Saturday, 30 May 2020

30/05/20





















       Happy Feast of Pentecost! (one day early 😊). I hope that liturgical purists will not be offended to see that I have already “Changed the Decorations” but since that task takes several days, it needs to be done ahead of Sunday.
       We have had a crazy heat wave here throughout the week with temperatures in the mid 30’s Celsius and Humidex in the 40’s, considering we had a bit of snow just two weeks ago, it was quite a change! Mercifully we had some rain last night and today is lovely and cool with a high of 22º. I spent a good part of the morning working in the garden and am now catching up on some work as Gillian and I are going to FaceTime tomorrow about our plans for some online Day Camp content and I need to send her the template to review.
      This week I was able to complete the edits on the sections of the new Day Camp site and send them off to Brenda. Her laptop is currently in for repairs so she won’t be able to do much with the copy but I still wanted it to be in her hands. 
       In the coming week I shall be assembling the content for the CTM summer newsletter. It will certainly look quite different from the usual one. The Directors of our 2 sleep-away camps had been waiting to make a final decision regarding cancellation but the matter was taken out of their hands as our Provincial Government has made a formal announcement that no residential camps are to take place this summer. So we now know that none of CTM’s three core ministries will be happening this year.
     Although it is too soon to consider the long-term effects of the pandemic on so many aspects of society I must say I have begun to ponder the viability of our current Day Camp Program in the “new normal” of the world.  There will be much to consider so I’m very thankful for a good planning committee with whom to discuss possible scenarios for the future.    
      Outside of office hours a good portion of the week has been spent “changing the decorations”. It was most unfortunate that the work had to done during a heat wave but the results are pleasing and it feels good to have everything fresh and clean as we enter another season. 
      There were also more masks to sew, I guess that will be an on-going side project for quite a while as people scramble to find reusable masks for everyone in their families.
      Since I still need to pull together the template for Gillian, I think I had better end off here with a recipe as I see it is almost time for Thomason’s supper too!
Last evening I made a really tasty vegan meal, very suitable for hot summer nights!

Asian Slaw with Quinoa

 ¾ cup quinoa

2 cups shredded red cabbage
 1 red pepper, diced
 ¼ cup diced red onion

1 cup shredded carrots
 ½ cup chopped cilantro
 ¼ cup diced green onions
 ½ cup cashew 

For the dressing: 

 ¼ cup organic peanut butter

2 tsps. freshly grated ginger

3 Tbsps. Tamari

1 Tbsp. agave 

 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar

2 tsps. sesame oil


Water to thin, if necessary 

Bring 1½ cups water to the boil, stir in the quinoa, cover and cook over low heat for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and transfer to a large serving bowl to cool. Meanwhile combine the dressing ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth, adding a few Tbsps. to obtain a thick but pourable dressing.
Once the quinoa is cool, add the dressing and combine well. Fold in the vegetables and cashews.
Serve at room temperature, or chilled. Garnish with lime wedges, if desired.
Serves 3-4

Saturday, 23 May 2020

23/05/20












  


     Another pandemic week has flown by. It is lovely to have warmer weather and lots of sunshine although the pleasure of being outside is clouded by dire warnings from our government to remain vigilant about social distancing!
    Thursday afternoon I enjoyed a FaceTime visit with Jillian and we discussed the possibility of her coming for coffee in a couple of weeks, once she has finished (online) teaching for the school year. Our Premier has grudgingly allowed “small outdoor gatherings” so hopefully a porch visit falls under that category 😊
   The week began with our CTM Board Meeting,Sunday afternoon, the first under the leadership of our new President, the Rev. Chris Belle. Although the meeting was rather long and included gloomy financial predictions and potential cancellation of our Residential Camps, I think everyone appreciated Chris’ great sense of humour so there some laughter to lighten the mood.
    Monday evening we had our monthly Day Camp Committee Meeting. Unfortunately 2 members had poor Wifi connections and had to leave Google Meet but the rest of us had a productive conversation and there seems to still be plenty of energy around plans for various projects during our “gap” year. The new website layout looks fantastic! Brenda has done so much work on it and is hoping it can go live by July. If you are a regular reader of this blog stay tuned for the new improved version 😊 
     After several mornings of tackling the Board meeting minutes and some other pressing Day Camp issues my afternoons have been divided between outdoor house paint work, gardening, and sewing of masks. As Thursday was Ascension Day, I took the opportunity to pack away all the Easter decorations, including many baskets of Pysanky.          Next week will be the complete “Changing of the Decorations” for Pentecost/Summer but I’ve slowly begun that work already by moving the large houseplants outside and setting up the outdoor chairs on the deck. It seems foolish to haul upstairs the very heavy and large outdoor table, which usually goes on the deck because it is highly improbable that I will be entertaining groups of people to dinner this summer. The thought of seeing it sitting there in solitary splendour would be too depressing. If the situation improves I can always get it out but for now I’ll go with a more minimalist look  😊
       Yesterday I completed the TEN masks I had been asked to sew. Another acquaintance has asked if I can make three for her next week, which is much less daunting a prospect! She wants me to use her fabric so I’m waiting to see when she can bring it over.
      Evenings I have also continued to knit mittens for next Christmas another pair was completed midweek and more cast on and started  😊
At present there are baguettes baking in the oven and soon Thomason will be asking for his afternoon walk so I had better wrap this up with a recipe.
 Last evening I made a favourite warm weather dinner dish-

Tuna Panzanella
1 loaf ciabatta or miche
1 can safe catch tuna
1 small sweet onion, chopped
1 small tart apple, chopped
6oz. mazzarella, diced
1/3 cup olive oil
½ cup toasted almonds
2 Tbsps. drained capers
juice of 2 lemons

Place  all ingredients in a large salad bowl and toss well. Allow to sit for 30 minutes so the flavours have time to combine. Serves 2-3 

Saturday, 16 May 2020

16/05/20




















      It has been another full week around here. I am thankful that, despite the cancellation of Day Camps 2020, there is still much to keep me occupied each day!
Our new CTM Treasurer has needed answers to several questions and of course I like to keep on top of the email correspondence, which seems to fill the Inbox every morning. 
We are getting close to completing the draft of the 2020 Program Manual, which will go to Jessica for final corrections and formatting. Once that is complete it will need to be set aside until we are able to meet again in person to work on things like craft samples, music recording, liturgical dance filming and the compiling of Team Leaders Binders. All those tasks require us to gather in small groups so it is hoped, as lockdown is gradually lifted, we will be able to begin work on some of those tasks.
I have also reviewed the Program Manual that will be used, God willing, in 2022 and several people have already volunteered to begin writing and editing content. It would be amazing if we could establish a schedule whereby the Manual was in production a year ahead of it’s being rolled out. This would allow much more lead time for the other parts of the program as well as giving time to focus more on Team recruiting and filling the schedule of host communities. Although I love the final rush in late spring as the season of Day Camp (usually!) nears, it can also be extremely stressful and it would be fantastic to be able to pace ourselves a bit more during that period.  The committee is very keen to put this plan into action during this “gap” year.
As well as all the CTM work this past week there have been 3 Diocesan committee meetings to attend via Zoom. We heard at the Diocesan Council meeting, last Tuesday, that our annual Synod is being postponed from June until November and that when it dis convened it will be a virtual Synod, via Zoom. As there are still no concrete plans in the Province of Quebec for the reopening of places of worship, larger gatherings such as Synod seem very far down the road.
Montreal is still the Canadian  epicentre of COVID-19 and so even plans for reopening of schools seem to be changing every day. Yesterday our Premier changed his mind yet again and has announced that elementary school in greater Montreal will not reopen until August or September.He is also urging Québecois to wear masks, especially in areas where social distancing is hard to maintain. One afternoon this week I decided to sew a fabric mask for myself in case I need to use it. There are gazillions of tutorials online so I studied a few and combined some patterns and am quite pleased with the results.
The weather has still been too cold to do outdoor house painting but it looks as if the next few days are going to be warmer so I might finally get to refurbish the front stairs. Of course I’m well aware that puppy claws will soon add new scratches but at least they will look fresh for a short while!
And with Ascension Day on the horizon in the coming week I am looking towards the next “Changing of the Decorations” as it will soon be Pentecost. At the moment I think I’ll do the task just prior to the last weekend of May.
But today’s schedule includes bathing the cat 😊 and hopefully finally staining those front stairs! My friend Sue doesn’t need any baking this week so I don’t think I’ll do any myself, which will give time for these other big jobs.
Before I head off to catch the cat I’ll just end with a recipe.

One night this week I enjoyed a bowl of-
 Niçoise Pasta
 2 cans safe catch tuna, broken into small chunks12oz. spaghetti or spaghettini 
2 cups frozen green peas
2 Tbsps.  olive oil 
2 cloves minced garlic
¼ cup lemon juice
3 eggs
ground black pepper
¼ cup black olives
2 Tbsps. fresh chopped chives

Cook pasta, adding the peas for the last 2 minutes. 
Meanwhile heat the oil in a small frying pan and sauté the garlic for 2 minutes until fragrant. Add the lemon juice and bring to a boil, remove from heat. Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl and whisk in the lemon garlic mixture.
Drain pasta and peas, reserving 1 cup cooking water. Return to the pot, off the heat. Whisk the reserved pasta water into the egg mixture tenfold it into the past along with the tuna, olives and plenty of ground pepper.
Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with chives.
Serve immediately. Serves 3-4