Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Couldn't sleep so will write for a while

Ah, how the long night stretches and the hours seems to march to the beat of a funeral drum. Sleepless nights - try the soul and the physical shell we call our bodies.

I was thinking of my friends, Laura and Evelyne, as my mind replayed the many happy times we have spent together over the years. I miss both of them so much and often times think I should pick up the phone and call just to chat. Alas, there is no phone line that can reach them now.

Both of those dear friends have moved on to another plane of existance. Both believed in God, although both coming from different points of view. One was a staunch Christian and the other a staunch Bahai. Both lived Godly lives and lived out their religions.

My memory of Laura seemed to take me through our long relationship built on trust, friendship and respect. Our trip together to Israel and Greece along with a group of church people including one of my Brazilian daughters. I remember one fellow liking the look of Lisa and offering me two camels as a dowry for her. Camels are very expensive and so he held her in high esteem. Alas, for this fellow, she wasn't interested in him but I thanked him anyway as I understood his culture and that this signifies his high esteem and willingness to look after her.

Shopping in Israel was an interesting thing which Lisa and I particularly enjoyed although Laura also came home with lots of interesting things. Lisa and I shopped for Malu, my other Brazilian daughter, and Lisa knew her taste in jewellery so we were able to get her just what she liked.

I remembered Laura climbing up on the out of bounds wall (think it was the wailing wall) while I just held my breath hoping she would not get in trouble. I remember our dismay when we could not lock our hotel room door in East Jeruselem and each night moving the heavy bureau to barracade the door. If we had only pulled the drapes open, we would not ever have slept soundly. There was a tree right outside our window and any good climber could have done it easily!

I remember her borrowing blankets from me as she was freezing and, as usual, I was too warm. We were good roommates that way.

Such great memories. I remember also the long lineups in the Israeli airports and our bags being so thoroughly checked. Now we have that in Canada and I agree that it is a good plan not to take any chances.

I remember one of the waiters at the hotel asking Lisa to take an envelope for him and mail it when we reached Canada. Thankfully, she told me and I told the tour leader. Needless to say, we did not take the envelope. Who knows what it could have been?

We remained friends for well over twenty years and I called one day just to chat, couldn't get any answer, then kept trying for a few days. I finally found out what happened.

I called the church's office and asked for some information on her. Roy called me back and told me the sad news that she had been killed in an automobile accident. A gentleman in her building had driven Laura and her friend to go grocery shopping. As they pulled either in or out, cannot remember, they were hit by a TTC bus. Her friend died instantly but Laura was taken to the hospital as was the driver of the car. Laura died a day or so later and eventually the man who was doing a favour to drive the ladies, did get out of the hospital.

I knew the friend and she had been an early childhood educator and I had met her several times at Laura's place. I did not know the gentleman but am glad that eventually he was well enough to go home.

It just shows you how fragile life is and how one should value friends and family for one day they might not be there.

As for my friend Evelyne, I had not had the pleasure of knowing her as long as I did Laura, but it was a joy to know her as well. She was a transplated American whom I met at a Seniors gathering in Downsview. She had moved to Canada to be near her daughter and those two wonderful women had a fantastic relationship. Once a week, they had a "girl's day out" where they went grocery shopping and out for lunch. Evelyne looked forward to it each week.

They were Bahai people and through them I met other Bahai's in Toronto. Since we lived so close to each other, we saw a lot of each other as we were both single again women. We became good friends and visited quite often. I loved to listen to her stories of when she and her family would sing folk songs of the United States in different parts of the world. They were ambassador's of Good Will. They had some wonderful experiences during that time.

We've had many a good laugh together and talked about serious things, religion, people relationship and you name it, we have talked about it!

Such a blessing it has been for me to have had these two ladies in my life.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Time sure drags by when sickness hits!

I definitely am not a very patient patient!!!! Don't have any energy to do anything and still feel chilled and my throat is sore again!

Went out briefly yesterday to the mall to return my videos and found that quite exhausting although I was glad to see people.

What a real drag this is!

Had some very sad news from some Toronto friends. Their cousin had a stroke at age 45 and died. Needless to say, it was a terrible shock for the whole family.

Just shows you that each day is special as it could very well be your last day. Hug your family and friends and tell them how much you appreciate them.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Good thing I haven't got any company coming

Woke up with a sore throat and freezing and have stayed in all day, just being very lazy and taking it easy.

In any event, hopefully whatever this little bug is will pass soon.

Kenny is already visiting with Jody's family and Anna and Billy will be celebrating Christmas at their own place.

Just as well, as I wouldn't want anybody to come here and catch whatever bug I have!

Monday, December 21, 2009

What a marvelous day it was yesterday

The lit Advent Wreath at my friend's place
Her lovely advent wreath and cloth

At my friend's apartment. Her live Christmas tree

Donated by some ladies at Wellingstone Retirement Residence to the Golfers tournament that people go on once a year. Hand crafted to the best of my understanding. Such talent!

In the church hall after the service. Picture of Martin Luther on the wall.

The lovely tree in the sanctuary

The Manager scene

The Advent Wreath at St. John's

It was the children's pageant at St. John's and they really did a good job and made it very lively. They even made cookies for the congregational coffee hour after the service.

I was able to take quite a few nice shots so you will see some of them here.

In the afternoon, Rosie and I picked up her friend Terry in Ancaster and then enjoyed a light lunch at Rosie's and we spent the afternoon together.

Rosie drove both of us home which was very nice of her. Sunday bus service is very slow from her location and it was pretty cold so I appreciated a ride home. I could have taken the bus but she offered so it was doubly appreciated.
Once I was home, and feeling very tired as I had not slept the night before properly, I decided to not go to the Candlelight Service at St. Paul's at 7:30. I was very sorry to miss it as it is a very beautiful service.

Today, light snow is falling and it looks very pretty from my window up here on the 9th floor. I do enjoy a little snow at Christmas as it covers the ground and makes everything look so clean and pure. There are so many wonderful things about winter that I enjoy and actually, I enjoy all four seasons in Canada.
Have a good day!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A voice from the past

My Christmas gift that I made for myself. Reddish stone, red wire wrapping and green Peridot Swarovski stones. Quite striking.
Made to look like a Christmas parcel.

It is amazing how the internet has changed things. A friend from years ago saw my son's Facebook page and e-mailed him to ask if I was his Mom.

He remembered her and gave her my phone number and she left a message. I knew her in the 1980's and somehow we lost touch. She is a Guatamalan lady and I knew her, her aunt and her nephew so it will be so great to get back in touch again. She is still in Toronto.

She left me a message and I returned her call, but she was out. We will touch base hopefully today.

Isn't that exciting?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A lovely time spent in Kitchener

Tabatha, their cat, taking over Billy's lap!
Bill, opening his presents

Bill, reading my article in HistoriCITY.

Anna, opening up some of her presents.

A wonderful display in their lobby. Today is a building party which is lovely.

Judy's office is in the background.

The lobby in their new apartment

Yesterday I took up the Christmas presents for Anna and Billy and spent a few hours with them in their new home.

The lobby of their building looks absolutely inviting , all decked out for Christmas and it is such a blessing that they are there. Clean and spotless is the word for this building and the residents that I have bumped into have been friendly.

Anna and Billy just love it there and they are now exploring the neighbourhood slowly but surely. They are also looking for a church home in their new neighbourhood.

They are well looked after there and I find the building manager very friendly and protective of them.

God is so good - this is 100% better than what they had all those years on Sheldon and what looked like a catastrophe; having been given a notice to leave after 20 years due to the owner's mother wanting their apartment, they now have a far better place with a private balcony and it is kept my warmer and is definitely cleaner!

I passed by their old apartment on my way back and there was no light in their former sitting room window. Perhaps they are renovating it to bring it more up to date?

In any event, things worked out very well for them and they like their new area as well as their new apartment so that is all that matters.

I had planned to stay until the 6:30 bus back to Hamilton but Anna was suddenly exhausted and wanted to go to bed so I caught the 4:30 bus back home. It worked out well as a blizzard had started in Kitchener and the driver could hardly see in front of the bus. As we drove along and got closer to Hamilton, there was no more snow.

Strange, we sure have been very lucky this winter here! It is only an hour and a half bus ride from here to there, but such a difference in the weather!

All in all, a good day.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday's programme

At St. Paul's there is the Children's Programme today which is always cute and then a luncheon after that.

This afternoon it is our building's party which is also very enjoyable and one does not need to go out!

I wish I could have gone to the ArtWord/Artbar but those readings were on on the same time as my party.

As for the Tower Poetry party, I had a real nice time. It was held at the Bentley Condos on Caroline which is very close to me. Una and Charles live there and they like it very much. Now I also know Kay there. This is the place that I want Kenny to buy a condo in and I will live there as it is still enough downtown but the rooms are much bigger. One of its biggest drawing cards is that the units have balconies!!!!! I could grow my flowers and vegetables each summer again.

Kay was the hostess and Marianne as the social convener, helped her. It was very well attended and the party room is very nice indeed. They have two sofas and plenty of comfortable black folding chairs, plus tables to put food on. They have their storage room right in the party room and it has a vacuum cleaner and the stacking chairs.

I was very impressed with how well the room was organized. It had a very small kitchen area with a serving window, and lots of space to hang out there if people wanted to. However, the room also had a sitting area with nice curtains in it and pictures on the wall.

Kay told me that she does not have to pay for the room. she only had to give a cheque in case of mess and that would not be cashed unless the room was left in a mess.

We have to pay $30 which is cashed the day of the party and a $300 deposit cheque which is not cashed if there are no damages.

We also do not have enough chairs and chairs have to be brought in from outside which is very costly. In my case, Hosea arranged to get chairs from St. John's but that really was a great deal of work for him.

I am going to put in a suggestion at our place that the board purchase chairs and perhaps get a small sofa or two. It sure made the room very cozy. Our room is not a cozy room, although it is very nice.

In the evening I just vegetated and watched the Three Tenors and then a children's choir from London, England.

All in all, a very nice day!

Further to this entry, we had our condo party today and I had a wonderful time. In fact, I was asked to read the story which I wrote about the building which was published in HistoriCITY and so I went upstairs to get it and gave away all of my copies that I had left from my party.

It was received very favourably.

I sat with Ruth and Don, Angela and Bucky and from time to time, others would come over.

It was a very nice event.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

E.L.W. Christmas party

It was a lovely afternoon, spent with compatible people. The weather was neither hot nor cold, no snow, no rain, but just right in my opinion.

We had a few guests come which were very warmly received by the ladies. Our President, Kathe A. welcomed everybody and many people, including myself, took part in the programme which followed.

As is usual, the programme was well run and people were attentive.

One does not need to have any supper after the wonderful smorgasbord of food that was provided by the Hostess Committee.

Those ladies have certainly outdone themselves, each time seems to be even more splendid than the last time.

Several men were also guests which included Pastor Frank and Herbert. Herbert does a great deal for the ladies group and is much appreciated. Pastor Frank brought a short topic on a hymn and explained it significance.

All in all, a good afternoon.

This evening, I have another function, and so must rest up before going out again!

Evening Hours

I was really glad that I went to Lit Chat. Only five of us turned up but of the four people who read their stories, I found each one different and of interest.

I had updated my "Sally's Blanket" story to bring it up to date. This story came out of the street work I did in Toronto in the mid-80's. It sure brought a lot of memories back for me with this story and when I read it to the group, I think it touched a few hearts. That was my intention, to bring to the forefront the different reasons why people end up on the street and to put a more human face on the situation.

I believe I may just have achieved that.

All in all, a very good day!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

An evening spent at Valentinos

It was a lovely evening that was spent at Valentinos Restaurant in Westdale. I got picked up at 20 minutes to 5 and we were there until almost 8 p.m.

It was very busy in there, especially as the evening progressed. All types of people came in, from family groups, to an elderly woman with her grey hair in a bun who was waiting for a guest.

It was a delight to people watch, especially the little children in the restaurant and how their adults interacted with them.

I particularly enjoyed a young mother with her little blond daughter as she hugged and kissed her, making her feel like the princess that she was..

I was also drawn to watching a youngish man and a young boy of about 9 or 10. They were not related, as one was Caucasian and the other Oriental. These two were sharing a pizza together and while there were quite a few silent times, they also chatted with each other fairly easily. I wondered if they were in a Big Brother/Little Brother relationship.

If this was so, I wish them all the best! It is such a worthwhile thing for a grown man to mentor a young boy. So many boys now are without the influence of a Dad, for whatever reason. Boys definitely need a good male role model in order to develop their personalities properly.

It was quite difficult to hear sometimes due to the long table and the surrounding noise, but Diana was a doll and told me what was said at the other end of the table so I did not miss out too much.

It was an expensive evening, spent about $18 for the meal including the tip, but once a year I don't mind as they are a great bunch of gals and we always have fun!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A rainy Thursday

Rain, rain go away
Come back some other day!

Sun, sun, I need your rays
To brighten me up in many ways!

As you can see, it is a rainy day here in Hamilton!

I am in the midst of decorating for Christmas which means taking down all the regular ornaments, washing them, putting them in boxes, polishing the furniture and then putting up the Christmas things.

Boxes, boxes everywhere!

It is good to have a change of ornamentation in the home. Gives it a fresh new look and promotes a very harmonious atmosphere with all the reds and greens set around the room. Candles are my joy, especially the scented one and there will be plenty of them around as well.

I save them from year to year, as I do all my ornaments.

I plan to work on my story "Sally's Blanket" today as well, as Lit Chat is coming up soon.

I wrote this story in the 1980's when I was doing street work in Toronto. I am updating it a little bit and cutting the length of it as well. It has taken on a life of its own as I get more emerged in it. Brings back so many memories, some good and some not so good of the people I met at that time.

I remember when I worked at the desk in the Friendship Room and two big guys came in. In my eyes, they looked like "The Hulk" both of them. They handed me large sturdy knives to keep for them until they left the hall. They were very nice to me but I sure would not want to have tangled with them and those knives!

It's funny what one can remember by writing about it. I had completely forgotten about that.

Ah well, another time, another life....

Now back to the present and decorating. It should look very nice when it is all finished!

It is a little hard to get motivated on a rainy day.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The news from Sunday's events

I seem to get slower and slower as I endeavour to keep up with my housework. I clean every day but living downtown has a real disadvantage as the street dirt blows in from the open windows. Of course, I could keep the windows closed but I happen to like fresh air!

Thus, I was too late to get to St. Paul's as I was busy with getting organized here. I then had to make a decision which wonderful event I would go to in the afternoon. The Advent Service where I would take notes and write it up for the church newsletter, or the Art Bar's event with some out of town poets reading.

I had forgotten the special service at 3 p.m. at St. John's until Rosie reminded me via e-mail in the morning and had already said I was going to the Art Bar event.

I would have loved to have gone to both but it was impossible and since I had already given my word that I would go, I went and I was glad, as the readers were from out of town and there were very few people in attendance.

It seems poetry is a dying art - it seems to be the same regular folk who come out to hear poets read.

It was pouring rain when we left the Art Bar and Jennifer offered James, me, and Jennifer T. a ride home which was much appreciated.

All in all, a very nice afternoon.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Some very sad news

I just got an e-mail from a friend. He was just diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He is relatively young and active and a very good family man, churchman and friend.

He is fortunate to have a strong family group and be a much loved and respected person and so he will have people to turn to in this time of hardship.

May God's love and Mercy, kindness and care be extended to him and all the larger family.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

St. John's Bazaar

It was really well attended and new people were coming in after 1 p.m. We needed to make fresh coffee even. The cabbage rolls were a big hit. People even bought some to take home.

By 2 p.m. most of the crowd had gone and the worker bees cleaned up. It was a smashing success due to all the hard work of everybody involved.

Congratulations to Kathe, who spearheaded the whole event.

Several of my friends came as well, Anita and Jennifer and her friend Bonnie. I took my lunch break with Jennifer and Bonnie and enjoyed our time together. Anita was going on to another bazaar in another area of the city. She did enjoy herself very much and was very impressed with the friendliness of the congregation and the wonderful things to sell.

The hugh variety on the sweet table was incredible, all looking so delicious that it was almost impossible to choose.

I bought some to take home and enjoy for the next few days!

The jewellery table was a good success, two people wanted to buy my designed jewellry and one lady came up to me later and said she wanted it for the correct price of $60.00. She had been too busy at the cake table and she could not come over. She knew the value of it. It worked out all right though, as this same lady ordered one from me to be delivered later on. She specified what colours she is looking for to suit her clothing. I shall place an order with my supplier in Toronto very shortly. I love to design for specific people and to see their pleasure when they receive it.

However, it was a good lesson for me never to donate good jewellry at a church bazaar again. They charged so little (even though the price was on it) that it only covered the cost of the good chain! Such a shame, as it could have brought $60 more into the bazaar which helps people.

I had originally suggested months ago that they hold a raffle for it at $1 or $2 a raffle ticket and they would have raised better money for it.

I think they forgot.

Ah well, I am pleased that three ladies liked the design and after all, it was a donation by me for this event. It really should have fetched more money than it did. Didn't even cover the cost of the actual design and Swarkovski crystals! It is expensive to make and expensive to buy.

Another good thing came out of it as well, another lady wants to come and see my designs so she will come one day. She had not known about the business I was in. She was absolutely delighted. I had other ladies remark on my earings and my pendant that I was wearing, which, of course, was my own design.

I hope word of mouth will help my business grow. It is hard times now in Canada but people still need to buy gifts for special occasions.

My party was a big encouragement for me to continue with my designing as well as the three ladies at the bazaar who liked my donation is very encouraging. It went within ten minutes of being placed there! Whoever got it was one lucky person. In a regular jewellry store it would have cost about $125 plus tax.

Lesson learned for next year!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A day to analyze the party

Today, I plan to think about how I could have improved the party, what I could have done better, and what went well.

Although the party was a success, there is always something that can be improved.

It is also the E.L.W. meeting today so will go there as well.

All I can say is that my plan is to amalgamate my study of the party into my preparation folder and keep it for any future parties.

Once all that is done, then the party will be history and I shall move on to other things.

Since I wrote this blog, I have had several suggestions (at my request), one of which is to shorten the time for each reader, another is to have musicians. I had wanted to have a musician, but he moved away and I didn't know anybody else to ask.

Shortening the reading time will be easy to do, should I ever do the party again. Perhaps in a few years, I will have made some friends who are musicians or otherwise I cannot fulfil that suggestions.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Wilma's Party

Chris, reading from his latest book - unfortunately the shot is a little too dark.

The shadow (Wally), Carmen and myself at the jewellery table before the show.

A nice view of some of the people who came to the party.

Me, reading from some of my published works.

Jennifer, reading from her published poems on cats, as well as an exerpt from her published story on snowflakes.

Jeff, reading from some of his published works.
A small corner of my display. Two of the childen there bought the teddy bears which I made the clothes for. They played with them all afternoon! The children present were really good and all dressed up for the occasion!

Our favourite Mexican dancer Carmen. performed! She is a real trooper and dances so very well. The guests just loved her and one even asked if she was scheduled to dance one more time!
Quite a compliment to her!
Ed Woods, reading from his new published book.
Asma, myself and Alyia.
Some of the Whitehern Gals who attended my party.
It is most unfortunate that the picture I took of the first reader, Eleanore did not turn out. She is both a poet and a photographer and her poetry was well received by the assembled guests.
Several people took pictures as well and Kevin made a DVD of the whole party and particularly of the Talent Show.
Further to this thought, Kevin brought the DVD over this morning and we watched it together while we munched on party goodies which were left over.
He did a real good job and it is a marvelous memory to have!
I worked all morning and up till 1 p.m. bringing things down to the party room. Fortunately I have several bags on wheels and this helped a lot.
Jennifer and Kevin came around one and I was so glad that they did, as the time was flying by and there still was a great deal of things to do!
Mohammad also brought his fresh falafels and makings for a salad early as well. I showed him how to make the punch and he carried on with that duty for the rest of the party, as it needed to be refilled several times.
Some of the guests came early and we were not quite ready due to an electrical problem in the kitchen. None of them worked! Difficult to make coffee without electricity! I called the emergency line but the superintendents did not know how to fix it either. We then tried to make the coffee on another plug within the room and it was working. Bless Ed, when he came he knew exactly what to do and fixed it. As it turned out, hardly anybody took coffee anyway as they all seemed to like the punch.
The superintendents had set up the phone in the party room just for the day as they trusted me. It seems when the phone was left there before, people would come in and use it to call long distance.
Jennifer manned the phone line, letting people in as they arrived.
When all the guests had arrived (about 35), food was served buffet style, then at a little before 3, the talent show started.
Everybody did very well and their work seemed to have been appreciated by the assembled people. I think the highlight of it was Carmen's Mexican dancing. It was amazing!
Such energy!
After the talent show, most people left. The two Jennifers, Kevin, Carmen and Wally, and Andrew and I stayed behind to clean up.
I would say that the party was a success.
I was so pleased to forward a cheque in the amount of $60.00 to Christian Horizons for their programme which helps small business people in third world countries start their own business.
All in all, a worthwhile endeavour.

I asked for honest opinions of what could have been improved from some people who came and got some valuable suggestions for the next time I throw a large party.
Among the suggestions was to either cut the amount of people performing or limit their time to five minutes each.
I doubt that people would want to perform just for five minutes, but perhaps a nice compromise of ten minutes each would please everybody.
This party was a learning experience for me and all in all, I was quite satisfied.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Big Day

Had a really good sleep last night and woke up raring to go! In spite of 16 cancellations, it will be a good time!

Food is all prepared and ready to be taken downstairs, jewellery just needs to be taken there also, plus decorations and music.

I am pretty calm about this as I feel quite prepared.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Saturday - Santa Claus Parade and a bake-a-thone

It may be that this year I cannot attend the Santa Claus Parade as I still have plenty to do in the baking department for tomorrow.

However, I can see it from my window which will be almost as good!

I had to cancel two events, no actually three events today, to carry on with my preparations for tomorrow.

Andrew, my neighbour, took more baked goods downstairs to his apartment and will put them in the party room frig before he goes to church tomorrow.

Mohammad will come at 11 a.m. tomorrow and help me carry things downstairs and also help me set up.

Hosea will bring the extra chairs after 4 p.m. today and we will stack them in the party room until tomorrow. I have permission to do that.

I have had a few cancellations due to the Tiger Cat game tomorrow plus sickness and other things. So far, only one friend will be coming from Toronto after all and she will need to come a little earlier so I can take her up to the roof to park her car. I will only know today if Sonia and Rene are coming as Rene may have to work. In total, so far it is 15 cancellations.

Everything is going smoothly though and it should be great fun. Kevin will videotape the talent show which will be great!

So many details but attention to detail if essential to make things run smoothly!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Just catching up with the blog

I haven't written anything for a while so thought I would catch up now.

My preparations are going very well for the party. Just have to pop over to the mall to get some divided trays again. I have found a marvelous use for those trays for not only the party, but for after the party in my daily life.

I shall use one of them to hold the float money. Prepared it all yesterday and all sorted out into plastic bags. I had saved a lot of money just by putting my spare change in bottles over the year and yesterday went to the bank near me to get some rolls of money to have on hand in case the small change is not enough. I think most people will give a cheque which is fine by me. They are all friends who are coming.

Alas, Mary and Joe are sick and cannot come from Toronto. She called yesterday and she sounded terrible. We hope to get together once they are well again.

Now back to the subject of the divided trays! Another one, I have used to keep my every day jewellery making things in it as they are very strong and there are compartments. It keeps everything handy and this way I can keep my tray free for lunch or supper!

Now onto another matter! Last night Alvaro picked me up at my back door and we went to the Poetry Center workshop. I have missed those folk as we have plenty of good laughs and they critique very nicely and very kindly. I think it is because many of them are used to doing that as they have their university students work to judge.

Liz was there and she told me why Whitehern was not open the night we all went as a group. It seems they gave it up as nobody showed up on the Wednesdays before that, and they just forgot to put a sign out to cancel the event.

At least we now know why...

I thoroughly enjoyed myself last night and took my poem "My child". Tony remembered it from before. I had forgotten that I had taken it. In any event, they gave me some good suggestions and when the party is over, I shall work on their suggestions. Speaking of poetry, the husband of the lady who did the self expression portrait of herself in Dundas, asked via the organizer if he could keep the framed copy once the artwalk show was finished. It seems that he was very touched with it. Naturally, I said yes. I am glad that he liked it.

What a nice evening I had at the Westdale Library with the group and how sweet Alvaro was to offer to pick me up and bring me home from the group each time. Since I had that scare near home, I won't go out at night by myself.

Now onto another matter. My friend Nor and I have been communicating via Facebook. she is in Japan right now giving a talk on cancer. Of course, we communicate via e-mail most of the time as she lives in Malaysia. I had the pleasure of interviewing her for the paper when I was Staff Reporter. Later on I interviewed two of her Malaysian colleagues as well - both lady doctors and very sweet and kind. They were at Sick Kids in Toronto at the time and had come as "fellows". Nor and I have been in contact ever since and have a very nice relationship.

I miss interviewing interesting people sometimes. I have interviewed politicians, professors, doctors and other fascinating people who are doing something in this world.

I don't miss the stress of deadlines though!

Had better sign off now and get on with the baking.....

Have a great day to all those faithful people who read my blog!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Zimbabwe Fund raising event

Project Zimbabwe Fundraising Concert - Nov. 7,2009. Held at Community Living Hamilton, 191 York Boulevard, Hamilton, Ontario.

The evening opened with music by Paul Hogeterp. At 7 p.m., the Master of Ceremony, Scott Crawford, welcomed people and invited them to put bids on the many lovely articles set up attractively on tables. This was the silent auction and it closed at 9 p.m. The live auction started at 9:05 p.m. but unfortunately my friend wanted to leave.
Music was provided throughout the evening by Paul Hogeterp, Jason Pluim, Melissa & group, and Isobelle Gunn.
I particularly enjoyed the African group who sang and also the young girl and the gentleman (name unknown) who sang back up for her.

The African people "thrill" like the Middle Eastern people do when they are happy. I love to hear that. I believe it is only women who are capable of doing that.

Light refreshments were provided throughout the evening.
Mr. Michael Alemu gave a very interesting speech outlining the work done by Christian Horizons in Zimbabwe, and stressed the need to continue building a dormitory for those students who are developmentally challenged so that they could live at the school. There was also a short video which, unfortunately, went too fast for me to catch everything. It was an excellent video aside from that point.
There are 2,2400 people supported by CH on an on-going basis as well as people given emergency assistance when needed.
Mr. Alemu stated that Zimbabwe used to be known as the 'bread basket" of Africa and he believes firmly that Zimbabwe will rise again.
Although I had to leave earlier, I do know from last year, that the live auction handled by Neil Cudney tends to be lots of fun as people get into the spirit of things. I also know that Joel van Arragon would do a bang up job of thanking the performers as well as the guests for coming.
On a personal note, I was delighted to see so many of St. John's people come out and pleased that they sat with my friend and I. That doubled the pleasure of the evening for me.
A nice evening for a very good cause - raising money to build a dormitory for children who are mentally challenged.
I have just learned that CH raised $2,600 for this project! Congratulations to the organizers!
Christian Horizons do excellent work both in this country and in the world.

Remembrance Day at St. Paul's

My shot is crooked, not the Cross.
Two young boys from the congregation, 8 and 10 years of age, who carried the flags.

As is usual, each Sunday before Remembrance Day, St. Paul's has a little service at the Iona Cross on the front lawn.

It was very well attended and very meaningful.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Seeing oneself on a DVD

I found it quite interesting to see myself on the T.V. via a DVD.

This was the official launch of the Photoshoot at the Freeway Cafe in downtown Hamilton, Ontario.

The people who run "Monkeybiz" got a grant and several community groups were given a disposable camera to take pictures of what interested them and what they wanted to share with the rest of Hamilton.

I chose to go to Pier 8 as I spend a lot of my summer time down there. Some of the group chose other places, such as stone building landmarks, pictures of flowers etc. etc.

The Flamborough seniors group took pictures of themselves and some of their rural beauty. Their group is run out of a local church and there are six of them.

Younger people were also involved and they did some fabulous work as well. I was glad to see the work of the Women's group. This work was done by women who have been through extremely hard times, particularly with regards to their spouses. I believe it is run out of the Good Sheppard Center but am not sure about that.

I was extremely impressed by the excellent qualify and editing job done by the young man who took the video. It was all done very professionally.

It was a potluck for our little seniors group so I brought some of my surprise rolls and they seemed to go quite fast so I assume that people liked them.

For the main event, people came from all over to view the photos.

It was a great deal of work for the organizers but, in my view, it was great as it brought people together! They also had a lovely assortment of food to nibble on for the guests who came to see the photos.

Well done, photographers, organizers and participants!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Preparations are underway

Time is running out and I am getting quite anxious about the food preparation for the party. Certain things I can only do on the same day as I don't have space to keep them, other things such as cakes, I can make ahead.

I have prepared tickets for the door prize last night. It is a donation from Carmen and I think that people will love it! She has wrapped it up so attractively!

I have decided to make open faced sandwiches, fruit trays, vegetable trays , cheese and crackers trays, homemade scones, preserves, cakes and sweet loaves. If I have time, I also will make cucumber sandwiches.

Mohammad will bring falafel, dip, and pida bread and a Middle Eastern salad.

I also plan to make a lovely non-alcoholic punch. Unfortunately, I no longer have a punch bowl but have two pitchers I can use instead. I can always use my large pot to make it in and keep that in the frig in the party room so the pitchers can be refilled.

I will go to the Farmer's Market on Saturday and get the fruit, cold cuts and also cucumbers, the rest my shopper will be getting for me tomorrow.

Once that is all done, then I can concentrate on getting it done. I am expecting at least 50 people but the room has a capacity to hold 100 so it should be fine. Hosea will borrow some chairs from St. John's for me and be in charge of that.

I had to make up a little introduction for myself as well of my writing experiences. It was an interesting thing for me to do. I generally don't like to "blow my own horn", but I have done more than I realized. Once I saw it in black and white, I kept remembering more and putting it down on the introduction sheet.

I have to learn to be more assertive and put myself forward more. Mohammad said that to me, after my reading at Philpott!

It is hard for me to do though as I was not brought up that way.

If the party is not a success, it will not be for lack of effort but I am sure that it will go very well as I have invited some very nice people!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Niagara on the Lake, Queenston and Ste. Catherine's

The plaque at Laura Secord's House
Laura Secord's House

Statue of George Bernard Shaw in Niagara on the Lake

The plaque for George Bernard Shaw in Niagara on the Lake

Some candied apples in a bakery - we resisted the temptation but was it hard!

Jennifer with the same flowering bush

A flowering bush I really liked

In Niagara on the Lake - me

Jennifer - note the matching colours there!

My friend Jennifer and I went on a lovely day trip to this area. We brought our thermos full of coffee, our own sandwiches and cookies and spent a wonderful time looking around at the colourful leaves, the beautiful water scenes and the quaint little shops in Niagara on the Lake.

We dropped in at a fantastic book warehouse in St. Catherine's called Vanwell Publishing Limited, which is opposite Happy Rolph's. It was a very interesting experience for me and I found some books which I will give as presents in the future. My friend had been there before.

Apparently, their main focus is publishing war related books. They carried other kinds of books as well and at marvelous prices! They also had an army surplus store.

They were extremely friendly people and very nice to deal with.

Jennifer knew the area very well and we did a delightful tour in her car and saw some of the local highlights of the areas. So many vineyards and delightful fruit stands to see.

We spent a number of hours in Niagara on the Lake and it was great to be there again after about 30 years away!

We loved poking about in the many little shops and we enjoyed chatting with some of the merchants who were very friendly to us.

The roads were not as crowded as we had anticipated on the way there or even on the way back to Hamilton.

Even though there was no hint of sunlight the whole time we were there, it was still warm enough to check out the various shops and enjoy people watching.

All in all, a fantastic time!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A nice time spent with a young friend

Shona came over yesterday after school and this time we used hardware wire and made window decorations.

It was so much fun and we had a lovely chat while working. She will hang her artistic endeavours in her window so that the light will catch them in the morning.

She comes once a week and we do a different project each time.

I really enjoy her company! I like being around young people.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Philpott Coffeehouse 2009

Olga and I, at our table, taken by Mohammad
Mohammad and Olga, friends we had invited.

Ed & Wilma on stage

Ed & I together on the stage. Taken by a very nice man who offered to take us together.

Another shot, taken by Ed

Wilma on the stage reading

Another view of Ed reading.

Ed Woods, reading from his new poetry book

We had a marvelous time last night. There was a good and appreciative crowd there which makes performing much nicer.

As usual, Philpott had decorated their gym in a fantastic manner. As one stepped in, one felt the ambiance right away with twinkling lights on large potted plants, comfy sofas and chairs, tables for four, and on top of the tablecloths, tea lights glowed.

A long table, laden with refreshments was near the music stage. It was laden with vegetables platters, crackers and cheese, and a lovely array of squares and cakes. To the side, they had a beverage table with coffee, tea and juice for those who wished it.

I have found this event very well organized in the past and I was not disappointed this time either!

Sara and Joel Klinck were the Masters of Ceremony and they did a terrific job. Joel even remembered from last year that he needed to give me a hand up to the stage when it was my turn. Such a lovely young couple. It was grand to see them again.

The programme was well set up, in my view, allowing people time to stretch their legs and walk around and view the wonderful paintings and pottery on display which Philpott members have done. I particularly loved the needlepoint one and took a picture of it.

The programme was varied with two intermissions of ten minutes each. There were poets, singers, a medley of Reels and Jigs, and an opera singer. Japanese, French, Spanish and English were all used in this delightful programme.

It ended about 10 and was a wonderful evening, spent with compatible friends. If Ed and I are invited to perform next year, I think both of us will do that. They are such an appreciate audience and so very friendly!