Where Does Time Go?

I’ve not posted for a while….so just checking in to let people know I’m still here!

My life seems to be rather mundane these days.  Nothing terribly exciting but I seem to be busy enough doing something….just what I’m not sure of.  Because we’ve had such a fantastic summer (no real rain since the beginning of July!!) I’ve spent a lot of time outside.  Getting my yard cleaned up and organized and also just sitting on the deck reading, doing sudokus or, the biggest waste of my time, playing solitaire on the iPad!

Oh well, I’m retired right?

No holiday plans except for a girls getaway coming up at the end of this month.  It should be a great time.  We’re heading up to Naramata for 4 days….that’s our wine country.

India in February is my next biggish trip.  Biggish because it’s going to take forever to get there but it’s not a long trip…..only 2 weeks.  It’s a long way to go for such a short period of time but you’ve got to grab those deals to bucket list places when they come up.  It’s a tour of course….not brave enough to do this one on my own….nor would Ken and I have done a trip there on our own.

Going to our annual “Bard on the Beach” play tomorrow.  “Much Ado About Nothing” https://bardonthebeach.org/2017/much-ado-about-nothing/  Then Wednesday Brenda and I are head to Perestroika – Angels in America Part 2  http://artsclub.com/shows/2017-2018/angels-in-america  I was a little worried Part 1 would be a little depressing but no way…..it was a great play so we had to make sure we got in Part 2!

See how boring things are around here? Not anything exciting enough to really post about.

Had a fun dinner the other night at Brenda’s.  We ate too much, drank too much and laughed a lot.   We also talked a lot about our future plans…..those 5 years plans and how our original ones had changed.  Our houses….when to sell, where to move if and when we do.  Men!!  We both decided (very early for her….) that life was actually quite good without that complicating things.  That said, we both miss doing those “couple things” and companionship…sometimes!  We’ve both got grown children living at home (hers is in the basement suite) and decided that it was not a bad thing having someone around.  Serious stuff but we’d had enough wine that we laughed about a lot of it…..

My next post I’ll get back to my trip….a little more Italy but not too much because I’m sure it’s not terribly interesting for most people.     I loved Milan and definitely want to go back and spend more time there….some serious shopping could be done!





More Food In Italy….

I should have just posted from my journal….although that might have been a bit TMI!

We really ate well…..the food markets are the highlight of the week in town!  Besides the food, lots of people just congregate in the piazzas…..kids and adults on scooters (seems to be the latest craze there), the men while the women shop etc.  The cafes also get crowded with the shoppers stopping for a coffee, or if it’s close enough to noon an aperitif or a glass of wine.  It’s a fun, festive atmosphere.  Parking can be a bit of a challenge though and often rather than trying to get as close as possible we’d just grab the first spot we came hoping that we didn’t have a big hike, or worse still a big uphill hike to get to the market.  Not that the walk didn’t do us good…..an excuse to be able to eat and drink all that we did!


The house from the driveway….behind us was the olive grove and off in both directions were the hilltowns which at night were so pretty all lit up.


Our house was really well equipped, which is a good thing if you are planning to do a lot of cooking.  We didn’t think we’d eat in quite as much as we did but due to the lack of restaurants in our immediate area.  It was fun though…..we all enjoyed the prepping with our glasses on wine close at hand.  Not sure that it was porcini mushroom season but someone at the market had beautiful ones…..we bought a few and made a great risotto one night.

We’d bought a lot of fruit one day thinking we have it for breakfast every day…..the melons were so delicious and peaches, firm and so flavourful….they even smelled like perfume!  One night Rae, who is the baker of the bunch, used up all our fruit that was slowly starting to ferment and made a great crumble dessert……this was after we’d finally figured out that there was a plug for the gas stove….it was rolled up and tucked under it!  We’d been using matches to light the burners and couldn’t figure out how to get the oven to work!  Just by chance…..dropping something under the stove….did we discover the cord and plug!  Good thing we did because besides the dessert we did a leg of lamb, eggplant parm, bruschetta etc.


Having dinner at home was one of the best times of the day…..just sitting around, chatting, laughing, going over all our adventures for the day and also catching up on phone calls or facetiming home.  One night a friend called, after a few glasses of wine I think….the only problem was it was evening for her and 4AM for us!!

Enough food I think….next I’ll post about places we went.  Le Marche is really a very beautiful and diverse part of Italy.  I would definitely go back again.  Other than it not being touristy in some areas and having the amenities that go along with that…..not a bad thing for us….it made for a great relaxing, laid back part of our vacation.  In hindsight, we should have done our planning so that this part came after our bike trip and the hustle and bustle of Paris.  Something to think about for the next one!

Today though back to reality……looking at the pictures kind of takes you back…those “ah sigh” moments.  The grass needs cutting…..what was I thinking when I put that moss control and turf builder stuff on it????  It’s still a bit sad looking with black patches (dying moss) and bright green new grass popping up in clumps here and there.

I’m surprising myself in that I really don’t mind cutting the grass…..kind of one of those therapeutic type of jobs.  I should have fired my grass guy a long time ago….it would have caused much less aggravation when he didn’t show up when he was supposed too!  Next on my agenda will be weed control…..we’ll see how that works!

I also managed to finish the walkway at the side of the house that I started last year….it’s terribly crooked but oh well….it’s in now with grass seed around it that I’m hoping will sprout soon.  The soil is so dry and dusty I’m not sure it’ll take root.  I’ve had to water it a couple times a day because it’s been so hot and sunny.  We’ll see.  These were never my jobs before and I can’t say I’m doing any of it the right way but it’s getting done and I guess that is what counts.  Being retired certainly has helped in doing all this…..pretty sure this just would never have happened if I’d still been working.


Ah Italy….Some of the Food!

I don’t know why but we seem to eat so differently when we’re away.  Because we’re on vacation I think it’s the concept of keeping the food prep simple and fun.  Often this happens because you don’t have all the same “stuff” in your rental kitchen that you do at home….knives are often the issue.  That wasn’t the case this time which made prepping everything more fun as opposed to fighting with a dull knife or as happened once having only a bread knife period!  You also don’t want to spend half the evening doing clean up either, so the less dishes, pots, pans etc. used the better!

Also because you’re not there for a long time you tend to buy only what you need for a day or two and of course with the markets there everything is farm fresh.  It’s fun to shop at the markets….just looking at the displays of produce, cheese, meats etc. makes you hungry!

One off my favorite things in Italy is the porchetta….it’s the crackling that makes it.  Probably so bad for you but hey…..everything in moderation, right?


There is always at least one porchetta guy at the markets.  Depending on  the space they have it’s usually a whole pig that is on display.  They lop off hunks of it along with a good bit of the crackling…..it’s absolutely delicious hot or cold, as long as the crackling is crispy.  You throw a few pieces of it into the bun with the pork and it’s fantastic.  That and a salad and some local wine made a great dinner one night.Al

Al fresco dining is great…..during the heat of the day at lunch we’d move the table under the mulberry tree (yes they are trees, not bushes…) and enjoy the food and views.  Not so much the sticky mulberries that would fall off every now and again.  In the evening the house was our shade and again we’d sit an and enjoy the food, the wine, the views and the company!

I have to go to work today 😦  .  I really shouldn’t complain see it’s only a couple of of hours two days a week or so…..but really I’d much prefer to sit here and carry on with our Italy adventure…oh well.  More soon.



How Annoying….

I just finished a big post…..because I haven’t posted for a long time…..and I lost it!!  Argh.

I was using the iPad, which I really don’t like very much.  Not sure what happened to it but oh well…..it wasn’t a terribly exciting one anyway.

Trying desperately to get back into some sort of a routine around here….it just all seems to fall apart during the summer and when I get back from vacation.  I have a hard time not wasting time!!

I’ve been working more than I planned, but after this week will hopefully get back to just the 2 days a week that I started out with!  It’s only a couple of hours in the morning but I’m pretty useless after that so not much gets accomplished.  I think I’m more productive in the morning and by the time I get home it’s after lunch, so in my head it’s too late to start anything but I’m really getting good at playing solitaire!

The weather had been great.  I do try to get yard work done when it’s not blisteringly hot ( I’m no complaining because I love summers like this) but at the rate I’m going I’ll have my yard done when I’m ready to sell in a few years.  I’m also getting a little obsessed with my grass…..who would have ever thought that!

I’ve been busy but not doing things on my to do lists, which I guess is OK because I am retired…..I keep telling myself that and it’s working since I’m not getting much done.  That excuse does get a bit old though after a few months…..

Had a great visit with my friends over in Sechelt…even did a tour boat trip one afternoon.  Very beautiful up the inlet…..lots of spectacular scenery and gorgeous vacation homes.  Also had a visit with another friend, who has had a place up there for a few years but moved up there permanently in June.  This was the first time that we were able to get together.  Had a great lunch and afternoon catching up and talking about their upcoming trip to Europe in September.  They’ll be spending 3 weeks in Puglia, which is an area I was in a few years ago.

I hope to get back to posting a little more regularly than I have been…..getting back into my usual morning routine….I will, definitely, I will……



There might have to be a few parts to this…..just so much there to talk about!  Food, wine, people, beautiful countryside, beautiful villages and towns….the list just could go on and on!

We tried to find where the local farmers markets were each day and then plan our outings based on that.  Le Marche, the area that we stayed in, is not the tourist mecca like so many other parts of Italy.  As a result it’s kind of a catch-22 situation……you don’t get the touristy type services (ie lots of restaurants) and at the same time because there aren’t that many tourists, there really isn’t the need to have all those restaurants, shops etc.  Not sure this is a good thing or a bad thing.  Their economy does struggle, which worries some people, but then we talked to others who were more than content with their way of life….sometimes a lot of work but so worth it to them to retain.  Very interesting!  Siesta is also a big part of Italian life in Le Marche…..just about everything closes around noon and reopens late afternoon, 4:30-5ish often, depending on where you are restaurants and cafes!  We learned to do our “shopping” earlier then search out one of the restaurants that was open and have a long leisurely lunch!


The Sunday market in Arcevia!  Not many food stands….mostly a market for household goods, clothing (including polka dot bras!!), tools, etc.  They don’t have any of the big box stores nearby so the weekly markets enable people to get what they need without having to drive for miles or hours.  Some of the clothes and shoes were pretty darn nice…..lots of scarves!!

The market in Gubbio (Tuesdays) was the best ever…..we remembered that from our last visit here so made the trek (a good hour or so drive).  It’s a huge market with lots of everything……beautiful fresh produce, the porchetta guy and clothes and shoes galore!

What surprised me more than anything was the number of young people in these towns.  Young as in their 20’s.  A lot of these places have only a few hundred people so it seems incredible to me that so many of the younger people remain.  They work in the shops but more often than not they work on the family farms and vineyards.  On the outskirts of many of the towns there are some large industrial complexes as well (tires, farming/vineyard equipment, cement works)…maybe that too keeps them close to home.  We’d see them in the cafes and bars in the evening (having a glass of wine, not beer!) chatting and visiting with their friends as well as all the oldies that would come out for the evening passagiata.

Little Apes (pronounces aa-pay, which means bee in Italian) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piaggio_Ape , are in abundance and the best way to get around on the many narrow little roads.  We seen a lot of “souped” up ones driven by the young guys racing around in the evenings…..no Ferraris for them!


lots of little “apes”…..the kids spiff them up with fancy paint jobs and race them around the streets in the evening!



They really do have their priorties right……family is probably the most important, or maybe it’s the food…..it would be a pretty close second for sure.  Everywhere we went all food, even just a pizza, is served with care.   Most places the servers are very attentive….not for tips, which are not the big thing there like they are here….round up the bill and that’s it.  You never get just a glass of wine or a coffee, it will always come with a little cookie of bowl of nuts or olives…..sometimes a few little pieces of cheese.

The place we stayed was fantastic! Here is the link to the rental through airbnb  https://www.airbnb.ca/rooms/1480738?guests=6&adults=6&location=Italy&s=1BFHm4CJ Huge….especially loved the big kitchen with lots of room…AND the best part, good, sharp knives!!  The white stove at the end of the table has now been replaced by a lovely 6 burner stainless steel gas stove.   The ground floor was still somewhat in it’s original state….the barn.  We had fun looking around down there finding all the old troughs, stables, storage areas etc.

Italy is all about food to me….buying it, preparing it and then the best part….eating it!  I was going to try to get lots of foodie pics but unfortunately often I’d remember the picture halfway through the meal!

Food and cooking…..and wine of course….seemed to be on our mind all the time!!

All of us prepping away for dinner was one of the best times of day…..and then of course eating whatever we’d prepared and sitting around talking about our day.

I could go on and on……and will in the next post.




A Sad But Happy Day???

Yesterday was the celebration of life for my friend Heidi that passed away in October last year.  Why wait 9 months to have the COL?  Because her husband wanted it to be at her happy place, which is in Point Roberts WA where their cottage is.  Such a pretty place…..she spent most of the summer there every year.  Winter was not the time to have it and yesterday was a gorgeous day…..warm, lots of sun, just what she liked.

After the service at the cemetery, where the ashes are, we all headed to a little local restaurant that was right on the water.  Beautiful garden, beautiful view….kids and dogs running around….just what she would have wanted.

It was sad because she’s gone. Such a great tribute to her by many people….family, friends, neighbours.  She will be remembered as a kind and giving, generous person….and for some of her quirks such as shopping!!  Happy because of all the good memories and lots of laughs.

I know her husband waited until now so all would be just perfect for her but such a long time for him to get some closure.  He said it was hard especially the last few weeks putting all this together…..those things that you’ve slowly started tucking away at the back of your mind all come back bringing that emptiness with it.  He had lots of help from lots of good, close friends which got him through all this.

A bunch of people went back to the cottage after which was nice.  I hadn’t been there for years….Ken was still here then….I’d gone down for the day, for a girls day.  Heidi made a great lunch and we talked and laughed for hours….was a really nice time.  We were going to do it again….but life got in the way and it just never happened.

I think Mike will be OK now.  He’s got a bike (motorcycle) trip planned in the next couple of weeks with some buddies which he’s looking forward too…..you need things to look forward too.  There is no going back so the only way you can go is ahead and you’ve got to make the best of it and take any opportunity to do things or get away or whatever that comes up.

Today for me is a yard day…..I hope to finish the bark mulch and get a bit more of the moss sprayed.  I just did a small patch the other day with the dish soap and water and it’s working!!  So happy about that, except of course I’m going to have to rake all that up and will likely have a few/many bare patches to reseed.

We’re heading into a bit of heatwave here for the next week…..I love it!  Highs up in the mid-30’sC (95ishF).

Tomorrow is the last baseball games of the season and our wind up party.  It should be fun.  I’ll miss it but I’m not that into it that I’ll be joining another league as many of the other do.  Once a week for a few months is good enough for me for now…..maybe next year I’ll get into it a bit more but this was a good start.  Lots of great ladies so tomorrow should be a lot of fun.  One of the best things about this league is that the total cost for the season was $15!!  That includes the wind up party…..not a bad deal at all.


I Love The Summer!

And it’s been a pretty darn good one so far!  Lots of sun, very little rain (maybe not good for fires..), not too hot (high temps 24ishC/75-80F).

I’ve been out and about just about everyday for the last couple of weeks.

One of the fun things we did was on Wednesday…..my friend Donna and I met another friend for lunch but because we were a little early we stopped by a winery for a quick tasting…..turned out to be a little longer than quick!!  Tasted about 4 of their wines and then the winemaker came in and we chatted a bit with him…..he then pulled out a couple of bottles that they were working on and wanted out opinions on what we thought about them!  We’re far from experts but he didn’t care because that’s not who would be drinking his wine!

Lunch was lots fun once we eventually got there…..lots of catching up.  Donna and Loyann had not seen each other since out trip to China almost 2 years ago!  More wine of course 🙂

Yesterday was my granddaughters appointment at Childrens Hospital, which is always a fun day for us.  Lunch and then back to my place for the rest of the afternoon.  Bev and I “played” tennis and she joined us as our ball girl and was treated to a couple of bucks and a big popsicle!  She saved us a lot of bending over!  I say “played” because we really are not very good….really, really not good.  It was a little warm so maybe that was out problem…lol.  But practice makes perfect right so we’ll definitely get out again……one day.

A few mornings of work here and there, gardening, some housecleaning (cleaning lady only comes once a month now 😦  ) and I’m not sure exactly what else but I seem to be keeping myself pretty occupied which is a good thing.

The other day I was talking to a friend and she was telling me about a little morning road trip to somewhere that her and her husband had done….that was the first time in a long time that I had a bit of a pity party for me!  Just one of those things that you don’t do when there is just you!  I’d been so busy doing whatever it is I’ve been doing and hadn’t really had one of those “moments” for a long time.  I must say I kind of tuned her out….that’s why I can’t remember where she said they went……it just made me think of that as one of those things that I can’t do now.  I love my lunches and excursions with the girls, but it just isn’t the same.  Luckily I got over it quick enough but I do wish those things wouldn’t still bother me….oh well!

Work today and gardening….I’m making my own homemade mosskiller for my lawn…..I’m just going to try it in a small area first because my lawn is pretty much all moss and I’ve worked really hard at getting the bits of grass here and there back to green-ish (was all brown when I got back from holidays).  It’s just dishsoap and water but you have to get the proportions right or it could also kill that grass.  I’ll also have go and invest in a new rake to rake out all those moss once it’s dead.  Should be interesting to see if this really works.

More holiday pics and reports to come…..Italy next time.  I’ll probably have to do a couple because there is just so much there to appreciate and share.



Another city to go back and spend some time in!

Ten years ago we drove through it, this time I spent one night there.  Next time it will be a couple of days…..lots to see, lots of history, lots of good restaurants, food, wine and shopping!

The flight (British Airways from Heathrow) was great…just a couple of hours but they served us breakfast!  Had clear skies all the way so flying over the Alps was pretty spectacular.  Mountains, lush valleys with lakes….



Bologna and the beautiful surrounding rolling hills……and smog!

We arrived in Bologna early afternoon which at least gave us some time to do a bit of exploring.  Taxi from the airport to “centro storico” was a flat rate, which I can’t remember now.  It took a while because it was a holiday weekend and traffic was a little crazy as everyone was heading out of town to hit the coast….the heatwave had started! We stayed at the Hotel San Donato, which was in a great location for walking everywhere.  They also have a couple of lovely terraces with great views of the city.  We started our visit off with an aperol spritz (good but a little too sweet for me!).  Drinks were served with peanuts and other little snacky things…..which is pretty much the norm anywhere in Italy or Europe…definitely doesn’t happen at home!!

Bologna view from terrace

View from the terrace…

It’s a beautiful old city with lots of piazzi and porticos or colonnaded walkways which nicely protect you from the weather while shopping  Lots of great cafes, restaurants and shops with beautiful clothes, jewelry….if only my suitcase hadn’t already weighed a ton!!  And shoe stores…..and the scarves……


Bologna also has a leaning tower.  There used to be a couple of hundred but of course over the last few hundred years they’ve either fallen down or been taken down.  Supposedly they were built by rich families as a form of protection or just simply to show off their wealth.  There are only a few left standing today….one of which leans.


We had lunch a great little café just down the street from our hotel……13E for your choice of a couple of different kinds of pasta and a salad.  We celebrated the next leg of our trip with a couple of bottles of wine…..a nice leisurely lunch to get into the Italian way of life!

The doumo (San Petronio Basilica) is very interesting…..the front façade has never been finished!  Over the years (hundreds…) apparently a number of people were commissioned to do a plan for finishing it but I guess whoever was in charge wasn’t impressed so today it remains as it was 500+ years ago.  The inside is beautiful….huge.  It is the largest basilica in the world built of bricks!!  There was a mass happening so we didn’t venture inside too far but like most churches in Italy many frescos, beautiful tile and a lot of decadence.IMG_1882

The food shops were most impressive…..as they are everywhere in Italy!  It’s “eye candy” for your stomach…..everything is displayed beautifully.  We did pick up a few goodies for the next day when we arrived at our house.  Lots of wine stores…..picked up some of that too!!


We had dinner at a pizza place…..good but not the best I’ve had in Italy.  One thing I should have learned from other trips there is that a small pizza really would feed a family!!  We probably should have just split one or two between the 4 of us…..live and learn, or in my case, NOT!!  Next time I will remember!

One thing that was pointed out to us by taxi drivers, the desk people at the hotel, the waiter in the café and just about everyone else we talked to……contrary to popular belief, Bolognese sauce is not from Bologna!!  I must say we didn’t see “spaghetti Bolognese” on any menu, so we have to take their word for it!

Back to the hotel for a nightcap on the terrace which had a terrific view of the Bologna rooftops and the towers.

Breakfast the next morning was included at the hotel…..very good continental type with lots of variety…..cheeses, meats, fruit, bread and hardboiled eggs!

I was joined on the terrace by pigeons…..as soon as they see you, they appear hoping for a crumb or two…..it was a gorgeous morning and a great place to just sit and enjoy my coffee.

Bologna pigeons

It’s a very clean city…..I was very impressed with the garbage system!!  I know really …..but I did wonder why the garbage cans were never overflowing at the end of the day like you see in many other places……who knew!

Bologna garbage pick up

all you see on the street is the small garbage can-ish thing on the top…..the rest of the container is buried under the street!  The truck comes along and lifts the entire contraption up and somehow dumps it in the back….really quite impressive!

So much more of Bologna to see on another trip…..



…and the other 16000 or so yesterdays!  All MY troubles did seem to far away.

Yesterday was our 43rd anniversary……Happy Anniversary Ken!  I know you are with me all the time in spirit.

Who knew where life would take me…..I never thought about this time in my life.  There were no “real” troubles back then.  Young and happy in those days.  It’s a good thing in a way that you don’t think too far into the future….all the what could be’s, all those things that happen to someone else.  Life would be awful if you worried about that!!

I don’t think my trouble are here to stay though….moving forward is the only way to go, right?  No going backwards, no changing what has happened….it is what it is.  Life is good!  Perhaps not as good as it could have been, but I have nothing, at least nothing that I can change, to complain about and I think I’m doing a pretty good job of making it work.

This anniversary kind of just went by…..I did think about it of course but it wasn’t as emotional as the last three……the first one was especially hard.  Now it’s a day that I celebrate in my head and in my heart.

Happy Anniversary Ken.  Love you always…..





BC is Burning!!

So many forest fires happening right now……very scary!  I was going to post about our one day in Bologna……next one.

B.C. wildfires map 2017: Current location of wildfires around the province

This morning the sky is that hazy, orange/pink-ish colour which means the smoke from all the fires is heading this way.  The closest one is a few hundred miles away but after days and days and days of it and with the wind/current direction being what it is, it’s working is way towards us.  The same thing happened a couple of years ago and I think back then the fires were even further away.


The mountains have disappeared……a very hazy blue sky this morning.


The air quality here will be terrible now for the next few days…..until Thursday when we’re supposed to see a bit of rain.

I feel terrible for all the people that have been evacuated or worse still for those that have lost their homes.   I just can even imagine what that would be like.  Some relatives and friends of friends have relocated hundreds of miles from their homes.  In a number of areas that haven’t been hit with the fires communities have set up evacuation centres and campgrounds for people that have had to pack up and go.

I love summer but inevitably if we have the great weather for any period of time the possibility of these fires becomes reality.

I’ve been doing yard work……this seems like an endless project but one that is really quite satisfying and gives me a great sense of accomplishment.  Part of my problem is deciding what to do with certain areas of my yard, then doing it AND not changing my mind the next year!!  Slowly but surely I will get there.  Who knew there are about 4 or 5 different kinds of bark mulch??  One inch fir or cedar mulch, there are “chips” of both kinds too and then another that is made from something else and just looked like lumpy dirt!!  The landscape store sells it by the bucket….small buckets to me about the size of regular pail that you would have hanging around.  I can manage 4 buckets per garbage bag…..anymore than that and I can’t lift the bag.  Hostas are the latest plants….a few more to get and few more bags of mulch and I’ll be finished with the area around the patio under my deck.  The grass thing that I started a couple of years ago just didn’t work…..looked awful.  Not enough sun there and now that I’m cutting my own grass was way too much trouble to get around there.

Before…..looking down from my deck.  Not so nice 😦

And a work in progress….looking better already but a lot more to do.  My neighbor, the landscaper (too expensive for my budget!!), got some rhodos for my from one of his reno sites….very nice of him and he planted them too!!  He told me to just put newspaper down to block the weeds and grass….he said it works just as good so we’ll see!


I’m hoping I’ll get this finished today, or at least most of it……then I’ll get back to that walkway at the side of my house.  A lot of bending and crouching happening……advil to the rescue!


And lastly my hanging basket.  I had to buy one this year because of being away in June.  It was too late to start a moss basket when I got home and I didn’t want to start one before I went away…..my daughter would have had to remember to water it, along with all the other stuff.  I was lucky because I found one I liked and they were all 30% off!