Posts filed under ‘lifestyle’

Riding the Ion

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If there’s anything that gets people’s dander up, it’s change. And we’ve had massive change in our twin cities over the Ion, the light rail, first whether it should be built and then upheaval on our roads for months and months while tracks and roads were under construction.

Canada Day was the last day for a free ride. Our youngest daughter and her husband were talking their two-year-old son on the Ion, and we decided to join them. I was interested and had thought of doing it. This seemed like the perfect opportunity.

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close to the universities

The ride was smooth, with nary a bump or shudder on stopping or starting. As the driver of our family vehicle, I don’t have the privilege of just looking around me. I need to focus on my job of driving, watching for lights, pedestrians and other drivers. This ride would offer the opportunity to just look out the windows and enjoy the ride.

We were fortunate to get seats when we boarded and it wasn’t long before there were people standing in the aisle holding on to the straps or a seat.

Apparently the changes are not over (Reality, things never stay the same). More property is being bought along the main street that runs from one city to the next. According to a passenger I spoke with briefly, people in her neighbourhood are not pleased with the additional changes that are coming—tall condos or other buildings that will rise along the main street. They’d even gone to city hall and signed a petition against the change. It got me thinking about low income housing close to that route and how it would affect them. Where will they go?

One the other hand, the Ion will convey a large number of passengers from Point A to Point B, along the main street that has schools, hospital, doctors’ offices and businesses on or close to the route.

As citizens, we’re being encouraged to step out of our cars and take the public transit. Drivers of cars and trucks honour traffic lights, but the Ion doesn’t stop for those things, only at their stations where passengers are waiting.

Thing is from our neighbourhood, we still have to take other transportation to the Ion and park at a lot, or find a bus close to it that connects to the light rail. Not as convenient for people in the outlying areas, but it would definitely be a boon to those living close to the main line, and it could work well for attending a festival uptown.

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clean and quiet ride

Our city is changing, that’s for certain. The powers that be had decided on intensification of the core, and while we are certainly not at the size of TO or Mississauga, it seems our population is growing. The building will go on and people will need to adapt to it, even when there are bumps in the road along the way.

 

 

July 6, 2019 at 10:48 am Leave a comment

Another garden

This year we had opportunity to rent another garden space. I called it a plot and my friend Doris laughed at that, thinking quite the opposite of living and gardening. Oh, well.

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how the new space looked a couple of weeks ago

At last our garden looks like one. Most things are emerging from under the soil and some look quite at home. I worry a little though since the promised fence is not yet erected. The hardware and wire are certainly there. It only needs strong backs of available volunteers to get it together. Not a place I can help.

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all the hardware is present

The mulch has been spread around the garden boxes and many of the boxes sport tomato plants and lettuce and beans among other things. There are even some flowers.

Last week when our granddaughters, 7 & 9, were going to be with us overnight, we stopped at the community garden space on our way home. One helped me fill a pail with water and held the watering can while I poured it in. The nozzle on the tank is quite large and water comes out pretty fast. We’re trying our best not to waste water.  Once we’d watered the plants,  we put our own watering can in the car and I retrieved my cell phone for a couple of photos.

Our garden is still quite young here, compared to the others planted earlier, but it took a bit of time to assign boxes and get some of the things in place for the enlarged community garden.

At the church there are two boxes assigned for their community cupboard, which is generous. People from the congregation may be tending those.

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how it looks now

I have back-up help for the time we’ll be away, to make sure the garden is tended, the weeds are pulled and produce harvested. We’ll have beans, onions and cucumbers here. And a few marigolds to help keep bugs away.

Perhaps the girls can come again with me to pick things from this garden as well as our garden at home, which is coming along quite nicely, protected from small animals.

 

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home garden raised beds

 

The rain last evening certainly refreshed the soil. The grass is damp but the sun is shining and that helps the gardens along too.

 

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a mix of herbs, tomatoes and veggies

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parsley and basil in an extra space

June 25, 2019 at 1:06 pm Leave a comment

Gardening with my Grandchildren

 

We have five grandchildren, ages ranging in age from 2-9 years old. The oldest two at 7 and 9 have had opportunity to help me plant my vegetable garden since they were three, and the youngest of our gardeners turned 4 in March. The little boys, currently two, will get to help next year, once they’re three, but if they should happen to visit, they can still help give the plants a drink, with a little help. They can also begin to understand now, that just as they need a drink, the plants also need water to grow.

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Helping with the watering

The oldest two girls know what to do with the plants once I show them where I want the plants arranged. I show them the spot, hand them the plant and they manage very well. One even pops the plants out of their pot and divides the seedlings. All three were excited to help me plant this year again.

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In process, watering as we  go along

 

The four-year-old is learning to dig the hole, put the plant in, fill the space around the plant. She’s learning to pat the soil gently around the stem and knows that the plant needs water right away. We give her the small watering can, for she’s just a small girl herself.

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We do these tasks together, then everyone gets to play awhile afterwards, along with having a little snack and a drink of water too.

The older girls and I talked by Facetime the week before about what we’d plant. We honour their requests in as far as things they like to eat and the available space, so we have a small variety of items. We’ll always have tomatoes and cucumbers, those two are assured, and parsley, but other items may change from year to year. Their Mom requested jalapeno peppers so that’s new this year. We’ve added squash, lettuce and zucchini as well.

 

This year, in addition to our own raised beds at home, I decided to rent a bed at a church that’s expanding their community gardens. I’ll plant some of the extra bean seeds there, carrots, and perhaps a few extra herbs. That garden isn’t ready yet, but it will be very soon. The water tank is waiting and other supplies are already there. It just needs a crew to complete the tasks and put up a fence around it.

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New garden beds being prepared

In time our grandchildren learn about planting and harvest. When veggies and tomatoes are ripe throughout the summer, they’ll have some to eat. They already recognize seasons as a time to ski and make snowmen, a time to plant, and a time for swimming outdoors. The planting season is part of this wonderful creation of which we’re simply caretakers.

 

Photo credits: L. Shaw, L. Wilker and C. Wilker,

 

 

 

May 28, 2019 at 1:56 pm 2 comments

Author Afternoons– I’m on!

I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be part of Author Afternoons. On Saturday, June 29th, from 1:00-3:30 pm,  I’ll be at the Waterloo Visitor and Heritage Information Centre on 10 Father David Bauer Drive, Waterloo.

I’ll be giving a workshop titled Begin to Write Your Memories. The workshop will be hands on, as in you get to write, so bring paper and pen or  your laptop and be prepared to participate.

This is a new initiative by the City of Waterloo Arts and Culture to introduce residents and visitors to the authors in the area. It’s exciting to be part of it.

See you there!

https://www.carolynwilker.ca/

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May 17, 2019 at 12:02 pm Leave a comment

Harry’s Trees and Les arbres de Harry

Carolyn's Book Front Cover layout

This Saturday, May 18th, I’ll be at The Living Outdoors in Cambridge with my books, especially my picture books, Harry’s Trees and Les arbres de Harry, illustrated by Maja Wizor.

Come and see me there, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Bring your children or grandchildren and pick up a colouring sheet for the contest. Then bring the coloured page back to the store  by a certain date to be entered in the contest.

The Living Outdoors nursery and gift shop is on 486 Main Street Cambridge, ON N1R 5S7. It’s a busy time for nurseries and could be a full house.

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If you have a child or grandchild in French immersion, you might prefer this edition. Same story, same art, but in our second national language.

 

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a sample of my artist’s work

 

 

May 16, 2019 at 11:31 am Leave a comment

Upcoming event for Piece by Piece

 

I’ve received some amazing reviews, personal notes and kind words about my new book, Piece by Piece, from fellow writers and readers thus far. I am grateful for their sincere and generous comments.

My official launch happens this Saturday, May 11th, in my hometown of Tavistock, ON, at the Tavistock Public Library, 40 Woodstock Street South and begins at 11 am.

Come and join us, and get your signed copy.  I look forward to seeing you there.

 

Piece By Piece Book Launch (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For those who cannot make it to the launch, my book is also available at Words Worth Books in Waterloo  and from me.

For more information on my book, and to contact me, here’s my website https://www.carolynwilker.ca/books/

 

 

May 8, 2019 at 11:43 am Leave a comment

Earthen Vessels

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Pastor Annette shared the music she had chosen for the weekend retreat ahead of time so that I could learn the pieces on my guitar. I was intrigued by the theme—Earthen Vessels—and the theme song by the same name, written by John Foley of the St Louis Jesuits. Each retreat member was to bring an earthen vessel hidden away in a wrapper of some sort.

Twenty-three women met at a church camp for our yearly Mount Zion Women’s retreat.  Worship, theme, food and crafts are all planned in advance, assuring an organized and enjoyable weekend for all.

Upon arrival at the camp, we greeted each other. There’s always someone coming for the first time and those who return year after year. This time one of the new people had ministry experience and the other, from my hometown, was in seminary.

We introduced ourselves, put our earthen vessel, still concealed, on the floor in the centre of the meeting room. We were to write something about that vessel and not put our names on the paper. The papers were mixed up and we picked one from the envelope. Then the activity was finding the person who got our note. After everyone had found the person with their note, we revealed our vessel and shared its significance to us. There was everything from an antique container for liquor to a newer vase or pitcher that someone used for pouring maple syrup. My vessel was a small container that was made by my friend Valda who’s done a lot of pottery.

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our earthen vessels

We ended our first evening session with worship, and sang two of the songs the pastor chose. Social time followed with all kinds of snacks around the large kitchen counter in the Stone House.

Doris and I had an 80-something senior sharing our room. We settled in and I told Pat a bedtime story, one I’d written for my first book. It brought a few chuckles. Was it the late snacks or the anticipation that kept me awake a long while? I don’t know, but I did eventually sleep.

The next morning, we had breakfast on our own, with the choice of muffins, toast, fruit and cereal. And the early bird, Donna, had the first pot of coffee ready. By nine am, Anne led us in stretches and movement to some lively music. Another tradition of this group is a lively game of Pictionary on Saturday night.

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We started the morning session by examining the meaning of vessels that have cracks in them and watched the video with Leonard Cohen’s Anthem. After that thought-provoking poem, we considered how we, as earthen vessels, also have cracks in us, and we pondered how God loves us in spite of those cracks. One exercise was breaking down some old clay pots and discussion of those things that cause breaks in us. And when we have those breaks and let God in, that’s letting the light in.

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Arlene and Ida putting finishing touches to their craft

Our pastor leader found something interesting as she prepared for the weekend, that there’s a Japanese art called Kintsugi, in which an artist puts pieces of pottery back together with a sort of glue to which gold is added “that give a new lease of life to pottery that becomes even more refined.”

I found our music worshipful and moving and the sessions provided great discussion. We listened to videos by Dr. Brené Brown, Jeff Christian, and the esteemed Jean Vanier, winner of the Templeton prize for his work founding L’Arche. All of these speakers had one thing in common, that they were willing to show their vulnerability. Jean Vanier said in the clip we heard, “Connection is why we’re here; it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.”

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We ended our retreat with another session of worship, including communion and anointing of hands to go forward and use them in connecting with others and serving God while we did so.

I left the retreat encouraged, enriched and inspired as I know others did by their last words at our sessions. We have much to think on over the coming days and look forward to retreat next year.

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Ida’s turn at Pictionary

 

May 2, 2019 at 2:24 am Leave a comment

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