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, March 28, 2011

K is for K places in BC

In keeping with my destinations theme during this round, I decided to take you on a little tour of places in British Columbia beginning with the letter K. I have to tell you, too, that I've been to ALL of these places!We'll start off in northern BC with KISPIOX, a pristine area about 500+ miles north of Vancouver. It boasts natural beauty and is well known for its steelhead and salmon fishing. It's also home to talented Gitxsan artists with many totem poles on display in the community.

Not far from Kispiox is the town of KITIMAT in the heart of the BC wilderness. Many outdoor activities are available here including fishing (both fresh and salt water), kayaking, canoeing, hiking, rock climbing, snowmobiling, and skiing. In the summer, every couple of weeks the town hosts things like bull riding or mud-bogging races! There are lots of natural mineral hot springs and wildlife, including the rare Kermode bear. The friendly locals call themselves "Kitimatonians."

Moving south to BC's "cowboy community," we come to the city of KAMLOOPS, which takes its name from a First Nations word meaning "meeting place" because it's right at the junction where the North and South Thompson Rivers meet. Major industries here are forestry, tourism, ranching, and mining. It's also a great place for year-round outdoor activities. My late husband's family had beautiful lakefront property on Shuswap Lake, a short drive east of the city, and we spent many wonderful summer (and Christmas) vacations there.
A bit south-east of Kamloops, you'll find our famous Okanagan Region where there is a real desert in the province. First, you'll find KELOWNA . Located on Okanagan Lake, it's famous for its wines and its four-seasons recreation, including skiing at Big White. There are also lots of smaller lakes around the area for fabulous trout fishing. We often visit Kelowna and its surrounding areas because we have friends living in the town of Peachland, a few miles south of Kelowna.

KEREMEOS takes its name from another First Nations word that means "creek which cuts its way through the flats" or "the meeting of the winds." (It can be rather windy there!) When I was a child, my parents would stop in Keremeos to buy fresh fruit, especially cherries, peaches, and apricots. It has always been known as the best place in BC to buy fresh fruit and vegetables from any of the stands lining the roads in and out of town. It's also one of the hottest spots in BC in the summer and boasts of over 2000 hours of sunshine per year.

Let's go into the city of Vancouver now to look at two communities that begin with the letter K. First, there is KITSILANO, where my friend Josie lives. With one of the best beaches in the city, Kits (as it's called) is home to unique boutiques, trendy restaurants, and upscale condos. Check out Josie's blog for more information about her little corner of the city. Another community in Vancouver that I like to visit is KERRISDALE, where my sister lives. It has the ambiance of an old-fashioned upscale village, with lots of beautiful older homes as well as condos and apartment buildings. It was at the Kerrisdale Arena where I met my late husband back in 1972 during an adults-only ice skating session. Check out my story here. Finally, here is a photo (from Google of course) of Kitsilano Beach, a place where I've been going since I was a little girl and where I nowadays go for strolls with my friend Josie. Can you imagine anything more beautiful than being right on the ocean with the mountains in the background?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Spring has Sprung

Spring has really truly arrived! Everywhere we see crocuses, daffodils and heather in full bloom. And as some of you who follow me know, I absolutely LOVE to take photos of flowers. I also realized that I needed to get out walking again, so yesterday I hobbled around the block for 15 minutes - most of it in some pain. Yes, the back and hips are not as strong as they used to be and after this latest bout of flu and bronchitis (began on Feb. 8th and I'm still coughing!) I'm feeling a bit draggy. I waited until it got sunny this afternoon and forced myself out again, camera clutched in my hot little hand and was successful. As you will see, the cherry blossoms are almost out in their full glory, the camelias are already starting to fade and droop, and the forsythia is out. I also discovered that there is such a thing as a weeping cherry blossom tree! I will try - I do promise to try - to get out every day for at least 15 minutes or more to show you the beauty of my little neighbourhood.
Oh, by the way, that black pot with some green plants in it is at my front door and it has tulip bulbs that we planted last summer - they're finally coming up. Can anyone help me out with the name of the other plant in the pot? And I cannot for the life of me remember the name of the plant in the last photo - it's a perennial and very common around here. HELP!

Monday, March 21, 2011

J is for JUNEAU

This week, J is for Juneau Alaska where I'm headed in approximately 6 or 7 weeks with D2. This will be my third time arriving via cruise ship to Juneau, where one of my cousins and his wife live.

On a Juneau website, I found the following: If Juneau were a type of music, we'd say it's part funk, part soul, part bluegrass, and a whole lot of classic rock. Here, you'll find an unexpected mix of fishermen and teachers, legislators and artists, lawyers and homemakers, dock workers and frontier entrepreneurs, students and Native elders.
Somehow, we make it all work.
Spend a few days with us and you'll see why so many folks choose to visit and live here. In Juneau, you can watch humpbacks in the morning, take in a performance art activity in the evening, and toss back a few locally brewed beers at night. We're eclectic that way. And we've got all the activities and attractions you'd expect in a state capital. We just share them without all the pretension.

Not least of all, Juneau locals are a friendly bunch, if we do say so ourselves. We're a fiercely loyal type, and we love this city enough to want to share it with anyone who visits.
Something I've wanted to do both times I visited Juneau was to go up the Mount Roberts Tramway. Both times, the weather did not cooperate and I didn't want to spend the money to wander around the clouds. Apparently, on a sunny day you can see spectacular views out over the harbour, sea, and mountains. Also, there is a glorious native mountain house with native art demonstrations, a theater, and a raptor center. There is, as well, a trail system where you can wander through the Sitka Spruce and the grasses and wildflowers of the sub-alpine. Keep your fingers crossed that we'll have a good day this time!

The other main attraction in Juneau is the Mendenhall Glacier. Thirteen miles from downtown Juneau, the glacier measures 12 miles long by 1 1/2 miles wide. The ice can be anywhere from 400 to 800 feet deep. It seems the only way to actually walk on the glacier is if you go via helicopter, but that costs mucho dinero so D2 and I will see it from the ship (which does get as close as possible) and maybe take a land tour to the Visitors Site where you can get splendid views from along the hiking trails there.
I do remember that the day our ship went into Tracy Arm, it was a gloriously sunny (but ccccold) day, and I was mesmerized by the colour of the water and the smaller icebergs that were floating loose. The sun glittered off these bits of ice making a variety of colours and patterns. It's going to be a lot of fun this time, seeing Juneau and its environs through my daughter's eyes. She is so excited that she has already gone out and bought a new camera and has practised by taking photos (both long shot, wide lens, and macros) in downtown Vancouver and around home. I think I'll just take my old camera and will get copies of good ones from her camera. And of course we won't forget to go into the shops to find a suitable souvenir - like maybe a stuffed moose, grizzly bear, or whale.
Have a great week, everyone, and don't forget to ask your friends to play along with this fun fun fun weekly activity, brought to you by Denise Nesbitt and her jolly team of helpers. Click here to access the ABC Wednesday webpage.

Monday, March 14, 2011

I is for Italy

In keeping with my "destinations" theme for this round of ABC Wednesday, I had to go with Italy, even though I've written about it before. (see here and here) Problem is, I want to write about places I've personally visited, and I've never been to Ireland, Iran, Iraq, Iceland, or Iqaluit (capital of Canada's newest northern territory of Nunavet). So, if you click on the direct routes to my other posts, you can read all about my trip to Italy and how I felt about the country, its food, customs, people, vino, etc. Today, I'll try to post some of my favourite photos that I hope I haven't posted before and that perhaps will help you to visualize how beautiful Italia is. I'd go back in a flash and stay even longer than the 4 weeks I had 5 years ago.
1. Tuscan village
2. View from Erice (Sicily)
3. Pitigliano
4. Sovana
5. Italian cyprus trees
6. Tuscan church
7. Lemon Trees ABC Wednesday is the brainchild of Denise Nesbitt and if you'd like to see other participants' contributions, click here. Please join in - the more the merrier!

Sunday, March 06, 2011

H is for Hawaii

The first Christmas after my husband died (1992) was very sad, to say the least. So I decided that I would take my two daughters to Hawaii (Oahu) after Christmas was over and celebrate New Year's there. It would be a sort of new beginning for us and give us time away from all the grief and spend some quality time together in the sun. It was our first trip there and subsequently, a few years later, I took D2 to Mauii for Spring Break. This picture is one of my all-time favourites - the girls were so excited to hold these parrots in the International whatever center near our hotel. Here is a bird's eye view of the pool at our hotel - right below our room. After spending some time at the beach, I decided that I didn't want some oiled-up sweaty stranger lying right beside me and my towel. Those of you who have been to Waikiki, will know what I mean. So after only one day there, we spent the rest of our non-touring and non-shopping days at this lovely pool.

Here are the girls sunbathing on Waikiki but it wasn't long after I took this photo that people were literally towel by towel and we left!

The day we went on a day trip to the Polynesian Cultural Centre was a bit cloudy and windy, but we had a great day anyway.

Can you find me and D1 on the boat? D2 was looking over the side of the boat at everything! (Click to enlarge)

Here are the dancers entering into the area where they entertained us all.

D2 gets a hula lesson. I don't remember where D1 was.

And here is D2 again posing at the Cultural Centre.

Aha! D1 was posing in the gynormous tree roots!

Not to be outdone, D2 got right into the roots and sat down in the cool shade!

As you can see, we had a wonderful time in Hawaii and it was hard to return to reality. As I mentioned, D2 and I went to Mauii a few years later while D1 was studying at university. And I wouldn't mind returning to see Pearl Harbour some day and then go to one of the other islands for rest and relaxation. Everyone should take in Hawaii, if they can, but be prepared for the humidity!
Please forgive the quality of the photos, but they're almost 20 years old! Wow, where did the years go?

ABC Wednesday is the brainchild of Denise Nesbitt and if you'd like, pop over to the ABCW site to check out participants' ideas for each week.