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, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

Update: Jan. 1/08 - just got Jaclyn home and in bed, medicated. She's still in a lot of pain (naturally) but I think she'll be able to rest and heal much better in a home environment. Stitches to come out in 10 days at our family doctor's office and an appointment made with the oncologist in about a month. I think she might already be out cold so I have to go and get a prescription for Tylenol 3s for her and go get her mail. I'll be home the rest of the day keeping an eye on her.

An update: Just got a call from Jaclyn and the doctor says she can come home tomorrow! She'll be staying with me for a while so wish me good luck with the crankies she's going to go through.


I was going to do a post about Canada's health care system, but that will wait for a bit. I just wanted to wish everyone a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2008! Never in my life have I been so glad to see the end of a year - it's been a doozy! But I plan on celebrating with friends tonight and saying "Good riddance 2007!" and "A very warm welcome 2008!"

Last January, I started out working on my book but on Jan. 13th, I had to put it away and focus on my Dad who had two very serious strokes. By the time we got him moved out of the hospital and settled in a care home, his apartment cleaned out, and his possessions dispersed I had about 10 days to breathe. Then suddenly, my younger daughter ended up in the hospital. That was the first of two serious bouts with bipolar 2 and six months of hell until she was well enough to move into her own place in the middle of September. Then on Sept. 21, I got a call from the care home - Dad was on his way...he passed away an hour and half after I got there. After that was the funeral and then all the end-of-life business that goes along with a death. The family thought it was finally finished with all the...well, you know what...when suddenly in mid-October the same daughter started getting sick. And, you know the result of that!
So good-bye 2007 and come on in 2008! I can hardly wait to see what the year has ahead for me. Can't be any worse than last year! I'll get back to working on the book, continue going to step aerobics and the gym to get the last 10 lbs off and firm up, and try to have a holiday.
I hope all of you have a good evening, whether you're home alone watching the "ball" drop or out partying with friends. Let's all look ahead to the future with hope for world peace, too.
!!!HAPPY NEW YEAR ONE AND ALL!!!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Ding Dong the Witch is Dead!

Praise the Lord! Jaclyn’s surgery is over and the surgeons have reassured us that everything looks good.

However, the tumour has to be sliced, diced, and gone over with a fine toothcomb before the final results are in. (This will happen in the basement of the building where our good friend Josie works.)

They are looking for cancer cells or any cells that appear abnormal, and won’t have the results until probably the week of the 7th of January.

In the meantime, after several days at VGH, Jaclyn will come home with me for about a week until she’s fully able to care for herself, but she won’t be able to return to work for 6 to 8 weeks.

We joke (now) about Jaclyn having given birth to a 10+ pound turkey for Christmas, but in all seriousness, that tumour ended up being a lot bigger than previously expected. It must have turned around on itself because the length was 40 centimetres (for all you who do not use metric, that is around 16 inches long!) and it was around 20 cm wide and 18 cm in thickness. Think about it as being a full-term baby – but an alien one! ;D

Naturally, Jaclyn is in a lot of pain still, but today I reassured her that this pain is good because it’s a healing pain. She still has one ovary and her uterus so there is still a chance she could have a baby some day, which is something she wants, even though she was willing to lose everything in order to live.

I’d like to thank everyone for your prayers and notes of kindness with regard to this terrible ordeal we’ve gone through. Although it’s not over quite yet, we are so relieved that Jaclyn’s pain from the tumour is gone and that she has survived this nightmare.

I am so proud of my daughter for bearing all this with dignity. She stayed focused so she wouldn't break down and was/is willing to face anything that might come. We nicknamed the tumour "Hilda" after her witch of a late grandmother (not my Mom and that's another story I might tell another time) and we are all so grateful that the thing is dead! So sing with me everyone!

Ding-dong the witch is dead
Which old witch? The wicked witch
Ding-dong the wicked witch is dead
Wake up you sleepyhead
Rub your eyes, get out of bed
Wake up the wicked witch is dead
She's gone where the goblins go
Below - below - below
Yo-ho, let's open up and sing and ring the bells out
Ding Dong' the merry-oh, sing it high, sing it low
Let them know the Wicked Witch is dead!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Update on Jaclyn's Condition

Update as of Thurs Dec.27: Jaclyn will be transferred by ambulance tomorrow morning from our local hospital to VGH for emergency surgery as soon as they get her in and prepped. I'll be there at the hospital as long as is necessary and will report news as soon as I can here.

I am overwhelmed by the love, care, and prayers being sent our way by all of you out there in cyberland! So I felt I should update you on Jaclyn's condition as of this morning.

She's now on oxygen because the tumor is pressing so high up in her abdominal area that she can't breathe deeply. She's on IV fluids, continuing pain control, and clear liquids until the local hospital can get her into VGH to prepare her for surgery. They'll be contacting them tomorrow when their schedules are up and running again. If Jaclyn were near death, of course, she'd be over there in a flash for emergency surgery, but she's stable for now so they'll wait.

I sat with her for about an hour this morning, but she'd just had a dose of morphine and was a bit delirious. When I went to leave so she could sleep, she asked me to stay a bit longer so I did. I just held her hand and let her talk when she had something to say. I reassured her that when the surgery was over, she'll feel so much better.

Our pastor was going to go and visit to pray for her, but he has a cold so felt it better that he not go. But he prayed with me on the phone this morning and will be sending out the latest news to the congregation so they will continue to pray for her, too.

I cannot thank you all enough for your support right now. This is the worst thing to happen since my husband died. You all understand my terror about what they might find and if it's all benign I will be so relieved! (What an understatement!) Last night as I was trying to get to sleep, I started thinking the unimaginable and had to get up and take a tranquilizer. My body hurts all over from the stress and worry but I will manage with all your love and support. Just pray for my daughter, that's all I ask. Thanks.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Jesus, Take The Wheel

All I can do now is to ask Jesus to take the wheel and look after Jaclyn.

Fear on Christmas Day

Christmas started with a sudden rap on my bedroom door at 3:30 a.m. Jaclyn had come over to spend the night and was in dire pain. I took her to emergency, and they put her on morphine, took blood and xrays. The doctor felt she should stay so I left her there at 6:00 a.m. to go back to bed for a bit more sleep. She phoned around 11:00 a.m. to tell me they were taking her by ambulance to Peach Arch Hospital in White Rock (a neighbouring community) for a CT scan. I got up then and had a shower so I'd be ready to go and be with her at a moment's notice. She phoned around 2:00 p.m. to tell me she was back at our local hospital and was waiting for the results. In the meantime, my other daughter Jamie, her husband and their little boy Noah arrived and we decided I wouldn't cook the turkey but we'd open our presents. Then around 3:30 p.m. Jaclyn phoned to tell us she was allowed to come home for a couple of hours but she would have to go back so they could monitor her until Thursday when things are up and running again.
Jason went and got her and she curled up on the sofa long enough to open her gifts and to watch Noah, whom she adores, open his gifts too. She was white as a sheet and hadn't eaten all day but finally agreed to some toast and a bit of water. She could only manage to get 1/2 piece of toast down. Jamie took her back to the hospital and when she came back we played Hungry Hungry Hippos with Noah for a while.
Since I didn't really have anything else in the house to eat other than my diet food, I was going to take Jamie, Jason and Noah out for dinner. But...*sigh*...nothing was open (even McDonald's) except for a local hotel that was charging $39.95 per person for a Christmas banquet. My whole turkey didn't cost that much, so we opted to cook my turkey another day. So they all went home to have spaghetti at their place and I ate my diet food and a bowl of M&Ms.
Then I headed over to the hospital to check that Jaclyn was settled and took her some toothpaste, toothbrush, clean undies and sox. I saw the doctor and she told me they're going to monitor her until Thursday and then they'll contact the BC Cancer Agency to let them know what's been happening and to try to get her admitted immediately for the surgery. The doctor said she cannot be home in her condition. She's on IVs to keep fluids in her because she started vomiting when she got back to the hospital.
I don't really care whether we get to have the turkey or whether it has to be thrown out. I'm so worried about my daughter than I can hardly think straight. She looked so helpless in that hospital emergency bed. And I can't get over the size of the tumor inside of her. Apparently, it's 25 cm by 18 cm by 15 cm! For you who aren't on metric, that's the equivalent of 10" by 7" by 6" so imagine that inside of you! God, please don't let it be cancer!!!
So Christmas came and went and it wasn't really a happy day, to say the least. I hope the next time I write about this predicament we're in (that's an understatement, don't you think?) I'll be able to report good news. It doesn't matter how old our children are because when they're sick and need us we still think of them as our babies.
Please continue to pray for her health and my ability to stay strong for her. Lord, look upon Jaclyn with eyes of mercy, may your healing hand rest upon her, may your life-giving powers flow into every cell of her body and into the depths of her soul, cleansing, purifying, restoring her. Amen.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

This will be the first Christmas without my parents, Dad having moved on to his next adventure in September. I am grateful that both Mom and Dad are finally at peace and together again.

My daughter Jaclyn grappled with and overcame a severe bout with bipolar 2 this year, but is now facing a new battle with upcoming surgery. I am so grateful that she survived that summer ordeal, and I am also grateful for all the prayers flowing over us as we await the next battle. I am so proud of her for overcoming the odds and maintaining a sense of humour even as she prepares for the worst yet.

My daughter Jamie and her husband Jason and son Noah are excitedly anticipating the arrival of a new baby in early March. Jamie wasn't lucky to have escaped the gestational diabetes - again - but I am grateful that, other than that, she is healthy and has been able to gain a minimum of weight. I'm also grateful that Jason was able to return to work after a death-defying accident in 2006 and that Noah is growing in leaps and bounds and is such a happy little boy.
This year of blogging has added many more virtual friends to my life. For that I am grateful. I find it exciting to be communicating with people in Australia, Italy, Wales, England, Malaysia, and the Caribbean along with the USA from Oregon to the mid-west, Maryland, and Florida. I'm grateful for all the friends I have in my life, I'm grateful for my church family, I'm grateful for my health (albeit the bad back), and I'm grateful that I have a nice home and enough money to allow me all my needs and some of my wants.

Even with the trials and tribulations that we face in our lives, there is much to be thankful for. So I hope you all have the best Christmas ever and can be as thankful as I am for the blessings that have been given to you. Remember the true reason for the season - the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, our Saviour. Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Facing Cancer


Well, it was a new experience to walk into the BC Cancer Clinic yesterday. Jaclyn and I were both very nervous but we each kept up the front for each other. Everyone there was extremely kind yet not patronizing and treated both of us with the utmost respect.

Since Vancouver General Hospital is a teaching hospital, we first had a 3rd year med student take Jaclyn's medical history and even my gynaecological history. Then the resident (a lovely young woman) came in with more questions and she performed the physical exam on Jaclyn. I was so proud of my daughter because she did so well under the circumstances - it must have been so uncomfortable. The resident said that the mass is around the size of a newborn baby and has moved up into the abdomen area. I guess that's why her abdomen is so extended. We both had noticed her weight gain but put it down to the new drugs she's on for her bipolar. Finally, the "big guy" came in with the other two and we discussed treatment.

First, they will definitely remove the growth but because of its size she will need an incision rather than a laparoscopy. If necessary, they will have to remove her ovary and the fallopian tube, but if they can salvage any of the ovary, they will. Finally, if they can see it's cancerous when they go in they will have to do a complete hysterectomy by removing the uterus, both ovaries, both fallopian tubes and all the lymph nodes in the area. If they have to resort to that, we will face the next steps at that time. Jaclyn has given them written permission to do whatever is necessary when they open her up.

After this week of thinking about it, my daughter has decided to prepare for the worst and anything better than that will be a massive relief. She will let her support group (family, friends, church, and all you guys out there in cyberland) do the praying and hoping for the best. But she feels that if she's not prepared psychologically then the bottom will drop out of her if it's not good. She seems to be trying to have a sense of humour about the whole thing and has named the growth "Hilda" (an inside joke).
I'm coping as well as can be expected. I'm suffering from dizziness, nausea, and lethargy. And I have this shaky feeling throughout my body. I know I have to be strong for my daughter and I will be there for her through the whole horrid experience but I am grateful for my own family and friends who are there for me, too. I'm trying hard to think only of the most positive result because the alternate is just too much for me to handle right now.

The surgery is going to be within 3 weeks. Because of the holidays, I'm thinking the week of Jan. 7-11. The hospital will be calling soon with the date and we have been assured she won't be bumped. So please continue to pray for a positive outcome for Jaclyn. We'd both really appreciate all your prayers or good vibes from whatever belief system you have. Thanks.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Why, God, Why?

The gifts were bought and wrapped and I'd even made shortbread cookies and attended two Christmas concerts. I was beginning to relax and look forward to a lovely Christmas with both my girls, the older one's husband and their little boy.
Then I received a call from younger daughter last Friday just around dinner time.

"Mom, I'm in so much pain I can hardly stand up. I need to go to Emergency."

Long story short, she has been diagnosed with a huge mass on her right ovary and they can't rule out cancer.

We've had quite a week so far. The diagnosis was Monday night and we were both in such shock that she slept over at my place. Tuesday, we sat around all day waiting for the specialist to phone. His office didn't call until Wednesday morning, instructing her to go to the cancer clinic on Friday at 2:00 pm. Be prepared for 2 to 3 hours of further tests and a consultation with an oncologist.

This is the same daughter who had such a difficult summer but had finally been able to move on with her life, get her own apartment, and go back to work. So I can't help but ask, "Why God? Why?"

So tomorrow we go and find out whether we should be prepared for ovarian cancer or a simple but hideously huge and painful benign tumor. And we'll probably find out when the surgery will take place, most likely right after New Year's.

It's hard at any time of year to go through anything like this, but at this time of year when there is so much celebrating going on, I think it's a bit harder.

I have to stay strong for my daughter and try to overcome this constant nausea that has hit me. I have to look on the positive and pray for the least horrible outcome.

After the initial shock, my daughter has decided to prepare for the worst and anything better than that will be a relief. She has even named her "growth" and has been able to put a humorous spin on things. That's pretty brave for a single 27-year-old who wants children some day. Good for her!

Urgent prayers are greatly needed and greatly appreciated.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Kenny Rogers and Wynonna Judd - Mary, did you know?

This is one of my favourite Christmas songs and I hope you enjoy this rendition by Kenny Rogers and Wynonna Judd. It tells us the true reason for the season.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

AND THE WINNER IS....



CONGRATULATIONS TO SYLVIA, THE FIRST AND ONLY PERSON TO GET ALL 15 QUESTIONS CORRECT!!!

Here are the questions with their answers. How many did you know?


1. What do we call round or oval candies filled with fruit preserves or cream and covered with chocolate? Sugar Plums

2. What country is credited with creating eggnog? USA

3. Of the 365 days in a year, what number is Christmas Day? 359

4. What holiday symbol is placed on MacDonald's bags during the Christmas season? Trees

5. What does Alvin want for Christmas? A hula hoop

6. Who first recorded "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer?" Gene Autry

7. In what town did "It's a Wonderful Life" take place? Bedford Falls
8. In "A Charlie Brown Christmas," what does Lucy want for Christmas? Real estate

9. In what decade did flashing Christmas lights debut? 1930's

10. Which carol demands "figgy pudding"? We Wish You a Merry Christmas

11. The citizens of which Florida town maintain a fully decorated tree year round? Christmas

12. What two reindeer are mentioned in the song "Here Comes Santa Claus"? Vixen & Blitzen

13. How big is the voice in "do you hear what I hear?" as big as the sea

14. In the song "Jingle Bells," who was seated by my side? Miss Fanny Bright

15. What is the largest selling Christmas single of all times? White Christmas


Thanks to everyone who gave it a try and "Bah, Humbug" to the rest of you - just kidding! ;-D
Only 10 days until the big day so Merry Christmas to everyone and to all a "good night."

Monday, December 10, 2007

Christmas Decorating

I finally got the tree decorated tonight and the living room is looking rather festive now. It was actually fun putting out all the decorations, too, because each one has such special meaning for me.

The Santa Claus Bear is an old Avon product, purchased way back in the mid '70s before I had any children. I was selling Avon and thought it was so cute and some day my children would like it. It plays music and the candle lights up, too. The merry-go-round is also an Avon product purchase around the same time for the same reason. I love putting these two decorations out now for my almost 4-year-old grandson - he has been absolutely enthralled with them, especially the merry-go-round that plays several different tunes. We usually have to finally tell him to stop playing with it because it starts to get on our nerves after a while! :D The angel is a wind-up music box and plays Silent Night. It was the last Christmas gift I ever gave to my grandmother in 1985 and when she passed away in '86, my Mom gave it back to me. Noah loves this angel, too.
The huge snowball is a peppermint scented candle surrounded by little snowmen. The Mommy snowman with the snowkids holds a tealite inside and it glows through the pattern. Both of these are Party Lite products that I purchased many years ago when my girls were small.


Finally, the ornament that I call the "gift light" was given to me by my sister last Christmas. She found it at a craft fair and it is all handblown glass to look like a wrapped gift. You stuff a strand of mini-lights inside it and plug it in and it lights up to look exquisite. I kept it out all year round because it's such a conversation piece at any time of year. But now it's always lit up. I just love this newest ornament.
I decided to get tiny white lights for my tree a few years ago because I thought they went with my strands of white, pearlescent beads. This year I've put new (last year) glass balls in gold, bronze, and burgundy on the tree and they look lovely. I used to absolutely overload the tree with all sorts of things that they girls made when they were in school, but now they appreciate a more sophisticated tree, like I do. So I put a few "kiddy style" things at the bottom of the tree so I don't worry about Noah or other little visitors touching them but the "adult style" things are up a ways.
Now that the tree is up, the decorations out, the new wreath on the front door and the old one on the side door, I'm starting to get into the spirit of things. I'm finished my shopping, but still need to wrap the gifts and I enjoy doing that, choosing just the right bag with tissue or wrapping paper and tag. I've been to our church Christmas banquet and seen one Christmas concert so far. There's another concert next Saturday and my former school's concert next week. I'm taking Noah to that one because he's coming to spend the night with me. This week I have to do a little baking, but not too much because I don't want to to be too tempted to indulge.

Are you finished your shopping yet? What Christmas celebrations have you attended so far? What's coming up for you? Do you have any special traditions? Come on and share.

Stanley Park Hollow Tree

From the Vancouver Sun, Dec. 10/07:

Stanley Park's iconic hollow tree - for over a century, a popular photo backdrop for countless visitors, their horses and even their cars - is leaning dangerously and may fall over.


This enormous Western Red Cedar is estimated to date back to the 11th century making it approximately 1,000 years old and currently measures about 45 feet around and over 131 feet tall. It has been a popular spot for tourists and locals alike ever since Stanley Park opened in 1888. When automobiles arrived in Vancouver, many cars like the old Stanley Steamers and Ford Model Ts backed into the tree for the traditional photo op.

Unfortunately, the tree has some rot and the storms that ravaged our fair city last winter has caused it to lean. Even the network of iron rods and metal straps that had been installed to keep the stump together couldn't keep the ground from destabilizing. So, the tree's days may be numbered. Currently, there are barricades around the tree to protect tourists in case the tree falls and the tree is also wrapped with steel cables and tied to a nearby hemlock.

Every time I drive through the park, I notice the tree but have yet to have my photo taken in it. I guess I won't have a chance now that the barricades are there. But it's still worth driving by to take a look, so those of you who plan to visit Vancouver in the near future absolutely MUST go down to the park to see it. It will be a huge heartache for all Vancouverites, especially those of us who were born here, when this mammoth tree dies.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Not long ago, I put up a post entitled "Eight is Enough." You may remember that one of the "8s" was 8 qualities I look for in a best friend. I wrote that a friend should:

1. have a sense of humour

2. be trustworthy

3. be intelligent enough to have a decent conversation and not just gossipy stuff

4. be kind enough to offer to bring chicken soup when I’m all alone and sick with a cold or flu

5. be able to view things from various perspectives but honour my perspective even if he/she doesn’t understand or approve of it

6. be interested in ME and my life

7. be inquisitive and have a desire to learn something new every day

8. be willing to share a room with me on a trip and bring your own earplugs


Well, I've been thinking about all the friends I've been fortunate enough to make over the past half century plus. Not all have remained in my life but as one leaves, another makes an appearance and sticks around for the long haul. Where have they come from?

When I think back to my childhood, I think that my younger sister was my best friend because we were so close in age. We played together, ate together, slept together and told each other secrets. We played with three girls who lived across the street. However, as we became teenagers, each of us spread our wings and found others with whom to share our time. My best friend through high school was a girl named Margaret, who went to a Christian Reformed church. Because of that, my parents never hesitated to allow me to go on outings with her and her church friends. Little did Mom and Dad know that they were a pretty wild and crazy bunch. Once, we piled 9 of us into a huge car and sped down the highway at 120 mph to Cultus Lake and back. On the way back to my house, the passenger door flew open as we made a turn. There were no seatbelts in those days so you can imagine the screaming from Margaret and me as the driver struggled to reach across us to get the door! We ended up going separate paths when she decided to begin her teaching career after 2 years of university and I continued on to get my degree. Years later, I found out that one of the teachers at my last school had taught with her at another small Christian school. I never found out her married name, so haven't been able to contact her.

I only have one friend from high school who has stayed the course with me. Di started at our high school in Grade 12 and we went on to university together, having lots of fun and a few dangerous adventures. I was maid of honour at her wedding in 1972 and we're still friends, albeit living across the continent from each other. We only get to see each other every 3 to 5 years, but it's like picking up from yesterday. Thankfully, these days we're able to keep in touch via email. Lots of other friends have come and gone over the years. Some I made when I was a new mother. Some were from church and others from reading or theatre groups to which I belonged. Some were business colleagues who made it into the "friend" department.

A friend is there for you at a time in your life when you need each other the most. You experience things together and learn from each other. For example, when I had my first child, I could turn to others who were going through the same sorts of things like rashes, screaming, not sleeping at night, etc. When I was married, I had friends with whom we'd go camping, out for dinner, over to each other's house for games nights or Christmas and New Year's Eve. After my husband died, I found out who were the true friends - not many. Suddenly, as a single woman, I found out that I was considered to be a threat to the other wives. I had to start all over to make friends with women who were also single. I knew none at first.

Now I'm happy to say that I consider many women my friends. Each of them brings something different to our friendship. Cathy and I enjoyed teaching together and we've traveled several times with each other, both to Europe and on small trips locally. She's the one that brings her own earplugs when we've shared a hotel room or cruise cabin. Johanna and I share a love of art, literature, music, lunching, walking and showing each other areas of our neighbourhoods. She's a city girl and I'm a suburban girl. Colleen and I share a history of loss, we both have daughters who've tried our patience and love many times, and over 10 years as she does my hair we've shared many a secret with each other. She's from South Africa. Wendy is a great friend who didn't care that I was single and she was happily married. Because her husband plays drums in a band, we even laughingly "date" each other occasionally - one time she's the "guy" and the next time, I am. We've attended the same church for many years and done the season tickets to theatre thing, too. I met Suzanne a couple of years ago through blogging. She lives in Arizona and when we had an opportunity to meet up in LA over the Labour Day weekend in 2005, we found that we're soul sisters. She had me to her place in February 2006 and took me to the Grand Canyon. Then we had a week together in California in February 2007 and she's planning to come up to Vancouver next summer - to get out of the hot desert. Overseas, I consider Marion in England and Jane in Wales to be my good friends. I met Marion through Cathy in 1997 and we've become great friends separate from Cathy, even though they're also friends. I met Jane through a blogging experience and met her a little over a year ago when I was visiting with Marion and her husband. I took the train to Wales and it was instant friendship. She took me to see the Welsh Living History Museum, an amazing place that I'd like to revisit in the spring or summer.

Every one of these women I consider to be a "best" friend, each in her own unique way and each one has some or all of the attributes that I listed above. Some of us got together to celebrate my birthday in October and some had never met each other before. But we all had things in common. We all love to travel. We all have some creative talent - painting, writing, drama, wood carving, crafts, flower arranging, etc. We're all grandmothers now and love to share photos and stories of our new babies. And did I mention that we all love to travel - both nationally and internationally?

Why did I start thinking about friends and friendship? I think it's because of the Christmas season being upon us and the fact that I'm feeling so grateful for the positive impact they've all had on my life. In some small way, I just wanted to acknowledge them and thank them for being there for me when I need them and for allowing me to be there for them when they need me.

I did this silly little quiz to see what kind of friend I am and I was pleasantly surprised. What kind of friend are you? Do you have a friend that deserves your acknowledgement?
You Are a Good Friend Because You're Loyal
You stick with your friends no matter what, even if you feel like they're doing the wrong thing.You believe in letting people figure out their own path in life. It's not your place to interfere.
And part of your loyalty means that you'll do a lot for your friends. You definitely go the extra mile.You'll even do great things for friends without them asking. After all, that's what friendship is all about.
You are truly a friend for life. And you have friends you've known since you were a kid.Your friends can count on you to do a favor, remember a birthday, or just be there to listen.
Your friends need you most when: They can't turn to anyone else
You really can't be friends with: Fickle people who change friends quickly
Your friendship quote: "Friendship doubles your joys, and divides your sorrows."

Sunday, December 02, 2007

St Nicholas or Santa?

Today being First Advent, I thought I'd share the following letter from City In Focus that I received via my pastor the other day. It's something to consider at this time of year.

"The person we refer to as Saint Nicholas was the Bishop of Myra in the fourth century in modern day Turkey. Nicholas inherited great wealth as a young man when his parents died in an epidemic. He practiced charity his whole life and showed compassion to the poor or unjustly treated by society.

One example of St. Nicholas’ compassion involved a father who had lost all his money. This father had three daughters and now could not afford their dowries. The father’s decision to sell his daughters into slavery or prostitution came to the attention of Nicholas. On three separate nights, Nicholas anonymously threw a bag through the family’s open window containing enough gold for a dowry for one daughter. Thereby, all were saved from disgrace.

What we refer to as Santa Claus is an artist’s depiction of the "fat jolly old elf" from Clement Moore’s 1823 poem "The Night before Christmas". This Santa became the central figure in Coca-Cola advertising for over 30 years in the early 1900’s, thus cementing this figure as a world icon of commercialism.

What a contrast! St. Nicholas saw his resources as a gift from God to be shared with the poor and marginalized; Santa Claus encourages us to generate more gifts for ourselves or our loved ones.


As J. Rosenthal & C. Myers said years ago in their piece called "Santa Claus and St. Nicholas,"

Santa Claus belongs to childhood; St. Nicholas models for all of life.
Santa Claus encourages consumption; St. Nicholas encourages compassion.
Santa Claus flies through the air—from the North Pole; St. Nicholas walked the earth—caring for those in need.
Santa Claus, for some, replaces the Babe of Bethlehem; St. Nicholas, for all, points to the Babe of Bethlehem. (http://www.stnicholascenter.org/)


In scripture, Jesus gives us the two great commandments. The first is to love God and the second is, "You must love your neighbour as yourself" (Matthew 22:35-40). St. Nicholas is a perfect example of "loving your neighbour," with a preference for those in need.

Who will be our model for this Christmas season: St. Nicholas or Santa? Do we choose to share our abundance or continue to fill our lives and our families’ lives with material possessions?
I suggest we toss some bags of gold through the open windows of our neighbours.

Merry Christmas,"


Personally, I love the Santa story but never forget the true meaning of Christmas. After all, the word Christmas comes from the old English "Cristes maesse" meaning Christ's Mass. But the truth seems to have become fuzzy for most. Your thoughts?

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The First Snow of Winter

We heard on the news yesterday that we were in for a snow-stormy weekend. So it was with no surprise that I looked out this morning to see that it had snowed last night but hadn't stuck to the ground much. However, it is now snowing full force and IS sticking. The winds are also howling and it didn't take me long to take a quick photo of some of the trees in my backyard. The wind was whipping the snowflakes up and drove me inside after only 2 shots. So this is the beginning of our first dump of the season. I hate driving in snow, so may not go to church tomorrow but instead continue to decorate the house for Christmas.



Anyway, in honour of our infrequent snowfalls, here are some thoughts:


1. Free snow. Shovel all you want!


2. Free Snowmen. Some assembly required.


3. Life is like a blanket of snow. Be careful how you step on it. Every step will show!



4. Snowflakes are kisses sent from heaven.



5. A snowman is the perfect man. He's very well rounded and comes with his own broom.



6.Take time to chase the snowflakes.



7. Home is where the snow falls.



8. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. . . somewhere else!



9. The great thing about snow is it makes your lawn look as good as your neighbours.



10. Snow happens.


For those of you who enjoy the snow, have fun making snowmen, having snowball fights, sledding, skiing or whatever else you do in this cold wet mess. Cheers!

Friday, November 30, 2007

It's Beginning to Look a Bit Like Christmas

Last night was my first Christmas function - a potluck with the ladies of my church. After a sumptuous feast of chicken, beef, mandarin orange salad, shortbread cookies and butter tarts, we waddled to the living room to sing carols. Between songs, we discussed our annual hamper drive for a home for abused women and children. It was a lot of fun and no one wanted to leave.

The evening got me in the spirit so I'm heading out to Canadian Tire to see if I can get some new LED lights to decorate my front door. Since I don't have a ladder (and am a bit scared of climbing up to do the top of the house, anyway) I think I'll stick to the door. Since living here, I haven't decorated any part of the exterior of the house and the neighbours probably think I'm either Jewish or a Scrooge.

So off I go...wish me luck that I'll be able to find the lights and do the door.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Truffle to fetch $221,000.00

First of all, what is a truffle? It is an underground form of mushroom that lives in the roots of specific trees. Truffles cannot be planted and suppliers rely on the fungus infecting the roots of oak trees to enable the delicacy to grow - a process which can take up to 15 years. For more specific information and recipes click here.


In today's paper, an article from Rome announced that a 1.5 kg (more than 3 pounds) truffle was found in the Italian countryside near the city of Pisa. Italian truffle hunter and trader, Cristiano Savini dug down 80 cm (almost 3 feet) by an oak tree to find this truffle, the largest unearthed in half a century. It took Savini, his father, and his dog Rocco more than an hour to get it out. They are donating the truffle to a charity auction in Macau where it is expected to fetch 150,000 euros or $221,000 Cdn.


I've only had the chocolate variety of truffles, but has anyone ever eaten the real thing? Maybe Welshcakes Limoncello?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Pig Farmer Trial Almost Over

Closing arguments are currently in process at the infamous trial of Robert Pickton, charged with killing and butchering 22 of Vancouver's 60+ missing women. Details of this trial have been published daily in the Vancouver Sun, but after a while, I stopped reading about it. It's just far too gruesome to absorb. But, jurors expect to be sequestered throughout the weekend to deliberate Pickton's guilt or innocence. Hopefully, it won't take them too long to come to a decision. It seems to me that he is overwhelmingly guilty and in his case, I'm sorry we no longer have the death penalty. People like him and Clifford Olsen (murderer and serial killer of children) shouldn't have the luxury of living out their lives in a penitentiary. I'm sure I could think of some type of lingering public torture (e.g. electrocution or burning at the stake) which might deter other evil beings from similar brutal acts towards women and children. However, we must be satisfied that he will never again set foot outside of prison walls - if he survives inside.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Rain or Snow?

The Reality of Snow


Would you prefer rain or snow for winter? I know that most of you will conjure up visions of fluffy white snow banks, skiing or snowboarding down luxurious white slopes, or going for a lovely trudge towing the kids behind you in their sled. What's the reality, though? Biting cold winds working their way under your hat or hood, frozen electrical wires threatening to slap your house dark, stamping your feet as you wait for the trolley bus that got stuck miles away because the wires froze up, trees falling, cars in ditches, and the heating bill soars. Shall I go on?

I much prefer to look at the snow-capped mountains to my north and pray that it stays there. If it rains here, it does tend to get rather dark - especially at this time of year - but I don't have to shovel it, I can easily drive to my appointments, the buses run on time, and the heating bill is reasonable.

Many people share the misconception that Vancouver is a rain-saturated city, where umbrellas are part of everyday life and the sun seldom peeks out. But the truth is, Vancouver enjoys one of the mildest climates in Canada. And all the rain Vancouver is supposed to get? Its precipitation is on par with New York and Quebec City. You can always tell a visitor - they carry an umbrella - hah! Locals just pull up their hoods if it's a bad day or else they just saunter around in and out of the stores, etc. On my way home today, the kids were getting out of school and nary an umbrella in sight.

I lived in Ottawa for about 3 years and I really did not understand all the fooferal of Vancouver's reputation. Well, the first rain in the province of Ontario enlightened me. Ottawa's rain was a driving force, coming down so hard you were drenched in less than 10 seconds. Vancouver's rain is gentle and you'd have to sit out in it for an hour to get wet.

What to do on a rainy Vancouver day? Here are some suggestions:

1. Spend the day with otters, octopi and other sea-dwelling creatures at the world-famous Vancouver Aquarium.

2. Partake in the sensory smorgasbord that is a movie at CN IMAX.

3. View masterpieces by Emily Carr and a world-class collection of other artists at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

4. Make learning fun with the interactive and fascinating exhibits at the Science World.

5. Wander the shops, boutiques and galleries of bustling Granville Island.

6. Discover the wonder and historical importance of native culture at the magnificent Museum of Anthropology. It's located on the campus of the University of British Columbia (my alma mater).

7. Feed your inner shopaholic at any of Vancouver's malls, from Downtown's Pacific Centre to the 470 shops and services at Metropolis at Metrotown in nearby Burnaby.

8. Take advantage of the glass-domed Bloedel Conservatory and marvel at this tropical paradise high atop Queen Elizabeth Park.

9. Put on a slicker and enjoy a brisk walk through Stanley Park. The rainforest canopy provides ample coverage from the rain.

10. Go shopping and celebrity hunting on Robson Street.

Anyway, the point is you probably wouldn't be able to get to any of these places if it snows in Vancouver. The streets are a slushy or slippery mess and you'd take your life in your hands to go out anywhere but your local grocery store when you absolutely have to - and you'd be slipping and sliding all the way there, too.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

StrongStart

At not quite 4 years of age, my grandson's photo has landed in a local newspaper. Noah attends StrongStart, an early learning program for preschool-aged children. He goes with his daycare provider and her young son who's about the same age as Noah. It's not an alternative to daycare because parents or caregivers must accompany the children and are expected to participate in the various activities. The goal of the program is to prepare children for success in kindergarten. Early childhood educators lead the activities which include arts and crafts, music, and story time.
Some of the other parents who now attend with their children had previously been isolated because of their lack of English, but by coming to Strong Start they can develop relationships with other parents and their children are exposed to Canadian culture along with learning the English language. This particular program quickly caught on and at the present time, there are 55 StrongStart programs in British Columbia with new ones starting up all the time. Noah is a very active little boy and particularly loves the music and dance and playing with the other children. He's learning to take turns and to share, manners are reinforced along with healthy eating choices for snack times, and he's actually learning other languages, too. Anyway, that's him in the photo (not very clear because I scanned it from the newspaper) with his arms stretched up and looking at the photographer. I bet he asked to see the picture right away - he loves to have his picture taken! :D If you click on the picture you can see it better.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Eight is Enough


Welshcakes Limoncello and jmb have both posted this meme. I actually did it after reading Welshcakes' and she urged me to post it when I emailed her to show how much we have in common. Since I have nothing of great interest to post right now, I guess I'll post my eight. Oh, and no one is tagged!

8 things I’m passionate about:

my children and grandchildren
Europe
reading
dogs
learning Romance languages
teaching
good friends
rudeness and arrogance really turn me off.

8 things to do before I die:

Return to Great Britain, France, and Italy and travel to more European countries
go on a safari in Kenya or South Africa
meet some of the blogging buddies I've made
see the Pyramids
finish writing my book and see it published
pay off my credit line
get another dog
fall in love again with a good man who is kind and rich (if only!)

8 things I say often:

I’m bored.
This, too, shall pass.
Can Gramma have a hug?
Shit, Shit, Shit.
Give Noah a kiss from me.
I really have to get back to my book.
Fine
Have a nice day.
I’m bored.

8 books I’ve read recently:

not a book, but never miss the daily Vancouver Sun newspaper
The Way the Crow Flies, by Ann-Marie MacDonald
Suite Française, by Irene Némirovsky
East of Eden, by John Steinbeck
The Almost Moon, by Alice Sebold
The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman (currently reading the 2nd of his series of 3 called "The Subtle Knife" and will finish with "The Amber Spyglass")
I will read any novels that take place around World War II - one I really loved was "Charlotte Grey" by Sebastian Falkes

8 songs I could listen to over and over:

The Prayer, Andrea Boccelli & Celine Dion (yes, Josie, I know!)
Memories, Barbra Streisand
My Girl, The Temptations (takes me back to my first love)
Believe in You, Amanda Marshall (this could be my anthem to my younger daughter)
You Were There, from the movie Simon Birch sung by Babyface
Unforgettable, the version with both Nat King and Natalie Cole
What a Wonderful World, Louis Armstrong
Anything by Julio Iglesias and Il Divo

8 qualities I look for in a best friend:

humour – make me laugh
trustworthy – I want to know I can tell you my deepest thoughts and secrets in confidence
intelligent - enough to have a decent conversation and not just gossipy stuff
kind - enough to offer to bring chicken soup when I’m all alone and sick with a cold or flu
be able to view things from various perspectives but honour my perspective even if you don’t understand or approve of it
be interested in ME and my life
inquisitive – have a desire to learn something new every day
be willing to share a room with me on a trip and bring your own earplugs

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Tudors


This 10-part series currently seen on CBC TV at 9:00 pm Tuesdays is fantastic! I understand it's also shown on Showtime in the USA. If you haven't had a chance to see it, you absolutely MUST! Click on this link to view all parts to date. Liberties are taken with character names, relationships, physical appearance, and the timing of events, but they don't take away from the dramatic tension.


The latest episode was on last night and as usual, I was absolutely hypnotized by Jonathan Rhys Meyers' portrayal of King Henry VIII. The actor was on The View today and it was so strange to see him as a normal young man. He's Irish by birth and at the young age of only 30, has already developed a huge portfolio of work. Currently, he can be seen in theatres starring in August Rush with Kerri Russell and has been in Mission Impossible III and Bend It Like Beckham. He's also starred in a lot of British television mini-series and movies portraying such characters as Elvis and Alexander the Great. Click here to see his extensive filmography.


Just last week, Josie posted her list of sexiest men alive and at the time, I really couldn't think of anyone special. Well, this young man IS sexy with the most alluring eyes imaginable. As a young (and slim) Henry VIII, he absolutely makes this "twice his age" woman swoon with desire. Unfortunately, his mother (age 50) passed away yesterday after a short illness and he has had a problem with alcohol because of his home country's hard-drinking pub culture. From what I've seen of him so far, this young actor has a very promising career ahead of him.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Lost Love Found

I was working on my book and using Google one day last week when I came upon a name from the past. Of course I clicked on it and lo and behold there was my first true love! I read his website (business) and looked at a couple of recent photos of him. It just swept me right back to our first meeting at the start of our 3rd year at university. Immediately, I wanted to email him to reconnect, but now I'm having doubts.

There's an excellent article from the magazine Psychology Today (here) called "Lost Love: Guess Who's Back." It states, "old flames still smolder, especially when they're early love affairs, which leave a particularly vivid mark in our minds. Reawakening such a romance can be an incendiary experience, intensely passionate and dangerous to trifle with." However, neither of us is married, so as it also states in this article, "for those free to pursue a lost-and-found love without hurting others, the rewards can be intense."

So why would I want to reconnect? I do know that he never married or had any children and now runs a lucrative business as a wilderness guide. I would never want to live permanently where he lives, and he would never want to live where I live. However, he does come to the city once in a while, and he lives in an idyllic location that could help inspire my writing and photography. So visiting back and forth would be perfect. I really don't want to get married again, but having a dalliance might be fun. And it would be exciting to see if there's still a spark there. I have a brief, very light and friendly email ready and waiting for me to hit "Send." Well? Your thoughts?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Rainy Day

oil on canvas by Gustave Caillebotte, c. 1876–77
in the Art Institute of Chicago

The Rainy Day
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The day is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the moldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the moldering Past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast
And the days are dark and dreary.

Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some r ain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.

It's a typical rainy November day here in the Vancouver area and instead of falling into despondancy, I decided to dream of the future sunny days ahead. And remember that this season is as necessary to our lives as is spring, summer, and winter.

Christmas is just around the corner, believe it or not, and I'm really looking forward to having both my girls, my SIL, and grandson for dinner. We will also rejoice in the fact that next year we'll have another child in our midst as D#1 is expecting in early March.

Something else I can be thankful about is that my mortgage will be paid off soon and I'll be in a better position to start saving for all the traveling I want to do. I can hardly wait to go back to England, Wales, and parts of the USA to visit friends as well as do more touring in France and Italy.

Last week, a friend from high school came from New Brunswick for a visit. It was great to see her and she's planning on returning some time in January. And another friend from Arizona, who wasn't able to make it up this past summer for a visit, is planning on coming next summer.
So although the trees may be bare and the streets full of puddles, I will not allow all the grey to seep into my brain. I will think yellow for sunshine, blue for clear skies, red for warmth, and green for new life to come.
And D#2 just phoned and invited me over for coffee this afternoon. My first "real" invitation to her new home - what a delightful afternoon we will have!

How are you all feeling today?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sweating

I absolutely HATE sweating! Unfortunately, in my drive to get to my goal weight, tone up my muscles, and become more heart healthy, I have to sweat. It's my body's way of cooling itself off from the extra heat that comes from my hardworking muscles. (What muscles?) Okay, so for a long long time I've been walking. Because of my bad back, I'm pretty limited in my activities - walking, swimming, cycling. I've walked around my neighbourhood to the point that I know almost every crack in the sidewalks AND I've even driven to places so I can walk in new surroundings. I'm getting bored walking aimlessly trying to work up a sweat. I've also done water aerobics but prefer that in the summer as I like to drive straight home afterwards to shower and do hair/makeup, etc.
So, the colder weather has prompted me to go to the local gym. I checked it out last week to see what equipment it has and today I actually went and used the recumbent exercise bike and the treadmill. For my first time there, I think I did quite well. Okay, I only did 20 minutes on the bike and 10 minutes on the treadmill, but I DID work up a sweat - ICK!
The view from the gym is lovely as it looks out on a grassy lawn area with mature trees that are now shedding their colourful leaves. There are the obligatory TVs there but I prefered to look at the *ss of the man running on the treadmill in front of me. He was already there when I arrived and was still there when I left. *sigh*
Tomorrow I'll go again and hopefully do 20 minutes on the bike and 20 minutes on the treadmill. Have to work up gradually, you know.

Man, I hate sweating!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

November Sun

Today dawned lovely and sunny, so my friend and I decided to take a walk along the dyke just before sunset and then go for dinner. I caught the sun peeking from behind the clouds that had started to move in for the next rain.

Then, suddenly, the air was full of squawking. Canada geese were doing a practise run for their soon-to-be departure for southern climes. There must have been hundreds of them in formation and making such a racket! Well, just a little excitement on a fairly nice autumn afternoon.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Never ending story

Enjoy the music and video and then read the following post.

THOUGHTS ABOUT THE NOTHING

Today I was thinking that I had nothing to share with anyone. I kept thinking about the word "NOTHING" and suddenly, I remembered a wonderful old movie that I enjoy watching over and over again. So I thought I’d share with you the story of…

"The Neverending Story" is a
1984 film adaptation of the German fantasy novel by Michael Ende. Music for the movie was composed by Klaus Doldinger of the German jazz group Passport. The theme song to the American version of the film was composed by Giorgio Moroder with lyrics by Keith Forsey, and performed by Limahl, lead singer of Kajagoogoo. This song, along with other "techno-pop" treatments to the soundtrack are not present in the German version of the film, which features Doldinger's orchestra-only score exclusively. (from Wikipedia)

The story concerns a boy named Bastian who has no friends and is always being bullied by a group of other boys. But Bastian has a passion: reading. He loves to read adventure books. One day, in an old bookstore, he finds a strange book called "The Neverending Story". When he starts to read the book, he finds a world with lots of creatures and a boy that has a mission. And he finds that he is a part of the story. He also becomes confused when he learns that he has been chosen by the Childlike Empress to save the world of Fantasia...

In the book that Bastian reads, the main character is Atreyu, a boy who lives in the Grassy Plains of Fantasia. He has been chosen by the Childlike Empress to save the land of Fantasia. Without any weapon, he goes alone on a long, dangerous, and sometimes sad journey to find a cure for the sick Empress and to stop the deadly Nothing, which is sweeping the land. The Nothing is a force that devastates and engulfs Fantasia and represents the despair of humans who have stopped believing in their dreams. Its servant is Gmork, a huge wolf who has as his mission to kill the only one who can stop this destructive force and save Fantasia, Atreyu.

The childlike Empress rules all of Fantasia. Unlike any Queen, she doesn't need any army or bodyguards. That's because the existence of Fantasia depends on her health and life. Unfortunately, she becomes very sick, and there is a mysterious link to her illness and the Nothing. There's just a small hope that she will recover her health and save the Land of Fantasia. Atreyu is her hope. He will have to find a cure to save her. To help Atreyu, she give away something that represents her, an amulet called the AURYN. Atreyu wears this amulet in order to protect himself from the Nothing.

The saddest place in Fantasia is the "swamps of sadness." When you are in the swamps, if sadness reaches your heart and soul, you will not be able to get out of mud... until you die. Atreyu’s beloved horse, Artax, dies in the swamps.

After saving Atreyu from Swamps of Sadness, Falkor becomes Atreyu's new best friend and partner to save the Childlike Empress. He is a luck dragon without any kind of wings, but he can fly swiftly. He can also swim. He tells Atreyu that nothing is impossible. Many other characters help and hinder Atreyu in his quest, but his mission is ultimately successful.

I love this movie and have shown it to many of my Grade 4 students over the years. Because it’s an older movie, most of the kids had never seen it before and were mesmerised by the story, the special effects, and the music as well as the underlying theme of evil. The movie is exciting even for adults because they can relate to the story on a higher level. If you’ve never seen it before, I highly recommend it. The music itself is worth watching the movie. If you have seen it, what did you think of it?

See the following link for details about the story and its characters.
http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Derby/1294/geschichte/Fantasia.html

Monday, November 05, 2007

Lite Combo

Well, after almost 2 years of working at losing weight (almost 50 lbs so far), I realized I need to step up the exercise to get my metabolism working even harder. However, with my bad back it's hard to find something that works. I'm tired of doing brisk walks around my neighbourhood, lovely though it is, and it seems ridiculous to drive somewhere just to go walking. So I checked out the local community fitness classes and found something called "Lite Combo." It's a mix of step aerobics, mat work, and strength training.

Off I went early this morning to see if I could keep up. Having done a bit of step aerobics a few years ago, I found this workout to be a bit easier for me. I get so mixed up and am so uncoordinated with the choreography, but I think I managed okay today. Right now I'm starting to feel a teensy bit stiff, but I think this class might just help. The only thing is, right now I'm starving! And it's earlier than usual for dinner, but I just have to go now and EAT. So um .... you'll have to excuse me. I'll try not to scarf down the contents of the entire fridge.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

DEAS ISLAND

It was a gloriously beautiful autumn day here, so when original plans fell through, I decided to pick up my camera and head out to Deas Island. The island (in the mouth of the Fraser River) was named after its first settler, a black freeman and tinsmith, John Sullivan Deas. In 1873, "Billy" Deas claimed the island and built a cannery, wharf, and dykes. For 3 years the cannery produced more cases of salmon than any other on the river. The cannery changed hands, burned down, and was rebuilt several times. Eventually, it ceased production when the sockeye stocks declined drastically after the Fraser River was blocked by the railway slide at Hell's Gate in 1923. Many families fished the river with small gillnetters and made their homes along the shores of Deas Island. Most of the families were of Greek origin and they stayed on the island until the early 1950's.

There are three heritage buildings that give the island a "turn of the century" feel and recall the settlement history of Delta. The Inverholme Schoolhouse was built in 1909 and is one of the last one-room schoolhouses in the area. Burvilla, a Queen Anne style residence, was built in 1905-06 and belonged to the Burr family of Delta. The Delta Agricultural Hall was officially opened in 1899 and was moved to the island from Ladner in 1989, now serving as a park maintenance building with public space for exhibits and special events in front.

There are over 5 km of trails on Deas Island, all of which are flat and easy to walk. The trails pass through cottonwood and alder forest sporting spectacular views of the river. I think I did about 2 km today and was not the least bit tired; rather I felt invigorated. So, as Josie shares the special places in the city, allow me to share with you an area that is a simple 1/2 hour drive south of where she lives.

This is Burvilla, a Queen Anne style of home built in 1905-06.

I began my hike by taking Tinmaker's Walk.

Along the way, I came to a little bridge so I took this photo of the reflections in the water.

Peeking through the trees to the Fraser River.

The colours were spectacular today, especially the bright yellow treetops glistening in the late afternoon sunshine.
Here I was trying to catch a huge fat duck that was floating aimlessly in a small marshy area.

From another angle, I managed to catch this shot.

More colour, this time purple leaves.

A single rower was practising on the river.

Then along came a whole team of rowers. I could hear them barking orders at each other.

Here is the boardwalk, covered in autumn leaves, leading to a lookout tower.

I hope you enjoyed this little tour of a beautiful spot here in the lower mainland area of Vancouver, BC. Of course I took LOTS more photos, but how many pictures of trees do you want to look at? This is just a taste of what you'll see when you come for a visit. I'd be more than happy to act as tour guide.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Teens Assault Police


On the front page of our local "rag" today is an article about how a Halloween bash turned violent.

Apparently, police were called by a neighbour when a party of teenagers became too noisy. When the police arrived, they found that the teens were drinking and smoking pot. The teens became confrontational (imagine!) so the police arrested one male teen but had to struggle to get him under control. Then three teenage girls (ages 15 to 17) kicked the officer in the ribs several times and he/she later ended up having to go to the hospital for x-rays. All the police in attendance were then swarmed by the teens and back up units had to be called in. Four of the teens were finally arrested (1 male and 3 females) but were released into the custody of their parents until their court date.

I don't know about you feel, but I firmly think that the parents should be charged with contributing to the delinquency of minors and anything else the police can legally throw at them. How is it that kids these days have such disrespect towards the police or any other authority that they think they can just do as they please with no regard for anyone else? First, they disrupt the neighbourhood with their noise, then they break the law by drinking and doing drugs, and when they are faced with police officers trying to maintain peace, they think they can just physically attack them without any thought of retribution.

Where were the parents that night? If they were home and knew what was going on, they need to pay the price as well.

A noisy party for teenagers on Halloween night may not sound like a big deal. But it seems there was no parental supervision and these kids physically attacked police officers. Throw the book at both the teens and the parents. Perhaps a night or two in a jail cell will smarten them up. If they get away with their impudence this time, who knows what will happen not far down the road?

With all that's going on in the "big city" (Vancouver) lately with gang wars breaking out and mass murders/attempted murder happening even in the so-called "good" areas of town, we cannot let down our guard for one minute. This rampant disrespect of society's laws must stop - now!