Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Yesteryear Treasures - pretty re-purposed paint pails

Things were different back then. Since money was often tight, people tended to make-do with what they had, instead of going out and buying it. It's almost like they lived by this New England proverb as a mantra: Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.

Do you know someone who took the time to re-purpose pails? Syrup pails, paint pails, any kind of pail, really. I had a grandma who couldn't see a perfectly good pail go to the nuisance ground, so she gave them a new life. She turned paint pails into practical works of art. Grandpa must have helped her cut off the top ridge. Finally grandma added her own creative touch: After applying a coat of paint to the outside of the pail and allowing it to dry, she added the pretty floral design. These pails were used as knitting 'baskets' or to store stuff in.

The pail featured here is one my Grandma Anna gave to my Grandma Susie. She used it as a knitting basket for many years. After she passed away, my aunt had it for a while. I'm not sure what she used it for, I'm guessing for some hobby like crocheting. Then it was passed on to my sister, Joanne, who uses it for knitting, just like grandma did.

There's something to be said about reusing things, instead of going out and buying them. I know, with places like Dollorama we all seem to think it's not necessary. But now and then we should borrow a page from our grandparents and let our creativity go wild with re-purposing something you are tempted to throw out.

When I see grandma's pretty pail, it reminds of a book we had in our school years ago: Syrup Pails and Gopher Tails: Memories of the One-Room School. During those one-room schooldays, children brought their lunches to school in syrup pails. Does syrup ever come in pails nowadays?

How about you, any syrup pail tales in your family? I'd love to hear them!

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Up in Flames

As we woke this morning the smell of burnt rubber still lingered in the air, and the charred remains of a Maple Leaf feed truck were a grim reminder of what jolted us out of our beds in the wee hours of the morning. But it's not like we needed any reminders.

It's not unusual for a truck to deliver pig feed during the night. Most of the time however, they unload and leave without incident. Last night was different. As the driver moved from one bin to the next, he had left his auger up. He promptly had a hydro line reminding him loud and clear that wasn't wise. Fortunately he was able to jump from the truck and came away unhurt. His truck started burning soon after. Since his phone was in the truck, he had to run to one of the homes for help. In short order many adults were at the site watching in helpless disbelieve while that big truck was engulfed in flames. There wasn't anything they could do right away since a power line was down.

Photo credit: Sonia Maendel

Clean Up !    Photo Credit Sonia Maendel

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Lake Agazzi, The Rise and Demise of the World's Greated Lake - Bill Redekop.

Long time Winnipeg Free Press columnist, Bill Redekop, has just released another book. "It is a story not well known even though Manitoba was at its centre," writes the author. "Although the lake also stretched into Saskatchewan and Ontario, as well as the Dakotas and Minnesota. It was that large." 

I haven't seen the book yet, but I have it on my 'to read' list. I was wondering if this was something schools would be interested in and asked Bill. Here's his response:  "I would love to see it in schools. In fact, the book points out field trip-worthy sites to see the former beach ridges, or paleoshorelines, of glacial Lake Agassiz. It also talks about the large animals that walked the shores of Lake Agassiz, including woolly mammoths, mastodons and short-faced bear. 

I offered Bill to help promote his book: Should anybody wish to attend, McNally Robinson in Winnipeg is hosting a book launch. For more info about the book and the author, click here.


Tuesday, 17 October 2017

While Strolling Along in the Country

Today was a gorgeous fall day, perfect for an after school stroll. Fortunately, I had my phone with me to capture some of the gorgeous scenes. No words necessary. Enjoy!


Saturday, 14 October 2017

Would I be Willing to do a Live Radio Interview?

Perhaps, if it's for a good cause.

(My apologies about the links in this post, which for whatever reason are hardly noticeable. And I don't know how to fix that. Look closely for the words which that are just a touch different than the rest of the text.)

I've learned over the years that one never knows down which roads your musings will travel, and what will bounce back at you.

When I started working on the post 'There are None so Blind', I didn't have any lofty plans for it; just this blog post. However, while I was writing, I needed answers to certain questions. For example, why are the wait lists for corneal transplants so long. The best person to answer that would be my ophthalmologist, Dr. Rocha, who also happens to be the President of the Canadian Ophthalmological Society (COS).

I found out there was no short answer for this question, so my article ended up being longer than I first anticipated. I was also fascinated with the information from Dr. Rocha, and read various articles on this topic online. Information I thought would be interesting for other people as well. When I finished writing, I asked Dr. Rocha if he'd have time to edit it, as I wanted my article to be accurate. He kindly obliged and asked if he can share it with the COS. I had no problem with that, because by that time I'd learned so much about tissue donations and the lack of awareness so felt that it's a message that needs to be widely spread.

Shortly after, Courtny Vaz, COS Coordinator, Communications and Public Affairs contacted me asking for permission to post my article on their website, See the Possibilities. She also wanted to know, with World Sight Day on October the 12th, if I'd be OK if she'd share my article with the media, should anybody be interested. I chuckled , thinking nothing will happen, but gave my consent. 

Then I got an email from Fontane Choi, who's with a PR agency working with the Canadian Ophthalmological Society. She wanted to know if I would be willing to do a live interview with Mike Ross and Joeita Gupta at Accessible Media Inc. in Toronto. Live? I've never done a live interview before. I guess my nothing-will-happen chuckle was short-lived. To say I wasn't nervous about a live interview would be an outright lie. I never like to be on the air, live or taped. Period. So my first instinct was to decline. However, I thought about this for a few minutes and decided I wanted to help spread the message about organ and tissue donation, which is the whole point to my article, and agreed to the interview. This is worth venturing out of my comfort zone for. Plus, it's going to be just a short ten minute interview. Hopefully I won't have to bumble my way through it. 

October 12, World Sight Day, I was going to be on air together with Dr. Phil Hooper, an ophthalmologist in London, Ontario. I liked that part, that way I won't have to talk so much. You can listen to it here: Live From Studio 5. Click on 'Receiving a Corneal Transplant'. If you don't have iTunes on your device, you'll have to first download it; the link to the free download is right there at the top of the Live from Studio 5 page. (UPDATE: Apparently the podcasts don't stay up very long, so you can't listen to it anymore. So sorry.)

That same morning Fontane Choi emailed and asked if I'd be willing to do another interview that day, this time with Global News. Oh. My. Word. What did I get myself into? Okay, so twice in one day I crawled out of my comfort zone, in the name of spreading an important message. But this time it was a taped interview - somewhat easier. You can read this one here. Both interviews went well, though.

My sincere thanks to Dr. Rocha, Courtny Vaz and Fontane Choi for sharing my article. It was a pleasure working with you! I appreciate all your help!

You too, can help spread this important message by sharing the above mentioned article, There are None so Blind via Email, Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, or any other way you'd like. Some of these are made fairly easy at the bottom of this blog post. Who knows, perhaps because of your sharing it, some future organ or tissue recipient will be grateful. 

Sunday, 8 October 2017

With Heartfelt Gratitude for Organ and Tissue Donors

On this day most of us pause and reflect on the many things we're thankful for. With each passing year it seems our lists grow longer. As part of my lengthy list I've included organ and tissue donors this year. And yet I feel I should have included that long ago, even though I wasn't a recipient before. But alas, it's one of those blessings we take for granted until we're directly touched by it. With my right eye no longer legally blind, the song, I Can See Clearly Now has taken on new meaning!

As I've noted in a previous post, not a day goes by without me thinking about my cornea donor. Today my thoughts turned toward my donor's family who will most likely be sitting 'round a festive table missing a family member they lost over the summer. A family member who chose to become a donor. I'm grateful to that family for respecting their loved one's wishes of having his/her organs and tissues donated. I'm hoping this final act of love brings them a measure of peace, knowing these precious gifts have impacted the recipients significantly.

What's on your gratitude list that you never thought to add before?

Saturday, 7 October 2017

All Saints - Michael Spurlock and Jeanette Windle

About the Book:

The surprising true story of how refugees from Burma brought life to a dying church.

Newly ordained, Michael Spurlock's first assignment is to pastor All Saints, a struggling church with twenty-five devoted members and a mortgage well beyond its means. The best option may be to close the church rather than watch it wither any further. But when All Saints hesitantly risks welcoming a community of Karen refugees from Burma--former farmers scrambling for a fresh start in America--Michael feels they may be called to an improbable new mission.

Michael must choose between closing the church and selling the property--or listening to a still, small voice challenging the people of All Saints to risk it all and provide much-needed hope to their new community. Together, they risk everything to plant seeds for a future that might just save them all.

Discover the true story that inspired the film while also diving deeper into the background of the Karen people, the church, and how a community of believers rally to reach out to those in need, yet receive far more than they dared imagine.

The Reverend Michael Spurlock served All Saints Episcopal Church in Smyrna, Tennessee, for three years. He is currently on the clergy staff at Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue in New York City. Michael, his wife, Aimee, and their two children live in New York City.

My Thoughts:

I was drawn to this book because we hear so much of refugees these days and also that it reminded me of a story in my own Hutterite history; when 275 Lutherans from Austria joined a small group of struggling and demoralized Hutterites and experienced a miraculous revival. The teachings in the Hutterite literature inspired the Carinthian Lutherans to adopt this faith, and together they managed to establish several communities.

I've never heard about the Karen refugees from Burma, so I was grateful that so much of the Karen refugee's history is woven into the story. It's not everyday that you pick up a book and it tells the true story of how a group pf refugees breathes new life into a church with a dwindling congregation and is on the brink of being closed. The miracle lies in the fact that the refugees were willing to work hard to build a new life and the pastor and his small congregation opened their hearts and church to these needy people. And all of them trusted God. Through struggles, thinking outside the box, changed hearts, answered prayers and leaning on each other, till their church not only remained open, but flourished. A poignant account of falling and finding the strength to get up again, clinging to hope and finally reaping the blessings.

For me this story spoke of how we should never judge, label or turn our backs on people in dire need, for example the refugees from Syria and other places. But rather, like this little church in Smyrna,Tennessee, "rally to reach out to those in need and receive far more than they dared imagine."


Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.