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Sunday, 3 December 2017

Go For a Walk

For the past two weekends, my husband and I have decided to spend some time getting out in nature and moving purposefully, for the benefit of both of us. As mother nature is gracing us with tremendously mild weather for the beginning of December, it is still lovely to be out walking on trails.

Two weekends ago, we walked along a lovely set of trails with just regular footwear and our winter coats and gloves. It was windy, but we were quite protected in the woods.



The water is not yet frozen and there is no snow covering the leafy floor.


Bracket fungus always makes me think of my sister. Yes, this is an odd statement. My sister was always far more crafty and artistic than I. When we were young, she had painted a rather large bracket fungus (taken off the tree) by coating each layer with a different colour. That fungus sat in our shared bedroom for years.


Who do you suppose lives here?


I love the sound of water running in little streams.

A couple of days later, it was time to make some comfort food. On the menu that night was leek and potato soup. Here are the ingredients ready to be cooked to a soft consistency and then blended with my hand blender. I loved my previous hand blender so much and used it until it died a noble death. My new one is great, too.


It made tons and I froze half of it. My husband and I had leftovers today for lunch.

Today's hike was even lovelier than the previous weekend. It was much more hilly and part of the route was called "Hardwood Highlands". The weather was wonderful. It is astounding to be snowless and seeing still-green lawns on December 3rd and I am very grateful. The walk helped us both physically and mentally. It is so nice to have this time together now that our kids are older and very independent. It's a great time to talk and solve life's problems.


This is how the trail started, on this beautiful path. We watched red squirrels chase each other through the trees. Red squirrels have very different temperaments than other types of squirrels. They are very cheeky and feisty.


This stump was covered in fungus (?) lichen (?).


Although most of the trail led us through a hardwood forest, there was an area at the end where beautiful, old cedar trees grew and the ground was spongy with their needles.


I love the texture of old cedar bark.


Yours truly in my very old, but well loved L. L. Bean coat and my fetching new hat ala Giant Tiger (a Canadian store). (sounds Canadian doesn't it??)

The trails we walked were part of a conservation area that also has beautiful ponds and rivers with ducks and geese and swans. There are also enclosures featuring interesting birds like various types of pheasants.


I thought this one looked like Phyllis Diller.


Sunday, 26 November 2017

cat pics, sunset, beef for Joanne

Quite a gripping title wasn't it? I will first begin with the beef. I was reading Joanne's post over at  Cup on the Bus where she was describing how her granddaughter, a girl much more mature than I ever was at her age, might think about making a pot roast. Her granddaughter wondered if she could make it in a slow cooker. A bunch of comments ensued. The whole thing made me think of making roast beef, so that is what I did tonight. But, instead I used my "magical cooking pot", so called because everything turns out perfect in it.


It's never the same and I never measure, but tonight's roast was seared on all sides first, then I put it in a few tablespoons of tomato sauce (stole that idea from one of the comments on Joanne's blog), a good shaking of Worscestershire sauce, a shot of red wine (nothing says classy like wine in a box!) and a few shakes of "The Keg" steak seasoning. Then I cooked it slow and low in the oven (325 degrees until son came home from work at about 7:15 p.m.) I didn't keep track of time, but did check every once in a while to make sure the liquid was still sufficient.


My magical cooking pot (Dutch Oven) is a Kitchen Aid brand, but I know there are others out there. Mine was a fabulous price, on sale at Canadian Tire.

It turned out moist and wonderful, by the way. Mashed potatoes, carrots, corn, gravy, little frozen President's Choice Yorkshire Puddings, and a few Brussel sprouts for me. Sunday night supper.

A couple of nights ago, the sunset looked like fire on the horizon.

The picture doesn't do it justice. You can see some of the Christmas lights displays in the park across the road.

And now for some pet pics.

-Scooter rolling on the lawn (he's a bit of a idiot)

-Samson being disturbed mid-grooming

-Scooter's first chance to lick out the tuna can


And that's it. That's my Sunday night. 

Friday, 24 November 2017

Accidental Holiday Celebration

Tonight it was just the two of us as our son is away at a tournament (and daughter at university), so being as it was Friday night, I suggested we go out for supper. I didn't much feel like making anything, and I didn't want anything fancy, just good food.

We decided to go to one of our usual "hole in the wall" favourite restaurants in a nearby small town. As we drove up, we noticed a lot more cars on the main street than usual. The Christmas lights along the street were already up and glowing, so we thought perhaps it was a lighting ceremony this evening.

We went in to find a spot to eat (it is not a huge restaurant, so if you don't make a reservation, you might be taking your chances). Luckily there was still a spot that wasn't reserved. We ordered a draft beer each and thought about what we would like. The roast beef and Yorkshire pudding was one of the specials, so husband ordered that. I second-guessed myself and ending up ordering the barbecue Cornish hen, and shouldn't have. It was ok, but not really what I was hankering for.

As we sat with our food, we heard other people talking and realized that this evening was going to be the annual Santa Claus parade. We were quite close to the window, so we could see the parade from our table. We finished and paid for our meal before the parade was over, so I took some pictures to give you an idea of what a typical small town / rural Santa Claus parade is like.

The quintessential shiny red fire truck had already gone through, so no picture of that. I also didn't get the local high school float of a handful of the kids in the band playing a Christmas carol or two. Thankfully, today was one of the mildest days (and evenings) we've had, so the onlookers, as well as the parade participants, weren't freezing. There have been many Santa Claus parades that required winter coats, snow pants, hats, mittens, boots, scarves, and a lot of stamping of feet or sitting in cars with the engine running and the heat on!

Here's a sampling from the end of the parade:

A flat bed trailer with a host of little kids dressed up (as toys??) and lights strung along the side.


There are always animals - this one being a donkey wearing, if I'm not mistaken, a tree skirt as a cape.


It wouldn't be Christmas without a goat wearing a shirt. I apologize for the blurry quality of some of these photos. Trust me, it's a goat.


Pretty self-explanatory. This is the same vet service that took care of Scooter when he had to have his tail amputated, and Samson when he accidentally got a stick caught in his throat. I think we helped pay for part of this float.


Here is a giant grocery cart (those are full sized humans inside) pulling a regular sized grocery cart. This particular small town lost its one and only grocery store several years ago when it closed up. Thankfully, a few years later, it reopened under a new company. A town without a grocery store just can't survive, especially for those who do not drive.


The theme for the parade this year must have been gingerbread because there were a lot of gingerbread people and gingerbread houses.

 I love the teams of heavy horses and the sound they make coming up the street.

Santa is always at the end of the parade. Although he is very blurry here, he was an excellent Santa with resounding "Ho, ho, ho's". You can see the Rotary Club symbols on his float.

When Santa had passed, husband and I walked to where we had parked the car and knew it would be a wait until we could pull out and proceed home (we were also on the main street). Here are some images of parade participants on their way home as well that I caught as we were waiting in our vehicle.

-a pretty horse and rider complete with Christmas lights

 - and another


-and just to one-up the goat, here is a Christmas sheep. Its owners shouted Merry Christmas to us as we put the window down to take the picture.

Also in this community is a little store which always has a charming window display with moving figures. Last year's was featured in this post, but I think this year's is much more quaint. The mice moved as they decorated their little home.


Now we are home and the wind is just howling outside, although no snow is in the air. I have taken the advice of some of you wonderful readers and have begun to watch River on Netflix. I love it already! I even talked husband into watching with me and he concurs.

I hope you liked the glimpse of small town Ontario's early Christmas celebration. It is no "Macy's Day Parade", but it's predictable and hokey, and everybody waves and smiles. I know that many of you are celebrating your American Thanksgiving this weekend. I hope it has been lovely so far!

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Think I could Make a Million?

If you read my blog, you know I'm not a "basher" of any sort, so this is not where I am going with this. But if you are alive and living with , or have lived with, a member of the male species you are already well aware that there is a clear and distinct difference with how men and women think, how they take on tasks, how they prioritize.

I always used to pride myself on being someone who could find things. Seriously, if someone dropped an item and couldn't find it, I was in there, hands and knees, finding it. (These days, I would need to grab my reading glasses for close inspection). If a form, or receipt, or bit of paperwork went missing, I was the locator, eventually holding up the offending article. A familiar call of , "Mom! I can't find my..." was taken care of by me.

Because of this super power of mine, I don't find the regular day to day locating of things like my keys before I leave the house, the newspaper on the porch, the half of a mouse on the back porch mat, a laundry basket in which to put dry clothes a difficult task. In fact, I can find all the necessary food to create supper, or a snack, or any meal. We have two refrigerators. The main one in the kitchen holds 90% of our food and the one out in the mudroom tends to be for extra bags of milk, beer, an extra container of strawberries because there was a sale on if you buy two, the bag of apples because it takes up too much space in the other fridge... The food that does not need refrigeration has a few other locations, but none of them are top secret or require a map to get to.

So why is it that my husband cannot find things in the fridge? One day when I was cutting up fresh veggies for lunches, I made some extra containers and left one in the fridge for my husband. I asked him later if he liked his veggies and he said he couldn't find them. Along with the obligatory eye roll, I joked if it was because I hadn't left them at eye-level in front of everything else in the fridge. And that's when it occurred to me how I am going to make my million dollars!

I present to you a rough mock up of... The Man Fridge.


The Man Fridge is wider than most regular refrigerators. The first key thing to note about The Man Fridge is that it is to be mounted on the wall at eye level. This must be determined first upon receiving the appliance by measuring the dominant male in the household and then adhered to strictly during installation. 

The Man Fridge consists of four clear glass doors so that the contents of the fridge can be seen from the outside. The glass doors are opened by using a remote!!! A lifetime supply of batteries is also worked into the purchase price. 

Now, here's the second key feature to The Man Fridge. It is only the depth of one large Costco size bottle (of olives that nobody wants, or Stubb's Barbecue sauce, purchased only because it is fun to say in a low-voiced, exaggerated way). It is crucial that The Man Fridge be a shallow depth because there can never be items placed behind any other item. They will never be found if placed behind other items. 

The third key feature of The Man Fridge is that it is self-cleaning. I haven't quite worked out the technical details on that yet, but leave it with me. 

As well, The Man Fridge has an internal sensor that lets the user know if there is a very small (i.e. three teaspoons) amount of milk left in the bag, or if it is the last piece of pizza, pie, cake, what have you, so that the dominant male can leave the milk bag exactly as is, or can consume the last piece of something without asking if anyone else wanted it.

The Man Fridge comes in a few different styles: industrial, retro, camo, pub, or embossed with favourite team or automotive logo. It always gets delivered to your home with no assembly required at a convenient time. (I am later editing this to add that my own dominant male thinks this is a fabulous idea and contributed the clear glass door feature to the overall design. )

And there you have it: my millions await.


Additional New Info:  I just read this post, including the comments, to my husband as he is making a mess on my glass top stove cooking his eggs (see, he is not useless in the kitchen). He wanted me to add another feature that ties in with the self-cleaning feature. He said there could be, along with purchase, a pre-scheduled person to come to your house every six weeks who will clean the fridge. At which point I just said to him that if I add that to the post, every woman who reads it will roll her eyes and say, "My god, he actually thinks that the fridge only gets cleaned every six weeks?!?!"
I rest my case. 

Saturday, 11 November 2017

November 11

Today is Remembrance Day in Canada. We have been pretty lucky to have mild weather for the past two years on this day, but this year it is more typical. I always feel for the very elderly veterans that I see on tv attending special ceremonies huddled under wool blankets in wheelchairs, stoically putting up with cold, wet, windy weather. I suppose they've put up with much worse.

Here is what it looked like this morning:




Quintessentially Canadian shots of the pumpkins / jack o'lanterns and mums still on the porch for the first snowfall. As well, the outdoor furniture like this little wooden bistro set, still not put away in the shed for the season. As you can tell from the pawprints, our two cats are very much outdoor creatures who don't seem bothered by a bit of snow.

This snow won't last. The temperatures will be above freezing later this week, but it is a good kick in the behind to clean up the last few things outside that should have been dealt with already.

After a few hours out in the cold, Sammy has opted for something a bit more cozy.

See how we've chose décor to match him?

I went into town for the usual weekend shopping and wanted to take out some books at the library only to find that the library was closed for Remembrance Day. I guess I should have known that. Oh well, the books will still be there this week. I've taken to spending more time reading blogs and other computer activities in my downtime that I realized I haven't been lost in a good book for way too long. I need to find a few books to settle in with. I love mysteries, especially those set in England. I'm not much of a historical setting person (for mysteries anyway). I have several favourite authors, but you know how it is, you finish reading all of their books and they haven't quite finished their next one, so you don't know who to read now. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

As soon as I hit "publish" on this post, I'll be preparing a meatloaf. It's comfort food tonight, meatloaf, mashed potatoes, maybe carrots, a slice of whole grain bread, a glass of red. Perfect.


Monday, 6 November 2017

Netflix and British Series

Today was a day to just sit and do "nothing". I had a marathon session of getting work commitments done yesterday. I've been nursing a cold. To top it off, the weather was miserable. There was actually a tiny bout of lightning and thunder this afternoon. So, I got into something stretchy and decided to get into a new British series on Netflix.

I've thoroughly enjoyed other series: Midsomer Murders, Broadchurch, The Killing (this isn't a British one), Hinterland, Scott and Bailey, Shetland... I have loved all of these but probably The Killing and Broadchurch have been my favourites so far. One thing I love about series coming out of the U.K. is that the characters look like real people. Their faces show wrinkles and flaws, they have normal looking bodies, and their hair isn't perfect. None of their female leads are chasing the bad guy in four inch heels. I like how scenes are shot and how the actors act, but don't over-act.

I decided to start watching Wallander with Kenneth Branagh. I watched a few episodes and love it. I'll see it through to the end. Apart from putting through a load of laundry and hanging sweaters to dry, and making beef stir fry for supper, I did little else. It feels very decadent for me to not fill my time doing whatever needs doing, but I'm glad I did. I haven't had a day to just "do nothing" for a while now.

The clocks have all been set to the new time, as we "turned our clocks back" one hour this weekend. It is time to turn in, back to work tomorrow.