Saturday, December 29, 2012

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Sting in Berlin

Dear I. and dear B.

The phone rang, I answered, it was the door, the postman announcing himself. As I walked down the hall to meet him half way I said “I think you rang the wrong door, I have not ordered anything”. He just smiled and handed me the brown carton box he was holding and told me that it did not fit into my mail box.

Back in the apartment I looked it over and started talking to myself. "What could I have ordered,  did I order that thing I looked at, I don’t remember paying for anything.  I must look at my credit card statements". I had to fetch the bread knife to get that brown thing open. STING!!! My thoughts racing. "I thought a blog is a kind of secret thing, how could she find out my address, can’t be from her, it must be Pasha, I told her about discovering Sting through a blog, what, it's from I. and B.!!!!??, we did not discuss music, how come they know about my late discovery"?

Sting is playing as I am writing this. Would you believe that a few months ago I did not even know who Sting is. A German lady who’s blog I follow suggested I listen to him on Youtube. I listened to his Berlin concert with the London Symphony, wow – over and over again. Then I told Besito de Luz about it and she reminded me that Pasha was playing Sting from morning till night the one time we visited her together many years ago. Really?

And, you know what I just pulled out of my document holder on my desk? A pamphlet advertising ‘Direct Cremation’. A cheap way to be put away - $799. Now –never mind inflation, I’m not ready yet. The girls know it’s sitting there for them to use when the time comes. And, you know what’s attached to the pamphlet?? You’ll never guess.   
A note telling them to invite whomever wants to join them for a good meal and to play some music should they decide to celebrate my life. Music in this order: Desert Rose(Sting), Hallelujah  (Leonard Cohen) and of course some classical at their choice (I think I know what it will be). Now, do you believe that I am sitting here, blown out of my yesterday washed black socks, having a Porto and swinging to the music?

I am embarrassed to confess that I don’t know Jesse Cook. Will listen to him later.

Thank you soooooo much both of you. I am so happy about this nice gesture of your’s and won’t say “you should not have done that”. Enjoyed your visit very much.

Much love and warm hugs to both of you                       Tante Ellena


Friday, December 21, 2012

Feuilleton goes on

I don't mind being the first one out to clear the snow. Never liked to talk much first thing in the morning. My loved ones know it but I have not told the friendly neighbours as yet.

It was no surprise to find this waiting for me at 5.30 this morning. I heard it on the radio. The windshield wipers reminded me which end is which.

Forgot to take a picture before going back into the building. So when  I say that I came  back out at 9 and it looked as if I had not been out earlier, you'll have to believe it.  Did the job again but also had to shovel a little path along the side of the  car in order to be able to open the door. And and and.....
Actually, I am having fun and it looks just beautiful out there and this snow is good for the Ski Resorts, the Restaurants, the Hotels, the Sport-wear boutiques and the children whom I should have mentioned first. Is it good for me? Sure, I need the exercise and am sooooo grateful that I can still lift and push and carry but I am also worried about the days when I won't be able to do all this. After shovelling the snow away from the back of the  car in order to be able to drive 7 km to get a coffee because we had no electricity, I started to worry. Will I soon have to choose between snow and Moselito? I live here to make him happy. Anyway that's what I think. Maybe he won't mind going on a bus trip once a month to see Ellena, his mother.
Tomorrow I'll pick him up. He will be with me till Drecember 31 afternoon, he will be all smiles clearing snow, carrying presents to his sister and having meals that he likes and taking it easy for a while while listening to music and turning pages in Ellena's photo albums and telling Ellena what he remembers when looking at the photographs.
I was hoping for my blog to fix itself but....

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

White Evergreens.

Yesterday at 6 o'clock in the morning, as I was doing my walking back and forth in the corridor of the building, snowbells resting here and there on the cedars greeted me from the other side of the window.

At 4 o'clock in the afternoon the snowbells had been pushed aside by snow-soldiers.

And, yesterday I cleared snow off my car three times, twice about 15cm. Just now  I came in from clearing another 15cm off the car. No, unfortunately this building has no inside parking space. Why should it?  Nowadays we Golden Agers are known to be full of energy.      
I'm not done yet. It's still snowing.

I am starting to feel warm inside. No need to dream about it - White Christmas is at the door.

No idea what happened to my blog.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

I have 10 little gifts to make for people that are not part of my family. They are the loving  volunteers who commit themselves for 12 months to work with people in need of special care. This year they hail from France, Germany and Canada and have become good friends of my Moselito.  Only gifts from the heart will speak to them. It takes for ever to wrap love and gratitude and that's why I start so early to prepare my small gifts to them. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Baking for the Holidays

I am a reformed Jew if this is the proper way of saying what my religion is at this time of my life. I was baptised Greek Orthodox. Such thing did not exist in after war Germany. My friends in Horb all happened to be Catholic so what do you think I did at age 12? I reverted to Catholicism. Der Pfarrer was happy - my parents did not even know about it. Papa was Greek Orthodox and Mutti was Protestant. Hey, I wanted to belong. Could not think of anything better to do at that time and don't regret it. I got very involved in church things. Friday evening Rosary( I think it was Fridays), Vesper, Sunday Mass, pulling the cord and swinging back and forth to bring the church bells into swing early I forget which mornings and of course helping out with this and that and more ( I wanted to be liked|) and of course going to confession which stopped two years later (posting to this effect maybe to follow) and helping out wherever I could.
Doing dishes at the hospital to make it easier for the nuns working there and making friends with them of course.

Today I was looking for Christmas baking recipes and came across this one in my Greek cookbook.

Scripture Cake - Kaiki Agias Graphis 

This is a recipe that has been popular with the ladies of Sts. Constantine and Helen (no surprise my name is Ellena and my brothers is Tino). It encourages Bible reading and if the correct ingredients are chosen from the references given, a delicious fruit cake will be assured. Look at the Old Testament. I did but have not baked it as yet.
                                                                                            Chapter                Verse
41/2 cups                I Kings                                                      4                         22
1 cup                       Judges                                                      5                        25          
2 cups                     Jeremiah                                                   6                        20
2 cups                     I Samuel                                                    30                     12
2 cups                     Nahum                                                       3                       12 
2 cups                     Numbers                                                    17                       8
2 Tbsp.                    I Samuel                                                    14                     25
1 tsp.                       Leviticus                                                     2                      13 
6                              Jeremiah                                                    17                    11
1/2 cup                    Judges                                                        4                      19 
2 tsp.                       Amos                                                          4                        5
2 tsp.                       II Chronicles                                               9                        9 (which ?)

Mix like any basic fruit cake. Bake at 275 C-3 to 4 hours.

I'm off to BB sit = Big Boys sitting (H being age 5 and Sneakasnack being age 7 don't like the other word).

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Can't fall asleep thoughts

Sometimes, actually most times, I fall asleep as soon as my left ear hits the pillow.
Last night was one of the nights where such did not happen. That's when I think about my next blog post to write. What is it with thoughts anyway? Do they consist of images only? My stories feel complete. Nothing is missing - the location has a name and so do the people involved, everything has a color, there is sound, there are so many feelings and there is me. I want whatever I write down to reflect who I am. How can I do that if I don't find the words I need?  All that is reflected when I write, is my ignorance of vocabulary and that in such a magnified form that it frightens the schnook out of me.
I know, nobody forces me to write. I want to but question myself as to maybe doing it privately. The intend was and still is to leave a few of my untold memories behind for my children. Because I know that a few more than just my children read here, the process has slowed down and if it continues at such a slow pace I won't have enough time to complete what I set out to do.
Right now, at this very moment, I have decided to no longer do this blog but, I already play with the idea of  and who cares what they think. So, maybe tomorrow.
Just talking to myself.........

Sunday, November 18, 2012


I try not to make promises that I can't keep.

Sometime earlier this year I commented on one  of my dear friend's Rouchswalwe posts to the effect that some day I would write about my Iris plant.

Well, it no longer is. I only have one window in my apartment near which I can gather plants for their light feed. She was not happy with her spot.
She was handed to me at Christmas 6 years ago with a lovely note attached introducing Neo-Marika, a bit of pale green peeking out of brown. I should keep her near an east-side window and carefully watch her grow and develop as to not miss the 'one day bloom' event.
I did so.
My niece Iris who lives far away and only visits me once in 4 or 5 years announced her arrival. Aunt Ellena's joy was overshadowed by Neo-Marika's. She opened her arms with a triple bloom on the day that Iris and Mr. Iris arrived and became the centerpiece of the table.

This is how she greeted me when I got up on the morning of this special day.

And, I told 'Young of Heart' that I had a fox story to tell.

It felt like coming back to the fold when I moved to the country. 40 years of city life was enough and, I wanted to be close to Moselito.
At first I was afraid to cross the road by myself at night. It was so dark. Slowly I got used to the darkness. How exiting to rediscover the Great Bear and the Little Bear. Grandma had named them for me while I sat on her lap at the window.
The farmer way back across the road complained that chickens were missing and felt that something needed to be done to protect his hens from the fox. "What, a fox around here, that frightens me". Yes, he came to visit me.

                                             Sorry, no chickens to be had here.

And then, there is the story of the cow.
I'll never know how she made it across the street and up the hill nor what made her think that the grass was greener on my side of the fields.

Oh, how I miss the house where all this came about.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What is 'back home'?

I'm still thinking about this question, or should I call it doubt or my problem, which came to my mind when I commented on dear Rouchswalwe's 'Hennis Lina' post. 

Whenever I travel to a destination on this continent or just visit a neighbour I will eventually say that 'I'm going home'. Home being the apartment  in which I live by myself.  It's not the house I lived in and it's not any other space I occupied before, with parents and siblings or with husbands and children.

When I use the words 'back home' they represent a specific town in Europe where I lived
from age 11 to age 18 - Horb - and not Berlin where I was born and where Mom grew up and where Oma and Opa lived,nor Athens where I had many cousins to play with, nor Hallwangen where Rosa lived nor Haigerloch where I could look into the prison court from the kitchen window of my girlfriend's house, nor Lahr-Dinglingen from where I came to Canada with husband and child.     

(I recently mentioned to B., my niece's husband, that I need a ghost writer, un negre(with accent) as they call them here in Quebec. He kindly offered to be 'it' - the offer is still on - although I asked for it I can't bring myself to accept -it would be cheating. So, here I am struggling - they'll be off for a 3year or more world tour anyway).  

Why is Horb 'back home'?  I have so very few  warm memories of family life. I'm sitting here trying to find the few but it's the not so warm ones that are taking over. Doors slamming, very loud male/female voices, plates hitting the wall, tears, but never never reconciliation. I can't believe, thinking back now, that I never heard  my parents have a conversation with each other, that I can't think of a single outing where the four of us were together. That's not back home. So sad.
To me, 'back home' is an entire small town in a valley with a river flowing through it, a few good friends, three churches, a soccer field, a movie theatre, narrow alleys, path going up hill along the cemetery, High School, chapel on top of mountain, a hospital, train station, Carnival, Christmas Market, Circus in town, tree on roof May 1st, bicycle tours, sport competitions, laughter, sadness, love, kisses, book on knees under tree and and and. So, what exactly is it  that makes  Horb 'back home' for me?  
Everywhere we live we are sprinkled with good and bad memories and I suppose that each of us has a different spot that he calls back home.

I'm going to stop right here.  Thousands of things appear and disappear in my mind without leaving words behind.

Wow, I'm hollering, following RR's advice "Spellcheck only found 2 mistakes. I'll never learn how to spell cemetary."

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The 10 rights of a reader

The 'declaration' is affixed to one of the walls of our local library. 

1  -  The right to NOT read
2  -  to SKIP pages
3  -  to NOT finish the book
4  -  to read it AGAIN
5  -  to read ANYTHIG
6  -  to IMAGINE oneself as one of the caracters in  book
7  -  to read ANYWHERE  we want
8  -  to GRAPILLER (not sure) to pick bits and pieces
9  -  to read out LOUD 
10-  to read in SILENCE

Someone added this thought:  never make fun of the ones that can't read if you want them to read some day.  

And, I'm asking what's with looking up the ending?  From what I hear the majority of us readers takes the right to do that now and then.   

Thursday, November 1, 2012

All Saints Day

Do I need to be reminded what day it is today?
Sainte- Sophie, Sainte Julie, Sainte Agathe, Sainte-Marguerite, Sainte-Lucie, Sainte-Adele,
Saint-Jerome are only a few of the many small towns and villages named after saints, here in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec.
Then there are the places named Val-David, Val-Morin, Val-des Lacs....Val-this and Val-that. I live in one of the valley villages with a population of  3000  scattered  over an area of 39 square km. They tell me that it was a booming village years ago. Hills for winter sports, big hotels for good food and drink and vast cottage land for city folks.
Now, I need to drive 4km to the nearest food store.  After 2km ride I  cross streets named
St.Adolphe, Ste. Marie, St.Michel, Ste.Adele, Ste.Agathe, St. Jean-Baptiste, St.Charles. and St.Andre, one after the other, and then the street names become 'saintless' again.

Back where I grew up they would say  "Heiliges Blechle, that many saints surround you"?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Hyacinths in glass~~~~~~~~1

I never noticed the bulbs sitting in oddly shaped glass vases. I don't know where Oma or Mutti stored them while waiting for the roots to grow, but I still remember my delight when the sweet smell of their blooms hit my nostrils. Pink and blue ones suspended in air, so it seemed, roots dangling in water and blossoms asking to be touched by the tip of my nose appeared on the table for my birthday in March.

Happy Birthday Pasha.

I planted a purple one and a white one today. They are siting side by side in the dark on the shelf in the coat closet.

Now I need to be patient. It might take 2 months or more before they are ready to be moved to a brighter location.
No rush, no, I don't need Hyacinth Flower Essence used for people that feel isolated and alone.

While I was writing this, I looked up, grabbed my camera, rushed out onto the patio and took this picture. One can count the leaves.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Creator exists

My dream of a lifetime this house, although reduced to an apartment now, which allows me to be not only a neighbour of nature but also makes me almost part of it. My dwelling is not only the place where I live, it's what and how I live and, it is nestled in a space that I relate to that I have something in common with. I can't describe the intense joy I feel when faced with images such as these. Such a priveledge. Automn and his colors. 

                                             On my way to pick Moselito up for home weekend.

Fall colors so different from the exploding spring colors. These here embrace me - time to look within.

This was two weeks ago - today I opened my eyes to a white veil covering the ground. It won't last.


Friday, October 12, 2012

Can't help but

posting this kind of sighting one more time. Yes, they do visit me every fall. Well, I get exited about it  each time. So?

Where are you Bambi-baby?

Here I am!

                                     Let's go, she has no carrots.

At 8.15 while I had my second cup of coffee on October 2nd

Saturday, September 29, 2012


Some parents read bed-time stories, I chose to sing when it was time for my children to be calm and to sleep. I would tuck them in, sit on the edge of the bed, bend over their little bodies and sing 5 songs. First to hear my songs was Pasha and 16 years later it was Besito de Luz T. and a year later Moselito joined the audience. I sang in German. Never learned any English children songs.

One of the songs was about this little man standing in the woods, on one leg, all alone. He wore a red coat.  'Ein Maennlein steht im Walde'


Then there was the one about the farmers moving manure on a rainy day - 'Es regnet, es regnet die Bauern fahren Mist'

and the one about the fox who stole the goose - 'Fuchs Du hast die Gans gestolen.....'-

and the one about little "Haenschen" who takes off to see the world - 'Haenschen-Klein ging allein in die weite Welt hinein....'


I did not always sing the songs in the same oder but - 'So good-night now once more, Guten Abend gute Nacht' was the last one, loaded with kisses and hugs.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Autumnal Equinox

The first day of fall flew in on the back of this leaf today and landed on my patio.

These two leaves were lying in the grass two weeks ago.  For now they are resting inside the Webster's dictionary and on the first week of November the big decision will be taken as to which one will be tucked away in a birthday card. A long flight all the way to Germany is awaiting the chosen one. The Edelweiss Man is celebrating his 80th.


Saturday, September 15, 2012


Just finished reading today's Montreal Gazette.

The "Fukyu Sushi Bar & Restaurant" owners were forced to change name of this eatery. The name was said to be in bad taste by a Quebec Superior Court judge.
----The owner of one long-standing company in the building, which has a business selling urns, said in a letter that while he found the name to be "highly amusing" on a personal level, it caused him professional problems given the sombre nature of his work.
"As we are in the funeral business, I am not so sure that giving directions to clients who have recently lost a loved one by telling them that we are "two doors down from Fukyu" will go down very well with them. ----(Paragraph copied from Gazette).

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Dear Rosa

Do you remember those thrilling very hot summer days?  You were the chubby little 11 year old girl with blond long braids growing behind your ears, thick and strong enough to be used as a weapon for chasing flies and bumble bees. You knew all about weeding vegetable patches, gathering freshly laid eggs, milking the cows, feeding the pigs, picking berries, collecting mushrooms, sweeping the huge front yard and half the width of the main road the length of your farm property on Saturday afternoons, the farmer across the street was in charge of the other half, sitting on top of the hay without falling off when your dad and brother Max were bringing it in from the fields, piled up very high on those oxen pulled carts.                                                                                                                                                       My braids were as long as yours but not as thick and strong as yours. Our family had arrived in your small hamlet a few months ago. We had left everything behind in war bombed Berlin and saved our lives by settling in your village. I knew nothing about all the  things you knew but I had stories of my own to tell you of things that you knew nothing about. Such as being shaken awake in the middle of the night and being pulled half asleep down into the dark cellar where strange unknown faces had already gathered while frightening noises were heard and the walls were shaking, about living in the dark and in fear, about asking for an apple as gift on my birthday, about people that can communicate in a different language than ours with each other, about the taste of an orange and much more.
You do remember the 'fun-rain' and the oxen pulling the heavy laden hay carts through the village on the paved main road and these large flat pancake-shaped splotches they left behind. The hot tar backed them quickly and when a summer shower started dripping cool rain we could see the steam rise into the air from those cakes. Remember how fast we kicked our sandals off our feet and ran onto the street to hop from one steaming cake into another? Squish and squash and laughter and giggles as this velvety soft and warm-feeling substance soothed our feet. Hurray!!!
No, nobody stopped us. Your parents were busy in the fields and my parents never came around to the farmers. If they did I don't remember it.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

A short visit

Many years ago if 15 is many, my first born, a Sunday Child, also known as 'La Puce' and/or 'Pasha' could arrive whenever she wanted, twins, dog and all and stay as long as she wanted. At midnight or 4 in the morning or 9 in the evening. My door  was never locked. Now, it's better I know the time of her arrival. She called to say "I'll be there in about half an hour, I'll stay for a while because cottage won't be ready before noon". The twins have their own life now. La Puce now comes with Nikita dog only. She knows that she can't visit with dog and that's why she rented a cottage 30 min car drive from here. I reminded her that Nikita will have to stay in car while she pops in to kiss and hug Mom. Since it was to hot for dog in car, we agreed to meet somewhere around the corner. As I was nervously fixing this and fixing that while awaiting her call to tell me she arrived, I got more and more upset, ran outside to the front of the building and searched for neighbours sitting on balconies or patios. Out of 10 residents in the front only 4 were out. It told them each that I was about to commit a criminal act by allowing a dog on the premises. None of them cared. When La Puce called I told her that it was ok to come in with dog.  
I was lucky she did not turn around and leave again

since a neighbour who was not out when I made my announcement stepped out on her balcony and greeted her with "no dogs allowed here". "I know, drove 7 hours do get here, dog stays in my arms for next 30 minutes". Sad thing this is being faced with no this and no that. I want to be back in my house again.

We had a great time together.
La Puce introduced me to this gentle homeless cat which had welcomed her as she and Nikita reached the chalet. She named her Booty whereas I would have named her Clipped Ears (15 cm missing top of each ear).

We got some exercise with the paddle boat on Lac Gagnon and made sure not to put much distance between us and the shore since my legs were not much paddle help.

Perfect trio    Daughter - Nature - and I

4 hours later: Not only do I need a ghost writer I also need a blog fixer.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Mont Tremblant mini pleasure jaunt

My Mini-daughter, also known as the Mom of Noah and Hayden booked our stay in a two-storey condo apartment.  The GPS was sending us higher and higher up on a winding country road.
"Are you folks sure that this gadget knows what it is doing?"
"Yes Mom, yes Oma".
As we entered the apartment I dropped my luggage and stepped out onto the patio to take this picture.

I opened my eyes to this the next morning

but after the sun had come to steal the fog nothing stopped us from enjoying the day

Oooof, now it's my curser that gives me problems.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Pink Floyd in the park

We just came back from the park. Since it was Moselito's last evening of 'home vacations' I wanted to do one more special thing with him.
He was delighted to dance to the rhythm of the sound which means that he spreads his legs wide apart and swings from one side to the other.
I don't care for Pink Floyd, sorry, but was more than happy to be surprised with Pink Cloud in the sky.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

1001 POTS

Follow us to this one-of-a-kind pottery exhibit in the nearby village of Val-David. An annual event for ceramic lovers founded by Kinya Ishikawa 24 years ago together with his wife Marie-Andree Benoit. Two talented potters with big hearts and noble visions for mankind.

Thousands of pieces created by the best pottery artists of Canada are on display. I would have
loved to show you a general view but the site is much to big to show it in one shot. Each artist displays in a given area in the gardens and inside various buildings.

There are also thematic areas such as JUGS



The Amazone is always on the site. Moselito was happy to see her and to show me which plate he had made.

We came across a miniature garden on wheels

Make your own Furoshiki workshop was taking place but we were to late to join it so I bought one made by Kinya - a fish design. I will use it as tablecloth on my patio table.

They can also be used as gift wrap, shawl, wall hanging or ..........Oh yes

Now we will sit in the Secret Garden for a while, have a cup of green tea on the terrace of the Tea Room and my next post will show you the Silica Garden.