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.

Saturday, December 29, 2012


Okay, I promised my posts to the end would be short, but I just did up a slideshow for you all about one of the most beautiful places in the world - YORKSHIRE - where our friend Denise Nesbitt lives, and I'm sorry that it's long, but it's worth it. You will not regret watching it as it just might spur you to consider visiting some day.  I know that I for one WILL be back!

Our visit began with Jill (see her blog here) meeting us at the Grosmont (silent s) train station.  We trudged up the hill with our cases, turned into "Institute Row" and arrived at our cottage.  It was amazing inside - fully fitted kitchen, laundry room, lovely sitting/dining room with TV and fireplace and upstairs the huge bathroom and two bedrooms with queen-sized beds in each!  Denise turned up with fresh eggs, which we cooked up for dinner...yummy!

The next day was cloudy and threatened rain, although it was warm.  We had been pleasantly surprised by the village with all it had to offer people, so we decided to poke around.  We passed the old schoolhouse that had recently been renovated as a cafe, the village church, the tunnel through which the steam trains chugged past a gorgeous garden, and ended up at the train museum.  Coming back, we stopped at the schoolhouse for lunch and then poked our heads inside many of the intriguing shops down the road.

The following morning, Jill phoned and offered to take us for a drive so we accepted.  What a wonderful and gracious hostess she was!  She took us all over the moors and to several neighbouring villages to show us the views, where her grandchildren go to school and church, and the famous village of Goathland where the British TV show "Heartbeat" was filmed.  That was especially exciting for me as I'm a fan of the show.  After that, we went to the North Yorkshire Visitors' Center and had lunch in the "Wooly Sheep Cafe."

We went out to visit Denise one day, too, and had a wonderful visit.  We strolled along the lanes near her home and saw lots of horses, geese and other water fowl, her church and had cuddles with Frieda, one of her German Shepherds and watched her chickens scarf down spaghetti noodles.  She served us tea and scones in her lovely and cosy kitchen and we got to see up close her new Aga!

I could tell you so much more, but I'll just let you watch the slideshow (and turn up the sound) to see for yourself that Yorkshire is a beautiful area of the world!  I'll leave you with one more thing:


Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Saturday, December 22, 2012

X is for XMAS

We who post at ABC Wednesday are lovers of the alphabet, and we are sometimes fascinated by the flexibility of the letter X.  It can be used to represent the sacred, the profane (X-rated), and the unknown (X-ray).

How many of you have ever wondered why "XMAS" is used as a short form for the word ''CHRISTMAS"?  How many of you really know the reason.  Have you ever heard the saying "Jesus is the reason for the season"?

The history of the word "Xmas" is actually quite respectable and predates by centuries its use in gaudy advertisements.   X is the Greek letter "chi", the first letter in the word Χριστός.  And here's the kicker - Χριστός means "Christ."  Using the letter X to represent Christ, known as a "christogram," has been an accepted representation of Christ for hundreds of years. 

Therefore, in order to fulfill my promise of a short post this week, may I wish you all MERRY XMAS

Saturday, December 15, 2012

W is for Woodstock Terrace

I started planning my trip to England and Wales about a year ago.  My friend Cathy and I worked on our itinerary, making plans to visit old and new friends in both countries and on the Isle of Man.   In the meantime, my dear Lorne had been applying to work for the London Olympics and we were hoping that if he got the job, I'd stay on longer to be with him for a while before returning home to start the school year with my tutoring.  Well, it was all a whirlwind when everything started happening!  Within two weeks, he had everything arranged after one video interview and two long distance telephone interviews.  On May 16th, I drove him to Vancouver International Airport, kissed him good-bye and off he went!

I never said anything about it (except to personal friends) because of security clearances...everything he did in his job was on a "need-to-know" basis as he was dealing with extremely high level security for  VIPs, Heads of State, international Royalty, headline acts for the ceremonies, and more.  Read into this as you may but yes, he probably either met them or at least saw them go through his area.  Working under him were over 2000 British Army troops, 20 Met Police, 8 dog handlers, 3 Venue Managers, etc.  I was so proud of him but missed him terribly!

We had to find him a place to stay at the last minute so went online in search.  Luckily, we found a room that was located about halfway between the Canary Wharf LOCOG office and the Olympic Site in Stratford.  It was on Woodstock Terrace in a row of homes bordering on a park.  It was okay, but even though the weather from May to July was horrendously rainy and cold, the landlady wouldn't allow him to turn on the heat.  He used to huddle under his comforter fully clothed trying to stay warm during his "off" hours while he read and read and read.  There was no TV or radio and no internet access, either.  He'd go over to the library around 7pm every night and contact me at home (11am my time) and we'd "chat" online for an hour - the allotted time.  If he couldn't make it, he'd email me wonderful letters full of all the news he could give me - his emails were monitored for security!  I saved everything - printed out all the emails and the "chats" we had and now have a large binder full of our correspondence.  It'll be fun to read through it again one day.

Finally, the day came when Cathy and I were to leave on our holiday.  I could hardly wait because it was now down to counting the weeks and days instead of the months before Lorne and I saw each other again.  As you probably have been reading, we had a great holiday for 2 1/2 weeks until we got to Yorkshire.  He phoned to tell me he was in the hospital with osteomyelitis!  Several weeks prior, he'd tripped over some cables on site and banged his big toe on a stairwell.  Long story short, he had unknowingly broken it and a few weeks later, he started to feel really sick.  He was transported by ambulance to Homerton Hospital where he was admitted, put immediately on IV antibiotics to get the infection under control before undergoing a partial amputation.  The surgery was to be on the Friday so Cathy and I headed to London on Thursday and went right away to the hospital after checking in at our hotel downtown.

Two trains and a 15-minute walk later, the poor guy was quite the sorry sight all hooked up to tubes, unshaven and hair all tousled.  Once I was there though, he relaxed a bit and was ready to do whatever it took to get him better.  He insisted that Cathy and I do some fun things in London while he was in the hospital because he didn't want to ruin our holiday.  So we did.  Visiting hours were strange (from 11am to noon and then from 4pm to 8pm) so I usually ended up going around 4pm and staying until around 8 until it started getting dark earlier and earlier.

Once Cathy left to return home, I moved over to the house on Woodstock Terrace.  Although the location was great for Lorne regarding work, it was in East London - not the best place for a WASP woman to be staying alone.  Drug deals went on in the middle of the night below the window and I looked very out of place walking amongst the women wearing hijabs peeking through the slits in their masks and amongst the blackest of black Somalis.  Lorne worried a lot about me being alone there, but I reassured him that I always had my keys out sticking through my fingers as a weapon and I always walked as though I knew exactly where I was going.  I really didn't think the area was that bad because I always saw lots of families around.  It just wasn't what one usually imagines when one thinks about the city of London.

Here's a funny story about something that happened after Lorne got out of the hospital but before he was well enough to fly home.  In the slide show to follow, you'll see some security guards outside the library about a block away from where we lived.  They also roamed around inside watching for theft and any disruptions.  Anyway, as there was no internet access at the house, we had to go to the library in order to check out flights home, contact our travel agent and family, and print out boarding passes.  We're there one day trying to work when suddenly there was an eruption between two young men, both big and black!  I was rightly p***ed at all the noise they were making and their cursing, so started grumbling at Lorne to do something.  He just told me to mind my own business because these guys could be dangerous.  But I was so stressed out about everything that I suddenly erupted at them and said, "Will you guys PLEASE figure out who beats up whom somewhere else!  People are trying to work here!"  Well....dead silence....and then one of them said, "Oh, sorry Ma'am!" and they left!  No one could believe this old white lady standing up to these punks!  I started to laugh while everyone else just stared at me open-mouthed, including Lorne.

The day Lorne finally got out of the hospital he insisted on taking me out to dinner in the neighbourhood.  We went to his favourite Chinese food restaurant and I was very impressed.  After dinner, he said we had to keep going further down the street because he had a surprise for me.  We ended up at an old 50s-style diner where we ordered ice-cream sundaes!  I even had the waiter take our photo!  We were both so happy that day to be able to finally be together again, knowing he would be coming home early with me instead of staying on until the end of October. But before coming home, we went to Wales to visit my friend Jane. You might recall my post R is for Rhossili here.

Warm thanks to Mrs. Nesbitt, the wonderful creator of ABC Wednesday and to Roger, our current administrator of the site.  Without them, we would not be here sharing all our witty and whimsical posts. We welcome all newcomers and would love our "oldies" to continue in the upcoming Round 12.  As well, we welcome anyone who is interested in participating on the team by visiting about 10 posts other than the ones you already visit.  Please contact Roger at ABC Wednesday here.

Enjoy the slideshow about my experiences living on Woodstock Terrace in London - I know it's long, but the next last 3 posts of the year will be short - I promise! 

Also, since next Tuesday is Christmas Day and in Canada Wednesday is Boxing Day,
I'd like to take this moment to wish everyone, wherever you are in the world, a very

Merry Christmas!
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Sunday, December 09, 2012


My friend Anne and I were valiant vagabonds as we strolled towards Radcliffe Square in Oxford. Suddenly, we came upon a couple of bicycles leaning against the stone wall.  Each had a basket full of colourful vegetation and a sign indicating a cafe that welcomed one and all - the Vaults Garden Cafe.  It is named the Vaults because of its proximity to the Radcliffe and Bodleian Libraries - an apt name, I thought. Although we didn't go in (no time), I did stop and take a few shots of the bikes as they were indicative of the area, the contemporary yet historic heart of Oxford.  The cafe opened in 2003 and offers unpretentious hospitality, local organic food, a vibrant environment, and affordability.  The cafe will provide picnic blankets so you can dine on the lawns or you can sit inside the "Old Congregation House" with its vaulted ceilings, which dates from 1320. Next time I'm in Oxford on vacation, I'll definitely pop in for a bite to eat, preferably on the lawns.

I played around with my two photos of the bikes and I hope you like them.  Sometimes it's fun just to see what you can do with colour and saturation even though the photo may not look "real."  They are vibrant, though, and I feel victorious about being able to do this! First, one original -

and then my vicarious thrill of changing colours.

Then the other original -

 and my other attempt at variety.
Venerable thanks to Mrs. Nesbitt, founder and creator of ABC Wednesday and her valiant sidekick, Roger, who has taken over the administrative reins of the site.   We have been very fortunate in having voluminous posts on ABCW but without our volunteers to assist with the visitations, poor Roger and Mrs. Nesbitt would be vulnerable to virtual exhaustion.  So if you'd like to participate in visiting about 10 posts per week, please contact Roger here at ABC Wednesday.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

U is for the UNDERGROUND

I had lots of practise during this past holiday in England using their Underground system of transportation.  Along with the Underground, I rode the Overground, the Docklands Light Rail System (the DLR), a canal boat and the trains.  Because I stayed in East London for 3 weeks, I always carried a convenient map that showed the routes so that I could plan my mini-trips.  I went to places like downtown London, Canary Wharf, out to Essex, up to Oxford, to Camden and Little Venice on the Regent Canal, and to Stratford where the new uber mall is located.  It wasn't long until I was boarding and unboarding like a native.  And I also learned why everyone ran to get the next underground, overground, or train.  Most people, and I got one too, have Oyster cards that are prepaid, so the longer your trip lasts, the more it costs.  Therefore, the sooner you catch your connection the sooner you get to your destination...thus, cheaper!
My travel partner, Cathy, was with me for 4 days in London at the Carlton Hotel right across the street from King's Cross and St. Pancras stations.  When we rode the trains together, we always got a seat even if there were none available - very nice gentlemen would stand up for us.  However, after she left I hardly ever got a seat.  She says it's because of her white hair!  Maybe so.  *Sigh*  We got there just as the Paralympics started and I must say the Stratford Station was a horror to get through!  But I was still in London when it was all over and travelling to and fro was much easier.  I have to admit, though, that I got turned around a couple of times and caught the underground tube going the wrong direction!  It's weird to descend so far underground, twisting and turning directions to find your track that you lose your sense of where North, South, East and West are.

After Cathy left, I moved over to Lorne's place and every day for 3 weeks, I travelled on the DLR and then transferred at Stratford Station to the Overground to Homerton to visit my dear one in the hospital, who ended up there after an accident while working in London.  He unknowingly broke his big toe, which ended up becoming infected and then it developed into osteomyelitis (infection of the bones) which went through his entire system.  The end result was a partial amputation which left him in the hospital for 3 weeks on IV antibiotics!  Good thing I was in the country so I could stay on with him until he was well enough to come home.  But before we did, we travelled to Wales so he could meet my unbelieveably wonderful friend Jane and her beau Neil.  We took the train from Paddington Station after getting there from the DLR to the underground Bow Church station and out to Paddington on the Hammersmith & City Line underground train.

I managed to get some photos of some of the Underground stations, the DLR, and other methods of transportation so I hope you like the short slideshow today. I have to tell you though that #5, 6, and 14 are from Google but all the rest are my shots.  Enjoy the ultimate in London travel.
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Finally, thanks to the upstanding Roger for his unwillingness to desert the post as our current administrator of ABC Wednesday.  He and his useful staff of probably unqualified but undeniably eager helpers urgently encourage you to consider joining the team.  All that is necessary is to utilize a few minutes of time to visit a few blogs (usually 10) along with your usual favourites.  Since Round 12's new heading with soon be unveiled and will begin at the New Year, why not make it a resolution to just try it out for this Round?  You just might find it utterly uplifting!  Contact Roger through ABCW site here.