My Birthday Week

thanks to all my well wishers on Facebook and Instagram

Last Friday I celebrated my birthday with my husband. My kids live all over the place so we planned to celebrate on different days. The day before my birthday my son called me from London, England and we had a fun conversation with Sevin in the forefront. I love video calls because we were actually able to interact with our granddaughter, who is already seven months old. She was so engaged with what she saw on the phone. I remember Winnie was the same way at that age.

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She also surprised everyone that same day because she started crawling.

On my birthday, my husband took me out for dinner. We tried to get into Snug Harbour again but once again the wait was over an hour. We walked up the street to Posta and enjoyed a lovely meal outside on the patio.

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The next day on Saturday we planned to get together with Andrea, Josie, my Dad and my dear friend Arlene. Arlene and I have know each other since 1976. She was my first teacher friend but she’s more like family. She’s godmother to my children and she loves being called Aunt Beanie. This was the first time since February that we’ve seen each other. We’re all at that vulnerable age and some of us have compromised immune systems. COVID has kept us apart all this time. We feasted on a Japanese lunch in the backyard. Later in the afternoon another friend from across the road came over to share a glass of wine with us.

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When it was time for birthday cake, it was extremely windy but then my daughter reminded us that during COVID it probably wasn’t a good idea to blow out candles over the cake. Instead she lit one candle and held it up to me to blow it out. Ah the things we do in the name of safety.

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Our youngest daughter is still up at the children’s camp at Sparrow Lake (no children this year, just maintenance workers). I did get a phone call from her and also one from my sister in Calgary. Hopefully sometime next week we’ll be able to get together with daughter number two and her family and the celebration will continue. I love birthdays that continue for days and sometimes weeks.

This is What 100 Looks Like

….celebrating an old friend’s 100th birthday

Last week one of my father’s oldest friends celebrated his 100th birthday. Back in June Fred phoned us and told us that he wanted to do something special for his milestone birthday. I assumed he wanted a big party but he surprised us by saying that he didn’t want any presents and instead he was hoping we would pledge a dollar a day for 71 days until his birthday. Every day he went out with his walker and walked 800 m in front of his retirement home and he hoped that any money raised would go to Forests Ontario.

Fred has always loved being in nature and doing his bit to save our environment. When he saw Capt. Tom from England raise money for the health care workers by walking every day he figured he could do the same but put any money raised towards planting more trees in Ontario. We gladly sent him money and looked forward to following his progress.

About two week before his actual birthday his daughter, Hilde, phoned us and told us about the arrangements that were being planned for the big day. The local newspaper and TV station got wind of his challenge and featured him in their newsfeeds. COVID was creating its own challenges for bringing people together so the numbers had to be limited. The event was going to take place outdoors but there was very little shade and people had to bring their own chairs.

Fred on his birthday accepting a plaque from Forests Ontario

In the end we decided it would be better if Dad and Fred got together after the actual birthday so that they could spend time together without being interrupted by the media, politicians and numerous guests. Two days after the birthday Hilde picked up her father and drove him to her house in Wasaga Beach and I drove my Dad from Toronto to Hilde’s house.

We learned that Fred had managed to raise over $5000. for Forests Ontario. The two men talked about fond memories of their choir days together while Hilde and I got caught up on the last 45 years. After a lovely lunch and a walk down memory lane we said our goodbyes and Hilde drove her father back to Barrie and Dad and I returned to Toronto.

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Friendly Friday – Summer Traditions

,,,thanks to  Sandy for hosting this week’s Friendly Friday Photo Challenge

Summer traditions may be on hold this year as we’re still not allowed to go to the cottage. Hopefully we’ll hear in the next few days when Christian Island opens up to lessee holders. When it does there will be quite a few restrictions, like no friends and only immediate family will be allowed on the ferry.

Having said that we’re still able to barbeque in the backyard and go for walks through the parks. Some of these photos are from years past.

Community Corn Roasts (cancelled this year)

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Driving Through the Country
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Ice-Cream with Winnie

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Swimming at the Lake
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Summer Fun Runs (cancelled this year)
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Sunsets on Big Sand Bay
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Walks Along the Beach
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Sharing a Meal at the Cottage
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The CNE (cancelled this year)
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Relaxing on the Deck at Friend’s Cottage
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BBQ in the Backyard
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Day 25 – Not Forgotten

….April 25th is ANZAC Day in Australia and New Zealand, similar to our Remembrance Day

Thanks to Leanne Cole for hosting the 30 Day at Home Challenge. 

On this day the theme is ‘not forgotten’. The past 9 days have been very difficult for all Canadians and for me personally. On April 18th and 19th a madman went on a rampage and gunned downed 22 innocent people in Nova Scotia. Dressed as an RCMP officer and driving a car made to look like an official police car this monster went on a killing spree that lasted 13 hours. One of the ways he got people out of their homes was by setting houses on fire and naturally in this small rural community this prompted people to go outside to see if they could help their neighbours. Instead they walked straight into the path of this killer.

One of my friends and colleagues was one of the victims. Lisa McCully safely put her children in the basement of her house and walked outside to see what was going on. As she rounded the corner of her house she was shot. I waited over a week to find out when and how she was killed. I feared for her children.

I knew Lisa over 14 years ago when she was a teacher at our school. She was only with us for a year but in that time we got to know each other well and we frequently went out together. I was with her when she met her husband and Kevin and I had them to our home for dinner. Unfortunately Lisa was declared surplus at our school and moved to another school closer to my home. My neighbour’s daughter had her as her grade three teacher that year.

When Lisa moved back to Nova Scotia we kept in touch through Facebook. She got married there and had her two children there. At some point her marriage broke up and she discontinued her Facebook page. I thought of her often and in fact she came to mind just a couple of days before this tragedy hit.

My heart is broken. I feel for her family and for all the families of the other victims. It’s been difficult to grieve in the normal way because of COVID-19 but Nova Scotians and Canadians have been sending videos, text messages, making music and laying flowers and making tributes on makeshift memorials.

Lisa was a mom, a teacher, a sister, a friend and a beloved member of her community. We will all miss her. Difficult times are ahead for her students and her family.

Rest in Peace my friend.

Love, Carol

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Day 18 – Inside Fun and Games

…thanks to Leanne Cole for hosting the 30 Day at Home Challenge

My husband is not much for board games but I might be able to entice him to play a game of scrabble. He is, however, keen to keep connecting with our kids and one way that we do that is with an App called House Party. We use it mainly to chat but there are games on the site such as trivia and drawing. Our four year old granddaughter particularly likes the drawing game.

Another game I’ve been playing with a friend is WordFeud. It’s a scrabble game that we play on our phones with each other.

Here are some screen shots of my inside games.B5443-AEB-AD8-E-416-A-9617-368133265-B81-1-201-a
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Words of Hope and Love

A very good friend of mine who lives alone has started a project that involves all her friends. She recently asked us to all create ornaments with words of inspiration written on them that she could hang on her white Christmas tree. She still has the white lights on it and she thought it was the perfect back drop for her tree of Hope and Peace and Love.

Her original idea was to cover it with ornaments in the shape of moons, suns and stars. We were all given carte blanche and the only caveat was that they not be too big and that there were  personal messages written on them to send out to the world.

My whole family is getting involved but I think I’m the first to complete the task. I decided to show you my work in the form of a video with music in the background. I learned something new today as I have never done anything like this. Now I’m hoping I’m able to send it out to you.

Covid-19 Has Kept Us Busy

…as a result I haven’t been posting very much or replying to a lot of emails

As some of you may know my husband and I were planning a trip to the UK to see our new granddaughter. In fact we should be on-route as I write this post but clearly I’m not on a plane to anywhere right now.

Early last week we were just getting over the sad news of three deaths in our extended family (not related to the virus) when my husband’s doctor strongly advised him not to take this trip. His suppressed immune system put him in a very high risk category for catching the coronavirus. It was a difficult decision but the right one not to go.

Now I had to decide if I would go without him and spend the first five days with our daughter, granddaughter and son-in-law and then the next eight days alone but close to our son, daughter-in-law and the new baby. I had a lot of mixed messages from colleagues and friends. Some said I should go and enjoy the new baby and others were worried that I could return and infect my husband and 93 year old father.

By Wednesday evening the airline that we were flying on offered a rebooking option without a penalty fee but we had to take the trip before September 1st. That did not work for my daughter and her family because of the summer camp that they run. However, as you know, every hour things changed quickly in the world and by Thursday evening the airline came back, after a lot of backlash from the public and extended the rebooking offer to December 31st.

All of us rebooked for mid October. On Saturday my husband and I ventured out to the mall to finalize our travel cancellation and rebooked our trip at the same time. We were happy the we booked through the Flight Centre because they did all the grunt work for us. After taking our information they sent us home and within a couple of hours we were notified that all was taken care of. Our daughter on the other hand spent a lot of time just trying to get through to the airline because they had booked on-line. Once they finally got through they were on hold for almost an hour but in the end they also were able to cancel this flight and rebook for later.

When we were at the mall Saturday afternoon we were surprised how empty the mall was. People certainly weren’t stocking up here for anything.B3-C1113-D-8-AE5-46-F9-8-CA6-89-F62-C6-D5-DC3
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On Thursday our 13 1/2 year old dog, Frances, was clearly not well. She wasn’t eating, had difficulty walking and controlling her bladder. She slept most of the time and when she was awake she dragged her back legs and moved sideways. We had seen similar symptoms with our last dog and we knew that if she had the same thing she would recover but it would take a few days. On Friday we took her to the vet and she was also pretty sure that Frances has a vestibular disorder that affects her balance. She gave us some more medicine for her arthritis and some wet food that would stimulate her appetite. I’m happy to say that she’s already feeling somewhat better. She is eating and drinking more and even wanted to go out for a walk today. She still walks lopsided and you can see in the photo that her head is still tilted to the side.334-A405-E-ACE2-47-D4-99-F7-2337-FB697796

I hope I haven’t alarmed anyone with the heading at the top of this post. No one in our family, neighbourhood or amongst our friends has the virus but the global epidemic has affected our lives and will continue to do so for the coming weeks. Practise social distancing, wash your hands a lot and stay healthy and please don’t hoard things you don’t need. It makes it very difficult for people, especially seniors who need those things to get them.

Be positive and stay calm.

Carol (aka Mama Cormier)