Saturday, February 27, 2010

Not a lot new

I have spent the last few days at home due to the snowy and slippery weather. I shall be glad to welcome the Spring when it comes.

I can hardly wait to go down by the water so I can people and bird watch, not to mention admiring the occasional fish who jumps into the air.

I usually take my small thermos of coffee and my chair and of course, my book and just feel the calming influence of the waves lapping against the cement walls at Pier 8.

Princess Point is also a great spot to go but there are hardly any benches to sit on. The good point about it is that the bus goes right into it and it runs every half hour which is not too bad.

About this time of year, I get a little stir crazy and long for the freedom of no boots, heavy coats and hats and scarves!

Thanks for reading and have a good day!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wilma's New Jewellery Post

Hello Everybody, please drop in to see my new jewellery blog and its excellent quality of handcrafted jewellery.

Click on the following link to get to my new blog:


Friday, February 19, 2010

A busy Friday

World Day of Prayer planning meeting and then the Widow and Widowers group meeting after that!

WDP will be at St. John's for the downtown churches. It is located at Wilson and Hughson. As we are the host church, there will be a lot of duties on that day and before to make sure it runs smoothly.

Kathe and I are in charge for St. John's.

At the W & W group, there were just the three of us this time. However, it was nice just the same.

I am very glad to be home and take a little break now. I want to do some jewellery designing this afternoon and evening.

A friend of mine and I dropped into Arts Hamilton after the group, and he renewed his membership and I checked out the jewellery display. My things are hanging up on the wall. Right now, they have put the showcase for one artist's work and also her wonderful paintings are on display in the Gallery part of it. She is a very talented lady.

It is most interesting to see that creative types sometimes do more than one thing. I design jewellery and write poetry and short stories, she designs jewellery and paints lovely pictures.

A most interesting observation.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Another dream catcher.
I particularly loved this bird one!

A gorgeous dream catcher!

More native crafts - so exquisite, shows great talent.

Another gorgeous pair of gloves!

Warm and cozy gloves - soft and beautiful to behold and to wear!

They do incredible work, and I understand that it can be purchased.

Some exquisite work done by our native brothers and sisters

A LAMP folding poster which shows pictures of some of their work.

Tamara Alkema - missionnary extraordinaire!

Ah you may ask, what is LAMP?

An excellent question!

It stands for Lutheran Association of Missionary Pilots. Why did I bring this very worthy group to your attention?

I have an answer for that as well!

Tamara Alkema of LAMP came for a visit to our ladies group here in Hamilton. Happily for us, she was available and lived not too far.

Tamara showed us two short DVD's of the work done among the Cree and Ojibwa Indians around the James Bay area of Northern Canada.

I personally found them a very good source of information and the visual effect stayed with me far longer than the words on the DVD.

As a group of concerned women, we have supported LAMP for many years and it was most gratifying to learn more about their work.

Tamara herself, has worked with LAMP for eleven years. She has overcome her fear of flying and now steps confidently into the small planes which wing their way towards the waiting people of Northern Canada.

To get there, she needs to go to Toronto, then to Thunder Bay, then to Sioux Lookout, and finally to Bearskin Lake which, as she described it, is "in the middle of nowhere." It is approximately five hours of flying in three very small planes to reach her destination.

She described how beautiful it is to see the sea of green trees from high above ,dotted with gorgeous blue lakes. As she said, it makes her feel very small and humble when she flies over this great expanse of land and she realizes that it is all God's handwork.

She has seen the northern lights which appear more green during the summer and it seems like they are dancing.
LAMP runs Vacation Bible School and a Soccer Camp Ministry during the summer months but the pastor pilots keep in touch throughout the year with community and church leaders and try and visit each community in the winter, weather permitting.
They also try and arrange for the next summer's programme as well. In times of crisis, such as suicides and funerals, they fly in to give comfort to the people.
Due to their very remote locations, in medical emergencies help must be flown in by Medi-Vac from Winnipeg which can take four hours.

Each small community in the north has their own gravel runway, which by law, has to be big enough to accommodate a large Hercules aircraft. This is a precaution in case the whole community needs to be evacuated due to forest fires or other dire situations.

Tamara, who is from a Dutch Reform background, first heard of LAMP through slides presented at her church many years ago. It took her a couple of years to apply for a job with LAMP though. Her background is that of an Early Childhood Educator.

Her warm personality with her lovely smile seems to light up a room and I can see why children would gravitate towards her.

Among the many excellent points she brought to our attention was the cultural priorities of our native brothers and sisters.

Family life is of the most importance and there is much circular migration.
To give an example, a person would grow up on the reserve, when finished their schooling at Grade 9 or, if they go on, by computer to Grade 10, they would go down south to Thunder Bay or Winnipeg to get work. They would work for a while and then return to the reserve as their families are there. This is their way of life. Their lack of education is a real drawback to getting a decent job while in the south. There is also prejudice shown towards them.

It is very interesting to learn how the community is organized. There is the Chief and the Deputy Chief, and the Band Council. In the case of Bearskin Lake, the people live in small houses clustered around the lake. There is a Social Service Office with social workers, a grade school, an Anglican church and an adult education center basically. A lot, if not most, of the social life revolves around the Northern Store and the Co-op Store.

In these small houses clustered around the lake, families of 10 people or more cram into them. Mattresses are often put on the floor for sleeping. Houses have a foundation but not a basement. Some houses have running water but it is unsafe to drink, thus water must be carried in to the houses. Perishable items such as eggs, milk and cheese must be flown in from other parts of Canada. They are extremely expensive to buy. The houses are usually heated by wooden stoves. People, sixty years and over generally do not speak any English. There is a real danger that their language will become lost once the older people die.

It was also noted that although the lakes look sparkling clean, they are not necessarily so,as the sewage from the village goes into them. The people are a self governing band but the Federal Government has a responsibility for them as well.

LAMP is a Ministry of Reconciliation. The Oji-Cree people in the isolated areas of Northwestern Ontario tend to be very loving, very forgiving and they identify themselves as Canadians. LAMP also works in communities further south and the attitude towards being a Canadian is somewhat different. The more southern tribes seem to prefer to be known as a distinct people, apart from Canada.
LAMP is wholly supported by churches.
In the warmer weather, they go in and run Vacation Bible Schools, with two classes a day. They are held at the Anglican Church from Monday to Friday. They are run very similar to the regular Vacation Bible Schools down south.

The programme goes like this:

1. Bible Lesson

2. Singing which the children love

3. Crafts and outdoor play for the more active children.
Crafts are the childrens' favourite activity at VBS. They are very creative and even the most active child will sit still for crafts.

For those 12 or 13 and above, they run an evening programme where the teenagers come to their house for socializing, crafts and some Bible study as well.
The main objective is to build relationships in love. LAMP must remain a constant presence there in order to build a trusting relationship.
Children in family groups move around to different family members fairly regularly and this teaches them that nothing is long term. Their community is a "Dry Community" but alcohol and mostly prescription drugs are smuggled in and have become a real problem.

There are some major problems within the community such as alcoholism, drug addiction, feeling of isolation and suicide.

LAMP, with its many volunteers and dedicated staff, brings hope to these isolated and remote communities in the far north.

For more information, please google to see what you can do to help this very worthy cause.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Artword/Artbar Valentine's Event 2010

Stella took this picture of me reading some of my work at the Artword Artbar.
On the whole it was quite a nice event, although I did not care for the work of two poets who read rather raunchy poems. One was a male and the other a female.

Normally, I like their work and I am a friend to both of them and know both quite well.

I was glad to see that most of the poets were more refined. Our hosts were their usual delightful selves, Judith and Ronald. They have a real knack of making people feel "at home".

In the intermission, we had a lovely surprise with Ken (not my son) coming to entertain us. I really enjoyed his music. I normally love opera, operetta, classical and semi-classical music but I did enjoy his style very much. The odd thing was that Ken had seen me before at Jackson's Square and remembered me. He said I even put something in his guitar case when he was playing there. It is possible, as I do try and support local people in their artistic endeavours as best as I can. What a small world!

He is the gentleman who got a ticket for busking in downtown Hamilton. I found him a nice, quiet fellow, not a threat to anybody. What a shame he got a ticket for singing on the street!

I wish the police would ticket the people who are begging and harassing others for money. He was working by singing, and not harrassing anybody. On top of it, he has a very nice voice and is not an intimidating figure at all!

He and Ronald, the co-owner have an event Thursday nights at 8 p. m. I wish it were not so late, or otherwise I might attend when the warmer weather comes. I like music very much.

All in all, a fine weekend!

Whitehern's Valentine Tea

Mohammad shot this, Wilma, Anita and Dee Dee. Note the yummy cheese cake on the plates.
Anita, Dee Dee and Mohammad. Dee Dee teaches bridge and Mohammad learned this game from her so it was such a delight for both of them to see each other again. This is the second time, first at my party and now at this wonderful event!

I took a shot of the picture of the house which hangs in the stable. I have always liked that picture and am quite happy with the result.

Susan Snelling, a classically trained soprano (in green dress) and Judith Morphet, who played a Bowed Psaltery performed for this event. Their stage name is "Pearls of Time". It was a delight to hear them perform. They played many a familiar tune from times gone by and one almost felt like bursting out in singing! I know our Whitehern guys and gals group really enjoyed hearing them.

Liz, cutting the two lovely cakes that were served as part of the tea. Her gracious manner, as always, added to the occasion.

Liz and Joe - historical interpreters. In the stable. Joe is a wonderful host and very friendly.

Anita, Dee Dee, Mohammad and I attended from our regular Whitehern group. Some of the gals don't want to be out at night by themselves which I understand perfectly so they did not come.
There were also other people there whom I had never seen before and they appeared to be enjoying the event as well.

Liz and Joe read some of the letters (love letters)written to and from the family to prospective mates.

I am going to do a little more investigation about Edna and perhaps write something for the upcoming contest for the 100th anniversity of Ruby's death. Next year, will be a big year for Whitehern and many exciting events are planned.

I really felt for her and her sad situation. In those days, mental illness was not to be discussed or even acknowledged and usually the person would be shut away.

We had a few good laughs and enjoyed each other's company. Mohammad was delighted to see Dee Dee again as she was his bridge teacher. She is a very nice lady and I have invited her to come with me to Tower and to bring a poem but she said she is too shy. I will try and encourage her to do that!

All in all, a lovely Saturday evening!

Valentine's Weekend 2010

Our very entertaining and enlightening speaker - Dr. Jeffery Donaldson.
Dr. Mary Anderson introducing the speaker for the Poet Study.

Norm Brown, President of Tower Poetry, with guest speaker, Dr. Jeffery Donaldson.

I had a really busy weekend but it was all very enjoyable. Saturday afternoon was our Tower Poetry Study and we had an excellent speaker, Dr. Jeffery Donaldson. I really enjoyed his talk and got a lot out of it. He had a great wit and had a clear way of explaining things. He also read some of his work which was very deep and yet, easy to understand. A true teacher!

I had invited quite a few people to come who normally do not attend. It was good to see them there. They seem to have enjoyed the event.
I admire Dr. Donaldson as he has overcome a grave health issue and done so much with his life in spite of his affliction. He has a tremendous sense of humour! A most pleasant and informative speaker.

It was well attended which was great.
We held a brief Executive meeting right after the talk. Apparently, Mohammad waited for me. I felt badly about this when he told me later on that evening but I did not know he was going to do that. Poor man, also waited for me at Jackson's Square so we could go together. I did not know he was going to do that either as he had not said so. Irene and I took the bus together. Fortunately, I had told him the bus numbers beforehand and he was able to find the library.
After our brief Executive meeting, both Ed and Stella offered me a ride home. I am so blessed to have such good friends who think of me and offer me a ride. I sure appreciate that!
A very nice afternoon!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Facebook woes

Mauve and crystal Czech firepolish beads on silver plated chain. Long chain, to go over the head for those who suffer from arthritis or who want to put on their jewellery in a hurry without fiddling around with a clasp. There is a clasp on it though.
Shows the length of the chain.

Black shimmering chain, with silver wire work, Czech fire polish beads in jet black and pink. Gorgeous and elegant. This picture does not really do it justice.

I hope it is just for the moment, but Facebook seems to have changed the photo uploading option and I tried to upload a photo for over an hour, and it still is not on my Facebook page. I wish that Facebook would not keep on changing its format!

I enjoy Facebook because I can keep up with my out of town friends and I especially love the photo section.

As the saying goes, "If it's not broke, don't fix it!" and I wish they would think about that saying and go by it!

My next jewellery project is to try and make a floating necklace where one cannot see what holds it together, rather the beads stand out. It should be interesting to try!
I am also currently working on a poem by ships best friend. Intriguing? Ah, think about it, what would ships do without their good friend? We have one of them at Pier 8 for those who live in Hamilton. Big ships could not get into ports without them!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Mrs. Dorothy Smith

Dorothy Smith, lifelong member of St. Paul's Presbyterian Church, passed away February 1, 2010. She was born May 6, 1915 and lived her whole life in the Hamilton area to the best of my knowledge.

She was a member of the W.M.S. and the Thursday Bible Study, and attended each meeting, health and weather permitting.

In spite of being blind and hard of hearing, she continued to carry on with her life.She lived in her beloved apartment on Bay Street, with the wonderful assistance of CCAC and her children, Judith and Ian.

After a bad fall, she no longer could stay there for safety reasons and had to go into a nursing type of environment. At the time of her death, she was still waiting for a permanent spot.

Carmen, Wally and I, and many more from St. Paul's came for the visitation at Marlatt Funeral Home on King Street East. Her funeral was held at St. Paul's and Dr. Dickie (retired minister) did the service. It was very well attended . A lovely lunch was served downstairs in the church hall after the service.

I shall miss Dorothy. Her friendly smile and welcoming ways is a great loss to St. Paul's. She has seen St. Paul's emerge from a church for the wealthy with reserved spots (pew rental), male elders wearing formal attire, to a place where street people can come and be welcomed.

She has lived through World Wars, the Cold War and other bitter skirmishes, man pitted against man. She has survived the depression and also this current recession and in spite of it all, she has managed well.

I was fortunate enough to interview her several years ago and the wealth of her memories brings a smile to my face, even now.

We sure can learn how to live from our elders!

Dorothy, I shall miss you!

"He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways." Psalm 91, vs. 11

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A marvelous service

I e-mailed my digital photos to Japan camera at Jackson's Square yesterday and they called me to say they were ready early this morning.

I had prepared an envelope with Margaret's address and stamps on it, so I was able to send it right away to her in Toronto.

I just love this service and find the people at Japan Camera very helpful and friendly.

Margaret will be pleased with the results of those pictures.

Monday, February 1, 2010

90th birthday party

Princess, in her handknitted sweater (Margaret made) and blanket I gave her a few years ago.
Rene, Sonia, Eunice and Margaret.

The birthday gal! 90 years young!

I am back now from Toronto. I had a nice time but was glad to get home to Hamilton. Toronto is just too busy for me now.

Ed and Carmelita dropped me off at Margaret's which was extremely kind of them. It saved me not only a bus ride and then a Wheeltrans ride, but waiting out in the cold for half an hour for Wheeltrans at Union Station!

We actually had an interesting ride in Burlington before heading into Toronto. I saw some fantastic houses!

In any event, Sonia & Rene came first, then Eunice. Margaret was quite peeved that Eunice was so late and she mentioned it!

Needless to say, it was a little difficult but then things got better and we all enjoyed ourselves.

I stayed overnight at Marg's and then Wheeltrans came for me about 1:30 on Monday afternoon. The driver was a little bit of a wild driver and went too fast. I much prefer actual Wheeltrans drives, not hired taxi, however, in spite of the excess speed. we arrived safely at the Go Station.

The bus was crowded even at 2:30 which was quite surprising to me. It was great to get back to Hamilton and home!