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.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I'm Exhausted

I am so tired, I don't know if I'll even be able to sleep. Does that make sense?

Two weeks ago, I took my car in for repairs and maintenance and $1,500.00 later, I drove home with one problem left. Today I took the car back so they could fix the oil leak. My friend, who is here from the East Coast, picked me up at 9:30 am where I took the car. From there, we went to see her mother who has been in a care home for several years.

I would never have recognized her Mom and I've known her since I was 17 years old. She's suffering from Alzheimers, has an infection in her lungs which caused her whole chest to rattle, and is down to about 55 kgs (about 120 pounds). I think it upset me more than I knew at the time because I saw my own mother die from Alzheimers and I heard my Dad's lungs rattle just before he died last September. I don't think my friend knows just how close to death her mother is and she's pretending her mother knows what is going on around her and will get better. I had to leave and wait in the hall.

Then we continued on to my friend's Mom's condo where she's doing what I had to do when my parents died - you know, the sorting, keeping, throwing out, charity, garage sale stuff, gifts to the kids and grandkids, etc. I wrapped china and crystal for her and her son dragged down some stuff to her car so I could take them home for me and my kids and grandkids.

In the midst of all this, the guy from the auto place phoned to say that they didn't take the key lock system thingy and they'd locked themselves out of my car. So I had to go all the way back to give that to them. And all the way back to the condo.

We carried on with packing, labeling boxes, sorting things out, deciding what to give, take, etc. Then the auto place phoned again and said that my car wouldn't be ready today! AND it was going to cost me $1,200.00 more to fix what was wrong!!! AAAGGGHHH! So I "suggested" they throw in a rental car seeing as how I'd already spent $1,500.00 two weeks ago, too. No problem.

I had to be there before 4:00 pm so about 3:00 I started nudging my friend saying we'd have to leave soon. (I know her so well that I knew I had to give her at least 20 minutes to get going.) So about a half hour later, we left and I got there just before my "man" was off work. They gave me a Nissan Rogue, a small SUV that I'd never heard of before. To be honest, I didn't enjoy driving it. I can hardly wait to get my own car back.

I was supposed to go out to dinner tonight, but I cancelled. I'm just so tired I can hardly move. It's emotionally draining to (a) see your best friend's mother so close to death; (b) have to fork out thousands of dollars to get your car fixed; (c) work hard packing stuff all day knowing it's the end of someone's life.

On the bright side, I finished painting all the cabinets in my ensuite and it looks great. Now to rip out that hideous carpeting and get a new floor installed. Whew!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

O is for Ottawa, Canada's Capital City

In 1986, my husband had a wonderful opportunity to move to Ottawa, Ontario, our country's capital city, to work for three years as a representative of BC's telephone company. Our whole family was excited as we'd never been there before and we knew it would be a fantastic educational experience for our two daughters, ages 9 1/2 and 6 at the time.

We arrived on July 1, 1986, and went straight to the Parliament Buildings to take in all the pomp and ceremony of our nation's birthday. The girls had their photo taken with an RCMP officer, all decked out in his official attire. They waved their Canada flags along with all the other party goers and we had a great day. However, it was so hot that we finally had to retire to our air-conditioned hotel room - after treating ourselves to ice-cream, of course.

Ottawa is a very interesting city on the banks of the Ottawa River that runs between Ontario and Quebec. Having very extreme temperatures, we found that winter was the most fun. If and when you adapt to the icy cold, there really is a lot to do there. One of the most fun days we had was when we took the girls to the Winter Festival on the Rideau Canal. In winter, a section of the Rideau Canal passing through central Ottawa becomes officially the world's largest skating rink and here is the family in front of the sign that reads, "The World's Longest Skating Rink 7.8km" and for those who don't know metric, that's almost 5 miles long.

Our house was made of brick, which seemed unusual to us, coming from the West Coast where houses are mainly built with wood. But we quickly felt at home. Our front lawn had quite a steep slope so once the snow hit, out came the new sleds and snowsuits and the girls and their friends had a great time sliding down.

When the deep deep freeze set in, my husband thought it would be fun to make a skating rink for the girls in the back yard. A lot of fathers would run a hose on top of the snow so their kids could skate around, but my husband was not one to do that. He got out his brand new snow blower and worked on that rink for days! Here he is starting the rink by blowing all the snow aside.

Then he hosed the area down and let it freeze. But, no! The rink was not ready yet. Every night after work he'd go out in the dark and scrape that ice rink smooth. He'd have the hose to fill in little holes and cracks until he was satisfied that it was the best rink he could possibly make. And even after the girls started skating on it (and all the neighbourhood kids came over to try it out, too, because word got around), he'd still go out every night to "fix" the rink so that no one would trip on a hole and hurt themselves.

So day in and day out, if the girls weren't at their formal figure skating lessons, they were outside skating! I'd call them in for dinner and then they'd go outside and skate in the dark. Well, it wasn't really dark because their Dad set up a lighting system so they could see to skate out there in the dark. And, since their Dad was a hockey fanatic, he bought them hockey sticks so he could play with them, too.
We had lots of other adventures during our 3 years in Ottawa, and I will post about other places we visited when the alphabet fits. Hope you enjoyed this little sojourn in Ottawa and I recommend you visit the city and its environs to see all it has to offer.
ABC Wednesdays is brought to you by Mrs. Nesbitt.

My Baby's New Blog

I'm happy to announce that my daughter has started her own blog. She was the one who set mine up about 3 years ago and actually gave me the name "The Pedalogue." She has titled her blog Random and Interesting Things and goes by the name Jay.Cee.
Feel free to go on over and visit her and let her know you're a friend of mine. Her first post is about our town of Ladner, and her most recent today is about a new book on the market called "My Beautiful Mommy." It's quite the read - and be sure to keep going back because she is a prolific writer and poet and has a lot to offer. She's also a fantastic photographer, artist, and jewelry designer and I'm sure she'll be posting photos of her work eventually.
In June, she is entering several of her "pieces" in the South Delta Art Show entitled "Frames of Mind," so hopefully she'll share about this valuable artistic outlet for those who suffer from a mental illness. Speaking of which, I'm so proud of her for working hard over the past year to overcome a vicious illness that could have had tragic results. This will be a life-long battle for her but I know she will do well with all the help she has.
So go visit her - she's an intelligent, articulate, and artistic individual who has lots to offer in terms of writing skills. (Oh, and if any of you have a son or nephew or know a nice young man between the ages of 25 and 35, let me know. She's a fantastic cook, too, and makes THE BEST chocolate chip cookies. She'll make some lucky man a great wife one day! ;D Of course, she'll kill me for writing this. But I think she'll realize it's just 'cuz I love her so much.)

This is Jaclyn the day Eden was born. Notice Eden yawning.
And with Noah one of the days he slept over when Eden was still in the hospital with her Mommy. Jaclyn absolutely adores these two children!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

A grandmother is a mother who has a second chance.

At eights weeks old, Eden Elizabeth is interacting and giving us all big smiles now!
(I think the photos will enlarge this time, except for the one with me in red)

I like to do nice things for my grandchildren - like buy them those toys I've always wanted to play with.
~Gene Perret

Ah, yes, I love buying little gifts for my grandchildren (and I'm so thrilled to say "children" now). Not just for birthdays and Christmas, but at times when I happen to see something I think they'd enjoy. Now I find myself gravitating towards the children's clothing and toy departments every time I'm in the mall and seldom do I leave without a little purchase. In fact, two weeks ago when I went over to visit, 4-year-old Noah asked in all innocence, "Did you bring me a present, Gramma?" I laughed, but asked my daughter why he'd ask that. With a straight face, she stated, "Well you always bring something!" So last week when I arrived, I quickly announced, "I only brought something for Mommy today," before the inevitable question escaped Noah's lips. Ah, what the heck, that's what Grammas are for, right?

A grandmother pretends she doesn't know who you are on Halloween. ~Erma Bombeck

Not only do we have to feign surprise, but also pretend we don't "see" them when they're "hiding" behind the edge of a door, under the coffee table, or standing right behind us. I've had to play at being a little girl visiting Santa (actually sitting on Santa's lap...well, poised so I don't crush the poor little guy pretending to be Santa) and tell him what I'd like for Christmas. Then, I had to pretend to be asleep while "Santa" came and brought me a pickup truck and hotwheel cars that stood in for the doll and baby buggy "I" had asked for. Ah, what the heck, it's fun to play at being a kid again, right?

A grandmother is a little bit parent, a little bit teacher, and a little bit best friend. ~Author Unknown

Yes, it's a chance to be an all-loving parent without that pesky responsibility of having to discipline. Noah and I have our little "secrets," too, when I've had to act the teacher to explain when he may have misbehaved done something wrong on our outings together without his Mommy. I show him how to print his letters, buy him educational toys, and ooh and aah over every little thing he does that shows he's growing and learning. And it's so gratifying that now he hops up beside me for a cuddle and shows ME how to use his Leapster. I always tell him he's "my favourite boy in the whole world" and play catch with him just like he would with a friend.

Most grandmas have a touch of the scallywag. ~Helen Thomson
Yes, I do have a playful and mischievous side to me. And sometimes it's very tempting to encourage that in grandchildren. But it's also important that they know it isn't really the right way to behave....in every circumstance. It's fun, though, to "pretend" to be bad naughty, and let's face it, kids know how to behave whether at home or at Gramma's. I remember one of the nights Noah was staying with me while my daughter was recovering from the C-section in hospital and Noah didn't want to go to sleep. So I told him the story of the Three Little Pigs, which I'm ashamed to admit my daughter had never told him. We both got so excited with our huffing and puffing and blowing the house down that we acted very silly, with Noah jumping on the bed like it was a trampoline! However, we did finally settle down and we both had a good sleep that night.

A garden of Love grows in a Grandmother's heart. ~Author Unknown

I remember asking my daughter if she was concerned about whether she'd love the new baby as much as she did Noah. She admitted that, yes, she was a bit. I explained to her that love is a strange thing. When it comes to our children, the love within us doesn't divide in half, but rather multiplies by two! And when Eden was about 6 weeks old, I asked my daughter again how she felt. She said she does love Eden just as much, but in a different way. And that's the way it's supposed to be - each child is different and is loved for the individual they are. I'm so proud of my daughter for what she has made of her life. She's worked hard to save for a house and car, married a good man who has proven himself to be a good husband and father, and together they have a wonderful little family. And for me, as a grandmother, I find it amazing that I love these two little grandchildren as much as I love my own two daughters! God has multiplied that love within me, too. (click on the photo to enlarge and notice that they have the same colour eyes.)

Noah wasn't being very cooperative last week, so I couldn't get the whole family in a photo. But here's my son-in-law Jason with Eden or "Half Pint" as he likes to call her. He's a wonderful father to both his children whom he absolutely adores. And he also likes to tease me by constantly reminding me that "he" gave me a grandson AND a granddaughter!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

For the Love of a Lizard

The following story is courtesy of Daughter #2.

If you have raised kids (or been one), and gone through the pet syndrome, including toilet flush burials for deadgoldfish, the story below will have you laughing out LOUD!

Overview: I had to take my son's lizard to the vet. Here's what happened:

Just after dinner one night, my son came up to tell methere was "something wrong" with one of the twolizards he holds prisoner in his room.

"He's just lying there looking sick," he told me. "I'm serious, Dad. Can you help?"

I put my best lizard-healer expression on my face andfollowed him into his bedroom. One of the little lizardswas indeed lying on his back, looking stressed. Immediately, I knew what to do."

Honey," I called, "come look at the lizard!"

"Oh, my gosh!" my wife exclaimed. "She's havingbabies."

"What?" my son demanded. "But their names are Bert and Ernie, Mom!"

I was equally outraged. "Hey, how can that be? I thought we said we didn't want them to reproduce," I said accusingly to my wife.

"Well, what do you want me to do, post a sign in their cage?" she inquired (I think she actually said this sarcastically!)

"No, but you were supposed to get two boys!" I reminded her, (in my most loving, calm, sweet voice, while gritting my teeth).

"Yeah, Bert and Ernie!" my son agreed.

"Well, it's just a little hard to tell on some guys, you know," she informed me (Again with the sarcasm!).

By now the rest of the family had gathered to see what was going on. I shrugged, deciding to make the best of it.

"Kids, this is going to be a wondrous experience,"I announced. "We're about to witness the miracle of birth."

"Oh, gross!" they shrieked.

"Well, isn't THAT just great? What are we going to do with a litter of tiny little lizard babies?" my wife wanted to know.

We peered at the patient. After much struggling, what looked like a tiny foot would appear briefly, vanishing a scant second later.

"We don't appear to be making much progress," I noted.

"It's breech," my wife whispered, horrified.

"Do something, Dad!" my son urged.

"Okay, okay."

Squeamishly, I reached in and grabbed the foot when it next appeared, giving it a gentle tug. It disappeared. I tried several more times with the same results.

"Should I call 911?" my eldest daughter wanted to know. "Maybe they could talk us through the trauma." (You see a pattern here with the females in my house?)

"Let's get Ernie to the vet," I said grimly. We drove tothe vet with my son holding the cage in his lap.

"Breathe, Ernie, breathe," he urged.

"I don't think lizards do Lamaze," his mother noted to him. (Women can be so cruel to their own young. I mean what she does to me is one thing, but this boy is of her womb, for G~d's sake.).

The vet took Ernie back to the examining room and peered at the little animal through a magnifying glass.

"What do you think, Doc, a C-section?" I suggested scientifically.

"Oh, very interesting," he murmured. "Mr. and Mrs. Cameron, may I speak to you privately for a moment?"

I gulped, nodding for my son to step outside.

"Is Ernie going to be okay?" my wife asked.

"Oh, perfectly," the vet assured us. "This lizard is not in labor. In fact, that isn't EVER going to happen. Ernie is a boy. You see, Ernie is a young male. And occasionally, as they come into maturity, like most male species, they um . . um . . . masturbate. Justthe way he did, lying on his back."

He blushed, glancing at my wife. We were silent, absorbing this.

"So, Ernie's just just . . . excited," my wife offered.

"Exactly," the vet replied, relieved that we understood. More silence. Then my vicious, cruel wife started to giggle. And giggle. And then even laugh loudly.

"What's so funny?" I demanded, knowing, but not believing that the woman I married would commit the upcoming affront to my flawless manliness. Tears were now running down her face.

"It's just .that . .I'm picturing you pulling on its . . . its. . . teeny little . . " She gasped for more air to bellow in laughter once more.

"That's enough," I warned.

We thanked the vet and hurriedly bundled the lizard and our son back into the car. He was glad everything was going to be okay.

"I know Ernie's really thankful for what you did, Dad," he told me.

"Oh, you have NO idea," my wife agreed, collapsing with laughter.

Two lizards: $140.

One cage: $50.

Trip to the vet: $30.

Memory of your husband pulling on a lizard's winkie: Priceless!

Moral of the story: Pay attention in biology class. Lizards lay eggs!

Unique or Funny Signs

Saturday Photo Hunters is brought to you by tnchick. Go on over there to see who's participating and go visit their sites.

Today's theme is "Unique or Funny Signs." This is what I came up with from my photographs.

This sign is at Bear Creek Park in Surrey, BC. People can barbecue over hot coals here so I guess the parks board figures that it's important to remind them not to throw their trash in with the hot coals. Hmmm....I wonder what would happen if they did?

This sign was in the town of Caerleon in Wales. My friend Jane and I were visiting all the historical sites dating back to the Roman era, and I thought it was rather funny to see the word "toilets" there.

Finally, my absolute favourite is this one. I saw this billboard as I stepped off the Roman underground metro and had to stop and take a picture. It's an advertisement for Heineken beer and is hilarious!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

For The Love of a Dog

You all know what a sucker I am for a good dog and I know that most of the people who read my blog do not subscribe to the Vancouver Sun newspaper. But Pete McMartin, a regular columnist, has the BEST story today and I would like to share it with you all. I am copying it verbatim, so please realise that it is not my writing, but McMartin's. Also, he doesn't say, but I am guessing it might have been his family dog. The one at the right is not the dog he's writing about, but it gives you a visual while reading. Be sure to have some kleenex or tissues handy.

Pete McMartin, Vancouver Sun
Published: Thursday, April 24, 2008

It was the habit of the dog to sit on the back of the couch near the living room window and watch for the woman

The dog, a fox terrier, would sit there while the woman was at work, and when the woman would pull into the driveway in the late afternoon, the dog would see her and raise her head and something like a smile would come over the dog's face, if a dog could smile.

The dog would jump off the couch and run to the front door, and when the woman opened the door, the dog would be the first thing the woman saw when she walked into the house.

The woman would bend to the dog and ask her how she was, and the dog would spin in circles as the woman petted her, and then the dog would sing the way dogs do and tell her how mournful her day had been without her.

Then the woman would put down her purse and go upstairs to her bedroom to change out of her work clothes, and the dog would follow her, and from that moment forward, when the woman made dinner in the kitchen, when she sat on the couch and watched TV, when she went to bed and read before going to sleep, she and the dog would be nearly inseparable, each moving in each other's orbit.

When the woman turned off the bedroom lights, the dog would be laying at the foot of the bed, with her head resting against the woman's feet, as if even in sleep they might be connected.

There were other people in the house -- a husband, a daughter, two grown sons living nearby -- but the dog largely ignored them. She had been bought as a birthday gift for the daughter when the dog was a puppy, but the puppy's novelty soon wore off and it was the woman who ended up feeding the dog and taking her on walks and cleaning up after her when she shat on the carpets.

The woman was not a dog person by nature -- she laughed at people who bought clothes for their dogs or who baby-talked to them -- but she became by default the dog's sole guardian. It wasn't a job she had wanted.

Over the years, their routines became a fixture of the house. When the woman took a shower, the dog would wait patiently outside in the hall for her.

When the family went somewhere in the car, the dog would sit nowhere else but on the woman's lap, her eyes closed, her muzzle resting on the dashboard.

On walks to the beach, the woman would throw stones into the water and the dog would dive in after them, her stubby tail wagging back and forth in the water like a propeller. One year, when the woman grew gravely ill and was confined to her bed for weeks, the dog never left her side.

But dogs live abbreviated lives, and as she aged, she developed an ailment that would revisit her every couple of years. A few weeks ago, the dog began to slow down visibly, and the woman, thinking the ailment had returned, took the dog to the veterinarian.

On the first day of her stay at the vet hospital, the dog improved, and the woman was hopeful. But on the second, the vet called her at work and told her the dog had begun to bleed internally and that she was failing.

The woman left work and hurried to the vet's. She sobbed in the car on the way. At the vet's, the dog had been sedated for pain and covered with blankets for warmth, and when the woman got there, she found the dog had been put in a small room where the two of them could be together. The dog's eyes were still open, but because of the sedation the woman could not tell if the dog could hear her or see her.

The woman stroked the dog's matted fur. She bent her face to the dog's. She spoke to her. Her tears fell on the dog's nose and on the dog's tongue.

After a few minutes, the dog whimpered and arched her back, and the woman cried out that she didn't want to see her in pain and the vet was summoned and the vet gave the dog the shot. And then came that thing that never ceases to amaze, the end, the complete stillness, the absence of the vivid, animated thing that once was.

Later, the vet said that if the woman wanted, the hospital could have the dog cremated and the ashes placed in an urn with the dog's name on it. The woman, through her tears, said yes. But the woman was not a dog person, and not one for anthropomorphizing a family pet, and after a few minutes she thought the idea of an urn was macabre, so she said no, give her the ashes in a bag. She would scatter them on the water where the dog would swim for stones.

Later, angry at herself that she was still crying, she would say -- "It's just a dog!" -- because she was not a dog person. Probably, she knew, there would be other dogs in the future.

And on the way home from the vet's, she knew she would have to relearn certain things in her life. How to cook in the kitchen without the dog watching her. How to sleep without the weight of its body at her feet. How to walk on the beach. All this she dreaded.

But what she dreaded most was having to go through that front door.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

ABC WEDNESDAY brought to you by the letter "N"

ABC Wednesdays is brought to you today by the letter N and Mrs. Nesbitt.

When I woke up this morning and started checking my favourite blogs, I suddenly realized that it's Wednesday and I'd completely forgotten to do my "N" post. That is NOT like me because normally I have my idea a week ahead. Anyway, this is what I quickly put together to share.

N is for Newspaper. I cannot live without my daily dose of the news and first thing I do every morning is grab the paper and have it ready to read as soon as the coffee is made. My favourite parts are the front page with all the world's highlights along with the "letters to the editor" section. I enjoy reading what other people have to say about world, community, or social issues of the day. Then I read the Arts and Entertainment section, mostly to get to the crossword, that MUST be done before much else can happen during the day. However, if I have an early appointment (like today), it has to wait until I get home. But it's the first thing I do.
My other N is for Novels. I'm an avid reader and save the novels that I truly enjoy and will some day read again. In this photo you'll see Anita Diamant's "The Red Tent," "Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood" by Rebecca Wells, Barbara Kingsolver's "The Poisonwood Bible," Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy, "All the King's Men" by Robert Penn Warren, Alice Sebold's "The Lovely Bones," "Charlotte Gray" by Sebastian Faulkes, "The Stone Diaries" by Carol Shields, Michael Ondaatje's "The English Patient," "Chocolate For a Woman's Soul" by Kay Allenbaugh, Pearl Buck's "The Good People," John Irving's "Until I Find You," Ann-Marie MacDonald's "The Way the Crow Flies," and Marion Zimmer Bradley's "The Mists of Avalon." Oh, and in the front is "Atonement" by Ian McEwan, "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" by Betty Smith, and "Into the Wild" by Jon Krakauer.

Does anyone see something green in the middle of all the books? I didn't even realize it was there until I looked at the photo. Can you guess what it might be? Here's a hint: It's something I had when I was a teacher and now keep it for my grandson to use when he's over.

Monday, April 21, 2008

How Much is That Puppy in the Window?

I read an article in the paper today about how to help put puppy-mill operators out of business. Oprah did a show a few weeks ago about an investigation into puppy-mill operators by Lisa Ling. She went undercover and was able to secretly film what actually goes on in those places. It was horrid - cruel, filthy, and even evil. I was going to put a photo on here to show what a puppy-mill dog looks like, but after viewing pages of them, I was too heartbroken to do it. Just google "puppy mills" yourself to see them. You will cry.

After my student left this afternoon, I turned on the TV and there was Oprah at a place in Chicago, called PAWS (Pets Are Worth Saving), a no-kill humane animal rescue center where the dogs aren't caged; rather, they each have their own "room." They get to play with each other and even have a rooftop grassy area where they can run and frolic, chase balls and each other, and get fresh air and exercise. Oprah decided to sponsor a room in memory of her black cocker spaniel Sophie who recently died.

At the ASPCA site here, they list 10 ways you can help fight puppy mills.

1. Don't buy your puppy from a pet store. It has most likely come from a large-scale, substandard commercial breeding facility where parent dogs are caged and bred as often as possible, and give birth to puppies who could have costly medical problems you might not become aware of until after you bring your new pet home.

2. Make adoption your first option. Go to your local shelter where you will be able to save a life and possibly even find a purebred. Or you can go to a breed-specific rescue organization that you can find on the internet.

3. Know how to recognize a responsible breeder. Reputable breeders look for good appropriate homes for their puppies and will not allow just anyone to buy one. They check you out even more than you check out their puppies.

4. See where the puppy was born and bred. Always ask to see the breeding premises and meet the parents, at least the bitch. You should also ask for an adoption contract that explains the breeder’s responsibilities, health guarantee and return policy.

5. Never buy a puppy from the Internet. Those who sell animals on the Internet are not held to the Animal Welfare Act regulations―and therefore are not inspected by the USDA. It would be the same as going to a puppy-mill.

6. Share your puppy-mill story with the ASPCA, if you think you've been scammed. The more evidence they can get, the more likely they'll be to bring forth legislation to ban these mills.

7. Speak out! If you are disturbed by the inhumane treatment of dogs in puppy mills, and would like to see legislation passed that ensures that all animals bred to be pets are raised in healthy conditions, you must speak up. You can keep up-to-date about current legislation to ban puppy mills by joining the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade.

8. Tell your friends everything you know about puppy mills and how they can get a puppy at a shelter or rescue center.

9. Think globally. Just as I'm doing right now, use your blog or web site to make others aware of these puppy mills and the cruelty they impose on these helpless animals. In this way, we can get them abolished.

10. Act locally. When people are looking to buy or adopt a pet, they will often ask the advice of their veterinarian, groomer or pet supply store. Download and print ASPCA flyers and ask to leave them in the offices of your local practitioners.

We got our wonderful boxer Star from a reputable breeder and she lived a long, fulfilled, and loved life with us. Friends of ours had Star's sister so we'd get together a lot so the two dogs could stay in contact, get plenty of fun and exercise, and it was a good excuse for a social event. I wrote about Star back in January and if you missed it, you can read Star and see photos here.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Some Black & White Photos

I haven't participated in the Telus Photo Contest for a while because the themes were ones in which I didn't have anything to submit. For example, horses and stairs were the two latest ones. Anyway, this time the theme is black and white so I thought I'd submit the following photos. Just thought I'd share them you, readers, and have you let me know what you think of them. I have my favourite, but which is yours?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Young @ Heart

Just read an article in the Vancouver Sun about a new documentary playing at the Fifth Avenue Cinema in the city. Now, I don't usually bother going to that theatre because there's no parking available and they usually feature those sort of avante-garde type of films that I don't particularly enjoy.


This one is about a choir made up of seniors. British documentary filmaker Stephen Walker was blown away by the group when he saw them at London's famed Lyric Theatre. He said that the audience was made up mostly of young people in their 20s and 30s, but was clearly a cross-generational phenomenon.

By the time the curtain fell, Walker was passionate about the whole endeavour and started looking for financial backing. Because the choir was based in Massachusetts, Walker approached American broadcasters but was turned down, so he ended up back in the UK for the cash.

Put simply, Young @ Heart shows old people who look their age. They have wrinkles and walkers, oxygen tanks and colostomy bags, terminal cancers and hair growth in unlikely places.

However, Walker's documentary ensured human integrity. Although he could have taken an exploitative role, he realized that this was a complex story. I love what he says:
"If you call old people cute, you're marginalizing them...You're essentially saying they're irrelevant. This movie addresses those attitudes about older people. I think it also gets into our understanding of mortality, and this incredible level of denial that surrounds death."

I think I'll go see this one.

Friday, April 18, 2008

A Lovely Day With Children

My daughter Jamie had a doctor's appointment today, so she asked if I would stay with Noah while she and Eden went. Everywhere she goes, Eden goes these days and will do for some time to come. (If you know what I mean...)

I was delighted, as I'm sure any of you would be to play with a four-year-old boy for an hour or two. I arrived a bit before noon, just as Eden finished eating. Jamie gave her to me for a cuddle while she quickly grabbed some lunch and went to get ready, but it wasn't long until I was enveloped in gaseous fumes. When Jamie came back downstairs, I quickly gave up the baby to her Mommy for a diaper change. Whew! I can't believe I went through that - twice!

Noah and I had our lunch and when his mother and sister were gone, he wanted to play ball with me. Out came the Welsh football that my friend Liz sent him all the way from Swansea, Wales. We tossed that ball back and forth, changing positions twice, for over a half hour! He's really good at catching now, so I had a great time. We tried spinning the ball all different ways and even used his Sponge Bob catcher's mitt (although he insisted it was a "glove.")

He doesn't like "story time" but I had brought him a new book and I told him I was going to read it aloud. He could listen but if he wanted to see the pictures, he'd have to come over to look at them. I read him "The True Story of The Three Little Pigs" by A. Wolf (that's Alexander for those who didn't know the wolf's name). It's the greatest book and tells the story from the wolf's point of view. Well, it wasn't long before "Mr. I Don't Want to Read That Book" came peeking over my shoulder to see the illustrations. When his Mommy came home, he told her all about it.

I had been to Baby Gap and Gymboree last weekend and found the cutest little sun bonnet and smocked dress for Eden. Jamie put her in it when she came home from the doctor and she looked so sweet, even though the hat is gigantic on her right now - even weighing 10 lbs today!!!
We had tea and a chat while Noah played with his Hot Wheels. Then he cuddled up to me with his Leapster and played "Cars" while Jamie and I chatted. It was touching how he shows his love for me. I almost got a smile from Eden today, too, and Jamie did get one! It was strange, yet heartwarming, to see my daughter interacting with her own daughter and how thrilled she was when she got that first smile.
A two-hour babysitting "job" turned into over four hours of fun. I left after Eden had eaten, pooped again, and fell asleep on her Mommy's shoulder. It truly was a lovely day.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Chatty Blog Award

My friends Sally in Norfolk, UK, and Liz in Swansea, Wales, have awarded me the "Chatty Blogger Award." Well, I have been known to go on and on .... and on. I'm a great talker and even my daughters have told me that when they were small, they were quite impressed by how much I could talk. lol But, then, as Sally says "There's nothing like a good chat to cheer you up."

Liz suggested the criteria for the award being for "blogs that are updated regularly, that contain more personal than political or other news, and that entertain." It was difficult but I've decided to pass the award onto:

Check out these ladies. Each one of them has her own unique personality that shows through in her blog.

Geewits does volunteer work for Meals on Wheels and you'll usually find a great story about her escapades with the "dog from hell" and other chit chat about her Wednesday beers. lol She also doesn't hesitate to show us photos of her injured body parts.

Josie knows lots about art and music, especially jazz, but she brings in her grandchildren (the Munchkins), and her problems at work that most of us can certainly relate to. Stay tuned for further adventures of the Black Widow Spider and "Josie & Leslie's Excellent Adventures."

It's interesting to read Meggie's blog and hear about her family (especially GOM {Grumpy Old Man}, her hubby). Considering she lives upside down from us here on the Northern Hemisphere, it's fun to see they are pretty much just like us normal folk. lol Oh yes, and she makes gorgeous quilts!

I'm just getting to know Daryl, who works in New York City. She's just back from San Francisco and she's taken the time to let us all know the fun she had. It's a good thing she got away for a bit, as her OCD boss has been giving her the gears lately over their office move.

I'm also just getting to know Cedarflame, but she has a wicked - and I mean WICKED - sense of humour, but if you read between the lines she's really a gentle soul living alone in Seattle in a little shack on a hill with a beautiful view of Mt. Rainier out her living room window - well, when it is not raining...

Give these gals a read. You might just get to enjoy them as much as I do.

Men and Peanuts

What is it with men?

I think they have peanuts for brains.

I think it's because they must think with their peanuts.


I conducted an experiment. Remember when I put my face on all those different actresses/singers bodies? And my hair was all different? In a few, I was blonde, but in most of them I had long, dark hair.

Okay, so this is what I did. I chose one of the pictures that looked the most like me and placed it with an ad on a dating site.

I've been inundated with emails and been "favourited" by even more.

Naturally, I have not responded to any of them.

But this is what I'm wondering. Do they really think with their peanuts to the point that they just look at the surface? If they were to look carefully at the picture, you can see that "I" am standing in front of a wall with the name of a TV station on it. "I" am posed for the camera. I look HOT~! ! Do they really think someone like that would be on this dating site???

I feel like telling them they've been scammed, but I don't want to hurt their feelings - OR get into trouble. I'm just going to delete the bio and carry on as usual.

Oh, and by the way, I have a real bio posted there and have had two...count 'em...two contacts, neither of which I cared for. I'm deleting it, too.
I think I'll take up Harlequin Romance novels again. I hear they've become kinda raunchy since I read them as a teenager. lol

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

ABC WEDNESDAY is brought to you by the letter M

ABC Wednesday is brought to you by Mrs. Nesbitt. If you'd like to participate or just view what others have entered,
click here.

I thought of all sorts of "M" words for today - like mother, money, mountains, mud, mail, but decided on keeping with my usual thing of showing you places I've visited.

Here is Mont St. Michel. It's a rocky, tidal island in Normandy, approximately 1 km off the north coast of France. Its most famous claim is that it has been used as a monastery. However, there's a lot more history behind this place, so feel free to read up on it here. I know this isn't the best photo of it, but since we're supposed to use our own photos, I had to scan it from the photo I took back in 1997, the year I visited.

I also visited Monaco and the Monte Carlo casino that same year. So here are a couple of shots I took. First, the harbour from the back of the casino and next, the entrance to the casino. Can you see the poor tourist beside the expensive Rolls Royce? We went into the casino, but had to relinquish our purses just to enter the slots room. No one is allowed inside where the "real" money is gambled unless you're appropriately dressed and know someone. Passports are taken away from gamblers until they leave, having paid off any debts.

Here is a view of the Mediterranean Sea from the top of the city of Taormina. (Hi Welshcakes!)Back in 1994 - 1995, I went and taught in the wilderness of British Columbia. I drove 6 hours north of Vancouver to Williams Lake where I stayed overnight. The next morning, I turned left (west) and drove another 6 hours through the Chilcotin area, down "The Hill," and through Tweedsmuir Park to my destination - the "town" of Hagensborg. I use the term "town" loosely because there was a gas station, a motel, and a Super Valu there. The house I lived in was just outside of "town," and this was my view - the spectacular mountain the locals named Mount Nusatsum. And here is the mansion I bought, renovated, and sold a year later for a profit.

I've been pretty lucky over the years buying and selling property and here is the best picture of all - my mortgage payout for the house I currently live in. I love this place the best because it has a real homey feel to it and even though it's older, it has good bones. I'm gradually fixing it up with paint, new roof, new doors and windows, hardwood floors throughout the main level and eventually new carpet upstairs. Have a wonderful M-Day and see y'all next week. You're welcome to come on by any other time of the week, though. Would love to see you here.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Beautiful Day in Paradise

It's finally coming back to me. Yes, I do live in "paradise." What a fabulous weekend we've had here in Vancouver, with balmy temps up into the 20sC. It's my sister's birthday tomorrow, so today we celebrated at Seasons in Queen Elizabeth Park. Here is a photo from the window of the restaurant. Do go and look at the Seasons link for more photos. It's definitely worth the click.
Poised at the peak of Queen Elizabeth Park, this glass-wrapped restaurant offers stunning views of Vancouver’s shimmering city skyline, North Shore Mountains and Pacific Ocean.

Queen Elizabeth Park started its life in Vancouver as something else entirely - a basalt quarry. The park is situated on Little Mountain whose summit is approx. 500 feet (the highest point within the city of Vancouver) and is an extinct volcano. At the turn of the century (1900) it was quarried for its rock to build Vancouver's first roadways. This area was also the site for two holding reservoirs for the City's drinking water.

The Canadian Pacific Railway owned the land but sold it to the City of Vancouver in 1928. In 1930 the BC Tulip Association suggested transforming the quarries into sunken gardens.
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth dedicated the park on their visit to Vancouver in 1939. From that point over time it was transformed into Canada's first civic arboretum. Then in 1948, Deputy Superintendent William Livingstone put his full attention and the combined talents of his dedicated Park Board horticultural staff, to the task of transforming the site.

Examples of all the native trees found across our nation were planted along with many exotic species to create Queen Elizabeth Park, as we know it today. The quarry gardens were designed by Bill Livingstone and unveiled in the early 1960s. The smaller North Quarry or dry garden was undertaken to commemorate the City's 75th Anniversary. I can remember my parents taking the whole family for an outing to visit the park when I was just a little girl. At the time, I was a bit bored looking at flowers, but I must admit to being awed at the size and scope of the place.

Queen Elizabeth Park is the second most visited park in Vancouver and holds within its perimeters some of the most beautiful public gardens anywhere. Its recreational offerings are diverse and include golf, tennis, lawn bowling, disc golf, an extensive outdoor arboretum and the indoor Bloedel Floral Conservatory, the residence of over 100 free-flying birds of various species. That's the birthday girl, patiently waiting as I took scads of photos. You can just see the mountains behind the conservatory.
Stanley Park is Vancouver’s 'counterpark' to Queen Elizabeth Park. While Stanley Park is at sea level, surrounded on three sides by water, Queen Elizabeth is completely landlocked. From here, visitors have sweeping views in all directions across the city to such faraway places as Mount Baker to the south-east, the Gulf and San Juan Islands to the south-west, Vancouver Island to the west, and the Coast Mountains to the north. I took the following photo of our famous Lions to the north of the city from a point in QE Park.

There are a couple of sculptures near the restaurant where we dined. They overlook the city with spectacular views. The scuptures are of one man who is taking a photo of three others who stand with their backs to the view. Everyone who visits the park gets their picture taken with these statues. It absolutely de rigeur for tourists and locals alike. So, here I am:

I'll post more photos of the park when ABC Wednesday reaches the letter "Q" - I have a lot of photos showing the beautiful sunken gardens, the Japanese garden, and lots of spring flowers just coming into bloom. I might even go back and go right down into the quarry gardens to get more shots of the tulips, rhododendrons, hyacinths, etc. when they're at their peak. I can hardly wait to show you the shots I got of the fountains - at full height.

On a personal note, it was atop Little Mountain (as we called it then) that my new 6 foot tall husband and I decided to do a bit of necking one night after being out for dinner. Parking was free then, and lots of young couples would go up to admire the view – and each other. That night was beautiful – crystal clear, warm, and very romantic. Perfectly lined up with lots of other cars, whose occupants had the same idea we had, we settled ourselves for a bit of kissing in our little 1970 Datsun, stick shift between us. Suddenly, my husband started screaming. He leapt out of the car and started jumping around on one leg. Uh oh! Cramp! I started laughing until tears were streaming out of my eyes. When he finally got back into the car, the moment was gone. So we laughed our way home to the real thing on a comfortable queen-sized bed.