BIRTHDAY WISHES!!

Happy Birthday to Mr. BAW today! But the real birthday wishes that came true was for me!! Since I am turning half a century old this year, I finally asked for something I've been wanting for a very long time. I wanted to take a trip (kid-free) to Montreal and Quebec. It's a bit difficult to do a real trip to Europe this year but I've always wanted to see Montreal and Quebec, so why not?! My In-Laws have kindly offered to watch the kids so we dropped them off in Michigan and then continued on to Montreal. My BIL also was driving his older son to college at Penn State and dropped off his younger son at Grandpa and Grandma's as well. So the three cousins had a wonderful time together for a week. But the best part of it all was our much-needed adult trip to Cananda! I can't tell you have wonderful it is to be able to go to a fancy restaurant without looking at the menu ahead of time for mac n' cheese! There were times on the trip when I wished the kids were with us, like when we went into a rubber duckie store or a beautiful glass animal store. But we took tons of pictures to show them. Most of the time, we were glad to have our alone time to walk for miles without worrying about the kids getting tired and to grab coffee without them complaining. I am sure the kids were spoiled by the grandparents and got to stay up later than I would've let them. Plus, they went to the pool everyday! Oh, and Kepler? He was away at Doggie Camp for a week, which I'm sure he enjoyed because, unlike Toby, Kepler actually LOVES to play with other dogs.

We spent two days in Montreal and two days in Quebec. Quebec is adorable and charming, just as everyone had told me. The Old City of Quebec is like being in Disneyland...like a fairy tale land. It was gorgeous. I did like it and took plenty of picutres to show for. But, Quebec was FULL of tourists, it was definitely a touristy town. It was so crowded with tourists all the time. Surprisingly, I LOVE Montreal a bit more than Quebec. Montreal is a real city, with a really good public transportation system. We took the subway and buses everywhere. There were some pretty amazing restaurants and cafes. They also have an old town full of touristy shops, but the city has so much more to offer. We hiked up Royal Park and went to the Botanical Gardens. Each of these adventures warrants its own blog post.

We were so lucky to have had amazing weather the entire time we were in Canada. It only rained the morning we were leaving Quebec to head back to Michigan. Crazy that it was the first time I walked in the rain in over two years!!! It felt good! Both Montreal and Canada were full of road constructions. It was crazy how much road work was being done in both cities. Often times, our bus stops in Montreal were changed and bus routes were changed. Luckily, Google Maps were very good with updated notifications, once I realized that I should read the notifications! I also learned a few phrases in French, being on the buses so much. The buses had great automated stop announcements in French. Overall, we did not have much trouble getting around in Montreal. I want to start the picture dump with sites around Montreal. Montreal is beautiful, a good mix of new and old. Downtown is pretty clean and we felt pretty safe. I really enjoyed exploring Montreal. Enjoy my pictures of Montreal!





































Posted on August 27, 2022


STATE OF MY GARDEN

Tomatoes, tomatoes...that's the story of my garden this year. In previous years, I've had a huge monster volunteer tomato plant in my front yard. This year however, I have multiple volunteer plants! One of which have gotten so big by my arbor (see arbor picture below) that I have to net it! There must be over fifty tomatoes in the bush waiting to ripen. The one in the front of the house continues to come back every year, this is the third year. I really would prefer not to have tomato plant in my front yard because we have landscape plants and roses out there. But each year, there are tomatoes that I end up not harvesting because some just rot in the ground or are eaten by bugs and the seeds left in the ground and the huge plant just self-seed itself at the same location to grow again the next year. I know, I shouldn't complain about free tomatoes, but it's just not the most convenient place to harvest tomatoes, sometimes getting pricked by rose bushes! This year, I unexpectedly also got another huge volunteer tomato plant right by my arbor next to our side fence (see picture below) in my backyard. It's the perfect spot for a huge tomato plant because I can net it against the fence and it's easy to harvest because it's off the ground.

Besides these two volunteer plants, I also purposely planted the tomato seeds I saved from last year. The one I planted, although is not as huge and monsterous as the other two, are producing much more fruits per branch! Turns out that I fortuitously planted the tomato seeds right next to a Mexican Heather Allyson plant and the bees just LOVE the tiny flowers on this plant. So my tomato plant naturally gets pollinated by these bees. I also discover that the bees are extremely hard working. They are there in the early mornings and work until mid afternoon. But late afternoon, they are all gone and I can safely harvest my tomatoes. I also have a beefsteak tomato plant that have also produced about ten tomatoes! We've made pizzas with those tomatoes.

Besides tomatoes, I've also planted Black Beauty eggplants. I found these plants at a dollar store so I bought four for four dollars. Turns out that Black Beauty eggplants are the easiest eggplants to grow! I knew nothing about eggplants until I got these plants but they were so cheap, I figure I can just experiment with them. But after only a few months, they are already bearing fruit (see my picture below with the arrows pointing to the fruits)! I love to eat eggplants so I'm excited to harvest these. The only mistake I made was planting them a little too close to each other. I always underestimates how large plants can grow! Lastly, my hot pepper plant was not doing well, it on the other side of my backyard next to a plant that grew so tall it shaded my hot pepper plant from the sun all year long. I finally had to move it to the other side of the yard and hope that it would recover. Well, now, it's come back in a huge way! It's producing tons of hot peppers again. I'm very happy to see that I've not killed it.

I've already made two large batches of tomato salad for a party and for ourselves. I continue to harvest tomatoes every day and it's been pretty crazy. But as you can see from my pictures below, about 80% of the tomatoes are still green. So this tomoto season should last pretty long for me!















Posted on August 6, 2022


SALT LAKE CITY

At the end of July, Buzz had a Taekwondo tournament in Salt Lake City so we all flew out there to support him and his team. Buzz competed in the sparring match, which I'm not happy about. But we'll work on transitioning him over to compete in poomsae, which is non-contact form competition. In any case, I was extremely happy that Buzz's match was early in the morning and he got through it unhurt!! We then was able to cheer on his teammates and enjoyed a good lunch.

We had a half a day to explore Salt Lake City. But it was over 100 degrees during the day so we were careful to plan out where we would walk to since we didn't have a car. We also spent a little time at the UMOCA to stay cool. There were some very neat signs outside the museum...which opposites do you like? The museum itself was very small, admissions were free but I donated a few dollars. Eventhough it was small, the kids enjoyed it. There was an area where they can draw anything they wanted and they spent some time there. We also walked to Capo Gelateria every day to cool down. They give very generous portions! Since SLC hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics, there was excellent train service going into and out of the airport. LAX is a huge mess right now but hopefully, by the 2028 Olympics, the public transportation into and out of the airport will be all done and we will get to enjoy it for the future! After we had another fill of Capo gelato, we hopped onto the train and headed to the airport back to LA. It was a short but very good trip to SLC. Enjoy my pictures.























Posted on August 5, 2022


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