Friday, October 31, 2014

Friday, October 31st - Happy Halloween!!!

Conditions at 5:10 am:  a calm and clear 3' that only feels like 1'
Expected later:  a sunny 9' that may only feel like 7' but we'll take it!

How fortunate for the kids that Halloween is falling on a Friday this year.  Actually it's probably more of a blessing for the teachers! No overtired, oversugared kids arriving at school the next day.
I was talking to the kids the other night but in our discussion of the trip to London,  I totally forgot to ask what they were dressing as for Halloween. I'm sure pictures of the big night will be coming soon.

The day after Patti and James got back, I received an email from a friend in Ontario with some amazing photos of the Tower of London. I wish I'd known about it before the two of them went there last weekend. They weren't aware of it and missed it. But I emailed the tourist bureau there and it the display will be finished on November 11th but it will take them 7 to 14 days to completely dismantle it so it's hoped that Patti may get to see some of it when she goes back to London later in November. It's absolutely beautiful - a sea of 888,246  ceramic poppies spilling from the tower to the moat around it. They were for sale after it's over with the proceeds going to various charities. Unfortunately they've all been sold. But what a sight to see.

Volunteers have been  recruited to help install the flowers and the last one will be 'planted' on November 11th at a special Remembrance Day ceremony. What a moving experience that will be for a lot of people, as each poppy marks the death of a member of the British Forces during the first world war.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wednesday, October 28th - looks like London survived Hurricane James!

Conditions at 6:30 am: 7' that feels more like 4'
Expected later: a mix of sun and cloud and a balmy 15'

Well, by all accounts our travelers had a great time in London. James had no trouble navigating his way through the airport and actually arrived at the crew bus stop BEFORE the crew!  I had no idea how things went but was mighty relieved when I got the text message that they were home once more.
I talked to James on Monday evening and he filled me in on all the details.  It sounds like they had a pretty amazing time, hitting all the high tourist spots like:

Silverman's Army Supplies and MORE:

The Imperial War Museum:

HMS Belfast:

And some bridge they came upon! 

I can say I've been to London several times and apparently a couple of these hot spots have avoided my radar. I can't imagine how that could have happened!

He was especially pleased that he got to experience the first class luxury of an international flight - at least on the way over. On the way back he was just like everyone else.  Before leaving Toronto, he did get to sit in the cockpit for a few minutes while they were loading the plane, so he was pretty excited about that. I can only imagine the conversation that took place in that tiny space in those few moments. The pilots were probably exhausted before they even took off!

They had a bit of a whirlwind tour and were only able to fit in a few things but all the more reason to go back - and I have not doubt he will be going back sooner rather than later.  It really is an amazing place for a history buff to visit.

But he learned first hand just how small the world really is - he was in Heathrow Airport and ran into a fellow student from his school! Turns out this other guys father is a pilot and the son was over visiting a cousin. Amazing!

Because he did such a great job of getting through the airport they didn't end up taking the train to Paddington Station, so no bear pictures this trip. Maybe next time!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Monday, October 27th - gosh, where did this month go??

Conditions at 5:30 am: very windy with heavy rain, and a temperature of 8' that's feeling more like 5'
Expected later: more wind and rain and a high of 8" that's only going to feel like 3'

But I suppose the up side is, it's not snowing, unlike other parts of the country.  It was a pretty quiet weekend at the Denny residence.  I was still feeling rather poorly on Saturday, which ticked me of no end. I hated to waste my Saturday off, by sleeping most of the day. But unfortunately that's what I did. In retrospect perhaps I should have stayed home on Friday and slept all day, then perhaps I would have felt better on Saturday. Oh well, you know what they say about hindsight being 20/20. 

Fortunately I felt considerably better on Sunday, maybe not 100% but much improved. I did actually manage to get a few things done around the house so at least the whole weekend wasn't a total loss.

Lloyd is working the afternoon shift all week so I plan to get busy and do some long overdo work around the house.  I'm sorely tempted to spend these evenings out in the craft room but that will have to wait. 

He spent a fair bit of the weekend out in the garage. He's currently building storage cabinets for tools etc. and they're coming along nicely. We plan to have a little get together out in the garage with some food and perhaps a beverage or two for those folks who so generously donated their time, expertise or equipment to help finish the project. We certainly couldn't have done it without their help. So yesterday we decided on a date because there's nothing like a deadline to push things along! Of course Lloyd will be away for the long weekend so that will make it slightly more difficult but no one will be expecting everything to be done. But it will be somewhat presentable by then (at least that's the plan!).  Invitations will be forthcoming very soon for those involved, and you all know who you are!
Statue at Paddington Station

 I talked to Patti on Saturday and she was off to jolly old London, England that evening. She planned to take
James with her. Now that he can fly by himself she can take him along. There are some war museums there that he'd love to visit. (I'll bet she'll wish she'd taken her mom along instead - I'm a much better shopper than James is likely to be!).  Only glitch in the plan is he would have to make his way through customs on his own as the crew are required to go through another area. But if anyone can find his way around an airport, it will be James.  Hopefully they're having a good time, although they will be heading back home today. Better to learn about a city in person than reading about it in a geography class.  This will be his second visit, as he and I accompanied Patti when he was five, I think. He was deeply into knights at that time so we took him to visit Windsor Castle.  He had his picture taken with the statue of Paddington Bear at Paddington Station. He thinks he needs an updated one, so I know that's on his list of things to do.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday, October 24th - only two months to Christmas Eve!

Conditions at 5:10 am: it was indeed a dark and stormy night! Right now it's very windy, raining and 10' that's feeling more like 6' because of that wind

Expected later: and for the next few days - rain, rain and more rain with a high later today of 13'

Not a lot to report since Wednesday. I was feeling a little under the weather on Wednesday and things didn't improve. So much so that I actually stayed home on Thursday. I slept most of the day - what a waste of a lovely mild and sunny day off work. But as Lloyd says, that's what sick days are supposed to be for. This morning is slightly better, though I'm still not quite up to snuff.  One more day should do it, I hope. There's a function at the Rec Centre tonight and a wedding tomorrow night. I really don't think I'll make the one tonight but hopefully I'll feel better tomorrow and can help out at the wedding.

The one good thing about being ill, is when I do wake up, I'm getting caught up on some reading. I have lots stored on my Kobo as well as several books to finish and pass on to Brenda, so I suppose there is a silver lining to all of this. The wet weather is supposed to continue over the weekend so I'm hoping to maybe bake a batch of bread (something that is sadly overdue) and perhaps spend some quality time out in the craft room. I've been much too busy lately to spend any time out there and I'm looking forward to getting back to a few projects that are patiently waiting.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wednesday, October 22nd - it's nice to have things quieted down

Conditions at 5:30 am - 5' that's feeling a little more like 2'
Expected later - probably some rain at some point, and a high of 11' that's only going to feel like 8'

After the wonderfully warm weather on the weekend, we were certainly in for a shock the past two days. Yesterday there was quite a heavy frost on the car, so you know it was chilly. In fact, I had to do some digging to find a warmer jacket, as I just haven't gotten around to taking out any warm clothes as yet. Guess I'd better do that soon, as the shorts and tank tops in my dresser drawer are doing little more than taking up space at this point in the season. 

It's been a quiet couple of days. Monday evening I caught up on some laundry and then watched an hour of TV and that was it. Tuesday was community school so that pretty much took the evening as well. Once home, I headed off to bed to read for a bit before falling asleep.  After the flurry of activity last week, it's really nice to not have anything pressing that needs doing (not that there aren't things that NEED doing!)

Lloyd, on the other hand, has been extremely busy. He had a great day yesterday, completely finishing stacking all the wood (which I'm really sorry, but I had only a tiny hand in doing). He pretty much did it all. In fact, our little wood shed, is pretty much filled to capacity.  Things are put away for the winter that were hanging around the yard.  In fact, he was slightly insulted that I didn't notice when I got home. But I was concentrating on getting my stuff gathered together and in the house, because I knew that supper would be waiting - and it was. After I finished eating I went outside to check out his work. He was indeed a busy boy on Tuesday.

We just lit our first fire a week ago, the day the fellow came by to clean the chimney, as it was quite cool that morning. But then it turned warm again. This fall has definitely been easy on the wood supply.  But Monday night, it was  cold and damp and it was so nice to come into the house to a warm fire burning in the stove. There's really nothing like it. 

I know what he's likely having for breakfast this morning when he gets home. One of the salesmen at work just moved to a rural area and his new landlord has an assortment of ducks and chicken. They gave him some duck eggs to try so he brought three in for me. They are a little bigger than our grocery store chicken eggs, but they are much heavier. I weighed them both and the chicken egg was 58 grams, while the duck egg was 91 grams. It would certainly take some calculating if you were to use them in a baking recipe.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Monday, October 20th -It was a grand weekend - on many levels

Conditions at 5:40 am: raining and a chilly 5' that feels more like 1'
Expected later: a mix of sun and cloud and a high of 8' that's only going to feel like 4'

Finally it's all done! What a week it was. Lots of late nights and very early mornings but everyone seems to have been satisfied with our efforts.  Lunches at Toyota are always somewhat of a challenge, as Lloyd stays in town after work and meets me there around 11:00.  So the challenge for me is to make absolutely sure that I have everything we need when I leave the house in the morning. But it all worked out.
Friday night was spent doing a few last minute things for Saturday's lunch. I was up early Saturday morning and had everything organized (I hoped) to load the car. Lloyd packed up everything between his truck and my car and he was off, while I went round and picked up Brenda and then we headed into town to pick up last minute stuff.  The bakery where we were picking up the rolls doesn't open till 9:00 so we found ourselves sitting and waiting in the car for a few minutes for them to open.  I was afraid we would have way too many buns as I had ordered 12 dozen, and in the end we only had 102 guests but we had 3 rolls left at the end of the day so it was good we had extras. 

Saturday's menu: 
Green Salad with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, grated carrots and shredded red cabbage, with a choice of three dressings.
Firehouse chili with sour cream and cheddar 
Butter tarts and squares for dessert.

We weren't able to get into the area where the meal was going to be served until sometime after 11:00 as
they were doing training in there, so it was a bit rushed at the end but we managed to pull it off, with some help from a few firemen who put chili bowls down in front of folks.
When they were done, we cleaned up, and set the tables for Sunday so that we had less to do the next day.

That turned out to be a great idea, thanks to Brenda, who came up with the suggestion.  Saturday evening was spent shredding cabbage, and cooking pasta for salads. In fact it went so well, that we were all done by 8:00 and Lloyd and I were able to take a glass of wine, some pate, cheese and crackers out to the balcony. It had been an absolutely glorious day, temperatures in the low 20's and lots of sunshine, and the great weather continued into the evening.

Sunday also ran pretty smoothly. Once again Mother Nature was on our side. It was a still mild, but overcast and looked like rain, but it never really materialized. In fact the sun came out later and it was another gorgeous day.   Lloyd left home around 9:00 with the pulled pork, to put into the ovens to heat, while I picked Brenda up after church, and then we motored into town. We were held up at a couple of spots, as the PEI Marathon was going on, but we still had ample time to get everything ready.

Sunday's menu: 
Pasta salad, coleslaw,  Pulled pork on a bun, cupcakes and squares for dessert. 

The salads were dressed, the cupcakes were iced and the buns sliced, at the venue and then we were ready. In fact we had time to spare.  Then it was time and once again we had some great help from a couple of the firemen, so a big thanks to them. 

We didn't realize that the annual general meeting was taking place immediately after lunch, in the same area, so we weren't able to go in and clear the tables. We were able to take the food dishes off but the rest was left for them to clean up when they finished. It was all disposable so the clean up would have been pretty easy.

All in all it was a great weekend. A huge thank you to Brenda, we really couldn't have done it without her expertise! 

Patti called last night to find out how things had gone and reported that the kids skating meet went well, with James bringing home a silver medal and Tristen bringing home gold! Well done, guys.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wednesday, October 15th - an early anniversary wish

Conditions at 5:30 am: 16' with a few clouds
Expected later: 21' that will feel more like 25' with a mix of sun and cloud!!! Gotta love this fall weather

It's almost show time, and everything is ready. Brenda, who was away all weekend, and I'm sure could have found lots to do at home, very generously came over and gave me a hand last night. I had most things under control but it was sure nice to have an extra pair of hands with the last few little jobs. SO, once again, thank you to Brenda.  She's coming into work today with Lloyd and will help him serve. He's got to cut and cook sheets of fresh pasta, apply the sauce of choice (alfredo or tomato) and also grill the bread. I know he'll be ever so grateful for the extra help.  It all seemed like such a good idea when we first thought of it, but I always underestimate just how much work is sometimes involved.

Time to go and get the car loaded so I'm cutting it short this morning.

But not before wishing Patti and Greg Dennison a very happy anniversary. Like most years they will likely all be running off in all directions this evening. Hopefully they'll find some time to do something special together really soon.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sunday, October 12th - Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Conditions at 7:30 Sunday evening: a mild 7' - quite a pleasant evening out there.
Expected on Monday - a sunny 15' and I hope to get outside and enjoy some of it!

It's been a pretty busy couple of days.  I know it's thanksgiving and all, but that's really taken second place to all the jobs still to be finished before Wednesday and our first Toyota lunch. I pretty much have to be totally organized and up to date by the end of the day tomorrow.

Yesterday, (Saturday) both ovens were tied up all day long with 50 pounds or so of brined pork, slowly roasting to juicy goodness. By this morning it was falling off the bone tender, just what we were looking for.  We got smart today and put the remaining pork it in the oven around 6:00 pm because we still have another 50 or 60 pounds to cook, which should be done by morning. So the ovens were free today for me to use.
Lloyd and I shredded and bagged the pork this morning, and then he headed outside to work out there.  Meanwhile, I stayed in and finished baking cupcakes and tarts. I now have 157 cupcakes in the freezer as well at 139 butter tarts. I still have one more dozen tarts to do but I need to make another batch of pastry first. No worries, I have tomorrow. I worked out a few other things that needed to be sorted out, like figuring out just how many cabbages I need to shred and how much coleslaw dressing I need to make,etc, etc. But it's all good, I almost have things under control.

As we head into thanksgiving tomorrow, I know there are so many things we have to be thankful, and I
suppose the one thing I'm really thankful for is an extra day off this weekend!   But, seriously, we are all so very lucky, and have so many things to be grateful for. And not all of them are material things. Last night, we happened to look outside at just the right time and saw the most amazing sunset. I took a photo but it really doesn't do it justice.  It was like the sky was on fire. To live in this place, and to see sights such as this, is truly humbling. 

On the other hand, I am sorry that I didn't have time to do anything for Bernie over the weekend. With Brenda away, I'm sure he would have welcomed a home cooked meal, but I'm not sure the Kraft Dinner we had for supper tonight would have been very welcomed.

I've finally washed up the last of the dishes, again, for the day.  Now I think I'll head off and take a nice hot bath. Lloyd is next door visiting Frank and I have the place to myself. Can't think of a better way to pass the rest of the evening.

Once more day of hectic cooking and then it will be showtime before we know it!  Happy Turkey Day everyone!

PS - a huge shout out and thanks to Joe, in Guelph, for fetching Lloyd's bike and getting it safely home to Patti's garage. I suppose now that's where it will spend the winter - sorry guys, but we really appreciate your being able to retrieve it and store it for the winter.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday, October 10th - what a day of coincidences.

Conditions at 5:30 am: 10' and very bright with a brilliant full moon
Expected later: 14' and sunny - a little cooler than the last few days but still pretty pleasant

Well, what a day it was on Thursday. If I was into astrology, I'd be claiming that all the stars were in alignment.  First of all, in the morning on my way to work, they mentioned the date and I realized it would have been John Lennon's birthday. You've got to love a day that starts off right away with the Beatles!  (okay, maybe not everybody would, but...)
Then when I got to work, there were two old LP's sitting on my desk. For those of you who don't know what that is, look it up online. I'm sure there's a Wikipedia description for what they are and what they were used for!
One was "Help" which I used to have, and the other was an old one I'd not seen, or heard of before, with old recordings of the early band in Hamburg, Germany from 1962. From what I understand, the quality is terrible, and the songs are all covers, no original Beatles music, but my gosh, what a find for a die hard fan. 

One of the salesmen at work in moving and was going through some old albums and decided I might like to have these. I have another Beatles album that Patti bought for me on one of her trips overseas that I've not listened to, as I don't have a turntable anymore. No worries. I decided to check the Michael's website because I was pretty sure you can buy frames to hang things like this on the wall.

Wouldn't you know, they have just the thing. But here's where it got even more weird - they have a pack of 3 - just the number I needed. Then when I looked for coupons online, I found a 50% off one, that expired that very day.
The music gods were truly watching down on me yesterday.   So now the three albums I do own, are framed and ready to claim a spot out in the craft room, with all the other paraphernalia that's cluttering up the walls out there.  It was a great day!

Things are progressing for our catering functions as well. So far I've baked 91 butter tarts and 88 cupcakes. Just a few more dozen and I'll be done.  Still things to do but I have three days ahead  of me. Tonight there's a wedding at the Rec Centre so that will be out of the mix, but then I have all weekend.

Brenda is away in Toronto. She sent me a photo where they were having lunch - at Casa Loma.  I think it's going to be a great few days for her and Meghan. She was wondering if any of our guys were up there, as there were some Toyota guys around and judging from the large promotional sign, they must have been having some sort of meeting. But, alas, none of our guys were there. All were present and accounted for here on the island.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Wednesday, October 8th - holy tomatoes!!!

Conditions at 5:45 - 13' and overcast
Expected later: 17' with sun and cloud and maybe a few showers
The weather was absolutely gorgeous the past couple of days - 19 and 20 degrees both days. Not so bad for the start of October, although it does cool down quite a bit in the evenings. 

Monday evening they were suggesting there might be a risk of frost - what to do with the tomatoes? We know it's getting iffy as to what nights might be too cool for them - it's that time of year. So we decided rather than take that chance, we would pick all of the tomatoes. What a haul!  Now we just have to figure out what we're going to do with them all!

There are quite a number of plum tomatoes that I'm going to dry into "sun" dried tomatoes, except you can apparently do them in a low oven. I'd make some of the green tomato chow that Lloyd likes, but we still have a vast number of jars left from the last time we made it. So some will be frozen and I'm really hoping enough little ones will be ripe enough next week for the salads I need for our upcoming functions. I'd really hate to have to buy tomatoes with these sitting on my table. Needless to say, it was a successful year for these. We still have carrots in the ground and a number of green onions but we just covered those up.They will likely get pulled this weekend.

Brenda is off to Toronto this evening to spend time with Meghan (1).  She's been battling a really bad cold for almost a  week and frankly. it seems the cold has been winning the fight, but hopefully she'll feel better today. What a shame to be heading out on a holiday feeling poorly. Hopefully the worst is behind her and she can enjoy some quality time away.  Have a great time, girls!

It's a great time of year to travel. One of our drivers at work, drove over to Cape Breton on Monday to pick up a car. He says the fall colours over there were stunning. I can only imagine. They're starting to change here as well, although still have a ways to go.

Not much else is new - Lloyd has been working in his garage, building stuff and getting things organized. He now has two really nice work benches, on wheels no less, so that he can move them around as needed. It's getting there but it's a slow process. We also have wood to stack, because before we know it, the snow will be here. Our plan is to devote at least one whole day over the long weekend to just that task. It's getting to the point where we have to get our priorities straight.  The other jobs for our catering functions will get done.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Monday, October 6th - wasn't that a party? NOT!!!

Conditions at 6:00 am - 12'
Expected later: a sunny 15' but a risk of frost tonight - time to pick those tomatoes!

Well, it was a productive weekend for some, not so much for others.
I worked on Saturday morning then went off to make several stops to pick up groceries needed for all our catering jobs that are coming up. I got home just in time to wolf down a sample pulled pork sandwich (which was mighty delicious) then head out to the Rec Centre. It was a longish night, not finishing up the dishes till slightly after 10:00 so I headed home instead of sticking around for a drink. When I arrived at the house, Lloyd was just finished grinding approximately 40 pounds of pork and beef for the chili. I helped
out by starting in on the dishes while he put the meat away. Once that was done, we took the garbage outside and put the meat in the fridge in the garage. It was a lovely night so we decided to finish off with a drink up on the balcony of the craft studio. I decided I'd try a small amount of the stuff that Lloyd and Bernie drink all the time - frozen Jack Daniel's Honey, over ice. It went down very smoothly and it was wonderful to be able to sit out there, and actually have a lengthy conversation - something we haven't been able to do in a very long time. Those new hearing aids are making SUCH a tremendous difference to his quality of life. One drink led to another, (and now I remember why I am usually very careful about not over-consuming) then the candles came out and the music was turned on and before we knew it, it was after 1:00 in the morning. I knew when I came into the house that things were not good. I finally got myself upstairs and into bed but it wasn't a pleasant night.

The next day was even less so. Unfortunately when I suffer a severe hangover, it's my stomach that takes a beating, more so than my head. I spent pretty much all day Sunday feeling extremely nauseous and very poorly. Needless to say I wasn't a lot of help. But thanks to Lloyd, who did pretty much everything, we now have 150 servings of delicious meaty chili in the fridge. Okay, I helped a little,  not a great deal, but I guess I was helpful when it was most needed. Tonight we'll package it all up in ziploc bags and put it in the freezer till needed. We test froze a sample and it was just fine. It's very tasty but we did dial back the heat just a little. Served with some sour cream and grated cheddar, it will be a winner, I'm sure.

I finally felt good enough to attend a meeting on Sunday evening with one of the firefighters who's on the committee, to sort out some last minute details. It's all shaping up to be a manageable event, we think.

This morning is much better, and I'm actually eating something so that's a good sign. A lesson well learned - stay away from that stuff!

While looking for a photo of a bottle of Honey Jack, as it's affectionately called in these parts, I came across this recipe - looks good and a much more civilized way to consume this product.

Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey Cupcakes with a Bourbon Drizzle
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Yield: One dozen cupcakes
    For the Cupcakes:
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3 Tbsp Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey
  • 3 Tbsp Milk
  • Cupcake liners
  • For the Bourbon Drizzle:
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • For the Buttercream Frosting:
  • 1 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (as much as needed to get correct consistency)
    To Make the Cupcakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla and mix just to incorporate.
  4. Whisk together flour, salt and baking powder. Add to the wet mixture and beat until just combined.
  5. Add the whiskey and milk until just combined.
  6. Line 12 muffin cups with cupcake liners and divide batter evenly into cups; approximately 2/3 full for each cup.
  7. Bake for 16 to 20 minutes; test with a toothpick; the top will be firm so make sure the inside is cooked through.
  8. Cool completely on a wire cake cooling rack before frosting.
  9. To Make the Bourbon Drizzle:
  10. Add all ingredients together in a small pan, bring to a boil and boil for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool before drizzling on cupcakes.
  11. To Make the Buttercream Frosting:
  12. Cream butter until light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar.
  13. Add the vanilla and Jack Daniels Honey and combine thoroughly.
  14. Add the cream a Tbsp at a time until your frosting is very light and fluffy and the correct consistency.
  15. Using a large serrated icing tip, pipe the frosting onto cupcakes.
  16. Garnish with the Bourbon Drizzle.
  17. CHEERS!!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Friday, October 3rd - a busy weekend ahead

Conditions at 5:30 am:  slightly overcast and 7'
Expected later: some sun this afternoon and a high of 16'  - not too shabby!

If the weather network is serious, we should be enjoying these balmy temperatures throughout next week. Not bad for October. 

Not a lot going on except baking, baking, baking. We have a total of 5 catering jobs to look after, and they're 5 days in a row, right after the long weekend,  SO it's going to take some super organizing to make sure we can pull it all off. We've made the menus and that's a big step out of the way. Now we can concentrate on getting it all done. Some things can be done in advance so we're doing as much as possible before hand. This means baking 150 butter tarts and 150 cupcakes, several apple pies, etc. Lloyd's looking after the meat portions of the meals - Firehouse chilli for 150 one day , and pulled pork sandwiches for 150 the next. That's not even looking at three days of lunches for 16. But if we can do 150, 16 now feels somewhat like a walk in the park.  I'll look after the salads, etc that will be accompanying these dishes. It's going to be a bit of a challenge but I'm looking forward to that. Keep your fingers crossed that it all goes well.

Brenda was over on Wednesday night and helped make cupcakes and butter tarts. 4 dozen down, lots more to go. It goes much faster with help, so a big thanks to her for that. We have a wedding this Saturday evening at the Rec Centre and I'm working on Saturday so that day is pretty much gone, but I'll have Sunday. Then the long weekend I'm off for three days and Lloyd is hoping to fly over to Newfoundland to visit his two sisters. That will give me ample time to get lots done without any interruptions for pesky things like meals, etc. James was thinking about coming down for the long weekend but with Lloyd away, he won't be here to take him fishing or any fun stuff like that, so I've called his mom and cancelled his invitation! Actually I just made it easier for him as there's an event in Ontario that he also wanted to attend, so he was a bit torn about just where to spend his time. Now I've taken the decision out of the mix for him.  I'm sure he'll understand
and be happy he's not disappointing us by not coming to visit. Patti told me last night that he got his bagpipes this week so he's pretty excited about that. He's been practicing out in the garage. They can hear him from outside but not from in the house. Glad I don't live right next door! His mom will have to take a video of him playing to send to me.
I got a brief lesson on the phone on the parts of the instrument, which I knew nothing about so I've done a little research and came across this diagram. Apparently they start out with only one drone, while the other two are blocked, then they are gradually added. I suspect that's maybe why they don't hear it in the house as yet. That may change once all those tubes are unblocked!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Wednesday, October 1st - already???

Conditions at 5:30 am: overcast and a balmy 12'
Expected later: somewhere between 13 and 15, depending on who you listen to, but sunny, so it's all okay - should be a lovely fall day!

What a difference a day can make. Saturday and Sunday were so lovely and warm and we almost froze on Monday and Tuesday. Okay, maybe not literally, but the drop in temperature was quite drastic. With highs around 10' it certainly felt much cooler. We need a more gradual approach to these things.

Monday was a fairly quiet evening. I spent the early part out in the craft room finishing up a small project I'd been working on. It's not quite done yet but ready to move on to the finishing step. I'd tell you what it is but I've not yet decided what I'm going to do with it. I started out making it for myself but it could end up being a Christmas Gift. It's a little early to tell just now.

Speaking of Christmas, Brenda and I have made a spectacular arrangement this year. First let me tell you about Louise Penny. She's this brilliant Canadian author Brenda introduced me to a couple of years ago. Her books take place primarily in a small rural village in Quebec.  You really need to read them in the order in which they were written to totally appreciate the characters and the references to past events. She loaned me the first one, then the second, third and fourth (which we swapped last Christmas, after she gave me one of them).

I recently received an email notification from Indigo, that her newest book was now available for purchase. Then we thought we should look and see first what ones we were missing. Turns out there were a total of 6 books that we needed to read, including the new one. So I took it upon myself to order them all. Once they arrived and had been suitably fondled, we arrived at a great arrangement. We would split the cost of said books and tell each other "Merry Christmas" , which is precisely what we did.  I read the first one and passed it on to her, and now I've finished the second of six, and it's ready to be  handed over as well. I have to confess I spent a fair bit of time reading on Sunday afternoon, but it was outside in the sun, so that should count for something. I finished up the last few pages on Tuesday morning before I got out of bed. I really enjoyed that particular one. It takes place primarily in the middle of Old Quebec City, in February. As the main character walks down along the winding, narrow snow covered streets of the old city it immediately brought me back to a trip Lloyd and I took there a number of years ago. We stayed overnight in Quebec
City but spent a day and evening touring the old part of town. As I read the words on the page, I was taken back to those same streets, covered in snow and ice, creating a post card like setting. Some of the buildings and sites mentioned were some of the same ones that Brenda and I had enjoyed in the summer of 2013, so it was a truly enjoyable book to read. I hope she enjoys it as much as I did. I was telling Lloyd about them and now he'd like to give the first one - STILL LIFE -  a try. I think he'll also enjoy them. Besides being well written, the author goes into great detail describing the delicious foods of the province. I'm sure it will have Lloyd drooling - because we all know it's really all about the food, not whodunit!