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, September 27, 2010

K is for Kennedy, John Fitzgerald

When I was a young teen, I used to suffer from excruciating cramps. Inevitably, every month I'd be either throwing up or passing out from the pain. And so it happened that I was passed out in bed the afternoon of November 23, 1963, when my mother ran into my room and called me to follow her downstairs to watch TV. Something dreadful had happened.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States of America, had been killed by an assassin while riding in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas. Hot water bottle clutched to my lower belly, I sat transfixed as the news was reported. Days, weeks, months, years later people still talk about the grassy knoll, Lee Harvey Oswald, Jack Ruby, and the Warren Commission. One of the most poignant images I still have in my own memory is the one when Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as President while aboard Air Force One in the wake of the assassination. There are no smiling faces, just grim images of people doing what was necessary for the country. And Jacqueline Kennedy in her blood-stained pink suit, looks on in shock as she stands beside the new President.
Kennedy's assassination affected people all over the world and here in Canada, it was like losing one of our own. The Kennedy clan has a certain mystique that persists to this day and has even been called American Royalty. I've read books about this family and watched movies about them. They have been touched by the most horrific tragedies yet they persevere in life.
Although I was too young to know much about politics, John Kennedy seemed like a wonderful man to me (even though he was flawed, or perhaps I should say "human" as I later learned), and he and his family epitomized the best of the best. As a relatively young President, Kennedy not only worked hard at his job, but also made sure to take time for his family, allowing young Caroline and John Jr. to romp in the Oval office.
His famous quote, "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country" is embedded in my brain. And I like to remember them as a shining example of brilliance, devotion not only to family but also to country, and deep understanding of the human spirit.
May those Kennedys who have passed away rest in peace and may those still living enjoy peace and tranquility until they join their ancestors in eternity.
So, do you remember where you were on November 23, 1963?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Autumn Arrives

I didn't go to Gentle Fit at the pool this morning. Instead, I went for a lovely walk around the neighbourhood, camera in hand, hoping to catch a few shot of the beginning of autumn. Luck would have it and I did get a few good ones. We don't have any brilliant colours on the trees yet, but because we've been alternating between rainy and sunny days, things are starting to look a bit weary and dreary. Be sure to click on the photos to see them in more detail. Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.

Monday, September 20, 2010

J is for Joints

As if that big jokester in the sky hasn't given me enough jabs and jolts lately, I recently found out that I can't take any more NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) or any regular anti-inflammatory medications (like Advil). The joyous news is that these drugs have affected my kidney function. Isn't that just the juiciest bit of jarring news ever!

Yes, I'm limited now to Tylenol for the pain of osteoarthritis, which caused all my back problems since the age of 29, and the newer pain of some rheumatoid arthritis in my hands. Just great! But as I said to my wonderful new doctor (a lady), "I'd rather have a bit more pain to deal with than jeopardize the life of my kidneys."

So today I joined up again at the pool, taking what we call "Gentle Fit." Jumping (and I use that term loosely) into the pool, the ladies formed a circle as we awaited our leader. It was quite amusing as we went around telling each other why we were there - hip replacement, awaiting hip surgery, angina, triple spinal fusion, etc. etc. Ah, well, we jested and joked about the alternative.

I took it easy today to avoid jarring my joints, but I have to admit I had a jolly good time and even remember some of the others' names. Naturally, there were the aquatic form of jumping jacks along with cross-country skiing, jogging, and other fun forms of exercise. The jury is still out as to whether or not this will help to alleviate the pain I live with. However, by my judgment, journeys to the pool three times a week can't hurt any more than I already do.

Oh yes, the bathing suit still fits!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I is for IMAGES

I couldn't think of much to celebrate this week's letter I for ABC Wednesday. Finally, I decided to show you four of my favourite images that are indicative of the seasons here. I hope you like the ones I've chosen.

first tulip bud this past Spring
one of our many gorgeous fuschias
grandson's toy truck in Autumn
sunset at Deas Park in Winter

To see more ABCW contributions click here to see the list of participants. Just click on a name and their blog will pop up for you to have a look.

Monday, September 06, 2010

H is for Heron (Great Blue)

A couple of months ago, Lorne went off on his own one day, armed with his trusty camera. He loves to go down to the local marina and watch the boats come and go in between reading his latest book. That day, he was given a wonderful sight - a Great Blue Heron was sunning itself in the marshy area nearby. I hope you enjoy the short slide show I put together of his photos.

From my book "Birds of British Columbia" - the Great Blue Heron is probably the best-known bird in British Columbia. It hunts a variety of small animals day or night along rivers, lakeshores, beaches, fields and seashores. They nest together in the tops of trees in sites often known as rookeries. The oldest known colony in British Columbia is in Vancouver's Stanely Park, where permanent scopes are set up to view the birds. In flight, Great Blue Herons fold their necks back over their shoulders in an S-shape and make slow-motion movements with their wings. Similar looking cranes stretch their necks out when flying.

Since living in this area of BC since 1978, I've had the opportunity to see many many herons standing by the side of roadways, in ditches, at the Boundary Bay Regional Park, and in country fields everywhere. In the late 80's to mid 90's, our house must have been right in their line of flight because every Spring, Summer, and Fall evening around 8:00 I'd sit out on the patio to watch them fly overhead on their way to somewhere.

In early October of 1986, my (late) husband and I went down to the local mall and went our own ways to do some chores. We met up later at the Sandcastle Art Gallery (no longer there) where I found him admiring a brand new work of art by Carl Brenders.

The artist writes: Since childhood, I have had a special place in my heart for herons. It always fascinated me to see the standing on one leg, their long necks seeming to disappear into the feathers of their bodies. I had observed them in this particular stance so often that it seemed natural I should depict them in this way in my first major heron painting. Winter often attempts a final attack at spring by covering the new life appearing everywhere with a blanket of snow. This creates a special effect in the wetlands with the yellow sunlight penetrating the cold, early morning mist surrounding the heron, who is in his breeding plumage.

I had already seen the picture a few days earlier and had fallen in love with it. However, I hadn't mentioned it because we'd just bought our new house and I felt it would have been extravagant to purchase it. As I got closer to my husband that day, he turned to me and said, "Isn't this the most wonderful picture!" I told him that I'd already seen it and did, in fact, love it! He then said, "I'm buying it for your birthday then!" Even though he's been gone now for 18 years, I still have that painting and will never part with it. (Click to see larger version of picture.)