Monday, 17 July 2017

Weekend fun

Oh what a fun weekend it was! Aside from my exercise routine, some house chores, and grocery shopping for the week, we explored a few outdoor events that were free to the public.

On Friday, we checked out the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition at Nathan Phillips Square. It’s Canada’s largest and longest running outdoor art fair, in its 56th year, with over 340 artists this year. If you’re looking for art work for your home, or a unique gift, you’ll find something beautiful here. The artists are on site with their art work displayed in the white tents so you can chat with them. It was a WOW for me to see so much artistic talent in one location. When we left the fair, I felt energized by what I saw. The first picture below shows the fair with Toronto's Old City Hall in the background. The second picture shows Toronto's "New" City Hall in the background.

Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition 2017

On Saturday, the weather was perfect. We packed our picnic basket and went to HTO Park which has grassy hills and a sand beach along Toronto Harbour water’s edge. The willow trees around the park provided lovely shades and the breeze from the lakefront made it quite pleasant. The lake view never gets old. The yellow umbrellas and Muskoka chairs are visually attractive. There were sailboats, kayakers in the harbour, and people sunning on the beach.

I was so relaxed at the park, I thought I was going to fall asleep. We got up to check out the nearby Waterfront Artisan Market. It was busy with shoppers. I spotted a few interesting food and drink offerings.

On Sunday, we attended a concert by the Sadies band, as part of the Shield to Shore music festival. This is a rock and roll, western country music band, formed in 1994 in Toronto. You can read more about them here. The band put on a passionate performance and the audience showed appreciation with long rounds of applause after each song. When the audience lingered after the concert was supposed to be over, the band returned to the stage to play a few more songs.

The Sadies, Shield to Shore festival
As we left, I looked out to the lake and saw a sailboat floating by with a swan and ducks in the water. Did I say the lake view never gets old? Such a lovely image to close out my weekend.

Swan, duck and sailboat
I hope you had a nice weekend, too. I’d love to hear about it! Have a great week!

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Cool Thursday

It's a cool, cloudy day today with isolated showers and high only 17C (or 63F). I decided to walk to the farmers' market and attend a music performance by Oh Susanna.

On my walk, I saw some colourful flowers that made me smile and stop to take pictures.

The fresh produce at the farmers' market looked so good, too. They gave me simple ideas for a healthy dinner! Grilled vegetables and chicken would work, right?

Tomatoes and zucchinis
The rain stopped in time for Oh Susanna's performance. She has a strong voice and plays her guitar so well. I admire people who can do song writing, singing, performing, and playing different musical instruments. She has her own web site so you can read more about her and her awards here, or on Wikipedia. It was a pleasure to listen to some of the songs on her newly released album "A Girl in Teen City".

Oh Susanna performing

The weather forecast looks like we'll be back to warmer temperatures tomorrow. I've lined up some fun activities for this weekend:
    •    Check out the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition (in its 56th year)
    •    Visit the Waterfront Artisan Market
    •    Picnic at HTO Park which has grassy hills and a sand beach
    •    Attend the Shield to Shore music festival

How about you? What's your plan for fun this weekend?

Monday, 10 July 2017

10 pictures from Costa Rica

We arrived home safely on Saturday evening. Canada Immigration has a new procedure that let us use a kiosk to scan our passports, and with only carry-on suitcases, we breezed out of the airport within fifteen minutes after landing. Nice!

Yesterday morning I ran 5K, showered, had breakfast, and took my Spanish lessons while sipping my coffee. In the afternoon, I unpacked, did laundry, dusted, swept floors, grocery shopped, and checked snail mail, email, and voice mail (phew!). It feels good to be home and I’m almost all caught up.

Today I sorted my pictures from our trip to Costa Rica, and am posting a selection of ten pictures. Why ten? Oh it’s the 10th of July so 10 on 10 sounds good. Plus I do not want to bore anyone with my vacation pictures :)

Pink orchids
Local plant
Local plant
Local plant
Butterfly on ivy leaves
Local bird
Hello Toucan!
Pools and jacuzzis in our hotel
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then I’m posting ten thousand words here LOL. Hope you enjoy them all. Have a great week!

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

June in a sentence a day

Greetings! I started writing my first Sentence A Day reviews in April and also in May. I had fun doing the reviews so today I‘m sharing with you my review of June, and am linking up with several fabulous bloggers who also write their months in a sentence a day. My shout out to Leslie at Once Upon A Time & Happily Ever After for organizing the link-up.

Looking back, June has been a very good month for me. My daily Spanish lessons continue to tease my brain. My exercise routine keeps me feeling fit and upbeat. My family and friends are doing well. The pleasant weather has been conducive for more fun outdoor activities like visiting farmers’ markets, attending music concerts, meeting up with friends, etc. To wrap the month of June with a trip to Costa Rica is simply fantastic. So here are my sentences...

June in a sentence a day

1. Welcomed June with a visit to the outdoor farmers’ market and attended a live concert by the talented Angela Saini and her two friends.

Strawberries at farmers' market
Angela Saini & friends

2. Exercised at the gym, took Spanish lessons, and spent some time on travel planning.
3. Swam 50 laps, booked our trip to Spain and Gibraltar, and did grocery shopping.
4. Ran 5K, stretched, and took it easy for the rest of the day.
5. Exercised in the gym, took Spanish lessons, made phone calls regarding our stay in Gibraltar in August, had al fresco dining on the terrace, and savoured a red velvet cake.

6. Practiced yoga, continued to learn Spanish, and read more about Spain.
7. Exercised in the gym, took Spanish lessons, did house work, and made a family dinner that everyone enjoyed.
8. Practiced yoga, met a friend for coffee, and enjoyed Beauty and the Beast movie and popcorn with our neighbours.
9. Exercised in the gym, took Spanish lessons, attended appointments, and had a nice pizza lunch date.
10. Felt great after swimming 52 laps, completing grocery runs, and getting a haircut.
11. Ran 5K in the morning, stretched, and relaxed in the afternoon before making dinner with rapini.
12. Exercised in the gym then went to a business appointment on the 35th floor which had a good view of downtown Toronto.

13. Practiced yoga, and took walks to enjoy the sunshine, greenery, and flowers in my neighbourhood.
14. Exercised in the gym in the morning, and attended a school musical with our friends in the evening.
15. Practiced yoga, reflected on my first half of June, and felt grateful for all of the abundance I have.

Fragrant flowers seen on my walk
16. Made Friday fun by asking a friend to join me at the gym, then continued with my Spanish lessons, and chatted with my sister on the phone.
17. Swam 54 laps, completed grocery runs, and had a picnic with my family.
18. Ran 5K, then relaxed at home to write up my Spring list wrap up post.
19. Worked out in the gym, went to the Luminato festival, treated my eyes with the colourful Famous Spiegeltent, and my ears with the Guaracha Y Sol live concert.

The Famous Spiegeltent

20. Practiced yoga, did house work, and savoured the sweet watermelon of the season, yum!

Sweet watermelon

21. Had a wonderful Wednesday after exercising in the gym, revealing my Summer fun list, and reading other bloggers’ summer lists.
22. Practiced yoga, went to the Luminato festival again, this time to shop at the farmers’ market, and to attend Nick Sherman’s concert.
23. Enjoyed this rainy Friday indoor with one hour at the gym, and lunch with two girlfriends.
24. Swam 54 laps, shopped groceries, did laundry, and started organizing documents for our trip to Costa Rica.
25. Ran 5K, attended two concerts at the Franco-Fete de Toronto festival, viewed Summer Art Exhibitions at Harbourfront Centre, then went home to start packing for our trip.

26. Exercised in the gym then spent more time at our local supermarket than normal due to the reorganizing of shelves while the aisle labels are not updated yet.
27. Took Spanish lessons, went for a 30-minute walk to enjoy the sunshine, and continued getting ready for our trip.
28. Exercised in the  gym, checked into our flight online, finished packing for our trip, and boarded a boat cruise around Toronto Island & Harbour for dinner, music and dancing.

29. Got up bright and early for our flight to Costa Rica!
30. Relaxed in our hotel in San Jose, reflected on the first half of 2017, and feel happy and grateful for all that I have.

Make July a great month, wherever you are! Be sure to visit the linked up blogs for more fun June reviews.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Power outage and a downpour

Two days ago there was a power outage in San Jose, Costa Rica. It started around 1:30 p.m. and ended around 3:30 p.m. We were at our hotel with several Canadian friends to celebrate Canada Day. One of the Canadian expats told us that power outage is not unusual in San Jose, and it's also part of the "Pura vida" in Costa Rica. Everyone was calm and waited around until the power came back. To me it was a reminder that we can't take all the modern conveniences for granted, and should always have a back up plan.

This afternoon we had a big downpour, the first since we arrived 4-5 days ago. It was the kind of rain that you can see the water bubbles hitting the ground, and hear the sound of rain drops on the roof. Very soothing when we are inside, looking out. The trees seem to happily soak up all the water that came down from the sky. The heavy rain lasted about half an hour then it was all clear again.

Our vacation has been great! I've seen different types of colourful birds and flowers. I've been savouring the local fruits like mangoes, papayas, watermelons, pineapples... all ripe, juicy, and sweet. Also have had local dishes such as gallo pinto (rice and black beans), beef stew, fish, chicken stew, fried plantains, etc., and of course Costa Rican coffee. I've been speaking basic Spanish to local merchants and hotel employees. Glad to have the opportunity to practice what I've learned online.

Happy 4th of July to my American relatives and friends tomorrow!