Saturday, February 23

A Bit of Canadian Black History and a Meme

Since Black History Month will soon be coming to a close, I want to share some more tidbits with my readers.
When the British Imperial Act 1833 was passed in Britain, the enslavements of Africans within the British Empire was outlawed. This included Canada. The law went into effect on August 1, 1834 and was the first North American human rights legislation.

At that time the freedom movement started in earnest. Abolishionists of all races, as well as free and enslaved Africans established the freedom movement known as the Underground Railroad. It wasn't long until it became widely known that freedom awaited those who could reach Canada. Excursions were planned with a minimum of information being exchanged between owners of safe houses along the Underground Railroad line.

Escaped slaves did come to Canada in large numbers at that time. They settled in cities such as Collingwood, St. Catharines, Toronto and Windsor. Many also settled in rural and urban areas of Upper Canada, which is now known as Ontario.

Uncle Tom's Cabin was written by author Harriet Beecher Stowe and was the 19th century's best-selling novel. It helped educate the general public about the plight of slavery and caused more public awareness.

The Uncle Tom character that Stowe based her book on was inspired by Reverand Joshua Henson, who lived in slavery for 41 years. He and his family took advantage of the Underground Railroad and entered Canada by crossing into Upper Canada by way of the Niagara River. Joshua Henson worked as a farmer and then helped to establish a black settlement near Colchester. It is known today as The Dawn Settlement. If you would like to learn more about the Underground Railroad in Ontario, be sure to visit Ontario's Fun Connection.

Photo Courtesy of the Archives of Ontario
Michelle is resting comfortably at home and is doing fine. I'm not sure she's moving around enough, so am going to have to get after her. She has to go and get her staples out on Monday and Brandon will be back in school. I believe my niece, Melissa, is bringing Griffyn and coming to stay for a couple of days. If not, I will be checking in on Michelle frequently. If they do come, I'm am going to take some photos. Griffyn is getting to be a big boy and I don't get to see him very often.

Jo at Bits and Pieces has tagged me for the six word meme that was inspired by Hemingway's $10 bet that he could sum up his life in six words: For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.

Here are the rules:

1. Write your own six word memoir

2. Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like

3. Link to the person that tagged you in your post and to this original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere

4. Tag five more blogs with links

5. Remember to leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play!

Well, I thought about this for a long time and came up with several. However, I decided on this one:

Born a sinner, saved by Grace.

Now I'd like to tag anyone who would like to play. If you do decide to participate, please leave a comment so I can visit and read the six words that you've come up with.
When I took Meeko for his walk this morning, I was gifted with nature's music through the song of a beautiful male cardinal. Have a wonderful weekend, my dear friends and readers and be sure to enjoy the beautiful creatures of God's Earth. ~Blessings, Mary~

Friday, February 22

Show and Tell Friday and Update on Michelle

It's time for Show and Tell Friday. If you would like to participate, drop over to Kelli's at There's No Place Like Home.

This week I'd like to show you a few of my Boileau postcards from my collection. These and Fischer's cards are my favorites. Both of these men painted pictures of beautiful ladies. I hope you enjoy these cards.

Boileau was an illustrator who was born in 1864 and he loved to paint lovely ladies. The postcards above are some of his "Boileau Girls" for which he was famous. He always depicted the ladies in a dignified manner and they were all lovely. His work appeared on postcards, art prints, book and magazine covers, as well as beer trays and china. Boileau died in 1917, but his work lives on in these beautiful works of art.

This is another of my postcards, though the theme is very different. My daughter, Michelle, needs a good old fashioned spanking. Not really, but she did con the doctor into letting her come home today. She had met all the criteria for being discharged and when the doctor told her she had the green light for going home tomorrow, she asked her, "How about today?"

When the doctor found out that SIL would be home as well as Brandon, she allowed her to come home. She phoned me a 9:30 this morning and said, "I'm home." I was flabbergasted. She needed another day of rest at least. However, the boys were ecstatic that their Mom was home. I talked to her again this afternoon and she told me that everytime she got up Brandon asked her, "Shouldn't you be laying down, Mom?" He was taking good care of her.

Thanks once again to everyone for your prayers and support during Michelle's surgery and hospital stay. It really means a lot to me that you prayed for her and visited here for updates. I will continue to let you know how she is doing. She has to go to have her staples out on Monday morning at 10 am.

I went shopping today to pick up a couple of things and when walking through the store I found a few bargains. They had lovely large, soft pillows on for $5.99 and these pillows are perfect for when the boys come to stay. I picked up one to replace one that is old. It will be for Brandon. I bought Jordan one last year. It is a nice pillow and to get it for such a price was unbelieveable. They were clearing them out and the price tag was originally $29.99. What a deal.

I walked through the bedding department and then into towels. I'm needing some new ones and they had lovely soft ones there for $5.99. I bought two bath towels and two washcloths. That was a terrific buy as well. I couldn't believe it. I guess my magic number today was $5.99.

I was in the right place at the right time again today. A lady was pushing a cart with two bags in it and I asked if I could help her. Her husband was sleeping in the car and we got a big kick out of it because his head was back and his mouth was open. We giggled like girls. She told me she was 86. I told her (and it was true) I would have guessed her to be about 70. She was tickled. Though she didn't want me to help her into the car on the icy parking lot, I made sure she got into the car all right. We had a wonderful laugh together and the smiles made both of our day a little brighter. Please take every opportunity to do a random act of kindness. It's good for the soul. Have a wonderful day. ~Blessings, Mary~

Thursday, February 21

Thankful Thursday and A Little This - A Little That

Today is Thankful Thursday. It is a day when we list the things we are thankful for. If you would like to participate, be sure to stop by Sting My Heart and pay Iris a visit. You can find out all the information there.

1. I am thankful that my daughter, Michelle, had a successful surgery on Tuesday and that God guided the doctor's hands.

2. I am thankful that Michelle was in good spirits today. She got over her weepy spell of last night and was joking with Brandon this afternoon.

3. I am thankful that all of the tubes, oxygen and antibiotic drips are gone and that Michelle is negotiating the halls at a slow pace.

4. I am thankful for God giving me the words to comfort Brandon and Jordan on Tuesday while their Mom was having her surgery.

5. I am thankful for wonderful friends who prayed for Michelle and myself over the last few days and for weeks before the surgery. Thank you all for supporting me and my family through this.

6. I am thankful for Jesus paying the price for my sins. We are all sinners and would fall short of the glory of God if not for Him.

7. I am thankful that God has blessed me with talents and the ability to help others in my daily life.

8. I am thankful to have a grandson who has Asperger's Syndrome. He has taught me many lessons over his short 12 years and I learn from him often. He looks at the world differently and allows me to see the world through his eyes.

9. I am thankful the electrician came today and got the plug outlets in our house all up to code. Now the inspector can do his final inspection and the fire department will no longer have the need to call me three times a week.

10. Most of all, I'm thankful for God's Word, as it directs me in my daily life. Without it, I would be lost.

Update on Michelle: Brandon and I went to see Michelle just after noon today. You will remember that last night she was weepy, which is her nature at times, but think the antibiotics and pain med made her even more so. She is having very little pain and was off all the meds today. She had been up, had her shower and had been walking a bit in the halls when we saw her. She had eaten lunch and was laughing and joking with Brandon. She is on the mend. I believe she will be coming home on Saturday. Her doctor doesn't like to rush her patients out of the hospital. I will update you on any other happenings as they occur.

Denise at Shortybear's Place has tagged me for a meme. It's called the Book Me-Me.

Here are the rules:

1. Pick up the nearest book of at least 123 pages.

2. Open the book to page 123.

3. Find the 5th sentence.

4. Post the next 3 sentences.

5. Tag 5 people

Well, the closest book to me with 123 pages is Smart-Opedia: The Amazing Book about Everything. Technically, it is a children's book, but it's full of all kinds of wonderful things about the world.

This is the three sentences:

An immense empire covered the whole Mediterranean basin and Asia Minor. Julius Ceasar, Rome's most famous general, had conquered Gaul. His nephew, Augustus, became the first Roman Emperor. Rome's borders would soon spread from Scotland to Arabia.
Now, I am to tag five people, but don't like tagging, so if you would like to participate, please do and then leave me a comment so I can read your meme.

I was sent this book to review and it is a wonderful book. I kept it as the boys are interested in all of the subjects that are between its covers. Included are the arts, animals, astronomy, history, plants, earth, science, technology, today's world and the human body. There is much to learn between the pages of this book. If you have kids, I recommend it highly. It is published by Maple Tree Press, Toronto, Ontario.

Thanks once again to all my dear friends and readers for your prayers and support during the last few days. Your love and kindness is greatly appreciated.

Be sure to remain alert so you can pass a kindness on to someone today. A random act of kindness brightens both the life of the recipient and the person who does the kindness~Blessings, Mary~

Wednesday, February 20

Michelle Update and a Black History Tribute to Oscar Peterson

Tuesday Evening

Just to let everyone know that Michelle and I would like to thank you for your kind words, loving support and prayers. I just phoned the hospital at 11pm and the nurse told me that Michelle's nausea passed once she started to move around. She ate very little, but did enjoy a cup of coffee. They've had her out of bed, but she's not going far. In the morning they will get her into the shower and remove the catheter. She's doing fine but is a little weepy, which is her nature. The nurse said she confessed to that and she is in good spirits.

I will post an update sometime tomorrow to let you all know how she is doing. Once again, thanks to everyone for your prayers and caring.

On August 15, 1925, Oscar Emmanuel Peterson was born in Montreal, Quebec. His father, Daniel, was a railroad porter and a self-taught musician. Because of his love, the Peterson household was always immersed in music.

Daniel Peterson was a strict disciplinarian and taught his children to strive toward their goals for success. When Oscar was still very young, Daniel scraped up enough money to buy a piano for the family home. Daniel didn't want his children to struggle at menial jobs as he had. To him, music was a way for them to better themselves. Opportunities were limited for black Canadians in that era.

Oscar began playing the trumpet and piano at age five. He loved the trumpet but his career with that instrument was cut short when he contacted tuberculosis. His sister, Daisy, then taught him to play classical piano and he studied under classical pianist Paul de Marky. Over the years, Peterson's talents took him to great heights.

Oscar Peterson suffered with arthritis from childhood, but you would have never known it when his fingers flew over the keys of his beloved piano. For the last six decades, Peterson was Canada's leading jazz artist. He has played as a soloist, an accompanist and a group member. He accompanied such jazz greats as Billy Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald.

Peterson suffered a stroke in 1993, but still performed and was an activist in jazz education. He was presented with Junos, a Genie and Grammys. In 1984, he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada and in 1987 was presented with the George Peabody Award. In 1989, he was inducted into the American Jazz Hall of Fame.

Oscar Peterson left a great legacy to the world of jazz when he died at the age of 82 on December 23, 2007 in Mississauga, Ontario, just outside of Toronto.

Photo courtesy of
the National Archives of Canada.

I would like to thank Karen of Karen's Korner for this lovely award. Karen is a wonderful lady who blogs almost daily about her life in Arkansas. She welcomes visitors and her natural dialogue gives visitors a down-home feeling. If you have never visited Karen's blog be sure to stop by. The welcome mat is always out. Thanks, Karen for thinking of me. You are a dear friend.

I am still in need of one person for my Pay It Forward. If you would like to participate, follow the link.
Remember to do a kindness for someone today. Kindness brings hope. ~Blessings, Mary~

Tuesday, February 19

Michelle's Surgery

Update 7:15 pm: Hubby and I went up to see Michelle at 4pm. The nurse I talked to on the phone had told me that she would be sleeping and to wait to come until tomorrow. I thought about it, but knew that I would feel guilty if I didn't go. When we arrived, Michelle was wide awake. She did close her eyes for a couple of minutes while we were there, but she is doing very well. She is not taking morphine, though they have it hooked up so she can take it as she wishes. Like me, she has a high pain threshold and we'd rather not take such strong medications unless absolutely necessary.

She was feeling a bit nauseated and dislikes all the tubes from the intravenous antibiotics and some other kind of pain meds. Hubby and I helped her sit up into a more comfortable position. She was afraid to move in case she ripped her stitches. I told her she wouldn't. A nurse came along while we were talking and assured her that she couldn't hurt the stitches by moving around because there are seven layers stitched before the top layer. She explained that she needs to move around to get all the gas moving. By the time hubby and I left at 5:30, she was feeling better and trying to eat some broth and jello. (Why they would serve lemon jello just after someone had surgery is beyond me.)

Barry and the boys were going up to see her around 6pm and so she will be ready for sleep when they leave. She didn't sleep last night but she will tonight. They will most likely give her a sleep med.

Thanks to everyone for your prayers, comments and kind words. I have been abundantly blessed with wonderful friends. I love each of you. ~Blessings, Mary~

Update: Thanks to everyone for your prayers. Our family appreciates it very much. I am so blessed to have such loving friends.

Michelle's surgery is over and was over at about 11:00. She went into surgery at 9:30 am and will be going back to her room in a couple of hours. I haven't seen her except just before she left the house this morning. Brandon was to stay with me and it turned out that Jordan has a touch of the nasties that are going around, so I have both of them with me. Jordan was also very upset when his Mom left this morning and his Dad and I figured to just keep him home. If he is better, he will go back to school tomorrow.

Of course we won't know the end result of the surgery for a while. The cyst has to go to the lab and tests must be done. However, the GYN/surgeon, whom I have much confidence in said the operation itself went well. So now we just have to get Michelle on the road to recover and find out what the tests results are. I'm sure they will be fine. God is watching over her. I have faith in that.

The cyst had grown from the size of a cantaloupe to the size of a football in the last six weeks. This is not necessarily a bad thing.

Thanks again for all your kind and loving comments. I love each and every one of you. Have a wonderful day. I will update again when I hear more. ~Blessings, Mary~

This morning I will be leaving the house to be at my daughter, Michelle's by 7 am. She has to be at the hospital by 7:30. Her surgery is scheduled for 9:15 EST. Brandon will be with me all day because his class has gone on a bus trip and there is no school for him. His teacher told him to stay home and help take care of his Mom. So that is what he's going to do. He has the entire week off and will help take care of things around the house.

As soon as I know how the surgery went, I will post here. Please keep Michelle in your prayers as she undergoes her hysterectomy.

Have a wonderful day and if you have the chance, do a random act of kindness for someone today. You can make a huge difference in someone's life. ~Blessings, Mary~

Sunday, February 17

Disney's Animal Kingdom

This is day nine of our Florida trip and the day that we went to Animal Kingdom. When I was editing the photos to post here last night, I couldn't believe I took almost 100 photos at Animal Kingdom alone. No, I'm not posting them all, but will be posting the best ones. Today I will show you what we saw and did in the first half of the day.
We arrived at the entrance of Animal Kingdom and the boys were excited. They remembered being here in 2005 and were really looking forward to it.
The first thing we saw when we entered the park was the Christmas tree that is just inside the entrance of every Disney park. I took the photo above to show the animals that were on this tree. It was beautiful!
And under the tree was Eeyore from the Hundred Acre Wood protecting all of the presents that were under the tree.
The above photo shows guest services. Hubby was in the shot and no too happy about it either. For some reason he dislikes having his picture taken. He's wearing his winter jacket, so this was another chilly day.
I couldn't resist taking a shot of the sign outside of the Rainforest Cafe. It is beautiful.

We discussed where to go first and the boys wanted to head for Asia, as we'd missed it when we visited before. As we made our way toward Asia, we passed Africa and the Tree of Life. This is the tree that was in the Lion King movie. It has hundreds of animals carved into it and it is awesome.
The first thing the boys wanted to do in Asia was to go on the Kahli River Rapids Ride. On the right is Brandon behind hubby's head and that little dark colored jacket to hubby's left has Jordan in it.
Hubby giving me the evil eye because I have the camera pointed at him.
I was trying to get a photo of the Grumpy sweater I bought him at Animal Kingdom. By this time his winter jacket was in a bag that I was tending.
After the first ride on Kahli River Rapids, the boys wanted to go again. Hubby was wet and didn't want to go, so we let the boys go on their own. They really enjoyed that and we waited at the exit.
Look at their faces and by Brandon's hair you can tell he got really wet. If you look closely at the chest of Jordan's jacket, he was wet too, but not as wet as Brandon. He was soaked and I was a little worried that they would get sick because it was so cool.

This was a beautiful picturesque little stream. To me this is paradise. I love lush tropical plants and water. I could live in a spot like this and be perfectly content.

A look at one of the streams that run through Asia in Animal Kingdom.
Monkeys playing near the exit to the Kahli River Rapids ride.
This lizard wasn't at all frightened of the people. He just sat there taking in some rays.

We took the Pengani Trail and the first thing we saw were these magnifient tigers. The one above was enjoying the cool day and taking a nap. Nothing like a good relaxing nap.

The fellow above was watching something. We couldn't tell what it was, but he was very alert.
One of the ladies that work for Disney told the boys that the cow by the stump is a sacred cow that lives in India. It was all very interesting and she held the boys' attention.
I'm not sure what kind of bird this was, but he was big and beautiful. He wasn't at all fazed by the crowds. He just sat there and didn't move.
Above is a bird house that they have out for the birds to eat out of. I loved its rustic look.
If I am correct, this is a Banyan tree. If it's not, please correct me. This was really unique and the boys were amazed by it.
Another stream with lush vegetation. I couldn't resist.
As we continued along the trail we watched a demonstration about owls. This man had lots of interesting things to tell the crowd and that owl was magnificient.
Grandpa and the boys on the trail ahead of me. My legs were hurting terribly, but I kept on truckin' and finally caught up. I love these photos where people are walking away from you. Notice Jordan's foot and the way he's looking at Grandpa. They're talking about something interesting.
We stopped by a rest area and had Churros and a drink. I just know that Jordan would have loved to have shot off that cannon.

We rested for a while before continuing on, but those photos are for another day. Maybe tomorrow. I really need to finish the posts about our Florida trip.

Below is a Pay It Forward Post. If anyone is interested, I'm still looking for one person to participate. This is going to be a lot of fun.

Take care and remember to smile at someone you meet in your travels today. You never know what kind of a day they're having and a smile could brighten their life more than you know. ~Blessings, Mary~

Pay It Forward

There's a Pay It Forward circulating blog world and I'm going to play along. I first saw this over at Deena's Pretty and Pink blog and thought it would be a lot of fun. I signed up at the The Urban Chick by following links in the comment section. So here goes:
The first three people to leave a comment here expressing that they want to take part will get a surprise from me on a surprise date sometime within the next 365 days.

The Rules

1. Leave a comment on this post saying that you'd like to participate. The first three people to do so will get a surprise from me. If I don't already have your contact information, you will have to provide it so I can send your surprises. (An email addy is fine if you'd rather not give out your mailing address.)

2. If you decide to participate, you must post this on your blog and the first three people to comment will get a surprise from you sometime within the next 365 days.

This should be a lot of fun and we should meet some new people by taking part in this.

The newspaper today was filled with surprises. It seems Ontario Premier, Dalton McGuinty, no longer wants the Lord's Prayer to be said in the Ontario Legislature. Grandpa always said, "Religion and politics don't mix," but he didn't mean it in this instance. I'm not happy with Premier McGuinty right now. I believe the Lord's Prayer should remain a part of the day's business within the Ontario Legislature. If he doesn't want to say it, he can stand there with head bowed and not utter a word. However, the prayer should remain. Premier McGuinty describes himself as a devout Catholic. Why then would he not wish the prayer to be said? I don't understand where he is coming from but we need prayer to remain as part of Ontario and Canadian culture. We are slowly being devoured by the attempts to take God out of country and province. They allowed the Lord's Prayer to be taken out of schools and other places where it has always been said as part of opening ceremonies. I stand steadfast and if Premier McGuinty continues along this way of thinking, he certainly won't be getting my vote. It's time Canadians and Ontarians stood up to the politicians who want to take God out of our culture.

Another news story was about a Sikh man who is fighting the courts to be allowed to ride his motorcycle without a helmet. The law in Ontario says everyone has to wear a helmet to ride a motorcycle. This man instead wants to be able to wear his turban. Apparently his religion states that nothing can be worn over his turban. How do we determine what is right and wrong here? The man obviously needs his helmet to keep him safe on the busy Toronto streets. On the other hand, Canada is a place where all are free to practice their religion without boundaries. This is an interesting conundrum. Where do you stand on this issue? I'd certainly like to hear your opinions.

And the last bit of news is about homework. It seems that there's been a study conducted that has found children below grade 7 (12 years old) are harmed if they are given homework. They say that after a busy day of learning at school that kids should be free to relax and play after they leave for the day. The study apparently found that children who were given homework before grade 7 became disillusioned with school and were more likely to drop out. There could be some truth in this. When we went to school during the 50s and 60s, homework was assigned nightly. This started at grade one with reading homework and progressed as we advanced. When I was in grade 7, I had to do about an hour of homework nightly. Many of my generation did drop out of school and go to work. Is there really a need for homework before grade 7? I would think if the child was falling behind that the work should be done at home. On the other hand, why is the child not getting the work done in school? I would certainly like to hear everyone's opinion on this subject as well.

Take care and have a relaxing Sunday. Remember to give a smile or a kind word to someone who looks a bit down today. You never know what others are going through. ~Blessings, Mary~