Saturday, December 22, 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New Year!!
The tree was put up by Buddy. Ellie loves it.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Night of Knights

    It was a gloomy but mild November 29 eve as we drove toward the downtown theatre district. It was our concert night. We've been regular TSO enthusiasts since the early '70's.
    We always start our date night with a special dinner at one of the restaurants nearby. There are so many choices. After a leisurely meal we amble along King Street heading to Simcoe Street, to the Roy Thomson Hall's entrance. 
    Tonight we strolled past a gorgeous tall spruce tree, all lit up with white LED lights. They sparkled brightly and I smiled. I had a feeling tonight would be a fun evening musically. I would not be disappointed. By 19:50 we were seated in our designated places prepared to be uplifted by the sounds of music.
   The opening piece was Mendelssohn's overture to 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' with Sir Andrew Davis conducting. His guest appearance added to its splendour for me. My mind at times wandered as lovely familiar tones set me adrift. In this very hall, 30 years ago, having just given birth to our daughter, I sat and like a typical mom I hoped someday she would develop a passion for listening and playing all kinds of music. But Andrew knew how to draw me back into real time. Beautifully as he waved his baton the music flowed.
   The next presentation rocked my soul into a whole different place. A mere seventeen year old, Jan Lisieciki, opened the only Schumann Piano Concerto in A minor with a big bang! His performance was as breathtaking as the piece itself. I recall I smiled as I thought of Schumann's wife Clara who had opened this piece on New Year's Day in 1846. Then I found myself being ported off to imagine what influence George Sand had on this composition if any. The pianist, conductor and the music gracefully ported me back into real time. All three movements captivated my attention in different ways. Having studied and taught instrumental music, I listened as well as watched aspects of the conducting and the techniques of the players. I listen for the blending and the individual sounds of the instrumentation. And I marvelled at Sir Davis's interpretation. Each conductor adds his uniqueness. And I dared to day dream too. What fun!
   For me the greatest surprise came after the intermission. You have probably heard of the story of Don Quixote and Sancho. Perhaps you know the story line from the film 'Man Of La Mancha'? But have heard the Richard Strauss version? Can you imagine a composer depicting the madness of Don Quixote using a cello to portray him? Or Sancho being the viola and several different instruments depending on the situation between those two? Strauss's use of minor keys and lots of rhythmic and tonal modulations create a spectacular composition, even a playful piece. He depicted many scenes from the story including the windmill and the battle against the sheep musically. I was most amused and I enjoyed this complex side of Strauss's music. 
    Sir Davis displayed his own enjoyment! Prior to conducting the Strauss piece he gave us a short oral synopsis, something we could just as easily have read in the program notes. He was clearly amused about performing this piece though he hinted it was quite a challenging one for both conductors and musicians. 
    Holding his baton in the air after the last note was played, he managed to hold us in total silence almost like the fellow who forced Don Quixote back into reality. Then slowly he lowered his baton. Once his hands were completely lowered the thunderous applause was as wild as the piece. Sir Davis had us all paying attention and he was loving it. How fitting that a real knight was at the helm for this piece and playing with our minds!
    And I left the hall thrilled. The gloomy eve felt so much brighter while we drove home. Music has a power that can change our senses.
P.S. There is a full version of Don Quixote by a different conductor and orchestra on You Tube here if you wish to listen. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


We have begun to ready ourselves for the December festive times. A brand new tree sits in a box in the living room waiting for us to set it up for the first time but we have other business to complete first. Our progress is slow. We must pace ourselves to get all done in time. 
Buddy is smiling a lot these days. He just loves the mystery, the sounds and excitement that fills the air. Even hubby has expressed a keen interest in this season's upcoming events. He's stared humming carols.
One of the annoyances that are slowing us down is shown here.

Who knew that prepackaged baked goods could be so rancid smelling? The gingerbread house we had done up to this point is now recycled. We just hated how awful odour it gave off and gave up! 
A new one,still in the box and fresh, will be constructed tomorrow while many of you have your special Thanksgiving dinners to celebrate your occasion. 
We wish you a wonderful time. Feel blessed. 
Everyone deserves that feeling.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

New Way

In nature these trees are showing their need to survive along the water's edge. They appear to be reaching out to one another. And those that have lost their lives have spread across the stream thus creating an awesome photo moment.
Look carefully at those pictures. The water is totally unclean and no longer clear.
I wonder how any further industrialization attempts to increase the job opportunities will benefit the planet and all of life?
Is there no way to change our abusive ways?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


  It's Tuesday late afternoon. Earlier the wind and rain let up so that Buddy and I were able take a walk in our area.  Storm Sandy had passed by earlier. We definitely felt our home shake. But as we walked on neighbouring streets everything looked fine. No noticeable severe damage, just some Halloween decorations that had fallen from their stations and a sign showing some historical old homes. Wow! Are we lucky!! 
   From the images of the TV presentations we saw what a few hours of very ugly weather did. It  totally change people's lives and it had us feeling very sad. We understand that horror, that fear and the sense of helplessness upon seeing one's home and belongings gone in a flash. For us we recall the smoke chocking us and the then our rescue. After a brief in hospital stay for smoke inhalation, we recalled our living in hotels for weeks as our future was being sorted out. Then just as we found a rental home, bought some beds, a table with chairs, kitchen items and a small TV and moved in from the hotel, I developed a severe ache. But I had to fix things setting up our new place enough for the household to be functional. I had weird  feeling that I would be unable to carry on. I had not felt well for a while. That night my fears became real. A was hit with a more severe ache. Quietly and alone I headed for the nearby hospital.
    In the emergency during the early hours of the morning I was told to have my family come by before noon. A specialist had diagnosed a large tumour in my belly! Cancer? He wanted to discuss options with my family.
    But to me this did not seem very serious. I was still recovering from the loss of our home. That loss impacted me enormously. And a couple of weeks later I had the recommended surgery. Colon cancer stage three was the outcome from that tumour but for me this was not as devastating as the loss of our home. I recovered. It was physically painful. Still it was nothing like the loss I'd felt from the fire. 
    Buddy and I can well imagine the horror that millions now have to face as Sandy moves and leaves a terrible destruction. The loss of homes from floods and even fires will be such a sadness for those who have been affected. This is not going to fade away quickly. We understand that.
   This year Halloween is not the same. There's an added terrible twist, a horror that so many must withstand. They will not be celebrating. They are in shock. Buddy thinks we should send our Halloween candy money to the Red Cross. I think so too and I think we should do more. We are hoping to find ways to show we care. If you are not a victim I hope you will also find your own way to help out. But that's entirely up to you.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Her New Decade

At midnight she moved into the next decade of her life. She reached the new benchmark of thirty and we are celebrating.  Buddy loves his sister so he made sure she got a lovely card, a plant and beautiful cake too. I had to take him shopping after he had his ear checkup yesterday. We were ready when the clock struck 12am. It's a family tradition to open cards,a gift and have some cake at that time. Buddy selected a cake with three roses, one for each decade and picked orange because it's a fall colour. What an October birthday cake choice!
Before midnight we all went out to eat dinner at the Mandarin buffet restaurant where she was given their traditional birthday treat. They top this off with a hat, cake with candle, the singing of the song and a photo taken while this happens. It's placed in a magnet as a gift, a momento of the occasion to be taken home.
                           Happy Birthday Sweetie!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Ellie's paws are giving me pause to consider why I write less often. I guess I just need to take some time away from my laptop because I have poorer vision  now and everything I read or write is taking so much longer. I shall try using the draft option and just write a bit until it's done. Be patient I say to myself. Here's hoping you'll still be there when I come along.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Sand Fleas for Thanksgiving

    It's been a while since I've made any effort to post or even read blogs. Time just has a way of running and I am not keeping up. Not sure what keeps me so busy but perhaps it has to do with my recent Wanderlust?  I've been traveling every month since May. While it's very exciting it's also a fair bit of work to organize and execute. Not sure that my excuse will make you want to keep on being a fellow blogging friend but I do hope I'll keep a few of you as reader friends.  
    My latest journey took us to Cuba. It happened like this. I left Buddy behind when I went away with my sister and promised I would take him somewhere when I returned. He has been wanting to go to Florida but this just didn't work out cost wise since I would need a person who could assist us in driving to various places that he wanted to explore. The plan has been delayed for now. Instead I studied the net for travel deals to all inclusive places. Buddy kept a close eye on me and my laptop. He saw some of the resorts, the deals for resorts in Cuba and asked if we could try that. Those who read my photo blog know that I booked on September 15, just nine days after my return from Amsterdam, and then flew to Cayo Guillermo on September 21 for a week. The price was just perfect, $515 per person for a whole week away in the hot sun! 
    "WOW" was Buddy's word when he saw HIS resort, the one he asked for but to be booked on the condition, that I include hubby who wasn't hard to convince about taking a week off from his practise. You may have read in earlier posts that he still enjoys cigars even after his five bypass heart surgery this past December. Cuba would offer him some new options.
    Our stay at a Melia resort was really and truly a memorable one in many ways. We were pampered and spoiled by the staff. Even the sun kept shining until the last day. We learned many new things including how poor the lifestyle for the local population was. We saw the real Cuba when we opted to take a personal tour from our smaller island onto the main one over the 17km long causeway to Morón and on to Ciego de Ávila. 
    The first city is more impoverished than than the second. And in both cases it felt like we were stepping back in time to an era long ago, one that some of us elders can relate to. Not much was new or even updated except for the cellphone company building and some computer colleges. Here's to a better future for those who make the grade by getting the technical skills that might aid them in securing a better economy for Cuba. My guess is that massive amounts of the nations' funds go towards their military machine and government.
    We spent lots of time enjoying our surrounding fauna and flora. We took daily walks on the beach where the sand is very white and the water is warm and shallow. We watched as folks snorkelled and fished. Some set sail while others took to paddle boats. They had fun. And we had fun. It ended too soon. We left Friday night.
    On Saturday morning back in our home hubby showed me his lower legs and exclaimed,
    "Those little gnats really bit me". 
I looked down at mine and saw little red welts here and there. We concurred perhaps they were little mosquito bites. That idea didn't last very long. These were not insect bites. 
     As the day went on those spots became more and more itchy. Lotions were almost useless. Even antihistamines only gave a bit of relief. The sting sights changed in appearance with time. Puzzled I tried hard to think of what had bitten us. Eventually I recalled reading that stuff on the beach that can cause some welts so I googled and learned that we had failed to protect ourselves from tiny sand fleas that are quite common at that beach.
Soon I had all sorts of information on how to deal with our spots. I noted that some articles recommended that a doctor be seen if the welts grow bigger or there's no relief after several days. Buddy was spared. I guess the capsules he takes for his psoriasis skin condition worked to ward them off.
     Mine just would not stop popping up even after the sixth day so yesterday I decided it was time to visit the doctor, sadly the one who shrugged off my colon cancer lump as nothing to worry about. But I wanted to see what she would come up with for some relief. As I had suspected, she decided it must be bed bugs bites. I told her that we had checked for them. However she answered back saying bed bugs are not visible to humans! I could never see them. Mistaken doctor! Haha! They can be seen and almost look like an apple seed or a flax seed.
    In the past both hubby and I have seen them. They can be seen and they can be avoided. And there were none in our resort. In fact there was regular insecticide spraying to keep things in check so clients would be comfortable and happy. But my doctor was sure she was right and told me to cleanse myself thoroughly with a cream she was prescribing. As well she gave me the information on what one must do to clear such an infestation! Lot's of laundry with strong soap and high heat. Really!
     I left the examination room smiling almost laughing to be honest. Ha ha! Doctors don't know it all especially when it comes to health issues related to organisms they didn't study. I didn't feel like arguing with her and since her records now indicate I have met up with bed bugs, I shall be righting that wrong next week. I shall be armed with all the information necessary. I shall not use the cream she prescribed. In fact she is a poor listener. She didn't hear me tell her that I had already done the laundry thing just to ensure those chigger critters don't mess with the room where I sleep. 
     For the record I did something one should not do when feeling itchy from sand fleas, I dug at those tiny buggers, those teeny crustaceans. I scratched them out from under my skin. Once I even showed one to hubby. I always knew it was not bed bugs. 
     Today I'm getting better. I was a bit worried when I read that messing with the skin can lead to infected areas and to their spreading some tropical diseases. That's what actually sent me to the doctor for more information. But now I doubt that anything bad will happen to me. I would have had some symptoms by now. Since I feel just fine I'm almost ready to stuff the turkey tomorrow. Once again we are at the harvest time celebration.
   Happy Thanksgiving to all. At our house in Canada we have so much to be thankful for. Buddy has already helped me with the shopping. The turkey and the cranberries will look yummy on the table tomorrow. Our daughter plans to introduce us to her latest beau who seems to be more her type on this occasion.
    Monday we may take the car to tour the Hockley Valley for the splendour of the fall colours. It's supposed to be sunny and warm.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Flora eats Fauna

              Amusing scene at the Flower Market in Amsterdam:

  I heeded the sign. All my fingers are still ready to point and shoot :)

Do you have any plants like these? 
Have you ever had one? 
How did it survive?

Sunday, August 26, 2012


   My posts are getting behind as life sends me into many new directions that are both fun as well as trying. For the next 10 days I'm leaving Buddy and hubby while I fly with my sister to see our auntie in Europe. I'm hoping it will be a nice change for both of us. 
   Buddy knows when I come back the two of us will do a little trip together too. I've learned that he and I can manage quite well together when traveling. He's looking forward to his turn. It will make my absence less sad. He has been assigned some important tasks. He is happy that he's in charge of Ellie who is now his pet.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Help (Part 2)

   In spring of 1964 I no longer had the job of caring for my grandpa who passed away March 12 after a four months period with stroke related issues that caused him to need much special care. My mother appeared to want some time alone with my brother and little sister away from me. It seems I was running her/our home too much to my liking and influence! 
   To solve this she quietly arranged that I should have a job as an au pair girl in Quebec City. By using one of the accounting contacts through her work place, Parker Pen in Don Mills Ontario, from her company stationary letterheads she found some names and wrote to them directly. She had noticed I was keen on learning French at high school so she figured it might do me some good to be in a place where the language is actively being used. She made these plans without my knowledge until she got an offer.
   Once it came she handed a letter addressed to her from a Mr. Price who said his close friend Mr. Amyot was interested and she was to have her daughter write directly to Mr. Amyot outlining her skills with children, hobbies, ability to swim and prepare simple meals. 
   What and adventure that could be! My mom had actually tried to do something very nice. I was excited. So I did answer as requested to Mr. Amyot and I wrote it in French! I felt so proud of this new abitiy.
   Within a short time I received a reply from Mme. Amyot in English. She wanted some further information about my skills with kids around the age of 8! Ha ha that was easy! My sister was that age. I had done lots of baby sitting of younger kids and earned my badges in Girl Guides. Also I had a St. John's First Aid Certificate, swimming badges at high levels and a music certificate. I had hobbies like reading, sewing, bike riding, badminton and I even had a driving permit and had been driving for over a year taking my sister to various lessons. I wrote that in English. 
  A reply came that I was hired from mid June to late August. My duties would include helping her three children with their morning routine, preparing their breakfast and later their lunch, sitting with them to help encourage them to speak English in my presence. There would be daily times at their back yard swimming pool and some fun game times. Of course I would get some pay, $18 per week if I recall correctly plus my room and board and some time off. I was very pleased to accept.
   My time with daughter Dominique age 8, son François age 7 and son Eric age 5 would change the direction of my life but I did not realize it till much later.

to be continued 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Sticky Stormy yet Safe

 On the last day of July we loaded our packed bags into the car to head to Buffalo, New York. There we would take a JetBlue flight to JFK. We wanted to have plenty of time to cross at the USA boarder in order to arrive at the airport with lots of time to clear security which can be a challenge with Buddy since he takes his time when he has to remove shoes and belt.

The drive from Richmond Hill to Fort Erie didn't take hubby very long. He appeared to have a heavy foot on his gas pedal so we arrived at Buffalo International Airport with time to spare. And we used that time for a late lunch. Boarding time was to be 4:55pm. 

  At the gate we learned that our plane was slightly delayed. No big deal. We just sat and watched other planes. And then ours pulled into the sleeve. As those arriving slipped past the checkin counter, we figured we'd be aboard shortly. Buddy sat patiently for his turn. He loves to travel so waiting is just fine with him.

   The PA came on informing us it would be a while longer before we could get to our seats. By 5:30pm we were finally climbing into our spots. It was a larger jet with rows of ten seats across. It filled up. We had boarded. The captain announced that the cabin doors would be closed shortly and we would be in queue for take off shortly. Ha!
  His next announcements came moments after the doors were sealed. We were no longer cleared to leave because of severe storms on route. Now we there sat in our seats passing the time listening to our music and playing games. We waited and waited inside the cabin. After a while water was offered. It was hot, sticky and smelly inside this vessel.
    Around at 7:35pm the captain informed us that he had been given a new flight path and that we'd be off as soon as some more fuel was added. Finally at 7:55pm we rolled onto the runway for take off. It was smooth, swift and soon we were cruising towards New York City. It would only take 55 minutes.
   By 8:20pm our captain was telling us that he was preparing to descend, adding that he was happy to have given us such fast and safer approach to one of the countries busier airports. We touch down at 8:55. 
    By 9:15pm, our bags in tow, we headed out to the passenger pick up area. Exiting through the huge revolving door, we found ourselves pushed back by the smack of heavy, hot humid air.
   Greeted by our niece there were the usual HUGS and then off we drove to the Bayside area to our hotel. Once checked in, our family visit was just beginning. From there we had to head into Queens for dinner with everyone who had waited so patiently for our safe arrival! 

PS. We could have driven to New York City in that amount of time. We had chosen to fly because we had hoped it would be quicker!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Camp Oconto 1969

   It was a lovely sunny July 8th as my campers and I paddled on Eagel Lake. For them it was their initiation in overnight canoe tripping. They'd had to plan the destination and what to load into two canoes safely. Before ever getting to do any of this they had to pass a swim test and a canoeing test that included making a canoe tip while they were in it and then righting it. My training in these skills occurred the week before the campers arrived. I was amongst those who managed to pass the demanding safe canoeing test.
    Camp Oconto is a prestigious camp for girls. Campers come from all over the world to spend time in the Canadian beautiful wilderness. Being from upper class environments this place is chosen for them to learn some of the more rustic ways. Camp fire lighting, cooking over a fire, pitching a small pup tent, canoeing and much more was in store for them. In the senior section four teens  had one counsellor. They would live together while their counsellor would reside close by. I was assigned counsellor for a teen group. The younger campers had other arrangements. Not surprising, many of the campers were repeat clients. While some stayed for the entire eight weeks, others came for four and a few for two. Some were sent to improve their skills in spoken English. Others came to enjoy the boating skills or the equestrian ones. All campers were given the best experiences. All staff was carefully screened and selected by the Labbetts who owned and operated the camp at that time. The camper's family was able to preselect activities and the counsellors were given campers according to those selections. I was one of the staff selected for canoe trips.
   So for our small overnight canoe adventure we agreed that a pup tent would be unnecessary. The forecast was for clear weather. Any boating activity required knowledge of weather and safety associated with it. It was my job to go to the weather report location to ensure that we would be risk free.  Along with my CIT the six of us had paddled off to our chosen destination around 11am that day. As we paddled we sang or just listened to the swooshing sound of our paddles. When necessary we munched on snacks and drank water to keep up our energy.
    We arrived at our destination around 6pm. Once the canoes were secured we set up our site. We organized a little fire pit in a safe location, put some rocks around it, adding twigs and kindling into the pit and when we had a small fire, moved on to some logs from stuff that we had gathered. By 7:30 we were warming our dinner camp style, dehydrated food packages opened and then wet and heated before consumption. Not the gourmet meal these girls were used to! After eating, then cleaning our dishes we just sat around relaxing and sharing by talking, sketching or journalling. Around 9:30pm we were ready to unroll our sleeping bags and lay them onto groundsheets ready for our sleepover.
    We made sure that our fire was completely out and that we had set aside kindling and twigs under cover for the morning. And our food was hung from a tree branch away from us. Then we climbed into our bags. There's something very grand about lying on the ground in the middle of nowhere and staring up at the night sky! The stars just seem to twinkle more brightly. As we lay there  we tried to figure out some of the basic star arrangements like the Big Dipper and so on. Gradually all the girls drifted off to sleep and it was my turn. I tucked my thick lensed glasses close by my head and dosed off lightly. It seems when one has responsibility for others' well being one ear remains on alert.
    Thump, thump, thump came the noise and vibration. I quickly recognized it to be running horses. They were heading right towards us probably on their way to the lake for a drink. My heart pounded at the thought of us being trampled.  As I grabbed for my glasses I awakened my CIT. Together we turned on our flashlights waving them as we listened. The horses got our message! Smart! They detoured around us.
    I thanked my CIT for supporting my plan. Then as I crawled back into my sleeping bag, satisfied that we were okay, a warm feeling came over me under the moonlight. I realized that I was going to have my campfire breakfast in a very special place, one shared by many of nature's creatures including the horses. And it would be my 23rd birthday! Could anything top that?
    July was exceptionally special that year. On the eve of the 21st all the campers and counsellors were requested to go for a pow wow set on a cleared hill, but surrounded by forest wilderness yet near to the main lodge. There we were to seat ourselves facing an enormous white movie screen. Odd. This was very much out of our usual evening activities since electronic devices were not allowed. At first it was thought that the Labbett's were starting a movie night activity and decided to surprise us. We had not had any prior discussion to a this type of pow wow. There was intense curiosity growing as everyone waited. Then the sound system came on and Mr.Labbett announced why we were summoned to the screen. We were to witnessed something unusual, something that would become an historical event on the globe. Camp Oconto wanted to include its staff and campers to be a part of that infamous lunar moment when Neil Armstrong stepped out and onto the moon. It happened there on that screen.
    Us perched on a hillside outdoors surrounded by forests with the moon shining down as we sat staring at a huge white screen oohing and awing at Armstrong was a grand juxtaposition! And as I write these words I'm reliving those moments. The emotions experienced then still send shivers down my spine.
    Oconto 1969 was a truly memorable summer. It gave me a renewed sense of self worth and the feeling that I was ready to tackle the next phase of my life, teaching.

   And what were you up to back then?

Thursday, June 28, 2012


   I've often wondered why we have the moose as one symbol associated with our country, Canada. It is a huge animal, the largest in the deer family. It's antlers distinguish it because the antlers have a broad plate that no other deer have. While it's found all over Canada it does not reach up to the very far north like the caribou. That's because the moose is an herbivore and must stay close to lots of vegetation, unlike the caribou, an omnivore, that moves around in the fat north.
   While I am fascinated by all the facts I cannot come up with an answer to how it became a symbol  for our huge nation. It just is,eh?
In the city of Toronto in the year 2000 one mayor made the moose a promotional item, Moose in the City as part of a dream campaign for the bid of the 2008 olympics. Statues of over 326 moose began to appear all over the city. They were uniquely decorated pieces of art that were scattered in odd locations. They were up for sale on line too. With so many one could play games like 'how many moose did you spot today', but over the years they have thinned out. I guess maintaining them was costing too much? Some are now at dumpsites.
But these moose cause no road kill to humans.
   Oh Canada and oh Newfoundland, where the moose is too plentiful. The moose..Ah...just be careful if you drive in that province. There are frequent accidents and even deaths by moose on the highways. The animal just comes out of nowhere and then there's no time to brake. It crushes a car by its sheer weight since the bulls weigh over 600kg. With  an average of 600-800 accidents yearly and at at least two deaths it's a bad situation for a place where the human population of about 525,000 is only 3.5 times that of the moose estimated to be 150,000. Not only is the animal huge so is its number!
   The reason for so many moose on the island is it that there are no natural predators. The animals were bought from the mainland, two in 1880's and four in 1902. The original six have managed to grow very quickly. To date the people are looking for ways to curb them. What options do they have? I have no answer. But I do have a tidbit of interest for some of you.
   Check out a for a story of May 5,2012. It reports that a woman ran into a moose and drove 40km without realizing it even though her windshield was gone and her roof torn up. Seems the impact caused her to loose the memory of that actual event on contact but not of anything else. It's reported she was on her way to work. When she drove into the company driveway her coworkers came running out to her to see if she was okay. She had no idea why they were so concerned. Take a look at her car. Lucky survivor.
   So why the moose interest just now? Last year, for Canada Day, I wore a T-shirt that had a moose logo and Toronto on it. Buddy took this picture of me at the time and he was very happy with its outcome (and even more joyous that I chose to post it here). I will wear it again if I can find it by Sunday and then I'll add a new hat for the occasion. However my curiosity about the moose thing is not satisfied. I still have no clue how or why the moose is a Canadian symbol. Any ideas on where I might get that information?

   Have a super weekend everyone and stay safe and away from any moose on the road especially in Newfoundland.

P.S I didn't put a direct link to the CBC article because they didn't include blogger as a share option and there are copyright laws that I still need to understand.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


     Do you know what's in the photo? It's an indoor water meter and it appears to have been newly installed. I say this because there are very shiny parts that show no signs of dust or corrosion both to the left and right of the round faced dial object. The white plumbing tape is noticeably clear of any dust or grime. Notice the brand new wiring too. And then directly below it there is some sort of oil like dripping. Though it looks like water careful examination shows its oil based, perhaps a lubricant to loosen the old pipe work?
So where's the mystery?

    When I discovered it I felt a shiver go down my spine. How did this  arrive without any one letting me know? Who had approved a work permit? Who had given access for the worker? How was he/she allowed into the premises? The burst of fear shook me up! It went through me and made me fell violated all over again!
    Many years ago, in a different home, hubby had hired a worker to create a custom bar for him. I had met the carpenter who seemed quite nice and friendly. But my instincts were wrong.
    One afternoon I came home early from teaching. He was still at work. I chose to greet him and to see what progress he had made, a mistake I shall never forget. A few verbal exchanges and it was clear he had clearly had a couple of beers while chiselling away. Quite unexpectedly he began to make a move, an attempt to get fresh. In a flash I found his hands at my breasts hoping to fondled them! Clearly a mistake on his part! Abruptly I swung out my arm and flung a fist in his direction missing but setting the tone that I would not comply to his nonsense. I felt betrayed. I turned and left. I run to the land line phone. I called hubby who was just a short distance from home and informed him that his worker had made a serious mistake.
     That carpenter retreated quickly. He did seem a bit remorseful but I didn't care. The trust was broken. Later that evening he begged hubby for forgiveness but that the job could only be completed hubby by a different worker. It had been the second time that this sort of violation had occurred in my life as home owner, the third as a woman.
   From that day on I established the rule that any work to be done in our house could only happen if hubby or another family member was around while I was in the home. I refused to let anyone come inside when I was alone. Every family member was taught this rule and procedure. I felt that Buddy and the girls were just as vulnerable.
    Seeing the meter led to questions. I asked them about the new water meter in our basement. Who had authorized it and watched it be installed. From the blank look on their faces and their weird glances at me I got the point. Apparently no one amongst them had authorized anyone to enter our home for any job. And according to them it wasn't possible that anything had changed downstairs! So we all walked downstairs together and examined it. I had to point out to them that I often walked past its location and was quick to notice the puddle. I thought perhaps there was a water leak but upon a closer look I knew it was not water. And their bewilderment led me to document its arrival by taking a photo while we were all looking at it. I wanted to verify this event if I ever needed to prove the point.
    To this day none of us knows how anyone was able to get in, do this and get out without being caught but I have my theory. The utilities people did say that they were installing new smart meters in the area but no one would ever acknowledged who came or how the consent to enter our property was obtained! Less than a year later that house went up in flames. That fire began in the basement. Arson is what has appeared in media reports.

   In 1999 that house was built on a former IBM golf course and was a part of a new 'fully loaded for communication technology wired home' like all the others on the site. That meant that every room in the house had cable and phone outlets and every home was prewired for a security system and a central vacuum too. The thermostats to control heating and cooling were programable. Back then it was a new inception to create homes this way. That there might be the invasion of privacy rights was not even a small concern. Nothing was preplanned or organized ensure the home owner's rights to privacy. That fear had not yet been openly created. Nor did any home owner back then worry about such a possibility. Every one was excited about this new internet. Windows 98 had swept everyone who could afford it. Desktops were equipped with CD writers. All wanted to enter this new wave of communicating faster than ever without fear. The user friendly world of internet had exploded and now even wireless capabilities were appearing. Gamers were especially excited. Infra red remotes were in use for some time so the idea of remote was with us.
    But I believed that experiments with remote access were being abused. More and more I slowly began to feel a sense of being watched. It began with little things like security cameras to prevent theft in shops. Then there were cameras set up for safety in apartment complexes. These were hints. There were magazine articles about what was possible. StumbleUpon was teaching how to make an antennae for a notebook computer using a wire coat hanger. It worked! But at my laptop it led to popups of different neighbour's computer ID's with their name and address appearing on my screen. I never figured out how or why but I guessed it was because of the way the homes were all prewired. Still it felt weird. If I could see them they could see me in ways that we didn't really understand. With stories about Nanny cams and baby monitors it was learned that video and audio was used to listen in just about anywhere where there was a screen and it could be accessed remotely. It was all intended to make us feel more at ease about our family's safety. Ha!
   Okay so now things have taken a huge turn around. These days the public needs to be protected from every crazy individual out there. We have been told it's for our safety. When a home is hooked up to a security system and it's hooked up to cable, telephone, water, gas and hydro systems, these may be remotely accessed by big utility firms. Likely the maker of the digital devices also know where their stock went. Everything is coded. Today's home owners are definitely not going to be able to avoid being watched. I doubt there's an escape clause. And now parking a newer model car in that home's driveway will also tell a listener if you are at home. The car's battery hooked up to it's internal computer and the radio receiver on the motherboard will allow that! Remote listening!
   I have watched it all grow and wondered why we are so laid back about companies taking over every aspect of our lives. Latest news in my city area is that our cell phones can be listened into around the airports. Our democratic government wants to get its way to make it legal. It's to combat organized crime! That's nothing new! That's been around. You've heard of the Murdock scandal, right? Are we too busy to really care? Or too complacent? Or have we been sold that we need this for our safety? Remote everything is now very wide spread. Cell phone towers and phones are in some of the most remote parts of the world where decent power is still a wish.
   Digital technology is a mystery to most people because of our failure to keep up with the education of how it works. And the big companies continue banking on just that. The faster things happen, the less likely most will know! Just pay attention to how we are taught about our economy and it's health. There are daily bombardments. At any given moment we are told it's better than expected and then the next day it's still a slow weak struggle and we must fix it. Doom and gloom followed by yeah! And we accept it repeatedly! We allow it.
    Fear's a good thing for businesses. It allows for irrational behaviour . Rush out for some ice cream to feel better. Go to a weight loss place to improve your health. Buy something online to feel happy. But why? Relax. Perhaps add some pills? Chill! One in five is showing signs of mental illness! WOW!! How did we allow this? All from a need, the idea of feeling secure and happy but unable to get to that place. Really?
    Those big firms were not remiss in directing us down a path of fear. They studied the psychology carefully. And they continue to send messages of woe and wonder in order to make things happen for them!
   Dare to dream? Well the mystery lies in its outcome and how it is orchestrated by seemingly unknown factors. Justin Bieber is no miracle, just very carefully marketed to a very vulnerable audience that shall remain loyal to him for a long time. The sales he generates will make sure of that. But the little lady who can't get near him may suffer anxiety. So?
    Reality TV has many hooked. The revenue is generated is staggering and all other shows are set to lobby for them. What a tool used to generate mass ideas, the media. Are they a mental stressor? Gotta go back and see the outcome. Daily reminders to watch. Missed show available for down load right to your phone. Ha!
    How is it that they are able to create addictive behaviour. Dallas is back after twenty years! Why?
    I assume that digital devices are now in full control like it or not. We have been forced to accept that.
    It's only completely quiet when the power goes completely off assuming you are far from a busy road. And even then someone can listen. Did you know that a mandatory smote detector has the power to listen in? For your safety it should be a dual mode, battery enabled one in case the power goes off? Ha!
   To date thousands of people are employed at centres everywhere to just listen. And that how it's possible to know who is away from a residence, perhaps mine.
   My theory is that's how someone was able to enter and leave while we were not aware of it. Likely they figured very few people ever check their basement water meter. But I did. I passed it any time I went to my writing space created by me for me in that basement. I was working on a collection of ideas to start writing children's books.
    Our security system didn't work. In fact it wasn't active at the time.  We'll never know how anyone entered our premises for sure. A crime lab to prove my point would have been needed and that would cost too much. Though I doubt that a family member forgot about making it happen, human error is very common. Still the wrongful action of the carpenter seems almost trivial when I think of how invasive our latest new technology is becoming.

P.S. A special thanks to Google for providing me with this platform called blog where I am able to create and share ideas with a world of listeners.
P.P.S. I don't like Google customizing my searches believing it knows what I want and then limiting me from what I could be finding! That's where AI has yet to really tune into my brain and listen in! Ha!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Bow and Arrow

While at Hever Castle in UK there were many activites besides touring the historical building itself. Our kids decided to try learning a new skill, archery. Buddy was first up. He impressed us all with his ability to follow the instructions and get his arrows launched into the air. One even managed to make it to the closest target.

After his 10 arrows were used up he told his sister it was her turn. She found the tension needed to make the arrow fly required good muscle control in the upper arm and shoulder. She got hers to the close target too.

Then it was our SIL's turn. And if you look carefully you'll see that our daughter managed to click the camera in time to catch his arrow in flight just above the close target! Her hubby managed to get his arrow to the boar in the distance.
All three have decided this activity was great fun. In the future each may join a group to really learn the skills needed to become a proficient archer.
Just before posting these pictures I did a search and discovered that the use of the bow and arrow dates back as far as 10000 BC with discoveries of some in northern Europe. These tools have been discovered in all continents except Australia where only spears appeared as weapon.
While many of today's weapons are launched by computers, it's relaxing to watch as people as they try to recapture one of the more historical ways of shooting a missile at the castle grounds. That's because there was no threat of pending hunger or a dangerous enemy if the target was not met.
Have you had any bow and arrow experiences?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

UK First

   My treatment for those nasty gall stones has taken a back seat to a more exciting event. We are off to the UK for a week tomorrow and we have hired our older daughter, the tattoo artist, to house sit. Rosa our neighbour is also keeping watch.
    The other day I was feeling so blue. I stared looking for a vacation package with Buddy looking on and encouraging me. I had no real idea of where to head but I knew I didn't want heat. That's when I began to think about Europe and narrowed it down to England where it might be just right at this time of year.
    I searched for a good deal. Quickly booked three return tickets for our flight. Next I searched the local area where we wished to stay and booked a triple room in a lovely bed and breakfast in the Kent region. And then I got very excited. It was all a reality now. Don't you just love the internet for this kind of thing? Finally I even found a place to prebook a cab for the long ride to our lodging place from the airport.
   Both hubby and Buddy are thrilled about this latest crazy adventure I've put together. And in no time hubby organized his clothes, meds he needs and some pound sterling for our spending. We are lucky that he's very generous with us.
   Now my job is to get Buddy and myself organized. We started with our hair cuts. Then bought two new suitcases since two of ours had left when the girls moved out. They seem to need our things. Then we shopped for a couple of new pants and tops, some luggage tags and goodies for the trip. The laundry is washed, sorted and ready too. It's fun to have this sort of thing to do. It's a break from the usual. We're ready to pack as soon as we pick up our meds this afternoon.
   Of course I informed the couple we're hoping to see because we know they are busy in their lives. It would be unfair not to pre warn them of this hasty arrangement but it seems they will have a bit of time for us and they are looking forward to greet us. They gave us a little wish list of goodies they'd enjoy. Some decadent chocolate cookies are on the list. Hahaha
   Like a work of art, this photo of a place in the UK seems so fitting to represent our journey from our place to theirs. The sky, the earth and the water are blended so perfectly into a V creating a very harmoniuos, peaceful setting with lots of reflection. I'm praying that we shall experience some of that beauty, hopeful that our trip will go smoothly. We all need a bit of change. It was a rough winter health wise. A change of air  has often helped revitalize a spirit. So we take off very soon.
   Yesterday the UK couple was off to see the Olympic Village in London and prepare to watch an big football match. These news came via my iPhone,
   " YEAHHH AHHHWWW Wowwww !!!Chelsea won over Munich!"
This was a final match in football finals in Europe. SIL and daughter are huge Chelsea fans and were over the moon with joy. They celebrated well into the night. What fun. Guess what team this Mom/MIL might have rooted for if she were an avid football fan?
   YUP !! A LOOSER! LOL That's likely why I'm not a great sport team fan though I support all sport activities.
   UK in FIRST place! Can't wait :))

Monday, May 14, 2012


   The past week I had to have several tests for I have been experiencing pains around my left shoulder blade. X-rays, ultra sounds, blood work. You know how it goes. Well the phone rang this morning. The doctor's nurse called to inform me that gall stones had shown up on the tests. Odd result considering the location of the pain.
   So far I still don't have an answer to the pain I sought help for but I have a new condition that has not given me any recognizable discomfort. But it will need some attention. Apparently the 'stones' are formed by cholesterol remaining in ducts. I have found out one can actually address the problem by doing a cleanse. Since the stones are apparently quite small the risk of anything serious is not huge yet. The cleanse involves a fast and some olive oil with lemon juice to drink  to flush out the stones (that really are not stones). You can find all sorts of information from many health sites about how they develop. 
   If I start the cleanse routine I've selected tomorrow, I should have the stones out of me by the weekend. After that I shall adjust my eating habits to include more lecithin for it was found to help keep the situation with the cholesterol better under control. Of course there are other factors too, most of them I've been doing but it seems my body just has it's own ways. Also  I shall remember is to eat more apples. This past winter I somehow neglected that fabulous natural healer that helps soften stones.
   My biggest hurdle in wanting to carry out the cleanse will be my ability to swallow the rather gooie large amount of olive oil because to date even very small amounts make me gag. I read that one person blended the oil with the juice and added a bit of grape juice and honey to make it palatable. There's also a recommendation that peppermint may be of aid to avoid gagging. Problem is I gag on it too! Will I have the fortitude to succeed?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May Day

   May begins today and celebrations are occurring all over the globe. Historically a spring festival time, it has also become a day for International Worker's Rights. Groups have organized various activities to demonstrate their feeling of frustration about the way labour organizations and industries are making it more and more difficult for most average earners no matter how well they are becoming educated.
   It is quite likely that the 'occupy' movement will be more public again as the cold subsides and the warmth returns. But heat can be dangerous.
   There is too much injustice. It won't be ignored any more. The huge wage gap has many people angry. They are seeking a change.  But the struggle will not be easy. Just pray that this nation does not forget the citizen's right to demonstrate. In many places we've had to witness the horrible losses of lives as their people strive for democracy, for the freedom to do just what we ought to be able to. Let's hope we show them that democracy allows peaceful gatherings and it can achieve a change using this form of protesting.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


   For most of this month I've been away from blogging. It seems that I was caught up in a world of my own, lost. I couldn't seem to grasp what needs to get done or to prioritize my needs. I'm not sure I know where this has come from but the feeling was beginning to annoy me. I know that having had cancer, I occasionally worry about a reoccurrence. Other times my eyesight is a challenge but why should that make me so listless?
   Perhaps I had a case of empty nest syndrome? Both girls had moved away to another place in January. Or maybe it was the annual April case of the blues because hubby was away working seven days a week late into the evening doing clients' tax returns? Whatever it was I was feeling sorry for myself! Yet not sure why?
   Buddy is so patient. He's up each morning cheerfully awaiting to see what I'll be up to. At 10 a.m. his bath help friend comes and an hour later he stands in my room reporting,
 " I'm ready. How do I look?".
Lately I was very slow to respond to his eagerness to be out and about. He was persistent. And he showed excitement even if it was to see the doctor. That's just what we did yesterday. After a gruelling two and a half hours there, blood work and urine tests completed, we headed over to the mall for a late lunch at the Pickle Barrel. Then since it was windy and cold outside we decided to stroll a bit through the mall. We needed to stretch our limbs.
   At a phone shop we entered and selected a new Samsung mobile because Buddy's recently broke. Ready for more we walked on passing several ladies shops finally stopping in one having to buy a new T-shirt for mom for Mother's Day. Our last stop was Best Buy. Buddy wanted to check out some kind of Xbox 360's with motion sensors that he'd seen in TV commercials. His curiosity challenged me to join in his quest to learn more. The idea of moving one's body without any controller, appearing to use a Jedi Knight sword to fend off daemons, was what drove him to explore the possibility. Seeing boxes of consoles and games he figured he would need help to set it up. I agreed. Then came the decision of when to purchase it. He had the money but I convinced him it was expensive and would make a great birthday wish. His smile and it's his eager approval of suggestions idea that makes it fun to be with him. He was so pleased with himself when he feels right about his decision. On the way back to the car he uttered, "This was my best day."
I chuckled. Simple pleasures. I have to admit that his joys put smiles on my face. My empty nest thing has  to be ruled out. It doesn't really apply does it?
   Looking back a few weeks it seems I was busier with him than I realized. Several visits to the ENT specialist for that ear of his, but many other outings like shopping for groceries. And one day it was for a gift for a baby shower on Sunday. He still insists he should be allowed to attend. He was very helpful in the selection of what Baby and parents would enjoy, books which included CD's like the ones he once had. Who knew he even remembered? Our selections included 'The Giving Tree' by Shel Silverstein and 'TheVery hungry Caterpillar' by Eric Carle. And I just had to buy a little outfit with Peter Rabbit stuff on it. I've always been a Beatrix Potter fan. We also selected the card and wrap together but not on that day.
   On Friday, April 20th we went to see 'The Lorax' in 3D right after a light lunch at Kelsey's. That was followed up with a quick stop at a nearby Wal-Mart. The movie's powerful message motivated us to want to plant a tree to help our planet but they didn't have any in stock. Still we got sidetracked into purchasing a Sony cassette, CD, radio player. Buddy's older tapes had just been rediscovered.
   Then Sunday, April 22, Earth Day, we set out to the nearby Sheridan Nursery to buy that lovely tree. We started with the idea of a weeping pussy willow but it didn't fill his idea of a real tree because the branches drooped down. In the windy, cool outdoors we searched around for the gem that Buddy wanted and found, a 3m (12ft.) acer red maple. When we went to the cash we were pleased with a bonus for coming that day. It was a 20% reduction in price for the tree. Now the tall tree and our van were not a good match. Staff to load this larger item into our van where it spent the next two nights waiting for the high winds to calm down.
   Now it's on the back deck waiting to be planted. So far the weather's not cooperating very  much. Snowy, then very windy and still too cold for us to brave the work. Hopefully it will get put into the ground on Monday, April 30th when daughter will be around by for a visit. We could use an extra hand with the shovelling. In fact we still need a good shovel. Sure hope Canadian Tire has the right one. It's closer than Wal-Mart.
   Now I that my blues appear to  have moved on, I hope they stay away! With a baby shower and a tree planting just ahead so is the last day of tax returns. Buddy will spend Sunday at the office but I'll bring some lovely photos and treats from the shower just for him.

P.S. Let's hope I get back into a better routine. Your work deserves readership and comments. That's why I joined your posts.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

EASTER Remembered

  Last month I found one of my paternal aunt's handcrafted tablecloths in one of the many boxes that I continue to sort through whenever I am up to it. Though the boxes were sent to us in mid-summer of 2010, there being over 375 of them ,the task is a seemingly endless one. Nothing is in any order. Kitchen items mixed with master bedroom ones in a box labeled east bedroom or library make the sorting a frustrating challenge. Moreover it has become a good time to purge. Much of what the cleaners reclaimed or restored from the fire has been duplicated or has lost it's usefulness for us. Time has passed so we must get rid of the excess. But there remain items that carry an emotional attachment, a personal value. Those are sought out and set aside. They will be carried into the future.
   For this current season I've put her favourite piece on our table. It brings smiles when we care to revisit Easter times with her. Gertrud always made Easter Sunday very special for each of us. There was always some home baked yeast cake or bread and some coloured, decorated hard boiled eggs. And she would give the youngsters chocolate bunnies in baskets she handcrafted and hid in her place. She knew how to get the family to share time with her on her terms. Her affection was clearly there for those who wanted to be with her.
  At her home there would be fresh cut flowers often with pussy willows on her table. She did this each year. As she aged I helped her set these up. She loved 'her' Easter. I loved her for it and for much more.
 We have pansies and pussy willows in planters outside by our front door. Carnations and a tiny orchid sit on her favourite table covering in our kitchen area. And the coloured eggs and bunnies were also remembered. Buddy made sure of that! Home made cake is almost ready for tonight's family dinner in our home. And in UK our daughter brought auntie's version of this time of celebration to her new family. There were hidden baskets for them. For her there was a chocolate eggs with her name on it, a first for her and then dinner with new relatives.
  So as we are carry on her tradition remembering her in our own way I wonder if you have special items or recollections of loved ones?
 Have a very happy weekend and here's hoping that you are able to be with those dear to you. 

Monday, April 2, 2012


   You all know Buddy. He's in his late thirties and living with us. He's fortunate. For many adults with disabilities there are group homes. Buddy chose to stay with us and we are fine with that. Keep in mind that those homes only work for those who have some skills and the ability to function within that facility by applying their skills. If an individual's faculties require a more intensive care then the solution is to send that person into a long term care facility. There were special centres for the handicapped. There were others for those requiring drug abuse treatment and those needing help with other psychological issues. Each had it's own resources and space allocation. And there were long term facilities designated exclusively for senior care.
   However in order to save on staffing and space our government very quietly has changed the way all centres are to be used. From some time now they decided to just combine all of those units and allow the residents to be mixed together. That means a senior could be sharing a room with a psychologically challenged younger person suffering from a severe bipolar impairment. Even a criminal who can no longer be kept in prison due to a medical impairment will be in such a long term care place. As a bed becomes available clients are placed into spaces with no serious consideration of how the roommates match up in age or disability. And confidentiality makes it impossible to know what's wrong with one's roommate.

   On Friday, March 30th,  W5 aired a documentary highlighting what is really now happening in those care centres, the ones that get our government funding for the services they provide. The clients get very little in protection. In fact studies show that the abuse rate is four times higher there than anywhere else! And even the undertrained staff get harmed!!
   I cannot bear the idea that Buddy or I might end up in a place like that. The only solution preventing that would be private in-home care. Who would be able to afford tho huge cost of that? Are there any insurance policies willing to cover that? Likely yes for a high price but I doubt pre-existing conditions would be considered insurable unless the policy clearly stated it does.
   Are we being sent fearful messages like the one I saw to help make it better for those in care now or to push us more towards seeking spaces that will take payment for home care? And is this to shift our the tax contributions to lessen the number of long term care units? If so then what private heath care businesses are lobbying behind the scenes? What's really happening to our health care system?

The video provides you with information of how clients in those care centres struggle and how the government using our tax money refuses to hear that this situation is totally wrong. Clients should be selected to be with others of similar issues and age. Those who require similar care ought to be together. Integration can be useful but it needs to be constructive to the clients not just the budget. It seems to be going backwards with this issue. It appears to be creating monster institutions just like in the past, one that destroy the dignity of the elderly and the less abled. Back in the day we opted to have that changed citing cruelty to the clients mattered. Well it seems it no longer does. Cruelty is back and on the rise.
   What's wrong with our elected officials? Have they gone deaf and blind? They chose not to acknowledge there's an issue. Perhaps they ought to be forced to share a room in such a place, to feel the pain they are creating on so many poor helpless folks?
The direct link to W5 could not be created from my mac. The link you get takes you to the menu page. You will need to manually go to the part of the CTV News subheading, find there  W5 under News and click on W5 to get to the clip. The clip takes at least 20 minutes to tell the whole story The date is 12.30.03. A written version may be found under statistics but it does not have the harsh impact of the video.
    What have you got in your area?

Thursday, March 22, 2012


  Buddy is enjoying the gorgeous summer like temperatures (and most unusual) that are presently in our area. The poor lad deserves a break. After trips to the family doctor, ER and the ear specialist we learn what is really going on.
  It all began a month ago with what appeared to be a middle ear infection that apparently broke the ear drum. Several trips to the GP and one to the ER, we met up with an ENT and we learned that was not the case.
  What he actually has is cholesteatoma which is a type of cyst that develops in the middle ear and may cause oozing from the ear when an infection occurs. Once the bacterial infection is under control, the next step will be to determine the method needed to remove the growth before it causes further damage. After an MRI, surgery is the only option.
  I was told by a dermatologist that all the skin growth that happens on the outside of a person with psoriasis also happens to internal tissues. Seems to me this is to be the first indicator that it's doing just that. Though what's most puzzling about this ear event is it's timing. It became an issue while his external skin cell growth was in a remission that was bringing a smile to Buddy's face. He loved watching himself and rejoiced as his cleared up skin was appearing all over himself. When over 80% of your body is full of plaque and it drops away revealing the skin beneath it, that has an impact that I can only imagine! Alas those episodes never last more than three months. As of yesterday that lull is struggling. His arms and legs have flared up again. We are applying creams in hope of keeping this under control as long as it will allow us to. We do what we can every day. Each day is a new challenge.
   But what's more frustrating is that in the past few days the ear drops seemed to be causing some sort of allergic type reaction but we weren't sure. Today that became most clear. It made his face and eyes red and itchy about one hour after his dose. For now he must take an Allerdryl and a cortisone tablet to become comfortable. Immediately the drops will be stopped and taken off his this list of safe drugs(topical ciprofloxacin antibiotic)to be allowed. Apparently other forms of that antibiotic are reported as causing some serious side effects to some folks so I am not surprised that the drops are disagreeing with him.
  Still Buddy is very happy that the Florida like weather has come to him. WHY? He'd love to go to Florida. He's waiting to go.
  For over two years now we keep hoping to travel to Florida but we are stalled by unexpected  issues, mostly health ones; my eyes, hubby's heart and now Buddy's ear. We pray that the fall season will give us the break to make that getaway. HOPE keeps us all moving ahead. FAITH has us believing it will happen. Buddy will get better and his wish will be fulfilled.

P.S. Buddy monitors the daily and weekly weather reports with great intent, listening to hear that winter is gone. Once he loved those wintery days and he would toboggan, skate and ski. But no more. He claims he's grown too old, pointing to some white hairs on his whiskers and sideburns as he grins. Gotta love his humour!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Help (part1)

   The other day I decided to watch the movie 'The Help' and while it took me back to the very early '60's and discussions I had with my dad about the sad way people of colour were treated in the US, it also brought me to the role I played in helping others with their child rearing.
   My parents were the first to get me to understand I play an important role in assisting in caring for the younger siblings. My 20 months younger brother had to be played with a lot. When my sister was born when I was 10, old enough to do a lot more than just play.
   A daily event, I was taught how to sterilize bottles on the stove and fill them with boiled cooled water and measured formula to be put in the fridge for later. I was taught to clean cloth diapers and baby clothes made of cotton by placing them in a huge pot of boiling water with added soap. Then these had to be carefully and manually rinsed and hung to dry in our tiny one bedroom apartment. The sterilization had to be done for a period of over six months. This was to ensure the tiny baby would not pick up any harmful germs.
   I was shown how to bath her properly and dress her too. She always smelled so nice that I loved this chore that I shared with my mom and dad. And there were the daily walks so that baby would get plenty of fresh air. I would walk beside my mom proudly as she pushed the pram. Sometimes she would take us to the nearby Woolworth's where she would stop for something. The pram and baby remained outside. Often a passerby would look at the sleeping infant and comment on how cute she was. I would beam with pride. Once in a while I was allowed to walk her without my mom's presence. I had to stay close by so I could be seen from the window of our place. Those were precious moments.
   But there was a darker side to my help.  My parents expected me to get up at night when baby awoke because I was closest to her room, the sunroom next to the living room where my brother and I slept on a pullout couch. It was my duty to let my parents rest for work. We were struggling immigrants in the mid '50's. I did as I was told even though there were tiny moments of resentment during some of those nights when she was hard to settle back to sleep.
   I was the help. But there was a huge difference. I was made to feel very proud of what I was doing to contribute to the family well being.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Thinking Day

   February 22, I remember it as Thinking Day and Lord Baden-Powell Day. I was a Girl Guide from the age of 12 and remained a member until the end of my teenage years. My brother followed and became a Scout. And then little sister joined Brownies. We took being a member very seriously, striving to reach the highest levels. Check out our chords. But the awards in the background belong to a Scout troop.
We wore our uniform proudly on this day.

Today I post this in honour of a world movement that inspired many youths.

Friday, February 17, 2012


Meme is a word that has not been a part of my active vocabulary. When I skimmed over it today while reading a blog I decided to take time to acquaint myself with it.
The more I tried to grasp its meaning the more I frustrated I became. Seems this word is evolving along with many others in this computer age.
I have learned that the term is used to propagate an idea or image over the internet. Does that differ from 'going viral'?
If you have grasped how the word really works maybe you can help me to a better understanding? Who knew I could be so confused trying to make sense of a four letter word?

I clicked on HERE to get to the meme in one blog. The meme is Skywatch Friday. At that host page I found many images. Clicking on an individual image sent me back to the blog and blogger that added it. I suppose this is another way to enjoy followers but I didn't trust myself to join too.
It seems the Skywatch Friday site does not appear to be macbook friendly. Their homepage display appeared distorted on mine. And that made me back away from joining.

Instead I decided to post one of my sky pics without the link.
Here's the harbour at St. John, New Brunswick in the Bay of Fundy in the fall of 2010. Any one cursing(lol 'cursing'; thanks Patti for finding my typo) any time soon?
For those of you who are in search of hearts there appears to be a partial image of one. Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


   The fact that homo sapiens may have free choice and are considered to be the most intelligent species on earth is questionable. Once the concept of agriculture emerged so did the appearance of crops that were not meant for humans, those that altered moods because of their addictive psychoactive chemical content like nicotine. 
   Used as a bug killer by converting the crop to nicotine tartrate, tobacco today is used mostly as a recreational drug  using the leaves of the plant. With many tobacco products on the market legally the worst known preventable health diseases on the globe (according to W.H.O.) have developed because of its addictive and carcinogenic properties.
   There's a cigarillo tobacco product (pompom) that is created in Jacksonville Florida and shipped world wide. It's a kind of mini cigar with a punch. It's small and fast to smoke and three times more harmful than one cigarette. Is there a benefit from using it? Not really. Only for the manufacturer maybe. Accountants could say there's a good profit margin. So what? Still sales from the product generate government taxes . Maybe that's the link in the chain that cannot be broken?
   But the tax income is quickly offset by the huge health care costs. Since the largest number of illnesses is caused by the use of tobacco, even insurance companies demand higher premiums from those who use it personally because the claims generated by them are the highest.
   Intelligence? Consider this; people buy carbon monoxide monitors to ensure that the air breathed is safe. Yet the smoke from tobacco products actually puts carbon monoxide poison into the air and themselves! Think of the damage that will do inside the brain and body. Then there's also cyanide that goes into the body. Both are known as poisons. The human uses the product knowing it's toxic. Smart?
   Homo sapiens may be the most innovative yet clearly not the most intelligent in self care. They create harmful drugs, a medical system to try to right that wrong and an insurance system to cover the medical expenses. Then there are political systems that believe in some sort of a smorgasbord of freedom of choice allowing a slow but certain death from tobacco consumption, yet no mercy death for individuals suffering tremendously near the end of disease. Something seems very wrong about choices in this instance.
    Today's newer media is adding new support to the use of tobacco products. Social sites like Facebook and You Tube have become places for promoters. For the pom pom product it's already there. Twitter? Likely yes. Seems if a famous celebrity with lots of followers mentions a product by brand name in a tweet  then there will be remuneration to them from the brand's company. Fast cash!  Any regulation about what may be promoted? Not much.
    More media tools in the mix is the allowing of harmful substances to be available via the internet. Shopping over the net has made the product more readily available. Is the cigarillo one item kids would select? Apparently yes because the makers of the product have offered it in a variety of yummy flavours, grape included! Hooking young innocent clients in is what matters to the future of their industry. I question why is the manufacture of tobacco stuff still allowed? Choices? Rights?
   Think of this. Our freedom of choice is being manipulated and influenced in so many ways now we hardly notice it's happening. The mind is being controlled more and more by advertisers and marketers. For example: 
   Will you be watching the $3.1 million commercials at this weekend's football game? You are watching the game right? Perhaps that's because it's been deemed a very big event, a fashionable thing to do and with so many followers. Over the years this event has been groomed to be that way. The media has been a leader of this for many years now. The viewers have followed as conditioned supporters ought to. Some call it loyalty.
   So do you question why some companies would put up the huge dollars for a 30 second spot of advertising during the game? Likely not. The advertisers hope for viewer attention by carefully planning their ad. Once watched and rated, the best one will be repeated, all the talk shows will spend days reviewing those commercials and discussing them. This kind of spotlight will certainly help sell a product more quickly and bigger volumes because of the mob mentality most people seem to have. In  no time that high cost of the ad is recovered  Clever?  Maybe?
   Thankfully the commercial that will not be created is the one about a tobacco product. No cigarillo spots. That product was banned from those type of ads along with all the tobacco items. Freedom of choice to do so was overridden because of the known very high health risks of that. 
   Shouldn't there be a tobacco ban on the net as well for the same reason? That's not about to happen. On the net the rules and laws have been very slow in keeping up with all the latest tricks to pull us into markets. Is that intelligent behaviour knowing what we know?

 P.S.  Being so conditioned to add media props, I originally had a photo of the product packaging in this post until I realized that it would be a visual promotion for it. Darn it's tough to be objective.  

Monday, January 16, 2012


  Pictured below is a classic Christmas spoon from a collection created by Georg Jensen of Denmark who created this one in 'Julen 1939'. That's what is written on the back of this lovely piece. There are so many things people can choose to create a private collection. This was one of them. However, there will no longer be any new pieces in his series of special Christmas cutlery. The line was discontinued in 2010.

    Pictured below is a sample of one family's collection. The elders' tradition was to gift one piece to each family member at Christmas time to celebrate their arrival as they came into the family either by birth or marriage. 
   The original heads of the family came from Denmark so selecting Jensen pieces  marked a way to stay connected to their Danish roots. Those in the picture span from 1932 to 2009, covering three generations. The fourth began after 2010.
   Scattered throughout the larger family are other pieces related to their own immediate family. What's remarkable is that most members know just where the various 'Julen' pieces reside within the bigger family because of their link to special dates or events. And they recognize their designs too. Just looking at the few in my photo I wonder how they do it.
    Traditionally the cutlery comes out of storage for the special holiday season and then the conversation begins. I know this because I just visited two members. At lunch, when the dessert was served, each of us got to use one. And once the spoon was in our hands our questions began. For starters we wanted to know what our our hosts had. They each held theirs, the one that matched their birth year and each recognized the other's spoon by it's colourful unique design. Never had I seen or held anything so spectacular in cutlery before. 
   How these spoons became a collection fascinated me. Then there came the question as to why one member decided to break away from the spoon tradition by adding forks into the set, a new trend that lasted a very short time. 
   While collections may last, the creators of those pieces move on. When new pieces are no longer available the collection is halted. Perhaps this adds some charm and value to an old collection? Who knows? There will always be new trend setters and others who seek treasures from the past. Collecting has gone on for centuries.
    I once collected items but that's changed. Our house fire has spoiled much of that. I no longer have the desire to collect objects.  And my children no longer have the sentimental desire to hang on to much of the past. Just an odd piece here or there seems to satisfy our need to connect to prior times. Perhaps my blog is taking the place of the objects I once treasured?
Are you or were you a collector?