Thursday, February 26, 2009

A busy day again today!

I have to do some research today on Lenten customs from the many different Christian traditions. My friend Rosie would like me to bring that into my topic for the ladies group.

I had thought of the Coptic church, the Armenian church, the Orthodox church among the few different branches as they would be very different to most of the European ladies who will be listening to the topic.

Rosie will come tomorrow and we will plan the programme for the ladies group meeting in March. I am used to doing it all, so have to try to be a team player here! Each October since arriving in Hamilton, I have done the whole spiritual side of the programme for Home Circle.

The World Day of Prayer is coming up on March 6th and this year it will be held in a Roman Catholic Church. Last year, I was the guest speaker and in spite of a threatened big storm, there was a very good turnout so I hope that there will be a good turnout this year as well. I shall be taking part in the programme but in another role.

On another note, I have been asked to do an afternoon workshop at Freeway on Creative Writing which I have accepted. It should be fun! I am already planning it mentally in my head and once the topic for the ladies group is done, I shall plan that one.

At the same time, the co-ordinator asked me to co-lead a jewellery making workshop at Freeway. I don't need to plan much for that, just show up and demonstrate. I have had three ladies tell me I should sell my work as it is beautiful.

As you can imagine, I am quite touched by their compliments. It would mean that I have to do all the government papers again in order to get my vendor's license. We'll see. I do know that you can sell up to $100.00 worth before you need to get a vendor's license, but that would not take long to do, if I were to sell.

I've done it before but for other things. I once had a flower arranging business and I would go around to ladies church groups, do a worship service, which of course, included a topic, do a demonstration on how to do flower arraangements, and sell some arrangements.

It went quite well and I had quite a few bookings but working full time, looking after children (2), animals (4) and a home, was just too much for me so I had to give it up.

It was a little bit hard, too, as I had to take a bus to get to my bookings and carrying all the necessary things I needed to do demonstrations, was quite difficult.

However, I did enjoy being with the ladies very much. I remember Deer Park United Church on Avenue Road in Toronto were particularly kind to me. The ladies paid a taxi home for me. They insisted. I shall never forget that act of kindness.

It brings back a wonderful memory of a dear lady in the congregation at Timothy Eaton United Church on St. Clair, coming up to me after the devotions and telling me how my topic had touched her heart. I was very thankful for that and it encouraged me to keep on.

I think women's writing and ministry is what I am good at - men think so very different from women and my poetry and writing reflects a woman's heart, not a man.

I think, today, I shall go to the School of Hairdressing and get a haircut. My friend Carmen likes my hair longer but it is at the stage now that it is bothering me and I cannot do anything with it!

I am so fortunate to live within walking distance of this school and the price certainly is right - $5.50 for a haircut.

Have a great day and thanks for reading my blog. Please feel free to make comments. I love to hear from people and I can understand Spanish and German, so leave your comments......

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Finding a bead store in Hamilton

I am so delighted that I have found a bead store right on Ottawa Street off Barton. It is only about 20 minutes to get to on the bus and they have a nice wide selection of beads and findings to choose from.

A friend of mine will drive me to Dundas one of these days, and show me one there as well.

I love making jewellery and people seem to be happy to receive them as gifts.
It makes me very happy when I see how much they like them.

Friday, February 20, 2009

A sad experience at the Mall

Yesterday I went over to the mall to return some library videos and on my way back from there, I was stopped by a woman asking for money. I told her I didn't have much but asked her if a dollar would help.

As it happened, I had $2.00 left and gave it to her. Immediately, two police offers swooped down on us and told her to give me my money back. She did and the police were quite tough with her verbally and escorted her out of the mall. I don't know where they were hiding but they got her in the act of begging which is illegal here in Hamilton.

The police woman was the tougher of the two! They obviously knew this woman by the way they talked to her.

After they were gone, two very nice ladies came over to me and told me that this had happened to a friend of theirs and her purse had been stolen and she had been knocked down and injured.

These two ladies were so kind. They also pointed out how vulnerable I was using a walker and that dishonest people take advantage of vulnerable people.

I had never thought of myself as vulnerable, and that really hit home. I went home and cried and cried. My intention was so good.

I wonder why the police don't stop the fellow who begs each day at the corner of James and King? Perhaps it was because it was on Mall property that they swooped down. I don't know.

Needless to say, being the somewhat sensitive person that I am, I felt a little "down".

Happily, it was my poetry group that night and even though it was a very bitter cold night, I decided to go as it is very near my home.

I was very glad that I did go, as it cheered me up. I had written a poem about a Spring Rain Walk and this was the first group to critique it. The Executive in that group of poets are university/college teachers who teach poetry and they know how to encourage and help people improve. I always feel encouraged to continue after their meetings.

They do it in such a gentle way that one is not afraid to hear what they have to say.

I was glad that the day ended on such a positive note!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My week is getting exciting!

I had thought it would be a very quiet week, but now things are picking up. Two parties to go to, one ladies group meeting, one book launch, one poetry workshop. Not to mention what has already happened. A visit from my Toronto friend, and ladies group meeting and tonight is the book launch.

Plus I have to write a poem and an article for The Columbine Magazine, Also, plan a programme and write a topic for the next ladies group within the next two or three weeks. Participate in the World Day of Prayer event at the Hungarian church, plus work on my jewellery business.

No rest for the wicked, or so it seems.......

Monday, February 16, 2009

My friend's visit

What an absolutely wonderful day we had today! When Asma and I get together, we have so many interesting discussions and lots of laughs.

I am so blessed to have her as a friend.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valemtine's Sweetheart Soiree at Whitehern

These ladies sang like angels and I just loved the fiddle music. The event was held in the stable.
The Sweet Mathilda's - dressed in period costumes.

I was a lovely evening spent with friends. Anita brought a new lady, Bebe and she was very nice. Jeff was our only male with us three ladies but he seemed happy and I am sure liked the attention!

The house tour was lovely in the evening and I chose to sit quietly and just listen. I really enjoyed that as I was able to soak in the atmosphere of the house without a lot of people around me.

I stayed downstairs on the bench and listened to Liz, the cultural interpreter, read some of the love letters that were received by members of the McQuesten family. It really was sad that, although there were suitors, none of them ever married, thus the line finished with them.

I thought back to the time when my parents were courting. They met at Young People's at church, courted for many years, then when both of them were 25, married in the church. They were married over 50 years and when my mother died, my Dad was very lonely even though he had my unmarried brother living with him. The three of them were very close as my elder brother and I had branched out early in life to make families of our own.

My Aunt and Uncle, the same. They met at church, courted for a long time, and married and were together for the rest of their long lives. I remember being told that when they were courting, my Uncle would take my Aunt out in a canoe on the Lachine Chanel.

An interesting aside here, was that my Aunt had another beau, a really nice and good man, but once she met my Uncle, this dear man did not stand a chance. He even told me that himself.

This gentleman was a second cousin to my father and he really loved my Aunt but after she married my Uncle, he eventually married another lady. It is interesting to note that both those ladies were elementary school teachers, and both had taught in one room schoolhouses.
We all lived very close to each other in Lachine and thus, as children, we had lots of family surrounding us with sharp eyed aunts or uncles and neighbours to make sure we didn't get into mischief!!!

Life, in those days, seemed to center around the church and this is how people met their mates.
It still happens today in the Young Adult Groups but now young people go off to distant universities and may meet others whose families they do not know.

Not only in the churches do young people meet, it also happens in the Mosques oversees and here in Canada. Families know families and this is how the young folk know each other.

It seems a much safer way to meet a mate, than at a bar or a dancehall, at least to me.

The evening went by very fast, a lovely sweet table, decaf coffee or tea and, the highlight of the evening, The Sweet Mathilda's, a singing group who harmonize like angels! We know Lonnie, the leader of this group, from Whitehern.

All in all, a nice time was had by all.
The girls walked me most of the way home, which I appreciated. They returned to their car. Our lone male just seemed to have disappeared at the end of the evening but I am sure he got home safely as well as he had his car with him.
All in all, a delightful evening, spent in a lovely atmosphere.

The McQuesten family were strictly brought up, in the Presbyterian tradition, and were teatottlers. I can relate very well to their way of life and I think that must be why I love going there so often. I feel "at home" there.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Goodness, does nobody have any opinions???

Does nobody except this challenge? It could be such a fun thing. I keep checking to see if there are any comments, but thus far, nobody has made one comment!

Surely, in this whole wide world, there must be one person who is not afraid to give their opinion on this subject....

Yesterday, at the dinner table with the group of friends I go out with once a month during the winter and every week during the summer, we had a very quick discussion on expectations. Our lone male with us that time, sure learned a great deal. Poor dear man will never be the same! In spite of that, when he is not working, he would like to come to our little group again.

Come on world, express yourself!!!!

Me, mourning the lack of comments on my male/female relationship blog.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Relationships between man and woman

Ah, such an interesting topic and one dear to my heart!

I would love to start a discussion on this issue and comments are more than welcome. E-mail comments are also much appreciated for those who cannot figure out how to make comments on blogs. It is so difficult sometimes and faster to send an e-mail!

In fact, it should be quite an interesting topic as men and women think very differently and their expectations are very different..

Speaking as a woman and how I think, if a gentleman is interested in me, then he should show his interest in actions as well as words.

If he is interested in getting to know me, he could invite me for a coffee or for a meal and pay for it. The money is not the issue here, I can afford to pay for myself but it is his willingness to spend from what he has, on me. If he is a poor man, he could be creative and think of ways to show his interest and not spend over what he can afford.

I really don't believe in this Dutch Treat business when it comes to a relationship. I also don't believe in taking advantage of his generosity either and would try and suggest reasonable priced places to go which would definitely include free concerts, picnics in the park, walks, joining groups together etc. etc.

To repay, I would try and do little things for him which I hope he will be wise enough to realize that I am pulling my own weight in the relationship. (In this case, it sure is a lot of weight to pull!)

I also may even cook him a good meal, if it is a special occasion such as a birthday or some special occasion for him.

A relationship is something that builds in trust over a period of time and well worth the effort. I have noticed that the best relationships in people that I know, have been with people who have similar interests, backgrounds and built on trust for each other.

Those are my two cents worth - what is your opinion? Jump in, have fun and I particularly would like to hear the male side of the issue.

This could become a real interesting debate. Hopefully it will brighten up a dull February day or week!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Annual Meeting at St. John's

Random snapshots at the dinner tables.
One section of the downstairs hall.

On February 8th, 2009, St. John’s Lutheran Church held its annual meeting after the joint English/German church service.

After the business was concluded, the congregants went downstairs to enjoy a lovely meal of home made chicken soup and sandwiches. For desert, scrumptious , melt in your mouth delicacies were served along with coffee and herbal tea.

The ladies of E.L.W. (women's group) once again have surpassed themselves in preparing this delicious meal.

Retirement Dinner

My friend Kevin and Dr. Dickey
The Head Table - Dr. Dickey is the one in the middle.

On Saturday night, it was the retirement dinner of Dr. Jim Dickey at St. Paul's. It was very well attended and his whole family came from all parts of the country. The ladies of the church prepared a lovely turkey dinner with all the trimmings and apple strudel with ice cream. Of course, tea and coffee ended the meal as usual.

Three guest speakers were invited to attend and speak about him and his life work and they did a tremendous job. One of the men even composed a nice poem all about Dr. D!

It was great to see how well attended the event was and to hear all the good wishes being sent his way.

I hope that his retirement will be a good one and he will find lots of things to interest him. He is a very intelligent man, a great writer and was the Editor, for some time, of the Presbyterian Record magazine.

I particularly will miss his sense of humour!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Shall I stay, or shall I go???

My sense of humour has gotten me in hot water twice, so far, on Facebook. Each time it was with people I don't know and who do not know me. I have apologized both times in order to keep the peace and perserve harmony and tried to explain to the unknown person that I was just joking. The actual person I was addressing the remark to, should know me well enough to know that I was just joking. I even put "joke, joke" at the end of the remark so there would be no misunderstanding.

I am upset that my joke has been interpreted by an unknown person to me , in the wrong way.

I like Facebook very much but I do not like the fact that strangers to me (friends to others) are judging me wrongly (in this case only).

Perhaps I am overreacting, but I am quite upset right now.

I am thinking of getting off Facebook and yet, I love being able to keep in touch with long distance friends and family.

I don't like to ruffle feathers, so to speak, but mine were ruffled today!!!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Ricky Valens

I was watching Vision TV last night and they had the life story of Ricky Valens on. I remember his songs and his voice and knew a little bit abit about his life story but this movie painted a better picture for me. It was such a sad story, in some ways, and yet a story of real love. The love of a son for his Mom and the love of a girl who was forbidden to him by her father.

This young man showed his love for his Mom by buying her a house to live in where she would be safe and secure after her difficult life.

He expressed his deep love of the girl by writing a song about her - "Donna"

I found it such a moving story that I was in tears in part of it. The one son taking drugs and alcohol and acting out, and the other son choosing the path of music to express his feelings.

Such a contrast in the two boys.

When Ricky Valens was killed in the plane crash, the other son, Bobby, finally matured and took responsibility seriously.

I could see why he was acting out. He felt unappreciated and in the shadows of his talented brother. He felt that his Mom loved Ricky more than him.

How lucky are people who can express their emotions through the writing of poetry, stories, songs or can paint pictures.

My son writes songs and sings them, at one time he had thought of writing stories, but song writing became more appealing to him. I encouraged him by sending him for voice lessons when he was much younger.

My daughter, also, has a nice voice and enjoys music to this day. Music was always a big part of our home life when my children were growing up.

Due to Ricky Valens Mexican heritage on his mother's side, music most likely was a great part of his identify and influenced him in his very early days.

In my view, this young man was lost to this world too young. He had a lot to offer.

I hope to be able to watch Vision TV tonight at 9 p.m. to see the movie about Buddy Holly.


Thursday, February 5, 2009

Oscar Peterson

Today some friends and I met at Central Library to see a movie on this famous jazz player.

Although it was a really cold day again today, some of us managed to get there to enjoy this wonderful story of this famous Canadian.

The movie showed footage of his early Montreal days when he lived with his Mom and Dad and siblings in St. Henri which is a working class neighbourhood in Montreal, Quebec.

He was born in August 1925 and died in December of 2007.

His Dad was a sleeping car porter for the railroad which was how he supported his family. At that time, it was very difficult for black people to get work in the 1940's.

His Dad seemed to have had a very powerful influence on Mr. Peterson all the days of his life and just shows what a huge influence parents have on their children.

There were times in this factual story, when I had tears in my eyes as I saw the injustices done to non-white people by discrimination and outright violence.

As a young girl, I can remember travelling in the Southern United States and seeing signs on restaurants which said "Dogs and negroes not allowed". I also remember, while boarding a bus in Washington, D.C. and going for an available back seat, being told by a very nice black man who could see I was not from there, that I was not to sit there.

Even as a very young girl, I felt those injustices done and still find so many prejudices which seperate people from each other, whether it be in faith, creed or colour.

I think what upset me so much was when I saw that Mr. Peterson was turned away from the Ritz Carlton in downtown Montreal due to his colour.

We, in Canada, are not exempt from our prejudices, I am very sad to say.

I would heartedly recomment this picture to anybody who may be interested to learn about a great Canadian musician.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Weekend in Toronto, Ontario

Cutting her cake -Sonia and Rene bought this lovely ice cream cake!
Wilma, Margaret, Sonia and Eunice - rene took this picture.

Margaret, Eunice and Sonia at the table.

The birthday lady - showing the gifts I brought her. The CD and the necklace, bracelet and earings, plus Princess, her much loved dog.

It was a cold, but nice weekend as I stepped out of my door and pulled my little red suitcase behind me. Clickity, clack, clickity clack, along we went for our six or seven minute walk to the Go Terminal on Hunter Street.

For some unexplicable reason, I was early and as I went onto the bus platform, I saw the Toronto bus sitting there ready to be loaded.

My little red suitcase and I trotted over to the short line up and waited for the driver to come back. As I looked back, I saw the line grow bigger and bigger as more people came. I was glad that I was one of the first in line as I would get the seat near the driver.

One big heave and my little suitcase was put into the "hold" on the side of the bus. The next hurdle was to get up those narrow and windy stairs. Each muscle which I never knew I had; protested about this injustice to them, as cane in hand, handbag looped over my neck, I clambered aboard the waiting bus. Gone are the days I can gracefully get into a bus or a car!

The ride in was uneventful, passing Burlington, Oakville, Mississauga and then finally into Toronto and the downtown area.

The place where Wheeltrans picks up passengers is under the clock at Front and Bay which is about a five minute walk from the Go Station.

I was early so found a cozy little spot in the quieter part of Union Station and had a coffee and read my little pocket book about cat adventures.

The rules in Toronto for Wheeltrans is that the passenger has to be outside waiting for half an hour under the clock at Union Station so as you can imagine, I was quite cold.

I qualify still for Wheeltrans in Toronto as I had it before, so was very lucky to be able to keep it even when I moved away. The fare is the same as a regular Toronto bus ticket.

For those who may not know what Wheeltrans is, it is a specialized service for people with disabilities. People using walkers, scooters, wheelchairs get picked up at their homes and brought to their destinations. In the case of Toronto's Wheeltrans service, one has to call the day ahead and hope to get a ride.

Calling from Hamilton almost ensures that you get a ride as they service out of town people and deaf people on that line. I learned a valuable lesson one time, I should book my return trip while in Hamilton, otherwise I and hundreds of other people will be trying to get a ride and may not succeed.

It happened to me once that I had to remain at my friend's place for two days before I could get a ride back down to Union Station to return to Hamilton.

A mini-van, with a ramp, picked me up - a very pleasant driver who was so very helpful to me, helping me over a snow bank and taking my suitcase from me. Those things really mean a lot to me.

I arrived at my friend Margaret's early as I was the lone passenger this time. Normally, there may be other passengers who are going in the same direction but this time, I was alone.

What a blessing it is to have Wheeltrans still. I could not climb the stairs in the subway with my suitcase.

Sonia and Rene arrived about 2 p.m. and Eunice came later Sonia and Rene had insisted that they go to the Mandarin and buy lunch for everybody which was very gracious of them.

We had a lovely time and chatted together. As always, I took the pictures and have already sent them to be developed at Japan Camera in the mall.
The next day, Margaret and I spent a quiet time until the Van came to pick me up. This driver was extremely talkative. He and his wife had seven children, all of which went to University here in Canada and all are doing well. They are from Somalia. His Grandmother and Mother-in-Law live with them in a big house which they bought.
I really enjoyed talking and listening to him and in my view, he has done extremely well. It was a great arrangement really, two parents working, children being looked after by the grandmothers who also looked after the cleaning and the cooking.
It just shows what a cohesive family group can do if they all pull together.
The bus going home was so crowded, with people standing and I was thankful I got a seat in the very back.
All in all, a very nice weekend.