A Busy Weekend

……surrounded by family and friends

This weekend started on Friday when my husband and I drove up to Vaughn to buy a porchetta for our family dinner on Saturday. I really should have taken a photo but I didn’t. I find more and more that I’m just enjoying the moment without having to document everything with my camera.

On Saturday I continued to organize my studio and I started to put together the last piece of furniture from IKEA. At least everything is now in neat piles and I’m able to move around the studio without tripping over boxes and random bits of paper, frames and canvases.

Later in the afternoon I went to a surprise birthday party for a friend from my teaching days. It’s been a busy week for this lovely lady as she and her husband are getting ready to fly to Mexico for her son’s wedding. Her son and future daughter-in-law were in town for a few days so they were able to attend the party. They actually boarded a plane later that night and are now in Mexico to make final arrangements for the wedding.

When I got home around 5:30 my family were already at the house and my husband had prepared all the food for dinner. Again I didn’t take any photos. We had a very nice time and Winnie and I snuck off after dinner to give her parents a few moments to relax with the rest of the family. Winnie’s favourite TV show is Peppa Pig and she was mesmerized for about 15 minutes.

Today started off nice and sunny but quickly became very grey and overcast. Fortunately is was very mild so when Kevin and I went to visit a friend in the hospital we were able to park on the street a little ways from the hospital. We didn’t mind walking and I was able to get in about 4000 extra steps. After our visit we decided to walk up one of our favourite streets in Toronto, Roncesvalles, and look for a coffee shop.

When we got home tonight, Kevin made dinner again and afterwards I phoned my sister in Calgary and then my Dad and I played a game of cribbage. I haven’t yet painted today but the evening is still young and I tend to do my best work at night anyway.

Here are a few shots that I took on Friday when I went for my walk.

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

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!

Ten Days and Counting

…..retirement is close at hand

I don’t normally count down the days to the end of the school year but this year is different. I’m finally retiring from teaching after 35 years of service.

I know some teachers who when they know they are retiring start the  count down from the first day of school in September. This is not my style but as my last day approaches I’m starting to feel that my life is about to change. I’ve written three speeches for three different retirement parties that all took place in the space of one week. The first one was for my principal and good friend, M, the second one for my longtime friend, L and the third was for me.

All three parties were very different. The first one was a sit-down dinner in an Italian restaurant, the second in the nursing home where L’s dad lived and mine was also in an Italian restaurant but less formal with finger foods being served.  All were special in their own way and I loved them all.

M’s party was held at her favourite restaurant. The meal was excellent and the speeches were warm and personal. M’s family was there and both her youngest sister and her niece spoke. They were funny and touching at the same time. L and I gave our speech in the form of a report card, which the staff thoroughly enjoyed because it was a bit of a roast but in the end the message was more serious. When M spoke she talked about how and why she came to be a principal.

L really wanted her father to be able to attend her retirement party and for that reason she booked the ‘party’ room at the nursing home. There was a piano player who played the entire evening in very comfortable surroundings. There were couches and overstuffed chairs situated around the room where people could sit and talk and listen to the speeches. Friends manned the wine table and servers walked about the room with canapés. The highlight of the evening took place when L and her father sang together and at the end of the evening L sang a solo. Three former principals came to the party plus family, friends and colleagues from school. It was a very musical evening and the accolades about her teaching career, especially those about her choirs, were very fitting for a much loved music teacher.

My party was the last one, held on Wednesday of this week. It took place in a restaurant literally up the street from where I live. My husband and I had eaten there on a couple of occasions and thoroughly enjoyed the food. My family, including little Winnie, friends from years past who were now at other schools, retired friends, neighbourhood friends, life long friends and colleagues from school attended. I was especially honoured when my very first principal from 1976-79 arrived with his wife. I wanted the party to be casual and fun. The finger food was amazing, the aperol spritzes refreshing and the cake and desserts delicious. My friend P, was the MC for the evening and he kept everyone laughing. Three of my friends used the Wizard of Oz as their theme for the speech they gave about my time with them at the school where we all met and worked at for eight to ten years. There were so many wonderful speeches that it would take too long to talk about each and everyone of them. I had the best time and will never forget the thought and care people put into planning my special day.

 

Share Your World – Feb. 6, 2017

….thank you Cee for continuing to come up with new questions for Share Your World

Regarding your fridge, is it organized or a mess inside?

Since we got our new fridge just before Christmas it’s pretty organized. In the old one many of the shelves and bins were broken and removed so it was really difficult to see what was in the fridge. I’m loving my new fridge.img_0735

Do you prefer your food separated or mixed together?

I’m not too fussy either way but I do love casseroles and soups. I’ve never understood people who can’t have their food touching other food. I think it’s some kind of mental disorder.

Do you prefer reading coffee table books (picture), biographies, fiction, non-fiction, educational?

I like looking through coffee table books but my favourite genre of books would have to be fiction. I’m partial to historical fiction and mysteries. I’ve tried reading biographies but I find many of them to be too dry and factual. I guess if they weren’t factual they wouldn’t be biographies but sometimes too much and perhaps unnecessary information is included and that makes the story burdensome and long winded.

Close your eyes. Listen to your body. What part of your body is seeking attention? What is it telling you?

Right now the bottom of my left foot is sore. It’s only sore on the heel and once I start walking on it I forget about it. I don’t know if I need to change shoes, get orthotics or lose more weight. It’s probably a combination of all three.

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 that my report cards are done. My father seems to be doing well and is making plans to travel.

Since I’m late posting this week’s Share Your World, last week’s  gratitudes are from 10 days ago. I’m grateful for being invited to attend a Varsity Blues Women’s Basketball game with the grades four and five students. It was a lot of fun.

This week I was able to spend some more time with my granddaughter and I enjoyed going out at different times with two very special friends. Yesterday another good friend, D, hosted a musical bells party. It was wonderful seeing a number of people from the cottage and D’s extended family. Playing the bells was a lot of fun as well.