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.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Skywatch Friday - Italian Sunsets

These are two shots I took of sunsets while I was in Italy in the fall of 2006.
Hope you like them. I was new to using my digital camera.

This was taken from our hotel room patio looking towards the Cinque Terre.

This was taken from the boat on our way back from the Isle of Capri.
The water was very choppy that day and one woman got seasick.

Shopping for my Baby Girl

I had such fun this morning at the local children's consignment shop. I looked at baby girls' things for my granddaughter (arrival in about six weeks.) I was absolutely beside myself with joy! There were so many clothes to choose from and it didn't take me long to decide on four outfits. I browsed a bit more with a view to the future and I know I'll be shopping there a lot. I bought four outfits for a total of $18.11 Cdn and a set of three onesies (brand new) at London Drugs for $7.99 Cdn. This precious little bundle of joy is going to be the best dressed baby in town even if most of her things are "gently used."

Anyway, this is what I've bought...so far for my new little Princess Elizabeth. (We've already been told her middle name will be Elizabeth, her Mommy's middle name. Her first name will be announced when she's born. My mother always used to call Jamie "Princess Elizabeth" and I may just do the same with this little doll.) I think I did quite well today with my purchases, don't you think?
Brand-new onesies.
White velour with satin trim and blue stitching
Two-piece cotton pj's with orange trim

Every little girl with Scottish ancestry has to have a plaid dress with

a black velvet and white lace-trimmed collar.

"Kiss me. I'm a princess."

Isn't this an adorable jeans outfit?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

B is for Breakfast

Gosh, Wednesday again already! That means ABC Wednesday that I just joined in on last week. This week it's the letter B. Well, I thought about using B is for Boxer (my dog) but I just recently did a post on her. Then I thought maybe I'd do B is for Blarney Stone, which I've yet to kiss. But I don't have any photos of it so that won't do. Oh, I know! I'll do B is for baby! No, I want to wait until the new baby arrives and will do a huge post on that. (Only about 6 weeks to go) I've got it! B is for BREAKFAST. I haven't had it yet and I'm hungry. I think I'll have some scrambled eggs and a nice big mug of coffee.

Ah, that's better. Since I've become much more vigilant about my health (diet and exercise) I have breakfast every day. Sometimes, it's cereal with a bit of fruit and I mix it all up with 1/2 cup of fruit-flavoured yoghurt. I don't like milk on cereal so this is how I get my calcium. It's actually like eating dessert! Try it! Other days I might have a muffin with yoghurt and fruit or like today, scrambled eggs. Except they aren't real eggs but Eggbeaters because I can digest them better.

They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so whatever you do, don't rush out the door to work or school without a healthy breakfast. Think of yourself like a car - you need fuel to run. Your brain will work better and you can control cravings so you'll maintain or even lose weight if you need to. For more ideas on breakfast recipes, click here or here.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Bronte Country, Haworth UK

I love England - everything about it! I love its history, its architecture, its climate (so like my own), its people and culture. I come from British ancestors that go back a long long way. My sister is our family historian and she's verified family all the way back to the year 1555 when my several times over great grandfather was born in Kelsagh, Suffolk, England. I am the 35th generation since then. The next time I visit England, I plan to try to find the family gravesite.

Because of my British ancestry, I try to keep up with as many customs as possible. For instance, our family Christmas morning breakfast consists/ed of Ayreshire bacon and fried eggs along with fried black puddin'. We do the Christmas cracker thing at dinner, too, and everyone has to wear his/her "crown." Boxing Day is big in Canada, too, and we usually have visitors over or else we go out visiting. It's a day of leftovers along with finger food like sausage rolls or other hot appies, cheese and crackers, etc. I follow the lives of the British royalty and was just as distraught as the English when Princess Diana was killed.

Last Saturday in our daily rag (as we like to call the local newspaper), there was an article about the Bronte sisters - Charlotte, Emily, and Anne who became famous authors. You may recall Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte, a novel far ahead of its time because it smashed purist morals with its rough language and passionate characters. (No one could ever do a better job acting the roles of Heathcliffe and Cathy than Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon in the 1939 movie). And who has not heard of Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte?

The three sisters originally published under the pseudonyms of Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell in 1846. However, when it was discovered that the authors of these stories were three daughters of a clergyman, interest was piqued.

The sisters grew up in Haworth, Yorkshire, a small but crowded village sustained by the working poor in the local textile mills. It was apparently a grim place with bleak weather and blustery winds. The village suffered from lack of a drainage system, which contributed to outbreaks of cholera and piles of human and animal waste in the streets.

Haworth today is a much more romantic place. It's atop a steep hill in Yorkshire and attracts more than 7 million visitors a year to its still-quaint streets and Bronte-themed activities. The Black Bull (see below) and White Lion Inn, all popular in the mid-1800s still serve customers today and Main Street is kept tidy for picture-perfect snapshots. The buildings are well-preserved and visitors get a real sense of the Brontes' time from the active work of its citizens and the Bronte Society. The parsonage where the girls grew up has been carefully converted to the renowed Bronte Parsonage Museum (see photo below) and each room is filled with furniture and the belongings of the family.

My next trip will be to England so I can visit friends I have there, some new blogging friends (I hope), and to see other parts of the country that I haven't as yet seen. Those areas include Cambridge, a bit north-east of London; Suffolk County; and the south coast from Brighton to Portsmouth. I'd like to see the Isle of Wight as well. Finally, I absolutely MUST see Bronte Country, which is a bit west of Leeds north-west of London. The friend who will travel with me has been to England many times, too. We actually spent a week there in 1997 before doing a 2-week tour of France. We're used to the train system, so plan to base ourselves in the Salisbury area and just take overnight bags as we hop on and off the trains to get ourselves from place to place. Oh, it's going to be a wonderful trip! (Can you see me over on the top right waving from one of the beautiful hiking paths in England?)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Longing for Italia

Vicki & Leslie Wine Tasting in Tuscany

After a marvelous meal tonight with a friend at Presto Cucina, a wonderful little Italian bistro in Vancouver, I started thinking about my fantastic trip to Italy in 2006. I got looking at my photos and thought I'd share with you a few showing how much I was smiling then.

Italy is one of the most beautiful countries I've ever visited. It surpasses England in climate (sorry my British friends) and even France. Of course, this is just my humble opinion and I certainly haven't seen that much of the world...yet. However, I did love the architecture (both ancient and modern), the food (oh my goodness, the FOOD!), and the people. Along with seeing major tourist attractions, I had the opportunity to visit many little towns and villages off the beaten track and met some "real" Italians. Having spent 4 weeks in Italy including a week in Sicily, I can hardly wait to return to this wonderful country - and I will one day. There is so much more I'd like to see and revisit. Who would like to join me?

The group has its first dinner at Piazza Navona in Rome.

One of the statues in the Piazza Navona.

On the boat approaching the Cinque Terre.

The group takes a photo op on the cliffs of the Cinque Terre.

In Tellaro, a little village near Lerici which is across from the Cinque Terre, our base for 5 nights.

looking down on Portofino, where all the rich & famous stayed in the 50's and 60's

Pretending to be rich and famous while lunching in Portofino

A photo op by a vineyard in Tuscany

Our last night in Rome after 4 weeks traveling

(I was tired by then and forcing a smile).

How many smiles can you count in this post?

Saturday Photo Hunt: Old-Fashioned Scrapbook

Old-Fashioned Scrapbook
I'm a bit late doing this Saturday Photo Hunt, first of all because I just decided to give it a go. Second, I'm probably in the furthest west time zone of most people doing it. But, if you happen to find me, check back next week to see if I've had time to do it again.

I decided to show you my late mother's scrapbook. She started it when she got engaged to my Dad back in 1942 and saved all the cards, notes, and telegrams that he sent her while he was away in the war. It starts out with little cards congratulating her on her engagement, goes on to all her wedding cards, Valentine, Christmas, and anniversary cards and finally to birth announcements and cards of congratulations on the birth of my older sister.

It's interesting to look back at the style of cards people sent then. There were the usual neutral ones along with humorous and romantic ones. Dad even sent cards to my sister when he was away and Mom carefully tucked them inside this scrapbook. She saved this book and all its contents and now I have the honour of keeping it for future generations to see. Hope you enjoy the photos.

Friday, January 25, 2008

I am feeling blessed

Things are really looking up.

Daughter #2 is doing much much better and will probably be able to return to work in about 2 or 3 weeks. She actually went out tonight with a friend to see U2 in 3D at the Imax Theatre downtown.

Daughter #1 went for her 2nd ultrasound today to check on baby's progress and it's been confirmed that it's a girl. I am SO excited - for them and for me - as I know how blessed I have been to have daughters. It's the first time since my parent's generation that there will be a boy and a girl in the same family. My sister had 2 boys and I had 2 girls. Only about 6 weeks to wait now.

I think Josie and I just might go shopping along 4th Avenue before lifting a glass of wine at that cute little Italian bistro where we're dining tomorrow.

Sky Watch Friday!

I've noticed quite a few people are involved in Skywatch Fridays. One afternoon in November, a friend and I were walking along the dyke trail just outside of my little village when I saw the sun trying to peek through the dark grey clouds as a storm approached.

Then, I looked towards the east and a cacophonous racket and saw thousands of Canada geese flying back towards the waterfowl refuge. I think they'd been having a trial run before taking off south for the winter.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Lunch Date

I had lunch today with the "potential charmer" I mentioned a few posts back. It was actually a very nice lunch with good conversation and some laughs. He's the first man I've gone out with who actually asked me right out (well, not immediately but in the course of the chatting)if I wanted to get married again! That sort of threw me for a loop but he said that he didn't want to make the same mistakes he'd made in the past. I thought that was quite honest of him. He also paid for lunch before I had a chance to even realize the bill had come and when I tried to object, he just smiled and said, "Too late." I think he's worth another date. Unfortunately, he doesn't live in the same city as I do, so I'll just have to wait and see if he gets in touch. But wouldn't it be nice to be courted for a change? It's been so long since there've been any real contenders and it's going to be pretty difficult to get to know each other well from a distance. However, if it's meant to be, it'll be. In the meantime, life goes on.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


I just discovered a new idea from mrsnesbitt'splace where you post a photo using letters of the alphabet. Apparently, it's already gone through the alphabet and they're starting at A again. I like the idea so thought I'd join in.

So my thought for the letter A is Aladdin. My daughter loves the movie and sings the song A Whole New World all the time. She's an awesome singer and does both parts - Jasmine and Aladdin - and when she gets going, I stop everything just to listen to her. So here's a photo of Aladdin and check out the youtube video of the song at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2CVLWOoNsY.

An Awesome Award

Josie has awarded me with a lovely compliment - one of her 6 choices for "Wonderful Women of the Web" award. I am blushing from her accolades but at the same time am quite honoured. She knows what I went through in 2007 starting Jan. 13/07 and continuing on until Jan. 1/08 and she feels I've been very courageous to share the sorrows (and some joys) with you all. There were times when I thought I would bore everyone to death with my tales of trials and tribulations, but it was absolutely amazing how so many people came to my aid with prayers, emails, and good vibes. This year has started out well enough and I'm hoping I'll be able to do more for myself - like getting more done on my book, do a bit of traveling (even if not too far from home), entertain more, and get out socially more often.

Apparently, my job now is to pass this award on to the women whom I think deserve it. If Josie had not already nominated me I'd have her first on my list. But I find I've been visiting a lot of women who are in Britain or are ex-pat Brits and she doesn't visit these ones so I think I'll mention some of them. Even though I enjoy all my regular sites I have to narrow it down to 6. So here goes:

Liz in Wales has a blog called "Finding life hard?" My father's mother was born in Llandudno, Wales and all my life I've wanted to see her homeland. I've managed to go two or three times for brief periods, but will be doing a driving trip around the coast some day soon. I love visiting Liz for several reasons. We are both Christians and she currently works part time for her church as did I years ago. She has a crackling sense of humour (you should see her current blog title: "Soaking my thighs in red wine") and has just recently added a puppy to the family. You must go and visit and tell her I sent you.

Welshcakes Limoncello is a semi-retired language teacher who was Liz's neighbour but moved lock, stock, and barrel to a town in Sicily. Her blog, Sicily Scene, is just that - a daily slice of life as a Brit adjusting to life in an Italian town. She has me in stitches about her escapades at the local post office and when the water truck comes to deliver in her little neighbourhood. She's always trying something new in the cuisine department, too, and has lots of photos of her attempts at Italian cooking along with photos of her new friends' dinners. You get hungry just reading her site.

Casdok's site is titled "Mother of Shrek." She is the single parent of a non-verbal 19-year-old son with autism. She lives in Surrey, UK, and writes some powerful posts. She strikes me as a very strong (emotionally) woman who loves her son with all her heart and soul and will do whatever it takes to give him the best life he can possibly have. Some of her latest topics have been "Is sleep the new sex?" "Body language" "Autism abuse lives on" "Sign language" "the art of dust" and her newest is "Only the moon howls." She also has a great sense of humour along with her serious side and I highly recommend you take a peek and tell her I said "Hi."

Shirl, of "Shirl's the Girl" is a sweetheart! She also lives in the UK and I recently realized that she suffers from MS. But she has such a great outlook on life and busies herself with crafts. Recently, her hubby bought her a cute little hand and foot warmer that looks like a lamb. She named it Lola. Lola is now the subject of a future book that I sure hope she finishes. Go to her site and read the bit she's done and see the photos - adorable! Whenever I go visiting there, I just want to reach through the screen and give Shirl a big hug.

Nancy in Panama City, Florida is my next choice with her site called "Too Wonderful For Me." She, also, is a Christian woman who loves her husband, children, and grandchildren right along with the Lord. With a wonderful sense of humour, I can also feel some of the pain Nancy suffers when she makes comments like "there is so much sorrow and sadness in the world that sometimes we just need to laugh..." And laugh, I did, when I read her hilarious renditions of shaving her legs in the 6th grade and getting her ears pierced against her parents' wishes when she was a young teen. You MUST read these posts!

Finally, close to home is jmb, who always posts about intriguing topics. She's in a walking club and helps to manage a blogpower website, along with interests in travel, music, books, flora and fauna. From what I read on her site called "Nobody Important," she's retired from hospital pharmacy and refers to her husband as "the old scientist." I'd love to meet her and since we live only about 1/2 hour from each other, we probably shall meet one of these fine days.

As I've been writing this, the sun has set in the west and I can just see a bit of pale orange glow above the treetops outside my window. That means it's time to think about dinner and an evening walk. Although it's been beautifully sunny for 2 days now, it has also been crisp and cold so I'll have to wear my wooly cap tonight. As I wander the neighbourhood, I'll look up at that huge full moon and think of all the wonderful women of the web, thanking God for each and every one of you and the gift of friendship.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Few Good Quotes

Just simply for a bit of fun, and as a follow-up to my previous post about most men's inability to seduce a woman, I found a few quotes and this hilarious (in my humble opinion) cartoon. Enjoy and feel free to comment on any or all of the quotes.

Being in therapy is great. I spend an hour just talking about myself. It's kinda like being the guy on a date. Caroline Rhea - comedienne

Critic: a legless man who teaches running.


Satirist: a man who discovers unpleasant things about himself and then says them about other people. Peter McArthur – Canadian writer

Egotist: a person more interested in himself than in me.
Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914) – writer and satirist

Age does not protect you from love but love to some extent protects you from age.
Jeanne Moreau - actress

Compromise: An amiable arrangement between husband and wife whereby they agree to let her have her own way. Anonymous

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Seduction? Ha!

There's a website called "Seduction Chronicles" - a resource for men who don't know the first thing about how to talk to a woman, ask a woman out on a date, and all sorts of other important facts if they want to be successful in the dating world.

You'd think this would be a great site for older teens and younger men, say from 20 - 35. However, from my experience men of all ages, if single, could use this resource.

I didn't start dating again until more than 5 years after my husband died. So that means it's been 10 years of on-again/off-again dating for me. You wouldn't believe the number of men over age 50 who are looking for a wife, if not just a companion - but you also wouldn't believe the number of men who still haven't learned the first thing about women!

The number 1 turnoff about men is that they talk incessantly about themselves and if the woman actually is successful in commenting on something about herself, the conversation inevitably turns back to the man.

It seems that men think it's a great compliment to say something like, "Hey, looking great. You been working out?" HUH? Isn't that something a woman says to a man?

Men also seem to think it's hilariously funny to talk about sex and tell you sex jokes. Um...I don't think so! At least not until you've actually HAD sex with each other.

Women don't want to hear about how horrid you felt this morning and how much phlegm you hacked up, either.

Where are the classy men who would like to meet a classy lady? I'd love to meet someone who takes the time and energy to actually seduce me with intelligent conversation and romance.

I am supposed to meet another potential charmer this week and I'll let you know how it goes. If it doesn't go anywhere, I'll be tempted to recommend that website mentioned above. Then I'll continue to go it alone - sometimes it's more fun that way.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Star Sapphire

I've been keeping tabs on Liz's new pup George and and seeing Welshcakes' dog Simi in her photos. Lately, it's made me nostalgic for my beloved boxer Star. She was born in September, 1985, and I brought her home in November. I named her "Star" when I noticed a white spot amidst the black on the top of her head and my Dad added the "Sapphire" the first time he saw her. She was the best puppy right from the day I brought her home. Not once in her whole lifetime did she ever growl at, bark at, or nip anyone. Naturally, she'd bark if someone came to the house, but as soon as we told her it was okay, she'd be quiet and, wagging her stubby little tail, wait to see if it was someone she could play with. A lot of people at that time were not familiar with boxers and would often think she was a pitt bull, a very vicious dog. But we used that to our advantage and she was a great guard dog (pussy cat in reality, though).

When I brought her home that year, Jaclyn was in kindergarten and I would walk her to school every morning. I found an old baby carrier thing made out of brown corduroy and I'd strap Star into it and carried her like a baby - it was too far for her to walk that far since she was only 8 weeks old. The first time I arrived at the school, all the Moms came running to me saying things like, "Oh I didn't know you'd been expecting!" or "You have a new baby!" It was quite amusing when they took their first peek and saw a furry brown and white face! I took Star to school that spring when the children were studying a unit on babies and it was quite a success. I did have to keep running outside to make sure Star would do her widdle there, because she was so excited being around all those little kids. When Jamie was around 6 or 7 years old, her school had a special event for Sports Day. There would be the traditional bike parade but you could enter the parade as long as you were on wheels. So Jamie dressed up in shorts and a t-shirt, held a skipping rope, and put on her roller skates. She had a towel around Star's neck and had the dog pull her as she held onto the leash. She won a prize that year! (Get it? The boxer and its trainer?)

My Dad took a particular liking to Star as we'd had a boxer when we were growing up. He'd come over to visit and all he wanted to do was play with the dog. Star loved him, too, and would never hesitate to use him as a bed. Close friends of ours had adopted Star's litter sister (Kaycee) and we'd take turns visiting back and forth even more often so the pups could play together. It was wonderful that they were able to get so much exercise that way, even though I walked Star faithfully every day and my husband would rough house with her in the evenings.

Grampa with Star as a puppy

Daddy rough-housing with Star

Star was so gentle that she didn't mind when the girls would dress her up in their pyjamas, complete with sunglasses and hat. She'd just sit there with a disdained look on her face as though she were thinking, "Oh my goodness, not again!" Even though Star loved her dinner and would gobble it down lickety-split, you could take the bowl away before she finished and she would not growl.

Jamie with Star on top of Kaycee

Jaclyn hugging Star

When we went away one summer and had to resort to putting her in a kennel (that was when we moved to Ottawa temporarily and our friends were still in Vancouver), we came back two weeks later to a very skinny Star. She had pined so much for us that she had refused to eat. We quickly fattened her up again, although she never got fat. After that, we never left her for more than a week at a time if we went away. That wasn't often because usually we spent our summers at Shuswap Lake at the family cabin and she just came with us.

We tried to get Star to swim in the lake. She was not too interested in the water, though, so hubby would lift her up and take her out a little ways, gently put her in the water and help her dog paddle to shore. It was so funny to see her run out of the water and shake herself. Next time hubby would try to get her, she'd run away and it seemed to us that she was laughing and saying, "No way!" However, she did love the lake area and would go exploring on her own.

After hubby died and I moved to the wilderness to teach, Star got a lot more freedom. No fenced in yards there! At first I was a bit concerned about her wandering in case she ran into a bear, but she quickly adapted and didn't go too far. I was horrified for a while because Star insisted on using the front "lawn" (and I use that term loosely) as her toilet. She refused to go into the back area and I soon found out why. Apparently, my property was the route bears would frequently use. Eventually, though, it got to the point that I'd open the door and call for Star to come home for dinner - just as though I were shouting for the kids. And there she'd come, bounding through the thicket at the back of the property, stinking for all the world like God knows what! I actually think she had a boyfriend that year!

Star had a great life with us and we loved every moment we spent with her. She started having some age problems in 1995 but we looked after her well. Poor thing would be lying asleep on the carpet while we'd be watching TV, and suddenly she'd get up realizing that she'd peed in her sleep. We never got cross with her when that happened but we did visit the Vet more often.
Then one evening in the summer of 1997, she must have had a stroke or a heart attack because she went into a seizure. I rushed her to my Vet, someone I'd known since the mid-70s. He told me that as my friend he could say, "Take her home and keep an eye on her," but as my Vet he recommended that she be put down. Her heart was failing and she'd just get worse. I took Star with me into another room and sat on the floor with her trying to make up my mind what to do. She kept kissing me and snuggling up to me but suddenly, her legs went out from under her. I remember starting to cry and hugging Star to me and telling her how much I loved her. I went outside, nodded to my friend the Vet, and left. I cried myself to sleep that night.

I'll never forget Star. I have nothing but wonderful memories of her. She was loving, gentle, protective, and obedient. After hubby died, she was one of the main reasons I got up in the mornings. When I didn't want my girls to know I was down or needed a cry, Star was there for me, snuggling up and gently giving me kisses. She was also my fitness trainer, my confidante, my child and my friend. I can't believe it's been almost 11 years since she died but I now think of her "up there" with hubby running and playing and keeping him company. Some day I'll see her again.

Rest in peace, Star
1985 - 1997

Monday, January 14, 2008

Thoughts on a rainy Monday

Gustav Caillebotte's Paris: A Rainy Day, 1877

Rain is an inevitability in the Greater Vancouver area. However, you can usually tell if a person is a tourist because you see them strolling in downtown Vancouver resplendent in rain gear. It isn't actually raining, but these people have on hooded water-repellent jackets, boots, gloves, and are carrying their umbrellas open. They don't seem to realise that the umbrella won't keep them dry because they're basically walking in a cloud of mist.

Locals walk briskly and keep under the stores' awnings and do a quick jog across the streets, even women in stiletto heels. They aren't even carrying an umbrella! And as a suburbanite, I seldom need to use an umbrella. I go to my car (where my umbrella is usually stored) and drive to wherever I'm going. I jog into the store or the doctor's office, do what needs doing, and walk quickly back to the car. I don't particularly like going for my exercise walks in the rain so I wait until I see the sky lightening up (I get a great view of the weather from my upstairs office window) and when the rain lets up, out I go. I can usually do 30 - 45 minutes of brisk walking before the rain starts up again.

However, if and when it does actually rain hard enough to open your umbrella, there are a few rules of etiquette that one should follow.

1. Stay away from the awnings. You already have something to keep you dry.

2. When passing other carriers, the taller person lifts, the shorter one scrunches down.

3. Before boarding the bus, shake your umbrella off. Never put your wet umbrella on a seat.

4. Always carry your closed umbrella in a vertical position. No one likes an umbrella tip in the butt or any other part of the body.

5. Make sure the metal tips of your open umbrella don't poke anyone, especially in the eyes.

6. If you're in Vancouver, be prepared to get wet.

Do any of you have a pet peeve relating to the use of umbrellas? Feel free to share.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

What Your Birthdate Says About You

I've seen this on a couple of other blogs so thought I'd give it a try. It's quite accurate about me, I think.

My Birthdate: October 6

You tend to be a the rock in relationships - people depend on you.

Thoughtful and caring, you often put others needs first.

You aren't content to help those you know... you want to give to the world.

An idealist, you strive for positive change and dream about how much better things could be.

Your strength: Your intuition

Your weakness: You put yourself last

Your power color: Rose

Your power symbol: Cloud

Your power month: June

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Australia's Word of the Year

Australia's biggest online dictionary is asking people to vote for one of the following (amongst other words) for its latest annual update.

Arse Antlers: a tattoo in that fashionable area above the buttocks

Butt Bra: raises the profile of the buttocks to go with your arse antlers

Tanorexia: an obsession with having a suntan

Salad dodger: an obese person

Manscaping: removal of body hair for men

Which is your favourite?

Have a cigarette - please!

I found the following story on page C2 of today's Vancouver Sun. It reads as follows:

The owner of a small German computer company fired three non-smoking workers because they were threatening to disturb the peace after they requested a smoke-free environment.

The manager of the 10-person IT company in Buesum, named Thomas J., told the Hamburger Morgenpost newspaper he had fired the trio because their non-smoking was causing disruptions.

Germany introduced non-smoking rules in pubs and restaurants on Jan. 1, but Germans working in small offices are still allowed to smoke.

"I can't be bothered with troublemakers," Thomas was quoted as saying. "We're on the phone all the time and it's just easier to work while smoking. Everyone picks on smokers these days. It's time for revenge. I'm only going to hire smokers from now on."

I actually laughed out loud!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Riding Horses

Jaclyn, age 4, at Scotch Creek Ranch

The big day has come when Jaclyn feels well enough to go home to her own place. Yesterday, she had the staples removed and then we went grocery shopping. But by then, she realized that she was exhausted and really should stay one more night. I think she was surprised at how tired she was from her first day out.

I have mixed feelings today. I remember bringing her home after she was born. I remember so many of her "firsts." The first time she stood up by herself in her crib when she was about 7 months old, the first time she was brave enough to take her first steps at 11 months. I remember the first time I took her ice skating, the first time she took swimming lessons, her first ice show, her first Halloween, her first Christmas...so many firsts. I remember the first time she rode a horse (well, a pony) at age 2. However, riding ended at age 9 when she was bucked off a charging horse. She ended up in Children's Hospital for 2 months with a broken shoulder, just centimetres away from either being killed or a quadraplegic. She never rode again.

She had a rough 2007. But I'm so proud of her for fighting and coming back stronger than ever. She now has her own apartment full of her own things. She has lots of friends who care for her and a family that will do anything and everything to help her succeed in life. She's smart as a whip, funny, creative, and the friendliest and most generous person I've ever known. (yes, I admit she does have a few negatives, but she'll work those out) And she has a good job close enough that she can walk to work.

My feelings don't matter today. I enjoyed being "Mommy" again for a while, but I'm also so grateful that she's mending well and ready to be on her own again. I'll help her settle back in and then I will leave with her knowing I'm only a phone call away. And I will get on with my life, too.

So get back on that horse, Jaclyn, and be the boss. Ride with all your heart and make yourself a good life. God bless you for being so brave as you rode out those storms last year. This is the start of a new life, a life that I pray will bring you health and happiness.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

We interrupt this program....


The word of the day is.....BENIGN

Last night around 7 pm we received a call from the specialist with good news. Jaclyn's tumour was not cancerous. "What a relief" is an understatement to the nth degree. The tumour was called an ovarian mucinous cystadenoma, stage III which means it had spread into her abdominal cavity. It was the size of a newborn baby weighing in at 3.1 kg or almost 7 lbs. Jaclyn needs to follow up with the surgeon in a month and have annual (or more often) checkups with a specialist. We sure don't want this to happen again!

You should have seen her face light up when she got off the phone with the doctor. She was beaming and you could see her relief. She hadn't shown any concern before, but she admitted she'd been scared to death of the pathology report. But now she can relax and continue to heal physically and move on to live a full life. She gets her stitches out tomorrow (Thursday) and on Saturday we're going to drive into Richmond to "Rockabout," a gem store where I bought her a gift certificate for Christmas. She can cash it in and get lots of beads and gems to wile away the time making more jewelry. It will take her until the end of February (according to the doctors) to be ready to return to work.

I love the picture (above) of her at age 13. Jaclyn is a free spirit, creative, intelligent, and full of fun and wit. Her sister Jamie took the photo at Diefenbaker Park near where we lived then. Jamie was taking photography in high school and was doing black and whites, so asked Jaclyn to be her model. The photo captures Jaclyn perfectly. I pray that she will have a long life that will give her much happiness. Again, I thank you all for your prayers and good vibes. Let's go shopping!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Bucket List

Could you please tell me where the phrase kick the bucket originated?”
[A] There are two main theories about this one. One suggests that the word doesn’t refer to our modern bucket at all, but to a sixteenth century word that comes from the French buque, meaning a yoke or similar piece of wood. It is said that the word was applied in particular to the beam from which a pig was hung in order to be slaughtered. Inevitably, the pig would struggle during the process, and would kick the buque.

The expression is attested to in particular by a citation in the Oxford English Dictionary: “The beam on which a pig is suspended after he has been slaughtered is called in Norfolk, even in the present day, a ‘bucket’. Since he is suspended by his heels, the phrase to ‘kick the bucket’ came to signify to die” (I can’t give you a date, as the editors just say it comes from a “modern newspaper”, a rather sniffy annotation they used a century ago for sources not considered quite kosher. But it was probably in the 1890s).

The other explanation, much less credible, is that the bucket is the one on which a suicide stands when hanging himself — kick away the bucket and the job is done. I’ve even seen the story attached specifically to the sad end of an ostler working at an inn on the Great North Road out of London. Don’t believe a word of it. I got this from
There's a movie coming out soon called "The Bucket List" starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. The "bucket list" is a list of all the things their characters would like to accomplish in their remaining months (before they kick the bucket) and with one's wealth, the two end up touring the world, skydiving and racecar driving. As their list of goals begins to come to an end, they realize how much they've truly lived just in the last few months alone, and how much their short friendship has impacted their lives. Read more about the movie here. Sounds like it'll be a fun and crazy movie but most of all, it has prompted me to think about what I'd put on my list. I had to really think hard and wanted to share my top 10:

Tour the coast of Wales in the summertime.
Finish the renovations in my house.
See my book published successfully.
Go on a safari in Africa.
Go by ship to Australia and New Zealand.
Reach 10 lbs below my goal weight and stay there.
Go sailing and canoeing.
Ride in a helicopter.
Drive Route 66 in the USA.
Live long enough to have and know my great grandchildren.

One thing I thought would be awfully nice would be to meet and marry a wonderful man who would give me the freedom to live as I dream, who would be with me when I wanted him to be and to leave me alone when I wanted him to. I didn't put it on the list, though, because I think it's more of a pipe dream. ;D Have you ever thought about what you'd like to accomplish before you "kick the bucket?" Feel free to share right here. Maybe you'll give me some more ideas and I can add to my list.