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, May 28, 2007

Ladner May Days

Yesterday (Sunday) I took #1 daughter and #1 grandson to the Ladner May Days parade. We had a great time and Noah was happiest playing on the slide and climbing equipment in the playground.It was lots of fun for both of us when we bounced on the teeter totter (made safe nowadays by just having springs under each end so neither end goes way up). Noah also really enjoyed watching the baby chicks and was thrilled to be allowed to hold one of them.
I couldn't believe Noah's attention span during the parade (over an hour long!) and he kept calling out "Hi" to everyone in it. At one point, someone was handing out candy on the opposite side of the street and he noticed, calling out "Hey, candy for ME!!!" It was so funny! He DID get a sucker, though, and was thrilled. He loved the tractors, the fire engines (old and new), the police pipe band, the kids on decorated bikes, the balloons, and the gymnasts. Whenever a float went by with kids dancing, he started dancing right there on the sidewalk. He was so cute! Here he is with his Mommy watching the parade. She didn't hold him up there the whole time - mostly he was just at my feet being such a good boy and not wandering off.
After the parade was over, we went back to the fairgrounds so Noah could have a ride in a paddle boat. It was hard for him to understand that he had to wait his turn in the lineup, but after explaining it to him, he was very good about waiting. After his turn was over, he was rather distraught that he couldn't have another turn, but his Mommy managed to calm his tears.
We were all getting a bit tired by then, so we walked back to where we'd left the car, over a bridge where we stopped to watch the ducks. Noah loved to see the ducks, after having had a visit to the bird sanctuary the week before. All in all, it was a lovely day watching the world through the eyes of a 3 1/2 year old again.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Orpheum Theatre and the VSO

The Orpheum Theatre first opened on November 7, 1927 as a vaudeville house and was the largest and most opulent theatre on the Pacific Coast. The City of Vancouver purchased the theatre on March 19, 1974 and undertook a complete restoration of its interior. The Orpheum reopened on April 2, 1977 as the permanent home of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and a restored concert hall that hosts a variety of pop, classical, choral, and chamber recitals.

As a young girl, I would go to the Orpheum to see movies and I felt so small as I climbed all the burgundy carpeted steps to enter the theatre. Coming down the stairs, I felt like a princess descending the palace stairs to greet my subjects.

Now as an adult, I attend the Orpheum to admire the VSO and appreciate classical music. I've always been rather ignorant of classical music and didn't know a piece by Rachmaninoff from a piece by Mozart. However, since attending the "Classically Speaking" series this year, I've found a new regard for classical music.

Tonight we heard pieces by Sybelius (Finnish) and Grieg (Norwegian). I didn't think I'd know any of the music so wasn't particularly excited about going and almost cancelled out. Wow, I'm sure glad I didn't! Even though I didn't recognize the names of the pieces, I did recognize the music! And it was fantastic! First came Sibelius' "Legends: The Swan of Tuonela" which soared in its beauty. Later, the orchestra played his "Karelia Suite" which was equally as good. My favourite tonight was Grieg's "Peer Gynt, Suite No. 1" which I recognized but had never realized that was what it was.

The Vancouver Youth Symphony Orchestra joined the VSO for the 2nd half of the concert and I gave up counting how many musicians were on stage after I reached 60 and that wasn't even half! The VSO's conductor, Bramwell Tovey, treated the audience to an encore tonight as it was the last evening of the series. To our utter delight the orchestras played "Finlandia." There was an electricity in the air with that many violins, cellos, oboes, French horns, trumpets, trombones, etc. playing such a thrilling piece. The audience was practically screaming with delight! What a wonderful evening!

Visitors to the city of Vancouver should definitely take the tour of the Orpheum Theatre to hear about its history and to admire the ceiling of the concert hall. Your mouth will be gaping open at the architecture.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Stanley Park

Stanley Park is a 1,000 acre urban park bordering downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The park attracts an estimated eight million visitors every year, including locals and tourists, who come for its recreational facilities and its natural attributes. A 5.5 mile seawall path circles the park and there are an estimated half million trees that can be as tall as 250 feet and hundreds of years old. There are approximately 125 miles of trails and roads in the park, which are patrolled by the Vancouver Police Department's mounted squad.

There are lots of things to do at the park. You can drive, walk, bike, or roller blade. By circling the park you'll see many of the landmarks: Lost Lagoon, the Vancouver Aquarium, Brockton Oval (a small sports complex), the naval reserve base HMCS Discovery, famous totem poles, the Nine O’clock Gun, Lion’s Gate Bridge, Lumberman’s Arch, Prospect Point.The west side of the seawall has three swimming beaches. The first you'll come across is Third Beach. You can see weird rocks when the tide goes out. Second Beach is popular with families because it has a wonderful outdoor swimming pool equipped with slides and a special tortoise slide for the little ones. If you have a racquet handy, tennis courts and a pitch-and-putt golf course are close by. I’ve lived in Vancouver all my life and never tire of visiting Stanley Park. You can do about a hundred different activities there - feed squirrels, climb trees, watch a Beluga whale show, ride on a horse-drawn carriage (which I’ve still never done), and ride the miniature train. You can go swimming on a sandy beach, take in an art show, wander through the rose gardens, or play pitch and putt. You can picnic inside the hollow tree or at a variety of grassy areas or go fancy at The Fish House or The Sequoia Grill (where my nephew had his wedding reception after getting married on the expanse of lawn overlooking the ocean and mountains. ) Whatever you decide to do, you won’t go wrong by visiting Stanley Park in the beautiful city of Vancouver, British Columbia.This is my 3 1/2 year grandson watching the beluga whale show from underneath the aquarium.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Spring Garden

Spring is in the air and the back garden is in full bloom. The rhododendrons are now in bloom and the bright yellow California poppies make a sharp contrast to the purple irises. The lilies are just starting to bloom but will soon add white to the reds, yellows, and purples. Two weeks ago, I had the entire front garden ripped out as it was far too big and burdensome and had no lawn. It had become a mini jungle and was too much for me to care for (bad back and all). Now there is a lovely lawn area and a small plot that I can easily tend. Yesterday I planted a star jasmine that will eventually twine its way along the overhang of the front doorway area and will give off even more of its intense aroma. I also added three purple heathers and a few bright orange begonias. I may add more annuals as the summer advances. This morning I walked along the beach and found one interesting piece of driftwood to add to the stone edging along the driveway and will go back one day and find more to enhance this area. I posted some photos of my garden last year at this time and everyone seemed to enjoy it, so thought I'd do it again. Have a great day everyone! :D

Monday, May 21, 2007

Birthday Update

Yesterday we had a wonderful time at Daughter #1's place to celebrate Daughter #2's birthday. It was a small party with just a couple of D#2's friends. We bbq'd hamburgers and hot dogs even though the rain was pelting down - D#1 pulled the bbq to the sliding glass door and cooked from there. Just thought some of you might be interested in seeing some of the photos from a lovely day of honouring D#2. First off, though, here's a photo of D#1 with beloved #1 son (age 3 1/2) and me (Gramma) with beloved #1 grandson! :D

I love my Mommy!
I love my Gramma!
Jaclyn loves her money and gift certificate for an hour massage!
Jaclyn loves her new dishes for her new apartment!
Paige and Jaclyn - friends forever!
Jaclyn and Nelson - best buds!
I love my Auntie! I love my nephew!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Westham Island

Today was almost like summer so this afternoon I decided to go walking in the Reifel Bird Sanctuary on Westham Island. It's only about a 10-minute drive from my house along a winding road past old homes and farms. There were handmade signs directing passers-by to drop in for some potatoes, carrots, honey, berries, beef, lamb, and even wine. Yes, the award-winning Westham Island Winery is out there, too. I saw farmers tilling their fields and dairy cows resting in the long grass. I saw horses with their newborns frolicking in paddocks.

The sanctuary, which is a part of the Alaskan National Wildlife Area, is located on Westham Island in Delta, south of Vancouver. It is situated on the Fraser River Estuary, just west of the South Arms Marshes Wildlife Management Area.The bird sanctuary is made up of salt water mudflats; upland fields; and fresh water, brakish, and salt marshes. It covers 344 hectares (850 acres) of managed habitat and estuarine marsh. In the fall, snow geese flock to this area on their way south for the winter. Today I saw lots of ducks and geese plus one lonely heron. Usually, these birds pretty well ignore humans, but since it's the time when duckling and goslings are born, I had to be very careful around them. The geese, in particular, do not hesitate to hiss at you and approach you in warning.

The highlight of today's adventure was seeing some ducklings and goslings up close. Not far into the sanctuary along the path was a family of geese, the mother and father staying very close to their babies and eyeing the humans who were greedily taking photos. I could almost reach out and touch them, but I didn't dare for fear of being bitten. Later, I came upon a mother duck who was teaching her young to swim. As I watched, the ducklings arrived at a log and they all scrambled up for a rest. (see photo below)

After a while, I arrived at the tower. (see photo below) Now the tower may not be that high, but it's made out of open steel gratings. I decided I would climb to the top (only the second time I've ever done it) and take some photos. From that vantage point I could see the mountains in the distance to the north, the wide open beginnings of the salt water, and the marshy edge of the sanctuary to the south. Coming down is scarier than going up because you can see through the gratings of the steps and it's rather disconcerting.

In all, I wandered for an hour and a half but you could spend a lot longer there. Outside the entrance are picnic tables and you often see families having lunch or a cold drink there. You can buy seed to feed the birds, too, but you are not allowed to pick anything or take anything out of the sanctuary.

For more information on the sanctuary, click on http://www.reifelbirdsanctuary.com/

Friday, May 11, 2007

Hapy Mother's Day, Mom

It will be 5 years on May 22nd since my mother passed away from Alzheimers. When she died, I remember driving home with the sun setting in the west and I knew that she was finally at peace. Mom had not known my Dad for several years by then even though he dedicated himself to caring for her at home (with only one reprieve of about 8 weeks). She sometimes didn't know my two sisters but I thank God that she always knew me and called me by name. And she had suffered from rheumatoid arthritis since she'd been in her 30s, so bad sometimes she had to have gold shots.

I can still see Mom in the kitchen. She loved to bake and made the absolute best lemon meringue pies! She did canning and pickling every August. When we were all grown up and had our own children, she made a point of having a "corn roast" for the entire family just before Labour Day. I have photos of Mom teaching my older daughter how to make cookies and of her teaching my younger daughter how to knit. Speaking of knitting, she made a lot of beautiful outfits for my two girls from before they were born until Mom's hands could no longer manage the needles because of the arthritis. And oh how she loved babies! When I came home from the hospital with my first child, Mom brought over a cake with "Welcome Home, Mommy" written on it. She could hardly wait to hold Jamie and always called her "Princess."

Mom was very smart even though she didn't go past high school. She loved to travel and after her first visit to Spain, she taught herself Spanish. She also played golf and bridge and entertained friends at our home. I can remember lots of parties at our house.

Mom was beautiful, too. When I was in the first grade, the mothers were invited to watch the class in session. We children were told NOT to turn around in our desks to look at or talk to our Moms, but I found a way. I very casually dropped my pencil and as I reached down to pick it up, I snuck a peek to see if my Mom was looking at me. I can remember catching my breath realizing how beautiful she was compared to the other Moms. After a few times casually dropping my pencil, the teacher said to me, "Leslie, that's enough now." I knew I'd been caught but my Mom just smiled her beautiful smile.

Now that I'm a mother myself, I know the love a mother has for her children and find solace knowing that she loved me to the end. I keep the memories of the special times we shared deep in my heart and when I find myself missing her, I remember those times and smile. So even though she's gone ahead of me, I still wish her a wonderful Mother's Day with her loved ones that greeted her with smiles and hugs at those pearly gates. I love you forever, Mom.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Who Am I?

drawing personality

I saw this at Dr.John's site so gave it a try. If you'd like to do it, go to:

This is what it said about me:
Your friends and associates should generally find you a dependable and trustworthy person.You are a direct and forthright person. You like to get to the core of the issue right away, with few signs of hesitation. You are creative, mentally active and industrious. You have a sunny, cheerful disposition.

Kinda fun to pass a few minutes.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Judge Not...

Jesus said in the sermon on the Mount, "Judge not lest ye be judged..." Luke 6:37

Yesterday I received two emails from people I would call "acquaintances." One reads as follows: I wanted to express my condolences to you on the loss of your four legged friend. I know your decision was a difficult one to make and yet whatever caused Robbie's unpredictable behavior, he was a danger to your precious grandchild.I hope your hand has healed and that your heart knows you did the right thing.

The other reads as follows: We only destroy life because we have the power...but not the justification. There were many alternatives. You could have left him in the street or taken him to a park. Maybe something else would have happened to him, but he would have had another day. You took that day from him, not from illness but from unacceptable behaviour. When I read this news, it really made me feel badly. I can only imagine the number of times in my life when my behaviour was not acceptable...and maybe I should have been put down..but I was not. I was not a dog. You should have called me and I would have taken him and found him a better outcome. Am I judgemental? Am I speaking out of turn? You destroyed the dog because he bit you...too bad he was a bad dog. I hate to hear this news. You should feel badly.

It is amazing to me how people can judge others so harshly when they do not know all the details. I feel sorry for the second person because of the lack of compassion held in his/her heart for a fellow human being who had to make a terrible choice between an animal and the safety of other human beings.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Dancing With the Stars

I am hooked on "Dancing With the Stars!" So don't phone me between 8 and 9:30 pm on Mondays or between 9 and 10 pm Tuesdays. The two men judges are from England and judge their version of the show, too. I watched the English one last fall when I was over visiting friends and they are exactly the same as how we see them here. They're hilarious!

I was sorry that John Ratzenberger was voted out last week because I think he's worked harder than Billy Ray Cyrus. After all, last week Billy Ray didn't even dance the waltz - he just stood there while his partner pirouetted around! I'm surprised the judges gave him any points at all.

But I must say that everyone who's been voted off has been very gracious and thanked all those who voted for them and especially thanked their professional partners. Boy, I'd love to be able to take lessons and learn how to dance like that. Anyone know how singles can get lessons? It seems everywhere I look the fees are for couples. Well, I'm off to watch the show now so I won't be answering the phone. Leave a message and tell me who you think is going to ultimately win. My bet is on either Anton or Joey.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

For the love of reading - part 2

From the inside cover of John Steinbeck's East of Eden: Set in the rich farmland of California's Salinas Valley, this sprawling and often brutal novel follows the intertwined destinies of two families whose generations helplessly reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel...First published in 1952, it is the work in which Steinbeck created the most mesmerizing characters and explored his most enduring themes: the mystery of identity, the inexplicability of love, and the murderous consequences of love's absence...

John Steinbeck wrote this book in his later years and it's full of energy and passion. The first few pages will grab you and you will be hooked until the bitter end. Don't watch the old movie - read the book! I've read many of Steinbeck's novels, including Of Mice and Men, The Winter of Our Discontent, The Red Pony, The Grapes of Wrath, but my favourite is this one. Late hubby would have disagreed as his all-time favourite was The Grapes of Wrath. I've wanted to read more of his California novels ever since seeing Steinbeck's statue at Monterey, California, and teaching some of his books and stories to former students.