November 24 -- “Come Draw with Me”

I’ve been hearing some very optimistic news about the coming year and it seems like there is a light at the end of this chilly winter tunnel we are facing. I’m so happy to imagine our world opening up again and in the months ahead, while we wait as patiently as we can, our virtual program offerings continue to expand. We will be able to learn and create and explore from a place of safety and warmth using our phones or computers to stay connected and we will come through this. Please remember that if you are struggling I am here and I can be reached at 613-925-5300 or walkerhouse@prescott.ca.

This Wednesday marks the last of the month so Prescott Hoops and Hooks will be meeting virtually.

Mary Campbell’s “First Link” workshops exploring dementia began last week and she returns this Thursday at 1 to discuss strategies for adapting to brain changes. I’ve attended Mary’s presentations before but I learn something new each time. You will need to register with her so that she can share the Zoom link, but it is an open session for anyone who feels they will benefit.

I will join you if it’s raining but if there is a break in the weather, I will be heading north to the Limerick Forest trails again to take our walking group on the road. If you haven’t been before, reach out for directions and if you know the way please meet up in the parking lot at the visitor’s centre for 1pm. It’s a lovely sheltered place to walk and we all enjoyed our previous visit.

Art teacher extraordinaire, Sharon Stein, is bringing a weekly drawing course to us on Wednesday afternoons during our art studio time which takes place over Zoom at 1pm. People draw along with her, in simple steps. We’ll start on Wednesday, December 9th with landscapes, and work together to cover how to draw in perspective and using different types of strokes. You don’t need to be a regular attendee of the art studio to come along and the supplies needed are just a sketch pad (9X11 is fine) and HB pencil (sets can be purchased at a dollar store) a soft white eraser, and a pencil sharpener. Sharon is also requesting that you bring your enthusiasm too!

Rev Tracey is here this Thursday for our Faith Lift at 10:30 and the coming Monday Morning Mindfulness on November 30th at 11am will be facilitated by me. Listening to a guided meditation is a lovely gift you give yourself and can really help start your week off on a high note; I hope you call in to join me.

November 17 -- Join us for an Informative Workshop on Dementia

 

Everything is topsy-turvy these days it seems, so I have some rescheduling announcements for you this week.

I must apologize, but I am going to have to change the way our Zoom “how-to” workshops are being delivered from in-person to virtual classes.

Our plans to move some of our regular activities indoors in December has also been stalled. At the beginning of the pandemic last winter a Municipal Emergency Control Group formed and meets regularly to ensure that the town is doing everything in its power to protect residents and businesses and navigating the ever changing guidelines. The group is comprised of members of the O.P.P, town of Prescott staff and councillors, the local health department, and the fire department, so they bring a lot of experience and expertise to the table and they’ve decided that they are not comfortable with public events in the Ruth Evanson room at this time. Although this is disappointing, I am thankful for their efforts to keep our community a safe place and appreciate how lucky we are here.

I still feel that Zoom training is a priority so we will go forward with a number of small-sized, virtual workshops on the afternoon of November 30th. I won’t be able to get all the details in place before the deadline for this column, but I’ll be in touch with everyone who signed up.  Again, I apologize for backtracking; this is something that I have been trying to avoid, but apparently patience and flexibility are still very much in fashion for winter 2020!

We had to postpone the Libby session with our Chief Librarian, Jane McGuire, and I have it scheduled now for Monday, November 23rd at 1pm. I will also include a YouTube tutorial with this week’s newsletter in case you want to get going without me.

One session that went off without a hitch was our Remembrance Day phone call on Seniors Centre Without Walls and I’d like to thank Rev Tracy Smith for her part. You can join her again on November 26th for our Faith Lift at 10:30.

First Link begins this week on November 19th at 1pm and Mary covers the different types of dementia and the process of being diagnosed in the first session. The following week she will help us gain a better understanding of the changes in the brain and the relationship to the symptoms of dementia along with suggesting new strategies to adapt to the changes.  Register at mcampbell@alzllg.ca or with me to have the link sent to you.

There is no rain in the forecast for that day, so our walking club will venture forth without me from the amphitheatre at 1pm November 19, and I’ll sneak down to join you if I can once our session has started.

November 12 -- Preparing to Gather Again 

We are getting very close to being able to hold indoor activities again and I’d like our groups to put some thought into how that might work for them. I will be with you every step of the way and ensure that proper cleaning and contact tracing is taking place and all current Covid response protocols are covered so you won’t have to worry about that. Each activity is limited to ten people though, so some of our groups may need to split up into smaller cohorts. I welcome your feedback as we begin to open up and would prefer that each group make their own decisions about who will be in the different cohorts if you regularly have more than 10 participants. Everyone will be required to wear masks at all times while indoors and maintain physical distancing and I know this may not be comfortable for all members, so I will continue to expand our online and telephone programming back to our full winter schedule by January.

One of my priorities is to help more of you access them so I have training coming from TechTutors to help. The first session will be held live at town hall in the Ruth Evanson Room on the 30th of November. The workshop will cover all you need to know about Zoom and you will bring your device (laptop, tablet, or smart phone) to the workshop and pick up all the tips and tricks you need. You must pre-register with me so that our numbers are controlled. The first workshop is at 1pm on Monday, Nov 30th. If that fills, I will register for a second at 3pm. If you would be interested in borrowing a tablet from Walker House, please reach out to me as I am creating a tech library for those members who don’t have access to them. We’ve shared in some great programming over Zoom and I hope to make this accessible for more members in any way I can.

Last Thursday our walking group enjoyed a beautiful trek on the Brock Trail and we are returning home this week to meet at the amphitheatre on the 12th at 1pm.  At the same time, we have a Zoom meet with our chief librarian, Jane McGuire, so I will be heading down to walk when that concludes. This means you will also have the opportunity to walk at 2pm if you would like to Zoom in first and get some help with installing and using Libby to access the thousands of free books and audiobooks available to borrow virtually for library members. If your card has expired and you live in Prescott, give the library a call or drop by there in the afternoon to get one. Next week, Mary Campbell is beginning a series called “First Link” a program for people interested in learning more about dementia from the Alzheimer Society Lanark, Leeds, Grenville. The Zoom sessions will being on Thursday the 19th at 1pm and continue for 4 weeks with the first session being an overview entitled, What is Dementia? Please register with Mary at mcampbell@alzllg.ca or with me and she will forward a Zoom link. These relaxed and very informative sessions are open to anyone in the community who would like to participate. Next Monday on the 16th at 11am Winhara joins us over the phone for Monday Morning Mindfulness for anyone who is looking for a chance to unwind and relax before heading into another busy week – do give us a call!

November 4 -- Staying Together Apart

Keep your   eyes open for tech workshops coming up before Christmas to help you become more comfortable using technology and accessing the many programs being offered not only from Walker House but also by the places where you shop and do business. Our chief librarian, Jane McGuire, is joining us on November 12th at 1pm via Zoom to help us with Libby, the library app that will let you download books to your e-reader, computer, or tablet for free. I have been a fan for years and usually have one or two audio books on my smartphone that I listen to while my hands are busy with crafts or chores. You need a library card from your local library so make sure you take care of that this week and have it and the device you’d like to use with you next week when you join us on Zoom. You do not have to be a member of the Prescott library to use Libby or to join us for the session; your community library card will be all you need.

Also next week, we have a telephone-based Remembrance Day service through our Seniors Centre Without Walls beginning at 10:45 on November 11th. To join dial 1-866-279-1594 and use passcode 595056. Reverend Tracey Smith will join me for a simple service to mark the hour together since for many of us it will not be possible to gather at the Cenotaph this year. I’d like to take a moment to highlight one of our other phone based programs. Our Monday Morning Mindfulness never fails to be uplifting thanks to our fabulous moderators, Winhara and Una.Both ladies do a fantastic job of making it accessible for anyone, so no experience with meditation is necessary. Mindfulness, put simply, is the ability to stay present in the moment. That may seem easy and straight-forward but as it suggests, practising mindfulness takes, well, practise. Utilizing mindfulness allows you to not only take notice of your feelings and reactions but to take control of them. This has a number of health benefits; mindfulness has been shown to reduce stress, increase focus, and lessen emotional reactivity.  For example, this week Una asked us to recline by our phones and she took us through an acupressure meditation exercise that used our body weight to apply gentle pressure and left us feeling refreshed and energized. I encourage you to dial in and give it a try. Our next session is on November 16th with Winhara at 11am and then on November 30th with a guest moderator.

Our walking group will be meeting in Brockville this week at 1pm on November 5th and we’ll meet on the Brock Trail on Centennial Road. If you drive north on California and then turn left onto Centennial Rd, just past the railroad tracks you’ll find a parking lot on the right and the marked Brock Trail on the left. Let’s take advantage of the glorious forecast for this week and take in some fresh air and friendship together.

WALKER HOUSE - NOVEMBER

SENIORS CENTRE WITHOUT WALLS AND ZOOM

CALL IN TO 1-866-279-1594 USE PASSCODE 595056

(ZOOM SESSIONS WILL HAVE A LINK SENT OUT BY EMAIL FROM SUSAN AT WALKERHOUSE@PRESCOTT.CA)

SUN

MON

TUE

WED

THU

FRI

SAT

01

02

03

04

05

06

07

 

Monday Morning Mindfulness with Una -11am

**Roam From Home -11am

 

Craft chat -1pm

Art Studio 1pm

 

 

Knitters 10am

 

08

09

10

11

12

13

14

 

 

Use Your Noodle with Mary – 11am

 

Craft chat -1pm

**Remembrance Day with Susan 10:45

 

Art Studio 1pm

Faith Lift with Rev. Tracey-10:30

 

**Jane from Prescott Library at 1pm

Knitters 10am

 

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

 

Monday Morning Mindfulness with Winhara – 11am

Use Your Noodle with Mary – 11am

 

Craft chat -1pm

Art Studio 1pm

**First Link workshop: 1pm

 

 

Knitters 10am

 

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

 

 

Use Your Noodle with Mary – 11am

 

Craft chat -1pm

Hoops and Hooks 10am

 

Art Studio 1pm

Faith Lift with Rev. Tracey-10:30

 

**First Link Workshop: 1pm

Knitters 10am

 

29

30

 

 

 

   

 

Monday Morning Mindfulness with Susan – 11am

 

 

***Our walking group meets Thursdays at 1pm in various locations***

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEWS FLASH

If you follow the St Lawrence Shakespeare Festival, then you are aware of the online workshops and 1 on 1 sessions they are offering in music and theatre. One that caught my eye for us was Heidi Reimer’s “Writing Creatively” an 8 week online exploration being offered on Wednesday evenings. We have been offered a great deal on the workshop for Walker House members and with a subsidy from our program dollars, the experience can be yours for just $100! That’s only $12.50 a session to work with Heidi. I encourage you to check out the course description and let me know quickly if this is for you because it begins next week. If you have been putting off dreams of being a creative writer, make this your time!

 

October 22 -- Nothing Gold Can Stay 

This line of poetry by Robert Frost captures the melancholy feeling that autumn evokes in many of us. The bright fall colours  that blaze in the orange pumpkins and the reds, golds, and yellows of the falling leaves help us hold on to the bright summer sun for a little bit longer. Una reassured us this week at our Monday Morning Mindfulness about powerful sun light and how even on a gloomy day or in the cold winter it is ever present and we can draw on its memory to warm ourselves. We are certainly doing our best to keep going outdoors but also virtually over the phone or computer and I encourage you to reach out if you need a hand connecting to us. We had our largest group to date at our walking club last week when we took our field trip to Limerick Forest to wander among the trees. It was such a good time! If you have not found our Walker House Facebook page yet, please do. I shared some photos of a few of the charming tree huggers I found there and it’s a great way to stay in touch and see some familiar faces.

 

This Thursday October 22nd, we will be meeting at the back of Walker House at 1pm and you can take part in an Urban Pole clinic with Sue Turner followed by a walk in the park or you can skip the clinic and start walking right away. There is no charge for the lesson for members and Sue will cover both types of poles and review your technique if it’s been awhile, so I encourage everyone to drop by. I have a set of the Stability Poles for sale if you would like to try them out; they allow for more confidence walking with knee or hip issues. The fitness poles are designed to boost your walk and engage upper body muscles while you exercise.  Katarina’s is staying open if anyone cares for a refreshment break on the way back to your cars, too.  Our group wants to check out the Brock Trail  on October 29th at 1pm. It’s too long to stroll the entirety in one day, so I am proposing that we meet at the Brockville Tourism office on Market Street and do the eastern waterfront loop which will include Blockhouse Island, the marina, and the Aquatarium. As always, we will have  a variety of speeds and distances and there is a place for everyone. You may want to make sure you have a mask in case there is a warm patio or some shopping that calls to you while we are in the neighbourhood.

 

Here at home, the power was turned back on at Walker House today so my answering machine will be back in business at 613-925-5300. I will need to take registrations for our upcoming workshop streaming live for us from the Royal Botanical Gardens on Friday October 30th. Karin will be our host again, but this time over Zoom so we can see her in action with all of her subjects. The fall workshop she is presenting for us  is about pumpkins, squash and gourds. I’ll be able to send you a Zoom link for the session the day before but am not able to publish it in the paper so just drop me a line to let me know of your interest and if you need help. Karin did a great job giving us a tour of the gardens over the phone, so I am anticipating this live view into their space. Please feel free to invite any gardening friends who would enjoy the experience.

Stay well and stay happy!

October 16 -- Physically Distanced, but Still Together. 

This weekend I found many things to be thankful for, and I hope you did too. We gathered with cousins at an old resort in the Ottawa valley since we are too many to host in one of our houses. Each family had a rustic cabin with decks and fire pits, and we put on warm layers and made the best of it in the great outdoors. I know many of you are doing the same in order to meet up with friends and our walking club is a good example of how we can remain physically distanced, but still together. Our plan this week is to head for the Limerick Forest Visitor’s Centre for 1pm on Thursday and walk on the trail. It’s a nice flat path to walk in any season, but especially pretty in the fall and I invite you to make your way there and join us. A few weeks ago when we visited, the outhouses were open and if you head to www.Limerickforest.ca you’ll find directions and a printable trail map. Coming up on October 22nd we have an Urban Pole clinic with Sue Turner at 1pm at Walker House followed by a walk. This is great for anyone looking for a refresher on their technique or new to using Urban Poles. We have a rain date on October 29th and there is no charge for Walker House members.

In Seniors Centre Without Walls news, we have our Bi-Weekly Faith Lift with Rev Tracey on October 15th and October 29th at 10:30 and Una will be our facilitator for Monday Morning Mindfulness on October 19th at 11. Continuing through October every Tuesday at 11 we have a fun session with trivia and brain teasers with Mary. You can call in to your event from any phone to 1-866-279-1594 and enter passcode 595056 when prompted. 

It was nice to see many of you last week at our Harvest take-out lunch and at our board meeting. I appreciate every chance we get to visit and all your support as Walker House begins to rebuild. I’m documenting each stage and look forward to the day when we are freshly repaired, open to visitors, and all this is just a collection of photos in our album.

 

October 8 -- Happy Thanksgiving 

I feel like I am getting my feet underneath me again after the shock of my discovery last Monday. A property restoration company has put in long hours each day with fans and dehumidifiers going and most of the affected materials have been removed. Once their work is complete and the house is dried out, the rebuilding of walls and floors will begin. The town’s insurance covers this type of flood loss so everything will be alright in the end. The west side of the building was largely untouched with the worst damage to the kitchen and almost all of your supplies were safely stored out of harm’s way or in plastic totes. As you may have noticed, the phone has been out of order and will be until the power is restored to the entire building. I have a temporary office set up now at home and you can reach me by email or leave a message with Donna or Kaitlyn at town hall by phone (613-925-2812) and they will pass it on to me. I am working my way back through emails from last week and want to thank you for your patience if you have been waiting for a reply. In particular, if you have been trying to register for our take-out Harvest Lunch on Wednesday the 7th, please just drop in at the back lawn after 11:30 and I will have caramel streusel apple pie, roasted pumpkin soup, and a dinner roll ready for you to pick up. The forecast looks questionable, but if the sun is shining and you’d like to picnic, just bring a chair and you are welcome to stay. I am not made of sugar and I’ll have a shelter set up beside the parking lot so I’ll be there even in the rain.

There has been an update to Zoom which now requires a password to join a session, so I am sending out new links for our weekly meets with passwords. Our craft group had planned to work on fingerless gloves this week, but I’m going to have to bump that back to October 13th to allow me access to the kits I’ve made up for you.  Another special Zoom event will take place on October 30th at 1pm so mark your calendars. I’ve booked an online workshop with the Royal Botanical Garden that is very seasonally themed about pumpkins and squash. We use these fruit as decorations and food typically in the fall, but where do they come from and why do we use them? Joined live with our instructor from the gardens in Burlington we will discover the varieties of squash, their origin, and cultural uses of these interesting plants globally. Karin did a fabulous job with us on the phone with our virtual tour in the summer, so I’m very pleased with the variety of adult online workshops they are offering and hope we can continue through the winter to escape to their beautiful centre. 

Our walking group continues to meet every Thursday at 1pm. This week we will leave from the Amphitheatre again and walk the waterfront. We would like to take the show on the road and plan to meet at the Limerick Forest visitor centre on October 15th at 1:00 and the following week October 22 Sue Turner will join us behind Walker House for an Urban Pole clinic followed by a walk. If you have poles and want a refresher on your technique or if you are new to Urban Poles, this is for you. In the event of rain, the clinic will move to October 29th.

I know life is a challenge these days, but I wish for all of you a warm Thanksgiving weekend with time for reflection and catching up with family and friends whether it be outside for a stroll, over the phone, or via Skype. In this time of uncertainty there is one thing I am certain of – this will pass and we will all be just fine if we reach out to help each other get through this together. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

October 1 -- 2020- The Year That Keeps on Giving!

I had pre-written a lengthy column in advance for this week outlining the options for our many card players in the coming months but if 2020 has taught us anything it’s to expect the unexpected. Upon entering Walker House on Monday morning I heard the loud rush of water and found it pouring from the ceilings. From the amount of damage, it looks like it was doing so for most of the weekend and the source was found to be a damaged connector in one of the upstairs washroom pipes. There are still a lot of unanswered questions, but the drying out and cleaning up has begun and the insurance company  will,  I’m sure, give me some answers and a timeline in the coming days. As we know, every cloud has a silver lining and we are fortunate that this happened just as the work in our kitchen was scheduled to begin, rather than waiting to crash down upon our finished work. It’s shocking to see the walls and floors stripped back to the studs but we will get through this as just one more hurdle to jump this year.

I will continue to offer our virtual programming and my hope is to find an alternate kitchen to work from so that I can still have our Harvest Lunch in the yard as planned on October 7th. Our Weekly Faith Lift is moving to an alternate week schedule in October with Rev. Tracey joining us only on the 15th and 29th at 10:30.  We will have both Monday Morning Mindfulness and Use Your Noodle as usual next week but I am going to delay releasing an extended schedule for now so I don’t overcommit.  Our walking club had a good showing and it was decided to meet for now on Thursdays at 1pm for a walk outdoors. This week we will meet at the amphitheatre by the Shakespeare ticket booth for our walk. We naturally divided into twos and threes according to speed and we all enjoyed a visit and some fresh air and I invite anyone who would like to join us. Keep on smiling my friends; it’s already October and 2021 is right around the corner now!

MosaiCanada 150 Topiary Exhibit

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