Thursday, March 31, 2022

Monthly Musings


1. Do you celebrated Easter, Passover or another holiday?
We celebrate Easter, it's my favourite holiday.

2. Do you decorate your home for spring?
Yes, we do an Easter tree and other spring type decorations. 

3.  Favourite spring meal?
I like this pasta salad I make with asparagus, bacon, and homemade ranch dressing.  And we like to make ribs for Easter Dinner. 

4.  Is your Spring Break in April or March?
It's in March and we always refer to it as March Break as it is never really spring in March. 

5.  Favourite spring/Easter tradition or activity?
Our Easter morning involves an egg hunt, an eggy breakfast, and some small Easter baskets.  We go to church where we get to hear the Hallelujah Chorus.  As for Spring, I love getting the bikes out for the first ride, cleaning up the yard and visiting the garden centre. 

6.  What are you most looking forward to this spring?
Seeing friends and family.  We were in various stages of lockdown in 2020 and 2021 where visiting people was discouraged.  No such rules exist now, pending everyone remaining healthy!

7.  Favourite spring fashion items?
A trench coat, sunglasses, and casual sneakers.

8.  Do you transition your wardrobe from winter to spring?
Yes, I get out my sneakers and sweatshirts, instead of boots and jackets.  

9.  Does the Easter bunny visit your house?
Yes he does.  He hides eggs for us all over the house. 

10.  Any traditions or activities coming back post Covid?
See above #6.  Our church will also be open for in person service this year so I will look forward to getting back there.  And we are even allowed to sing now!

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

What's Up Wednesday


What we're eating this week...

Sunday - Turkey Pot Pie, Salad
Monday - Lasagna, Caesar Salad, Garlic Bread
Tuesday - Earthy Andy's shawarma bowls (but with chicken)
Wednesday - Raptors Game
Thursday - I'm going out to a work party but I believe my family is going to eat pizza
Friday - BBQ
Saturday - Out

What I'm loving...
I've taken my mask off (except for the subway where it is still required) and the kids have stopped wearing their masks at school.  I know that many people are still wearing them and that they are still recommended (if not even encouraged), but I'm just done with it.  It feels strange but freeing and I like that I don't have to fuss with a mask for everyone when we want to go somewhere.  I felt like the places where the risks were higher we were already taking our masks off (like at restaurants or at sporting events) so it didn't make sense to do that, but then leave it on where the risk was lower (like being at a store for brief periods of time and being  fairly distanced from people). The piece of advice I heard about assessing whether you wanted to keep wearing your mask was this: Consider what you're waiting for before you remove it, is it for everyone in your house to be vaccinated, is it to reduce risk of infection before a trip, is it for cases to reach a certain level (although that's hard to measure now), and if you can't think of the reason, then maybe it's time.  Or maybe you just want to keep it on, then fine, do whatever you want.

What we've been up to...
We did one last day of skiing on Sunday and then bought our passes for next year at Mount St. Louis-Moonstone.  Snow Valley has been good to us since we started going about 7 years ago but we finally thought it was time for something different.  So we have been doing a lot of talking about skiing with other families. We are also discussing the ski racing program for E and what lessons Q will do.  Hopefully we don't need to talk about skiing again until September!

What I'm dreading...
I can feel like reading glasses are in my near future. I have definitely noticed having trouble reading somethings that I didn't notice before.  I'll make an appointment sometime soon and will see what they say. I've been wearing contacts since Grade 11 but only wear my glasses occasionally so I really don't want to have to mess with reading glasses, or (gasp!) bifocals. 

What I'm working on...

Speaking of eye appointments, I've been working on getting various health checks done.  My doctor likes her patients to do a baseline mammogram at 40 so I did that last week.  I also have a family history of colon cancer so I need to do a colonoscopy, and I want to get a skin check done too. This is 40 :)

What I'm excited about...
I got a new iPhone, the 13, so I am excited about the camera and the improved photos I'll be able to take. 

What I'm wearing...
I got this new pair of shoes the other day.  My work shoes were in a sorry state so I got this pair and a plain black pair of heels. I just leave most of my shoes at the office.

What I'm watching/reading...

I am watching Cheer and This is Us.  Dave and I just finished Inventing Anna, and now onto Ozark,  and Drive to Survive. 

I'm reading Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh.

What I'm listening to...

I usually make my own playlist of my current favourite songs and I just started my 2022 one.  They aren't necessarily songs from 2022 but it helps to keep them all in one place so I don't have to keep searching for them and I know I like all of the songs.  Some new additions  Good Day by Nappy Roots and Big Energy by Latto.

What I'm doing this weekend...

We are hosting family for a BBQ on Friday, Q has skating lessons and a birthday party, and getting our taxes done!

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

Easter, plans with friends, warmer weather, maybe starting to bike to work

What else is new...

Q's toenail finally fell off, gross, I know.  As you may recall, he dropped a bowling ball on his foot on our last night in Jamaica.  We did have a doctor check it out when we got back to Toronto, and she drained the blood from it, but didn't do an x-ray so we can't be absolutely positive it was broken, although that was the doctor's assessment.  That toenail has been hanging on but it's gone now.  I hate this stuff, it turns my stomach, so you're welcome, hah!

Resolutions Check In
I've been doing better at making plans with friends and tidying up some areas of the house.  Family Cleaning Night hasn't really taken off, my fault, and I haven't done any donating, so two things to focus on this month.

Linking up with Shay

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Weekend Recap

 A busy weekend meant I didn't actually take many photos.  

First up on Saturday morning I did a Reba McIntyre Peloton ride which was great fun, name a bad Reba song, you can't!  Then I got ready for the day and took Q to his first skating lesson.  He did a great job skating on the local outdoor rink this winter but this is a good opportunity to actually learn how to skate.  While he skated, I got to visit with my friend whose daughter was also skating. 

I went out to get groceries after that while Dave cleaned the house.  Then we went to a birthday party for one of Q's classmates.  It was great to see the kids playing together and to visit with the parents. Meanwhile E stayed with Dave's parents and they went for a walk. 

When we got home we met up with Dave's cousin and her husband at a pub. They are moving away so this was a little get together with their friends.  
The pub had Golden Tee so the kids played a few rounds.

Adam was wearing a tie so E decided to wear one too! Snazzy!

On Sunday we went skiing!  It was the last day of operations for Mount St. Louis-Moonstone so we decided to check it out since we were thinking of switching ski hills for next year.  Even though the calendar says end of March, the weather was proper winter ski conditions.  We met some friends there and did most of the runs.   

They have a ski/snowboard cross racecourse so the kids (and dads) did that a bunch of times.  

The course.

Q and I took a break in the car for some hot chocolate. 

Tired out.  So we grabbed a Beavertail and then hit the road. 

We watched the F1 race when we got home and happy to see Max with a win (and Haas with points!). Then I watched the Oscars. Here are my thoughts on that:

I loved CODA so I was very excited it won instead of The Power of the Dog which I did see and hated.  I loved seeing everyone doing the deaf applause.  
I love Lady Gaga. 
I love Andrew Garfield and wish he could have won but I was happy to see him onscreen a few times. 
I loved the White Men Can't Jump reunion. 
I love Questlove.  I saw his documentary and it's amazing. 
I loved Amy Schumer, I laughed at all of her jokes.

I did not love that Will Smith hit Chris Rock.  I did not love the joke and appreciate that Will wanted to stand up for his wife, but hitting was not the way to do that.   That said, it did lead to more Denzel coverage and I do love him (and Tyler Perry).
I did not love Regina Hall's bit about having to redo Covid testing for certain attractive men.
I did not love the performance of We Don't Talk About Bruno, it started out so well but it didn't do it for me. I love Megan Thee Stallion but that was not the place for her.  

Monday, March 28, 2022

March Books

Two books to write about this month.  I really thought I would do more reading on March Break when we were away but we were so tired by the end of the day there was no time for reading!

The first book I read was What I Remember, What I Know by Larry Audlaluk.

As you know I am a fan of Peter Mansbridge's podcast, The Bridge.  He was travelling in the North last summer and mentioned this book, written by his friend.  The author's family was one of the ones relocated from their homes from Northwestern Quebec to the Far North.  This was government policy in the 1950s as a way to claim that land as Canada's for sovereignty reasons.  The families were told that they would be well provided for, have more hunting lands, different opportunities, and when people showed hesitancy, were outright lied to saying that others had agreed to go so they should to  (telling everyone that same story).  They were also told they could move back anytime, which was also not true.  When they arrived up in the Far North, they were very unfamiliar with the land and game up there and had a hard time surviving.  They were not given the supplies and support they were promised.  Larry's story starts there and then takes us through the rest of his childhood, early adulthood, and into the present. 

I don't know how they survived the elements in tents, feeding families only by hunting and gathering, but they did survive, despite many tragedies.  It was also a good reminder about how slow everything used to be - slow communication, slow travel times, long days that stretched out for the kids with "nothing to do".  Not only is it an environment I am unfamiliar with, it is a time that is gone now.  

What I know about Indigenous history in Canada is pretty sparse, and this book is a wonderful tool to add to one's knowledge.  Not only was the relocation policy something I've only just recently heard about, I also heard about how the Northern communities were checked for tuberculosis, moved to hospitals, and had "escorts" when travelling out of the North to Ottawa and Winnipeg and wherever.  I liked hearing about the different job opportunities people had and how they had relationships with the RCMP, naturalists, and visiting Greenlanders.  Fun was had even with the challenges they faced. 

The other thing to be reminded of is that Indigenous people, Inuit, Far Northern communities, they are not all the same, everyone has a different story and we need to know these nuances.  We hear a lot about the horrors of the residential school system, and I am not dismissing that at all, but Larry didn't have an extremely horrible experience, he did not love being away from his family but he had many good memories from the school, and other places he stayed.  I also appreciated his commentary about being pulled in two different directions - following traditional practices but still wanting the "modern" life.  It's an internal struggle that is probably not unique to Indigenous people but also immigrants to Canada. 

If you can find this book, read it.  I got it at my library so it's out there.  Would be good for teenagers to read too. 

The second book was Anxious People by Fredrik Backman. 

This is a popular book that many people had recommended.  Although I am a fan of this author, A Man Called Ove is one of my top five favourite books, I wasn't sure if I liked the sound of the plot.  But after enough people said to read it, I decided to add it to my reading list. The book is about a bank robbery/hostage that doesn't really go according to plan.  I was kind of annoyed with the story and the various characters at the beginning, but then about half way through it all clicked for me and the author's writing that I know and love grabbed me and took me to the end.  He is so good at tugging at your emotions with his writing with a turn of phrase.  He creates heartache and hope all at once.  I realized later that the annoyance I felt with the characters was on purpose.  If you've enjoyed his other books, get this one too, you won't regret it. 

Friday, March 25, 2022

Friday Favourites

Happy Friday!! This was our first week back to school and work after March Break, ready for the weekend!  

Speaking of March Break, you can see the posts I did about our ski trip to Quebec here and here.  It was so much fun to try new ski hills and to spend some time away from home. 

We celebrated Dave's birthday on the weekend and continued on Thursday night with dinner out at Union Chicken and a Raptors game.  This was Q's first Raptors game ever, and E's first one in a long time.  

Dave was also spoiled with a Maple Leafs game on Wednesday, with some tickets from our neighbour who works for the Leafs.  The team was sporting new jerseys and they won!  Dave also ran into a former colleague of mine so that was fun too!

I basically took last week off from working out since we were skiing everyday, but I got back on the bike on Monday night and selected a 45 minute Club Bangers ride with Alex Toussaint.  I ended up with a PB, not to shabby, and posted it in my stories.  Although I didn't get a re-share, AT did see my post :)

Two books I really like are being made into movies and I saw the trailers this week.  One of them is Canadian(!) and one of my top five books of all time, All My Puny Sorrows.  I am looking forward to seeing how they adapted the novel.  The other one is Where the Crawdads Sing.  I like reading the book first since it is always better, but it sometimes means I'm disappointed by the movie which I may have liked if I saw it first. 

We have some fun planned for this weekend - sports, parties, and visitors!

Linking up with Andrea and Erika

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Quebec Trip Recap Part 2

Continuing on with the second part of our trip. See part one here.

After three full days of skiing we decided to start out with a slow morning and hit the slopes for night skiing starting at 3:00 pm instead.  

Pancakes and bacon for breakfast. 

Even though we were supposed to be taking a break, all of the parents did some work in the morning and then I went over to the hill to see if I could pre-load our passes for that night (I could not).  I did get to listen to President Zelenskyy's address to the Canadian Parliament and bought Q some new goggles, so not a complete waste of time!

Meanwhile the kids had some hot tub time

And video game time. 

Back to the top of Bromont!

Hot chocolate and beer break!

There go our speed demons!

It is never possible to catch a good photo of sunset, trust me it was beautiful.

We had planned to eat dinner at the hill but nothing seemed to be open, a missed opportunity for them, and we were too late for St. Hubert drive thru. So we grabbed some things at IGA (Kraft Dinner and fried chicken) and ate at home.

On Wednesday we tried out one last hill, Mont Orford.  We had a 25 minute drive to this hill, so not bad.  There is one other large hill in this area, Owl's Head but we didn't catch that one this time. 

Foggy at the top of the mountain to start our day.

Our first run was called 4K and was a nice meander down the hill.  The snow was great in the morning but it started getting warmer and the snow as sticky and slushy.

For lunch we opted for the sit down restaurant.

Beautiful afternoon!

We called it around 3:00 and headed back to the chalet.

We made chicken and potatoes for supper and we all watched Turning Red.  

The weather on Thursday was calling for 14 degrees so we decided that was enough skiing for us.  Instead we found a hiking trail.

We got some lunch at Fromagerie Gourmande and then relaxed at the chalet, including a nap for me!

So different from our first day.

Hot tub again.

It was St. Patrick's Day so we had reservations at a local pub Le Brouemont Micro-Brasserie. It was busy and we were tired so maybe should have stayed home instead, but we still enjoyed our meals. 

We left the next morning around 9:00 to start the drive home.  It was foggy leaving Quebec, but it was definitely easier driving than when we arrived.  

I don't have any complaints about the trip - the skiing, accommodations, and company were all top-notch.  This would also be a great place to visit in the summer, the ski hill have lots of warm weather activities too, and there are many bike trails and beaches, and Montreal is only an hour away.