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Monday, 26 February 2018

Goodbye for Now

    A pretty decent day although it has clouded over now and the temperature is dropping. I will be back in my winter coat when I go out tonight.

   Terrible cards for me and my partner at Bridge today but I did make one contract successfully. Next week we will be playing earlier as there is to be a Pancake breakfast and we will get the cards out as soon as we have eaten.

   I was at the coffee social this morning and picked up a couple of books for the next two Book Club meetings. I have finished "Belgravia" (what a good climax and ending!) so will get started on the April book tomorrow. 

  I am thinking of taking a break from blogging for a while as I seem to be repeating myself over and over again. When something exciting comes into my life I will pick it up again. Meanwhile, I will check out other blogs for inspiration!

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Accomplishments

   It was a beautiful sunny day but the wind was very strong so I never did get out for a walk. It reached 12C and things are starting to grow in the garden - my garlic shoots are up about half an inch.

   Demo pool practice this afternoon and we learned the dances we will be doing on Gala Day in April. We are doing a medley - first a strathspey in a square formation, then a reel in a six couple long set - should be pretty spectacular if we can manage to keep it together.

   Last of the Olympics this evening with a review of all the Canadian achievements. Third place is not too shabby!

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Lazy Day at Home

    I had a late start this morning, waking from a weird dream at 8:45 to more dull gray skies. We got a few blinks of sun latterly but it is back down below zero now that the sun has set. Still feels warmer than normal for February. Long may it last!

   Just my usual Saturday routine - laundry, grocery shopping etc. - but I did make another batch of shortbread cookies this afternoon. They turned out better so I am thinking that I made a mistake with the quantities yesterday.

   I cooked the fish yesterday in a tomato and vegetable sauce and there's still some left for tonight. I still have half a cabbage left from last week but am getting thoroughly bored with it. May need to make a pot of cabbage soup tomorrow to use it up. Now just a quiet evening at home reading and watching TV. I really should get my knitting out!

Friday, 23 February 2018

Still No Sun

   A dull gloomy day but not too cold. After yesterday's long post, this will be a short one - not much happened. Thank goodness I have a good book on the go, "Belgravia" by Julian Fellowes, he of "Downton Abbey" fame. It's set in the 19th century and is the kind of book I really enjoy, so lots of reading today.

   Fitness class this morning and afterwards I hung around chatting over coffee for almost an hour. We are a very compatible group and the range of topics discussed was far-reaching.

   I made shortbread cookies this afternoon but, for some reason, couldn't get the dough to stick together. Either the butter was too cold or I made a mistake with the quantities of the dry ingredients. After much kneading I did manage to cut out the cookies and they are in the freezer for next week's Book Club. Lynne and I are "on treats".

   Fish, cabbage and the last of the eggplant casserole for dinner tonight. Almost out of everything fresh so tomorrow's shop will be a big one.

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Budgeting

   I had three good sets of tennis this morning with Martin, Angela and Renelle.  It was a mad dash from tennis to Bridge around noon but I made it without any traffic mishap. We usually play Bridge on Monday but the Centre was closed for Family Day. It was very busy in the Bridge room with 9 Bridge tables going. I had one very good hand and made two over the contract!

   We had one very mild day this week, in fact it set a record, 14C. Now it is colder but no snow cover at all which is unusual for February. If March comes in like a lamb next week (which it is forecast to do) we can expect storms at the end of the month and, possibly, more snow.

   I have been calculating my monthly budget today and I actually have some money left over! The heating bill was the big expense - $350 - and last month was over $300 as well, but I have cut back on a lot of foodstuffs (and wine) for Lent so that has saved me quite a bit. All other expenses were roughly the same except my car's yearly maintenance overhaul ($800) but I put that on my credit card so don't have to pay it until next month. Hopefully, there won't be another car bill this year, except for insurance.

   I made a pot of tomato soup this afternoon - really minestrone but without any beans, just pasta. It was mostly leftover tomatoes, fresh and canned, a half can of tomato paste and lots of other vegetables. Dinner tonight is an eggplant casserole I made the other day, it was yummy and will be even better for sitting in the fridge. I am making a concerted effort to use up fresh stuff before my next shop on Saturday and have only half a cabbage and some mushrooms that will be part of tomorrow's dinner. Just one minneola and half each of an apple and a banana, so everything will be gone. It's hard to use everything up when cooking for one!

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Eating Out Today

    Monday was Family Day but the family was otherwise occupied so I had a quiet day at home. I had been out there on Saturday to babysit while Dave went to see Judy in her play. I had been to see her on Thursday while doing my bit as an usher. She did very well in her first part but was killed off at the end of the first act!

   Today I was out by 9:30 to The Estates to help set up for the RWTO lunch. I had the name tags laid out in good time and sold about 60 books at the used book table. Unfortunately, I went home with almost the same number of books as so many were donated - and there were several good reads among them. 

   The lunch was Greek salad followed by roast beef. There are always plenty of tasty, well-cooked vegetables and I managed to keep the carbs to a reasonable amount. Ice cream ball and coffee followed while we were treated to an interesting talk on financial planning (yes, it was interesting and there were plenty of intelligent questions from the audience). I learned some useful information. 

    After going home for a nap, I set off for the movie theatre around 4:00 p.m. to see "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" . What a good movie! I think it will be nominated for several awards, if I'm not mistaken.

   Just leftovers for dinner tonight, then, later, a cup of tea and a scone with homemade strawberry jam, a little treat before bed!

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Ash Wednesday/St. Valentine's Day

    Funny to have both these special days coincide. Although today was the start of Lent, this was ignored at the Senior's Centre as we had a special free day - cake and unlimited coffee. We had a huge turnout as everyone likes free food, especially cake.

   I was out early for my Fitness class but came home to pick up my lunch. It was sunny and above zero so I decided to walk back for my shift in the coffee shop. Lots of melting going on but we are not done with Winter yet. The puddles will probably freeze overnight and make for tricky walking tomorrow.

   I was kept on my toes churning out coffee all afternoon so was quite beat by the time I walked home. Then a nap and some quiet reading before dinner (salmon and broccoli). Now it's the Women's Slalom at the Olympics which will keep me entertained until bedtime. 

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Shrove Tuesday

    This is also known as Pancake Tuesday when you use up all the butter and eggs before Lent begins tomorrow. However, today was also the Senior Centre's outing to the Mandarin for the Valentine's lunch. Tomorrow I will start to live frugally and have already begun with no wine or chocolate this past week.

    Catherine brought pancakes to dance group on Monday and we had them with lashings of butter and home made strawberry jam at the break, so the week started out well. At the Mandarin today I started out with some sushi, then had dumplings, dim sum, shrimps, mussels and stir fried veggies, and finished with several delicious desserts. Green tea washed it all down but I was thoroughly stuffed when we finally rolled out of the restaurant. Home for a nap then I went to see "The Shape of Water" at the movie theatre. A bit of a tear jerker but most enjoyable.

   Just soup for dinner tonight and more Olympics. Canada is doing really well!
   

Sunday, 11 February 2018

What Next?

    Finally a day without any snow although the skies are still grey and overcast. After doing my morning chores (kitchen clean-up, ironing, bed changed) still in my night clothes, I finally got dressed just after 10:00 a.m. and went out to get rid of yesterday's snow. That took me about an hour and the snowblower had to dig through the windrow that the street plough had left at the bottom of my driveway.

My trusty machine - it has had a good workout this month!
   I was hoping that would be it for today but when I stepped outside later I realized everything was coated with ice - freezing rain had replaced the snow! Surely we will get a break from this particular weather system soon.

    When I got in from the first time out I made a pot of cauliflower soup for lunch. I usually don't buy cauliflowers in the winter as they are too expensive, but yesterday I cashed in $30 of PC Points so got myself a few treats - avocados, red peppers, berries and  piece of blue cheese. Despite the rotten weather I am a happy camper by treating myself with some tasty food!

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Inundated with the White Stuff

Friday  
  Having an early dinner (last night's fish with some pickled beetroot) as I have to go to babysit the grandkids in half an hour. I wish I didn't have to go as it has been snowing since noon and the roads will be a mess. I am always amazed when people write in their blogs how much they prefer snow to rain and how beautiful it is. Obviously they don't have to shovel it or drive in it! We have been promised (?) 25 cms. in this current storm.

Saturday
Well, the driving was even worse than expected, very slow and cautious. It was impossible to see the lane dividers so you just had to follow the car in front and leave plenty of room for an agonizingly slippery stop. It took me 50 minutes to get where I was going (usually half an hour). The kids were good, just the two younger ones so no squabbles. Number one son was on a camping trip, hope he survived the weather!

    Judy was back just after 10:00 p.m. and I had an easier drive home. The snow had stopped and, although the roads were slushy, at least a path had been cleared down the middle. The snow started up again overnight but by the middle of the morning it petered out. I used the snowblower to clear the driveway, went grocery shopping and have stayed in since then. Guess what? More snow! I will have to get the snowblower out again tomorrow. It is getting a real workout this month.

   That's it for today. A piece of salmon for dinner and lots of Olympic coverage on TV.




   

Thursday, 8 February 2018

More Shovelling!

    A cold start (-12C) but I was out quite early to finish clearing the driveway. There had been a bit more snow overnight, not enough to charge up the snowblower, so it turned out to be a longer job than I expected. I waited until the snow stopped falling and I was the first on the street to have a clear driveway!

   It warmed up a bit and we had some blinks of sun, so I was sweating by the time I was finished. I always wear several layers on my torso as I find that's the best way to keep the hands and feet from freezing. Also, I had on my big boots that come half way up my calf so my feet were toasty.

   I came in around 10:30 and had coffee and toast followed by a soak in the tub as my back was aching. By the time I was finished reading the newspaper it was time for an early lunch as I was determined not to miss the Zumba class at 1:00 p.m. I have missed several since the New Year and was in danger of losing my spot. In fact, last week I had to sneak in before our book club meeting to check off my name even though I didn't stay for the class. Today it was tiring but exhilarating at the same time and I was ready for a nap when I got back home.

    Early dinner tonight as I have to be at the DMTC meeting by 7:00. Fish in a cheese sauce with peas and spinach. Nothing to follow as we will probably have nibblies at the meeting.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

After the Storm

   I was late for fitness class this morning as the driving was very slow - cars were having trouble getting going after a stop at the traffic lights. We had about 10cms.of snow overnight. I think everyone else (including our instructor) had the same slow drive there as I only missed the warm-up.

   I had decided not to try to run errands in between classes - just stayed chatting over coffee -  so was at the Senior's Centre until 3:00 p.m. The classes today were all small as loads of people had decided to stay home. So, not too many customers at the coffee bar.

   The drive home was much easier as the snow had stopped by then and the ploughs had cleared the main roads. I got the snowblower fired up when I got home and had the driveway and sidewalk cleared lickety split. It's a bit hard to manouver but certainly does the job much more quickly than shovelling. It will need a tidy up tomorrow but I have nothing planned until the afternoon. Then there's another storm expected on Friday!

   I forgot to take anything out of the freezer for dinner so will have to make do with leftovers. At least nothing goes to waste in this house!

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

A Storm Coming!

    I got the snowblower out today and will plug in the lithium battery overnight - we are due for a big snowfall overnight! Whether it material or not remains to be seen. Driving may be a bit tricky in the morning.

   Today wasn't too cold, just below freezing, but the wind made it feel colder. I did a bit of shovelling this morning (I finally cleared the lower part of the driveway ready for tonight's new snow). Then headed out to my Bridge class which was rather underwhelming today. I didn't really learn anything new. We played a couple of hands after and I had a Grand Slam - my first ever. Unfortunately we didn't bid it - we were 4 over our contract!

   Later in the afternoon I went to a movie, "The Greatest Showman" with Hugh Jackman and Michelle Williams. It was OK but nothing to write home about. The costumes and music were pretty impressive, though!

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Busy in the Kitchen

   A pot of carrot lentil soup on the go for lunch - I almost forgot I had used up the last pot yesterday but I had it on by noon and had a late lunch when it was ready. Then this afternoon I made a batch of savoury scones which turned out well - lots of cheese and a sprinkling of garlic and parsley salt. I have just had a couple with salmon cream cheese hot from the oven. Yum!

   It was snowing when I got up this morning - not cold - so I was out shovelling around 10:00 a.m. The snow finally stopped by 3:00 p.m. so I went back out and finished clearing the driveway. At least I will be able to get the car out and on the road early tomorrow. I have to get some blood work done first thing and will be fasting from 6:00 p.m. tonight. No late night snacks!

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Technology Problems

   A chilly start to the day (-10C) but it did get up to -3C by the afternoon. No sun but also no wind so not too cold. And no snow!

   I had a frustrating time at the grocery store this morning. It was absolutely heaving with people and when I finally got to the checkout register it went down - not just mine but several others. There must have been almost 100 people in line! It took the cashiers ages to get rebooted and working again but everybody was really patient, no tantrums or riots - everyone just commiserating on the delay without blaming the cashiers. This is a truly Canadian trait, we are so polite!

   I meant to do some baking this afternoon as I am almost out of sweet treats but never got around to it. I finished one library book and got started on the next one. It's called "The Party" and is by Elizabeth Day. I'm sure I have read other books by her.

   Roast pork with vegetables in the slow cooker for dinner tonight and it's smelling good!

   

Friday, 2 February 2018

Groundhog Day

      Wiarton Willie, the local groundhog, saw his shadow today so we will have another six weeks of winter!  This really is no surprise as we regularly have snow and freezing temperatures well into March.  

   I have had no Internet since Tuesday so, once it came back on today I have been busy catching up on e-mails and blogs. I contacted the service provider on Wednesday and arranged for a technician to come today but, wouldn't you know, a half hour before he was to arrive, reception was back! He checked everything anyway and pronounced it "good to go". No explanation of the problem, however. I hope it doesn't re-occur.

   We had a mild day yesterday but today was bitterly cold again. All the snow that had melted into puddles yesterday was frozen and treacherous. I made it to fitness class this morning and went for a walk to the mall in the afternoon. My face was frozen by the time I got there as I was walking directly into the north wind. Coming home wasn't so bad and at least I was facing the sun. 

   I had opened a can of mixed beans for a pot of minestrone the other day and only used half. So today I picked out all the chickpeas and made a batch of hummus - lots of lemon juice and garlic. It was very tasty!