Saturday, March 7

Do You Remember?

Do you remember saddle oxfords, poodle skirts, crinolines and white bucks? If so, you must be a Baby Boomer.

I remember the border print skirts like the one in the image at the beginning of this article. No, I didn't have one with kittens, but did have one with cocker spaniel puppies. Another favorite was one of a farm scene with a wagon wheel prominent in the foreground. Bobbie socks, white bucks or saddle shoes set off the skirt and blouse, which always matched one of the colors in the skirt.

Mom always made sure that I had nice clothes to wear, but they were always homemade. And that was fine by me. It never dawned on me that the other kids (at least the more well-to-do ones,) purchased their clothes ready-made. No one ever made fun of my clothes. I do remember one time my grandfather shaming me because my white bucks were dirty. But I had no plans to go anywhere, so what was the difference. Did the geese, chickens, cows and horses really care if my white bucks were polished?

I liked saddle shoes as well. Of course bobbie socks went with those too and the cuffs were always turned down. They had to be pure white and Mom always bleached them in boiling water to be sure they were just so.

I remember when my aunt, who would have been about 18 at the time, made a sheath dress in 4-H. When my grandfather saw her in it he almost had a conniption fit. He didn't think a lady should show her bare arms with a sleeveless dress.

I also remember wearing crinolines under my border print skirts. Goodness those things were itchy, but would love to have one today. Not to wear, but just for the memories.

What clothes do you remember from your youth. Do you have pleasant memories of the things you wore back then? I would love to hear about your memories in the comments.

Have a great weekend. We had lots of rain today, but yesterday was beautiful. We spent the afternoon in the park with Dakota. I do hope tomorrow is nice. I'd enjoy letting Dakota expend some of his energy outside the house. ~Blessings, Mary~

Friday, March 6

Happy 175th Birthday, Toronto!

Toronto from the Bay 1908Toronto from the Bay in modern day.

Today is Toronto's 175th birthday. Many years ago, I liked to visit the city, but now it is far too big for me.

The first settlement in the area was on the east banks of the Humber River. The Seneca Indians established it and later it was populated by the Mississauga Indians. After that, Europeans came to the area and began to settle in the area.
President James Madison declared war on Britain on June 18, 1812 because England wouldn't abide by the naval and trade rights of the USA. Some Americans felt the British Territory, now known as Canada should have been seized during the American Revolution. Toronto, known at that time as York, was raided twice during the War of 1812. When the war ended in 1814, British immigrants flooded the area .

The town of York had 9,000 inhabitants by 1834. It was incorporated as the city of Toronto the same year. The major was William Lyon MacKenzie, who later lead the Upper Canada Rebellion and became a prominent politician. Under his leadership, Toronto flourished and grew.

The 1840s brought gas street lights to Toronto. Steamboats brought a wide variety of commercial opportunities. By the mid-1850s, railroad tracks radiated in a web that lead to the upper Great Lakes, western Canada, Montreal, New York and Chicago and Detroit.

Confederation took place in 1867, at which time Toronto became the capital of Ontario. Within three years it had become known as an industrialized city.

In 1851, the population of Toronto was 30,000. By 1891, there were 150,000 people living in the city. The leaps and bounds of growth were spurred by railroad guru Casimir Gzowski and retail giant Timothy Eaton.

Toronto continued to grow. In 1911, hydroelectric power was provided to the city through the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario. The plant, located in Niagara Falls, Ontario, harnessed energy from the Falls to produce cheap electricity to the area. Forestry and mining north of the city opened even more resources.

Toronto's investment and manufacturing industries grew during World War I. By the 1920s. new municipalities had sprung up around the city now populated by half a million people.

The Crash of '29 and the Great Depression walloped Toronto, but not as hard as it did other major Canadian centers. World War II revived the city and in 1953, the first subway in Canada transported people to their destinations under Toronto's streets.

By Canada's Centennial in 1967, many small suburbs had been amalgamated into Toronto. It now had five boroughs, four of which had become independent cities by 1991.

The new megacity of Toronto came into existence in 1998. This made Toronto the fifth largest city in North America. Population at that time was approximately 2.4 million. Today, 5.5 million people make their home there.

The CN Tower was opened on June 26, 1976. Today, it is a landmark on the city's skyline. It took 40 months to build the 1,815' 5" tall structure and when you see it on the skyline, you know you are about to enter the city.

Toronto is definitely a Canadian city that is worth visiting. I tend to stay away because of the crowded and busy streets, but everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime.

Thursday, March 5

A Doctor's Visit

For about six years, I've had terrible pain in my knees. Sometimes it's both and sometime it's just one. My left knee likes to give out on me and at the beginning of January, it started to give me excruitiating pain. I'm taking Celebrex for my arthritis and besides that I use an arthritis cream. Lately, nothing seems to work, so this morning I went to the doctor.

My regular doctor just kind of looks at me when I mention the pain in my legs. Now I have a high pain threshold and for me to say the pain is excrutiating, it is really bad. This week he is away and he had a female doctor filling in for him. She is the one that prescribed the Celebrex last year. I thought maybe she would be able to tell me what was going on.

It seems that my knees are "wrecked" as she put it. The left knee, which is the one that doesn't often hurt, but that lets me down, is really bad. She asked me if I was interested in seeing a surgeon. I wasn't. She asked me if I was interested in having a shot of cortisone put into my knee. I wasn't. So, we have agreed that for the time being we will try to manage the pain.

I'm to continue with 200mg of Celebrex a day and a Myloflex drop that I rub into my left knee four times a day. It's still Myloflex but is called Pennsaid. She gave me samples and when I got home I used it. It's marvelous stuff. Though it didn't take the pain completely away, it dulled it to a level I haven't seen in a number of years. I was able to pick the boys up from school and enjoy some time with them.

The other thing she gave me was Tylenol 3s. I am to take them when the pain gets really bad, but since they are a narcotic, I tend to not take them unless absolutely necessary. The doctor does want me to take them at bedtime because some nights it's 5am before I fall asleep. Even the sheets touching my knees cause terrible pain.

Eventually I will have to have my knee replaced. I'm not really into that and will put it off as long as I possibly can.

I don't mean to complain. I believe in counting my blessings. When I had my accident in 1988, the doctors said I'd be in a wheelchair within 20 years. I don't think so, I told them and I'm still walking without aid... And this won't beat me either. I was taught to look for the silver lining in every cloud.

My blessings:

* I can walk and am not in a wheelchair.
* My legs still move, even though it is painful to bend down or to walk at times.
* I am able to be independent and come and go as I like.

I'm not complaining. Yes, the pain is bad, but then I think of those who have had to have legs amputated or who live in excrutiating pain because of cancer or other diseases. My leg muscles are still strong, even though the bone in my knees is changing shape. So much to be thankful for.

What are you thankful for today? I'd love to hear about your blessings in the comments. Have a great Friday. ~Blessings, Mary~

Wednesday, March 4

Canadian Flag at Half Mast

Today the Canadian flag was once again flying at half mast. Three Canadian soldiers were killed on Tuesday when the vehicle in which they were riding hit a roadside bomb. Warrant Officer Dennis Raymond Brown, Cpl. Dany Fortin and Cpl. Kenneth O'Quinn were killed and several others wounded while they were on patrol in Kandahar province. They had just defused another IED that had been found on the main supply route.

These three heroes brought the death toll to 111 since the Afghan mission began seven years ago. Twenty Canadians have died in the last six months and fourteen in the last three months.

My sincere and heartfelt sympathies go out to the families of these devoted men, who served their country with pride. May God welcome them into His fold and help their families find comfort in the fact they were doing a job that they loved.

Tuesday, March 3


It's been a while since I posted any awards that I've been presented with. Sorry, Ladies. With all the plumbing problems around here and the other things that life has brought my way, I've neglected to give you all a bit of linky love. In fact, I don't think I've posted any awards this year, so here goes.

Thank You, Nancy!

Thank You, Mike and Mari!

Thank You, Jackie!

Thank You, Mari! They're both lovely.

Thank You, Mike!

Thank You, Storyteller! They are both kewl.

Thank You, Amy, Mari and Storyteller!
Thank You, Grams and Jill!

Thank You, Sandy!

Thank You, Amy!

Thank You, Peggy!

I'd like to thank all of my friends for these beautiful awards. Even though I've been slow in posting them, I appreciate them so much. I've made some great friends here over the last year and a half and I value each of you.

I would like all of you to accept the award below. Each of your blogs show a wealth of creativity. Enjoy! ~Blessings, Mary~

Monday, March 2

Bald Eagles Wintering Along Grand River

This bald eagle has been wintering along the Grand River in Cambridge, Ontario. At one time bald eagles were in abundance along the Grand, but then they died out. Some blamed the pesticide DDT, and that's possible because DDT caused the shells of bird eggs to become thin. Birds that were affected include eagles, falcons, hawks, osprey and pelicans.

This past weekend, there was a piece in the newspaper about eagles. It seems that one of the trails here had to be closed temporarily to protect bald eagles that are in the area. Trail users have been asked to avoid the area in hopes that the eagles will have a productive nesting season. Eagles are protected under the Endangered Species Act.

Well, it seems the eagles are back from the brink. This article explains that in the early 1900s, there were two hundred pairs of eagles nesting in Ontario between Ottawa and the Lower Great Lakes. During the 1950s, we used to see the odd one gliding the air currents, but they were a rare site. By the 1970s, the eagles of the area weren't producing any young. This is when the DDT theory came to light, for it was a common pesticide for farmers during the 50s and 60s.

I've seen bald eagles along the river for a few years now, especially south of Brantford, Ontario on the Six Nations Reservation. A few weeks ago, I saw one west of Brantford right along the Grand River in a trail area.

The trail that is temporarily closed in our area will remain so until June, in hopes that the eagles will nest and produce young. I'm hoping this is the case. It would be wonderful to see more eagles gliding over southern Ontario.

In other news, I've been writing web content and working on my children's writing course. When I posted a few days ago, I was having trouble getting the story for the second assignment to flow together. Well, I now have my first draft done, but it still needs a lot of work. It is a story based on historical fact. I've got a month to work on it and I figure that in two weeks, it should be polished to send to my tutor. Before that time, it will be rewritten several times, tightened to make it the right word count and then polished to shine. Here's hoping that I can get it right.

Food for thought. As a writer, I never thought much about whether I should be called an author or a writer. It was just something that never crossed my mind.

On Saturday, the boys and I went to get our haircut. We were talking about a story that Jordan suggested I write. The idea is great. It's just putting it together. So, Brandon asked me, "Grandma, are you a writer or an author?"

I thought for a minute and said, "I guess I'm both."

It's hard to know what Brandon is thinking at times, but he asked, "Have you ever had anything published in a book?"

"I've had lots of short stories published in anthologies," I told him.

"Then you're both," he exclaimed. "I didn't know you were an author. I thought you were a writer because you write web content."

"You're a real live author?" Jordan asked. "I never thought I'd ever know a real live author. And you're my grandmother. Wow!"

I laughed. The boys know that I write for websites and to Brandon that meant I was a writer. To him, an author is someone who has their work published in a book. So if you didn't know the difference between an author and a writer, now you do.

These boys bring so much joy into my life. Their questions and the way they look at life is so unique and so much different than I did when I was young. They are being brought up in a different world and it certainly shows. At 13, which is Brandon's age, I loved to write and my dream was to become a published author. Back then I would have assumed that an author and a writer were the same thing, but I can see Brandon's point. The Internet has made a difference in the way kids view the world. I found this rather enlightening.

Hope you all have a wonderful week. Please remember to do a random act of kindness. Even a smile can make a difference in the life of someone who is a little down on their luck. Be gentle. Be kind. ~Blessings, Mary~