Saturday, December 6, 2014


 December 6th is St. Nick's Day.

 In my childhood years this day was a very special one because it was one of the rare days that we were given gifts of hard to get sweets like ginger bread and chocolate. There was often a mandarin orange added to our individual treat plates that were especially made for this yearly
event. It is still a festive time for children in parts of Europe but it seems that the modern Santa Claus coming at Christmas time has spread globally making today a more minor festivity in those areas. 
When I was a young mom I could find European delis selling the plates and goodies readily. Not any more. The delis hare almost all gone. Now our local super grocery store has a new version, a cellophane bag filled with a foil covered St. Nick chocolate along with some small tree ornaments in the Christmas goodies' section. What is unusual is that it comes from China not Europe. And I tend to not trust the ingredient list as I once did. Times have really changed. 
But my memories of this festive time in my youth remains in tact.
Happy St. Nick's Day to anyone who likes a reason to have some fun  a and who enjoys chocolates and assorted sweets. Perhaps a cocoa liqueur might be what you crave or a spiced red wine?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


  On the 6th of October my sister, a born Canadian, joined me on a journey to my birth country. We decided that it was time to visit our elderly aunt once again. My daughter chose this time as a great opportunity to fly over from the UK to join us. It turned out to be a very busy ten days.
   Since the flight into another time zone is a challenge I opted to upgrade to a higher class for the flight over there. The larger seat space did make the trip a bit more comfortable. There was no direct flight so we chose to land in Amsterdam and then take a train to Hannover. By the time we arrived at our Aunt's it was already 10:30 pm on October 7th. She greeted us in the lobby and after just a quick hello we parted. Her place of residence has guest rooms with kitchenette's. We settled into our room for a good sleep ready to meet Aunt for breakfast in her place. It felt all so familiar. We have done this several times over the past 4 years. It felt good.
   Aunt is our mother's sister and has reached the age of 93. She goes swimming 6 days a week. She still walks to he local grocery shop to pick up what she needs. She enjoys bowling every two weeks and joins in the events of her residence as she sees fit. She's been there for 25 years now. During that time her husband passed away. She found a new companion and he too recently passed away at the age of 101.
   The residence has kept up with the times and we were able to get wifi from the lobby. She finds it amazing that we can store photos on tablets and phones. She cannot grasp how they are so easily accessed. Her photo past is all on slides! UGH!! Nor can she grasp texting though she sees it being done all around her even by the newest 87 year old friend she's managed to find for herself. What a lady! And he carries a title of nobility. We had to meet him for tea time on the first day with her.
   On the 8th late at night daughter arrived and joined us in our room. An extra bed was added making it cosy. Sis and I had already been to the local Rewe shop for some groceries because we wanted to relax and eat breakfast in our room since Aunt was up too early for us. On the 9th we all met up for lunch at 11:30 followed by coffee and cake at 3 with more family visitors. 
   I'm always fascinated at what new tidbits one learns about one's family on these occasions. Hans and Ruth joined us. They are siblings. Both are widowed and are grandparents. Hans is 90 and still drives. Ruth at 87 is very fit. Both are very alert with great memories. Good to know that there are family members with a gene that can survive well for a few extra years.
 Aunt is to the very left, then Ruth , Sis and daughter.  Below is one with me.

The siblings are aunt and uncle to my aunt. Their father was my aunt"s father's brother. Their father had his children late. He was 72 when Ruth was born.
This dates back to the 1930"s. Ruth and Hans with parents.
Once again this was an event stretching four generations and it is humbling.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

LEIF VAUPELL OLSEN, a Proud Danish Canadian

The news came over the internet.
Sadly Leif drew his last breath on Saturday September 27th in the morning after a long struggle with a lung transplant rejection.
In October of 2008 he was near death when a donor came along and the double lung transplant became a reality for him and all were delighted that he made great progress.
And in the past six years he was able to share much goodness with all of us. He was a big part in many great family events; family travels, weddings , birthdays, arrival of 5 grandkids and Christmases that he so loved and made very special. 
Leif came into my life after the 1978 sudden death of my brother who was married to Linda when Leif and Linda were high school teachers at the same school and had worked together on musical productions for the school. 
After some time Linda and Leif were drawn to each other by their common love for music. He was a guitarist and she was a piano player. Both enjoyed singing too. Their decision to join their lives met with some  opposition from the families since Leif had two sons and a wife. But he wanted out of his marriage and he wanted Linda. 
In October of 1983 he married Linda and they had two lovely children together. Leif and Linda were always around for the boys from his first marriage. The couple continued to teach on a shared plan, meaning they would teach a couple of years at a reduced salary and then take a year off until they finally retired altogether.
Leif encouraged Linda to follow her dreams. She studied harp and became the proud owner of one. She worked at crafts and had a stained glass studio. He enjoyed painting and created lovely water colour and acrylic pieces. Both loved nature and have lived their time together in rural settings. One of many passions Leif had was to care for a variety of birds both in shelters and by way of bird feeders.
What I admired most about him is that he never shut my family out of their family life after Linda married him. In fact we were guests at the wedding. He did many things with our family over the years. He was a very loving and genuinely caring man. 
That he's left us has not yet fully set in. It's still too soon.

Leif and his new baby girl visiting us in the "80"s
Leif with his grandchild just newly born in '13..
We shall pay our respects tomorrow at his memorial.
May he rest in peace.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

A New Season Begins

It's been a busy spring and summer. We travelled a lot and I just could not convince myself to sit down with a device to compose anything sensible. And since I had little time to read your blogs I was sure it would be best to pause a bit . 
But now fall is arriving. 
Buddy has put on his clothes that have fall colours and he set out fall themed napkins. 
It's always fun to be around him , watching him get into the spirit of things. Seasons are very relevant to him. He likes to be in the moment and he keeps me pacing along.
We are back on track with blogging now and will visit with you regularly we hope.
A detailed post of our events is being worked out. 
Happy FALL to you.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


   It was July 9, 1954. I was living with Ruth and Alfred Mänzer in Kassel, Germany. Alfred picked me up from Lehrte, my birth town, where an aunt who had been minding me since the beginning of February but preferred a childless life style. Alfred was a very close friend of my father's. Because of the war He and his wife were not able to have children. Ruth was sterilized by the Hitler movement as she had some Hebrew ancestry.  When my father had to replace my aunt and uncle with new care givers for me he thought that Ruth might enjoy the chance to have a little girl around. She agreed to try this.
   No one asked me. It was my fourth move in a very short time. It was hard. My parents had moved to Canada in may 1953 hoping to have us follow but getting immigration for us children proved harder than they had anticipated. At first my father's sisters and grandpa came to care for us in shifts but it became too challenging over time so by mid summer my father sent my mother back to care for us until she could bring us to Toronto with her.
   My Father fell seriously ill in January 1954. In a hurry my mom quickly sent my brother to her aunt and me to her sister so she could fly to care for him. It was thoughy this arrangement would be short but it was not. As April came to an end my mom's sister had been asked by her husband and his mother that I be sent to a different family member. My welcome was over.
   My father wasn't happy to have to find me another placement but he dealt with this. He wrote to Alfred. Soon, with my small bag of nice clothes that my aunt had managed to amass during my stay, I was picked up by Alfred. After a long train ride I found myself in his apartment. I was given the living room couch by night. I was with strangers. I missed my parents and my brother. I missed all my aunts and my grandpa but I was told not to be ungrateful. I was to be a happy delightful girl. It was tough.
   Ruth worked very hard to make each day special for me. She helped my with homework and with the making a few local friends whom she allowed over for brief visits. She was affectionate and knew how to prepare meals that children would like. She even served them in interesting varied ways. I was given lessons in culture and geography of Kassel, a gorgeous city with hills and fountains.
   On That July day the sun up early , its beams shining on the treetops that were visible from the balcony making them glisten from the morning dew. The breakfast table was set outdoors with a bit of extra fanfare and my eyes gleamed with anticipation. It was a special day, my eighth birthday and I was feeling excited. I had hoped to find mail from my family. I really missed them. Mail was my only connection to any of them. But I did not find an envelope on the table near my place as I went to sit there. I could feel my eyes tear up but I tried to hide that from Ruth. I was hoping my tears would go unnoticed. 
   Ruth was sensitive. She understood pain. Hemce she could read my disappointment. Looking back I now suspect she had known then this would happen and she was prepared. Before I could retreat from the balcony she had her arms around me. With a big hug and gentle words she had me seated in my place fairly soon. Then she served me some fresh pancakes covered with powdered sugar and dotted with strawberries and whipped cream. She poured me a cup of "kids's" coffee and sat down across from me. She was having a plain slice of bread. It made my meal really appear more delightful to me. Brilliant and so thoughtful.
   When we had finished eating she cleared the table herself asking me to remain seated, a kind gesture since I was usually expected to lend a hand.
Then she returned with a small decorated paper cone filled with sweets. I loved my gift and jumped up to hug her but she motioned me to sit down again.So I complied without hesitation. And then she put a pretty small box in front of me. I was surprised. Gifts usually only came on very special days. I usually got a new outfit or something practical. This box suggested by its size was not the usual type of gift. Carefully I opened it. What a beautiful sparkling object appeared! It was to be my very first piece of golden jewellery. 
   Ruth gave me a child sized necklace with a tiny horseshoe pendant on it. It was perfect. Ruth was a gem. She made that day so memorable that I can feel the joy even now.

PS Today I celebrate my 68th and here's a plant I bought for myself because my family is not inclined to show affection in a traditional way. Emails and texts just aren't the same for an oldie like me but I do know how to care for just me and I thank my aunts for that.
Isn't it a beauty??

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


   The last few weeks have past like a blur and June is nearly over. I have spent this month travelling for a week with Buddy and then recovering from some viral thing because I let go of my super stringent diet and supplements. Now I'm slowly getting back on my path and my head is clearing though my vision remains a bit blurry. It's amazing how fast my vision can become blurred and just as quickly get better. I do not understand how that works. I've been adding MSM to my supplements to help deal with microbes I've got and it has had some interesting side effects including my mood swings. I'm hoping I shall be able o get stable soon.
   Buddy and I are spending some time following the Fifa games and love the way people all around are showing their enthusiasm. I guess living in such a multicultural city lends itself well to this type of following. I wear the German T shirt. Buddy has adopted the Spanish but also favours the Mexican team.
  I've spent some time reading  many articles about many things from microbes to future robotic technology and wonder what the world might be like in 30 years from now. I was one of the women who was open to getting all the latest tech goodies like the Apple 2C when it came out in the 80's. I had the latest movie camera and the bulky huge cell phone. Now I sit at the macbook writing this to share with you.
   I love to blog but I have found that I am avoiding making the effort to stay updated. I have given much thought to why but I cannot come up with a solid answer except that perhaps my energy level is down. I am suspecting that a bit of depression has hit me. I have a sense of feeling lost but don't know why. I am not exercising properly so that could be a good place to start moving forward. I also noticed I miss having people around. I have to find more people to surround myself with. I have Buddy and hubby but neither seem to be able to stimulate me  to a level of activity that I do well with. 
   What's going to be my way back from feeling lost? Lately I've tried some new apps, challenging games on my iPad and iPhone. And now I'm searching for an app that get's me up and walking more. 
   Lost in my own world is bugging me. I struggle to get off my chair more regularly and move about daily. Mini vacations are fun and keep me temperately active but they are masking what's really going on?    Laziness ???
This was taken on our latest trip June 6th to 14th.
The smile does not reflect my latest bout of feeling lost.
Where will I find a friend that I can hang with since I seem to feel I need one?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


It was this day, May 6, 1994 that the famous tunnel between England and France was opened by the Queen and the French President Mitterrand. The Eurostar bullet train goes some 40 metres (12')under the sea bed and connects the two cities faster. 
On Thursday we head to London where my daughter now lives. Since her workplace has made her work week extra busy for her, we opted to takes a little side trip. Paris it had to be. Hubby loves train rides and I love Paris and it's spring time. For us it was an natural add on. Buddy loves everything and he's very excited especially about the bullet part of the train ride.
Next Tuesday we leave London and make our way through that famous 'chunnel' that I once travelled through with my older daughter in 1997 on our mother daughter trip to my birthplace. Back then I was younger, braver and able to take on foreign roads. From Paris we drove a little rental Peugeot through Brussels to my aunt's in Hannover, Germany. Me driving can't happen any more. My vision won't do unfamiliar areas very well nor would I cope well in the increased rush of traffic these days. Hubby likely could but I would be a lousy guide and he does need one. I prefer to sit in the back seat when he drives and let Buddy be his companion. I am less of a backseat driver from the back. LOL.
We are looking forward to our new adventure. We just had to share what's happening since it's been ages since the two of us have blogged. In case you aren't aware, I've made Buddy a part to the process. We discuss what's fun to share. He also gets to read your comments and loves some of the amazing things you post.
I shall take my Rebel and see what I can find to snap. Buddy will have his iPhone. He's quite the photographer. Let's see what can we discover. We'll share some things when we are back (or even on route).  
Au revoir.

Saturday, March 29, 2014


   Guantanamera is a familiar song by José Fernández of the 1960's that folks relate to Cuba and the Spanish. Over time it has been recorded by many artists. But there is something touching when one sits in a bar or a lounge in a Cuban resort and local artists come along with their old instruments to entertain you and cheer you along.
Hubby loved the song so much he asked this group to play it a second time so he could really enjoy the moment and they did. And when it ended the entire lounge area was applauding and cheering.
What I loved is the genuine passion the people show for their art skills. How hard they try to please any soul. They are worthy of praise.

The people of this small country were oppressed by the regime that was imposed on them. Since tourism has become a major source of much needed income for the nation the people are working so very hard to make their customers happy and I must say Buddy and I feel very content and safe in their homeland. Years ago I swore I'd never go to their place but something has changed in me. I now see the need for all people to try to have a fairer chance at a life they choose for themselves and if we both benefit then it's a winner for all.
These above artists are just the tip of the bigger more spectacular entertainment that the Cubans now offer at most resorts.
They are using international material and creating some amazingly well choreographed productions with a variety of dance styles that even include the latest things we are seeing on our dance reality shows!
They work hard in the heat of the afternoon to ensure the evening show will please the crowds and on this trip the theatre was filled each night.
What was a bit sad was that some of the audience members lacked the knowledge of proper audience behaviour and carried on noisy conversations throughout. It seemed so disrespectful for those on stage and those wishing to show respect. 
In this picture you'll see a ballerina in a white next to one in a black tutu  on the left stage as they dance to the famous Swan Lake piece but the piece is fancied up with hip hop dudes in bright gear that flip and tumble amongst the ballet dancers in precision and charm.
Truly fantastic!!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

War Games?

The Paralympic games are over shadowed by some serious political unrests in the world and it is worrisome. While Buddy may appear handicapped he is very much a part of current events and watches news as avidly as sports and the weather forecast.
He joins in taking pride in how he participates by opting for some of the dress items made available and by watching and cheering for the teams or individuals he chooses to support. And as he sees the physically challenged do their sport he comments on how hard their event must be for them.  Though I am beside him and cheering along as well, I have now got to be careful not to spill out that I am afraid of the issues looming over the fact that once again there is speculation about deadly outcomes over boundaries and cultures. 
This current flareup has me on high alert. My father fought the Russians against his will all thanks to a tyrant who took over his country in the last war.  His stories along with what I learned in history classes make me feel so vulnerable. 
What happens if war breaks out again?
I live in a country where immigrants in the past suffered gravely once sides were drawn. Citizenship didn't matter. Birth place did.
Have any new rules been laid down that will ensure my citizenship, my freedom in my chosen democratic country?
The whole picture in my head of how ugly the new affair could become in a city as multicultural as the one I live in makes Rob Ford of Toronto making a name for himself claiming than he's running a city appear more wicked than harmless. Sides have clearly been drawn both for and against for the man and his ego around the world just to capture votes for re election in his home town. Is his irrational behaviour is being over looked? Will he bully using his weird charm to get to where he wants to be? Scary ideas fill my mind.
While the games now being played in Sochi are for the athletes there are some serious hidden games being played in the background and at the same time. They centre around the idea of acquisition by taking and bullying to grab land. People are forced to take sides.
Bullying is a theme that has become a norm of late and it is just getting more and more powerful with the help of all the new gadgets we thought would make living better and more secure. We have created the opposite.
Are these Olympics being used as a distraction for political gains?
War games are serious. I am fearful of their spread globally. And Buddy does see the news but he has not studied history in great depth so he cannot see himself in any danger yet. 
Can this possible war game be tied so we can all win? So far it looks rather grim as the bullies march on swiftly to achieve their goals. When Buddy see the tanks rolling he questions,
"Why do they do that?"
I answer him with,
"Let's hope for peace and no war for hose folks."
But I am not so certain hope will work. 
Prayers ??
Whose side is God on?
We all loose when there is blood shed.

Sunday, February 2, 2014


  Our backyard furniture gives an indication of how much snow has fallen in the past little while. 
    January was brutal with lots of snow and this first weekend of February is no different. Buddy and I have shovelled both days and there was a lot of it to move. The snow ploughs love to block in the driveways and add to the burden. However this was a happy time for we frolicked around a bit and tried to have fun moments in that white powder. 
   Buddy healed fast from his surgery in early January so we were able to spend some time away in the Caribbean sun from the 22nd to the 29th. It was the best time we've spent together thus far. We both returned revitalized and full of positive feelings.
   My rosy cheeks are from being out in the snow and the tan gives my face a healthy glow I think. This photo is from today. Notice my many glasses so I can read and type this. Hopefully tomorrow that will change for I'm off to the eye surgery in the morning and I'm actually excited in a pleasant way. I'm very hopeful. Once it's over and the outcome is good I'll be back more regularly.  
   Did you enjoy the Superbowl? I hear roars and whistles from the family room as the game plays on. But I'm off to meditate and prepare for the early morning after posting this.
  Hope you are keeping well at your end too.