Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Great News ~ Update on Baby Fidelis

Hello everyone,

Some of you will remember from earlier posts that I was trying to assist a child named Baby Fidelis and her family, to raise funds for medical help.  The funds were needed to travel from Kenya to Canada so that the baby could undergo reconstructive surgery. Medical costs were to be donated to the family but the family had to get to Canada and have funds to live on as well as funds for after care once they return home.

After a tumultuous start to their journey, the baby and her mother arrived in Toronto, Canada in August, 2015.  It's been awhile since there has been any news but thanks to a news agency in Kenya, there is a now a public update. I'm sharing the photo and story below. Credit goes to The Star, Kenya.

Baby Fidelis underwent successful surgery last week in Toronto. There aren't any new  photos of how the baby looks since she is barely a week out of surgery. But I will update the photos of the baby if, and when, they do become available.

Thank you to those who  prayed for this mother and her child and  contributed to helping them financially.


Baby Fidelis Muthoni in Canada before surgery. Photo/COURTESY BY ALICE WAITHERA

Baby Fidelis Muthoni has successfully undergone a corrective surgery in Canada to remove a growth on her face.

The one-and-a-half-year-old baby has been suffering from frontal bone defect since birth, which disfigured her face.

According to her father Kenneth Kinuthia, the baby underwent a surgery that took the better part of Tuesday and is now recuperating in the intensive care unit.

Kinuthia said his wife called him on Wednesday evening to tell him Muthoni was even able to speak, hours after she was out of the theatre.

“Muthoni has finally had the operation and we are now hoping she will get better and live a normal life,” he said.

on Thusrday, Kinuthia told the Star on the phone Muthoni’s doctors are confident the baby will recuperate soon and may leave Canada sooner than expected.

Muthoni has been undergoing tests in the country for two months prior to her surgery and was expected to live there until February as the doctors monitored her progress.

In August, a relative conned the family out of Sh2.8 million that had been raised by Kenyans for Muthoni and her mother's flight to Canada for the surgery.

President Uhuru Kenyatta contributed Sh500 for their air tickets while Murang'a Governor Mwangi Wairia gave out Sh300,000 for accommodation.

Monday, November 23, 2015

A Beautiful Sunrise

A few weeks ago I had the good pleasure of going with a friend to our local central library for an event but haven't had a chance to write about it here.

The occasion was a reading and book launch by local author, Carol Cram.

She was launching her latest book, A Woman of Note.

Here is a summary of the book as provided by the Goodreads site

"Virtuoso pianist Isabette Grüber captivates audiences in the salons and concert halls of early nineteenth-century Vienna. Yet in a profession dominated by men, Isabette longs to compose and play her own music—a secret she keeps from both her lascivious manager and her resentful mother. She meets and loves Amelia Mason, a dazzling American singer with her own secrets, and Josef Hauser, an ambitious young composer. But even they cannot fully comprehend the depths of  Isabette’s talent.

Her ambitions come with a price when Isabette embarks on a journey that delicately balances the line between duty and passion. Amid heartbreak and sacrifice, music remains her one constant."

What appealed to me about this launch is that the author was going to give a reading and her brother composed a piece of music which was going to be unveiled especially for the book launch. He is the clarinetist in the photo below and travelled all the way from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Vancouver for the performance.  It's an all day journey by plane across Canada.  What a wonderful brother he must be!

The composition was performed by a trio.  The pianist is hidden from view behind the beautiful piano.  The piece very powerful. While I wouldn't say it was my favourite piece of music it was certainly interesting and enjoyable in many ways.  An unexpected bonus in the program is that the author also played a piano piece which was composed by a little known 19th century woman composer.  The piece was very enjoyable.

Of  course there was an opportunity to purchase the book. I paid my $20 (it is less expensive on line) to the author's husband and the author signed it.  If anyone is interested in purchasing a copy, it is easily available on Amazon in digital and paper paper formats. I haven't started reading it yet but it is in my 'to read' pile. It should be very interesting because I'm intrigued by the the subject matter of women composers in early history since there is so little known about them. The author spent time in Italy reviewing documents as the background research for her book.

In other news, I had a chance to visit my mom. 
I wanted to go last week but had a cold and didn't want to pass long any germs.
It so happened that there was a major storm last weekend and early week as well as an accident which closed the highway for considerable length of time.  So the delay in travel was a god thing.

There were a lot of things to take on this trip.  Mainly food related items though mom also needed socks and a few other items.

This time mom also requested some fried bread. I made a small batch of it the day before. The best way to eat it is with a bit of butter and jam but you can also use cheese or other spreads or just eat it plain.  This kind of bread has to be eaten when it is relatively fresh so one can't make it too far ahead.

I do not usually fry foods.  But in the case of fried bread, it must be fried. One should also have the grease properly heated so the bread fries very quickly. 

I didn't quite have my oil hot enough but after it was done I let it rest on paper towel to absorb the grease. After sampling I realized I didn't put enough salt in it.  That is okay since too much salt is not good and given the jam topping, the salt wouldn't be missed.


On the day's journey we were met with a dazzling sunrise. The colours were out of this world however the phone camera doesn't really do it justice. The following photos were taken on the highway near the City of Chilliwack.

"Sunrise looks spectacular in the nature; sunrise looks spectacular in the photos; sunrise looks spectacular in our dreams; sunrise looks spectacular in the paintings, because it really is spectacular!”
Mehmet Murat ildan (Turkish novelist and playwright)

Further along up the mountain highway past the Town of Hope, I captured these clouds above the mountains. I thought they made an interesting pattern.

I'm always in awe at the beauty and majesty of the mountains. 

We were able to enjoy a beautiful, sunny day for most of the journey.

The last photo I'm sharing was taken near the approach to the Town of Merritt on the Coquihalla Highway. 
You can see it was starting to cloud over and that it the way it looked for the remainder of the drive (approximately another hour and fifteen minutes).

The weather was nice and brisk. Not too cold. 
We were also fortunate that road conditions were very good for both legs of the journey.  

Thank you for stopping by. 
I'll be joining in with Our World Tuesday this week.
Have a terrific week!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Fauré's Requiem

I went to the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra tonight.

The VSO website described tonight's offering as follows:

Maestro Bramwell Tovey presents a performance of  Fauré’s luminous and profoundly beautiful Requiem. Stravinsky’s deeply moving Symphony of Psalms and Haydn’s rich and aristocratic Military Symphony set the stage for Fauré’s choral masterpiece.
  • Conductor / Performers

    Bramwell Tovey conductor
    Nathalie Paulin soprano*
    David John Pike baritone*
    Phoenix Chamber Choir *
    UBC University Singers *
    Graeme Langager chorus director

  • Repertoire

    Symphony of Psalms*
    Symphony No. 100 in G Major, Military

    Just before the choral masterpiece the Maestro gave a few touching words about the loss of innocent lives in Paris and other parts of the world earlier in the week. He also encouraged concert goers to give a few moments of silence after the choral requiem. 

    I apologize for the quality of the photos which were taken with my cell phone. I was fumbling and inadvertently had the flash on. I wasn't quick enough to adjust things before all the final bows were finished.

     Afterwards I walked to my bus stop to make my way home. I passed by this building which is obviously light up in honour of France like many buildings around the world.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Sky Over Vancouver, November 19, 2015

Beautiful Day November 19, 2015

This was the day and sky today after heavy duty rain and wind storms earlier in the week.

The sky was nice and bright blue.

How is the day where you are?

Joining in with Skywatch Friday

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Ni Wewe Bwana (It is You Lord)

This is a lovely gospel song sung in Swahili which has a special meaning for me.

It is special because on my first trip to Kenya a group of orphans circled me and sang lovely song. It really touched me.

No one translated the  song for me.  Though I could not speak Swahili I knew it was a worship song unto God.

For some time I tried to track this song down.  Each time I would ask a Kenyan friend, no one would know which song I was trying to recollect.

I only knew the words "Ni wewe bwana" so decided to search on YouTube when I couldn't get any of my friends to help me find the answer.  Guess what,  I found it! (Update: It has already been some years since I found it and had a Tanzanian friend translate it for  me.)

The version I'm sharing is the same song but to a slightly faster beat.  It is sung by well known (now deceased) Tanzanian Gospel singer, Fanuel Sedekia.

This song gives me joy and lifts me up. At a time when the world is mourning for Paris, for Syria, for Beirut, for Japan, for Kenya, for the Ukraine and many other places, some of us need a lift.

God bless and keep you and your loved ones safe. 


Update: Since a few people have tried to help me find the song and translation I'm posting the translation here as provided by my friend from Tanzania.

(Sedekia) ee ni wewee ni wewe bwana ni wewee ni wewe bwaana.( trans) ee is you, is you lord ,is you, is you lord
(Vocals) ni wewe ni wewe bwana ni wewe ni wewe bwana.(trans) is you, is you lord , is you , is you lord
( Sedekia) ee ni wewe-- as above.
( vocals) as above.
(Sedekia) ee ni wewee unayetujali  ni wewe bwaana ni wewe bwaana ( trans) ee is  you who care for us, is you lord, is you lord
( vocals) is you, is you lord, is you, is you lord
(Sedekia) ee ni wewee unayetupenda ni wewe bwaana ni wewe bwaana( trans) ee is you who loves us, is you lord, is you lord.
Vocals: is you, is  you lord, is you, is you lord.
(Sedekia)ee  Ni wewe uweza  ni wako ni wewe bwana ni wewe bwaana.(trans) ee you're almighty, is you lord , is you lord.
(Vocals) is you, is you lord, is you is you lord.
(Sedekia) again as above (almighty.)
(Vocals.) as above.
(Sedekia) ni wewe mamlaka ni yako ni wewe bwaana ni wewe bwaana ( trans) you have the authority,is you lord is you lord.
(Vocals) ni wewee wewe bwana ni wewe ni wewe bwaana( trans) is you, is you lord , is you , is you lord.
(Sedekia) ni wewe uweza ni wako ni wewe bwana ni wewe bwaana(trans) you're almighty, is you lord is you lord.
(Vocals) is you, is you lord , is you is you lord.
(Sedekia) ni wewe mamlaka ni yako ni wewe bwaana ni wewe bwaana.(trans) you have the authority, is you lord, is you lord.
(Vocals) is you, is you lord, is you, is you lord.
(Sedekia)  ni wewe uweza ni wako ni wewe bwaana ni wewe bwaana( trans) you're almighty, is you lord, is you lord.
(Vocals ) is you, is you lord, is you, is you lord.Sedekia and vocals ) is you is you x 15.
( the lady) ni wewe ndiwe ngome yetuuu ( trans) our fortress or castle
(Lady) ni wewe msaada wetu naa( trans ) our support and
(Lady) ni wewe ndiwe baba yetu Jehova(trans) our father Yah
(Lady) ni wewe ndiwe jemedari mkuuuu( trans) you are the great centurion .
( all ) is you  x 25.
(Sedekia) ni wewe glory( trans) ni mwenye utukufu.
(Sedekia) x7  - twakutazama wewe, kwa Kuwa ufalme ni wako  na nguvu na utukuuufu na hata milele, milele x 8 mh oo Yesu.( trans) we are looking you for yours is the kingdom and power/ strength and glory forever  forever x8.
Mh oh Yesu.(trans) mh ooh  Jesus.
.The end.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Movember & El Nino Calling

Hi friends,

I decided to post once again about Movember and the Movember campaign by the Kenyan Boys Choir.  Movember is a campaign to raise money for it in support of the fight against several men's diseases.  Am not asking for your help in this post. If you do want to find out more you can click here.

How many of you have heard of Movember?

It is a global charitable cause set up to raise funds for prostate cancer, testicular cancer and men's mental health. The idea is that men grow mustaches in the month of November and try to raise funds for the fight against these diseases.

If you have ever had prostate cancer, testicular cancer or mental issues or, you have a loved one who has, you may be touched by the efforts to fund raise.

My friends in the Kenyan Boys Choir  have been moved to grow mustaches and do their part to  raise funds for the cause.  In Kenya where they live the treatment options and care available for anyone with cancer is very minimal and there is a lot of suffering involved if you have cancer and no treatment options at all.

The photo I've used is not mine but a professional photo of the Kenyan Boys Choir.

 Those members of the Kenyan Boys Choir who are touring in 2015 are in this photo.  Other choir members are back in Kenya.

In Kenya the country is facing the ravages of El Nino.

The following photos are taken by Kenya news agencies over the past several days.

Near Lake Baringo.
The mom (along with her baby and the missionary escort) helped with surgery recently has had to delay getting home.  The highway to her home looks like this.

The highway from Kapenguria to Turkana.

Men, women and children have been stranded in an unsafe area for 3 days without help.  Even if you have funds there is no where to buy anything.

At least the Pokot mom made it back to her relatives in Kapenguria where she should be safe.

People stranded in West Pokot area of the Northern Rift Valley.

My friend Jonah and a pastor friend of his have also been caught up and stranded away from home in the rain.
They have been stranded at Lake Baringo for 2 days. All the budget hotels were quickly taken due to a huge conference happening in the area and all the other stranded travellers. they are staying at Soi Lodge which you might remember from some of my earlier posts.

This is his photo showing the impassable roads near Lake Baringo.

Meanwhile, here at home we are having a coastal storm today.
  The ferries to the island have been cancelled and 3000 homes are currently without power.
There is a snowfall in the mountains so I will have to monitor the situation to see whether travel plans this weekend have to be adjusted.

This is a photo of BC place.  It holds 50,000 people & was renovated a few years ago.  It has a retractable roof that turns different colours at night.
My cloudy sky picture was taken a week ago.

Joining in with Skywatch Friday
Friday Foto Friends

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Update on Pokot Woman & A Little of This and That

I've been busy with a little of this and that over the past few days and still fighting a bit of cold symptoms. I've been taking my daily Emergen-C (packets of Vitamin C & B which I mix with water before drinking) and it seems to help keep my energy levels up and the sniffles at bay.

I was glad to have finished writing a few letters and post cards to my sponsored boys in Kenya and Ethiopia which I put in the post today.  I am prepared for Christmas for them. Though I didn't send funds for Christmas gifts for the children, I opted to send  family gifts so that the boy's families could have a nice Christmas without financial stresses.  Christmas is the time in Kenya where the families like to try and get a new set of clothing and also have a meal that includes meat or fish rather than just starch and veggies.  I hope that they will be able to also get a few other food stuffs they need since inflation is rampant in Kenya right now.  I am not quite sure what the situation is in Ethiopia but I know the people are very poor so they will be able to benefit from a family gift.  I was also able to get some post cards and note cards in the mail to other friends. I don't prepare much snail mail anymore and so it felt good to get these off in the post.

When I checked my post box at the post office today I had a wonderful surprise. A dear friend from Colorado sent me a cheque because she read my post here about the woman in Kenya who had fistula due to female genital mutilation (FGM).  She has to be rushed to hospital to deliver her child and after that rushed to a larger city center for proper medical treatment. It's been a challenging time to get the funds together to take care of the hospital bills for this woman.  Somehow through prayers and the grace of God we've managed to pay the medical bill so the woman, her baby and the lady missionary are now all on their way home.  Initially, the plan was to send them to stay with friends in Kericho (which is even farther south from the mom's home) because we felt the young mom needed to rebuild her strength and recover from surgery.   We were a bit concerned that she wasn't quite ready to go home due to blood in the breast milk. Though the hospital was prepared to release her we knew it wouldn't be  easy to get her back to a major hospital again if it turned out that she needed more help.

In the end, the new mom stayed in hospital for several days longer due to inability to cover the medical fees. That meant she was a little stronger and we felt she could travel by the time I was able to get the funds together.  The mother, her child and missionary were finally on their way home two days ago.  They were planning to rest for one or two days at a relative's house in a small town called Kapenguria (near the Kenya-Uganda border). They would make the final leg the journey to Itibet (not on the map) over a rough road after their rest.  You might remember that the woman just had surgery not even two weeks ago to repair fistula damage and is recovering from child birth too.  So the travel is not easy. Thank goodness she has relatives along the way that can house her for a bit of rest.

If you look to the west on the map, you can find Eldoret.  This is the larger city center where mom was in hospital for surgery. It is not the city where people from her area are supposed to go.  They are supposed to be taken by ambulance to Kitale.  But the young missionary woman that escorted her and the baby, had the foresight to tell the ambulance drivers to take her to Eldoret where the medical hospital is much better.  Of course this added to the cost.  But when you think that someone can lose a life or go to a better place and be sure to get good medical help then you must do what you can to get the best medical help.

From Eldoret, you travel north to Kapenguria.  This is a much smaller town and where the travel party stayed with relatives for a night or two before journeying home. Their ultimate destination is not on the map but is very near the border of Uganda. In Kenya distances can be short but travel time is much longer than in Canada or the USA due to weather and road conditions.

The donation I received today and another recent donation from a blogging friend in England, really made us feel supported and helped alleviate some financial stress.  It will be put to good use in helping the impoverished woman to purchase baby formula and pampers.  Cloth diapers might be more cost effective and  environmentally friendly but very impractical.  It is a dry and dusty land where they live.  There is little water for drinking let alone to have a regular bath and do laundry.  That makes cloth diapers out of the question.  We would like to provide this mom with assistance to buy formula and pampers until the baby is past the milk and pamper stage.  If anyone would like to help with this need please feel free to get in touch.

Now on to a few other things.

In a recent post I shared with you that I was going to attend a book launch and a ballet performance. These occurred on Wednesday and Thursday and both were fantastic.  This was very frugal entertainment for me because the book launch was free.  The ballet performance I attended only cost me one dollar (Canadian). I got in on a deal with a group I belong to and that is why the cost was so minuscule.  A regular ticket would have been $81.50 plus service charges.

I didn't get photos of the ballet performance as photos are not permitted for performances of any kind at most of the venues in the city.  I think it is like that all over North America and Europe.  In the ballet, the first half of the performance was set to the live choral music of Chor Leoni, a local men's choral group. The music added  a lot of depth, power and beauty to  the performance. I'm very glad I had a chance to experience it. The book launch was also a unique experience and I did get a few photos there too but wasn't permitted to take audience photos (more on the launch in another post).

I like to join in with hostess, Eileen at Saturday's Critters whenever I have time to shoot a new bird or other critter photos. This week I managed to get a few bird photos on 2 different days. The first one is a sea gull flying around the high towers of the city. The other bird is a black crow.  We seem to have plenty of both in this city.

This was the dark sky on the night of the book launch.

This bird was high up in the tree. I wouldn't have found him but for the zoom lens.

I captured this black bird on a beautiful sunny day.

I also used one beautiful, sunny day to go out and get more photos of fall foliage. It seems one can never get enough of those.

Lovely red maple leafs against the green grass.

I spotted this human critter across the street from where the bird was perched.

Some of you read about the movies I was watching in my recent post here.  I've been enjoying watching movies on DVD so much that I borrowed 3 more DVDs from the library:
  • Gravity with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney
  • Frost-Nixon with Frank Langella (as President Richard Nixon) and Michael Sheen (as David Frost)
  • Heaven is for Real with Greg Kinnear.

My favourite movie out of the three is  Heaven is For Real.  Greg Kinnear played pastor and father to 4 year son, Colton Burpo, played by Connor Corum. These two actors gave outstanding performances and the entire supporting cast were terrific.  In case you are unfamiliar with the film, it is about a small-town father (played by Greg Kinnear) who must find the courage and conviction to share with the world his son's life-changing experience of going to Heaven.  Understandably it was not so easy for the father to believe that his 4 year old could have gone to Heaven.  But a few things the young boy saw and experienced there and later relayed to his family, ultimately led the father to believe his young son.  The story is about what happens as a result of the young boy's experience.

Of course all these DVDs were free to borrow from the library so it has been very frugal entertainment. My local library seems to be expanding it's DVD offerings.  I will gladly make use of this service again in 2016. I've discovered that even though DVD loans are only for 1 week rather than 3 weeks like books, you can renew the DVDs even if someone has it on hold. Renewing books that are on hold doesn't work in my library system but it does work for DVDs. I'm not sure why but it works for me!

Playing in theaters right now is another great film if you are into spy films., the latest 007 movie "Spectre". I won't give anything away but I did see the film on Friday.  It is a quintessential James Bond movie with thrills from beginning to end.  The only thing I did not enjoy was the steep price of the movie ticket ($12.55 Canadian).  My friend and I went to the matinee thinking we would get a cheaper entrance that way only to discover the theater is newly renovated.  It now has a bar and lounge area and let's movie goers select their own seats prior to paying.  For these benefits you pay a premium price whether you use the bar or not. It is just one way that movie theaters are now trying to attract or compete with restaurants and bar and other forms of entertainment.

Are you still with me? If you've hung in there all the way to this point in the post, I thank you. I wonder how many of you have heard of Movember? It is a global charitable cause set up to raise funds for prostate cancer, testicular cancer and men's mental health. The idea is that men grow mustaches in the month of November and also try to raise funds for the fight against these men's diseases.  If you have ever had prostate cancer, testicular cancer or mental issues yourself, or, you have a loved one who has, you may be touched by these efforts. My friends in the Kenyan Boys Choir  have been moved to grow mustaches and do their part to  raise funds for the cause.They have set a modest goal of $500 and need your help to make the goal a reality.  Please contribute here if you are able. You can also make anonymous contributions if you prefer. (I believe this beautiful photo below was taken by professional photographer for the Kenyan Boys Choir).

 The members of the Kenyan Boys Choir who are touring in 2015. Only half of them are touring.  The others are in Kenya.

This week I will be busy preparing things for a soon visit to my mom.  As always I will be sewing a few things for her and getting all her food and medicines together and that requires time. I'm also looking forward to a visit from an out of town friend who is making an impromptu trip to the city.  It will be nice to have some time to catch up on all the news. I might also have yet another movie to see in theaters. This one is a Christmas comedy with Diane Keaton, John Goodman and Olivia Wilde. It is an advance screening and I will get double passes for free.

I hope your week is an enjoyable one. Thank you for stopping by. As always I try to make a return visit to you too!

Joining in with Saturday's Critters a little late this week


Our World Tuesday

Thursday, November 5, 2015

First November Skywatch

Some of you will recognize this church steeple. I usually show a long shot of it.

I thought it would be fun to show a different angle today.

Monday, November 2, 2015

First Few Days in November

Hi friends,

( If you are looking for my post for Our World Tuesday you can find it here)

The first few days of November have been wet and raining. I was feeling under the weather the last while but feel somewhat better today. I need to try and pace myself as I've got a busy time ahead.  For me, being busy often means not getting enough good sleep and fighting infections; especially during the wet and rainy season.

I mentioned in my last post that I had taken 5 movies out of the library. The movies I picked up include:  War Horse (Jeremy Irvine) , Paris When it Sizzles (Audrey Hepburn & William Holden), The Trip to Italy (Steve Coogan & Rob Brydon), The Hundred Food Journey (Helen Mirren) & Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (Gary Oldman). Four of these are movies I missed when they were in theater so I'm very happy to get them now.

I didn't realize when I took the movies out that the loan period is only one week long.  So it is a good thing that I've already viewed three of them.  The one I enjoyed most was The Hundred Foot Journey with Helen Mirren. I expected it to be good but it was excellent! The Trip to Italy is funny. I didn't see Steve Coogan & Rob Bryden in the similar movie called The Trip to England. What I enjoyed most about these two was all their impersonations. I've always loved a good impersonation. Also the locations in Italy are spectacular. I've never been to Italy and I'm not sure if I'll ever have the chance to go. Fortunately there are a lot of wonderful movies around that let me enjoy the sights of Italy vicariously.  The third movie I viewed was Paris When it Sizzles. While the vintage decor is divine and the two lead actors, Audrey Hepburn and William Holden were wonderful, the script left a lot to be desired. I guess that is why the movie flopped in its original release and was dubbed Paris When it Fizzles.  I'm still glad I saw it because I really like the two lead actors.  When I checked my library account, I found out that there are already 6 people waiting for The Hundred Foot Journey and there is 1 person waiting for The Trip to Italy . I will try to return them on Wednesday but hope to see the others first.
Mid-week, a friend and I are going to a book launch of local author, Carol Cram  The book is called Woman of Note (Lake Union Publishing) about a woman composer in 19th century Vienna. This event includes readings, a piano performance, and the world premier of a commissioned Trio for Piano, Cello, and Clarinet by Canadian composer Paul Cram inspired by the novel.  I'm really looking forward to the reading by the author and also the musical performance.

I'll  end my week with a visit to see a contemporary dance performance by the BC Ballet. I've never seen a work by this company and it very looks exciting. I love the choral singing that goes with the program in this trailer.

In other news, I'm trying to get my Compass Card. It is a card that will replace paper cards for public transit and not unlike those used in Seattle or San Fransico.   But because my card is a discounted one I've discovered it isn't as easy as going to purchase it from a vending machine at a train station.  I have to hunt down the locations where they sell them. Even though I asked for help from the organization that runs transit before shopping for the card, they gave me the wrong information.

I still have to run to 2 different places: one to get the card and one to load the card. The card can also be loaded on line, but you must order a card on line or pick it up in person. I was led to believe that the card could be purchased and loaded at any number of retailers as well as all train stations which is incorrect.  Ya gotta love bureaucracy where the left hand often doesn't know what the right hand is doing.

The price of the card ended up being double what one vendor said was the price.  Now I have to go and make inquiries somewhere else to see if I was charged the right price or not. I detest inefficiencies and have put off the transition to the electronic card for this very reason.  The transition to the new system has been in the works for 3 years. You would think they would get everything properly sorted out by now.  For seniors and the disabled, these new "efficient" system of doing business is actually much more difficult especially if they do not use a computer for their daily business. I hope they can offer more places to buy a card in future and also make it possible for the elderly and the disabled to buy their cards and load them anytime at any vendor location.  That would make the cards truly accessible.

As sun was setting tonight, I saw the lights from afar glinting off the highrises. I wasn't quick enough to grab my camera and catch the twinkling lights.  I did manage to catch the pink sunset and the mountain shrouded in mist.   I think it looks quite lovely though in person it wasn't quite as dark outside as it looks.

I hope your November is off to a great start.

Have a wonderful week and thank you for visiting.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Last Day of October

Hi friends,

The last few days have been wet and cold and I've been feeling tired and under the weather. This means I didn't do a done a whole lot on Friday except try to organize my calendar and catch up on the housework.

Like everyone else  I've got a lot to do between now and Christmas. Besides the usual Christmas preparations which I started a few weeks ago, I've got many appointments, errands, medical tests, book reading and social engagements.

After my last book review post here I started reading Moonstone by Wilkie Collins. You can read a summary of the book here if interested.

When I am feeling tired and sickly I don't get out as much as I'd like.  However I did get out to the produce store, the post office & the library on the last Saturday of the month of October which was also Hallowe'en.  (If you missed my Hallowe'en post you can find it here if interested).  When I was out I decided to go to a Thai restaurant rather than make dinner tonight.  I had my chicken cashew nut but didn't get a photo of the dish.  I noticed that the dish has changed since I had it last. Instead of a generous helping of red peppers, there was only one piece of red pepper and some green peppers in place of the red. Green peppers cost a lot less than red ones around these parts.

While I was eating, a lot of customers came and left with take out orders.  Each time I've been to the restaurant it has been busy with take out orders.  But today it seemed much busier than usual. I guess that is a good thing and I hope it means the business is not in imminent trouble.  Not so long ago, a long-time Vietnamese restaurant in my neighbourhood closed. Before they did, I'd noticed that they were skimping on ingredients to their dishes and I wondered why.  A few months later, the restaurant was closed even though they had a lot of regular customers and had been around for many years.  I think the business taxes and rental costs here for businesses are just too high. In fact, I heard one popular restauranteur on radio saying he would close his restaurants at the end of this year. Not for lack of customers but because the business taxes were just too high to make the business profitable.

I started reading Crushing Debt by David Trahair, Chartered Accountant. I'm still in early stages of the book and I've enjoyed it so far.  But I'm not sure I will finish reading it.  I didn't realize when I picked up the book that it deals with the subject of what to do when you are faced with debt levels so high that you cannot meet your obligations (e.g. bankruptcy).  I am not needing this kind of help at this moment, thankfully.  If you are interested in the subject and need help, have a look here for a good review and summary of the book.

To be honest, I'm not sure what I thought the book was about.  When I was selecting books off the shelf at the library last week, I just picked up several financial books of the shelf that had intriguing titles. I didn't even read the book covers like I normally do.  I do like to read about finance, debt, budgeting, retirement, wills, estates, etc. Even if I do not need all the information or it isn't immediately relevant, it does add to my knowledge base and over time I retain more and more of what is useful to me.Debt is certainly a topic that is always being discussed in articles and on television interviews and we are always being warned about debt by the Governor of the Bank of Canada. Well our previous Governor, Mark Carney who is now the Governor of the Bank of England.

This article written in Spring of 2015, says that the  38 % of Canadian debt holders now earn over $100,000 annually.  This is roughly equal to the percentage of people in debt who earn less than $50,000 annually. The article goes on to say that the vast majority of Canadian debt is basically a result of trying have the basics of middle class life like education, cars and homes,  rather than trying to achieve the high life.  When you consider that the starter home in Vancouver these days is over a million dollars on average, & many Canadian cities have similar real estate costs, you can easily see what the article is driving at. In this context, it behooves all Canadians to really buckle down and manage their finances well.  It is a constant task.

As I write this post on Saturday night  I can still hear the firecrackers going off.  Every now and then I hear a loud burst.  Sometimes I hear the rain pelting down but it has stopped for now.  The weather forecast for Sunday is for significant rain and I am prepared to stay indoors and try and rest.  I picked up several movies from the library while I was out. I probably won't see them all but I will make a start.  The movies I've picked up include:  War Horse (Jeremy Irvine) , Paris When it Sizzles (Audrey Hepburn & William Holden), The Trip to Italy (Steve Coogan & Rob Brydon), The Hundred Food Journey (Helen Mirren) & Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (Gary Oldman). Four of these are movies I missed when they were in theater so I'm very happy to get them now. The last one, Paris When it Sizzles is an old movie that I've yet to see.

While I was out, I also managed to get a few more Fall/Autumn photos. Earlier today (Saturday) it was raining heavily but the sun came out and some blue sky shared it's beauty with us.

To the east and south the sky was blue and bright.

To the north and west the sky was dark and cloudy.

The building with a steeple was a church & now contains condominiums.

by Emily Dickinson (1896)

The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry's cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.
The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I'll put a trinket on.

In the last photo of Fall colours, you can see that the leaves are almost gone from some of the trees.
Heavy rains this weekend will finish off a lot of the leaves and ensure the trees are bare next week.

This is the time of year that I really do not enjoy.

I try not to complain though.  If the sun comes out at least once a week I can manage to make it through the Winter just fine.
In another hour it will be time for us in the Northern Hemisphere to turn our clocks back one hour until the Spring returns.

For many it will be a nice time to get an extra hour of rest this weekend.

This is a mosaic of shop decorated for Hallowe'en yesterday.

I am still writing the post, lol.
Much later after fireworks stopped, I decided to watch one of the movies, The Hundred Foot Journey on  my desktop. But I very seldom watch DVD on my desktop and whenever I've tried, I've had nothing but issues.
So I decided to finally upgrade to Windows 10. After everything was downloaded and upgraded, I spent an hour to  discover a way to watch DVDs.  I learned you need to purchase a $15. program from Microsoft.  Spending that money defeats the purpose of getting free movies from the library. So I found a free program to download and finally got to start watching my movie.
I really should get to sleep and watch the  movie later.
I'm liking up with Our World Tuesday
Thank you for visiting and have a great week!

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