A Day at the Spa, Two Days at the Cottage and Cleaning the House

….a busy week

Last Friday my good friend, Arlene and I went to the Elmwood Spa for our birthday lunches, water therapy and facials. My birthday isn’t until the end of August but we decided to have our birthday lunches at the same time. We enjoyed salads, a main course and dessert. The only thing we had to pay for was our wine and coffee.

When you have  a treatment for more than a $100 you can also do the water therapy at no extra charge. This includes the steam room, the whirlpool tub and the salt water pool. We did it all. After 30 laps of the pool I showered and then proceeded to to the rooms where the facials are done. What a relaxing afternoon. We left the spa feeling renewed and refreshed.

On Saturday my husband and I left for the cottage. This was Kevin’s first trip and my fourth. The weather wasn’t great but it was nice to get out of the city and just chill. Sunday was overcast but for the most part the rain held off and Kevin and the dog were able to go for a long walk through the woods. Frances loved the freedom to run and roll in every mud puddle she could find.


On Monday morning we left but not before Kevin made us a delicious breakfast that we affectionately call hopple popple. It’s a fry up of bacon, vegetables (usually onions, potatoes, mushrooms, etc.) and scrambled eggs.

For the rest of the week I’ve been doing a lot of cleaning and reorganizing some of my art supplies and paintings. Our son and his wife are vacationing in Toronto and will be staying with us for a several days. I spent most of my time cleaning the spare room and framing and hanging some of my art work around the house. It gave me a great deal of satisfaction to see some of my work hanging on the walls.

On Wednesday Kevin and I went out for dinner at Nodo on Dundas St. W.. The meal was so good that I didn’t get a photo of our meal until it was completely gone. IMG_2737

Our daughter-in-law and daughter were at the baseball game for Josie’s birthday and we agreed to stop by their house to check up on the dog, Olive. After our meal we made the short trip to their house and spent some time playing with the dog and catching the baseball game on their TV. The Blue Jays were behind 2-0 and in the top of the ninth they pulled it off and scored three runs.


Volleyball, Toilets and Trad Music

…..exciting two days

It’s been awhile since I’ve written about my personal adventures and daily routines. I don’t know where the time has gone but being sick and dealing with family members who are also under the weather has definitely put my writing for this blog on the back burner. I’m also trying to get my house ready for our new addition. No, we’re not expecting another grandchild or taking in a foster child. My 90 year old father has decided he wants to live with us. Of course, we couldn’t say no.

Since the March Break I’ve been sick with an ear infection and then with a sinus cold. My hearing has suffered greatly and I feel like I’m under water. I can’t tell you how many times I have misheard what people are saying. Sometimes it can be quite comical but it’s also frustrating. I think I’m getting better but in the evenings my throat gets quite sore. Other than that I feel okay and I haven’t taken any time off from work.

Earlier this week, my friend and colleague, P, asked me if I wanted to be part of a volleyball team and play in a tournament against teachers from other schools. I agreed to do it as long as I felt well. By Friday, three people dropped out and that left us with only six players. Regardless of how I was feeling, I just couldn’t drop out, so I went to the tournament.

When I got there I felt somewhat intimidated by the players from the other teams. I think there was only one other player out of 45 players or more who was older than me. On our team, we had two 26 year olds, two 31 year olds, one 50 year old and me, the almost senior citizen.

Once we started playing, I quickly lost any inhibitions and just had fun. My serves were terrible but by the last game I finally worked out what I was doing wrong and my serves improved immensely. There were six teams in total and to my amazement we made it into the finals. In the seventh and final game we played against one of the teams we had lost against. At that point I was happy to place second. It was in that game that I took some chances and I actually dove for a ball and landed on my knees (no knee pads, of course). OUCH!

I got up quickly and assured everyone that I was okay. I kept playing (there were no substitutes) and in a very close game we ended up winning it all. I think we were all a little surprised but ecstatic. Not bad for a group of people that had never played volleyball together. Afterwards we went out with the team we beat in the finals (they were great sports) and had a drink.

Later that evening when I got home I had a bit of a headache and a sore throat. The latter was from the cold and the former might have been from the fall. I think I jostled my brain when my knees hit the floor. Today, however, the headache was gone and I haven’t suffered any aches or pains from the activities of the previous night. Maybe I should look for a senior’s volleyball team to join when I retire.20170331_201317_resized-2

On Saturday, my husband and I spent the day looking for toilets and kitchen cabinets. When we agreed to have Dad come and live with us we knew that the basement would need some major renovations. We bought a toilet, a grab bar and at Ikea we started to plan out the kitchen. They have an amazing computer program for planning out your kitchen. I think we spent a good hour or more just playing around with different configurations for our tiny little space. When you’re done it gives you a parts list and the total cost of your kitchen.

In 8 days our contractor is coming to the house to start the job so we still have a little bit of time before we make our final decision. The tiles for the bathroom are purchased and the living area is mostly cleared so those two areas can be started on right away.

In the evening Kevin and I went out for dinner at a restaurant not far from our house. In the last year we have become quite close with Will, the owner of Sugar for my Honey. He is always trying new things to bring customers into his restaurant. Last night he hosted a great musical event with live Trad music. The group, Nua, is a Canadian trio, featuring a guitarist, a bodhran player and a fiddle player. If music is food for the soul, this group filled the bill. The event sold out and the crowd loved the food and the music. Here is a video of one of their selections from their new CD, Flow.IMG_1524

Flow (click to open)



Share Your World 2016 – Week 17

….thanks Cee for more great questions

When writing by hand do you prefer to use a pencil or pen?

As I was writing with a pencil today, I decided that I prefer to write with a pencil. I like how it flows smoothly over the paper and doesn’t smudge like ink does.

What’s your choice: jigsaw, word, maze or numeric puzzles?

I used to love jigsaw puzzles but now my puzzle of choice is numeric. I can’t pass up a Sudoku puzzle when I see them in the newspaper or magazines.

Do you prefer long hair or short hair for yourself?

I definitely prefer medium length hair. I saw a photo taken about 10 years ago when my hair was very short and I instantly went ‘yuk’.

List five or more of your favourite blogs.

  1. Cee’s Photography https://ceenphotography.com/2016/04/28/cees-black-white-photo-challenge-hiding-or-camouflaged/
  2. Life In-between  https://lifeinbetween.me/2016/04/28/the-rusty-old-bridge-in-watercolor/
  3. Jill’s Art Journal https://artjillkuhn.wordpress.com/2016/04/28/creative-play/
  4. My Guilty Pleasures  https://mygulitypleasures.wordpress.com/2016/04/25/big-girl-trying-to-be-a-bit-smaller/#comment-41729
  5. Curious to the Max  https://judithwesterfield.com/2016/04/26/frankly-freddie-parenthetically-speaking-2/
  6. My Life Lived Full https://mylifelivedfull.wordpress.com/2016/04/27/w-washington-dc/
  7. The Year of Living Non-judgementally  https://annkoplow.wordpress.com/2016/04/28/day-1214-relationship-managers/

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 time spent with my daughters. On Saturday my oldest daughter and her wife came to the house to sort out some financial issues with their financial planner (my husband) and we enjoyed a wonderful lunch together. My daughter also helped me put together a dresser that I bought months ago. Earlier in the day my husband and I went for a very long walk. With the nice weather we’ve been inundated with midges so K made us coverings for our mouths and noses so we wouldn’t breathe them in. Luckily it was a bit cooler when we headed out so we didn’t have to use them very often. My neighbours were right when they said we looked like a couple of bandits.


On Sunday we drove to Hamilton and watched our son-in-law race in his first go-cart race. The baby didn’t seem to mind the noise or the smelly fumes.

After the race we were treated to a wonderful dinner of BBQ steak and grilled vegetables back at the house. My husband and I are still on our weight loss journey together and a meal like that makes it very easy to stay on program. So far I’ve lost 13 pounds and my husband is down 17.

This week I’m looking forward to do more painting. I’ve redone a couple of paintings I started two weeks ago and have started two more. I’m also looking forward to more success on the scales this week.

Who Does That?????

…..if I sound a bit angry, I am ! ! !

Yesterday was suppose to be a lovely day with a birthday celebration and attending our final Pan Am Games event.

The day started off well. I finally had an appointment to get my hair cut and I left the salon in a good mood. I walked to the Farmers’ Market and bought a delicious cheese and herb bread and then made my way to the gas station to fill up before our trip to Hamilton. All good!

We picked up the girls from the subway station at 1:00 and then headed out to the highway. We got into the HOV lanes because we had four people in the car and we were flying down the highway and making great time. All went well until……everything slowed down, even the HOV lanes.

We weren’t surprised when we slowed down because we were approaching the part of the QEW where Hwy 403 merges with it. In past trips to Hamilton, London or Niagara Falls we’ve experienced these slow downs before. A couple of times traffic literally stopped in all the lanes.

Unfortunately the last time we stopped the Jeep behind us didn’t and slammed into our rear bumper. Luckily no one was physically hurt but I was emotionally scarred from the experience. Now before you think I’m a complete wuss let me explain my situation.

This is the third time that I’ve had an accident with this car. All three times I haven’t been at fault. Twice, including this time I was rear ended and the other time a dump truck backed into me in a turning lane. The first two times the drivers exchanged information with me and apologized for their mistake. Damage to the car totalled over $9000. for the first two accidents.

After the Jeep hit us yesterday, my daughter and her partner, declared that the driver was laughing at us. They turned around after the impact and they saw both the driver and his passenger point at the car and start to laugh. I was sure that they had to be mistaken. Who laughs after they’ve caused an accident?

I pulled onto the shoulder, to minimize the traffic jam that would occur because of this fender bender. To my shock and horror the Jeep passed us and kept going and the driver was laughing at us. What??????????

We managed to get the license plate number or we thought we did. It was a New York State plate. We called the OPP to report the hit and run and they suggested that we stay safe inside the car and wait for a police officer to arrive.

An OPP officer did call us soon after but he was about 20 minutes away and he advised us to move to the other shoulder, four lanes over. By this time, however, traffic had picked up again and was moving very quickly. We stayed where we were until another accident took place about 100 metres ahead of us. Of course traffic slowed to a crawl, so with my husband sticking his head out of the window and directing traffic with his hands, I managed to move over the four lanes to the ‘safer’ side.

After waiting for 30 minutes and being passed by four separate OPP vehicles we were worried that our officer had missed us. Then I saw a fifth car about to pass us but I managed to get his attention as he was driving by. I watched him put on his lights and pull over to the outside shoulder and back his car to where we were parked. Well it turned out that he wasn’t the officer assigned to our case but he stayed with us. In the next five minutes two more officers arrived, one on a motorcycle and one in a cruiser. Now we had three OPP vehicles around my little blue car with all their lights flashing.

The last car to arrive was the officer we had been waiting for. He took all our information and then he gave us the bad news. After putting the license plate number into the computer it came back null and void. That number didn’t exist. I thought the girls had given him one wrong letter so I suggested that he try a ‘c’ instead of a ‘d’. This time he got a hit but it wasn’t for a Jeep. The girls were sure of the numbers but not the order. The officer wasn’t comfortable playing around with the numbers. The last thing he wanted to do was accuse the wrong person of hitting our car. I don’t blame him.

Everyone felt badly for not getting the plate numbers right but the last thing we expected was that someone would actually ‘run’ from the accident. We were in a panic and not thinking straight. I just remember swearing over and over (something I don’t normally do) and my husband was shaken up and the girls were appalled that the Jeep occupants were laughing at the situation.

So I guess in the end the Jeep driver got away with this one. The damage to my car will be at least $1000. and who knows what will happen to my insurance rates. The good news is that no one was hurt, we made it to our game and we managed to have a nice birthday dinner for my daughter-in-law.

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Share Your World 2015 – Week 29

….a whole week without internet and I feel I’ve let you down

When I go to the cottage I like to spend some time at the local library to catch up on my emails and post an article or two and some photos. On my last visit to the cottage I made three visits to the library but was unable to connect to their Wifi. It was frustrating but maybe someone was trying to tell me something.

Now that I’m home I’m overburdened with hundreds of emails and can’t seem to get to them because of other commitments. Has anyone really missed me? Probably not but none the less I still feel somewhat guilty for not replying to comments and writing new posts.

My contribution to this week’s Share Your World is a bit later than I like to post because next week’s questions are only a day away.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Initially I wanted to be a nurse, like most little girls of my generation, but when I was 12 I knew decisively that I wanted to teach Family Studies. My teacher at the time asked me to demonstrate some sewing skills for an open house we were having and from that moment on I was focused on my goal to teach.

What was your favorite food as a child? Do you eat it now?

I loved many foods as a little girl but one food that stands out for me was a meat sauce that my father made with ground beef and peas and the base was made from a roux of flour, butter and beef stock. This is what we served over spaghetti until my mother learned how to make an Italian tomato based meat sauce. I’ve never made the original meat sauce with peas again but have made the Italian sauce numerous times.

If you were invisible, where would you go?

If I were invisible or a fly on the wall I would love to hear and see what goes on in the private chambers of some of the world’s leading politicians. We might be surprised at how much some of them struggle with day to day decisions that they have to make and we might be shocked at some of the corruption that occurs in the name of democracy.

Would you rather forget everyone else’s name all the time or have have everyone for your name all the time?

I’m not sure I understand this question as it is written. I’m assuming you mean ‘or have everyone remember you name all the time’.

I’m not good with names either but I don’t think I want to forget everyone’s name all the time. I’m often surprised how some names come back even after decades but I’m very uncomfortable when someone remembers me and I can’t think of their name. This happens often when students come back to visit me and I can’t for the life of me remember who they are. I can feel their initial disappointment but eventually I remember something about them and we can carry on a conversation. It helps when I explain that I have taught 1000s of students over the last thirty some years. When I taught middle school I used to teach every student in the school. In one school that was over 600 students.

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 a wonderful week at the cottage. I wish that my family and friends from the city could visit me up there but I have good friends and neighbours on the island that I spend time with. I’m very grateful to my friend’s son, DM, who helped me transport a bed and a beautiful old oak cabinet from my girlfriend’s house to the cottage. Without his van I would never have been able to get it up there.


This week, which has mostly passed I cleaned up the cottage and had friends from the island over for a wine and cheese party and some supper. I loved gathering flowers for the tables and preparing dips and plates of goodies.IMG_5587

I was also looking forward to yesterday’s final women’s soccer game against Brazil and Colombia. I was a bit disappointed in the overall game. It certainly didn’t feel like a gold medal game. Brazil won easily over the Colombians, 4 to 0. In the first five minutes of the game I couldn’t help but compare this game to the one I watched two weeks ago with the Canadian women. It made me wonder how the Colombians had advanced so far and weren’t able to play a better game. Their shots were wild and they only had 8 shots on goal compared to Brazil’s 120 shots on goal. I don’t know how accurate these stats are but according to my husband that’s what he saw on the scoreboard. Sitting between Brazilian and Colombian fans was quite the experience. They’re loud and exuberant if nothing else.

Share Your World 2015 – Week 28

…..week of July 14th

What is your favorite comfort snack food?

At the cottage I’d have to say that my favourite comfort snack food is hot freshly popped corn with a little drizzle of melted butter. I have a special cast aluminum pot that I inherited from my mother-in-law over 40 years ago. I don’t know how old it was when I first got hold of it but it’s probably from the 50s. It makes the best popcorn but it stays at the cottage so I never have access to it when I’m back in the city. Therefore my second favourite comfort snack is cheese. I love cheese and a little wine on the side doesn’t hurt.

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If you had to spend one weekend alone in a single store but could remove nothing, which store would you pick? (except food or beverage)

I like Cee’s answer (Ikea) but I think I might get bored. There are nice comfy beds to sleep on and the food there is also pretty good but I think I’d choose a Chapters Book Store. Most of them have a Starbuck’s on the premises and their chairs are comfortable enough for sleeping. I’m assuming I can take books off the shelves as long as I return them. I could really get into all the art books and decide which ones I’d like to own and maybe I could bring my knitting and find some great patterns that I could experiment with.


What was the largest city you have been to? What is the one thing you remember most?

The largest city I’ve ever been to is probably the one I live in. Toronto is the largest city in Canada. The next largest city I’ve been to would have to be Montreal. The things I remember most are how the city is divided into old, historic Montreal and the new modern Montreal. In old Montreal there are great cathedrals and churches and in modern Montreal there are fantastic restaurants and great shopping.

Photo courtesy of: http://www.designsponge.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/montreal.jpg

Photo courtesy of: http://www.cmdai.org/images/montreal.jpg

Finish this sentence: It has recently come to my attention that …. 

…..my husband is going to have more surgery in August. After all the tests and the indecision and differing opinions of numerous doctors, the tumour board has decided that surgery was the best option. We’re actually happy that a decision has finally been reached and we will find out exactly what it is in his lungs that keeps showing up in his scans.

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 a week spent at the cottage. Now that the place has been opened and cleaned future trips will be much easier and there won’t be any hesitation about going up there. I’m also grateful for time spent with my daughters and husband and being able to take part in the Pan Am Games experience.

This week I’m looking forward to going back up to the cottage and hopefully the water will have warmed up a bit so that I can go swimming. My husband has another doctor’s appointment on Friday but I hope he can find the time to join me on the weekend.

My First Pam Am Games Experience

…..couldn’t have asked for better weather or a better outcome

There was so much negativity in the media about these games that I felt compelled to actually buy tickets for some events. The prices were very reasonable and I questioned why wouldn’t we want to support our athletes. People were critical of how memorable these games aren’t and challenged people to remember where the last games were even held.

One day, recently, someone phoned in and actually answered those questions. I decided to do some research and I also learned a little bit about the last games. They were held in Guadalajara, Mexico in 2011 and opened Oct. 14th and closed Oct. 30th. There were three mascots for these games: Huihci, a deer, Gavo, a blue agave and Leo, a lion.

Image courtesy of: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/9/90/Guadalajara2011logo.JPG/220px-Guadalajara2011logo.JPG

This year is the first time that golf was added as a sport. I learned that bit at the soccer game during intermission when they hosted a trivia game.

Well I think the support for the games has been quite a surprise for the naysayers in the media. Many events have sold out and so far traffic hasn’t been the nightmare that they predicted.

On Saturday, my family and I drove to Hamilton to attend the women’s soccer game. There were actually two matches for the price of one. The first game was Brazil vs. Costa Rico and then it was Canada vs. Ecuador. We could have taken the Go Train free of charge but we weren’t sure how late it would be before we returned home so we opted to drive and park at our daughter’s house. She lives a couple of blocks from the new train station, that was actually finished on time for these games. At the station there were shuttle buses to take people to the stadium. It was a sea of yellow school buses or ‘cheese wagons’ as the kids call them.

It was barely a 5 minute walk to the station and we boarded one of the complementary buses to the stadium. The ride took only 10 minutes, if that, and then it was a short walk to the entrance. There were volunteers everywhere to assist people and they were extremely friendly.

We were sitting on the sunny side of the stadium but luckily the sun was setting so we weren’t staring into the sun for too long. We missed the first half of the first game but we really were there to see the Canadian women play. In the first match the Brazilian team won over Costa Rico.

There were easily over 15 000 people in attendance at this game. The camaraderie and spirit in the stands was amazing. It was a sea of red and white with a smattering of yellow from the Ecuadorian fans.

The Canadian team didn’t disappoint. They easily won with a score of 5 to 2.

When the game was over thousands of people lined up for the shuttle buses. We were glad to be in the line for the Go Trains because the line up for the buses going to the parking lots were crazy. There are a few kinks that need to be worked out with this free service but all in all it was a wonderful experience and we’re looking forward to returning in two weeks for the final game. Hopefully Canada will be in the finals.

I’m Still in the City

….I woke up with every intention on leaving for the cottage today

I woke up fairly early and started to gather up the things I need for the trip to the cottage. My husband left with the dog to visit our daughter in Hamilton. He has an appointment tomorrow so he wasn’t able to join me on this trip. After he left I started looking for the cooler to pack my food. I couldn’t find it. There was an old one here but it needed a good cleaning. Then I couldn’t find the drill. Without it I won’t be able to get into the cottage.

I texted, emailed and phoned my husband. It took awhile before I heard back from him. The drill was at our daughter’s place and the cooler was in the back of his car. He said he’d hurry back after lunch but I told him to take his time. The drill needed to be charged anyway.

So I packed my clothes, wrote a letter to a friend in the U.S., cleaned the kitchen, did more laundry, put away some clothes, and cooked dinner. I then walked up the street to mail the letter and pick up some fresh berries and vegetables to take with me tomorrow.  I also ordered tickets for the Pan Am Games. We’re going to see three women’s soccer games with our daughters. The last one will be the finals. There has been so much pessimism about these games that we felt we really had to support them. Maybe we’ll pick up a couple more events when the Para Pam Am games start in August.


I also found the time to upload three new books to my e-reader. In the past I’ve had issues getting the books from my computer onto the Kobo but today I added wifi to the devise and the transition was seamless. Ahhhh, technology. I love it when it works. Now I also have my summer reading at my fingertips.

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So I thought I had used up all my excuses for not getting up to the cottage. Hopefully there won’t be anything else keeping me here in the city.

Share Your World – Week 28

Have you ever been a participant in a parade? What did you do?

I’ve watched numerous parades in my lifetime but I can’t remember being in a parade as a child and I know that I’ve never participated in a parade as an adult.

If you were handed free opera tickets, would you go or sell them? Why?

I would go to the opera. I don’t have a lot of exposure with operas but I’d like to change that and if it’s free even better.

Why did you start your blog?

I started my blog to record some of my family memories to share with my children and friends but it quickly became a venue to plot my weight loss and an incentive to stay on track. It worked and I lost 32 pounds.

I also wrote up recipes and started taking photographs of my travels, cottage and experiences around Toronto. Over the last two years I’ve included my own personal art and art that my students produced. I’ve also dabbled in poetry and I love taking part in blogging challenges.

What is your favorite tradition? (family tradition, church tradition, whatever)

My favourite family tradition is celebrating Christmas on Christmas Eve. Being German, I’ve always opened presents on Christmas Eve and when I got married my husband embraced that tradition. It worked out well for us because we would celebrate with my family on the 24th and then go to my husband’s family on the 25th.

Even when my husband’s parents passed away we continued to celebrate on Christmas Eve and the kids loved waiting up and then hiding when Santa arrived. It was always magical when we walked into the living room after Santa left and we were made to wait and take in the lit tree and the newly arrived presents under it.

Now that the kids have all grown up some of the traditions have changed slightly and the focus is on the food, drink and good company that we all share on that special night. It has become my husband’s favourite tradition as well. P1030984

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 that Germany won over Argentina in the World Cup and I’m grateful that I was able to share the day with my husband, and  my daughter and her husband. Thanks to technology we were also able to communicate with our other daughter and our son in the Netherlands during and after the game.photo-29

This week I’m looking forward to spending some time at the cottage. I’ve been in the city helping my cousins deal with their very ill mother (my aunt) and I’ve been in and out of the hospital for the last six days. She’s still there but I’m only a phone call away.


For more Share Your World posts check out http://ceenphotography.com/2014/07/14/share-your-world-2014-week-28/