Thursday, September 30, 2010

The events which have taken place over the past few days

I stopped writing this blog for a few days so that several folks from Texas could read  the article on Dementia  without having any difficulty in finding it. I see that they have visited it several times so now I will begin writing on other things.

I had my New Writing Group, facilitated by Chris Pannel and I brought my story of the Iranian family who was shipped back to Iran.  I got a lot of constructive suggestions and most of the people felt it was a very powerful story.  It was factual in that these things did happen, but obviously names have been changed as well, as it was made into a fictional story.  Some time this winter, I hope to incorporate some of the suggestions into the story.  I really enjoy this group as it is mostly seasoned writers and I feel very much at home with Chris as the leader.

To make things even better, it was Brian Henry's workshop at the Volunteer Bureau in the International Village here in Hamilton and both my friend Jennifer and I attended this one.  I really enjoy going to his workshops, this is my second one.  I only go to them when he comes to Hamilton.  We did a short writing exercise and I quickly wrote about an experience I actually had had. A young doctor was my partner in critiquing and she said I got all the medical things correct.  I will expand on this story whenever I get the time to actually sit down and write.  I have two stories that I have to expand on, plus I am revisiting some of my poetry and improving them so that I can bring them to my poetry group.

If that wasn't enough delightful things to do, the next day was a poetry reading at ArtWord/ArtBar on Colbourne St. near the Anglican Cathedral.  This time James Dheal featured Sarnia writers and I was delighted to see them again. 

I really enjoy the afternoon poetry readings better as one is more awake!  It surely was a Literary week for me, as I had the Literary Committee at Arts Hamilton to attend on Wednesday. It went well.

A friend of mine has invited me for an early supper tomorrow, he'll pick me up and  bring me back. 

Saturday will be a sad day, it is a memorial party for Kerry Schooley from 2-5 p.m.  Maureen will be coming in from Woodstock for this as well as other friends from here will be attending.

Kerry was a driving force in the literary community here, plus a gentle and kind man.  His friends and family will miss him very much. 

He was only 62, a comparatively young age to go.  It just shows me that I should cherish my family and friends and be respectful to all I come in contact with, for one's  lifespan is just a drop on the canvas of time, blink and it is gone.

Thank you for reading my blog.  Come back and visit again.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dementia (Cognitive Impairment)

Our Presenter - Kathy Fruck
I was most fortunate to attend an interesting talk and demonstration by a Registered Nurse who is a Case Manager at one of our local hospitals.

Kathy Fruck brought some valuable information in her talk.  Her relaxed and friendly manner enabled those present to enjoy her presentation.

Kathy trained at Ryerson University in Toronto and graduated in 1993 and took further training to be able to work with seniors as that is her passion in life.

She started off her presentation asking for an volunteer from the audience and one of the ladies stepped forward.

The volunteer was asked to put on spectacles which had something smeered on it so she could not see properly, large yellow earphones to block her hearing, popcorn in shoes to show how arthritis affects the feet as well as to don latex gloves at which point the presenter put a sort of bandage on her finger to reflect arthritis in them.

The volunteer was a very good choice as she hammed it up abit which made it most entertaining.

The first task for the volunteer was to put on a sweater with buttons wearing those latex gloves.  As you can imagine, using gloves to button up a sweater with small buttons is no easy task.

The second task was to pick up a glass with the latex gloves on and drink from it.

The third was to brush teeth with a toothbrush but with the latex gloves on as well.

The fourth was writing a sentence with the gloves on, then putting it in an envelope.  This proved more difficult than one would expect.

The volunteer felt anxious to get it right as I am sure all of us would be.

After this skit, Kathy opened up her topic of Dementia and asked what the audience could tell her about the symptoms.  There were a number of good suggestions.

Kathy stated that research has shown that early diagnosis is best as the condition can be slowed down somewhat.  Doctors will do cognative tests when the patient goes to him/her.

She did several exercises which doctor may use to test for dementia.    Brain fitness is something that is important, and people need to practice exercises to keep their brain fit.

Procedural Memory: -   One should practice skills one uses normally in life, such as brushing teeth.

Remote Memory: -   Memories from former times.  She suggested looking at all photos and reminise with other older people about that time period.

Working Memory: - Stress can definitely cause the working memory to have problems.  An example may be forgetting who has called, forgetting appointments etc. etc.

Episodic Memory: -   She suggested that people should keep a diary and refer back to it when needed to refresh ones memory.

Helpful Foods and ideas:

Fish, nuts, Canola oil, blueberries, green leafy vegetables, brocoli and cauliflour are some of the helpful foods that will help people.  She mentioned that any of the heart smart foods will also help people with memory issues. 

Another idea on how to keep the brain active is to join a club, learn a new language and sleep well!  A sedentary lifestyle is not good for memory.

Drink one glass of red wine a day.  If one does not touch alcohol, then drink grape juice instead.

Drink tea such as green tea or black tea.  This helps keep plaque under control.

Spices - Indian type of spices are helpful such as Tumeric and curry.

An aspiran a day also helps as well.  81 mg is okay. 

One very important point she brought up was to be socially active.

She briefly touched on caregivers and their 24 hour a day job.  A suggestion she made was to call them up and ask what you can get them at the grocery store when you are going.  She observed that many caregivers are the spouses and they too are very elderly. 

CCAC can also help.  One can self-refer.  This is important to know as one does not need a doctor or social worker to ask for help.  The earlier  help is requested, the better the disease can be managed.

Here are a few of the warning signs of Dementia: 

.  Memory loss that affects day to day function
.  Difficulty performing familiar tasks
.  Poor or decreased judgement
.  Problems with language
.  Disorientation to time and place
.  Misplacing things
. Changes in mood and behaviour or personality
.  Loss of initiative.

There is hope out there.  Contact the following for help in the Hamilton area.

 Your own Family Doctor
Hamilton Community Care Access Centre



Alzheimer Society of Hamilton and Halton



Community Information Services

905-528-0104       search using "dementia"


Hamilton Dementia Care Network


Support services also include Adult Day Programs and Seniors Programe.

***Please note that the above list is taken from a handout at the talk.

Thank you for reading this blog.  I hope that it will be helpful.  This article is not meant in any way to be a substitute for expert medical advice but is rather a recapturing of an excellent talk given by an excellent presenter.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sad news

It is now 2:44 a.m. on Wednesday morning.  As seems to be normal for me now, I could not sleep so am up for a little while.

I opened my e-mail and found a message from my friend Bernadette with the very sad news that Kerry has passed away this afternoon.

May God comfort his family. 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

St. Paul's church picnic Sept. 19,2010

Carmen and Wally took me in their car.  It was at Grieff Hill once again which is a lovely spot towards Guelph.  It is owned by the Presbyterian church and is used as a retreat and conference center from what I understand.

We had a little time to kill so we went to Burlington and walked at their lovely waterfront for a few minutes.

Carmen and Wally at the Burlington Waterfront
My camera was acting up and it said the batteries were low so I changed batteries but still had some trouble.  However, I did manage to get some nice shots of the Burlington Waterfront.

We drove for about an hour after we left Burlington and we passed some interesting places, including a place with dinosaurs.  It was very lovely country side which we passed through.  We passed a sign to Paris which is a place I would like to visit one day as one of my Montreal friends has moved there and I would love to see her.

A fair amount of people turned up at the picnic and brought snacks and food.  It was a very pleasant afternoon spent in good company.  I took some pictures of the games and a few random shots.

We got home about 7:30 I think and all that fresh air has made me sleepy!

The water balloon game - the trick is not to let the balloons break or you get all wet!  Lots of fun to play and lots of fun to watch!

Peter and Thelma, with Wally's elbow in the background!

A shot of the fields surrounding the property - very peaceful

A snapshot of some of the folks socializing at the picnic tables.

Ruby, a young dog who came to the picnic - she was adoreable and very well behaved.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A very busy but nice Saturday

I arrived at Bibles and Bagels closer to ten than the hour of nine a.m. but that is the only way I can do it due to my sleep problems.

The girls were happy to see me and I them! 

I like the book we are studying from this year.

As soon as I got home at 11 a.m. I saw a message for me inviting me out to dinner at Toby's which I gladly accepted.  We had a nice lunch together and spent about an hour.

After I left, I went to the Iranian shoemaker near Toby's and he was able to fix the strap for $7.00 which I gladly paid as it made my purse more secure.

He was really busy! 

I haven't been able to do much work at home today as I had to go out to Westdale for our Tower Poetry Group.  I don't mind taking the bus out there in the day time but at night, I don't do it as I then would have to come downtown by myself.

I took my Celebrity Motel poem which deals with refugee claimants and adjudicators.  I had some suggestions and I will see what I can do with them.

I have so many stories in my head from that time when I worked so closely with people in difficulty.

It was quite special today as an elderly gentleman was there and he had written a poem about his wartime sweetheart.  He did a rhyming poem which I, of course, like the best.  It is such a romantic thing really, he and a lady met during the war in England and when he went back to Canada, they did not have much correspondence and both people married others.  Years and years passed, families were raised and then her husband passed away. He was still married but after his wife passed away, somehow they got in touch with each other and the romance kindled again.  They even got written up in an English paper.  Now they have re-established their relationship and I am very happy for both of them.  Needless to say, they are both very elderly!  It just shows that when something is meant to be, it may take time, but it will happen.

I think the whole group was touched by his poem as I certainly was. 

It was a good group today with lots of nice events coming up, including the partnership with Tower and the Carnagie Gallery.  I have to go and pick a picture out to write a poem about so if I have the time, I ill do it this week.

Kay offered me a ride home which I gladly accepted.  I hope to be able to do nothing tonight and just rest as I feel quite tired.

Tomorrow is St. Paul's church picnic and it is a potluck.  I just don't have the energy to make something right now.  I'll have to see what I can bring from my stash of "goodies".

All in all, a lovely day!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Latest events

Yesterday afternoon was the Memorial Service for a friend.  It was a beautiful service and the church was packed.  The minister did a wonderful job and Don's stepchildren spoke and shared their memories of him.  I was really touched by all the good things that they said.

Don was known for his kindness which is a wonderful thing to be remembered for, don't you think?

I did not go down to the reception afterwards as I had to leave shortly for another event.

Poetry Center's first meeting of the year was last night and one of the poets picked me up which I really appreciated.  He is very kind to do that and goes out of his way to do so.

As usual, it was a good session and lots of fun.  We get serious work done but with lots of humour which I really like.

There were fifteen people there which is good for a new season.  Many of the same faces but some new ones.

It is a mix of young people and older folk and it is good to have new voices to listen to.

All in all, a busy day for me.  Unfortunately again I did not sleep.

I wish I could solve this problem of sleep!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The last few days

I have been so busy with downsizing that I haven't kept my blog up.  My apologies.

The downsizing is going very well, taken four big black garbage bags over to the Salvation Army Thrift Store and have another box packed and ready to go.  There still is more to do though.

Lit Chat on Tuesday was excellent!  Trevor Cole was the guest speaker and I really got a lot out of his words.  He will be having a book launch on Tuesday coming at the ArtWord/Artbar. I will check my schedule and see if I am free. 

Wednesday was Mystery Writers night at ArtWord/Artbar and I enjoyed it, except one writer spoke so fast, I could hardly pick up what she was saying.

I determined after the last marathon event which ended at 11:30 p.m. that I was not going to stay late anymore as it was too much for me.  I stayed until Intermission and I was home by 9 p.m. which was just fine by me! 

Jean did her usual fine job and I was glad that she was on first so I could listen to her.

Today (Thursday) was the Memorial Service for a friend of mine, Don.  The church was packed and his step children spoke so well about him.  I was really touched by what they said.

When his wife of 18 years was asked by the minister before what she would remember most about him, her answer was so great - "kindness". This is the second husband she has lost due to death.   I did not go downstairs to the reception although everybody was invited.

Tonight is my poetry workshop and Arturo will pick me up.  I really enjoy this group of people and Arturo is a very nice man and I appreciate his kindness in picking me up.

It has been an eventful few days.  I hope tomorrow I can just take a break and rest.

Thanks for reading and have a good day.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

St.John's BBQ for Rally Sunday Sept

A church family
Today was a very special time at church with the commissioning of the Sunday School Teachers and their pupils, Holy Communion and then a BBQ out in the church parking lot.

The church was quite packed as it was a joint German and English service.

It was great to see everybody back after holidays and summer vacations.

Got home about 1:30 but it started at 10 a.m. so it was quite a few hours.

Very enjoyable.  Took some shots of a family I know and sent them the pictures.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Locke Street Festival

Random shots,while waiting for Mohammed's bus to arrive
What a wonderful time we had at the Locke Street Festival. I will definitely plan to go again next year!

I took the Number 7 Locke Street bus and it took me right to the Festival.  Locke Street was all blocked off and filled with pedestrians and booths with food, information on various organizations, goods to buy and alsoGeorge and Trudy were there with the Book Band.  We had a nice little chat and I introduced Mohammed to them.

There were several different types of musicians playing and a person doing a balancing act on a bike. I took a picture of that as he was amazing. 

Mohammed came from his area and we met there.  Fortunately there was a bench where I could sit and people watch until he arrived.  He missed one bus and had to wait half an hour for the next one but he finally came.

What an array of interesting things to see and people to talk to.  Children in prams, infants being carried in the new type  of baby carrier on the front of their parent, dogs walking more or less obediently beside their humans, people from the scantily dressed teenage girls to older folks with canes and walkers all merged along the street, walking in harmony and peacefulness.  In spite of the huge crowd, it was very orderly. 

Mohammed had not had any breakfast so we stopped and he had a croissant and tea which filled him up momentarily.  I already had my breakfast and was not hungry so did not need anything.  It was nice to sit and chat with him and people watch.  While I was waiting for him to get his things, Ellen and Rhoda from my poetry group came up and greeted me which was lovely.

I really enjoy people watching and certainly had my fill today!  I was very glad to see that there was a Christian as well as a Muslim representation there, both having stalls.  An excellent idea in case anybody is interested in learning more about both religions.

He treated me to a nice lunch at the Vintage Tea Room which was very enjoyable.  I like going there and always have liked it.  It is one of the places that the girls get together sometimes and go to.

Mohammed saw Olga and Julia in the crowd but they had disappeared before I saw them which was unfortunate. 

We decided to walk home and he walked me back to my building and then went to his place.

Anthony and Cathy were just coming back in an airport limo when we walked in so we had a nice little chat.  They had been in Arizona and had a wonderful time.

It was so good to see them. 

All in all, a great day!  Tomorrow will also be very nice as it is a BBQ after the church service at St. John's.  Waltrault is also bringing the message in German and Pastor Schweyer will bring it in English. It will be a joint English/German service as it is Rally day for the Sunday School.  It should be very fine and the church will be packed.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The first meeting of the New Writing Group after about a three year haitis

It was great to be back in this group again.  Some of the "regulars" were there but there were quite a few new faces.

I like it when new people come as it gives fresh insight.  I read my article on "Shipped Back to Iran" which was something I wrote just to get it out of my system in 2007. At the last moment, I decided to take 12 copies with me of this work. 

It is the story of a family (mother and two small children) who came as refugees to Canada and after 15 years and much hardship here was shipped back to Iran.  I may write a poem about this story for the poetry group as well.

Unfortunately, it is all facts, from depression, financial hardship, trouble with the law, sexual  misbehaviour and suicide and finally, deportation for the ones who were left. 

Naturally, I changed all names but the facts are exactly as they happened. 

We here in Canada have such "comfortable" lives mainly and as I have been quite heavily involved with working with refugees, I write about things like that.

I write it in the hope that Canadian people may listen and remember if they meet a person in difficulties and do something to help that person.

After all, aren't we all of the same human family?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Lit Chat and Dinner Party at Andrew and Rahel's place

rew and Rahel
Rahel showing off her matching set which I made for her. 

My goodness, life has been a little busy lately but that is okay, as it makes it much more interesting!

Still in the process of downsizing which is taking a lot of my time but it is coming along, slow but sure.  My son called and he could not believe that I had already given away three big black garbage bags full of things to the Salvation Army!  I have another one in progress which is almost full.

I guess it is a bit of a shock for anybody that knows me, I keep things "just in case" they may come in handy some day and quite often they do!

Now onto more interesting subjects.  It was the first Lit Live on Sunday night and I was very surprised how full it was, especially since it was a long weekend!  I invited Andrew and Rahel just to come along to see what it was like.  Rahel seemed to enjoy it, but Andrew did not I don't think.

The first reader I could not hear at all, nor could Rahel. It was easier to hear the other readers as they had more powerful reading voices.  I enjoyed three of the readers work very much.

Jeff and James were not there which is highly unusual.  Jeff was mentioned as being on the short list for our Arts Hamilton Literary Awards so I was pleased to hear that.   This year, I was not one of the judges.  Normally I am.

The evening ended well after 9:30 and we all walked home.  Mohammed did not have to walk me home this time as Andrew and Rahel were with us so he grabbed a taxi and went home.

On Labour Day I watched for the parade and only saw the police blocking off the street. It must have been a very short parade as the next time I looked, the barricades and police were gone.

I had hoped to be able to take the last shuttlebus down to Pier 8 but the time seemed to get away from me and we were due at our friend's place at 5 p.m.  Mohammed buzzed me at about 4:10 and needless to say, I was not ready as I was still downsizing!  However, I put some music on for him and got ready and then wrapped up a little hostess gift for Rahel and we went together downstairs.

They are such good hosts and made us feel welcome.  Their place is all decorated now ready to be sold and it looks very nice indeed.  It is a little larger than mine with a different layout. 

They both made the dinner which was a delicious lasagna, with salad and Andrew made a lovely zuchinni, baked I think, in the oven.  I liked the taste and the spices he put on it.

For desert, we had apple pie and ice cream and Rahel made Ethopian coffee for a special treat.  I did not have any as I don't drink coffee after 2 p.m. It was quite an undertaking to make this type of coffee.  First you put the whole beans in a frying pan on top of the stove, then you roast them.  There is smoke everywhere during this process.  I have never seen this done before so it was interesting to watch.  It takes a fair bit of time to roast the beans and then they are ground down by the processor and then made in what looked like an Italian style coffee maker.  It was a very dark colour by the time it was done.

The Ethopian tradition is once the beans are roasted, all the guests smell them with the hostess taking them around.  Apparently the little Ethopian restaurant near here does the same. 

It was most interesting to see how it was done.

Mohammed and Andrew told some nice jokes and got into the taboo subjects of religion and politics! 

We left about 11:45, Mohammed to his home and I to mine.  Fortunately, I only lived upstairs but I think he took a taxi home.

All in all, a nice way to spend an evening from time to time.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A near fall

Well, I am one fortunate person that I had my cane with me.  I didn't see a step at Ferguson Station and started to fall but my cane saved me.  I have hurt my hip a little bit but nothing serious at all.  If I had fallen, it would have meant broken bones most likely.

In any event, everything is fine and I sat at the Mustardfest until I felt a little better and on my way out, I saw Irene and her Mom and sat with them at the Black Forest Inn outdoor cafe.  That was pleasant.

The weather looked threatening and I needed to go to the Farmer's Market to get some fruit.  It was fortunate that I made it to the mall before the rain really started to come down.

Happily, on the way home, I had my jacket with the hood on and everything was fine.  I think I will rest for the rest of the evening.  I have finished making all my orders for the jewellery business and there is great t.v. on tonight on WNED so will enjoy that.

All in all, an interesting day.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

An order for three pairs of Swarovski crystal earrings

It was great fun picking out matching stones with the lady who ordered three pairs of earrings.

She brought in her jewellery and asked me to custom design things to match three different necklaces.

So far, I have finished two and this weekend, I will try and do the last one.

Blue Swarovsli  clip on earrings
I haven't done much jewellery work this summer at all so it was good to start again.  I also made a beautiful chrystal set as well.

Thank you for reading my little blog and I hope you have a great day.