Thursday, December 24, 2009
But this year, the corner sat empty. There was no tree. At only 9 years old, Emily didn't understand why they had not put up their traditional tree and where were the Christmas presents?
You see, earlier that year Emily's father and older brother Rowan had gone out to one of Rowan's hockey games, but they never came home. Her mother said they had gone to live with baby Jesus. But then Emily didn't really understand why then they couldn't go to visit them if they lived somewhere else.
After that night Emily's mother changed. She cried a lot, she didn't talk much to Emily and she stayed in her room to sleep much more than just at night.
It didn't even seem like Christmas this year except of course for the beautiful blanket of snow outside and the silver icicles that hung outside the windows glittering in the sunlight.
Every year at Christmas, Emily and her mother would go into the city to the big stores to do their Christmas shopping, they would spend the day shopping and looking at the windows on the street which were full of toys and beautiful Christmas decorations. After their day, they would have dinner at a nice restaurant where the tables had white tablecloths and napkins to match. Mommy showed her how to lay the napkin across her lap. The man who brought their food wore a black suit with shoes so shiny Emily could almost see her face in them. Mommy told her to be polite and say thank you when he brought her food, but when he put her food in front of her he bowed and then clicked his heels. Unable to help herself, Emily asked him if he had seen The Wizard of Oz (her very favouritist movie), because his heel clicks reminded her of Dorothy. The man smiled kindly at Emily and said that of course, that was his favourite movie. He always clicked his heels at Christmas because his family lived far away and he, like Dorothy wanted to be home with them, especially at Christmas time.
Then, when they finished their dinner they would put on their skates and go to skate on the frozen canal which ran through the centre of town. After skating they would go the hotel where they would stay overnight, change into their pyjamas and sip hot chocolate which a very nice lady brought to their room. In the morning another very nice lady would bring a delicious breakfast of pancakes, fresh strawberries, whipped cream and maple syrup. After breakfast with their shopping complete and their adventure over, they would head back home to everything that Emily loved, her daddy, her big brother Rowan, her dog Ellie.
Of course, while Emily and her mother were gone, Rowan and daddy would hang the Christmas lights and decorate the outside of the house in preparation for Christmas.
Once the presents were wrapped, they would bundle up in warm clothes and go out into the woods just behind their house to find a perfect tree for that corner.
Mommy would get out all the ornaments and they would spend the afternoon decorating the tree and drinking hot chocolate with little marsh mellows in it.
Emily hugged her knees up tight against her chest remembering all these lovely things that made her feel warm inside. But then she looked at the corner again and remembered that this Christmas something was very different.
Her dad and brother were gone, her mom was different, she never laughed any more. Even grandma and grandpa couldn't get mommy to feel Christmassy this year.
As Emily sat there remembering her Christmases past, a small tear escaped from her eye and slid down her cheek dropping onto her knee. Her dog, Ellie who had been lying beside her on the floor, suddenly looked up at Emily and sensed her sadness. She sat up and leaned against Emily licking her cheek where the tear had been. Emily put her arms around Ellie, snuggling in close to her neck and whispering, "We have to make Christmas special this year for Mommy."
Jumping up, she grabbed her warm winter clothes and ran outside to play in the snow.
Ellie bounded out the door after her, running through the snow with her nose down. The snow sprayed in every direction as Ellie pushed through it. When she finally stopped and looked up, Emily laughed to see all the snow on Ellie's face. She had a white snow beard with white snow hair on top of her head.
While Emily played outside, Mr. Whitcombe, their next door neighbour watched her from the window. He felt so sad for Emily and her mother. He knew the pain of loss to, as his wife; Bessie had died only just 1 year ago and left him alone. As he watched Emily and Ellie playing in the snow, he wondered what he could do to help this family?
Mr. Whitcombe put on his coat and boots, tied a scarf around his neck and headed outside to say hello to Emily.
"Hello Emily", he called over as he started walking towards her. "Are you and Ellie enjoying this new snow?"
"Hello Mr. Whitcombe, we're having lots of fun, Ellie ran through the snow with her nose and got so much snow on her head she had a white snow beard and white snow hair. I'm going to build a snowman, do you want to help?"
So, together they started to roll the snowballs to make their snowman. As the afternoon wore on, they ended up making a snow family, a daddy with a top hat that Mr. Whitcombe found in his attic, a mommy with a shawl that he also brought out and a little girl and boy who each wore a knitted hat and scarf.
Throughout their snow family making, they talked about how sad Emily's mommy was; about
how there was no Christmas tree, no presents and no laughter at their home any more. Mr. Whitcombe pretended to blow his nose, but he was really wiping away the tears of sadness that he felt for this sweet little child.
So, he said to Emily, "Let's you and I see what we can do to help make Christmas better for you and your mommy."
It was getting late, so Emily said goodbye to Mr. Whitcombe and went inside.
Her mom was sitting wrapped in a blanket on the chair in the front of the fireplace.
"Mommy, come to the window and see the snow family that Mr. Whitcombe and I made this afternoon." Emily took her mother's hand and pulled her to the window, telling her how nice Mr. Whitcombe was. "He is just like Santa, with his big white beard and his fat tummy."
As her mother looked out the window at the snow family, Emily thought she saw a very small smile, but then a few tears also glistened on her cheeks.
Emily and her mother spent the day quietly, watching a couple of movies and having a small dinner, then heading to bed. It just was not like Christmas Eve in the past. The stockings were not hung, there was no milk and cookies and carrots laid out for Santa and his reindeer. Would Santa even come to their home this year Emily wondered?
In the morning, Emily woke to the sunshine coming through her window and noticed the icicles glittering like diamonds in the sunlight.
She ran downstairs, hoping to see that overnight Christmas had somehow magically arrived and there would be a tree and presents just like before. But there was no tree and no presents. Emily sat down, crying. Why did all these bad things happen to their family? And why didn't Santa come last night? Did he forget that she, Emily still lived here and had sent her Christmas list to him?
While Emily sat there feeling just a little bit sorry for herself, she heard her mom coming down the stairs.
"Emily, I am so sorry that Christmas is not fun this year, it has been hard for me to get in the Christmas spirit without your daddy and brother, but next year I will try harder to make it better for you."
Emily ran into her mother's arms, as they sat there together on the floor feeling the sadness at their aloneness this Christmas.
As they sat there, they heard a rustling noise outside and then suddenly there were bells ringing out a Christmas carol.
They jumped up and ran to the window to see what the commotion was all about. They both had to rub their eyes because they could not believe what they saw.
There on their front lawn was a big red sleigh and nine reindeer. Now you do remember all the reindeer's names don't you? Dasher and Dancer, Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid, Donner and Blitzen and of course Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer.
Santa was standing in his sleigh waving to them and on their front porch was a tall, beautiful, decorated Christmas tree with flashing lights and a beautiful star shining on the top of the tree.
How could this be? And how did Santa know that they did not have a tree like usual?
Emily pulled on her boots, grabbed her coat and ran outside. Rudolph turned to nuzzle Emily's neck as she rushed towards the sleigh to see if this was real. Santa reach down and grabbed Emily pulling her up and into the sleigh with him. She sat on his lap leaning against his long, soft white beard.
"Santa, how did you know that we did not celebrate Christmas this year? And how did you know that we didn't have a tree? And, it's Christmas Day; shouldn't you be home at the North Pole now?" Emily had so many questions, she was practically breathless trying to ask them all.
Santa replied, "Emily, a very special friend told me about your daddy and brother and how sad your mommy is, so I thought that a special trip was in order to bring Christmas to you and your mommy."
As he explained everything to Emily, the beautiful Christmas tree disappeared as a gust of wind blew open the door and then suddenly there it stood in their home in its usual corner, but this time it was surrounded by parcels wrapped in silver and gold and tied up with big red bows.
"Emily, remember Christmas is not just a day but a feeling that is always in your heart. It is not just Christmas trees, presents and a big turkey dinner, but a feeling of love, forgiveness, family and remembering others who are not as fortunate as we are.
That's why I came on a special trip today, because you and your mother are having a difficult Christmas this year without your daddy and brother. I though you both needed extra love and attention."
Emily sat with Santa for a while enjoying his stories and attention. I think she might of even dropped off to sleep for a wee bit while she was snuggled in his arms.
And all the while, a kindly old gentleman stood at his window watching ........ and smiling.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
On Thursday, the Olympic Torch came through our area carried for 300 metres by John Stanton, a gentlemen from Edmonton, Alberta, who founded "The Running Room" located throughout North America.
Don and I went out the see him run and pass the flame to the next torch bearer. It was an exciting and much more emotional moment that I had anticipated.
Afterwards, Don had to go back to work and he dropped me off at home. At the last minute I decided to pop back into The Running Room to pick up his book and see if he was still there to autograph it for me.
Lucky for me, he was there and the manager suggested I have my picture taken with John. As I stood beside John, he put his arm around me and then at the last moment pushed the torch into my hand to hold.
This was quite an honour to actually hold the Olympic Torch and to meet John, who gave me quite a few tips on my walking program.
I continue my walking program that I started in the summer and I`m proud to say that last Sunday, I walked my first 5k. I registered for this walk in Whitby, Ontario, but unfortunately at the last minute, it was cancelled due to icy walkways & trails. With this cancellation came a problem - I had sent out an email to friends and family asking for donations to Toy Mountain (a charity run by the Salvation Army to provide toys to underprivileged children at Christmas), and had my own little Toy Mountain at my home to donate.
I was so disappointed that the walk was cancelled, but having all these toys, I didn`t feel right not going on my walk. So down I went on my treadmill and did my walk - 5.6K to be exact.
At the halfway mark, the phone rang and it was one of Don`s brothers who with his family had gone out to cheer me on at my race. Also one other brother and his family came along too. They showed up at our place just as I completed my walk and as they came in the door, Rebecca, their oldest held up a big sign covered with Christmas tinsel which read `Go Auntie Barb Go``. This beautiful sign is now proudly hanging on my basement wall - my trophy for my first walk.
An emotional moment for me upon completion with this very wonderful display of support.
So now with my first 5K walk completed, I have registered for another in April and continue to walk on my own 2 times a week - about 3-4Km each time and as well riding my recumbant bike 5Km once a week.
The weight is very slow to come off, but to date I have lost 17 pounds and don`t plan on stopping. I do not have a weight loss goal, my first and foremost goal is good health and the weight loss is secondary (a little extra bonus), so wherever it stops is where I`ll be content.
Merry Christmas everyone and all the best for the new decade ahead.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Thanks so much to my sister Fran who suggested this book to me ~ I'm so glad she did. I will be digging up this author's other books to read as well. Simply fascinating!
There is very little I can say except "WOW" ~ and if you haven't read it, you should.
I was raised in a very religious home with no room for an open mind outside of Biblical teachings.
But let me tell after reading this book, I'm not so sure any more.
This is a recalling of the many sessions between the prominent psychiatrist, Dr. Brian Weiss, MD and his patient Catherine, who through the vehicle of hypnosis recalled close to 100 past lives. And I might add recalled them with vivid detail even down to the clothing she was wearing at the time.
It is not a long book ~ 218 pages ~ but what a page turner. I was fascinated at every turn but most of all, this book opened my mind to the possibilities of what awaits us when our journey has come to an end on earth.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
And I pause to remember the freedom we all take for granted.
And then I think of all our fallen heroes who have died to preserve our freedom.
The Highway of Heroes in Canada has seen far too many of our young soldiers travel along it for the last time.
It is a moving tribute to see the procession as it drives along the highway and the amount of people including soldiers, firefighters, police, families of previous fallen soldiers and those of us who silently weep at the senseless loss; congregate at each & every bridge from CFB Trenton to Toronto.
There is a reverence and silence each and every time a soldier comes home for the last time.
Let us not forget today our precious freedom that was and continues to be bought as such a high price.
Let us also remember the familes ~ the mothers and fathers who held their sons and daughters for the very last time, the children who said goodbye to their mother or father for the very last time, as they were deployed to go and fight these wars.
Today is also a special remembrance day in our family as our third grand baby Zander was born six years ago today.
I have always called Zander my little cuddle muffin. He is a very special little boy, full of a love of life and very full of love for his family who surrounds him.
We went to a birthday party for him on Sunday where Don and I were treated to a very special viewing of two movies that Zander's big brother Jayden produced and directed. While we were sitting on the sofa watching the movies, Zander came over, squeezed in between Don and I and casually placed one hand on each of our legs. Now that he's getting older, we don't get these very special moments quite as much as we used to, so when we do I savour each and every moment, enjoying the delicious flavour of unconditional childhood love.
Happy Birthday Zander!
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
As I am extremely allergic to dogs, cats, dust, mould and through my life have tried all the conventional methods ~ skin testing, allergy shots, antihistamines & decongestants, corticosteroid inhalers and rescue inhalers, etc, this method seemed like a good choice since nothing else has ever addressed the root of the problem ~ only masked the symptoms.
I cannot even visit my grandbabies without taking an antihistamine and then using my rescue inhaler at least 2-3 times.
So in my quest to get off chemicals and regain good health with a healthy immune system so I can fight viruses, colds, influenza and other nasties that might come my way, I decided to have my allergies cleared.
BIE is a safe, effective and non-invasive alternative therapy for assessing and eliminating allergies, sensitivities and intolerances.
BIE works by “clearing” the energetic pathways of the body. These bioenergetic pathways, or meridians, whose existence has been confirmed through electro-magnetic imaging technology, allow energetic signals to flow continuously throughout the body via the nervous system. Any number of factors can cause a disruption in the normal (healthy) flow of energy through the body’s meridians. These disruptions interfere with the communication between the brain and body, causing energetic abnormalities which can underlie a wide range of symptoms and conditions, including allergies, sensitivities and intolerances.
During the procedure, the client is exposed to the allergenic substance (which is held in a glass vial), while a hand-held device is used to transmit a low electronic frequency at various meridian sites on the body. As the electronic frequency clears blocked meridians, the body’s cells interpret the allergen’s energetic frequency as “non-threatening”, resulting in the elimination of adverse reactions to the cleared allergen.
BIE is quite different from conventional methods of treating allergies. The most widely used conventional allergy test is the scratch or pin prick test, whereby an area on the skin (usually the back) is scratched or pricked to allow for a small dilution of a suspected allergen (typically inhaled allergens such as pollen, mold, dust and animal dander) to be applied and absorbed into the body. The appearance of redness and inflammation within 20 minutes confirms an allergy. Since the scratch test measures only one specific type of allergic response (IgE-mediated), it does not reliably detect food, chemical or environmental allergies and sensitivities.
Another significant drawback to the conventional approach to allergy is its reliance on pharmaceuticals to control allergic reactions and their symptoms. Antihistamines, inhaled orticosteroids, bronchodilators, aminophylline, oxtriphylline and theophylline medications may be used to provide temporary relief from symptoms, however, these short-term solutions pose the risk of serious long-term side effects (melatonin depletion with antihistamines; calcium, vitamin D, potassium, zinc, magnesium, vitamin C and folic acid depletion with corticosteroids; depression, insomnia and cardiovascular disease with bronchodilators).
In contrast, because BIE addresses the issue of allergy energetically, it is painless and non-invasive and can be used to assess the body’s reaction to virtually any substance. Further, a distinct advantage of BIE is its ability to restore the body’s proper physiological functioning without the use of pharmaceuticals and without any lasting adverse side effects.
During my appointment with the holistic allergist, she used muscle testing to determine the severity of my allergies using the substances to which I exhibit allergic reactions. So I brought fur from each of the animals that I react to. I had a very strong allergic reaction to the dogs and cats, reaction slightly less to dust and mould.
Then I went through the clearing which took about 20 minutes. Afterward she, using muscle testing again to check my allergic reactions to the substances. No more allergies to dust, mould, and all the animals but two had cleared. She said they would likely clear within 3-4 days.
For my followup appointment in December she suggested that I bring dust samples from my home and my daughters (the two places I spend the most time) for a clearing.
All I can say at this point is Hallelujah - now I can visit my daughter and her family without suffering asthma attacks, itchy & runny eyes, scratchy throat, sneezing, coughing and just way too much liquid draining from my nose.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Why ~ I am not sure.
So much support and love across the miles came my way when I blogged my feelings through my fathers illness and ultimate death. During my knee and gall bladder surgeries I was overwhelmed by your concerns and good wishes.
So why, I wonder has my interest died. I have always enjoyed expressing myself through writing, painting, taking pictures, crafting, but all of these things have fallen by the wayside.
Well, part of the issue is that I am presently under construction to improve my health.
A few months ago, I decided to incorporate a Naturopathic doctor into my health management.
She discovered a great many problems in my blood chemistry, not the least of which was glucose at pre-diabetic levels. As well, I have acidosis which is a highly acidic body chemistry, high sodium levels, high potassium levels, too many liver enzymes, high cholesterol and anemia from very low iron.
She really put the "fear-of-God" into me by telling me that she felt within 5-6 years I would be a very sick woman if I did not make some big changes.
So, what am I doing?
First I am moving towards a vegan lifestyle. I have removed all red meat from my diet and am eating mostly oily fish (ie., salmon) as well as chicken and turkey. For the time being no more alcohol and I am following a 1600 calorie per day diet consisting mostly of vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, eggs, yogurts and again only white meats and fish. Dark chocolate, olive oil and olives are also in diet daily.
To date I have lost 12 pounds and dropped a size. YAHOOOOO!!! The weight loss has been slow (in my opinion), but my chances of keeping it off are greater according to statistics if I lose approximately 1 pound a week, rather than rush things along with a faster weight loss.
As well on my last follow up visit, my bloodwork showed considerable improvements in all the areas that she was very concerned with.
On the recommendation of my naturopath, I have also undertaken a series of colonics hydrotherapy.
What is colonics you might ask ~ here is a short overview.
Colon hydrotherapy, or colonics, is a centuries-old therapy using filtered water to flush accumulated fecal waste, harmful bacteria, intestinal parasites, gas and mucus from the colon. It is a safe and gentle yet powerful way to cleanse the body, and to make all body systems and organs more efficient.
When waste matter is not efficiently eliminated from the colon, it becomes impacted and eventually putrefies and turns toxic. These toxins are absorbed into the bloodstream through the colon wall, where they travel throughout the body and eventually settle in various tissues. The stress created by these toxic deposits weakens the body, and can cause or aggravate a multitude of symptoms. Colon hydrotherapy cleanses the colon, helping to prevent the absorption of toxins into the bloodstream, and provides a clearing for the body to release trapped toxins so that these can be properly eliminated. Facilitating the optimal efficiency of practically all body processes, and thereby preventing the onset or degeneration of illness, is what makes colonics a useful part of virtually any treatment for virtually any condition.
The practice of using water to flush waste from the colon as a form of therapy dates as far back as 1300 B.C. An ancient Greek medical text called the Eber Papyrus (named after George Eber, a German professor who had the text translated in 1873) extols the virtues of cleansing the colon via the rectum. Early fathers of medicine Hippocrates (460-377 B.C.) and Galen (129-210) were strong proponents of colon cleansing as a medicinal tool. Ambrosio Paré (1517-1590), a French physician, was the first to describe colon hydrotherapy (also known as colon irrigation or colonics) in detail and to differentiate it from an enema.
Into the 20th century, pioneering physicians including Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (of Kellogg's cereal fame), Dr. Norman Walker and Dr. Bernard Jensen stressed the importance of receiving regular colonics as part of a healthy lifestyle. In fact, until the 1930's, colon hydrotherapy was commonly practiced in many hospitals and doctors' offices, attesting to its legitimacy. Regrettably, the advent of pharmacology and the ensuing ubiquity of pharmaceuticals relegated colonics to virtual obsolescence for several decades.
Since the 1970's, however, there has been a grassroots resurgence of interest in the health benefits and healing potential of colon hydrotherapy.
Hectic schedules, high levels of stress, a growing dependence on nutrient-deficient processed and fast foods, artificial food additives and preservatives, sedentary lifestyles, alcohol consumption, smoking, recreational and prescription drug use, thousands of toxic chemicals in every day household and industrial products, environmental pollution, soil depletion - these are some of the common contributing factors to a general decline in people's health, producing conditions ranging from a vague feeling of malaise to more serious chronic and degenerative disease states. Ultimately, the body is burdened by toxic overload as it is not designed to cope with these hazards in the excessive quantity and frequency to which it has become exposed.
The consequences of these excesses have left many people searching for ways to regain their lost vitality. Drugs and surgery have become the interventions of choice in the field of medicine. However, although typically prescribed, drugs and surgery are limited in their effectiveness as a means of prevention. In fact, they are of little value until after the onset of illness. The use of drugs and surgery as a cure is also restricted. Because they tend to target a specific symptom rather than addressing the relationship between a symptom and the rest of the body, drugs and surgery generally do not address the underlying disturbances which caused illness to occur, leaving the door open for symptoms to recur or for new symptoms to develop. While modern medicine can be of invaluable service in certain critical circumstances, more and more people are seeking holistic health care alternatives to help alleviate illness before it reaches a critical stage.
As a holistic preventative and healing therapy, colon hydrotherapy is beyond comparison. It is widely practiced in the United Kingdom and in many European countries, including France, Germany, Spain, Belgium and Switzerland. In North America, a growing number of people are experiencing the far-reaching benefits of colonics as word spreads about this unique therapy and as more holistic practitioners offer colonics as an integral part of health care.
I have also gone back to chiropractic adjustments which I firmly believe are important to prevention of illness. Unfortunately I have let it go over the past year, but have just started back again. Still going through the difficulties of flare up due to the adjustments, but this too shall pass.
Back in August of 2007, I wrote how much I love chiropractic care and why you should see a chiropractor. Here again are my reasons for seeing a chiropractor.
1. Relieve nerve irritation caused by narrowed openings of the spine due to degenerated discs.
2. Restore movement by stretching shortened ligaments resulting from chronic joint stiffness.
3. Restore joint movement by breaking down scar tissue from old injuries.
4. Help to "pump" in nourishment and lubricates the discs to avoid drying, cracking and rupturing of discs.
5. Calm muscle excitability to reduce tensions and spasm.
6. Can trigger specific pain-controlling nerve reflexes.
7. Can save you time and money in the long run by preventing chronic pain and future disability.
8. Correct underlying structural problem, rather than "cover up" your symptoms.
9. Pain relief without drugs or surgery.
Many, many people are nervous to see a chiropractor because of many horror stories of neck twisting, cracking, etc.... When you look for a chiro make sure that you and he/she understand your fears. Many do not employ twisting and cracking, but use a small tool called an activator.
It's most important to understand that chiropractic is not a treatment for disease. It's purpose is to reduce nerve system stress, a serious and often painless condition most adults and children have in their bodies. Nerve system stress interferes with the proper functioning of the nervous system, can weaken internal organs and organ systems, lower resistance, reduce healing potential and set the stage for sickness and disorders of all kinds. When a chiropractor frees the nervous system from spinal stress, the healing power of the body is unleashed: the immune system works more efficiently, resistance to disease increases, and your body functions more efficiently. You can then respond to internal and external environmental stresses such as germs, changes in temperature, humidity, toxins, pollen and all the other stresses you may come in contact with more efficiently.
As well I have incorporated a small exercise program into my schedule. As I am sure you must all remember, exercise and me do not mix .... sort of like oil and water, but for the sake of my health it must be done.
So I went out and bought a good pair of walking shoes, a pedometer and started a walking program of 2-3 times per week. To date I have managed to walk 1 - 1 1/2 miles on each walk.
So, if you have wondered where I have been, now you know .... spending a great deal of time getting my health under control.
I want to continue to enjoy my grandchildren as they get older, not have to make excuses for why I cannot do .....
Monday, September 21, 2009
As you can see she was a beauty of pooch. Many memories I have of sitting around their pool, while Rikkers would bring her frisbee for me to toss for her. This would go on until I got too tired ~ never her.
Their wonderful veterinarian helped them fight for an extra three months the Lymphoma and Leukemia that eventually took her life on Friday September 18th.
Here's a sweet picture Bev came across of our youngest grandson Zander (who is almost 6 now) enjoying a day of playing with Rikkers.
Rikkers August 2000-September 09
I Am Not There
Do not stand at my grave and weep, I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn's rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there, I did not die.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
I bought this plant three weeks ago. It was covered in buds, but had no flowers. I found it in the end of the season clearance isle for $4.99. A great deal I thought, so I bought it and hoped for the best.
Then the weather got really, really hot ~ outside thermometer showed 33 Celsius in the shade and that's not taking into account the heavy humidity we have had to contend with as well.
Well, I'm guessing that this little beauty loved the humidity because it started blooming yesterday morning and today there are four more plate size blooms.
I'm not an annual flower kind of the girl, my garden is mostly shrubbery and perennials, but I do have a few urns and cast iron plant holders that I fill up with annuals for shots of colour in the garden. This if the first time I have ever purchased a Hibiscus, usually I stick with Asters, Geraniums, Bacopa and Sweet Potato Vine, German Ivy and Vinca Vines for fillers.
My point and shoot camera doesn't take the best quality pictures, but I hope you can appreciate the beauty of these flowers ~ their size is spectacular, approximately 7" across and the fuchsia colour is breathtaking.
Hope you are all enjoying your summer and your gardens!!!
Thursday, August 13, 2009
What a wonderful afternoon and such fun we had!
The party was planned with just family (or so he thought), so he was very surprised when friends started to arrive as well.
The little sweetheart in the middle ~ Lindsey was the first to arrive with her mom and dad.
I told her to go outside to say "Happy Birthday" to the birthday boy.
He was so surprised, he couldn't for a moment figure out who she was.
That's what I call a good surprise!!
Then Mom and Dad followed along with other friends who arrived shortly after.
This is our oldest, beautiful niece Rebecca and also our newest niece Grace who just turned 7 weeks old.
A few of the party goers, son-in-law Mike, good friend Lesley who worked her buns off keeping the kitchen clean, providing drinks, cutlery, dishes and generally being a great hostess, Don's brothers ~ Paul & Peter.
Vanessa gets a ride from Uncle Glen.
After he opened up the player, he turned to me and said, "Guess we better get some blu-ray disks now."
The perfect segue for his next gift. Because I knew he was getting the player I picked up his all time favourite movie ~ Top Gun.
Then probably the biggest surprise was this laptop from me, our children, my mom and one of our friends who contributed as well. Since I had given him a gold and diamond ring to mark this very special birthday, he wasn't expecting anything else from me, so this came as quite a surprise.
We had a wonderful day visiting with friends, family and enjoying the food I had prepared the day before ~marinated flank steak sliced thin and served cold, souvlaki, tiger shrimp, sushi (ordered in), pita bread with a variety of humus dips, quinoa salad (made by our daughter) and greek salad. This was the first time I had ever done flank steak. I marinated it for 3 days and then barbecued it on Friday afternoon, let it cool down and then sliced against the grain thinly. It was outstanding and I received many compliments on it.
Thanks to our daughter Sebrina, for taking all these absolutely beautiful pictures and portraits. We are quite proud of her for turning this amazing talent into a very successful photography business, which in the past few months has taken off like a rocket.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Today is a very BIG day for my hubby!
Shhhh don't tell anyone but it's birthday number 'fifty'.
So here is a little tribute to my sweetheart and a very big Happy Birthday with all my love.
The love of my life has a big day today
It’s birthday number ‘50’ so let’s say hoorah.
He’s a wonderful guy
Loves the girls in his life
His daughter, his granddaughter
And me ~ his wife.
He’s a really great dad and poppa to boot
These traits he owns
And there is no dispute.
His grandsons are great
But with them he cannot keep up
Not on the PlayStation III, the Nintendo or WII.
His nieces, they love him
Uncle Donald they say
“Can you come over and watch our ballet?”
He’s a terrific brother and wonderful son
Watching over his parents
Helping brothers when needed
But all the praise he receives goes unheeded.
He works very hard at his job in the city
Keeping customers happy ~ all systems up
After a hard day at work ~ his mood’s not too pretty.
His team ~ they are great
And they work very hard
To keep their boss happy
This I can’t overstate.
Today on this very significant day
Balloons and streamers in his office they draped
Too bad this wasn’t videotaped.
Well, his day’s nearly over
No dinner celebrations tonight
He’s training for a marathon
So he’ll have to eat light.
Friday, July 24, 2009
As Don came home on Tuesday night, pulling into the garage, Chris, husband Alain and son Joel drove in within seconds directly behind him.
I stood at the door, waiting for what seemed an eternity and then there was Chris ~ coming up my walkway to my front door.
She came right into my arms as we shared a hug and yes it felt like I already knew her. Chris is warm, loving and has all the character traits that I cherish in a friend. You can see in her the love she radiates for her husband and children.
This woman is truly a treasure!!
Her friendship which I have treasured for years has now become a living breathing relationship.
I stretched out my hand to shake Joel and Alain's hands, but they just reached out to share a hug ~ they too already knew me through Chris. It was immediately so comfortable.
Joel made a interesting observation when he and I were chatting at breakfast the next morning. He commented that this was an easy transition as the trust has already been established and as well the knowledge of each other that takes so long when developing a friendship. We so easily slipped into comfortable talk and easy companionship.
This visit had seemed a little like Christmas day ~ so much excitment and buildup and then in a flash it was over.
But, what a wonderful time we had with her, Alain and Joel.
It seems a little surreal to me that she actually was here after all of our years of communicating through emails. It was so amazing to be sitting in the same room with Chris talking and sharing like we have for years on email.
My plan had been that we would sit outside in the garden and barbecue corn, homemade burgers, sausages and of course my Tuscan smashed potatoes. But, alas, it was not to be ~ about 1 1/2 hours before they arrived the skies opened and poured down rain for the rest of the evening ~ so I had to quickly change course. The corn was steamed on the stove. I put together a huge green salad and grilled seasoned chicken breasts which I quickly had to defrost. They brought a lovely bottle of Ontario red wine. By the time we polished that off (our second bottle) and then coffee and liquors ~ a shot or three of Rémy Martin, I was feeling quite tingly. After imbibbing that much, normally I would want to close my eyes and go to sleep, but the stimulation of our visit and conversation for the very first time kept me awake until after 1:30. Don had to get up at 6:00 for work, so I thought it best at that time if we all went to bed ~ I didn't want to keep him awake with our talking.
Sidenote ~ I didn't really sleep at all that night ~ too excited.
Now that they are gone ~ I wonder did it really happen? I must pinch myself awake.
Coincidentally her son Joel also was leaving our home to go to Minneapolis to meet a friend he too has known via email for years.
So now we are back to emails, but can we look forward to a visit to their home in the future? I hope so.
Now that we have finally meet, I would dearly love to keep this friendship alive with visits.
But thank goodness for the wonders of technology today, we can email or even talk using a webcam and Skype to stay in touch when we can't be together in person.
Edited to add: Joel is not in the picture because he was behind the camera!
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
My dad and I did not have the closest relationship but the three weeks prior to his death made up for a lifetime of an absent dad.
He worked in the financial industry so spent most of his evenings and weekends on sales calls. I remember so many nights standing with my mom at the front window waiting for my dad to come home.
As well he was a very devoted born-again Christian and spent a great deal of time writing book after book, pastoring and teaching at the Bible seminary.
Most of my memories of my dad are of him holed up in his office downstairs tapping away on his typewriter. There are very few memories of him actually being a dad.
But when he got sick last year and knew he was dying, we shared so much. The love exchanged, the intimates words and talks we had during that period pushed all of the past away and replaced it with a loving father.
My mom continues to suffer his loss, but is doing the best she can to continue on without falling into a pit of despair. I am so proud of how well she is coping.
It is hard to believe that one year has gone by ~ in some ways it still seems surreal that he and my mom aren't still living together in their condominium, but then I go over to visit with mom at the retirement home where she is living and reality crashes in.
It would have been their 60th anniversary this August which my mom thought they would celebrate together. She talked about this the other day and was upset that he wasn't here to celebrate this day with her. I said she should still celebrate the day. Although dad isn't here physically he will alway remain in her heart and they are still together in her memories.
He wasn't a perfect father, but he taught me morals, taught me to love the arts and reading, taught me that nothing can stop me from achieving my dreams and taught me the value of hard work.
Five out of six children, twelve out of thirteen grandchildren and over twenty great grandchildren are his legacy. The over 250 books he wrote also remain as his legacy ~ George Bowman's words live on.
Love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss, and ends with a teardrop ........
Sunday, July 19, 2009
I love doors .....
The thought of what might lie beyond that door ...
Who lives there?
The possibilities are endless .........
Stumbling upon a beautiful door or a collection of doors in a quaint courtyard in Ireland ...
The old gentleman of the village lives behind the middle door surrounded by stacks of his beloved books. The shelves are so high there is a ladder to reach the uppermost shelf.
Next door to him on the left lives the old spinster who still lovingly tends to her wild flowers. Every now and again she brings a pot of stew to the old gentleman.
Now on the right ~ well there lives a young artist who brazenly splashed red on his door to wake up the community and let them know a wild and untamed soul lived here.
Or a door into a church ...
Does this door give a clue to what's inside ~ I think it belongs on the front of an old European catholic church, the padre old and wise wearing long robes gently moving about lighting candles (because there is no electricity in this church).
The door says everything.
What is their cuisine? Do they use fresh ingredients?
Of course this door says French cuisine to me, how about you?
How about these doors?
Now you just know that gnomes live here .... Mibbiwick, Dwobrick and hmmm, let me see maybe Ninwicket.
I can see them scurrying about keeping their little homes spotless, of course a fire is always burning with a kettle of soup simmering above the fire just in case someone drops in.
Mibbiwick loves to sit by his fire reading a text or two and smoking his beloved pipe.
Dwobrick always has his chess game set up for a drop-in anytime to have a match.
Ninwicket of course is too busy for chess or sitting by the fire to read as he is always running about after his nine offspring while his wife keeps the house, cooks and sews their tiny little clothes.
I see this door as an entrance to a courtyard somewhere in Mexico.
Open these doors to a veritable cornucopia of earthly delights.
Handmade terracotta tiles cover the entire courtyard. Large terracotta pots filled to overflowing with tall feathery grasses, bromelaids, firecracker plants & butterfly vines, yellow asher and palms.
In the centre of the courtyard is a beautifully sculpted fountain with its' water spilling over the edges of not one, not two, but three separate bowls before it runs away into the ground to be recirculated up to take its' journey down once again.
Of course around the circumference of the courtyard are numerous wrought iron settees, chairs and tables with lanterns to light the evening. Draped over the arms of the settees and chairs are a few handwoven cotton throws just in case the air is cool tonight.
The owner ~ why an artist of course.
Large canvases cover the chalk white walls ~ their riot of colours creating a cacophony of sounds to the artistic mind.
In the corner stands a stately old cello that belonged to the owners grandmother ~ lovingly rubbed to a brilliant shine by the hands that played it daily.
The furniture is an eclectic collection of mismatched finds that have been picked up in consignment stores, antique stores, flea markets and the occasional curbside find.
I love doors ~ the excitement of what's behind it ~ allowing my imagination to run wild as I ponder the infinite possibilities.
What's behind your door?
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
The adoption agency which Gabriella came to us through have disappeared. And not only have they closed up shop, they have also defrauded many clients of their monies paid to this agency to secure a child.
After children have been selected, they are moved from the orphanage to a transition house. It is from this house that the new parents eventually pick up their child. The waiting parents have been told that the transition house has not been paid and will not to be able to keep these children for much longer.
So now the dilemma:
What will happen to these children for whom many parents are waiting here to complete the adoption? Will they go back to orphanages which are overflowing .... Will they be put out on the streets .....
What will happen to the three owners/partners of this adoption agency who have absconded with the funds of potential adoptive parents?
What will these parents do to safely retrieve their child?
Will these prospective parents be forced to travel to Ethiopia, Haiti, Ghana or Equador to complete these adoptions without the knowledge of the adoptive process?
This makes me so angry........
The owners/partners hid behind the face of Christianity claiming they were led by God to this lifelong work of bringing orphans and adoptive parents together. Their byline ~ a Christian faith-based non-profit organization. Read here an article from The Globe & Mail in Toronto about this.
Money can truly corrupt. The lure of riches for these people I guess outweighed their desire to do a good and moral work for these adoptive parents who in good faith handed over thousands of dollars to have their dream ~ a child.
Edited to add: This event has hit the national news. Apparently the agency has claimed bankruptcy, but still continued to take funds from prospective parents up until 2 weeks ago. Surely they knew they were in financial trouble and heading towards bankruptcy, so why would they still continue to ask for money from these unsuspecting people who would do and pay anything to have their dream fulfilled?
(You can see the creek which overflowed its' banks and came right up to our fence during a rainfall the year we moved in).
When this neighborhood was designed, they left a ravine about the length of a couple of football fields between us and the homes on the other side. Protection from basement flooding.
When we first moved in, the grass in this area was kept manicured. Then a few years ago, the city informed us that they wanted to "naturalize" this area, so they came in and planted a few saplings. As part of this "naturalization" program they stopped mowing the grass, except for three feet behind the fences and three feet on either side of the walkway which rambles through this ravine/greenbelt.
Methinks the naturalization program was really a way to use our tax dollars somewhere else.
It didn't look great, due the overwhelming amount of weeds, but at least part of it was kept short. Then this year to my amazement they stopped mowing behind the fence. There are 10 homes on our street that back onto this "naturalized" area and all of us were very upset with this change in care not to mention fighting enormous weeds spreading seeds to our properties.
After watching the weeds grow to about 4' tall and share many thistle seeds with our lawn, I became fed up and decided to the call the city. I spoke with our councillor and said that this type of weedy mess would not be tolerated by the city if I left my property to grow to such proportions. He promised he would look into the problem and call me back.
Well, just that one phone call did the trick. I was called back by the supervisor of the crew that manages this piece of property and was told that it was a new foreman and crew and the 3' which was mowed last year should have been mowed this year. The new foreman did not know that it was to be cut behind the fences as well. That very day they came out and cleared the enormous weeds from behind our fences.
So the lesson to be learned here ~ make that phone call.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
On this date, I will be meeting (for the first time) my dear friend Chris.
We have been email and "bloggy" buddies for about six years.
The relationship started small and has blossomed into a deep and "dear-to-my heart" friendship.
I called her for the first time the other night and she emailed me back today. I quote from her email the feelings that we share.
"I was thinking about you yesterday and marveling how a person can feel so much love and feel so close to someone they have never met. I honestly feel like we have travelled to the depths of the earth and back together."
It's quite amazing how deep our friendship has become. I just know without a shadow of a doubt that the moment she walks through my door ~ I will know her.
When our darling boy, Jake was diagnosed with diabetes, our veterinarian told us to put him down.
It was very bad and he said that regulating the blood sugar in a dog was extremely difficult. And as well, he would have to be injected every 12 hours which meant that my life would revolve around Jake.
Well Don, not one to admit defeat, started to research canine diabetes through the Internet. He happened upon a support site where he got an amazing amount of information and was told by a member that we should definately talk to this lady named Chris in Red Deer, Alberta. Her beautiful golden lab - Midas had Diabetes and Cushings and he was regulated and doing well. She had accumulated a great deal of knowledge so she became indispensable to us and a great sense of support.
I have Chris to thank for the almost two extra years of love and companionship I had with Jake.
Anyhow, Don and Chris just hit it off (she also loves hockey - score one for Chris in Don's books). She and I shared a few emails and our friendship slowly developed, but it was Don and she who shared most of the emails. They seemed to have much more in common.
So fast forward to last year. When my dad was ill and dying, she and I started to share very intimate feelings and thoughts throughout that time. It was so interesting as we opened up to each other how much alike we are. We share similar interests, share similar beliefs, thoughts, but I have to say ~ I STILL HATE HOCKEY! Sorry Chris.
She started to follow my blog and before I knew it, I developed a great love for this woman.
Now I can't even imagine a week or two going by without sharing an email.
So their vacation plans are confirmed and now I must wait for July 21st to arrive. In her email today, she informed me that they would be here between 3:00 and 4:00pm.
How exciting is this to finally meet someone I have known in my heart for years, but now will be able to wrap my arms around and give her the hugs that I have sent to her via email for so long.
We will only have the 21st and the morning of the 22nd to cram in a lot of visiting.
Hmmmm, I wonder if she and I will get to bed that night????
Friday, June 19, 2009
Have a marvelous weekend & a very Happy Father's Day to the wonderful men in my life who are father's, grandpa's, grandfather's and poppa's.
This is my first Father's Day without my dad. It hit me suddenly the other day when I went out to pick up cards and gifts. Suddenly while standing in front of the cards I realized, I only needed to pick up one card ~ for my father-in-law. This year there would be no morning phone call or the usual visit to see him, maybe take dinner over for my parents or just let him know I love him.
"Time goes by so fast, people go in and out of your life. You must never miss the opportunity to tell these people how much they mean to you."
A very special Happy Father's Day to my brother-in-law Paul. He and his wife Sarah welcomed their first daughter ~ Grace yesterday morning into the world.
Happy 1st Father's Day Paul and welcome to our third niece ~ baby Grace (aka "Little Pea").
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
As my health ~ both physically and emotionally has been precarious, I've decided to make recovery my focus.
On that note, I'm not going to be posting for a while. It's been difficult to keep up with my reading and posting while I've been going through this struggle.
Thank you to all my "bloggy" friends who have supported me throughout the past few months ~ your comments and loads of personal emails mean so much to me. I don't know sometimes how I would have gotten through without "my friends".
So thank you ~ I hope and trust I'll be back soon.
May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields.
And until we meet again, May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
There is that wonderful earth wormy smell outside that screams of damp earth which is of course encouraging all the sleepy little things beneath the earth to spring up and drink in this beautiful spring rain.
Everything outside is surrounded by a green aura and vibrations of life.
It is mostly green outside, BUT how many words can I use to describe that green. Greens alive with splashes of citrus yellow in it, green deep and rich in its' freshness, green softened with tones of white and the new grass ~ green, but there are no words for this green ~ only lucious!
I digress here for a moment to say that these beautiful pictures were taken by my daughter, who recently started a photography business and I might add is realizing success after success.
So having said that, I just had to borrow some for the expression of spring colours in them.
Her pictures are so beautiful and artistic ~ they just plain make me happy.
This renewal of life inspires me to new heights ~ clean the house till it sparkles ~ get to work on finishing that darn exercise room in the basement ~ maybe get at some painting that has been hanging around annoying me for nearly 5 years ~ finish my quilt ~ get the pieces cut out for a lap quilt I am going to make for my mom for a Christmas present.
What is it about spring that renews a sense of hope ~ a sense that somehow everything will work out just the way it is supposed to ~ a sense of happiness?
Well, the sun just made its' third appearance today in between the thunderstorms, so I think I'll step into my Crocs and head on out to the garden heavy with raindrops ~ glittering in the sunshine like diamonds.
Just how much have the wee sprouts grown in the last hour?
"Everything is blooming most recklessly. If it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night" ~ Rainer Maria Rilke
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
This year, I'm finding that the talent is quite extraordinary.
We are down to the final four ~ Adam Lambert, Allison Iraheta, Kris Allen & Danny Gokey. These are four very talented young people. They have also had some pretty amazing mentors on this year. Last night they highlighted Slash who helped these four young people tune into classic rock.
Adam Lambert and Allison Iraheta were right at home singing respectively Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" and Janis Joplin's "Cry Baby". Good, strong performances by these two.
I could imagine either of these songs on their Cd's.
Then Kris Allen sang the Beatles "Come Together". His voice lends itself beautifully to a softer ballad sound but I think that he did a great job on this song.
Danny Gokey (my favourite) sang Aerosmith's "Dream On". He took a lot of risks with this song hitting (hammering a fingernail) notes. This song is definitely out of his comfort zone, but he nailed it.
Then there were duets, Danny & Kris and Adam & Allison. I have to give kudos to Adam and Allison who sang "Slow Ride". It was professionally presented, well choreographed and beautifully sung. It was more like watching a concert than a competition. Well done by both of them.
So now you know my dirty little secret. I love "Idol." Must be the "cheering for the underdog" in me that makes me faithfully pursue these shows. I just love to see a contestant who starts out nervous but talented turn into a polished, confident singer.
We are down to the final two weeks after the elimination round tonight.
I will continue cheering for Danny Gokey. Although Adam Lambert is an amazing performer and singer, I think Danny has the audience drinking up his understated sweetness and charm.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Maria, of course falls in love with Captain Georg von Trapp, but alas he has become engaged to Elsa out of a duty to provide a mother for his seven children.
Sensing that she would not be comfortable staying there after the marriage she returns to the abbey to take her monastic vows, but the Mother Abbess tells Maria she is running away from her feelings.
So many obstacles were overcome in this story for Maria and Georg to finally realize their love. Of course the rest of the story you know ~~~ they lived happily ever after.
Then there was the sweet love between Liesel and Rolf which of course gave me pause to dream of love for me as a young teenage girl.
This is one of my mother's favourite movies so I hope she enjoys the play.
In Toronto over the past few days a massive protest by the Tamils is blocking road traffic very near the theatre district, so I decided we would be better off to take public transportation downtown.
Tomorrow I'll post an update to let you know how the play was.
These pictures made me think about how often I hear animals called "dumb animals".
The instinct shown here by Anjana ~ the surrogate chimp mother is astounding. She appears to love and nurture these tiger cubs as if they were her own babes.
When Hurricane Hannah separated two white tigers from their mother, Anjana came to the rescue.
Anjana, a chimp at TIGERS, in South Carolina, became their surrogate mother and playmate. She even helped with bottle feeding according to The Sun.
But here is the truly amazing part. This is something Anjana does all the time, having helped raise leopard and lion cubs on several occasions.
These pictures truly depict "mother-love".