About Me

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

Monday, May 31, 2010

T is for TRUST

Being reliant on another person or having faith in others and believing them is called TRUST. It is probably the most important ingredient in building an intimate relationship between husband and wife and can be cultivated and nurtured by creating a safe emotional space. There are a few guidelines to follow when creating that safe emotional space that engenders trust.

1. Constantly work on improving communication skills. The most important part of being a good communicator is by being a good listener and using "I" statements.
2. Take on the responsibility of expressing your needs and express them clearly and assertively. Don't be afraid of rejection or of being ashamed of having these needs.
3. Be positive and give pleasure. Use the "5 to 1 rule" where you have to consciously say 5 positive things to your spouse before saying anything negative or critical.
4. Don't allow issues to go unresolved. When issues don't get resolved, then resentments develop and fester. And when resentments develop then trust is lost.
5. It's okay to fight but learn to fight fair. Here are a few ideas about how to fight fair - never resort to name-calling, keep to the issue at hand, don't say "you never" or "you always," never bring the other person's family into the issue at hand, agree beforehand on a method of time out if you feel things are getting out of hand.

Trust is one thing that takes a long time to build and a very short time to destroy. Be careful how you treat each other. Many people wrongly believe that in a good marriage, you can "relax" and not have to monitor everything you say and do. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
In a good marriage, you must always be monitoring your behavior. This is the key to building a strong relationship and trust.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

S is for Spectrum

The word spectrum implies a broad range of conditions or behaviors grouped together with a unifying theme between extremes at either end.

Today I'd like to take a look at men from slobs to suits.

A slob is a person regarded as slovenly, crude, or obnoxious. A slob can also be sloppy, coarse, gross, and slurps his food and drinks. A slob could be someone who doesn't take any pride in his appearance by being unkempt, dirty, doesn't bother to shave, and/or wears dirty clothes. A slob could also be someone who swears a lot, tells shameful stories or jokes, or is generally simply annoying.

A suit is regarded as someone who is thought of as looking professional, whether in formal or informal terms. In other words, a "suit" cares about his appearance, is clean, tidy, and cares about his personal grooming. This would include showering, shaving, and ensuring that nose hairs and finger nails are trimmed. In short, he respects himself and everyone who sees him.

"Slobs" and "Suits" are two ends of the spectrum and naturally, there are all sorts of men who fit somewhere in between. And of course there are situations where one might appear a bit slobbish for a time (e.g. camping out in the wild). Personally, I prefer the half that tends towards the suit, and I'm sure most women would agree with me.

Men seem to be turned on visually by women. However, they often fail to realize that women get turned off if what they see is not visually appealing. I may be simply speculating here.

Of course, slobs and suits can be related to women, as well. But what I'm trying to say is that we should all take a good long look in the mirror every once in a while and ask ourselves, "Am I a slob? Or am I a suit?"

Which do you prefer?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

How did THIS happen?

My baby turns 30 years old today! How did this happen?

Yesterday, she was just learning to crawl, starring in an ice show, playing soccer and tennis while learning ballet.

And now here she is a grown up lady with a life of her own.
We celebrated by having lunch together at her favourite restaurant - the White Spot - and finished off with their special lemon tart!

She has a wonderful weekend planned with some of her friends! I dropped her off at work after our lunch, but this evening is party time with friends, tomorrow she and a girl friend are driving to Kelowna, then back Saturday for an all-day beach party, and Sunday she's going to the Cloverdale Rodeo. Whew! I guess 30 years ago, I could have managed all that in one weekend, but now? Not very likely!

The last decade was a bit rough for D2, so here's hoping and praying that things will only get better for her. I love her tiara - she's going to wear it all day and night, even at work! It took me a long time to decide what to give her for this milestone birthday, but I finally decided on the pearl necklace that her father had given me many years ago. She was pleased and I know she'll treasure it the rest of her life.

Friday, May 14, 2010

R is for Rest and Relaxation

Click on the photos to "embiggen."
Friday was restful. After all we've been going through lately, we decided to go somewhere near the water with our books, buy some fish 'n chips and diet Coke, and relax in the warmth of a magnificent May day. Our drive took us to Garry Point, in the nearby village of Steveston just across the river where the mighty Fraser River empties into the Strait of Georgia's salt water.
First up was lunch at Pajo's...if you've never had their fish 'n chips, it's a must! Later on, I traipsed back for frozen yogurt mixed with fresh fruit - blackberries for Lorne and peaches for me. Another must!

We settled into our fold-up chairs facing the sun and the water and as Lorne settled in for a good read, I picked up my camera to see what I could see. Children playing near the edge of the water, older people relaxing at picnic tables or on benches looking out at the various types of boats that went by - whale watchers, car freighters, pilot boats, tugboats and sailboats.

After reading for a while myself, I decided to go for a stroll over to the Japanese gardens. Steveston is well known for being a fishing village, especially known for its salmon cannery. And Japanese Canadians formed a large part of the population of the village until WWII when they were shipped out and interred in the interior of the province. From the garden commemorating those Japanese Canadians, I found a few great vantage points for some photos.

From the Japanese gardens, I meandered down to the point where stands a memorial for fishermen who have been lost at sea. I'd been there before, but just to admire the view. This time, I actually looked at the memorial and was amazed at the incredible visions!

I leisurely strolled back to our little peace of paradise, and on the way, managed to capture a candid shot of Lorne looking relaxed (albeit a big haggard) as he absorbed the warm sun rays while reading his latest find. And I'll leave you with my favourite shot of the day, a contrast to my "old man," this little boy who was enjoying tossing a stick into the water and waiting patiently for it to return so he could throw it out again. Ah, the gentle joys of childhood and a day of rest and relaxation.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Q is for Quick(ly)

Life has been a blur lately. Since March 26th, when Lorne was diagnosed with colon cancer, he's had many tests done and had surgery exactly one month later. That was quick!

After the surgery, the specialist told us everything looked good, but we had to wait for the biopsies of the nodes to be 100% sure he wouldn't need any further treatment.

In the meantime, Lorne healed up very quickly and pushed himself to get out and mow the lawn (it's a small lawn) a week later. He even did a bit of gardening, even though he's still sore. We thought he'd been blessed with a quick recovery.

Thursday evening, the doctor phoned with dreaded news - they found two malignant spots in the nodes from about twenty they checked. Therefore, Lorne is going to need chemotherapy. It didn't take me long to fall apart. On Friday, I was physically ill and by Sunday, I couldn't even get out of bed because of terrible nausea.

Monday, Lorne had another CT scan and saw his GP who said he was amazed as his quick recovery! Today he is seeing the oncologist to discuss his treatment. Quick action, I'd say, from the medical profession!

I know it's Lorne's journey, so-to-speak, but I have my own journey to take along with him. And I quickly realized that I need help, too. It seems a faucet has grown just above my eyes and it's constantly leaking! So, I went to the Delta Hospice Center to request counseling for myself. I need to know how to deal with my own emotions while at the same time, be supportive of Lorne and his fears.

Let's hope and pray that Lorne's treatment will be quick and that he'll be given a prognosis for a long life to come.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

P is for Paradise

Paradise is a place in which existence is positive, harmonious and timeless. It is conceptually a counter-image of the miseries of human civilization, and in paradise there is only peace, prosperity, and happiness. Paradise is a place of contentment, but it is not necessarily a land of luxury and idleness. (Wikipedia)

The word "paradise" comes from an old Persian word having to do with beautiful gardens. That brings to mind the story of Adam and Eve. Everything was perfection there - lots of good food, perfect climate, and no sin. Heaven is also a form of paradise as Jesus promised the thief on the cross that he would soon be with him in paradise. So what will it be like there? Since no one has ever come back, we don't know for sure. Maybe it will be different for each one. Maybe we'll find ourselves living harmoniously in peace and contentment with those friends and family members who have preceded us. Maybe we'll end up as "guardian angels" and return to an earthly existence to help others.

I have been blessed with the gift of faith and believe with all my heart that I will go to Heaven one day. Why do I believe so strongly in this afterlife? I have three very vivid reasons - my grandmother, my late husband, and my parents.

First, early one bitterly cold morning in Ottawa, I was on the bus heading to work. The harsh lights of the bus contrasted with the black of the outside, causing the bus to appear twice as wide as it was. Head nodding, gently bumping against the frigid windowpane, I suddenly became aware of a presence. It was my grandmother who had passed away two years previously. I did not see her body or hear her speak to me. I just simply knew she was there with me. I smiled and said (in my head) "Hi Grandma!" And then she was gone.

Next, my husband took his own life in August, 1992. It was an extremely traumatic time in my life and it took me years to recover. About a month after he died, I came home from work and went upstairs to change into casual clothes. I was so exhausted from work and grief that I didn't have the energy to get beyond my slip, so I lay down on the bed. Suddenly, he was there! Again, I didn't see his body or hear him as you would think you'd hear someone. But, I did hear him say to me, "I'm okay now, Sweetie." And before I could sit up and utter the words, "Don't go!" he was gone.

Finally, my mother passed away in 2002 and my father joined her in 2007. I had been the last one to be with my mother before she passed, and I was with my father when he took his final breath. About a month after my father's celebration of life, it was a beautiful sunny day in October, so I decided to go for a walk. The leaves were brilliant reds, yellows, and oranges and had just begun to drop. I'd been walking for about 10-15 minutes, admiring the colours, when suddenly my mother and father were with me. My mother was on my left and my father on my right. Again, I didn't see their bodies but I knew they were there. I remember being so stunned that I just kept walking and smiling, hoping they would stay. But as suddenly as they were there, they were gone.

Now, I have told some of my Christian friends about these experiences and they looked at me like I was crazy. Only a few believed me and actually envied me those moments.

Why do I think they came to me? Well, first of all, my grandmother had been raised Baptist, but did not believe in an afterlife. She believed that the end was just that - the end. Perhaps she was trying to tell me that she had been wrong all her life and wanted me to believe. Second, my husband had never been a believer, either, and knew that his illness had been an extremely difficult time for me. I believe he was reassuring me that everything was going to be okay since he was then okay. Finally, my parents had had a very rocky marriage, with my mother often wanting to leave my father. Perhaps it was their way of letting me know that they were reunited and would always be together, happy in the end.

Life can be hard. But my faith in an everlasting life in Paradise keeps me going.