Sunday, June 18, 2017

HE'S GOT THAT OLD CAT CHARM!

One of my coworkers got a new kitten recently and she's often posting pictures and videos of Facebook. Who wouldn't?? I mean it's a kitten! 

But I can't help but notice the energy. ZIP....ZOOM..POUNCE!! This little ball of fluff is bouncing!

Allow me to introduce Frodo:




I call him "Old Man Frodo". We got him when my daughter was in Grade 7 (she will soon be 29) and he is pushing over 17 years old now. There is no "ZIP...ZOOM...POUNCE" anymore. 


But he used to have all that vim, vigour and curiosity.



Just look at that adorable face!!



I mean both of them of course! 


Old Man Frodo takes the stairs, both up and down, one at a time.
His meow is either nothing, or a slight croak or sometimes he puts all his energy into it and sounds like he's completely forgot where he is and is lost. Underneath all that gorgeous fur is a frail and rather bony frame. I pick him up very gently now and put him down the same way.

He sleeps....a lot....



Or, when he goes outside, there is no chasing birds or stray leafs anymore.

He just lays on the sun warmed front step or on a hot day in the cool garden under the peonies and ponders the 8 lives he's lived. 

Frodo may not be a powerhouse anymore but he has that Old Cat Charm. 

And he STILL has the best paws in town!

You may have an adorable new kitten in your life and they are lots of fun. 

But these old cats, well, they have their charms as well. 



Sunday, June 11, 2017

HAVE A GOOD DAY!


When I'm biking to work, I will pass by several Crossing Guards. One (my favourite) always yells
"Good Morning!"
Me, panting: "Morning!
"Have a Good Day!"
Me, still panting as I pedal by:"You Too!"

It's a lovely blessing to bestow on someone. And it's also the way she says it. It's more like "Have a GOOD Day!!" Like she really means to make it happen for you. Like let's just seal that one up and engrave it in stone.

I will often say that to Sheldon before I head to work. "Have a GOOD Day." But I often add "No surprises today." Because Sheldon and I have spent a lot of time in Emergency lately doing a lot of this:



And after a month, we really have no answers. He presents with a heart issue and the symptoms are long and tedious. But after the last 3 Emergency visits and a chat with a Cardiologist, they tell us there is nothing wrong with the old ticker.

I turn to my faith: "The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the Peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Phillipians 4:5-7). 

The situation certainly "surpasses" all my understanding so now I rest in that Peace to keep watch. 

There are more tests pending and eventually we will get to the bottom of it. They switched his blood pressure medication and that seems to have settled a lot of side effects too. Here's hoping our visits to Emergency are coming to an end.

Have a GOOD day everyone....and I Crossing Guard mean it!





Sunday, June 4, 2017

WHEN I'M AWAY, THE GARDEN WILL PLAY

May is a beautiful month - great for gardening! I usually take some time off each May to focus on my garden and give it some attention for the season ahead.



I took a week off alright - but not in my Garden. I went out West.

Sorry for ignoring you garden. I see you have been busy while I was away. 

I knew trouble was brewing when we pulled in to the drive last Saturday night to a veritable jungle in the front yard. The grass was growing in leaps and bounds.

I have a gravel path that circles around where I have a fountain. That was nearly annihilated by the grass. 



I spent a good hour on my hands and knees just pulling up weeds and grass trying to find the gravel underneath. I swear nature is as relentless as the Love of God - just keeps coming at ya. 


This mass of greenery are violets, taking over the world. I keep pulling them out to try and make room for these:



Not sure what they are, but they glow like little drops of moonlight at night.

So I'm taking the good with the bad. Although the grass and violets are scheming a victory everything else is also feeling mighty fine.

My hydrangea bush and peonies are also about to explode. 




And I finally got around to doing a couple of planters.




My garden carried on without me. In fact, if I ignored it all year, I'm pretty sure there would be quite a party going on. But I'm back now, restoring order and telling the violets to "simmer down." Here's to another year of back yard gardening ahead. 

Come on Garden, Let's Play!





Sunday, May 28, 2017

A NEWBIE ON THE WEST COAST

Mountains truly astonish me. I mean, just look at the view from the airplane window!


Although I've managed to fit in two flights to far off destinations this year I'm still no world traveller. I'm a newbie. In fact, I'm definitely a Homebody. But this past week, I was blessed with the opportunity to fly to British Columbia to visit my son and daughter-in-law in Vancouver. 

Never been to Vancouver. So for a Newbie in Vancouver, that means lots of pictures, food, adventures and generally just crossing things off the bucket list. Hold on to your hats kids - here we go!

No sooner had we hit the ground we headed up the coast on the Sea to Sky Highway to Squamish to watch the sunset from a mountain top.

After a racy Gondola ride to the top, we crossed this Bridge to check out the mountain view


And then watched the earth go to sleep as the sun set behind the mountains.


Scratch that one off the Bucket List!

Next day was a couple of hiking trips. 

First to an area called Lonsdale where I experienced crisp fresh air and icy cold water.


Needed a little buffer between those hikes so what better than sushi in Vancouver!!


This work of art was from a restaurant called Hachi Hana. Quick friendly service, clean, and excellent food!

Then we headed to the very West coast of Vancouver to an area called Caulfeild Park. 


We sunned on the rocks along with a dozen other folks. I saw, for the first time, a Bald Eagle sailing overhead and sea lions curiously checking us out from the water (more Bucket List scratches).

Next up was Granville Market in the heart of Vancouver. Parking was atrocious (holiday Monday) but what a sight for the senses AND my camera.


I checked out a Honey stand where you could sample the varieties. 


Before we said our goodbyes to the kids, Sheldon and I rented some bikes and zoomed around Stanley Park, another Bucket List victory.


Then we took a 5 hour (that's right 5 HOUR) bus trip on the Coquihalla Highway to Kelowna. Up and down, through rain, sun, snowy mountain tops and even a rainbow.


We were embraced by the loving arms of our friends the Molenaars, quite possibly some of the most gracious hosts on the planet. 

Sid and Cheryl will always make you feel at home and feed your body, mind and spirit all at the same time!


This was just the starter for a feed of trout, shrimp, roasted potatoes and salad. Lawd ha' mercy.

This Newbie was now armed with a load of new experiences. I was also ready to get back to my routine and spend some kitchen time. Inspired by all the amazing food I had enjoyed, I created this dish of avocado pasta with roasted peppers, mushrooms and fiddleheads and I topped it with sun-dried tomatoes, feta and olives.


There is no shame in being a Newbie. Sure, you are hesitant and get in people's way. You take a long time reading signs and checking google maps but it's worth it. If you spot one looking dazed and confused, offer them some direction and advice. They will appreciate it and so will their Bucket List!



Sunday, May 14, 2017

WHAT MOMS REALLY WANT


Happy Mother's Day to all you amazing Moms out there! I know it's a tough gig sometimes. You sacrifice everything - your lives, your money, your time, your career, even your dreams so your children can have all that and more.

Have you ever struggled on what to get that special mom in your life for Mother's Day? Well, here's a few tips.

First, just ask! She may fluff you off because she is very used to putting herself second but it's worth a try.

Second, a general rule of thumb: if this is a young mother, give her some alone time. Take the kids for a few hours and let her have the house to herself or so she can go shopping or whatever. 

If this is an older mother it's the other way around: she does not want alone time, she wants you time. So hang out with her, listen to her, take her for dinner.

Yesterday, I was able to spend the afternoon with my daughter (I fall into the older Mom category). We went to the County and puttered about. We had lunch and she bought me this beautiful lamp!


Then we went to the Drake Devonshire for dessert. I got the "Affogato". 


They take a scoop of ice cream, pour a shot of espresso over it and to make it extra special, a little shot of Chambord liquor. My, oh my...that's what THIS Mom really wants!

Today my husband and I honoured our own Moms. We cooked up a storm and had them over for lunch.

It's a great privilege to be a Mother and one of the hardest jobs on the planet and it so important to honour and acknowledge them. 

Happy Mother's Day to you All! 



Sunday, May 7, 2017

WHERE'S THAT RAIN SLICKER??

It seems we went from April Showers right into May Monsoons! We have had SOOOO much rain. My flowers are waterlogged


and tapping out


We are breaking rain records and so far this month (all 6 days of it) we have had 146.7 mm rain. Our average for the month of May - 79.4 mm.

It's a lovely sound, listening to the rain tap, tap, tapping on the window but eventually you are just going to have to get out there.

So, where's that Rain Slicker?


I've been living in this baggy, slick number for most of the week.  Yesterday, rain or rain, I headed out to make the most of it.

I stopped by the Bulk Barn and also did a bit a shopping for Mother's Day. But just to make my soggy day a little easier, I picked up a Chai Tea Latte made with Vanilla Soy Milk at Teavana.


This tea is warm and spicy and not too sweet. I highly suggest you don't start into them unless you are willing to commit. 

The local authorities have warned us to avoid the waterfront regions so, of course, had to go check THAT out. The Moira River is all worked up and angry and did not want her picture taken. 

But the Bay of Quinte, drinking in all that Moira River water is fat and lazy and spreading out all over that place.


There's a trail under there somewhere


Just spreading the love


No, that is not supposed to be an island!

The ground beneath my feet was wet and makes a distinct squelchy sound with every step. With wet socks I decide its time to head back home and make a stick to your ribs supper.


I'm a day late for Cinco de Mayo day but it was still a good hearty meal with beans, rice, hot peppers and chicken. Thanks Marcus and Kelly for the recipe!

Today, thank the heavens above, it is not raining. My slicker finally has time to dry and so do I. 

I don't know about you but I'm ready for Mr. Sun to take the stage!




Sunday, April 30, 2017

MEMORIES OF ITALY FOUND IN A COOKING CLASS

Sounds like something you would read in the headlines....

This just in....Memories of Italy Found in a Cooking Class.

But it's true! I recently took a cooking class with my Mom at Seasons Find Foods in Napanee. Our hostess/chef/teacher, Pat is a gold mine of kitchen tidbits and advice. 

Her shop holds a wide variety of products, local, organic, gourmet, gluten  free - whatever you need. 


I could have perused around in there for quite some time but there was cooking to be done in the back kitchen.

Our theme for the evening was Italian and when we arrived Pat had a number of stations set out for us 5 would-be chefs to try our hand at.

We paired up (except for my Momma who managed on her own)
and each prepared a dish.

Mom's was the appetizer: salad consisting of fresh arugula lightly dressed with the BEST olive oil you can get your hands on, a ball of bocconcini, paired with prosciutto and pancetta. 


A simple salad full of flavour!

Next up was a genoa salami and tomato dish. The salami was marinated in the BEST olive oil (Pat made it clear to us the importance of excellent olive oil) with garlic, flat Italian parsley, lemon zest and seasonings. 


This dish would be great to bring to summer get togethers when tomatoes are at their peak of freshness.

Finally, the main course, made by myself and partner Jean.


Meatballs with artichokes and fresh sage - Mama Mia!!

Pat ended our night with a nip of Limoncello and prettily wrapped individual Italian macaroons.

It was the Limoncello that sent me over the edge and back to Italy. Our family took a trip there about 6 years ago and one of our meals was in Sorrento. The meal, to be honest, was mediocre but the view was drop dead gorgeous.


Much like my daughter, Randi. In fact due to the messed up meal and my drop dead gorgeous daughter, we had nearly every male waiter in the restaurant fawning and plying us with LOTS of Limoncello!  We gave most of it to Sheldon and happily stumbled him out of there. 

The cooking class was a great experience and I learned quite a lot. I would recommend it for an evening out for sure. You can go check it out yourself at Seasons Fine Foods in Napanee or find them on Facebook. 

And thanks Pat! Not just for all the great tips but the great trip back to Italy!