A Birthday Party and the Royal Botanical Gardens

….a busy week with the family

On Sunday, after returning from the cottage, Kevin, my father and I went to my daughter-in-law’s father’s 80th birthday party. I knew when we got to the party that my father would make a big deal about being the oldest person there. He quickly found the over 80 table and made himself comfortable and engaged in conversation with people he had never met before. That’s what my Dad has done his whole life and I remember as a kid being so embarrassed by how easily he would go up to perfect strangers and start talking.

The party was a huge success and the daughters actually pulled off surprising their father. The mostly Italian and some Argentinian guests thoroughly enjoyed the food and there was lots of laughter and lively discussions.

On Monday I drove to Hamilton to spend the day with my daughter, Gaelan and her daughter, Winnie. Brendan was working from home that day so he decided to join us for lunch at a great Chinese Dim Sum restaurant. Winnie has been introduced to a lot of different foods as soon as she started on solid foods and I was amazed at how much she enjoyed digging into the sushi.

After lunch it started to pour and we waited in the strip mall while Brendan ran home and brought the car back. I felt badly when he got back because the rain had almost completely died down. Thank goodness it had because Gaelan, Winnie and I decided to go the Royal Botanical Gardens. The part we went to had a lot of indoor displays but the rain was so light that we ventured outside and took Winnie to the children’s area where she could run around and play in the sandbox.

Just before we went back home we decided to go the Tea House for some refreshments. We had tea, coffee and scones. Winnie drank the milk they brought me for my tea.

A wonderful two days.

Cheers!

Stealing the Show

…..how toddlers and 90 year olds become the centre of attention

One of my fondest memories of my retirement party will be how my father hugged all the women and held court for much of  the evening and when he wasn’t the centre of attention my granddaughter took over by running throughout the restaurant with my retirement balloons flying behind her.

I’m glad that the evening had a very casual atmosphere. During the speeches my father came up behind some of the presenters and asked me, in his loud booming voice, if they were singing a song for me (they were actually reading from a story book). During one of the more serious moments Winnie made everyone laugh as she flew by with her balloons.

IMG_2174IMG_2223IMG_2225IMG_2230IMG_2247IMG_2255IMG_2256IMG_2258

Share Your World – May 15, 2017

…..thanks Cee for four interesting questions for this week’s Share Your World

How many languages do you you speak?

I speak English, some German and very little French and even less Italian. I wish I was more fluent in other languages but that takes practice and commitment. When I travel I like to learn a few key phrases in the language of the country I’m visiting. Today so many people speak English that it’s made us somewhat lazy about learning a new language.

What are you reading, watching, listening to, eating?

I like reading good literature. I’m a fan of historical fiction, mystery novels and humour. The last book I read was Stranger: A Novel by David Bergen. A great read.

Since our internet was down we watched a lot of Netflix. Riverdale  and  Medici: Masters of FlorenceThe first is based on the Archie comics but this murder mystery is nothing like the original comics even though the characters are the same. It was a little sappy but fun to watch. The second show was a riveting historical portrayal of the powerful Medici family. Having travelled to Florence this summer I found the scenery and the story line very compelling and we binge watched it over three days.

Tonight I had a bowl of soup from IKEA. We had to return some kitchen parts that didn’t work in the renovation. Earlier in the day we were treated to a luncheon put on the parents in our school community. There was so much food that we will probably feast of another couple of days. I tried not to eat too much but I certainly didn’t need another big meal later in the day.

What was the last photo you took with your phone?

The last photo and a couple before that were of my husband. Each time we were out eating lunch or dinner. The last one was taken tonight at IKEA in the restaurant and in the first one we’re at the Feel Good, Buy Good show where he made a smoothie while peddling the bike.

What is your favorite time of day? 

This is a tough question. I think it depends on the time of year. In the summer I love early mornings and in the spring and autumn I love the light late in the afternoon. Sometimes I like late at night when everyone has gone to bed. I often get a lot done then and feel the most creative.

Optional Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m grateful to have gotten our phone lines fixed and for being able to access the internet at home again. I’m also grateful for a wonderful weekend where I was able to spend time with my husband and my family.

This week I’m looking forward to our Forest of Reading Celebration. More than 50 students have qualified to attend the event. The food is being ordered, the author has been booked and the activities are coming together. That takes place on Thursday and on Friday the girls are playing in the soccer tournament scheduled to be hosted at our school. Every time one of these events takes place I  can’t help but think that this will be the last time I will be involved in organizing it. My retirement date is getting closer and closer.

Till next time, cheers!

Renovation and Computer Blues

,,,,,it seems like forever since I wrote a post

As some of you know we’ve been undergoing a renovation in our home so that my 90 year old father could move in with us. During the renovation our phone lines and internet connection went down. We were planning on switching our service provider once the renovation was done so we didn’t call anyone in to fix the problem during construction.

Little did I know that I would feel so disconnected from the rest of the world. A couple of times I would drive to the nearest Starbucks so I could use their WiFi and check for important messages and do my on-line banking. The first time I did this I only had 10 minutes to check my mail because the store was closing earlier than I thought.

For weeks we lived in chaos to get ready for the renovation and then for the actual job. We had to move my husband’s office from the basement to the room where I had my art studio and we moved all the art supplies into the master bedroom (the largest room in the house). My daughters helped me purge and get rid of a lot of stuff. That part felt good but we still have more things to move. Some of the cabinets and the microwave have to be returned and my husband still has more files to go through. Luckily my father is in Calgary for three weeks visiting my sister.

I had a great contractor and he did a wonderful job. He started with the bathroom, fixing the plumbing, repairing the drywall, waterproofing the walls and installing tile in the shower, on the shower floor and on the floor itself and putting in new pot lights. He also put in a new toilet and grab bars and painted.

In the living area he boxed in the duct work, installed 6 new pot lights, added new baseboards and trim and painted the ceiling and walls.

In the old office the floor was pulled up and a new floor put down, the plumbing was retrieved from behind the walls, built in shelves were removed and new pot lights were installed. A fresh coat of paint brightened up the room but the cabinets, counter and sink weren’t put in place when my Dad moved in. Luckily it took only one extra day to move in the new refrigerator and affix the new cabinetry to the walls.

I’m happy to say that our new phone lines are in and the internet is once again working. Hopefully over the next couple of weeks I’ll bring you up to date on all the goings on here at Mama Cormier’s.

Till then, cheers!

Easter With the Family

This year we celebrated our Easter Sunday on Saturday. Our daughter and son-in-law in Hamilton invited us over for an Easter dinner of lamb ragu. We invited my niece who is working in Toronto and our oldest daughter and my daughter-in-law drove to our house, where we all jammed into one car and made the 40 minute drive to Hamilton. IMG_1668

The day started out very rainy but in the afternoon the sun came out and we experienced an early summer day. We spent a good deal of time outside without jackets and went for a nice walk to the park down the street. My niece had never been to G’s place and she enjoyed hearing stories of being pregnant and she saw first hand what it can be like raising a toddler. She’s due to have her first child in August.

IMG_1677

Our granddaughter is always a little shy around new people and even her grandparents who she hasn’t seen too much of this winter because of illness on both sides. It didn’t take long though before she warmed up to her cousin, once removed and they engaged in a game of peek-a-boo in the backyard.

For Easter this year I bought Winnie a garden set because she likes to help her father   clean and plant flowers in the the garden bed.  I knew she’d love the watering can because she loves anything to do with water. When I showed her how it worked she let out a shriek of joy and came running to her Oma. For the next hour or so she kept busy watering the garden and herself.

After spending some time in the garden and walking to the park we enjoyed a very nice dinner. Our son-in-law made the pasta from scratch and the ragu had cooked most of the day. We were in charge of dessert so my husband called up one of his favourite clients who works in an Italian bakery and asked her for advice on what dessert we should bring for an Easter dinner.

She quickly recommended a pastiera, a south Italian Easter tradition. It’s a wheat and ricotta pie flavoured with orange blossom water and adorned with a lattice top. Yum!IMG_1666

Today I’ll be spending time with a friend whose partner went into the hospital yesterday. He’ll be there for a few days as the doctors try to figure out what kind of treatment he will need.

I hope everyone had an enjoyable Sunday. Lucky me, I get one more day off tomorrow. Time to get the snow tires off the car.

 

Share Your World – April 10, 2017

…..thanks to Cee for coming up with four more questions for Share Your World

Have you ever participated in a distance walking, swimming, running, or biking event? Tell your story.

When I was in high school I remember that walking events were all the rage. The one that stands out for me was a walk that took on the shape of Canada and circumvented  the city of Toronto. The walk was called Miles for Millions and I remember that it was very long (32.2 miles) and it took me about 10 to 12 hours to complete. The finish line was at city hall and there were thousands of people there. My father was one of the many anxious waiting parents and the first thing he did when he saw me was hug me and step on my foot. Ouch!

Five years ago, this month, when I introduced myself to the blogging world I started training for my first ever 5k race. Every year since I have participated in one 5k run. I’m not fast but my time improves slightly every year. I remember after my first running event I thought I was going to die, literally.

Name one thing not many people know about you.

I worked as a chamber maid for one summer in Oberaudorf, Germany during the Munich Olympics. A delegation of East German men were allowed to come to West Germany for the games and I was the official greeter at the train station. It was a pretty big news story and my photo was on the front page of the local paper.

What is your favorite flower?

My two favourite flowers are sunflowers and Gerbera daisies.

Things I want to have in my home (paintings, hot tubs, book cases, big screen tv etc)

I would like a proper art studio with great storage for papers and all my paints and pens. I’d also like a new garage or large shed so I don’t have to look at the eye sore at the back of our yard. Of course it would also be beautifully landscaped with colourful plants and an outdoor fireplace.

Optional Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m grateful for all the help that our daughters have given us in the last three weeks. We’ve been cleaning out the basement and purging a lot of stuff that we haven’t used in years. As you know my father is moving in with us so we’re renovating the space in the basement to give him a self contained apartment. When it is all finished he will have a new bathroom, a freshly painted bed sitting room with new lighting, trim and baseboards and a small kitchen with all new cabinets, floor, sink, microwave and refrigerator. I’m also grateful that the city picked up all the garbage that we’ve been putting on the curb.

This week I’m looking forward to watching the progress that our contractor is making on the renovation. I’m also looking forward to getting together with the family for Easter. We’ve all been so sick with colds and sinus infections for the last month and we haven’t seen much of our family, especially our granddaughter. It also looks like good weather is in the forecast and I’m looking forward to putting away our winter clothes.