accomplished, but I am going out this evening to one of my dance groups. The other one starts up next week, as do all my usual activities. 

   Not so cold today although I haven't put my nose outdoors other than to retrieve the newspaper and check the mailbox. The thermometer stayed around minus 6C most of the day. Tomorrow is supposed to be significantly colder and will continue like that until the weekend.

   I had a substantial snack about an hour ago (blue cheese on crackers, grapes and celery sticks) so won't bother with dinner. I'll have tea and a snack when I get home.

Tuesday 2 January 2018

Still Cold

   Tennis from 10:00 to 12:00 this morning - we got in three sets and I was on the winning end for two, with Swan it was 6-0 for us!

    On the way home I filled the car with gas and picked up a library book so it was almost 1:00 p.m. before I had lunch. I finished the book for Book Club later this week then settled in for a nap. Then it was off to the cinema to see "All the Money in the World", the story of the Paul Getty kidnapping. Even though I knew he would be rescued (it's based on actual fact), I still found it quite tense and exciting. Worth a visit. The cinema was absolutely teeming with people as it is still the school holidays, but not too many at my show.

   On the way home I stopped in at Home Depot to get a filter for the furnace. I forgot to check the size I needed and have a sneaking suspicion I got the wrong one - will check tomorrow.

   I was pretty hungry when I got home around 7:00 but I had prepared turnip before I went out, so it was just a matter of minutes to mash it and warm up a piece of capon from the freezer, a nice easy dinner!

Monday 1 January 2018

Another New Year

    I didn't manage to stay up until midnight but had a good sleep and was up with the sun which rose at 7:52 today. We have exactly 9 hours of daylight this week but it is to stay very cold. So sorry for the homeless people in town, the shelters will all be full again tonight. Look at the projected overnight temperatures!

Frigid air from the Polar Vortex seems to be stuck over most of Canada this week.

   I was invited out for lunch today (a nice surprise) and met up with some tennis friends at Carol's condo. She had a lovely light spread for us - salad, cheeses, smoked salmon, shrimp, all my favourites - with wine, then apple cake and coffee to finish. I will only need a small snack for dinner tonight. 

   The house got its last bit of sprucing up today and that should be it for a few weeks. I cleaned out the fridge and washed the shelves, threw out the contents of some cupboards in the laundry room that hadn't been touched in years, and got rid of all the fluff under my bed. It feels good to start the new year fresh and clean.