Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The end of 2008

Wouldn't it be a lovely thing to sit with people you love and enjoy a quiet evening together in front of the fire and bring in the new year that way? I would like to wish all those that read this blog, a happy New Year's Eve spent with loved ones.
Many people were wandering around the mall looking for Boxing Day Week bargains. Once again in front of the liquor store, the line up was huge. It stretched right to the mall entrance doors. It always makes me ponder why people put things off to the last moment. If they feel the need of alcohol, why not buy it long in advance and bring it out when they have a party? Just think how much easier it would be on them. They could fly as free as a butterfly and flit from one thing to the next, rather than waiting in line!

I went out today to people watch. Have been incredible good (for me) and stayed home and kept away from people so not give the flu to others.

Today I felt so much better and was dying to be among people that I went over to Jackson's Square to pick up a few things but mainly to people watch. Fortunately, due to the extremely cold weather we are having today, I was not sitting in an outdoor cafe such as the picture above!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Enjoying my hobby while housebound!

The necklace part of Margaret's gift. Still to make - the bracelet.....
My dear friend Margaret, who came to Canada from Denmark over 50 years ago with her first husband. She has proven to be a good and steadfast friend, standing by me in trouble as well as in good times. May God continue to bless her. We have been friends for over 30 years.
In Margaret's case, she wears a lot of colours which will go well with the above necklace I made.

I personally love working with the turquoise/blue colours but have done others to match friends' colour schemes that they like.

I am so glad that I now have a new hobby which will take up my interest. I really am enjoying this one as it draws on my creative side, my love of giving little gifts, and working with different beads and colours.

I was made very happy by a lady in this building to whom I gave a green necklace. She liked it so much she wore it to work and got lots of compliments on it. She sent me a note to that effect.

That made my day, appreciation goes a very long way!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Monday, a new week has started

This Hornet caricature taken from Images on Google search engine, reminds me of the time I was on my way up from the Sherbourne subway station in Toronto, to take the bus to pick up my friend Mary in the hospital. I was wearing a very colourful, flowered blouse and I'd swear the only hornet in Toronto found me! All joking aside, instead of picking up my friend, I ended up in the hospital emergency ward myself as I was allergic to the sting. It was a good thing I was on the way to the hospital and not all by myself far from help. Needless to say, it was quite a while before my friend Mary and I could return to her home!

I am not overly fond of bees, hornets, wasps for that reason!

This is how I wish I could be today! A butterfly who could take off so gracefully and fly wherever it wants to go. I am, unfortunately, still not in the fly away stage, like this little beauty!

I have always admired butterflies for their daintiness and their freedom to flit from one sweet smelling flower to another. I remember sitting in one old abandonned churchyard here in Hamilton reading my book and this dear little butterfly lit on my arm and stayed with me for a short while. What a priviledge it was for me. We both felt safe with each other.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Coughing, coughing, coughing - when will it end?

That's it, my complaining is over for the day! This photo says it all!

Even the cats are getting on my nerves today! Boots decided to burrow under my bureau which is a very narrow opening and somehow he managed to get himself out again! Now Tiger, who is not quite so adventurous, is in the cupboard investigating whatever. I am an absolute bear when it comes to no sleep!

This is getting a bit much! Spent all night coughing and not sleeping! I really am not a good patient! I wonder if I can trade myself in for a new model????
That is sure a nice thought!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A wonderful Indian movie - in Hindi

A bridegroom in Pakistan.
In the Indian/Pakistani culture, it is customary for the bride to wear red. It is also customary for the bride to keep her eyes downcast as a sign of modesty.

I spent the last few hours watching a wonderful movie set in India, in the Hindi language with English sub-titles.

It was called Vivah and is directed by Sooraj R. Barjatya.

It is the story of a Hindu family, a matchmaker, and an arranged introduction of two young people for the purpose of marriage.

It shows the closeness of Indian families and some of the customs which pertain to Hindu marriage. Many of the customs are similar to Muslim marriage customs as well which include the Henna ceremony done on the bride's hand to signify happiness and joy.

Words really cannot describe the feelings that this wonderful movie evoked in me. It brought back so many wonderful weddings I have been a guest at in Pakistani circles in Toronto and I saw so many similarities between the two religions, with the exception of the dowry. In Islam, the dowry must be given by the husband to his wife and it is becomes her property alone.
The story has many twists and turns, including tragedy and through it all, love and affection carries the day.
A must see!

December 27,2008

This little flower is a positive thought of Spring coming and flu bugs going!
Ah, little beaver looks like I feel. Surely, this bug will not continue too much longer! I have had to cancel so many nice engagements this week.

Well, this is now my fourth day of being most unwell. I don't feel any better at all. My friend Irene came over and handed me a herbal remedy to take. Naturally, I could not invite her in!

My son Ken will be coming later in the afternoon and bring me some food which was actually his share of the Christmas dinner, cheesecake and eggnog. He also will not be invited in.

Friday, December 26, 2008

December 26th - still sick

This should be me! Mind you, I would have the covers all tucked in! I like this image though as it is cute.
So far, the cats do not have this bug, thankfully! I like this picture as that is how I would feel if I was a cat! Today, I have no energy at all and so I can relate to how that cat is on the computer! Kenny is going to come from Westdale tomorrow and take my videos back to the library for me.
Other than that, I am bored, even though I am watching a really good DVD right now. I was never a good patient!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Day

Denial, This dear lady looks better than I feel right now!
Aw, Tweety bird, thanks for your love! I need a hug right now but cannot get one as I will give this bug to them. Tweety bird will have to do!

Sometimes things don't work out the way we plan. I had to cancel Christmas at my home today after all the preparation was done except for the baking of the homemade bread.

I've come down with a sore throat and a bad case of the sniffles plus I am absolutely freezing!

It was just as well that the kids did not come from Kitchener - my son understood and didn't mind that I had to cancel dinner.

Hopefully this little bug will pass real soon and I will be back to my normal self! In the meantime, I will amuse myself with this little blog!
Well, enough already, now I will go back to the DVD I am watching and wrap up in a blanket to get warm.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Greetings to all

May God's richest blessing be with each one of you who read my blog.

This picture; off the Internet signifies to me, a loving and comfortable place for family and friends to retreat from the hurts of the world and to draw strength from each other. The warmth of the fireplace brings back my childhood and the crackling of our fireplace when the Quebec winds howled outside the sturdy brick walls.

The lighted Christmas tree signifies the light of God to me, as it illuminates and purifies us on our journey back to Him.

Whether we celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or Eid, may we all remember our Creator and the one who understands us best.

Blessings to all and enjoy the warm and cosy feelings which this season brings.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Tragedy - in memory of Bentley Slaughter

Left: Greg Right: Bentley in happier times. Best of buddies
Bentley Slaughter

I just learned that a little five year old boy has been killed in a fire on Whiteoaks Blvd. in Oakville. The fire occurred at 2 a.m.

My heart was in my throat as I heard the news on the radio and I called my girlfriend who lives in that block of townhouses. She was in great distress, as were all the neighbours.

It was her little son's best friend who was killed. Bentley oftentimes ate at their place, and visited almost every day with his friend, Greg. These two little five year old boys were inseparable.

Bentley was so proud, he had had his hair braided specially for Christmas and was over to show his pal how he looked just yesterday. He was looking forward to getting some Christmas presents and told little Greg that he had one for him.

When my friend woke up in the morning and looked outside, she saw fire trucks and police cars in front of her door.

She learned that the mother had been transferred to Hamilton General Burn Unit with severe burns. At that stage, the dog was still missing but later on he turned up at my friend's door.

It is my understanding that the mother, the child and the dog lived alone in that townhouse.

Such a tragedy.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Feeding the homeless and the disabled

Served from a big pot at Gore Park in Hamilton by the young folk associated with "Food Not Bombs, which is an anti-nuclear project with a positive emphasis (OPIRG -McMaster. Well done young people!
A gourmet meal?

A disabled person, without an electric scooter or wheelchair - using his arms to propel himself around.

Sharing a meal, not with family but with strangers.

Many people think that homelessness can ever happen to them, but think again.

From my work with street people in Toronto through the Salvation Army, I learned a great deal about this inhumane situation.

What are the causes of homelessness? There are many, many causes but here are just a few:

1. Loss of employment

2. Lack of affordable housing

3. Social assistant cheques which do not even cover basic needs.

4. Mental health issues

5. Catastrophic medical costs (OHIP does not cover everything)

6. Lack of employable skills

7. Ill health or sudden disability

Those are just a few which can affect ordinary people, just like you and me.

In my work with street people, I learned to see the person, not the situation which he or she found themselves in.

With the economic climate the way it is today, even in an affluent country such as Canada, people need assistance just to survive.

My hat goes off to a group of young people who each Sunday afternoon serve homemade soup and bread to the people who come to Gore Park. I have seen them go to the merchants in the Farmer's Market on a Saturday just before closing time and get donated vegetables which cannot be sold anymore but are still useable.

It warms my heart to know that there are young folk who see beyond themselves and see a need and fill it! They are making a difference!

Today, also was Mission Services Christmas meal for people in need. They served all ages and with a smile. Volunteers served up food from hot plates to waiting people. What this Agency did and its staff and volunteers sure did make a difference.

I can remember peeling potatoes in Toronto for a similar type of dinner - thought I would never come to an end of the potatoes but finally did! It was worth it, though, after when I saw hungry people being fed and kept warm on a cold winter's night.
Out of the Cold Programmes are also very good. Many churches run them both in Hamilton and in Toronto. In Hamilton, one synagogue also contributes to the food for this programme.
In the Mosques, help is given through benevolent gifts during Eid (one of the two festivals in Islam). I.S.S.R.A. (Islamic Social Services and Resources) and various mosques also have programmes to help the poor as well.
As in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and many other world religions, charity is considered part of the religion.

My hats off to all people who make a difference!

Christmas Pagaent at St. John's

The Fruck family in conference! Taken unaware!
The decorated cookies that the children did!

Downstairs in the church hall for Christmas cookies and coffee. The children decorated the cookies themselves with the help of their teachers!
Daddy & Mommy Fruck and Cassie and Julia. Proud parents of two lovely girls!
A little dark, unfortunately, but Mommy Fruck with Cassandra and Julia.
Two precious little children in the choir - posted with the permission of their parents.Left: Cassie right: Julia Don't all children look like little angels when they dress up like this and are on their best behaviour????

The children's choir singing in the front of the congregation.
It was a special day for the children of the church who sang delightfully and read their parts very well. The children's choir looked like angels in their lovely white costumes and their glittering halos. The church, itself, was decked out with Christmas finery and all the special symbols which signify this time of year in the Christian Calendar.
It takes a lot of courage for children to stand in front of the congregation and perform but I am sure they were not disappointed as this church is a very loving one who cares for both children and adults. After the service was over, the children each received a little gift of fruit and candies from what I could see. As you can imagine, this only added to the excitement for the little ones.
As I sit here and blog about this, I can hear Christmas carols from a choir singing in Gore Park. What a privilege to be able to do both at the same time! What a blessing to live downtown close to all the action!
The City of Hamilton and the Downtown business Improvement Association certainly tries to make Christmas as nice as possible for people, from having a little train and a Merry Go Round running until almost Christmas to having special concerts in the park.
Only one fly in the ointment, we still have homeless people and the food banks are needing more and more donations to feed those who are unemployed. There are now less and less people to give help. Even my daughter and her husband, who are both disabled people, give tinned goods to help others. I am so very proud of them.
Something to think about, the disenfranchised, the lonely, the sick and those who will sit alone at Christmas with not even a phone call. Having worked as a volunteer for many, many years in several different fields, I have seen the heartache and loneliness that so many people feel. Old people whose friends have died, single Moms struggling to feed their families, older single men sitting alone in a room, young folk alienated from families and the list could go on and on.
In this season of happiness and joy, let us remember the reason for the joy and give a hand in friendship to a person in need, in whatever way one can.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Last summer's vacation

The front view of a very quiet street, typical of Lachine. All in all, I have many more pictures of people I visited and places I went to while I was there but this blog is long enough now.

I hope to go back in a few more years to see everybody again!
My cousin's backyard as seen from her deck.

Sasha, my cousin's dog looking out onto her driveway to see what she can see! A nice dog, we got along famously.
Some more flowers growing wild.

I love this little house - it looks like a real home to me. It is on 34th Avenue, down the street from my cousin's house.
The Lachine Lighthouse. When I was young, the merchants used to sell Christmas trees on the wharf and people would come and buy them before Christmas.
A fairly typical older house on the Lakeshore in Lachine, P.Q.
Hollyhocks in Lachine, P.Q. The above are shots from Lachine, P.Q.
Below are shots from Valois, P.Q. and the Laurentian Mountains.
Her lovely old tree and the pool in their backyard in Valois, P.Q. When Wendy got home from work she drove me to Lachine, along with her Mom, and just as we were pulling up to my cousin's in Lachine, another cousin drove up from Ontario. Quite a reunion.
Return to the city of Valois, which is part of the suburbs of Montreal nowadays. The daughter of the family made this wonderful pool in her backyard. Most interesting to see.
I liked this picture of the ferns and the carved piece of wood.
Silhouettes - swimming and snorkeling.

I found this a wonderful scene as well. It reminded me of a rock in the St. Lawrence River when I was young. We used to go across from Ile Perrot and go to this moss covered rock with its little minnows. It is one of my best memories of a life in the summer spent in the countryside in Quebec.
I love rocks and being near rocks in the water. This was a beautiful spot to me.
A house I liked which is one of the houses on this private lake.
A scene from the dock or perhaps from the boat, cannot remember.
The Peddle boat. Trudy and I got a wonderful tour of the whole lake on this boat. The daughters peddled it and it was a great experience. I just loved being on the water again.
Some of the children and grandchilden and a dear friend gathered around the table on the screened in sunporch.
Waltraude is Trudy and I think it was Donna who bought this for her Mom to hang under the sign. It just makes a beautiful picture!
Ah, life at the cottage - one of the grandchildren of my dear friend. How's that for relaxation!
This is my friend Trudy, who is originally from Austria but grew up in Montreal, P.Q. We have been good friends since our children were born which is more than forty years ago! Trudy's Mom, whom we all called "Omi" (grandmother) was so good to my daughter and I and was a good influence on both Trudy and I, as women alone raising children.
Today is a stormy winter day with 30 cm. of snow a good possibility so I decided to cheer myself up by reminiscing about my vacation last summer. I was only gone for seven days but it was a most refreshing and wonderful vacation. I liked this picture off the internet as it shows the water and two easy chairs to enjoy the scene!
This summer was extra special to me as I went to my home province and enjoyed a wonderful time in La Belle Province. It all started when my girlfriend's daughter invited me to their cottage in the Laurentians for a few days. The Laurentians are lovely and full of wonderful lakes to actually swim in and evergreen trees as well as deciduous trees to enjoy. This area is about one hour's drive from the Valois/Pointe Claire area of Montreal.
Ah, summer vacations, away from the routine of life!