Share Your World – November 6, 2017

….thanks Cee for hosting Share Your World

Would you rather take a 2 week vacation with an organized tour or take a cruise of your choice?

Sometimes I think I would like a two week vacation with an organized tour, especially in an exotic place where I don’t know the language. China and India come to mind. On the other hand, I’m far too spontaneous and I’m somewhat adventurous and I think I’d like to organize some of my itinerary. I see benefits to both ways of travelling.

Did you like swinging as a child? Do you still get excited when you see a swing?

I did like swings but I was wary of going too high. I still get that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach when I see children soar to the max.

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What is the most important thing that you ever learned ? (I bet it’s not something you learned in school)

In my 20s I learned that not everyone will like you and often the reasons are not clear. The hardest part is to except it and get on with your life. Focus on those who love you and don’t try to change for people who don’t.

What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. 

Last week I went to a wedding and met up with old friends of the family. When we first came to Canada my parents knew few people but my father’s good friend and his wife, along with their 4 year old son arrived before us. As their family and ours grew we were almost like cousins. Carlo was my godfather and my father was godfather to their third boy.  In my family there were three girls and they had four boys.  On  the weekend the second son’s youngest boy married and we were invited. Everyone still calls my Dad, Onkel Heinz and they were thrilled to be able to finally introduce their children to us. It was so nice to put faces to all the names we’ve heard over the years.

The next day we celebrated my oldest daughter’s birthday. It was actually the day before but because of the wedding we delayed the celebration by a day. We met at Barque’s for brunch and then went back to Andrea’s and Josie’s place for cake.

On Monday my 91 year old father wanted relive some memories of his past by visiting the Royal Winter Fair. As a boy he grew up next to a farm and helped tend to some of the animals. Last year I went there with my youngest daughter, Gaelan and her daughter Winnie who was only one at the time.

It was wonderful seeing the joy my father got out of such a simple excursion. We started off watching the horse jumping competition and then walked through the barns where we saw cattle, sheep and pigs. We strolled amongst the prize winning vegetables and fruits and then we went to the food court and had some lunch.

After a meal of fish and chips we headed towards the President’s Choice Theatre to watch the Super Dogs show. We arrived a bit early so we also took in the Medieval Times presentation. My dad loved both shows and was so impressed that he felt that it should have been televised. I explained to him that the Royal wants you to go there. If it was on TV people wouldn’t need to attend.

Halloween at the Zoo

….it started out chilly but when the sun came out the layers came off

Going to the zoo during the week on Halloween had its perks. There was lots of parking, the line-up to get into the zoo was very short and we didn’t have to push through crowds of people to see the pandas. The downside is that a lot of the refreshment stands and rest areas were closed. The mono-rail wasn’t operating and some of the animal enclosures were closed.

We arrived late morning and we needed to bundle up to stay warm. Out came the hats, gloves and scarves. As soon as we entered the grounds we could see that staff had made an effort to decorate for Halloween.

Our first destination was the panda pavilion. The pandas are on loan here from China and the original two successfully mated to produce two cubs. The young cubs are already two years old and are almost the same size as their parents. In March, Toronto will have to say good-bye to the pandas when they move to Calgary. I was thrilled that I was able to get so close to get some great shots.

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As we walked from the Giant Panda Experience towards the Polar Bears and then to the African Savanna, the sun came out and we shed our hats, gloves and scarves. The pathways are beautifully laid out as they wind through forests of orange, gold and red. There were many interesting animals along the way but this post would be far too long if I mentioned them all. I’ll save that for another day.

Happy Thanksgiving Canada

….celebrating with a Southern flair

This year we substituted turkey and stuffing with deep fried chicken, BBQ ribs and macaroni and cheese. We started the meal with curried pumpkin soup, served in the pumpkin shell and freshly baked corn bread. Our daughter hosted the meal and because there were 14 of us we decided to share the work with a pot luck meal. I brought the soup and bread and plum cake. Gaelan and Brendan cooked the meats and the mac and cheese. Other contributions included roasted potatoes, pasta salad, coleslaw, wine and meat and cheese platters as appetizers.

As you can see from the photos our granddaughter loved the pumpkin but she loved the soup just as much. Even my Dad who normally dislikes pumpkin pie enjoyed this soup.

The recipe came from a cookbook that my friend Janice gave me as a gift last Christmas. Her church, St. Philip’s Lutheran Church, collected soup recipes from friends and members of the church and created the book It All Begins With Soup and sold the cookbook as a fundraiser. This recipe is dead simple.

Curried Pumpkin Soup

1 large can of pumpkin puree

1/4 cup coconut oil

1 chopped onion

2 cloves of garlic

3 cups of chicken broth

1 Tbsp curry paste (more if you like spicy)

1/4 tsp. coriander, salt and pepper (adjust seasoning to your taste)

3/4 cup coconut milk (1/4 cup for swirls in the serving bowls)

Saute the onions and garlic in the coconut oil. Stir and cook for 5 minutes. Add chicken stock, paste and seasonings. Stir and cook until boiling. Cover and continue to boil for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add pumpkin puree and coconut milk. Whisk until smooth. Cook for a final 5 minutes before you puree the soup in a blender or food processor. Serve warm with a swirl of coconut milk in a bowl.

  • if you are vegan you can substitute chicken broth with vegetable broth
  • I doubled the recipe to serve 14 people – the bowls were small but some people had seconds
  • my pumpkin was way to big – the soup filled just over half the pumpkin

Happy Birthday, Dad – 91 Years Young

….birthdays are a big deal for my Dad

It’s Saturday morning, October 7th, and we’re sitting around waiting for friends and family to call Dad and send him birthday wishes. These phone calls mean the world to him as do birthday cards. He was so disappointed yesterday that no cards came in the mail. My sister in Calgary never forgets but this year she was away, moving her son to B.C. and it completely slipped her mind. I’m sure more cards will arrive after the long weekend.

This afternoon we’re going to take his iPad over to Apple and see if we can get it fixed, otherwise, he’ll be buying himself a new one for his birthday. For dinner he requested that we go to Mamma Martino’s for his birthday dinner so he can order spaghetti and meatballs. Kevin and I always call that restaurant one of our ‘cheap and cheerful’ places to go.

Well I think we’ve waited long enough for phone calls. I’m sure more will come in this afternoon. So far he’s received seven calls. Three from old friends and four from family.

His one request for his birthday was for a German plum cake with streusel. I’ve got the plums. I just need to find the time to make it now. Wish me luck!

 

My Dad’s Love

…..even at 90 Dad gets excited about my birthday

Days before my birthday, Dad went shopping and picked up two dozen red roses that he kept hidden in his apartment. On the morning of my birthday he got up early and brought up the roses, a box of chocolates and a birthday card and set them on the kitchen table. When I woke up an hour later I was greeted with this lovely gift.

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Later in the evening my husband, Dad and I went out for dinner at a new restaurant in the neighbourhood. Actually the restaurant has been there for ten years but it was our first visit. We had a lovely meal together.

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I’m truly blessed that Dad is still so vibrant and healthy. He really has a zest for life.

Reflecting on this Past Year

…..today I’m officially a senior citizen

There has to be a better designation than senior citizen when you turn 65. I know there are many perks when you reach this age but it also comes with labels such as golden oldie, old fart, grandma, oldster, senior, geezer, geriatric, old-timer and blue hair. Even though I’m a proud grandmother to Winnie I don’t feel old.

 

I look back on this past year and am proud of what I’ve done and happy to have such amazing friends and a wonderful family. I knew that this was the year to retire from teaching. I still loved the job but there were days when I was just plain tired and sometimes I didn’t feel that I fit in anymore. I didn’t want to be one of those crotchety old teachers that criticized younger teachers for doing things differently.  Sometimes I didn’t like what went on but I wanted to leave on a happy note so I kept quiet for the most part. The only people I would share my views with were people closer to my age and those who were also retiring. I have to admit that some of my favourite teachers were those much younger than me. I loved their humour and zest for life.

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Of course the students are what kept me going as a teacher. They weren’t always easy to teach and over the years the job grew increasingly more difficult but in the end the love and gratitude I received in the form of cards, art work, letters of appreciation and countless hugs made it all worthwhile.

This past year I’ve seen my own children continue to grow into responsible and amazing adults. They are all married now and our one and only grandchild is growing like a weed. She is my pride and joy.  Last night she kept saying Oma birthday, Oma birthday while rolling around in her crib. She clearly knows everyone in the family now and can say everyone’s name. She picks up at least 10 new words every day and we have to be so careful what we say in front of her.

My retirement is not quite working out the way I thought it would. I was hoping to do more travelling but it is still early days. Last May my father moved into our house. At 90 he’s still very independent but we’re a little worried about leaving him for too long. So far the longest we’ve left him alone is four days. We’re hoping to travel to London, England in November to visit with our son before he leaves to live in New York City in the coming year. Someone recently asked me if Dad was coming with us. We’ve tried to convince him to make at least one more trip to Germany to visit his brother. It looks like that won’t happen for at least another year, God willing, and I’m not sure if a trip to London would be in the cards for him as well. We’ll have to wait and see.

So as I turn 65 today I can honestly say that I’ve had a wonderful life. Now I look forward to my next adventure and hopefully I’ve inherited my father’s genes so that I can enjoy the next 30 years of my life with the same joie de vivre.

New Baby, an Anniversary, a Book Launch and a Pedicure with Dad

….what an exciting week

My middle sister became a grandmother for the first time. Her daughter had a little baby boy on August 15th. Mom, Dad and Baby Jale (pronounce Jah-lay) are all doing well. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks we’ll make the four hour drive to the farm to welcome the new little guy into our family.

On the 16th my husband and I celebrated our 42nd anniversary. We opted to celebrate with a special lunch. Being on a Wednesday we didn’t think that we’d need reservations but when we got to our first choice we couldn’t even find a place to park. We quickly decided to go to our second pick which was closer to home and luckily it wasn’t busy. We love this restaurant, Pulcinella, and the only reason it wasn’t our first choice was because we wanted something other than Italian food. In the end we decided that it was the perfect choice. We had wonderful service and the food was amazing.

The next day, quite by accident I discovered that a friend from long ago had written a book about the CNE and she was having a book launch in a bar just up the street from where I live. I was walking the dog at the time so I couldn’t go inside but I went home, dropped off the dog, grabbed my wallet and walked back up the street to support Lee. It was nice meeting some people that I had lost contact with and meeting some new people. One of the people that I met was a former editor of Canadian Living magazine. I knew of her and where she lived which surprised her. In the end we exchanged phone numbers and addresses and I should be getting a call in November to help with make-up for the Lakeshore Santa Claus parade. I guess this is how it starts. When people know you’re retired they quickly recruit you to do volunteer work.

Earlier that day Dad and I went to my favourite salon for nails and we both had pedicures done. It’s very interesting sitting next to your ninety year old father while having your feet worked on.  The owner of the salon worked on Dad and she was wonderful with him but we couldn’t convince him to paint his nails purple. Of course we were only teasing him. He laughed but firmly said no to colour.