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Monday, 30 December 2019

Lindt Chocolates

   Going down by leaps and bounds! Never mind, the sooner they are finished, the sooner I can get going on a more healthy eating routine.


Please, no derogatory comments about the speed at which they are disappearing!

Friday, 27 December 2019

Indulgences

  Very strange weather here, +10C today so quite unseasonal. I had a nice long walk this morning along the ravine, while the chicken carcass was boiling down, so now I have a big pot of soup to sustain me for a while.

  Still eating leftovers but they are dwindling, thankfully. Someone gave me a huge box of chocolates for Christmas and I have refrained from opening it until today. I will try to ration myself to two a day but, as you can see, three are already gone. This will be a real test of my will power!


They are sooo good, especially the dark chocolate!

Thursday, 26 December 2019

Boxing Day

   Most of the apres Christmas cleanup has been done and leftovers will be brought out for dinner tonight. The tree is still up but that will go shortly. I'm not one for prolonging the season into the New Year. 

   Lucy the dog has not suffered any after effects of her over indulgence. I have made up a care package for son and DIL containing their missed plum pudding. Here are the before and after photos of the table.



I think a couple of people are ready for a post prandial nap! My SIL is the self proclaimed expert at loading the dishwasher so I left him to it. Then we settled to watch a movie - I may have nodded off at one point. What is it about turkey that causes drowsiness?

Wednesday, 25 December 2019

Another Christmas for the Story Books

   Too stuffed to write much but the family meal went off all right despite my trepidations. And there are lots of leftovers so I will be eating bird, stuffing and brussell sprouts for the rest of the week.

   A bit of a disaster though. When we went to eat we left a plate of cheeses out in the other room. Son and DIL's dog scoffed a whole chunk of blue cheese. Not good for dogs but she seemed OK. Then just as we sat down to the main course she got hold of a chunk of chocolate (my fault). Now that is serious for dogs so son and DIL left (with their meal on a plate) to check with a vet. Advice was to keep an eye on her but I am upset that they missed the plum pudding!

Naughty Lucy in her Christmas sweater!

Tuesday, 24 December 2019

The Night Before

   A bit colder today but still sunny. I went for a walk this morning while the bird cooked and it was very pleasant. 

   I did put the bird in a wet brine overnight and it seems to have come out nice and moist. I hate dry meat! It is now in the fridge along with the gravy, stuffing and some mashed sweet potatoes. The rest will be cooked tomorrow. Must remember to take stuff out of the freezer tonight before I go to bed. Nothing worse than trying to cook something from frozen with guests on the doorstep!

Monday, 23 December 2019

Counting Down

   Thought I should change my header photo to something more seasonal (better late than never) but it didn't really turn out as I expected.

   Out shopping bright and early. I actually saw the sun rise! The store was very quiet and I was in and out in under 45 minutes. That will be it until next week, hopefully, as I have quite depleted my grocery budget despite using $30 worth of my accumulated PC Points. There had better be lots of leftovers!

   Another sunny mild day and I walked to the senior's centre for Bridge. Usually the centre is closed for two weeks but this year they are just taking the statutory holidays. So we will be able to play next Monday too. Yay!

   Karen and I had really good cards today and won big, for a change. Too bad we don't play for money or we would really have cashed in. It certainly made up for a lot of our recent losses.

   I brought home the capon I will be cooking for Christmas lunch today and am trying to decide whether to soak it in brine overnight or not. Stay tuned for the result.

Sunday, 22 December 2019

Winter Solstice

   The shortest day of the year. Here the sun rose at 7:49 a.m. and set at 4:45 p.m. In a few days time the days will, thankfully, start to get longer. Today was sunny which makes up for its short appearance. It was, in fact, rather a nice day today with the temperature in positive numbers for a change. I think it may have exceeded the forecasted high of 5C.

    I got cracking on a few tidy up chores around the house (probably the first time since the family left back in August). I worked on the rooms I don't use all the time - the main bathroom got a good clean and I won't go in there again this week, just use my little ensuite. Tomorrow is my last shop - I'm going out very early in the morning to beat the crowds - and Tuesday I will cook the bird, make the gravy (my least favourite job) and prepare some of the other parts of the meal. So Christmas Day will actually be quite relaxed. I tend to get rather stressed when I have to cook for company even though I have made Christmas dinner every year (except one) for almost 50 years!

Table is set except for crackers. Judy may bring some as I'm not a big fan but the grandkids like to have them.


Saturday, 21 December 2019

Getting There

    Still relatively mild (got up to -1C today) but the snow is hanging on so we may have a white Christmas after all.

    Another job done - the mantelpiece decoration.


Friday, 20 December 2019

Brightening Up the House

   One more festive decoration - I have finally got the Christmas spirit. I think it was yesterday's snow. It's very Christmassy out there. Sunny and pleasant all day today and just -4C.


The snowman jug was acquired at a silent auction for the princely sum of $10 (I was the only bidder). The greenery is from the garden and the two Christmas sprigs are from Dollarama. I am rather proud of the finished display. My friends laughed when I bid on the jug. Who's laughing now?

Thursday, 19 December 2019

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.....

   Spent the best part of an hour shovelling snow this afternoon but it was the light fluffy variety so not a big strain. This was on top of half an hour yesterday but, according to the weather man, that will be it until after Christmas Day.

   Out early for tennis this morning. We played for almost two hours but part of it was as a threesome. One player left in a huff after an argument with his wife over the score. Another reason (like at Bridge) not to partner up with your spouse. The drive home was very slow and slippery due to the snow but it stopped mid afternoon. Since then I have been snacking on the fruit bread I made yesterday. It's a bit heavy but quite palatable when toasted and buttered.



   A few more decorations put up today and that should be it - and a few more Christmas cards.


Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Trial and Error

    Trying to make a sweet bread in the bread machine and it is rattling like nobody's business. It also smells funny. Hope it's not about to give up the ghost as it's not very old and I only use it every other week or two. 

   The sweet bread is from a recipe for Russian Kulich which I have made before. I chose it to use up some dried fruit left over from the Christmas plum pudding but I think I may have measured the flour incorrectly. I took the ball of dough out of the machine to knead in the dried fruit, then started the cycle again. So, who knows how it will turn out. Stay tuned for the result!

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

A Christmas Carol


   Hope you like this rendition.

Spoke Too Soon!

     The overeating was definitely not over. Another buffet, this time courtesy of the generous contributions by my fellow Bridge players at our year-end party.

    Everyone brought their favourite treat - mine was sausage rolls baked this morning. They went down well but I did manage to snag a few of the vegetarian version to bring home for dinner tonight. These were a bit of an experiment but the "guinea pigs" didn't complain. 


    Some other things I managed to snag along with the vegetarian rolls - clementines and Ferrero Rocher chocolates - a balanced dinner in my eyes! The floral arrangement was a big hit too.

Monday, 16 December 2019

What's on my Bedside Table?

   I am all stocked up with books for the down time between Christmas and New Year. Can't wait to get stuck in to them! I won't have much time for reading for the next week but things will wind down after that.



    I have actually finished "Akin" and returned it to the library but it has been replaced by "Before We Were Yours" by Lisa Wingate. No shortage of reading material there!

   The staff at the Senior's Centre had a "treat day" today when we were there for Bridge - a little plate of Christmas goodies and coffee, all free! Naturally I partook (is that even a word?). I think it will be on all week so I will have to make sure to get down there again at some point. Classes are finished until the New Year but the drop-in programs are still running.

    All my Christmas wrapping is done and under the tree - just presents for the grandkids, the adults don't exchange gifts. Cards are all in the mail but I have only received 5 so I think people may be deciding to cut back. Postage is expensive, especially if you are mailing overseas. Not so much overeating this week which is a good thing!

   

Sunday, 15 December 2019

Dancing Up a Storm

    Last night I attended the Family Christmas dance and this was one of the dances on the program. It was a very easy program as lots of children were there to try out their dancing skills. This video was actually recorded on another occasion but many of the same characters were in attendance last night. The dance is called "Well done, Jack". I'm in the second set in green and black.

 
    Unfortunately we ate quite late so I didn't get my 14 hour fast. But all the exercise probably kept me in fighting trim. Let's hope so anyway. Back to my regular regime today!

Saturday, 14 December 2019

A Different Silent Night

    Something to ponder as we approach the festive season. Hope you enjoy it!


Friday, 13 December 2019

Exercise Cancelled Out by Treats

   Out early this morning but I held off on eating breakfast until just before I left home - a 12 hour fast so not too bad.

   Milder and sunny today but still needed my winter coat. It was the last fitness class of the year - someone brought a box of chocolates! Sort of defeated the purpose of working out for an hour. Of course I didn't have to indulge but, as I said, will power is not my strong suit. There were also samosas still warm from the oven, I ate one and brought two home to have with dinner. Pickle Ball this afternoon for a couple of hours - there will be one more next Friday then nothing until the New Year. 

   I will be finished dinner tonight by 6:30 and won't have breakfast tomorrow until 8:30 so that will be 14 hours. Tomorrow I am going for a massage, hope it helps my sore back. I could hardly get up off the floor at Gentle Fit this morning!

Thursday, 12 December 2019

Trying to be Strong

   A big lunch again today (Probus Christmas Party) but in actual fact not too much food. I had selected Salmon and, although it came with a salad, potatoes and other vegs, I didn't feel stuffed afterwards. There was also an ice cream dessert (not too large) with absolutely divine raspberry coulis drizzled over it. I had a glass of red wine, red being healthier than white according to the media!

    Since then I have just had a bowl of guacamole with tostitos and a clementine. It is 6:45 p.m. so I will try not to eat again until breakfast tomorrow. Wish me luck (or, more likely, will power)! I will wait until next week to weigh myself - last weigh-in I was 146 lbs. which is a bit heavier than my usual.

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Avoiding the Worst of the Weather

   The family "Festive Special" outing on Sunday went well and the tree is now decorated, thanks to the grandkids. I love Swiss Chalet chicken and indulged in a glass of wine along with the meal as I wasn't driving. Instead of just five adults at these special meals we now have six as oldest grandson (almost 14) can polish off as much food as his Dad, and ask for more. You'd better not leave anything on your plate or it will disappear "toute suite"!

Don't know why it's so out of focus, but, hopefully, you get the idea.

    Today was the last Osteo Fit class and the Senior's Centre was very quiet so I didn't stay in the kitchen making coffee and heating pies too long. We have one more class on Friday and then a break until the New Year. My new eating regime went quite well - no food from 8:00 p.m. until 9:00 a.m. I need to shave an hour off that (it's supposed to be a 14 hour fast) so will start dinner earlier tonight so that I am done eating by 7:00 p.m.

   Currently I have the last wizened tomatoes from the garden bubbling away in the kitchen to make the last jar of tomato chutney. It smells delicious so I hope it turns out well. A snow squall just blew through (seemingly there was a 30 car pileup on the main highway from Toronto to Montreal earlier this afternoon) so I am glad to be indoors, warm and dry. 

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Time-restricted Eating

    I read about this in today's newspaper. Basically it refers to limiting your food intake to just 10 hours a day. For instance, breakfast at 8, last meal at 6. For me it would work better if I waited until 9 to eat breakfast as my usual dinner time is 7. My problem would be not to snack during the evening as I seem to get off to sleep better with something in my stomach.

    The improvements noted in the trial subjects were, among other things, lower blood pressure and cholesterol (both of which are high for me and require medication) and better sleep. However, subjects had to be careful to avoid dehydration. Also, by following this regime, their caloric intake was reduced resulting in some weight loss. This wasn't the goal of the program, rather allowing your organs to recuperate during the rest period. I'm all for that!

   I might try to follow this for a few weeks and see how I feel. Getting a better night's sleep would certainly make it worth while. I know I will find it hard as will power is not one of my strengths!

Saturday, 7 December 2019

Over Indulging

   Not feeling 100% today (I have a headache) so have been rather lackadaisical about getting on with chores. The grandkids (or at least two of them) are coming over tomorrow to help decorate my (artificial) Christmas tree so I dragged it up from the basement this afternoon and will put on the strings of lights later this evening.

   It has been a week of overeating, both times at buffets which always test my self control. On Wednesday we dined at the Scarborough Golf and Country Club, which is lovely, and the spread of food was just so tempting, especially the dessert table. They even had plum pudding and custard but I managed to abstain. By that time I was too stuffed anyway.

   Yesterday it was the Mandarin buffet and I started with a plateful of sushi, went on to dumplings, hot and sour fish fillets, egg rolls and lots of other goodies. I did manage to add some servings of vegetables but was, again, tempted by the desserts - my downfall. Today I am eating lightly. I thought I had a small piece of salmon in the freezer but couldn't find it. I will make do with sausage and beans for dinner.

The naked tree...….


….and now with lights . I will post the decorated version tomorrow.

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

All I Want For Christmas.......


My favourite Christmas song from my favourite Christmas Movie `Love Actually`

Monday, 2 December 2019

Battling the Elements

   After yesterday's snow storm I had to dig through 10 cms. of snow this morning to get my car out, but it is still not done. My back told me, enough's enough! The snow was very wet and heavy! I will finish it tomorrow. 

    Bridge this afternoon and Karen and I had good cards. We came out well ahead of the other pair for once. On one contract I had bid 1 No Trump and my response was, "if I don't make this contract, I'm giving up on Bridge". Luckily I made it with a couple of extra tricks, so onward and upward! 

Saturday, 30 November 2019

An Afternoon on the Kitchen

    Saturday is my day for laundry and grocery shopping but the afternoon is often a lazy time with not much accomplished. Not today!

   When I got home from the store I got a pot of leek and potato soup going. I haven't made it in ages but I recently replaced my hand blender and wanted to try it out. It worked very well and the soup was smooth and delicious.

   After lunch and a nap I decided to get cracking on some Christmas baking. Normally I use a pastry mix for mince pies but I have been unable to find it in the stores so had to (horrors!) make it from scratch. They turned out well and I had enough pastry to make a rustic mincemeat pie for my "cook's treat". 


   Still feeling energetic I got dinner started in my new crock pot (not strictly new, just new to me from Value Village). It started with some chicken drumsticks, a can each of mixed beans, corn and chopped tomatoes and some brussell sprouts. However, it seems to be cooking rather slowly so may not be ready until too late for dinner. In the meantime I am having another treat, guacamole and red pepper hummus (homemade) with tostitos.


   The hummus was made with chick peas that didn't go in the crock pot and some red peppers I roasted earlier this week. Along with some garlic, sour cream and lemon juice it made a delicious dip. So, all in all, a highly productive day with enough food to keep me going until later in the week.

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Fun in the Afternoon

    A bitterly cold wind but, fortunately, no precipitation. I was out early to play tennis at Hendrina's condo. They have a court in the basement of the building and not too many tenants use it. I was on the losing end for both sets but it was fun and good exercise. We played for about an hour and a half.

   The afternoon fun was another wine tasting - I had a bit of a rush to get home from tennis, change and put together my contribution, a fruit tray. Henny, who was our host today, lives quite far south of me and I had forgotten I would have to cross Eglinton Avenue where they are putting in a new subway line. Luckily I had left quite early (just by happenstance) as the traffic was pretty horrific. But I arrived there just in time.

   We tasted two white wines and three reds and I was surprised how close my scores were to the group average. I really have no idea what I am supposed to be looking for! The categories are colour/appearance, aroma/bouquet, flavour/ smoothness, and finish. I gave the highest score to one of the reds, Pascual Toso, a Malbac from Argentina (priced at $17.95 - I never drink wine that expensive!). We snack all through the tasting (cheeses, veggies, sandwich meats, fruit and dessert) so I haven't even thought about eating since I got home. Maybe I will just have a cup of tea and some of the fruit I brought home.

The lemon ginger tea is caffeine free so I can drink it in the evening.

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Treating Myself

   Very heavy rain today so I didn't have my usual walk to the Senior's Centre and drove instead. I was indoors during the worst of it which was quite torrential. It was also very windy but the wind has died down and, hopefully, things will dry off before the temperature drops.

   Just had a lovely piece of smoked mackerel for an aperitif. I bought three fillets for serving at Christmas but decided I needed one all to myself - so indulgent. It is quite expensive here as it is imported but so tasty on crackers with a piece of extra old cheddar. 

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Sunny and Mild

   Another beautiful fall day -sunny, high of 10C and no wind. I had a long walk this morning (no gloves or hat needed) to make up for sitting at the Bridge table all afternoon.

    I had pretty good cards at Bridge but not enough to put me in the top five. At least I didn't get the booby prize!

   Nothing else to report. 

Saturday, 23 November 2019

The Last Cleanup

   I had a really good night's sleep - wakening just before 8:00 - and was quite energised, so accomplished a lot today. The snow is finally gone, despite my prediction that it would be here until Spring, and it was a lovely Fall day. 

   After the usual Saturday chores I got going in the garden. Now the front is looking quite neat and tidy and ready for winter.

Seemingly it is good to leave some leaves in the borders - cover for birds and small animals, and nutrients for the soil. So I just raked the grass.

   After rather a substantial lunch (I had worked up quite an appetite) I had a short nap then got going in the back yard. Two bins filled so now I am ready for whatever Mother Nature throws our way!

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Contradictions

   Probus meeting this morning - a fascinating speaker. A dietitian with some interesting ideas as to how what we eat can keep us healthy. Then it was lunch with the ladies at Boston Pizza (how soon we forget!). I had chicken quesidillas and Caesar salad, all for the princely price of $10! The menu said it was 860 calories but I think it was probably more, it tasted so good. So a light dinner tonight.

A perfect avocado - how often does that happen? I made a bowl of guacamole to continue the Mexican theme from lunch.

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Still Eating Home Grown Tomatoes

   More simple eating today - fruit and yogurt for breakfast, coffee and a couple of cookies after exercise class, a bowl of carrot and lentil soup for lunch with a hardboiled egg, some cheese and a half apple. After a big meal out I often feel rather jaded for a day or two. 

   I forgot to take anything out of the freezer for dinner so it may be a vegetarian meal but it will be something simple. I plan to roast some butternut squash so may throw in some other vegetables. I still have some potatoes dug up from the garden last month so a couple could go in too. Full disclosure, right now I am snacking(!) on crackers, blue cheese and grapes so, no rush to start fixing dinner!

   Much milder today but the snow is still lying about. On my walk this morning I noticed how many people hadn't managed to rake the leaves off their lawn before the snowfall and now they are a soggy matted mess - that won't do the lawns much good come next Spring!

Another tomato from the garden that ripened indoors. It was actually quite tasty and juicy in a sandwich the other day. Still a few more to come!

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

First Christmas Turkey Lunch

…..not to be confused with the Thanksgiving turkey dinner of early October.

   Actually, all the eating out in the next month won't necessarily involve turkey. This one, the monthly RWTO lunch, I had no control over - it was turkey or nothing. I do like turkey and this was exceptionally good and moist with stuffing, cranberry sauce and lots of vegs. Two of the other lunches will be buffets so I can avoid the turkey and eat something else. For the Probus lunch I chose salmon over turkey as Parkview Manor does delicious salmon. 

   Of course, there will be the Festive Special at Swiss Chalet with the family which will likely be chicken (#1 son and possibly #1 grandson, who are both big eaters, will probably order the chicken and ribs combo). I haven't decided what to serve for Christmas lunch but I usually order a capon from Pusateri's. They are often almost as big as a turkey but much juicier. Another option is a stuffed turkey breast from Longo's but they are expensive if you are feeding hungry guys.

   After today's lunch, which was rounded out with apple pie and cream, I am still stuffed so it will just be soup and a sandwich for dinner tonight!

Friday, 15 November 2019

Trouble Comes in Threes

   The snow is still hanging around but much milder today. I had several disappointments today - couldn't find one of my good gloves, hope it turns up, went searching for a particular kind of light bulb for my Tiffany lamp (no luck), and arrived too late for Pickleball - all the spots were filled! I will have to go earlier next week.

   I slept too long this afternoon and woke with a headache - hope I'm not coming down with something. I very rarely have headhaches. Now I am feeling a bit nauseous so definitely something is brewing. Fingers crossed I am OK by Sunday - it's the big birthday party (son, daughter-in-law and grandaughter). Their birthdays are all so close we just celebrate once.

   I defrosted a piece of fish for dinner but think I will just have a bowl of soup. No point in tempting providence (where did that phrase come from?).

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

After the Snow Storm

   We are all dug out - truth to tell it was rather a small quantity of snow, just a shock coming so early in the winter. I walked to my fitness class and had to be careful to avoid icy patches. The sidewalks had been cleared but not perfectly. It is still extremely cold for this time of year but should warm up a bit next week.

   While at the senior's centre I had a surprise, impromptu lunch! Two of the other snack bar ladies had picked up Indian food to eat there (they are both South Asian) and kindly shared with me. It was "dosa" - a kind of pancake wrapped around a spicy mix of cooked vegetables. Quite hot (as in spicy) but I enjoyed it immensely. There were two sauces to dip it in, one hot and one cool, and a donut shaped fritter which was also spicy but a little bit sweet, also delicious. I had brought my lunch - I usually work over the lunch hour - but didn't need it. I love to try new tastes!

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Ridiculous!

   This is what greeted me when I opened the door this morning! Quite a shock to the system so early in the winter. Usually we can get through November and most of December without this much of the white stuff.

It was -5C (-15C with the wind chill) and stayed there all day. The wind was bitter!

I spent the morning shovelling the driveway. The sun helped a lot.

Where's the pool?



    Today has set all sorts of records - temperature, amount of snow etc. - it is the snowiest November day in 70 years! We got about 10 cms. My back is killing me!

Monday, 11 November 2019

Remembrance Day

   "The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month"

"Lest We Forget"


   A very cold snowy day for people attending Remembrance Day services here and at the National Memorial in Ottawa. I went to my local community centre where we watched the ceremony on TV and stood for the two minutes of silence. The bugle playing the "Last Post" always makes me teary eyed. But it is better to share the experience with others. 

   Evening plans were curtailed today as I had had enough of driving on slippery roads and cleaning off the car (three times!). So I decided not to go to dance group this evening. As it turned out the teacher decided to cancel, as he had so many people phone and say they weren't coming. Very wise decision IMHO!

   The snow is supposed to stop around midnight so tomorrow will be the big clean up. Out with the snow shovel for the first time this winter!

Friday, 8 November 2019

A Difficult Read

   Woke up to a layer of snow on Thursday morning and was almost late for my early morning RTO meeting by having to sweep the snow off the car. We were hard at it from 9:30 until just after noon. Then it was straight to Book Club (with a quick stop at Burger King for a Bacon cheese 'burger - ooh it was greasy but sooo good!).

    Claire and I were hosts this month at book club, presenting "Educated" a memoir by Tara Westover. The discussion went very well, especially since the book dealt with some heavy issues. Tara and her siblings were very inadequately home -schooled and suffered several types of abuse, both mental and physical, but at least two managed to escape the domination of their parents and go on to lead normal, productive lives. Tara herself received several degrees from prestigious universities. However, I wouldn't recommend the book to anyone with a weak stomach!

    Our treats went down well also - not as elaborate as last month's but most appreciated. We didn't have a big turnout - just 16 of us - maybe because of the disturbing nature of some sections of the book, but most were glad to have read it.

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Winter! Bring It On!

    My painful back and hip are much improved - I had a 40 minute walk in two 20 minute stints today and managed a fairly active fitness class. However, I am still very stiff if I am inactive for any length of time, limping for the first few steps when I get up out of bed or a chair. This wears off quickly but is a bit worrying.

   The weather has definitely taken the first steps toward winter this week. Snow flurries are forecast in the next few days and there will be an overnight low of -8C by the weekend. And the dreaded words, "wind chill", were mentioned today in the weather forecast. This is how cold it feels when the wind is added to basic temperature, as in "The temperature is -8C with the wind chill making it feel like -15C". Brrrr!

   

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Fall Back

   Clocks went back last night and now, at 6:00 p.m., it is completely dark. And so it begins , the dark and dreary days of late Fall until we reach the Winter equinox in December, the shortest day.

   A nothing day today, just glad to be cosy indoors. I did take a walk down to the drug store to mail a letter and check the P.O. Box. I have my personal mail delivered but the P.O. Box is for the RWTO luncheon cheques. Our next lunch is November 19th so the cheques are beginning to come in thick and fast. Last month we had 119 members attend.

   In the afternoon I bundled up and did a bit in the garden. I trimmed back the roses and covered them with mulch from the composter as frost is forecast tomorrow night. While out there I felt some stings on my face - it was tiny ice pellets! They didn't last long but the sky got very dark. Hopefully we will have a warmer spell before the real winter weather arrives!

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Early Preparations

   Plum pudding made and ready to be packed away to mature until  Christmas.



   Started this yesterday but couldn't get the photo of the plum pudding to load. It's rather pale as I forgot to add the molasses but I'm sure it will taste fine. I'm definitely not making another one!

   Still cold and windy but the rain seems to have petered out. No sunshine, though. Hurt my back/hip yesterday bending over the dishwasher, so am moving rather slowly today. It is worst when I have been sitting for a while so must keep moving! Just as well it is too miserable to be out working in the garden anyway. Feet up for the rest of the evening, I think.

Thursday, 31 October 2019

Awful Weather

   Here's how my day went.

8:45    Battled traffic in heavy rain to get my mouth poked and prodded by the dental hygienist. Then back into rain and traffic to go home. Had a coffee and toast but my mouth is rather tender..

11:45    Walked (in heavy rain) to the drug store to get my 'flu shot. Told I should be getting the "over 65's" shot from my family physician but declined. Waited 15 minutes in drug store in case of allergic reaction. Now arm is tender.

12:15    Walked from there (still raining but I had on my rain gear) to the Senior's Centre for a Hallowe'en treat - choice of pumpkin pie and whipped cream or apple or blueberry pie with ice cream, and coffee, all free. Chatted with friends and watched a hand or two of Bridge.

12:45   Walked home (still raining, by now my feet are soaking). The reason for the walk was to work off the pie!

1:00   Had lunch and a nap, switched on the fire - finally feet are warm again! It's still raining so not many Trick or Treaters. Hercule Poirot on TV tonight!

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

An Afternoon of Bridge

   Frittered away the morning and then had to rush to get to my Bridge game on time. I was lucky and managed to get a spot at a table but I had had to skip lunch so filled up on tea and cookies - not very healthy!

   I was the lowest scorer today (I'm going to blame the cards) so got my dollar back. It's rather embarrassing to be called up for it but most people have been in that position themselves, so are very understanding. It's a pleasant afternoon and no one is too serious about the game. Having said that, the four highest scorers were all over 5,000 points. I won't mention what my total was!

   

Saturday, 26 October 2019

Where Did the Week Go?

   I have a new follower! Thanks for signing up, Jackie. I hope you visit often and please leave a comment. It's nice to get feedback on my mutterings.

   Seems like no time at all since last weekend. Time is rattling past at warp speed with very little to show for it. Rather a chilly, gloomy day today, so mostly indoors. I did cut the front grass this morning and I keep hoping it will be the last cut of the year but the darned stuff just keeps growing! I did manage to dry some of my laundry outdoors while the sun was out this morning but we will get rain overnight (another reason to get the grass cut).

Some pretty berries on the Euonymous bush by my front steps. I've never noticed them before!

Friday, 25 October 2019

A Wasted Day

   Luckily I had nothing else planned as any other plans would not have been accomplished today!

   Today the car was scheduled for its annual service and I dropped it off at 8:45 this morning and was shuttled back home. It was to take 3-4 hours but by the time noon rolled around there had been no word from the service centre. I went for a nap and had a phone message waiting for me when I surfaced. Some extra work was needed (it had been a year since the last service so, to be expected). Once I had OK'd that it was another 2 hours until I got the call that it was ready. By the time I was picked up, driven back at the dealer, paid for the service ($500 - ouch!) and had driven back home it was after 4:00 p.m. - and they didn't even do the car wash they promised!

   So, not much accomplished today as I was stuck inside waiting for a phone call. Surprisingly, I am quite exhausted. Doing nothing is just as tiring as being busy!

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Good Intentions

    Well, I didn't last very long in my ambition to start a new eating regime! The VB6 (vegetarian before 6 p.m.) was broken this afternoon at the monthly Probus wine tasting!

   This was my first time attending the event and it was a lot of fun. It takes place at a different member's house each month with 11 or 12 people attending, and the host purchases 5 different wines, which we sample in a blind tasting. Each attendee brings a platter of food (mine was fruit) but there was a lovely choice of cold cuts in which I indulged rather heavily. I did make up for it this evening by just having soup (vegetable) and a tomato and roasted red pepper sandwich. I will also have some of the leftover fruit and call it a day. Tomorrow is another day!

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

VB6 and Home Ownership

   Have you heard the expression VB6 before? It was a new one on me but it stands for "Vegetarian before 6 p.m." In other words, don't eat any meat before your last meal of the day. This is what I do most days without actually realizing there was such a thing and, in my opinion, it is a very healthy way to eat. Although we are carnivores, humans don't really need a great deal of meat - maybe 4 to 6 ounces a day. That would amount to half a chicken breast, a hamburger or a fillet of fish. I plan to make a conscious effort to follow this regime!

    Another notion that is floating around in my head - the problem of young people trying to get on the home ownership ladder. A recent article in the newspaper found that new home buyers are required to put down a deposit equal to 5% of the price of a home. In the current market here, where the average price of a very modest house or condo is $500,000, that would require a down payment of $25,000. To buy in the city centre (as opposed to the suburbs or rural areas) is even more impossible with houses there almost double that figure. What young people can save that vast sum, even with two salaries? This is even more difficult if they are paying rent on their present home, as these rates have also increased exponentially over the last few years. Your thoughts?

Sunday, 20 October 2019

Tattie Harvest

   Tennis this morning - it was a beautiful day, sunny and no wind, but not too many on the courts. We played for an hour and a half (Kathy and Frank beat Cathy and me 6-4). The others stayed for another set but I had had enough by then.    

I dug up the last of the potato plants today and got a bumper crop. I will definitely plant some next year. These will take me some time to eat up so I hope they keep well.


I was surprised to get a mixture of red and white potatoes.

   I was gardening without a jacket this afternoon and got the grass cut and the borders trimmed. I brought in my gorgeous plant, that is still blooming well,  to make sure it doesn't get frosted. It still has lots of buds on it.









Friday, 18 October 2019

Fall Colours

    After lunch with Judy I went for a walk around my neighbourhood. Boy, was it cold! But look at the blue sky.

   The trees are starting to turn but some have lost most of their leaves already so the results were less than breathtaking.





This bush is in my back yard and always turns early.


Thursday, 17 October 2019

Ladies (and men) Who Lunch

   Third lunch out this week - lunch and a Travelogue (of Morocco and Gibralter) which was excellent (the food) and fascinating (the travelogue). I have been to both places, a few years ago, and recognized several of the spots. The event was presented by the retired teacher's group I belong to so there were lots of people there I knew. First I went to this month's Probus meeting but had to leave half way through the talk.

   I had offered to take my daughter out for lunch tomorrow - it's her birthday on Saturday - but in retrospect was reluctant to eat out again, so have invited her here for lunch instead. She only gets an hour for lunch so it will be something quick and simple, something I would probably fix for myself. She won't mind and I have a little gift for her.

   A very cold wind today and no sun. The thermometer said 10C but it felt much, much colder! I am definitely not ready for this blast of Arctic air. 

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Thunder and Lightning

  A rather busy day - I was woken in the early hours by a thunder storm and then was out early, fighting traffic in heavy rain, to get to the tennis clubhouse and get it cleaned out before we vacate it for the winter program. Shiyan was there to help, she is one of the supervisors - but we had different views as to what was the most urgent task to get done! Finally we compromised and were finished by 11:30 a.m. Then more traffic to get to my shift in the kitchen at the senior's centre. It was quite busy there - I sold 11 meat pies which is quite unusual!

   On my return home I spent some time on the phone trying to find out where my new credit card is. My current one expires at the end of the month and I will be in dire straites if I don't have a replacement! Seemingly it is on its way to me so, fingers crossed it arrives safely.

   I picked up two movies from the library on my way home - "Catherine the Great" and "The Leisure Seeker" so no problem filling my evenings for the rest of the week. I may even watch them twice!

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Brunch and Lunch

   Sunny but cool again today but I didn't spend much of it outdoors as today was the RWTO Craft Sale and Lunch. This is when members of our association set up tables and show off their crafts before we eat lunch. I didn't buy much but some of the vendors did a roaring trade. 

   Lunch was good as usual, salad, chicken breast and lots of vegetables, followed by ice cream in a crepe. There was also a speaker (health insurance) but not something I need more of so I tuned her out and just sat digesting my meal. This was my second (of three) big meals this week but I managed to restrain myself from overeating. Just soup and a sandwich tonight 

   I had had an early morning run to the tennis club to set up the final day pot-luck brunch (which I was unable to attend!) so after lunch I headed back there to pick up my contribution and do a final check that everything was tidied up. My volunteer designates had done a good job and everything was tickety boo! There was one slice of pumpkin pie left so I brought that home for an after dinner treat tonight. I think I deserved it!

    Later this week the summer club hands over to the winter program, a bubble is installed over the courts and the city takes over the running of the facility. So, that is it until May. It is getting a bit cool to be playing outdoors anyway and I am ready for a change of activities. Pickleball anyone?

Monday, 14 October 2019

Thanksgiving

    A short drive out of the city and I was amazed to see the changing of the colours. They were quite brilliant! The trees local to me are still quite stubbornly green.

   Sunny but cool today for my trip to daughter's house for Thanksgiving lunch. We were a merry bunch of 9 around the table and there was butternut squash soup, turkey with all the trimmings and pumpkin pie. I brought roasted potatoes dug up from my garden just yesterday. I have had a bumper crop this year which I planted in an area that has been lying fallow for a year. I think that must have something to do with the number and size of the potatoes.

   We all know how lucky we are to live in this wonderful country, so before we ate we gave thanks for the bounty we were about to receive. Everyone contributed something to the meal including oldest grandson who made the pumpkin pie. The other one made a batch of sausage rolls which are his speciality. He won an award for them at the county fair! All in all a successful family gathering but now I won't eat again until tomorrow morning. I have two more big lunches this week so will have to be careful - no snacking!

Friday, 11 October 2019

Paid In Full

   I have a parts plan with Enbridge, my gas supplier, and it doesn't come cheap. But today I pretty much recouped the whole amount by having their plumber come out and fix a leaky tap at no cost! Plumbers are about the most expensive service men so it was a relief not to have to pay him for his time.

    This was the result of the new washing machine. When attaching the new hoses something in the tap gave way although I think it may have been leaking slightly for a while. I have had to turn off the hot tap between washes and that did reduce the drip but now it is fixed and hopefully there will be no more problems.

    A gorgeous day on the tennis courts today, albeit a bit windy. The sun is now quite low in the sky in the early morning and that did cause problems as well, but it was lovely to be out in the fresh air getting a bit of exercise. Eat your hearts out all you poor working souls! It's great to be retired.

   We were also treated to a workshop on preventing shoulder injuries. It was given by Physio Mobility Centre and there was a demonstration of exercises we should do to warm up for tennis or if our shoulders are tight in the morning. We probably won't but it was an interesting clinic. If you are in the Toronto area the Centre is at The Shops of Don Mills - I'm not paid to advertise for them but I do have a coupon for a massage there, which I won at the tennis Gala!

    Later this afternoon I made another jar of tomato chutney. It has to cook for 2 hours and I almost let it go too long but saved it in the nick of time. The tomatoes are coming thick and fast and I also used another one to make bruschetta. This may be the last day of the warm spell but if it is sunny the tomatoes will continue to ripen. Then I will bring the rest inside before the first frost.

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Stocking Up

   Finally an evening at home so I have time to write my blog! I really don't like to go out after dark (and it is getting dark earlier and earlier), but sometimes, needs must! Yesterday was the AGM at the tennis club and there was a huge turnout as there was one contentious item on the agenda. Predictably the meeting dragged on with some totally ridiculous discussion, but finally matters were concluded to (almost) everyone's satisfaction and the meeting was adjourned at 9:40 p.m. - well past my bedtime. I managed to avoid taking on any positions on the executive by sitting on my hands.

   A big splurge at Bulk Barn today as I had a $5 off coupon which was about to expire. Of course, you had to spend $20 but I managed to do that as I had run out of lots of items. Here's my haul. Hard to believe it totalled just over $20!



   From left to right, dried apricots,  a tub of natural peanut butter (no additives or salt, just plain peanuts), dried cranberries (this was the most expensive item at $5 but I like them on salads), cashews, almonds and walnuts.

   I got the lawn mower out this afternoon as it was a brilliant day, and lowered the height in preparation for the final cut of the year. I just did the back yard and, except for a patch under a tree that doesn't get much sun, it is looking very healthy. I have already given it a doze of fertilizer to see it over the winter. Now, a little TV and an early night.

   

Sunday, 6 October 2019

More Book Talk

   I am reading "Educated", a memoir by Tara Westover, for the next Book Club meeting but today I got sidetracked. It's "The Turn of the Key" by Ruth Ware and I think I will rush through it before I get back to the other one. It has started out with lots of suspense, just the kind of book I like! Both books are hard to get from the library as they have been in the top ten list for some time so I won't be able to renew them. Just as well the weather is a bit too wet to work in the garden.

    I have a Louise Penny book waiting for me at the library but I will leave it there until later in the week. This is her latest, "A Better Man" and it is also in the top ten list. I usually like her books but have found the last couple a bit too similar. Maybe it's time for her to come up with a new formula. She is a very prolific writer and very popular in Canada as her books are set in Quebec.

   Busy in the kitchen today - a cracked wheat loaf and a batch of sugar cookies. The latter are to take to Crafters meeting tomorrow morning. I hope I made enough, the ladies do love them!

Friday, 4 October 2019

Rather Chilly

   A nippy but sunny morning (8C) and we had a surprisingly good turnout at tennis. I had to keep making extra pots of coffee as more people rolled in. Usually we make a 32 cup urn but hadn't been expecting so many to show up. Everyone was in their warm-up gear but stripped off as they worked up a sweat.

   As a follow up to my Emerg visit two weeks ago I had to go for a breathing analysis this afternoon. It was quite uncomfortable (nose clip, breathing tube, being asked to pant heavily) but it is done and hopefully the results will be good. The respirologist I saw earlier this week just sent me as a precaution. I was surprised how quickly I was seen by him and will go back next week for the results.

   The sun is still shining in the windows but we may have a frost tonight so I have brought in some plants I want to save over the winter.

Some tomatoes ripening in a sunny window.

My birthday flowers still looking good!

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Talking About Books

   A very cool, dull day with a bit of rain. I went to the tennis courts in between showers but no one else showed up so I just hit against the back board for a while, then home for coffee and toast. I put some French bread in the breadmaker and soon I had a couple of baguettes. I plan to have bruschetta tonight with the last of the ripe tomatoes.

   After a bit of housework I got out a puzzle I haven't done in a while and soon it was lunch time. Then off to Book Club. We were discussing "Nine Perfect Strangers" by Lianne Moriarty (she of "Big, Little Lies" fame). We weren't very impressed with the book as we like something with a bit more meat to it. We have decided to be more judicious with our book choices next year. There are only so many books we can read in our time remaining on Earth so it might as well be something more interesting with a bit of a challenge!

   The presenters had brought in some lovely treats - mini muffins, scones, fruit and veggies and dip. Claire and I are presenters next month and this will be a hard act to follow! Tea and coffee are always on tap so it is almost like afternoon tea. I will just be eating leftovers for dinner tonight.

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Another Special Day

  Lovely morning, up to 28C. We were all sweating on the tennis courts - a last blast of summer! It is going to be 12C later this week and that's the daytime high! Such a big change in temperature is hard on our bodies. We need a gradual adjustment.

   At tennis today someone brought in a birthday cake for me - I didn't realize anyone knew it was my birthday yesterday but I must have let it slip. Luckily they don't know how old I am! We all had a slice of cake with our morning coffee so it was a little bit special.

   Bridge this afternoon (I played rather badly but was not the lowest scorer) and it began to rain just as we were leaving. Torrential rain after I got home - the garden was grateful. Now a quiet night in front of the TV

Sunday, 29 September 2019

The Big Reveal

    If you have been following my blog this summer you will know that my daughter and family were staying with me while they had renovations done on their house. Well, today was "the big reveal"!

The central island was enlarged when the wall was removed. Now it is where they eat breakfast.

    Lots more cupboards and storage space which was sadly lacking before. With a family of five they were always tripping over each other in the kitchen.

    The best part is this new pantry (stolen from Dave's office) so beautifully organized. Hope it stays that way!

    It was my birthday party. Here I am blowing out the candles with youngest grandson helping.

  When I came home I got busy dealing with a glut of tomatoes. I made a jar of passata and another jar of green tomato chutney. There are still more tomatoes to come but I don't expect they will ripen any time soon.