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.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

H is for HE'S HOME!

“Man wanted a home, a place for warmth, or comfort, first of physical warmth, then the warmth of the affections.”
  Henry David Thoreau, Walden 

When Lorne and I reconnected in 2008, it was like a homecoming.  We were both a bit lost and lonely, and we needed each other desperately.  So we made a home together.  However, we both expected perfection and didn't understand our roles.  Even though we were in love again after several decades, it didn't work.  So we parted ways for a while.

“Now they return home, their bones bruised and their spirit slightly broken, but they’re still alive, and they will be well sometime soon.”

Separately and together, we worked on ourselves.  We learned humility while accepting our faults and worked on changing them.  We also learned what our individual strengths and weaknesses are and learned to accept them in both ourselves and each other.  We learned that life does not have to be particularly exciting each and every day; we learned to revel in the quiet moments when a simple look or touch can make the other feel the love.  We learned that we didn't "need" each other, but we "loved" each other warts and all.

“I wonder if it will be—can be—any more beautiful than this,’ murmured Anne, looking around her with the loving, enraptured eyes of those to whom ‘home’ must always be the loveliest spot in the world, no matter what fairer lands may lie under alien stars.”
  L.M. Montgomery, Anne of the Island 

I love to travel the world (not that I've been everywhere) and Lorne had not been off the North America continent.  But we did end up in England last summer - he to work for the Olympics and I to travel and visit friends.  He accepted my ability to help him in his new experience while I was thrilled to introduce him to good friends and show him some sights.

 “After all," Anne had said to Marilla once, "I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.”

When we came home, we knew for sure we wanted to be together forever, and we never forget to tell each other how much we love each other.  I don't know how much time we have but we are making a home together and making every day count.

“What I love most about my home is who I share it with.”
  Tad Carpenter 

When I thought I might lose him to a second cancer, I starting snapping photos of him any chance I had.  Sometimes, he knew I was taking his picture, but most of the time he didn't.  I remember thinking "I have to keep this memory alive just in case..."  We've been through hell a few times and we might need to go through it again, but for now we are happy to be home together. So this week, I am sharing that he is home from the hospital and what home means to me - my hero.
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Sunday, August 25, 2013


The last few weeks have been ghastly in some ways and great in other ways! I had been gnawing not only on my fingernails, but also on my actual fingers! I was extremely anxious about Lorne having surgery to remove not only the two cancerous spots on his liver, but also 2/3 of the liver.  I'd heard it was a very painful surgery to recover from and everyone knows that men are not the best patients.  

At the same time, my younger daughter was getting married!  After being engaged for over a year, everything had been planned - the venue paid for; the dress was made, altered, paid for and hanging in one of my spare closets; the crafts were completed; the guests had all RSVPed; and I had the flowers growing in my garden!

One very grave situation and one very sentimental situation - both not boding well for calm, cool, collected me.  Hah! Tranquilizer, anyone?  One night as I was trying to get to sleep, I finally resorted to an Atavan because I couldn't decide if I should laugh or cry.  Much as I was thrilled for my daughter, I was equally worried about Lorne and disappointed that he couldn't share the big day with us all.

Anyway, thought I'd type this up early just in case any emergencies arise this coming week.  In brief, Lorne is home, but not a happy camper and daughter is in Whistler on her honeymoon.  So I'm still a bit concerned about Lorne's health and getting my car back in one piece on Friday.  I put together a slideshow showing the gazebo and gardens at Kirkland House where daughter got married and then added some more shots of various gardens, gates and gazebos I've photographed in the past.  Music is "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?" from The Lion King. Hope you enjoy it.
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Hopefully, I'll have some actual wedding photos to show you soon but in the meantime, we must remember to thanks the gorgeous Denise Nesbitt, the creator of ABC Wednesday, and the gallant Roger, our administrator.  Also, great thanks to the team who assist by gallivanting over to contributors' posts to give generous commentaries.

PS:  Good thing I did this last week, as there was an emergency!  Lorne ended up back in the hospital very very sick with jaundice!  He is still there today (Sunday) and waiting for an ultrasound after having had a CT scan.  Blood tests are not good so we are both waiting to find out what's going on.  Prayers gratefully accepted. 

Monday, August 19, 2013


I don't have much energy today, so am just putting up a brief post and a few photos of the fountain and surroundings at our Municipal Hall.  There's a beautiful but small park area with a pond full of lily pads, turtles, water fowl, and, of course, the feature is the fountain.

Update on life currently is that Lorne made it through his liver surgery and we await the pathology report on tenterhooks.  Hopefully, he won't need more chemo.  Also, younger daughter got married on Sunday and is away on her honeymoon right now.  They're spending a few days at the world famous Whistler.  You can just imagine why I'm so faint from all the activities lately and sometimes not sure whether to laugh or cry.

If you click on the first photo, they'll come up on another page so you can view them better.  Your choice, of course.

Flowery thanks go as usual to the fantastic Mrs. Nesbitt, the creator of ABC Wednesday, and to the fabulous Roger, our administrator.  Also, thanks to the fearless team of contributors who faithfully visit every participant every week in order to give them feedback.  Have a fun fun fun week, everyone!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


      Welcome to lucky Round 13 of ABC Wednesday, the brainchild of the elegant and exquisite Denise who has appointed the earnest and educated Roger as her administrator. Thanks also to their eager and edifying team of assistants who visit everyone each week to give eternal and edifying praise to all the contributors. And now, on with my show:
     Echinacea is a very popular herb, especially for the treatment of flu and colds. It is a genus of herbaceous flowering plants in the daisy family - Asteraceae. It is also known as the American coneflower.  It was commonly used by Native Americans for hundreds of years before the arrival of European explorers, settlers and colonizers. It is common to eastern and central North America and thrives in moist to dry prairies and open woodlands.  By the early 1800s echinacea became a popular herbal remedy among those who had settled in the USA, and soon became commonly used in Europe as well. It became much more popular after research was carried out on it in Germany in the 1920s. (paraphrased from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/252684.php)

     I have tried using echinacea when I get the first sign of a cold and I think it might help to relieve some of the symptoms.  However, I must admit I'm very cautious about combining herbal meds with the meds that my doctor has prescribed for me.  There can be dangerous side effects.  I also used another herbal remedy when I started going through menopause and was overpowered by hot flashes.  For example, when my friend and I ended up in Nice (France) one hot summer day, we had to stay in the hotel until about 6 pm because we were both overwhelmed by the heat.  When I returned home, the doctor put me on hormone replacement therapy but all it did was make me feel pregnant!  So I started on Evening Primrose, gradually increasing the dose until I took 3 tablets 3 times a day.  What a relief!!!

     The point is that some herbs can be very beneficial, but you must be careful with them and use them under a doctor's guidance.  When I discovered some echinacea flowers blooming in other people's gardens, I decided to get some for myself and now I love watching them develop.  There are so many different varieties and colours.  Some of my potted ones will be at my daughter's wedding next weekend - at her request!

     Echinacea may be helpful in some illnesses or diseases, but it certainly won't do anything for my dear Lorne right now.  He enters Vancouver General Hospital tomorrow, August 14th, for his liver operation.  Spots were found, some chemo has been administered, and now he gets about 2/3 of his liver removed.  (It does regenerate within 4-6 weeks, though.)  So rather than send him echinacea, please remember him in your thoughts and/or prayers.   Thanks and I hope you enjoy this very short slideshow of the echinacea in my garden.    
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Saturday, August 03, 2013


My sister is our family geneologist.  She's had an interest in the history of our family for many years and has been quite successful in tracking it back for centuries.  She's focused mostly on our mother's side because one of our cousins is tracking our father's side.   

Sister discovered that Generation #3's Edmund Gross was born in Cornwall, England in May of 1613 but died in 1660 in Boston, Massachusetts.  His first child, Isaac, was born in Boston in 1642.  Therefore, there have been descendants in the USA and Canada for at least 370 years!  

With documentation to verify her findings, she has found that we are descended from as far back as July 6, 1555, where our (I'm not sure how many "greats") grandfather was born in Kelsale, Suffolk, England.  My grandchildren are Generation #15 from William Gross and his wife Mary.

Recently, she has discovered that Generation #15 is descended from a Frenchman by the name of Oliver LeGros, who was born in 1364, and is described as a knight of Crostwick, Norfolk.  DNA has proven that he is the ancestor of our Gross family in England, a family of ship owners in Cornwall and Great Yarmouth.

Because of the timing, sister tried to discover if any of the family came over to North America on the famous Mayflower whose maiden voyage was September 6 to November 9, 1620. Sister checked all the available manifestos, but was unsuccessful in finding any names that would prove this.

Then, just a couple of months ago, she phoned me all agog with excitement.  She had made a fantastic discovery.  The reason why there were no names relating to us as passengers on the Mayflower was because - are you ready for this? - we are descendants of the family that owned the ship!!!  This is a photograph of the replica I took when visiting Plymouth, MA, in the summer of 1988.  Little did I know at the time!

Trying to locate a family's history can be very complicated as there are so many branches on the tree.  It isn't quite clear as yet where these names all tie together, but sister did discover that the Gross family of Great Yarmouth were major trading partners as well as relatives of the Gross families in Kelsale and Little Bentley in Essex.

I was in England last summer and now I discover that I was less than a 2-hour trip to the village of Kelsale where I might have been able to see the graves of my great X ? many grandfather and grandmother!  This is the St. Mary and St. Peter Church there and I found it online here where it tells all about it.  I definitely have a desire to return soon to the land of my ancestors!

Thanks to the darling Denise Nesbitt, the creator of ABC Wednesday, and to the dashing and dapper Roger, our administrator.  Also, thanks to the diligent team of assistants who drop in on all the contributors to leave delightful and dynamic documentation to let you know how much they appreciate all the contributions to ABCW.