Monday, December 16, 2013

A Day at the Track

My 2nd official date with my husband of 35 years was a trip to Mohawk Race Track, true love burst out of the gate from that day on.  Both for my husband and for horse racing.  It seems inevitable that the kids would love it too.  Jim's dad and Uncle Wib and Cousin Peter loved racing.  Uncle Wib and Cousin Peter owned horses together, and even had some winners particularly "One Purpose" back in the 80's.  Going back even further, the dark ages, my Aunt Sue used to work for a bookie at the track in Glasgow.  Back then there were individual bookies standing on a crate offering odds on each race.  Aunt Sue being a math whiz used to calculate the odds and keep track of all the bets without any computer or electronic help, ie paper and her brain was the calculator.  Picture the stock market in the movie "Trading Places" where everyone is yelling prices at each other.  My brother John was partial owner of a number of horses, at one point he even hoped he could be a jockey.  Today, it is quite different, you can bet from the comfort of your own home and at the track they have machines where you can go and put your own bet in at races all around the country.  TV screens everywhere with races running all day long.

Sunday was a special day for me, my first time meeting "No Soup for You".  Being the wife and mother of 20% owners I actually got to go into the paddock.  No I wasn't allowed to pet her at this point in time, too much intensity getting ready for the race, but I did manage to take a few pictures.  And from Soup's big smile she is a bit of a ham for the camera.  Soup is the daughter of Alphabet Soup and Tetherette, a very good lineage.

Getting her saddle on, which is so tiny, I'm surprised they don't just ride bare back

Blinkers were next.

Yum, I took about 10 pictures of her getting her bridle on, not one in focus.  I'm amazed Nick didn't lose a finger or two.  

The jockey, Tommy Wong, getting his final instructions.

I think the boys were happy with Soup's attitude, looks like they are counting their money!!!!

After getting all ready to go, they walk them around the paddock about 15 times, because of the weather this was all done inside, in the summer there is a beautiful little area where they do this pre race warm up.  But today it was inside.  The next thing I know I am being told to get my b**t moving to watch the race.  Laughing I look at them and say we have lots of time, they have to go outside and walk around and trot a little and then get them in the gate.  Nope doesn't happen like that when it is -10 outside, the horses basically jog over to the gate and off they go.  Still I say I only have to get up 2 escalators, go to the bathroom and get outside to the finish line, oh yeah and change my lens on my camera and check the levels.  The horses meanwhile have to get to the other side of the track.  Well needless to say I almost missed the race, did manage to change lenses, but there wasn't any time for taking practice shots.  lol

Rachel almost as excited as Soup......


The owners, watching everything very intently.  

And before you know it, they're OFF and running....She was in position number 5, a good post position.  She was bumped right out of the gate by the number 4 horse, but managed to get back on track.

 Coming into the home stretch, a good grouping, we are in position number 9.

Yeah she makes it to position 8, in a 12 horse race.  So much better than the last race where her saddle slipped and she didn't finish.  A great ending to her first year at the track.  Next time I have to let her know to get on the outside so I can get some better pictures.  O:)

Soup is now back at the farm, getting some rest and building up for next year.  So exciting.  

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Christmas Bake Day

Girlfriends, baking, champagne, wine - is there any better combination.  Probably not.  I think this is our 3rd year of getting together in my kitchen for an afternoon of baking.  The first year we thought we would keep it simple and make sausage rolls, we had literally hundreds of sausage rolls.  We rolled and stuffed and rolled and stuffed that by the end of the day we were ready to beat each other with our rolling pins lol.  Then we realized that we had this great appetizer to take to the Christmas parties but all the parties we were going to had their own batch of sausage rolls.

Last year and this year we just did whatever suited our fancy, so there were appetizers, cookies and squares, this year lots of chocolate.  A perfect addition to our champagne.  Along with Lindsey, Mary Jo and Dale, Cathy joined us this year.  We missed poor Sharon who is on a Disney Family vacation, but felt her there in spirit O:).
 Lindsey is always our brave one making a new recipe never tried before - an almond cookie with YES chocolate in the middle they were delish.

 Squares were put outside in a squirrel resistant container to cool.  There were millionaire shortbread, skor bars, a peanut butter bar and still to come MJ's mom's nanaimo bars, more chocolate.

Dale made her famous Old English Pub spread, which is great for freezing and bringing out at our next get together.
Finally the squares are cooled enough and the chocolate can be added.  yum yum
 Nothing like our fingers in there and spreading our dough.

 After baking the guys joined us for dinner.  Andy came to my rescue when I realized I didn't have any ceasar salad dressing, so he just popped into the kitchen with his bevy of admiring bakers as he threw together his dressing from scratch.  LOL

 Dinner is in the oven.  The Bakers are taking a pause for a well deserved drink, definitely not the first of the day.  It always amazing how 5 women can work together in a kitchen so smoothly, one is mixing, one is cleaning, dishes were constantly being washed and dried and passed on to the next station.  Doing this alone with Michael Buble playing can get a little tiring, with good friends the hours passed very quickly.

 The guys entertained themselves with curling and hockey while dinner was being prepared.

Celebrating with good friends is a great way to start the Christmas Season and an added bonus this year was being able to celebrate Doug's 60th birthday.  

It's hard to believe we have known each other for 29 years, what a wonderful neighbourhood we moved into in 1985 adding such richness and love to our lives.  Not to mention calories...... 

btw our younger generation informed us that it isn't referred to as a Christmas Cookie Bake Day, what we did was actually a "Bake and Booze".  :)