Saturday, December 31, 2011

Monday, December 26, 2011

Another wonderful Christmas celebration

It may not have been like the Christmas's I remember from England, but it was wonderful nonetheless.

Thomas decided that he wanted to cook a full traditional Christmas dinner, including  homemade cranberry sauce. So on Christmas Eve, he went out to find the perfect bird, whilst I went out to find the veggies.

Christmas morning we got up and opened presents. Thomas made homemade granola for me, using gluten-free oats. It's such a huge jar, I'll be enjoying it with my yogurt for a long time.

I also asked for a wireless mouse, and he gave me a mouse plus a keyboard. I love it, it makes things so much easier! Then I opened another gift, I guessed it right away, because he wrapped it in such an obvious way, it was a new frying pan. I was wanting one, as the old one got a bit beat up by some couchsurfers!  Then came a box full of lovely goodies. There is all kinds of gluten-free crackers, and two delicious cheeses, as well as some ginger beer and a wine cooler that is alcohol free, I think. Also included in there is the most giant Toblerone ever and a package of ginger and cinnamon buckwheat snacks from Shasha Co.
I gave Thomas a few things that he had asked for, including an H&M gift card for some clothes, a pair of camera gloves, (I bet you didn't know such a thing existed, did you?), some long and regular underwear, a rice cooker, (Because he wanted to take mine to college with him),  a card holder, so that his cards don't get bent in his pocket, and a slew of silly presents, like the  wooden plan and train that he has to build! 
We then ate a breakfast of waffles with blueberries, raspberries and bananas with real maple syrup and a cup of tea. Then we checked out/played with our new 'toys'. Later we just vegged out and listened to some Christmas music.
Later in the afternoon, my sister Lorna skyped me from England and we had a chat about how our day was going. She unfortunately is suffering from vertigo again, and hopes it will be gone by the time she has to fly to Egypt in early January. Then it was time for Thomas to start preparing the turkey. It was a comedy of errors, being his first time, but he managed. The look on his face when he removed the giblets and the neck of the turkey was priceless! Then when he was taking it out of the oven to baste it and add the potatoes he spilled so much of the turkey juices all over the oven, the floor and his jeans too. We cleaned that up and then, got on with the rest of the meal. Thomas made the cranberries using orange juice, cranberries and sugar. I cooked the vegetables, green beans, carrots, corn and some colourful small potatoes, purple, white and yellow. The gravy was heated in the microwave, as we were running out of space on the top of the stove. Then we put together a salad and I put out the bread and the desserts. 
By this time both Kay and Beatriz arrived. Kay had worked all day at Starbucks, and Beatriz had just returned from her friend's place in Whitby. 
We set up the food on the counter buffet style so that everyone could take as much as they liked. Thomas was a little unsure when it came to carving the bird, but he did a fine job.
 We all enjoyed a great meal. I made mine the day before, my favourite sweet potato vegetarian shepherd's pie. I added the other veggies to my plate as well as some salad. 
After a flavourful meal and decadent desserts, we all sat in the the livingroom to open further gifts. Kay got gift cards for H&M and for Deserres, an art store (she is an artist) some bath salts, a jewelry box, and a pair of 'Queen of Clean' rubber gloves. Thomas got a water bottle and a grey sweater, Beatriz got a gift card for clothes, and a nail polish dryer machine and a tea pot. I got more gluten free goodies, cookies this time and some money to go toward a trainer for the new year.
 I am grateful that I have people to share my holiday with and the joy they bring me.
So happy holidays to everyone and I wish you all a healthy and eventful New Year!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Hallowe'en (A Tribute to Steve Jobs)

My friend Vanessa came up with the idea to be an iPod for Hallowe'en, so we scavenged what we could in the art room at the school. We came up with felt, a sheet, some mactac paper, clear page protectors, some apple sauce cups, some grey material and from the gym we borrowed a couple of skipping ropes.

I got to work on my sewing machine, with just an idea in my head, and this is the end result.

We used the skipping ropes as the ear phones, that was probably the hardest thing to figure out!

You can see them here as Vanessa is holding them up while I am rocking out!!

We shall be wearing these at our schools, and then we are thinking it would be a great idea to go to the Apple store in the Eaton Centre.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Queen of painting boo boos

  • The pole I was using with the roller snapped and I got paint on the floor.
  • The edger tool I was using hit a piece of stucco and jumped out of my hand and I got paint on the floor.
  • I ran out of primer and used what I thought was another primer, but it turned out to be oil based and I wrecked my good brush and a roller, because I don't have any mineral spirits.
  • I am allergic to the paint, so my eyes are swollen and itchy and I keep sneezing and wheezing.
  • 2 coats should have been enough, but it isn't and I still need to do a 3rd coat.
  • I ran out of painters tape and had to use masking tape.
  • As I was taking the tape off the wall after painting it took off chunks of paint with it.
  • Now I can't even do the baseboards because I don't have any tape or a brush, so that may not even get done.
  • I have a couchsurfer coming tomorrow sometime and my apartment is a disaster, and the bed she is supposed to sleep on is covered with junk.
  • I think I'm quitting for the day, just in case something else goes wrong!!
I have decided that if I ever need a room painted again, I'm going to hire someone!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Vacation Time

Only a few days left of school.  I am getting excited about my trip home to England, partly because I am taking a friend there this time.  Visiting my home is nice, but I never really think of it as being a vacation.  This time though I know that I will feel differently.  I will be showing my friend around my home town that is full of history, as well as London.  We have also booked a 4 day trip to Spain, that had better be as good as all the problems I have had booking it!  Not only that, but in the process I discovered that my passport would have expired while I was away.  I am picking up the new one from the passport office on Wednesday, just a few days before I leave for England. 

So fingers crossed that all the problems have already happened, and I will have a fun and exciting vacation in England and Spain.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Art Auction

The children in my classroom are 6 and 7 year olds, who made this amazing quilt for out silent auction on Thursday June 17.  We are hoping to get a good chunk of money to support the programs that the school's budget no longer includes.  Programs like field trips, visiting artists, authors, scientists, and other wonderful creative activities.
The unit we have been working on is 'Good Stewardship'
First the children engraved a styrofoam piece with a pencil making images of ways to care for our environment.  It was then inked and put it on a canvas.  I took all the pieces, and sewed them together, adding a border.  On the border the students added words that match their images.  Each child sewed and tied a simple knot between each panel.

This quilt is to be auctioned off on Thursday, so if you are interested in bidding for this beautiful piece, drop by Bruce Public School, after 5:30p.m. at 51 Larchmount Ave in the east end of Toronto, near Queen and Leslie.

Fingers crossed we'll get a good bid.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Belly Dancing

Someone on Facebook, added me to an event, Belly Dancing, that included a yoga warm up and meditation at the end.

It all sounded very intriguing, and I added a comment stating that I was over 50 and over weight, and wondered if this would be a good thing for me to try.  The reply came saying yes, it would be a great thing for me to try.  So I signed up.

It was held in a condo only a few minutes walk from my home, and it was only $10.  Well worth the investment.

After the class, photos were taken, and I felt happy, even though I had difficulty with some of the moves!
Here I am with the instructor next to me.
And here we are with 'belly dancing arms!'

Monday, May 23, 2011

Woo Hoo

I was talking to a friend of mine a while ago, about the 4 blogs that I own.  I have a general life one, a dating one, a card one, and a scrapbook one.  I also used to have another one where I sold cards that I made, but I deleted that one a while ago.  I was saying that it sometimes becomes crazy trying to keep them up, only to not post in months on one or the others.

So imagine my joy just a few minutes ago, when I googled, "How do I merge my blogs?" and it came up with a simple answer!

So now my general and dating ones are merged and my card and scrapbook ones are merged also. Now if you are interested in my general life stuff, you also get to read about my dating life! (Well you would if there was one!)  And now my craft stuff is altogether, as it should be.

So go ahead, check out my blogs.

Communication, thanks to Skype

I am very grateful that Skype exists.

I gave up my landline at the beginning of the year, in favour of an android smart phone from Wind.  With this I don't need an internet provider, as I can tether my phone to my computer.  So the savings are big.  My biggest concern was that I needed a way to stay in touch with my family overseas.  I decided that Skype was sufficient because most of my family members are online.  I also call my dad, who is not online, through Skype too. It is ridiculously cheap and the quality is fantastic.  I can have my weekly chat with him for my usual 30 minutes, and pay only a few cents.

The best thing though, is that my sister got a laptop for Christmas and finally got hooked up online.  So we have Skype chats where I can see her and she can see me.  I love that.  My brother who also lives in the UK, Skypes me once in a while too. I am looking into being able to conference, but it looks like we have to pay for that service.

My sister, Lorna, always brightens up my day.  She has a wicked sense of humour, and is my best friend.  Funny really, when you think we hated each other growing up!  She is a lot like my mum, but would have hated hearing this when she was younger! I love her very much, as she has been the primary person in taking care of my dad for the past 7 years.  She does the things that no one really wants to do, and usually without complaint, unless warranted.

So thank you Skype for making possible the connection that I still have with my family.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Grey days of April/May

I am happy that the sun is out this morning, it brightens up my day.  But there really hasn't been too much sunshine in the last couple of months, not to mention the winter blahs.

And with temperature fluctuations comes the cold and 'flu season, again!  I am certain we won't see anymore snow for at least 6 or 7 months, but the days can be windy and cold during the month of May.

I have had a sore throat since the middle of March, which then turned into a cough on Good Friday in April.  The doctor initially gave me a nasal spray for the sore throat, then new asthma inhalers for the cough.  I had asked if perhaps a chest x-ray was necessary, but was told it was just asthma.  I had asked if antibiotics might help, again, I was told it was asthma.  On returning to the Dr. again yesterday, May, I was told it wasn't asthma it was pneumonia. So finally I am hoping the antibiotics will clear up the chest infection, and I will be able to walk and talk without becoming breathless and coughing.

I think we all know our own bodies best, and it sometimes becomes frustrating when a doctor won't listen.  I knew in April that it was a chest infection, since I've had bronchitis on a number of occasions.  If I had been given either an x-ray or the antibiotics, then I would have recovered and not have to take further sick days off work.  I understand that doctors don't like to hand out medication, especially antibiotics, too often, but I and not a pill popper, and I am not visiting the doctors office continuously, so I feel that they should listen to me.

So wish me well, and thanks for allowing the little rant!

Dateless in Toronto

I was just checking my blog and realised that it is over a year since I posted.  I probably haven't had many dates since the last post, and this worries me.

I did have shoulder surgery in October last year, and hadn't felt much like dating during that time. I am still, in fact undergoing physiotherapy, although now I am much better.

So now the sun has peaked through a few days recently and it makes me feel like I should be out there having fun.  Stay tuned for upcoming date reviews.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

World Autism Awareness Day

Today, on the 4th Annual World Autism Awareness Day, we are joining  prominent buildings across North America and the world — including the Empire State Building in New York City and the CN Tower in Toronto, Canada — who will turn their lights blue to raise awareness for autism and to commemorate World Autism Awareness Day.  Light it up Blue is aiming to light the world blue all throughout April — city by city, town by town — by taking action to raise autism awareness in our communities.  Help us LIGHT it up BLUE this month!

I took this photo tonight at 11pm, from the sunroom in my apartment.  Sorry for the poor quality, but it's the best my little camera can do.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Scooby Doo is dead!

I take the bus from my apartment to work, and the other day while I was waiting, I noticed something strange on the ground behind me.  I strained my eyes to get a better look, and realised that it was a Scooby Doo toy that had lost it's stuffing. I just had to take a photo of the sad sight.


I wanted something light this morning.
Vanilla yogourt, strawberries, blueberries and pumpkin seeds.

And of course a cup of tea!

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

As I mentioned previously, the secretary at my school looks out for and passes on to me, recipes that she thinks I might enjoy.  This was one that I thought sounded delicious so I had to try it out.

It is quinoa stuffed peppers.
It is quite labour intensive.  Chopped onions, celery, minced garlic, chopped spinach, cumin, diced tomatoes, beans, quinoa, grated carrots and grated cheese.  I don't own a food processor, so it takes a while.  After sauteing the onions and celery in olive oil, adding cumin and garlic, then spinach and tomatoes, it cooked for 5 minutes.  Then I added the beans, I used aduki, but black beans are just as good.  Then added quinoa, carrots and water to boil then simmer for 20 minutes.  I added the cheese and seasoned it with salt and pepper.

I cut 4 large peppers in half, but they weren't large enough, and stuffed each half with a mountain of the mixture.
Then I poured in some tomato juice that was drained from the chopped tomatoes, into the baking dish.  I placed the stuffed peppers into the dish.  I put foil over the top, then baked them for an hour.

Then I removed the foil, added some grated cheese to the top and baked another 15 minutes.

I must admit they looked really delicious.
I took one and put it on the plate and poured some of the pan juice over the top.
It tasted as good as it looked.

I took four pieces into school the following day, two for Nancy the secretary and two for my friend Vanessa.  They agreed that they were very tasty.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie

The secretary in the office at school keeps an eye out for recipes for me.  I have made this one twice now, it is so good.

Sweet potatoes are so much better than regular potato.  In the pan I started with onions, and leaks.  I added turnip, parsnip and carrots.

Then I added a can of adzuki beans.  Then the veggie broth, and some rosemary and thyme.

 I cooked this for about 10 minutes, then put it in a casserole dish with the mashed sweet potato on top. Then I sprinkled some Parmesan cheese on top of the potatoes.  It baked in the oven for another 30 minutes.

This is the end result.  It tastes delish!

Snack program project

I have a plan in mind for a Snack Money BLITZ for my school.   The plan for the snack blitz is a huge poster that will hopefully encourage our parents to come up with about $900 in donations to help pay for their kid's snacks.  I am very hopeful, as this is an inner city school, and many of our parents are unemployed.  I want to put some photos of the snacks on the poster as well as some quotes from the kids on their favourite snacks, and then some information on the cost per snack per child.  We have about 180 kids, and if everyone could donate $5 then we should reach the goal.

On my other blog SCRAPPED, I posted a few images that I cut out on my Cricut.  Along with these and some photos of the snacks, I think I should be able to catch the interest of the parents.

Here are a couples of photos of the snacks.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Island School

Every other year our grade 5 and 6's get to go to the Island school for about a week.  This time they went the first week back after the holiday break.  I wanted to add pictures, but because they are children from my school, of course I can't.  I have added some that are blurry so that you can get an idea of what I saw.

I don't go with the kids, but they usually invite teachers over one evening for dinner and activities.  I wanted to go, and because the other teachers couldn't get there until later, we missed dinner this year.

We have to take the ferry to Wards Island and a van picks us up from the dock.  There are very few vehicles on the island, perhaps just the emergency vehicles, police, fire, ambulance, and a few parks vehicles, and then the van and school bus for the school.  Most people on the island have bicycles.

By the time we got there, the kids were on their way to activities.  They were participating in a 'Winter Olympics'.  I hung out mostly with Vanessa the grade 6 teacher and we caught up a little bit, during her event, the luge.  The kids had scooter boards and they had to be pushed from one end of the gym to the other.  They had a few other things to complete, including a cheer and collecting a bunch of bean bags.  There were other events too, but I missed out on what they were, I know hockey was one and I think there was an obstacle course too.

Here are some pictures of the kids doing a luge run!

I think this is an obstacle course.


A little breakfast I made for myself on January 15.  That is a plate from the new set I bought after Christmas for $20.

Gluten-free blueberry muffin, yogurt, clementine orange, cantaloupe and strawberries.  And of course a nice mug full of tea.

One man's garbage is anothers treasure

I found this in the basement of my building.  It was going out as garbage.  I called my son to see if he wanted it for his my apartment, but it was too tall.  I had my neighbour help me bring it up to my apartment, because is was too good to throw away.

This is how it looks now that I have filled it with scrapbook stuff.

I'm not usually a dumpster diver, but this one was worth it.  It's a Billy bookshelf from Ikea.

January Update

I was just looking at my January 1st blog, and I had to laugh.  All good intentions!  But I have had just about no success on any of the points.

I saw the surgeon last Wednesday 3 months post surgery, and he was not happy.  In fact he had a little rant about the physiotherapists not doing the best for me.  When he found out that I was not paying, but was having it through OHIP, (Ontario Health Insurance Plan), he said that if I was paying privately he was sure they would be doing a better job!  So I went back and told that to the physiotherapist, (who was not very happy, obviously) and then I was subject to a very painful session.  I guess that is how it will go from now on, but hopefully that will mean I will progress further than before.  The surgeon said he has patients just 6 weeks post surgery who are much further along than me.

As for my body image, it continues to get worse.  I renewed my gym subscription, with all good intentions, but due to the pain in my shoulder and a bout of the 'flu, I haven't had the energy or the lung capacity to go and work out.  Hopefully beginning in February I can change this.

Expanding my group of friends has actually gone backwards.  In the winter months I just feel like staying home and staying warm!  I haven't been to any events other than my own Board Games Night which is in my building!  I know that once spring shows up that this will change.

Same goes for my love life.  I had just commented to my friend Kat, who is a Relationship Coach, that I just have no desire to date in the winter.  I'm not sure if that is typical of singles in Canada, but again I never have a good body image during those months and I hate all the clothes I have to wear to stay warm!

My relationship with my family is about the same.  I got rid of my land line so now I won't be phoning them as much.  I did hook both my brother and sister up on Skype and we even had a conference call.  It was pretty cool.  Now if only they would log on to Skype on the weekends we can chat more often.  In the process of getting rid of my land line, I gave up that number.  My son is so sentimental that he didn't want to lose the number we have always had, so he took it on.  If anyone calls for me they will get him, and he'll pass on my new number.

I have scrapped maybe 3 times this month, so no change there either.  I just bought a cool new cartridge for my Cricut machine, and cut out some lovey retro looking kitchen stuff.  Go check it out at Scrapped. That is another blog I have.

As for flossing, I didn't have a dentist appointment this month, or ate anything that got caught in my teeth, so I figure that I flossed a total of about 5 times this month.  I know, I KNOW, gross!  I never have been a big flosser, I have very healthy teeth, and so I just don't see the need!

So here comes February, lets see what I can accomplish this month.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

2010 Newsletter

My 2010 newsletter
Click this link


January 1st.

A time to renew and plan for success.

I'm not really sure what my plan is, but basically to have a better year than the last, to be a more positive influence on the lives I touch and to be and do the best that I can.

Some of the things that will improve are:
  • the movement of my arm and shoulder, which means continued physiotherapy and exercise
  • my body image, which means returning to the gym on a more regular basis
  • expanding my group of friends, beyond Work, Couchsurfing and Meetup
  • my love life, which means going on more dates
  • my relationship with my family
  • the frequency with which I scrapbook
  • flossing
I started blogging almost 6 years ago, and my first entry was, `101 Things to do in 1001 days`.  I just checked back on it and most of the items are done, only about 20 or so were never completed.  Some of the things took a lot longer than I expected, and others are just not as important to me any more.

I will also be more aware of what I have, how I use it and be appreciative of it.

How about you?