Friendly Friday Photo Challenge – Revisit

…thanks to Amanda for hosting the The Friendly Friday Photo Challenge

This week’s theme is revisit. The idea is to look back over the years and pull some of your favourite places that you’ve been to. Here goes.

Niagara Falls, ON

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My Island Paradise – Christian Island, ON
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Ireland
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Italy for our son’s wedding
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London, England
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Looking Back to a Warm Autumn Day in Regent’s Park

….another day in London

As the temperatures dip below freezing this week I long for the warm sunny days we had in London, England. On day seven we walked to Ottolenghi’s restaurant on Upper Street and purchased a picnic lunch for the four of us. Then we hopped onto a double decker bus and made our way to Regent’s Park.

Regent’s Park is one of the Royal Parks of London. It lies within north-west London. It is home to Queen Mary’s Gardens and the London Zoo. There are numerous facilities and amenities, including gardens; a lake with a heronry, waterfowl and a boating area; sports pitches; and children’s playgrounds.

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One of the highlights for me was Queen Mary’s Gardens. I’ve posted numerous photos of the thousands of roses that have been cultivated her in previous posts. Here are some of the other lovely sites we enjoyed that day.P1070145
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The park is also home to numerous events. When we were there we had a quick glimpse of the sculpture exhibit.IMG-9018
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As you can see we were blessed with beautiful weather that day and every day up to this point of our trip. Unfortunately the next day the skies opened up and our trip to Brighton Beach was cancelled.

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 Third Day of Christmas Celebrations Amidst a Plumbing Disaster

…..on Boxing Day the sewer started backing up into the basement

Soon after doing the laundry we noticed that water was coming up through the sewer drain in the basement. Luckily it was only a large puddle around the drain and it was easily soaked up with rags but soon after when someone showered it happened again. We decided to carefully ration the water until we could get a plumber to the house. We called the next morning but because it wasn’t an immediate emergency we had to wait one more day before the plumber could get to our house.

On the 28th a camera and a plumbing snake were lowered into the drain. At 41 feet the camera came across the problem. The clay pipe at the Y junction had collapsed and only a small area was letting water get through. That meant that paper and some ‘matter’ was building up at the break and water was having a hard time passing through. Plumber Joe was able to clear the blockage but it was only a temporary fix. The pipe had to be removed and replaced. There was only one problem; the broken pipe was in the middle of my neighbour’s driveway and her car was sitting on top of it.

Now that might not seem like a huge problem but the car hadn’t been moved in almost two years and no amount of pushing would move it back the three feet we needed to get to the problem. We tried calling CAA but they didn’t show up and when I called they said that our coverage didn’t cover moving the neighbour’s car. Now what?

The next morning we figured out why we couldn’t put the car into neutral. Newer cars are all controlled by the electrical system and since the battery was completely dead we needed to give the car a boost. Eureka! We got the car started and backed it up the three feet that we needed. Unfortunately by the time we called our plumber back he was already on another job and couldn’t come till Monday, Dec. 31.

Our third day of Christmas was suppose to happen on the 28th but due to a miscommunication my sister’s family was planning on arriving on the 29th. At the time I thought the plumbing was going to be fixed on that day so I wasn’t too anxious about having eight adults and a baby in the house. When they arrived I explained the situation and asked them to use the bathroom sparingly. In the end we decided to go out for dinner instead of eating at home. Before we left we opened more gifts and phoned the restaurant to make sure that they could accommodate our large group.P1070339
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In the end it turned out that the restaurant was a good option all around. There were no dishes for me to wash (couldn’t run the dishwasher), everyone was able to order according to their dietary needs and likes,  we arrived after the rush, the service was great and we were able to spend time talking to one another without worrying about our plumbing problem. My sister and her family all live out of town and my nephew had flown in from California. If we hadn’t gotten together that day it probably wouldn’t have happened. Thanks for small blessings.

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Christmas Day Two

…..after Christmas Eve the festivities continue

Christmas Day this year was a very relaxed day. We opted to forgo the turkey dinner and order in Chinese food. After a bit of a lie in I convinced my father to go for a walk with me through the neighbourhood and check out the decorations. We donned our Santa hats and off we went.P1070333

Our daughter and daughter-in-law arrived later in the afternoon and we opened more presents. Everybody was on board with Chinese food, especially my father, and we ordered for a pick-up. I don’t know if you’re aware but Chinese food restaurants are very busy on Christmas Day. Eating at home was less hectic than eating out and much cheaper.

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After dinner clean-up was very easy. We packed up the leftovers and gave some to all the parties present. All of us had another meal the next day.

Later the girls and I dressed warmly and took the dogs for a walk and checked out the lights around the neighbourhood.IMG-9951
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Three Days of Christmas and Two Birthdays

….the holiday season is always busy

Now that my children have all grown up and moved out Christmas has become more complicated. This year we had three separate Christmas gatherings.

Christmas Eve is usually the day that we celebrate with the immediate family. Every other year our oldest daughter and her wife join the Italian side of the family and come to our place on Christmas Day. This was one of those years.

Our son didn’t join us this year. We were very fortunate to see him twice in the same year. The first time was in the summer when he was able to combine business with pleasure and in October we went to London where he lives. This Christmas they decided to visit Azadeh’s family in Iran in early December and then they were invited to join her uncle and his family in South America.3c3bb126-6c0f-41a0-a112-85ce0017246f
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On Christmas Eve our daughter, Gaelan and her husband, daughter and mother-in-law joined us for our traditional German Christmas. Platters of cookies, plates of cheese and meat, crackers and bread and a variety of nibbles were set out to graze on. My husband also made a pot of meatballs and a tourtière.

We always open our presents on Christmas Eve. My husband has always liked this German tradition and adopted it as soon as we were married. Having a three year at the party made this year’s

evening extra special. Winnie loved opening presents and helped hand out the Christmas stockings. When all the presents were opened she carefully packed all her gifts into a very large bag that I had purchased to wrap her art tray. The other kid at the party was my 92 year old father. He really got a kick out of his stocking this year.

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Day 2 to be continued ………