Monday, 31 December 2007

Looking Back.... and Looking Forward.

2007 has only a few more hours before it passes into the history books, and in fact, somewhere in the world it's already 2008. Not everything on my 2007 list actually happened.... we didn't make it to the UK for a holiday or to Gettysburg for the reunion, but we had a wonderful family wedding, and then enjoyed a month in Florida sunshine while friends back in Canada dug themselves out of snowdrifts. Sad things too... the loss of our much loved Wendydog, but YoungerSon and The Bride adopted bouncy puppy Tessa to join the family.

So bring on 2008. I'm ready!

And the biggest treat to look forward to in 2008?

I'm going to be a grandma! I'm so thrilled. OlderSon and The Equestrienne are expecting the patter of tiny feet in February. Only six more weeks! There was a baby shower at the other grandma's house yesterday.

Friends and family, yummy sandwiches, excited conversation, hugs, kisses, cake, a shower hat made from a paper plate decorated with bows and ribbons, and lots of prezzies to open. This baby is going to start off life very well equipped and very well dressed. And probably completely spoiled by Nana (that's me!).
And I wonder what else 2008 has to offer? Whatever you are wishing for, I hope that the coming year will bring health and happiness to you and the people close to you.
Happy New Year!

Saturday, 29 December 2007

Lemon Aid

In the produce department of the local supermarket the other day, The Space Cadet was almost run over by a lady who had been shopping for citrus fruit.

Space Cadet: Madam, I hope you've got a valid driving license for that vehicle. You're dangerous!
Shopper: They let me out on the roads with it occasionally, but this isn't much of a car, it's got a wonky wheel!
Space Cadet: Well, don't look now, but you're driving a lemon!

TRUE! Groan......

Thursday, 27 December 2007

Freezing Fog

Boxing Day morning dawned cold and foggy and still.
My back yard was transformed into a fairyland of delicate blossoms of ice crystals. Jack Frost had visited in the night.

Sunday, 23 December 2007

Christmas Came Early This Year...

Well, if that was Christmas Dinner, I've had it!! Yes, it's all over.

At least, the major Christmas Dinner for our house is over. Now I can relax! Both OlderSon and YoungerSon and their beautiful ladies are spending Christmas with their in-laws, so we had a family get-together a couple of days ago, along with The Equestrienne's mum and also her sister who was home from France for Christmas.

Also included in the festivities was YoungerSon and The Bride's new puppy Tessa.

As always, the cook (that's me) never gets much time to socialise, too much to do in the kitchen, and I didn't take many photos.
Okay, I'm a bad blogger!
Let's skip dinner (it was curried lentil soup with havarti cheese, followed by roast beef, Yorkshire pud, roast spuds, brussels sprouts, orange baked carrots, roast parsnips and lashings of gravy... don't forget the horseradish) and go straight to dessert!

A selection of delicious home made pastries made by The Equestrienne's mum....
.... and OlderSon's speciality... Pumpkin Pie!

Doesn't everyone wear GRISWOLD hockey shirts at Christmas?

Happy Christmas Everyone!

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Remembering Christmas Past

Hauling the Christmas decoration box up from the basement brings some nostalgic moments.

This tiny wooden nativity scene was one of the first tree ornaments bought after OlderSon was born. It's been displayed on the tree every year since.

And the teddy in the high chair marked YoungerSon's first Christmas.

The "Beaded Garland" strung between the lights has been part of Christmas for me all my life. It's made of fragile silvered glass beads and glass tubes strung together, and the large beads are silver foil wrapped around ancient crumbling newspaper. On close examination, I found that the newspaper is Chinese. It was part of my father's family Christmas long before I was born, and probably is at least 100 years old.

What special decorations do you have that bring back memories?

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Self Portrait

A couple of days ago, Ming the Merciless published his Christmas self portrait, so I thought I should do the same.

Okay, so I'm a copycat. I admit it.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Christmas Lights

Check out this video of 20,000 Christmas lights synchronised with music. (Be patient, it takes a few moments to load.)
This was in Newmarket, Ontario, in 2006 to raise money for the local Hospital. I'll have to investigate if the same display has been plugged in this year.
The part I like best is the electricity meter spinning round! Rather him than me.
Amazing display, but I'm glad that I'm not one of his neighbours!

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Digging Out

We certainly got dumped on today! About 30cm of snow, the light fluffy kind. It stuck to my kitchen window. It blew off the roof. It blew down my neck. It filled the driveway.

I'm lucky to have a friendly neighbour with a new toy.... a snow blower. It took less than 15 minutes to clear the drive, a task that would have taken a couple of hours of hard labour by snow shovel.

And as I wasn't going to risk venturing out on the snowy roads during the height of the storm, I decided make myself useful by starting on the Christmas decorations.
Ahhh... snow falling softly outside, decorated tree inside..... now I'm starting to feel really Christmassy!
If you look closely, you'll see that Santa Claus has already left a giant bottle of wine under the tree. Three cheers for good old Santa!

Friday, 14 December 2007

Early snow

The first snows came early to the forest this year.....

....before the wind had blown all the leaves from the beech trees.

Thursday, 13 December 2007


Look what arrived in my mailbox this week.... a special package from Libby of Woodlands World. Everything made by hand... gorgeous!

An embroidered card of a Christmas tree embellished with sequins, elegant Lady Purple the Peg Doll, and a fluffy baby robin chick. Thank you Libby, I'm thrilled to bits!

Monday, 10 December 2007

Dashing through the snow....

... but this was a TWO horse open sleigh.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

The Birthplace of Speed

Ormond Beach has been known as The Birthplace of Speed since the first automobile races were held on the compacted sand beach.

On March 28, 1903, Ormond Beach was the site of a thrilling one mile race between pioneer auto builders.
The Hotel Ormond Challenge cup pitted Alexander Winton’s red "Bullet" against Ransom Olds' "Pirate". Winton’s "Bullet" won the race by two tenths of a second, the recorded time was 75 seconds at the mind-numbing speed of 48 mph.

A push start may be required....

Ormond Beach hosts an Antique and Classic car show during the Thanksgiving weekend. Proud car owners from all over Florida congregate in Fortunato Park to discuss spark plugs and to kick tires. (Figuratively speaking of course. If you actually attempted to kick a tire on one of these beauties, you'd be taken away in handcuffs!)

And the owners are just as smartly turned out as the cars.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Feeling Crabby?

Wherever you look on the beach at Ormond, there are small holes in the sand, and if you are patient, you'll see the resident sand crab doing his housework and carrying out extra sand. This is a small one, about 2 inches across the carapace.

But this bigger one was about 4 inches across, and was feeling quite belligerent about being disturbed.

He (or she?) was ready to stand and fight.

He waved his claws in the air in a threatening manner, and then quite sensibly decided that I was bigger than he was, and he scuttled away among the sea oats.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Let me introduce....

.... my new grandpuppy, the latest addition to the family.

Her name is TESSA, she is 4 months old, full of bounce, and she has taken up residence with YoungerSon and The Bride.

She has Poodle and Golden Retriever ancestry, and I'm told she is known as a Goldendooodle.

You can call her whatever you like, I just call her CUTE!

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Back to Nature on a Wing and a Prayer

The Marine Science Center at Lighthouse Point Park in Ponce Inlet has a marvellous coastal wildlife rehabilitation programme. Their main patients are injured seabirds, manatees and turtles. We were lucky enough to be present at the release of 2 gulls and 4 brown pelicans that had been brought to the centre with injuries earlier this year, and had recovered enough to be returned to the wild.

The birds arrived at the beach in style riding on a golf cart, 2 huge pelicans squeezed into each large animal carrier, and a gull in each of the smaller carriers.

Everyone was instructed to stand well back to give the birds plenty of room, and the cages were opened. Watch out! Here they come!

A little confused as to what to do next. Why are all these humans staring at us?

But eventually all the birds waddled towards the water and stood there, probably assessing the situation, while the admiring crowd waited for some action.

These brown pelicans are surprisingly large, 42-54 inches in length, and weigh from 6-12 lbs and have a wingspan from 6 to 8.2 ft.

As soon as the gulls flapped their wings and took off, the pelicans got the message and followed. A huge cheer went up from the crowd.
Look closely and you can see them flying in the distance.

Great work by the dedicated Marine Science Center staff and volunteers.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

On the Beach

The sandy beach at Ormond is different every morning, depending on the tide, the weather, the winds. Every morning we walked the seashore, but unfortunately, there's a huge volume of garbage washed up on the sand every day, especially after a stormy night and a high tide. We filled a couple of shopping bags with junk every day. The worst offenders were plastic water bottles and lids. And remnants of balloons attached to indestructible plastic ribbon, just waiting to wrap itself around the legs of seabirds.

The oceans of the world must be full of discarded plastic. How sad.

Sunrise over the Atlantic can be stunning.

Of course, The Space Cadet claims to do his best work by the ocean.

The Atlantic was a bit chilly, but that just makes me scream louder when the big wave hits.

When faced with acres and acres of sandy beach, it's compulsory to build a sand castle, isn't it? Spot was a great help. He carried the heavy buckets of sand and collected the shells for decoration.

And I valiantly defended the castle from the incoming tide, just like fabled King Canute.
Unfortunately, it was gone the next morning, washed away by the waves. Oh well.... easy come, easy go. I hear that Canute didn't have much success either.

Once the castle is built, it's a good excuse to catch up on a bit of light reading.
The view from our little Beach House at night, the full moon illuminating the water and the light of a fishing boat on the horizon.

Friday, 30 November 2007

Returning to the Great White North

And White it certainly is! We arrived home to snow on the ground.... YUK! I want to go back to Florida!

We left Ormond Beach at 10:30 Tuesday morning in sunshine, and got as far as Charleston, West Viginia, where we stayed the night. The drive through the mountains was awesome, and we only took wrong turns twice.

We drove clear roads all the way to Florida and back... that's 5,000km... and the only traffic jam we encountered was half an hour from home. Typical Toronto traffic!

We walked in the door at 8:30pm on Wednesday, and I've been unpacking, doing laundry, opening mail, paying bills and returning phone calls ever since.
YoungerSon and the Bride had shovelled the snow from the driveway, and OlderSon had dropped in with a Welcome Home cake. What a great bunch they are!
Now... where's my long underwear???

Monday, 19 November 2007

Just a Quickie from Sunny Florida

The "piggyback" wi-fi is back, but who knows how long it will last, so here's a quick look at our current location here in Ormond-by-the-Sea.
This little Beach House has been our home for the past month. Two bedrooms, fully equipped kitchen, washer and dryer, satellite TV, private parking, a safe place to park our bikes, and literally steps from the sandy beach. Perfect!

The view from the sofa....

.... and the view from the outside looking in.

Thanks, my faithful blogger friends, for visiting this blog while I'm away from home. I'll be checking everyone's blogs out when I get back to Canada at the end of the month.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Update from Ormond Beach

Still no Wi-Fi and we have a dead laptop battery, so it's back to the Library to invest another $5 just to keep in touch.

Meanwhile, the Florida sunshine is back and we're being Beach Bums. Ahhh... retirement is pretty good.
Another couple of weeks of this and then we'll be heading back to the Great White North. Brrrr!

Monday, 5 November 2007

Wi-Fi connection.... LOST!

Sorry folks, my "borrowed" wi-fi connection is gone... posting from the library at the moment, so you may not hear from me for a while!
But the sun has finally come out, so I'm off to the beach.

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

High Seas

The Space Cadet has been out with his camera.

The wind and rain should give way to sunshine by the weekend, according to the TV weather people, but what do they know? Are they ever right? Stay tuned, I'll let you know.