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.

Monday, July 25, 2016

C is for CASTELL COCH

Hi everyone!  I've come home from my trip abroad and my mind is simply bursting with ideas for my weekly ABC Wednesday posts.  Since we're on Week C, I was trying to decide whether to do castles or cathedrals or colours, or the company I had.  After considerable concentration, I decided to introduce you to Castell Coch (Castle Coch) which is located in south-east Wales.

To begin with, this castle is a 19th-century Gothic Revival castle. It was built above the village of Tongwynlais in South Wales. The first castle on the site was built by the Normans after 1081, to protect the newly conquered town of Cardiff and control the route along the Taff Gorge. Abandoned shortly afterwards, the location was reused by Gilbert Le Clare for a new stone fortification (1267-1277) to protect his annexed Welsh lands.  It was destroyed during the native Welsh rebellion of 1334.  In 1760, the castle ruins were acquired by John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute as part of a marriage settlement that brought the family vast estates in South Wales.
I visited the castle with my good friend Jane, who lives nearby.  We oohed and aahed all throughout, especially when we got to the room where the lady of the house slept!  We had tea in the tea room with a piece of bara brith, a Welsh spiced fruit bread that's made with tea and spread with salted Welsh butter.  Yummy!  Afterwards, we received a tip that if we turned left at the castle exit and went right up to the top of the hill to the Fforest Fawr, we could see a carved wooden dragon.  (The dragon is the Welsh national symbol and on the flag.)  So off we went to see some fantastic wooden sculptures done by Ami Marsden who carved the dragon out of a dead oak tree. 

So this is what we could see as we drove towards the castle after we'd turned off the main highway. It rose up above the trees and beckoned us to continue on to its ramparts, dungeon, lord's and lady's rooms, kitchens, the dining room, the drawing room, the winch room, etc.  Castell Coch is well known for being used in the film industry for programmes such Dr Who, The Worst Witch and Merlin. Many parents in the local area will know it's also home to the 'tooth fairy.' The following photo is courtesy of the photographer RJMorgans...taken December 2012.
Enjoy the Smilebox video - all photos are mine except the very first one and the music is "Angel of Monmouth," which I chose since we're visiting Monmouthshire, Wales.


Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
I wonder what next week will bring - maybe I'll show you Dewstow Gardens and Hidden Grottos.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

W is for WEEPING

Oh, I am very weary,
Though tears no longer flow;
My eyes are tired of weeping,
My heart is sick of woe.
Anne Bronte

I had a shock yesterday! 

My sister was over and after going out for lunch, she came in and we were talking about some of the old times, old jobs, old boyfriends...

I told her about having seen my very first "real" boyfriend (from university days) about 20 years ago when I went and taught for a year in the area where he lived.  I saw him and talked to him a few times while there, and there was still a bit of a pitty-pat in my heart for him even though I knew it was never to be.

Yesterday, I found out that he is dead!  And it happened 2 1/2 years ago! 

I had seen something online the other day about an event he had been involved in and was looking to see if there were any more photos of him.  

Up popped his obituary!  

My heart broke and I wept for him.

It didn't say how he died, just that he was with his brother and sister-in-law in a different town from where he'd lived most of his life and where I had last seen him.  Apparently, they took him "home" and he was buried beside his father there.

I have always had good thoughts of him and the good times we had - the fraternity parties he took me to, the time we went to a formal dinner/dance and he was speechless when he saw me in my gown and my hair all done up,  the time we got dressed up sort of like "Little House on the Prairie" days for another party, the movies we saw and the walks and drives we took, our overnight ski trip to Mount Baker when during the drive he turned to me and said "You look like an angel with the moonlight shining on your face", the night he took me to a well-known nightclub in Vancouver for dinner and dancing and had our photo taken by a wandering photographer (anyone else remember those days?), our middle-of-the-night "magical mystery tour" to the back entrance to the Capilano Suspension Bridge property with a car load of his buddies and him jumping out from behind a tree in the dark to scare me and me screaming until we started laughing and laughing, how he travelled 500 miles to spend Christmas with me and my family one year and how much my parents liked him, and the kissing....oh the kissing.....and my Dad yelling down the stairs that it was "awful quiet down there" while I was supposed to be ironing his shirt for him.

I've never known someone of my generation to pass away, except for my husband 24 years ago, but that was different. 

 Yet this news is heartbreaking. 

I wish now that I had photographs of him and of us together, but in those days who could afford a camera?  Yet the images are in my mind and will forever be in my mind.  I think I always loved him for being my first true love.

Maybe one day we will meet again.

In the meantime, may he rest in peace here in the meadows beneath the mountains near
Bella Coola, BC, Canada.




Monday, June 06, 2016

V is for VOYAGE to VISIT

Welcome to our week honouring the letter V as in vitality, vitamins, vigil, van, visa, vine, vigor, vacuums, visit and voyage.

In about 10 days, I'll be departing YVR (Vancouver International Airport) and heading to England and Wales.  This voyage is something I've been anticipating for a very long time.  I'll try to post something next week, but after that I'll be gone for at least 4 weeks.  I will be visiting friends in Newport and Swansea (Wales) plus in Hampshire, Liverpool, and North Yorkshire (England).

About half the time will be to areas that will be new to me.  For example, I'll be seeing more of the south western coast of Wales (courtesy of Liz and her hubby) plus northern Wales with Liz and my good friend Jane.  Below, Liz and I enjoy lunch overlooking the beach at Rhossili back in 2012. Jane will pick us up at her place and the three of us will tour Northern Wales.  I hope to visit the seaside town where my paternal grandmother was born and brought up - Llandudno - as well as some other areas around there. 
Also, on my own, I'll spend a bit longer than last time in Liverpool, where my paternal grandfather was raised.  At the same time, I hope to visit with Di (from here on ABCW) and her husband for at least a dinner after I have completed the hop on/hop off bus tour of the city.  Here's a photo from 2012 when my friend Cathy and I met them for dinner at "Gusto's" on Albert Dock.
Then it's on the train to head east to North Yorkshire to visit my friend Jill and her family.  We plan on doing a lot of touring around the Yorkshire area plus spend a day and a night in York - just the two of us - a nice girly outing!  Here are Jill and me one day when we went touring around in 2012 and stopped here for lunch.
After a week with her, I'll hop on the train again and head back to southern Wales to stay with my good friend Jane, whom I met 10 years ago when ... well, that's another story for another time.  We plan on celebrating our 10 years of friendship both there and here when (hopefully) she comes over to visit me again.  This time, it'll be in a different home, but the same village. Our birthdays are 2 days apart and she's celebrating a "biggie" this year so we're going all out to party - maybe go to Whistler for a few nights and/or to the Okanagan wine region to tour and taste some wines!  Here we are 4 years ago!
The letter V came up at just the right time so I could announce all about my voyage to visit my good UK friends.  If anyone thinks they might like to "break into" my place, forget it.  It's like Fort Knox with all the locks and CCTV cameras, etc.  Plus my daughter will be living at my place to take care of Tegan while I'm away.  So if you miss me, never fear, I will return with more and more photos and tales to tell.

With vigorous thanks to that vixen Denise Nesbitt, creator of ABCW, and to the valiant Roger, our administrator who is vital to the ongoing success of this meme. Also thanks to the valuable team of helpers who faithfully visit all the contributors to leave validating comments.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

U is for UP UP AND AWAY

How many of you have heard of The Fifth Dimension?  I bet Roger knows of them!  They were one of my favourite groups back in the day.  They were an American singing group, formed in late 1965, who sang pop, R&B, soul, jazz, light opera, and Broadway.  I recall when they came to the Queen Elizabeth Theater in 1967 or 1968.  My boyfriend took me to see them and we had great seats in the orchestra section!  After a great medley of their songs, they came up the aisles of the orchestra section singing and I could almost touch them as they passed.  What a thrill that was!

So, how is it I thought of them this week?  Well, I remember their song "Up Up and Away" and thought of how I will be "up up and away" in about 2 1/2 weeks and flying to my favourite country in the whole world (at least so far|).  I'm heading to Wales to tour the western and northern areas with friends Jane from Newport and Liz from Swansea. I have been in the south and eastern sections before, but this time I plan on seeing the town where my paternal grandmother was born and raised - Llandudno, a beautiful seaside resort town now!

After about 10 days of that I'll be heading over to Liverpool to see my good friend Diane (Trubes here on ABCW) to see more of that wonderful city where my paternal grandfather was born and raised.  I was there in 2012 and met Di and her lovely hubby Ian, but I didn't have long there as I was heading over to the Isle of Man.  This time I plan on doing the "Hop On Hop Off" tour to see as much as possible in one day and then meet them for dinner! 

Then I'm heading off on the train to the east coast of England for a week to visit my good friend Jill, who lives in a little village just outside of Whitby in North Yorkshire.  We're going to see Whitby (of course), Robin Hood's Bay, Scarborough, and other scenic spots in the area plus spend a night in York - just the two of us. 

From North Yorkshire, I'll hop on the train again to head back to southern Wales to stay with my friend Jane for another week.  She's planning on coming over here to see me in late summer, early fall.  Oh we are going to have such a great time!

Can you tell I'm excited?  I haven't been away for 4 years or even had a little holiday anywhere for that long!  I'm going on my own so I can do my own thing and be an independent lady. Who knows who I might meet?  I find that when you travel alone, you tend to meet more people than if you're with someone.

You can rest assured I'll have LOTS of photos to share when I get back!  In the meantime, here's the song "Up Up and Away" by the Fifth Dimension. Turn up your sound and take yourself back to the late 60s.

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.