Category Archives: canada

Backyard trades

We live in a semi-detached house and often chat with our immediate neighbors, Dan and Jen. Their kids sometimes come over to play with J
-. When we make jams or jelly, we share it with them, and they share other interesting things with us.

Dan recently bought a smoker because he was pining for the briskets of his Texan youth. He made pulled pork recently, and he brought over some for us. We sprinkled it on pizzas, sandwiches, and other yummy treats. When we finished it, I washed the container and filled it with freshly-picked jalapeno peppers from our garden. (We have too many to eat, and not enough to make jelly.)

It’s nice getting along with your neighbors, particularly when there’s food involved. =)

2010-08-21 Sat 10:13

Cool mornings

2010-07-31 Sat 08:00

Fall doesn’t officially start until late September, but these mornings and evenings are pajama-cool, duvet-cool, un-summer-like. For the first time I am not troubled by the thought of wearing turtlenecks and sweaters in August. Time to unpack the clothes I stored a few months ago: layers of warmth and wicking, cashmere sweaters, coats of varying weight.

I have found other things to call fall and winter, to take the edge off the chill. It will be baking season, cooking season, sewing season. I’ve found a balance between the seasons for outdoor pursuits like bicycling and woodworking, and the seasons for indoor ones. Unusually cool or warm days give me a chance to enjoy activities from the other half of the year.

The garden will continue to grow for a bit. I may have time to sneak a crop or two in. Radishes grow quickly. The cooler weather is kind to lettuce and peas.

I’m learning not to fight nature. Little changes have made life smoother. So what if it doesn’t feel like the tropical summers of my childhood? It is its own self.

2010-07-31 Sat 07:36

Always look on the bright side of life

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The winter chill is tough.

But it does mean that pork and vegetable wontons, buns, and other frozen food are sold on the sidewalk in Chinatown. It’s like having a big outdoor freezer, and not having to worry that your groceries will spoil.

Always look on the bright side of life! =)

Fall down intentionally

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We had circled the ice twice. Hadn’t fallen yet, just wobbled about in the way beginners do.

Mel stopped. She flopped down. “Might as well get it over with,” she said.

Sounded like a great idea, so I did.

Skating got a lot easier after that.

Fall down intentionally. Get your fear out, then go.

Fleece blankets and seasons

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W- and I bought another set of microfleece sheets. They’re much cheaper than an electric blanket or heated mattress pad, and they’re significantly toastier than cotton sheets. We’re planning to keep the house at around 16C – or even cooler, if we can manage it, so the extra warmth will help. It’ll be hard to get out of bed in the morning, but the bathrobe I leave on my night-table may help. Wool socks, scarves, and thermal underwear will take the edge off the cold. I’m even looking forward to trying out the handwarmer that W- got for me.

Living in Toronto gives me three big challenges: being halfway around the world from family and old friends, making sure my paperwork is in order, and dealing with winter. Video calls, new friendships, and trips home take care of the first challenge. I’m about to finish my permanent residency process, so that’ll take care of the second challenge. As for the third challenge, it’s been said that there’s no such thing as terrible weather, only wrong clothes.

Why not just move back to the Philippines? W- shares custody of J- with his ex-wife, so he needs to be in Toronto. Having gone through the hassle of uprooting myself, I’d rather not make others go through the ordeal, either.

Now that I’ve accepted winter as inevitable, I can face it on my own terms and look for ways to stay happy (or be even happier!).

It’s hard to believe that I’m getting ready for my fifth winter in Canada. My fifth! And yet each year makes winter better and better. In 2005, I filled my wardrobe with winter coats from Goodwill. In 2006, a family friend gave me some great coats, and I spent winter time with Toronto friends. 2007 was my first winter with W- and J-, filled with tobogganing and hot chocolate. Last year, I discovered the joys of winter hiking, warm cats, and home-made clothes. This year, I’m looking forward to toasty blankets, lots of baking, and splashes of color in the clothes I’ll make.

The seasons change with or without me, so it’s up to me to adapt.

Halloween

 

Our neighbors are really, really into Halloween. This is their front yard. They just loved scaring the heck out of the trick-or-treaters, and they did it quite effectively by jumping at them when the kids least expected it. Young kids they generally left alone (or apologized to after the kids started crying from fright), but any teenagers trick-or-treating were fair game. <laugh>

We gave them permission to decorate our front yard as well. Here’s one of the props they added:

In Canada, even the zombie babies need to keep their ears warm.