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.

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.




Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Q is for QUESTIONS

Hi everyone!  As most of you know, I've been unable to continue on a regular basis with ABC Wednesday because of my husband's health issues.  I'm sure you're all wondering how things are going, so I thought Q is for Questions would be a good time to update you all. 

Back in 2010, Lorne was diagnosed with colon cancer.  He subsequently had surgery and a full series of chemotherapy.  He didn't do well with the chemo and ended up in the hospital a few times needing blood transfusions and ice packing for raging fevers.  However, he made it through and in 2012, he went to London to work for 6 months.  Upon returning home, he had a full check-up where they spotted 2 tiny tumours in his liver.  So again he needed chemo, but this time he had to have 3 months before the surgery and then 3 months after.  He was okay until he started chemo again about 6 weeks after his surgery...he almost died from it.  The oncologist was going to let him stop chemo completely, but Lorne wanted to do whatever was necessary in order to survive.  So the doctor gave him half doses of the chemo, but he had to go every week instead of every 2 weeks.  That was fine and he made it through, finishing at the end of February this year.

He had been left with a hernia from the liver operation and as soon as he finished chemo, they had him scheduled to get it fixed.  But...after we got married on May 1st, his abdomen started filling up with fluid.  The doctors thought the cancer had spread to  his stomach and we were terribly shaken.  (Three strikes you're out!)  But then when they drained the fluid, it came back non-malignant.  He has been drained 5 times now but it keeps coming back negative for cancer.  He's had the PET scan, blood work, etc. and no cancer seems to be there.  More tests are in the works now.

Lorne is willing to do chemo if they can prove it's cancer, but because he doesn't do well on it, he feels it's too radical a treatment just to eliminate cancer.  So his GP and his oncologist are going to be meeting to see what else they can do...a different specialist?  Whatever is necessary. 

Life is very stressful right now but we are both trying to hang in there.  He gets very depressed at times and goes into himself.  That's when I leave him alone.  But he is trying to eat more and exercise more and continue to do things around the house.  Every morning, he takes Tegan to the park where they play Frisbee and the dog does all her benches (up and down on the park's picnic benches) and they go walking through all the trails.  He's also been doing a bit more photography.  I am still tutoring, but my time is limited as a lot of my students are doing different books in literature and I have to keep up with them.  So for me, I'm doing a lot of reading and research.

I hope this answers any questions you may have had if you were wondering about us.  We'd still appreciate your prayers or good wishes for a positive outcome with all this. And I will post whenever I can.  Here's a shot of Lorne and Tegan when she managed to climb onto his lap last week (he NEVER allows that) and it looks like she's laughing about it.

Thanks to the quintessential Roger and all the gang for keeping ABCW going and to the quaint Denise Nesbitt, the creator of the weekly fun!

Monday, September 01, 2014

H is for HOLY ROSARY CATHEDRAL

The Metropolitan Cathedral of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, commonly known as Holy Rosary Cathedral, is a late 19th-century French Gothic revival church that serves as the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver.  Not being Catholic, I've never visited the cathedral, but after having researched it for ABC Wednesday, I must make a point of going to see it with my own eyes.  Apparently, the church doors were officially opened on December 8, 1900, and it was officially declared a cathedral in 1916.  These are the dimensions of the building:
  • 161 feet long 104 feet across at the transepts
  • 62 feet across the nave and the aisles
  • 62 feet from the floor ceiling
  • 217 feet to the top of the larger steeple
This is an aerial view of the cathedral and it's really quite something to see in the modern downtown area of Vancouver.
From the front at ground level, this is the view:
Handsome building, eh?  Here are some photos of the aisle, altar and pipe organ.  By the way, all photos are courtesy of Mr. Google.
Like many Gothic cathedrals, stained glass windows are an important feature of Holy Rosary. There are 21 significant windows with pictorial displays. The oldest window is on the east wall of the Sanctuary next to the shrine of the Blessed Virgin—the Church Triumphant with the Risen Christ among saints and martyrs. The most gazed-at stained glass images must be the clerestory windows depicting Christ and the apostles in the sanctuary above the altar. The best-known windows whose heritage the Cathedral shares with all of Canada, are the Guido Nincheri windows. Nincheri is recognised as one of the most prolific religious artists of Canada for his large murals, frescoes and stained glass art. His work can be found in over 60 churches in North America. He created a series of five windows for the Cathedral over a span of a dozen years. It was in 1941 Archbishop W. M. Duke directed the Rector, Father John Miles, to solicit estimates for five stained glass windows by Guido Nincheri. It would take 13 years for the work to be completed. - See more about the heritage of the windows at http://www.holyrosarycathedral.org/heritage/windows/
 
 Catholicism isn't big in western Canada so this cathedral is the only one of its type here.  You might find others in eastern Canada because it was basically founded by the French, who are/were predominantly Catholic.  There is Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver, but it is of the Protestant faith.  Because of this, Holy Rosary Cathedral is quite a tourist attraction as well as a working church with regular services, weddings, funerals, and the like.  To read more about the cathedral click here.

Are you having fun yet?  We're almost halfway through Round 15 already!!! and we are having great success with participation.  Don't forget to think of the heroic Denise Nesbitt, creator of ABC Wednesday, and the handsome Roger (HAIL to the chief!), our administrator.  Be sure to let him know if you'd like to be on the happy team of assistants who hurry over to about 10 contributors' blogs per week to honour them with their humble commentary.  Doing this will certainly heighten your own delight in ABCW.

Monday, August 25, 2014

G is for GASTOWN

Welcome to G week at ABC Wednesday.  This week, I'd like to show you a bit of Gastownthe historic and cultural heart of Vancouver and the city’s oldest neighbourhood.  As the birthplace of Vancouver, Gastown was initially a settlement that sprung up in 1867 around a tavern founded by sailor and gold prospector John "Gassy Jack" Deighton. This historic district's cobblestone streets are lined with Victorian buildings that today house everything from souvenir shops and First Nations galleries to stylish clothing boutiques. With informational plaques placed strategically along the street to tell the history behind various buildings and landmarks, Gastown is an excellent area for a walking tour.  Here is the statue commemorating "Gassy Jack."
The steam-powered clock is the most famous landmark of Gastown, although not the oldest.  Built to cover a steam grate, part of Vancouver's distributed steam-heating system, the clock was built as a way to harness the steam and to prevent street people from sleeping on the spot in cold weather.  The steam powers the clock's sound as it whistles to tell the time.
A modern phenomenon in Gastown is the annual Gastown Grand Prix when cyclists from all over the world attend and vie for the highest one day prize purse for both the winning prize and total prize purse for a Canadian Criterium. The first race was held in 1973 and the tight course was "electrifying ... and ended in dramatic fashion with Bill Wild, one of the finest sprinters of the time, trading punches with transported Kiwi and three time Canadian National Road Champion Max Grace while battling it out in the final sprint. Wild won the race and took home first prize, which was a colour TV."  The 80's saw the emergence of professional cycling teams and the 90's brought youth teams to the forefront.  In 1994, the GGP could not find a sponsor, so it took a 9-year hiatus until it started up again in 2002.  There was a second hiatus between 2009 and 2012, but it's back on track now with men and women from all over the world competing in the GGP.
Photos this week are courtesy of Mr. Google.  Don't forget to give a high five to the gorgeous Denise Nesbitt, the creator of ABC Wednesday, and to the gallant Roger, our administrator.  Also, don't forget the gang of helpers that give generously of their time by visiting about 10 contributions each week to help ease the load of the leaders.  Please be an angel and contact Roger and he will gladly put you on the roster for next week's visits. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

F is for FUN at the FAIR

This week, F is Fun at the FAIR!  It's actually the Pacific National Exhibition, but we all just refer to it as the "Fair."  It started on Saturday, August 16th and has been held at Hastings Park in Vancouver since 1910.  Every year it's a huge attraction from mid-August until Labour Day at the beginning of September.  I can remember going to the Fair as a small child with my parents, taking my two little nephews before I had children of my own, and taking my own children when they were small. 

There are several parts to the Fair.  Playland is a great draw for kids and adults of any age with its iconic wooden roller coaster and rides like Atmos-Fear, the Hellevator, the Corkscrew, the Scrambler, Westcoast Wheel, Pirate, etc.  Then there are the games like Whac-a-Mole, Pop Gun, Jump Shot, Ring Toss, Crossbow and more...Don't bother to bring a lunch or dinner because there is more food to try than you can imagine.  The always popular Hunky Bill's Perogies are fantastic, as are the C-Lovers Fish 'n Chips, Gourmet Burgers, the Rib Festival, hot dogs, fries, donuts and pizzas....and more...
Don't forget to visit the Big Red Barn that features all things agricultural where you can actually see a calf being born.  There's Safeway's Farm Country and the Pacific Spirit Horse Show with dressage and jumping and Cattle Penning  in the Agrodome Building.  Also, see 4H clubs in action.
Among the live shows being presented are Super Dogs (an absolute MUST SEE!), pig races, Toon City, Retro Dance Party, Bones and Scully (pirates!), and some new shows - Thunder Drums of China, Mystic India, and Timber! a stompin' lumberjack shindig!   Also, the stars come out in the evenings and this year the Fair is having (among others) Joan Jett, Chilliwack, Air Supply, LeeAnn Rimes, Trooper, Gipsy Kings, Boyz II Men, Gavin DeGraw, the Pointer Sisters, and Glass Tiger!  A great lineup this year.  I even remember seeing Tom Jones one year when I was in my early 20s.  A couple of years ago, I saw Hall and Oates!  So exciting!  Here's a shot of Chilliwack who will be performing on August 19th (free with your admission to the fair).
Then there's the always popular Prize Home to wander through.  Ticket sellers are out in full force hawking tickets to win the house or any of a myriad of cars or vacations.  This year's house will be located in the Okanagan town of Kelowna and has had the interior design done by Jillian Harris (who was on the Bachelor a few seasons ago). 
So if you're planning a trip to Vancouver, be sure to come when the Fair is on because you just might want to spend more than one day there.  So much to see, so much to do, and not enough time for it all. There is so much more than I've put in here, so you just have to see it for yourselves.  Oh, I almost forgot about the special thing they have this year - the Game of Thrones Traveling Exhibition - and you can actually sit on the throne and view 100's of artifacts from the show!  Here's my daughter Jamie with husband Jason and their two children.
Finally, don't forget to throw out a thank you to the fascinating Denise Nesbitt, creator of ABCW, and to our favourite Roger, ABCW's administrator.  Also, we're still looking for fabulous volunteers to help visit a few blogs each week, so let Roger know if you're interested. Here's a little slide show of some of my own photos from when Lorne and I went in 2011 - enjoy.
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow