Sunday Stills – Celebrating National Pets and Kids Day

….not sure if this is strictly an American thing but thanks to Terri Webster Schrandt for hosting Sunday Stills https://secondwindleisure.com/2021/04/25/sunday-stills-celebrating-pets-and-kids/

After doing a little research I did discover that today, April 26th is recognized as National Pets and Kids Day in the U.S. It is intended to raise awareness of the importance of picking the right pet for children at the right time. It’s an important decision that can lead to a lifetime of bonding between pet and child.

We have been pet owners for over 30 years. Our first pet, other than gold fish, was a golden retriever followed by a second golden. They were great dogs to have around children. When the kids grew up we adopted a mutt who instantly became my husband’s dog. Our daughters both became dog owners when they set up their own homes and our son who has moved about Europe for the last 15 years is sans a pet.

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Lucy – Our daughter, Gaelan’s dog
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Frances and Lucy – best friends for 14 years
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I have to admit that I was nervous when I first saw this photo but over the years these two have always gotten along
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Our eldest daughter, Andrea with Olive
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Frances loving the snow
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When Olive and Winnie first met
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My cousin’s little boy and dog
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Winnie and Lucy five years on
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Olive loving the water

The Bruce Trail – Stage 1

….Andrea and Josie have invited us to walk the Bruce Trail from end to end

A week ago last Monday, the four of us drove down to Queenston Heights in Niagara Falls to start our trek on the Bruce Trail. After doing our hikes for the last 8 weeks I thought I was in good enough shape to tackle the first part of the Bruce Trail. All was well until we hit the ridge. I’m actually fine walking uphill but going downhill is scary for me because of my vertigo.

We started at the Cairn for stage one at Queenston Heights.

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The first part of the trail was pretty easy. The trails were relatively wide and well marked.

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At about the 3 kilometre marks things started to get a bit tricky. I didn’t mind the uphill climbs and at one point at the top of the ridge we came across a series of abandoned limestone kilns that were behind a chainlink fence and nestled into the side of the ridge. We carefully went around the fence to have a closer look at the old brickwork.

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It was soon after this that I became seriously doubtful that I could finish the hike. It was time to descend from the ridge and the path was rocky, twisty and very steep. Luckily my daughter was very supportive and was there with a helping hand and encouraging words. When we got to a lower section the path evened out and the rest of the hike was relatively uneventful. We came across a wooden box where we could record our names, date and our intentions for the rest of the Bruce Trail.

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The end of the trail brought us back out to a road by a railroad crossing and close to where we had parked one of the cars. We managed to hike 7.4 kilometres but it seemed like a lot more. We drove back to Queenston Heights to pick up the other car and then we headed back home.

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That night and the next day both Kevin and I were feeling a little stiff and sore but it hasn’t deterred us from doing the next section of the Bruce Trail.

Tuesday Photo Challenge – All You Need is Love

….thanks to Frank from Dutch Goes the Photo for hosting the Tuesday Photo Challenge https://dutchgoesthephoto.net/2021/01/26/tuesday-photo-challenge-all-you-need-is-love/

I love the theme this week. Love does make the world go round. What do you love? Here are some of the things that come to mind for me.

Being surrounded by water year round.

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My husband and how he makes me laugh and for all the wonderful meals he cooks for me.

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My family and the joy they bring from near and far.

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For some reason the photos I have of my sister who lives in Calgary would not allow me to post them. I miss her terribly.

I also love to walk in nature, take photographs and make art.

Pull Up a Seat Challenge – Week 4

thanks to Xingfu Mama for hosting the Pull Up a Seat Challenge https://xingfumama.blog/2021/01/22/pull-up-a-seat-photo-challenge-2021-week-4/

The temperatures are finally beginning to fall and with that comes abandoned outdoor seating. Over in London, where my family has to work from home, even a spot at the end of the bed becomes a seat to work from and in the case of our granddaughter the floor under a desk is good spot to sit so that she can be close to her Papa.

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What Christmas Taught Us This Year

….Christmas was certainly different this year for most people who chose to stay safe

Some things didn’t change. We cut down a tree with the family, albeit socially distant and masked, and I decorated it. The difference this year is that I totally decorated it on my own and it was up a full two weeks before Christmas. Normally I wait until my daughter can come over and help me and it often doesn’t get done until a few days before Christmas.

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As much as we love being with family on Christmas we found new ways to celebrate the holiday. We exchanged gifts but this year the gifts were exchanged in front of the house. I still filled everyone’s stockings but this year everyone took them home. Gaelan brought special donuts from Hamilton and we exercised the dogs for a few minutes in the park down the street.

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Our son and his family live in London, England so this year we opened our gifts early. We always open presents on Christmas Eve but 3:00 in the afternoon was early even for us. When everyone got back home we had a Zoom Christmas so that everyone could watch their gifts being opened. It was a bit hectic but in the end watching Sevin celebrate her first Christmas was very special. Technology this year has kept us in touch and brought us closer to all our family members.

My husband and I decided to still make a special Christmas dinner for just the two of us. The only thing that was different is that we didn’t cook a turkey. Instead, we bought a nice big capon to roast and at the last minute I decide to make cranberry sauce. My husband is an amazing cook and I’m no novice when it comes to cooking but even after all these years of experience we can still mess up. The difference this year is that we could laugh about it. There were no guests to worry about or timelines that needed to be met. So when the capon was undercooked and we had to put it back in the oven, after slicing off the cooked parts, we just relaxed with more wine and started off with the wonderful salad that Kevin made.

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My cranberry sauce…..well lets just say that you should never walk away from a pot of boiling cranberry sauce. In the end I was able to salvage it with a little more sweetener. Kevin likes to tell people that we had twice baked capon and smoked cranberry relish.

We’ve learned that it’s the little things that bring us joy. Even though we knew we wouldn’t be together as a family for Christmas I still decorated the house. I pared back on the decorations but I’ve learned that you don’t need to put everything out. Simple things like lighting candles and playing Christmas music brought us joy and peace. In a way this Christmas prepared us for the day when we might have to spend more Christmases alone. There will come a day, perhaps, as the grandchildren get older they won’t want to come to Oma and Papa’s house on Christmas Eve or maybe some of our children will move further away. As for now, though, we hope we can have a few more Christmas Eve celebrations together as a family.

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It was certainly a less stressful Christmas this year. Hopefully 2021 will bring back some normality. We will probably all have to adjust to a new normal and hopefully 2020 taught us some valuable lessons about life and what is important. My husband and I learned that even though we love each other, more importantly, we actually like each and enjoyed our self imposed isolation in 2020.

Cheers and a happy New Year!

Carol

Drive-by Gift Exchange, Donuts and a Walk in the Park

….on Christmas Eve

We decided as a family this year to celebrate Christmas in our homes and connect via Zoom. On Christmas Eve, early in the afternoon our kids drove to our house to drop off and pick up gifts. Gaelan ordered special donuts to share with everyone. It was not a particularly nice day but our meeting took place between rain showers so we also managed to get in a walk to to the park at the bottom of our street.

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Everyone wore their masks, some more festive than others and some of us wore our special hats and antlers.

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I even got Frances to get into the festive spirit for all of 10 seconds. My husband said she’s slowing down in her old age.

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Our get together was short because we all had to get back home and do a Zoom Christmas with Brendan and his family in London, England. It was Sevin’s first Christmas and it was fun watching her open her gifts from the family.

A COVID Picnic in November

with this unusually warm and sunny weather in the last weekend of November we were able to get together with family for an outdoor picnic

Every time I say that we’ve seen the end of the good weather for awhile we get these amazing days. So we decided to make the most of it and I organized a picnic lunch with my daughter and her family who live in Hamilton. They thought it was a great idea and they drove to Toronto to spend some time with me and my husband.

I quickly drove to the deli up the street and picked up fresh buns, cheese, coldcuts and a few jam filled Polish donuts. I made up sandwiches and packed our lunches in separate bags and with masks on we started to walk to Col. Sam Smith Park which is about a kilometre from the house. After awhile we took off our masks and stayed socially distant from each other.

It was a lovely walk and we found a bench to sit on and Gaelan’s family sat on the rocks so we could enjoy our lunch. It’s these small pleasures in life that make for memorable moments and help make the isolation of COVID bearable.

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Another COVID Birthday Celebration

….thank goodness for the beautiful weather we’ve had in November

The last two days have been more normal in terms of November weather but prior to this we’ve had the most glorious, warm and sunny days. Our eldest daughter celebrates her birthday in November so we were thankful that we were able to get together with the family and have a small celebration on the deck in the backyard.

Blowing out the candles has also taken on a new format. I lit the candles on the cake and then we removed them one at a time and my daughter blew them out individually away from the cake. Well that was the plan but it turned out that the candles had burned down too far so she tried to put the candles out by waving her hand over them.

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That didn’t work very well so she tried to extinguish the candles by snuffing them out with popcorn. That worked somewhat but the popcorn caught fire.

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In the end no one was harmed and the cake was delicious.

A Drive By Birthday Party

….for five year old Winnie

I wanted to post this 10 days ago but with my father’s demise the day after these photos were taken I was ……well you can imagine how my blog was not my priority.

Now that things are settling down but nowhere near normal I’m trying to find joy again in the little things, like taking photographs of autumn leaves and flowers and taking walks with friends (with masks on). I’m on the phone a lot catching up with friends because COVID makes visiting in person difficult.

This year for my granddaughter’s fifth birthday we were suppose to get together for a birthday celebration in our backyard on Thanksgiving Monday but our daughter in Hamilton (Winnie’s Mom) received a COVID alert that she had been close to someone who has the virus. Out of caution they decided not to come to Toronto.

On Wednesday they decided that a drive by birthday for Winnie would be okay if we stayed apart and wore masks. Before they arrived I put out chairs on the front lawn and placed her birthday presents next to the chairs and her cake on the wall next to the driveway.

It was different. No hugs and kisses. We stayed on the porch while Winnie opened her gifts and then she dug into a piece of cake. She loved having cake at 10:00 in the morning. The whole thing took maybe 20 minutes. Then we blew her kisses through our masks and they were off to the Toronto Zoo.

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This last photo was sent to me by Winnie’s Mom. At the zoo they had these decorated hay bales and Winnie wanted to pose in front of every single one. This one was my favourite.

Sadness in my Heart

….at 94 my father took his last breath on October 15, 2020

You may have noticed that I have not been very active on my blog in the last few day. The loss of my father has been very difficult and making arrangements for his cremation has been very time consuming. My husband has made many of the calls to family and friends to inform them of our loss and for that I am eternally grateful. Slowly I have been able to speak to those close to me and many of them have stepped up to let others know of Dad’s passing.

https://cremationcare.ca/tribute/details/340/Heinz-Winkler/obituary.html

COVID of course has made it impossible to have the big funeral Dad had always hoped for. Yesterday we were allowed a small gathering of 10 family members for 30 minutes to say farewell and pay our respects. For those in attendance it helped bring us closure and for that we are grateful.

I want people to know that Dad did not suffer pain and that in his final hours he slept and passed away peacefully with me by his side. Again COVID did not allow more than one family member to be present in the hospital and even with that I needed a special designation to be there. The nurses and support staff were wonderful and tried to give me as much emotional support as possible in my time of need. The hardest part for me was having to deal with this on my own and not having my family there. In the end Dad got his wish and died in his sleep.

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