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Once in a while my dad gets into the mood and cooks things he ‘used to’ make when he had his restaurant. We had beef pot roast the previous night and I guess there was that much leftover that he got creative and whipped up his beef pot pies vs having pot roast dinner another night. Very rare.  Total surprise. He even made the dough from scratch and used shortening!  HOLY. YUMMERS!  Super flaky. Super delish. Devoured by all and there was definitely no leftovers that night.  Now if only I could get his recipe….think he’d share? 😉

Do you enjoy beef pot pie? Got a recipe to share?

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The hubster and I decided to take my dad out to celebrate his 83rd birthday last Sunday. I mean, c’mon now – 83 years is totally worth celebrating right? We invited my sister and brother in law to join us (which he declined) for a dinner down at Fallsview Casino Resort this way dad could get his ‘slot machines on’ and then enjoy a decadent dinner that neither of us had to prep, cook nor clean after.  The best part, it had everything that all of us would want to eat that wasn’t necessarily the same meal. None of this ‘This is it, take it or leave it’ type meals that one would normally get when cooking at home family style.

It was a beautiful sunny day, warm temps (hovering around the freezing mark) vs our usual arctic deep freeze and scary windchills we’d been having.  Kinda of like a spring thaw. Our drive down to Niagara Falls was plenty eventful – all four of us were nestled cozily in the car driving in the carpool lane when a Niagara Air Bus shuttle bus was chasing us down (damn right I’m calling them out for this episode), trying to signal us to move over so he could pass. Um…last time I checked, the speed limit was 100km/h. Unless they were going to pay for our insurance increases and fines for illegally exiting the carpool lane and then some, nope. Not moving. Sorry about your luck dude. Its called a ‘carpool’ lane or ‘high occupancy vehicle’ lane not ‘autobahn’ lane. So we kept plodding along at the posted speed limit. Then came a few rounds of rapid honking, headlights flashing, severe bumper riding and vicious  swerving by the bus behind us trying to get out attention. Can you imagine being on that bus?! I wonder how loud the driver was shouting?  I’d be fearing for my life. Us knowing we were not doing anything wrong, kept on driving on.  Eventually the bus driver got so fed up, he swerved into the right hand lane – illegally I might add – and then gunned it passed us to cut us off to get back in front of us in the lane, pausing long enough beside us to give us royal hand gestures and flipping us the bird. The look of the passengers faces were of fear. 😦  Once that lil episode finished and the actual carpool lane ended, we were still en route only to have a semi tractor-trailer ride our bumper again honking.  We were wondering what on earth was going on today.  He had pulled out from the right hand lane behind us into the centre lane. He could’ve passed us in the left hand passing lane but chose to ride our bumping honking his big truck horn. Oooh. Big man, hiding behind his 18 wheeler.  Again – we keep puttering along at the posted speed limit.   I’m wondering if it was a case of everyone having suffered through enough ‘winter’ for this season that were glad to be out in the sunshine trying to rid themselves of cabin fever?

Needless to say, when we finally arrived at Fallsview Casino, we parted ways. The hubster and I wanted to walk the mall area to see the changes. Apparently there were new stores added while some removed. My sister was kind enough to escort dad into the casino immediately so he could get his gaming on. Hubster and I eventually made our way into the casino area and started playing a few interesting looking machines but overall, we weren’t feeling it.  It was close to dinner so we began the search for my dad and sister.  Upon meeting up both my sister and the hubster revealed the same scenario’s though they experienced them separately.

Turns out that my brother and sister in law were at the casino as well. We’d normally have invited them to join us but they’re always *busy* when asked to join in on family events. The last time we did see them was for Chinese New Year’s Feast in which they sat huddled apart from the rest of us at the table only whispering to one another and rarely interacting with the rest of us. Before that, there was no phone calls to wish us a Merry Christmas nor Happy New Years etc. with their last visit with dad being sometime in early November 2013. Not even a phone call on the Friday prior to this day wishing dad a Happy Birthday.

What had happened: the Hubster and my sister had ‘ran into’ my sister in law at different area’s of the casino.  Both of them were barely acknowledged with an insincere “Oh, hi”  and then blown off as my sister in law ran away in the opposite direction from them. Um. WTF?  We didn’t look for my brother though we knew where to find him. We just continued along our merry way to get our grub on but seriously, HOW RUDE WAS THAT?! This coming from the first person to marry into our family and has been a part of our family for more then 20+ yrs now and THIS is how she treats us?  Knowing we were there with dad (the only time we usually go to the casino) she could’ve at least stopped to ask where he was and wish him a Happy Birthday and then taken off but instead, she flew the coop.  I guess two run in’s within minutes of each other put too much heat on her?

Regardless of the day’s bizarre events, we all ended up having a great time getting our ‘slots on’ and dining out. (Hubster and I did manage to sneak some shopping in as  well at the Pepper Palace and Swiss Fudge)  We chose to eat at The Golden Lotus – their Chinese style resort restaurant (located in the mall area).  My brother had taken my dad there previously and he had told us the food was tasty.  Normally we’d have dined at the Grand Buffet *inside* the casino but the lines were beyond ridiculous. Even if we had gotten a table, we’d have had to fight everyone in the buffet lines for food.  All of us found the dinner to be ‘alright’ with my sister, hubster and myself agreeing that the food was lacking in flavour. I mean, how does one screw up fried rice??

Here’s a few pics of our view that were very enjoyable as we dined.

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BTW: In case you were wondering, the drive home was uneventful and peaceful. Just the way we like it 😉

Yes, yes…I know, Father’s Day has already come and gone. But I couldn’t NOT share our feast with y’all.  We kept it very low key this year.  In fact so low key, we decided on a simple WINGFEST!

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We grilled up a ton of wings (plain) then gave the options of various sauces that you could either dip or use to smother your wings.

(Sauces were: honey mustard, BBQ, chipitole/pineapple/mango, buffalo and of course blue cheese)

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For appetizers, we had french baguette w/brie (not pictured – sorry), shrimp with cocktail sauce (again, not pictured – double sorry!)  as well as grilled asparagus: both plain and wrapped in prosciutto.  Uh, yeah…about those. They went so quick, I had to take a pic of the one left on my plate LOL Who knew they’d be such a hit?!

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Served with the wings & various sauces were steamed veggies and taters both done up on the grille.

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But lastly – can’t leave out the action shot which also shows that we had grilled lobsters! My sis thought it’d be a nice touch and brought them over last minute. Lil did she know how large our feast truly was LOL

For dessert we had a store bought apple pie which unfortunately wasn’t anything to write home about. Everyone claimed they were too full from the feast to even dig into the pie so us siblings all took a bite or two out of one slice. Dad on the other hand enjoyed it as apple pie is his ultimate favourite when it comes to dessert.

All in all, everyone had a wonderful time gathering over a mega tasty and fulfilling meal.  I hope y’all had a wonderful Father’s Day.

The hubster and I have decided to expand our family!  It’s been something we have been discussing and planning for a while now and after all the chaos of dealing with dad during my uncle’s death and the effects of the Super Moon, we felt it was the right time to focus on ‘us’.    Don’t get me wrong, we’re still here for dad, caring for him as needed, taking him out shopping and errand running as desired but we need to start focusing on something other then ‘just dad’.

Enter… the super pup. 😀

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Isn’t he just adorable?!

Everybody say it with me now: Awwww!

There was supposedly a ‘Super Moon’ this weekend, the biggest the moon that we’ll see this year blah, blah, blah.  I’m not sure if y’all think like me but a full moon = weird things happening.  I’m always affected by the full moon. Correction: affected by those affected by the full moon.    This weekend was no exception in fact, things exploded at my house. Not literally or I’d not be here to tell you about it.

Two Friday’s ago,  one of my uncle’s passed away. (Uncle in law I think they call it? My blood aunt’s husband)   Not knowing he was even ill or in the hospital for treatment was kinda crushing and slightly insulting but I can sympathize with my aunt and cousins on this one – who likes to call to spread bad news right?  Besides it was supposed to be a routine procedure etc. Things went well and he was on the road to recovery. Why would anyone think about sharing this info?  After all, we do live on opposite sides of the continent.   Once things got sorted out and funeral plans made, flowers ordered because we aren’t able to fly over, we finally got a chance to ask questions and learn what happened.  Apparently I was one of the first few people my cousin called to inform.  I guess it was so I could share the news with dad.  (He’s kind of like the patriarch of the family)  And indeed, on that Friday, both my the hubster & I were shocked to see my cousin’s phone number on my cell phone.  You see, we don’t call one another. We normally keep in touch via email or go through Facebook.

Since that Friday, the hubster and I began worrying about dad. He’s up there in age and hearing of his brother in law passing away suddenly (because we didn’t know he was ill) was a huge shock.  Dad takes time to process things in his mind. Yes, he had heard what I told him but it didn’t register until a few minutes later.  We offered to take him to the west coast for the funeral so he could be there for my aunt but he said “No, we couldn’t go.” We thought it was a financial thing which then the hubster offered to pay all expenses (airfare, insurance, car rental etc) “No.” he said again.  Followed by silence which meant the discussion was over.

Being born and raised in Canada, my siblings and I were raised to follow the Canadian customs before our own Chinese customs. Most of the time we were shielded from a lot of things and simply told what to do but not why we did those certain things. IE Rituals, ceremonies, following superstitions etc. Not knowing what the Chinese custom’s were for a funeral/death, we didn’t know what to do.  Not being able to read dad’s mind and him not wanting to share what he was thinking with us, we were left to guess what he wanted to do. Us kids only knew what to do for a North American style funeral.

At one point dad kept flipping his mind back and forth between sending flowers and not sending flowers.   Final decision was to NOT send flowers. There were several witnesses.  The next morning, he bit my head off for NOT having ordered them already. All I did was walk into the kitchen and turn on the coffee maker.  Uh, good morning to you too dad. But then he really laid into me. For no reason.  This is where some would say that because my dad is older, my uncle’s death forces him to think about his own mortality. OR because dad is older, he could be starting to show signs of Alzheimer or Dementia.   OR death/funerals make people act all weird.  People grieve in their own ways.  I do not care what excuse you make for him. No one deserves to be spoken to like that, especially first thing in the morning. Unprovoked.   I had no problems ordering the flowers but if you change your mind in the middle of the night and do not tell me, you can not expect me to have ordered them.

After this blow out, I was done with this whole funeral ritual and rules thing that was only playing in his head. I was tired of walking on eggshells around my father.  I know he’s a man of few words and does not show emotion (besides anger apparently) nor affection. He’s old school. I get it. But enough’s enough.  I’m the one that’s always there for him and this is how he treats me?  Then in a knee jerk reaction, I lost my temper and any respect I had for him and blasted him right back. I cited examples of his inexcusable behaviour and simply told him that he was my uncle too, not just his brother in law.  I asked him to make his final decision and that I would be done with anything related to my uncle and his funeral.

Selfish?  Totally. Inappropriate? Totally. Uncalled for? Oh hell to the no.  After that day, I have been thinking about dad more then I usually do and how much I do for him and how much he takes me for granted. Most children, when they get married, they move away from their parents and family home to start their new lives together. The hubster and I decided to move in with dad and be one big family. In Asian cultures, its normal for parents to live with their children.  They help around the house, they help with the grandchildren if applicable and when its their time for needing care, the children take on that caregiver role.   The children turn into that ‘Sandwhich’ generation caring for both their own children and elderly parents at the same time.  Its supposed to be an honour thing.    To me, it sounds like the direct short bus to a mental breakdown.  Which I had, over the weekend minus the children.

I did not realize how super helpful, supportive and ‘just there for me’ that  my wonderful husband has been. I did not realize how helpful my sister has been either. Both of them moreso during this past week then normal. (THANK YOU! I LOVE YOU BOTH!) Apparently even I didn’t see what they did.  I was stressed to the max and frazzled beyond all recognition of who I used to be.  I kept ignoring their subtle hints and signals.  I didn’t listen to their advice nor take them up on offers to help with dad.  Then, I hit the wall at full speed.   I had been so focused on dad especially during this past week because of my uncle’s death that I let dad break me down and burn out any semblance of patience that I used to have.  A few months ago it would be everyone else frustrated with dad and I’d shrug things off like nothing even happened.  How did things change?  I am useless to anyone if I, myself, am not well mentally and physically.

Over the past few months, more and more issues have surfaced with dad regarding his health.  He’s discovering that by having not paid much attention to the signs of his Diabetes, he has neuropathy issues going on with his legs and feet.  He used to downplay the questions whenever a doctor or nurse would ask about them.  When dad had his TIA/mini stroke, he was told during phsyio and recovery that he should take up crosswords or puzzles or something to engage his brain activity to help keep things flowing ‘up there’. He poo-poo’ed that too saying he was ‘fine’.    His memory isn’t what it used to be and he’s often using synonyms for the words he wants to use but gets overly frustrated that he can’t think of the exact word.    Overall, he’s getting older and not liking it one bit.  I don’t blame him, one day your body’s fine and the next, it’s deteriorating on you. Hard realty to swallow.

Am I embarrassed that I blew up at my own dad? Of course.  (Though somewhere deep down inside I still have that ‘He had it coming’ twinge) Did I apologize, no. Did he ever apologize? Good heavens, that will never happen. (Never say never right?) But I’m sure that while we both had our moment of weakness, we still knew that we still loved one another.  The same with the hubster and my sis…all they could do is wait for me to hit that wall to help pick up my pieces.  (BTW I’m sorry for taking things out on you that did not pertain to you as well as not listening to either of you beforehand).   Now, I need to figure out how to focus less on dad and more on ME so I can slowly rebuild/glue myself back together.

See what I mean about that ‘Super Moon’ affecting everyone?   How did it affect you this past week/weekend?

While out running dad around getting errands crossed off our list, we decided to pop into this little place for lunch: Chinese Dumpling House.  The food was ideal, prices were great and quality was just a bit above average. Nothing to write home about but still good enough to consider popping back in for another lunch.  You know what quality to expect each visit.  The decor was simple and appeared to be a little outdated. But hey, you’re there for a quick bite to eat, right?  Not a bad little joint if I say so myself 🙂

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Dad ordered beef tendon noodle soup

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I had wonton soup (no noodles)
These were pork wontons vs the traditional shrimp ones

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Pan fried pork dumplings


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Its a blustery, nippy and rainy Monday here.  The province is waiting for the arrival of Hurricane Sandy.  I know its nothing to balk at but the constant in your face news coverage is kind of upsetting. I mean, yes its nice to be warned that the hurricane is coming as well as learning how to prep for it but after a certain point, one needs to just tune it out.  I have.  After a certain point, it sounds more like fear mongering to me.  Now I’m not trying to put down the severity of any weather phenomenon but sometimes, its better to be ignorant for a few hours.  Just for peace of mind.

What have I been up to last week? Dad took me on a wild goose chase trying to find some socks and while at the store, he eyeballed this fleece lined hooded jacket.  He really wouldn’t stop staring at it, touching it etc so I told him to just try it on. Then he guffawed at the price and it was on sale.  I shared with him the price of a regular fleeced lined brand name hoody and his jaw dropped. So this version of one though not brand name and being rated to -15*C was totally worth the discounted price.    Then he started going through the rack with vigor, checking out each colour & pattern pondering whatever 81 yr old men do when looking at fleece lined hoody’s before he settled on the one he wanted to buy.  The bonus – its easily washable, no special care. Trust me, I plan on washing this thing often with the amount of splooshes this lil man experiences. 😉

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Basically, this is very similar to dad’s new hoody except he chose an offwhite/beige colour.

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Other then that, been watching plenty of PVR’d tv shows & movies, laying low and just relaxing. I’m trying to avoid catching a cold/flu that seems to be making its rounds over and over.  The flip flopping weather doesn’t seem to be helping either.  While hiding out at home, I was doing some tidying, purging & re-organizing when I came across this. I was gifted this candle holder a while back but never put it to use.  Its not the kind you find at Bath & BodyWorks but similar.  Better yet, it was free AND its cute, don’t you agree?

How was your week? And are you prepped for Hurricane Sandy?

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