About Me

My Photo
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, May 22, 2016

T is for TESS OF THE D'URBERVILLES

I was a bit stymied about what to write for our T-themed week, so resorted to the internet for some ideas.  I have come up with Thomas Hardy's (controversial at the time)  "Tess of the D'Urbervilles." Some of you may have read it in the past as part of a literature course or even for your own personal enjoyment.  I read it during my first year at the University of British Columbia as part of my required reading.  Never having read a novel with such complex themes, symbols, and motifs, I had difficulty with it - not the reading of it - just the interpretation of it.  The essay the professor chose to have us write was: Should Tess have told her fiancĂ© that she had had a baby with another man before she married him?
You must understand that this was the mid-60s and discussing things like sex in my family was not only not done, but I had no idea about anything of that particular topic.  My father was a very controlling man and if he said, "Jump!" you asked "Is this high enough?"  So when he phoned me at university one day to see how I had done on my exams, it was extremely unusual of me to argue back at him when he indicated disappointment in my marks!  I told him that he had controlled us (me and my 2 sisters) and overprotected us so much, that I was totally unprepared for the topics of conversation and/or classroom discussions.  No wonder I failed! Not only English, but also History!  Now, you must understand that I was a scholarship student and this was absolutely not acceptable! 

But never mind, I quickly learned the rules of the game.  I became more open, I listened very carefully, and I read and read and read!  I had failed History because in high school, it had been rote learning, but at university I had to express my thoughts and opinions of historical events along with explanations of how and why things happened the way they did.  I understood that I was expected to have opinions and to express them both in writing and orally.  I actually found my voice! I learned what to expect on the tests and exams and studied accordingly.  After my 33% mark on the Christmas exam, I ended up with around 85% so I really must have aced that final!

Anyway, back to "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" - I believe it's on the reading list at the local secondary school, so I must urge at least one of my students to read and study it.  That way, I'll be forced to read it again with a more mature outlook and with my mind geared to those themes, symbols, and motifs. Hopefully, one of my students will gain insight from a book that had given me a thorough testing of my own mind and outlook on life, making me a more independent person.

On the internet, the book is described:  Tess of the d'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented is a novel by Thomas Hardy. It initially appeared in a censored and serialised version, published by the British illustrated newspaper The Graphic in 1891 and in book form in 1892. Though now considered a major nineteenth-century English novel and possibly Hardy's fictional masterpiece, Tess of the d'Urbervilles received mixed reviews when it first appeared, in part because it challenged the sexual morals of late Victorian England.

The book was made into a mini-series in 2008 and I looked forward to seeing it with great excitement.  This was the promo:  A free-spirited yet naive country girl is caught between her wealthy, manipulative "cousin" Alec and the handsome, educated farmer Angel Clare in this Victorian tragedy from novelist Thomas Hardy. I was thoroughly moved by it!

Some of you might have thought I would write about Tegan this week, but lately I seem to be ending my posts with something about her - and that's enough. Some people like dogs and some don't, so for those who do, here's a cute photo of her for you.
Well, that's it for my T week post so I'd like to, as usual, give titanic thanks to the talented Mrs. Nesbitt, creator of ABCW, and to the trustworthy Roger for his tremendous work keeping this trendy meme alive!

Monday, May 16, 2016

S is for STARS

Hi everyone and welcome to ABC Wednesday where this week we salute the letter S as in sausages, syrup, sunshine and sunrise and sunset, seaside, sundaes, shells, salad, sushi, sand, and salt.  Plus stupid me not realizing it was Monday and I hadn't done my script for this week yet.  It wasn't until I was watching the early feed of "Dancing With the Stars" tonight that I realized I hadn't done it and wondered omg...what will I write about?  Well, you got it - stars!

First, I've been a fan of DWTS for years - I think I started watching during the second season and was hooked.  It may not be everyone's cup of tea, though.  I mean, every season, I have no clue who most of the participants are and, at first, even the professionals.  But now I know all the pro dancers and just wait and see how things develop through the show.  Maybe it's because deep down I've always wanted to be a dancer - one of the Rockettes - you know part of that famous precision dance company. "Founded in 1925 in St. Louis, Missouri, since 1932 they have performed at Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan, New York City. During the Christmas season, the Rockettes present five shows a day, seven days a week. Perhaps their best-known routine is an eye-high leg kick in perfect unison in a chorus line, which they include at the end of every performance. of dancing, mainly ballet, tap, modern, and jazz. Normally, 400 to 500 women audition yearly."
I digress.  This season, there were one or two amateurs that I'd heard of, but the ones who have made it to the finals are total strangers to me.  But WOW are they great!  There are two women, one of whom is a meteorologist (weather girl) well-known in the USA.  The other is a mixed martial arts star in her own right.  And the third finalist is the winner of Tyra Banks' male American's Top Model, a deaf fellow who is absolutely spectacular, considering he can't hear the music!  I don't care who wins because they're all STARS all-caps!

Next, I used to have a dog named "Star."  She was so-named because of the white "star" on her forehead.  She was a brindle boxer that we brought home when she was only 8 weeks old and I used to carry her in a baby pocket thingy when I walked my second daughter to kindergarten.  I remember the first time I took her, all the Moms came running up to me thinking that I had a new baby!  But they oohed and aahed over her anyway!  And the children just loved her!  She lived to be almost 12 and had a wonderful life with the family.

Now, the star of my life is my baby girl Tegan (whom you all know by now!) and I love taking photos of her all the time.  One of her favourite sleeping positions is on her back and she looks so funny that I photograph her like that.   But the only thing that bothered me was that her "privates" were exposed and not so sexy, really.   I have just recently bought a new smaller Canon camera and uploaded a photography editing software on it so that I can put stickers in appropriate places. Like the following.
Oops I guess I startled her and woke her up!

Well, just a bit of humour to end this post.  With serious thanks to the strapping Roger, our administrator, who took over from the overworked but saucy Lady Denise, creator of ABCW.  Also, to the super team of support staff who swing by to each and every contributor to ABCW.  Without them, keeping ABC Wednesday going would be a struggle!

Monday, May 02, 2016

Q is for QUIRKY

Welcome to Q week where Q is for queen, quick, quiet, quiescent, query, quill, and quinoa.  This week I thought I'd show you a few photos of some things that I consider to be QUIRKY.  Hope you enjoy them.
A cute ceramic frog in a cement pond in our gardens here.
A set of "horses" done up so children can pretend to ride them out on a farm.
Someone put up the "Red Baron" in the garden here.
 
A ceramic owl attached to a pole at a nearby park.
And one final shot - Tegan fell asleep on her back with a bone in her mouth!
With many thanks to the quintessential Denise Nesbitt, founder of ABC Wednesday, and to our most qualified administrator, Roger.  Also to the team of helpers who quickly zip around to the contributors leaving quotes of a complimentary nature.

Monday, April 25, 2016

P is for PRETTY PLANTS

Hi everyone and welcome to P week...p as in pansy, pretty, paper, panda, pacifier (that one of my kids ate at 18 months thereby stopping that habit), paleontology (that I studied at university for a year), pelvis, pedometer, peignoir, photography (which you all know I love!), and let me think...one more word - aha! plagiarism (which I'm always reminding my students NOT to do.)

So, as my regular readers will remember, I've recently moved to a new condo where there is the most phantasmagoric garden at the back where all the dogs can play off leash PLUS the prettiest courtyard where plants abound and people can perch on garden chairs while prattling on with their friends and neighbours and partake of some sort of punch, port or peppermint schnapps.

The variety of plants is prodigious with flowering ones so far providing a great deal of attraction to me and my camera.  I seem to have become the resident photographer, so far recording for posterity the spring flowers and plants.  I may have recently put one or two on here since moving in, but there is so much more that I want to parade. So enjoy the production I've put together - haven't done this in quite a while - and make sure your speakers are on so you get the full effect.
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
With the greatest of thanks to the popular Denise Nesbitt, the producer of ABC Wednesday, and to the passionate Roger, our administrator.  Also, thanks go out to the productive team of assistants who, like Roger, are passionate about ABCW and put forth great effort to visit everyone's weekly contribution and leave polite comments. Oh by the way, you can watch the video full screen by clicking on the icon.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

On My Own



Good morning, everyone, and welcome to the week of O here at ABC Wednesday. Today, I'd like to tell you a bit about what it's like to be on my own again. 

At first, it was very hard with feelings of sorrow, guilt, loneliness, emptiness and regret.  Although I knew it was the right thing to do, it took a long time to get over those feelings plus the obscene rage I felt at being so outrageously betrayed.  The marriage, if you can call it that, lasted less than a year, and in fact, was over within a few days of the wedding.  Even after all those years of being together, it was a shock to discover that it had all been a lie.

So I moved on.

Last summer I had a carport sale and got rid of stuff I didn't need anymore.  But then I wrecked my ankle again!  So I spent many a day sitting outside in the shade reading lots and lots of books and chatting with neighbours as they'd go by and check on how I was doing.  At times, I felt a bit lonely as I couldn't just up and do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted.  But I healed up quite well and in my mind started making my decisions on what to do next.

First, I decided it was high time I had a holiday.  So I made my arrangements to travel to England and Wales in June and July of this year to visit some friends.  Then, it was time to sell my house and move to a condo where there were no memories of anyone there. 

This is what greeted me at the library one day - a beautiful symbol of the cycle of growth and the return of warmth and abundance after the long winter.  Talk about a metaphor for my life!
Now I am firmly ensconced in my new home with my beloved Tegan, 3-year-old English yellow Labrador.  It's because of her that I have to get up in the morning and get dressed, take her out, get her breakfast and tidy up.  I know in my heart that if it weren't for her, I would probably sleep until noon before going out to the library to meet my students.  Then I would veg in front of the TV until bedtime.  But with all her balls, she kisses me awake and off we go!
 Here, she's asking if it's supper time yet.
Since there is a lovely and huge garden almost outside my door, Tegan and I spend a lot of time there.  We've met so many wonderful residents, some with dogs and some without.  The gardens are beautiful and I've taken many photos as the spring blossoms have appeared.  I throw a ball for Tegan and when we tire out, we sit in the shade - I sit in one of the nice lawn chairs that are provided for those who use the area.  Sometimes Tegan and I go to a neighbourhood park where we play Frisbee.  Although there is enough room in the garden here, Tegan gets too excited with the Frisbee and can start barking...I don't want anyone complaining about that.  I've actually had compliments on the fact that she doesn't bark at everyone who goes by the gate - like the smaller yappy dogs here.  Here she is playing with her new boyfriend, part Bernese/part Labrador TITAN - handsome devil, isn't he?
So, I'm nicely settled in a new home, I'm anxiously anticipating my trip in 2 months, my older daughter and her family are now living in the area and my younger daughter and her husband are moving back here, too.  We will all be together - but separate - the best of all worlds for us. Finally, here's a shot of the cherry blossoms in full bloom where we play. The grass is now green with pink dots as the blooms are shedding and the trees are filling in with leaves.
I felt so overwhelmed for such a long time, but now I've come full circle and know that I'm a winner, a survivor, and an optimist.  And, as Helen Reddy sang, "I am woman, hear me roar!"  With optimum thanks to the gang at ABC Wednesday - the obliging Denise Nesbitt, creator of ABCW, the organized Roger, our administrator, and the outstanding group of bloggers who visit everyone who contributes here.  And thanks to YOU ALL for all your support as I've travelled this objectionable path.

Monday, April 11, 2016

N is for NOAH

Welcome to N week at ABC Wednesday, the brainchild of the "naughty but nice" Mrs. Nesbitt who hails from North Yorkshire in the UK. Our administrator these days is the "naughty but natty" Roger, assisted by the "nefarious" group of participants who navigate over to everyone's blog to notify you that we notice your contribution with great appreciation.

This week I'd like to tell you a bit about my grandson NOAH who is the light of my life!  He is 12 years old already but I can tell you that we have a very special and close relationship.  He is the first great grandson of anyone living in the family...my Dad was still alive when he was born and he loved him more than life itself!  There are 3 daughters on my side and I had 2 daughters and it was my elder daughter who gave us all this precious gift.  And my son-in-law's "Nan" is still alive to this day!

Noah had the curliest hair I've ever seen - no, I seem to remember that my younger daughter had curly hair like that!  His mother let him grow it long, not too long, as we still wanted him to look like a boy.  Here he is at age 7 (Christmas 2011) giving an apple to the teacher!  And so proud of his new Welsh rugby shirt that I brought him back for Christmas 2012.


But the girls sure like him!  Nowadays, though, he seems to have had his fill of girls.  At his old school, he had a different girlfriend each grade, and when he moved to my village with his parents and sister, the girls at his new school went crazy!  He loved the attention at first, but now he's tired of "those silly girls."

Here he is on January 1, 2016, his 12th birthday.
I love to spend time with him and I showed him how to make muffins, which to this day, if you say, "Let's bake muffins!" he's right there!  I took him out on a photo shoot once and he took an amazing photo of a cow grazing in front of a red barn.  He shows talent and, since his Dad is an amateur photographer, he may decide to take it up himself some day.  Here is the photo.
Right now, he's busy trying to improve his Math skills (his old school was so full of ESL students that he didn't get the support he needed for school.)  And he's trying to find an appropriate group of boys with whom to hang.  He loves his skateboard and going to Starbucks with his pals. He also plays roller hockey and is the goalie on a team.

I would do anything for this boy.  I never had any brothers and I never had any sons, so he is an enigma to me - a challenge and a bright star in my life.  He always hugs me when he sees me - even in front of his friends - and I can tell he loves me very much.  We text back and forth and we're "friends" on Facebook and Instagram!  Here are a few shots of my sometimes naughty, sometimes noisy, sometimes nosy, sometimes a nitwit, but always a necessity in my life grandson NOAH.
 He thought this "pumpkin" was gross and nasty
 Here he's being a daredevil....I guess typical boy.
And one of his favourite activities is snuggling with Tegan as they watch TV together.
But this photo is my all-time favourite of the two of us.  It was the night his parents dropped him off to spend a few days while  his mother went into the hospital for a Caesarean section delivering Noah's baby sister Eden, March 2, 2008.  I remember telling him the story of "The Three Little Pigs" and making all the appropriate voices.  He was bouncing on the bed with delight that night.  This photo has a special place on my fireplace mantelpiece and I love to look at it every day.

Saturday, April 02, 2016

M is for MOVED IN

Welcome to Week M where M is for music, movies, monsters, mud, myopia, mothers, manners, malls, and messes.  I have decided to show you a bit of my new home since I finally got most of the artwork on the walls.  I still need to have my mirror installed over the fireplace because it's quite ornate and heavy, needing two strong men with excellent skills.  I would not want it to fall off the wall crashing into the marble fireplace surround!

Welcome to my foyer (or entry hall).  The door on the far right is the coat closet and the one on the left is the storage closet (actually a small room complete with shelves and hooks for things).  Adjacent to that is the front door. 
From inside, this is the front door with a nice mirror for me to check my lipstick before setting out and a little piece of art as you turn the corner.
Here is my custom kitchen with cupboards that have shelves above and drawers below, including spice rack pull-outs on the very right.  Below left, you can just see Tegan's eating area.  Note the flooring is slate tile.
From the front door, upon entering, this is what greets you - my artwork of Tuscany!  Also, a very special plaque (a gift from younger daughter) that reads "Learn to pause...or nothing worthwhile will catch up to you."
And to the right is the living room. Immediately on the left I've placed my nest of tables that used to be my grandmother's, then my mother's, and now mine.  The blown glass "gift" was a Christmas present from my sister a few years ago (a great conversation piece) and I bought the Tiffany lamp at a local fine furniture shop here in Ladner.
Then, continuing to the left is my leather sofa enhanced by my piece of art of an area in the Italian Riviera where I stayed for several days, visiting the Cinque Terre across the water.  The wing chair was one my late husband and I chose together back in 1986 but I had it reupholstered in 2006 when I retired from teaching.
Then we have the bay windows where I'm thinking of having a window seat installed where I can lounge, read, or simply admire with all the colourful cushions I'd buy. And then you can see where the mirror is going to be installed above the gas fireplace.
Here is the view across from the sofa and wing chair where I prefer to sit to watch TV.  And as you can see, I am still shopping for a dining table with a couple of chairs.  But the artwork is up!
Now we will go back through the foyer to the guest bedroom where there is no artwork on the walls, but the bed is made and has been used twice - once by my daughter and once by a good friend who helped me with the positioning of the art. A big room for a double bed and lazy-boy chair for reading.
And now we come to the master bedroom, which is all MINE!  Beautiful queen sized solid oak bed covered in a pale silver and cream comforter with matching shams, complemented by pale blue silk cushions embroidered with cream thread, and a one-of-a-kind musical china teddy bear. (It plays "Somewhere Out There, Beneath the Pale Blue Sky".)  The lamps are ones that my late husband and I chose back in the mid-80s and which have had three sets of shades.
Another angle of the bed with the door that leads into the double-sided walk-in closet and past that the ensuite.  The artwork, you may notice, (both above the bed and beside this door) are two that I purchased while on an Alaskan cruise with my younger daughter and are by the artist by the name of Iztchak Tarkay.  From online, here is what it says about him:  Tarkay was born in 1935 in Subotica on the Yugoslav-Hungarian border. In 1944, Tarkay and his family were sent to the Mauthausen Concentration Camp, until Allied liberation freed them a year later. In 1949 his family emigrated to Israel, living in a kibbutz for several years. Tarkay attended the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design from 1951, and graduated from the Avni Institute of Art and Design in 1956.
If you look closely, you will see that this bay window area is an extension of the bedroom.  There is room for a lazy-boy chair where I can sit and read or watch the TV on top of my dresser across from the bed, a lamp, my executive-sized oak desk and chair (bequeathal from my mother) and to the right, my printer stand on a book case.   So the entire room is bedroom/office.
I consider myself very lucky to have found this condo so close to my price range.  It's been almost completely updated with solid wood floors, that slate tile in the kitchen, paint, and the custom kitchen with all new appliances.  There is a fairly large outdoor deck/patio but although I don't really have a view, it is completely private.  All I have to do, though, is walk out the gate from the deck, walk 10 seconds down to the right to the gigantic courtyard where the gazebo and gardens are. (See last week's post.)

So now you've had the tour of my new home that really does feel like home, now that I've been here a month.  Hope you enjoyed it, but you can't leave yet, because I know you want to see where Tegan sleeps.  Well, during the night, it's on the bed with me, but during the day, it's here:
Thanks to the magnificent Denise Nesbitt, creator of ABC Wednesday and the majestic Roger, our administrator for all his many hours keeping us all on track each week.  Also, don't forget about the many multi-tasking and -talented team of bloggers who visit each and every contributor each week to express mighty words of gratitude for taking part in this wonderful meme.