June 3 -- Let the Drops Drip

Though we are not meeting these days, we are chatting often on Seniors Centre Without Walls and over Zoom and you have given me many bright spots. One of the best moments from last week (which was a very good week!) came out of the mouth of our dear Anne Carter. Let me set the stage for you:

Our special guest on Wednesday was Richard Sheridan Willis, who read to us from his one man show, Strolling Player, and answered our questions. We kept him on the phone for an hour and would have continued except that is our maximum length for a call. He was captivating and we were still talking about it on Thursday morning for our Weekly Faith Lift with Rev Tracey. She read us the story of the Good Samaritan and lifted all our spirits which led to us sharing how help has come from unexpected places and how grateful we are for the caring community we call home. Thursday afternoon we had a Zoom visit from author Sherry Pringle who read us a story of a Canadian female spy during the war. Sherry also shared a little bit from a child’s perspective of WWII in London and we marvelled at how resilient children are and at their ability to find the best in many difficult situations. I suspect that many kids who have been homeschooling these past weeks will look back on this as a time when they enjoyed themselves playing games and hanging out at home with their families.  This brought memories of growing up in England to Anne who was reminiscing with us about how it was there during the war. Talk of rationing brought up a common link between then and now.  Apparently this is not the first time toilet paper has been in very short supply in the world. And that’s when Anne shared her mother’s words of wisdom for when times are tough and toilet paper is scarce: “Let the drops drip”.  I’m still smiling as I type it!

I asked for feedback from our participants about your favourite events from May and have finalized June’s calendar with that in mind. Please reach out to your friends who may be feeling lonely and let them know that anyone over the age of 55 is welcome to participate in SCWW and they can call me at 613-925-5300 if they would like more information. We are keeping Monday Morning Mindfulness with Una and Winhara who guide us in meditation and help us get set for the week. Mary Campbell from Alzheimer’s Lanark Leeds Grenville joins me on Tuesdays for trivia games and fun with Use Your Noodle. Wednesday afternoons we spend time getting to know each other better with Member Biographies where Jo Savage helps me and interviews a member live on the phone. This week is the marvellous Edith Van Dusen. On June 17th I am inviting people who contributed their stories to Fort Town Memories to share them with us, so you won’t want to miss that and I’m holding June 30th for a special guest to be announced later.  If you are looking for updates from the town and province or have good news of your own to share then call me on Friday mornings and in the afternoons tune in for Read Me a Story at 2.  I’ve invited local authors to phone in and read to us. First up on June 5th is a Walker House member and published author, Sharon Flood with one of her favourite funny short stories. 

Have a magnificent week everyone!

   WALKER HOUSE

SENIORS’ CENTRE WITHOUT WALLS-JUNE EVENTS

STEPS TO CONNECT: 1) DIAL 1-866-279-1594

2) ENTER THE PASSCODE 595056 THEN #

SUN

MON

TUE

WED

THU

FRI

SAT

 

01

02

03

04

05

06

 

Monday Morning Mindfulness

with Winhara

11am

Use Your Noodle!

Games with Mary

11am

Member Biographies:

With Jo

2pm

Weekly Faith Lift with Rev Tracey

10:30am

Share Good News: 11am

Read Me A Story: 2pm

 

07

08

09

10

11

12

13

 

Monday Morning Mindfulness

with Una

11am

Use Your Noodle!

Games with Mary

11am

Member Biographies:

With Jo

2pm

Weekly Faith Lift with Rev Tracey

10:30am

Share Good News: 11am

Read Me A Story: 2pm

 

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

 

Monday Morning Mindfulness

with Winhara

11am

Use Your Noodle!

Games with Mary

11am

Fort Town Memories:

2pm

Weekly Faith Lift with Rev Tracey

10:30am

Share Good News: 11am

Read Me A Story: 2pm

 

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

 

Monday Morning Mindfulness

with Una

11am

Use Your Noodle!

Games with Mary

11am

Member Biographies:

With Jo

2pm

Weekly Faith Lift with Rev Tracey

10:30am

Share Good News: 11am

Read Me A Story: 2pm

 

28

29

30

 

 

 

 

 

Monday Morning Mindfulness

with Winhara

11am

Use Your Noodle!

Games with Mary

11am

 Special Guest

2pm

 

 

 

*learn about the next week’s events and special guests on Friday mornings chat.

 

Need Help?

Call Susan 613-925-5300

 

 

 

May 26 -- Introducing Cyber Seniors 

 

I know it can be easy to fall into a trap of negativity these days but I am also finding wonderful surprises and generosity around every corner. Our new Seniors Centres Without Walls (SCWW) program that offers phone based programming for anyone in our area over the age of 55 has been generously subsidised for the month of May through the Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility and training for the technology behind it was supported by the Older Adults Centres Association of Ontario to allow us to hop on board quickly. The South Grenville Journal has graciously printed a clip-out version of our calendar to make it easy for us to keep track of events and now I have something new to share with you. 

 

Cyber Seniors is a multigenerational organization that partners youth mentors with seniors wanting to learn more about technology. Seniors can contact them to access daily group sessions on line covering everything from how to use Zoom, paypal, listen to podcasts, use Skype, Pinterest, Spotify, Excel. There are so many ways that computer confidence can enrich your life while we are isolating and now it’s easy to get the information you need. You can even register for a call back to have a one-on-one session with a mentor. How wonderful is this? I encourage everyone to take a moment and check out www.cyberseniors.org to see what they have to offer to improve your tech game or call 1-844-217-3057 if you need help to get on their website. During this time their fees are being waived for an organization to join and I am looking for a community partner who wants to explore that with me. We could then access online training for youth volunteers and coordinate pairing them up with local seniors who need their help. This would be something we can carry forward into the future when the mentoring sessions could then move to the library or coffee shop or here at Walker House for face-to-face training. If your organization wants to partner up with me to start a local Cyber Seniors chapter let me know.

 

We had a wonderful week with SCWW and enjoyed a visit from author Sherry Pringle on Friday. She will be our guest on a Zoom meet on Thursday afternoon at 1pm (May 28th) and our special guest on the phone at 2pm on May 27th is Richard Sheridan Willis so please phone in (call 1-866-279-1594 then enter the password 595056 when prompted) Your friends are waiting to visit with you or you can make new ones if you haven’t joined us before.

 

My number is 613-925-5300 and I am happy to help you with any questions. I’ll be sending the Zoom links out by email so be sure to get on our list by emailing walkerhouse@prescott.ca.  Stay Strong, stay patient, and stay careful so we can protect our most vulnerable members. Oh…..and Smile!!

May 19 -- Hail Caesar!

This past long weekend is my favourite of the summer as it always represented the opening of the camping season for me as a child and most years it means a big gathering of cousins, bocce ball, bon fires, mosquitos, birthday cake for my husband Chris and my niece, Tabitha, and lots of laughs. Today often referred to as the May two-four weekend, it began in the late 1800’s during the time of Queen Victoria’s 63 year reign. Canada held a government holiday on her birthday, each May 24th, that was celebrated with picnics, parades, sporting tournaments, cannon salutes and fireworks. (so not dissimilar to how we celebrate it today over 100 years later) After her death in 1901, Canada’s parliament officially named the holiday, Victoria Day. Because holidays are always better on a Monday apparently, it was decided that the day would be celebrated on the second last Monday in May which in this singular year falls on May 18th.

As I write this, our weekend plans include a weiner roast in the back yard, a hike somewhere, and perhaps a board game or two but the highlight for 2020 when we are not able to camp or gather together for fireworks is an event in honour of our national cocktail – the Caesar! Born in 1969, the Caesar is celebrated with its own day of remembrance on the Thursday before the long weekend in May and has long been a family favourite so we’ll be joining relatives and other patrons over Zoom as we virtually tour 5 pubs in Ottawa and their bartenders help us make their signature version safe at home. I can’t wait to tell you all about it next week!

We have our regular Zoom meets scheduled for next week including Hoops and Hooks on the 27th (last Wednesday of the month already!) Una returns on the 25th for Monday Morning Mindfulness at 11.  I’m adding an additional Zoom in with author Sherry Pringle on Thursday the 28that 1pm for those who couldn’t phone in for her visit on the 22nd. Our special guest is none other than the St Lawrence Shakespeare Festivals artistic director, Richard Sheridan Willis dialling in on Wednesday the 27th at 2pm. I’ll be sharing our June schedule too as I have more surprises and special guests up my sleeve to keep us busy, connected, and entertained as the world slowly comes back to life. 

 

May 13 -- Friendly Voices 

This past week has been full of gifts.

In partnership with the Older Adult Centres Association and with sponsorship by the Ministry for Seniors’ and Accessibility, Walker House has been able to offer 7 telephone based programs each week. It feels really great to have a calendar full of events to offer you again. I am not alone in this venture and must thank Mary Campbell, Una Rhodes, Winhara Burrow, and Tracey Smith who dial in to deliver some of the programs and Jo Savage who is interviewing other members for our bi-weekly biographies.

Our first subject was the lovely Nora Taker and I chose her partly because I knew she would have some fun stories to share but also because her soft accent delights me, and I just wanted to listen to her chat with Jo! This week we have Edie Batstone joining us at 2pm on Wednesday the 13th to share her special gifts and Sherry Pringle will be our host for “Read me a Story” on Friday the 22nd at 2:30 when she will read from her book, “Extraordinary Women, Extraordinary Times” Canadian Women of WWII, including the story of our own Ann Steiner. Sherry will also join us via Zoom on Thursday the 28th of May at 1pm so you can chose your preferred method to meet with her. It’s no secret that we think the world of Ann who was such a champion for Walker House and held a position on our board for so long that she has the unique honour of being named as a life-time member.

This being the second Wednesday of the month, we will have a 10am Zoom Hoops and Hooks meet-up in addition to our other weekly meets. That would have been the day of our trip to see “Hamilton” in Toronto and I’d like to mention again that anyone wanting a refund of their tickets can contact me and I’ll get a cheque out to you.

This will be a long weekend coming up so our Monday programming is suspended and I will be adding my “Chat with Susan” call-in to Tuesday afternoon at 2pm. Our biography that week is Pat Marshall and I’m look forward to learning some new things about her. 

As I develop our calendar for June I welcome your ideas and feedback. In particular I am interested in having presenters phone or Zoom in to us so please let me know at 613-925-5300 if you have someone in mind. Continue to support and protect each other, have fun planting your gardens, and have a Happy Victoria Day everyone!

 A few of you had troubles opening the Calendar for Seniors Centre Without Walls so I’ve included it here:

 

May 6 -- Let’s Hear it for Moms! 

Can you spare a moment of sympathy for men everywhere scrambling to come up with something for their wives for Mother’s Day? Kids won’t be bringing home any delightful crafts from school and that old standby of brunch at their favourite restaurant is off the menu, so to speak. I must admit my boys have it easy because nothing says “I love you Mom” in our house like a shiny bottle of wine and a hug and those are still easy to come by even if the hugs are virtual.

You might think that a very wise man decided we needed a special day for moms, but it was an unmarried spinster who started this in North America to honour her mother. Anna Jarvis, known as the “Mother of Mother’s Day” fulfilled her activist mother’s dream of a day to honour moms amidst what she felt was the growing negligent attitude of adults towards their mothers. After her mom (also named Anna Jarvis) died in 1905 she started sending her favourite carnations to her church in Grafton, West Virginia and writing letters of appeal. As her movement grew, supporters wrote letters to people in power lobbying for an official declaration. By 1911 the day was celebrated in almost every state in the union and in 1914, her hard work paid off when President Woodrow Wilson signed a joint resolution designating the second Sunday in May to be “Mother’s Day”.

Carnations continue to be a popular flower commemorating the day especially when placed on a tray delivering breakfast in bed. When I was helping my mom pack for her move into a retirement residence I found still in her possession a clay sculpture of a hot dog in a bun painted an alarming shade of lavender that I lovingly made her at Brownies. You may wonder why I chose a hot dog to signify my devotion and the answer is a simple one, really. I was very good at rolling snakes with play-do and felt that a snake would not have been an appropriate gift so I improvised.

We’ve been enjoying our Seniors’ Centre Without Walls and I must thank the Journal who included a clip out version of our first month’s schedule. This week the subject of our member biography with Jo will be Nora Taker so call in on Wednesday afternoon to chat and listen to her interview.  I will include all our Zoom links in my newsletter and if you want more information about any of our virtual programming please call me at 613-925-5300 or email walkerhouse@prescott.ca.

I’ll leave you this week with a quote from Dorothy from the Golden Girls. “It’s not easy being a mother. If it were easy, fathers would do it!”

 

April 28 -- Bring on the May Flowers!

Is it just me, or was this the longest April EVER!? My friend, who keeps track of such details, told me that it was in fact a very cool and unsunny April for our region, so let’s hope the forecast improves for May. It is hard to be dreary when sunshine and birdsong wakes us up in the morning, isn’t it?

                  I am starting to find a new routine and rhythm to my days.  I have a pretty busy calendar of events here each week with a whole new list of programs to offer you as we begin our Seniors’ Centre Without Walls. Since you can’t come to Walker House; I’m bringing Walker House to you! No special equipment is required except your dialing finger and this is available for any resident over the age of 50 who would like to dial in at no charge.

A printed version of the calendar is going out to your P.O. Box this week and the offerings include a Weekly Faith Lift (see what we did there?) with Rev. Tracey every Thursday, a morning session each Tuesday with Mary Campbell from Alzheimer’s Lanark Leeds Grenville who will host a variety of fun trivia, brain teasers, riddles, and other games during Use Your Noodle. I will be here twice a week to keep you updated on news and supports in our community and I hope you join me then for a chat and to share good news. 

Ease into each week with Monday Morning Mindfulness where special guests Una and Winhara will take turns leading you on guided meditations to lift your spirits and I’ll wrap things up on Friday afternoons with music and stories. There will be a request line, short stories for those who are missing their book clubs, name that tune and even a singalong! Jo Savage is going to take on the role of interviewer for Member Biographies and I‘ll be announcing two very special guests. I hope that you are able to enjoy our virtual meets through Zoom and our new phone programs so we can continue to be in touch until we can be together again.

I am compiling a list of names and phone numbers for our SCWW participants so that I can match names and phone numbers as people dial in and you can help that by calling me in advance at 613-925-5300 to let me know you are interested. On the day and time of your event just dial 1-866-279-1594, enter the passcode 595056 and follow the operator prompts. Our Zoom links will go out to all members on my email list each Monday.

Stay well, be happy, and remember to ask for help if you need it. To quote Bill Withers, “No one can fill those of your needs that you don’t let show. Lean on me, when you’re not strong and I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on.” Come on and sing it: you know the words!

April 21 -- Senior’s Centres Without Walls (South Grenville Journal)

I received some very good news this morning, and I am going to need your help to deliver it. One of my concerns these past weeks has been for our neighbours who do not have computer access and I know there are many who either never learned, or who accessed the computer at the library or Walker House and are therefore cut off at the moment.  We’ve been able to share information and support to members easily enough online and through our Zoom meetings, but those not on the internet have been left out and are possibly not even getting the paper because they are sheltering at home. I am so excited that we have received funding from the Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility to launch some wonderful telephone based programming known as Senior’s Centres Without Walls.  I will not be finished training or have programming ready to debut anything until later this week, but I am asking you to start reaching out to your friends. All they need to be able to participate is a telephone and I will deliver a schedule of events to them. I’m planning to have guest speakers, information and entertainment programs all coming on board as soon as possible. Can you spread the news and ask people to call me this week at 613-925-5300 to indicate their interest? Don’t worry if they are members of Walker House; any friend of yours is a friend of mine for this one; I just want to reach as many of our wonderful seniors as I can.

I have good news from CPHC as well, who are delivering Care Bags of pantry staples and fresh items right to your door. This service for seniors has just been given additional support from the United Way of Leeds Grenville so it only costs $10 and includes pasta and sauce, peanut butter, jam, cereal bars, cans of fruits, vegetables, meat, baked beans, and soup, bread, eggs, cheese strings, potatoes, bananas, and apple sauce and even a roll of toilet paper. All you need to do is call them at (613)342-3693 with your credit card and arrange your delivery. You do not have to be a client to receive this service but priority goes to those over the age of 60.Enquire also about their ongoing Meals on Wheels and frozen meal delivery program if you would like additional resources.

I will be sending out an email to all of you on my list with the Zoom links for this week. I have planned a chat for Tuesday at 1 with our craft and coffee groups, Wednesday at 1 for the art studio group and our Friday morning knitters have begun to meet as well. Let me know if you’d like me to set something up for you.

I have a spring in my step today with all this good news; it really lifts my spirits to see all the ways we are supporting each other. I had an outstanding (albeit virtual) birthday party on Sunday for my youngest cousin who turned 50 today and two generations of cousins gathered from across Ontario and celebrated and caught up and laughed for hours! Talk turned at one point to our planned holidays together this spring that were lost to this pandemic and we reminisced about the amazing holidays we have always spent together in the past. It was great to reminisce and remember the gorgeous scenery and exotic places we have shared but something I read today in a rug hooking blog from Nova Scotia that drew my focus back here. Maybe you are also calling back on memories when you visited foreign countries and are longing for a time when you can travel again? What about this day here, in our own home town with the open paths and the spring flowers just peaking up? The leaves yet to bud on the trees mean the views of the St Lawrence and its ships are unimpeded and the cold spring wind blowing over the water is beautiful. Deanne contemplated that even our own familiar surroundings are likely exotic to someone. To see the beauty here in the everyday. To feel the mindful in the mundane. To love what is: that is the secret.

 

So savour your memories of trips passed, but let’s also talk about what you did when you got home. Cause home is good too.

 

MosaiCanada 150 Topiary Exhibit

Here is the chair from our chair workshop, with members Rosemary and Steven enjoying their creations.