Thursday, April 26, 2012


I've always loved the poem, Desiderata - and I think I'm not alone. I had a poster of this poem for many years in my home, and I was just speaking to my neighbour, who said she kept a poster of this poem in her office for many years.

It was believed for awhile that this poem had been discovered in a chuch in Baltimore in 1692, however it is now known that a poet and lawyer, by the name of Max Ehrman wrote it sometime around 1927.

Ehrman lived from 1872, to 1945, in Indiana. He is said to have wanted to write a humble poem which might do good.

There was a mixup, about the origin of the poem because a pastor, found a copy of this poem sometime in the 1950 's and it was printed on a paper with the name of St. Mary's Church, Baltimore, founded in 1692.

In spite of the small mixup, I do think this poem has influenced many people in a positive way.

According to The Free Dictionary, "desiderata" is the plural of the word "desideratum", and means "the essentials of a good life", and "Something considered necessary or highly desirable".

I think it's a lovely, gentle instruction - and I never grow tired of reflecting on it.

I enjoyed this video using Desiderata - maybe you will too! :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Dona Nobis Pacem

I have been following along with the music video log, Rise Up Singing, for several months.

The author of this vlog, Matthew Vaughn, is working towards recording all the songs in the song book, Rise Up Singing. This song book includes traditional folksongs; protest songs; the music of Pete Seeger; Woody Guthrie; Joan Baez; Joni Mitchell; Bob Dylan; Beatles name just a few of the fabulous songs in this book..

This is music I enjoy - I even attempted to learn to play the guitar as a teenager using a songbook of Joan Baez, it wasn't to be. I didn't have the talent, or gumption to put up with very sore finger tips.But I love listening to this genre of music. As a teenager I also had a fascination with old Irish folksongs, and borrowed several lp's from our library with ancient, scratched recordings of very old men and women singing folksongs from their little cottages, in Ireland or Wales, as well. So, when I found Matthew's vlog, I took to it immediately.

Presently he is visiting family and friends in Canada. I thought you may enjoy this version of Dona Nobis Pacem, which Matthew, his brother, and friend, recorded at Muskoka Lake, Ontario.

The pristine setting seems to be a perfect place for this song sung in rounds, which translated into English, means "Give us Peace".
Hope you will enjoy! I can almost feel the brisk breezes off the lake. :)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Getting healthy, and loving that spring is here!

In the past five weeks, I've been spending alot of time on my own - this has benefits - allowing me time to think, and read, and walk outdoors.
I have been sick with the bug, commonly known as c. difficle, which can overtake one's gastrointestinal tract, as the result of taking certain antibiotics. After three visits to the emergency department of my hospital, I met a wonderful specialist, who put me on a new medication, and admitted me to the hospital for several days. I am so grateful for him and the amazing nurses who cared for me, and got me back on my feet to being better.

I've been off work since then until we can be sure I don't pose a risk to passing the bug onto anyone else.

So, what does one do, once beginning to feel healthy, but  needing to keep alone - to try  using the time in a meaningful way?

My son, Paul , noticed I was feeling down for a couple of days after first coming home - I had started reading some information about this medical condition on Google, and alot of it was quite negative. Paul and I chatted about this casually in the car, one day, and we both agreed that there is a possibility, that most of the people who might choose to post on these sites, are those who are having more difficulties and adverse experiences with the treatment - that there well may be more people who have been successfully treated, but they tend not to write about this. And as well, Paul tactfully pointed out that a negative mood may prevent one from recovering - that those with a more positive frame of mind would possibly recover more quickly.

So, that afternoon, I decided that walking outdoors every day, and really breathing would be a good first step. I would hold positive thoughts such as trust in the doctor, and the treatment, belief in my body's ability to bounce back - at least this would be more uplifting then dwelling on possible failure.

I started to watch one movie an evening -  and I began to watch movies I owned, and knew would be uplifting or distracting - Mama Mia!, which has so much to like in it - the scenery, the music, the comedy - Pierce Brosnan, and Colin Firth.The next evening was Apollo 13, which I have always liked for the story; all around amazing acting - Tom Hanks; and the historical significance. I haven't watched a movie every evening, but those first few days, I found watching got my mind off me.

I AM a reader, and as Paul is too, he next suggested I read Always Looking Up, by Michael J. Fox - and this certainly did help me - just reading of what this funny, down to earth man has overcome, and overcomes every day, and how he's worked for his cause, and his beautiful family, as well as his reflections on faith and hope.I enjoy biographies and autobiographies always, and always enjoy when photos are included, and there are some lovely pictures of Michael's family.

I feel a connection to this actor, as Paul, my son watched, Family Ties reruns every day after school, before I got home from work, and I always felt he was getting a healthy dose of humour, and it certainly wouldn't hurt him to watch it. (He also would watch The Cosby Show.) Further, Michael's character, Alex P. Keaton, from Family Ties, always brought to mind for me my youger brother, Jeff, who seemed to have been cut of the same cloth in his adolescence.

 Michael  grew up in Canada, in a relatively large family, and seems to have kept close to his roots, and family. I feel he is a  genuinely good person, and a family man, and that is very refreshing.

Next, once my appetite returned, I began to think about how I eat, I've started to experiment with soy milk,
and preparing healthy vegetarian meals.When I first came home, I read this book thoroughly from cover to cover.A good friend, Geraldine Hartman created this lovely book - and there are many temping recipes, I plan to try.

Last evening I made from this book, Traditional Irish Potato Soup, and Savory cheddar Cheese Muffins - and they turned out good! Although, I'm choosing not to eat meat, I'm eating eggs, and cheese, as well as fish, and seafood, as I'm not sure if I have the knowledge yet, to be sure I can cover all the bases, without, these sources of protein.

I purchased this cookbook from Geraldine last year for myself, as well as one for a friend, and I'm so glad that I did. Just reading her recipes, and looking at the attractive photographs of the dishes, really helped me to get an appetite back.

Her book, Not Just for Vegetarians - Delicious Homestyle Cooking, the Meatless Way, can be ordered over at her blog, Veggie's, Yarns, and Tails. Go over and visit, and I know you'll enjoy your experience!

Being at home most of the day, has allowed me to get to know the cats much better than I think I had before.What do Herbert and Arthur do all day?

Here is an interesting shot - Herbert was staring intently at the computer screen, as a c.d. was playing along with a slide show. Yes, Mr. Chedder - Herbert seems to have been grooving to the music of Matt Dusk.When I attempted to get a picture of Herb staring straight at the screen, in total concentration, he objected, and turned to glare at me. He soon jumped down, and pretended to have nothing to do with the music at all.

I received this c.d. as a birthday gift, this past week (my birthday is abit earlier in April), and I am thoroughly enjoying his music. My favourites are On the Street Where You Live, (a tune from My Fair Lady), and More. This very young singer has a very accomplished style in the Big Band tradition, which makes him very unique, and he's definitely made this music his own as well. I've been listening to this, and have found myself dancing in the kitchen, and singing along, which has to be good for my health!!

Now, back to what the cats seem to do all day - they like to wake up at 4:00 A.M., and have breakfast, and then once they've eaten, and I can't return to sleep, and so have started my day, they then curl up on my bed, or the couch, and have a long nap.At least the sun is up, and the birds are singing.

Later, the cats might move from one comfortable place to another and nap.

Herbert likes to come and lay on my right arm if I am typing on the computer.

And they engage in very interesting varieties of play. Body language is used very skillfully by both, and it is quite mesmerizing to watch.

Herbert is quite often the instigator - here he is standing in an invitation - "Ready to play - tough guy?"

Here it is easy to see Herberts greater size to Arthur.

First point of contact, and Arthur is no pushover.

More posturing here by Herbert, and Arthur seems to follow the way of judo, to play from a point of weakness. He certainly has no fear of his older, quite benign companion.

Here, Herbert has noticed that I am pointing the camera at him. Shortly after, the two went their separate ways.

I have enjoyed writing and sharing here once again. Really, I felt it might be a good outlet for me - lately I think I may have been wearing my son down, with all my opinions and observations on this and that.

So, I believe I may find myself posting here now and then. If you choose to read along that will be a bonus for me!

I have been following along with many blogs, and just in the past few days, have begun to comment, and really, it is a joy, to follow others, and feel connected to the amazing, creative, and talented world of so many bloggers.

. There is so much to enjoy, and experience in our world. Let's hope and believe in our fellow human beings, and ourselves, to find solutions and resolutions that will heal our earth, and especially to find peaceful solutions in  the troubled  countries of our planet.

This is Paul's coffee mug.The design and slogan is based on a poster used by the British Ministry of Information, during WWII.  It somehow fits with my son's personal philosophy. He has been a stalwart  in the past 5 weeks, while at the same time writing exams, and finishing the last semester of his teaching degree.
The kindness of friends; the love of my son; the love of my cats; :) the use of inspirational reading; the entertainment of movies; fresh air, and walking; listening to good music, and dancing and singing along; and good food; and the skilled medical intervention of a wonderful doctor- have added up to a renewed sense of well being, and health.

I know that I am one of the fortunate ones, to live in North America with peace, and access to clean water, ample food; and fine medical care. I plan to try to give back as soon as possible - I know that there are several organizations which provide funding for simple kinds of medical care in the developing world, such as anti-diarrhea medicines, and tablets for water purification, and as well programs which build wells for clean water - so this I believe will be one thing I can do to give back for my good fortune, and to people who don't have the access to what I do living in North America. It's a small thing, but still a start

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead, and thanks for reading here!