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.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sunday Evening Stroll - Boundary Bay

This evening I went for a walk at Boundary Bay Regional Park which is only about a five-minute drive from my home. Josie recently put a post up about her home in the city so I thought you all might like to see a bit of where I live - less than half an hour drive south of her. It was a perfect evening with a few wispy clouds, cool but certainly far from cold, no bugs, and just a touch of a breeze. I ran into several friends so had to stop and chat - like that's a problem for me! ;D
When I started out on my walk I couldn't believe how vibrant were the colours of the wild flowers. Lots of deep purple and bright yellow along with the green of the trees and grasses and the dark brown of the bulrushes.
I noticed a man walking along the back trail with his dog so thought I'd take that route, too. After winding my way through some trees and stopping to take a photo of the apples ripening on one wild apple tree, I came out on an area that's famous for bunny sighting. I saw a couple of them hopping across the trail and managed to catch one in a photo. I also took a picture of the brambly area where they tend to hide. A long cowboy-style fence winds its way along one side of the forested area, mostly to keep people from wandering into the areas where there might be marshes. I crossed the bridge that cuts right through the largest marshy area and couldn't believe the sea of bulrushes. I then came out onto the main path that follows the water's edge. All along here are places where one can stop, sit on a bench that has been placed there in memory of someone who's passed away, and enjoy the view. You can look east across the bay and see White Rock or north towards the city of Vancouver and see its skyline beneath the mountains of the Coast Range.
As I neared the end of my walk, I spotted families of ducks swimming in the canals. Finally, I saw three herons sitting in a huge tree and another on a log in the field. As I was taking a picture of the one sitting on a log, I realized that the whole field was full of herons.
I know Josie loves city living, but I prefer living out in the quiet of the 'burbs and visiting the city when I want some action. I love where I live and actually, Josie confided in me that she just might retire out here in a few years.
So, come along, take my hand and enjoy a virtual stroll around part of Boundary Bay Regional Park. Take in the sights and enjoy the view, but walk carefully and silently 'cuz you don't want to scare the bunnies and the birds.
Oh, and next month be sure to bring an empty bucket to pick enough blackberries for a pie!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Clematis (KLEM-uh-tiss)

Today I noticed my clematis (KLEM-uh-tiss) is in full bloom. Early this spring, I had chopped it down right to the ground and it has sprung up again in full force. At first I wondered if I'd killed it, but there it is - beautiful as ever and actually in even better health. I took a photo of it and thought I'd see if I could find out what type of clematis it is. After perusing the internet, I think I found it. It is called John Paul II, obviously named after the last pope. (read description below) It fits the description to a T. Here is a photo of MY clematis. Does it look the same to you all?

John Paul II

Clematis "John Paul II"
From the Polish Clematis breeder Brother Stefan Francsak, a monk who has produced several outstanding new hybrids. The 4-6" (10-15cm) creamy white blooms with pink trails and reddish stamens are produced in June, July and August.

Mature height 8-14' (2.5-4m). Pruning group B2
Family: Ranunculaceae
Genus: Clematis (KLEM-uh-tiss)
Cultivar: Jan Paul IIAdditional cultivar information: John Paul IIIntroduced by Brother Stefan Franczak, Poland 1980, by Jim Fisk
Group: Late Large-flowered
Height: 10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
Spacing: 36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
Hardiness:USDA Zone 4a to Zone 9b
Bloom Color: Pale Pink
Bloom Shape: Single
Bloom Diameter:Large - 4 to 6 inches
Bloom Time: Mid Summer
Sun Exposure: Full Sun
Other details:
Pruning Groups:Group 3 - Summer/Fall bloomers; prune hard in early spring

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I'm writing again

Writing a book is tough work but writing a memoir full of tragedy is tougher. It takes a lot of strength to go back in time and relive history without getting bogged down in the emotional mire. I've managed to work two full days on my book this week and I've finally finished up with my childhood, university days, and the beginning of marital "bliss." What is to come will be a struggle of being honest about my own faults and failings as I journeyed through years living with someone with mental illness. It will take me back to a place in time when I learned to rejoice in my sufferings in order to produce endurance, character, and faith in God.
Even though I'm working at home and alone, there are so many interruptions, too. People email me and I simply can't ignore them. The phone rings, the mail arrives, the newspaper crossword puzzle beckons. The sun calls me to go for a walk. But I must push on, because I have felt called to do this book for so many years. It will be cathartic for me and if published, may help someone else to know that you can survive all this and more. Wish me luck.

A friend emailed me this site and I want all my online friends to click on the link to see how I feel about you. :D


Monday, July 23, 2007


Well, I've been "schmoozed" like a lot of you have been lately. It was an honour, but as there have been quite a few memes and awards going around lately, I'll just say thanks a lot and leave it at that.

But speaking of schmoozing (which means conversing casually to make a social connection), today two different men have made connections with me through Match.com - both from very far away. But what the heck, one looks like George Clooney and the other one has a body like Beckham! Both are a bit younger than me, but I think I look pretty good for my age. So this has raised my spirits very nicely, so I think I'll go see if I can find the GC look-a-like on line to chat. Wish me luck - just for fun....

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Feeling Blue

I'm feeling blue today - I think it's all this rain we're getting again! Yesterday would have been my mother's 87th birthday and I was thinking about her all day. Then today because of the rain, I didn't feel like doing anything. Then I got to thinking about all those wonderful summer days we'd spend at our cabin at Shuswap Lake - days of rest and relaxation, fun in the water and lazing on the wharf as it rocked me to sleep in the warm sunshine. The nights were just as great as my husband would build a campfire while I made the coffee (usually instant in those days), and then he'd serenade me with his guitar. I could listen to him sing forever! My favourite, though, was the Animals' House of the Rising Sun and I'd close my eyes and let him lull me into reverie with his rich voice. I don't have too many photos of us together in those days because one of us always had to be the photographer. However, this is us on our honeymoon in July 1973 when some visitors came up to stay a couple of days with us. Those are wonderful memories. I think I'll feel a little blue today as I miss him even after all these years, but tomorrow I'll carry on. Enjoy the music below.

Sunday - feeling a bit less blue and looking forward to the sunshine we're supposed to be getting come Tuesday. I walked down to our local village market and on the way home picked up two movies - Premonition and Miss Potter. They should get me through the evening and I think I'll go visit my Dad tomorrow - take him some Irish Spring soap that he likes and some life savers for his dry mouth. It helps to think of others at times like this.

Animals - The House Of The Rising Sun

Thursday, July 19, 2007

In The Name of Honor

Every hour in Pakistan, a woman is assaulted, beaten, burned with acid, or killed in the "accidental" explosion of a cooking-gas canister. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has recorded 150 cases of rapes during the last six months in Punjab alone...a young woman of 26 was raped by her brother-in-law and made pregnant. She has not repudiated the child and in 2002 was sentenced to be stoned to death, because the child represented proof of "zina," the sin of adultery. The rapist has gone scot-free. So reads part of pages 118 - 119 in the book In the Name of Honor - a memoir by Mukhtar Mai that recounts her horrifying experience (in 2002) of being gang-raped by a tribal group known as the Mastoi as punishment for untrue indiscretions committed by her 12-year-old brother. She was expected to kill herself afterwards, but shocked the world when she fought back by standing up to her attackers in a court of law. This young woman has since become an agent for change and a beacon of hope for oppressed women around the world.

Gloria Steinem states,"Only a few leaders are alchemists who take the worst of human behavior and turn it into the best. Mukhtaran Bibi, a Pakistani woman raised in poverty and illiteracy, has responded to the violence and gender apartheid directed at her and other women with an insistence on justice and education."

To me, as a Canadian woman raised against the backdrop of the feminist movement, it is unspeakably shameful and outrageous that in the 21st century women are still being treated like possessions and the men of their families have the right to do whatever they want with them. It is common practice in the villages "for men to take justice into their own hands by invoking the idea of 'an eye for an eye.' It is always a question of honor, and they may do as they please: cut off a woman's nose, burn a sister, rape a neighbor's wife." (p66)

For more information on this story, check out the following sites:

Friday, July 13, 2007

Eight Things About Me

What do the following people have to do with me? Read on...
Tom aka Patterns of Ink has tagged me with this thing and since I've never done one before, will play along.

First, the guidelines: 1. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts. 2. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves. 3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules. 4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. 5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog. Here are eight random facts about me that I don't think I've mentioned here before.

1. Like Greta Garbo, I "vant to be alone." Well, not all the time, but I often need time to myself. My mother was the same way and even though I'm a very social person and love going out and being with my family and friends, I really need that quiet time to be alone with myself and God. The best times in the late spring, summer, and fall is when I sit out on my covered patio with a good book or the newspaper or just simply listen to the birds sing.

2. I enjoy watching TV. Yes, I admit it!!! My favourite channel is HGTV where I love to watch all the shows about real estate sales, renovations, and interior design. I'm hopeless at designing my own home (although it's nice enough) and keep looking for ways to enhance my own blah decor. Several people have suggested I go into real estate, but I think my old-fashioned thinking of having a secure salary-based job keeps me from doing it. Maybe some day...
3. I have a collection of teddy bears. I began collecting them around 1986-ish when we moved to Ottawa for a few years while my husband was with Telecom Canada. The local grocery store (I think it was Loblaw's) were selling teddy bears. I thought he was so cute and named him "Theodore" (well, duh..."Teddy" is short for Theodore isn't it?). When we moved back out here, I found the cutest bear in a local shop and bought him, too. Over the years I've collected a LOT...and each one has a name and story behind its arrival in my home. One day, I'd like to write a book about them complete with photos.
4. When I was 5 years-old, I took tap dancing lessons at Connaught Park in Vancouver. I remember the Christmas recital as though it were yesterday. I wore a little pleated white skirt and pink angora sweater and thought I was the cat's meow as I tapped along with all the other little girls. I can see my parents watching me and beaming with joy as I performed my little heart out. I wanted to keep dancing, but my father was a strict disciplinarian and said that when I started "real" school I had to concentrate on my studies. I was so disappointed about that, but back in those days what parents said ruled, even if it was ridiculous. Nowadays, parents schedule their kids for almost every day of the week with sports, music, dance, etc.
5. Going along with the above is the fact that my Dad did encourage sports activities for all three of his daughters. My older sister was dismal at sports, so Dad concentrated on me and my younger sister. He even let us take softball and basketball lessons on school nights!!! I actually played on softball teams all the way up to when I was in my late 20's when I was on a team from work. Later, I was on a teacher's volleyball team that played against other schools. I loved sports and excelled in volleyball, softball, basketball, tennis, and swimming.
6. I can become easily bored and go off in daydreams. No offence to anyone, but I can even get bored with the blogs sometimes. There's just so much to read and so many people to meet and visit that I find there aren't enough hours in the day to keep up. So there can be days or even weeks when you all might wonder where I've gone. Well, I'm just doing other things, that's all. I eventually come back and catch up.
7. Along with that is the fact that I can identify with the Smashing Pumpkins' song, "If I Had a Million Dollars." That's where I go off and daydream about what I'd do if I weren't hindered by a lack of money. I would absolutely LOVE to see the whole wide world and experience life in other cultures. Places I truly want to see are all of Europe and Africa (where I dream of sledding down the Namibian sand dunes), India's Taj Mahal, Singapore (my mother's dream that was never realized), Australia and New Zealand, the Galapagos Islands, Disneyworld (don't laugh), and do cruises around the Caribbean and the Hawaiian Islands. I'd also love to spend a term teaching in a school in Africa (either under a canvas out on the savannah or in Oprah's fancy one). So, do you think a million dollars would be enough for all I'd love to see and do?
8. Okay, here's the biggie you probably don't know and how those 4 celebrities shown above relate to me. I told Josie once I might do a whole blog on this some day, but I'll just give you the highlights now. My husband suffered from bipolar and OCD all his life and finally ended it all in August 1992 when he sat in our closed garage with the car running. Now my younger daughter has been diagnosed with bipolar II (a less severe but still serious form) and has been hospitalized twice since April this year. She's doing much better now but it's going to be a tough road for her travel. I've been reading up on the disorder and have learned so much. I've learned that the illnesses that are usually termed "mental" are not really that. They are physical/biological illnesses in that the brain doesn't work properly - something to do with the neurotransmitters misfiring, to make it really simple. You are all probably shocked that I've (we've) been going through this lately because I always seem so upbeat. But you might also remember when I posted something back in April (The Story of the Sad Sadness) of this year. That's when my daugher entered the hospital for the first time and she was there for the whole month. It's a long story, but she had a relapse mid-June and was in again for 2 1/2 weeks. Now she's doing much better and I pray that she'll continue to recover, go back to work, and live a normal life. You might be interested AND surprised by clicking on this link to see all the famous people that live or have lived with bipolar - Celebrities and Bipolar Disorder.
Well, there you have it. I had to really think about this and what might interest y'all. Like Josie always says, I just have a boring little life. I guess there are other things that might interest you - like the year I spent teaching up in the wilderness of British Columbia. Maybe that's what my next post will be about.
Okay, I'm supposed to tag 8 people - let's see...who hasn't been tagged yet? Well, here goes nothing...Mary Anne (A Place Called Home), Sylvia (Heiress Child), Janice (Persuance of Truth), jmb (Nobody Important), Susan (A Thousand Wordsworth), Brenda (Click Girl), Ruth (Upstream and Down) and Lee-Ann (Pear Tree Cottage). If you don't feel like doing this, it's fine by me - it takes a while to think things out. Regardless, hope you enjoyed the above.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Oh my gawd! For so long we were moaning about the rain and now it's so #*&%# HOT I feel like I'm melting. Is it this global warming thingy that's happening or what? I wish I had a pool and I'm even considering going and buying myself a blow-up kiddie pool to stick my feet in. Using the bathtub wouldn't work 'cuz it's too hot upstairs. I slept in the family room last night on the hide-a-bed under the ceiling fan, so at least I could sleep. I tried sitting out on my patio this afternoon (it's shady) but that didn't work so I came inside and sat in front of the oscillating fan. I don't care any more about losing weight because I'm going to eat a quart of ice cream for dinner and drink A & W root beer until I start to foam at the mouth. Anyone else suffering???

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


God help me, I love chocolate! There was an article in the Vancouver Sun today about how dark chocolate helps lower blood pressure without dieting or exercising. Well, you can imagine what I did...yes, I succumbed to temptation and bought a chocolate bar. Granted, I only had about 1/4 of it and put the rest in the freezer to tempt me tomorrow. AND my daughter treated me to ice cream this afternoon. What flavour did I choose, you wonder? I splurged and had one scoop of peanut butter cluster and one scoop of death by chocolate. At least I did manage to do a brisk 20-minute walk this evening after the temperature had dropped from 85F to 75F. I then languished under the ceiling fan for the rest of the evening. I hope I can sleep tonight what with all the caffeine I have in me. Oh well, I'm sure my blood pressure has gone down substantially.