Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The gifts we receive when we are present with the dying

Today I was blessed. I visited one of my regular residents at the long term care facility where my sister Maureen and I visit every week.

This woman I'd been visiting for about two years, is now bed ridden and I'm pretty sure she is close to death. Working in a nursing home you begin to know the signs.

In fact, there have been quite a few people pass away here these past two years. Most of the time there is no obituary. This makes me sad.

She was alone in her room. I prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet with her. Even though she barely seemed to comprehend my presence, we had prayed together before so I knew she was okay with me praying while I sat with her.

I placed my warm hand on her cool arms--translucent with the blue veins and thin skin so common in the old and frail--and prayed. She was in a seemingly semi-conscious state so I wasn't sure if she could hear me or not.

Then when I finished the Chaplet I prayed some additional prayers and asked God to bless her. She said thank you. Ah, she had heard me. This surprised me as I know that she is pretty deaf. But she had heard me ask God to bless her. Good I thought.

I told her I would keep praying for her and then I said goodbye. I asked her to remember me and she said she would. I told her I loved her and kissed her on the forehead. I left her room and felt the tears come.

I wasn't going to go to her floor today. So glad I did. Yes I am blessed.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Happy Birthday Maureen

Maureen's 70th birthday party. 

The flowers were taken in Victoria. Along with the ducks. Nothing to do with Maureen's birthday. The cherry blossoms were in full bloom just before we left Victoria.

Paula and Barb gave Maureen a beautiful figurine of our Lady of Fatima in honour of the 100th anniversary of Our Lady appearing to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francesco in 1917. Paula made it out of clay.

And check out my video of the birthday girl:

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Vancouver Island in March

Victoria has had a cold and rainy March. When we came here two years ago it was much warmer and spring was in full bloom. Not this time.


Ottawa has been having a horrible snowy, cold, freezing rain, disgusting March. We are so glad we aren't in Ottawa. Thank you God.

Pictures below are from Victoria, Sidney and Nanaimo.

Parliament buildings and harbour in Victoria

Sea lion in Sidney

Harbour in Nanaimo

Cute little tug boats in Nanaimo Harbour

...and cute little sea plane

Do you believe this guy?

Do you believe this guy?

Now this is obviously a Nanaimo bar, a must to eat if you're in Nanaimo. Now for the record Fred ate it and not me. Really. He said it was pretty good.

Nanaimo harbour again

There were three peacocks that day in Beacon Hill Park, Victoria

You looking at me?

Love that trunk

Pretty in red

...and blue

...and greenish yellow

Guess who found Smithwick's Beer? Yum

And I finally figured out where Victoria got its name

Monday, March 20, 2017

Happy Birthday to me

Today we went for high tea at the James Bay Tea Room.

We wanted to go for high tea since we have never done this before and being in Victoria and all, it is the thing to do.

The Empress Hotel also has high tea but it costs $75/a head. That's a lot of money for tea and crumpets. I know high tea has a lot more than tea and crumpets, but did we really need to spend that much money? Nope.

We were very pleased with the James Bay Tea Room, and the service was excellent.

I had tea and Fred had coffee.

My tea was in a real tea pot with a cozy on it. And you know what? The tea was actually hot. It seems that something as simple as boiling water is difficult for many restaurants and coffee places. I don't know why it's difficult. All they have to do is put the water in a kettle. Plug it in. Wait until bubbles appear and like magic the water is hot. Simple.

So. The tea was hot. And the goodies were amazing.

First there were two croissants with egg salad, two homemade cheese scones with smoked salmon, and two tiny quiches. The egg salad and croissant was exceptional. Didn't taste like the egg salad I make. And the cheese scones were light flavourful and fresh, with a good slab of salmon, my of my it was good.

Then there was the scones with clotted cream and jam. I didn't have these but had a bite of Fred's. (I did bring what we didn't eat home though). I've always wondered what clotted cream was. Fred said to me well maybe it's like the unpasteurized warm milk you used to get on the farm that was warm and straight from the cow and used to make you gag? I said no I don't think so.

Turns out it is sort of like thick whipped cream that isn't too sweet but probably has a ton of calories.

The scone again was excellent.

And the dessert was little baby carrot cakes with cream cheese icing and little custard tarts. And the best? Sticky toffee pudding cake. Oh. My. Goodness. It was to die for. Maybe even better than chocolate. I can't believe I just said that.

We did walk around for about 45 minutes after lunch, I mean tea. Which was a good thing. So many carbs. So little time.

And all of this (tax and tip included) for less than half of what it wold have cost us for the two of us at the Emperor Hotel for high tea.

I don't know but I think Ottawa should do high tea. Very civilized.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Capitalism is not the enemy

The fact that Pope Francis is a strong critic of capitalism bothers me. Matthew Lau says:
In another speech in February, Pope Francis said that “capitalism continues to produce discarded people” — an ill that, according to him, is thankfully curtailed by taxes which promote “solidarity” and “mutual care.” He then told the over 1,000 listening to his address that “we must work toward changing the rules of the game of the socio-economic system.”
There is nothing inherently wrong with capitalism, and many things right about it. Greed and excess etc.--is a product of man not capitalism.

For over fifteen years my husband and I owned and operated a small business. We created jobs for people, we provided goods and services, we provided our children with a good and honest work ethic, we contributed to the economy of our country. This is all good and healthy. It is not evil.

After those years of running our company we both took jobs for the next fifteen years in the government. The amount of money wasted and squandered in government was horrendous--those taxes Francis talks about are frequently mismanaged and wasted. The way many people were treated and abused in government was horrifying. Managers on power trips, and employees too lazy to work sprinkle themselves throughout the bureaucracy. Managers who couldn't manage produced "discarded people", not capitalism.

As business owners we never wasted money, we worked hard and didn't abuse people, we added to the GDP. There was nothing nefarious about the fact that because we lived in a capitalist society, we were able to make a good and honest living as well as provide people with jobs. All because of capitalism.

I would argue that communist governments like Cuba, are evil. The people there suffer from low wages, lack of goods and services, lack of motivation, lack of basic property rights, lack of something to strive for. These kinds of living conditions do not occur to this extent under capitalism.

In third world countries where there are very poor people, is it capitalism that's at fault, or is it corrupt leaders, wars and terrorists that are at fault?

Certainly there are greedy and evil capitalists. Just like there are greedy and evil people in dictatorships, in socialism, in communism, and in terrorists.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Thank God for St. Michael the Archangel

I was able to go to Mass while in Toronto to the newly refurbished St. Michael's Cathedral Basilica. Such a beautiful building. A fitting home for God in Canada's largest city.

Bishop Michael Power originally built the Cathedral in 1845. He never saw its completion because he died of typhus, from the Irish who he helped when they more than doubled the size of Toronto:
"Bishop Power did not live to see the completion of the building he had spearheaded. In January 1847, Power had departed on a six month-month trip to Europe to recruit priests for the growing Diocese of Toronto and to raise money for the Cathedral. The trip took him to Ireland where he witnessed the Great Famine (1845-1851) that would result in the emigration of so many Irish to Canada. Prior to his return, Bishop Power sent a pastoral letter read in all Catholic churches in and around Toronto, urging congregations to be prepared for the influx of Irish Famine victims. Between May and October 1847 over 38,000 emigrants arrived in Toronto. With a population of only 20,000, the influx strained local resources. Upon his return to Toronto, Bishop Power administered to the sick and dying, many of who were suffering from typhus. He contracted the fever and died on October 1, 1847. During Bishop Power’s Episcopate, the number of Catholics in the Diocese of Toronto approximately doubled from 25,000 in 1842 to 50,000 to 1847. During his short term, Bishop Power provided energetic leadership to the Catholic community. 
He is remembered for his contributions to the new Diocese of Toronto including the establishment of its operational framework. The construction of St. Michael’s Cathedral and his compassion to the victims of Irish famine. Although the funeral of Bishop Power was held at St. Paul’s, he was buried in the crypt of the unfinished St. Michael’s Cathedral."

 I'm glad St. Michael he Archangel is out there protecting us all from evil. Of which there is a lot.