About Me

My photo
Delta, British Columbia, Canada
I took very early retirement from teaching in '06 and did some traveling in Europe and the UK before settling down to do some private tutoring. As a voracious reader, I have many books waiting in line for me to read. Tell me I shouldn't read something, and I will. I'm a happy, optimistic person and I love to travel and through that believe that life can be a continuous learning experience. I'm looking forward to traveling more some day. I enjoy walking, cycling, water aerobics & and sports like tennis, volleyball, and fastpitch/baseball. I'm just getting into photography as a hobby and I'm enjoying learning all the bits and bobs of my digital camera. My family is everything to me and I'm delighted to be the mother of two girls and the Gramma of a boy and a girl. I may be a Gramma, but I'm at heart just a girl who wants to have fun.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


What's happening lately? Every day lately there's been something on the news about people dying right here in our own city and neighbouring areas.

There was the horrific tragedy of the hot air balloon exploding and catching fire, killing two women - a mother and her daughter. The entire family had been celebrating the mother's 50th birthday but only the father and other daughter managed to jump out of the basket in time. I just cannot imagine the fear and pain beyond words those two women experienced as they were burnt alive before the entire balloon and basket pummeled to the earth and exploded, totally destroying three homes. See more images here.

Next, I heard about six people killed and seventeen injured when a truck plowed into a group of family and friends, including young children and babies, as they were strolling down a rural road singing and celebrating an upcoming wedding. The poor elderly man who drove the truck is now absolutely distraught as he did not have enough time to brake when he suddenly came upon the party walking in the middle of the road.

Last night, I heard on the news about a man who had just finished and passed his exams to be a CGA and decided to celebrate his new job by skydiving. His chute did not open properly and he plunged to his death! He left a wife a young daughter.

I also heard on the news last night that the body of a woman was found in the bushes around a landmark apartment building near the Burrard Street Bridge. This is a very lovely neighbourhood in the "good" part of the city, actually not too many blocks from where our good friend Josie lives. No news of what happened to her, yet.

All of this comes not long after a young man was shot and killed by city police in a tragic situation. It was later explained that the young man was suffering from delusions due to bipolar syndrome. Apparently, he was having an episode and starting swinging a chain and threatening the police, not really knowing what he was doing. This also happened in a "good" area of the city.

All of these deaths have been so violent and horrific! We're all used to hearing about violence in other countries due to war, poverty, and culture. But have I just not been paying enough attention to our own local news until recently? Or is this indicative of something worse? Is is something to do with our society at large? Or are they simply purposeless accidents?

Your thoughts?

Saturday, August 25, 2007


The other day I got news that one of the original "bloggettes" (Ellen aka DrOma) had passed away suddenly. Since then, a lot of us have been emailing back and forth and trying to get in touch with each other. I've kept my blog going since the days of the SB and have made connections with so many other people out there in cyber space. It's been great fun but I really miss all you original bloggettes.

A few others, like Sylvia, Peg, and Enid have also kept their blogs going and we keep in touch periodically. It seemed as though so many others had just quietly gone back to the lives they had BSB, but in light of the death of one of "us," some are reaching out trying to find each other again.

I'd love to have everyone reconnect to let each other know what's been going on with them. So I'm putting up this post to invite you to check in to say howdy, and maybe someone will be interested in arranging a reunion of sorts (sans SB). My mother told me and I've always reminded my daughters that "men may come and men may go, but girlfriends are forever." So many of us have become such good friends, even some we haven't even met in person yet. So let's not allow these friendships to fade away. Go to http://theadventuroushearts.com/ that Brenda aka ClickGirl set up to find the blogs that she linked up. We can all comment there OR you can come on over here and I'll be happy to play hostess for a while. Simply put this site under your favourites and come on back any old time.

I can hardly wait to hear from you all. My latest news is that I'm going to be a Gramma again early next March!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Whistler Weekend

Whistler has something for everyone. It’s a pedestrian-only village with more than 200 stores for shopping, spa therapies, and luxurious hotels and accommodations providing all the comforts of home. Whistler is a safe and very tourist-friendly destination. It’s only two hours from Vancouver along the scenic Sea to Sky Highway - Highway 99, which can be twisty in parts. Be prepared with ginger ale, anti-nausea medication, and paper towels. The new highway is being built in preparation for the 2010 Winter Olympics being held in Whistler and Greater Vancouver. Once it's finished, the drive should be much straighter and not so vomit-inducing.
There are several landmarks worth pointing out such as the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal, Shannon Falls, the BC Museum of mining (where Scooby Doo and the X-Files were filmed), canyon gorges, massive hydro electric dams, freight trains, ferries and cruise ships in Howe Sound, Aboriginal craft stores, the Stawamus Chief granite monolith (one of only two in the world), and finally - the welcome to Whistler sign.
We had a leisurely drive along Marine Drive through West Vancouver so we could admire the scenic vistas over Burrard Inlet all the way to Horseshoe Bay. We stopped for lunch at the famous Troll’s Restaurant and some photo ops. Then we carried on to Shannon Falls and finally arrived at our destination a bit after 3:00 pm. After checking into our B & B, we strolled the village shops until dinner at Earl’s with dessert at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. Yum!

I highly recommend Alpine Chalet Bed & Breakfast. The owner is a chef and he served us the most scrumptious breakfast – fresh fruit plate followed by an apple strudel and French-pressed coffee. All this was finished up with a cinnamon-sprinkled French crepe with jam and syrup. We didn’t need anything else to eat until an early dinner back in West Vancouver’s Milestone’s Restaurant. Here are just a few shots of our memorable weekend in Whistler. Click on the photos to enlarge and be sure to click on the highlighted websites to see even more spectacular photos than I could ever take.

First stop was Whytecliff Park just before Horseshoe Bay where you can watch all kinds of boats, from small sailboats to giant cruise ships heading up to Alaska.

This is the Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal.

This is the famous Shannon Falls.

Here I am with a rather cute black bear. This one was tame, but I don't recommend getting near any real ones up there.

This is called The Storyteller's Chair, designed by a sculptor by the name of Carlos Basanta, who is famous for his Public Art. Winner of the Whistler competition for Village Park West, this sculpture brings the spectator (and perhaps the storyteller) to a time where storytelling was of vital importance for the individual and for society. The Chair is “covered” by a “blanket” on which the sentence “Once upon a time…” is engraved in 32 languages. The color and “look” of the chair integrate with the surrounding forest, while the multiple languages appearing on the blanket relate to Whistler international nature.

Finally, for a bit of fun, I sat in an actual Olympic bobsled and tried to pretend I was surrounded by snow waiting for takeoff.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Lower back pain, also known as lumbago, affects 7 out of 10 people at some time in their lives. The pain can come on suddenly, slowly or be the direct result of a fall or injury. If back pain lasts for less than 3 months it is called acute. If it develops gradually over time, lasts more than 12 weeks and causes long-term problems, it is known as chronic back pain. It can affect anyone of any age but is more common between the ages of 35 and 55. In the majority of cases, the cause of the pain can be linked to the way the bones, muscles and ligaments in the back work together. The lower part of the back is composed of 5 vertebrae known as L1 to L5. This region bears the entire weight of the upper body and is also under continual pressure especially when bending, twisting, and lifting.The complex structure of the lower back means that quite small amounts of damage to any of the structures of the back can cause a lot of pain and discomfort. Pain in the lower back is a symptom of stress or damage to the ligaments, muscles, tendons or discs. In some cases the back pain can spread to the buttocks and thighs. In most cases the back will heal itself and staying active and continuing with your usual activities will normally promote healing. However in severe and persistent cases it is important to seek medical advice so that a correct diagnosis can be reached and appropriate treatment given, as treatment may depend on the underlying cause in some cases. For example, pain caused by some types of arthritis may be treated by specific medicines.

In my case, I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the spine at the age of 29 after I had my first daughter. It was devastating news because up to then I’d been extremely active in sports like softball, tennis, volleyball, and basketball. The doctor told me I’d have to give them up in lieu of swimming, walking, and cycling. Ten years and one more baby later, the pain had become so excruciating that I literally saw red spots whenever I stood up, sat down, or changed position. The doctor had sent me for physiotherapy that actually aggravated my condition to the point that I was sent for a CT scan. That determined that there was a herniated disc and bone spurs within the spinal canal that were pressing on the sciatic nerve. My surgery was in May of 1986 and at that time I was told I also have a slight scoliosis of the spine. It took me about a year to get back to as normal as possible. It reduced my pain but over the years the bone spurs have grown back causing inflammation of the spinal canal and ultimately chronic back pain. Over the years I’ve struggled to keep my weight down by eating properly and walking lots. However, walking for long periods of time or standing in one spot for more than 5 or 10 minutes causes my left leg to go numb and my lower back to scream in pain.

Then I discovered massage therapy. I have the best Registered Massage Therapist who is able to keep my pain to a minimum by keeping my muscles relaxed. She cannot cure my osteoarthritis or my scoliosis, but she is able to keep me mobile so that I can walk a half hour a day and manage my daily life. Last week, I decided to do some gardening. Big mistake. The result? Pain! Today I went for my regular treatment but I need to go back again for another hour tomorrow. Sometimes I get so frustrated not being able to do the simplest things but I have to remember that everybody can’t do everything. I must look on the bright side that I am fortunate enough to be able to hire a gardener to do the heavy work. I can then relax on my chaise with an iced tea and admire the flowers or read all the wonderful books I want to read. But I’d rather be playing tennis. I know lots of you can relate. Mark?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Capilano Suspension Bridge

George Grant Mackay was the Scottish civil engineer who built the original suspension bridge in 1889. The suspension bridge currently stretches 450 feet across and 230 feet above North Vancouver's Capilano River. Even though it sways and creaks, it's very, very strong. Strong enough to support the weight of ten heavy-duty military fighter planes. Strong enough to handle the 850,000 visitors each year. Even strong enough to handle a classroom full of kindergarten students! Walking across the bridge, you will cross over Capilano River and enter the spectacular "wild side" which features the Living Forest display. Since then much has been added to the twenty-seven acre park. Of the many things to do, you can walk over seven suspension bridges through the evergreens taking you up to 100 feet above the forest floor. You can also enjoy musical entertainment and First Nations carving demonstrations. At the gift shop you can purchase high quality merchandise from all over Canada and great homemade fudge! In 2006, a 300 year old Douglas fir tree toppled during a heavy snow storm. The tree fell across the western end of the bridge and park officials had to close the bridge temporarily while repairs were performed. When you visit Vancouver, walking across the suspension bridge is an absolute MUST!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Jefferson Airplane - White Rabbit

One great thing you have to say about 1967 was the music. The Doors were riding high on the charts. The Jefferson Airplane and Van Morrison were not far behind, and then there was a certain Mr. Hendrix and those four boys from Liverpool and their Lonely Hearts Club Band. The local paper is running a feature on the summer of love - 1967 and have chosen the 10 top songs of the time:

Whiter Shade of Pale -- Procol Harum
San Franciscan Nights -- The Animals
For What It's Worth -- Buffalo Springfield
Light My Fire -- Doors
Brown Eyed Girl -- Van Morrison
Somebody to Love -- Jefferson Airplane
Heroes and Villains -- Beach Boys
All You Need Is Love -- The Beatles
Purple Haze -- Jimi Hendrix
San Francisco (Flowers in Your Hair) -- Scott Mckenzie

I love ALL these songs, but have a particularly strong affinity towards the group Jefferson Airplane and Procol Harum because ... well ... I remember some wonderful times in the backseat of a car with a certain someone. LOL One of my favourite songs is White Rabbit and for those of you who don't remember or who weren't around at the time, it's about taking drugs. However, its haunting melody is hypnotic and unforgettable. I found this rendition of White Rabbit on youtube and hope you enjoy it, even if it's the first time you've heard it.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Family Blessings

I feel so BLESSED today because both my daughters, my son-in-law and my grandson came for dinner last night. It was very casual but it's not often we can all get together because of everyone's work schedules. Daughter #1 had requested macaroni and cheese (the recipe handed down from my mother) and I added salad and corn on the cob to the menu. For dessert I made a no-bake fruit smoothie cheesecake. We were so stuffed that we went to the little park in my subdivision so Noah could ride his bike around and play hide and seek with me. It's a little game we started a few months ago and we have a ball hiding on each other in the bushes. The park is really very little, but to a 3 1/2 year old, it's HUGE! Noah can ride his bike without training wheels now and he thinks it's great to go over the speed bumps. His helmet stayed on his head almost the entire time they were here, covering up his gorgeous curls but you can see them in the photo of him eating his ice cream cone. Anyway, here's the family. Hope you enjoy my memories.

This is Jaclyn.
Here are Jason, Noah, and Jamie.
Noah stops for a moment to pose for his Gramma.
He sure loves chocolate ice cream!
Daddy keeps a watchful eye as Noah rides in my little park.Uh oh...Noah has a little spill but Daddy's there and all's okay.
Nothing stops this kid when it comes to biking - a chip off the old block.

Making the decision to have a child - it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking outside your body.

Elizabeth Stone

Friday, August 03, 2007

My First Rock Concert

I went to my very first real rock concert on August 2/07! Now don't get me wrong - I have been to concerts in my lifetime. I've seen Tom Jones twice, the Fifth Dimension, Gordon Lightfoot, Paul Anka, Leonard Cohen and others but they were more like "concerts," not real ROCK concerts. This was what I'd always dreamed of - feeling the bass as it soared through the ground and up from my feet to my chest where I could actually feel it in my body! Oh baby! the sweet smell of Mary Jane wafting amongst the beer-swilling aged hippies! Dancing and swaying on the spot and raising our arms as though we were praying to an actual god! Singing along and screaming our joy as the music pumped us to a frenzy! John Fogerty was absolutely fantastic and I was young again!

Check out this link for decibel levels: http://www.coolmath.com/decibels1.htm