Share Your World 2016 – Week 23

…..thanks Cee for hosting Share Your World

What was one of your first moneymaking jobs (other than babysitting or newspaper delivery)?

It seems to me that I’ve answered this question before so I will keep my answer short. When I was 14 I worked in my parent’s milk store. I did this till I was 16. That job ended after the night I was robbed. My parents gave up the business soon after.

What is your favorite month of the year?

I think my favourite month is October. It is still warm but the nights are getting cooler, the leaves are changing colour and the markets are bursting with the harvest.

What three things in nature do you find most beautiful?

I love being near water, trees in the fall and the first big snowfall.

List at least five of your favorite spices? (excluding salt and pepper)

• cinnamon

• cloves

• nutmeg

• curry

• cumin

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 time spent with Winnie and her mom. On the weekend the two of them came to the house and stayed overnight while Dad drove to Sudbury on a business trip. They had also come over the weekend before but ended up going home Saturday night and coming back on Sunday. We’re trying to get Winnie used to sleeping away from home so that the the trip to Italy won’t be so traumatic. I thought she did really well but our daughter was a bit tired because she was up more often while she was here.

It looks like the plans for the wedding overseas are going well. The dress, wedding bands and  the suit and tie are purchased. The registry office in London is arranged and the pub for close friends has been booked. In Italy the rooms at the villa have been assigned, reservations for dinner in the town of Assisi the night before the wedding have been made and the meal for the actual wedding sounds yummy. Three and a half weeks before we fly to Venice.

WPC – Dinnertime

….our granddaughter’s first BBQ dinner at our place

Today was a glorious sunny warm day. When our daughter said she was dropping off the dog for a few hours and then would be back around suppertime we decided to have dinner together. We spent the afternoon pulling out the garden furniture and cleaning it up. I went shopping for food and my husband prepared the charcoal fire and the food to go on it. I set the table and prepared the salad. By the time dinner was ready the temperature dropped a bit so we put on our sweaters and enjoyed our first outdoor meal this spring.

For more dinnertime photos check out WPC site.

Share Your World 2015 – Week 49

….thanks to Cee for coming up with four more interesting questions

What would be your ideal birthday present, and why?

I love birthdays and I love to be surrounded by family and friends on my birthday. My ideal present would be a big party with all the important people in my life present

What colour would you like your bedroom to be?

I’ve had grey in my bedroom for years and I’ve hated it. I recently bought a neutral cream colour which I think I’ll much prefer.

Would you prefer snowy winters, or not, and why?

I like snow but I also like it when it melts away in March. Last winter it hung around way too long.

Would you rather go a week without bathing, but be able to change your clothes, or a week without a change of clothes, but be able to bathe?

I think I would prefer to bath every day and wear the same clothes. At least the clothes won’t get as dirty if I start out clean every day. I would probably hand wash my underwear every night.

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

Last week I was grateful for a very mild weekend. I managed to get out on Saturday for a walk with the dog and then meet up with my daughters and their families at the Junction Christmas Market. All in all I walked 16 000 steps that day. I also got to spend some time with Miss Winnie. She’s starting to smile more and when I changed her diaper she gave me a huge smile. She makes my heart melt.

Last week, the girls’ basketball team played in their first tournament. They won all three games and have moved on to the West Conference Finals.

Yesterday we hosted our annual Craft Night at the school. We invite the students to bring their parents back to school in the evening and go from room to room and make whatever craft is being featured. This year we had numerous crafts that included golf ball snowmen, melted snowman ornaments, Minion ornaments, cookie decorating and paper crafts. I usually don’t have time to go around and take photos of the different activities but this year I did manage to go to a few rooms close to the library before we became busy. Here are a few of the great things that the children made. It was all over in an hour. It’s almost like preparing a big Christmas dinner where you spend hours and hours cooking and making preparations and then it’s all over in 20 minutes.

For the rest of the week I’m looking forward to having dinner with a group of friends. On the weekend my husband and I are planning on driving to the countryside with our daughters to cut down a Christmas tree. This will be my youngest daughter’s first Christmas tree in her new home. Ideally it would be nice to have some fresh snow but the temperatures are suppose to remain well above freezing so that’s very unlikely.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend. Till next time.



This Can’t Be December in Toronto

….we’ve had mild weather before but the grass is still green, flowers are blooming and some of the trees are budding

On our walk yesterday we came across a lot of signs that winter is on its way. I love the withering berries on the bushes and the seed heads on the natural vegetation. We’re so lucky to live close to a naturalized park. This is what I expect to see in the first week of December:

As we walking through the neighbourhood I looked up and thought that one tree had been decorated with hundreds of tiny lights. Upon closer inspection I discovered that those bulbs were actually tree buds. Close to the ground I found plants flowering and strange coloured fungi popping up through the grass. Is this unusual for this time of year?  or am I just more observant in my advancing years? What do you think? Is this happening in your northern neighbourhood?

Time for a Trip to the Toronto Islands

…..with the temperatures going into summer mode this weekend, there’s no better time

If you haven’t headed up to the cottage this weekend and need a little get away trip,  make your way to the ferry docks this weekend.

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I would avoid Centre Island, unless you have children and need the amusement park for entertainment. Ward’s Island is a great alternative. It is a residential community where people own their homes but not the land and it’s the largest urban area in North America that has no motorized vehicles other than a few service vans. Most of the homes are tiny and on small lots. It looks very much like a cottage community.

My daughter’s mother-in-law was lucky enough to rent a house for a couple of months when she came back to the city before moving on to her next foreign adventure. On the Mother’s Day weekend we were all invited to her place for a meal. It had always been a dream of hers to own her own house on the island and every year for a number of years she paid a fee to enter a lottery when homes  became available for sale. Needless to say she was never chosen so being able to rent for awhile was the next best option.

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While we were there we took a walk and enjoyed looking at all the cute homes and emerging gardens. As we continued north we ended on a beach and even though it was still chilly that weekend there were quite a few people walking along the beach and some were sitting on the sand and enjoying a small picnic. photo 1-134 photo 4-109

Our hostess loved living on the island. She was there in the middle of the winter and then again in April and May. Her only source of heating was a gas fire place in the shape of an old fashioned wood burning stove. She was toasty and warm all winter and she loved the solitude and quiet of her neighbourhood. The ferry runs every hour and residents can buy a monthly pass so if they have to make more than one run a day to the mainland it doesn’t cost them an arm and a leg. Most of the time if you’ve forgotten to buy something or have run out of something there’s a web bulletin board and your neighbours come to your aid if they have what you need.



A Beautiful Saturday – Why am I Creating a To Do List?

….am I crazy or just practical?

I suspect I’m doing this because it needs to be done

To Do List for April 12, 2014

rake front lawn
sprinkle bone meal on garden
take out garden furniture
clean out bird cage
do laundry – started
take out summer clothes and put away winter clothes
clean oven – started
write post – started
go for a walk
dust living room floor and shelves – floors done
vacuum carpets upstairs and down – started
take photographs

As you can see I’ve already started some of these chores. I think I need to fill the gaps with some fun stuff.

My husband must be feeling my energy this morning because he’s started raking the back yard and he’s taken out our bikes and cleaned them off. Maybe we can get out for a ride this afternoon. Well, I’m off to start some work outside as well. Maybe by putting this out there for the world to see I might actually accomplish all of the things on my To Do List or at least get 90% of it done. Wish me luck. I’ll report later today to let you know how I successful I’ve been.

On the fitness and weight loss journey: I’m struggling. Up 3 and down 2. Today’s goal is to get out and move and drink at least 4 large glasses of water. One glass down and 3 to go.

I thought I posted this 2 hours ago. Apparently not. In the meantime I’m down 3 glasses of water, 2 loads of laundry, raked the front and the back yard, finished cleaning the oven, sprinkled bone meal on the garden, and took out the garden furniture. I also took down the Christmas lights, trimmed the yew and bagged 2 bags of yard waste. Now let’s see if I can get this thing posted… ongoing problem.

A Perfect Way to Spend a Sunday Morning

….especially the first morning of daylight savings time

People have a hard time adjusting to the change in time, especially when the clocks are moved forward. It means one hour less sleep unless you talked yourself into going to bed one hour earlier. I’m thankful that the time change occurred during March Break. At least it gives us (the teachers) and the kids a week to adjust to the earlier hour in the morning.

Today I woke up at my usual time but it was actually an hour later, so had it been a school day I would have been late. We had prearranged to meet our youngest daughter at the AGO this morning when the gallery first opens which is 10:00. I basically had time to grab a cup of coffee, get dressed and put on some make-up before heading out the door. We discovered on our last trip that arriving when the AGO opens on a Sunday is a good time to go. It’s not crowded, the kids haven’t arrived yet (especially during March Break) and parking is free until 1:00.

My husband was struggling a bit to get going today but he quickly found his groove and the change in time hasn’t bothered him, yet. As we were walking towards the entrance we spotted our daughter coming up the street. Perfect timing. I went to the members’ desk, picked up our tickets and we deposited our coats at the coat check counter. For the rest of the morning we wandered leisurely throughout the galleries. There is no big show on right now so we enjoyed some of the smaller displays throughout the building.

One of the first things we came across was a display put on by Hot Wheels.

It was obviously there for the kids to enjoy but we were invited to play if we wanted. We graciously declined the invitation and made our way to the galleries where photographs were being displayed. Our daughter studied photography at university and my husband used to be a photography fan in his younger days. As he gets older he plays with his camera more often and he still appreciates the art of photography, especially some of the older black and white photographs.

Next to one of the rooms that housed some very interesting and very old photographs I came across a room designed for kids. The walls were lined with some famous paintings that featured children and in the middle of the room stood a booth. Children could dress up and then sit behind a frame with a painted scene behind them (I think it’s from one of the Group of Seven). Parents are encouraged to take photographs of their children who look like they’re part of a painting. I wanted to do it myself but I don’t think my husband or daughter would humour me and take a photograph. There were hardly any children there at the time so I think I could have gotten away with it.

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Once we had exhausted all the photography galleries we headed upstairs to the 5th floor to check out the contemporary exhibits. My favourite installation piece took up an entire room and featured mirrors, trees, birds, (real and not) and half man half bird creatures. It was called The Index and was the creation of David Altmejd.

We decided to walk down to the other floors. The stairway had beautiful architectural curves made from wood and was built on the side of the building with glass windows that looked out over the city. I love the curves, arches and the grain in the wood along the ledges. The second floor has huge stone arches that overlook the foyer on the first floor which is also surrounded with these large archways.

Before leaving the AGO we stopped at the Galleria Italia (here, here) for our traditional coffee break at the Espresso Bar. I really wanted to check out the gift shop so I left my husband and daughter at the table so that they could catch up and make plans for the week while I headed to the main floor to do a bit of shopping. I had a little bit of money from the library fund so I bought a few art books for school and I found a present to bring to my sister in Calgary.

When we left the art gallery we were ready for lunch (brunch in my case because I hadn’t had breakfast). We drove along Queen St East and headed toward Leslieville where we found a tiny Irish pub. Our daughter had been there before but for my husband and I it was a new experience. G and I ordered and shared mushrooms on toast and the terrine plate while my husband ordered his traditional Irish breakfast.

After our meal we drove our daughter home and then headed out to see our oldest daughter. We stayed just long enough to have a cup of coffee and pick up a parcel notification. Sometime tomorrow I’ll drive to Purolator and pick up a parcel for her.

When we got home it was already 4:00. Time just flew by. Looks like we’ll be eating salad for dinner. It’s already 6:00 and I’m still full from my one meal today. This should be my last post today. Hopefully I can get to some of my art. If I do I’ll share with you tomorrow. No more staying up late to post things that can wait till tomorrow.


First Day of March Break

…..even though this is a PA day without pay it couldn’t come soon enough

The sun is shining, the temperature is warmer, I didn’t have to get up at 6:30, my husband made me a perfect omelet and I got out for a long walk with the dog and K this morning. Heavenly!

I leave for Calgary next week so I was hoping to get my hair cut before I go but when I phoned to make an appointment my regular hairdresser, who I haven’t seen in months, was booked solid until next Friday. Boo hoo! I’ve been going to a young woman just up the street and even though she does a pretty good job, the last time I went I wasn’t 100% satisfied. Well it must be my lucky day because the salon called back and told me that D had a cancellation. Yahoo!

Driving into town in the middle of the afternoon wasn’t bad and finding a place to park was relatively easy. I think a lot of people have already left town for March Break vacations. It was great to see D again. She was off for awhile planning her wedding and going on her honeymoon and that’s why I went elsewhere for a couple of cuts. The salon by the way is Brennan DeMelo on Adelaide St., if you’re interested.

As soon as D saw me see she knew exactly what I needed and could see why I wasn’t that happy with the last cut. The big news in her life is that soon after her wedding she got pregnant. She planned it that way just in case it took awhile to get pregnant.  Well I guess it didn’t and she looks like she’s having twins, although the ultrasound showed only one baby. Her baby is due on August 28th which just so happens to be my birthday.

I’m happy for her but I was wondering if I was going to have to look for a new hairdresser when the baby is born but she assured me that she was coming back, even if it is only a few hours a week. I’ll really have to book in advance. I love my new haircut. It’s a bit shorter than the last cut. To fix the problem D had to cut more away but I don’t mind. I think the new cut looks great.


What’s next on the agenda. I’m not sure. We’re thinking about going to the movies tonight and tomorrow we’re hoping to go to the museum (ROM) and Sunday looks like a good day to check out the AGO (art gallery). The one thing I am sure about, though is going for long walks every morning as long as this nice weather holds out.

Spending Family Day With the Dogs

….and my daughter and son-in-law

Today was another sunny but cold day in Toronto and it is Family Day. It is an official holiday in Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia. As the name implies it is a day to celebrate families.

Yesterday my husband and I went to the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) with out oldest daughter, A and her partner, J and saw the show, The Great Upheaval: Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Collection, 1910 – 1918. I loved it. It’s not a huge show but it featured some amazing artists from the past, such as, Picasso, Kandinsky, Matisse, Chagall, Franz Marc, Kupka and Miro. There must have been at least 30 different artists whose works were on display. It was fascinating to see how this era of new technologies ( film, photography, planes, telephones, electricity, etc.) and the presence of World War I affected the art world. If you’re in Toronto the show goes till March 6, 2014. Unfortunately cameras were not allowed at this show so I don’t have any original photos to show you. The Great Upheaval.

After seeing the show we browsed through some of the other galleries at the AGO, where you are allowed to take photographs. Here are a few highlights of our morning.

Today, my husband, Frances and I arranged to meet our youngest daughter and her husband and Lucy at High Park. We took both dogs to the off leash area. We’ve had so much snow that all the paths are packed solid with snow and ice. Luckily K brought his cleats for his boots and our walk was relatively uneventful, falling that is. We did see a few people wipe out but no serious injuries happened.

Frances and Lucy had a great time, running and wrestling with each other. We got a good walk, as well, probably close to 4k. The humans got tired just watching those two dogs darting back and forth.

After looking at all this snow it’s hard to imagine that another storm is approaching us tonight and we’re expecting another 10 cm to fall. Sigh!

Cheers! Hope everyone had a great Family Day!

One Last Meeting Before Heading Home

….and then I was down for the count with a head cold

The day after the wedding the sisters and their families got together for one last meal before heading back to Toronto, Oshawa, Calgary, Vancouver and for two lucky people, Hawaii.

There was some discussion by the more practical in the group that meeting for brunch didn’t seem to be a very economic thing to do when the hotel provided a ‘perfectly good breakfast’. After some debate, it was agreed that it wasn’t about the food but rather a chance to get together one more time before heading off in separate directions.

At around 11:00 we all met at the local pancake house allowing the early risers to take advantage of the ‘free’ breakfast back at the hotel. Everyone, including the early risers ordered brunch. I don’t know where they found room to eat again and some of us were being served lunch on the train a few hours later. Anyway it was nice getting together one last time and making final plans for dropping off the rental car and deciding what to do for one hour before heading out to the train station.

Now living in Chatham has a few downsides. One of them is that the car rental place isn’t open on Sundays so there was no one to drive us to the train station after we dropped off the car. My brother-in-law agreed to follow me to the rental office, drop off the keys in the drop off box and then drive me back to the station where the luggage and my family would be waiting.

The other downside, however, was that the train station didn’t open it’s doors until 30 minutes before the train arrived. That meant that the luggage and my sister who had to give up her seat in the car for me and all my family had to wait outside in the freezing temperatures while I returned the car.

That brings me to the final downside and that is the weather in Chatham. It is considerably colder than Toronto or at least it tends to get the bad weather first as it blows through southern Ontario towards the big city. There’s not much one can do about the weather and it’s been a brutal winter all over Ontario this year but it was just one more ‘uncomfortable’ aspect of our return trip.

We said our good-byes and my baby sister and her family and then they drove off to Windsor to catch a flight to Toronto, where they would individually make connecting flights to Vancouver and Calgary. My sister and her husband had slightly different plans. They would be staying overnight at the airport hotel in Toronto and then catching a flight to Hawaii the next day where they would celebrate their wedding anniversary for two weeks. Nice!

The train trip back was most enjoyable for my father. We had the seats with the large table between us and our seat mates were very friendly and talkative. They quickly learned all about my father’s past, starting with the war, his emigration to Canada, getting his first job at the Royal York Hotel, my mother’s death and how he met his current wife. The four trip went by very quickly.

Once we were at Union Station, my daughters and I regrouped and we made sure that my Dad got to the Go Train waiting room and bought his ticket to return to Oshawa. He phoned me later that night to let me know that he returned ‘safe and sound’ and that his car was still in the parking lot where he left it, three days earlier.

My daughter and I shared a cab and we went back to her place where my husband picked me up. It was nice to be home and back in my own bed. The next day, however, I felt a cold coming on. Isn’t that always the way. I’m not surprised though; my brother-in-law was complaining about his cold all weekend and I did hug him several times.

I had plans to attend the show Les Mis on Thursday with two of my good friends and L’s mom and we were a bit worried about me passing on my cold to M. After three days of suffering at school I decided to take the day off on Thursday and just rest before going to the show. I have to say that it did wonders for me and I didn’t cough once at the show. The show by the way was fantastic. It was the first time I’ve seen it and apparently this show has been getting rave reviews.

Les Mis in Toronto

So there’s my ‘Away and Down for the Count’ post done over three days. Thanks for your patience. I know that if you started reading mid way it was a bit confusing.