Saturday, October 30, 2010

Carmen came for a visit this afternoon

We had lunch together at my place and a lovely chat and then we went to the Trail in Westdale.

Carmen at my place

 Carmen had never been there before so it was such a pleasure to show it to her.

Since I discovered this spot, I have been many times and have always met so many nice people on the trail.  Today was no exception.

As a writer, I can just visualize  a childrens story about a creature living in this hole in the tree.
It was a lovely day for a gorgeous walk.  If you click on this picture, you will see the blanket of leaves which have fallen since I was last there.

 Carmen climbed the stairs which were beyond me and she told me that she could see the water in the distance.  I would imagine that it was Princess Point, another of the many spots I love in this wonderful city.

It is a big city but here, I feel like I am miles away from the hustle and bustle of big city streets.  That is one of the many blessings of living in Hamilton, the Niagara Escarpment, the Royal Botanical Gardens, the water and the many beautiful old stone buildings such as St. Paul's Presbyterian Church on James South and Whitehern with its stately home and wonderful garden.

Carmen posing with a symbol of Canada - the maple leaf

We took lots of shots of Carmen so that she can send them to her Mom in Mexico. 

A green maple leaf

Carmen took this shot from atop the hill.  I'm sitting on a log in blue

Still some leaves but now more bare trees than trees with leaves.  One more big wind, and they will all be gone.

All in all, a wonderful afternoon spent with a dear friend.  We met at St. Paul's almost eight years ago now.  We have been good friends since that time.  I have a high esteem for her and for her dear husband Waldemar and they are part of my extended family.

Thanks for reading my blog.  Hope you enjoy the different pictures of the wonderful trail. 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A cozy look on a dull day

I really miss having a dining room as I did in Toronto.  It is difficult to find a proper space for a china cabinet and a dining room table within a sitting room area.  I keep switching things around hoping to find the perfect solution.

The day has turned somewhat dull, I had thought to go for a walk on the trail today but got busy at home with re-arranging things. 

The dull day
I wrote a poem on a grey November day which you may enjoy reading.  This was a few years back and I was looking out my window and the words just came.  I wrote it as a end rhyming poem which, as you know, is no longer in fashion.  I think most of us older people prefer end rhyming poems though, at least the ladies group that I go to does!

Since this is my blog, I will post my end rhyming poem!

A Grey November Day

I'm feeling some dismay
it's a grey November day

Howling winds assail my ears
almost bringing me to tears

Flags are flapping to and fro
it makes me shiver just to know

Freezing rain is on the way
oh what pain I feel

The park looks so barren
no flowers, not even Rose of Sharon

Tree branches are bare
only a very few escape the windy air

Squirrels scurry around looking for food
to put away for a long interlude

Humans walk faster through the park
even though it's not yet dark

Standing at my window looking out
it almost makes me pout!

It's a cold November day
so glad I'm not out today.


This poem may give you an indication of what late October/November weather feels like here in Canada.

Now back to more cozy things, I set up my dining room table to take some shots of my tea pot and tea glasses.

For those who have never travelled in the Middle East or parts of Africa, the tea ceremony is a natural part of life.  Tea glasses are used, some have handles, some do not.

I brought some back from Turkey and I will post a picture of one of them.  I have placed it on one of my crocheted doilies so that it will stand out more.

I bought a whole set while I was in Turkey and safeguarded them so carefully while I was on the long flight home to Canada.  However, over the years, things do get broken.  I spoke to Riad at Ray's Middle Eastern Foods in the Farmer's Market and as he was in the same situation with some of his  own glasses broken, he asked a friend to pick up two sets for him, one for his family and one for me. I was so very grateful for that. 

What a real treat for me to be able to serve my guests in this manner again.  Somehow it makes drinking tea so delightful!

A beautiful tea light holder - wonderful at night

Brass and blue tile vase filled with yellow roses

Part of the new tea set

I took some shots of the tea pot I brought back from Morrocco which I think is very beautiful.

Tea pot from Morrocco - bought in 1973 in Rabat

Close up of the artist's work
There is so much to be thankful for on a dull day.  One's home, one's family and friends and just being alive!

Have a great day.  Thanks for reading my blog. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Storm clouds gather

Today is a perfect day to stay indoors, cook, clean and in general make one's home a haven of rest and joy.

What a blessing it is to have a roof over one's head, food on the table (even if one has to make it oneself) and people who care for them.

I am making a pot roast right now so soon the apartment will smell wonderful with the different flavours of vegetables blending together to permeate the indoor air.

Pot roast ready in a few hours of slow cooking
For those who never have made a pot roast, it is a fairly simple thing to do.  Buy a cheaper cut of meat, salt, pepper it, put mustard on it on both sides, then braise it on reasonably high heat, watching it.  Braise means to quick brown both sides to keep the juices inside the roast.

When that is done, put it in a good size pot, add potatoes, onions, garlic, apple (if you wish) and cover it with water.  I add paprika to the water to give it more of a reddish tinge.  I also added some tinned tomatoes just to give it more flavour.

Cover it with a tight fitting lid and cook it on low heat until the vegetables and meat is thoroughly cooked. The slow cooking is very restful for the cook as the work is already done in the preparation of the vegetables and meat.  That in itself, is a fast thing to do. If a person is gone from home all day, it is also possible to do this one pot dish in a slow cooker.  I have done that many times when the children were small and I was at work all day.  Even for one person alone, it is good to make such a dish as it can be divided into portions and put in the freezer for eating another time or two. 

It is a great fall or winter dish as it is very nourishing and a good way to get vegetables into children.  Any type of vegetable can be put in it, provided it needs longer cooking.  Carrots, turnips are two that spring to mind.  There are others, of course.

 If you want to blend the vegetables after they are cooked so that the children will not see them, just do that and add them to the meat and its sauce.  Voila, vegetables in the dear little ones who will have no clue that they are eating them!

Storm clouds gathering over Hamilton
It was a great day to do indoor things and I am having a wonderful day just looking after my little nest. 

Please observe the reflection of the storm clouds in the glass building opposite.  I find that fascinating to see the different reflections at different times of day.
What is a home without plants?

Plants are another way to make a house a real home.  Are they not a beautiful addition to any home with their shining leaves and all a little different?  Plants have always been a pleasure for me to care for.  When I was growing up in Quebec, it was not the custom to have many plants in a home, or at least, I never observed any in homes that I visited.  If I am remembering rightly, it was the European immigrants who came to Canada after World War Two who brought so many wonderful customs, foods and ways to Canada. 

As a child, I remember going into an Italian grocery store and being fascinated by the big barrels of black olives.  I remember seeing a black man for the first time in my young life.  He was an army person stationed in the depot and I was amazed.  Lachine was basically French and English, with a growing segment of Italians.  Now, there is every nationality in the world there, just like in Hamilton and Toronto.

I really love that!  It is such an lovely opportunity to meet the world's people in your own back yard so to speak. 

Wet streets of Downtown Hamilton

Hope you enjoy the rest of your day.  Too bad that this blog cannot waft the delicious smells coming from the pot roast your way. 

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

E.L.W. Thanksgiving potluck 2010

There was much to be thankful for on this spectacular fall day, the temperature moderate and the sun shining.  The ladies brought all kind of delectable goodies to add to the feast.  As usual, the Hostess Committee did a splendid job.  I took only a few shots of the desert table and neglected to take the main course! 

Desert anybody?

The desert table - filled with good German baking

The ladies in this church are fabulous cooks and bakers and the array of food would make any body's mouth water in anticipation.  Anybody who is a serious dieter, should definitely try and avoid this place!

In case you think that this group of ladies just like to have parties, let me tell you a little of the wonderful things that they do.  First and foremost, it is a group who live out their Christian faith by actions which include a short worship service, a business meeting and a fellowship time each month. They visit the sick whether  in hospital or homes, shut-ins, some so ill that they cannot leave their beds, and in general, try and make life better for all they come in contact with.  It is a very loving group and newcomers are always welcome.  Those who no longer can get out, are not forgotten by this wonderful group of women who send cards and greetings and from time to time, try and visit.

Not only that, they organize a Harvest Dinner to raise money to help others, they have a Christmas Mission Bazaar  to help support various groups who work with youth, natives and the socially disadvantaged people here in Hamilton as well as further afield.  They also contribute sandwiches for MacSOC several times a year.  This is an outreach programme for people who are homeless or are marginalized in some other way from mainstream society. 

For an example, a person who came to MacSOC passed away recently, and the ladies organized a reception after the funeral.  It was a great comfort to the husband and those who attended from this group.

Funeral receptions are handled by a small group of ladies within this group.

For Thanksgiving it was the ladies group who decorated in the church and for this particular Thanksgiving potluck, they also decorated the church hall.

At the front of the downstairs hall -  simple but tasteful decorations.

I could go on and on and name many other things that this group does, but I think you get the idea just by the little I have said.

This potluck was a wonderful afternoon of fellowship, good food, a very good talk by Pastor Frank and the singing in both English and German of Thanksgiving hymns. 

Truly, we in Canada have much to be thankful for to God.

Pastor Frank, bringing a short talk

Our President, Kathe

What a lovely afternoon spent with loving company where each person is valued for who they are.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sunrise, day time, storm clouds from my window

It is really interesting to see the various times of day that my camera can take.  I really enjoy seeing the different reflections in the office tower beside me.  Makes for interesting photos I think.
Storm clouds gathering, reflection of my building on office tower

A day time shot around 2 or 3 p.m.
There was a beautiful sun rise this morning which I happened to see.  Here are three pictures I took of it.

Note the reflection on the glass windows of the office tower

A nice view of the downtown area

The same view, a few seconds earlier.

I am most fortunate to have a great view from my windows of what is going on on the streets.  I also can see Lake Ontario and the sailboats in the summer months.  Each season has its own beauty.

Thanks for looking at the pictures and have a great day!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Aviary, The trail and the lovely park

What a beautiful day it was again today.  Too nice to stay indoors.  I decided to go to Westdale and see the birds in the Aviary as it is open from 1-4 p.m. on Sundays year round.

My friend Jeff said he might ride his bike over there as well so I kept my eyes open for him.  I arrived later than anticipated (about 2:30-3 p.m.) as the buses to Westdale are really slow on Sunday!  It seems he went shortly after 1 p.m. and left after 2 sometime.

When it finally came  (5C) it was packed like a sardine tin.  The 51 does not run on Sunday.

The above are signs in the Aviary which is in Westdale.  It is free to go into and if one wishes, one can donate money for the upkeep of the birds.

It is run by volunteers who are there on Sunday to answer questions.

On most of the cages, there is a sign nearbye saying what the bird is.  It really is quite interesting to see and the birds seem quite contented.

All of the birds have nick names which is rather cute. 

There were quite a few different types of birds and I took many pictures of them but not all will be shown here.

All the birds seemed to be well cared for and were not afraid of people.  There were signs around warning people not to put their hands inside the cages as the birds will bite.  Small children on Daddy's shoulders, toddlers excitedly looking at the different birds, elders with canes - all very impressed by the wonderful birds and the sounds they made.  It is well worth a visit from those who live in  or visit Hamilton.

I sat out side to just listen to the birds and read my books for quite some time than went on the trail.

By the time I got on the trail, the sun was in a different stage than the pictures the other day so there will a little difference.  As usual, I met lots of very friendly people.

Shots taken on the same trail, but around 5 p.m.  Last one is from the little bridge.

All beautiful spots, further on the trail.  There were lots of people on the trail today and the little children were having great fun running here and there.  Dogs aplenty and all friendly. I met a lovely lady with a large dog who has cancer.  We talked for quite awhile and while we were talking, a deer came down the hill.  We tried to get near to get a shot, but he was too quick for us.  This time it was only one deer alone.

I shall finish off this little blog with a picture of a beautiful pink bird and the vegetable garden that is planted at the Aviary for the birds to get their fresh foods.  Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed your stay.

Oh, just another few shots after all, on the way back down Marion Street to get the bus back to downtown I took some shots.

A house I like - loved the blue door

Still blooming strong in spite of the date!

I have some friends living in here. 

The rooms are really large and I like it there very much plus there are balconies.