Happy Thanksgiving Canada

….and Happy Birthday Onkel Günter, Winnie and Brendan

It’s been a busy weekend. Not only did we celebrate Thanksgiving here in Canada but we had four birthdays in the family on the same weekend. In fact in October we celebrate birthdays for my husband, my father, my granddaughter, my son-in-law and his brother, my father’s brother and my cousin. I’m sure I’ve missed someone.

This weekend our granddaughter turned four. Andrea, our oldest daughter volunteered to host Thanksgiving and the birthday party at her house. I was most grateful for that, especially after spending five hours in emergency with my husband on Friday. Before you become too concerned let me just say that he’s much better and gets better each day. Thankfully I had made my contribution to the dinner the day before.

The other thing that I did before going to Andrea’s for dinner was volunteer at the Inn to help with the outdoor oven for a workshop that was being put on by George Brown College. At the workshop the students were instructed in baking pizza in the wood fired oven. Everyone got to make two pizzas, one to eat and one to take home. I couldn’t stay for the whole event because I had to be at the dinner. After I left they also baked pita bread and a cranberry loaf. Dale manned the oven and took the pizzas out when they were ready.P1080266
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Dinner at Andrea’s and Josie’s was spectacular but the highlight, especially for Winnie, was celebrating Winnie’s 4th birthday. Seeing all the presents was too much for her so we decided to let her open her gifts before dinner.P1080289
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All in all it was a wonderful weekend, with way too much food and drink. I gained about six pounds but I’m determined to take it off as quickly as possible.

Two Birthdays – One Here, Another in Uruguay


….my twins are 37 years old

Last Sunday my babies turned 37. Our son travelled to Uruguay this Christmas to spend time with his wife’s family. Her uncle rented a ranch house by the ocean and while we were enduring the cold here in Canada they were basking in the sun at the beach. My son was literally burning (at least his feet were).f52b354b-6e35-4a85-bfd1-285989d8a025
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For his pre-birthday dinner he was treated to a South American BBQ with lots of meat on the grill.
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Meanwhile back here in Canada we celebrated his twin sister’s birthday in her home. We decided on a Persian themed pot luck supper. My husband picked up some meat kabobs and eggplant dip from our local Persian restaurant and he made a pot of Gormeh Sabzi (Green Herb Stew). Our son-in-law made a Fesenjan (Pomegranate Walnut Stew) and a Jewelled Rice (rice with nuts and dried fruit). Andrea made a Cauliflower Kuku (cauliflower frittata made with eggs). Everything was delicious. I think Azadeh would have approved.

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Winnie insisted that Mom needed a birthday cake so Gaelan whipped up a cheesecake with a hazelnut base. It was outstanding.

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Of course it wouldn’t be a birthday without opening gifts. It turned out that some of us also got to open some Christmas presents from our friend who was unable to come to our house on Christmas Eve.IMG-9981
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All in all it was a great day.

The Best of 2016

…..despite the terrible events that took place in 2016 on a personal level it was a wonderful year

Most people would agree that 2016 had to be a terrible year for natural disasters, untimely deaths of beloved celebrities, horrendous terrorist attacks around the world, the Syrian refugee crisis, Brexit and a nasty election campaign in the U.S.

Even on a personal note, 2016 hasn’t been all sunshine and roses but there were many memorable and special moments.

In January our son ended up staying with us for an extra week before heading back to London, England. The circumstances of his extended stay aren’t exactly positive but we did have him with us and for me that was special. By the way, at the end of December of last year, he slipped on the ice and broke his upper arm and he required surgery. The surgery was successful and he was released from the hospital on January 1st. IMG_7188

In February my friend M celebrated her 64th birthday and my niece, S, her 26th.

The biggest event in February was our daughter’s wedding to her first love and partner of 10 years. They met on Feb. 10th so they decided on their 10th anniversary they would make it official and tie the knot. What a special day!

In March while we experienced snow, our future daughter-in-law was sitting in an outdoor caffe in Assisi planning her wedding.

In May we celebrated Mother’s Day with the family in the backyard (a little chilly) and at school we had our Forest of Reading celebration, Jump Rope for Heart and our annual Fun Fair. Winnie also had her first swimming lesson and her Daddy started Go Cart racing. Also A and J and their brother-in-law, G, ran the Sporting Life 10k.

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In June two of my colleagues retired from teaching, my very good friend, A, celebrated her 75th birthday and our son and his love were married in London at City Hall.

Our school choir also sang at a Blue Jays game and we put on our annual outdoor extravaganza at school.

July was the highlight month of the year for our family. We took a trip of a lifetime. My sister and her family from Calgary and my two daughters and their families and my husband and I travelled to Italy to celebrate the union of our son, B, and his beautiful Iranian bride, Az. We travelled for the first 11 days visiting places like Venice, Florence, Bologna and Lucca and then we all met in Assisi where the actual wedding took place. After three days in Assisi we made one more stop in Rome before flying back home.

In August  I was able to open up the cottage and spent about 5 weeks there off and on. My husband and I celebrated our 41st wedding anniversary and I had another birthday.

September brought a new school year and my last first day of school. My husband had  been coaching a small group of boys from our extended family to get them ready for this year’s cross country team and they were all entered into the Railpath Community Run. In fact there were 11 of us from the family that ran that day. I was happy to do 5k without stopping in 45 minutes. At least I wasn’t the slowest person on the course. The boys did really well and some of them walked away with some prizes.

October was another busy month with a lot of milestone birthdays. My husband turned 65, my dad 90, my son-in-law 40 and Winnie celebrated her 1st birthday. I also organized and ran my last book fair school. We raised the largest sum of money ever. I now I have the fun job of buying books and supplies for the library and classrooms.

In November my oldest daughter, A, celebrated her 37th birthday. Where has the time gone? My younger daughter, Winnie and I attended the Royal Winter Fair and I, along with five other teachers took 59 students on a three day overnight winter camp in the Kawarthas.

In December my Dad moved from his apartment to the retirement home across the road. We held our annual craft night at school, held a Christmas concert and had our staff party at a local restaurant. Christmas was a three day affair; one day in Hamilton, another in Toronto and the third in Oshawa. On the 30th of the month we celebrated the birthdays of our twins who are now 35. As my principal and friend M would say ‘Carol you’re old!’

So as you can see there were lots of bright moments in 2016 for me and the Cormier family. Wishing you all a bright, happy, healthy and prosperous 2017.

Cheers!

A Busy Week

….a lot of driving, twice to Oshawa and twice to Hamilton

Since Christmas Eve we have been constantly on the go. This year we celebrated Christmas Eve in Hamilton and on Christmas Day we celebrated some more here at home. No turkey this year, another first.

On the 27th I drove to Oshawa to bring my Dad his Christmas presents from my family. In the move a few weeks earlier he lost the remote control for his radio/CD player and he had to unplug the machine every time he wanted to turn it off or change the CD. Our daughters, A & J picked up a new remote control from a store downtown close to where they work. Dad was so happy to finally be able to play his music properly.

Two days later we drove out to Oshawa again but this time the whole family went to celebrate with Dad. There were 11 of us and because his new apartment is so small we all met in the library of the retirement home. After opening presents we headed out to the restaurant to enjoy a meal together. Today my sister sent me a few more photos that I can share with you.

Yesterday we were back in Hamilton to celebrate the birthdays of our twins. Our son, unfortunately, is not celebrating here in Canada but is with his new family in Iran. From his photos and messages it sounds like he’s having a great time. Our daughter opened her house for yet another celebration in less than a week. Our good friends A and W, who were unable to join us this year on Christmas Eve, made the trek to Hamilton as well. It was a lovely time with family and friends. Very low key and relaxed and of course the baby stole the spotlight again.

The Changing Seasons – October 2016

…..thanks to Cardinal Guzman for hosting Changing Seasons

October has been a month of birthdays in our family and all were special birthdays. We started with my husband’s 65th birthday, then my father’s 90th birthday, my granddaughter’s 1st birthday and my son-in-law’s 40th birthday. October also saw the colours finally change and mostly towards the end of the month. Finally the month ended, as it always does, with Hallowe’en and what a glorious day it was for trick or treating.

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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The Kids are Back, Lucy Goes Home and My Baby Turns 34

….November always evokes special memories for me

It was a cold grey day in November, 34 years ago when I finally went into labour with my oldest daughter. I say finally because my original due date was October 10th and it was November 4th, almost four weeks later before I went back to the hospital. I remember that my rosebush in the front yard still had a beautiful bloom on it. I think that’s why I took a photo of this rose on my walk on Sunday.

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It feels strange to say that I have a 34 year old daughter. I remember the day she was born like it was yesterday. A and her partner went away for a couple of days so we haven’t celebrated her birthday as a family. We’re planning on getting together next Sunday for a special brunch at a restaurant she’s long wanted to try. P1030377

On Sunday our youngest daughter and her husband returned from their week long cruise in the Caribbean. It sounds like they had a good time. It was a very special reunion when they came to pick up Lucy. When they left for their holiday they got a phone call just before they were ready to board the plane that Lucy needed to have emergency surgery. It took a couple of days and a couple of phone calls to the veterinary hospital before they could really enjoy their holiday.

Lucy was pretty much back to normal when G and B picked her up Sunday evening. As much as our Frances loves playing with her buddy, Lucy, I think she was glad to have the house to herself again. IMG_0010

Hooray for the Weekend

….my week at a glance

I can’t believe that 5 weeks of school have already passed. I’ve already been on a three day trip to the outdoor education centre with the grade 5s. We’ve had a community BBQ, curriculum night, our first school council meeting, and Terry Fox Run. Our cross country team has been out running for the last five weeks and on Monday 120 students are going to the first of three meets. The girls’ and boys’ slo pitch teams and flag football teams have been practising for at least three weeks and the primary and junior choirs have been singing up a storm getting ready for the Remembrance Day concert in November.

On Monday of this week I went with the grade 4 and 5 students to the McMichael Art Gallery where we toured the gallery for half the day and saw work from the Group of Seven, Norval Morrisseau, Inuit artists and Edward Burtinsky. In the second half of the day the students were engaged in a hands on watercolour painting session. Unfortunately I didn’t bring my camera but one of the mom’s took lots of pictures. Hopefully I can share a few in a future post.

On Tuesday we had our first Future Ace assembly where we honour students who have demonstrated outstanding character traits, such as kindness, respect or sportsmanship. It was also the launch of the school magazine drive which raises money through the sale of magazine subscriptions. After school I made a trip to Arts Junction but left  with very little in the way of art supplies but I did buy my husband his birthday present on my way home.

On Wednesday I taught two double periods of art to two of my grade 3 classes. I’m starting to feel better about their Norval Morrisseau style paintings. Last week I lamented how some of them weren’t getting the concept. I made a sample for the children to model from and I’m pleased to announce that they’re starting to understand the concept of ‘x-ray paintings’. This lesson from Kinder Art helped put the lesson into a perspective that the students could understand.

Here are a few of the paintings that are starting to show some promise:

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After school on Wednesday my husband and I celebrated his birthday. Thursday was uneventful and today we started the day with a special breakfast to celebrate World Teachers’ Day. The shirts for the cross country meet arrived today and B and I opened up the report card program on the computer for the teachers so that they could start preparing for the progress reports which are due in three weeks.

This weekend I hope to get the farmers’ market again. We’ve been invited to a surprise birthday party on Saturday and on Sunday the family is getting together to celebrate K’s birthday. Hooray for weekends!

Happy Birthday to the Love of My Life

…..I’ve known this man for 40 years

Today my husband celebrated his 62nd birthday. He started his day with a visit to the dentist where he had his teeth cleaned and had his wisdom teeth assessed. One of them has been giving him some trouble so it was decided that he should have it removed but if he has one done than he should probably have all four done at the same time. When it rains it pours. That appointment is yet to be determined.

Soon after that appointment he went to the hospital for a biopsy on his thyroid. Granted it’s not something you want to experience on a regular basis but it had to be done. Although somewhat uncomfortable it wasn’t as bad as he thought it would be. He should know the results soon if the news is bad. No news is good news.

When I called him at the end of the school day he sounded particularly chipper and he wasn’t feeling any pain or discomfort. Seeing he was feeling well I made a dinner date with him to celebrate his birthday. We went to a place that we refer to as  ‘cheap and cheerful’ and have been going to for over 30 years. That alone is amazing. There aren’t too many establishments in this city that can boast of being successful for that length of time.

My husband has always been a somewhat frugal guy. His motto has always been ‘If it ain’t broke you don’t need to replace it’. He’s never been one to stand in line for the lastest technological gadget. As much as he might admire the new technology he is usually pretty satisfied with what he has and he doesn’t feel compelled to replace things as soon as new things come out. He’s always said that he wouldn’t replace our television until it breaks down. Little did he know that this TV would last more than 10 years.

Lately he’s been admiring the new LED Smart TVs. He’s been comparing prices and checking out all the features and asking our daughter about the benefits of having a smart TV versus a regular TV that relies on the cable provider. Well yesterday was his lucky day. After researching where to get the best deal I picked up a new 46 inch LED Smart TV and brought it home last night. He was pretty surprised when I dragged that huge box through the front door. Together we assembled his present and as I’m writing this blog I’m multi-tasking and watching Survivor on ‘his new TV’.

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My Birthday Month

…..the celebrations started two weeks ago and continued last Sunday, Monday and today

Most people celebrate their birthdays on one day. This year my birthday stretched out over two weeks. I wrote about going out with my friend D two weeks ago when we had lunch at Merryberry and then went to the Riverdale Farm. Lunch turned out to be my birthday present from D and today I received a beautiful card from her in the mail as well.

Last Sunday my sister from Chatham came over to celebrate her birthday and mine and my daughter G and her husband joined us for dinner. K made us a beautiful dinner of grilled salmon, green beans and baked plums.

On Monday I met my friend A, downtown and we spent the afternoon at the Elmwood Spa. We started with lunch on the fourth floor and despite a few hiccups with the reservation and my first meal we ended up enjoying a very visually appealing and tasty lunch.P1030009 P1030010 P1030011 P1030012

After lunch we went to the water therapy room where we had a steam and then I went for a 50 minute aromatherapy massage. I’ve never had such a good massage. I felt my legs were getting a great workout and it made up for the fact that I hadn’t run that morning. Once the session was over I went up to the pool and swan some laps and then enjoyed a few moments in the hot tub.

A bought me a beautiful black jersey top and we decided to go the store where she bought it and see if I could get the matching pants. The store is called Endz and it carries absolutely gorgeous designer clothes and accessories. I bought the pants and am looking forward to my next visit to this wonderful store.

When I got home on Monday a parcel was waiting for me from my sister in Calgary. The box was quite heavy and when I opened it I was delighted to see a glass box with a scrabble motif. As some of you know I love to play scrabble and I play with both my sisters on line. That, however, was not the entire gift. When I opened the lid I found a set of fine paint brushes. In an earlier conversation my sister had hinted that for her birthday she’d like one of my paintings. I guess I have no excuses now.P1030015 P1030016

Today started off with coffee in bed, the scarf from husband,P1030022 a morning run and then a wonderful breakfast prepared by my husband. I went to work and was greeted by numerous birthday wishes from my colleagues and my friend L gave me a beautiful crocheted and beaded necklace.P1030023

When I returned home from work I was greeted with a bouquet of flowers from my father that had been delivered to the house. My cousin from Germany called me to wish me a happy birthday and my neighbours down the street appeared on our doorstep and sang Happy Birthday to me and presented me with a bottle of wine.P1030021

I wish I could have invited them in for a drink but K had made reservations for dinner at Bloom and we were running a little late. When we got to the restaurant my daughter A and her partner J were already waiting for us. The staff was extremely friendly and the food was out of this world. We had been to this restaurant for our anniversary and the service and food were so outstanding that we knew that we would return.

Just when I thought things couldn’t get better the staff at the restaurant presented me with a complimentary dessert, decked out with a sparkler and ‘Happy Birthday, Carol’ written with chocolate sauce on the rim of the plate. Our waiter started singing Happy Birthday and the restaurant patrons joined in. Even my husband was surprised because he hadn’t said anything when he made the reservations. The four of us shared the dessert before I could take a picture of it but I did manage to save the design on the rim of the plate.P1030017

All day I’ve been receiving birthday wishes from fellow bloggers, facebook friends and phone calls from family. I am so blessed and want to thank all of you for my making my day so special.

Tomorrow I have to phone my sister in Calgary and my father in Oshawa and thank them for their thoughtful gifts. The only thing that I’m sad about is that I missed several calls from my family. I hope that I can connect with them tomorrow.

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