Monday, October 29, 2007

I'm Late, I'm Late, for a very Important Date!

We have a very nice neighbor lives upstairs over the top of us, she is a pretty marvelous woman I think. A couple of months or so ago, she had surgery on her right knee, it looked a mess at first to me but healed up nicely over a short period of time. Just a couple of weeks ago she went back in and had the other knee done. The first time, she was able to be in rehab whilst at the hospital for they had the room. The second time she was not so fortunate, so had to come home and go to rehab from there. While she was having all this done, Elizabeth has been looking after her lovebird, but that‘s another story.

I might say at this point that if that were me with the surgery, I probably would still be on my back and screaming blue murder! I’m not a baby, but you know what I mean. This lady really has the get up & go, along with a real good attitude.

Wednesday so happened to be my rehab day at the hospital for my COPD and yes, this time I was going to make it for a change. ~ We were part way down this ridiculously long hallway, when we heard the automatic door open behind us and someone huffing and hustling down that aisle like a freight train. Imagine my surprise when we saw it was our friend. I couldn’t believe she was moving so fast with a leg like that, for it has only been a few days since she came home from hospital.

On seeing us, she sped up and was mumbling and grumbling about being late. ( It reminded me of the White Rabbit & “The Mad Hatter“ from Alice in Wonderland).

It seems that the patient-van pickup service that brings her in for rehab ran late. She started to tell us what had gone wrong that morning. There is an out-patient pick-up service here called ActiVan, it is a very small fee pick-up & delivery service for disabled patients, using hospital rehab.

The thing with ActiVan is that you have to plan ahead, let them know and you will be on time. Her appointment was at 11am so pickup was set for 10.30 (the hospital is a 10-15 minute drive from here). The regular driver was off for some reason, so a young man filled in. As it was, he showed up 10 minutes late anyway & eating a sandwich. Somewhat perturbed she expressed her concerns about possibly being late, but he calmly and cheerfully informed her of only one other pickup before the hospital….Fred.

Normally the Activan customers are waiting at their front doors, but after ~ well, perhaps it seemed like a really long time to Sally ~ the driver went to knock on the door….Fred still wasn’t quite ready yet, so back to the van ~ several more hours (minutes) passed ~ I’m guessing at this point that Sally was planning both Fred and the drivers demise. Maybe the driver felt it. He went back into the house this time. More time passed. ~ Finally the driver and Fred emerged from the house and started for the van. Fred had a crutch and was also wearing a foot to knee cast on one leg, this slowed his progress a bit. Ok…that explains the time delay ~ Then suddenly Fred flips over into the bushes.

It takes the driver several minutes to notice he was alone, as he was ahead of Fred. Sally just can’t believe this is happening. The driver goes back and after a lot of awkward pushing and shoving decides the situation is impossible, for he can’t lift Fred up and it might be better if he backed the Activan closer to the bushes so Fred can just crawl in. Which unbelievably they do. ~ I’m surprised they didn’t just winch him aboard!

Sally gets a whiff of alcohol when Fred crawls in…well, ~ now it makes some sense….and off the three of them go to the hospital.

I’m killing myself laughing as the neighbor tells the story, for you have to see the funny side of it. Sally still grumbling, heads off down the hall, I know we shall hear more about that episode later. ~ I still have a smile on my face, for it all did turn out ok in the end.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Final Fall Days

We went to the park on Wednesday last week, but of course I didn’t write about it until now. The reason for that is I wanted to write a post in these final days, complete with more fall like pictures. On Wednesday Ted’s music was absent again and also on Sunday, chances are he doesn’t even know how much of an aura the music adds to the park in these closing days of yet another year.

In the midst of so much beauty, I can’t help but feel a little sadness. ~ Sunday was the closing day for the season at ‘Willow Park’ for this year 2007. This summer has been just one gorgeous treat after another in natures little wonderland. For the photographer it has been a very rich yield of one photographic opportunity after another. I have never ever been in such a place that gives so many display’s of naturalistic settings.

In relation to the park closing that took place Oct 21st it appears that, that was the closing date for the Ecology season education program for the young and youth of the community. ~ There is wonder in abundance in the vegetable and herb gardens as well as flower gardens, all thanks to the ecology programs. The obvious program success is there to see in the faces of the young children and the volunteers alike. They are as children will be, ~ excited at having learned and taken part in something that actually made things grow. We found out the park itself will of course be open year round right through the winter. I can just visualize the transformation that will take place, with a mantle of ice & white.

On the approach drive in to the park.

Even in the fall, flowers are still in healthy bloom.

Yours truly, back in my favorite surveillance position.

Pampas grass in full glory and in a high wind too.

This one I really love, a shot of the bridge.(on the River Kwai)

On my way home, it has been a great year, thanks Willow Park & all.


Saturday, October 20, 2007

A First Impression

It has been many years now since I first set foot in this country. Like many before me, we immigrated here from another place looking for a new life, in a not so promised land.

The very first thing that registered on me was, ‘hell it’s bloody cold here!’ The plane had touched down at Montreal airport for a customs and international health card check before proceeding further on our journey. Of course there probably had to have been other reasons why we landed there but that was the part that effected us. The doors of the plane had been opened since we landed, and they remained open for a whole hour. The icy fingers of the coldest winter wind that I had experienced in many years, came whistling down the aisles, enveloping the passengers and gripping you around the ankles, with the first welcome, to what felt like igloo land!

That certainly was my first impression at the time.

It was early in the month of March and naturally, winter was yet barely over. Another short delay as they found someone who needed a shot before they would be allowed to proceed, and then once more we were on our way.

We arrived at our destination to a fanfare welcome from the gathering of in-laws, some of whom I had never met before, and of course another icy blast of the cold stuff. These family members however, were quite key to us even being in our new home, for we had to be sponsored to come here.
So you get caught up with the initial excitement of things, for that is only natural and the weather momentarily becomes a memory.

That initial meeting with two of my brothers-in-law would be the start of what would turn out to be, our very foundation in this new life.
Just to show just how small the world can be, one of the bil’s turned out to be a guy I went to school with, so many years before and boy had he changed.

Jack, the other bil, is the one that sponsored us and where we stayed for the first eight weeks upon our arrival. Jack was one hell of a guy, full of fire, determination and a real workaholic. He was a great family man with a wonderful wife and kids. He was also a very mischievous person, “Dennis The Menace” comes to mind, ~ talk about a prankster.
There is really only one way to describe Jack, he was the original ‘Give you the shirt off his back’ guy, and that says it all.

Jack loaned me his car so I could go job hunting, he also set me up with a friend in the business to buy my first car over here. ~ Eventually, after I convinced him I didn’t want to live in an apartment, he found a way for me to purchase a house ~ I had been in the country just 2 months! ~ When they came out on strike at the steel mill I got a job at, he got me temporary work working alongside him, and his boss. Thanks to this man, I was able to build a rock solid foundation, in my new home of Canada. He and I were friends right up till the time he passed away from heart trouble, a few years ago God bless him.

Saying just thanks Jack, really doesn’t seem to be enough, but I will never forget my friend, my good Samaritan and for all that he and his family gave to us.

Every person should have a Jack to come to when they start a new life in a new country, I’m sure glad we had ours. I’m forever indebted to my friend, rest well Jack.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Jack Sprat

Tonight we sat down to a delicious supper of orange-glazed pork chops, served with scalloped potatoes and cabbage as a vegetable.
During the course of the meal, I noticed Elizabeth cutting away a little bit of the fatty part of the chop. On seeing that I said to her that, that was one of the tastiest parts of the meat, but she wasn’t going to buy that one from me. That’s when the following nursery rhyme came into my head, which I quoted to my honey. I was surprised to hear that she had never heard it before, so I promptly googled it and showed it to her. The history of how that particular rhyme came to be was what I found interesting.

Jack Sprat

Jack Sprat could eat no fat
His wife could eat no lean
And so betwixt the two of them
They licked the platter clean.

Origin can be found in British History:

The Jack alluded to is in fact reputed to be Charles I and Henrietta Maria, his Queen. Apparently, when King Charles declared war on Spain, parliament refused to finance him (leaving him lean!) So his wife imposed an illegal war tax (to get some fat!) after the angered King dissolved Parliament. The first publication date for the lyrics of this nursery rhyme can be traced to 1639.

This is the recipe for a taste sensation.

Orange-Glazed Pork Chops

Prep: 15 min.
Bake 30 min.

1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon water
¼ cup orange marmalade
1 tablespoon lime juice
1-½ teaspoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
2 bone-in pork chops
(¾ inch thick)
1 small lime, thinly sliced

In a small saucepan, combine the cornstarch, ginger, soy sauce and water until small. Stir in the marmalade, lime juice, oil and garlic until blended. Bring to a boil; cook and stir mixture for 1-2 minutes or until thickened.
Place the pork chops in a greased 8 inch baking dish. Spoon glaze over pork; turn to coat. Top with the lime slices. Bake, uncovered, @ 400 for 30-40 minutes or until pork juices run clear. Yield: 2 servings. ~ Enjoy ~

Bon appetit!


Friday, October 12, 2007

Fall's In

These are just a couple or more fall pictures that I said I would post, and are from Ontario, just over 2 hours North of Toronto Canada. A point of interest in the picture with the fire hydrant. If you look closely, you will see a post with a small pic on it above the hydrant. For those of a curious nature, these posts are to indicate that there is indeed a hydrant at that location. When winter and the snow arrives the hydrants really get covered. You can judge by the height of the ‘flag’ just how deep the snow can get.

A shot of Fairy Lake

On the Road again.

A view of the Muskoka River.

This is called Hunter Bay.


Sunday, October 7, 2007

Giving Thanks

This year, before sitting at the table this thanksgiving, to partake of the wonderful bounty placed before us. I would like to take a moment, to offer our thanks to Mother Nature for all that she has given us already in such a wonderful year of pleasure.

This has been at a time of my life with this COPD, that I never dreamed I would participate in, let alone feast on such a menu of beauty to take home, but then who could turn down such an incentive.

When it comes to putting on a show nobody does it better than Mother Nature, who once again flexes her awesome power, putting on such enjoyable sights.

In addition to the park that we go to and I have shown so much of, we also have a small lake a short distance from where we live, it takes all of five minutes to get there. These then are a few shots taken there and some of its wildlife.

(clickable thumbnails)

Round em up, move em out!~ Time to go.

Now be nice ya hear, eat and no squabbling.

Well whadya think. ~ We come again next year?

Doncha think this is just a great turnout?

Get outer here! Ya say that to all the ducks.

Thanks for a summer to remember.


Monday, October 1, 2007

Park Poetic

We were at the park again on Sunday, the days are getting shorter and the summer is drawing in. I never mentioned before, but near the entrance to Willow Park there is a day care nursery school. The air is usually filled with chattering shrieking children, most days when we arrive at the park, but they are just kids having fun.

Today when we got there, the playground was standing empty but the signs of kids were still unmistakably scattered around. Over by a far fence there were tricycles & scooters. Gently blowing around in the breeze, was a red balloon, but restrained still, by the captive fence.

There is plenty of evidencet this week that fall is well under way, with leaves falling like red and orange colored raindrops, soon to be replaced with feathery flakes of white as the face of winter arrives with a vengeance.

The very landscape seems busy preparing itself for that Christmas card look, that comes with the approach of cold blustery snowy days & Santa Claus.
Small chipmunks and squirrels scurrying around gathering up winter nuts, food supplies, before the blanket of white covers them up to sleep, the turtles having disappeared already. Strangely, when leaving to drive home on this, one of these waning days, my thoughts were filled by a red balloon.

A red balloon escapes-
Twisting, turning lazily
In a shifting wind.
No longer tethered-
To a sleepy child’s hand.

A leafless limb,
stark against an autumn sky.
Music faint-
Amid the swirling mist -