Wednesday, March 31, 2021

What's Up Wednesday

What we're eating this week...
Sunday - Cacio e Pepe Pasta
Monday - Corn Pancakes topped with avocado and tomato
Tuesday - Tacos
Wednesday - Order (Half price pizzas from Queen Margherita)
Thursday - Salad Bowls
Friday - Fish and Chips for Good Friday
Saturday - Burgers

What I'm reminiscing about...

The church that I attended when I was growing up is shutting its doors this week and the building is being put up for sale. The congregation will continue in a smaller church just outside of town, but the last Sunday service was held there on this past weekend and then on Good Friday the final service will be held there.  The service was live-streamed on Facebook and I was able to watch it later.  Not only was it the last service, it was also a retirement "party" of sorts for the organist (who was also my piano teacher).  It is sad to see the church close and I have so many fond memories of my time spent there - church services, Sunday School, confirmation classes, junior choir, bell choir, variety shows, piano recitals, Brownies, church suppers, baptisms and funerals.  

What I'm loving...

I love our new Peloton.  It has been fun to try something new and I like that I can do a quick 30 minute bike and get a good workout. I'm still getting the hang of it all, but I can get my shoes out of the pedals a bit easier than I could at first.

What we've been up to...

We have walked to pick up the kids a few times lately and it has been fun to hear about their days on the walk home and also stop by the playground where they are able to meet up with their friends at the playground.

Q is walking his "puppy" on the way home.


What I'm dreading...

We all know it's coming, the kids will be sent home from school for Easter weekend and I'm doubting they will go back, and it will be back to virtual learning.  I know we can do it, but I'm dreading it all the same.

What I'm working on...

Learning about white privilege and changing my behaviours (choosing better words, identifying micro-aggressions, calling out racism).  

What I'm excited about...

Eating outside.  Dave and I had lunch on a patio last week and although it has been a little chillier since then, we will get our patio set cleaned up soon and eat our suppers out there. 

What I'm wearing...

My new All Birds flats.  They have several colours, but I chose black.  I ordered 8.5 which is what I wear in most shoes, but I think I could have gotten away with a half size smaller. 

What I'm watching/reading...

We are watching Workin' Moms (catching up on Netflix), Stanley Tucci's food show, and chipping away at various Golden Globe and Oscar nominees when we can. 

I am reading Jerry Seinfeld's book, "Is This Anything?". 

What I'm listening to...

Keeping up with current events through The Daily and The Bridge podcasts. 

What I'm doing this weekend...

It is Easter so we will do a few things - view our church services online, make an Easter cake, dye some eggs, hunt for eggs on Easter morning and make ribs for our Sunday dinner. 

What I'm looking forward to next month...

Easter festivities, warmer weather, hopefully better news about the vaccine rollout for Canada.

What else is new...

Q has a new bike with pedals (but no training wheels) so we (mostly Dave) are teaching him to ride a bike.

Linking up with Shay today.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Weekend Recap

We had a full weekend, even despite some rain on Sunday.  I know here in Toronto (and other parts of the country) it feels like we are (still) in dire straits when it comes to Covid and the slow roll out of the vaccines.  I am trying not to get discouraged and just accept that we will have to stay home a little longer.  Now, onto some local fun!

E made me a rainbow loom bracelet to match my watch.

Later in the afternoon I did a Peloton ride and I took this photo because I feel like if you don't take some version of this photo, do you even own a Peloton!?!?  Haha

And then Dave snapped me while mid-ride.

E came home with this sarcophagus that he had made for his project.  His teacher said his was the most creative in the class and that he also did well on his speaking parts

Friday was pizza night!  Q was in on the action.

After supper we watched Babe and then the boys got into their fort to sleep.  This is in Q's closet with all of their collective bedding.  It was semi-successful but E said he moved to the bed partway through the night.

On Saturday morning we took advantage of the clear weather and went on a hike.  I wanted to go back to Happy Valley where had hiked in the winter and see what it was like in the spring.  Having done this hike, we will have to go back in the summer and fall now too!

We did a bit of relaxing before going outside to try Q's new bike.  

No training wheels means lots of help.

We decided to light a fire when we got back and roasted some hot dogs for the boys.

We put together a cheese board for Dave and I to nibble on for our dinner.  My mom had sent me money to pick up a bottle of Whispering Angel rose and it was so good!  I like a really dry white or rose wine and this one fit the bill. 

Behind the scenes. 

On Sunday morning we woke up to rain and settled in for some movies.  I watched our church's Palm Sunday service online.  Then I put together this board for our lunch, using up a few things in the fridge.

We made a couple of Easter crafts after that.

And then we joined our Sunday School to make cookies. 

The sun came out after that so the boys went back outside.  I made a pecan pie and talked to my mom on the phone.

We had a delicious meal of cacio e pepe pasta (inspired by Stanley Tucci's show in CNN) and then enjoyed our pie!

Monday, March 29, 2021

Racism Notes

Over the past few weeks I participated in our church's lenten series on white privilege and racism.  Every Wednesday at lunchtime for an hour I joined a Zoom call with 15 to 20 other people.  We opened with a relevant devotional prayer and scripture reading, with comments from the minister, and then we would break into small groups to discuss the topic.  You can see our various topics here with some material.  This is obviously a timely topic and I was happy to participate.  In other times this would have been something conducted in person and I would not have been able to attend since I would have been at work.  

I get my information from a lot of different sources and I like to think I am fairly reasonable at discerning what is the "good" information.  I know I am susceptible to confirmation bias since many of my sources are liberal leaning and align with my views.  I also know I'm never going to be done learning and adapting, but I do think I'm going in the right, progressive direction.  

So something I found very interesting in our church group was hearing from people of different generations and backgrounds who were not up the same speed as me on a lot of these social issues (and of course a few people were farther ahead).  I sometimes assume that everyone agrees with me (or alternatively is showing me the way) so to hear these various perspective was a bit eye opening and I could see that because of these variety of opinions, change is slow to happen (and I realize that sounds so naive).  I will say that all discussions were respectful and although there were a few borderline offensive comments, they were productive sessions and I think quite beneficial to the people who attended.

A few of my takeaway thoughts from these sessions: 

- People feel offended by the suggestion that they have white privilege.  They think people are mad at them for being white and since they can't change that, they feel attacked.  My thoughts on that is that people think privilege is a zero sum game, but it's not.  Lifting up other groups of people doesn't mean we need to take away anything from the white people.  It's not pie. 

- I heard people saying "we should have a Black person come to these sessions and tell us how they feel and what they want." And I'm not by any means discounting what people of colour have to say here, but for me it's like we can probably figure that out pretty quickly; people of colour have been asking for the same thing for many many years and they are exhausted.  They want to be treated equally and not like second and third class citizens.  And not only that, hearing from one Black person is only their perspective, there are lots of people with different experiences and desires. 

(or earlier!!)

- Awareness that there is a problem is the first step.  Maybe we are not personally offended by a phrase, a picture, a statue, the name of a building or street, etc. but we should know and acknowledge that it is offensive to someone else and maybe have some empathy for that.  We should understand that certain phrases are not appropriate and to stop using them.  I also take the next step of calling someone out for using an offensive term when I hear it.  

- And then taking that thought one step further, it is helpful to provide an explanation.  Saying "don't do that" without giving a global context about why it is important isn't helpful.  The person hearing it then feels defensive, but if you're able to explain how their actions or words are part of a larger problem, they may be better able to understand how their (small) change can make a positive contribution to a greater solution.  We grow up with a certain habits and views and for some people it's only been the last couple of years where they have realized those habits and views are problematic.  

- We are not likely to say the right thing all of the time but I think staying silent for fear of being imperfect is a cop out.  A burden of our privilege is feeling awkward.  I mean, if that's the worst that can happen to us, I think we can manage it.  Speak, but then listen, see how you need adjust and grow. Start with good intentions, but direct those intentions into more. I heard numerous times, "Well I went out of my way to be nice to that person and they told me they were offended and felt I was being condescending!"  So in that situation, the speaker could just sit with the thought that since they were just trying to be nice, then it must be the other person's fault for feeling offended.  Or, they could recognize that their words were really micro-aggressions and that they should be aware of those and avoid using them next time.  I am constantly learning this. 

I just wanted to pass along what I picked up at these sessions and maybe start you thinking too.  

Friday, March 26, 2021

Friday Favourites


Happy Friday!! I am happy to see this weekend roll around.  We had beautiful weather all week which is such a treat!

On Tuesday Dave and I went for a walk at lunch to pick up a few groceries and then we ended up grabbing lunch and a beer on a patio.  Outdoor dining just opened up again last Saturday and with the warm weather, we couldn't resist!

Last week was supposed to be March Break so as something a little different, E's class worked on dioramas of ancient civilizations.  E picked Egypt and build a pyramid.  Building was a highlight of his week and he had lots of stories everyday of what he added and how he was collaborating with other students.  This week he had to write out a few sentences to present to the class.  He was a little distracted by TV after school one day but he did get it done.

Yesterday I posted about spring and something we got to enjoy this week was walking up in the late afternoon to get the kids from the YMCA after school.  It is nice to be out in the neighbourhood and seeing their classmates and friends.  This is definitely a perk of working from home.

What are your plans for this weekend?  It's Palm Sunday so I'll be tuning into our church's YouTube live feed, and will also get our Easter decorations out.  It looks like it will be a little cooler but we will still get outside, and maybe I'll make a pie.

Linking up with Andrea and Erika.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Monthly Musings


Linking up with Holly  and Patty for Monthly Musings.

1. Do you celebrate Easter or Passover?  If so, what are your traditions?
We celebrate Easter.  It is my favourite holiday of the year, I like it more than Christmas. We attend church on Easter Sunday morning (virtually last year and this year), the kids look for the eggs that the Easter Bunny hid, we spend some time outside, and we cook a special meal.  We used to make ham but last year I made ribs because it was just us, and I liked it so much I think it is our new traditional Easter meal.

2. Favourite Spring tradition?
Getting our first ice cream cone. 

3. What Spring activities are you and your family involved in?
Nothing happening here.  Sports (assuming they go ahead) don't start until closer to summer. But independently we will start doing some biking soon. 

4. What are you most looking forward to in Spring?
The warm weather of course!

5. Do you plant a garden/flowers?
We do not plant a garden, just get some potted plants for our urns out front, and for the back steps.  And we plant some herbs in pots. 

6. Do you decorate you house for Spring?
Yes, we have Easter and Spring decorations.  I am hoping to get those out this week!

7. Do you have a favourite Spring meal?
Burgers on the barbeque. 

8. Does it feel like Spring yet where you live?
Yes, Southern Ontario is pretty reliable to change seasons with the calendar.  We may get a few single digit temperature (Celsius) days still, but I think Spring is actually here now.

9. Will your Spring look different this year due to Covid?
Our Spring will be the same as last year (but with kids in school for now).  No extra-curricular activities, no family visits, essential shopping trips only, and wondering when things will start opening back up.  This year we do have one difference and that is watching more and more people vaccinated and hoping it will be our turn before too long.

10. Have you dined outside yet this Spring? 
Yes, Dave and I had lunch on a patio on Tuesday, it was lovely. We will be cleaning off our table and chairs at home so we can start eating out there more too.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

March Book Review

Two books this month:

 Two Trees Make A Forest by Jessica J. Lee

This book was on the Canada Reads list, although not the winner.  It is a non-fiction book about this Canadian author's family history in Taiwan.  I actually didn't know it was non-fiction when I picked it up, I thought it would just be a story about Taiwan and since I know very little about that area, then I decided to buy it.  

There are a number of beautiful passages in the book and I really enjoyed learning about the history of Taiwan, her family's experience of leaving China for Taiwan, and then later leaving for Canada.  The author spends time in Taiwan itself and gets to experience the natural beauty through hiking and I found that really interesting.  I don't often think about how lucky I am to have just been born in Canada and never having to leave or being denied the right to return to my home (save for that darn Atlantic Covid bubble!).  There are so many people that have to flee their homes and then just never get to go back, or never choose to go back even when they are able to.  

Now, because it is a non-fiction book, there are several parts that get a little too text book-y for me.  I know the author wanted to give a good background and some of it was appreciated but some was a little thick for the type of read I wanted. I admit I skimmed a few parts of it. I was more interested in the story of the author's grandparents. 

I would be interested in finding out what the Canada Reads people had to say about the book so I will check that out.

The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin.

I feel like I hadn't read an easy to read fiction book for awhile, my last fiction book was in December and it still had some pretty heavy topics, so this book was a refreshing change.  On the other hand, it was so simple and easy to read, I thought it was somewhat mediocre in comparison to my other recent book topics. 

This book follows a woman who owns a bookshop in small town United States, and then is offered the opportunity to do a book shop swap (like The Holiday) with her friend in Paris who owns a bookshop there.  They agree to move to each other's towns for a few months.  The book is only about the American, it does not jump back and forth between the two book shop owners, but I would have been interested in that.  It kept my interest and I loved hearing about Paris (when she was actually able to enjoy it instead of having to deal with the bookshop). 

So if you want something fun and easy, this is a good one to check out.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Weekend Recap

Friday was a busy day.  I had to do a few errands to pick up things for Dave's birthday weekend, and we also fit in a quick trip to Costco. For dinner we had one of our favourite meals Chicken, Okra, Corn Salsa, Sweet Potato, Feta bowl.  It is so delicious!  I actually went to bed fairly early after falling asleep watching Falcon and the Winter Soldier. 

On Saturday morning it was Dave's birthday and we met up with Dave's parents near Cambridge to go for a hike, at the Sudden Forest Loop. 

Q is meditating by the side of the trail.

So E did it too.

Dave's parents set up a bit of a surprise for Dave's birthday with balloons and some lemon squares.

We had a nice drive back home and after a bit of rest, E went to play with the neighbours and Q and I walked up to the playground.

Our evening was a bit mixed up.  The plan had been to open gifts, have our charcuterie board and oysters for supper, followed by ice cream cake and Zoom call with Dave's family.  But it was a little backwards.  Dave had taken apart the kitchen faucet while we were gone and was having a hard time getting the old one disconnected to install the new one.  That meant the kitchen was a bit of a mess so I couldn't really get our charcuterie board ready.  Plus our neighbours were having a fire so we walked over there to have a drink with them.  The kids ate some pizza there, and then we went back home and quickly did gifts and cake before the Zoom call.  Then we ended up eating our oysters and board while on the call. 

We watched a bit of TV after getting the kids to bed but I was exhausted!

On Sunday morning Dave went for a run and when he got back we had some smoked salmon bagels.

It was a beautiful day so we got outside for a picnic lunch.

Dave and I cleaned the house, the kids played with friends, and we felt ready for the week.  We ordered some food for supper and got to bed at a decent time.