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!


Wednesday 20 September 2023

A Little Adventure

    Since I wasn't needed at the Seniors' Centre today (or next Wednesday for that matter) I decided to join the Nordic Pole Walkers for an hour. The designated walk was beautiful - a part of the Great Lakes Waterfront path - with amazing views of the lake, lots of greenery and wildlife and just an overall feeling of peace with nature.

    There were lots of other walkers and bikers on the path but not so many that it felt congested. Everyone nods and says "HI" as they pass, all of a like mind as far as exercise and enjoying the outdoors goes. It's amazing, once one gets out there, to realize the benefits of sharing an activity with others.

    We stopped by "Mr. Beans" for a coffee and (in my case) a butter tart after the walk. I needed the sugar to replace the energy I had used up. I think most of the others were good and abstained! A thoroughly enjoyable morning but now I am pretty much pooped!

Tuesday 19 September 2023

Ladies Who Lunch

    Today was the monthly lunch for the Retired Women Teachers Organization I belong to and a good time was had by all. This is as much an excuse to get together as an actual dining experience!

   We met at the local country club and had the dining room to ourselves. Normally there are curling leagues going on but they haven't started yet for the winter session. There is usually a speaker or other entertainment but today there was just a silent auction and a 50/50 draw. I managed to score a box of truffles!

   However, since this was the first lunch since the summer break, there was lots to catch up on with new and old friends. Salad, BBQ chicken and rhubarb pie with ice cream was served so no need for a meal tonight. I will just have my go-to snack of a BLT (still trying to keep up with the mountain of tomatoes).

It's just gone 6:00 p.m. and the sun is already behind the houses to the west of me. The nights are really drawing in!

Sunday 17 September 2023


    The wasps have been particularly annoying this year. There must be a nest somewhere in my back yard as they arrive literally seconds after I go outside with food.

   I have had to retreat indoors with my lunch on several occasions. Yesterday one landed in my glass of wine and I didn't notice until I had taken a swig. Luckily I felt it before it stung me. I fished it out with my finger and it staggered around for a bit, then eventually flew off. None the worse for its dunking obviously. Also, obviously, I finished the glass of wine. Waste not, want not again!

Saturday 16 September 2023

Never a Dull Moment on My Street

    Another sunny mild day, temps in the low 20's. A huge white stretch limo was parked outside my house this morning. I ran to get my camera but by the time I found it and got myself decent to go outside, it was gone. I think there may have been a wedding on my street but not anyone I know. Great excitement!

   I walked up to the mall later in the morning (5,000 steps) to pick up the next Book Club book from the library. It's "The Wish" by Nicholas Sparks. I see he has had several of his books made into movies, the most memorable being "The Notebook", a real tear jerker.

   On the way home snapped this perennial in all its Autumn glory. No idea what it is but I'm sure someone will enlighten me.

   The rest of the day was pretty uneventful. This afternoon I baked a zucchini loaf, the zucchinis just keep coming! I will use the rest to make zucchini fritters for dinner.

Friday 15 September 2023

Trying To Be Economical

    Brilliant blue sky today but only 12C when I set out for the tennis club this morning. We had one night recently where the overnight temperature was in single digits! I had been hoping for some summery weather this month but it is really veering towards Fall. I have been busy tidying up the garden and cutting back perennials but now the bins and the composter are pretty much full so I can relax until the next garden refuse pickup on Wednesday.

 Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

   I tried this recipe the other day - the photo is from a magazine but mine looked remarkably like it. I had to substitute a few ingredients but it only took 15 minutes to put together and most of that time was baking the sweet potato in the microwave. I already had something to stuff it with and topped it with grated cheese and chopped green onions. The bonus was that everything in it was needing used up so it felt like a free meal! Today I had a basa fillet with mashed parsnip and peas. The parsnip also needed using up and the fish and peas were from the freezer so, waste not, want not again!

Wednesday 13 September 2023

Surprise Visitors

    I was greeted by this sight when I opened the blinds in my bedroom this morning.

   I suspect it's a family on its way south and taking a break - no food in this patch of water which is probably why they didn't hang around long. However, one of them left me a nasty deposit on the pool deck. Not in the water fortunately as far as I could tell!

   The bees are loving my sedum patch - there were dozens of them buzzing back and forth while I was weeding the border. They were so busy they paid absolutely no attention to me, for which I was very grateful. I have had two wasp stings in the last few days, not fun!

Monday 11 September 2023

Never a Dull Moment

 Today wasn't supposed to be busy but, as happens, things came up to keep me on my toes.

   First off, even before breakfast, I got some ironing done and worked out with my Step video for almost an hour. I have been using this same tape once or twice a week for nigh on twenty years and it still works as does my ancient VCR! I am very glad I hung on to it after I got my DVD player. 

   It's a pretty complete workout with an aerobic section, upper and lower body "sculpting", abdominals and weights. I usually add a couple of stretches at the end to give me a better cool down.

   By the time I had cleaned up after breakfast and fielded a couple of phone calls it was almost time to get ready for my Bridge game so I packed a light lunch to eat at the break. We had some very interesting hands today but my partner and I were on the losing end in all but one rubber. Luckily no money was on the line and we had a few laughs.

   I had a call from a previous colleague who has just recently retired and we have arranged to attend the New Retirees Brunch together, this month. I will be giving a presentation on some of the activities I am involved with so we will drive there together. It will be great to catch up with her and get all the gossip!

     After all that excitement, a quiet evening in front of the TV is called for. Surely I will be able to find something worth watching.

Sunday 10 September 2023

Not Much on the Agenda

    The day started with meeting up with my three tennis friends at the courts. We played almost the whole two hours we had booked except for breaks to chat and catch our breath. Three sets, rotating partners after each set so we all played at least once with each other.

   I was home by 11:00 a.m. and had a quick swim followed by the rest of my breakfast - coffee and toast. The rest of the morning was spent working through the Sunday newspapers. I did a bit of gardening before lunch, just cutting back the raspberry stalks, and got another bin filled. Unfortunately, this exposed a number of stubborn weeds which I will have to tackle at some point! I got a loaf started in the bread machine after lunch then headed up for a nap.

    Later I picked the very last rhubarb stalks and made a jar of chutney with them and some mango. By then the bread was ready. The rest of the afternoon was spent watching the men's final at the U.S. Open. Not a particularly close match as it as it was a "best of five match" and was over after three sets. 

   Dinner was a casserole from the freezer but I had some tomato bruschetta first (still trying to use up those pesky tomatoes). Then I made a Greek salad to accompany the casserole, easy, tasty and healthy!

Saturday 9 September 2023

Staying Close to Home

    I seem to have lost most of my readers - maybe my life is too dull to make it worthwhile to comment! No matter, I will soldier on.

   Cool and cloudy today but as I had no plans it didn't matter. Actually, I did work up a sweat working in the garden this afternoon so went for a quick dip in the pool. Too chilly to sit outside to dry off, though.

   I walked up to the mall to check out a new library book and shop at Metro. The strike that had closed it for the last week or three is finally over but the staff didn't seem to be quite back to normal. The guy on the fish counter told me he had trouble getting to work on time but he gave me a lovely marinated salmon fillet which I will have for dinner tonight.

Looks like I may get some more zucchini if the weather stays warm!

The results of all my labour. Still a bit more to clear but getting there. 

Friday 8 September 2023

Tuesday to Thursday

    The heat continued through Tuesday and Wednesday - 30C, felt like 38C! At the tennis courts on Tuesday I only managed one set but spent some time socializing. Bridge in the afternoon was in air-conditioned comfort and, for the first time in three years, we played without masks, such a relief for me but a few kept theirs on. Some of us brought our school bells as it was the first day back to school, and we rang them to celebrate NOT having to be at work and in support of our still working colleagues! For dinner I had a leftover hamburger and some of Judy's salads.

   Wednesday continued hot and, even though it is air-conditioned, the seniors' centre was pretty steamy for the fitness class. I only worked in the kitchen for two hours as most of the afternoon classes are over and was home in time for a late lunch - tomatoes again! Dinner was a sausage casserole I made on the weekend plus the last of Judy's salads!

The bean salad was augmented with (guess what) tomatoes, of course. I had the last of the wine we opened on Monday. So all leftovers consumed and on to something fresh tomorrow. 

   Thursday was considerably cooler, more seasonal which was quite a relief and made for more comfortable sleeping. Although I use the A/C when it is very hot, it never seems to cool the upstairs too well. I had a Zoom meeting in the morning and Book club in the afternoon. We had an extremely lively discussion of this month's book, "Mad Honey" by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylen. Highly recommended!

Thursday 7 September 2023

Hi Jinks in the Pool

    On the Monday holiday the family came over for a swim as it was so hot. Judy brought dinner so, while the kids cavorted in the pool, Dave barbecued hamburgers. There was quite a feast, potato salad, bean salad, and corn as well as the burgers. I sneaked some leftovers for my dinner next day!

   They stayed in the pool well into the evening as it was still so warm but eventually everyone had had enough so it was time to dry off and it was time to head home. The kids and Judy were back to school the next day so had some organizing to do. I was just happy to have the house to myself again although having this lively bunch here is always fun.

Wednesday 6 September 2023

Labour Day

    Monday was a federal holiday and marks the end of summer here. It was blisteringly hot - 30C + and very humid. Many people head out of town for a last blast at the cottage or by a lake but for me it started off with the tennis social. I arrived early to help set up and once that was done headed for an empty court. I only lasted 40 minutes due to the heat and spent the next hour in the air-conditioned club house. I always know when it's time to quite as my face turns beet red!

   There were about 80 people in attendance and we were served a lovely lunch around noon, jerk chicken, Jamaican patties and green salad, followed by watermelon and chocolate brownies. It was very filling (plus I was expecting another big meal later that evening) so I took the patty and the brownie home with me. The patty was especially tasty, not too spicy, and I will definitely try it again.

   I had turned on the pool heater before I left in the morning and the water was nicely warm by the time I got home. All I needed before the family arrived was a short nap so with that I will close and relate the rest of the day another time. It is still very hot three days later but we are promised some cooler temperatures by the end of the week, thank goodness. 

Friday 1 September 2023

The Tail End of Summer

    So much for blogging every day! The days seem to flash past and by the time I settle down in the evening to check e-mails and read other blogs, I have lost the notion for composing an entry.

   Now that the summer holidays are over and kids will be back in school next week, we can expect some changes. The one that affects me most is increased traffic on the roads. Today I sailed down to the tennis club in about 15 mins., next week it will take me at least double that. I have also noticed it is getting dark by 8:30, another sign of the waning summer days.

    The weather has not changed much and the next few days are supposed to be hot and steamy - something to do with the arctic vortex changing direction. I will enjoy it while it lasts! I am still getting in the pool most days although it is a tad chilly now as there are less hours of sunlight to heat it up. Meanwhile we have a long weekend coming up as Monday is Labour Day so I have lots of plans. 

   So pretty, too bad it only lasts a day or two.

   The latest haul from the garden. I will have to get these tomatoes prepped for the freezer as there are still more coming! They are all ripening at the same time. Mostly I eat the grape tomatoes as is and the big ones go into tomato sauce for pasta or chili, but I do love a big fat tomato sandwich for lunch!