Thursday, July 30, 2009

African Thunderstorms

A friend shared this video with me today. It's incredible!

Close your eyes as you pay special attention to beginning where they use their hands to simulate the thunderstorm. You'll feel like you're in a tropical forest.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

You Don't Look Fifty

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


Finally, Chris and I have met.

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

One Year Ago

One year ago today, I lost my dad. The family sat in his bedroom surrounding him with love, as he took his last breath and left this world.

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

Just Beyond

I love doors .....

The thought of what might lie beyond that door ...

Who lives there?

Their decorating style? What do they like to do? Do they have children? Maybe a multi-generational family?

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).

A door into a bistro.

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.

Now this is an interesting door ... what do you suppose might be behind it?

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.

And this last door ~ this is definitely a door into an old warehouse that has been renovated into a home and business.

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

How Could They???

I am so thoroughly disgusted by news my daughter shared with me last night.

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?

Just One Phone Call

We live on a ravine/greenbelt. It is not a natural ravine, but rather one man made, due to the small creek that runs through it which overflows its' banks during rainfalls.

(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

July 21, 2009

This date above holds a great deal of excitement for me.

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.

So I came home, called my husband at the office and then proceeded to cry for days.

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.

Well, the very next day Don got an email from Chris. She said we should not even consider euthanasia for Jake and we should work to regulate his blood sugar.

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????


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