Monday, September 29, 2008

Back to the States for a visit

I just got home from 10 days in the States. Yea, that's what Canadians call the U.S. Anyway, I started in Houston and got to see the wreckage of Ike first hand. Lots of trees down, traffic lights not working, traffic jammed, gas stations with limited gas and grocery stores with limited supplies. Still thousands of people without power. Luckily my family had power and most of the other creature comforts. It was great to see family and drive around in a very familiar place even with the mounds of tree limbs and branches piled in front of almost every yard.
After the weekend TJ and I drove to Baton Rouge to see his Mom and sister Meg and 3 of my siblings. Baton Rouge looked even worse than Houston with huge piles of Gustav debris in front of almost every house as well. The only difference is that Gustav was almost a month ago and the trees in BR are much larger and fell a lot harder. Many houses were damaged and I can only imagine what things looked like right after the storm. I did have good visits with the family though. Did some U.S. shopping and took advantage of good prices and a selection I am more familiar with.
On my way back to Houston I caught up on my talk radio. I just had to listen to the political ramblings and see what the buzz in the States is on the election. I was accused of becoming liberal after living up here and my friends felt obliged to educate me and talk some sense into me. I just love playing devil's advocate and get the discussion going. I am happy to listen.
On Thursday I flew up to St. Louis to see Kelly. It just happened to be her birthday too. We had a nice night out to dinner with 12 of her best friends. Great kids! Kelly seems to be doing well and loves her life at school. We had lots of time together and the weather in St. Louis was near perfect. We just wanted to stay outside and play. We went to the Missouri Botanical Gardens on Sat. and had a beautiful day. It was a "rock star" day, between the gardens, the weather, the cafe with sushi and drinks, the free tickets to see Maroon 5 and Counting Crows and the cute red Mustang we drove around it really was a great day! Kelly went to the concert with a friend and I suffered through another dinner out with friends,wine and sushi....such a sacrifice. And on top of it all Notre Dame and LSU won their games. Does life get any better?
On Sunday we went to Mass then to brunch in yet another cute cafe. I hated to leave but it was time. I think this was my farewell to warm weather for a while and I may not be in the States again until November.
It felt like home but then again, coming to Mississauga also felt like home. Just not as many friends and family here....yet. It was a real treat to see 3 of my 4 kids and all 4 of my siblings on this trip as well as so many good friends. Can you ever go back?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wine and flowers

Last weekend we had a visit from a couple who we usually meet in NYC once a year. They decided to visit Toronto for a change. We got to be tourists for the weekend and had a great time.

Friday we went downtown and toured St. Lawrence Market. Patti and I loved it! Tons of fresh meats and fish. Fresh local vegetables and fruits. A culinary playground. Patti is a great cook so I thought this would be fun for her. I would love to be able to go here once or twice a month and pick up some good stuff to cook throughout the month.

We walked a lot that day and in the end decided instead of going out to dinner we would go back to the market and pick up some food to cook for dinner. It worked out great. We had Alaskan Black Cod, fresh french style green beans, roasted multi colored carrots and fresh baked bread. Everything was so good and fresh. Plus Patti is such a creative cook.

Saturday we went down to Niagra-on-the-Lake. First we toured a few wineries on the way. Small world situation, we met the owner of Rosewood Winery and she is a neighbor, plus she is the PT who subbed for mine and worked on my knee once. She literally lives 2 blocks away from us. She was very hospitible and we all enjoyed their wines. We stayed in a nice B&B and had dinner out and saw a play at the Shaw Festival. Niagra-on-the-Lake is such a beautiful little town. The flowers were breathtaking. The pictures may not do them justice but they are definitely a highlight.

Rick and Patti left on Sunday, TJ and I drove to Niagra Falls. It was raining so the falls were not as beautiful as they were the first time I saw them. All in all it was a fun weekend.

On Tuesday I interviewed to start working for Weight Watchers again. It will be different working in Canada and learning the subtle differences up here from the program and procedures in the states. I am looking forward to getting out and into the meeting room again. I need more human contact to keep me going. This will hopefully give me some networks to build on. We shall see.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Labor Day North

I guess summer is over. Yesterday was Labor Day and the kiddies are back at school today. The leaves in my front yard are starting to fall and vacation is over. Sigh. I am seriously hoping for a long beautiful fall with lots of patio time.

TJ and I rode bikes yesterday around the lake and I cannot remember Sept. 1 ever being so beautiful. One bonus of living up north, playing outside in August and Sept. and not dying from heat and humidity. I'm sure the downside will be this winter when all I want to do is play outside. We shall see.

Thought I would include some pictures from my bike yesterday. Totally enjoying the outdoors up here these days!

Political aside:

Toronto Star headline Saturday: "A Gun-Toting Mother " referring to McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin. With a 1/2 page front page photo of her.

Toronto Star article Sunday, page 5ish: " Sarah Palin as Miss Congeniality" with a picture of her aiming an automatic weapon. (actually the article was very entertaining and definitely a commentary)

Hmmm, do you think they like her? I'm not sure. .. It is no wonder there are no conservatives up here. I am enjoying watching the slant on the US election from here, very different perspective that's for sure.

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