Black and White vs Colour – November 27, 2017

…join the fun and change your colour photos into black and white

Thanks to the Maine Paper Pusher for hosting the Black and White vs Colour photo challenge.

Which of the two do you prefer?

Standing in the rain, waiting for Santa.




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 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.


WPC – State of Mind

….our photos are a reflection of our mood at the precise moment we press the shutter button

This week’s challenge is to post photos that represent a state of mind. Here are some shots I have taken when I’m at peace, happy, sad and curious.

At Peace and in Awe – Early morning sunrise


Happy – Taking joy in watching my children go canoeing for the first time


Curious – patiently watching this little fellow and seeing how close I can get to him


Sad/blue – on this rainy day


How I Keep Warm on Cold Rainy Days

….last Tuesday it poured at the cottage and it was cool

There’s always plenty to do in the cottage but when it’s cold outside it does limit my choice of activities. Last week we had one of those days. Luckily the rain held off until noon so I was able to cook a nice warm breakfast on the BBQ. I should have gone out for a long walk but I didn’t so I didn’t reach my walking goal of 10 000 steps.

The inside of my cottage holds whatever heat there is fairly well and when the windows and doors are closed there are no drafts to worry about. I did a lot of reading on Tuesday and when I felt cool I put on an extra sweater and covered myself with a blanket.

Close to supper time the rain ceased but the temperatures remained cool. I walked over to CH’s cottage, four roads over, with D and we found her unpacking her car. She had just arrived from Toronto with her 10 year old granddaughter, from Norway. I stayed for a cup of tea and I was then invited for dinner. Wonderful!

CH’s cottage is small and has electricity so it was nice and cozy warm inside. When I returned to D’s cottage, however, it had cooled off even more. D turned the electric heater on but you had to sit right in front of it and then it felt like you were starting to bake. If you moved back a cool draft hit the rest of your body. There was only one solution to really warm up and that was go into the sauna.

Now this sauna is something else. As with most projects done up here it was over engineered but it works like a charm. D’s father did an amazing job with the finishing details. It’s big enough to seat 6 adults comfortably and right next door is an outdoor shower with hot and cold water. What a luxury! Not only did I warm up but I also washed my hair. Heavenly! It’s the things we take for granted that bring me so much joy up here!

Time for a Good Cleaning

….when things start to go missing you know it’s time to clean

The first official day of my summer holiday and it’s pouring rain. Luckily I got out for a bit of a walk this morning before the skies opened up. The boys came over early enough to cut the grass as well and I got a little bit of weeding done.

My daughter A and her partner J ran a 5km race today and I missed it. They also lucked out and finished before the rain started. My daughter finished her race in 27 minutes and J (her first  race ever) completed it in 33 minutes. Very impressive!

Unfortunately we didn’t get out in time to take in the Farmers’ Market. By the time we got there it was teaming with rain and most of the vendors had already packed up and left. We headed back for home but stopped at the top of the street and had a coffee at the Portuguese Bakery. Our son texted us from Paris with a photo of him and his fiancé at an outdoor cafe so my husband took a photo of me with my latte and sent it back to him.

My husband's caption: Enjoying a latte from our own Paris cafe in beautiful New Toronto.

My husband’s caption: Enjoying a latte from our own Paris cafe in beautiful New Toronto.

Notice anything different about me in this photo? Well I’m not wearing my glasses and not because I’m vain (I am a little bit). Remember when I said that ‘when things go missing it’s time to clean’? Well it’s my glasses that I’ve lost. I know that I wore them home on Thursday because I drove home and I would never drive without them. I do have prescription sunglasses and I wore those yesterday and today when driving but I’m really stumped as to where I’ve placed my regular glasses.

Since we’ve been back I have been cleaning the kitchen, going through my school bags, turning things upside down and looking in the most unusual places and I still haven’t found them. I’m afraid I’m going to have to go on my hands and knees and start looking under things, like my bed, night table, living room couch, and bathroom vanity. The only reason I haven’t I haven’t done it yet is because I fell a few weeks ago and I injured my right knee. The only time I feel  any pain is when I kneel on it. A few times I’ve forgotten about it, especially when I go to bed. I can’t crawl into bed because I get a searing pain in the knee so I have to sit on the bed and swing my legs over the edge.

Well there are still a lot of places to clean in my house so I guess I’d better get back to work. The rain still hasn’t let up.IMG_5376 If you have any suggestions as to where my glasses might be drop m a line.


A Crazy Week

… much has happened at school this week and we’ve got more to go before signing off for the summer

If anyone tells you that nothing happens in the last month of school don’t believe them. This week alone (the last week of school) we’ve had rehearsals for the grade 5 farewell, the actual farewell assembly, the book club’s all day activity event for 50 students, field trips into the community, training for next years Peace Keepers, the kindergarten play day and final printing of the report cards.

Yesterday I emceed the farewell assembly for the grade 5s in the afternoon and then spent time after school getting the materials ready for today’s Forest of Reading Extravaganza. In the morning we split up the group of 50 children into two groups and sent one group to the drama workshop and the other group stayed with me for the book making workshop. After recess the boys and girls rotated to their second activity so that everyone had an opportunity to participate in both activities. After the morning activities we served them pizza, water and Freezies and the staff that helped us all year as expert readers joined us for lunch.

When lunch was over we had Allan Stratton who is the author of Curse of the Dream Witch come to the school for an hour to read to and talk to the children about being an author. The children asked him wonderful questions without any prompting from their teachers and he skillfully kept the children engaged with his many personal anecdotes about writing and how they could become writers.

After the last recess of the day some of the children returned to their classrooms but many stayed behind to finish their handmade books. There was a fair bit of cleaning that needed to be done but the grade 5s were more interested in getting their yearbooks signed. I’d put them off all day while the activities were going on so during the last period of the day I gave in and signed most of their books.

It’s been pouring rain since I’ve left school and it hasn’t stopped for over five hours. I’m afraid that it might affect tomorrow’s play day at school and the grade 5’s excursion to the pool and the park for lunch tomorrow. I’m not sure if I’m going to that but I think that the teachers who get prep from me tomorrow were given their time today. If all goes as planned we will go swimming in the morning, go to the park for a barbecue lunch and then head over to the golf course for a round of mini putt.

After school we have our staff party at the home of our gym teacher. It is usually our last day with the students but this year we all have to return to school on Friday. I suspect that many of the students won’t show up especially since they get their report cards on Thursday. On Friday we  have an assembly in the morning and in the afternoon teachers will be madly trying to straighten up their classes with their students present. It should be an interesting day.

I have a feeling that I will be going into school next week to tidy up the library. As much as the students want to help me it often ends up being more messy than when we started.