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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April 14th, 2020 and It’s Snowing

….reminds me of the story my mother used to tell of how she remembers snow on her birthday

I have a memory, as a little girl, of huge snowfalls in early April and when I was at university we experienced some serious ice storms in April.  My sister who lives in Calgary, Alberta experienced some major snowfalls over Easter and I’ve seen photos of friends from the west coast and the mid-west who are covered with the white stuff.  The only good thing about snow in April is that it doesn’t tend to stay around long. My mother’s birthday by the way was on April 18th.

The white stuff that is blowing around right now but probably won’t even stay on the ground but it does come as a bit of a shock when you’ve had a relatively snow free winter.

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I didn’t get the camera in time to catch the mini blizzard we had and it really didn’t amount to very much. Today it is sunny and not a speck of snow anywhere.

Easter With the Cormiers

….celebrating a day early makes for a nice restful Easter Sunday

On Saturday I got up early to put the turkey in the oven. I made the stuffing the night before so that saved me some time and I hid a few eggs before I retired for the evening. Despite all the advanced prep work I still found myself working right up till the moment the first of my kids arrived but I must admit that it was considerably less stressful than other years. I did manage to get the table set and hide all the Easter eggs.P1070664
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My daughter and daughter-in-law took over the egg decorating job and my husband started up the BBQ where he cooked all the vegetables.P1070665
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Our granddaughter and her parents and other grandmother were the last to arrive and little Winnie didn’t waste any time looking for the treats that the Easter Bunny hid around the house.IMG-2081
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After dinner most of us decided we needed to get some fresh air and walk off some of the calories that we had consumed. Our son-in-law made us some wonderful cocktails to start the meal, Gaelan prepared a delicious cheesy cauliflower bake and Andrea and Josie made a decadent chocolate panna cotta for dessert. On top of the turkey and the rice stuffing I also made gluten free spring pasta salad. Luckily the rain had stopped so we headed to the park and continued to the playground a few blocks over.P1070669
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I hope all of you had as wonderful day as I did. Happy Easter everyone!

The Third Day of Christmas Celebrations Amidst a Plumbing Disaster

…..on Boxing Day the sewer started backing up into the basement

Soon after doing the laundry we noticed that water was coming up through the sewer drain in the basement. Luckily it was only a large puddle around the drain and it was easily soaked up with rags but soon after when someone showered it happened again. We decided to carefully ration the water until we could get a plumber to the house. We called the next morning but because it wasn’t an immediate emergency we had to wait one more day before the plumber could get to our house.

On the 28th a camera and a plumbing snake were lowered into the drain. At 41 feet the camera came across the problem. The clay pipe at the Y junction had collapsed and only a small area was letting water get through. That meant that paper and some ‘matter’ was building up at the break and water was having a hard time passing through. Plumber Joe was able to clear the blockage but it was only a temporary fix. The pipe had to be removed and replaced. There was only one problem; the broken pipe was in the middle of my neighbour’s driveway and her car was sitting on top of it.

Now that might not seem like a huge problem but the car hadn’t been moved in almost two years and no amount of pushing would move it back the three feet we needed to get to the problem. We tried calling CAA but they didn’t show up and when I called they said that our coverage didn’t cover moving the neighbour’s car. Now what?

The next morning we figured out why we couldn’t put the car into neutral. Newer cars are all controlled by the electrical system and since the battery was completely dead we needed to give the car a boost. Eureka! We got the car started and backed it up the three feet that we needed. Unfortunately by the time we called our plumber back he was already on another job and couldn’t come till Monday, Dec. 31.

Our third day of Christmas was suppose to happen on the 28th but due to a miscommunication my sister’s family was planning on arriving on the 29th. At the time I thought the plumbing was going to be fixed on that day so I wasn’t too anxious about having eight adults and a baby in the house. When they arrived I explained the situation and asked them to use the bathroom sparingly. In the end we decided to go out for dinner instead of eating at home. Before we left we opened more gifts and phoned the restaurant to make sure that they could accommodate our large group.P1070339
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In the end it turned out that the restaurant was a good option all around. There were no dishes for me to wash (couldn’t run the dishwasher), everyone was able to order according to their dietary needs and likes,  we arrived after the rush, the service was great and we were able to spend time talking to one another without worrying about our plumbing problem. My sister and her family all live out of town and my nephew had flown in from California. If we hadn’t gotten together that day it probably wouldn’t have happened. Thanks for small blessings.

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Tuesday Photo Challenge – Memories

….thanks to Frank over at Dutch Goes the Photo for hosting Tuesday Photo Challenge

I know I’m a bit late for this week’s challenge but better late than never. I particularly liked this week’s theme because it’s so open ended. So I went back a year ago to see what memories I could stir up.

A year ago I spent quite a bit of time with my Dad (the oldest member of our family) and my granddaughter (the youngest member of our family). My Dad and the family attended a wonderful wedding together, the two of us went to the Royal Winter Fair and I accompanied Winnie to the park, lunch at a restaurant and the Hamilton Santa Claus Parade.P1050241
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New Flower (November 4, 2019) – Happy Birthday Rose

…..it’s my daughter’s 39th birthday today and I remember as I was leaving to go to the hospital to bring her into this world there was one lone rose left on my rosebush

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The name of this rose is ‘Blessing’. How appropriate.

Thursday Doors – Sept.27, 2018

….thanks to Jolene for hosting Thursday Doors this week

After dropping my father off at Union Station this morning I went outside the train station to snap a few shots. The doors are from Union Station and the Royal York Hotel which is right across the street (first place where my Dad took a job when he first arrived in Canada in 1954).
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My dad loves to tell the story of how he got off the train at Union Station and asked someone where he could get a job as a waiter. It was his first day in Canada. They pointed across the street and told him that the Royal York Hotel was the largest hotel in Toronto. He walked over, introduced himself and they hired him on the spot.

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Share Your World – July 2, 2018

….thanks to Cee for creating Share Your World

Tell us about your first bicycle or car?

I got my first bike when I was seven. I remember it well. It was second hand, black and designed for a woman and an adult woman at that. It was so big that I had to stand to ride it. I think it took a couple of years before I could sit on the seat. We lived in a new subdivision and there were no sidewalks. The roads were gravel and a few nasty falls resulted in some road rashes and scrapes that required digging out little bits of dirt and stones out of my knees. It didn’t keep me from riding while we lived in Oakville. When I turned 10 we moved back to Toronto and I don’t know what happened to that bike. If my mother had anything to do with it she probably threw it out.

What fictional world or place would you like to visit?

I can’t think of one fictional place I’d like to visit. There are too many non-fictional places that are on my to do list of places to see. For example, I’d like to go to the east coast of Canada, British Columbia, London, Scotland, and then return to some of the places I’ve already been to like Germany, Italy, Ireland and the Netherlands.

If you could have someone follow you around all the time, like a personal assistant, what would you have them do?

I would like someone who is handy and likes to fix things and build new things.

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. 

This past week a number of things made me smile. First I met a friend from high school and we had lunch together downtown. We see each other at least two to three times a year. She’s still working but she’s getting her head around the notion of retiring in the next year.

On Tuesday and Wednesday I volunteer and bake bread at Montgomery’s Inn. On Thursday I drove to Hamilton and spent the afternoon with my granddaughter. We spent most of our time together at the Hamilton Toy Museum. I’ve mentioned it before but the first time I went there with Winnie the place was closed and we amused ourselves on the grounds.

This time the museum was opened and we took advantage of all they had to offer. The place is divided into theme rooms. The first was an old fashion kitchen with lots of authentic bits of equipment that young children can safely play with.IMG_2978
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The next room is a harbour theme with fish and poles, a boat deck and costumes you can try on.
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The third room is a garden with fabric plants you can pull to reveal carrots and beets and the fourth room is the activity room with arts and crafts and an aquarium with gold fish and turtles.IMG_3004
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On Friday we had dinner at our neighbours house along with a few other neighbours. It was the first time in awhile that my husband actually felt well enough to join us. On Saturday I went to the Canada Day BBQ at the Lawn Bowling Club and on Sunday we drove to Hamilton again and had lunch with daughter #2, her husband and Winnie.

As you can see it was a very busy week with lots of smiles and things to be grateful for.

The Roster Spring Run-Off

….following in her father’s footsteps

When my husband was in his twenties to thirties he was considered an elite runner. He specialized in long distances, anywhere from 10k to marathons. As he got older he decided that in order to continue to improve it would mean making more sacrifices that would negatively affect our family. He made the decision to quit running because the sacrifice wasn’t worth it.

We never pushed our children into running but our son seemed to have a natural gift and in his early teens he pursued running until he started to suffer pain and he had to make a decision between a music career and being a runner. He chose his cello over his running shoes.

Our oldest daughter took an interest in running in her 30s. Over the years she has participated in numerous races, anywhere from 5k to half a marathon. Every year she steadily gets better. Her wife also started running with her.

Today we attended a race that holds special memories for my husband. The Spring Run-off is held every year in High Park and some 35 years ago or more Kevin ran in this race as a member of the Brooks Racing Team. The race then was known as the Brook’s Spring Run-off.

Today Andrea and Josie joined some 2600 runners to take part in this challenging 8k race. The challenge is in the hills that this race covers. Andrea was aiming to complete the race in 40 minutes and did it in 39 minutes and change. Out of 900 women participating today she placed 8th in her age category. She was delighted with her accomplishment.

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As you can see the race attracts all ages. My daughter is the young lady on left in the above photo with the blue sunglasses. Here a few more of her throughout the race (one of Josie #1927)

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Reflections of the Past

….fond memories of the High Park Zoo

When I was very young, about three to be exact, I remember going to the High Park
Zoo with my parents and little sister. I loved feeding the ducks and seeing what I thought at the time were exotic animals. Those exotic animals would have been bison, deer and camels. I remember bringing bags of carrots and I can still feel the pull that the deer exerted when nibbling on the these treats as I held them through the wire fence.fullsizeoutput_6c52

I recall going there quite often because we lived fairly close by. I loved walking on the stone ledges pretending to balance on a precarious cliff. In the warm weather my parents would dress us in our Sunday best and we would walk down by Grenadier Pond and around the beautiful gardens. It was also a favourite place to take visitors.

Last Sunday my husband and I drove to High Park (it’s a bit far to walk to now), parked the car and started to walk along the pathways. When we got to the top of one hill I made a request to head down towards the zoo. I felt like a kid again. The camels are no longer there but the deer and bison still reside in this zoo. Feeding the animals is now completely forbidden.

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Do you visit a place that brings back fond memories from when you were a child?