A taste of things to come …. ???

Edmonton fall

Not only have the temperatures plummeted below freezing for the best part of the last 2 weeks, but we’ve also had our first few snow dumps unseasonably early.  It may only be mid October, but life in the most northerly city across North America has had us hunting out our woolies, gloves, hats, scarves and snow pants much earlier than usual.  Not only that, tools have had to be commissioned and the snow shovel has been pressed into service to remove the accumulation of snow on the drive and pavement – serious stuff indeed.  Maybe it’s a freak weather event which with any luck, may disappear later this week – but there’s no escaping the certainty that by the middle of next month it’ll be here to stay and won’t disappear till next May.  Brrrrr ……..

Canada white house

On the plus side, the snow slopes are getting excited.  Last year, everything had to be delayed by a few weeks as the snow was later than usual – this year, Mother Nature is making up for it and with this early blast there may be chance to get some early season skiing or cross-country skiing underway. Let’s hope so.

Last week, in amidst all this excitement, Canadians celebrated Thanksgiving – our second one since our arrival.  A year ago, I embraced the festivities with attempting to emulate a ‘typical’ Canadian thanksgiving meal – roast turkey and all the trimmings.  For those that remember, (and should you wish to relive the event, click here), we discovered to our detriment that a dish entitled ‘candied yams’ which we took to be dessert, should’ve actually been an accompaniment to the savoury main course.  We’ve mastered many elements to living in Canada, but this whole mixing of savoury and sweet together has us foxed each and every time.  With this in mind, I thought we’d better play safe so asked my many Canadian friends for a dessert recommendation.  ‘Pumpkin Pie’ was the resounding cry – so procure one I did.ThanksgivingNow imagine the scene ….. it’s snowing outside, we’re 4cm deep in snow and are heartily enjoying our roast dinner.   To be honest, it was only the lack of ‘Jingle Bells’ resonating from the speakers and you would’ve been mistaken for thinking it Christmas dinner.  Anyhow, back to dessert ….. husband and kids all declared their enthusiasm to try the pumpkin pie, and were looking forward to this with anticipation.  Even the cat appeared from her bed – lacking in some of her senses now she’s at the ripe old age of 21, but her sense of smell is still functioning perfectly and the lure of the roast cooking was obviously too much for even her to ignore.  Main course consumed, and the dessert was brought out with great ceremony – husband & I even poured a glass of Canadian ice wine to sample in its honour.Pumpkin Pie

There’s a silence that often prevails after a dessert is served – everyone heads-down, maximising their delight, savouring the sweetness and aroma, wishing it would never end.  Well, after the first mouthful was consumed, the stunned silence epitomised the collective feeling about the dessert choice and we wished it would end.  And end quickly. Unilaterally, (once we’d struggled to swallow our first mouthful), and very similar to the current US Presidential Elections, we were challenged to find the merest glimpse of positive endorsement that would see this dish as a preferred candidate for future events, and were grasping at the smallest elements of the pie which were least repellant.  It was a traversy.  To say there was immense disappointment, was an understatement.  We shall be leaving the delicacy to my Canadian friends to consume in entirety in future.

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Our track record with pumpkins has not been a resounding success so on a positive note, our future use of them will be exclusively as decorated outdoor exhibits during Halloween ….   mwah ha ha …..

🙂

Thanks as ever to google images for some of the pics in today’s blog …

‘Eye of newt, and toe of frog …’

Halloween sign

Halloween is nearly upon us, and in typical retail fashion, there have been items aplenty in the shops for well over 6 weeks now.  In fact, we’re not even at Halloween and everything is starting to be discounted and stock reduced as the emphasis now moves swiftly on to Christmas items.  I’m not ready for that one yet, and in fact, I’m still struggling to keep up with the demands for Halloween over this side of the pond.  It’s big business.  It’s marked in a massive way and seen as the first of the major events as we stagger towards Christmas.

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Huge retail outlets purely stocking Halloween items have sprung up, and for those fancying a costume in which to parade, the choice is endless.  This is not just targeted at kids either.  Adult costumes and any excuse to dress up is embraced – and I don’t mean just as ghouls, ghosts or witches – yes, I know I won’t need much makeup …….. 😉  I had to stifle the giggles as walking through one of these stores last week, there’s every adult costume known to man just waiting to be adorned.  There was ‘Wonder Woman’ (I’m not so hot with a lasso and sparkly shorts aren’t my thing) or indeed, any of the full range of action heroes, (‘I’d rather kiss a wookie’).  There’s the ‘typical’ Halloween dress as you would commonly expect, and then the complete attire to almost every Disney character (I was tempted with Maleficent but worried the horns may attract the migrating Canadian Geese as landing posts).  You could opt for a medieval knight, egyptian goddess, roman soldier, a ‘banana’, ‘cheeseburger, or dressed up as the ‘twister’ board game(?).  Mmmmm ….. I can’t help wondering if something has started to get lost in translation……. My particular favourites were the ‘couples’ costumes.  ‘Mr and Mrs Potato Head’ had me in stitches, as did the ‘Peanut Butter and Jelly’ get-up, or the ‘Bacon and Eggs’ his ‘n’ hers regalia.  Tempting ….

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In the workplace, my husband informs me that they’ve been asked to attend as ‘zombies’ on Friday.  No need to dress up there then and his normal attire and facial expressions should suffice …..

At school, they’re all having class parties with parents asked to donate ‘healthy food choices’ as snacks for the kids to enjoy.  Topic of conversations amongst the kids is certainly centred on what the costumes this year will be, followed by how many sweets on the ‘trick or treat’ quest they expect to receive. (Contrastingly, the immediate thought I’m left wondering is ‘how long it will be before they finally drop off to sleep after such a sugar rush on Saturday evening’?)

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I’ve already bought my stash of treats to have ready at the door, and my oldest kid (who’s not so keen on the dressing up part, but likes issuing rewards), has opted to remain at home and in charge of selecting the requisite treats for those ringing the doorbell.  For my part, I’ll be on supervisory duties and am anticipating this Saturday evening to be the equivalent of attending a gym class – no sooner have I sat back down on the sofa then I’ll be back up to answer the door, 150 times.  I’ve got my hat, wand and broom at the ready but am hoping not to be upstaged by my supporting artist – my black & white cat.

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Now some houses have taken decoration to a whole new level.  We passed one ‘yard’, who has ‘police caution’ ribbon all around it, skeletons hanging from the trees, gravestones across the grass, and flashing lights to create that air of mischief.  It was very impressive.  The local radio show are advertising their stations as ‘haunted houses’ and in the process of adorning them with scary items.  Indeed, whilst offering the tours on Friday and Saturday evening for free, have warned that they would be ‘unsuitable’ for anyone under the age of 12.  The mind boggles.

images

There are planned Halloween parties and fireworks in local parks – and we’ll no doubt take a stroll (in full outfits obviously), to watch the fireworks in the park near us.  We’ve also embraced the full pumpkin thing and the kids have painted faces on 6 pumpkins outside our steps (see pics above).  They’d have also opted for a cauldron, skulls and disgusting food items to accompany them, but these are what I generally use for cooking in the kitchen …

Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble …..

🙂

Thanks again to Google images for 2 of the pics above …