Apples, Apples, Apples

it’s that time of year already and the early varieties of apples are ready for picking

On the weekend the family did one more get together before our granddaughter starts school. As of Tuesday our bubble has been broken and we can no longer do these family outings for awhile.

My daughter and daughter-in-law drove with me (in my new car) to St. George where we met our youngest daughter and her family at the Brantview Apple Orchard.

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It was about an hour drive from Toronto but it was a beautiful day and it was great walking through the trees and picking either MacIntosh or Royal Gala apples. Winnie loved filling up everyone’s bag.

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After a hard day of picking we headed back over the store and bought some their cider and special apple cider doughnuts. Then we loaded up the cars and headed out for our next destination. To be Continued…….

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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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Art Nurtures the Soul

….encouraging my husband to pick up a paint brush

When I met my husband he was an artist. He studied art at college and his first full time job was as a graphic designer. When computers started to take over his chosen profession he changed careers and he abandoned art in order to put a roof over our heads and food on the table. We both worked until I took five years off to raise the kids. When they were in school full time I went back to teaching and my husband became a financial planner.

Over the years I started to pick up paint brushes and drawing pencils and took many classes and on-line art classes to learn everything I could about art techniques and practices. I love it. I tried to encourage my husband to start his art journey again. He wanted to but he was hesitant to start.

Well he finally started last week and I can’t stop him. The only reason he didn’t make another painting today was because he ran out of canvases. In total he has already completed 15 paintings. He’s experimenting with colour and techniques of laying down paint. I can’t tell you how much this has lifted his spirit.  We’ve just finished renovating our garage so that he can use it as a summer studio to make larger works of art.

Here are a few of his completed pieces.
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A Trip to St. Jacobs

….a great farmers’ market and lovely small town

Last Saturday the forecast wasn’t great for an outing but that didn’t stop hundreds of people from going to the Farmers’ Market in St. Jacob.

We were actually quite surprised how busy the parking lot was and then we were surprised by how many people didn’t wear masks. Coming from Toronto, we are used to wearing masks and seeing the older people in the crowd not wearing them was quite shocking to us.

On the positive side, people were socially distancing and there were barriers and directional signs to help customers move along safely through the market.8-FCA3-E87-B2-D6-49-C7-AB1-D-045-D53-A68187
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We met up with friends, who are also from Toronto and walked through the market together. There were a lot of great deals on bulk purchases so we split the cost on some items and shared the bounty.  Before leaving the market, Max shared some of the freshly made apple fritters with us. I can see why they were a must have item for him.
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Dining in here is still a no go in Ontario but it is about to change for some areas later in the week. After buying a variety of fruits and vegetables and meats we parted ways. Max and Monica returned to Toronto and Kevin and I decided to drive north to the town of St. Jacobs and explore a bit.

St. Jacobs is a popular location for tourists due to its quaint village appearance, retail focus and Mennonite heritage. Waterloo Region is still home to the largest population of Old Order Mennonites in Canada, particularly in the areas around St Jacobs and Elmira.

We did see some Mennonites at the market but not in town. The first place we stopped at was the local craft brewery called Block 3.

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I loved this wall of mugs where local customers had their own personal mug for drinking beer. We sampled a few beers but because it was raining and we couldn’t sit outside we purchased a dozen to drink at home.
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After loading up the car we started to venture out to the main street but I ended up going alone while Kevin waited in the car. (purely for health reasons). I could have spent a much longer time looking through the stores but I knew that my time was limited so I chose one store in particular to explore.A1-AB765-F-7054-4-E2-F-A26-F-47-CB66-DC13-DE
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Friendly Friday – Nostalgia

…thanks to Amanda for hosting this week’s Friendly Friday

Everyone once in awhile Facebook or my Photo Stream appear on my phone and remind me of events that took place in the past. It seems that I have done a most of my travelling in July which isn’t really unusual because the summer was the only time I could get away as a teacher.

Here are a few of my favourite moments from the past.

My husband when I first met him in 1972.2-B2890-D1-451-F-4-A30-B628-CBFC6-CDD175-B-1-201-a

Our daughter’s wedding day, 9/10/11
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Hiking up the cliff side in Houth, Ireland 2011
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Can you believe this is the same guy but 30 years younger?
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My Dad meeting his first great grandchild, Winnie.
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At Andrea’s and Josie’s wedding
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Travelling with our daughter and granddaughter in Italy, July 2016
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The family at Azadeh’s and Brendan’s wedding in Assisi, July 2016
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Venice with my husband in July 2020
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Gaelan, Winnie and me in Florence in July 2020
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Visiting Brendan and Azadeh in London with the girls, 2018B8824435-4570-4997-ADBD-D8-C6-F72-FBE67

Touring the neighbourhoods of London with Andrea and Josie, 2018
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The Beauty and Fun of Trash Collecting

…how can collecting trash be fun or beautiful?

On on our 30 Day Clean-up Challenge people have often commented that they couldn’t do what we were doing. I think one of the reasons why we were so successful and persistent on completing this project was because we could see that it was making a difference. The parks were definitely cleaner and ‘some’ people were making an effort to help keep it that way.

We also had fun while we were doing this. Sometimes it was like looking for buried treasure between the rocks and often we’d be amazed at the things we found. The lost wallet was returned to its owner and Trish also found a cell phone and was able to locate the owner.

After each haul we’d take a minute or two for photo ops. Trish loved posing in unusual stances, sometimes doing cartwheels and hand stands. I on the other hand was a little more conservative with my poses.
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The beauty of trash collecting in the parks comes from discovering the nooks and crannies of the park that I would never have ventured to before. I had never walked onto the rocks before and there were areas around the pond that I discovered for the first time. We also met a lot of wonderful people and we really came to appreciate the beauty of our environment.

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Day 27 – Favourite Toy

…thanks to Leanne Cole for hosting the 30 Day at Home Challenge

All my favourite toys from childhood are gone. I once asked my mother what happened to our toys and she very matter of factly said that we weren’t playing with them anymore so she threw them away. I remember being somewhat shocked but on the other hand my mother did not like clutter and the decorations around the house were very minimal.

Decades ago I started collecting teddy bears. The collection grew very quickly when people learned of my new found hobby. Many of those bears have been put aside and only my favourite are now on display.

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