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.