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.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Five Senses

Josie did this recently and I sent her mine, but she insists I post it. The most spectacular view ever, in my opinion, is the view of the Rocky Mountains from the air. Every time I fly over them I make sure I have a window seat so I can look out. It takes quite a while to go over them and I never tire of the view. (Be sure to click on the photo to see what I mean.)

Five smells I love

1) The fragrance of cedar trees on a dry summer day.
2) The Christmas turkey roasting in the oven.
3) The salt air at the ocean.
4) The air after a summer rain
5) School in the morning before the kids arrive.

Five sights I love

1) The Rocky Mountains from an airplane.
2) Noah running to me for a hug.
3) Fire in a fireplace – I can get lost in it.
4) The sun coming up over Shuswap Lake.
5) Leaves on trees in autumn.

Five tastes that I love

1) Hot chocolate on a cold winter's day.
2) White Spot’s apple crumble warmed up with vanilla ice cream melting on top.
3) My mother’s macaroni and cheese that I make about twice a year by request from my kids.
4) Fresh parmessan cheese in Italy.
5) Peanut butter mixed with chocolate in any form.

Five sounds I love

1) A baby laughing
2) Silence
3) A train whistle, way off in the distance, late at night. (when I have insomnia, I can hear the trains going to Roberts Bank around 1:30 am)
4) Birds - Seagulls anytime, geese honking as they fly south in the fall, and the birds chirping in the tree outside my bedroom window.
5) Certain songs at church that leave me teary eyed.

Five things I love to touch

1) Sand between my toes at the beach
2) My passport and an airline ticket to anywhere
3) Real suede
4) A dog after being groomed
5) Flannel sheets – so cosy

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Dancing With the Stars

Update Tuesday 10:00 pm - Wow, that was a shocker! I couldn't believe my eyes when Sabrina was eliminated. She was absolutely the BEST dancer on the show! What is going on with the voters?

Okay, my prediction is that either Jane or Marie will go tonight. What do you think?

I know I wrote about this TV show last year, but I have to say this year has to have the best dancers yet. I mean, okay the first few who got cut weren't that good and Wayne Newton did his best and I think only stayed as long as he did because of his fans. However, I have been blown away by the rest of them. Here's a bit of what I think of those who remain thus far.

Marie Osmond gave everyone quite a scare this week when she fainted as she awaited the judges' comments. However, all is well, and she has really surprised me. For her age and the fact that she is still not quite down to her ideal weight (although she has lost weight over the past weeks and is looking good) she can move! This week's performance was a bit weak but I understand that she's been a bit under the weather.
Melanie Brown, former Spice Girl (aka Scary Spice), has rhythm and has shown an ability to be sensuous and graceful as well as ... well, spicy.

Sabrina Bryan of the Cheetah Girls (whom I'd never heard of before) has to be the best of the bunch. She has so much energy and seems to be able to master both the footwork and the passion needed for the variety of dances.

Helio Castroneves, a two-time Indy 500 champion, is excellent, although his feet are sometimes "off." He has great potential, though, to make it to the end. He has amazing focus and he is luckily partnered with Julianne Hough, a young but talented dancer who danced with last year's winner, Apolo Anton.

Jennie Garth has come a long way since her days on Beverly Hills 90210. She was a bit hesitant at the beginning, but she seems to have gained a lot of confidence over the last few weeks and has come on strong.

Cameron Mathison, a soap star, has also come on strong in the last couple of weeks and could be a contender for the trophy (or whatever they win). He's also nice to look at, for those of you who care.

Jane Seymour is all class and elegance. Her childhood ballet training shows in the way she uses her hands and head. Even in the sexy Latin dances, the judges comment on how she is still a very classy lady full of sex appeal.

So these are the ones left. I have a feeling Marie might go next week, but it will all depend on how the others do, too. Melanie was in the bottom two last week but was saved when Floyd (a boxer) was eliminated. Frankly, I don't know how he made it as far as he did, all hunched over in a boxer's stance all the time. At this point in time, my feeling is that Sabrina will win this year, but the others all still have a good chance. This year the dancing has been the best it's ever been right from the beginning.

If you haven't taken a look at this show, I highly recommend it. (I don't bother watching the results show until the bitter end to find out who gets eliminated because CBC is showing The Tudors at the same time. It's a 9 or 10-part series about a young Henry VIII and is excellence bar none. I'd never miss it.)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Everyone has a body image or a way in which they see their own body. It could be poor or good, depending on one’s perceptions. Poor body image translates to "I’m ugly" or "I’m too fat," whereas good body image translates to "I’m attractive" or "I’m a good person."

Body image doesn’t necessarily equate to objective measures of attractiveness or subjective opinions of others. For example, someone might see me as attractive but I might have a poor body image. I might see someone whom I consider extremely unattractive but they might have a good body image.

As I was going through the family photo albums in preparation for my Dad’s recent celebration of life, I found many photos of myself as a child, teenager, and young adult. Most of my life I didn’t give my body or face much thought but as I got older, I thought of myself as too fat and just average looking. Now, looking at these photos, I can’t imagine where those images came from. I look at myself at age 19 and think "Wow, I was really slim and I had great legs!" At age 22, in a photo where I was caught off guard, I see a hip and pretty young woman with beautiful long dark hair and dressed in the latest styles.

So, why then did I imagine myself to be plain and fat? Well, truth be told, I did gain weight a couple of times in my life. First, after my back surgery in ’86, we moved to Ottawa where we didn’t know anyone. It took about a year to completely heal but in the lonely meantime, I hibernated at home while the kids were at school and hubby was at work. Over time, the weight came on. Dear hubby never said one word about my weight gain – ever! And it did come off, finally. The second time I gained weight was after my husband died. Food became my comfort as I avoided people and any activities where I thought everyone would be staring at me and thinking "poor Leslie." For me depression, anxiety, and emotional stress were the root causes of my poor body image.

I found that I needed to develop a positive body image and a healthy mental attitude towards myself as a woman. I had to accept that I’d gained weight and for health reasons I needed to get it off. I didn’t like my teeth, so I got them fixed.

I must remind myself that I am attractive to some and not so attractive to others. I should only care about how someone sees my heart and soul. I surround myself with people who influence my body image with positive comments.

If only we could see ourselves as others see us. It could be a great motivator to either help us improve our character or relieve us of our insecurities.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Geri Halliwell It's Raining Men Live

I was starting to get a bit depressed from all rain we've had this year, so I decided to find some sort of rain music to cheer myself up. Hope you like this - if only it WOULD rain men! lol

I'm cooking comfort food tonight - homemade stew from my late Mom's recipe - complete with dumplings. It should do the trick. What do you all do when it rains so much?

Friday, October 19, 2007


The Witches Caldron
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog
Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg, and owlet's wing
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and babble
Double, double, toil and trouble,
Fire burn, and caldron bubble

William Shakespeare

Several years ago, our school principal decided he wanted to host a medieval costume party for the staff's Christmas party. Three of us (old bats) decided to dress up like the witches in Shakespeare's MacBeth, and we went about finding appropriate costumes and makeup. All of the teachers were supposed to memorize some lines to quote during the dinner, too. We had such fun learning our lines but it was awfully difficult to say them without laughing because we were trying to stay in character. I'm a great cackler, so I was able to incorporate that into my lines. Mary Beth, Ineke, and I were the hit of the party and I'm so glad that Bill (our principal) took our picture for posterity. I came upon it the other day when I was rooting through some stuff cleaning up and howled with laughter when I saw it. So, in the spirit of the Halloween season coming upon us in two weeks, I thought I'd share it with you all. I missed Halloween last year (I was in Italy, oh too bad I hear you say lol) so this year I'll get a friend to come over for dinner and help me distribute candy to the neighbourhood kids. Maybe I should dress up like a witch again...What are you doing on Halloween?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I'd rather be in sunny Italy

It was one year ago that I left Rome to travel north to the town of Lerici on the Italian Riviera. It was one of the most exciting holidays I've ever experienced and I'll never forget it as long as I live. From Lerici, we travelled by boat over to the Cinque Terre region of Italy - an area with its gorgeous pastel-coloured towns hanging off the side of the mountains overlooking the Mediterranean. As I look out my window today, I see the trees across the street that, one week ago, were brilliant yellow, red, and orange are now all but bare. The wind is gusting and the rain is pelting down. I must admit I'd rather be in sunny Italy experiencing the culture, flavours, sights, and smells. I'm feeling a bit nostalgic today about that glorious adventure, and thought I might share some photos of this time last year with those of you who have become online friends since then. If you've never been to Italy, I highly recommend it. It's a country with a variety of geographical areas from arid Sicily to the northern mountains that overlook the lake district. The people are so friendly and the food is mouth-watering. Tuscany is exactly as it looks on calendars, and Umbria is an area that is perhaps not as well known, but definitely worth visiting. Over the next month or two, I'll do a few postings of some of the highlights of my trip. So...here's a little taste of the start of my trip to Italy.

This was the view from our hotel patio.

My roommate Vicki (below) and I walked to the town (around the curving street ahead) to buy some wine and celebrate and toast the beginning of a fantastic holiday. This is what the center of town looked like - beautiful colours, brilliant fountains, and lots of families playing and visiting.
This is the town of Portovenere, the first town on the Cinque Terre.
(I don't know why, but this photo and the next one will open up to be bigger. So do click on them to see the spectacular colours of the buildings.)

This is one of my travel mates, Peggy, as we approached Portovenere by boat.

That day was obviously laundry day. Everyone hangs their laundry out their windows in Italy.

This is the town of Riomaggiore, as we approached it by boat. It is just up the way from Portovenere and it was interesting that all the streets went up or down, not side to side.
This is the Via del Amore (the street of love) and we all walked from one town to the next along the side of the mountain here. Gorgeous views over the Mediterranean Sea and a scrumptious lunch of pasta with their famous pesto sauce awaited.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

An Afternoon in Steveston Village

Down on the south-western shore of Richmond (city immediately south of Vancouver) sits the historic Steveston Village, a once-boisterous frontier seaport and principal port on the Fraser River. It was founded in 1880 by William Herbert Steves. At the turn of the 20th century, Steveston was the busiest fishing port in the world, with fifteen salmon canneries, six hotels, numerous saloons and gambling dens, and up to fourteen windjammers simultaneously loading canned salmon for world markets. On a Saturday night, 10,000 people thronged the boardwalks, including Native Indians, Japanese, Chinese, European immigrants, and sailors from the seven seas. Now over 100 years old, Steveston has evolved into a picturesque working fishing village, home to Canada's largest commercial fishing fleet, home base to more than 600 seiners, gill-netters, trawlers and other vessels that line the docks two and sometimes three abreast. The village, with its ambient fishing village atmosphere, comes to life each summer with plenty for visitors to see and do. Heritage sites and parks, fresh seafood, great local restaurants and colourful gift shops and markets all await the lucky visitor. One of the oldest remaining buildings in Steveston is The Cannery Cafe, built before 1900 to serve as a cookhouse for the Lighthouse Cannery and now one of the longest-running restaurants in the village. From following website:

Naturally I took along my camera and here is a shot through the trees of one of the fishing vessels that line the docks. I used the telephoto feature to make it look like it was peeping through the trees.

Here's an image of some of the hundreds of fishing boats lined on a Sunday afternoon.
You can buy fish right off the fishing boats by walking down a switchback wooden pier to get right up to the boats. Salmon is very popular, but you can buy all sorts of fish, including tuna and shrimp.
More boats lined up on a Sunday afternoon, here in a small inlet safe from open waters. Notice the two ducks swimming along
There is a "Fisherman's Wharf" at Steveston Village. Note all the seagulls hanging around.
Finally, a shrimp boat tucked away from the open waters, just waiting until Monday morning.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Photography - An Art Form

I love art. My favourite artists are the Impressionists, particularly Monet. I wish I could paint like that but, alas, I was not gifted in that department. I can "see" art, but I can't seem to get it out on paper through drawing or painting.

Then I came up with a great idea...photography. I've always loved taking photos, so last year I finally gave in and bought myself a new digital camers - a Samsung Digimax 7.1 mexapixels. It's a very good camera for a beginner like myself so after using it for a while in the classroom, on holidays, and with family and friends, I've decided to start taking things seriously.

Yesterday, on my daily walk around the neighbourhood, I started noticing trees - the shapes and sizes of the trunks and branches along with the colours and textures. Standing under some of the gigantic trees and looking upward, I felt as though I could climb them and reach all the way to the heavens.

An idea was born. To honour my parents who have just been reunited, I will work on a series of photos of trees, photographed from below looking upward. Eventually, I'd really like to design cards with my photos on them.

Of the almost 40 images I captured today, I hope you enjoy looking at a few. I don't know why the first one won't enlarge when clicked on, but the others do, so give it a try.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


We said good-bye, farewell, au revoir to Dad today. I did the "eulogy" which I basically called "Memories of Dad." The day turned out to be lovely, clear and sunny and warm enough not to need a jacket. However, we did have the fireplace on in the reception room as it made it much cozier. The food was fantastic, the wine mellow, and the guests happy to share their own memories of Dad. Everyone was having such a great time we had to eventually start putting things away to give them the hint that it was time to leave. In a way, that made me feel good that everyone was comfortable and enjoying the ambience. It still doesn't seem real yet but I guess I'll get used to him not being here with us. It's strange to think of myself as an "orphan" at my age and as the "older generation." But I guess this is the way it is supposed to be. I have my children and their children to watch over now and they will take care of me when the time comes. Such is life. To the left is the photo we chose of Dad and in front of the photo is his favourite hat. He wore it all the time when he was at the care home, even inside, because he said his head was cold. He loved that old hat. If you double click on the photo to the left, it will enlarge, but I don't know why the others won't.

Dad was born in Vancouver, BC to Joseph Henry Jones and Mary Catherine Davies. He lived with his family, which included his brother Art and sisters Catherine and Josie at 11th and Nanaimo and graduated from Vancouver Tech School in 1939.
As a young boy, Dad was always on the soccer field and won his first medal at the age of 11. He was a popular player throughout his youth, and the Vancouver Sun published many articles about his prowess on the field. He later went on to play for the St. Andrew’s Football Club, which won the Dominion Cup in 1947. The team was inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame in 1986. Dad never lost his passion for soccer and became a linesman and referee, and ultimately the Northern Commissioner for the sport in the 1960s.

Dad joined BC Tel right out of high school and left to serve in the RCAF during WWII as a flight trainer on the East Coast. After the war ended, he returned to the telephone company and retired after 41 years of service.

Dad was also an active participant on the golf course and enjoyed many a round of ‘flog’. He remained active in golf even after his retirement and played with the BC Tel Pioneers. He and Mom enjoyed many years of travel across Canada and to places like Morocco, Greece, Britain, Hong Kong, Japan, and especially to Spain where they returned many times to visit good friends they made there.

Dad always wanted the best for his family. We came first and he never wavered in that regard. We will remember him for his feistiness and his strong sense of right and wrong, and whenever we needed him, he was there for us. He will be greatly missed.

Flowers from my church family and Dad's retirement scrapbook.

The Memory Table

Dad's RCAF medals and memorabilia plus wedding picture

Dad's soccer trophies, medals, and memorabilia

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Beginning of Fall Colour

This is my favourite time of year, especially days like today that turn out to be bright and sunny. This morning dawned rainy, but by this afternoon the sun was out, the sky was sparkling blue, and the bright colours of fall tempted me outside. I decided to get a dose of Vitamin D as I strolled the neighbourhood while taking a few photos along the way. I'm practising with my camera to see if there is any chance at all that I might have any talent in photography. So I'd really appreciate it if you all would comment on which photos are your favourites and why. Some shots are what I'd call "scenic" and others are what I'd call "abstract" and just show colour and form. I'd also appreciate constructive criticism, too.I was fascinated by this tree because it was turning red and BROWN.

The leaves are already starting to drop.
These flowers were stunning, although subdued in colour.

In case you can't tell, these are cedar tree needles spread over someone's lawn.

Maybe this is artistic? Or is it just a dead cedar bough?

The leaves of this tree are just starting to turn colour and the sun was shining on them.

These actually looked prettier in person.

This is the little park in the subdivision where I live.

It's quite fascinating looking up into a tree.

This tree was absolutely stunning in its brilliance.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Sixty is Sexy

Sixty is sexy, so says the mug that my grandson gave me for my birthday! My daughter and her husband took a photo from my blog and had it put on a mug for me - I was SO surprised and very pleased, of course! They and my other daughter chipped in to get me Sarah Jessica Parker's newest perfume, Covet, which I had recently mentioned I liked. And my two sisters got together and got me new kitchen stainless cutlery and a really stylin' cutlery tray. It's beautiful and I really needed new cutlery. I was also presented with a "crown" and a Hawaiian lei. We all joked about my not having been "layed" for long enough. So I have now been "lei-ed."

I share the day with my son-in-law Jason and he turned 34 yesterday. So today was a combined birthday party for both of us and Thanksgiving for all of us. He thoroughly enjoyed his gift from me and told me all about the party he had last night. It was a crazy hat party and Daughter #2 won the prize - a mickey of rum (which she and her friend proceeded to finish off). But he was good and wasn't hung over for today.

Dinner was delish and filling and the pumpkin cake with whipped cream cheese frosting that Daughter #2 made for Jason and me was so light and fluffy! I wanted more, but managed to resist temptation. All in all, we had a wonderful evening and I thought I'd share some photos with you all.

The queen has a birthday drink

Noah cuddles his MomJason loves the Vancouver Canucks
Jamie and me
My two sisters and me (guess our ages)

Jason and I with our sparkling cake


I received a lot of quite amusing cards yesterday for my birthday, one of which was an old tattooed lady saying, "Sixty is Sexy!" Well, I don't know if I'm still sexy, but I do know that I'm feeling better than I did 10 years ago. And I think I'm looking better, too! Last night a bunch of us (9, 1 got sick so couldn't make it) got together at Tramonto, a fine Italian restaurant at the River Rock Resort in Richmond. We dined in style in a private room with a waiter extraordinaire who catered to our every whim without being obsequious. The food was spectacular, the wine smooth to the palate (Colleen and I shared a half bottle of a very delicious Chianti), and the B52 coffees topped everything off beautifully. I received some lovely gifts which were truly unexpected, including the most stunning bouquet of yellow roses from my friend Wendy. Josie presented me with a hand-designed necklace that is in just the right colours for me. I also received some pumpkin fudge from a lifelong friend and a nice frame for the group shot we got of everyone. After almost 3 hours of fun and frivolity in our private room, we decided to hit the slots downstairs in the casino. I had decided I was only going to lose $20, but Wendy had given me a $20 bill specifically to play with so I ended up losing $40. lol Like...what a surprise! Then I wandered around watching the Black Jack, Roulette, and Baccarat players and thought that some day when I have at least $100 to squander, I'll go back and play Black Jack. My parents taught us to play this when we were quite little and we played with poker chips. At least I think I'd have a chance at that, knowing how to play it. So, I'm just waiting for the family to arrive soon for our Thanksgiving/Birthday party for me and my son-in-law with whom I share the day. He had a "crazy hat" party last night so I'm excited to hear all about his party. Here are a few shots from last night. Notice I got to meet Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Sammy Davis Jr. Enjoy.

Oh, by the way, Josie didn't want her photo on here, so I had to cut her and two others out of the group shot. I thought she looked quite lovely. Oh well....

Back L to R: Wendy, Linda, Pat, Ineke

Front L to R: Colleen and Leslie

L to R: Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Leslie

Leslie with Sammy Davis, Jr.