Sunday, September 28, 2014

Fun Free Event: Doors Open Windsor 2014

Since we spent yesterday in Greektown, my enjoyment of Doors Open Windsor 2014 was limited to today, Sunday. Other duties and activities pared down my free time today, as well, so I narrowed my priorities to a private home; I can see the insides of churches and breweries anytime. I chose the French farmstead that I've visited on my bike while ticking off properties on the Windsor Heritage Register, a hobby that motivates me to get out and cycle far and wide.

two houses were moved and joined to make one

items currently on load to Fort Malden
original floors

exterior of the now joined houses
With a little time left, we stopped to tour the street-scape of 200 block of Prado Place, another area designated on the register that we'd already toured on our bikes a time or two.
Clinker bricks!


unique curved chimney
If you didn't catch Doors Open this year, I hope you'll join in next year.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Grace in Small Things 80

this poster at the door of an Ontario Early Years Centre where parents drop off their tots

and this sign on the baby gate

discovering that my morning students have a keen interest in one of my hobbies--learning about the houses and properties on Windsor's Heritage Registry

feeling supported by a colleague, made to feel less alone in an area of frustration

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Grace in Small Things 79

I have three students I've been urging to go to the next level because they are ready. They don't want to go. It's a nice problem to have, I suppose...students who want to stay in your class forever and ever.

Me today to the head of maintenance: "Can you cancel the fire department if the smoke detectors are set off about 30 seconds from now? It was just sparklers. I made the students take them outside."

(The answer was no, you can't cancel a fire alarm, but also that the gadget on my classroom ceiling is a heat detector.)

Ducks with a sense of entitlement flying up into the yard as soon as they hear me arriving home from work.

A full belly.

And a warm bed.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Grace in Small Things 78

The number of things I haven't had to go out and buy lately because my partner says, "I have one of those in my basement." LOL.

A gorgeous late summer day spent getting chores done with the door open, squirrels, sparrows and mallards coming for handouts. It will be soup weather soon.

Liking the people who sign my paycheque. I realize how rare and blessed I am in that way.

Laundry done, lunch box packed, lesson planning finished, chores accomplished. All by 6:00 p.m.

Feeling ever-so-slightly optimistic today about the planet and the possibility of turning around our destruction of it.

The County Diner (Tecumseh / Windsor)

I think I've just discovered a new favourite place to get a late weekend breakfast: The County Diner just out Manning Road on the outskirts of Windsor. The parking lot was full when we pulled up at around 11:30 a.m., a good sign.

Upon entering, we were promptly invited to sit anywhere; there were still two booths open. The menu is right on the laminated placemat, so no waiting for that (unlike, for example, Rise N Shine).

After ordering two coffees, we were given the option of milk or cream, and a generous amount of it came in a little pitcher. Coffee cups are clear glass. Interesting detail.

The standard 2-egg breakfast that I get everywhere is over $6 here but portions are more generous than at the 'under $5' places. Also, they don't charge extra for rye toast nor if you choose pea-meal bacon as your meat. I loved the huge plate, which allowed me to engage in my egg gymnastics routine of slipping the toast under the eggs without having to eat the potatoes first in order to make room for this trick. Yolks were perfectly in tact when they reached me, something not true at the last two places we've broken fast.

The server checked to make sure I wanted onions in my potatoes, another customer service plus.

Chuck's scrambled eggs came on top of corned beef hash (house made from scratch, he checked) and were served on a mini cast iron skillet nested on a wooden board.

What I like most, an element lacking at Skippy's, was that the home fries had been in the skillet long enough to achieve that crispiness around the edges, and the onions were nicely caramelized--to the point that the tiny bits were downright crunchy. Awesome!

The place is decorated with antiques and faux antiques, such as an old gum-ball machine, while vintage looking store signs cover all walls. But the interior still feels airy and clean.

Servers are super friendly and attentive, seeming to really enjoy their repartee with regulars. I'd drive out here for breakfast again in a New York minute.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Hidden Artwork of Downtown Windsor

While killing a bit of time before a workshop yesterday, I happened upon some amazing "intentional graffiti," or graffiti-style murals.

First I had photographed a mainstream mural visible from a street, of which we have many gorgeous ones gracing buildings all over this lovely city.

Then I ducked into an alley and stumbled onto this:

And this one, in front of which I will definitely NEVER park my car. I promise.

By the time I spotted this one, I was starting to feel like I'd entered a gallery. I began slowing my pace.

Then I turned back and noticed this one.

There is some serious talent in this city, eh?

I think this was my favourite.

But this one is nice, too.

At one point I popped out of the alleys just in time to see the morning breeze lift a Pride Flag.

I love that downtown Windsor embraces its slight grittiness. If you want to stroll through this outdoor gallery and check out these and many more amazing murals, duck into the alley between Ouellette and Pelissier north of Wyandotte Street, south of Park. At least I THINK that's where I was.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Grace in Small Things 77

cool air, the smells of autumn

classes full of keen students...and waiting lists

being encouraged by my coworkers to ask for something I deserve

feeling like I'm sitting in an indoor jungle since bringing in so many plants for the winter

yummy thrift store haul

two dresses and linen tunic with ample pockets

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Grace in Small Things 76

a free and neutral net
a job I love
not only a roof over my head that keeps the rain off me, but... a setting so peaceful and restorative that every single visitor comments on that upon their first visit
teaching someone to read for the first time in ANY language--there's no feeling quite like it

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Grace in Small Things 75

getting off to a good start with our new downstairs neighbour

a pile of scrap metal items (left behind by former neighbour) magically disappearing from the curb within two hours--relieving me of having to haul it to the dump or ask the landlord to do so

a damp morning spent out in nature with my tribe

watching eagles, warblers, and shorebirds on their way south

a very nice 20 hours spent with my love between work weeks

Riverside Sportsmen's Club (Windsor)

I've blogged about this place before, as we ate ribs there once. This time we ended up there for a weekend breakfast.

Service was pretty good, though in no way comparable to the excellent service we got at Scoop's in Niagara Falls where our server seemed never to lose track of the level of coffee in our cups. Our food was also good enough that we'll probably return here for breakfast, especially since it's close to home.

One thing I found rather amusing was the evidence that this establishment may have had trouble at some point with people settling in and taking advantage of the coffee refills, or maybe even stashing away extra jam packets in their purses/pockets. I say this because of the "One free coffee refill" note on the menu and the fact that our server asked us if we needed jam, then brought exactly two packets of the requested type, no more.

Riverside Sportsmen's Club on Urbanspoon

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Beans and Greens (Kelly)

Chuck has discovered a new dish that all the Italian establishments in Niagara Falls, NY have on the menu: beans and greens. Or maybe it's greens and beans. The place that makes the most delicious version uses more greens than beans. There are MANY recipes on the internet, and I've yet to find THE ONE to recommend to you. This was my latest attempt. I used kale this time because the store was out of escarole. The restaurant that makes it the best uses escarole. It's actually a sort of soup, though in this photo I have it on a plate.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Skippy's (Windsor)

Call it lazy or call it pressed for time, instead of posting my review of Skippy's here, I'm giving you a link to my TripAdvisor review.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Emo-Ne (Windsor)

Finding myself downtown too many hours past my last meal, I looked quickly around for anyplace to eat cheaply and quickly so I could get on with my errands. The only available parking spot on Pelissier happened to be in front of Emone, so in I went.

Service was prompt, the strawberry in the salad was a nice detail. The dish I had was generously laden with all sorts of crunchy veggies and bean sprouts, but the egg disappointed me a bit. Japanese and Korean restaurants often advertise a lovely hot noodle dish on the menu sporting a photo in which the yolk of the egg on top is still yellow. But when I order these dishes, the egg arrives 75% cooked through already, leaving no yolk to drip down into the noodles when I pierce it with the chopsticks. This was one of those disappointing occasions. But there was still a bit of runny yolk, so I survived.

The complimentary green tea was tepid and weak, but it's hard to complain about something you've not been charged for. Frankly, I'd rather pay and have it be hotter and stronger. Oh, well.

The music playing was clearly aimed at a young demographic, perhaps the many university students now taking classes downtown. It was somewhere between hip hop and techno. Or maybe there's a new genre I don't yet know the name of.

All in all, this was good value for my dollar. I would go back.
Emone Korean Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Grace in Small Things 74

the lesson embedded in this

that the magical moments of my trip happened after wrong turns

like when I exited the gas station right instead of left

and chose the nearest unpaved farm road to turn around

then saw the enormous hawk on the wire RIGHT OVER MY HEAD

turned around again, I saw them



falling gently from the sky

twirling, dancing wide spirals downward

as a large fox darted from high corn to high corn just ahead

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Grace in Small Things 73

zinnias in a riot of hot colours

discerning dowitchers and yellowlegs without the help of an expert

driving alone for hours and hours through rolling pastureland

sun on my skin

being surrounded by tangle and brush

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Grace in Small Things 72

being welcomed into the home of others

learning new things from someone who has lived and taught ESL a lot longer than I have

squirrels, chipmunks, orioles and cardinals coming and going as we worked

being invited to share in a delicious Thai meal

finding the courage to put money worries aside and give myself a very special gift (an experience, not a material possession)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Grace in Small Things 71

One of the best decisions I made recently was to spend some of my summer volunteering.

Another decision that is proving to be a good one is having set 9:00 a.m. twice a week as the time at which I do one of those volunteer gigs. It gets me out of bed, showered, dressed and moving early in the day.

This article helped me get back on the meditation cushion after a long period experiencing strong, strong resistance.

For today at least, I have broken free from a frustrating and very discouraging cycle of anxiety and procrastination, each of which feeds the other to a snowball effect--the end result of which has been utter paralysis. I think that the same article, along with a good meditation session, also helped me get back to the project I'd been dreading.

A dream in which a small bird with jewel-like colours flew over and sat on my head.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Grace in Small Things 70


We hardly ever get visitors at the city cottage. My friend said it is even more [I can't remember which adjective she used] than it looks in the photos and videos. More serene. More beautiful. More soul-nourishing. That's what!

And my visitors included CHILDREN!!! Children among my midst. Oh, yes. Children can be exhausting and trying, but they can also lift one's spirits like angels sent from heaven.

Oh, the fun I had shopping for child-friendly snacks last night at Meijer in the states. I had a blast picking out stuff I wanted to try with the convenient excuse that CHILDREN were coming: goldfish, dream animals, organic raisins in tiny boxes and fruit-at-the-bottom yogourt in little cups.

A group of young ducks was obliging enough to come by asking for handouts just when children happened to be standing on the riverbank with fistfuls of cornbread. (Of course I never feed bread to wildlife, but I feel no compunction about giving them cornmeal in a form that floats.)

A gift.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

White Kidney Beans and Ribs in the Crockpot (Kelly)

One thing Chuck always requests when I ask him what he wants for dinner the night he rolls in from whatever city, USA, is VEGGIES. Road food usually means whatever he can find in a local pub near his lodging, which is not really heart-friendly fare.

Even though he was slated to work Saturday, he made the four-hour trip back here that night for a family reunion over in the Detroit area the next day. Knowing he would want something healthful for dinner Saturday, I got some chard. (I have a friend who is kind enough to offer me chard from her garden, but I was too lazy to drive to her town to pick it.) I also looked on the internet for a recipe that would make use of one of the many bags of dried beans we have on hand. I decided on riblets and white kidney beans in the slow cooker.

It was yummy. I heard the words "tasty" and "good" come out of Chuck's mouth a number of times while he was working on his first and second helpings. This is not a man who gives insincere flattery. In fact, the first words out of his mouth when he saw the strip of peg board that I'd painted and mounted above his desk, and to which I had glued some clothespins so he could get stacks of papers off the tiny desk's surface, were: "That's atrocious. It's scary!"

My feelings were hurt since I'd spent a good part of the day painting and gluing, but he was right. It really was awful. I took it down and thanked him for his honesty, asking him never to stop being honest with me. I value honesty a lot more than I value never having my feelings hurt.

Well, back to the meal. He never says something is good if he doesn't mean it.

I also made a buttermilk pie for the next day's family barbecue and garnished it with strawberries and a kiwi slice. I forgot to take a picture before the plastic wrap went on, and forgot again before I sliced into it at the gathering.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Grace in Small Things 69

Jungian analysis. It's the BEST. I have been in and out of therapy of all sorts since I was about 13 years old, so I can call myself a connoisseur. After getting amazing, miraculous, inexplicable results during 3.5 years of analysis with Anna in Waterloo, I have recently decided to avail myself of the services of Paul Adams in Windsor.

Thanks to a friend who recommended magnesium bisglycinate for nighttime and morning stiffness, I am no longer faced with having to buy a new mattress. It never was the mattress, after all! Taking the mineral on an empty stomach ensures that nothing competes with it for absorption. Taking it before bedtime means I am falling asleep faster, sleeping like a baby, and waking with no more stiffness. I can now SLEEP LATE for the first time in a decade or more.

Having the freedom to spend today slowly working on tonight's meal. I put the main course in the slow cooker at 9:30 this morning. At 3:00 I made the corn bread and started washing the chard. The house smells wonderful.

My sweetie will roll in at around seven tonight after a 60-hour work week far from here. Together we will enjoy the meal I've worked on all day.

I am a slave to the animals and birds that visit "Kelly's Cafe." I refill the hummingbirds' feeder frequently, take in the Baltimore Orioles' feeder nightly lest the raccoons should drain it, and toss peanuts to squirrels with silky black coats who stand on hind legs, front paws tucked to their chests, supplicant.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Grace in Small Things 68

I think a friendship may be forming between me and someone I would LOVE to be friends with from now until forever

meditated today

it helped

after a week of eating only what I need instead of every yummy thing I WANT, the new dress fits

how blessed I feel today to live where I live--in a peaceful country with a RELATIVELY acceptable degree of social justice