Friday 22 December 2023

Winter Solstice

    The last of the early dark evenings although I doubt we will notice any difference for a few weeks. Strangely, we are having quite unseasonally warm weather here and will definitely not be having a white Christmas. Freezing rain overnight which will make my early morning shop tomorrow for the last of the Christmas meal essentials tricky.

   We had one last fitness class this morning and Alison had chosen Christmas music for us to work out to. It was way faster than her usual CD so we had a rather brisk workout! Since that will be it until January it was good to get the blood coursing and the muscles active. I will work out at home for the next two weeks but less enthusiastically than with the group. In January I am adding Yoga to my timetable. Can`t wait to get started on that!

   Here`s my favourite Christmas tune from the movie, `Love Actually`.

Thursday 21 December 2023

Finally Getting the Christmas Spirit

    Today was the Probus Christmas party and 40 of us went to a Greek restaurant, `Flogo Estoria`, for a convivial meal. I had Spanakopita and others at my table had Moussaka, Souvlaki and Greek Salad, all delicious! One of the best parts was that my meal wasn`t too filling as I have definitely been overeating this month. Even this week I ate out two other times (both on Tuesday, unfortunately), a pot luck lunch at the Bridge group and Swiss Chalet for the `Festive Special` dinner with the family.

   For the pot luck lunch I made sausage rolls but as Covid has hit that group recently, the turnout was a bit reduced and I actually brought some rolls home. I'll have them over the next few days with salads. I`m ever mindful that there`s a big meal coming up soon!

   Earlier this evening I started to dress the Christmas tree and the fireplace mantel. I had to steal some greenery from my neighbour since my Blue Spruce which I normally use has long since died and been removed. The branches were slightly overhanging the fence so, technically, on my property! I don`t think she`ll notice.


Wednesday 13 December 2023

No Heat!

   I woke up this morning to a rather chilly house - just 13C and outside is hovering on zero so it's likely to get even colder. It is rather uncomfortable "chez moi" at the moment.

   The technician is here tinkering with the furnace but doesn't seem to be having much success although I did hear it run for a few moments. So she (yes it's a young woman!) must be making some progress. The furnace is in the basement right under my office and I can hear her on her phone, probably asking for advice from her supervisor.  I don't relish another cold night!

    I have the gas fire on in the family room so at least I have a little heat. And I have an electric blanket which will keep me comfortable in bed. However, I would much rather just be able to have the furnace keeping me cozy in any room in the house!

Saturday 9 December 2023

Another Outing

    I don't usually eat out a lot, maybe once a month if that, but it seems to be never ending at this time of year.

   Friday was the Seniors Christmas Party at the Mandarin Buffet restaurant for which I had been able to snag a ticket last week.  I don't know how many people belong to the seniors centre but they sold 120 tickets in a matter of hours and many people were left out, unfortunately.

   The Mandarin is not a cheap place to eat giving that it is unlimited food but the cost was quite heavily subsidized by the Executive at the Centre, so we only paid $15. I have to be very careful not to overindulge at this type of eatery as my eyes are always bigger than my stomach (as my mother used to tell me). After the meal there were lucky prizes (I didn't win anything) and a sing-a-long of Christmas carols. All very jolly but by then I was so full all I wanted was to go home for a nap. 

    For some reason Blogger loaded my photos from back to front, but you get the idea - four trips the food counters. Does that count as exercise?


My friend Carol was the only one at our table who won a prize.

This was the judging for the "Ugly Christmas Sweater" competition which was the theme of the party.

Delicious desserts but by that time I was too stuffed. I just had a creme caramel and chocolate ice cream cake.

The salad bar - I just went for the seafood and a Caesar salad.

The hot tables - so many choices. My favourite was sweet and sour battered fish. I'm afraid I chose too many non-healthy items!

The sushi bar - I went there first and tried one of each type but forgot to get any of the hot wasabi mustard. Next time!

   Needless to say I didn't eat again until very late in the evening and only to prevent waking up hungry in the middle of the night. It was just a bowl of soup and a small sandwich. Today I feel able to eat normally again.

Thursday 7 December 2023

'Tis the Season..... for over-eating!

    A couple of busy days this week. On Tuesday the ladies who lunch (AKA RODEO - Retired Old Dames Eating Out ) had their pre-Christmas outing to Gerhard's Cafe for afternoon tea. Except for having to wait until 2:00 p.m. (I skipped lunch) which is seemingly the appropriate time for afternoon tea, it was a lovely treat, served in a very decadent fashion with all the trimmings. Some of the group even went home with additional purchases of Christmas stollen and gingerbread cookies. The cafe is truly a haven of delicious treats!

Christmas crackers and paper hats as we are into December.

I chose Earl Grey tea and drank a gallon of it as the pot was frequently replenished.

We each got a mammoth slice of this chocolate cake which was truly decadent!

   I managed to refrain from buying anything else but was truly tempted. However, I have all my Christmas baking in the freezer to nibble on for the rest of the month.

    Today was Book Club and Clara and I were presenting the book and supplying the refreshments. We did go a bit overboard on the food but, what the hey! It's almost Christmas. The book, "The Hidden Child" by Louise Fein, was well received and proved very popular - lots of meaningful discussion. Tomorrow brings another special event but more on that later. I will need the weekend to recover from all the excessive eating!

Monday 27 November 2023

On the Go

    A snow squall this morning but no accumulation on the ground which is still not frozen. However, it is a sign of what's in store for us soon. Some years we can get through December without snow which is a definite bonus!

    I had an early start as the tickets for the Seniors Christmas lunch at the Mandarin buffet restaurant went on sale this morning. I was there by 8:30 as I had another place to be later and managed to snag one of the first tickets. They sell out really fast as they are subsidized by the Executive of the Centre and are a really good deal. More on that later. 

    Then it was off to Hava Java for coffee and a muffin. We had a good turnout and much good conversation. We won't be meeting again until January as people are so busy or on vacation in December so there were lots of Christmas wishes despite still being November.

   On my way back I stopped at the other community centre to pick up an application for the room we use for the Knitters group. Our current rental agreement runs out next month so, hopefully, we will get the room from January to June of next year. We just use it once a month but it has lots of cupboard space to stow our supplies in between meetings. 

    Next stop was back to the seniors centre (and, yes, the tickets were almost all gone as we suspected) for an afternoon of Bridge. My partner and I had terrible cards (or played really badly) as the other pair won all three rubbers. Luckily no money changed hands!

Friday 24 November 2023

Too Much of a Good Thing

    Fitness class was cancelled again today as Alison went on a two week vacation without giving the coordinator time to find a replacement. Also my Wednesday class was cancelled as Brenda was sick so only my home workouts this week. They are quite good, cover cardio, abdominals and upper and lower body toning but are rather boring! I'd much rather workout in a class.

   This was all rather unfortunate as I had a week of overeating. Tuesday was the worst as it was the Christmas lunch at the country club - turkey, stuffing etc. followed by gooey squares and coffee. All delicious but I had to be careful as I was going out in the evening for granddaughter's 16th birthday party. I tried to eat the minimum at both events but it was all so delicious! Just too bad to have two meals scheduled for the same day.

   Thursday was the RODEO "Eating Around the World" outing. This month it was the letter B and we ate at a Turkish restaurant for The Balkans. I just had an appetizer but that was followed by yummy Turkish Delight with rosewater and pistachios. Next time will be January and for the letter C it will either be China or Czeck, I voted for dim sum at a Chinese place.

   One nice thing was the entertainment at the Tuesday lunch - the Enchanted Flutes, a group of musicians who, as always, were spectacular! We were singing along and dancing in the aisles - I was anyway. That's one way to work off a big meal!

Sunday 19 November 2023

Mix-it-up Sunday

    I stopped by the bulk food store the other day and stocked up on all the supplies I needed for the Christmas plum pudding. So today was the day to go into action!

    It wasn't a big job and getting in there with my hands made it go faster. But now it's done and dusted and, once it cools off, will be stored in a dry place to mature until Christmas Day. Then I will steam it again for an hour and we will all enjoy its rich goodness!'

The finished product. It weighs 3 and a half pounds!

Thursday 16 November 2023

Free Books and a Cheap Meal - what's not to like?

    With the runup to Christmas my calendar is filling up fast. I am endeavoring to limit myself to one meal out a week, not just to avoid overeating but also with the cost of eating out. This week has been good as I just went to the "Festive Special" with two of my Bridge friends at the Seniors Centre on Tuesday. The meal was catered by Swiss Chalet (our local chicken franchise), followed by entertainment by the Line Dancers. We got the meal for just $10, subsidized by the Centre Executive. It was a sold out event as it was such a good deal!

   Today was the November Probus meeting and I found the speaker this week rather disappointing, partially because she didn't use the microphone properly and I missed a lot of her presentation. However, it was still nice to be out and socializing with friends and acquaintances. I found a couple of interesting books on the book exchange table (I had brought in four books I was done with) one of which was long-listed for this year's Giller Prize. Can't wait to get started on it!

   In the afternoon I had a long walk as the weather was cooperating and I had my hat and gloves off by the time I got home. Lovely blue skies!

Saturday 11 November 2023

One More Job Done

    Got the gas technician in the other day to light the pilot light on my gas fire. No idea why it went out but it is tricky to reignite. He had it done very quickly, cleaned up the fireplace and had everything back to normal in no time. I was very pleased and now I am cosy in the family room. Saves heating the whole house in the evenings when I am watching TV. Yippee!

Monday 6 November 2023

Frost on the Pumpkin

    Yes, we've had frost a couple of nights but no snow so far. I have a lot to catch up on as it is ages since my last post. I just don't seem to have any enthusiasm for getting my thoughts down!

   The weather has been pretty miserable - today we had thunder and lightning - but I have been plugging away at getting the garden ready for winter. I put compost on some of my more delicate perennials, mostly roses, but also the clematis. Hope they all survive! The grass has had its last cut so it only means raking up all the leaves and composting them. Today we had strong winds and heavy rain so that should bring down most of the leaves. I don't usually start raking until they are all down.

   Hallowe'en went by pretty well unnoticed on my street as we have very few families with kids. I didn't even bother carving and lighting a pumpkin, and only had one ring of my doorbell (I didn't answer it, Scrooge that I am!). We had a meeting of the RTO Executive on Thursday at the local Community Centre but it didn't even get started as we had to evacuate for a fire in the electrical room. Luckily I live fairly close by so we decamped to my living room and managed to get through the agenda by noon. 

   Book club that afternoon was a very lively discussion (aren't they always?) of "The Vanishing Half" by Brit Bennet. Clara and I are presenting the next book in December, "The Hidden Child" (more on that later) so we had better come up with some good questions!

   This Monday's meeting of the Knitters and Crafters had to be cancelled due to the aforementioned fire (we meet in the same building) and I also missed my Bridge game as I had got a substitute to play for me so I could go for lunch with the Crafting ladies! Best laid plans, and all that!


Sunday 29 October 2023

Stay-at-home Sunday

     Tennis is pretty much over for the year. We had planned to play this morning but it was cold (5C) and damp so common sense prevailed and we stayed home. The nets will come down in a couple of days and that will be it until late April or early May. I had quite a long walk this afternoon once it had dried up, but I was well bundled up.

   I bought another humungous cauliflower this week and, since I am still eating (from the freezer) the soup I made with the last one, I decided to make a casserole with lots of cheese and a crunchy topping instead. Inevitably there was some tomato added! It was yummy and will last me several days.

   Another puzzle finished - this one has been on the go for nearly a month but I was determined not to give up. Now it can go back to the friend I borrowed it from. She did warn me it would take a while.

   And, finally, a late blooming hibiscus flower on the plant I brought indoors for the winter. There are two more buds almost ready to open.

Saturday 28 October 2023

Just a Few Jottings

     Got my shots this week - Covid last Monday and 'flu on Friday - no side effects. So I am set for all the winter coughs and sneezes.

   On Thursday I attended my first R.O.D.E.O. lunch of the year (Retired Old Dames Eating Out). This is a group from our Probus club and we are eating "around the world". Norma had made up passports for us to record each meal and thoughts on the different restaurants. This week it was A for Afghanistan and she found a local restaurant with food from that country. It's called Naan Kabob and I had a Paneer wrap and a delicious mango smoothie. Next month we are visiting The Balkans, can't wait to see what she comes up with.

   Exercise class was cancelled on Friday (Alison had twisted her ankle) so I went for a long walk instead and managed 5,000 steps. It was surprisingly mild, in fact a record was set for Oct. 28th - 23C!

Monday 23 October 2023

A Fristy Frosty Morning

    The nasturtiums in my header photo had to go yesterday as frost was forecast last night and, yes, there was frost on the pumpkin this morning. I was out early for a dental appointment and didn't leave any time to scrape the ice off the car windows - nearly made myself late! After the dentist I was due for my Covid shot but I had been hoping to also get the 'flu shot. That's booked for next Monday.

   Tennis on Sunday was brutally cold but we soldiered on and managed two sets. The wind screens had been taken down and the wind was pretty strong. The sun finally appeared and I was actually beginning to warm up by the time we stopped but I never did manage to take off any layers. We must have looked a fright in our winter jackets, hats and gloves. Just two more days, Thursday and Sunday and that will be it until April. Boo Hoo!

   The leaves have finally started to turn and, no doubt, will be littering the lawns and sidewalks soon. But I did manage to grab a few shots at the park on Sunday.

This bush is actually in my back yard. I think it's called "Burning Bush" for obvious reasons!

Friday 20 October 2023

Eating Out

    I don`t eat out very often but this week was an exception - two events occurring in the same week! In fact I could have had two meals out on Thursday but common sense prevailed and I turned down one invitation.

   On Tuesday it was the monthly lunch at one of the retired teachers` groups I belong to. It was preceded by a craft sale with some of our talented crafters displaying their wares. This year it included baked goods by my friend Susan who had baked pies, tarts and cookies and was selling them at incredibly good prices. I bought lots and she almost sold out! The meal that followed was a delicious lasagna and Caesar salad with apple crumble for dessert. Any meal I don`t have to cook myself is always a treat.

   Thursday was my daughter`s 50th birthday (unbelievable, right! Where has the time gone). The six of us met at an Indian restaurant where we ordered several tasty dishes which we passed around to share. Some were a bit too spicy for my taste but I tried a bite of everything and drank lots of water to cool my burning mouth. Lots of lively conversation and jollity with the teenagers around the table so I was sorry to say goodbye (hugs all round) and make my way home. Judy sent me home with a slice of birthday cake which I will have tonight.

   The other meal on Thursday was lunch with some members of my Probus group following the meeting and speaker. Not all members opt to attend but it is usually a nice way to end the morning and socialize with new and old friends. Maybe I will attend next month. We had an excellent speaker this time (not all are!), her topic was "Agatha Christie and Archaeology". Who knew the great mystery writer was also very knowledgeable when it came to Egyptian artifacts?

    So, a busy week food wise but now I will have to eat more abstemiously to make up for all these extra calories!

Wednesday 11 October 2023

A Cold Thanksgiving

    Monday was the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday and the weather was very unseasonable. Usually October is just an extension of summer but not this year! A bitter north wind combined with dull overcast skies made for a miserable weekend with temperatures in the low 'teens. In fact the overnight low was only 8C.  

The family were out of town for a couple of days so we had the Thanksgiving feast on Monday and a right lively event it was too! As you can imagine, with three teenagers, there's never a dull moment. Suffice it to say the food and the conversation were plentiful - pumpkin soup, turkey and all the trimmings (two kinds of potatoes) and pumpkin pie with whipped cream for dessert. Dave cooked the turkey in the BBQ and it was a sight to behold, brown and glistening and so tender! There also was white wine and oldest grandson made the pumpkin pie. After the meal I waddled home and had a nap then vegged in front of the TV for the rest of the evening. 

    I had to miss the Thanksgiving social at the tennis club which also was on Monday but I didn't mind as it was "pot luck" and the weather was so unpleasant that not too many showed up. I heard after that everyone was playing in their winter jackets! The following day, the end of the coffee socials at the same club, wasn't much better, a rather dismal end to the season but I did attend that and at least managed to shed one layer of clothing as the sun came out for a bit.  There was even some leftover food from the previous day's party so not a bad morning after all. Later this week the bubble goes up for the winter club but I don't plan on joining. It's pretty expensive.

    Since then it hasn't warmed up at all but I am sure we will have an "Indian Summer" later this month or even in November. One can only hope!

Friday 6 October 2023

What I'm Reading

    I don't think I've shared a pile of books on my bedside table for a while so here's what's there at the moment.

 This month's Book Club book, ready to be returned to the library, which I have already written about. Not one of my favourite reads but the whole idea of Book Club is to read stuff you wouldn't normally choose.

Next month's Book Club book. It took me a while to get into it but now I am really enjoying it. It has the element of surprise to it. I will report on the ensuing discussion in November.

I have been on a bit of a roll with Shari Lapena this summer and this is her latest - all good mysteries if you enjoy that kind of book.

    I was between books at one point recently and went to my bookshelf for something to read. I couldn't remember how this came out and it is keeping me intrigued. It's a handy book to read on the bus or at the senior's centre when it's quiet as it is small and can be tucked in your bag. Even though I'm half way through it I still haven't figured out "who done it"!

   So, there you have it. As you can see, most of the books are from the libray for which I am eternally grateful. There are now no late fines so you can keep the books indefinitely!

Thursday 5 October 2023


    I really should not have named my blog "Days In My Life" as the days seem to hurtle past without me leaving any record of them! This has been a busy week but no excuse for neglecting my blog.

   Sunday was a post birthday party for moi and I was treated to a delicious brunch at daughter's house and lovely presents. Luckily tennis was cancelled that day as there was a tournament at the courts. We had mimosas along with the food which resulted in me requiring a nap once I got home. A quiet evening with just a phone call from my son on the west coast to celebrate my birthday.

    Monday was the Knitters and Crafters group in the morning and Bridge in the afternoon. I had to skip the lunch with the crafty ladies as I wasn't able to get a substitute for Bridge. Another quiet evening at home.

   Tuesday started with tennis and it was so blisteringly hot people were dropping like flies. It had been hot for several days but this one was extreme for October. I think it set a record of 31C. I managed three sets but was home to cool off by 11:00 a.m. Bridge in the afternoon was more comfortable as the community centre where we play still has their A/C on, thank goodness. 

   Wednesday it was still hot but I had decided to walk to the Seniors' Centre for my kitchen duty. The walk there was fine but coming home was a bit of an ordeal. It's only a 20 minute walk and is shady in parts (thankfully the trees still have their leaves) but I was relieved to get home. The only good thing about this recent hot spell is that the evenings have cooled off considerably so the house has been comfortable again by the morning. In the evening Susan and I had the Thanksgiving Special at Swiss Chalet, our fave place for eating out and it didn't disappoint!

    Today brought a change in the weather as it was overcast but still warm (low 20'sC) so we had a comfortable two hours of tennis this morning. Book Club in the afternoon saw only 9 of us ( I suspect quite a few were starting the long weekend early - next Monday is Thanksgiving) but nevertheless we had a lively discussion of "The Wish" by Nicholas Sparks. And the treats were to die for!

   Rain is in the forecast for the next few days and will be very welcome. The gardens are in dire need of a good soaking. I am still picking tomatoes and will get a few more zucchini but the rest of the garden is ready to be put to sleep for the winter. That will keep me busy and out of trouble!

Friday 29 September 2023


    Today was the Volunteer Appreciation lunch at the Seniors' Centre. I got the invitation ages ago and almost forgot to RSVP. The Centre has about 50 volunteers and almost all, along with some dignitaries from the City, attended.

   We were served a delicious lunch of chicken schnitzel, salad, roasted vegetables and pasta, followed by a yummy cake and coffee. There were gifts for all, entertainment and a raffle (didn't win anything). All the people from the dance classes were up on the dance floor, showing off their moves, the music was so catchy. I have to admit to joining in although I didn't know the steps.

    Volunteering is a big part of keeping me active in retirement and the day I spend at the Seniors' Centre is only one of several groups I volunteer with. I highly recommend that all retirees find some way in which they can contribute by giving some time each week with some form of volunteering. It's a "feel good" activity!


Wednesday 27 September 2023

Getting In Some Steps

   Another good hike with the Nordic Pole Walkers today. I remembered to take my step counter and registered 8,000 steps. I may even make it to 10,000 during the rest of the day, my most ever.

   I also remembered my camera so got a few shots. It wasn't as great a day as last week, quite windy and cool although it had warmed up by the time we stopped. We walked down to the lake again but by a different route. We followed Highland Creek but didn't see any salmon swimming upstream to lay their eggs. It's a bit late in the season for them and the water level was quite low.

Here we are strung out along the trail. Everyone walks at their own speed.
There were whitecaps on the waves. Being a lake the waves are not huge.
The hike is an official part of the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail.

There were tons of these flowers along the trail. The trees haven't started to get their Fall colours yet.  

    We didn't see much wildlife but spotted this hawk on a dead tree. I did hear lots of Blue Jays, though.

   We gathered for coffee afterwards to reward ourselves for the exercise. I needed a nap when I got home and after lunch worked in the garden. Hope the weather continues to be  decent for a few more weeks!

Monday 25 September 2023

Something New to Try

    There is a book and magazine exchange shelf at the Seniors' Centre and occasionally I will bring in stuff and check out what's there. Today I was there for my Bridge game and found this cookbook. I can't wait to get into it. I love salads!

   This morning was Hava Java, the monthly coffee social - not a huge turnout but I can understand why people had other things to do, it was another glorious Fall day!

Saturday 23 September 2023

A Sign That Summer is Really Over

   Stuck at home as the pools guys were coming to close up the pool. I didn't really need to be here but I like to make sure everything goes in the right place. They didn't get here until 3:30 and were finished by 5:30. Luckily I had lots of things planned to fill the day. First I put on a load of laundry then went for a walk around the neighbourhood as I was pretty sure I would be back before they arrived.

Ready for the oven.

They rose nicely - I will have one later tonight!

    I had put on a batch of yogurt to ferment last night so I dealt with that next this morning. It takes 16 hrs. overnight in the InstaPot. I have read somewhere that you can also use a slow cooker. After it was ready I let it drain until this afternoon and it came out nice and thick. I decided to use three quarters of a cup of the whey to make scones and if they turn out well may make another batch tomorrow with the rest. It seems a shame to throw it out so if anyone knows of other uses for it, please let me know.

First they gave the pool a final clean then removed the diving board and ladders.

Next they lowered the water level to below the skimmer and dried out the lines.
Finally they turned off all the equipment and got the cover unpacked.

This is what I will be looking at for the next 9 months until they come back in May to reverse the process! Sad times.

   Now the guys have gone and I will get started on dinner - chicken thighs in a tomato sauce. Still using up tomatoes but not so many ripening now. I may have to bring in the green ones soon as the nights are getting cooler.

Friday 22 September 2023

Enjoying the Great Weather

 I have been without TV for a couple of days but a technician came today (right on time!) and fixed me up with a new system for not just the TV but for the phone and Internet as well. Everything seems to be working beautifully and my monthly payment will be reduced by about $30 for a two year contract! No doubt it will go back up for the new contract but I will worry about that when it happens.

    We had great tennis this morning as it was a perfect day for playing. The only thing I could complain about was the sun in my eyes when I served on the north side of the court. Mun-ju brought a selection of donuts from Tim's to have with our coffee and I had more than my fair share I have to admit. I am watching tennis from Mexico at the moment and they are playing on a bright fuschia court. I think that would be very distracting, I much prefer our blue courts here. The Friday tennis is more of a round robin so we get to play with lots of different people and enjoy socializing over coffee and treats between sets. A very civilized way of spending a lovely Fall morning.

Thursday 21 September 2023

New Friends and a Found Plant

     It's been a busy week! This morning was the RTO New Retirees Breakfast where we try to recruit new members. It was just a small group of about 25 who attended but the breakfast was delicious, substantial and filling. One new member was from the last school I taught at so it was fun to catch up and hear all the latest gossip news!

    After eating, there were presentations on all the activities the members can participate in. I talked about the Hava Java coffee social, the Knitters and Crafters group, the Bridge club and the Travel outings. After that I could relax and enjoy the rest of the presentations ( Book clubs, Trivia Pursuit Night and the weekly Nordic Pole Walkers to name a few) and socialize with new and old friends. I think we may have got a few new members as there was interest in several of the activities.

   After a very light lunch and a nap I cut the front lawn and trimmed the edges. I found this sedum plant hiding under a bush and trimmed away the foliage to give it more light and space. Next Spring I will try to split it and transplant a piece to another location in the garden. It is such a pretty shade of pink!