About Me

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Delta, British Columbia, Canada
I took very early retirement from teaching in '06 and did some traveling in Europe and the UK before settling down to do some private tutoring. As a voracious reader, I have many books waiting in line for me to read. Tell me I shouldn't read something, and I will. I'm a happy, optimistic person and I love to travel and through that believe that life can be a continuous learning experience. I'm looking forward to traveling more some day. I enjoy walking, cycling, water aerobics & and sports like tennis, volleyball, and fastpitch/baseball. I'm just getting into photography as a hobby and I'm enjoying learning all the bits and bobs of my digital camera. My family is everything to me and I'm delighted to be the mother of two girls and the Gramma of a boy and a girl. I may be a Gramma, but I'm at heart just a girl who wants to have fun.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

G is for GRANVILLE ISLAND

One of my favourite places to visit in Greater Vancouver is Granville Island
It's a peninsula and shopping district located on the south side of False Creek across from Downtown Vancouver between the south end of the Granville and Burrard Street Bridges.  In my humble opinion, "Bridges" (the yellow building top center) is one of the best restaurants on the island and I've had the pleasure of dining there many times.  When Liz (from Swansea, Wales)(of http://liz-and-harvey.blogspot.ca/) came to visit, we had lunch on the patio right by the water. Not only did we get a photo of us, but also of the gargantuan blueberry shortcake dessert!
Another wonderful restaurant on Granville Island is The Docksider that offers casual fine dining in a stunning setting.  Set right on the water, floor to ceiling windows allow panoramic views of downtown Vancouver all the way to the mountains beyond. There's gracious and friendly service, a glorious menu, and desserts worthy of a gourmet
Check out what I had when I took my daughter there for her birthday lunch!
The Public Market is the jewel in the crown of Granville Island!  It showcases the finest of gastronomic delights like seafood, warm baked goods, fresh plump fruit, cheeses, flowers and more. 

Granville Island is, without a doubt, a must-see destination if you're visiting this gorgeous city!  Park your car and simply walk everywhere.  Aromas abound from the bakeries scattered throughout and  you will want to pop into the brewery, the book shops, the art shops, the kids' building, etc. But if you feel the need to sit for a bit, simply go over to the water's edge and hail an aquabus.  You'll really enjoy the ability to view the scenery from a different perspective.

If you embark or disembark near Bridges Restaurant, you will also see buskers performing for locals and tourists alike.  Also, you'll see other free and glorious entertainment throughout the area.  Watch out for sea gulls though - they are almost tame!  Here are some shots that may give you a giggle.
Thanks to the gracious Lady Denise, the creator of ABCW, and to the gallant Sir Roger, our administrator.  Also, don't forget about the team of contributors who gallop around to various posts to greet you and give you glowing comments about your post.  Have a great week, everyone, and see you for the letter H next time.

Monday, August 17, 2015

F is for FRISBEE

This week, ABC Wednesday is brought to you by the letter F - f as in fast, fizzle, focus, fetch, fly, face, and farm.  It is also brought to you by the fetching Denise Nesbitt, the creator of ABCW, and by the frisky Roger, our fabled administrator.  Don't forget about the friendly team of bloggers who help out by flitting over to many contributors in order to formulate lovely comments for you all.

The word I've chosen for the week is FRISBEE because I seem to be playing with it every morning of the week!  This is the "toy" that keeps my cute little yellow English Lab's attention.  I've taught her to fetch it and bring  it back to me, drop it at my feet, and sit to wait until I throw it again.  As I mentioned in last week's post, we've been having a heat wave (isn't that a song?) all summer, so I have to make sure I get up and out before 9 in the morning for her to get some exercise.  If I don't, she pesters me by whining until we go somewhere! 

It doesn't take long before she's gasping for water, which I bring along and put into a small bowl.  But she won't give up until I can tell she's exhausted.  Even though she wants to keep going, she gives in and follows me back to the car.  When we get home, she flops on the hardwood floor in the same spot every time - she's found her sweet spot, I guess.  At least then I can get some work done while she naps.  She wants to go again in the afternoon and in the evening, but lately it has just been too hot.  But I take her for lovely air-conditioned car rides and we stop here and there for her to have a little sniff around.

Just thought I'd share a few photos to show you how well she does with the Frisbee by catching it in the air - if I throw it half decently.  Don't you just love that smile at the end?  Oh and if you noticed how disgustingly slimy her Frisbee is, I make sure I wear an old gardening glove to throw it. 





Monday, August 10, 2015

E is for EXHAUSTED

 
ABC Wednesday is brought to you this week by the Letter EE as in elephant, elevator, email, education, and elbow.  It is also brought to you by our creator, the endearing Denise Nesbitt and by our earnest yet efficient administrator Roger!  As well, don't forget about the enthusiastic team of bloggers who give of their extensive time to make sure every contributor receives some comments.

The word I have chosen to use this week is EXHAUSTEDI've been so busy for the past almost six months that I've started to feel the effects.  It seems that everything that has gone on is something that's on that list of "most stressful life events," too!  There's been a marital separation, injury (ankle again) that's kept me from enjoying any of spring or summer, and being diagnosed with osteopenia - the signs of osteoporosis.  These add up (apparently) to a moderate chance of illness.  No thank you!

Another life stress is that I'm planning to move.  So I had a carport sale to get rid of good stuff I didn't need anymore and the date chosen ended up being one of the hottest days of summer so far.  Even though I sat with my daughter in the shade the entire time, I ended up with heat exhaustion by the end.  My daughter put a cold, wet cloth on the back of my neck and placed the fan so I would get the easy breezy!  But you can see below that even the dog is exhausted!
Now that I can get around a bit better, I'm working on clearing my house of everything else I don't want to take with me to my new home.  It's a few months in the future, but I need to have everything "tickety boo" before the agents come in to take photos.  So...I've cleaned out my office, which was the biggest job.  I had two bookcases in there full of books and photo albums along with other odds and ends.  The shelf was crammed with Christmas stuff and the floor was full of bags and boxes that I had to sort through.  I sorted everything and packed it up in boxes that I'd dragged home from the local liquor store and placed them neatly on the shelving unit in the storage room - yes I have an actual room for storage! Then, I went through my clothes closet.  Now there are two big garbage bags full of really nice clothes that are going to the thrift shop.  I've rearranged and sorted out the linen closet, the other "guest" bedroom, and the two main bathrooms.  Still needed doing is the laundry room cupboards - there will be an extensive amount of junk found in there, I'm sure. 

My daughter Jaclyn and her husband Ryan have been helping me out with things I don't know how to do.  For example, Ryan replaced a doorknob on an outside storage cupboard (not the shed) and is going to re-trim the door.  He also dug up an exceedingly dead plant from the garden.  Jaclyn has moved two bookcases downstairs and into the shed and even loaned me a small end table that I had given her because it looks better than what I had in preparation for staging.

The goal here is to have the house staged and in perfect order so that I can get the most money possible when the time comes.  The market here is wicked!  Every house seems to go over the asking price and there are multiple offers on places that take them out of our reach!  So fingers crossed, we find the right place.
My other mantra has always been "this, too, shall pass" and although I'm being economical with my energywhich means it's taking me longer to do all this, all will be worth it in the long run.  In the meantime, I guess I'm getting some sort of exercise, be it lugging and toting or mentally enjoying the fruits of my labour.  More to come in the weeks ahead.  Have an easygoing and entertaining week, everyone!  Just one more shot of my "hot dog!"

Monday, August 03, 2015

D is for DROUGHT

 
Here in greater Vancouver, brown is the new green!  "How could that be?" people ask.  Vancouver is a beautiful city known for its lush green forests, beautiful beaches, snow-capped mountains, and perfect year-round weather.
Think California drought...not as bad here, but getting there.  It's been so hot and dry here that we have reached Stage 4 (out of 4 conditions) for drought.  No one is allowed to water their lawns at any time, wash their cars or do any hosing of driveways, windows, patios, etc.  Flowers pots and flowers in the garden can only be watered by hand.  For example, I take a bucket out and douse my pots but in no time at all, they dry up.  Fortunately, the flowers are surviving so far.  Oh!  and people with pools or hot tubs are not allowed to top them up, either.  My friends have a hot tub, but they've turned the heater off so they can use it as a "cool pool." 
 
Farmers are losing their crops, which will affect our economy.  
And fires are out of control in the forests, with about 200 fires burning across the province.  To view a brief video about the forest fires from Global TV, click here
Actually, for a couple of days in July there was ash floating in the air all around the city and its suburbs - even out to my village!  An air quality advisory came into effect for several days that was compared to Beijing! Here is a shot of a section of Vancouver during the day when ash was floating everywhere. 
I take Tegan out early to play Frisbee at a local park where I found some morning shade in one corner.  She lasts no longer than 10 minutes, needs water, and pants her way back to the car.  Right now she's crashed on the hardwood floor and probably won't get up for at least an hour. 
 
It's so hot, I often sleep downstairs on the sofa because it's "only" 80 F downstairs!  People in this area don't normally have air conditioning in their homes - it's just not needed.  But boy oh boy do I wish I had it now!  It seems all I do lately is find ways to stay cool.  Now don't get me wrong.  Some people absolutely LOVE this weather.  They're the kind of people who go to Mexico in the winter and love to bake on the beach.  But I'm not that type - I just feel sick! 
 
This is actually quite a scary predicament with fires coming too close for comfort and thousands of people being relocated  from their homes.  So much of our beautiful province is being destroyed, even on Vancouver Island and towards the north.  The last time we were at Stage 3 was in 2003, but I don't remember ever having a summer like this one in my lifetime. Maybe I'm feeling the effects because I'm getting a "bit" older.   Anyway, just for fun, here's a photo of my sweet Tegan feeling the effects. 
 Many thanks to the divine Miss Denise, creator of ABC Wednesday, and to the dapper Mr. Roger, our administrator.  Also, thanks to the delightful team of volunteers who drop by to say hello to all the contributors and to leave dazzling comments. 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

C is for COURAGE

 
Below is part of a post I published here on ABC Wednesday exactly two years ago on the topic of courage.  As I then quoted Eleanor Roosevelt, "I lived through this horror.  I can take the next thing that comes along." This is my way of announcing that the marriage failed - from day one. 
 
You read in the news about famous people's marriages lasting only a few days or months and you think "WHAT?"  Well, now I know how and why it happens - it happened to me.  One day (or for several years) you're with someone you love and who appears to love you and the next day you see the true person behind the fa├žade.  I was finally forced to put those "big girl panties" on and kick him out.  Please pardon Maxine's language, but...
 
 
I know how excited everyone had been for me, but I need to put this out in case it might help someone else who suddenly finds him/herself in a legally binding relationship that is not what it first appeared to be.  Since I've been through this, I know of another woman my age who is currently go through something similar plus my 35-year-old daughter's best friend finally said No to drugs and kicked her scumbag out.  In my case, it was alcoholism, financial irresponsibility and lying about money, verbal and emotional abuse, and his belief that he would be next in line to my property (ahead of my daughters) should I die before him.  There was no love, affection, or intimacy and  I started thinking I should apply for that TV show called "Who the Bleep Did I Marry?"
 
I felt absolutely humiliated by his con, stupid that I fell for it, and to this day some people who were at the wedding still think we're happily married.   But it takes a lot of courage to admit your mistake and take steps to fix things. I changed my will and my lawyer added that we are estranged and no provision is made for him as per the pre-nup.  He actually thought that our co-hab/pre-nup was only valid until we legally got married so he took it to a lawyer to see if he could sue me!  Idiot!
 
He finally moved out 4 months ago, leaving me to deal with grief, anger, and hatred towards him.  However, I now have plans in the works to travel to England next year to visit good friends Marion, Anne, Diane, Jill, Jane, Liz (and maybe pop by for tea with our dearest Denise).   I will continue to tutor and there might be a move in the works, too.  More on that later.  In the meantime, my mantra will be "It is better to be alone than to wish I were." 
 
Anyway, here's part of the two-year-old post:
 
Life requires courage

I'm not talking about facing such disasters as earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, epidemics, and floods.  I'm not talking about the courage to board an airplane or a train or the courage to drive a car.  I'm not talking about the courage to fight off a stranger who is trying to abduct your child or rob you of your precious possessions.

I'm talking about the courage to face everyday life.  And in everyday life, one might need to face an abusive childhood or marriage, the death of a loved one, loss of job, or a serious illness.  I'm talking about the courage to tactically back away from a confrontation rather than to mindlessly attack. 

Courage is not the absence of fear; rather, it is the ability to move forward despite the fear.  Courage is the empowering experience of a decision to stand up and withstand the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune." (from Shakespeare's Hamlet)

I've been told by a few people that I'm a courageous person.  Huh?  Upon contemplation, I realize that I have, indeed, confronted a great deal of hardship in my life, yet I persevere.  I have also been asked from where I get the courage to continue in my life with such an optimistic attitude.  Well, I guess I was just born that way.
 
So, I'm not afraid of storms, flying, or criminals.  I've seen and experienced the worst and have survived!  No matter what life throws at me, I will stand up and move forward despite my fear.

Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway.  (John Wayne)

Courage is grace under pressure.  (Ernest Hemingway)

I learned that courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.  The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.  (Nelson Mandela)
 
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 Thanks to the captivating Denise Nesbitt, the creator of ABC Wednesday, and to Roger who currently and very capably administers the weekly workings of the site. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

B is for BOOKS

Welcome back to ABC Wednesday's Round 17.  This week is brought to you by the letter B.

This week, I'd like to tell you about some great books I've read recently.  Since the school year is full of reading classics by the likes of Steinbeck, Hemingway, Dickens, Nabokov, and Shakespeare, I need to have my own type of "escape" literature.  For the past few years, I've been into the crime/mystery genre and have several series to recommend.

The first books in this genre that I read were written by Jo Nesbo, a Norwegian author and musician.  I've read all his books about Inspector Harry Hole, a tough detective working for Crime Squad and later with the National Criminal Investigation Service who struggles with alcoholism and works on solving crimes in authentic locations in Oslo and elsewhere, from Australia to the Congo Republic. Hole takes on seemingly unconnected cases, sometimes found to involve serial killers, bank robbers, gangsters or the establishment, but also spends a significant amount of time battling nightmares and his own demons.  I must emphasize that these books are enjoyed by women as well as men and aren't sleazy or anything like that.
I have also read several series in the crime/mystery genre written by British authors.  One is the series by Mark Billingham about Detective Inspector Tom Thorne, which was also a series that began in the UK in October, 2010, starring David Morrissey.  From what I've read about the TV series, I'm glad I read the books instead.  Billingham states, "As I write each new Thorne novel, I am determined that whatever is happening plot-wise, a new layer of the onion will be peeled away and reveal something about Tom Thorne that is surprising."  I can attest to that and highly recommend these books that are "un-put-down-able."
Finally, there is Peter James, an international crime thriller novelist who was born in Brighton, UK, and bases his DI Roy Grace murder mystery and thriller crime novels in this corner of the world.  They're riveting and include a little bit of romance for the detective inspector, whose wife disappeared years ago...will she ever reappear?  Read the books to find out.
There are more, but that's enough for now.  I'll save Henning Mankell's (Norway) and Amaldur Indridason's (Iceland) books for another week.  In the meantime, since being side-tracked again with a bum ankle, you can usually find me in my Adirondack-style chair on the front porch reading something!  It's nice to sit there and chat with neighbours as they come and go and let Tegan be out there with me to enjoy the lovely weather.  Until next time, thanks to Roger, our bestest administrator, to the beautiful Denise, the creator of ABCW, and the brilliant team who visit all the contributors. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

A is for ANKLE AGAIN

I'm baaack...and raring to go again with ABC Wednesday.  I'm looking forward to visiting everyone's contributions and hope you'll all enjoy what I post.  It's been over 8 months since I've posted, and many people have wondered what's happening at this end, but that will be for another post.  For this week, I'm going to do A is for ANKLE - AGAIN!

Some of you may recall that I broke my ankle in two places back in 2013 and it was H..E..double hockey sticks getting back to normal.  Then in May 2014, it happened again!  And this past May, I took one step down and over it went again!  At first the doctors at Emergency thought it was broken, but after further x-rays they determined that it was the old break they were looking at and I'd seriously damaged the ligaments and tendon this time!

So on went the cast - again - to stabilize the ankle until such time as I could start physiotherapy - again!  My doctor put me on Vitamin D and Calcium and sent me for a bone density scan.  That has come back indicating I have osteopenia - the precursor of osteoporosis.  I was shocked, to say the least, but when I see my doctor this week, she will tell me how we'll get a handle on it.

In the meantime, everyone has been so gracious about helping me out around the house and taking Tegan for walks and playing Frisbee.  I'm much better now, but can only walk for about 5 minutes - slowly - and not with Tegan pulling me.  I am now able to go and watch when one of my daughters, or my son-in-law or my grandchildren take her to the park to play.  And last time I took a few photos of her playing Frisbee.  And the best thing of all is that I can drive again now - I couldn't for so long because it was my right ankle!

Just for fun, here are a few recent shots of my adorable baby (who is already 2 1/2 years old!)  She keeps me going and I can never resist her happy, smiling face - even when under the weather.