Rules at Grandma’s House

On Friday, teachers in Ottawa are having a holiday  professional development day.

So tomorrow evening my daughter is going to pick me up on her way home from work, to I can spend Friday with her two children and their dog.

The last time there was a PA Day, they came to our house and we went out on the buses, which they loved, and went to Tim Horton’s, which they loved, and to A&W, which they loved, and came back here to play video games, which they absolutely loved! We had a great day.

I told them that at Grandma’s, there is a different set of rules.

  • You can eat what you want when you want to.
  • You can read Archie comics all day if you want to.
  • A visit to Tim Horton’s for hot chocolate is a must.
  • Cookies are in the jar and you can have as many as you want.
  • Our TV and Netflix can be accessed all day.
  • Video games can be played for as long as you like.
  • You can sit whereever you want to on the bus.
  • You can change seats as often as you like.

It’s a wonder my daughter and son-in-law still want us to watch the kids!!!

But on Friday it is going to be VERY cold and I don’t want to be outdoors at all, especially not waiting for a bus. So I am going there, and the rules are different. Can you believe it???

I am looking forward to spending the day with Owen and Brynn. And Chip, the dog. The very cute dog.

I am going to stay over into Saturday so that I can go to watch the Moms play hockey against the Daughters. It should be a close match. On the one hand, the girls have been honing their skills all season long, but on the other hand, the Moms have size on their side. The girls are strong skaters. The Moms CAN skate (at least most of them can). The girls are good at passing. The Moms will try to pass, if their sticks ever touch the puck. The girls have energy. The Moms have energy bars.

Owen is coaching his Mom and putting her through the drills he himself practices before a big game. Apparently he is very encouraging. Brynn has been getting secret coaching from her Dad. I think she is going to try to get a penalty!

I just hope there is no fighting during the game. I’d hate to see how that would turn out!

I’ll have a recap of the game highlights in my next post.

Thanks for visiting. Have a good weekend. – Maureen





Walk Like a Ballerina

Winter came late to Ottawa this year. December was mostly mild with very little snow.

Christmas Day was well above zero and it was raining. The grass was still green, for Pete’s sake!

But this past Sunday, January 4, we had:

  1. Snow
  2. Freezing rain
  3. Rain

All in one day! It was Nova Scotia weather in Ontario!

The shovelling was bad, my husband told me. As a result of all that shovelling, the freezing rain fell on a clean driveway which means that it is a solid sheet of ice. So it was salted.  But all the salt mines of Tanzania don’t produce enough salt to melt the ice that covered everything.

The trees and shrubs were ice coated and glistening in the sunlight which followed the “weather bomb”. It is just so pretty!


The temperature dropped from +8 C (45F) on Christmas Day to -25C (-13F) yesterday.

So now, when I venture out of the house, I have to walk like a ballerina.

You know. The teeny tiny steps, like Margot Fontaine dancing in Swan Lake. The arms outstretched and flapping in the air, like a bird ready for take-off. I mince my way down the driveway and do the ballet dance all the way to the bus stop.

I HAVE to get to Tim Horton’s to have a cup of steeped tea with my friend, Joan.

I feel as if an audience cheered as I entered the coffee shop. But I think some of them were hoping I’d fall.

I just hope I remember the dance steps for the trip home.

Happy New Year to all of you. May you be blessed with health and happiness. – Maureen

Fun (Senior Style)

Life is not all about having fun, but hey, fun is important, isn’t it?

For a senior, fun can be as exciting as getting the Senior’s Discount at Tim Horton’s.

I’ll describe a typical day in the life of two fictional seniors, who recently moved to Ottawa.  Any resemblance to Hubby and Me is totally incomprehensible!!!

  • 5:00 a.m. – Hubby gets up.  Yes, it’s early, but it’s all those naps he takes during the day!  They catch up with him, usually around five in the morning.
  • 5:30 a.m. – He goes for a walk to get the papers.  These papers are free, which is very exciting and fun!
  • 6:00 a.m. – He turns on the TV.  We don’t have cable or satellite, but by the miracle of computers, he is able to find a couple of channels.  They are free, which is fun!
  • 6:30 a.m. – He has his breakfast of coffee and a croissant.  The croissants are 5 for $1.00, which is a pretty good deal and therefore fun!
  • 7:00 a.m. – He has a little nap to let the croissant get comfy in his tummy.
  • 7:30 a.m. – I The wife wakes up.  She stays in bed reading her email and checking her favourite bloggers. This must be fun because she does it for an hour.
  • 8:30 a.m. – Wife comes downstairs and has breakfast.  High fibre cereal and a huge cup of tea.  You know what the fibre is for and the tea is just for fun!
  • 9:00 a.m. – Wife and Hubby continue reading the papers.  Wife does the crossword puzzle and the Sudoku puzzle.  She finds this fun.
  • 10:00 a.m. – They talk about what they want to do today.  Hey, it’s Monday.  The buses are free in the afternoon, which is always fun! They decide to go to the mall to pay some bills.  This is an exciting occurence because 1) they actually have the money to pay the bills, and 2) the bus is free.  Fun!!!
  • 11:00 a.m. – They spend the better part of an hour searching for the bills, gathering up their glasses and bus schedules.  Not quite so much fun!
  • 12:14 p.m. – They walk across the street to get the bus.  He wants to be there ten minutes ahead of the scheduled arrival time.  She points out that it is right across the street and they are always too early.  This happens every time, so it must be fun.
  • 2:30 p.m. – They have had their lunch (a two-for-one special of course) and have just cashed in their free coffee coupons at Tim Horton’s.  It’s “roll-up-the-rim-to win” time and there is a chance to win a Toyota or camping gear or one of 2,000,000,000 free coffees or donuts.  This is just a chance but is fun nonetheless.
  • 4:00 p.m. – We’re They’re home again.  Nap time for hubby and time for a decaf tea for her.  This is fun!
  • 5:00 p.m. – Time for a bike ride on the trail by their house.  The trail winds its way through the trees, past parks, and ends up at the library.  They decide to pick up a couple of books while they’re there.  Libraries are free which makes it fun!
  • 6:00 p.m. – While Hubby naps wife scrambles a couple of eggs for supper.  They eat in front of the TV watching “Monty Don’s Italian Gardens”, or “THe Story of Fractals”, or even “Country Houses of Britain”.  Almost too much fun, as Hubby falls asleep and Wife starts reading a book on her eReader.  “The Murder of a Stone Mason” or something like that.
  • 8:00 p.m. – Hubby wakes up and says it is time to go to bed.  He just has to turn off his computer in the basement.  Wife decides to do a blog post when she hears sounds of computing coming from the lower regions of the house.  This part is really a lot of fun!
  • 10:00 p.m. – Time for bed at last.  What a day!  Wife gets out her eReader to find out whodunnit and Hubby falls asleep from exhaustion.

Next post will explain how it takes fifteen minutes to put their shoes on, another fifteen to find their sunglasses, twenty to search for their phones, half an hour to take out the trash, and at least an hour to tidy up after supper!

But it’s all fun!!!

Searching for a Good Cup of Tea

I started drinking tea when I was a young wife, living in Africa.  Zambia is a member of the British Commonwealth, so tea-drinking was already a tradition when we were there from 1966 – 1968.  Have you ever read Alexander McCall Smith’s, The Number One Ladies Detective Agency series? It is set in Botswana, a country we visited when we were in Africa.  I don’t think any detecting could be done without the ladies being fortified with a cup or two of tea.

As I was growing up in Nova Scotia, tea drinking was very important.  I remember my mother saying of a woman who was visiting her who refused a cup of tea, “When I asked her if she wanted a cup of tea, she said no, she didn’t like tea.  Not like tea?  I’ve never heard of such a thing!!” 

When we moved to the States for a couple of years in the 1980s, a neighbour asked me over for a cup of tea.  She  poured a cup of warm tap water into a cup and gave it to me along with a tea bag.  I drank the resulting brew – I won’t call it tea – but the next time we got together, at my house, I showed her how to brew a perfect cup of tea.  I like to think she was thankful for the lesson.

Over the years I have tried with very little success to get a good cup of tea at a restaurant.  I have had no luck until recently.

At first, the tea was always served with cream.  If you wanted milk, you had to ask for it and you were looked at as if you were crazy.  I am going to tell you something.  Coffee may taste better with cream, but tea does not!  Most of the time, you will be served a cup of hot water with the tea bag on the side.  This will not do!  Tea has to be steeped!!!

How to make a perfect cup of tea:

  • Boil the water.
  • “Hot” the pot – pour a small amount of the boiling water into the empty tea-pot.  Swish it around.  Pour it out.
  • Insert the tea bags or loose tea – I prefer tea bags, but many prefer loose tea.
  • Pour a full pot of boiling water over the tea bags/loose tea, and let it stand or “steep” for 5 – 7 minutes.
  • Pour into a tea-cup.
  • Serve with sides of milk, sugar and/or lemon.
  • Enjoy.

My husband has learned to make tea this way and every morning, my tea awaits me when I get out of bed around 7:30 a.m.  The first cup of tea of the day is the best.  I recommend husbands everywhere learn to make steeped tea.  It will bring you much happiness in your marriage!

I said earlier that I had not had a good cup of restaurant tea until recently.  We have a restaurant here in Canada called Tim Horton’s that is well-known for its coffee.  What many people don’t realize is that for the past three or four years, Tim Horton’s has steeped tea.  They make it perfectly and it always tastes fresh and refreshing.  However, as far as I know it is available only in Ontario.  I know Quebec doesn’t have it.  Any other provinces have steeped tea?  Let me know before I travel there please.

Did I tell you that I love Tim Horton’s?  I wonder if they learned their tea-making skill from my hubby!