Monday, August 30, 2021

August Books

I read two books this month and started another one but had to put it down.  

First up is Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

(incidentally I read the large print version)

This book is about a boy who was the sole survivor of a plane crash.  The book goes back and forth between the flight itself from the point of view of different passengers, and then Edward's life after the crash. He obviously has a few issues to deal with post physical and emotional and it goes on for several years.  At first I felt like this was a story I read before, a book called Before the Fall that also featured a sole survivor from a plane crash.  But this book, Dear Edward, does go a bit farther and it was a moving read in the second half.  

As someone who gets nervous flying, I really should stay away from these books.  I trust the pilots immensely and I know they are well trained and good at what they do, but in these books where weather and pilot error are the cause, I am reminded that anything can happen at anytime.  I need to put this out of my mind the next time I fly (next month). 

The second book was my 2021 Reading List.  From the Ashes by Jesse Thistle.

This book is about an Indigenous (Metis) man who grows up in Toronto, becomes a drug addict and homeless, and (spoiler, but evidenced by the fact he is an author) turns his life around and gets clean.  I actually thought it was going to be about residential schools, but that wasn't part of it at all.  And to be honest his Indigenous status isn't the main focus of the story, and I don't mean that in a negative way, but rather it is a tragic story that just happens to be told by an Indigenous man.  Certainly racism played a part in how he was treated, how he grew up, and contributed to the troubles he faced but the story is also a universal one.  

This book details how he lived on the streets, couch surfing, and surviving despite the variety of drugs he put into his body.  He never could seem to get ahead, even though he did have love in his life from his family, tough love at times too.  It reminded me a bit of Educated and The Sound of Gravel where the writers eventually climbed out of devastating circumstances and ultimately survived, but I liked this one more because it took place in the Greater Toronto Area mostly.  I see the homeless people on our streets and anyone of them could be someone like Jesse was.  I already have empathy for homeless and impoverished people in our city, but this book (along with When the Moon is Low and Scarborough) do more to enlighten me on what life is like for many people and how they are just scraping by.  I hope others read this and instead of sneering at someone looking for change, see that individual as a whole person with a set of circumstances that led them to that place.  

The last book I was reading was A Promised Land by Barack Obama.

This is on my reading list as well, and I will get through it, but I had to put it down for now.  It is over 700 pages (and this is Volume 1 of 2!) and I could only get to page 161 and decided to return it to the library.  The book is good and I want to read it, but it's a little dry.  It basically just tells the story of Obama's campaign and then presidency and it's occasionally written like a speech where he gives examples about the single mother from South Side Chicago, or the second generation farmer in Iowa, and the public school teacher in California, you know what I mean?  He tries to relate everything back to the people of America (you can probably hear his voice saying these things).  So yeah, it's good, and will probably get more interesting after he becomes president (he's only just won the Democratic nomination by page 161) but it's not exactly a page turner, no offense Mr. President.

Friday, August 27, 2021

Friday Favourites

 We had more visitors again this week - Dave's sister flew in from British Columbia and his parents came up to get her.  They also took E and Q with them for a visit.  On Monday night we had dinner at the golf club, so lovely to be on the patio.

Q is wearing a bowtie #hefancy

Dave golfed on Tuesday and Wednesday late afternoons, so I was home alone (!) which meant I didn't really need to make supper so I picked up noodles and dumplings just for me (from Noodle Me) on Tuesday and a slice of pizza on Wednesday.  Then I caught up on This Is Us, I had about 8 episodes to watch and loved it all.  Uncle Nicky and Beth's mom (played by the formidable Phylicia Rashad) are great additions to the cast.  

Dave made me a smoothie bowl on Thursday and I topped it with a few things.  It was a perfect breakfast after my morning run,

We went out to eat at Bar Neon last night.  They had Happy Hour buck a shuck oysters so we got some of those and then some dips and pita, feta fries, and calamari.  It was all very good. 

Linking up with Andrea and Erika.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Monthly Musings


As some context I have two boys, one is going into Senior Kindergarten and one is going into Grade 5.  They attend public school and are registered in French Immersion. 

1. Do you meal plan and prep? Any favourite back to school recipes to share?
Yes, meal planning and food prep is in my wheelhouse.  We always have this mac and cheese for supper on the first day of school.

2. How do you buy and organize school supplies?
Our school doesn't require the students to bring school supplies other than backpacks and lunch boxes.  I do still send a pencil case with some coloured pencils or markers.  School supplies were always a big deal for me growing up, so I can't resist sending something with them.  We try to use their backpacks for more than one year but if we need a new one, we order them online from Herschel. Lunchboxes come for the local stationary/toy story or Wal-Mart.

3. Any back to school traditions?
We always take photos in front of the chalk board and on the front steps.  And we walk to school on the first day.

4. Bring lunch? Buy lunch? Favourite lunchbox item?
The kids bring a packed lunch.  In non-Covid years there have been options for a hot meal on Fridays and pizza every other Wednesday.  Hopefully we can get these options back this year for a bit more variety.  Honestly the favourite lunchbox item is leftover pizza, but a bagel with butter is more common.

5. Favourite thing about back to school, then and now?
When I was a kid I loved having the fresh start to the year with new school supplies and new clothes.  The fall air was fresh and crisp and it felt good to get back into a routine.  Now, I love that my kids have new experiences each year, they get to have their own stories to tell us and it's fun to see what they get up to.

6. Pumpkin or hate?
I will probably have one pumpkin spice latte per year, I'll make one or two pumpkin loafs, and I like pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, but I'm not seeking it out in any other format.

7. Do you decorate for fall?
Yes, we have a few different fall items and some things for Halloween, but we aren't the house that goes all out.

8. How do you transition your wardrobe to fall?
Cardigans and scarves that I can take on and off throughout the day since September and October can still be warm. I also like a good casual sneaker to take the place of my sandals.

9. Favouite fall fashion staples?
Trench coat - both a long beige one and a short red one, and Hunter Boots.

10. When does school start where you live?
The first day of school this year falls on Thursday, September 9.  This is pretty common for us, although we usually start on the Tuesday.  This year it was pushed out a bit for some extra back to school prep for teachers and the Jewish holidays.

Linking up with Holly and Patty.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

What's Up Wednesday

 What we're eating this week...
This is a weird week because the kids are away so Dave and I are going out to eat a few times.

What I'm reminiscing about...

As we get ready to head back to another school year where the kids are wearing masks, I have been reminiscing about our months in this pandemic.  Despite what is happening in other parts of the world (and even in Canada), Ontario seems destined to keep its restrictions for some time. I'm fine with the masks but I hope that the kids have more options for extra-curricular activities this year (and that we won't be too disrupted with symptoms and close contact requiring tests and quarantine). 

What I'm loving...

We are having a hot and humid week that I love, but I also love having our new conditioner :)

What we've been up to...

This month we have had family visits interspersed with camping/cottage trips.  My mom was here, then my dad, and then Dave's parents and sister. 

What I'm dreading...

The extent of the 4th wave.  I feel as though we could get it under control, but I do know that cases will continue to grow with the return to school, more people moving around and travelling, and the colder weather.  

What I'm working on...

It's time to clean out the food cabinets and then figure out what we need to replenish from the Bulk Barn. 

What I'm excited about...

I'm excited to see who E and Q will have for their teachers this year.  Q is starting French Immersion and E will be in Grade 5.  I always love the start of a new school year, even if I'm no longer the one going to school!

What I'm wearing...

Nothing new lately but I'm hoping to do some shopping to pick up a few new things.

What I'm watching/reading...

I am finally catching up on This Is Us.  We are also watching Ted Lasso.  I have a few other shows I want to see like White Lotus, Nine Perfect Strangers, and Dr. Death. 

I'm reading Barack Obama's book but I may not be able to finish it.  It's good but really long and I want to move onto other books. 

What I'm listening to...

Mostly podcasts.  I will put on some instrumental music (Pop Got Classical) when I'm working too.

What I'm doing this weekend...

As I mentioned above the kids are away so Dave and I have some kid-free time.  We will go out for dinner, go golfing, and maybe go shopping. 

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

Our last camping trip of the summer, the first day of school, our trip to Nova Scotia, seeing our family there, and then Q's 5th birthday.  I love summer but I also love starting a new season.

What else is new...

Canadians, this is your advance reminder to get ready for our upcoming federal election.  Election day is September 20 and if you will be busy that day then vote in the advance polls.  I always say this and I will say it again, your vote counts so make sure you get out there and make your mark.

Linking up with Shay.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Weekend Recap

This past weekend we were invited to a cottage with some friends.  We don't have regular access to cottage country, other than our camping trips, so it was really great to experience the cottage life.  We were on Jack Lake in the Kawartha region.  The family we were with are our neighbours and they have two kids the same age as our kids so we know them well.  We left mid-afternoon on Friday and were quickly met with some traffic on the DVP and then the 401 East closed right in front of us so we scooted up to the 407 for an easy drive.  We had supper of sausages and salad and then jumped in the lake.

And tried out the tube and skis on the boat.  E tried the skis once on this trip out and was not successful but got up later in the trip.  Q had never been on a tube before so he thought that was pretty fun.   It was also so neat to see all of the different cottages on the lake. 

We had a fire at night but everyone was pretty tired so we did not stay up late. 

We had an easy morning on Saturday with slow coffees and breakfast, and then packed up the boat for an outing to the dam.  We boated over, parked, hiked through the woods, and then jumped in by the "falls".   We had the place to ourselves which is pretty rare.  We had some lunch and then walked back to the boat. 

The rest of the afternoon was spent on the dock with freezies...

...gin and tonics...

...and some dancing.

It started raining around supper time so we had to eat inside, but that was fine. We had steak, corn, caesar salad, and garlic bread.  Then we made some s'mores by the fire after the rain was done.

We had another beautiful day on Sunday and another slow morning. It was great to have the kids keep each other entertained so the parents could hang out.  After breakfast the kids got into the fishing gear and caught a number of small fish.

The littles caught some minnows for bait too.

The kids did some great swimming all weekend. 

We did another round with the tube and then the skis.  Dave even got up on the skis but there is no photo evidence.

Then an early supper and ice creams on the deck before we got in the car and headed home.

So much fun living the cottage life!

Friday, August 20, 2021

Friday Favourites

I had full plans to do a Prayers on Thursday post yesterday but I did not get a chance to do that, all the same I wanted to send up some prayers for the people of Afghanistan and Haiti.  

My dad has been here visiting this week and is enjoying time with the boys.  I borrowed these photos from him.

Although I've got a bit of a habit of going into the office a few times a week now, I have not started bringing my lunch so I've been treating myself to meals out instead.  There are still only a handful of places open in the downtown core and my new favourite place is iQ.  I love a good bowl and they have lots of options. I also tried a fizzy grapefruit water (something I could totally make myself!) and it was a nice treat too. 

We are going to a cottage this weekend so I have made two pies, peach and blueberry, to bring with us as I would hate to arrive empty-handed.  Wild blueberries come at a dear price but the resulting pie is so worth it!!

Q went to his last summer camp this week at the Boulevard Club.  He has had a great time and they feed him lunch which is most exciting for me!

Happy Friday!