Monday, December 28, 2015

Guyana's 50th anniversary celebrations starting in Januray

As the Honorary Consul of Guyana to Manitoba, I am chairing a committee that is planning a series of events to celebrate Guyana's Golden Jubilee of its independence. We have at least one event planned for each month of 2016 and they include this Interfaith Service and these others: 
  • Reception, 
  • Valentine's Dance (Feb.) 
  • Cultural potluck (Feb.), 
  • Senior's information session (Feb.), 
  • Health forum (March), 
  • Spring Tea (April), 
  • Gala banquet (May), 
  • Golf tournament (June)
  • Picnic (July),  
  • Fishing trip (August), 
  • Bus trip (August)
  • Youth forum (Sept)
  • Children's Christmas party (Dec.) 
  • Adult Christmas party (Dec.)
  • Old Year's Night/New Year's Eve dinner/dance (Dec.). 

If you are in Winnipeg on January 17, we would love to see you. If you cannot be here but know any Guyanese who live in Winnipeg who may like to attend, please forward this information to them. 

Check back here for more information to future events. 


Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas 2015 with the family

Christmas this year was a blessing for the whole family. First off, my nephew Shaun and his wife Corina had a baby girl last week Sunday. She is strong and healthy and doing quite well. 

Then it was Christmas at our house. Sunita, Mike, Belle and Ronin came for the holidays but the only one of the family missing was Sub because she had to work and if she wasn't two hours away by plane, she'd probably be here for lunch or dinner. 

The Christmas tree was overflowing with presents and by the time Sharm and Trent and the girls came over and Sophie and Darwin a bit later, it was a full house and a full tree. 

Belle and Ronin wrote their notes to Santa and laid out the cookies and eggnog. Santa had quite a selection to choose from. We baked the cookies and Ronin made the peppermint bark at school and brought it all the way from Edmonton for Nani and Grandpa and Santa of course. 


Even though Belle did not write Santa early, he still seemed to know what she wanted... 

...including a nice bright ring! 

Grandpa got a wine kit to make one of his favourite wines. 

Since we had our tradition of having Christmas lunch for the last 35 years (at least), I put in the 21 pound stuffed turkey into the oven at 11:00 last night and it cooked perfectly by this morning at 8:00am. This year, I made an dry herb rub of parsley, Guyanese thyme, celery,  Newfoundland savory, my Sandra S seasoned salt, pepper and melted butter. I rubbed it under the skin, brushed the skin with some more herbed butter and it was perfect. Waking up to the smell of baked turkey is what I look forward to on Christmas day each year. 

My family of 13 assembled at two dining tables and we had a feast.  

Then it was karaoke for some of us and cards for others. 

It was a busy house today!

And of course, the best gift this Christmas was having my four grandbabies together. 

Very heartwarming day. Now I can go to bed and use my new gel pillow which I got from my three daughters. Happy sleeping for me after a great day. 


Saturday, November 07, 2015

Finally some sunshine and the smell of fresh bread

Yesterday was 11 straight days of cloudy weather for us. That's unusual because what ever we can say about Manitoba, we are generally sunny - both in weather and in disposition. Although I didn't notice that it was that many days (I was just glad to see the sunrise each morning on my way to work now that the clock has turned back), for some people, it was depressing. 

I decided last night that whatever the weather today, I was going to do some baking. The smell of baking on a dull Fall day always makes me feel better. This morning it was bread. If you are a carbophobe (is that even a word?), too bad for you. I decided to bake wholewheat parkerhouse rolls so I made a batch. I love the smell of yeast as it sits in sugar water waiting to spring to life again. Instant yeast is so easy to work with that I simply skip the first proofing and shape the buns right away. 

This recipe is similar to a challah bread so it yields softer, less dense buns. If you bake bread with a bread machine, throw it out (the machine) and make the bread the old fashioned way. It tastes better and is good for the psyche (you get the satisfaction of turning out something beautiful made with your own hands.  

Parkerhouse rolls
 As the bread was proofing, I decided that one set of rolls was not enough. I modified the same recipe by decreasing the sugar, adding extra butter and chives (which I grew in my garden this summer and dehydrated last month) and made cloverleaf rolls. Oh my goodness, the smell of chives when it hits the heat of the oven makes me want to eat even when I am full. 

Cloverleaf rolls

I waited just long enough to take a picture of the rolls and broke open one, added a pat of butter and sat down with a cup of coffee - freshly ground and brewed - to enjoy it. Warm from the oven rolls. As close to heaven as you'll get and is a good substitute for sunshine which we are also getting plenty of today. Is there a better way to start my weekend? Double treat. No better way. 


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Successful Caribbean Canada Heart Health Gala Evening

I am very happy to say that our first Caribbean Canada Heart Health Gala evening on October 21 was a huge success. A great team of volunteers from several Caribbean countries came together and worked really hard to plan and execute the event. 

Considering that we only started planning the gala evening in early summer, it was a lot of work in a very short time to accomplish what we did. The community ought to be commended for supporting the initiative. 

We were also fortunate to have a world renowned keynote speaker -  Dr. Grant Pierce from Winnipeg's St Boniface Research Centre's Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences. He talked about his research on the benefits of flax on lowering blood pressure. It was quite astonishing how much evidence there is on the benefits. I got to thank him for his presentation and told him that Robin has been on a flax kick for close to 10 years so we use it quite frequently and have now started using the oil as well. I am not sure if I can attribute my good blood pressure reading to taking flax but a visit to my doctor this week for my annual check-up was very good.

Although it was a Caribbean initiative, there was a group of international students attending a culinary program at Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology - taught by Louis, an instructor from the Caribbean - who helped to cook and serve the delicious East/West fusion of food at the buffet. Why East/West? The function was held at the Punjab Centre which is owned by a family from India who also contributed to the success of the event by sponsoring the wine, ornaments and offering a reduced cost for the meal and facility. 

I am quite proud to be a part of this community and I am looking forward to doing more for our community in Manitoba as well as in the Caribbean in promoting heart health. 


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Back in Miami

Last night we didn't get a towel animal. We got a towel heart so we saved it for this morning because it was cute. 

We had one last breakfast in the dining room away from the crowded Lido deck and we were off the ship by 9:00am. Very organized exit off and through Customs and Immigration.  

We hung out at the airport for several hours and within 10 minutes of being on the plane from Miami to Minneapolis, Ronin settled in for a good sleep.

Then it was another long wait in Minnie. Good thing for iPods. We didn't let the kids use them too much on the ship because there was lots to do but waiting for hours at the airport can get tiring and boring after so much activity on the ship.

Another little nap on the plane from Minni to Winnipeg; through Customs and Immigration (nothing to declare) and it was home at midnight.

The end of one of the best vacations.


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Nassau, Bahamas

This is my first time in Nassau (really my first time in Grand Turk and Half Moon Cay too) and it was as I expected - lots of pretty buildings with soft pastel colours and very clean streets. Hot too but the ambiance made up for the heat.

Breen loved being here. She told me on the way back to the ship that "I loved Grand Turk and Half Moon Cay but possibly my best place is Nassau." Possibly her best place... what a kid!

Breen and I checking out a jewellry store

My rasta grandson

And my rasta grand-daughter

And hey.. they have a rasta Nani (keeping it in the family)

Sightseeing in Nassau

Enjoying a fresh water coconut (USD $5; Winnipeg CDN $2))

Looks like all we did was eat. Good thing we have other pictures to prove we did other things. Tonight was another great dinner with baked alaska for dessert. Breen's favourite. Hanna like Creme Brulee on her cruise. For Breen, it was the baked alaska.

Last movie night at the Dive-In. We didn't dive into the pool to watch the movie. We sat in the loungers and it was a glorious night under the stars. One more sleep and we are going to love every minute of it. Tomorrow will be a long day. We get off the ship by 9:30 and we don't get home till midnight.

Getting ready for bed.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Half Moon Cay, Bahamas

Another glorious day of sand, surf and a million degrees. Today we had to get on a tender to get off the ship. Trying to get 3,000 people off a ship a few hundred at a time can take a long time. We decided that we would wait for one of the last set of people but even that took a long time. The kids were so patient. We made sure we had lots of sun screen and big hats but even that wasn't enough. 

The beach was really crowded making it hard to find a shady spot (very few and far between). I managed to find a branch with a modest degree of shade and Breen preferred to stay there and play in the sand. 

Ronin opted for the water but after just a few minutes, I started worrying that it was jus too hot to be comfortable and not wanting him to get sunburned, I kept checking on him.

Lunch was a bit of an event. The food was quite a distance away from us and too hot for the kids to walk so Robin went off to get some. He managed to bring back a couple of burgers and some chicken for us but I I really had no appetite because of the stifling heat. The kids didn't do much better. After an hour or so, we decided to go back to the ship before it got crowded again and we'd have to stand in long lines with no shade to get onto the tender.

We had a nice shower which was a nice cool down. That was followed by a long nap then off to dinner starting with lobster bisque.
Yummy lobster bisque

Fruit plate starter

Off for an after-dinner walk  

A late night game of mini golf and a few treats.

Another wonderful day (except for the intense heat).