Do you remember the last time you sat down and listened to someone? #compassion

Source: Do you remember the last time you sat down and listened to someone? #compassion

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Book Launch–ART ROSS- The Hockey Legend Who Built the Bruins by Eric Zweig

My friends son, Eric Zweig is launching his new book :ART ROSS- the Hockey Legend Who Built the Bruins. Ross is a celebrated Hockey player and one of the founding fathers of the Boston Bruins. He was one of the first players to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Eric has been a lover of sports especially hockey since he was a child. He has written several books for children and adults about the game and he is managing editor for the publishers of the Annual National Hockey league Official Guide.

The launch is taking place Saturday the 19th of September from 1 to 3 P.M.                            l

Location: Ben Mcnally books

366 Bay Street

Toronto, Ont.

M5H 4B2

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Happy New Year–it is Rosh Hashana

It is the start of the Jewish New year -a time  to  wish friends and relatives a sweet and healthy and peaceful  year. It is a time for new beginnings. As is the custom our family gathered along with guests  at my home to feast and socialize on Sunday evening,-the start of this years celebrations. Each family contributed some gourmet delights and laughter to the evening.The three generations enjoyed the food, and each others company. The sweet memory of that evening lingered  long after everyone left,  thanks to the honey coated small fingerprints left behind on glass tables and walls and the  sticky floors. The sweet stickiness was the result of following the tradition of dipping apples in honey to signify a sweet year. I attended religious services with my family the following day. Watching the  young people celebrate the holiday triggered my memory and took me back to my childhood.
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Singing in the Rain in Sunny Port Hope–a late summer get a away

Summer was coming to an end. An opportunity arouse for me to join four friends on an outing to Port Hope. I was the fifth to be picked up and since I had the shortest legs I was the one designated to sit in the middle in the back seat of the car.  I went to put on my seatbelt but it wasn’t there. The buckle was where it was supposed to be but there was no sign of a belt. Everybody got out of the car to search for it, but to no avail.We looked high and low, we folded down the back seat and searched in the crevices etc. They were anxious to get going so one of them suggested I share a seat belt with her. Right! This might have worked a few years ago when we were trim and slim but there was no way one seat belt would encompass our two somewhat expanded waist lines and muffin tops.  My two back seat companions assured me not to worry because if the car stopped suddenly for any reason they would hold me back. Sure it was okay for them to say. I was the one in danger of becoming a projectile missile. But I trusted the driver and we arrived safely without incidence. My friend the driver took the car into the dealership  the following week. Surprise! The missing seatbelt wasn’t missing after all. The fifth belt was behind the seat and pulled   down from  the roof . It  was in plain view if one knew where to look  We five people didn’t know where to look or maybe our eyesight and /or brains are slightly compromised.

The drive to Port Hope was pleasant.  Port Hope. is a vibrant ,heritage, tourist community situated in southern Ontario on the north shore of Lake Ontario, a short drive from Toronto. It has much to offer–beauty, fine restaurants, shopping, sporting events, parks and hiking trails, night life, theatre and cultural events and so much more.

This area was originally inhabited by aboriginal groups. In fact the Ganaraska River which runs through the town derived its name from the Iroquois village that was situated there. The first settlers arrived in 1793, from the U.S. after the American revolution. They were of English descent. In 1834 Port Hope was designated as a town. Today much of the flavour of the old town remains thanks to many of the dedicated residents who continue to work hard to restore, renovate and maintain many commercial sites and private homes.

Our first activity was lunch. We dined at Dreamers Cafe a lovely informal restaurant in a friendly atmosphere. Actually we were impressed with the overall friendliness of the small town. We sat by the window at the cafe and witnessed each time an outdoor plant tipped from the breeze a passerby would stop and upright it. An older gentleman parked his expensive convertible outside the restaurant . A young boy with his mother was eyeing the car in awe. The man let the boy sit in the drivers seat for a few minutes. The lad was elated.

After filling our bellies we walked the streets, popped into a few stores bought a lottery ticket, and relaxed in the park until it was time for the main event. The main event and purpose of our venture was to see a theatre production  of  “Singin in the Rain”, an adaptation of the 1952 musical comedy film starring Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds. The venue for “Singin in the Rain” was the Capital Theatre. it was constructed in 1930 and was operated by Famous Players until its closure in  1987 due to poor attendance.  In 1994 some local residents formed the Capitol Theatre Heritage Foundation. and the building was restored to operate as a movie theatre and performing arts Centre. This is one of only two surviving Canadian “atmospheric theatres”.  The interior was designed to give the illusion of sitting in an outdoor medieval courtyard complete with twinkling stars and moving clouds up above.

The performance of “Singin in the Rain”  was quite spectacular. Even my friend who usually dozes off , didn’t. I found the singing, dancing and acting to be superb. it was an all Canadian cast. The highlight of the performance was the rain scene  that lasted several minutes. and took the clean up crew several minutes to mop up  Thankfully nobody slipped dancing on the wet stage but in a previous show  the main star,  did but promptly got up  with no ill effects. During intermission I spoke to some people seated in the front row. I asked if they got wet from the rain. They answered in the affirmative and a gentleman volunteered the information that not only did he get wet but a pink bra landed in his lap when articles of clothing were thrown from the stage.

“Singin in the Rain” is over, but if it returns I  highly recommend you make an effort to see it. In any event other productions take place at the Capitol theatre and a visit to Port Hope is well worth the trip. I know I would like to return frequently to this quant little town.


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Shari Blackstien Natovitch's photo.

It was so easy this year to enjoy cottaging until and including the Labor Day weekend, this first week of September 2015. The  weather cooperated . The temperature was  unseasonably hot, hot ,hot  and the lake water toward the end of the week was surprisingly warm, warm ,warm.  I even went swimming . Yes I did- me who prefers to swim in water the temperature of a warm bath took my noodle for a dip . Swimming, boating, tubing, and water skiing was enjoyed by all . Oh and eating and eating and eating some more. Groan- I feel like I am carrying a tube around my middle and I think I may be waddling. But what the heck, a little waddle was worth the feasting. Anyway soon I will be fasting.

Shari Blackstien Natovitch's photo.

 On Sunday August 30, I rode up  to the cottage  with my  youngest daughter her hubby, my two young grandsons and Kaga the dog. Quarters were a little cramped. It  didn’t help that Kaga was sprayed by a skunk a couple days previously. Although he was freshly shampooed  and showered following  the incidence and the subsequent  days, aroma de skunk permeated the automobile,  Kaga was so happy to see me he kept leaning over for some loving and I was the recipient of extra whiffs of do.ggy and skunk.   The older boy threatened to be car sick. I am not sure if it had anything to do with the skunk or just motion sickness. In any event his father coached him to inhale slowly through his nose and exhale through his mouth. That and a stop at burger King for chicken nuggets and fries seemed to cure him. I was particularly happy because I was the one sitting next to him holding the designated barf bucket.

We were greeted at the cottage with warm weather, and Chippy the chipmunk. The boys and their Dad went swimming The lake was cold– but that didn’t deter the younger set .They ran from the far end of the dock and flung themselves into the chilly water. I was particularly impressed with the confidence that the younger one had acquired since I last saw him and the lake interact.

Monday guests arrived-friends of my off spring with their two little boys . We now had four mini men, six  and under sharing the cottage with the adults, The kids were looking foreword to a boat ride, but the boat refused to cooperate. It wouldn’t  start.We had to wait for someone to charge its battery The boat is getting old and has been grumpy and likes to call the shots. Daughter and son in law made a gourmet meal  while the kids played on the beach  and the adults watched. The meal was enjoyed by all.

Tuesday was another beautiful day . The kids wanted to hang out in the cottage in the morning . They were lured outside by the aroma of weenies and marshmallows roasting at the fire pit. It was very peaceful, except for the continuous and  incessant noise of some sort of an alarm.We traced its roots to our neighbours guest cottage. Our neighbours were in the main cottage and were unaware of any alarm.Their guest cottage appeared to be okay, but they were unsure if it was a false alarm or a thwarted guest cottage invasion. In any event it gave me the opportunity to visit with my neighbours and catch up with what was going on.

Late afternoon the young folk {in comparison to me} vacated the cottage to do family activities and have dinner in Midland. I was invited to join them but I opted instead to have some quiet time-just me and Kaga. after their return we watched the baseball game between  the Toronto Blue jays and the Cleveland Indians on television. Yes! What an exciting game. Ryon Goins scored a walk off homer in the 10th inning to win the game 5 to 3. His teammates celebrated his feat by ripping off his t- shirt, rubbing shaving cream in his face and pouring gatorade over his head. Men will be boys.

Wednesday was water activity day. The weather and the boat cooperated. The boys were introduced to tubing and loved it. Our guests departed and we awaited the arrival of my eldest grandson the master of water sports.

Our eldest daughter and son in law and family arrived,  with 2 extra kids. We mainly had a lake day. We could have had a disaster. My daughter brought her three year old down to the dock. We were just in the process about to put on his life jacket, cottage rule while down at the dock. He saw his cousins in the lake and decided to jump in not remembering that his life jacket wasn’t on.His dad jumped in immediately to rescue him. There was no need. He didn’t sink . He started calmly paddling about and having a great time. We knew he was a great swimmer with the aid of his life vest but we had no idea  he wasn’t  dependent on it. However we insisted that his life vest must be worn at all times in the lake in the foreseeable future.he wasn’t too happy about that.

The four adolescent girls  decided to gang up on my oldest grandson. they collectively tried to push him in the water . But a funny thing happened. He stayed on the dock and they all ended up in the lake.

Nice to see the cottge so busy and the table filled to capacity, reminiscent of the old days.

For dinner a giant lasagna and a giant salad was devoured by the starving younger set. Nothing was left for the older folk so we barbecued and ate outside. later in the evening some of the adults took the kids for   for a night time dip in the lake to cool off.

Saturday morning, my son and daughter in law arrived with my two youngest granddaughters. The four year old loved hanging out with the older girls and they loved hanging out with her. We think she is practicing  to be a teenager. The little ones enjoyed all the attention bestowed upon them. and the four youngest played well together with only a minimum of tears. The others left and it was only 5 of us to sit down to dinner. We missed the departure of our family  gourmet chefs.

I drove back to the city with my son and daughter in law and their family. But first there was laundry to do, vacuuming and a general cleaning  up as well as tossing out from fridge and freezer.

A cottage is a wonderful way to spend family time with loved ones. Unfortunately this may be our last year at the cottage. But we will see.

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Mr. Holmes

I recently went with friends to see the movie Mr. Holmes, and I  would like to share some thoughts with you. Ian McCellen does a fine job portraying an aging Sherlock Holmes whose memory and health are failing quickly. He is retired and is spending his sunset years as  a bee keeper. The movie begins with Holmes returning home from  a trip  to Japan where he was in search of a rare plant he believed to have miraculous healing powers. His travelling companions were his widowed housekeeper played by Laura Linney and her young son, Roger . Milo Parker, a precocious and talented young British actor takes on the role of Roger.

The ten year old idolizes Holmes. To him he is a role model, father figure and  grandfather figure. Holmes becomes increasingly   protective of the lad and increasingly dependent on him for help tending to the bees and also for his support and aid in helping him write his memoirs and  recalling the unsolved case that led to his retirement. Their bond of friendship deepens and their mutual reliance on each other  increases as the movie progresses.

There is aways the possibility that someone stung by a bee or other  insect can suffer a severe allergic reaction. This happened to a character in the movie. This scene brought back terrible memories to me. Someone in my family was stung and quickly went into anaphylactic shock-a life threatening reaction to venom or other things such as peanuts. We assumed the three bites he received when he moved a chair on the porch and disturbed a nest belonged to bees. .. However at a later date the family member was tested by an allergist and the indication was he wasn’t allergic to bees but rather to  wasps and yellow Jackets,. Sometimes our friends the bees get unfairly blamed for the stings of others.

Those who attended the film with me , shared my enthusiasm for the movie- that is except one friend who sat beside me and dozed blissfully through the flashbacks  and the smooth shifting of scenes between the  old man Holmes  and the younger middle aged sleuth  prior to his retirement.

I decided to ask a good friend – Hartley R.  Nathan Q.C. his take on the movie. He found it to be a little slow and a little light. He is a Sherlockian. A Sherlockian is a fan of Sherlock Holmes who spends time pouring through author, Sir Conan Doyles  fifty six stories  and four novels about the adventures and exploits of the fictitious super sleuth. The great game is a convention played internationally. The players are enthusiastic and devote their time  trying to clarify ambiguities in the lives of the detective and his friend and assistant, Dr. Watson, as depicted in the written works by Doyle. The premise is that Holmes is a real person. It’s all part of the game.  The enthusiasts  often belong to local societies which are part of a world wide internet. Nathan is a founding member of “The Bootmakers of Toronto” and also belongs to the ‘Sherlock Holmes Society of London’ and the ‘Baker Street Irregulars of New York.’ He is also co founder of the Arthur Conan Doyle Collection of the Metro Toronto Reference Library. He recently co authored a book with Clifford S. Goldfarb, published by Mosaic Press: INVESTIGATING SHERLOCK HOLMES SOLVED AND UNSOLVED MYSTERIES. This book of essays offers new incite into  the life of the great detective. It can be ordered at any Chapters or Indigo store.




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