Retirement lifestyle

On Real Reading and the Kids We Teach

I always look forward to Pernille’s articles. This one talks about reluctant readers and graphic novels (aka comic books!)

Pernille Ripp

I asked our oldest daughter, Theadora, how many books she thought she had read this year.  Crestfallen and quiet she answered four.  Four?  I asked, confused.   How can you only have read four?  She reads all of the time, never without a book, always asking to read just one more page before the lights are turned off.

Don’t you mean real books, mom?

Real books? I said.  What are real books?  I mean all books, graphic novels included.

She lit up.  Fifty, Mom, maybe more, at least fifty though.

Fifty books for a child who didn’t think they would ever be a reader because reading was just too hard.

Fifty books for a child who has been in reading intervention for four years.

Fifty books for a child who wasn’t sure that she would ever get through a whole book on her own, at least not one with a lot…

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Food, Healthy Lifestyle, Restless Retiree, Retirement lifestyle

Spring Shopping at the Farmers’ Market and a Few Grab ‘n Go Ideas from Granville Island

Recently, I went to one of our local farmers’ markets and at an organic vegetable stand I selected some rhubarb, a shallot, some spinach and Jerusalem Chokes.  I had no experience with the knobby, brown chokes but another shopper assured me that they are a tasty root vegetable you can boil in water.  At the lone bakery booth I bought a loaf of  bread for a pricey $7 that turned out to be burnt along the bottom crust. A defect I missed when purchasing.

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That night I sautéed spinach to go along with the lightly boiled chokes and some barbequed chicken.

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The next day I tried to salvage the bread by cutting off the burnt crusts and incorporating the remaining cut-up bread into an egg bake but I discovered that soggy bread isn’t very appealing. It tasted better the next day after it had a chance to firm up a bit.  The rhubarb purchase was more successful, after I cooked it on the stove top with a splash of maple syrup it made a tart and tasty topping for ice-cream and yogurt. It also worked well in smoothies in my new Ninja blender.

This was my first trip to a farmers’ market this spring and I’m planning to go weekly during the summer months to all of the markets operating in and around Vancouver.

A Few Grab ‘n Go Ideas from Granville Island

Here are a few items I regularly prepare for lunch or dinner that I pick up at Granville Island, a ten minute walk from my condo.

This first option is fresh pasta stuffed with various vegetables and cheese. With some prepared pesto and a bunch of spinach wilted into the cooked pasta it makes a great meal for lunch, or dinner. Tip: remember to reserve a bit of the starchy cooking water to loosen up your sauce and help it stick to the pasta.

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Toss in some tomato to add colour and more nutrition and finish it off with fresh herbs and a dusting of grated Parmesan.

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Another favourite take-away is a small ‘pizza’ (they call it focaccia) from Terra Breads, very yummy, this one’s potato. I rarely order take-out pizza as this satisfies any craving I may have for a doughy, salty treat.  Heat it up at a low temperature in the oven (never microwave bread items) for a delicious snack or add a soup or salad to make a meal.

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Another favourite is candied salmon that I buy at the fish monger in the market. I like to crumble it up and add to a salad, stir fry or pasta dish. It’s expensive but it packs in a lot of flavour for only a small amount.

I like to flavour my stir fries with fresh lemon, salt, pepper and some crushed garlic and olive oil.

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Here’s the finished salmon & vegetable stir-fry rounded off with brown rice & barley.

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I’m lucky to live in a neighbourhood with so many food shopping options! I’ll share more soon!

 

 

 

 

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Biking, Restless Retiree, Retirement lifestyle

Biking the Arbutus Greenway

We planned to do the Grouse Grind but it doesn’t open until 1pm on weekdays so we opted to bike the Arbutus Greenway to Fraser River Park. It’s an easy ride at just over 20km round trip from the start at the 6th and Fir Park. The pathway is fully described on the Let’s go Biking website.

Once we climbed past King Edward we stopped for a photo, the views are spectacular. This one’s looking out to the North Shore Mountains over the rooftops of Point Grey.

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All of the intersections are finished on the pathway so it’s easy to cross the major roads like Broadway, King Edward and 41st but you have to watch out for other cyclists, and of course pedestrians, as it can get congested in spots. At Marine Drive we reached the end of the separate bike trail, but our goal was to go right down to the river, so we continued our adventure by following Marine Drive down to the Fraser River Park.

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On the way down to the river we stopped to admire the view of the marina and cycled down to ride around the Milltown Bar & Grill parking lot.  The restaurant doesn’t open until 11am and the reviews say it fills up fast. We definitely plan to return for lunch before summer’s end!

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We followed the Fraser River Park trail until we reached a big frost fence with a Dangerous Do Not Enter sign against the perimeter of the McCleery Golf Course.

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We circled back to check out the park. A couple of people chatted together while their dogs enjoyed some off-lease freedom by running along the little beach,  splashing in and out of the river and barking their pleasure. The park has a network of boardwalks so you can bike right out along the shoreline.  We ventured out onto the pier to watch a tugboat chugging downriver to take care of some business and a plane descending through the trees on its approach to the Richmond airport. At the dock there’s a plaque explaining the history of how labour, government and business worked together to build the pier in 1988.

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After we had our fill of the scenery we rode back up to the street and stopped at the Friend’s Café, a little restaurant serving local businesses.

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It was a beautiful morning and we enjoyed a feast of gorgeous views on our ride back home.

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We still plan to get to the Grouse Grind but we’ll have to wait a couple of weeks until it reopens after its annual grooming before the summer onslaught of tourists!

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Food, Healthy Lifestyle, Restless Retiree, Retirement lifestyle

What’s for Supper?

 

Supper, or dinner, is probably my least favourite meal of the day. Usually I’ve spoiled my appetite and I have to force myself to eat something nourishing otherwise it’s an evening of snacks – not good!

I eat fish at least once a week and tonight it’s cod and trust me, I really need to have an appetite to enjoy a chunk of fish when the cookie jar is calling me.  For example, I made these oatmeal cookies on Monday and they’re all gone now!

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On Tuesday, I stopped in at Granville Island after a bike trip on the newly redesigned False Creek Seawall South. They’ve done a great job separating the bike and pedestrian paths. It’s a beautiful stretch along the creek between Science World and Granville Island, but there are sterile patches without any trees as the old Cherry Trees were deemed too fragile & got the chop!

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I picked up a pound of cod at my go-to fish monger, Seafood City. I forgot that Tuesday is cruise ship day, but the crowds weren’t too bad. It’s awkward when your local grocery store is also the #2 tourist destination in the city (Stanley Park rates #1). I smeared the cod with Oyster Sauce, it can stand up to the cod’s texture and natural flavour. Bake it in a hot oven & it’s done in thirteen minutes.

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I thought some fresh veg would go nicely with some couscous as I’m potato’ed and breaded out. No leafy greens on hand, just cuke, red pepper, green onion and parsley mixed with a lemon, sour creme, yogurt, mayo and olive oil dressing.

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Meanwhile the couscous steams in boiled water. Pretty easy, I prefer whole wheat couscous but it’s not always available.

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Mix it up with the veg and it’s ready to meet the cod!

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Add some organic steamed carrots and it makes a satisfying dinner ready in under 30 minutes!

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I did break down & have a pre-dinner snack: an appetizer of focaccia bread, heated up in the oven it’s pretty yummy!

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Enjoy, see you next time!

 

 

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Food, Healthy Lifestyle, Restless Retiree, Retirement lifestyle

“What are You Having for Breakfast?”

“What are you having for breakfast?”

In the April 18, 2018 St. Lambert Journal (my home town), columnist David Leonardo references a 1961 editorial in the Sherbrooke Record. He says it caught his attention because it illustrates the breakfast menu of 50 and 100 years ago.

”Here’s what was on the breakfast table in the early 1900’s — oatmeal, bacon and eggs or pancakes, apple pie, doughnuts, cheese and milk. Then, of course, there were loaves of homemade bread and heaps of butter. But even these meals of fifty years ago faded into obscurity with the accounts given by the great Samuel Johnson, (a writer born in 1709), of the early morning snacks enjoyed in his day. One mouth-watering menu offering: Oysters, shrimps prawns, boiled eggs, mutton cutlets, beeksteaks, kidneys tongues, ribs of beef, turkeys, squabs, teal, game, pies, muffins, baked potatoes, rice and cheese. Many reasons may be advanced for the decline of the heavy breakfast — desire to hold down weight, the belief that heavy meals are the cause of numerous ills, nervous tensions etc., — but probably the chief cause is the lack of help.”

How about you, what does your breakfast look like?  Here are my go to breakfast favourites:

  1. Terra Bread whole wheat toast topped with crunchy peanut butter and finished off with jam. I prefer home-made when I can get it, if not Bonne Maman will do.

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Sometimes I make my own bread but it takes most of the day, which isn’t really a strain now that I’m retired and can set my own schedule! I’ve also started to use a bread hook and bread flour to speed up the process. There’s also an artisan bread I recipe found recently I’ll share in a future blog.

Here are two of my loaves, looking good!

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  1. Fruit salad: If I just have toast after an hour or two I’ll have a snack, usually some fruit. Right now mangoes seem to be in season. I bought these and some mandarins on West 4th at a small green grocer.

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I like to cut up my fruit and serve it in a pretty bowl, here’s a mango & orange salad:

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If I’m adding bananas or apples, I’ll mix up some lemon or lime with some honey, yummy! That way the fruit keeps its vivid colour. We eat with our eyes too!

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  1. I also like to cook oats, but that is more effort as I prefer slow-cook and those can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour of stirring on the stove top depending on the type of oats. I know you can microwave but I can’t bring myself to do that… yet! I like to cook over-ripe bananas into the oats for a sweet flavour & I use water & 2% milk in the mixture, stirring frequently for a creamy consistency:

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Before serving I add cinnamon and I like to top it all off with more fruit. In winter I keep bags of frozen fruit, like blueberries, in the freezer. For a final voila, add some yogurt!

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  1. A fourth option is some sort of baked item. I like to make breads & muffins myself, that way I know exactly what’s inside. Even when I buy store-bought that lists just basic ingredients it rarely tastes as good as mine. This is an oatmeal muffin I made topped with a nut & fruit mix:

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I made a banana bread recently with ginger & nutmeg:

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Finished loaf ready for breakfast tomorrow morning or a late-night snack!

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I hope you can enjoy a tasty satisfying breakfast every morning!

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Biking, Healthy Lifestyle, Restless Retiree, Retirement lifestyle

Biking the Seymour Valley Trailway

According to the Vancouver North Shore things to do website, “The Seymour Valley Trailway is a 10km paved path that winds through a diverse forest. The Trailway features five picnic sites with outhouses, picnic tables and garbage cans.”

http://vancouversnorthshore.com/things-to-do/parks/lower-seymour-conservation-reserve/

I think this is a great pathway, it’s all paved with smooth asphalt. Early April was a perfect time to try out this moderate trail ride on our bikes. We took advantage of one of the few sunny days we’ve had in weeks. Vaughn strapped our bikes onto the car and off we went!

After a quick trip over the Iron Workers’ Memorial Bridge we followed Lillooet Road up to the end-of-the road and started our adventure by 2pm. Here’s Vaughn unloading our bikes.

The path is great, nice and smooth and because it was a weekday there were only a few other cyclists and very few walkers. The no dog policy is also a plus when you’re biking, no worries about dogs darting into your path.

The ride up had some steep, long climbs but I managed without having to get off my bike and push, granny gear did the job for me!

At 9km, Stoney Creek picnic area, I decided I’d had enough so we passed on the last 2kms up to the Seymour Dam Lookout and headed back down. We always like to leave a reason, some motivation, to come back again!

 

Cycling back down was a bit easier than the ride up. I started to get into the groove of racing downhill to gain momentum for the next uphill climb.

We arrived back in the parking lot at 3:30 and decided to head back over the bridge to home before the afternoon traffic rush started.

Overall the Seymour Valley Trailway is a great fitness activity and now I’m ready to tackle the Grouse Grind!

 

 

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Restless Retiree, Retirement lifestyle

Reinventing Myself in Retirement

Even though I’m retired from my corporate job I plan to stay current with trends and I enjoy attending business functions and networking meetings so I like to have a name card. Here is a card my husband made up for me with three different poses.
Thanks to all the media and image training I’ve had over the years I was able to get the pictures done in about 15 minutes. My husband was amazed, he thought it would take a couple of hours!
It’s very liberating to be my own woman and not have to answer to any boss or corporate policies! I can choose the look I want to say me without having to worry about representing my corporate handlers.

Pose #1: This version gets the highest ratings: it’s professional and approachable. The leather jacket gives it some edge, I look confident and in control.

Pose #2: This version isn’t bad, it’s favoured by the creative types.

Pose #3: This one is the least favourite. My hair stylist said I look short. Someone else said it looks like a Junior Miss Modeling course pose!

I added in this final pose, what do you think?

Here’s what the layout looks like. Someone mentioned they liked the overall look but asked, “What do you do?” Good question!  I’m a work in progress, stay tuned!

 

I listened to one of Elaine Benoit’s Maturepreneur podcasts last night featuring Notes from a Stylist blogger Sara Delaney and they both agreed that your first attempts at blogging should make you cringe when you look back. I’m confident my blogs will cause me much cringing!
https://www.maturepreneurial.com/080-sara-delaney-notes-from-a-stylist/

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