New Years Resolution – May

This month it was Jeff’s pick. Tessa nicely sat next to me for a little while.


We were both a little sad to hear of the recent death of Tim Conway. We grew up watching The Carol Burnett Show and Tim was one of the jewels that shone brightly. My, but he was funny. Impeccable timing and a straight face that delighted us for many years.

So, as to remember Tim Conway fondly we watched The Apple Dumpling Gang.

Synopsis: Three poor orphans are dumped into the lap of gambler Russell Donovan (Bill Bixby), and they discover they inherited a dead gold mine. It turns out the dead gold mine ain’t so dead and a huge gold nugget becomes the envy of many greedy undesirables. The kids decide to give their inheritance to a lovable outlaw duo, Theodore (Don Knotts) and Amos (Tim Conway). But there is only one problem — the gold is locked away in a bank vault. We end with the bad guys dealt with and the good guys on their way to their happily ever after.

* * *

Amos Tucker: How much money do you figure that dude’s got in front of him?
Theodore Ogelvie: About 500.
Amos Tucker: 500? Wow! You know, that’ll be, uh, that’s 200 apiece!

Theodore: Amos, that’s the most humiliating thing that’s ever happened to me.
Amos: I know.
Theodore: Three bitty kids with shovels walk right into our hideout and get the drop on us.
Amos: I know.
Theodore: And you burnt my hand, Amos.
Amos: Well, I’m sorry about that.
Theodore: And you scorched a hole in my best shirt!
Amos: Well, I can fix that.
Theodore: Why did you tell me those three bitty kids were a posse?
Amos: Well, I thought I saw them hiding down there in the bushes.
Theodore: Oh, you couldn’t see through a barbed-wire fence!
Amos: Theodore?
Theodore: That head of yours wouldn’t hold straw!
Amos: Theodore?
Theodore: You couldn’t sell hacksaws in a jail!

Homer: I’ve never teamed two more unlikely prospects. You two go together like ice cream and whiskey.

Theodore: You know something, Amos? The Lord poured your brains in with a teaspoon, and somebody joggled His arm. I keep trying to tell you we ain’t got no lead to throw, and no powder to throw it with.

Russell Donovan: You always kiss like that?
Dusty: I’ve been saving up.

Frank Stillwell: If I ever get within shootin’ distance of that doggone Amos Tucker, he’s gonna have ‘winders’ where his ears was.



I noticed that the cover showed Don Knotts with Tim Conway and the three children who were in the movie but the real star was Bill Bixby but he was not pictured. Hmm. I wonder why.

It was predictably Disney from the 1970s but fun to watch.

* * *

So next month I get to chose the movie.  I will first need to decide on a theme.

There is a sequel “The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again” or maybe just another Disney western or maybe a non-Disney western.
Or maybe another with Don Knotts “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken” is a favourite.
Or maybe a movie with three orphans or a big gold nugget.
Or maybe I should find another movie with an apple dumpling theme – hmm, I will have to research that one.
Stay tuned for June.


Confessions of a Street Walker – part 14

It is possible that you have seen a rather peculiar woman walking around the streets of Hamilton over the last four years. If you have, I hope you gave a wave…because I am she.


Some of the country roads that I want to walk on yet have their challenges. Where to park? What about the narrow shoulders? How to best stay safe? I try to take advantage of long weekends to walk on roads that might otherwise be busy.  I was walking on the Stoney Creek Mountain and I confess that I parked in a country market parking lot that was guarded with stern signs stating clearly ‘PRIVATE PROPERTY – NO TRESPASSING – Authorized Personnel ONLY – Trespassers will be Prosecuted’ but no one was there to authorize me so I parked anyways, rebel that I am. With such strongly worded signs, I wonder where they expect their customers to park. I walked from the store to Highway 20 and jig-jogged to the escarpment edge and then back along Tapleytown Road. I wore a fluorescent vest and for the first time this year, I did not wear a jacket. Yesterday’s walk was mighty long and you can see that it took me almost four hours. I confess that when I am done walking I’m always happy to see that my car has not been towed away or stolen. Which made me think…how would I know if it was towed or stolen? I suppose I would have to first contact a store which is closed to find out if they are cranky enough to follow their own signs.


What I noticed on my walk that I did not expect was the high number of country properties that are gated and fenced and guarded by barking dogs who acted like they wanted to rip my face off.

I do not believe that I have ever put on more than 30,000 steps in one day until yesterday.


I am walking a little funny today.

Funny – strange and funny – haha.

Confessions of a Street Walker – part 13

It is possible that you have seen a rather peculiar woman walking around the streets of Hamilton over the last four years. If you have, I hope you gave a wave…because I am she.


So on Saturday, May 4th I felt like a semi-professional street walker. I co-lead a Jane’s Walk down Barton Street. Luckily I was walking with Rachel who had a vast knowledge of the history of the area and the up-to-date news of the goings on that are going on. I was more or less tagging along but I hoped to add some interesting bits along the way and I had promised to reveal a secret that I had discovered about Barton Street. 

So Saturday morning dawned drizzly with threatened rain but I said I would be there and I was. It was nice that there was a group of almost 20 of us marching down Barton Street from The Lotus and the Bee to River Trading Company. I was happy to share with the folks about why Barton, though oft-maligned, became one of my favourite streets during my walking project. You see, during my walking project I was supposed to walk in that area but there had been some violence in the area during the night before. I questioned myself whether it would be wise to walk in an area that had a bit of a ‘reputation’ but I was humbled when I went for my walk there. It was just regular folks out and about. People crossing the street at the same time as I was or people who were walking their kids to school or homeowners putting out their trash or waiting at the bus stop. I only met kind people. 

* * *

Our daughters Laura and Karen and granddaughter Callie showed up for the Jane’s Walk, along with two Alice’s from our church. John and Mary Terpstra were there as well. John is a well-known local poet and I have attended a number of his readings (I am pretty sure that the word stalking did not come up – but I confess that it could have)

* * *

And now for the secret. At our starting point, we were across the road from a location that was mentioned in one of the stories in the second collection of short stories that I am a part of with my fellow writers of the Hamilton Mountain Writers’ Guild.


Our guild is divided into smaller groups and Neil Chopp is in my group. We read each other’s work and offer peer critiquing and feedback to each other. I remember reading Neil’s story The Endowment Effect and thinking that he was probably going to win – and he did. I confess that I am not a huge fan of horror stories but I was so captivatied by the story he wove. At one point in the story, he reveals what happens to the main character Lorcan.


Those words were spooky enough but when you are across from 307 Barton Street East you cannot help but look in the window. A little bit of misdirection and then you see it – next door – is the cup that you are looking for.


If you perchance look a little closer you see that the cup could not possibly be Lorcan because the cup is a ‘happy 50th birthday’ type cup and Lorcan would not likely be that kind of cup.


And then you remember that it is just a story – a made up story – intended to entertain us (and possibly scare the socks off of us) (methinks there are now a number of sockless people running around out there)

* * *

On our walk, we stopped at St. Matthews House and heard from Renee Wetselaar who talked about some of the meaningful ways that they were trying to impact their neighbourhood for good.

We saw murals and heard about the interesting businesses and social enterprises along with that small piece of Barton Street.

We stopped at the fire station. The firemen had kindly pulled out their big red fire engine so I could ‘touch a truck’ and we were able to say thank you to them for their service with a round of applause.

We ended up at the River Trading Company where I had some copies of our book available for purchase. I also lured them in with free laundry soap samples (see Confessions part 12)

It was a fun experience where I was able to walk and talk at the same time. Who knew?

Confessions of a Street Walker – part 12

It is possible that you have seen a rather peculiar woman walking around the streets of Hamilton over the last four years. If you have, I hope you gave a wave…because I am she.


My walk this week had me coddiwompling through Ancaster. It was a Monday morning and it turned out to be garbage/recycling pickup day. I remember a time when I would plan my walks around when it was recycling day because I was one of ‘those’ people.  The (usually) guy people who search the blue recycling boxes for bottles and cans of the alcoholic persuasion to be turned in to the beer store to collect the refund on the deposit. Quite often it would be guys who were a little down on their luck because most people are not that willing to work as hard as they do. They are often out there rain or shine – and early enough to beat the recycling truck. Not an easy task.

Now, I was not one of ‘those’ people because of collecting glass bottles and cans but I would pick up plastic containers that I could use for The Soap Kitchen.

To make a long story even longer – I run monthly workshops where I teach people to make their own laundry soap. It is eco-friendly, ultra low-cost laundry soap. When making this laundry soap I need containers that can hold liters and liters of the laundry soap to give away.


The containers we use can be any waterproof container but we do have favourites. Handles are best and clear containers are easiest to pour into and different sizes are useful as well. I provide all of the supplies for each workshop so I have to have a huge stash of containers ready to go. When I first started The Soap Kitchen I would find out which neighbourhood had recycling day and plan my walk accordingly.


My walks no longer include container hunting because I have so many people collecting them for me. Arlene and Henry provide me with a steady stream of orange juice containers. Doreen and Minnie bring bags of containers when they come to the workshop. People hand me laundry detergent containers in the fellowship hall after church. They have to be rinsed out well and then they are ready to share with lots of people.

Since I no longer include laundry-soap-suitable container collecting on my walks I no longer take along large bags to hold the containers I would come across. But on Monday I was walking past a place that had some of my favourite containers (the Simply Orange brand) peeking out of the recycling box. I noticed that they were all tied together and I would be able to carry it easily. So I scooped them up and they accompanied me on the remainder of my walk.


Now I will confess that it may have looked a little odd with me marching down the quiet streets of Ancaster with the grand loot that I had accumulated clunking at my side but there it was.

I noticed a meter-reader in the court I was walking on and she could not resist asking if I was really thirsty.  Of course, I had to tell her why I was walking around with this treasure. I told her about my walking project and about The Soap Kitchen and she seemed genuinely interested. I think I remember that her name was Christine and she was so lovely to chat with.


 I really do meet the nicest people.


New Years Resolution – April

This month was my pick of the movie to watch with my brother Jeff. In keeping with the water theme from last month, I chose The Shape of Water.


I really knew nothing about the movie except that there were a number of awards and some of it was filmed in Hamilton. But it qualified in the ‘had to be something about water’ department. (see the New Years Resolution – March post)

I had not even read the summary.

Elisa is a mute, isolated woman who works as a cleaning lady in a hidden, high-security government laboratory in 1962 Baltimore. Her life changes forever when she discovers the lab’s classified secret — a mysterious, scaled creature from South America that lives in a water tank. As Elisa develops a unique bond with her new friend, she soon learns that its fate and very survival lies in the hands of a hostile government agent and a marine biologist.


We settled in to watch.

I did enjoy the movie. There were a couple of plot points that made us go – ‘nope, now I don’t believe you’ and it wasn’t about the water creature that was found. As kids we are told to ‘turn off the tap before you flood the place’ and it looks like the grownups were right. Uncareful bathroom tap turnoff-ing can result in disaster.

It looked like a realistic portrayal of the 1960s and I loved seeing our City Hall in the one scene. There was a fair amount of tension in the plot. There were good guys and bad guys and standing up for what is right and even an inter-species love story. We thought it was going to have a disappointing ending but – no – the ending was all wrapped up in a nice (if not wet) bow.

We thought that it was not a GREAT movie but the point is that we watch a movie together and see if we can get something out of it and for that, it succeeded.

Looking forward to next month and seeing what movie Jeff will pick.


Well, that’s a weighty topic, isn’t it? Much more complicated than babbling on about walking around Hamilton. At church for Lent, we were encouraged to think about our sin and a visible reminder was handed out for those interested in participating. A piece of twine. Some chose to put theirs on their key rings or around their purse handle. It was long enough to tie around my wrist. It was going to help me be mindful of sin.


As it was, I was giving up carbonated beverages for Lent but this was going to be a constant reminder because my Garmin step tracker is always on my wrist.

It actually took quite a bit of work to tie it on. Too tight – then too loose. One knot was not enough and I had to tie multiple knots to keep it from undoing itself. A little bit like how sin is often intentional and actually takes effort, unfortunately.

And the twine really stuck out and scratched at my wrist so I trimmed it a bit. Maybe because then I might not have to answer uncomfortable questions from people who want to know why my fashion sense now consists of hay bale accessories.


And when I decided to take a picture of it I was confronted with pride. I could have taken it at the end of my day when the step count was only 1845 but if I was going to take a picture of my steps I would take a picture after I had taken a long walk. Pride.

I take my step tracker off when I sleep and I wish that sin could be as easily removed from my life. “Happy to say I left sin on the night table today” But it doesn’t work that way.

My granddaughter attends the same church as we do and saw my piece of twine.
She asked, “Is that to remind you of your sin?”
My answer was, “Yes, yes it does.”
Her reply was, “the twine just reminds me of crafts.”  : )

At the end of this little experiment, I will undo the twine and it will be easier to forget to be mindful of sin. I will begin to drink carbonated beverages again (hooray) but I do hope that I will not forget to confront my arrogance or ignorance, my pride or my greed,  or my anger or envy. Instead, I wish to be more kind and loving, generous and giving, as well as gentle and content. I think that the world would be a better place if we could all do thusly.

Confessions of a Street Walker – part 11

It is possible that you have seen a rather peculiar woman walking around the streets of Hamilton over the last four years. If you have, I hope you gave a wave…because I am she.

I try to be observant when I am out walking especially when I am in a previously unexplored area. I was out for a walk the other day and came across a mystery.
One that stopped me in my tracks.
I might say it left me speechless but anyone who knows me – knows that speechlessness does not often happen to me.
This is what I saw in the ditch.


Now, this puzzled me. What an odd formation of ice. How did it get that shape? What were those odd pointy marks on the top right of the ice?

I had to walk a bit further to finally figure out that the culvert had a build up of ice and, with a bit of a thaw, the ice escaped the culvert and slid downstream in the ditch with the sole purpose of perplexing me.


So, mystery solved.

The second mystery was equally perplexing. I wish I had taken a picture but I didn’t and since a picture is worth a thousand words we will see how many I will need to explain this to you.

After a significant snowfall, I noticed that there were strips of snow stuck to a long fence.

Snow on the fence

It was similar to the fence in the photograph above except the snow was a solid horizontal stripe covering about two feet off the ground to about four feet off the ground. The rest of the fence was bare.

This perplexed me. How in the heck did that snow get there?

Why was it so much higher than the rest of the snow all around it? Were kids throwing snowballs at the fence in an amazingly accurate manner to create a solid strip of snow?  I pictured hordes of children lining up just to stick the snow to the fence just to mystify me. Why would the bottom and tops halves of the fence have no snow and the middle had snow solidly affixed to it? This had me wondering for days before I found out the answer.

When my hubby and I were going past the fence, I expressed my state of perplexity to my practical, commonsensical husband. He told me that the stripes were the result of large snowblowers blowing the snow at the fence.


Another mystery solved. It should not have confused me as much and as long as it did but I confess I am not always the brightest bulb in the chandelier.