A Day Trip to Hamilton

….Brendan wanted to spend the day with his twin sister and her family

My daughter-in-law hadn’t seen Gaelan’s place in Hamilton so we took another road trip on Wednesday (one day after Niagara Falls). Luckily it’s only a 40 minute drive when traffic isn’t too busy.

Gaelan’s husband Brendan had the BBQ going when we got there and we started our visit with a wonderful lunch of sausages and salads. Soon after we decided to go to the Rock Garden at the Royal Botanical Gardens. It was a gorgeous day and the Rock Garden provided us with shade and cooling waters from the fountains and the waterfall.

We walked through most of the grounds when a dark cloud quickly appeared over head. The same thing had happened the day before when we were in Niagara Falls so we decided we needed to run for cover. We arrived back at the entrance when the clouds opened up but now we had to get to our cars and mine was parked in a lot on the opposite side of the street. My son-in-law graciously offered to drive me over in his car but the moment I stepped out of the car it rained even harder and in that split second I was completely drenched. I drove back to pick up Brendan and Azadeh.

We all returned to Gaelan’s house to dry off and have a cup of coffee before we headed back to Toronto. The worst of the rain had stopped by then. Despite the rain we had a wonderful time. This summer we’ve had to make the best of what Mother Nature has thrown at us. I only remember one summer worse than this one and that was in 1992 when we were building our cottage and living in a tent trailer. It rained every single day that summer and at the end of the summer on my 40th birthday the canvas gave way and the water came in at the foot of our bed.

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Cheers!

Where to Take Out of Town Guests?

…..why Niagara Falls, of course

Last week my son and daughter-in-law were visiting from London, England. It was a crazy busy week and the nine days that they were here flew by in a flash. Last Saturday we drove them back to the airport.

The first four days, Brendan and Azadeh stayed at our oldest daughter’s place and for the last five days they came to our house. Tuesday turned out to be one the nicest days we had in terms of weather. For most of the day it was warm and sunny and was the perfect day to drive to Niagara Falls. From our place in Toronto it is about an hour and a half drive.

On our way down we ran into a slow down in traffic because of construction. I made a decision and made a detour that took us through some wine country. Bonus! I wasn’t exactly sure where my decision was going to take us but when we arrived in the town of Jordon and right in front of the Cave Spring Wine outlet I knew I had made the right choice. We got out of the car and sampled a little bit of wine (it was just 12:00 noon) and bought a couple of bottles. Everyone enjoyed our little detour.

My Dad joined us for this outing. He’s seen Niagara Falls numerous times so he was more interested in going to the casino. Once we got back on the highway we had avoided the construction and quickly arrived in downtown Niagara Falls. We went straight to the casino, parked the car and dropped Dad off at Casino Niagara. From there Brendan, Azadeh and I walked over to Clifton Hill and down to the Falls.

Clifton Hill has a carnival like atmosphere. We took a few photos but didn’t go into any of the attractions. Here are a few photos of our walk down to the Falls.

The falls of course did not disappoint. Going in the middle of the week is not a bad idea if you can get away because it’s not as busy as it is on weekends. The line-ups for the boats that go right up to the Horseshoe Falls, however, were very long. Needless to say we gave this attraction a pass, especially since we had to be back at the casino to meet Dad in a couple of hours.

When we got to the top of the Canadian Falls we decided to go into the Table Rock refreshment building for a drink and a light bite to eat.

When we were done we only had 10 minutes to get back to the casino to meet Dad. We knew that it would be impossible to walk back in such a short space of time so we hailed a cab and drove back. Sure enough Dad was already waiting for us, right on time. We went back into the casino and let Dad show us his favourite machines. We all played for a little while. I was the only one who lost money.

When we got outside the skies had darkened considerably and we knew we were in for a big storm. I picked up the car and drove back to the casino entrance where everyone was waiting for me. We wanted to go to Niagara-on-the-Lake for dinner so we headed out on the Niagara Parkway. This is normally a beautiful and scenic drive but today we drove through a torrential downpour. Luckily when we got to the historic town of Niagara-on-the-Lake the skies had cleared. We went to the Old Angel Inn for dinner (apparently the oldest inn in Upper Canada). I’ve been there many times so I was pretty sure that the food would be good. It was. When we were done we decided to head back to Toronto so I don’t have any photos of this part of the trip. On the drive out of town we stopped at one more winery but it was just after 6:00 the place was already closed. Oh well, another time perhaps!

If you’ve never been to Niagara Falls you need to visit when you’re in southern Ontario. It is, after all, one of the world’s natural wonders.

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.

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Easter With the Family

This year we celebrated our Easter Sunday on Saturday. Our daughter and son-in-law in Hamilton invited us over for an Easter dinner of lamb ragu. We invited my niece who is working in Toronto and our oldest daughter and my daughter-in-law drove to our house, where we all jammed into one car and made the 40 minute drive to Hamilton. IMG_1668

The day started out very rainy but in the afternoon the sun came out and we experienced an early summer day. We spent a good deal of time outside without jackets and went for a nice walk to the park down the street. My niece had never been to G’s place and she enjoyed hearing stories of being pregnant and she saw first hand what it can be like raising a toddler. She’s due to have her first child in August.

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Our granddaughter is always a little shy around new people and even her grandparents who she hasn’t seen too much of this winter because of illness on both sides. It didn’t take long though before she warmed up to her cousin, once removed and they engaged in a game of peek-a-boo in the backyard.

For Easter this year I bought Winnie a garden set because she likes to help her father   clean and plant flowers in the the garden bed.  I knew she’d love the watering can because she loves anything to do with water. When I showed her how it worked she let out a shriek of joy and came running to her Oma. For the next hour or so she kept busy watering the garden and herself.

After spending some time in the garden and walking to the park we enjoyed a very nice dinner. Our son-in-law made the pasta from scratch and the ragu had cooked most of the day. We were in charge of dessert so my husband called up one of his favourite clients who works in an Italian bakery and asked her for advice on what dessert we should bring for an Easter dinner.

She quickly recommended a pastiera, a south Italian Easter tradition. It’s a wheat and ricotta pie flavoured with orange blossom water and adorned with a lattice top. Yum!IMG_1666

Today I’ll be spending time with a friend whose partner went into the hospital yesterday. He’ll be there for a few days as the doctors try to figure out what kind of treatment he will need.

I hope everyone had an enjoyable Sunday. Lucky me, I get one more day off tomorrow. Time to get the snow tires off the car.

 

Share Your World – April 10, 2017

…..thanks to Cee for coming up with four more questions for Share Your World

Have you ever participated in a distance walking, swimming, running, or biking event? Tell your story.

When I was in high school I remember that walking events were all the rage. The one that stands out for me was a walk that took on the shape of Canada and circumvented  the city of Toronto. The walk was called Miles for Millions and I remember that it was very long (32.2 miles) and it took me about 10 to 12 hours to complete. The finish line was at city hall and there were thousands of people there. My father was one of the many anxious waiting parents and the first thing he did when he saw me was hug me and step on my foot. Ouch!

Five years ago, this month, when I introduced myself to the blogging world I started training for my first ever 5k race. Every year since I have participated in one 5k run. I’m not fast but my time improves slightly every year. I remember after my first running event I thought I was going to die, literally.

Name one thing not many people know about you.

I worked as a chamber maid for one summer in Oberaudorf, Germany during the Munich Olympics. A delegation of East German men were allowed to come to West Germany for the games and I was the official greeter at the train station. It was a pretty big news story and my photo was on the front page of the local paper.

What is your favorite flower?

My two favourite flowers are sunflowers and Gerbera daisies.

Things I want to have in my home (paintings, hot tubs, book cases, big screen tv etc)

I would like a proper art studio with great storage for papers and all my paints and pens. I’d also like a new garage or large shed so I don’t have to look at the eye sore at the back of our yard. Of course it would also be beautifully landscaped with colourful plants and an outdoor fireplace.

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 for all the help that our daughters have given us in the last three weeks. We’ve been cleaning out the basement and purging a lot of stuff that we haven’t used in years. As you know my father is moving in with us so we’re renovating the space in the basement to give him a self contained apartment. When it is all finished he will have a new bathroom, a freshly painted bed sitting room with new lighting, trim and baseboards and a small kitchen with all new cabinets, floor, sink, microwave and refrigerator. I’m also grateful that the city picked up all the garbage that we’ve been putting on the curb.

This week I’m looking forward to watching the progress that our contractor is making on the renovation. I’m also looking forward to getting together with the family for Easter. We’ve all been so sick with colds and sinus infections for the last month and we haven’t seen much of our family, especially our granddaughter. It also looks like good weather is in the forecast and I’m looking forward to putting away our winter clothes.

When Lucy Met Olive

….it definitely wasn’t love at first “bite”

Puppies and old dogs don’t always mesh. A and J were looking forward to introducing their new dog, Olive to G’s and B’s older dog, Lucy.

The experts say that there’s something about puppies that older dogs recognize as being non-threatening. They instinctively know that these frisky young pups, although somewhat annoying to older dogs, are harmless and in need of nurturing and gentle instruction in the hierarchy of the canine world.

I guess Lucy had not read the chapter on caring for pups. A while back she had been attacked by another dog in the dog park and in her defence she has been wary of all new dogs that she meets. Olive learned very quickly that Lucy was less than pleased to meet her. We ended up keeping both dogs on leashes in the house during dinner time. Food issues between two dogs can be quite unpleasant and since Lucy is about four times bigger than Olive we erred on the side of caution during mealtime. P1020714.JPG

As the day progressed Lucy relaxed a bit, literally, and slept on the couch while Olive pranced around the house and stayed clear of Lucy. Luckily Lucy doesn’t feel the same way about our granddaughter. Winnie can sit on Lucy and dress her up and Lucy reaps the rewards at dinner time when Winnie drops food by her high chair. It’s what I would call a symbiotic relationship.

Winnie is a little unsure of Olive. She’s not used to such an ‘active dog’ but over time I’m sure she will grow to love Olive as the rest of us have. As for Lucy, I think that she will stay out of Olive’s way and be somewhat territorial but time will tell.

The next challenge will come when the girls bring Olive over to our house to meet Frances.img_0556

” Say what??? Who’s coming over for dinner?”

Share Your World – Jan. 16, 2017 (Getting Back to Normal)

….a slightly different format this week for Cee’s Share Your World

Do you sleep with your closet doors open or closed?

I have sliding mirror doors on my closet and I tend to keep them closed.
Do you take the shampoos and conditioner bottles from hotel?

Absolutely! I figured I paid for them so I might as well take them home. I like them when I go away for short trips where they might not supply those things.
What is your usual bedtime?

I try to go to bed by 11:30 but often I’m up till after midnight. Not a good thing when I have school the next day and I have to get up at 6:30.
Do you like to use post-it notes?

Not really. I find they often don’t stick well enough to whatever you’re sending and they often get lost.
When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper?

I have a second cousin in Germany who doesn’t have a computer so recently I wrote her a letter and sent her photos of the wedding from the summer. I would probably write her more often if she had a computer.
Any phobias?

This may sound strange but I’m afraid of bears. I’ve never had a confrontation with one but many years ago I went camping with my husband and I swore I heard a bear sniffing around outside of our tent. I was terrified. It was probably just a racoon.
How tall are you?

I am 5′ 5″ or 165 cm tall. When I was growing up I was considered average height but now I have to buy petite length pants or take them up at least three inches.

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As you can see I am the shortest of the three sisters.

Optional Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Last week we had a death in the family. My father’s wife of 22 years passed away quite suddenly. She had been ill for awhile but we didn’t know how ill she was until last Christmas when she stopped eating and drinking and didn’t get out of bed. On Jan. 9th, just a few hours after being diagnosed by the doctors at the hospital and taken off all life support she died. We thought it would take weeks and my father was preparing to go to the hospital every day until it happened. In many ways it was a blessing in disguise.

On Friday we had the funeral and I offered to speak on behalf of my father. I didn’t realize how difficult that was going to be until I started walking up to the podium. Luckily I managed to get through my speech. At the beginning  and at the end I had to take deep breaths but the sobs and tears came anyway. Once I got going I was fine and the my family appreciated the effort.

The good news is that my father is doing very well and is already planning a trip to Germany to see his brother one more time and in the spring he is flying to Calgary to visit my sister. He has resumed playing cards with his friends from across the street and he is making new friends in the retirement home. For this I am grateful.

This week I returned to work and I’m looking forward to seeing my family on Saturday. My youngest daughter and her husband and baby are coming into town and we’re having lunch at my oldest daughter’s place. My husband is feeling much better and he’ll be joining us as well.

Other than that I have to work on my report cards, which I’m not looking forward to but they will be the last term 1 reports I will ever have to write. Hooray!