- 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
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
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.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
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
Most grandmas have a touch of the scallywag. ~Helen Thomson
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
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.
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!
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
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
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.
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
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
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Friday, April 18, 2008
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!
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!!!
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
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.
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
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.
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:
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.