A successful Sunday roast

Sunday dinner at our place went really well. I’d prepared a couple of roast chickens, with carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes and regular potatoes. It all came out great…except for the fact that I’d cooked the chickens upside down and had put the seasoning on the birds’ undersides instead of the top. Rookie error. Still, everything got eaten and there were many compliments.

With the stress of making sure everyone was fed out of the way, I was able to enjoy the evening with our neighbours. It really is something special to have a group of friends living so close who can just pop in for dinner. I’m going to miss it. I know back home we don’t really all live that far from each other, but 20 minutes in the car (or even to my shame, 10 for some) seems like the other side of the country. I’ll have to fix that when we go home.

We also booked our Puerto Rico flights last night, as did Julian, and Bec and Alastair booked theirs today. I’m really looking forward to this trip now. It’ll be my first time in the Caribbean, and I hope we see the bioluminescence bays. Before that though, there’s a bunch of other travel happening. I leave for New York tomorrow night, Glen joins me on Wednesday. My sister arrives in New York on Sunday and then comes to Toronto in December. We’re then off for a week to Montreal, Quebec City and Ottawa.

Then it’s Christmas. Where the hell did 2014 go?

Today I worked on my book, going through more chapters and tidying them up. I’m beginning to lose perspective now, and I just want to submit it. But I can’t. I must make it as clean as possible to save myself from getting major revisions back from the publisher (and therefore protecting my self-esteem).

It also seems my prayers for more work (actually, more money is what I asked for, the work is unfortunately just how it’s going to be gained) have been answered. A client who had gone quiet has now resurfaced with an offer of more work. I need to build a website for someone else. I’ve quoted on another job, developing a few other things, and have been asked about doing some research for an interpretation project. I hope it doesn’t all want to be done in December.

It’s been extremely windy in Toronto today, and up on our floor it seems especially bad. Glen had to abandon his cycle ride home because it was that forceful

Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition, Puerto Rico and dinners

On Friday I finished the next draft of my book, which included some big re-writes in the final part. I was so happy to get to the end of it again that a big smile broke across my face when I finished. I then sent it off to Nikki for a read-through, had lunch and went to the gym. It was a good day. That evening we spent at home, but I looked into alternatives for New Year’s Eve and where we could go. Thanks to a bit of searching, prices to Puerto Rico were looking good, and before I knew it, a plan had formed. We also let other people know what we were doing and it’s suddenly become a thing that might involve more than just the two of us. Even though we’re going for New Year’s Eve celebrations, I’m hanging out to see the bays with the underwater bioluminescence. Old San Juan also looks interesting, and of course there are beaches.

Saturday morning I went to St Lawrence Markets while Glen went to a course at the hospital. The markets wasn’t as busy as it usually is in the warmer months so I didn’t have to struggle past too many people. I still don’t like shopping though, and I was getting anxious about all the things I needed to buy to prepare for dinner for that night and Sunday night. Back home, it’s easy because you load up your trolley, then you unpack everything into the car. Here, I’ve got a little wheelie trolly and that’s about it. So Glen offering to leave the course (apparently because they didn’t have any spare seats) was welcome.

What wasn’t welcome, when he met me later in the supermarket next door, was him disappearing to find bacon without telling me. We shouldn’t be allowed to go shopping with each other ever. There are just too many possibilities for arguments. I left him on the train with the bulk of the shopping, while I went to Bulk Barn – alone – to get some other requirements. Apparently, I was gone an hour.

In the evening I began preparing food to take to Ur and Israel’s. Glen organised dinner for their place as a celebration of Israel and Alastair’s Movember efforts, with everyone bringing something to contribute to the meal. Peter and Royden brought appetisers, I bought a tart and salad, Julian brought homemade apple and blueberries pies, and Bec and Alastair brought ginger cake. Ur and Israel provided drinks and chicken pasta (and the house).

The tart I made was a caramelised leek and goat’s cheese tart. I’d never made it before. I don’t think I’ve ever made tart pastry before either. It was all done with the Thermomix so the bulk of it was done without error. The pastry turned out nice…until I accidentally tipped it out and it broke into twenty pieces. I didn’t scream. I didn’t cry. I was tempted not to continue but Glen helped piece it back together into some sort of shape, and I then I filled it. It turned out pretty nice if I do say so myself. Next time, I think I’ll leave out the anchovies or not put so many in. The salad I made was kale and parmesan with pine nuts. People were rude about the kale…but it went anyway haha.

We arrived at Ur and Israel’s at about 8:30 as it was easier with the kids already asleep. We had some drinks, ate a giant dinner (there were a lot of desserts), and shared stories as usual. We were all a bit wiped out though and so left at about 11/11:30, eager for bed. Maybe it’s the weather. Maybe we’re just doing too much. Either way, it was a good night.

We didn’t get out of bed on Sunday morning until about 10. I woke up at 7:30 dozing, while Glen was completely out of it. I did some editing during the day, and then in the afternoon we checked out the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the ROM. Even though Glen and I are members, we don’t go very often, so I was pretty pleased that Glen suggested it. The museum was busy but not as busy as I’d expect, and thankfully the exhibition (which opened this weekend) wasn’t so full that you couldn’t see the photos.

Some stunning images there again this year. I particularly liked one of the Mobula ray migration in Mexico (mostly because I now want to go to Mexico to see it). There were a few from Iceland (once more stirring my desire for a second…and a third…visit). It’s a bit heartbreaking seeing this exhibition because the photos are often of endangered and near extinct species or of places that are rapidly disappearing. The feeling of sadness and loss is compounded towards the end with the portfolio/documentary categories: one was of the canned lion hunting in Africa, another of thousands of shark fins drying on a roof in Hong Kong. It still inspires me to see more places, but I can’t help but feel guilty for contributing to their decline.

We had a bit of a look through other parts of the museum, but our brains got full pretty quick. I also got angry about kids tapping on the living axolotl’s tank, or adults and children touching the heads of the snakes that were brought out for handling. I was really surprised the person holding the snake wasn’t giving instructions to keep away from their heads. I had to walk away.

Back home, I booked our flights to Puerto Rico, and then started preparing dinner for tonight’s roast with the neighbours. I don’t often cook whole chickens so I’m not sure how it’s all going to turn out. I made a nice seasoning for it so I’m hoping it tastes good. There are plenty of veggies too, and I made a flourless almond chocolate cake yesterday which looks really good. It’ll be our last Sunday with the neighbours for a while as we’re in the US next weekend, and I think the following weekend doesn’t work for some reason. So happy to be going travelling again.

Let it snow (and our wedding video)

Yes, I’ve seen snow, and true, it has already snowed this past month, but today it came down like nobody’s business. Very grateful we’re not living in Buffalo as they’ve had 6 feet of snow (with more on the way) and there have been at least seven snow-related deaths. In Toronto it came floating, actually, not floating, more like shooting sideways most of the day, and quite heavily too. By the evening there was a thick blanket covering the sidewalks.

I spent the morning inside, working on my book. I had a bit of panic last night while I was trying to get to sleep. I wasn’t sure the ending I had planned was going to work. I turned it over a few times in my head, then worked out something else, wrote it down in my iPhone and then went to bed. This morning I read my notes, figured they made sense, and decided to go with the new direction. I plodded along, words were coming out ok, but it wasn’t until I was working on a chapter this evening that I really got excited about what was happening. I’m going to push myself to see if I can finish it tomorrow. If not, there’s Friday, and then it should be done. Coincidentally I got an email from my publisher asking when it would be ready because they want to schedule the book in May (my original date) as opposed to later in the year. This all hinges on me sending them something workable by 7 December. Easy peasy, right?

I had a chiropractor appointment in midtown today. Went well. My back feels a lot better. My fingers froze as I tried to read an ebook on my phone while waiting for the bus. I had to stop reading it was so cold. I went to the gym in the afternoon. In the evening I made a disastrous soup that had to be thrown out because it looked and tasted horrible. Can’t win ‘em all. Glen went to do some extra work at the hospital, came home, and then we went for pizza with Julian. The best part? Having a snowball fight along the way. We only got to do it once last year. Hopefully we’ll do it more than once this year too.

Julian and I then investigated holiday options for New Year’s Eve. Cuba was on the cards, but then we took it off as we couldn’t get a two-room place, or book two rooms for three people. So we looked into Fort Lauderdale. Everything was looking great. I remembered you could go snorkelling with manatees so I was keen to go. Then there are the Everglades to check out, some fun parties for New Year’s and a beach. We found a place to stay but then investigated flights and they were some ridiculous cost (about $1800). Bang went that plan. We couldn’t find anything reasonable, even if we left from Buffalo or flew into other cities in Florida. Stupid time of year to fly, I know, but come on. That price is beyond belief. Who’d pay that?

So now we’re going to look at Cuba again and we’ll see if there’s a way they can give us a room for one. Otherwise we might just have to stay in Toronto for the week of New Year’s. Seems a bit of a waste of annual leave to be honest.

Oh, and here’s the video from our wedding:

Food with the neighbours, food with the husband

I’m getting really bad at updating this thing. I haven’t posted since Thursday! So, what have I been up to?

Thursday evening Julian lent Alastair and me his car so we could drive somewhere in midtown to check out a sale happening on old stock of base layers, ski jackets and various other wintery things. It was a small shop in one of those big warehouse/office buildings, attractive because the rent must be very cheap. Plenty of people were there to get a bargain, and the line was pretty long throughout the hour we were there. I chose a couple of merino shirts (one long-sleeved and one short), that I can wear while skiing. I picked up various other items, all the while messaging Glen so he could act as my ‘buyer’s conscience’ and tell me what was reasonable and what wasn’t. I refrained from buying about three shell jackets, but I did pick up a pair of comfy pyjama-type pants that have fast become my new favourite thing to wear around the house. Alastair got a couple of shirts too, and some ski socks. Surprisingly I talked him into waiting to buy a new ski jacket.

We got back to the apartment building at about 6:30 or so. We were meant to be going to a restaurant with the neighbours that night but various people weren’t feeling the best, and we didn’t want to spend $45 on a meal we weren’t really psyched about having. Instead, Alastair, Julian, Glen and I went to Oja, picked up some Japanese for us, Pete and Royden, then went back to Pete and Royden’s to eat and watch a couple of episodes of Archer. You can really see how much that show developed, and how it improved from the first few episodes. We then had an early night.

Friday night we invited Antony over for dinner. Dave and Josh are in Australia so we thought of Antony home alone and pining for his family. I made a chicken pie, then steamed lemon puddings. We caught up on what’s been happening with his ophthalmology fellowship and what’s to come in the year ahead. We then watched a couple of episodes of Mindy and called it a night at about 10:30.

Saturday Julian invited the neighbours around for breakfast. Each of us brought something for the table, but Julian prepared the most by far. There were waffles, gluten free pancakes, tater tots/potato gems, two types of bacon, scrambled eggs and fruit. He’d also bought some thick cream in a tin as us Aussies had been complaining there wasn’t any thickened cream in the stores here. I didn’t try any so I don’t know if it was comparable. It looked it though. It was a lovely way to spend the morning, and of course we stuffed our faces with so much food. Having friends living so close, on top of each other in fact, is such a treat.

Glen went to work in the afternoon for a couple of hours. I stayed at home and edited. In the afternoon we went to the gym with Julian, and then in the evening Glen and I stayed home, and watched tv like an old married couple. I did get a bit of FOMO as I wondered what else we could be doing. It was a pretty cold night so it didn’t last long, and I was probably in bed by 11.

Sunday Glen went to work in the morning for a couple of hours, and then we went for lunch at the Eaton Centre. We also went shopping. Glen was keen to buy a onesie from Abercrombie and Fitch, so we checked out what was on sale. The onesies were still full price but we found other things that were on sale. I bought two pairs of jeans (so hopefully I won’t have to buy any for the next five years at least) that were 50% off, and Glen bought some track pants and a zipped up jacket for around the house.

We then met Julian at the movies to watch Big Hero 6, the new Disney animation. We weren’t the only kid-free adults in the audience. I’d wanted to see the film ever since I’d seen the preview where Hero (the main character) is trying to fit the suit of armour to the inflatable robot. I wasn’t expecting the movie to be as sad as it was, yet luckily it wasn’t completely Bambi maudlin. The storyline was good, not too sappy and stupid. We left on a high.

In the evening it was Pete and Royden’s turn to host the Sunday roast. Pete prepared dates wrapped in bacon, homemade spanokoppita and cheese-koppita, then there was a big bit of beef (he cooked chicken for me as an alternative), garlic mash and carrots. For dessert there were Greek pastries. We watched Elf, that god awful Will Farrell movie, and filled our faces. An enjoyable evening for sure, and this Sunday it’s our turn. I have no idea what I’m going to make yet.

Monday was fairly quiet. I’m aiming to finish the latest draft of my book this week so it can go to Nikki for feedback. At the same time I’ll be going through it again to tidy it up even more. I would really like to get it finished by Tuesday evening, which is when Julian and I fly off to New York. Not sure it’s likely though. In the evening I made a chicken and leek risotto (I had some leftover leeks from a potato and leek soup I made on Saturday night), which – shock horror – Glen liked. He even had a second helping. This doesn’t happen very often, not because my cooking is bad, but because Glen’s tastes are so particular. I might be the no-red-meat-or-pork pain in the arse, but he’s much more pernickety than I am. I’ve been given permission to cook it again. It also snowed a lot on Monday. It was magical.

Tuesday has been more of the same. Editing in the morning. I got up at 6am as I’m trying to be a bit more regular in when I wake up in the hope that I can get more done in the day but I didn’t start until about 8 and then I felt tired. I still got over 3000 words written today so that’s not bad. I’m just hoping I can get to the end and it still all make sense. I went to the gym in the afternoon and hopefully haven’t put my back out again. (I did legs and for some reason I’m injuring myself or pinging something.)

Glen and I went on a date night in the evening to Los Colibris, a restaurant Glen had seen reviewed online in the Globe & Mail. He’d seen a photo of a chicken breast with crispy skin and pomegranate and wanted that. We’d tried to go on Saturday but there were no seatings at a reasonable time. Tonight we made a reservation for 8pm, later than we usually eat but it meant Glen could stay at work and do some overtime. I met him at the General and we walked down University Ave in the freezing wind to King St. It was nice going for a walk together but it’s now getting to the point where you can’t feel your face if you stay outside for too long.

We got to the restaurant, removed our oversized-yet-warm winter coats and sat down. Unfortunately the chicken thing Glen had seen wasn’t on the menu so we had to choose something else. We ordered a ceviche, empanadas and guacamole to start, all of which tasted fresh and flavourful. The mains were ok, but not amazing. We shared a baked halibut – the fish was perfectly cooked but the accompanying flavours didn’t suit our tastes – and a chicken roll – which unfortunately had capsicum in it so Glen didn’t like it. We then shared a chocolate flan for dessert.  We then caught the train home.

Phew! We do a lot more than I think we do.

Friends, editing and a bad back

Another week has slipped almost slipped away without me blogging about it. I know you’re all desperate to know what we’ve been up to. Saturday was our first day since the wedding sans guests. It felt a little strange not to be wondering what we were going to do to entertain people with during the day. As a complete come down from the past busy week, we spent the day at home. Glen ironed shirts while listening to a webcast of a conference he didn’t have to attend in person. I’m not sure what I did all do. Something obviously.

In the afternoon we went to the gym with Julian, which is where I laid the seeds for my later crippling. It was legs day for me and all went fine, or at least I thought it did. We went home and later that night went to Ur and Israel’s for dinner. We got there a little late to see all the kids, but managed to sneak a hello to Etye. Liad was still up when we arrived so that was good. We ate a wonderful home cooked meal, had some drinks, then played what seemed like endless rounds of Cards Against Humanity. Israel trounced the lot of us, though Ur and Julian did pretty well. I called bed at about 11:20 and then went to stand. My back instantly pinged. Oh no. Not good. The drive home did an even bigger number on my lower back and by the time we got home I was already off-centre. I looked like I had severe scoliosis.

Sunday

Because of my bad back, my plans to join the boys in a visit to Costco were scuppered. Alas I was not there to curtail Glen’s spending, but, surprisingly, I didn’t need to. He came home with a sensible amount of groceries and no giant box of sugar-coated cereal. I was so proud. I spent the day on the couch, just capable enough of working on laying out a magazine I get paid to do. In the evening, I was still no better but luckily our dinner plans didn’t require me to go for. For the second week in a row, we had Sunday Neighbours’ Dinner, this time hosted by Julian.

Everyone gave lots of helpful comments about what to do to help ease the pain in my back; I was relieved (and bewildered) when conversation turned to cars. I think Glen and I were the only ones who didn’t have a clue what the five other people were talking about. Julian cooked a lovely dinner of roast salmon with a quinoa salad, that was then followed up by homemade apple pie (he even made the pie crust). We left around 9:30, an early night for a change. Next week it’s Pete and Royden’s turn.

Monday

I woke up and my back was no better. I managed to get a chiropractor appointment for the afternoon, which helped somewhat but has not eased everything. I’m still a little crooked. With all the guests and the wedding preparations going on, I hadn’t had much time to edit my latest book. I’d already missed one deadline, was set to miss a second, and wanted to make a third, self-imposed one for the end of the month. Despite the back pain, I managed to get myself comfortable enough to get some work done, and managed to edit 5,000 words of the draft.

I’m pretty pleased with myself because I’ve so far repeated that effort on Tuesday and Wednesday as well. I have approximately 21,000 words left to go, though there’s bound to be a need to write some new words as I go. Still, I feel like I will make my deadline and be able to get this damn book sent off to the publisher (who has been very accommodating so far). I really need to pull my finger out though and make sure it gets done. Still, if current trends continue, I’ll be sitting pretty.

Tuesday

In the evening Julian came over and we watched Blue Jasmine on Netflix. Glen cringed through most of what he saw; he doesn’t like Woody Allen films. I was glad it was on Netflix as I’d missed seeing it at the cinemas and everyone had raved about it. When it was done though, I wasn’t quite sure whatever everyone found so appealing about it. Cate Blanchett is great, obviously, and the writing is typical Woody, but it’s a bleak story. And in fact (and here comes a bit of a spoiler), I didn’t really like the way that it came across like everything was her fault, that she somehow deserved to go mad, to have no friends or family. Was it because she’d tried to get revenge for having been lied to? Would be happy to have a discussion with someone about this film, particularly if you loved it as I’d like to know what I’m missing.

Wednesday

Tonight has been quiet. Glen came home from work late as he’s doing some extra work to get some more money to pay for the ski boots we bought. Dinner has been a rather sorry affair as I seem to have let that side of things slip a bit. I had rice, salmon and capsicum, while Glen just had a slab of pork. Must get some vegetables back in the house, hopefully tomorrow. We’re also binge-watching our way through the second season of Damages. One more episode to go. What an exciting life we lead.

The rest of the week is going to be busy, and the weekend is shaping up to be fun. I’m looking into taking a drawing class in winter and have found a few options. It’ll be strange going to something structured and regular again.

Cousin roadtrip to Algonquin Park

My cousin Fiamma was keen to see some Canadian wilderness while she was here and luckily I had the time available to go with her. We’d decided on Algonquin Park as it was near-ish (3 hours away) and there was a place available to spend the night. (Being after ‘the season’, there aren’t too many places open, especially accommodation, in that part of the country.)

On Thursday morning we went shopping for supplies, buying a baguette, some shaved turkey breast and salad stuff, as well as a couple of treats. We then collected the hire car, returned to the condo, loaded the car up with our stuff and then set off towards Maynooth.

Maynooth is a small town to the south-east of Algonquin Park. It was where Fiamma had booked us in for our one-night’s accommodation at The Arlington Youth Hostel. We got there at about 1pm but it was too early check-in so we headed into Algonquin Park to scope the place out. It wasn’t the nicest of days. It was raining but we’d brought enough wet weather gear that we didn’t let the light sprinkling put us off.

We stopped in at the information centre first to pay our fee and get a map. There’d been a moose sighting (mother and calf) the day before in the west of the park so that ignited our hopes of seeing a moose on this little jaunt. We also wanted to see beavers and so went to the Beaver Pond walk which was a little way into the park.

The walk wasn’t very long but it took us around two ponds which both had evidence of beavers. We saw their little mounds and opined that beavers were asleep within. We also saw a real beaver dam, which was really impressive. Despite our entreaties though, no beavers sallied forth. We did, however, see red squirrels and eastern chipmunks, one of which came up to Fiamma’s shoe and gave it a sniff.

By the time we returned to the car it was about 4pm and the sun was already starting to go down. We decided against exploring further and instead drove back through Maynooth to Bancroft to find somewhere for an early dinner. We got in there about 6pm and because it was so early were the youngest in there by about 30 years. It was a small country town kind of restaurant but the food was cheap and tasty, servings were large, and the staff friendly. We had big turkey dinners and then shared a cherry pie.

We returned to the hostel, night well and truly having settled in around us. (Daylight savings ended on Saturday night/Sunday morning so it’s taking a bit to get used to the sun setting so early.) Back at the hostel we sat and watched a Nicolas Cage film called Windtalker about the Navajo code talkers in WWII. It wasn’t our choice, we just joined in with the other two people who were already watching the film. At 9, when the movie finished, we went to bed, suddenly weary (and not really wanting to watch another crap film).

It took me a little while to fall asleep as the curtains didn’t block out the light, the bed was a bit short, the walls paper thin and people coming into the building late and talking in the corridor. Still, I managed to sleep.

We woke on Friday morning to a world blanketed in white. Yes, it had snowed. We left at about 8am on Friday morning and this was the first time I’ve actually had to scrape the snow and ice off the car. The novelty wore off after about five minutes. I wouldn’t want to have to do it every morning, that’s for sure. Luckily, the snow hadn’t been too heavy and the roads were pretty clear by the time we set off and they weren’t icy.

We stopped for breakfast in Whitney at a little roadside petrol station restaurant, getting a cheap breakfast of eggs on toast. We stopped in at the grocery store and Fiamma bought some ripe bananas for 15c for two. I thought that was funny. We then drove back into Algonquin Park, stopping off to pay for our entry fee. It snowed while I was sitting in the carpark (while in the car) and was a bit concerned about our plans for hiking, but it stopped pretty quickly.

We drove out to Lake Opeongo first, thinking that the outfitters store would be open. It wasn’t but we had a nice view across the lake at the Christmas-card-like scene around us of snow on trees. On the way back to the main road we stopped and talked to a couple who were walking along the side of the road. They looked like they’d spotted something. They had. Chickadees. We stopped and had a watch with them for a little while, then went to the Visitor Centre down the road.

As it was cold outside (about –1°C or 0°C), we took our time checking out the interpretation, learning a little about the beavers, moose and wolves in the park. We also saw moose, albeit stuffed, dead ones. Armed with new knowledge about the forming of the lakes and forest in the park, we next stopped at the Spruce Bog walk, heading out along the boardwalk. The great thing about the fresh snow was seeing the different animal tracks left in the snow.

Even though we couldn’t be sure as we didn’t have the guide book with us, we were pretty confident we could see which ones belonged to chipmunks or squirrels. There were probably some rabbit tracks as well. No moose. Of course no moose. Despite this being a prime area for moose to visit (they like bogs). Still, it was picturesque.

Our next walk was the Hemlock Bluff walk which took us up along a cliff, through forest and down to the shores of the lake. We saw more tracks, including what we think is likely mean to be wolf, no moose still, but a good walk through very pretty landscapes. The walk took about an hour and a half to two hours through some boggy, muddy areas. The last time I was in Algonquin Park was for the changing of the leaves and the place was full of people. This time we hardly saw anyone. It was magical and I was really glad we decided to do this short trip north.

After returning to the car, we figured we’d done enough and if we wanted to get back to Toronto before 8pm we needed to leave then. We drove through the rest of the park, out the west gate, and then stopped at Henrietta’s bakery for a bite to eat. Then we zoomed down the freeway back to the city, the roads a lot busier than I would have expected. Once we hit the city, the traffic slowed to a crawl and it took half an hour to go 9km. Such a contrast to the vast emptiness in the north.

Once back home, we ate dinner with Glen, who’d prepared tacos for us. He gets brownie points. Julian came by a little later and we whiled away a few hours talking about our travels and watching Mindy Project. I’d bought a book while in Algonquin, which listed 115 must-see destinations in Canada. I’ve seen 28 out of them. Clearly I need to spend a lot more time in Canada.

At 11, Julian and I took Fiam to the airport, said our quick farewells-for-now, then drove back to the city. I filled up the petrol tank, returned the car, we got late night pizza slices and then went to bed. What a great couple of days.

A revolving door of visitors

Sophia and Katelyn killing time

Me, Sophia and KatelynOn Monday we played host to Sophia and Katelyn after their return from Quebec City and before their late flight to Hong Kong. Glen took the day off sick, a rarity for him but much needed. Sophia and Katelyn arrived in the early afternoon, hung around for a bit, and then went out exploring while Glen had a nap and I went to the gym.

In the evening we had roast vegetables and chicken at home. Katelyn sat transfixed, watching My Little Pony on Netflix for a few hours while Sophia, Glen and I got to catch up on everything. Having this one-on-one time was great, but also made me realise how rare it was during the wedding and how nice it would have been to have more time to talk to everyone without needing to move on to the next person. Can’t have everything though and at least Sophia and I had Monday. They left at about 10pm to get their 1am flight. Katelyn probably fell asleep in the taxi on the way.

My mother-in-law and aunt-in-law return

Glen’s mum and aunt returned from Seattle in the evening on Tuesday. This gave me time in the morning to catch up on emails, edit a bit of my book (which is massively overdue now) and do a couple of other things. Glen had wanted to go to Buca, the very nice Italian restaurant on King St W, for dinner but we opted for Indian buffet over the road because of the price.

The next day I went to help Dave out with his baby Josh while they were at a rental tribunal thing. I got baby cuddles for a couple of hours, and he was really well behaved. I got to see the nasty side of the landlord/renter relationship when things go wrong. There were no punch-ups but it’s not a very nice environment. After that, I went home, hung out with Christine and Gaye for a bit, and then went with Christine to get a pedicure as there were still a few hours to go before they had to leave for the airport. Glen joined us a little later after he’d finished work and we had an early dinner over the road at the food court.

Christine and Gaye left at 5:30, bundling into an airport limousine. We closed the door on them and the next second later Fiamma arrived back from her journey to Montreal and Quebec City. She checked into the guest suite in our building and then we had dinner up at our place and hung out for a little while before bidding each other goodnight.