Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Religious and Spiritual Celebrations October to January

 My friend Lynn Minja included this in her annual Christmas letter. It is worth repeating and adding to. The list is in no wise complete and if my readers would be so kind as to contribute, I would be grateful. A number of groups, not just First Nations, for example, observe the Winter Solstice. 

From October to mid-January people of different faiths, worldwide, celebrate specific aspects of their spiritual beliefs. In a multi-cultural province, country, and world, it is imperative that we understand the importance of spirituality individually and collectively and that we respect and honour the spiritual beliefs of individuals and the traditions and faith celebrations of all religions.


  • Bahais celebrate the births of Bab and of Baha’á ullá and the Day of the Covenant.
  • Buddhists celebrate Pavarana And Kathina
  • Hindus and Sikhs celebrate Diwali
  • Jews celebrate Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and Shemini Atzeret/Simcheat Torah
  • Shia Muslims celebrate the birth of the Prophet, Mohammed 


  • Buddhists celebrate Lhabab Duchen
  • Christians celebrate All Saints Day and the first Sunday of Advent.
  • Jews celebrate the beginning of Hanukkah
  • Sikhs celebrate the birth of Guru Nanak Dev Ji (Jayanti)


  • All Faiths celebrate Kwanzaa
  • Buddhists celebrate Rohatsu/Bodhi Day
  • Christians complete celebrating Advent and celebrate the birth of Christ (Christmas Day) 
  • Jews celebrate Shabbat and complete celebrating Hanukkah
  • First Nations celebrate the Winter Solstice


  • Buddhists celebrate the Lunar New Year/ Tet Nguyen Dan
  • Christians celebrate the Feast of Epiphany
  • Eastern Orthodox Christians celebrate the birth of Christ
  • Hindus celebrate Sankranti (actually celebrated every month)

Regardless of your spiritual beliefs, we wish you health, happiness, peace and love.

Note: Doug Cuthand's column in the Star Phoenix explains the significance of the Winter Solstice to the First Nations people of Canada

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Country Gospel Duets - a break from Christmas Music

 If you need a break from Christmas Music, give a listen to these country gospel duets. I stumbled across Sarah Roberts and Tyler Williams singing On Heaven's Bright Shore and loved the harmony so much I went looking for others that I did not know.

Tyler Williams was born with cerebral palsy and is blind. He is also an accomplished singer and musician playing piano and also Doc Watson style guitar. You can find him on YouTube.


Kenny and Amanda Smith are a husband and wife team who met at a bluegrass festival in the late 90s and have been performing and recording together for over two decades. Kenny is an accomplished guitar player. A Heart That will Never Break Again and Outside the Gate are two of my favourites.

Joey and Rory Feek were a rising country music couple until her untimely death from cancer at 40 years. They were married in 2002 and performed and recorded from 2008 to 2016. 

Monday, December 5, 2022

Lucky's Big Adventure or Home at Last

 The three of us left Zhovti Vody on November 11th and arrived in Regina November 23rd. We moved into a small house with a fenced backyard on November 28th and this is the longest we were in any one place from the 11th on. Lucky had a microchip and all his shots so had a valid EU Pet Passport. He was too big to go as baggage so would have to go to Canada as cargo. 

The small 8 passenger bus from Zhovti Vody to Warsaw took 26 hours. There were frequent stops and I took Lucky out for a quick walk and pee break as often as possible. We bought him one seat but he could not stretch out until about half way when he figured he could lie on the floor. 

In Warsaw a taxi took us to our Hostel that accepted pets. We were on the second floor and rode the elevator. Lucky learned quickly. We dragged him on the first time and after that he went on willingly but was still puzzled by the doors which opened and closed on their own. We were there three days. We took Lucky out to walk a few times each day and he behaved reasonably well. On side streets he barked at people and cars, along busy streets he was quiet. 

Then we took the train from Warsaw to Belin and then to Frankfurt. At the station in Warsaw the steps did not reach to platform so we literally picked up Lucky and threw him onto the train as there was no way he would cross that gap. He was half fare but had to stay on the floor. In Berlin everyone in our car got off so we did too but it was Berlin Obf not Berlin Hbf so we grabbed a taxi and got to the right station in lots of time. On the way we saw the statue of Frederick the Great and the Brandenburg Gate. 

Our train direct to Frankfurt was canceled so we had to take the milk run which took an hour longer. No problem getting Lucky on this train. When we got to Frankfurt we found a minivan taxi to take us to our Airbnb in Kelkheim, about 45 minutes west of the city in the mountains. A lovely location and I would recommend the bnb Cosy apartment in Kelkheim hosted by Britta Jacobus. Great for hiking in the mountains and very lovely in summer

We could not find a crate big enough for Lucky anywhere but C4C who would be our shipping agent out of Frankfurt had one and delivered it to us at the bnb. We had 6 days to train him to the crate. We tried toys, treats and patience. He would go almost all the way into the crate but not his back legs. Finally we did what always worked with him. Shoved him in and shut the door. No problem. a little later he stole a pillow off the bed and Tanya yelled at him. He went into the crate by himself figuring it was a safe place. We shut the door and left him two  hours, with treats. The next night he was there five hours and the last night all night. 

On the 21st, we left the bnb, took Lucky and the crate to C4C animal cargo building at the Frankfurt airport. The same taxi that took us to the bnb took us to the airport. Tanya had a "certain amount of stress" as they wheeled Lucky away, knowing we would not see him for two and a half days. We grabbed a good hotel room for the night and had a good supper, figuring we'd earned it. We were at the airport early next morning for our Air Canada flight home. We think Lucky flew on the same plane but do not know for sure. A company called Sevenoaks Animal Logistics collected Lucky in Calgary, oversaw the paperwork to get him into Canada, took him for a long walk and put him on Cargo Jet to Regina. 

We got to Regina at 12:30 am Nov 23rd and collected Lucky from Jet Cargo at about 6:00 am. He apparently had a great time the entire trip. He was overjoyed to see us of course. But he was just as overjoyed to see us after we shut him in the kitchen at the bnb while we took his crate and our luggage to the street. My friend Ed picked us up and Lucky and I stayed at his place as we could not take him to our apartment. Tanya stayed at the apartment. We had hired movers but there was still lots to do. The movers came Monday morning at 9 and by 12:30 we were in our little house to stay! 

Lucky came over at about 7 pm and checked and approved everything. So here we are, home at last. Flat broke but safe in Canada. Zhovti Vody has had power outages but no rockets or bombs. We have a young couple staying at our home and our cats have taken to them which makes us happy. 

Lucky's EU Pet Passport
Lucky on the bus to Warsaw

Lucky in our little hostel room in Warsaw

The Kelkheim area is wet and foggy in fall

Lucky at the bnb

The kennel 120 cm by 89 cm by 80 cm

His favourite toys

Going for a midnight walk in Calgary

Lucky got along with Ed's dog Prill sort of

Lucky in his new home

Watching out the back window for anything to bark at

His new bed in his new home

Claiming the armchair