Wednesday, December 28, 2011


   I wrote a while ago that I was not a happy Catholic and after reading many blogger comments in recent weeks I discovered that there are quite a few others who have opted out. Historically the church played a major roll in all facets of daily life for a large population but as the fear of going to hell for sinning seemed to have shifted so did the desire to participate actively at the local parishes. And the corruption within the organization has also made some worshipers question whether to continue supporting their parishes.

   I have enjoyed visiting the old cathedrals that one can find worldwide and I am respectful of those who made it their mission to commission them and those who are willing to maintain them. But I wonder how their history has impacted our way of life now? Something new is happening. The traditional teachings are no longer reaching the masses. And wealth and power is shifting.

    The recent holiday time has jogged many bloggers memories, mine too, of earlier times when we were led by our families to follow certain traditions. We remembered them with both passions of delight and of discomfort. And we set out to teach our own young ones to participate in what we set in front of them. Our community and social instincts seemed to need an outlet and some sort of order and togetherness. Perhaps that is why we still carry on? We want to believe that our past had purpose and was meaningful. Perhaps we need this confirmation of our existence? I ponder. Did we do a better job?

    Could we be kinder? Could we be more respectful and more inclusive of others? Could the most wealthy learn to do away with greed and find a better way to balance equality? Major religions seemed to have failed in helping many of their followers to get that point across. And now parishes are beginning to get less support. Other charities are growing and taking in large sums in hopes of sending aid to others. Sadly that's not going well either. Why?
   So what is it that causes such an imbalance? Are we all born with a 'greedy' gene? Do we measure success by what's been acquired? Why is the balance of power in just a few hands, those with the biggest wallets? And why do so many less fortunate believe they'll be better off once they have some millions or billions?
    My thoughts keep going back to my days as an educator. There is a solution out there. A search for a new way to reach the depths of minds ought to be discovered along with a new value system. We need to change in the way we lead our youth. Our old ways are really old!! I can't get over the fact that most of us hate war and killing but we allowed the creation of the number one software game enjoyed by perhaps billions (including fake copies)recently, 'Call of Duty', Modern Warfare 3!! No way will that promote a more caring youth. That's not it's aim! Profit by the company and its shares drive it and many others. It comes with a disguise, a liberty to choose. A democratic right. Hypocrisy ??
    Will there ever be a software that can help us be smarter, kinder, better people? If so I sure hope it is released in the shortest possible time. Our world needs a miracle, one that can be seeded deeply into the brains of the future leaders and followers. Away with deadly crime games! Why must evil be the best seller? Rethink this. Shift away from the hell on earth.
    Watching the North Koreans march like robots just leaves me wondering what's being done to their minds. They even seem to cry on demand! When will we use our intellectual potential to do much better than that? The power should be with those who use more potential to maximize the goodness of humankind. War has no place in that better world. And perhaps newer political systems will be created to be fair to all?
    I believe in miracles. And I believe we must work for them.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


I got the tree and decorations up from the basement and with my sister's help it is up!
My Dad is getting better and my Mom is happy that I helped. Now we are almost ready. I love this time of year :) BUDDY

Friday, December 9, 2011

Soft Glow

  Already two Sundays of the Advent season have passed by and I've hardly noticed. The turmoil of hubby's heath and some of the other recent events have interfered a bit with our traditions. With Buddy's help we did manage to put up some wreaths on our entrance doors and a few lights in our front window.
  But there is something seemingly magical about lit candles. During my childhood years my mother (and other family members) fondly celebrated the four advent Sundays leading up to Christmas Eve. It started with a trip to the forest for some fir branches. These were fashioned into a wreath to be decorated with some ribbon and placed on a specially embroidered square table covering. Four bright red advent candles were evenly placed into metal holders that were fixed into the fir.
  One was lit each Sunday until all were done. In the eves we sat around that table where the candle light would glow and we sang carols. I recall my family enjoyed singing in various harmonies, alto, soprano and so on while my dad added beautiful chords and made the melodies seem so much more vivd from his accordion. The adults would sip some warmed up wine while we got hot cocoa. And all this led to a greater anticipation for the upcoming event, the celebration of the arrival of the Christ child.
For Christmas there would be a fir tree full of white candles that made the ornaments shines when they were lit but this did not happen until Christmas Eve. In fact the tree was kept locked away in an unheated parlour hidden until that special night.
  Of course there were a few packages wrapped in simple paper held together with some string set on the table nearby where the wreath had been.. Gifts were usually hand made unless it was a printed book. I recall waiting eagerly to get into that room. But there was a tradition passed down from my grandparents. The simple meal of fish and potato salad came first. And after that we had to sing carols. Only when this was completed could we enter the room with the lit Christmas tree. It was cool in that room for we had no central heating but it felt warm in no time.  I think maybe the candles helped add some warmth but actually I believe it was because it was time to share our gifts with each other. It was grand. Everyone glowed with contentment. Even though we had very little right after the war it still felt like a lot. The best part was that the joyfulness and thankfulness could be felt. Everyone's spirit was high!
  Today I still love the warm, soft glow of cable light. It feel good.
  Soon there will be lights on our Christmas tree but very different ones. Candles have had to be replaced. Today LED bulbs put that bright sparkle on a fake or sometimes real tree.
  Ours will be set up in our family room a bit late this year (even though we've changed to a more Canadian tradition) but definitely before that magical eve. And we'll make time to open a gift that night too. That's my favourite time.
  Gradually our kids led us to opt for Christmas day to open most gifts (maybe because they still had to  wrap them?) because that's what they've learned over time. It's the way it's done in their circle of friends whose families have also adapted this North American way.
  And here in Canada things are blended together forming a colourful palette of traditions that we can opt to enjoy and we do. Christmas time is celebrated in many ways even by non Christians. Maybe we all like that warmth and joy that comes from sharing?
  Still I prefer the flicker of a real candle. It makes me happy.
  How about you? Do you have some very special memories you wish to share?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Another chance

 Yesterday hubby went for an angiogram. He hoped to be back in the office by today. That was not how it was to be. Instead he was transferred to the ACU (acute care unit) cardiology ward shortly after the results of the test. There he's being prepped for bypass surgery. 
  For 26 years (refer to last year's December An Unusual Christmas Story) he has avoided it but now the odds are stacked against him. It's do or die and he's not very happy, actually rather quite scared! He cannot imagine having his chest cracked open. He was told that's what they have planned. In his case it's the only option for the type of repair he needs.
  When Buddy had his open heart surgery done hubby wept for the whole 4 1/2 hours until the surgeon told him Buddy had come through it just fine. And Buddy's had this done twice. He feels his dad will be just fine and home well before Christmas. In fact Buddy has plans to make it more special just for Dad. Well I'm with Buddy. All of us are. 
  I believe hubby will eventually feel a lot better after his five blockages are bypassed. And I hope he'll give up his cigars. I never really thought he really liked them. My guess is it was just his way to deal with not really feeling great and grasping on to this to make believe it helped. Pressure can make us do things that are not good choices. For him this was one of those as he was making believe it' was an enjoyable thing to do. HA! 
 Exactly four weeks ago we  were having so much fun at the delightful wedding of our daughter. Now we are bracing ourselves for caring for my darling hubby who has always been there for all of us. I know your good wishes will come our way. That's just the way you are and I'm glad for that. It helps to have your support.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


These eyes are dimming
My vision's a blur.
No refraction can
Restore it to CLEAR!
On top of implants
Right in my blue eyes
Two pair of glasses
Allow in some light.
Three pairs of lenses
To read and to write.

  Some of you know that I struggle with visual impairments for some time now. It makes reading and writing a challenge but I have made some very kind friends here in the blog sphere. I am so thankful for that.
Yesterday I was given a chance to try contacts to see if that would sharpen the picture for me and it did for the distance but it ruined any attempt to see close up. And later I had trouble to get them out. It seems the implants made the surface of the eye too solid to easily squeeze them out.
  So that brings me right back to the old double glasses for close up stuff. No word on how long this will work but for the time being I must be thankful. After all I can see... sort of. Would bullies call that "Six eyes"?                                  

Friday, November 11, 2011

In a few moments the ceremony will begin. Silence at this moment to remember the many who gave their lives to fight for freedom in the wars gone by. The poppy has become a symbol of this day of remembrance. The poem
'In Flanders Fields' is always recited. Guns give a salute. The last post is played by a lone trumpet player. Wreaths are placed. Tears are shed. We shall not forget.
Our national anthem is just being piped over the media signalling that the process for today is officially about to begin. And as long as I can remember I have been part of this event.Today is no exception.

PS. I posted this blog at the exact moment and then I paused to watch the ceremony. Later I posted photos on my other blog.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


    Monday she flies to Fredericton, NB. She spent three years at UNB working on her thesis. Now the time has come for her to defend it. I wish her well. Once this is done she will have earned her MA in creative writing. She also has a BA in CCIT and a certificate in digital communication. And she got certified to teach. She studied hard and did well but I wonder if this will be enough for her future. Jobs are so hard to get.

The next years of her life will be spent in the UK with her mate but first she has to get permission to reside there. So for now she will continue to carry on in a distant relationship. Her skills are definitely geared for that. Hopefully she'll be leaving soon to be with her love. It's not easy to watch her having to wait but it will be harder to see her leaving.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Plum Tradition

   Home baking is very much part of my family's tradition and culture. As a child I would be subjected to the delightful aromas of whatever was in the oven on Saturday eve but it was not for consumption till Sunday morning. It was considered bad if you touched the baked goodies before that time. I remember my dad occasionally taking a sampling right after it came from the oven, upsetting my mom by his unwillingness to wait.
   And in time I began to bake too. Around the age of nine I started with little cakes that I would create using my memory and imagination. A few of the tiny creations were actually good enough to present to my dad for his approval. As time went by I became better at creating all sorts of goodies and I loved baking.
   A long time has passed. I cannot count all the recipes I have successfully baked yet a few still remain a family tradition. This Saturday I created a plum cake with streussel topping. By Sunday afternoon not a crumb was left. 

   What's interesting to me is that each time I bake one like this Buddy will tell me my cake tastes just like the ones Omi (my mom) used to make. Although she's been gone for 23 years, her Saturday baking lingers on in our memories as if it was only yesterday that she created those special fragrances. Our memories are often jogged by our senses and connect us to many places and faces. A purple plum is part of my fall time traditions.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


   Once again the festivity of the harvest season is here. The turkey has been purchased and the menu is almost completely planned. Traditionally my girls and hubby do most of the cooking for this event since their college days. Each year brings its own special moments. This year we are fortunate to have summer like weather to make it even more special. Sunshine tends to brighten people's spirits more giving a golden twist to the bounty that we are blessed with.
   And as we give thanks we must be sure to share whatever we can because there are so many who are in need.  Definitely.
   Thanks for being patient with me my blogging friends. I know I have not been around much for three weeks. Much is happening as I race to get my daughter ready for her wedding at the end of this month. You are not forgotten. I shall catch up with reading and commenting as soon as I possibly am able because I cherish your ideas and friendship. You are a part of what I'm thankful for.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


For the first time I found it harder than usual to get back on my feet after the dope they used to relax me for the recent procedure. I developed a nasty headache on the right side of my skull that opted to pound and throb until about 2 hours ago. Finally I was able to make the effort to get outdoors with Buddy. We had a lovely stroll collecting some pretty colorful leaves. We enjoy our walks together. This one helped me to clear the last dopiness out of my system. Tomorrow I will get back to wedding plans.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


It's 7:47 and I'm sitting in the waiting area awaiting my 8:45 procedure. I've got the IPod on my iPhone set to Susan Boyle as I sit here typing. She's singing 'I Dreamed a Dream' and for the first time in my life I'm awaiting a hospital event in total cal
and peace. This feeling of calm has been with me since my walk on Sunday. You can see a lovely photo on my other blog. Soon I shall be drugged and dreaming. I'll post again when I recover. Have a great day.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Plans galore

   My daughter's wedding day has been set for October 29, 2011. Those of you whose children have married know what lies ahead. I'm just learning. Yesterday we went to see a lovely place called Sunnybrook Estates for the reception venue. The location is gorgeous and we were lucky to be able to get the nicest hall, actually the entire main floor, at a special price since someone has an afternoon function until 5 and we do not need the place till 7 that evening. Sitting there with my daughter while listening to all the options of place settings, meal and beverage choices, photographers, DJs, etc. I began to have a twinge of "how will I cope?"
   With the paper work in our hands to be reviewed by the man who holds the purse strings before the contract is signed and with so little time, all things will need to be worked out very fast. From the Estates we headed for Bayview Mall, a rather high end group of shops where my daughter picked out a lovely pair of fall boots to wear right away since the fall weather has arrived and it was cool and rainy. We also stopped for a late lunch that included a shared custard slice for extra sugar!
  Next we searched around for floral inspirations and came up with a lovely non conventional centre piece idea, a small arrangement of plants potted that guests could take home after the event. Cut flowers have such a short life. This seems to be a more green solution.
   Tired we came home for a short rest. Next was to be the trip to the jewellers to order the groom's ring. During my rest period I heard my two girls talking. Good news. I would not have to go out again. They were going together and by 9 pm they walked in beaming. The ring would be ready for pick up on October 15. While they were gone, I was on the phone calling various family members across N.A. to see who would be coming so I could prebook hotel space for them.
   Did I forget to mention that my SUV decided to have a fit? It wouldn't start in the morning. CAA came to the rescue. They did a test that determined an electrical issue was causing some short, hence the loss of battery power. A service appointment was promptly booked.
   For today the hope is to try to get the van started without a boost, go for pre colonoscopy blood work at the hospital, drop the van off at the service centre, rent a car and shop for a wedding outfit for the bride and brides' maids. Hectic times are here. I woke up at 4:15 am and decided I had time to read a few blogs and write this since I am wide awake. Normally I sleep until about 7 am but I guess my over active brain will keep me up more in the coming weeks. Still I'm so happy that I am here to be a part of it all. I often wondered if I would get this chance of a lifetime and now it's here.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


 Our trip to one of the oldest establishments in America was a huge success. It started on Thursday with a drive to Buffalo to catch a Jet Blue flight to Boston and although there was a short delay because of storms on the east coast, the moment we landed the clouds lifted. We had beautiful sunshine and warm temperatures the whole time there.
  A fitting finale, this moonlight sunset of the bay was taken the eve before our departure. We spent our days touring and learning many historical things about the area and the development of New England and the states. 
  Being in the US over the 9/11 weekend gave us a glimpse of the seriousness of security measures implemented all around the city to ensure safety for all. And we met tourists from around the world along our way, all delighted to be visiting this educational hub boasting 52 higher learning institutions that attract top students from around the globe in droves each September. We took some time to tour MIT and Harvard just to get a glimpse of these institutions.
  Though brief we truly enjoyed our stay more than we had anticipated.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Another Flight

Heading to Boston today for a 5 day mini holiday so blogging will be on hold for a bit. Buddy is very excited to be coming along since he'll be meeting up with his cousin who just had his first son.

Friday, September 2, 2011


  Yesterday I decided it was time to sort through some boxes containing stuff saved after our house fire. The main reason for this undertaking was to find old documents and family history stuff. My trip to my aunt rekindled my passion for putting my past into some sort of order for the girls.
   After an entire day all I managed to get to was a box with papers  my parents had kept about the hardship of their emigrating, the leaving of two children behind until they felt more secure in their newly chosen city. Many letters were written back and forth to our caregivers and I spent hours reading rather than sorting.
   Their writing weaves a history that had me spell bound and wondering how I missed this material completely in past years. Now I shall attempt to collate some of their letters into some sort of timeline. Who knows what else I might discover along this undertaking? 
   For example I discovered some letters and flight documents so my brother and me could to get into Canada including parental pleas to KLM to ensure that we would make the journey safely. We were to travel alone and there were numerous stops and plane changes along the way. 
   This led me to recalled that voyage. I was merely eight and Roli six at the time. Early in the month of October my grandpa and aunties dressed us in warm clothes for the flight. Then we were off to the local airport. Grandpa got to take us up into the plane, handing us over to the staff who also got our travel documents. (I guess it didn't occur to him that he ought to have made us travel pouches to be worn around our necks.) After hugs he had to get off leaving us to whoever was in charge. The first leg of our trip was a short flight to Amsterdam where we were to board the bigger trans Atlantic machine (as huge as they were back in 1954).
   I recall the thrill of the take off. My brother had the window seat because he was smaller and I could see over him. Soon puffs of cloud that looked like white cotton candy to me appeared. Then not knowing their scientific make up I just imagined them as pillows holding us up! Ha!
   The landing that followed made our tummies tickle a lot. Roli and I giggled. We just loved this better than any carousal ride we'd been on. Upon landing we were escorted to a waiting area and told that our next flight would be in about two hours. What a long boring time it was! We couldn't understand the language of those trying to entertain us. And when the time came we couldn't board the huge plane. Seems whoever was in charge of our papers passed on our tickets but not our passports! I could sense that something was really bothering the staff around us. They did tell us that they would fix it but it would take a bit of time. For Roli and I it just meant an extremely boring and very long wait. Eight hours later the next flight would take off with us assuming our passports would show up. Forty-five minutes before take off they remained missing. 
   But then someone ran up to us, grabbed us and whisked us to the ramp of a very large plane where we were handed over to the cabin staff. They must have found our passports. I bet this staff would have been very careful not to misplace them!
  Our seats were close to the galley so the staff could keep us busy and keep an eye on us. Soon the engines roared and we taxied, lifted off in the dark heading towards Glascow. There we landed but stayed in the cabin. Others got on. Another take off into the night. The moon shone but down below it remained totally dark. We were told it was the ocean. Scary ideas went through my mind briefly. I didn't know how to swim. 
   The plane carried on, it's engines roaring and lulling us into brief naps. We dared not sleep deeply. As daylight appeared, Roli and I were given a tour of the cockpit and met the captain. I was impressed by all the staff. In fact I recall thinking maybe I would grow up and be a stewardess.
   Finally it was time to land again. We had arrived in Canada, in Gander Newfoundland where immigration was done. I don't recall exactly how but I think we went into some rooms where the documents were reviewed, accepted and stamped. Some small card was added into the passport. Immigration was completed. It was time to board the same plane again. Yet again take off was delayed. The health examiner discovered someone had broken out in a rash and we all had to be examined. Roli and I passed the test. One mother and her child were off loaded while the father and second child had to continue on. It kind of upset me. I knew how it felt to be separated from a parent. I was on my way to be reunited with mine after 8 months of separation but this trip was taking so very long.
    The final stop for the big KLM machine was Montreal. From there we had to be transferred to a Toronto flight. But of course an other issue arose. We has missed our connecting flight. Apparently one did not get put onto a later flight automatically when this happens. There was even a fee needed to carry on and since we were just kids what could we do to fix that?
   Our KLM captain came to our rescue. He pleaded on our behalf stating that an issue in Amsterdam began the snowball effect that could not be blamed on the child passengers. He managed to convince the Trans Canada Airline to put us on the next available flight to Toronto. More waiting. Then one more short haul on a smaller plane before it was all over. We had left on the tenth and didn't arrive till the twelfth.
   Close to twenty four hours late, our parents had no clue where we were and why we had not yet arrived at their airport. Seems they had quite a hair raising experience, one that included fears of us being kidnapped. Recall that back then information travelled very slowly. Telegraphy was used to spread news fast. Phones were too expensive and long distance was a novelty for the very rich I believe.
    Once our parents got the good news that we were nearly in Toronto they were very happy to pick us up from Malton Airport. We had had a long journey, a memorable one with a happy ending.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Peach Time

In August of 1955 my father drove us to Niagara Falls in his newly acquired VW bug. It was a family outing to admire and enjoy the peach harvest. We would do this every year from that time on until my dad's sudden death the night after the final trip for him. Yet to this day that tradition has been carried on into the next generations. We regularly head towards Niagara in late August or early September and will be going again. This photo shows me as I enjoy very juicy peach. I still remember that first time.
The peaches bought locally always taste so much better. We will purchase several baskets and enjoy the bounty. There are many tasty ways to enjoy the fruit. I shall bake a cheese cake topped with peaches and streusel in the style of my mom's, a favourite of my dad and now my hubby. Buddy likes it too. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011


  Yesterday was may cancer checkup and the blood work is not showing any irregularities. In a few weeks comes the colonoscopy, annual now rather than every six months. Phew! I dread the prep for those. I have a huge dislike for the sour taste of the citromag bottle contents that has to be downed hours before. The diet of clear liquids is no fun either but now that I think about it, I ought to be thankful for everything even that. There's so much stress in the world right now. My little worry is just a hiccup. When it's over I might have one of these again.

Monday, August 8, 2011


  Today my iPhone screen appeared in Russian. My phone locked itself. And this has made me wonder what"s happening. Why would a little old lady like me seem to be of interest to some hacker?? Ha ha ha. You all know the great shape I'm in. My organs aren't worth harvesting. I've no porno interest and my pension check won't buy much. Perhaps some Russian thinks I was active in Russia during WW II? I wasn't even born till it was over. I was considered a Sudetenland refugee till 1989 because my family was ousted into Germany by the Czechs and Russians. Some of my family was murdered in the process. My auntie remembered that time of hardship and told me stories that filled my eyes with tears. 
   What is going on in our cyber world?? I'm on my way to the Apple store to see what they might do to help. Apple claims to have great security. Let's see what they will do. I just hope I'm not back in some bot net. It's possible that a recent upgrade to a new wifi modem might have something to do with my heartache. It has put a damper on my blogging fun because I worry about being on the web.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Her Big Day

July 23rd was her 90th birthday and she was so very happy to have her two nieces from Canada there at her side. We were just as happy. It was a grand Saturday. The morning began with our chance to give her a token for the occasion. She's opening it.
There were lots of flowers, cards and champagne too!  
At three in the afternoon she had a formal coffee and cake party in a party room. Her closest friends and a few relatives were her invited guests. For two hours we ate, chatted and listed to some hilarious presentations. I was glad and proud to be there.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Many days have gone by since I was this small but I've always enjoyed writing/typing stories. I'm sitting at my aunt's typewriter in Lehrte by Hannover in April of 1954. Today I'm flying there to visit her. My sister is going to take good care of me on this journey for auntie's 90th birthday.
Will be back in no time to enjoy your posts.:)

Friday, July 15, 2011

WOW 38

Buddy thanks all of you for the good wishes already sent his way. The morning began with rich chocolate cake . He is impressed that he's reached 38 years and feels he's getting up there in years. Hah! 
He requested streamers for his celebration and the girls went all the way for him! Our kitchen looks so festive. His expression was "WOW" when he saw it.
Tonight he'll go out for a special birthday dinner. This will be followed by a visit to the theatre to see Harry Potter in 3D. He received tickets for this event from his sister. Seats are reserved. He's very excited. He loves 3D. 
Did you see the Lego on the table? He'll be busy constructing. He's very good at putting things together and he enjoys it. The Wii Dance gifts are going to be useful too. Lot's of music to shake to. Ahhh.
It appears that today will be filled with all the fun he dreamed of. What joy!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

More than a TEA PARTY

The table was set with lots of finger foods. The excitement grew as the clock ticked. His family was stuck in rush hour traffic. The three o'clock affair became four o'clock but that was just fine because it allowed the couple some extra time to chill with just us. As soon as his parents and siblings arrived the tea party began. Seating was informal. We used the living room dining room combo and everyone found a comfortable place. The younger crowd even opted for an additional impromptu BBQ of hot dogs because they had all missed lunch while getting ready for the party. Once all had eaten the formality took place. The couple gave their intention to become engaged. And they chose an exchange of jewellery to show their intent. She was gifted was a diamond pendent with matching earrings which her fiance helped her put on. His gift was a Baume & Mercier Classima watch which she proudly put on for him. Their ring exchange has been saved for their next formal ceremony.
The formality ended so quickly but that's the way events like this usually do. Lots of hugging and congratulations followed and then it was time to part. Each family had other events planned for the evening. Ours was a prearranged BBQ dinner at close family friend's, former mentors to our daughter who wanted to welcome the young man to their home too. And later that eve the couple had to go for dessert party with his cousins. We stayed on and chatted with our friends. It was all over too quickly.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


This afternoon we are going to have visitors, very special ones. Yesterday afternoon his parents and grandparents gave them their blessing. Today my youngest daughter and her sweetheart are bringing his family to witness their son propose to her in our home. We are delighted for them.
Liz has brought extra help to make everything shine and sparkle. They even set up our dining room table for the afternoon tea with these roses in the centrepiece. Hubby is bringing the finger food. It's such a happy occasion that I just had to post my excitement. It's another milestone for me and for our family.  This July is one of the best in a while!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Special Moments

Two days in a row this little cotton tail stopped and waited for me to pull out my iphone, select camera and shoot its picture. It made me smile.

My smile continued as I took my time to capture the peaceful moment with this creature. Today's morning walk was extra special having now officially joined the rank of seniors. This entitles me to all their perks including no tuition fees if I choose to continue studies at any college or university. Perhaps I'll consider some part time courses at my favourite campus in the future. I may be too late to register for this fall I think. Have any of you considered taking any classes?

Sunday, July 3, 2011


   On July 1st Buddy was quick to come into my room to change the calendar. This is one of his favourite months because he just loves birthdays and we have several. The first one is Canada Day, our national one and this year it's 144 years since Confederation. Prince William and Kate have come for the celebration so I assume there's some media coverage of that event. Then comes the American Independence Day on July 4th. Some of our cousins in the USA love that one. Next it's mine. And then it's Buddy's turn. See his smile?? Fireworks, festivals, cakes, ice cream and fun. That's a great reason to smile! 

  So far I have loved my life in this great country but I do have one regret. I have struggled with ID theft since 2001. I hoped it was behind me but today I did a credit check. Guess what? I'm still not cleared. Apparently I took out a car loan, bank and amount unknown, in October 2007. Really? I paid cash for the car I bought in 2005 and I still have it. And I apparently got myself a gas card, company not known, in October 2006. Why would I?  I've had a gas card since the mid 1990's and the balance is always at zero each month. Finally it seems I also needed a line of credit, amount unknown, from a bank with no name in October 2009. Why would anyone give a line of credit to a person with a bad credit history in 2006 and 2007 and right after the 2008 credit collapse? LOL.  

See a pattern? Apparently I do these things in October. Could it be that I turn into a doppelganger, duplicating myself on Halloween?  lol 

  Seriously I shall have to try to rid myself of that double that's been reappearing since 2001. I just hope I can succeed. I'm learning it's very tough to prove that I'm honest, pay my dues and deserve a good credit rating. While that's not funny, getting there might be fun. At least I'm going to assume that. Have you ever had a problem with ID theft??

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


 There's something wonderful happening at my house. The sun is shining after many cloudy days. But there's another ray of sunshine and that's Liz. She came today for the first time to help get our home back into some resemblance of clean and dust free. You see I have not been very well. Just trying to keep Buddy's skin issue under control by daily vacuuming, bathing him and entertaining him didn't leave much energy for more. And my girls are adults busy with their lives. Hubby works and enjoys cooking. Our cleaning has been neglected. Today that changed. Liz arrived at 10 this morning and has been working all day. It smells so fresh. It feels so good. Our ray of sunshine will be back next Tuesday.
   Sunshine comes in many forms. It can bring joy and hope. Do you have someone who adds that extra warmth? Feels good right?? 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lost Soul

   For too many days I have tuned the world as I know it off. I have allowed myself to be listless and self-centred expecting others to care for me. While it may be helpful for the body it is not for my soul. Though I prefer my independence my eyes and health issues are becoming my excuse and that I'm allowing it, that's not for the good.
  I have trouble seeing because the healing of the eye has changed the glasses prescription a lot and it's too early for a new one. My stitches will be removed on July 6th.  Meanwhile I try to just keep busy with silly things that don't require much focus. Even shopping has become harder because I like to read the labels. I feel so lost.
   Then I chose more to moan about. On Friday, June 10th, I had the throat biopsy at the hospital ENT ward. It will determine the nature of the abnormal lesions on the left side where I once had tonsils. The current procedure felt like another tonsillectomy. It has forced me off my feet once more. Popsicles helped sooth the soreness a bit however my ego wasn't impressed.
   Finally today I'm trying to do more. The pain has subsided. Excuses must end. Blurred vision will no longer hold me down!! NO!!
   I need to focus on all the goodness around me. It's not right to forget that I live a blessed life. Cancer so far has stayed under control and I must believe it will continue to do so. All will be well. I will be 65 in a few weeks and that's a milestone. Right?? And more good times will follow but I must get back on a positive track, grounded and cheerful. Yes! That's it.
   Patti's checkup went well on June 9th. I'm glad for her and hopeful for me. Her post was the only one I was able to finish reading today. I loved the way she blended a grandma, a new mom and a baby with an imperfection all into one beautiful experience as she waited at her doc to discover her fate. Cancer or not? Free. And she's happy. Was it coincidence that I just happened to be on her blog today? Perhaps but I think souls have ways of connecting in ways yet to be discovered. Did the date play a role? Down syndrome? Perhaps I had Gertrud on my mind and her soul guided me?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Fitness by Wii

The other day my girls decided to set up the fitness part of the Wii that sat in an unopened box for some time. They were planning to get fit together. I watched and was quickly lured in and just had to give it a try. Along came the best active fun I've had in ages. The activity options are huge!!  This screen shot shows a few.
Below you can see I'm trying hard to move my body in order to control the ball to score points and burn a calorie or two. It will tell me how I did when I've completed the task.
It's fun. For me the true value in this was it forced me to use all my faculties in ways I had not done for some time. 
Definitely stimulating, I can see why senior centres have started to offer it as means to stay youthful! Family members are ready to challenge me. I will have to work hard to keep up.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Ellie dozes by the patio door in the heat of the sun. Today is the last day of May and we finally have some intermittent sunshine! In fact we are having our first hot day. We need the warmth so plants will grow. Her crossed paws are next to a flower pot placed there for lots of sun.

Can you guess what's growing in the pot? 
While still living in Fredericton, my youngest daughter took a slice of a tomato and placed it in a glass jar filled with soil. It was February then and she wanted to try growing indoor tomatoes. She was experimenting. The seeds sprouted and she was very happy but this event presented her with a challenge. Her apartment lease was ending and she was coming home for good. She gifted her house plants to friends. But not the baby tomatoes. Easter weekend they were carefully packed into the van for the drive to Toronto. Though a bit in shock after such a very long ride, they survived and were placed on our kitchen table along with the orchid and African violet that continue to bloom.
On the Mother's Day weekend,while creating all my lovely planters, she transplanted her little plants into several pots. The ones in this photo are the biggest ones from her many seedlings. She's very proud of these plants and is hoping to harvest some tomatoes this summer. I wish her success. It could be the beginning of her future in vegetable gardening. She has mastered floral pot arrangements so this seems like a natural progression. Who knows? I'll keep you posted on how well these plants do. 
So far the cat has not nibbled at them. Do cats eat tomato plants? Perhaps we should be adding a catnip potted plant to minimize the risk?

Monday, May 30, 2011


With the patch off and three types off drops four times a day, my eye is getting much better. It has improved my ability to see. Clearly!! Perception?
The patch appeared on the left side of my face in the previous post. That photo was taken from my web cam on my laptop. There is no flipping of that photo so it allows it to appear as if my right eye is patched. Cameras and mirrors are tricky things. We must be careful not to be fooled.
For the record it was my left eye that had surgery. In the image below it is the eye on your right that is improving. I took this self portrait using my iphone camera flipping the camera (phone) first. This gives the correct image.
Thanks for being patient with me as I resume blogging. I now read a few blogs and am able to comment too but I must proceed with caution so that I do not strain the eye.

Today there's an unplanned visit to the dentist. Seems my temporary caps were too temporary. I swallowed one with my lunch yesterday and caught the other one just in time before eating dinner.  LOL. The temps are part of a denture set up for the lower teeth. The process should be completed by July. New vision and new teeth all in time for my 65th birthday!
Ah yes I am keeping those professionals who work with seniors very busy. They seem to like the business. They are always friendly to me.

P.S. Happy Memorial Day to my friends in the USA.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


This is where I now rest. Since I had cancer I have my on bedroom and I am able to have peace and quiet. There is a  large screen TV at the foot of this bed so I can amuse myself when I feel up to it. Any family member is welcome to come and share special moments. It is here that we have some great story times. Right now I'm spending extra time here.
The eye surgery went well. I hope you will be patient with me because in order to read or write I currently wear two glasses so I can see. It is my hope that it will soon be over so I can enjoy blogging and sharing with you more regularly. Thanks for being so kind and wishing me well. 
The risk seems to have worked for me. I have peeked from under the patch and saw images on my TV. Today I'll be seen again by the surgeon. I guess that's when he'll lift the patch and further assess the progress. Updates will follow. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011


   Yesterday my entire day was spent at clinics for one little eye. Tomorrow morning I will be measured for a new lens at the hospital's optical ward. On Wednesday (May 25th) morning I will be the first person in the OR for what will hopefully be a successful one hour corrective surgery to my left eye. 
  But the doctor clearly forewarned me that the risk of vision loss in that eye is high. I refer you to a previous post about my Sight to give you the detailed background of the condition of the eye. 
  I have taken on the risk willingly but I must tell you that both my eyes are continuing to lose sight due to macular distortion brought on by high myopia and an odd shaped eye. There is a lot of pressure on the back wall because of it leading to cellular destruction. To date little can be done for it but I guess the stem cell research will some day offer hope of regrowth where tissue loss occurs. If the surgery goes as hoped I shall have a lens that sits correctly lined up inside the iris. But if the macula is too weak to support this then that may result in vision loss perhaps totally. It was a tough decision but I plan to take the risk. 
  This picture was selected because it shows both clarity and blur and represents my hope of reducing the blur, arriving at a beautiful crisp visual acuity so that the little things like this blossom can be enjoyed a bit more even without my Rebel. 
  May this flower turn into a juicy ripe nectarine in August and may I have the improved vision to see that it's ready to harvest. I just hope I'm not being seen as being greedy for having these wishes. My outcome lies in the fate I have chosen by taking a risk. Are my odds good?
  Of course I feel nervous and will spend a bit of time like right now worrying. But thinking of friends and family and meditating will steer me forward.
  Prayers and good wishes are welcomed.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Filter Bubbles

   This planter sites on my front porch and you can see an intersection is close by. What is not visible is the fact that Google has silently mapped the area. So has the digital postal system. The information is public. 
    Each of us using digital technology can be found by a network of algorithms. And even if you are not logged in Google knows who you are and what you "like" and sets filters to "personalize" your searches. 
   What does that mean? Google uses 57 filters that customize your searches but you cannot see that. You are being given what the filters decide for you. What this means is when you search a topic and your friend searches the same topic each of you will be presented with different links based on your search history. Eli Pariser has coined this phenomenon a "filter bubble". 
    I see a problem with this. How can you be on the www open to all that there is? You are out there as an individual but in personal bubble getting preselected results according to your location and previous searches, all of this is invisible to you. You don't choose the filter, it chooses you.
    Learning that is the way of the present day www how do you protect your democratic right, freedom of censorship? And how do you protect your political and religious views?  How are groups predetermined? Are like minded individuals in senior groups all lumped together?
    With all the information that is available filters are needed. However, I believe in our freedom of choice. We ought to be able to see all possible links and make our own selections. I believe we must strive to find ways to make the necessary changes that will ensure that right. Democracy demands it.
    We cannot allow invisible technology like algorithms to overpower our individual personal rights by trying to outguess us and force us accept links based on our search history. 
    While social media allows us to interact with so many there's a hidden agenda built in. Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and Google all track our moves and even try to make recommendations. Keywords say it all. Should we continue to allow artificial intelligence to make us its slaves? Can we correct this?

P.S. On a more personal note, my very long awaited eye appointment is tomorrow and I'm praying that a solution to my distorted vision will be found. If that happens then reading blogs will be way more fun!!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Reception I

   May 6th we headed for the airport to take an AC flight to Winnipeg, a city we've never been to. Leaving Buddy behind made it more relaxing since we had only each other to keep an eye on. At the departures level there was just enough time to get our boarding pass, drop off our luggage and take the very long path to the gate. With an Air Canada app that I had downloaded I had all the flight details right at my fingertips. And it surprised me when we were just seated at our gate and got an an alert. I gazed at my phone in disbelief. The gate had been changed and the flight was delayed due to plane tech problems. Really?? I had received this info even before it was announced to all the passengers sitting around us. How cool is that? With an hour to spare we decided to have some lunch. While we sat munching I heard our name being called over the public address but Hubby who didn't hear it said I was just imagining it. Later when being boarded the staff asked us why we had not responded to their call. They had wanted to let us know about the seat change. Funny thing and no app to tell me this? Guess apps still have many limits. 
   We had great seats with lots of leg room. The flight was smooth and lasted 2 1/2 hours. I watched The King's Speech to pass the time. Hubby dozed. After landing it didn't take long to retrieve our baggage. We opted for a limo to take us to our hotel, the Fairmount selected by Hubby, where we were given a lovely room. Once settled we took a stroll outside the place and  discovered we were in the heart of the financial and theatre district of the city.

 We found this statue of John Hirsch and Tom Hendry outside a theatre very interesting. Those two created the Manitoba Theatre Centre (MTC) in 1958 and in1961 the regional theatres began throughout North America. A friendly local person offered to take our photo beside those famous dudes. On our walk we saw many gorgeous older buildings. Sadly they were often unoccupied and neglected. What a waste of real estate! Below is a Confederation Life Place for an example.
 When my eyes caught the golden letters on this structure I grinned and just had to snap a photo. Who knew there would be a white house in Winnipeg? Notice it's vacant too.

  After our walk we treated ourselves to a fancy dinner at the Velvet Glove. I chose poached pickerel from Lake Winnipeg served on a bed of lentils mixed with capers and fresh local vegetables. He opted for the filet steak and had calamari as an appetizer. Of course we did the wine and dessert too. And he ended this eve with a bit of a cigar. Saturday would be busy so we headed to our room and retired before midnight.
   At noon we met up with his relatives who were also staying at the Fairmount and planned our trip together to Portage La Prairie where the wedding reception was to take place at 5:30pm. A van that accommodated us was rented for that purpose and at 3:00pm we headed out of Winnipeg. The hour long drive took us past the Assiniboine River and we could see how very high the water level was. Fast too. Predicted to crest a few days later, by today things have turned for the worse. Much rain has fallen. It is likely to seriously flood its banks this weekend. And the water will remain on the flat prairie for weeks to come. Farmers expect to loose a lot. Canada grows much of the world's wheat on those fields.
   The Herman Prior Hall was rented for the occasion. Much work went into the detailed decorations. The bridal party wore the same attire as at the alter to add to the charm of the event since over 3/4th of the guests were not able to be at the ceremony in Mexico. The reception was lots of fun. Hubby made it his point to be the bride's uncle to remember and he was a hit with many of guests. His many years as a Rotarian have taught him to find the right words in any situation. He knows how to be humorous and relaxing with any audience. He wooed and charmed the ladies and of course he took any opportunity to share his best Cuban cigars with those who dared to puff them! A live band blasted some familiar tunes and there was dancing and lots of food and drinks. That's how weddings are. Lots of fun. In the wee hours of Sunday our designated driver returned us safely to our hotel.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


     For some time now I've had trouble feeling inspired to blog. I was surprised that others were also noticing a slum. Perhaps we have just been flooded with too much sadness in the media? The weather's been bad for so long too and it's continuing. Rain and more rain. Flooding. Global warming? Absolutely!

     For the weekend I'm on my way to Winnipeg for my niece's wedding reception, to follow up the Mexican vow exchange from January. Our family was fortunate be able to attend it then. Hubby and I shall be going this event without the kids. Not having travelled without Buddy for years, we've decided to make up to him for he's sad. We hope to fly with him to Florida later this month. It's his wish and we would like to honour it.

     Mother's Day this year will mean mom's not home with her own kids but the nieces have a plan to spoil their auntie this time. And everyone is okay with this plan. I'll take my Rebel and try to find some special moments to capture. Never having been to that city, I hope to be surprised. May a change of scenery put some new life back into me. I need to refresh. Hope this will do it.

Friday, April 29, 2011


     For me it's a signifiant day but I awoke all groggy. I had had a very busy day yesterday. The house papers were signed at the lawyers office. Then I had to take Buddy and myself to have various mailing addresses updated.
      April 29th is the day of the house closing.
     And that's today. Early this morning I lay in my bed tossing and reliving the fire. I could not get comfortable so I got up for a glass of water. As I staggered back to my bed I remembered that a huge British wedding was happening some time in the night thanks to our time difference. The media has been pushing the event for months creating a frenzy of followers. I was getting a bit fed up hearing stuff hour after hour yet a strange thing happened. I turned the power bar on to enable the TV in my bedroom and glanced at my watch. It was now 7:07 am. Once back under my sheets I turned to the remote and switched on the TV! I had had no plans to watch it last night but now I became curious to see how far along the affair had come. I think I was looking for distraction from my earlier disturbing thoughts.
     The scene on my screen showed the couple standing at the alter while the choir was singing. Then they knelt as prayers followed. Their version of the Lords' prayer was slightly different from one that I recall. The language of religious prayer seems to be evolving to meet the needs of keeping it current. It's all about followers.
     Restless,  I channel surfed and discovered that every station was at the exact same clip, all synced. All around the world people were seeing the same identical scene live from the same one spot, 2 billion viewers. I continued to watch until their balcony scene and their kiss and then turned the TV off. Why had I become so hooked? I watched longer than I intended and that's because of the little inserts the viewers get on local stations, the hook.
     It is afternoon now. As I type this post Oprah is on somewhere in the background in the house. She is recalling the royal wedding. Seems everyone has to have their spin on this historic affair. Whatever drives so many to become addicted followers? Oprah seems to know. Could it be a hook appealing to something in a viewer? Her success has made her millions.
      This morning my hook occurred when a reporter interviewed a Canadian lady who had travelled to London. She was wearing a huge 'banana hat' on her head making her stand out. She got her moment of fame when the reporter was keen to learn why a 'banana hat' was her thing.
      Nicknamed Anna Banana when she was a tot, it has stuck with her. I smiled because I realized that I was in that lady's life then when her nanny, Sharon, gave her that nickname. Sharon was the sister of our nanny,Wendy, and we all lived in Unionville during my teaching days. The kids had play dates, birthday parties and overnights for several years till Anna  Banana and her family moved after her parents broke up. Photos from those days are in some box of recovered from the fire stuff stacked somewhere in our current basement.
     The Anna media clip changed my involvement level. I had a totally new relationship with the event. I was now emotionally involved somehow. Why does familiarity make us so much more accepting of what surrounds us? For me Anna will stand out when I recall moments of this day. 'Sold' will also be linked with it.
April 29,2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Lonely Daffodil

 " I wandered lonely as a cloud that floats high over vales and hills when all at once I saw a crowd, a host of golden daffodils..." W.Wordsworth

Each year the lines of this poem stream through me when I see the first daffodil. Posted today is the only blooming plant I could find on my walk yesterday. It's a lonely daffodil. You can see the buds on surrounding shrubs but nothing has much has sprouted.
Last night's summary of what families did this Easter weekend included skiing at a local resort. It has never in the history of operation been open for business so late into spring! For the business it was a best winter ever.

The weird weather all over the globe is not very reassuring. Blogging friends are located in areas that are hit hard by violent storms and flooding and it is so sad. The only help we can give is a donation. While it helps it does not give back what's lost. In my neighbourhood we are having many rain storms.  My walks have to be timed in between the deluge of rains but I must do it. My health would slide if I didn't go. The balance seems so delicate.

Though Buddy loved this Easter, he's having another spell of too much discomfort. Today he stayed home from his little office. And that means he's really not okay. He's much happier when the sun's out but he'll have to wait until Friday. He has hopes of visiting Florida some time soon. It's the sunshine state. Hope is good.

Still we need to brighten up our day at home together. I think his ipad can be used for this. Jerry"s post gave me of a great idea. Buddy and I are going to search for some old familiar tunes that we both enjoy and sing away. We'll be smiling. It happens every time. 

Right now we are in a cell of thunderstorms. Safety means no walking outdoors at this time but using a battery operated device for the music should not be a problem.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pansies and Smiles

 Here's to some happy days with our loved ones as we head into the long weekend of celebrations. For some it is Easter and for others it's Passover. For many it's a break, an opportunity to spend time doing something a bit out of the usual routine. May it be what you need to refresh yourself at this special time.
It is so nice to see the pansies everywhere. Now if only we could get less wind, rain/snow and a bit more sunshine to add to the festive weekend!

My girls will be on the road. My youngest is finishing up with her Masters in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Older sis is flying there to help her with the drive back. It's a long haul. For them to be on the road on a busy long weekend and with the weather predicted to be lousy it's a worry. I'm praying they'll be home safely by Monday. :|

In the meantime I'll be busy with Buddy who takes the Easter holiday, along with the fun and goodies, very seriously. While buying treats for his sisters he treated himself to an ipad.  He's saved for it for some time and settled for the older model which he got for less. Now there's lot's to learn. He's very excited about his latest gadget. He's seen it on many commercials and shows and felt he could enjoy it. :)

So far it's taken me several hours to set up for him. It needed to be very user friendly so he can use it with not too much frustration. Who knew to get stared he needed an itunes account. But that was a bonus for him since he quickly learned to download his favourite Michael Jackson album. Then he checked out what Irish coffee is because he wanted some. He found the recipe. It was not what he had thought it would be and was a bit disappointed. Later that evening he went to his dad who was already in bed and whispered in his ear,
 "Hey Irish coffee's got alcohol in it. Did you know that?" And then he showed him the recipe page on his ipad. Dad glanced at his new ipad and told Buddy that he was lucky to own such a fancy new unit. The smile on Buddy's face as he carries it around with him is priceless. :)

Now Buddy's aware that it has bluetooth and he wants to use that. Not as simple as  he thinks because what he doesn't know is that I'll need a manual teaching me how to pair things up carefully with him. Wonder if I'll be able master that?  He's going to be persistent and I love that about him. :)

There's lots to smile about.  

Saturday, April 16, 2011


   Vine Cliff. How's that for a name? A winery liked it and used it for their winery in the Napa Valley. Since grapes grow on vines it seems appropriate. Their orchards are on the sides of hills sort of like cliffs so this adds to the charm of their chosen name. But I'm not so sure why a very flat road miles away from that valley carries the same name. I stroll along Vine Cliff Blvd. to get to the pond and the woods. 
   Here are some of the vines I found recently while on my walk. I wonder how the trees survive once a vine moves in on them?

    These trees may be in trouble as some nasty vines took hold. Vines that are not the kind that one would wish to grow for a profit unless there's some hidden property in them that I know nothing about. Maybe I should study the possibilities? Perhaps that's already been done and I just don't know it? Do you?
    I must confess that I do like the wine variety. Sipping an occasional red cabernet is delightful when there's a festivity. One is soon approaching.

PS. Patience has been rewarded. My long awaited eye surgeon appointment has finally been made by them for me in mid May. I've waited almost a year so let's hope they don't cancel me. Better vision would surely add to the quality of my life. It's a struggle to see when a lens is out of whack and it's a strain on the head physically and emotionally.

Friday, April 8, 2011


I lay in my bed just tossing a lot
I lay on my back just hurting a lot
I lay on my side just hoping a lot
I lay and I lay and I lay a lot
And still as I lay in my bed thinking
         Pain ending
Earache presses me into my pillow
         Tears flowing  

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Silent Pouncer

    CTV  News 's hit me hard yesterday. It led me back to another broken road that I've had to travel on. Here's why; as parents we try very hard to educate and protect our children but the system of support is not always in our favour. Really! 
    In the summer of 1998 we had language exchange students staying with us. Our daughters were great hostesses. And both were busy learning new skills . Our youngest was becoming a proficient English style rider. Our older one was learning to fly at our local small airport. We thought that lessons and hosting would enhance their self esteem and keep them busy during the holidays. As events brought them in contact with more outsiders, I kept a vigilant eye on all, especially my older daughter because she seemed to be talking a fair bit about a guy she met online. Apparently he lived in England. According to her they met in a chat room while she was chatting with other would be pilots. That all seemed fine and harmless. But not for very long.
   One fall day my youngest daughter became very quiet. She reached out to us in a way that was most disturbing. Unusually dopey she couldn't support herself and dropped to the ground thus scaring us. We assisted her to get her to a seat. While leaving out alarming details of what she tried to do to herself suffice to say she alerted us to the fact that her sister had wanted her to take part in webcam photo shoots in the nude. She refused and felt very bad that sis was doing this. Horrified I quizzed the older one. Then I demanded that she hand over her laptop and webcam. When I asked why these pics were being taken she just said she was experimenting and had no idea it would upset anyone. It had not yet dawned on me that she was being messed with. It took more looking. 
   From that day on I watched like a hawk over my girls. That lead to secrecy and lots of lies. Then one day I found my eldest had used my desktop to chat with her David friend and had not closed the file. I began to read. My mouth dropped. She was being sexually groomed by some pervert! Now what?
    My gut told me to sit down with her and talk to her frankly. She argued that since chatting with him she was getting A's in school and all was well. True. And he was miles away. True. But when I tried to convince her to end the contact with him, she came back saying he'd moved to Australia and a cousin called Steve was now at his flat. Steve had a son, Jim, who was her age and that was fine. She was not willing to or able to see my point. But I told her to end all this anyway because it was not good. And I tried to find help but even my close friends thought I was over-reacting. Our daughter was too nice. It could not be true. Surely not! Help was difficult to find.
    So in 1998 no one was ready to believe our plight could be real. Porno via internet? Never! Our 15 year old daughter was just fantasizing and I was her prying mother who had no right to read her stuff left open on my own computer. That's what her counsellor said. And her doctor! Really?
    But there were signs that something was getting more and more out of control. Since her laptop was taken, I discovered she found other ways to get to the internet.  She would sneak into the basement where our old 486 desktop was kept in storage. I noticed she brought it back to life and even found an old Hayes modem and a phone line. She was bright. Stopping her was becoming a huge challenge. 
    Then came the family issues. Soon a frustrated hubby blamed the fact that we had bought the stuff and had it in our home. He became more and more angry with everyone because he felt at a loss. It was not a pleasant time. The family was becoming torn apart emotionally. We all went for counselling together. Really!
    Then came the day when the youngest came to me early in May 1999 and said that Sis had received a letter in the mail from England. Her visitor, Williams, would be at our home on the 12th!!  While the eldest was delighted, her sister was terrified. So was I. England was suddenly too close. Worse, he had our home address. Now I took more aggressive action. Along with the letter and her laptop with its pics and chats I headed to the nearby police station. When I explained my problem they gave me weird glances. Really!
   As I handed them her laptop I saw that they had no idea how to access the material. They were not familiar with the technology!! I left the laptop with them and filled out a request for aid but 24 hours later I was asked to retrieve it. They had no idea how they could be of help. Really!
   But I had been to the police. Seems that was enough for the visitor to change his plans. For days I kept my girls close by me until I was sure that no one would appear at the door, at least as sure as I could be.
   Elder daughter claimed that my crazy behaviour led her to give up on the chats with the trio (David, make-believe cousin Steve and son Jim) but I suspect it stopped at the his end. Yet the incidents of grooming her away from her parents towards others and the rather explicit sexual events over the net have had a huge impact on her, more than she has understood. Her relationships with men have not resulted in sustained happy times. She has had various counsellors but her self esteem is still shaky. Low motivation and depression surface over and over. And she still has moments of mistrust towards us. As her mother I tried everything that I could at the time. Trust me.
   She is now trying to become a successful tattoo artist and I hope she feels happiness in that. Still I see moments of self doubt. She was robbed of something. Part of her has been violated. Her spirit is not the same. Some sparkle in her has not come back. But there are occasional glimpses of it and there's hope. 
   The internet is a very powerful tool that allows manipulation of a spirit. More and more we learn of the harm being inflicted on all kinds of age groups. Sadly the market for sexual exploitation is one of the largest and I think there is much to learn about how we can change rules so less harm is done. Really! 
   Davis Russell Williams is in jail for raping and murdering two women two years ago. During the investigation of his conduct the police seized his computers and he pleaded guilty to child pornography. A deal was cut to keep this confession quiet until now. Today the news mentioned it. Today I was reminded of those tough days. I wonder how many others like my girl and their families are still struggling because he pounced on them?
   How did David Russell Williams find her? She was learning to fly and he was a VIP pilot in the Canadian Air Force. He had access to airport activity. Students. Future pilots. In the military as a Colonel he flew such dignitaries as Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. He had access to England to mail her letters. He betrayed the trust of his position and allowed himself to be a rapist and a murderer. Hurting hundreds of young unmentioned minds was not part of his punishment! These victims were used to cut a deal in his confession. 
Oh how the hell of 1998/99 lingers on! That nightmare is still not quite over. But I am more hopeful that parents and children will get help more quickly as it becomes known that this luring has a huge impact on entire families and their friends too. And it is happening anywhere and everywhere!!
   TRUST, the movie, may be too tough for my senses to process but it will be a powerful message. There is great harm in trusting wrong doers but they come disguised. Always be alert for that silent pouncer.