About Me

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

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Dad Memories

I've learned a lot about my Dad in the last several years. It's helped me to understand him as a person, not just as my father. He was lucky not to have had to go overseas during WWII, but he was a pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force training other pilots and patroling the East Coast of Canada for submarines and enemy aircraft. He never talked much about the war until recently and it's been fascinating to hear his stories.

On Christmas Day, my daughter was showing Dad the wonders of the internet. He was amazed when she pulled up the 1946-47 photograph of his soccer team. Dad was a local athletic hero back in his younger days. We have many newspaper clippings from the Vancouver Sun Sports pages extolling his skill on the soccer field. Bookshelves proudly display his medals, trophies, and framed photos. He then became a linesman and referee, and ultimately, Northern Commissioner for the province of BC. He was also instrumental in modernizing the referees' uniforms, changing them from the black and white stripe to basic black with white collar. In 1987, the St. Andrew's Soccer Team was inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame. It touched my heart as I watched the memories flooding back to him.

The players on the 1946-47 St. Andrew's Soccer Team were: Frank Ambler, Johnny McKay, David Brown, John Newbold, Ted Enefer, Robert Newbold, Nick Glover, David Simpson, Cecil Goodheart, Earling Storness, Jimmy Greig, George Steele, Wes Henderson, John Webber, Jack Jones, Jack Whent, Don Matheson.

"The 1946/47 season saw St. Andrews win every competition they were eligible to enter. Consequently, they brought home the Anderson Cup, the Mainland Cup, the Pacific Coast League Trophy, the Nanaimo Perpetual Trophy, and the Dominion Football Association Trophy. The team won the 1947 Dominion Cup for the Canadian Soccer Championship. The Cup final was played at Callister Park in Vancouver before the largest crowd (7,533 spectators) in Canadian soccer history. It was the first national championship for the forty year old club." (from the BC Sports Hall of Fame http://www.bcsportshalloffame.com/cgi-bin/search.cgi?team_id=23&stype=searchsport&keyword=&type=ind&sport_id=18&year_=1987&category_id=team

I remember Dad blasting on his referee whistle to call us kids to come home from whatever we were doing in the neighbourhood. I also remember going to soccer games around Vancouver, especially Callister Park. We kids loved Callister Park because it had bleachers and a refreshment stand. We'd run up and down the steps and around the outside of the stadium, stopping for a hot dog and a pop when we got tired. At outdoor parks, we'd play on the swings as my Dad ran up and down the field blowing his whistle, making weird gestures, and waving flags. Before the games, my Dad would always tell us to stay out of the way if a fight broke out. That happened frequently when the Italy and England teams played. We weren't really interested in the games and didn't understand such things as "penalties" or "offsides" but what was important was that we were with our Dad.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

School Christmas Concerts

Yesterday, December 19, I attended my former school's annual Christmas musical. This year it was entitled "The Bethlehem Chronicle," about a newspaper that was in big trouble! If subscriptions didn't increase, the paper would be shut down forever. Now it was up to Scoop Early, Sally O'Callahan and Rock Gibraltar to search for the biggest news in Bethlehem to help save the paper. Add a heavenly host of angels and shepherds and there was a miracle!

It was such a treat to sit back, relax and enjoy the show this year. I know just how hard the teachers work to prepare the children every year and for me, without having all that work and worry, I was able to look at their smiling faces and listen to their heavenly voices as the story and music unfolded. When my former students saw me sitting up there in the front row (right behind their teachers as they directed the show) it was so gratifying to see them smile right at me and wiggle a little finger (even though they weren't supposed to). After the show, so many little ones came running up to me to give me hugs and kisses and to wish me Merry Christmas. I even went upstairs to visit a few classrooms. Many parents asked how I was doing and I truly felt missed. In some ways it was difficult to be there and not really be a part of all the activity and excitement of this holiday season, but in reality I know I made the right decision at that time.

Kudos to teachers for all the extra hours they put in to organize these annual events for parents, grandparents, other family and friends. Parents would be astounded if they knew just how much it takes to prepare for these "little school Christmas concerts." Teachers put in so many extra hours making costumes, putting up lighting, learning how to do sound systems, directing and prompting the actors, choreographing the dancers, putting stage makeup on the main actors, writing and producing the programs, arranging for refreshments after the concert, and I could go on and on. And huge kudos to the Music teacher for pulling it all together to make sure that all children's eyes are on him/her for musical cues.

I thank God I was able to attend. I encourage all parents to go to these concerts with an open heart. Praise your child's performance and especially thank the teachers. They will love you forever and know that their efforts do not go unnoticed.

Friday, December 15, 2006


This song is one of my absolute favourites at this time of year! I first heard it almost 10 years ago when our church put on its annual Christmas musical. I was singing in the choir and two of the church's best singers (one man and one woman) sang it as a duet. Please listen to the words, sung here by Clay Aiken, and feel the power there. A very Merry Christmas to all and a Happy Hannukah to my Jewish friends.

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy has come to make you new?
This Child that you delivered will soon deliver you.

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy will calm the storm with His hand?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little Baby you kissed the face of God?

The blind will see.
And the deaf will hear.
The dead will live again.
The lame will leap.
The dumb will speak
The praises of The Lamb.

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy will one day rule the nations?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
The sleeping Child you're holding is the Great I Am.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


It has been a long, long time since the real Santa visited our family. But now that my grandson is just about 3 years old, we are all really into the season. The little guy is so excited about his upcoming visit to the jolly old soul, he's practising with his Mommy (my #1 daughter). He sits on her knee and says to her, "Now, Mommy, you be Santa." So Mommy says, "Ho, ho, ho! What do you want for Christmas?" "A yellow truck!" he proudly proclaims. The smile never leaves my face when I'm with him, thinking about him, or just looking at his picture. He has given me more joy than his parents can ever understand - that is until they have a grandchild, too. Christmas is going to be very jolly this year, indeed!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

A Few More Not For Me

Too stiff

Too Young

Too Rusty

Not cuddly enough

Friday, December 01, 2006

Good Men Are Hard to Find

In my recent travels, I met some wonderful men. Here are a few of my favourites. The only problem was that they just aren't for me! :( Where are all the good available men these days?

Too religious

Too old

Too slippery

Dentally Challenged

Wrong Breed

Then you find some REAL men and find out you're probably related!!!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Views to Die For

The views in Italy are magnificent! I thought I'd share a few that we had from some of the hotels where we stayed.

First, the hotel in Lerici was wonderful. I'm sure the owners took the photo for their website right from our balcony. Vicki and I gasped when we walked out and saw this view.

In Positano on the Amalfi Coast, the bathroom with red tile floor and raised tub was way beyond our expectations, but Vicki and I almost wept when we walked through the inner patio and onto the outer patio and saw this!

The best view was saved for last. In Taormina, Sicily, we had a suite with a lovely private terrace. Bougainvillaea lined the edge of the brick wall and we gazed over the Mediterranean with awe.

No Place Like Home

Even though holidays are fun, there's no place like home. I still have several things to look forward to before that long westward flight: a 2-day trip to Cardiff, Wales; dinner out with friends; one more theatre date; and maybe a day trip to Salisbury. But time's almost up. My thoughts are more and more of family and friends that I've missed during these past 6 weeks, and it'll be nice to sleep in my own bed and cuddle with the dog.

Italy was wonderful! Better than I could have ever imagined! My favourite place was the Cinque Terre - I'd never heard of it before, but here's a photo of me and a new friend, Peggy, on our way over to Portovenere. You can see the colourful buildings behind us. These homes are built on the side of cliffs and walking around these villages takes strong legs. You're walking up or down, never on flat ground!

The other place I loved was Tuscany, of course! Who wouldn't love it there? It is exactly as you see it in calendar pictures - tall straight cypress between some sort of Mediterranean pines and green rolling hills. Here's the group at a vineyard somewhere in the middle of Tuscany. L to R: Peggy (Florida), Leslie (Vancouver), Markee (Colorado), Vicki (Georgia/Florida), Richard, Barb(Hawaii), Joanne (Atlanta), Diana (Akron, Ohio), Angie (New Orleans), Suzanne (Cape Cod), Linda (New Orleans).

Monday, October 09, 2006


Hi Everyone: my computer crashed last Thursday but I'm finally up and running again. However, I've lost all the email addresses I had saved in my address book. So, I'm requesting that you send me info on how to contact you by emailing me at the address on my main page. I feel as lost as I do without lipstick or earrings! Be quick, 'cuz I'm leaving in two days & if I get the chance, I'd like to let you all know how things are going over there in Italy. Thanks.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Cosmetic Surgery - Yes? No! or How much?

The latest Reader's Digest (October 2006) has an article about cosmetic surgery. It's a big and fast-growing business, but how do you feel about it? I must admit to having had my upper eyes done 12 years ago. However, it was my sister who told me I need an "eye job." I went "Huh? What do you mean?" She told me my eyes were drooping and I'd look a lot better. I responded with, "Is that why my eyelids are always itchy?" "Uh - yeah!" she answered. So I looked into it and went ahead with the procedure. It was so easy! I was put out and my 2 daughters took turns putting ice packs on my eyes for 24 hours straight - even through the night. I had minimal puffiness and bruising, needed no pain killers, and was wearing makeup again within 2 weeks of the whole thing. Now I'd love to have a tummy tuck, but my sister (who had that) told me it's VERY painful and don't do it. I'd love to have the jowels that were handed down to me by my loving ancestors lifted. A little liposuction around the middle, a boob lift and butt implants would be great, too. But, BIG BUT ... Shouldn't I grow old gracefully by eating healthily and exercising as much as I possibly can, considering the old-age afflictions that seem to keep me company more often lately? The eyes were done because they were physically irritating and would eventually have hindered my eyesight. But do I have to have the stomache or waistline of a pre-pregnancy 20-something? I'm glad we live in a time when cosmetic surgery can help burn and accident vicims or those with birth disfigurements, but I think there needs to be some sort of happy medium when it comes to keeping our youthful looks.

Sunday, October 01, 2006


I was just flipping through an old magazine and came upon an article I'd missed before. It's entitled Who You Callin' Grandma? Want me to baby-sit? Make an appointment." The author refers to a Fisher-Price toy, one of those early-learning ones where the child pulls a string and a voice says the name of the thing in the picture. Grandma is depicted as a dumpling with short curly grey hair, an apron, and spectacles. Well, grandmothers have certainly come a long way from that image. We're now employed full or part-time, driving sports cars, traveling on frequent-flier miles, and wearing iPods, stilettos, and leather jackets. When our daughters call to ask if we can babysit, we need to check our day calendars to see if we're free. Even if we're already retired (usually early after many years in a career) we're busy writing that long-awaited novel, planning our next holiday abroad, or running in a marathon. Many of us are also dating again! Much as we love our grandchildren, we probably won't have the same sort of relationship that we had with our own grandmothers. We aren't going to be available every weekend to take the kids to the park or a movie or teach them how to bake cookies. So we see the grandchildren when we can and develop a new kind of relationship. We take them to rock concerts, the Planetarium or Science World, the opera, or on a camping trip. Hopefully, this new generation will have an image of their Grandmothers, Nanas, Omas, Grannys, Grammas, or G-Moms as "hip" movers and shakers rather than knitting in a rocking chair while awaiting the timer on the oven. Your thoughts?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Dentistry - Then and Now

I'm finally home after 3 hours in the dentist's chair. And I'm a bit tired. Now mind you, that's a miracle! And I didn't even have to take an Atavan before going.

Those of you in my generation can probably remember the days when dentists were referred to as "butchers." And rightly so! Thank goodness we at least had freezing then, however painful is was to have it injected. However, sometimes the dentist wouldn't wait long enough for the freezing to take its full effect and would blithely start drilling away, ignoring the arm waving madly in the air and the gasping gurgles emanating from our throats. Remember when the dentist would stop for a moment and tell you to "Spit!" You'd take the little paper cup of water, swish it around in your mouth, lean in towards the sucking sink and try - just drool, drool, and more drool hanging from your mouth to the sink. You'd take your shaking hand and try to wipe it away, but it just stuck and wouldn't let go of your trembling lips.

I remember one time when I was in my early 20s getting my teeth cleaned. As my teeth and gums have always been a bit sensitive, I would flinch when the hygienist would pick at my gums - it HURT, damn it!!! Suddenly, she stopped, looked me straight in the eye and said, "If you don't stop that, you're going to get an instrument up your nose!" Well, I was already on the verge of tears from the pain and to have her say that was just too much.

My late husband used to crack us up with his dentist jokes. He'd say that he had the perfect remedy for pain at the dentist's - carry a big stick and with a straight face, say to the dentist, "You hurt me, I hurt you!" Then he'd go on to imitate the "drool process" until we'd be almost wetting ourselves.

When I was a child, there was no such thing as a dental plan, let alone braces. So all my life I've been self-conscious about one of my front teeth that grew in a bit behind the others. When my kids got braces, I asked their orthodontist about getting my own teeth fixed. He could do it, but I'd have to have at least two teeth pulled and go through about 3 years of painful braces. Never mind the cost! Well, with two kids needing orthodontics, needless to say that I never got my own fixed.

Thankfully, I've found a wonderful young woman dentist who made top grades in her years at university, including her dentistry courses. She's up on all the top new procedures, is calm, relaxed, sensitive to her patients, and gives us time to take a breath if necessary. Today, she pulled the tooth out (no pain) and put in a new tooth that makes my smile so much better. Not only does it look better, but it also makes my bite straight. Next week she's giving me (at no charge) a whitening procedure on my front teeth so that every tooth will match. I am so happy I could smile, except that the freezing makes me look like I've had a stroke! LOL Maybe tomorrow I'll get a new photo taken with my beautiful straight smile.

Back then, I was so afraid of the dentist, I once actually fainted in the chair. I progressed to being able to go by taking an Atavan. Now I can go and actually look forward to my visit, knowing it will be pain free and I will look and feel better by having gone.

So what are some of your horror stories from dentistry then? What do you appreciate the most in your dentist today?

sung by Natalie Cole

Hmm, thought I’d seen everything there was to see in this world
Now I’m not so sure I’ve really seen anything at all
I thought life could show me no surprises
And then you came and showed me I was wrong
I have seen the bluest skies, rainbows that would make you cry
I have seen miracles that moved my soul, days that changed my life
I have seen the brightest stars shine like diamonds in the dark
Seen all the wonders of the world, but I’ve never seen a smile
As beautiful as yours, ooh, ooh, ooh, oh, I thought Id been everywhere
I’ve climbed a mountain so high, sailed the sea, crossed the sky
And still I was nowhere at all, until that day, oh, you came to my senses
And your smile, it made sense out of it all, (I have seen the bluest skies)
Rainbows that would make you cry, I have seen miracles
(miracles that moved me soul) that moved my soul, days that changed my life,
I have seen the brightest stars shine like diamonds in the dark
Seen all the wonders of the world, but I’ve never seen a smile as beautiful as yours
(smile so beautiful) so beautiful, comes one time in a lifetime
A smile this beautiful, (a smile this beautiful) I’ve never dreamed Id ever see, oh
(I have seen the bluest skies) I have seen it, (rainbows that would make you cry)
That would make you cry, I’ve seen miracles (miracles) moved my soul,
(days that changed my life) and days that changed my life
I have seen the brightest stars shine like diamonds in the dark
Oh, I’ve seen the wonders of this world (wonders of the world)
But I’ve never seen a smile (never seen a smile before as beautiful as yours)
Oh, I’ve never seen a smile before, (never seen a smile before as beautiful)
As beautiful as yours.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Halloween is coming - BOO!

This is one of my favourite shots of the girls at Halloween. They had been black cats for ballet school, so wanted to be the same for Oct. 31st. Jaclyn was 3 1/2 and Jamie had just turned 7 on Oct. 29.

Here is Dad and the girls preparing their jack-o-lanterns on Oct 30/87 when we lived in Ottawa. Jamie had just turned 11 and Jaclyn was 7 1/2 that year.

This was the year Jaclyn had been "seaweed" for the skating concert in the spring and she wanted to be something else for Halloween. But she finally gave in and I made up her face to look SO sparkly, she just had to smile.

Jamie had just turned 11 two days before Halloween and felt she was getting "a bit too old" for the silliness! Well, she decided to go out as a punk! She put so many scrunchies in her ponytail, she managed to get it to stand straight up! AND she made up her face to be really punk. Note the skating tights, boots, and oversized jeans jacket.

Since Peg has been getting into the mood for Halloween, I was wondering if they celebrate it in Italy (since that's where I'll be this year). Apparently, it's more of a religious ceremony where the Catholics light candles for the dearly departed. When my girls were small, Daddy would take them out trick or treating while Mommy would stay home to hand out treats to all the neighbourhood kids. We would spend weeks planning the costumes and decorating the house. Jack-o-lanterns were carved the night before and we'd drink hot chocolate or mulled cider. For a few years, we even had spooky sounds and music playing into the street outside for the visitors. The neighbours down the street always set off fireworks and served hot chocolate and coffee. It was such a fun time. So what are your memories of Hallowe'en?

Friday, September 22, 2006


"We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over, so in a series of kindnesses there is a last one that makes the heart run over." Samuel Johnson

I've been thinking today about all the new friends I've made over the past year. Mostly, these newly-formed friendships have been as a result of a certain gentleman's own search for love and romance. I took a big risk by getting involved in his little adventure, but I am so glad I did. I wanted to break out of the box that I'd put myself in and was determined to become "ME" again.

From that humble beginning, I am so grateful for all of YOU. Some of us met over a year ago on the pier at Manhattan Beach and took it from there. Some of us have met on the blogs but have yet to meet in person. I can now say that I have real friends all the way from here in my own home town to all over the United States, including Hawaii and Alaska, and even in Great Britain and Belize. Along with this, I can say that I've travelled to California, Alaska, England, Wales, and Italy - all as a result of a tiny little newspaper article that caught my eye in May of 2005.

I feel like myself again, even young(ish)! So, as we travel down the highway of life, may we all remain "forever young and forever friends."


Words: Deborah D. Smith
Music: Michael W. Smith

Packing up the dreams God planted
In the fertile soil of you
Can't believe the hopes He's granted
Means a chapter in your life is through
But we'll keep you close as always
It won't even seem you've gone
'Cause our hearts in big and small ways
Will keep the love that keeps us strong

And friends are friends forever
If the Lord's the Lord of them
And a friend will not say never
'Cause the welcome will not end
Though it's hard to let you go
In the Father's hands we know
That a lifetime's not too long to live as friends.

With the faith and love God's given
Springing from the hope we know
We will pray the joy you'll live in
Is the strength that now you show
But we'll keep you close as always
It won't even seem you've gone
'Cause our hearts in big and small ways
Will keep the love that keeps us strong


Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Now I lay me Down to sleep I pray the Lord
My shape to keep
Please no wrinkles,
Please no bags,
And please lift my butt before it sags.

Please no age spots, please no gray,
And as for my belly,
Please take it away.
Please keep me healthy, please keep me young,
And thank you Dear Lord for all that You've done.

Five tips for a woman....

1. It is important that a man helps you around the house and has a job.
2. It is important that a man makes you laugh.
3. It is important to find a man you can count on and doesn't lie to you.
4. It is important that a man loves you and spoils you.
5. It is important that these four men don't know each other.

Foot Note:

One saggy boob said to the other saggy boob:
"If we don't get some support soon, people will think we're nuts."

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Unforgettable Skating Memories of Jaclyn

I hope you enjoy these photos of my younger daughter Jaclyn. Of course, she wanted to follow in her big sister's steps in figure skating, so she began even earlier than Jamie had. However, by the time she was about 7, she had far more interests and switched from ballet and figure skating to soccer! Jaclyn has developed many varied interests throughout her life so far. She is an accomplished poet and I've been trying to encourage her to get her poetry published. She also has a beautiful singing voice and has sung in choirs, theatre, church, karaoke, and even considered trying out for Canadian Idol (work stopped her, though). She loves all animals, is a great baker, has 3 tattoos and ear piercings (each) so far, and has a diploma in makeup technology (she can even do FX work). She is multi-talented, highly intelligent, and has a very dry wit. I love her dearly!

At age 2 1/2, Jaclyn tried very hard to get the pose just right! And yes, I made her little outfit - I can remember sitting at the sewing machine trying to get those little shoulder ruffles just right!

At age 3 1/2, Jaclyn stole the show in the Arabian Nights portion of the ice show by skating away from the other little ones to skate with the two adult "stars." She got quite the round of applause!

By age 4, Jaclyn had the "pose" down just right. I think my mother may have knit this little wooly skating outfit for her. She looks like she's enjoying the moment, doesn't she?

Here she is all decked out in her "Changing of the Guard" costume. And yes, I made this costume, too! Even the hat and the collar! I can remember fussing with this costume and cursing under my breath that the organizers had gone too far that time! But what a picture all those children made at the show!

At age 7, Jaclyn turned into seaweed for the annual ice show called "Under the Sea." She looked absolutely adorable in the costume complete with green cheeks! However, that Halloween, she was mad that I made her wear it because it still fit and I didn't want to make another costume! I was beginning to have had it with all the fancy sewing.

Here she is in her official dance portrait the year she was 7. She was in a number called "Mistress Mary, Quite Contrary, How Does Your Garden Grow?" I can't believe how much time I spent driving the girls to ballet and skating during those years! But it was all worth it to look back now.

As I mentioned above, Jaclyn started getting other interests. She knew all about her Grampa being a soccer star in his youth and decided to take up the sport. I think this photo is quite amusing as she had just come home from ballet practise and was still in her outfit to open her birthday present - a soccer ball

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Unforgettable Skating Memories of Jamie

I hope you all enjoy these photos of my daughter Jamie in some of her skating outfits. Those days are truly memorable as I made most of her costumes, drove her to lessons and competitions, and was probably the loudest cheering Mom in the stands. We had great times during the many many competitions all across Canada until her "career" ended because of "crooked" feet. Alas, when she was trying to do the axel, she landed on her knees too often and that was that. However, we look back with fondness and pride for all her accomplishments, both in skill and artistic endeavours. I am so proud of her!

Jamie's first experience on ice at the Ladner Ice Arena in 1979, age 3, with Daddy trying to keep up to her.

I made Jamie's first little skating outfit and she thought she was the queen of ice-skating at her first real lessons, age 5.

This was her costume for the Ice Carnival in 1984, age 7. I think it had something to do with New Orleans.

In 1985, at age 8, Jamie starred in "Give Our Regards to Broadway."

Jamie was extremely proud to receive the Silver Medal in Pre-Juvenile Girls at age 9 plus the Junior Artistic Trophy!

Here she is posing before the Huntsville, Ontario, competition where she ended up 4th in Juvenile Girls, age 10.

And finally, with her dance partner in Ontario, age 10.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

My Little Guy!

I understand it's Grandparents Day so I'll post these photos just for today so you can see why I love being Gramma! Noah is the happiest little boy and hardly ever fusses (although he does have his moments). You can just see how much he is loved by his Mom and Dad (and me) and how much love he has for them. What a mass of curls! What eyes! What a smile! These are some shots from when Jamie and Jason took him to the Vancouver Aquarium.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Break Away

From the first time I heard this song, I felt it described so many feelings I've been having over the last year or so. Teaching kids was great - I loved the classroom part - but other aspects of the job did not impress me. Plus, there are so many other things I want to do with my life - from traveling, writing, photography, making new friends, and perhaps if the good Lord wills it, having another chance at love and romance. I've taken steps to improve the quality of my life and retired in June. My first travel experience since then was a cruise to Alaska where I met so many really neat people. Now I will do more traveling in Europe and Great Britain and then come home to write that long-awaited book about what it's like to experience early widowhood. Who knows what is in the future? That's the exciting part...watching it develop.

I'll spread my wings and I'll learn how to fly.
I'll do what it takes till I touch the sky.
Make a wish, take a chance,
Make a change, and break away.
Out of the darkness and into the sun.
But I won't forget all the ones that I love.
I'll take a risk, take a chance,
Make a change, and break away

Sunday, September 03, 2006

LLADRO - Spanish Porcelain

I thought some of you might be interested in seeing my Lladro collection, most of which I inherited from my mother, who was a Lladro Society Member until her death in 2002. First of all, Lladro is Spanish porcelain. This is a section from their website: "Juan, José and Vicente Lladró - Heirs of the ancient tradition of porcelain, the Lladró brothers knew how to make this tradition their own and to bring a type of art that, up to then, had been reserved to a few much closer to people. In 1953, they quit their work at a tiles factory and built a little Moorish kiln in the courtyard of the family home. Their adventure began in Almàssera, a little town on the outskirts of the Spanish city of Valencia. And very near the place where they installed this first rudimentary workshop, is where The City of Porcelain stands today. Over two thousand people now work there, and their creations are exported to more than one hundred countries all around the world and sold in almost 4,000 points of sale." The manufacturing ingredients are kept under tight guard. The process is detailed in a number of Lladró publications and is fully on view for tour groups and individuals at the City of Porcelain. Lladró figurines are made out of an original blend of hard-paste porcelain, which gives the products their unique porcelain characteristics. The glaze ingredients also add to the look of the figures and is an industry secret.

For me, each piece is special because of how I came to possess it. For example, the first piece my mother brought me from Spain is the girl holding a lamb. The story behind it is that I was expecting my first daughter while my parents were away vacationing in Spain and they weren't expected back until after my due date. But, I held on and greeted them at the airport when they got back - they couldn't believe I still hadn't had the baby. But, the very next day, I went into labour (Oct. 29/76) and that Xmas my Mom presented me with this piece.

The other special piece is the girl holding the hat. This was one of the first pieces that Lladro made with colour. My husband knew how much I admired my Mom's collection and bought it for me - just because.

The pieces vary in size and detail but it's hard to tell in the photos. I also have a 12-piece collection of Lladro Christmas balls and bells. Each one is from a certain year (only available to collectors like my mother) and is intricately designed with either a scene from nature or a Christmas story.

I hope you enjoy perusing the photos and some day perhaps some of you might see it in person. The photos really don't do the pieces justice, of course. The intricacies of design and the facial expressions really need to be seen up close. If you'd like to, check out the Lladro website at http://www.lladro.com/

This piece is really very large - it takes up the height of the shelf in the cabinet.

The yellow piece is the one my husband gave me and the girl with the puppy was in my mother's collection.

This is a smaller piece - a young boy dressed as Melchor for a Christmas play.

My 2 1/2-year-old grandson Noah loves to look at these two little boys. The one holding the baseball bat has his school bag behind him and the one playing with the train on the floor reminds me of Noah as he does the same thing with his little cars and trucks.

Cinderella is special to me because my Dad gave it to me for Christmas the year my mother passed away. The girl with the lamb is the first piece my Mom gave me (story above.)

This piece just HAS to be seen in person to appreciate the design of the dress and the flowers. Each flower is made up of individual petals. Amazing!

I have four Japanese pieces. This one is of geisha performing a traditional tea ceremony.

This piece depicts a geisha in front of a cherry blossom tree. She is holding a mirror which can be removed. It is the largest (and most valuable - monetarily) in the collection).

The faces on these two geishas are exquisite. One is holding an umbrella and the other is performing a traditional dance.