Thursday, November 7, 2013

Rest in Peace Nelson Mandela

In June 1990, 4 months after his release from prison, a co-worker and I  wanted to witness Mr. Mandela's visit to Montreal.  He gave his speech on Champ-de-Mars near City Hall.
We left early for the one hour+ drive to town.  We absolutely needed to find parking near City Hall.  The lucky find was on a street along a steep grassy mound.  On top of this mound was the field behind City Hall on which they had build a podium for Mr. Mandela's appearance.   We, like hundreds of other people, climbed the mound as high as we could to be able to see Mr. Mandela as he spoke.  We could hear him but as much as we stretched our necks, we could not see him.  As we were standing there, happy to be that close but stretching to see, I felt a tap on my back.  As I turned, I faced a man.  I can't remember his face.  He was kind and strong and I got to sit on his shoulders. I was allowed to see what I could hear.  I was able to observe Mr. Mandela's conversation with us for a little while.
My notes indicate that he was saying something along the lines of the whites not being the enemy in the fight of apartheid and that we are all facing a common front against racial oppression.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Kazu came to visit

Kazuko has been working at Moselito's home away from home for 12 years now.  She is one of it's strong pillars.  Her parents still ask when she will be coming back to Japan. They don't know that she has no such intention. 

Whenever she comes to visit with me she arrives after closing the day at the Maison E. community which is 9 in the evening.  Most of the times it's a spontaneous surprise visit. She is used to find me pyjama-clad and each time she sends me an e-mail the next day thanking me for my hospitality and apologizing for having kept me up till 2 in the morning. This time she even went so far as to reserve March 2 for a visit. On that occasion we will open the TV - she wants to watch the Oscars. I love her dearly.

Here she is showing me how to take a video with my camera.

Unfortunately she was not around when I needed to be shown how to transfer the video into the blog.  It looks as if I managed. Hm, took me long enough!

Monday, August 26, 2013

They came, they played, they laughed, they argued and Oma is exhausted.

Yes, woof woof, this is the path that leads to the corral where Major is kept. 

He did not 'woof' us that the horse was in the barn.

Where are skateboard sharing rules to be found?
Sneak-a-Snack and Hungry Man were not happy with the ones I made up for them.  They prefer to wrestle over who gets to put his foot on what.

The fishing license was on hand but the boys had forgotten the rods at home.


                    So, what's next?  Let's climb the pole!
           Let's remember this tree so that we can catch the bird on the way back down the mountain.

The boys are back to school.  Not to be seen again till Christmas.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Farmer's Market

was on my 'to do' list yesterday.  My first stop was to buy 2 heavy loaves of sesame seed coated spelt bread kneaded by strong hands at a biological co-op farm nearby.  The tall, clean looking farmer with kind words passing his beard-framed lips answered my "how many families run this co-op"  etc. questions with pleasure.  I don't know how our conversation reached the point where I said "I will if I remember".  That's when he started praising the effects of coconut oil.  It being very good for avoiding short memory lapses and even keeping Alzheimer's away.  As he asked "will you remember?" he slipped me this note

We both had a good laugh as I slipped it into the bag containing the breads.

Then, Mr. K. and I bumped into each other as we were looking at a display of mushrooms.
"Oh, the chef is checking out the mushrooms" I exclaimed. He does not know me but everybody knows him.  I remember him parading though the banquet room to a roaring applause of  us diners after a 7-course meal.                                                                    You know what I said to him? No? You'll never guess.   I cleared  my throat and said "when I left the house I told myself that if I meet a chef at the market I will ask him...and you know what, I forgot the question".  Mr. K. laughed and consoled me with "I am to be found here each Saturday".
We parted and a few tables away I stopped here

and remembered my question.  "Do you buy your garlic here at the market? Who has the best? I have a problem with garlic. I don't buy the one from Ch... but the other does not taste like garlic either.  Maybe I have a problem with my taste buds. What do you say?"
I looked for him everywhere, going back to where I came from but no Mr. K-chef was to be found.

Very disappointed I walked back to my car parked in the parking lot of a big surface food store.  I saw him from far and started waving my arms in the air as I was walking towards him.  I told him how I came to remember and put my question to him.  I think he is my age, retired now.  We 'Golden Agers'  are so nice to each other.  He thinks that all garlic sold at the market is good and suggested I never cut it into small pieces but always squeeze it open before adding it to any dish and added with a smile "if that does not work it could be your taste buds".  

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Boys

I have been kind of 'goofing off' lately doing easy on my brain things. 

When Noah, aka Sneak-a-Snack welcomed the arrival of little brother Hayden, aka Hungry Man, I went out and bought these two little journals.  The very first page asks "what is Noah/Hayden up to"  and the following pages give the answer. 
The question is always asked by me, Oma, and the answers can be from either the boys themselves or their parents or other family members or their friends.

I wish I had a drawing talent.  It would have been so easy to just draw a few lines to go with the text.  Something like a comic book but.....  

The way I planed it, I need to be around till age 90 to see their faces when these little journals are given them.  

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Not sure I understand

This morning I read the heading of an article in the Guardian in reference to the British Medical Association declaring that force-feeding the  prisoners who are on hunger strike at Guatanamo  is a gross violation of medical ethics.

Why so?  Is it not done to prevent suicide?  If it is done for other reasons it is political and not medical or ?

What about medical ethics when terminally ill patients or elderly that do no longer want to live are kept alive by force-feeding through tubes and other means? 

Why are my thoughts wrapped around this article which I only read the heading of?  If I had read the article I might have found the answer to my questions and would not have had the opportunity to get this off my chest....... Mutti was 88 when she died in hospital.  For three days she had to share space with other patients and each time I sat with her she would whimper "please let me die".  When I returned on the forth day she was in a private room and no longer whimpering.  I was trying to feed her the pudding from the tray that had been brought to her when a doctor walked in and said " why are you feeding her when it only prolongs her agony".  I stopped feeding her and the trays stopped coming . Maybe the trays stopped coming first but I can't help but feeling as if I had stopped first.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


I picked him up on Friday afternoon to be with Ellena, as he says, for 10 nights.  His vacations with me are not only highlighted with X on his calendar but are also referred to  by the number of nights he sleeps over.

Today, Tuesday, he said  "10 nights sleep here".  As I answered "some nights have passed already", he replied  "Friday 10, Saturday 9, Sunday 8, Monday 7, Tuesday 6, today 6 more nights sleep here".

Amazing!  Enough to 'make' my day.

I am so grateful for such surprises and wonder as to how much more is in his brain that I/we are not aware of. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Just saying and to explain

why I was invisible in recent days.

Wrestled with a 20pound bag of earth - the bag won - my back lost.

10 days of wrong body predictions promising a better tomorrow.  Pain killers now at work.
Date with a 'Chiro' on August 8th.

Please, not more than a HI in comments.

Friday, July 12, 2013


Human error - equipment malfunction - lax regulations - corporate greed - whatever 

I hear voices and read text messages

          "let's go for an after work drink"
          "wait I'll give you a lift home"
          "I am on my way home-getting into the car now"
          "come over to, we are celebrating her birthday"
          "what a beautiful evening, let's go for a walk"

and I hear screams and footsteps of people that could not run fast enough.

Instant cremation

My heart goes out to the families.      

Sunday, July 7, 2013

And then I was thinking

"what is it with ones blog?".  I am not sure I would have asked my daughter Pasha to set up a blog for me had I known what having one, or should I say writing one, turns out to be.

What I wanted to do is get my house in order.

All photos are in albums in chronological order starting with arrival in Canada in 1956 and ending with NOT YET.  Photos of people that my children don't know are burned and others such as of office parties and other events are weeded down to two or three of the same event.  Why burden Pasha and Besito de Luz with 'who is this' questions after I am gone. Most photos have a little story to tell. I typed it up, cut it out and inserted it below the photo. That part of 'house order' is settled.  Shots of our family life spread out on a shelf. 12 volumes long.
Then there is a thick album which I named 'Je me souviens'.  
The first section contains 2 photos of German grandma and grandpa together and many photos of grandma's 4 siblings.
Next section shows Greek grandma alone and Greek grandpa with his 3 boys, one daughter.
Next section is filled with photos taken when mom and dad were courting, 2 of my baptism on a Greek island and a handful of other shots of my brother and I in Greece and some nieces and aunts and uncles.
Next section is my life in Germany, age 6 up to the day my husband, baby Pasha and I left Germany. Lots of '1st time' memories are living here. Some are typed and inserted and my thoughts finally return to the why of this post.
This blog was meant to contain little life stories that mothers tell their children.  Things that they remember but never had the chance to tell them.

I have since realized that writing a blog also means reading blogs and reading blogs means making comments and making comments means that the writer looks at the blog of the commenter and, being polite, makes a comment on the writer's blog.
I know that you follow me but have a hard time following myself. Just said Prost to myself for the second time.  A wineglass filled with Baileys, the original Irish cream.  Ya, ya, I do have the little liquor glasses that this drink is served in but they are to small to be used for what I call desert.
So, where was I?
Yes, I found R's blog and liked it and thought to myself  "let me see if I like any of the blogs she reads, I can't go wrong" and that's how I got to you L. and to you N. and to you T. and to you RR and to B.  Of course I continue reading H's blog which is kind of a ground stone of my blog reading.
I never mentioned that it sometimes takes me more time to write a two-line comment than it takes you to write a two-page post.  Why, because I chose to read challenging blogers and/or blogers who inform me about subjects that have woken my curiosity.  I now feel that I am playing in a league into which I don't belong. But, I got hooked on you all, on your kindness especially, and don't want to let go.

So much about blogging.  

While writing this I realize that NO, I am not super organized, I AM controlling and the other thing I noticed, actually it rubbed itself in as I was writing, is the fact that I/we do not have a single picture of Mom and Dad together.  I know that they were married. I saw it written on their divorce papers.

PS I wrote this last evening. Just justifying time of drink.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

One more time

did I have to tell the life story of Moselito, last week.

He has been a bit more anxious and stressed as usual lately.   The care givers at Maison E., a community founded in 1982 , invited me to talk about Moselito to a group of 15 people gathered in the living room of Maison C.  Caregivers, new volunteers and the leaders of music therapy, pottery workshop, weavery and farm wanted  to learn more about Moselito in order to see how they could help to bring him back to his usual rather easy to handle self.
Pictures of events and former coworkers were spread out on a table, covering 31 years of his life in the community.  All thoughts were concentrated on Moselito.
I began with my pregnancy- heavy cramps, kicking and boxing as if he were looking for a way out.  Very happy in his crib but unhappy if placed on the floor to crawl or to sit and play. Needed security of the small crib area.                                                                              Montreal Children's Hospital were the first to mention the word 'Autism'. Fine Motor Therapy was suggested to teach him to play and interact with other children. I enrolled him.  3 times a week I dropped him off at therapy, his sister at school and myself into the office and three times a week I had to run to the car park, drive to therapy, pick him up and drive him to babysitter and then drive myself back to the office, all in one hour (my lunch hour). Speeding at 125km an hour on three lane highway is still haunting me. Autism specialists at 3-day convention had Moselito on stage and over the microphone I was informed that they had a  very intelligent child in front of them.   At age 7, we (his father and I) registered him in a private school which served special needs students. Until school registration I used the 'I' because that is how it was done (mother did best).  
Divorce.                                                                                                                           School suggested home speech therapy.  I accepted to do it, was given a lesson as to how, the school came to tape first lesson and last lesson video and were happy about the results. Music therapy after school became also available and Moselito attended.
In the mornings I drove 1.25 hrs in all directions dropping one child here, the other there and myself somewhere else and in the evenings it was the same  with pick ups except that it took longer.
I did not know much about autism. How to, what not to and what to do.
There were all kind of incidents with M.
M. in the back of the car, no seat belts way back then, me driving on three-lane highway and him jumping at me from back seat and him banging his head on mine and biting my neck - M. sitting on passenger side, me turning left on one lane road and door on his side opening wide - and more of such. I always kept my cool and managed to calm him down.
As my strength and patience started to wear out and knowing that I would eventually not be able to continue like that (I was 47then) and  not wanting to burden his siblings with the responsibility of taking care of their brother, I decided to place him.  Needless to say that it was a heartbreaking decision.
This was 31 years ago. The Maison E. center had just been founded and has since grown from 3 to 22 'villagers' in need of special care and about 30 caregivers who share 5 residences. Moselito's home away from home is paradise to him and to Ellena, as he calls me.  
Although I am not ready to check out, I can die in peace because of this place so close to my heart.

This is Maison C., the home which Moselito shares with 5 other villagers in need of special care, houseparents and coworkers.

Friday, June 28, 2013

She was ............

14 years young.  During afternoon classes she would occasionally turn around and look out the window and notice that an older boy was hanging out of a window of a neighbouring building.  Attention from a boy at that age provoked something to talk about with the girlfriends.  He was a boy that did not attend High School. She had never spoken with him but she knew which family lived above the butcher shop behind the school. 
One late afternoon she was on her way up the hill through the woods towards the little 'Marien' chapel.  She liked taking Lilac there during the month of May.  She does not remember where the boy from the window crossed her path.
They walked together on the shortcut trail and talked about things now forgotten.  He asked  her if she was a virgin.  A virgin?  She did not know what he meant by that. Is he asking that because he sees her at church and church related events?  She does not remember what she answered, if anything.  He did ask a few times.  They reached a bench and sat down for a while.  He was tall and strong and the bench was hard.  When they got up he was no longer interested in the answer to the virgin question.  She never saw him at the window again nor anywhere else.  She stopped going to confession from then on but continued to
take flowers to the chapel during the summer months.
Today, 63 years later, her best friend of times long gone tells her that his name was such and such, that he took care of his sick wife for many years and that he passed away 2 years ago and that she never thought that he was such a 'Scheisskerle' (shithead).

Thursday, June 27, 2013

My recent drive into town

witnessed tears, a homecoming , little boys wrestling for dad's attention and the beginning of a struggle to get back to normality. We shall see.

St. Jean Baptiste Day celebrations where taking place in all Québec towns and villages. La Fête Nationale du Québec is a very important day and is much more celebrated in this our Belle Province than Canada Day. Newspapers remind us that friction still exists between French and English population and report that some Francophone musicians are facing heat for inserting English words in their songs and that 'déserteur' is an unfair term for those who left Québec in the '70s and and and......

Then, ha ha, as I was driving through a certain area in Montreal, an overpass reminded me of Sunday afternoon outings. This is going back 50 years. We had no car then but our good friends did.  On hot and humid Sunday afternoons Greek Adonis would come over to tell us that he was taking his boys on a car ride and invited J., Pasha and I to join them.  We all lived in apartment houses without swimming pool.  Females did not go into streets wearing shorts and mini skirts did not exist as yet.  Greek Adonis drove us to an overpass from where we could look into the back yard of one of the few high rise buildings of Montreal suburbia. No, not to suggest that our families move there but to allow him and my husband to have a quick peek at the pool down below. Yes, there were females to be seen sunbathing, clad in one-piece bathing suits and with some extra luck the occasional bikini could also be spotted. How times changed.

Friday, June 21, 2013

..........something fell apart and

I need to pack a few clothes, lipstick, meds, empty the fridge, water the inside and outside plants never mind, close all the windows, pack the car and drive drive drive.

Mini-daughter can use some help, two boys age 7 and 8 will be off school at noon today, small bakery needs to open doors as usual, some deliveries need to be made, boys want to be driven to school and be picked up at noon, 2 dogs and 2 cats need to be fed and let in and out, food needs to be cooked and served and life must go on as before when a certain male was sharing the chores. He packed his suitcase.

I was not asked for help but how could I not at least try to be of some use.           

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Sainte-Adèle, Qc and Street Art Work

When Moselito is with me on his Home Weekend, we have the choice of seeing a movie in one of these two theaters in Ste.Adele, a small town next to our village. The one on the left was build in 1948 and when 4 viewing rooms were no longer sufficient the owner build a second one with 3 viewing rooms, in 1995.  All Premières of Québec-made films are shown in one of these theatres, with artists attending.
This past weekend we saw 'Sarah Prefers to Run' which was screened at the last Cannes Film Festival.  I'm a bit worried.  Either I grew an extremely thick skin recently or the movie.......?  I can't ask Moselito's opinion. He was happily watching the action, eating his chocolate bar and asking for more.


                                                                   Lac Rond was a source of drinking water, ice and food through fishing, horse racing and raw boat competitions and as late as 1943 was used as a parking lot for the winter tourists of Hotel Chanteclerc.  In 1960 it needed to be decontaminated and is since used for skating, snow shoeing and walks in winter.

Painting on a wall across from where we sometimes sit after the movie.

The no longer existing Ste. Marguerite train station - Canadian Pacific.

Now the tourists take a plane and fly to far away places. Coming up North is no longer the in thing.  My friends N. and V. from Montreal came up here for their honeymoon, more than 60 years ago. By train. Today a three-lane highway takes us down by car in 50 minutes.


On the left Séraphin, the village miser of  the novel 'Un Homme et son Péché' written by  St. Adèlois writer Claude Henri Grignon in 1933, on the right.
When we arrived in Montreal in1956 Séraphin was a very successful TV-series and re-runs continue to be shown to this date.

Les 'Draveurs' were considered the elite corps of forestry workers.
The word 'drave' derives from 'to drive', conduire les billots.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

So, it was a bat!

It was a hot summer day.  Their mother told me that my friend R., the girl with long blond      braids as wide as three fingers of my hand, and her brother M., were out in the fields with      their dad.  I did not need to ask where the fields were.  I knew each and every one.  The       one  where the corn grew higher than us, the one were we planted the potatoes, the one where they grew the feed for the cows.  It was corn harvest time.  I walked towards the biggest tree knowing that I would find them sitting underneath it, eating delicious sandwiches of home made bread topped with home-smoked ham or home made sausage.  Father and farm hand drinking cider.                                                                                     On my way to the big tree I passed a small tree and looking at the lower branches saw something dangling there that scarred the schnook out of me. I remember how fast I looked away thinking that I saw Christ on the cross hanging upside down.  The shock of seeing that made the insides of my body tremble.  I remained puzzled for a long time and knowing that what I had seen could not be  what I thought, I never told my friend nor my family about it. 
I can't believe that it had to take 60 years before I finally found out what I had seen.  I had a hard time getting a what I thought was a bird out of my house after moving to the country and was told that it must have been a bat.  I looked bat up and had my answer.
I always recognized Die Fledermaus on the radio but that did not help.  
Why Christ on the cross which was never talked about in our family?      

Friday, June 7, 2013

Greece - walk to a small village

It was a long and hot walk but I only remember bits and pieces about it.  Athens 1940/1941?

I see this young girl dressed in layers of long skirts.  She was employed in our  home but I have no idea in what capacity - cooking, cleaning, babysitting - who to ask now?
What was her name, did we like her, my brother and I?
I see her hiding cognac colored glass plates under her apron and off we go to see her family in a nearby village. The plates were small and I usually saw them appear besides a tall glass of water and a jar of vanilla paste, holding a spoon.  One filled the spoon with this thick sticky paste, placed it in one's glass filled with water and then licked the paste and had a sip of water, put spoon back into glass till next 'lick & sip'.

We are walking along on top of a steep knoll.  We stop to look down.  My brother discovers a dead black dog down there, points it out to the long skirts girl and starts gathering stones. "No, no, no, you can't do that.  If a stone hits the dog a piece of his dead body will fly up and hit you".

A cemetery.  Long line of people walking behind men carrying something on which a female body was lying.  Flowers placed on each side of her head.  Wailing cries frightening me.

A field with grazing sheep and a ram chasing my brother and the long skirts girl waving her arms and making noise.

Plates falling out from under the skirt and braking.

This memory is filed in my auto-analyzation folder.  Why did I not tell mother about the girl stealing? 


Saturday, June 1, 2013

All well again with blog and Farmer's Market


I was going to change my picture but have not been able to find the spot where it's done. I'm tired of looking at myself each time I make a comment. Anyway, the photo is 5 years old and I seem to have aged 20 years in the last 5 and don't want to misrepresent myself even if no one cares what I look like. 

I went to our local Farmer's market this morning. Always go to the tables where two Greek nuns from a monastery nearby sell goat cheese,  vegetables , cookies, cakes, frozen meals and more. I know the older nun, Smily, a girl in her late twenties and always have good conversations with her. The only time she did not smile is the time I asked her if they still sold candles. She wanted to know what I use them for and seemingly satisfied with my answer promised to bring me some the following week (Saturday market only). I was not to tell anybody because she does not display them on the table anymore having learned that they are being used in witchcraft around here. Today I was told that she was resting in the truck. So, I talked with her assistant. A very young girl, big blue smiling eyes. She asked me questions and I answered. Learned a lesson - NEVER  talk to a YOUNG nun about religion NEVER tell a YOUNG nun that you were baptised on a Greek Island but that you are no longer Greek Orthodox.  My friend  in Montreal who is much involved with the Greek community , not religiously but business wise, tells me that quite a few mothers were saving up for the daughter's 'prika', dowry, and are now crying because the daughter ran away to the monastery.
I bought the 'spanakopita'-Spinach/Feta/Mille Feuille pieces that I wanted and left the brainwashed child with a customer.  

Wow, I googled Greek nuns and then Images and this one was amongst the ones that came up. It is the very one nun in her late twenties, at our Val-David market, that I am talking about.  


Friday, May 31, 2013

What now???????

Looked at Preview of my last post and was not able to edit anything. Could not make paragraphs and other changes to set up. The Font, Size and other options were gone and are still gone now as I am typing this. What the schnuk is going on? It's very hot here, I have swollen feet, couple of black flies are pestering me and now this on top of all else. Just realized that I have been up for 16 hours. That should not affect the look of my posting page though. Good night.

Hanging Peppers

Sorry, it's a lousy picture of a picture. What can I say? I was choosing fresh herbs to be planted when my head felt a soft knock. I looked up and there it was. A hanging basket filled with pepper plants. It's cradle must have stood in a greenhouse because the peppers were already formed; green, small, but bigger than if they had been growing in a garden. I took them home where they enjoyed their new living quarters and grew to be a delight to eat.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Adieu Georges Moustaki

 He lived what he sang.

" Nous avons toute la vie pour nous amuser - nous avons toute la mort pour nous reposer "


LE METHEQUE is my favorite of his songs (mayby because I was married to one).

Thursday, May 16, 2013

What's wrong

with me? Again and again I find excuses for the person who did or said a 'wrong'. Not that I agree with the 'doer' of the wrong but I most of the times, if not always, find an excuse.

This morning I read 'Funffingerplatze' blog and could only think of "maybe someone tripped and fell on it, maybe a big dog did it, maybe this and maybe that". I read the comments of others and decided not to leave mine.  Of course I felt sorry for what happened to the Iris but I just can't believe that it was done on purpose. Yes, I know that one can see the difference - footprints or whatever -  but again!!! my mind refuses to recognize the obvious. 

Don't know why I am so upset with myself. I know that I will reflect on this all day.

I'm off to the library now and know already that I'll be sorry for clicking on publish. So be it.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Au Theatre du Marais

Tout ce que tu possedes   (All that you possess)
                                                    de Bernard Emond

- Pierre Leduc,  giving classes in literature of  Eastern countries and being  in the process of translating poems by Edward Stachura  who took his life at the age of 42, chucked his job and his books. He refuses a 50 million heritage from his father on the grounds that the wealth was acquired fraudulently.
Meeting his 13 year old daughter for the first time changes his life.

The director/screenwriter  Bernard Emond was present.  One could have heard a fly walk during the movie.  At the close the applause was enthusiastic and long lasting.

Whomever had the courage, discussed the movie with Emond. I was sitting in the last row and could not hear in detail what people were saying but hearing Emond's answers I pieced things together. - Mr. Emond had just returned from Poland where his film was very well received - Stachura is a well known poet there -  The main character had been on his mind for a long time before he connected him with the poetry of Stachura and made this film - the little girl is a born actor , he hardly had to guide her - and on and on 

Some people left, some stayed, some more left and a few stayed. I was still sitting there in my bubble , so very moved by that film not even able to talk with my two friends besides me. When I got up I saw Mr. Emond sitting on the edge of the  stage, his legs dangling down on the side, talking to two young women. I approached them and when he acknowledged my presence I just said "I don't want to leave yet" and after I had said that, my bubble burst and I spilled out  how embarrassed I felt to make my comment, that I feel as if his film had undressed me, that I feel like a naked person with intense emotions such as hate, love, fear, sadness, disgust, exhaustion written all over my body, that this is the first time I react in such a way to a movie. Me, who never says much because I lack vocabulary, had the guts to say all that to him. What guts? It just all came out.
I don't know how to describe the expressions in his face while I was talking. I could tell that my words had an impact on him and was not surprised when he told me how moved he was by what he heard. He thanked me profoundly.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013


She just left my apartment, my favorite next patio neighbour. One month ago she had come to tell me that because of the 'no smoking rule' here, they were going to move away. Today she came to tell me that she was diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas, how painful it is and that she is seeing a specialist tomorrow who will tell her if she can be operated and that they are moving this Friday. She has lost 25 pounds, the tiny lady, and for killing the terrible pain, she has been prescribed painkillers that are stronger than morphine. Yes, she is still smoking and yes she wants to be operated on or avail herself of chemo treatments.                                                            "Look, my sister agreed to the treatments and she had time to go on a beautiful trip before she died" she said.
It was a short visit. She feels very weak. We hugged and exchanged 'phone numbers.
I feel so helpless. I hope so much to be able to talk with her again.

I doubt that anybody in our building here is younger than I am. Maybe one or two years yes but that does not help when I realize that my turn to move out might be next. I have been reminded to often since the beginning of the year.

Mrs. #4 no longer being a 'case' for home care never came back here  and Mr. Lovebird's induced coma turned into eternal sleep.  It was here, not long ago, that I talked about them.

And, mid-March I was away visiting and when I came back 3 days later, I found a note on my door saying that two bouquets of flowers have been left with Apt.#10 for me. You see, I had made it to one more birthday. I picked up the 'phone and checked in with them via answering machine. The Mr. called me back 3 hours later "I put the flowers in the office. I'm coming down, meet me there".  Two gorgeous arrangements were standing from Pasha and one from her twins. I turned to the Mr. and with a wide smile began "So kind of you, thank....." when he interrupted me with  "my wife died". She had died a few hours ago. We hugged and sobbed.

I realize that this is a sob story but writing it helped me to appreciate how fortunate I am.  
The only thing I can complain about is that I am a bit slower in doing things. Yes, so who needs to be fast when enjoying life?



Monday, April 15, 2013

Theatre du Marais

In 1936 a group of vacationers from Montreal drained the marsh and build a synagoue  overlooking the Riviere du Nord.  Since 2001, this house of worship belongs to the Municipality of Val- Morin and has the mission to provide locals and tourists with quality entertainment.  The cozy little building is now equipped with 100 very comfortable seats, a stage and sound equipment. Whenever we attend a live artist performance we feel as we were entertaining them in our living room.

Picture by our Mayor Serge St-Hilaire
This is the movie I saw last week.

Claude Miller

The story of an arranged marriage and an 'avant-gardiste' woman who, although submissive, will do anything to liberate herself.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Chapel Bell

Reading comments on a friend's post has taken me back to the chapel in our small town in Germany.
Shortly after I had decided to be a Catholic like my friends, I was looking for the best way to be fully accepted. I got involved in all activities that were organized by the church for us teenagers. But still better was to do more than what was offered and that's how I came to my exiting early morning job. I committed myself to attend  6AM Mass on Thursday mornings and to ring the church bell 15 minutes prior to Mass. What a wonderful feeling to hang on the rope, pull it down and be pulled off the floor as the bell swung upwards and come slowly down again to pull for the next ring and to know that I was the one summonsing the pious ones to church.  
A magical feeling.                                                                                                                 The chapel was next to the high school. How convenient for me since I was coming to that area of the town anyway. And, to top it all off, after Mass I was served breakfast at one of the church ladies house. Bread was still rationed then and even if it had not been so I never got enough of it. I can still remember Miss K's look when she asked me how many slices I wanted. She had picked up a huge round farmer's home backed bread off the table, cut it in half and held one half up against her upper body and with the knife ready to slice she asked me the question to which I answered  "three, please". The slices were humongous and so was the jam to spread them with.
I think I held that job for 3 months and then promoted myself to be an assistant to the nuns working at the hospital next door to the chapel. I was allowed to help them serving breakfast to the patients.  

Web photo

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Ice on roof

When the ice rolled down in the front of the house it found space to spread out.

The first time it came down in the back I thought an earthquake caused the mountain behind the house to come through the roof. The noise was frightening and the shaking violent. It broke the plate glass of the guestroom window. As I walked into the room the glass shards were strewn all over the bed and the floor and furniture. What luck that my brother was not visiting that weekend. It was his bed. No way to get to the window from the outside so I blocked the opening from the inside. I learn my lessons rather quickly sometimes. The following Fall, $400. later for the new double pane window, I had my brother block it from the outside with a sheet of wood. It was a good idea but was it really necessary? The block of ice that came down did not touch the wall.

All that but, I miss the house sooo much. I was already 60 years old when I bought it and spent 14 years fixing and loving it - my soul was happy there but my body got tired and could no longer keep up with all that came with it, pleasures and work.

I wonder if the woodpecker is missing me and if the trees have room to breath or if the undershrub or whatever it's called is strangling them. One uphill acre full of little areas I built such as 'Amen' where I wanted my ashes to be - a rock that looked like a bicycle seat which I painted and named 'Kat's seat' - another rock that I painted 5 lucky seven's on and spelled 'Nick's outlook' on it. Nick is the very nosy slot machines lover husband of my dear friend and from that area uphill he could sit and observe the comings and goings on my patio and the area around the house. And, I'll stop here - why torture myself? Bad enough that I need to drive by it twice a month and more when I pick Moselito up for his home weekend.


Sunday, January 20, 2013


Getting this 'insert picture' gadget to work again was is a longwinded process.

I hope I'll remember how I managed to get this one to appear.

That's all I have to say for today.

                                          "The snails are for me please"
Thank you, RR.

Friday, January 18, 2013

No bruises as yet but last night I could not sleep on my favorite side.  

Whenever I bang my head on something I ask myself  "what was I thinking at the precise moment it happened- was I having critical or mean or jealous thoughts?"
Yes, sometimes I find a culprit and start thinking negative thoughts about that person and the wheel in my head spins and releases the same thoughts over and over again until some other thought or a hit on my head appears and stops the whirl. Yesterday I was not having any hard thoughts and no negative thinking needed to  be stopped but,  simply asking myself the question  leads me usually, as it did this time, to reflect on my opinions and fixed ideas concerning others in general. I do not want to and try not to pass negative judgement on others.  As I write this I am thinking of  lazy, greedy, untidy, ill-mannered, selfish.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The back door.

I like to use the back door of the building. It's close to my parking space and my shopping bags don't have time to get  to heavy before I reach the door of my apartment.
I don't like to do more than one trip. Today I carried two heavy bags in each hand.
The door is a heavy metal door opening to the left. When I reach the door I had to move two bags from my right hand to the left hand, pull the key out of my pocket, unlock the door but leave the key in it, pull the door open half way, put my left knee inside the door, turn the key to lock position for when it slams shut behind me, pull key out of lock, move my left arm  together with the 4 bags and position it besides my left knee, finally move two bags from left hand to right hand while lifting my right leg to step inside and let the door bang shut. 
Today I did not lift my right leg high enough. I tripped on the edge of the step and tumbled flew inside the hallway, could not find my balance because of those heavy bags, hit my head on the wall opposite me and landed with a big thump on the floor surrounded by my bags. My head was near the door of an apartment and I could hear him whistle as he always does and wondered if he heard me fall. 

To make a long story short - I fell and am ok. 


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

It was

a very bad cold only.

I have been back to 'normal' for the last three days, busy taking care of things.
As soon as my neighbours realized that my car was moving in and out of it's parking space, they came to life.

Sunday, Mr. apartment #4  came to tell me that his wife/partner/colloq/who knows, it changes each time we speak, was in hospital again.     
In the same sentence he tells me that he can't take it any more and that she might not make it this time. She is in intensive care and would I have time to drive him to the hospital. Loud out I tell him that of course I can do that but at the same time I question myself as to why he can't drive himself there. As we get to the newly constructed round-point in the hospital town, he tells me that he can't come here anymore because this silly new thing intimidates him. When we were back home he came knocking on the door with a piece of paper in his hand which he had just pulled out of the mail box and asked me to tell him if it was anything important that he should keep.
Ms. #4 is attached to an oxygen tank and sleeps in the living room on the couch. It has been 4 years now. She lives two lives. When her eyes turn right she lives TV life and when she looks straight ahead she observes the goings-on at the tennis court and in our parking lot. Brave woman, never complains when she finds enough breath to speak. I don't want to know what he will do without her and I don't want to know that I may have to learn to say NO. 

Yesterday the eye doctoress confirmed that I can continue as is till my next appointment one year from now. Thank you.

Late afternoon Mr.# 4 dropped in to tell me the 4-day old news of  Mrs.Lovebirds from #14 having to call the ambulance to pick up her husband.  She tells me that he has weak lungs, that he caught the flu, that he fainted, that he is in intensive care with an induced semi-coma. When I mentioned that Mrs.#4 is also there she was surprised to hear that yes, the skinny woman that smiled back at her is the #4 lady whom she has never seen.

I am very grateful for feeling well enough to do some 'Driving Mr.#4'  and for knowing that the Lovebirds are of European background. It helps with making the right choices when offering some comfort food or picking up some flowers to cheer up Mrs. Lovebirds.     


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Nasty business

this cold I caught.  I was so careful not to brag about the fact that I don't avail myself of the flu shot that is offered us 'Golden Agers' each December. Did not want to jinx my health.
Hope it's just a bad cold and not the flu.

Back into a vertical position.

Saturday, January 5, 2013


We have had timid winters for a few years, but old-fashioned tough winter is back and the height of the fence is shrinking.

             December fence vs. January fence here, but photo insert option kaputt 

I shovelled again early morning dressed 'daycare' style, bundled up heavy including scarf around mouth.

Polluted the air. Well, need to de-ice the car and what better way than to click the remote and have the motor running for 20 min. while I'm getting ready to brave the shovel job.

My fuel consumption has increased but my mileage is increasing at a slower rate than usual. Only happens during very tough winters.

I remember a time where I was in a rush to get somewhere and could not wait for the windshield to defrost properly and drove off starring through a 4-inch clear space spot.
My friends who were with me at the time still talk about it and wonder how we could have been so stupid foolish given our wise age of 70 at the time.

I could go on and on but am grumpy now because of kaputt business.