Sunday, July 26, 2009

Port Dover trip

Our roaring campfire at Cindy's cottage!
The Mexican connection bundled up against the chill, with her Canadian husband not feeling the wind or chill! At Cindy's cottage.

A small segment of our group in the hotel dining room

A Mexican/Canadian lady at the beach in Port Dover!

Carmen, her hair covered by her Mexican shawl, shelters with her darling husband Wally, under the handy black umbrella!

The before shot - picnicing at Port Dover!

We had a wonderful time, my friends and I. We were able to enjoy our delicious picnic lunch with the sandwiches and coffee. However, as coffee was being drank, the rain started!

Fortunately, we were sheltered under a lovely old tree and this saved us from becoming totally soaked. Happily, also we had umbrellas with us. One was a new one for me as a birthday present from Carmen and Wally.

They had seen this great umbrella up in Trois Rivere which was of cats. Needless to say, I love it!

Actually, it was a golden opportunity to take a picture of Carmen and Wally sheltering under their umbrella at the picnic table! We should send it to her Mom in Mexico and label it "Picnic time in Canada!"

It does seem that summer has not yet arrived. Mind you, saw some people swimming and surfing on the beach there after the rain lifted so the water may not have been as cold as it looked!

After our little picnic we decided to drive over to the beach area and sit and watch the waves crash against the breakers. I loved that part. As a child, I used to love being in my little rowboat and steer my boat into the waves of the big ships on the St. Laurence River.

Time was running out, so we headed to the the Lighthouse Festival Theatre in town where we saw a very good play called The Outlaw. Norm Foster was the playwright and also acted in it.

I really enjoyed this one as there were less swear words in it, and it also showed the rough justice which prevailed at that time in the States. I have been to another one of his plays in years gone by, but preferred this one.

After the play, our group went to the hotel for a scrumptious dinner. I have always found the service there as well as the food excellent. The dining room was filled and our group had a special room all set up for us.

One of our friends, Cindy, had invited us up to her cottage which was close by on Lake Erie and so we drove there. We had a camp fire, smores, and the most wonderful tea biscuits I have ever tasted!

It was late by the time we got home, but well worth it, as it was a fabulous day. This whole day was my birthday treat from Carmen and Wally and they could not have chosen a nicer treat!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Riding the Barton bus!

Remind me never take the Barton bus again after 1 or 2 p.m. Morning time it usually is okay though.

Wall to wall people! It would be nice if they put one of those stretch buses on, especially at rush hour time! The service is good, about every ten minutes but there always seems to be lots of people on that route.

Yesterday was a damp, humid day and the bus was packed with all types of people.

Short people, tall people, fat people, skinny people and the in between!

Among the characters in the play, aptly named the Barton Bus, was an old man with a walker who would not budge, even when people had to squeeze past him. People did not say a word to him, just squeezed by. It was an interesting experience watching them. I kept waiting for somebody to tell him to move down in the bus so that others could get in, but nobody did.

The plot thickened as people kept coming into the already packed bus. Folks with walkers, both men and women; an old guy who had a huge shopping cart whose talk was of his Korean War days, a darling little solemn faced baby in his stroller whose Mom was overseeing the placement of her three other little ones, the washed and the unwashed, all blending in together.

The little man, whose vantage point was of legs; some covered by slacks, some not covered at all, seemed to be surveying his domain with resignation as the bus lurched on. It would have been interesting to know what the little guy thought as he sat there so quietly and patiently.

Due to the humid air, the smells in the bus were "special". So special that I would have liked to have gotten off but I wanted to go down to Ottawa Street and the Barton bus is the vehicle available to me.

Mind you, in spite of the crowded conditions, I saw some lovely acts of kindness done for those who were disabled and for some elderly frail people. That made the day right for me.

It was also a joy to see the young mother and her darling little chap, along with her three other children get off on Ottawa Street and meet her friend, who also had a baby and another child with her.

A day of window shopping, or perhaps even shopping? Who knows, but it was grand to see the happiness of this rendezvous.

Ottawa Street is a worthwhile experience just to walk around down there. Fabric shops, a jewellery supply shop, a bedding shop, and the list could go on and on....

To say the least, going down to Ottawa Street on the Barton bus is an experience and one worthy of either of poem or a one act play! I wonder if the mood will strike me to write a poem about it?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Black Forest Inn

My friend Jennifer and our very friendly waitress!
One of the waitresses took this picture of Jennifer and I. Note her lovely elephant necklace. I redesigned it and made it into a different necklace! She loved it.

My friend Jennifer invited me to dine with her at the Black Forest Inn on King Street. It is one of my favourite places to go here in Hamilton.

As it happens, Rosie and Trudy were there as well which was so nice.

We had a delicious meal and there was enough to bring a doggie bag home! We decided to walk over to Arts Hamilton since we were parked near bye and it was a good job that we did.

Apparently they were trying to get in touch with me as I had to pick up the 3 packages of short stories to judge. It is a lot of reading and I try very hard to be fair so I have my work cut out for me for the next few days.

Tambu, Jennifer and I had a nice chat and we enjoyed our time there. There were no sales of any of the jewellery of any of the jewellery artists but they are thinking of putting one of the students outside with a table and displaying it that way.

I found out that Tambu writes romantic stories so I should like to read them. In Zimbabwye she was a journalist. After we left there, we went to Denningers and then to No Frills. Jennifer is so kind to take me there as it means a chance for me to get some groceries without lugging them on the bus.

The rain was quite heavy, but in spite of that, we had a good time!


Monday, July 20, 2009

Trip up to Limeridge Mall

Today I went up to the mountain (actually not a real high mountain!) to Limeridge Mall. I haven't been there for ages and as I had an offer of free batteries, I decided to go up.

While I was there, I checked out the high end jewellery stores to see what their prices are. This mall is probably the nicest mall in Hamilton. It is similar to Yorkdale in Toronto with Sears and the Bay in it.

It has two stories and many, many different stores.

I only needed to buy some bandaids which I did and then came home.

I just loved the Swarovski Store there. One day I may treat myself to a beautiful ornament which is of a brillant blue and orange coloured birds. It is very expensive but I just love it.

The lady at that store was a very nice person and we had a lovely chat. She explained that the Swarovski crystals are layers all throughout the crystal and that is why they are so special. Other companies only use two or three layers and so they do not sparkle as much as the Swarovski crystals do.

Everything in the shop comes from Austria where the factory is. They have their own designers and I must say, they do a gorgeous job!

It was an interesting time for me to see all the fine work.

My jewellery that I make is lovely as well, but I still have to learn to work with metal and to solder which I may eventually do.

A nice day at the mall. The weather is great as well, not too hot with a little breeze.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A visit by my brother Brian, wife Pam and daughter Janet

My brother Brian. They love Indian food and were so delighted to find a restaurant near me. In Cape Breton there are none! They would have to drive into Halifax to find one.
Myself at the Tah Mahal Restaurant near me.

My dear niece Janet. A nurse by profession, a horse trainer by choice!

My darling sister-in-law who is like a sister to me. I never had a sister so I am so blessed to have her as a sister-in-law!

Pam, Brian and daughter Janet at the Tah Mahal.

They made good time driving from London to Hamilton and arrived a little after 1 p.m.

I cancelled my plans to go to the writing exercise group as I haven't seen them for several years although we are constantly in touch via phone or e-mail.

I was so happy to see them that my heart was singing. I had made pendants for all the girls on their side of the family. I hope that they will all enjoy wearing them.

After a little visit, we all went to the Tah Mahal for lunch. They thoroughly enjoyed the food and the ambience of the place.

As it was a buffet style lunch, we all could pick what we wanted.

Pam and Janet came back upstairs with me for another little visit while Brian took a rest in the car.

I was sad to see them go as who knows when the next time will be when we see each other. Pam asked if I was allowed to fly, and I have to check with my cardiologist. It has been years since I have been in Cape Breton, I think it was the early 90's. I wouldn't mind going again for a week.

I will have to see what my cardioligist says.

All in all, a wonderful time spent with my family. Just Brian and I are left out of six people.

Both Brian and I are quiet people, Pam is a chatty person.
Now I have some wonderful memories to think on.
As a gift and rememberance of their time in China, they bought me a Mongolian wallet which is lovely, lots of compartments in it. How very kind of them.
Brian will be going back to China for six more weeks of teaching and Pam will be starting back teaching at the university at home.
They have known each other since Pam was 18 and Brian was 21 and have had a good solid marriage. They are married almost 50 years now. Hard to believe!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A lovely afternoon with Martha

Martha and Jason, her daughter's bulldog! For some reason, he took to me and we became good buddies.
Martha and Angel, her lovely little dog!

Martha, Jen and Nancy on the back porch!

Had a splendid time at my friend Martha's place. Her daughter Jen and her sister Nancy came as well and we enjoyed a nice lunch on the back porch! Her daughter and family are away so she had the whole place to herself. There is a hot tub, swimming pool, and trampoline as well in the backyard. If I only had remembered that, I sould have brought my swimming suit and gone in both of them!

I missed the stop and had to walk back but this place is easier for me to find than the one she had before.

One takes any Deleware bus at Main and McNabb and then gets off at Myrtle Park and walks forward. One sees the Jehovah's Witness church on the left side and Sanford is right there.

Much easier to find. She seems very happy there as well and I am glad as she is with her family.

I like it too!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Reconnecting with an old friend

How amazing, through Facebook and another friend's page, I came across an old friend I had not seen or heard from in ten years!

At first I was not sure if it was the same person, as she has long, long hair now and when I knew her, she was very young and had short hair. It was a picture of her with a young man as well so I could not be sure. At that time when I knew her, she was unmarried and living with her parents.

Imagine my happiness to learn that it was indeed the same young lady and we have now established a reconnection. She also is a poet and also makes jewellery!

We always had a lot in common, but somehow we lost our connection before I left Toronto. We just were not travelling in the same circles anymore.

I am so delighted to be back in touch with her.

She is a delightful young lady and a very good poet as well.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sunday, a day of rest?

We had a guest preacher at St. Paul's today. I thought he was quite interesting as he talked about the work of the church and the work of social service groups such as the Masons and the Kiiwanas. He asked us to think about the similarities and what makes the church different from those groups. I could hear every word he said which was nice for a change.

I liked his style as well, as he was not dressed in robes but rather dressed in a casual way - very fitting for the hot weather and no air conditioning!

I went home after chatting with some dear friends there and designed a pair of earring with Swarovski crystals. It was such a beautiful day that I decided to go down to the waterfront after my job was done and enjoy a couple of hours sitting by the water.

What a real blessing it is to have the shuttle bus to Pier 8! I sat and read for about two hours, watched and heard the water, listened to other folk as they interacted and in general enjoyed the coolness of being beside the water.

The sky was threatening and I was getting quite cold so decided to go back on the Shuttlebus.

I remember that Jeanette had invited me to a worship service at the Freeway where she would be speaking and so took the No. 1 bus to it.

She is a natural before the Mic, and I liked how she kept her message simple and down to earth. I thought it was very appropriate for the gathering of people that frequent the Freeway. It is a place where students, developmentally challenged folk, people with mental health issues, and just about anybody would feel comfortable in.

Jeanette is an intelligent young lady and uses that intelligence to not talk down to people but to get to their respective levels, which is a high compliment from me!

After the service, waited for the bus forever it seemed. Sunday service is not the best here in Hamilton but at least they run!

All in all, a fruitful day.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Army duty

Ken is off this morning to Toronto and then to Gagetown, N.B. where he will spend two weeks doing army training.

It sounds rather gruesome to me, sleep deprivation, being in the field for a few days at a time and pushing oneself very hard.

He likes being in the Army though ,so whatever makes him happy is what I want for him.

I shall miss him. It is always at the back of my mind that if I really need something, I can call on him. I hardly ever do, but it is a comfort to me to know that. I try not to be a burden on either of my children.

I shall miss our little chats on the e-mail, phone and in person as well. We get along so well, as do Anna, Bill and I. I am most fortunate.

He took his Blackberry with him and will e-mail me from time to time when he is there which will be nice.

This afternoon I may go down to the waterfront and enjoy the time there. We'll see.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

An afternoon at Whitehern

Two sweet little angels dancing up a storm!
Jeff started off the dancing with his arms, then they graduated to dancing on their feet!

Dancers from our table. Jeff and Grace. The music was so infectious that their feet started tapping!

As is usual, a group of us met at Whitehern Historical House for an afternoon of beautiful music and snacks in the back yard. Whitehern's Concerts are from 12-2 and are free. One can buy lemonade or tea for $1.00 and have as many refills as one wants.

It was a lovely day - not too hot, not too cool. At several points during the concert, the weather looked threatening but fortunately it held off very nicely. City Hall construction workers were busy doing their job which created a fair amount of noise, but we could do nothing about that.

We had three new people come to our group from my side, Ed, Carmelita and James. Anita, from her Y group brought three ladies as well. It is always good to welcome new people to the group.
Carmelita, Ed and I went to the Freeway Seniors Group after that while two others of our group went to a jazz concert somewhere. It was great to see Ed walking about so well. He is amazing! His knee surgery and his recuperation went extremely well.

All in all, beautiful music and a good time in the garden.
At the Freeway Cafe, a few more people turned up and the group is slowly growing. Jeanette had a good suggestion that we enter a contest whereby we take pictures (from a disposal camera) and then pick out our best picture to enter into a contest. The cameras and developing are free. There will be a exhibit of various seniors/youth pictures and a ceremony at some point.
It sounds like fun so Jeanette will arrange it. I plan to use Boots and Tiger as part of my picture taking - Boots, especially, has a very photogenic look to him!
In two weeks time, we are going to Gage Park as a group which also should be fun. I suggested that we go down by the shuttle bus another time to enjoy the waterfront as we will be meeting over the summer months. This idea was well received.
Speaking of the waterfront, the Whitehern Group would like to do another picnic like we did last year so I will organize it.
Carmelita and Ed drove me home which was really nice of them. Ed never seems to mind driving me and Carmelita is a darling. They suit each other so well, as they both are "giving" people. We get along really, really well and I am very comfortable with both of them.
Ah speaking of organizing, I have written the article on me as requested by the editor of Monkeybiz. Jeannette suggested me as the first senior to be featured in their new section. I don't see what is so interesting about me, but I wrote it in the third person and tried to make it interesting.
I checked out with the editor (through Jeanette) about some of the fine print on their site and am now satisifed, so I did the article as requested.
I hope people will find it interesting enough and it does not send them to sleep!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Williams Pub and Pier 8, Botannical Gardens

Part of the rose gardens.

A real musical instrument which actually plays, carved out of a giant log!

At the fountain at Hendrie Gardens, Royal Botannical Gardens, Burlington, Ontario

Another pleasant day with a compatable friend! The gardens were lovely and there were many people in them. I particularly liked the medical plant part of the garden where it told which herbs were for which conditions.
I studied that years ago and made a card file of helpful herbs but it was good to refresh my memory.
On the way home, we stopped at Easterbrooke's in Burlington for Stoney Creek ice cream. A fitting end to a lovely time.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

July 4 in Hamilton, Ontario

Olga, a gal I have known almost since I arrived here. She is from Columbia. She also designs lovely jewellery and it is worth a visit to her booth at Pier 8 to see her work.

A close up of some of the beautiful flowers at Gage Park.

Gage Park - "It's Your Festival" - the pony rides for the children $5.00 a ride.

Right now I wish I could turn the speaker off who is broadcasting from Gore Park! The loudspeaker is so loud that I can hardly hear the news on the T.V. I'm all in favour of religious freedom but I also think other people who live nearbye have the right to have peace and quiet in their homes! I am sure that the few people that are listening in Gore Park do not need the loudspeakers so loud!

I wonder if they would allow that in a residential area on the mountain? This is a new group, haven't seen them before. Tomorrow, the regular group will come and they, too, think people are deaf!

In this respect only, it will be good when winter comes as groups do not come then.

There also is a group that comes from Toronto. I guess Hamiltonians must be really terrible people if people from another city come.......

Well, enough of my rant. It is very irrating when you cannot even hear yourself think! It has been going on since 5 p.m. and now it is almost 7 p.m.

Anyway, in spite of the loudspeaker blaring, I had a great day. I went to Gage Park for "It's your Festival". I only stayed about an hour and a half at the most. It was mostly for children or if you wanted to buy crafts. I did take some lovely pictures of the flowers though and of the pony ride area.

A friend of mine was planning to go today but I did not see him there so perhaps he went later than I did. It's too bad, as it is always nicer to go with somebody than alone.

In any event, I had seen enough and hopped on the city bus and went to where the Shuttlebus came in. Went down to Pier 8 to see my friend Olga and the craft area which is there every Saturday. I really enjoyed that and she introduced me to quite a few people with whom she was selling. It was her birthday today so some friends had brought some yummy cake and they gave me a piece of it. I stayed chatting with her and her friends for about three quarters of an hour, then I went to sit near the water and be quiet.

Since I was near the Sheraton Hotel when I arrived back from Pier 8, I went up to the second floor to the Latvian exhibition. Lovely embroidered work, silver jewellery, hand crafted wooden chests, people dressed in traditional clothing. Very beautiful and well worth the time to see it.

There is a conference in Hamilton of the Latvian community and they all are staying at the Sheraton Hotel.
I decided to treat myself to lunch/supper at Toby's Restaurant in the Mall. Had a lovely chat with the sweet young waitress there. She was telling me how she saved up her money while in High School and bought herself a car and paid for her insurance as well as her college education.
A delightful young person. I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with her.
I came home, tired but happy. Sorry I missed seeing my friend at Gage Park but unless people meet each other at a designated spot, it is almost impossible to find anybody there.
Oh well, another time.

My latest designs

Sterling silver chain, hand crafted bail and clasp, Swarovski crystal bead. Expensive to make, expensive to buy!
The redesigned elephant pendant - note the design of pink, copper and grey.

Another shot of the elephant design.

I Ihave decided to start to sell my work in other places and so will reactivate my vendor's permit with the Ontario Government.

With my work displayed at Arts Hamilton, I didn't need to do that as they have the vendor's permit and do all the paperwork. However, I would like to branch out now.

A dear friend of mine in Oakville has suggested holding a jewellery party and perhaps I will do so eventually. In the meantime, I will continue to wear my creations so that they become more noticed.

A Hamilton friend of mine asked me to do some repairs on her old necklace which was broken. In order to achieve success, I had to restring it, put new clasps on it and redesign it by adding more colourful beads. She absolutely loved the result and I was pleased myself. I think it is now nicer than before, if that is possible.

In the meantime, I designed a sterling silver necklace with a Swarovski crystal drop on it and handmade bail and clasp which I think looks very nice.

I plan to do wirework on the earings and put Swarovski crystal small drops hanging from them. Then it will be a matching set.

Making jewellery requires a great deal of patience, good light and a steady hand. Happily I have all three necessary things.
I really am enjoying my new "job" and will continue with it. It gives me a lot of pleasure to see the happiness of others when they get their finished design.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Canada Day-Anna and Bill visiting

Whitehern's concert in the garden was extremely well attended this time as it also was Open House so people could tour the inside of this historic house for free or a small donation.
Whitehern is one of my favourite places in Hamilton and I attend as many functions there as I am able to.
My daughter and her husband came down for the day from Kitchener and we attended the jazz concert at Whitehern. Other friends were there as well which gave me the opportunity to introduce Anna and Billy to them.
After Whitehern we went back home and Anna rested for a few hours and felt better. Billy and I were going to Gage Park but the bus took forever so we ended up going to Princess Point where we took the little train. Billy enjoyed that so much!
We got totally soaked on the way home but nevertheless, it was a splendid time we had. I was also able to teach Anna how to make earings and she really enjoyed making them. She wore her own hand made earings home!
All in all, a good day.
Now for more reflections on the blessings of living in Canada. In my opinion, we need to be more patriotic, we understate ourselves rather than boast about our country.
That is the Canadian people though.
Our system of government is not without fault and it is my belief that things could perhaps be run more efficiently. However, we are a democratic country and we make the choices that are available to us by voting.
Our poor at least can go to a food bank although that is mostly tins of food and dried things. In my opinion, it would be a good plan to teach the young mothers how to make food which is nutritious but economical so that the youngsters would have a solid foundation of food to study on.
We could learn from other countries, particularly the developing countries, how to do this.
Yes, there is poverty in Canada for various reasons but on the whole, Canadians are very generous people who try and help in emergency situations in the world as well as at home.

We are not a war-like people, but we do defend ourselves when necessary. I think of our soldiers serving across the world. May God keep them safe. I also think of the innocent citizens of the countries who are occupied now.

I hope and pray that peace may come one day to this troubled world and that mankinds may finally learn to live together in harmony!