#46 – Roasting Marshmallows

The last time I roasted marshmallows was at our SCYC yacht club event in Rosario in the San Juan Islands. It was cut short as we could hear and see a storm approaching. It started to pour. There was no time to sing “Cumbaya”!

Today it’s Boxing Day. My husband has been cleaning the yard burning the downed branches and Christmas wrapping, keeping the fire stoked for later this evening. We are going to roast marshmallows tonight after supper and before our grandson goes to bed. The “Slivery” moon, as he calls it, and the stars are peaking through the clouds. It’s still. It’s quiet. The only sound is the fire crackling. Christmas lights from neighbouring homes are twinkling between the trees. I am waiting for the embers to be just right. No flame.

Fire pit

I do not like burning my marshmallows. They have to be evenly roasted all around – a soft brown for a perfect roast! I’m attentive not to leave it too long near the coals. When I see a small whiff of smoke, it’s time to turn. I’m careful not to drop it off the stick. When done, they slide off nice and soft, all in one bite. Pop in your mouth and there you have it, the perfect roast. I like cooking them more than eating them. I love watching others cook marshmallows. They are quick, their marshmallows burn, they get charred! Some don’t even bother cooking!

I love watching the flames of the fire dancing around. It’s peaceful and mesmerizing at the same time. All of a sudden we just start singing. I love how that works. And later, smelling smoky hair, well that’s just part of roasting marshmallows.

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#58 – Give Blood

I regularly gave blood in the 80’s and 90’s, until one day I was told my iron was low. I ate the recommended green vegetables; broccoli, spinach, beans, peas. No kale. Kale wasn’t discovered then and only used as decoration in the deli section. Despite eating iron rich foods, my iron didn’t go up. My doctor suggested I take iron pills, which I did, but it had its side effects. Another prescription to “rect’ify” that. I stopped trying to give blood, until yesterday.

It has changed from the time of walking in off the street, sitting down in the comfy lazy-boy like lounge chairs and watching the bag move to and fro. One thing that remains, are the juice and cookies offered while you rest. No, this round started with making an appointment. I’m glad my friends gave me the heads up as there were only 4 spots left. After initial screening, the prick station and private conversation about your overall health, travel history and social habits, I’m good to go.

Blood

I am glad I gave blood. It made me feel good. The body is an amazing organism. While resting, I noticed how everyone was smiling and having conversations with complete strangers. The volunteers were upbeat and encouraging you to come back. And that’s just what I did. I scheduled my next donation for February.

#2 – Movie Theatre “Night at the Museum”

Movie

I can’t remember the last movie I watched in a movie theatre. I do remember eating popcorn, Twizzlers, M&M’s and drinking pop. I think I know why I don’t go. With the convenience of Netflix and Apple TV, I tend to watch movies anytime in the comfort of my home.

But it’s not the same. Going to the movies is an outing, especially on a rainy day. And that’s what I did today with my sister and our husbands. I particularly like the Matinée’s, it’s less crowded. I have forgotten that movies are no longer 5 bucks. The medium coke is huge and how can you carry such a large bag of popcorn without spilling? I was hoping to be like the girl in the commercial who gets her snacks for free, no such luck!

I like to sit about 2 rows from the top and in the middle. I don’t like having to look up or sideways but straight ahead. My sister is with me on that one. The sticky floors and popcorn stuck under your shoes has not changed. It’s 15 minutes before the movie starts. I’ve eaten half my popcorn by then. I could do without the commercials.

The big screen and surround sound are what brings the movie to life. We watched the “Night at the Museum” with Ben Stiller and Robin Williams. There were some great lines throughout. The story line was easy to follow, not like the time my sister brought our Mother to “The Sting”.  She had to explain the entire movie. We all enjoyed it. This is one of four of Williams’ last movies. I loved all his movies and I think that is why we picked it. He and Meryll Streep are my favorite actors.

My sister tells me that in the Netherlands they stop the movie at the half way mark for a pee break. How civilized! Especially, since they serve wine and beer on a nice little table at your seat! I’m going there the next time we go to a movie.

#33 – “Jingle Bell Run”

Plastic lights

When we moved to Nanaimo from New Brunswick in 1998, I joined a women’s running group as a way to meet people. Today, I still run with most of them. We started a Xmas tradition “The Jingle Bell Run”, way back when. And most of us in the group have hosted the run making it our own. It varied, it was creative, festive, fun, giving. It was a kick-start to the holiday season. I’ve missed the last few years and that is why this year it’s on my list.

There is something about the simplicity of donning a pair of runners (sneakers where I come from), carrying a few jingle bells, wearing goofy hats and reindeer antlers and singing your way through the host neighborhood visiting the lights and decorations. One year, we bought chocolates and gave it to the most impressively decorated home. Sometimes we rang doorbells and sang. The best year was returning to our hostess’s house and being greeted by her husband dressed in a tuxedo offering warm towels and eggnog. You see why we do this!

Last night we did things differently. We walked to Milner Gardens in Qualicum Beach. We walked just as fast, on account of the pouring rain. Milner Gardens is a gem nestled in the forest by the sea. You could hear the wind through the trees as background to the festive music. There is over a half a kilometer of lit and decorated trails with over 50,000 lights. Some, very creative, made of water bottles that looked like different flowers. Unlike other year’s, we were among lots of families and kids coming out to see the sights, the Gingerbread display by students at the VIU Culinary Arts Program, visiting with Santa Claus and taking in the Christmas wonder that Milner Gardens offered.

Gingerbreadv2

If you want to learn more on the history of Milner Gardens, go to the link. It’s a special place and run by volunteers.

https://www2.viu.ca/milnergardens/history.asp

I’m glad I got out this year. We all enjoyed a great walk, devoured a variety of foods, and shared laughs from the bottom-of-the-drawer gift exchange. How could I not be in a festive mood?

Weigh In – Zero pounds lost

Donut

First of all, I don’t like weighing myself and the word “Diet” does not exist in my vocabulary. I like food too much! I learn of my weight from my doctor, once a year when I have my yearly check-ups. Besides you don’t need to get on a scale – tight skirts and pants and feeling an extra roll during yoga moves, is a clear indication you’ve put on weight.

So why do I want to loose 6lbs? Because if I lost 60, the “0” size dress at Club Monaco, or as I like to call it the “Black and White” store, would be too big. And 6 lbs is attainable in a year.

I did weigh myself on my birthday and have the weight written down. I will share that number once I’ve accomplished the goal. The challenge will be to remember to weigh myself from time to time. Right now I’m at zero pounds lost. What a time to even start thinking of this!

Stay tuned and I will give you updates – at least 6 times.

#54 – Food Demo

There are probably a lot of things out there I could buy but I don’t because I don’t know about them. Taste tests give you that opportunity. I like the self help ones. If I like it, … I have another. Sometimes I buy, sometimes I don’t. If I don’t, I walk away – no guilt. But when there is a person handing samples out, it’s different. What’s it like?

Yesterday, I found out. I helped my friends at Smokin George’s promote their BBQ sauce at a local grocery store.

Food Demo

“Have you heard of Smokin George’s?”, my opening line to lure them to taste. “Their sauce is so popular at the restaurant, they decided to bottle it”. It goes on.

Most shoppers love to taste. The ones that love the product, buy it. Some give you a polite “thank you” and move on. “It has less sugar and salt, then commercial brands”.

Some sound really interested and ask you all kinds of questions to find the one thing that will get them out of purchasing. “Oh I am sorry, I don’t cook”. “It makes a great stocking stuffer, under $10 for the Foodie in your home”. I’m not pushy here, I am enthusiastic. 

Then there are the ones who feel guilty and take the product… to later leave it on a shelf two isles down. (I’ve done it!).

The kids are the best. “Oh yes, I would like to try the pulled pork on the bread… no sauce please”. “But we are demoing the sauce” I say in my head.

Kids are honest – we should be more like them.

The List

The list of things I am going to accomplish. Each item will be covered in a blog. 

  1. Create a blog and comment on my adventures.
  2. Go to a real movie theatre and watch a movie, preferably a comedy.
  3. Take Grandson skiing.
  4. Hike Mount Benson. Need help from my friends – I don’t know the route.
  5. Volunteer at a community event.
  6. Swim 60 lengths continuously.
  7. Host a brunch.
  8. Paint 6 paintings, and one with my friend Linda.
  9. Host a 5 à 7.
  10. Go to the Central Coast on Rugosa.
  11. Visit and walk the Capilano Suspension Bridge.
  12. Read at least 6 books.
  13. Plant an herb garden.
  14. Find my sewing machine and sew something.
  15. Loose 6 lbs.
  16. Buy coffee for someone I don’t know.
  17. Host at least 6 dinner parties. Dinner Party 1
  18. Visit an elderly person.
  19. Attend an exercise class that is different.
  20. Volunteer at a soup kitchen.
  21. Give something to someone who needs it more then me.
  22. Ride a Zipline.
  23. Volunteer for an event at SCYC.
  24. Make a floral arrangement.
  25. Host a book club meeting.
  26. Go on a picnic.
  27. Meet a celebrity. And what about Rick Mercer?
  28. Bike to Courtenay.
  29. Try to catch a fish, hopefully a salmon.
  30. Mystery Thing
  31. Vote for a liberal.
  32. Finish the West Wing Series.
  33. Go on a “Jingle Bell” run.
  34. Have “High Tea” at the Empress.
  35. Buy flowers for the house.
  36. Go Geo Cashing.
  37. Ride a horse. Alan won’t do this he is allergic.
  38. Bike on the Galloping Goose.
  39. Practice putting.
  40. Go kayaking.
  41. Attend a sports event.
  42. Have “Tea Leaves” read.
  43. Host an Acadian dinner.
  44. Treat myself at a spa.
  45. Visit Tofino and Ucluelet.
  46. Roast marshmallows on a fire pit.
  47. Bike the Kinsol Trestle.
  48. Fly in a 2-seater plane.
  49. Walk the loop; Nanoose Bay, Fairwinds, Schooner Cove.
  50. Call in on “CBC Radio Noon” show.
  51. Do a DIY project.
  52. “Descente Rapide” from the top of the Peak to bottom of Creekside at Whistler.
  53. Make a recipe from Tante Josephine’s or Mom’s cookbook.
  54. Participate in a food demo in a local grocery store.
  55. Meet a CBC host of radio or TV show.
  56. Go apple picking.
  57. Go to a live play.
  58. Give blood.
  59. Seek out my favorite Vancouver Island Restaurant.
  60. Enjoy a bottle of wine on a beach.

Turning 60

Acrylic painted 2014

Branching Out

December 10th, 2014 I turned 60! I have decided to accomplish 60 things this year.

I created a list. The things on the list came to me selectively. Some, because I’ve always wanted to do them and never did, like riding a zip line. Others, because it will bring me back to a time when I use to do these things, like sewing. And others, just for the fun of it, like going on a picnic.

I decided on a blog rather then keep a diary because like my father, I like to tell stories. Stories are meant to be shared. Sometimes the stories will be stretched but they will all be true. The things on this list will get done in no specific order and each will be described in a separate blog.

I hope my blog will convey my experiences of accomplishing the 60 things on my list to family and friends and whoever enjoys a good story. It is meant to be fun and it is a birthday gift to myself.

So stay tuned, sit back and enjoy the adventure.