Friday, August 28, 2015

Beauty of Birds

"Use those talents you have. You will make it. You will give joy to the world. Take this tip from nature: The woods would be a very silent place if no birds sang except those who sang best."
Bernard Meltzer

*You can click all photos to enlarge for better viewing.*
Beautiful macaws


Beautiful orchids & a finch. Can you spot it?



Beautiful little finches



Joining in with Saturday's Critters.
Thank you to Eileen for hosting this meme.
I'll also be linking up
Judith for Mosaic Monday.

Thanks for stopping by.
Have a great weekend!

Beautiful Wisps of White



There were some interesting clouds in the sky yesterday but only one of my photos came out clearly enough to post. 

I was actually trying to capture the moon which you see in the photo below. Fast moving clouds meant it would only come into view intermittently.  

There are sure to be some excellent shots of the moon on line this week as the first of 3 supermoons occurs August 29, 2015.

I can't take night shots so I'll be looking for your photos.


I'm joining up with Skywatch Friday this week.

I hope each of you has a great weekend. I'll be by to look at your sky shots.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Time Passes

Time passes so quickly by. I know I say that a  lot and I hear it a lot from my friends too. But honestly, where does the time go? Hey I think there is a song by that name.

Let me digress a moment and check out that song. My mind does like to wander.

Okay I found "Where Does the Time Go" by Barry Manilow. But that isn't the song I'm thinking of. I thought there was a song from a few decades back.

There is another song by Sandy Denny & the Strawberries called "Who Knows Where the Time Goes?" That's the one I remember.  I really only remember the very last refrain.

I prefer a slower version of this song as sung by the last Sandy Denny (died 1978)  in the band, the Fairport Convention.  Here is a video of this lovely folk song in case you'd like to listen to it. It isn't really a video because there are no moving pictures but there is good audio.



It's vibe captures how I feel about the passing of time (sad). There is just so much to do. I want time to slow down.

Here is another lovely version done by the late, beautiful Nina Simone (died 2003).  I love her introduction to the song and she does a moving rendition of it in case you have time to listen.



Isn't it funny how when we are children, a week is an eternity?  But when we are older, we want time to slow down a bit?

Anyway I hope you didn't mind the digression.

Where I live the very hot summer we've had is winding down and Fall is on the way. The days are still quite hot but not as blistering as it was even 2 weeks ago. Once the dinner hour arrives you can feel the distinct change in the air. The change in air temperature started about a week ago.  It is always amazing to me just how summer changes to Fall immediately at the end of August here. It is like clock work. Once our last long weekend of the summer is finished, you will know it is Fall. Fall is my very favourite season though I think it is too short of a season before Winter rolls around.  Don't I just sound like I could better organize the seasons of the year, lol.

I am grateful to have 4 distinct seasons where I live though it does make it more challenging and expensive to prepare for all the different seasons: heating wise, cooking wise, clothing wise and garden wise. Even the car needs special treatment for the different seasons. But the beauty you get in the changing scenery and the respite you get from the heat, cold or rain, is rather special.  My friends who live in the tropics probably don't believe that. *wink (Frugal tip:  Make sure to get your car serviced and oil changed at the right time. It will save wear and tear on your car and make it run better using less fuelIf you are on a tight budget it can be very tempting to put off the oil change).

This past week has been very busy. The highlight of the week was hearing that little Baby Fidelis made it to Toronto, Canada with her mom. For awhile it looked a bit bleak that she would ever make it to Canada but she made it!  I'm so happy she will get the opportunity to have facial reconstruction surgery. Monday she was supposed to have surgery and I'm hoping and praying it went well.


Baby & Mom with host family at Toronto Int'l Airport.


The rest of the week I was busy catching up with things.  There is a lot of shopping and clothes preparation to do before I visit mom for her birthday very soon.  I only have a few days to get everything ready so will be busy with that.

For the coming seasonal transition, I've purchased a few warm sweaters, some cotton jersey nightgowns and a few bits and pieces. I have to label them all.  If I have time I will also try to make a top for her out of this fabric in the photo.  Pardon the purple items beneath the fabric.  They are two new nightgowns which I have to modify before she can wear (I have placed everything on my ironing board so I can start the labelling process). (Frugal tips:  If you are a caregiver for an elderly person and need to buy them a lot of things like I do, it pays to really shop around. I purchased 2 sweaters for less than the price of one sweater I was originally going to buy. With the savings, I was able to purchase the fabric at 50% off.  Altogether I think the fabric cost $14.20 which I think is good value.  I could get fabric which is less expensive but it wouldn't stand up to the washing in super hot water).

The fabric pattern looks a bit wild and busy but I think it will sew up nicely into a long sleeved jersey pullover. It will coordinate with the plum skirt I made awhile back and another burgundy skirt she has. Apparently the two dresses I made and gave her on my last visit were big hits and she has worn them a lot already .

Polyester knit fabric for top
Most of the rest of my week has been busy just catching up to house cleaning and various appointments and errands like shopping for my eye wear.  It seems I'm behind on everything! (Frugal tip: Save all your receipts and be sure to submit them quickly to your insurer if you expect any funds to be reimbursed.  Currently I have just over $200 owing to me. I will be submitting receipts today).

I did make some great progress this week, especially with the housekeeping. Though that may not sound too exciting, those of you who keep the household know how good it feels to be caught up for a few moments on housework. I am not quite caught up but made some very good progress.

Hopefully I can continue making progress next week too because next up I have plans to do some major closet and drawer decluttering. I haven't done a really large decluttering in a long while and it is definitely time. (Frugal tip:  If you have time, energy and patience you can sell a lot of your clothing. I understand there are groups on Facebook for this and of course there is also Craigslist though one has to be a bit careful who you let into your home.  There is always the old fashioned way of a garage sale outside if you happen to have a yard on ground level. Even a few dollars back can really help the pocket book. I usually just give my things away though I might put a few things on consignment now and then).

I'm also slowly catching up on my reading goals for the year.   Right now I am finishing up the book in the photo below.  It's an interesting story about a Jewish immigrant who leads a life of twists and turns and how she comes to make her livelihood making ice-cream. It's fascinating how a writer can take a subject like ice cream and right a compelling story around it. I admire that.


Once I'm finished, I will return to the biography of Charles Dickens and some health related books that are specific to women's issues. These are always quick reads and I learn a little more each time I read a new one. (Frugal tip:  Borrowing from the library is better value than buying a book and you don't have the problem of where to store the book once you've finished reading it.)



Here are a few photos I took while out and about this week.



The last photo I'm sharing was taken at the Van Dusen Botanical Gardens earlier this summer. Can you spot the bee having a feast?  There were a large number of bees in the garden that day. (Frugal tip:  Where I live I signed up for the Inspiration Pass at my local library. It enables a person to visit multiple sights in the city over a 2 week period and to take a bunch of people with you as guests; all for free. You might have something similar where you live.)



 Unfortunately the water restrictions this summer means that all the plants in the Van Dusen Gardens (and other parks)  are in jeopardy. It is sad but what can be done?

Weather changes around the world impact us all. Hopefully the gardens can recover but I've been hearing that weather patterns and climate change is such that we can  no longer expect what used to be normal weather.  We should now expect the unexpected. I guess we all have to learn to adapt.

  I am linking up with Our World Tuesday this week.

Have a wonderful week!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Baby Fidelis Lands in Toronto

Little Baby Fidelis and her mom Martha have arrived in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


 They arrived at about 12:10 p.m. on Saturday August 23, 2015.

Baby Fidelis & mom Martha, with welcome bear.
Isn't Baby Fidelis just the sweetest child? She is already holding the bear so well.

Here with host family at Pearson International Airport. The host mom is a nurse who hails from Kenya.

It is a very long journey from Kenya for mother and child.

Surgery is already set for Monday.

Please pray for the child and the doctors and nurses.

Baby Fidelis and her mom Martha are expected to be in Canada for six months as the baby undergoes
further follow-up.
I imagine there is more than one surgery involved as the baby's face has to be reconstructed.

Photo credits: I retrieved these pics from Kenyan media. I believe they were all taken by the host family & posted to Facebook to update people on the baby's safe arrival.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Name These Birds

Hello everyone,

I'm still sharing the beautiful birds I photographed at the Bloedel Conservatory in Vancouver this summer.

Today I'm featuring three small birds.


This bird was prettily perched on a huge palm leaf so I almost missed it.

This little bird was busily gathering feathers for nest building.

This bird has the loveliest colours. I have more photos of it.

Do any of you know the names of these birds? If "yes' you can write them in the comments section. I have the names  of the birds. I'm just curious to see how many of my readers already know them since there are a huge number of bird watchers out there. I will return and post the names in a few days.

I also saw a very pretty sky earlier this week and haven't had a chance to upload the photos yet. I hope you like them too.



I'm joining in with Saturday's Critters and Skywatch Friday this week. 
I'm a bit late for both but here goes anyway.

Update: August 23/15:  Bird in photo 1 is a Cuban Finch, Bird in photo 2 is a Zebra Finch (female) and Bird in photo 3 is a Gouldian Finch. Well done to those who participated in Name These Birds.

By the way, if you missed the awesome news in my post yesterday please have a look here if you have time.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Baby & Mom Fly to Canada - See it Yourself


Dear Friends,

At last the Baby Fidelis and her mom are on the way to Canada!
In fact they may have arrived in Toronto as this news is being posted.
See and hear all the details in the video I've posted.

I cannot wait to see how the baby looks after surgery and facial reconstruction.

I'm so delighted that she and her family will have a new lease on life.

Thank you to those who gave and to those who prayed.

May God richly bless you all!
Have a wonderful weekend.

UPDATE August 23/15:  Sorry dear readers. The video I posted has now been removed from youtube. I have no idea why. It might have to do with the fact that the baby's identity information (passport) was also posted.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Praise Report Concerning Baby Fidelis

Graphic Credit: touched2betouched.tumblr.com
Approximately 9 hours ago ( 3 p.m. Pacific Standard Time), the Kenyan reporters were saying the family was still trying to get visa and funds together. Slightly overlapping that update, was news that
Baby Fidelis and mom will be travelling from Kenya to Canada on Friday (tomorrow).

In another development,  His Excellency, President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya was reported to have  gotten involved in the Baby Fidelis case.  It is said that he has donated money.  This is in addition to the funds donated by Muranga governor Mwangi Wairia.  The amount donated should cover all the costs associated with the long stay in Canada.

As for Joseph  (aka Alejandro) Wanjau, he was arrested on Thursday.  The police used two friends to lead him to a place where he was then arrested.  It remains to be seen what the defense will be.

I want to thank all those that have prayed for a good outcome for Baby Fidelis despite the circumstances.

Baby Fidelis

Please continue to pray that all will work out well for this family and the Baby and that there won't be any more hiccups and delays.

It has been difficult to get precise and up-to-date information concerning this situation but I have been sharing about the Baby's need on my blog for some time and know that there are people praying for this child and who want to know the outcomes. I am hopeful that things have now turned around for this family.

Today's inspirational graphic was selected because I'm inspired by the example of  the baby's family.  They haven't given up hope for this baby.  When faced with hardships and trials in a seemingly losing situation, they are doing the utmost to keep hope alive for Baby Fidelis.

There is power in love and hope.

God bless you for continuing to pray and hold this family in your thoughts.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Update on Baby Fidelis, August 19, 2015

Hello everyone,

This post will be brief.

I am so sad to report that Baby Fidelis' surgery in Toronto did  not go forward on August 18, 2015 as scheduled.

A monetary dispute between Fidelis' family and the family advocate, Joseph, has erupted and interfered with the scheduled surgery. Serious allegations have been made and the police are now involved. I don't have too many details and I'm looking for positives in this matter.

The advocate says no funds have been stolen or lost.  So if he can be believed, that is good news.  However to the best of my knowledge, the funds haven't been transferred to Baby Fidelis' family yet.  Neither have the Canadian visitor's visas been given over to the baby and her mother.

A bit of good news is that the hospital in Canada says they will open a new surgery date for Baby Fidelis if the family can get to Canada soon.  Major hospitals in Kenya cannot do the type of surgery that Baby Fidelis requires which is why she has to travel abroad.

The challenge is that Baby Fidelis has a team of doctors  that have travelled to do the surgery.  They come from different countries and cannot indefinitely stay in Canada waiting for the baby and her mother to arrive.  I've heard that the doctors will remain in Canada  for 3 more weeks in hopes that the family can come up with the funds to fly to Toronto and to cover travel insurance.

Another bit of good news is that the county government where Baby Fidelis and family reside in Kenya, have officially  gotten involved in this case due to it's high profile nature and the devastating turn of events.

The Honourable Joseph M. Mbai, Chief Officer (Health & Sanitation) in Muranga County has contacted the Canadian Consulate in Nairobi concerning re-issuance of travel visas. Once visas are in hand, the county government will also pay for air travel for Baby Fidelis and her mother.  The baby and her mom will stay with a host family in Canada.  The host family originates from Kenya and can communicate with the mom in Swahili.  The host family members will also escort the baby and mother to the hospital each day.  The only remaining issue seems to be the general maintenance involved in half a year's stay in Canada.  Good Kenyans are now frantically fund-raising once again to help make all this happen very soon.

Sadly, this child has been caught in the middle of a dispute and it appears that the family advocate has seriously let her down.  As each day passes, the baby's face becomes more disfigured and the needed surgery becomes more complicated.

Baby Fidelis
Please continue to pray for this baby and her family.

Note:  I have revised, updated or deleted some of my earlier blog posts regarding Baby Fidelis and the advocate and will continue to try and do so.  Particularly those requesting donations be sent to the Hope Foundation in Kenya., an organization helping the very disabled in Kenya.  As a result of this dispute, the police have now frozen the Hope Foundation's  accounts pending resolution of this matter.  No funds should be sent there.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Sky Tonight

View north to the mountains which are obscured by low lying cloud.

When night falls, the cross on the church steeple will be illuminated.

Southeastern view of the sky.  I always like to see the flag waving in the wind.

At last we might be getting a bit of rain here in Vancouver. Not much has fallen yet but hopefully tonight it will.

Checking in with Skywatch Friday.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Two Parrots & A Cockatoo

I  am finally getting around to sharing a few more photos of the beautiful birds I photographed this summer. 

I will be joining in with host, Eileen at Saturday's Critters.

Thank you Eileen for managing this wonderful meme.

 If
you missed my Skywatch post & brief update on medical missions in Kenya, you can find it by clicking here.

Bloedel Conservatory located in Vancouver's beautiful Queen Elizabeth Park & home to the birds.
Casey, the Amazon Parrot

Kramer, the Moluccan Cockatoo

Moluccans are the largest of the cockatoo family and are extremely intelligent. I've read that Kramer loves peppermint tea, baseball hats, and is a very good dancer.  Sometimes he swings upside-down from his perch and puts on a show.  I was fortunate enough to see him put on a show when I visited though.  He was quite cooperative in posing for photos for me and only put the show on when he had an audience. Kramer has a large vocabulary and says things like "What is that?", "I' m a bird.", and "Let's party" among other things.

Rudy, African Grey Parrot

Rudy is an African Grey Parrot and is about 17 years old.  It is said that these parrots are loving and playful and bring joy and laughter into the lives of all who have the pleasure of knowing one. They are very intelligent birds and are considered to be the “Einstein’s” of the parrot world because of their incredible talking ability. African Greys are considered to be among the most intelligent of all birds, ranking alongside dolphins and chimpanzees for their ability to associate human words with meanings, shapes and colours.  While I was there Rudy was quite quiet and looked like he was trying to catch up on some sleep.  No doubt he gets tired of all the people that watch him every day

Friday, August 7, 2015

More Highway Driving

It was just about two weeks ago since I went to see mom. Here are a couple more sky photos from the drive.




It was a bit cloudy as you can see in the pics but that day the temperatures soared to 33 degrees Celsius by mid-to- late afternoon.  Since then they have been experiencing temperatures in the low 30s.Today it was 31 degrees.I much prefer the temperatures where I am now since it has cooled off a lot.


The day ended with a lovely sunset.

Short update:  My friends in Kenya have now got the travel visa to travel to Toronto Canada and they will arrive sometime next week.

Continue to pray for this group of travelers: for all their needs to be met, for a safe journey and for a successful surgery for Baby Fidelis. I am so excited for her and her family. Soon she will be able to resume a normal life free of pain and discomfort.

Photo Credit: Hope Foundation for Orphans, Kenya

My friend's mother, Eunice is still at the missions hospital but now on an outpatient basis to save money. She is recovering but needs continued monitoring. Her nose bleeding has slowed. Please pray for her complete recovery (typhoid and high blood pressure), ability to meet the medical costs and discharge very soon.

Thanks so much for your support.

I'm joining in somewhat belatedly with Skywatch Friday today. 
Have a look there for some awesome skies from around the world.

Monday, August 3, 2015

This and That

I've fallen behind in my reading goals for the year so have been trying to make up for it.

I've just finished reading London which is well over 1000 pages. This was my third book and perhaps the longest book by Edward Rutherfurd.  Maybe it only seems like the longest because it took me much longer to read it than the other two books (New York and Paris). London didn't quite meet my expectations. It started out strong and finished with a whimper. The book spans 2000 years and I admire a writer who tries to take on such a project even if the effort was not entirely successful.


Alexander McCall-Smith is a prolific writer and has written several different series of books; each of  which are vastly different.  I've read many books from his No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, all of which are set in Botswana, Africa. These are my favourite books from this author.   I have also read a few books from a few of his other series. I like them a little less but they are a decent read on a quiet afternoon.  None of his books take much time to read and they add to the sense of accomplishment  toward one's reading goals *wink.


I don't tend to read diet books but I like to learn about tips and tools to help engender a true lifestyle change.  This book is a good addition to the knowledge base and is so easy to read. In addition to the 20 "skinny rules" there are plenty of  menus and recipes all of which fall within the parameters of the author's rules.  I borrowed this book from the library and would need to purchase a copy if I hope to use the recipes in future.  However the author has another book which is made solely of recipes that fit within the "skinny rules".  That book might be more useful.


My current read is this biography of the great writer Charles Dickens. I don't know about you but I haven't read as many of Mr. Dickens' books as I would like.  I grew up watching old black and white movies based on many of his books. Great classics such as:  "A Christmas Carol","David Copperfield", "Great Expectations" and "A Tale of Two Cities". One of my favourite books of his is "The Old Curiosity Shop" but I don't recall seeing a movie based on it.


Before I finish the biography I will get started on the next two books (below).  I  came across them during a recent foray into a book shop. I was there to check out Harper Lee's newly released novel "Go Set a Watchman".


I don't purchase too many books these days but I wanted to check the price of Harper Lee's newly released book "Go Set a Watchman".  Since my visit to the book store I've placed a hold on it at my local library. There are several hundred people on the hold list so it will be at least 6 months before the book finds it's way to me.

It''s okay because I've got so many books that I already own that I can read in the meantime. I am constantly adding books to my "to read" list.  Many of these don't take so long to get once I place them on hold.  I also pick up interesting looking books off the shelves whenever I make a trip to the library. So you see, I am never without reading material.




Other than reading, I've been busy trying to revive my pansies which are mostly now on their last legs due to the heat wave we've been having all summer. I'm not sure if my efforts will work but they've given me a lot of pleasure over the summer with their beautiful colours. The geraniums are still doing well as are the petunias. The gladioli did bloom but  didn't do as well as I expected. Its the first time I've grown them. I think next year I will have to put stakes up to support them because they kept falling over the taller they go. Next year I want to grow sunflowers too and those grow even higher. My cherry tomatoes are now really starting to ripen in enough quantity to use in salads. Yum!

Last night there was a beautiful sky to the north of me so ran to get my camera. Normally we don't get nice colour in the skies to the north of me. We do get some beautiful sunsets here but in order to capture them I would have to be somewhere other than my home to get the right view of the western horizon.




I want to update that little Baby Fidelis had to undergo a medical assessment (Monday) in Nairobi, Kenya.  This is required as a step toward getting the visa to travel to Canada for surgery. Please continue to pray for this dear one and her advocate and her mother who are still hoping to be in Canada by middle August for the scheduled surgery.

Photo Credit: Hope Foundation for Orphans: Baby Fidelis & mother Martha


I also want to let you know that my friend's mom, Eunice, has been battling with typhoid fever. While she seemed to be recovering from typhoid fever she continued to experience mental confusion and heavy nose bleeds.  After being placed on different medications, she finally ended up in the missions hospital again.  This means going to the hospital a few hours away since the local hospital is incapable of diagnosing medical tests and they were perplexed by the issues. I had a sense that Eunice might be suffering from a secondary infection and needed help urgently. The American doctor at the missions hospital indeed found that Eunice had a bladder infection and said it was good she was brought in before sepsis set in.  It has taken a bit longer to get control of the nose bleeds caused by high blood pressure.  I just had word this morning that Eunice is much improved. Please pray for complete recovery and ability to pay the hospital bills.

Wishing each of you a wonderful week ahead.
I'm joining in this week with Our World Tuesday

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Expansive Sky

English Bay Beach, Vancouver, British Columbia

Joining in with Skywatch Friday this week.

Have a great weekend everyone and
a wonderful start to the month of August.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A Thoughtful Gift & A Pleasant Walk

"I cannot even imagine where I would be today were it not for that handful of friends who have given me a heart full of joy. Let's face it, friends make life a lot more fun."
Charles Swindoll

Yesterday I had a package from my blogging friend John of John's Island.  We have been friends for awhile now and have come to find we enjoy certain things that speak to simple pleasures in life.  One of those is coffee.

John lives in Seattle and I live in Vancouver. Both of our cities share similar weather patterns and the residents of both simply love their coffee. Do you think it has anything to do with all the rain both of our cities get over the winter months?

My wonderful care package; coffee mug included.

This morning I enjoyed my first cup of these "new to me" coffee. It was very nice!I even got a wonderful mug showing the Seattle Skyline.

It is a dark roast and I usually drink medium roast but I enjoyed this coffee very much. I even drank it black when I normally take cream. 

Receiving the gift was a lovely thoughtful gesture.
You meet some of the nicest people through blogging.

Most of  my regular viewers will know that we've been having a very hot summer
this year with little rain to speak of. One can see the dry grasses everywhere in a city that is known for lush greenery.

Still you can't beat the walks along the waterfront.





 



Joining in with Our World Tuesday

African Music & Happenings