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Wednesday 15 May 2024

Keeping My Chin Up

    Still trying to sort out details relating to the break-in, mostly computer related. Trying to get a police report and contact another credit bureau, but so far my identity seems to be intact. Other than that, I found out yesterday a suspect has been arrested but no chance of me getting any of the stolen stuff back. Heigh ho! 

    I had a bit of luck yesterday at Bridge, I was the fifth highest scorer so got back my entrance fee and a bit more! Since then I have been working in the garden (very therapeutic) preparing beds for planting some vegetables. The rhubarb is doing well and I should be able to pick some soon. 

   Last Sunday was Mother's day here and I received some lovely flowers from my son and had a great meal at my daughter's house so felt very spoiled. No matter the problems we incur, life goes on and we must make the best of it!

Monday 13 May 2024

It Shouldn't Happen to Anyone

    I've been in a bit of a funk for the last few weeks - hence my absence from blog land. I had a break-in overnight and lost several items that made life difficult. I am gradually getting all the important items restored but it has left me feeling vulnerable and shaken. Not a nice feeling!

   The rear walkout was jimmied (I think that's the expression) and my computer, cell phone and camera, along with some important paperwork were taken from my office. Then they had the audacity to sneak into my bedroom while I was sleeping and pinch my wallet and jewelry boxes. Talk about feeling violated! I am still in the process of replacing credit, debit and other cards and, most worryingly, my social insurance card. I just pray my identity isn't compromised as there are so many ways that can happen. So far my credit score has remained intact and I have fraud alerts on all my personal stuff. The local police have been incredibly helpful  as has my bank so I have come out of it relatively unscathed (imagine if I had woken up when they were in my bedroom!) but will be adding extra security all over the place! Hope this never happens to any of you as it is a thoroughly traumatic experience.

Thursday 18 April 2024

Lunch and a Fashion Show

    Yes, eating out again! Just a light lunch (salad and a frittata) with the retired teachers but the highlight was the after meal entertainment. 

   Lady Sophisticate brought in the fashions and some of our company were the models. Some beautiful pieces but nothing caught my fancy so I went home with my wallet intact. There were also accessories, jewellery, purses, hats, but, there again, I managed to restrain myself. I can always visit the store if I change my mind!







   Some colourful outfits and plenty of Spring fashions!

Monday 15 April 2024

Tackling Some Garden Chores

   Early appointment at the Dentist - just a cleaning  so I was home by mid-morning in time for my second breakfast of toast and coffee. My first was just a banana and some yoghurt. Then I had a long walk around the neighbourhood.

   Before I had lunch I got a loaf started in the bread machine and did some tidying in the garden. It`s still too early to plant anything but there are lots of daffodils open and the rhubarb has just started to sprout.


   When I was in the Niagara region last week all the Forsythia was like this and now mine has caught up. So a two hour drive south equates into a week earlier!

   After lunch and a nap I got a pot of soup started and then was back into the garden for another couple of hours as it was so sunny and pleasant. I will have to give the lawn its first cut of the year soon but I am still pulling weeds. Today it was early sprouting mint which was already starting to take over the vegetable plot!   

Saturday 13 April 2024

RODEO...and some new library books

 The RODEO ladies (Retired Old Dames Eating Out), part of my Probus club, were out for our monthly meeting this week. We continue to eat around the world and for "F" we naturally tried a French restaurant. It was called "Terre Rouge" and it's in Markham, ON if you want to Google it. I and several others had a Duck Confit salad with beets and fennel and it was excellent. Others (there were nine of us) had Coq au Vin, a pasta dish or a Bistro burger. They all looked yummy.

   I had missed the March outing to the Irish pub (E for Eire) as it was on a Wednesday which is when I volunteer at the Seniors' Centre and I will miss May's for the same reason. It is to be at a Greek place that I haven't visited before so I am sorry to miss it.

   I have finally been getting reserved books from the library so here's what I'm reading at the moment:


   I just finished the Ann Patchett book and have suggested it for next year's book club list. I see someone else has recommended the Lisa Jewell book, too.


   This is next month's book which I have just started and can't wait to see what the discussion questions will be as I have lots of questions of my own about it. Its focus is on genealogy and DNA testing which I am very interested in. I have a genealogy site (Tribal Pages) with over 2000 family connections so this book is right up my alley!

    It has just occurred to me to wonder why so many of my posts are about food!

Thursday 11 April 2024

A Day at Niagara Falls

   The skies were cloudy here during the eclipse on Monday but I did catch a glimpse through the clouds as the moon crept across the sun. It was eerily dark though, for a few minutes.

   I had an early start on Wednesday, joining a group for a day trip to the Niagara region. The bus left at 8:15 and we arrived at our first stop by 10:30. It was the Reif Winery, one of several in the region, where we had a tour of the winery followed by a tasting experience. Their star was an ice wine that we all enjoyed (even managed an extra taste) before hitting the store to pick up some bottles.



 
The tasting room. We tried a reisling and a red wine, followed by the sweet ice wine. It's made from grapes that are left on the vine through the first frost which concentrates the flavour.

  Our next stop was at the restaurant where we were to eat lunch. It's right by the Falls so we had a few minutes to take in the view with quite a crowd of other tourists still here after arriving on Monday to view the eclipse. We also had front row seats while we ate lunch! The meal was very tasty, a delicious sunchoke soup followed by a fish course and apple crumble and coffee for dessert. The sunchoke soup was a new experience for most of us, seemingly made from Jerusalem artichokes which are an unusual vegetable here. 

 Very impressive, standing right at the lip of the Falls - and very loud!

The interior of the restaurant with windows overlooking the Falls.


There was quite a bit of spray today but these hardy souls were pretty close to the base of the falls and needed slickers to stay dry.

    After lunch, our next stop was a Butterfly Conservatory where I enjoyed not only the exotic butterflies but also the gorgeous tropical plants. The feeding stations were the best place to take photos.








 

The Lollipop Plant



       Back on the bus and our last stop was another winery where we had 4 tastings and time to shop again.  Then we headed home.


    I have to admit to snoozing most of the way home but, all in all, it was quite the outing. However, it took its toll and I was early to bed and slept like a log!

Friday 5 April 2024

Weather Woes

    The storm has passed although it's still pretty windy. We've had some snow in the last couple of days but nothing compared to Quebec and further west. This is not uncommon here at this time of year but is unwelcome so I'm glad we missed it.

    I had a busy morning - fitness class at 10:30 then a quick trip to the supermarket for their special on compost and top soil. A very kind young man helped me load it all in my car but I still had to unload it when I got home! Lastly, a stop at the Post Office in the drugstore to check the P.O. box for last minute cheques for this month's lunch. We are at over 80 so far but a few more may dribble in next week as this is our most popular lunch as it includes a fashion show. Some of our members are the models which is always fun to see!

   The nets are up at the tennis courts but it's still a bit chilly to be playing. Maybe next week as it is forecast to be much milder. Fingers crossed!

Tuesday 2 April 2024

Whoop-te-doo!

    Big win at Bridge today! I was the second highest scorer and got the grand sum of $8. This was more than usual as we had two extra tables, which meant 40 people attended. We each pay $1 for the privilege  of being a participant so I came away $7 to the good.  Not too shabby for an afternoon's entertainment! 

   Not a very nice day, weatherwise. Heavy rain is forecast but hasn't arrived yet. It's been very windy but that seems to have died down now. I will hunker down until the storm has passed and gloat over my winnings!

Monday 1 April 2024

Leftovers

    There wasn't much food left over from yesterday's Easter meal, but we barely made a dent in the wine!


   Daughter and SIL came in separate cars so both needed to be fairly abstemious. However, I wasn't driving anywhere so I was able to have a glass (or two) of my favourite Portuguese red, Toro Bravo. Oldest grandson is now old enough to imbibe but hasn't acquired a taste for wine yet, so abstained. Actually, he probably drove one of the cars home. So, for the next few days I will be forced to work my way through these two bottles. What a chore!

    Also on the table, for adding to our coffees, was a bottle of Bailey's Salted Caramel, my favourite liqueur. That will last me several weeks!

Sunday 31 March 2024

Family Time

 Happy Easter, one and all! I had the family over for lunch, just the usual crew, and we started the meal with Butternut Squash soup followed by a a roast leg of lamb, roast potatoes and asparagus, all of which were delicious. The six of us finished the whole leg as two of the teenagers are big meat eaters. 

    I didn't take any photos as things got a bit hectic just before I served the meal - trying to co-ordinate things so everything would be ready and hot at the same time. Not my best talent. And then a friend dropped by just as I was making the gravy. However, everything got on the table and  consumed in record time.

   Judy brought a strawberry cheesecake for dessert and at least there was a slice of that left which I will have anon!

   Now it is all cleared away (thank goodness for the dish washer) and I can relax for the rest of the evening. I think I will be early to bed as I missed my afternoon nap. Tomorrow is another holiday so nothing in the plans and I will have plenty of time to recover.

Wednesday 27 March 2024

Signs of Life

   These little bloomers caught my eye in a sheltered sunny spot today. I also saw some snowdrops and crocuses in a neighbour's front border while on my morning walk. So, life is gradually returning to this still wintery corner!


This has been a quiet week so far as the Spring programs at the Seniors Centre don't start until next week. I did have my usual Bridge games on Monday and Tuesday but very little in the way of exercise. I'm sure it won't do any harm to have a bit of a rest. I have been sleeping very well recently and put it down to having a cup of this herbal tea before bed. It really does live up to its name!



Saturday 23 March 2024

Winter's Last Blast

    At least I hope it is! We were supposed to get 15cms. but I think it was a bit less. Daughter came over early and shovelled my driveway - I had been planning to let it just melt - but it's nice to be able to get in and out of the garage. She had just dropped younger grandson at his (indoor) baseball practice and had an hour or so to kill so she made quick work of it.



   It was bright and sunny today so I got my walk in before lunch. I couldn't walk by the ravine as the path was not cleared but the sidewalks were fine. Luckily I hadn't put away my winter boots as I definitely needed them for good traction.

   The sun has shone all day and the snow is already melting. Hopefully there is no more in the forecast, I'm ready for Spring!

Tuesday 19 March 2024

Welcome Spring!

     It started snowing around noon and has kept it up all afternoon. Mother Nature sure knows how to keep us on our toes! 



   I don't imagine it will stick around too long although more is forecast for Friday. More on that later.

    Today was the retired teachers' lunch and we had an interesting speaker after the meal. Everything was "tea" related including the silent auction items (I didn't bid high enough so came away empty-handed) and we learned a lot about the origins of tea and more tea-related customs. Did you know how the "milk in the cup first or last" debate came about? Well, according to our speaker it started when cups were made of a very delicate porcelain (this would be in 14th century China) that couldn't take extremely hot liquids and if the tea went in first they were likely to crack. You learn something new every day. Best part of the (rather uninspiring pasta) meal was the chocolate brownie dessert which was luscious and to die for! The Caesar salad before the pasta was good too.

    Now I will just have a bowl of soup and a BLT for dinner. Hope there's something worth watching on TV tonight!

Saturday 9 March 2024

Another Birthday

     Oldest grandson and this time there was cake. He is now legal drinking age but hasn't tried it yet. I hope he carries on this way for a bit longer. 

    He and the rest of the family went for lunch to what he described as a "Nerd" restaurant. The food sounded lovely but I passed on it. They did come back to my place for cake and coffee after, so I was part of the celebration and was able to give him his gift.  







    He is off to university in September so who knows if we will all be able to celebrate his birthday together in the future. 


Thursday 7 March 2024

Breaking the (Weather) Record

     Since my last post when we had our only snow fall in February, it has been decidedly un-wintery here. Yesterday was the warmest March 6 on record, one of many records broken this winter. Today is still wonderfully mild and sunny but not quite as warm. Still had on my light jacket though!

    This morning I was off to Yoga bright and early so got my stretches in and home by 10:30. After some chores I spent an hour in the garden doing the first clean up of the borders. Things are beginning to sprout but it will be some time until we actually see any Spring flowers. No buds on the trees yet either.

   After lunch it was book club and what a lively discussion we had! The book under discussion was "Spare" by Prince Harry. We had to keep reminding each other it was just his side of things but it certainly isn't very complimentary towards the Royals. And then the press, my goodness what a bunch of ne'er-do-wells!! While the majority of the group had some sympathy for Harry and Meghan, the consensus was that baring all was not the smartest thing to do. I'd be interested to hear some views from his homeland. 

Thursday 22 February 2024

It Was Inevitable

    We finally got a significant amount of snow - didn`t seem likely that we could go the whole winter without it. But the temperatures have remained higher than normal so most of it is now gone. That doesn`t mean we are done with it for this year. It`s not uncommon to get a big dump in March!


   

    Today was the RODEO lunch as we continue Eating Around the World. Nothing on my plate started with the letter `D` but next month for È` we are going to an Irish (or Eire) pub so that should be fun.


That`s my meal in the front right corner, chicken fingers with plum sauce and salad. It was a rather large plate of food but I did manage to finish it! Just soup and a sandwich (actually only a half sandwich) for dinner tonight.

Tuesday 13 February 2024

Shrove Tuesday

     Another nice treat from the Executive at the Seniors' Centre today. A complete breakfast of pancakes, sausages, bacon, orange juice and coffee for just $5!

    It was a busy morning for me as it started with Chair Yoga, then a quick trip home (I live fairly close to the Centre) to change, then back for the tasty breakfast with lots of the other seniors. By the time eating and socializing was over, it was time for me to head to Bridge club. I didn't have a very good afternoon, cards-wise, but there was more coffee and cookies on tap so no complaints from me!

   I needed a nap by the time I finally got home and a light dinner of avocado salad and broiled shrimp. So tasty!

Friday 9 February 2024

Yoga

    With the tennis courts locked until Spring, I have found a new activity to take the place of my thrice weekly tennis game. Last year I signed up for a ten-week Yoga class and this year I have added Chair Yoga to my weekly fitness schedule. 

   I find the regular (mat) yoga quite challenging, especially the balance moves, although I do feel quite a benefit from challenging myself to at least attempt most of the moves. I even managed a shoulder stand this year!

    Chair Yoga isn't only a sedentary class although we do start sitting. After upper body work we move to behind our chair to work on the lower body. The chair provides support if needed and everyone works at their own level. The benefit I get from the exercises are feeling every part of my body stretched and toned and my inner calmness. It's an opportunity to rid myself of worries and stress.

    Both classes are held at the Seniors centre and after today's class we were treated to an early St. Valentines treat - a surprise cake and coffee courtesy of the Executive. Much appreciated by all in attendance!

Sunday 28 January 2024

Continuing To Eat Around the World

    The past week was not particularly busy but I did finally get to the Chair Yoga class last Tuesday. I was happy to find we didn't spend the whole hour sitting in a chair but used it for balance on several of the movements. This is good as the balance moves are the ones I have the most difficulty with in the regular Yoga class on Thursdays.

    The RODEO ladies met for lunch on Friday at Prague Restaurant as we have got to the letter "C" for Czeck. I really wanted to go for Chinese but I was outvoted. There were many schnitzels and goulashes on the menu but I settled for a Caesar Salad as I was craving something green. It was excellent. Next month for "D" we are going to a steakhouse since there are no Danish restaurants around here and no one could think of another country starting with "D". 

   I finally finished the puzzle which was my Christmas present from oldest grandson. He did warn me it was tricky so I am happy to have it completed. The hardest part was that the picture was wrong!




Saturday 20 January 2024

A Special Day

 It was a big birthday for the youngest grandson yesterday and it was celebrated in style with a steak BBQ despite the frigid temperatures. No birthday cake but (his request) creme brulee for afters. It was delicious!


Can't believe he is 14! And I don't think he has stopped growing.

Tuesday 16 January 2024

Waiting To Be Read

      Books have been piling up on my bedside table and I got two more at the RWTO lunch today - just 50 cents each, can't beat that! It's a fundraiser for the women's shelter we support. I didn't donate any books today but probably will have some next month so I don't mind paying for them.


    I'm reading the Camilla Lackberg book at the moment but can't wait to get stuck into the others! Since our library system has been sabotaged (a cyber attack several months ago) and I can't get my holds, I have been scrambling to find stuff I like. One is historical fiction and the other new one is by a favourite author, Elizabeth George, so I'm sure I will like it.

   The lunch out today was a little underwhelming as it was cottage pie (well, I can make that myself!) but with a tasty salad and rhubarb pie with ice cream for dessert, it was enjoyable enough. Plus, the friendly company made for a pleasant outing.  The weather was very disagreeable, slippery roads, falling snow and icy underfoot, not to mention minus 10C, but almost everyone showed up. I think most people just want to get out and see some familiar faces!


Thursday 11 January 2024

Spoke Too Soon!

    Well, the boots have certainly had a workout this week as we have had a couple of days of wet, slushy snow. It has stayed mild (for Ontario) but is set to be frigid next week, so everything will freeze solid. I cleared the driveway just in case although it was mostly melting.

   This is how I spent this morning - staring at a screen. It was the bi-monthly (hope that means every other month) meeting of the RTO District Executive and I'm glad it was decided to hold it over Zoom. I wouldn't have wanted to be driving today.


It was rather a tedious meeting (2 1/2 hours) and, despite being asked to be brief with reports, certain members proceeded to go into too much detail. The reports are circulated prior to the meeting and we have all supposedly read them. Then there were the inevitable questions! 

   I needed some fresh air after the meeting so walked down to the plaza to check the mailbox. And that's about it for today!

Friday 5 January 2024

The Weather

    It continues to be cold but still a bit above seasonal averages. And, unbelievably, we have gotten well into the New Year without significant snowfall! You may wonder why I am so jubilant to have none of the white stuff but that is because last winter's heavy soggy snow was almost impossible to move and leaving it lying would have resulted in the possibility of not being able to leave my house until Spring!

   So far this winter I have only had to get my winter boots on once (long may that continue). I have managed my daily walks in just my joggers and I notice all my fellow walkers are similarly attired. I don't really mind having to wrap up well before setting out and usually work up some heat if I walk briskly. One can always strip off a layer or two when necessary! 

Thursday 4 January 2024

No Heat Again!

    I woke up to a very chilly house again this morning. It's less than a month since I last had to call the repair guys so let's hope this time it is well and truly fixed. The techie (female again) arrived with her manager so perhaps between the two of them they will be able to diagnose and fix the problem. It's no fun being chilled to the bone when you step out of bed in the morning but the sun is out for the first time in what seems like ages. No snow yet!

    Anyhoo (no that's not a typo, that how it's pronounced here, in a jokey way), time for an end of year update as I have been so busy clearing up the debris from Christmas and getting rid of all the year's cobwebs last week that I have been neglecting my blob. Christmas Day went off well with a lovely meal and fun and games chez moi. As usual I cooked a capon as I'm not much of a turkey fan but we like to have a bird. There was very little in the way of leftovers but I did get two more meals eked out with some fresh veg. By Wednesday there was just stuffing left but I managed to make a meal of it.

 

Just six of us this year but lovely to have the three generations all together. I should have got a photo of us wearing our party hats but at least youngest grandson deigned to remove his baseball cap.


The festive table before the meal. Blogger loaded the photos backwards again. Next time I will load from back to front just to confuse things!

   This week is still holidays but, fortunately, my Bridge group met on Tuesday and today is Book Club. Next week the Seniors' Centre will be back in business and the fitness classes start up again.

   The heat has just come back on, hallelujah!