Saturday, October 31, 2015

This is so good!

The Portugese sure did a good thing a few hundred years back when they invented that fabulous fortified beverage known as Port. I have enjoyed several over the years and have always found them to be warm, comforting and delicious. National Geographic had an excellent article on the Duoro Valley a few years back. That’s where port is made.  So today when I was in the liquor store, I grabbed a couple of bottles of white wine and was looking at some reds as well. Nothing seemed to stand out for me and then I saw the Ports on a shelf. With winter coming, I had this urge to have something so sweet and smooth and warming. Usually, a good whiskey does the trick. But today I grabbed a bottle of Graham’s vintage LVBP. This is the talented little sister to the really expensive vintages that usually run about $100 a bottle.  I usually choose the tawny, medium sweet, but today I went traditional. Oh my. And it is just so fine. The critics love writing about this stuff and have mentioned that there are hints of chocolate, cranberry, blackberry, caramel and fruitcake! I honestly don’t know about that except that I love the taste and it makes me smile.

Tear the house down!

I was pleased to see so much good discussion about the future of 24 Sussex Drive, the prime minister’s residence. I have to say I am in with the group that believes it is time to tear that building down. The building is more than a century old, and filled with things like asbestos and bad wiring. If it was a school, a hospital or a day care, we wouldn’t give it a second thought. There is really no significant historical reason for keeping it. I think that tearing the old house down and creating a brand new official home is appropriate. It will indeed be interesting to see how this all unfolds in the coming weeks and months. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Try it. You might like it.

Jennifer often jokes about my choice of beer. That’s because I am not really brand loyal. I drink whatever happens to be good, or new or different. She calls my choices “weird beer”. I have tried a new brand in the past few weeks and next time we meet, I will see if I can get Jenn to try it. It’s a very nice stout with a vanilla flavour. It also uses the same widget technology that Guinness uses, so you get that draught beer flavour with every can.
Jennifer is very brand loyal. I don’t think she will drink any take-out coffee but Timmies. I will not reveal her favourite beer, and let me tell you Bud, you won’t be any wiser. 
But she might be willing to try this brand, only because it tastes so nice. I will let you know.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Treat yourself!

Like a lot of Canadians, I was disappointed to see the Blue Jays lose to the Royals. But I did enjoy seeing some fabulous baseball being played this past month. It’s one of life’s guilty pleasures to sit down and watch a whole ball game. The game is so laid back and so enjoyable. I confess to watching the highlights more than anything. So here’s the thing. I like to go to YouTube to watch the highlights everyday, posted by MLB. It’s on the big screen smart TV, so it’s great to watch. That’s where I came across some of the documentaries created several years ago by PBS producer Ken Burns. This is amazing television. If you get a chance, sit down with a pot of tea, a bottle of wine or a few glasses of whiskey and treat yourself to some fabulous documentaries. If you can’t see it on the PBS online channel, go to YouTube. It’s there.

A bit too fussy maybe?

Standing in line at the grocery store this past week when a nice looking lady ahead of me glances up and gives me The Smile. I call it that, because it can translate into I-might-be interested-in-a-cup-of-coffee smile. I just smile and nod for the time being. She’s nicely dressed (as in no sweat pants or athletic wear). And no rings on the left hand. We’re both in the express line. Neither one of us is buying a cartload of groceries. Another good sign. (This means retired or semi-retired and there’s no crowd at home.) So maybe I will say hello. Just then, she says something to cashier. The cashier walks over to the shelf and comes back with cigarettes. Arrghh! Deal killer.
It happened again Saturday. Express line. I’ve got milk, juice and Danish. It’s all in one of those plastic grocery baskets. Lady ahead has a cart with a few things in it. Waiting patiently. She looks back casually, notices me, and yes, The Smile. Nice looking. My age or thereabouts. No rings. Looks good in jeans. So this is pleasant. Then she reaches into her cart and pulls out a very large item. So here’s my chance. Step forward and offer assistance. It’s a big, big pail. She struggles. OMG it’s a 25 kilogram pail of cat litter! Quickly, I step back. And the cart is loaded with several cans of cat food. Whew. That was close. A middle-aged cat lady. Deal killer.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Another perfect weekend in Westree ...

Happy to say the Thanksgiving weekend was extra special, as it should be. Once again, I was pleased to be guest of the Alexander Family in Westree, where the food was fabulous and the hospitality was outstanding. Denise and Don were terrific hosts as usual. Being there with Jenn, Scott and the boys was excellent. Sitting around the fire Saturday night was so relaxing just to hear the wind blowing through the trees. A perfect way to relax after a perfect supper. I am surprised we were able to pull ourselves away from the fire to go watch the hockey game. No Leaf jokes please. Ha ha. The boys had fun when Scott took them out hunting for partridge early Saturday and Sunday. As Jennifer suggested, we spent Sunday morning fishing. I figured it would be a nice quiet couple of hours on the lake. Who knew? I got the first bite within minutes, landing a small Northern Pike, that we put back in the water.(Fishing in the North isn't fishing until somebody catches a pike!) After that, it amazing as the smallmouth bass were biting like crazy. We caught lots of fish, took a few fun photos and put them back in the lake. At one point, three of us were all reeling in a different fish at the same. At one point, Tyler caught a bass, but in the process he snagged a line. I thought it was a line from the bottom of the lake, so I grabbed a knife and sliced it. I didn’t know it was Jennifer’s fishing line! Yeah, so I am going to hear about that for awhile. Anyway, it was just the best time and I do have so much to be thankful for.

Friday, October 09, 2015


I have to admit I was a bit skittish about a hospital test I took today. It was my first time ever for a colonoscopy. Given my age and family history, it was something that was overdue. So I think I acted cool and calm about it, but my blood pressure and heart rate were a bit higher than normal according to the nurse this morning. Yeah, I was nervous. Good news though. The doctor said no polyps, no tumours, nothing unusual at all. He said to come back in five years for another one. Woohoo!
I have also been getting used to a new set of specs this past week. My other ones were more than ten years old. So yes, it was time. Well, what a difference. My prescription changed quite a bit in the past ten years, so I can see much better now with my new glasses. Imagine my surprise when I picked out the "old man" style horn rims only to be advised they're back in style. The only wildcard is that my right eye is significantly weaker than my left eye for some reason. The eye doctor said he couldn't pin down the problem, but to go back in six to nine months for a check up. I was also using Visine everyday because my right eye would be bloodshot in the mornings. Doc told me to stop using it, and in a couple of days, it would clear up. He was right.
This is going to be a good weekend. I am heading out to Westree shortly to enjoy Thanksgiving with the Alexander family. It has been awhile since I enjoyed the amazing peace and quiet of a nice camp in Northern Ontario. Well, that's a relative thing. Moose season opened today, so it will be quite busy in the bush. Maybe a bit noisy.
I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving weekend.