Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hello Chocolate!

Chocolate cake, chocolate icing, chocolate pie, chocolate bar, chocolates. I am in chocolate heaven here in Canada, even if my body knows better.

The best chocolate cake, with chocolate icing comes from a grocery store in Niagara Falls. The store has changed names over the years - Food City, IGA, Foodland - but their cakes don't seem to have changed at all. The cake is moist and the icing is creamy and not too sweet - just right in my book. I like the pieces with the flowers as they give me more icing. Yum!

The best chocolate pie can be found at a local diner that has been around for as long as I can remember. John's Restaurant on Thorold Stone Rd. Flaky pastry, creamy chocolate custard, and smooth creamy topping drizzled with chocolate sauce. When I was pregnant with Jen, I ate chocolate pie almost every day - no wonder she was born allergic to chocolate. It had been a while since I ate there, but I went today, since Jen and Miko live nearby, and I took the pie 'to go'. Well, now it's 'gone' (and boy was it good!).

Chocolate bars. What can I say? Canadian chocolate bars such as Coffee Crisp, Smarties, Oh Henry, Sweet Marie, Caramilk. They know what they're doing when they put these by the check-outs.

Chocolates. I actually don't care for most chocolates when they come as pieces, but the exception is Lindoor chocolates - the ones they give you when you order the Festive Special at Swiss Chalet. They make it so easy to order - online, with quick delivery.

Research shows that eating chocolate is good for you. An ounce a day. Hmmm...I didn't weigh the cake, or the pie, and didn't notice the weight on the packaging of the chocolate bars. I suspect I  have overdosed on chocolate, but I don't care - I'm in a GREAT mood!!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Here he is...

Baby Kyle, born at 18:05 Nov 27, weighing 7.08 lbs. Everyone is doing great!

Happy parents Jen and Miko after 36 hrs of labor...

Grandpa Bob

Grandma Sue

Grandpa Julian


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Little bullets from Canada

  • Still waiting for the birth of my first grandchild - a boy who will be named Kyle. Miguel pronounces it "Cay-O", which means 'fall' in Spanish. The baby was due last Sunday, but so far he's choosing to stay inside Jen's warm tummy. I don't blame him, because (next bullet)...
  • Wow, it got cold today. Until today the furnace had not bothered to kick in. Not really sure why, it's been under 20 degrees celcius since I've been here, but my condo stays at that temperature all by itself. Until today. Remembering that the furnace feeds on fresh air and I have not lived here for a while, I decided I'd better check the outside filter. Uh huh - it's got a nice layer of stuck-together dust, it's suffocating. The problem is that there is no way to remove the grill over the filter in order to give it a proper cleaning. I used to sit on the balcony with a Q-tip and poke through each slot and wiggle the Q-tip back and forth to loosen the plaque. Today I tried too, but my arm got tired and I made little progress. So...off to search for a brush of some kind, a skinny wirey one that would fit between the grill. What I found didn't really work well, it's just a little too wide. I tried to bend back the wires on half of the brush, and succeeded in poking my thumb several times and drawing blood. I gave up on the brush. Tomorrow I'm going to try a plastic fork, something has to pull that stuff off the filter.
  • What is with all these shows on HGTV where couples are looking for homes that have a 'man-cave'? When I was married all those years ago, it was accepted that the man got a) the shed, b) the basement, and c) the garage. So why do they also need a cave? And oh - what's with women and their love affair with walk-in closets? In my life the kitchen and living room are the heart of the home, I have no need or desire to spend time in a closet. Don't care about the clothing or shoes either.
  • I sold Jen's box spring and mattress from the double bed she used here in the condo and I feel rich! Money handed over for something I was happy to see gone from my home. I LIKE that! Now I'm trying to sell my lovely bedroom suite and a couple sets of dishes. I had hoped Jen would take the bedroom suite but it's too big for her guest room. Darn, I love that set and hate to sell it for much less than it's worth.
  • The property management company has been by, the flooring guy has been by, and I'm hoping the handyman will come by. All those little pieces are coming together, can't really say the same for all the 'stuff' I still have here. I have taken boxes to Goodwill and have packed several containers, but still have more than I know what to do with. I gave an Anne Geddes print to the young daughter who accompanied her mattress-buying mom - she was thrilled..."I just love this one and must have it", she said when presented with two prints. She chose the rosebud with the baby tucked inside, and it's nice to know that a little girl will have something special to cherish in her new bedroom. I'm holding onto the other print in case another little girl shows up with her parents.
  • I am still in my condo, despite the fact that most of the furniture is gone. I have what I need though - a bed, my lazy-boy, the dining room table/chairs, and my tiny tv. I have the fixings for coffee, oatmeal, salami on bread, cheese and crackers, and some coffee crisp bites tucked up in the cupboard. It is more convenient staying here for now, as I can clean and pack as time and energy permits.
  • I am still in love with Canadian Tire, and if I had unlimited funds I'd do my best to open a franchise down in Cancun. I am not a shopper but when I need something, I like being able to go into a store and actually FIND what I'm looking for, and if I can't find it, I can find someone who is interested in HELPING me find it. Can't say I often have that same experience in Mexico.
  • Miguel and the pets are all doing well without me, I think they've got it all figured out. Much as this time in Canada is necessary for several reasons, I look forward to being back and fighting for couch space with Miguel and the cats. I hope I get back before the snow flies here - I don't have boots and I don't intend to buy any.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Deal with it

Sitting in the Cancun airport. Across from me were some middle-aged women. They stayed at some resort here. I started to form my stereotype opinion. Yack, yack, yack...a bunch of nonsense, I thought.

The chatty woman was talking about someone in their party who had been complaining about the hard beds. Then she came shining through with these words of wisdom. "Deal with it".

I immediately decided this woman was ok. And that she belonged on Isla Mujeres for vacation, not some resort in Cancun. Because with her attitude, she would take all the flaky Isla things in stride. I think it would take a lot to ruffle her feathers.

This lady became my hero for the day. In fact, I think I'd like to go with her on her next vacation. She's a cool granny.

Addendum: I'm now in a rocking chair at the Charlotte airport, sitting between concourse B and C and listening to the piano player. So relaxing, he's great. I walked over to drop a bill in his jar and he looked up, right into my eyes, and gave me a huge smile and softly said "Thank You". I won't forget that smile for a while, he's my second hero of the day.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Long overdue

For the last month or so many of you have been kind enough to write comments, and I really appreciate that. All the comments about my dad's illness and death were so thoughtful. I haven't written much in the way of a blog, or a tweet, or an email, or Facebook, and I haven't written comments even though I've pretty much kept up with the social media - just didn't have the energy or much to say.

So for those of you who wrote comments, who sent emails, and who posted on Facebook, please know that I read it all and drew comfort from the words. Thank you for taking the time to write, and for being there to offer support. Thank you for not giving up on this blog. Thank you All.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Simply Exhausted

Life finally demanded payback. 'You can't keep that pace forever', it said. Apparently both Miguel and I hit the critical level at the same time, because both of us are simply wiped out.

Two trips to Europe in the same month, with a 7-hr time difference as well as a daylight savings time clock correction. Trips to Canada and back. Tons of worry and concern about my father, followed by sadness and support for those left behind. Anticipation of an upcoming baby boy. Financial difficulties, health concerns, and the question of whether to rent or sell my condo. Worry about how Miguel was coping without me, as well as our furry family.

On Miguel's part, he had three potential hurricanes during the month I was gone; one required boarding up of the houses he manages. He never got a chance to board up our own homes, thankfully it wasn't necessary in the end. Three house guests, meaning daily breakfasts and cleaning and oversight to keep the animals out of their way. He mostly succeeded, although Luna decided to show everyone what a great hunter she is and left a treasure out on the terrace for the guests one morning. I got a message from Miguel after that one - 'what a terrible day!' - I was relieved it was just a dead member of the rodent family rather than something really tragic.

We both coped, but are glad to be back to our normal routine for a few days. Our days are full right now, and it's all we can do to stay awake past 6 pm. In fact, the last two nights we crashed very early, and today we even took a nap after breakfast.

A trip to Canada later this week, and high season just around the corner means we need to take the respite while we can. I woke up long enough to feed the dogs and write this blurb, but now it's time for bed. Again. Sweet dreams.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Mom and Dad

Today marks 20 years since my mother passed away from a painful, 4-year battle with breast cancer. It's hard to believe it's been that long, she was only 57. I was much younger then and was not able to express my grief, especially in public.

Today was also the day of my father's funeral in Norway. Since the service was conducted in Norwegian, and I was the only child of my father's who was able to be here, I wrote something for the minister to say on my behalf, in English. Here it is...

My Dad was a loving father. The man I knew was generous, quiet, and prone to pondering, and he liked to kid around at times. He enjoyed crossword puzzles while eating his breakfast, he liked the Road Runner cartoons, he enjoyed watching soccer, and he loved turkey dinner with pumpkin pie. 

My memories of him when I was a child are of rides in the Ford car, A&W drive-in, Dairy Queen ice cream, Smarties, family picnics along the river, tobogganing, and ice skating – on a rink he made in the back yard.

My Dad always enjoyed get-togethers with family and friends. In his later years he dedicated much of his time to researching the family tree and contacting long lost relatives, real or potential, and he often visited them in their homes, where they chatted like old friends. Hundreds of pictures document all the people my father considered family. 

Since my father’s death I have had the privilege to read messages sent from old business friends, and that has given me a new insight into the man who was my father. The words ‘mentor, friend, good person’, were frequently used to describe how people remember Dad. He taught them so much, he was respectful of different cultures, he was a hard worker, he gave everything.

I am sad that my Dad will not get to visit my home in Mexico, or see his first great-grandchild, or eat corn-on-the-cob during a visit to Canada. I hope his spirit will find us, and if indeed they do serve corn-on-the-cob, pumpkin pie, and turkey with stuffing up there with the angels, my Dad will really be in Heaven. And knowing him, he has a family reunion planned for when we all meet again.

Thank you for everything, Dad. I love you.
Your daughter, Sue

I am the product of my mother and my father. I have my father's eyes, and his nose. My siblings look more like my mother, yet those who have never met my father, but knew my mother, can see her resemblance in me somehow. 

My father died on the same date as his mother. Did she come for him? Maybe...

A child close to my father here in Norway, two days after his death, said that he could see my Dad up in the sky, and announced that he had married. We had to laugh. But maybe it's possible?!