High Park Kaffee Klatch

….after taking Dad to his doctor’s appointment we looked around for a place to have coffee

There have to be hundreds, if not thousands of places to enjoy a cup of coffee in Toronto. Even in the neighbourhood where the doctor’s office was there had to be at least a dozen places to choose from. My father, however, had other ideas and he remembered enjoying coffee at the restaurant that is situated in the middle of High Park. Luckily High Park was on the way home and not too far from where we were parked.

In the middle of the week the roads leading into the park are not too busy. The difficulty had to be staying within the speed limit which is 20 km/hour. Other than that everything else was positive. The parking in the park is free and the Grenadier Cafe has a beautiful new deck with shade trees and umbrellas over many of the tables. My father was very excited about treating me to coffee and pie. In the picture below you can see him using his serving skills that he learned as a young man when he apprenticed to be a waiter. Nothing makes Dad happier than enjoying a kaffee klatch in the middle of the afternoon.

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!!!

Stealing the Show

…..how toddlers and 90 year olds become the centre of attention

One of my fondest memories of my retirement party will be how my father hugged all the women and held court for much of  the evening and when he wasn’t the centre of attention my granddaughter took over by running throughout the restaurant with my retirement balloons flying behind her.

I’m glad that the evening had a very casual atmosphere. During the speeches my father came up behind some of the presenters and asked me, in his loud booming voice, if they were singing a song for me (they were actually reading from a story book). During one of the more serious moments Winnie made everyone laugh as she flew by with her balloons.

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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!

My Favourites

….decorations that is

Over the years I have collected hundreds of Christmas ornaments and decorations. Some were gifted to me, many were handmade by my friends, my students, my children and by me. Every year I usually purchase one special ornament that catches my eye.

As my children grew up, moved out and started their own Christmas traditions I gave them some of my ornaments that had special meanings for them. I still have more decorations than I can possibly put on the tree, especially now as I buy smaller trees. This year I carefully chose ornaments that brought back wonderful memories.

Here are a few of my favourites:

Share Your World 2016 – Week 20

….thanks to  Cee for hosting Share Your World

When do you feel most connected with others?

I feel most connected to people during those quiet one on one conversations over a cup of coffee or tea. I like that intimate personal time with people where you can really get to know them.

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Tea and Panettone

What daily habit would you like to introduce to your life?

I would like to do one creative activity every day. I paint and read sporadically  now but I’d like to be more consistent. I’d also like to do some volunteer work.

What one mini-little-adventure would you like to have in the coming week?

This week I’d like to visit the art gallery or the museum. It’s a long weekend here in Canada and sometimes it’s a good time to visit places in the city because so many people head north to open their cottages.

List things or events that changed your Life: It could be as simple as a book or meeting a certain person?

• meeting my husband 43 years agowedding photo

• the birth of my childrenIMG_8312

• graduating from university and becoming a teacher

• the death of my mother

• meeting my best friends AB in 1976 and LC in 1989

• learning to drive when I was in my 20s

• my first art class where I learned how to paint with watercolour

• building a cottage next to my good friend DM

• the birth of our first grandchildIMG_6535

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 being able to continue on my weight loss journey and for the support of my husband and my friends at work. My husband has lost 26 pounds and I’m down 18. My new passport arrived this week and I can check off one more thing from my to do list before I go to Italy in July. I’m also grateful that my photo isn’t the worst passport photo that I’ve ever taken. I have to live with it for the next 10 years. IMG_8311

For the rest of the week I’m looking forward to our girls’ soccer tournament on Friday, visiting our daughter and her family in Hamilton on Saturday and seeing my older daughter on Sunday or Monday. Since it’s the long weekend here I’m also looking forward to planting some things in the garden and firing up the barbecue for a meal or two. It’s also suppose to be a spectacular weekend, weather wise.

Here are a few photos from this past week.

 

Share Your World 2016 -Week 14

….thanks Cee for some great questions this week

If you could hire someone to help you, would it be with cleaning, cooking, or yard work?

Hands down, I’d want someone to help me with the cleaning. I’d love to have someone clean the bathrooms, wash the floors, dust and vacuum. We already have a family of young boys who cut our grass once a week and we love to dabble in the garden. My husband is an excellent cook and he loves cooking for me and for family and friends. I don’t mind cooking either.

What makes you laugh the most?

A good joke, a funny movie and watching my granddaughter feeding herself.P1000868

What was your favorite food when you were a child?

I loved food and was definitely not a fussy eater. It may sound odd but I loved creamed spinach and my dad made a tasty spaghetti with ground beef and peas in a brown gravy. When I was about 11 or 12  my mom learned how to make a real spaghetti meat sauce with tomatoes and that quickly became a favourite meal for me. Truth be told I don’t think I had one favourite food. I loved cabbage rolls, chicken a la king, chicken pot pie, homemade burgers, fruit torts with whipped cream, ice cream and most cakes and cookies.

List at least five favorite flowers or plants.

I love the following flowers: sunflowers, tulips, Peruvian lilies, irises, carnations, roses, daisy mums and Gerber daisies.

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 some beautiful weather last week before winter returned. I enjoyed a wonderful day with the family in Hamilton on the weekend, despite the blizzard we had to drive home in. I’m grateful that I didn’t break any bones when I slipped on the ice when I was going down the concrete steps in front of my house on Monday. Earlier in the day all of the snow on the sidewalks and pathways had melted but there were a few wet patches that froze later in the evening and that’s what caught me by surprise when I took the dog out for one last walk that night. Thank goodness for strong bones and a good amount of padding.

I’m also grateful for the support from my husband on our weight loss journey. He’s lost 10 pounds and I’m down 8 1/2. There are 96 days left before the wedding. If I can lose 1 pound every four days I should be able to lose another 24 pounds but I can’t think that far ahead. One day at a time.

Cheers!