Sunday, February 27, 2011

Memorial Service for Laura Ann Young

It was heartening to see so many people attending this simple service for this 37 year old woman.  As many of my readers know, Laura was murdered, her body was found behind a house on Cathcart Street  in downtown Hamilton.  

In attendance were people from all walks of life.  Able bodied people and people with various physical and mental disabilities.I was particularly heartened to see a mother with two young girls in attendance. What a good way to show these young girls that all people count, no matter what their lifestyle has been.  I saw many familiar faces of people who make the Freeway their home away from home.  The Freeway is a drop in center at the corner of Wellington and King Street East.  It is run, to the best of my knowledge, by the Salvation Army.  People can buy snacks and drinks at reasonable prices, there is free internet service and people from all walks of life are made welcome.

 At the service, there was a reporter and a photographer from the Hamilton Spectator in attendance. I was able to have a few words with the photographer which was very enjoyable to me.  Very nice fellow. 

Pat Finnigan, of  Good Sheppard, an agency in Hamilton which helps disadvantaged people, gave the Eulogy.  Her words were eloquent but simple and touched the assembled people.

The lady from Edgemount Manor, which is a care facility here in Hamilton where Laura sometimes lived, also spoke a few words. Opportunity during the service was given to those who wished to say a word about Laura and many people did.  Her Mother, Fay McPhail of Cambridge, also spoke briefly of happier times with Laura.  The last time she heard her daughter's voice on the phone was on Valentine's Day when Laura called her to tell her how much she loved her and missed her. Plans were made for a visit on her Mom's birthday, February 20th, but this was not to be. Laura was murdered before that.

As a mother myself, it was heart breaking for me to listen to the words spoken by the Mom.  No mother would want this to happen to their child.  I think this is the part that affected me the most, her mother talking of happier times before things went wrong.

Two excellent musicians - Jared Both and Michelle Drew

Pat Finnigan - Good Sheppard

A lovely buffet all done by volunteers - food partially provided by the vendors at the Farmer's Market

Laura was very known in the downtown core. She lived in a boarding house with a meal plan, but she was out of her lodgings a fair bit of time.She could be seen at the Freeway asking people for money, at Jackson's Square, and on the street.She was not aggressive in her manner and many of the people who spoke about her, had positive things to say.

It brings to mind that all people's circumstances can change.  Illness, whether mental or physical can hit any person.  People who are ill in Ontario can qualify for Ontario Disability payments but it is not easy to get. I personally have helped fill out forms for a person of disability in Toronto.  He had given up trying to figure out the forms and was barely existing.  Together we filled it out and eventually he succeeded in getting the disability pension. He is a Canadian, born and bred, but has trouble with reading and writing.  Another lady I know, tries to survive on $800.00 a month.  She is severely disabled.

 How can anybody pay rent and eat on so little money?  Life in Canada is expensive.  In big cities like Toronto, Vancouver, and Hamilton, rents are high as are transportation costs.  There are people who have to choose between paying the rent or buying enough food.  Why is that?  If they don't pay the rent, eventually after due process of law, they will lose their place. 

All these questions need answers and disability payments need to be raised in order for people to live without begging.  Canada, after all, is an affluent country.

Am I my brother's keeper?  If you had a reversal of fortune, would you not want the answer to be "Yes?"

Thank you for reading my blog.  May Laura rest in peace.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Storm has arrived

Good Morning,

Upon opening my sleep-crusted eyes, groping my way  to the washroom to fulfil nature's call, I opened the curtains which shut the world away from me for the night.  I found a winter wonderland out there!

Snow, being driven by the wind, is coming down with such a force that it appears to be unending.  It almost obscures the tall high rise buildings near me. My old eyes peer downward to the parking lot under my window.  Only a few brave souls have come so far. Their cars are turning from their original colour to pure white.  It is a lovely sight as an observer from high in the sky.  Not so lovely when the owners come out and have to brush the snow off their windows in order to drive! 

I see the buses faithfully running, their drivers in control. I don't believe that I have ever seen Hamilton's bus service cancelled due to a winter storm.  I do know that DARTS, the transport for disabled people, have been cancelled from time to time. I once asked a driver why they cancelled, as downtown is never as bad as the mountain area, and she told me it was because of the scooters and the wheelchairs.  Snow banks make it almost impossible to disembark passengers and puts everybody at risk.

So far, I don't see too many people out on the street, but perhaps they already are at work. I hear a siren as the vehicle speeds to its emergency situation.  Living downtown is an exciting adventure in so many ways.  I really like it as I can look out of my window day or night, and there is life.

I am very thankful that I cancelled my hospital appointment for today. I would not do well out there battling the storm. Icy patches, hidden under white loose snow, are a danger to all people but for older folk, they are something to be avoided at all costs!  As one ages, I have observed that mobility, eyesight, and hearing can be issues. Falling snow is so beautiful and yet at the same time, there is danger.  I personally love walking when the snow is drifting down,  its delicate flakes hitting my face and nose, melting quickly from my body heat.  My crocheted green and brown woollen hat, protects my head. My dark jacket quickly changes colour, as the gentle flakes coat it's surface. There is so much beauty in freshly fallen snow.

I am most thankful for my training from the Province of Quebec and its harsh winters.  Through experience, I learned to be prepared with food and get things done before a predicted storm.  I am sure Northern Ontario people would have the same knowledge.

Thank you for dropping by my blog.  I hope you have enjoyed the description of a winter storm, especially those of you who are living in more temperate areas.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Revisions, revisions, revisions!

I went to my writing group last night and received some more valuable tips on my short story for the Toronto Star Contest. In writing, one can always do better, and that is why critiquing is a good thing.

Of course, it depends on how a person critiques, but if critiquing is done well, then it is beneficial. We had a good crowd last night.  I really like the new lady, Liz.  There were 7 of us which was pretty good considering the cold outside. 

The group ended so late last night.  It was after 10:30 p.m. when my friend David drove me home.  I really appreciate him driving me especially in those late hours. He waits at the back entrance until I am in the building safely.I loved his story about the cats and the man.  As a cat lover, I could relate to it very well.

Unfortunately, it was way past my bedtime and this disturbed my sleep cycle, so was unable to sleep.

However,  I am just making the last minute revisions and  I will go over to the Post Office and send it Priority Post.  I am so close to the deadline that I have no choice.

I have been working on this story for at least a month  I shall be glad to send it off and let my poor brain rest. 

In my view, writing poetry is less time consuming and easier.  However, I still prefer writing short stories and articles.

I have definitely decided to have a jewellery party and will start planning for it.  It will be before Mother's Day and in our party room. I have placed orders from my two suppliers in Toronto for stones and findings and hopefully they will be here in a week or so.

I want to make a lot of different new designs.  I will arrange to have some entertainment as usual.  I know one will be a clown, another will be a Toronto poet and we will see who else I will come up with.  It should be great fun with lots of good food.  My two Middle Eastern friends will be bringing some of their dishes as well so that will be extra special.

I will go to the market today and the library,as there is another big storm due tomorrow.  I have cancelled tomorrow's hospital visit due to the storm warning of freezing rain and snow.  Not worth the risk.

Thanks for reading my blog.  Have a great day!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Last minute change of plans

The venue for the World Day of Prayer  for the downtown Hamilton area has been changed. It was originally scheduled to be back at the newly renovated City Hall but due to circumstances beyond the Committee's control, it has been changed.

Please note that it will be held at St. Charles Garnier Roman Catholic Church.  The address is 129 Hughson Street South, corner of Augusta and Hughson.

The time of the service will be  12:30 this year.  Date:  March 4th.

Please be early if you want a seat as this venue is very small.

Thank you for reading this blog and please let others know of this unexpected change of venue.

Broken Trail Book Launch

I had the pleasure of attending Jean Rae Baxter's launch of her newest book, "Broken Trail."  It was held at the Bryan Prince Bookseller's store on 1060 King Street West, in Hamilton, Ontario.

Bryan Prince is a huge supporter of all literary functions which go on in Hamilton, hosting poetry readings for Poetry Center's invited poets, and having book launches.  His store is a cozy store and each time I have been to a launch there, I have enjoyed it.

Wall to wall shelves of books to brouse through, a cozy atmosphere and friendly staff.  What more could any book worm ask for?  I would heartedly recommend dropping by this lovely store just to feel the ambience and meet the staff!

Jean Rae Baxter's launch was very well attended in spite of the cold weather, the room being filled with attentive listeners.  More chairs had to be brought in for late arrivals.

Jean is a former High School English teacher, who spends a great deal of time doing research on her subject before starting to write.  Her work is very well written and she has a strong voice which carries well.

Ronsdale Press at published this book.  "Broken Trail" is a sequel to "The Way Lies North."  For those interested, "The Way Lies North" was selected for Best Books for Kids and Teens and nominated for the Red Maple and Stellar awards.  I shouldn't wonder if this newest book would not do equally as well.

I took a few photos of the event

Jean Rae Baxter - author

At the podium chatting

Happy chatter filled the room as people partook
of wine or soft drinks. After all the guests were settled, Jean began her reading from her book.

She read just enough to tantalize her listeners and to keep them guessing.

A mark of a good writer, in my opinion.

After her excellent talk and reading, those assembled were invite to partake of refreshments.

A casual shot of some of the guests after the reading
All in all, a wonderful evening which my friends and I thoroughly enjoyed.  Thank you so much for reading my blog.  Please drop in another time when you are able.

For more information on author Jean Rae Baxter, please go to:

Welcome to the Jean Rae Baxter official website.  Please google her name and you will find this official website.

Friday, February 18, 2011

More jewellery creations

Some of you do not read by jewellery blog so I am taking the opportunity to show you some of my lovely creations on my regular personal blog.

Hope you enjoy seeing them.

Swarovski mauve beads on gold plated rings with wirework

This would be lovely for an Easter present

Very delicate and feminine looking

Delicate wirework with Swarovski crystals and silver plated strong chain

My joy is being creative, both in writing and in jewellery making.  In writing, I really feel for my characters and I hope that my readers also learn to care for them. 

In jewellery making, a little bit of me goes into each piece as it is created lovingly.

Enjoy your day and thanks for dropping by.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thursday's events

I went to the planning committee for the World Day of Prayer service this morning.  The programme is written by the women of Chile. 

It will be held at City Hall again, after a four year period of being held in four different churches in the downtown area.

All religions are welcome to attend on March 4th.  There always is a nice luncheon after which the different participating churches provide.  There is no cost to attend but there is a free will offering to help various programmes which assist groups who aid people.

This afternoon, I took a friend over to the library and showed her the new library and she was quite impressed.  I showed her where things are now and how to check her materials back in.  The library staff showed her how to check them. 

We stopped off for a hot chocolate after the library visit.

She wants me to show her some more of my jewellery designs when I make some more as she is interested in purchasing more.

On a very sad note, there is a vigil for a woman tonight at Wellington and Cannon.  She was a panhandler and was murdered this week by persons unknown.  I hope that the police can find the person who did this.  She used to come to the Freeway coffee house to warm up and visit.  I have seen her but did not know her.  At first I thought it was another Laurie who is a regular there but thankfully that Laurie is safe.

The Freeway coffee house is run by the Salvation Army and is a drop in center.  There is a Seniors Club there and various other groups hold their meetings there as well.  Mostly, from what I have seen, people can just come and sit and chat with other people.  They also can buy light snacks.

On another note, I am going with Rahel to an Orientation Meeting at the V.O.N.  in the near future which soon which should be interesting.  I will be working on their newsletter to give them a hand.

I feel very tired tonight for some reason so will close this blog with a big thanks for reading my blog.  Come back again, should you wish to.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Monday's news - Valentine's Day

All in all Valentine's Day was a fabulous day for me!  Got some good news from my son on his business venture which will lead to better things He has worked so hard on his company and now results are beginning to show.   Take a look -    Civi-Side.Com

I saw my beloved cadiologist at the Henderson Hospital.  She is one of my favourite people!  The hospital has really been given a beautiful make over.  I couldn't get over how nice it looks. Bright and airy, lots of chairs for people to sit and easy to find the Ambulatory Care Section.

Dr. H. was her usual sweet self and we chatted for a few minutes.  I had made her one of my leather creations with faux pearls in wire work and she liked it so much she put it on.

I will never forget how wonderful she was in my two month stay at Henderson Hospital and the wonderful care she has given me for the last five years.  I wish more doctors, particularly the male doctors would learn how to relate to their patients less clinically and more as human beings.  That alone would help heal the patient!  I saw a wonderful DVD yesterday on Poetry and Healing. Interns and Residents were taught to use words  to write down their feelings.  The DVD showed how this benefited both doctors and patients. 

I am reminded of a young intern who was part of the team of doctors who came to see me in Intensive Care.  He looked so much like my son that I instinctively felt drawn to him.  Kenny was stuck in
France and unable to get home.  This young man always smiled at me and said hello.  I think he may have been of Indian background.  What a beautiful soul that young man had.  Just to see him smiling at me was a comfort.

Dr. H and Dr. W. and so many other hospital nurses and staff are forever printed in my heart and brain, as so much kindness was shown to me at Henderson.  It was Dr. W., my surgeon, who saved my life after the Code Blue.  He worked ten minutes on me all alone before the other doctor's could get there.  He told me much later on, that he had never worked so hard in his life!

Dr. H. and I had a lovely little chat and she asked me what I was working on now in my creative writing and I told her.  She gave me some expert advice on what goes on in the Emergency Room when a person comes in with chest pains.  She also wants me to send her my story via e-mail.  It made my day to see her smiling face!
It always lifts my spirits up when I see her. 

After I got home, I heard that the weatherman was calling for flash freezing on Monday night or Tuesday so I took my DVD's back that I had finished.

My trusty camera to the ready, I took some shots which are below.

There are several different types of fish in the tanks.


Note the little fish to the right

These fish tanks are located in the Childrens Department on the first floor.  While I was there saying hello to the very nice librarian, I took some shots of the empty market.

Shot from the childrens section of the library

It seems so strange to see it empty

The market is open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday only.

Here are some displays of the library's Valentine cards.

Note the different types of cads

I really enjoyed seing all the cards from yesteryear as well as current cards.  I find that the library does a great job of themes.  It is one of my favourite spots to visit in Hamilton.

To top off the day, which already was fantastic, I got a call from Andrew asking me to join them for Chinese food at the restaurant.  What a lovely surprise!

We went to the Mandarin but even early (5 p.m.), there was a 45 minute waiting period so I remembered that my friend Jennifer told me about Chan's which is also on Upper James.

We decided to go there instead of waiting and it was just as nice as the Mandarin and a little less expensive.

Needless to say, I still had my trust camera with me so here are some shots.

Andrew took this lovely shot of Rahel and I

Rahel  at Chan's Restaurant

Thanks for reading my blog and drop by again some time.  Have a wonderful day and enjoy life!

Oh, another thing, I forgot to mention, I sold my lovely Amethyst pendant to my neighbour.  She fell in love with it.  I was thinking of keeping it for myself but she liked it so much, I decided to sell it.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Story of

The Story of

My friend Nosheen sent me this link. It sounds very interesting for people who are unpublished. It doesn't say if a person can be published a few times, but still submit work just to get feedbank.

I might watch this site for a while and see how it goes. It sounds like a great idea, especially for new people in the writing field.

Poet Study at Tower Poetry Society

I just returned from a poet study which happens once a year at Tower.  It was very enjoyable and there was a good crowd, considering that it is still very cold outside.

It was mostly Tower members but there were two people I did not know so hopefully they will come back again some time.

Jennifer T was there as well as Jean which was nice to see.  Jean will be having a book launch shortly.

We broke for refreshments and then resumed for about half an hour after that.  Her topic was mostly memories and writing down individuals stories.

I, and several others, had a hard time to hear her though which was very unfortunate as what I did hear, was good.

Valerie Nielsen and Ann Elizabeth Carson

Valerie - President of Tower Poetry Society & Guest Speaker Ann Elizabeth Carson

For more information on this writer, please see her blog at:

Break time - refreshments were served

Another shot at break time

I was fortunate that Stella picked  my friend Irene and I  up, as it was a really cold day again today. She would have brought us home again but I did not want to take her out of her way. Kay and also Jeff offered to bring me home. Irene was going somewhere after the meeting today so did not require a ride back.

On another note, I was delighted to see that Westdale DVD's are more plentiful than at Central Library so I borrowed some more Midsommer Murders.  They told me that I could order them on line and they would ship them to Central Library for me to pick up there.  I am delighted to hear that!

All in all a good day.

Thanks for reading my blog.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Time out today

I just had to get out today, in spite of the cold.  Borrowed tons of DVD's from the library and actually succeeded to check them out myself!  I learned that you can only do five at a time.

Then I went over to the Farmer's Market and bought some groceries.  I really like the new look.  I asked after one of the vendor's and found out that this elderly couple decided to retire.  I am happy for them as it must have been very tiring to have to be in the market so early when it was open.  They were a lovely Hungarian couple and I shall miss them.

One of my neighbours is very interested in buying my Amethyst pendant so I am considering selling it to her as she really has her heart set on it.  I had hoped to keep it myself.  I'm still not sure I want to sell it.

I plan to put a sterling silver chain on it.
Tonight is Poetry Center and Alvaro will pick me up.  I am debating going as I haven't written any poetry since I started on my short story.  Mind you, I could go and enjoy the company as they are a jolly bunch of people!

We'll see.

Have a great day and drop in again some time.

Bohemian beads, silver plated rondelles with tourquoise teardrop

For those who don't follow my jewellery blog, here is my latest creation.

I like to think "out of the box" and this is the result.  Usually you see teardrops hanging from a chain. 

This is much different and in my opinion, a nice change.

A close up showing the tear drop
Thanks for reading my blog.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Visitors on very cold days!

How brave some people are going out in this frigid cold!   I, myself, have not been out since Monday as I really feel the cold now that I am older.

Today I had a friend come for coffee.  I am advertising my jewellery business in her magazine, Perspectives Magazine. Since she was downtown on business, she dropped in to pick up the rest of her money for the ad. 

I took a nice picture of her with my new camera which is posted here with her permission.

Monique Berry, publisher of Perspectives Magazine

She is very good with cameras and showed me quite a few functions which I was not aware this little machine could do.

As a special treat, I served coffee with whipped cream in it.  Try it some time, it is absolutely heavenly!

We had a lovely chat and visit.  For more information on this good little magazine, please go to:
Some of my own short stories have been published in this  magazine.  I send in stories that are from the perspective of an object and for me, they are fun things to write about. Check it out, if you have the time, to see this different type of magazine.

Now onto other things.

Yesterday, my young friend Rahel came for lunch and the afternoon.  I had made an economical dish consisting of  noodles with fried garlic,onions, a little curry and a little cardamon.  We both loved it!  I always can tell if somebody enjoys it as they take a second helping which we both did!

She has a cousin in the Yukon Territories and my telephone plan with Cogeco covers that area so she was able to chat with her family members in her language.  I was very happy that she was able to catch them home. 

The happy talker

Rahel chatting with her family in the Yukon Territories

What a real blessing it is to have my long distance covered in Canada, I can chat with my friends in Montreal, Lachine, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan and good old Toronto.

Tonight I might go out, I am not sure as it is very cold.  I might take my story  for its final critiquing before I sent it in to the Toronto Star Contest.  I find it very helpful to get the male point of view as many of the writers in the group are men.  They think so very different from women.

I have researched it very thoroughly with the help of friends in the Pakistani community in Toronto,as well as my dear Wally who is in the accounting field. 

It would be so amazing even if I came third place, as the competition will be fierce.  My former job as a newspaper reporter has helped me in ferreting information out to make my creative stories very factual.

Monique took this picture with my new camera. She did a real good job.
The beautiful cup was a gift from an engaged couple for my 21st birthday

Thanks for dropping by and come again some time, if you wish.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Some shots from the library of the Farmer's Market

I am just catching up on my blog now.  On Saturday I went to visit the library and then dropped into the children's section to take pictures from the windows there of the new Farmer's Market.

In spite of the fact that they are through a window looking down, I think they are fairly good.

This is the entrance to the new library which is very close to the Farmer's Market

Please observe the clock hanging from the ceiling  It is the old Birks clock and it now works

A shot taken from the library windows

Tried to take different sections of the market

Farmer's Market (Birks Clock)

I didn't need anything.  For those who have mobility issues, the Farmer's Market now has an elevator which will take you into the basement where many of the stalls are located. 

This is a display in the children's section of the library

Yet another one

The library is very welcoming to children, having a special section there with fish tanks and day care furniture.  Parents always must accomplish their children.  The librarian there is such a delightful lady, I go in sometimes just to see her smiling face and say hello.  It is my joy to see children interacting with each other and with their parents. 

Now onto a completely different subject.  I did abit of jewellery making on Saturday as well and here is two tourquoise tear drops which I wired ready to be strung on a chain.

Tourquoise tear drop pendant

Rose Quartz stone wirewrapped with copper and silver plated wire.  A chunky look.

Same one against a different colour background

Would it be my blog, without some reference to the cats?

Shall close for now, thanks for dropping by.  Come again some other time, if you wish.

I always welcome comments.