5 for 2011: The Third Check-Up

Back in January I created five goals for myself and I have since posted two check-ups (first, second). Now it’s time for the third update of my progress.

1. Wear more rings. Lately I’ve been sporting this double ring that my sister sent me. I just love it!

2. Embrace the cold weather. Well, luckily it’s June and I don’t have to deal with this goal for a few more months. I am so happy about this!

3. Host more parties. Hmmm…I’ve sort of failed with this one. In the last few months I have done quite a bit of traveling which has left me little time for party planning. But – I did manage to squeeze in one party last month – a champagne party! Talk about fun!

Addison collection, Pottery Barn

4. Try new recipes. Yes! I made pinwheel cookies (recipe from my vintage Joy of Cooking cookbook). Easy and delicious. I burned a batch but that’s okay. The other batch turned out fine. Here they are ready to go into the oven:

photo by Jordana

I also made Smitten Kitchen’s cheese straws (a big hit!) and What Katie Ate’s delicious tomato and goat cheese canapĂ©s.

5. Learn more about London, Ontario. In the last little while I managed to get out to the East Village Coffeehouse for the first time (thanks Tonya for the introduction). What a lovely little spot. The food is yummy, the coffee is well-prepared and the music is perfect.

coffee with a twist, photo by Jordana

Other restaurants I’ve tried since my last update include Relish in Wortley Village and The Works on King. Both burger places and both delicious.

There are also lots of festivals in London during the summer so I’ve been trying to check them all out. Last weekend was the Car Free Festival, this week & weekend is London Fringe and soon SunFest is coming to town. Bring on the music!

There you have it – the third update of my goals.

I wish you all a wonderful weekend!

Personal Note: Remembering Nonno

My grandfather passed away on Sunday afternoon. He lived a healthy 95 years. Ninety-five! Nonno was born in  a small town in Calabria, Italy in 1915 and moved to Canada in 1953 and was joined by his family in 1962. Like many Italian immigrants at that time, Nonno worked in construction for the City of Toronto. He and my grandmother raised four children with little money but with great strength and determination.

Nonno and Me, January 2010

I have many fun memories of Nonno. When he stopped driving a few years ago, family members took turns taking him to do his errands. On one trip to the library, he instructed me to wait in the car while he went in to pick up his Oggi (Italian magazine). Before I even had a chance to tell him I would go in for him, he was out of the car and running – yes, running – across the street. He was fast, too! The car ride was fun too – we discussed movie stars, social events and world news. And of course, no errand was complete without stopping by his favourite cafĂ© to enjoy a cappuccino.

Watching Nonno maneuver aisles in the grocery store was quite the entertainment. When you reach his age, I guess you’ve got a pretty good idea about the layout of your favourite store. He was efficient, direct and got around with mighty speed. He also knew the best place in the city to buy fresh bocconcini and ricotta. Even at 95 years old, Nonno was responsible for supplying everyone in the family with these delicious Italian cheeses.

Nonno was the most social person I’ve ever met. If he had a Facebook profile, I can guarantee that his friend count would be higher than any of ours. He was self-sufficient, busy, and his healthy diet was enviable. He was an avid reader, made excellent use of the Toronto public library, and loved to play Italian cards.

No matter how old any of us grandkids got, when we visited him at home he would be sure to offer us a juice box. Ha ha. Just thinking about how many juice boxes I’ve drank at his house puts a smile on my face. Every chat with Nonno usually involved him saying, “Whaddya gonna do?” We grandkids always tried to recreate the line but it just never sounded the same as when he said it.

He was also quite the fashionisto – he was particular about colour, design and fabric. He was always happy to add another beautiful Merino wool sweater or cozy argyle socks to his wardrobe – as long as they were up to his standards. When he was 93, Nonno went out to buy a new suit for his Italian club’s dinner/dance. He wanted to look good, of course, and his existing suits just wouldn’t do. And yes, at 93, he still enjoyed a good party!

I am happy to celebrate Nonno’s long and healthy life and dedicate this space on White Cabana to him.

 

Personal Note: Remembering Nonna

My grandmother, two months away from turning 90, passed away peacefully in her sleep on Friday morning. She lived a long and healthy life in Italy and was one of the strongest women I have ever known. A few weeks before her passing, she was hard at work making her famous plum jam and when I saw her just over a week ago in Italy she was telling me about a special espresso set she received on her wedding day (in between giving her usual list of orders and opinions, of course!).

Nonna (88 years old) and her sewing machine

I’m happy to dedicate this space on White Cabana to Nonna Landa. I will always remember her strength, her straight-to-the point personality, and her talent for sewing a perfect outfit faster than you could say Vogue.

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