Food at the C.N.E.

….every year the C.N.E. features some wildly delicious food

The food vendors get very creative every year at the Canadian National Exhibition. This year was no exception. The crazier the better just to get to get your food dollars. If you only attend the C.N.E. once you have to pick and choose carefully or you’ll end up with a massive tummy ache.

The first thing that my daughter, daughter-in-law and I did was venture into the Food building and make our menu choices. The girls had decided ahead of time to check out the Japanese Street Food booth. An order of Dirty Fries and a Samurai burger didn’t disappoint.

If there was one common and unusual ingredient this year it had to be activated charcoal. I chose a slice of pizza called Carbone. The crust was light and airy and delicious.IMG_2975

For dessert the girls lead me through the midway to find the vendor that sold a soft ice-cream made from grape and charcoal and served on a slice of watermelon; also very delicious. IMG_2977

Thanks Andrea and Josie for a great day!

New Baby, an Anniversary, a Book Launch and a Pedicure with Dad

….what an exciting week

My middle sister became a grandmother for the first time. Her daughter had a little baby boy on August 15th. Mom, Dad and Baby Jale (pronounce Jah-lay) are all doing well. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks we’ll make the four hour drive to the farm to welcome the new little guy into our family.

On the 16th my husband and I celebrated our 42nd anniversary. We opted to celebrate with a special lunch. Being on a Wednesday we didn’t think that we’d need reservations but when we got to our first choice we couldn’t even find a place to park. We quickly decided to go to our second pick which was closer to home and luckily it wasn’t busy. We love this restaurant, Pulcinella, and the only reason it wasn’t our first choice was because we wanted something other than Italian food. In the end we decided that it was the perfect choice. We had wonderful service and the food was amazing.

The next day, quite by accident I discovered that a friend from long ago had written a book about the CNE and she was having a book launch in a bar just up the street from where I live. I was walking the dog at the time so I couldn’t go inside but I went home, dropped off the dog, grabbed my wallet and walked back up the street to support Lee. It was nice meeting some people that I had lost contact with and meeting some new people. One of the people that I met was a former editor of Canadian Living magazine. I knew of her and where she lived which surprised her. In the end we exchanged phone numbers and addresses and I should be getting a call in November to help with make-up for the Lakeshore Santa Claus parade. I guess this is how it starts. When people know you’re retired they quickly recruit you to do volunteer work.

Earlier that day Dad and I went to my favourite salon for nails and we both had pedicures done. It’s very interesting sitting next to your ninety year old father while having your feet worked on.  The owner of the salon worked on Dad and she was wonderful with him but we couldn’t convince him to paint his nails purple. Of course we were only teasing him. He laughed but firmly said no to colour.

One Final Get Together and Kite Flying With Opa

…..the family all came together to spend the day Brendan and Azadeh 

Last Saturday was the day that my son and daughter-in-law were flying back to London, England. The flight wasn’t until the evening so our son’s wish was to spend his last day in Canada with his parents, sisters, brother-in-law, niece and Opa.

We spent the morning shopping for and organizing the food. We prepared ribs, done two different ways, an Italian bread salad and bowtie pasta with homemade pesto sauce. IMG_2755

Winnie and Uncle Brendan mixing together the bread salad. It was yummy.

After our feast Opa wanted to show off his kite so the whole gang, minus my husband, made their way to the park down the street. Everyone had to take a turn flying the kite until the last person landed it in a tree. Fortunately we were able to rescue the pink beauty. Now Dad is talking about buying another kite, bigger and better than the one he has so that we can both go out together and each have our own kite. Hmmm!!!

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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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 – May 15, 2017

…..thanks Cee for four interesting questions for this week’s Share Your World

How many languages do you you speak?

I speak English, some German and very little French and even less Italian. I wish I was more fluent in other languages but that takes practice and commitment. When I travel I like to learn a few key phrases in the language of the country I’m visiting. Today so many people speak English that it’s made us somewhat lazy about learning a new language.

What are you reading, watching, listening to, eating?

I like reading good literature. I’m a fan of historical fiction, mystery novels and humour. The last book I read was Stranger: A Novel by David Bergen. A great read.

Since our internet was down we watched a lot of Netflix. Riverdale  and  Medici: Masters of FlorenceThe first is based on the Archie comics but this murder mystery is nothing like the original comics even though the characters are the same. It was a little sappy but fun to watch. The second show was a riveting historical portrayal of the powerful Medici family. Having travelled to Florence this summer I found the scenery and the story line very compelling and we binge watched it over three days.

Tonight I had a bowl of soup from IKEA. We had to return some kitchen parts that didn’t work in the renovation. Earlier in the day we were treated to a luncheon put on the parents in our school community. There was so much food that we will probably feast of another couple of days. I tried not to eat too much but I certainly didn’t need another big meal later in the day.

What was the last photo you took with your phone?

The last photo and a couple before that were of my husband. Each time we were out eating lunch or dinner. The last one was taken tonight at IKEA in the restaurant and in the first one we’re at the Feel Good, Buy Good show where he made a smoothie while peddling the bike.

What is your favorite time of day? 

This is a tough question. I think it depends on the time of year. In the summer I love early mornings and in the spring and autumn I love the light late in the afternoon. Sometimes I like late at night when everyone has gone to bed. I often get a lot done then and feel the most creative.

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 to have gotten our phone lines fixed and for being able to access the internet at home again. I’m also grateful for a wonderful weekend where I was able to spend time with my husband and my family.

This week I’m looking forward to our Forest of Reading Celebration. More than 50 students have qualified to attend the event. The food is being ordered, the author has been booked and the activities are coming together. That takes place on Thursday and on Friday the girls are playing in the soccer tournament scheduled to be hosted at our school. Every time one of these events takes place I  can’t help but think that this will be the last time I will be involved in organizing it. My retirement date is getting closer and closer.

Till next time, cheers!

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.