First Snow and Christmas Lights

….pulled out the lights and strung them on the outside tree

On the weekend we cleaned up the garden and put away the lawn furniture. We took out the snow shovel and snow blower and put the garden tools and rakes back in the garage. I also found the outdoor Christmas lights and dragged them out as well.

On Saturday our eldest daughter came over helped me put up the lights. This has to be the earliest I’ve ever put up the lights. I’m usually the one who gets to it a few days before Christmas. This year because of COVID we decided to try and make the Christmas season as cheerful as possible seeing that there will be no Santa Claus parade, shopping mostly on-line or curb side pick-up and no family gatherings.

We’re planning on a Zoom Christmas for now. In Toronto we’re in lockdown again for at least four weeks. To keep our spirits up we’re planning on decorating as normal, doing a cookie exchange and doing drop off deliveries of presents and goodies.

Our first snow was pretty slim down by the lake but other parts of Toronto and north of the city there was quite a bit of snow. Most of it has now melted but I’m sure there will be lots more to come in the next few months.

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first snow by the lake

I’m glad we got the lights up when we did. It was probably the last nice day for awhile. Now that they’re up it helps boost my mood and I’m starting to pull out more decorations.

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Another COVID Birthday Celebration

….thank goodness for the beautiful weather we’ve had in November

The last two days have been more normal in terms of November weather but prior to this we’ve had the most glorious, warm and sunny days. Our eldest daughter celebrates her birthday in November so we were thankful that we were able to get together with the family and have a small celebration on the deck in the backyard.

Blowing out the candles has also taken on a new format. I lit the candles on the cake and then we removed them one at a time and my daughter blew them out individually away from the cake. Well that was the plan but it turned out that the candles had burned down too far so she tried to put the candles out by waving her hand over them.

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That didn’t work very well so she tried to extinguish the candles by snuffing them out with popcorn. That worked somewhat but the popcorn caught fire.

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In the end no one was harmed and the cake was delicious.

A Drive By Birthday Party

….for five year old Winnie

I wanted to post this 10 days ago but with my father’s demise the day after these photos were taken I was ……well you can imagine how my blog was not my priority.

Now that things are settling down but nowhere near normal I’m trying to find joy again in the little things, like taking photographs of autumn leaves and flowers and taking walks with friends (with masks on). I’m on the phone a lot catching up with friends because COVID makes visiting in person difficult.

This year for my granddaughter’s fifth birthday we were suppose to get together for a birthday celebration in our backyard on Thanksgiving Monday but our daughter in Hamilton (Winnie’s Mom) received a COVID alert that she had been close to someone who has the virus. Out of caution they decided not to come to Toronto.

On Wednesday they decided that a drive by birthday for Winnie would be okay if we stayed apart and wore masks. Before they arrived I put out chairs on the front lawn and placed her birthday presents next to the chairs and her cake on the wall next to the driveway.

It was different. No hugs and kisses. We stayed on the porch while Winnie opened her gifts and then she dug into a piece of cake. She loved having cake at 10:00 in the morning. The whole thing took maybe 20 minutes. Then we blew her kisses through our masks and they were off to the Toronto Zoo.

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This last photo was sent to me by Winnie’s Mom. At the zoo they had these decorated hay bales and Winnie wanted to pose in front of every single one. This one was my favourite.

Spooky Doors in High Park

….thanks to Norm for hosting Thursday Doors https://miscellaneousmusingsofamiddleagedmind.wordpress.com/2020/10/22/thursday-doors-october-22-2020/

Even during COVID people are decorating their homes and doors for Hallowe’en. As numbers rise in the city of Toronto there is an ever increasing risk that Trick or Treating will be discouraged. The residents in the High Park area, however, are not discouraged and continue to dig out their ghosts, goblins and other spooky characters to celebrate October 31st.

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Hallowe’en During COVID

amid speculation as to whether the kids will be out trick or treating this year

The good news for children is that the chief medical officer said that children will be allowed to go out on Hallowe’en night and are encouraged to wear masks as part of their costumes. Homes in my neighbourhood of New Toronto are already gearing up for the big night with decorations in front of their houses. Here are a few of them.

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My Birthday Week

thanks to all my well wishers on Facebook and Instagram

Last Friday I celebrated my birthday with my husband. My kids live all over the place so we planned to celebrate on different days. The day before my birthday my son called me from London, England and we had a fun conversation with Sevin in the forefront. I love video calls because we were actually able to interact with our granddaughter, who is already seven months old. She was so engaged with what she saw on the phone. I remember Winnie was the same way at that age.

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She also surprised everyone that same day because she started crawling.

On my birthday, my husband took me out for dinner. We tried to get into Snug Harbour again but once again the wait was over an hour. We walked up the street to Posta and enjoyed a lovely meal outside on the patio.

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The next day on Saturday we planned to get together with Andrea, Josie, my Dad and my dear friend Arlene. Arlene and I have know each other since 1976. She was my first teacher friend but she’s more like family. She’s godmother to my children and she loves being called Aunt Beanie. This was the first time since February that we’ve seen each other. We’re all at that vulnerable age and some of us have compromised immune systems. COVID has kept us apart all this time. We feasted on a Japanese lunch in the backyard. Later in the afternoon another friend from across the road came over to share a glass of wine with us.

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When it was time for birthday cake, it was extremely windy but then my daughter reminded us that during COVID it probably wasn’t a good idea to blow out candles over the cake. Instead she lit one candle and held it up to me to blow it out. Ah the things we do in the name of safety.

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Our youngest daughter is still up at the children’s camp at Sparrow Lake (no children this year, just maintenance workers). I did get a phone call from her and also one from my sister in Calgary. Hopefully sometime next week we’ll be able to get together with daughter number two and her family and the celebration will continue. I love birthdays that continue for days and sometimes weeks.

Celebrating 45 Years of Love and Friendship

….our wedding day feels like it happened yesterday and not 45 years ago

This time last year we celebrated our 44th wedding anniversary in the hospital when Kevin was admitted for pneumonia. I was so pleased that his cough wasn’t COVID related or pneumonia and that he was well enough to go out for an early dinner today.

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Yesterday Kevin took me clothes shopping to buy a new dress for our anniversary dinner. He planned to take me to one our favourite restaurants along the Port Credit River but because of COVID he couldn’t make reservations and we had take our chances and hope we could get in. We decided on an early dinner but even at 4:00 there was a one hour wait. We decided to check out an Italian restaurant up the street.

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Our view from the patio, including the restaurant we couldn’t get into

Posta was open and readily accepted our request for a table for two on the patio. The service and the food were excellent and the view was fantastic. We now have a new favourite restaurant to frequent for special occasions.

This is What 100 Looks Like

….celebrating an old friend’s 100th birthday

Last week one of my father’s oldest friends celebrated his 100th birthday. Back in June Fred phoned us and told us that he wanted to do something special for his milestone birthday. I assumed he wanted a big party but he surprised us by saying that he didn’t want any presents and instead he was hoping we would pledge a dollar a day for 71 days until his birthday. Every day he went out with his walker and walked 800 m in front of his retirement home and he hoped that any money raised would go to Forests Ontario.

Fred has always loved being in nature and doing his bit to save our environment. When he saw Capt. Tom from England raise money for the health care workers by walking every day he figured he could do the same but put any money raised towards planting more trees in Ontario. We gladly sent him money and looked forward to following his progress.

About two week before his actual birthday his daughter, Hilde, phoned us and told us about the arrangements that were being planned for the big day. The local newspaper and TV station got wind of his challenge and featured him in their newsfeeds. COVID was creating its own challenges for bringing people together so the numbers had to be limited. The event was going to take place outdoors but there was very little shade and people had to bring their own chairs.

Fred on his birthday accepting a plaque from Forests Ontario

In the end we decided it would be better if Dad and Fred got together after the actual birthday so that they could spend time together without being interrupted by the media, politicians and numerous guests. Two days after the birthday Hilde picked up her father and drove him to her house in Wasaga Beach and I drove my Dad from Toronto to Hilde’s house.

We learned that Fred had managed to raise over $5000. for Forests Ontario. The two men talked about fond memories of their choir days together while Hilde and I got caught up on the last 45 years. After a lovely lunch and a walk down memory lane we said our goodbyes and Hilde drove her father back to Barrie and Dad and I returned to Toronto.

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