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.

Monday, April 24, 2017

P is for PETS

Welcome to ABC Wednesday! Today we are celebrating the letter P as in peppermint, paste, pickles, pollywog, and plentyPlus, I'm sure many of you have pets or have had pets at some time in your lives.  Maybe it's a cat, maybe it's a dog, maybe it's a fish or a turtle or a lizard or some other weird creature. Maybe you have more than one or a combination of cat + dog or dog + fish or hamster + whatever.  Any way you look at it, though,owning a pet definitely can change your life.

When I was a child, we had Mitzi, a purebred boxer that my Dad totally loved!  And when I got married, the nesting instinct set in. However, only cats were allowed where we lived and I thought it would be a great new experience. 
Unfortunately, the cat wasn't such a great pet.  I gave her a beautiful name, Velvet, because that's just how she felt when I patted her.  Velvet was good when she was a kitten, but as she got older, she got really nasty. She would want to be on your lap but when she'd had enough, she'd turned and hiss and spit at you!  She lived about 12 years and that was the only cat I've ever owned.

So back to having dogs!  We got Cassie, a purebred boxer in the early 1980s when we thought our daughters were old enough to take part in caring for a pet.  She was so sweet, but sadly had a bad heart and we had to have her put down when she was only about a year old.  Even having her for that short amount of time didn't preclude terrible feelings of grief.  But...never fear...another pet came along about 9 months later!

Star was the best dog ever!  Another purebred boxer with such a gentle nature!  She let the girls dress her up in costumes, including sunglasses and hats and pajamas and anything else that came to hand. She flew in cargo when we all moved from Vancouver to Ottawa and back in the mid to late 1980s and did really well.  Below left is Star on top playing with her sister that our friends got at the same time.

She had a wonderful life, even outliving my husband who passed away in 1992. I got her a basket and she slept in my bedroom with me from then on. She started having some problems around 1997 when she was almost 12 years old and with extreme grief, we had to say good-bye.  I'm sure she'll be waiting at the Rainbow Bridge for me when I get there. 

But then along came Robbie, a purebred cocker spaniel who decided that he was going to be the Alpha of our pack!  Um...I don't think so!  I took him for professional training and worked really hard with him to obey.  But he turned vicious, biting a friend I ran into on the street, my son-in-law, and ME - twice!  When he was 3 years old, we had to say "sayonara" to Robbie. I couldn't take a chance on him around my grandchildren, who were small at that time.

Now I have the BEST pet of all - I know some of you have seen photos of Tegan, my very first purebred English Labrador.  Here she is a couple of days after bringing her home at 11 weeks, exploring the back yard.  She sat right away when I told her to and stayed!  Now that's smart!
Oh my goodness, I knew that Star was smart, but she seems kind of dumb now compared with Tegan!  She's 4 1/2 already, and I realized recently that she's the only pet that I've had that is all mine! I don't have to share her with anyone! We have completely bonded and she is like my child (but not to any excess - she is a dog, after all) and she has learned how to behave extremely well.  The only problem she has is that she is too smart for her own good.  She thinks she can do things against the rules and she'll get away with them.  For example, if she sees other people or dogs, she'll run to them to say "Hi" and won't come back! I also have to be careful that she is never allowed off leash unless it's an area that is completely fenced in.  Here is a typical pose asking me to play Frisbee with her.
Here is my girl - so pretty, sweet, smart, and my personal confidant.  We enjoy pleasant and peaceful evenings together after busy days of perennial Frisbee fun!  And when I gaze at her dozing at my feet or on her blankie on the sofa, I have a poignant feeling she will be my last pet.
To all pet lovers, may you have a perfectly pleasant week with your beloved pets.  Take lots of photos of them because life is so short and one day, those photos will be very precious to you.

Saturday, April 15, 2017


Welcome to ABC Wednesday where today I'm honouring our local "rag" called the Optimist.  I know, you thought I was going to give you a definition or something...but no, there was something in our paper on March 24, 2017, that I've been saving for just this week!  And the entire post is an homage of sorts to our official administrator Roger, music aficionado that he is! 
Back in June, 1980, the legendary Chuck Berry performed in my little village of Ladner in British Columbia, Canada!  Ladner is sort of a bedroom community of Vancouver, BC, which most people know.  Chuck Berry passed away recently at the old age of 90, so the paper had a sort of retrospective of his time among us villagers.  There is even a YouTube video that I'm going to give you the URL for and you can see for yourselves that I'm not kidding you!
Now back in June of 1980, I was a young mother with a 3 1/2 year-old and a weeks-old baby.  I really wasn't up on current world events and certainly didn't have the energy to keep on top of even  our local news, either.  So this was big news to me when I read that Chuck Berry had been here for the grand opening of a local car dealership.

Apparently, the crowd was made up of young and old, including a lot of kids.  A fellow by the name of Gary Schoen commented that "it was a bit strange seeing somebody like that outside the confines of a club. But, the whole idea of him playing outside, doing a free show was what really got us going there to be able to see someone like that, a legend."  The Optimist reported after the concert that the show had attracted 5,000 people and that a police spokesperson said the crowd was well-behaved.

Well, we ARE Canadians, after all, and live in a small community!

Chuck Berry passed away at his home in Missouri on Saturday, March 18, 2017. He had been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, and "after Elvis Presley, only he had more influence on the formation and development of rock and roll," states the organization's website.

So there you go, Roger!  I almost met a legend 37 years ago and only found out about it recently.  The video is 27 minutes long and the first song is instrumental but he sings in the second song and that's as far as I went.  Enjoy!  Go here!
By the way, ROGER, (and everyone else) you might be interested in reading some of the comments under the video from locals and even from the fellow who recorded it. 

Monday, April 10, 2017


I was feeling nostalgic this week, so went wandering through my Pedalogue archives.  I found something I'd written a long time ago and it made me laugh out loud.  So I thought I'd share it this week to honour the letter N as in Narration.  It is almost the same, but with a few added "N" words to fit this week's theme. Hope it gives you a laugh.

Once upon a time there was a cactus named Willy. He lived in a nursery with lots of other plants, and his best friends were Biff and Happy. One day they were packed into a truck and taken to the local grocery store where they proudly preened themselves in front of all the lovely ladies who came by looking for house plants.

One day an old lady came by and took note of the three of them. After a great deal of checking out all the other plants, she finally decided to take Willy, Biff, and Happy.

"Whooee!" yelped Willie. "We've got a new home!"

"Yeah, and we'll all be together forever," answered Biff. "I want the window seat!"

Happy budged him saying, "Nope! I get it this time. You got to be by the window when we came to the store in the truck."

The three of them kept spiking at each other all the way along the grocery store conveyer belt. The clerk put them in the same bag and all the way home in the old lady's car, Willy got the top spot. Biff and Happy got  bit nauseated from the motion of the car.

"Ooh! Gulp!" they kept yelling.

The old lady put each of them in their very own special nubby pot and placed them together on a table where they could see the TV.

"Cool," said Willy. "I love watching TV."

Every week, the old lady came and gave them all a nice long drink of cool water. And when she did, Willy, Biff, and Happy stood up tall and proud.

But after a few months, the old lady seemed to forget about the three friends.

"I'm thirsty," said Biff.

"So am I," said Happy.

"Me, too," said Willy.

One day Biff thought he needed a nap but, suddenly, he just fainted. He just lay down all wilty.

The next day Happy fainted. He lay down all wilty, too.

The day after that, Willy just couldn't take it anymore, and he started to feel rather droopy.

But suddenly, the old lady remembered about them and arrived to give them a big long drink of that lovely cool water.

"Glug, glug, glug," went Willy, Biff, and Happy.

But Biff and Happy couldn't take all that water. It was just too much.

"We're drowning!" they cried out.

And down they went. First Biff. Then Happy.

The next morning found Willy all alone. His best friends were gone. They lay there all wilty and wet. And when the old lady noticed after a few days, she took them away leaving Willy to stand up tall and proud as the last surviving friend. But too much had happened that made him sad. Willy missed his friends so much.

Even though the nice old lady gave Willy some water every once in a while, Willy just started to get sadder and sadder. He started to wilt. First, he felt his tippy top tip curl under a bit. Then, he started to feel weaker in the middle. Willy slowly started to bend. Finally, Willy just couldn't hold himself up anymore, so he let himself fall all the way down onto his dry dirt bed.

"Biff! Happy! I miss you!" he rasped.

And so it came to pass that Willy joined his best friends Biff and Happy in that great big desert in the sky.

The End. (Based on my own non-green thumb experience.)

Can anyone guess the allusion to a certain play?

Sunday, April 02, 2017

M is for MARRIAGE - "I do!" or "I don't!"

These days, I often wonder what it's like to be happily married for 40+ years.  My sisters and I didn't have great role models as parents and our mother encouraged us to become educated so we would have a career to fall back on "in case something happens to [your] husband."  She had been told by her mother that she had "made her bed so now sleep in it."  She had no "out" because divorce was unthinkable in those days.  So we grew up thinking our future was supposed to be marriage and kids. However, we were in that generation when women were starting to realize that there was more to life than just that.  All three of us finally ended up making our own lives and trying to make them as happy as we could on our own. My older sister divorced and never remarried, my younger sister was in a 10-year common-law relationship with an alcoholic until she ended up kicking him out, and I've been widowed after a tumultuous marriage and currently am (permanently) separated.

You know the phrase "for better or for worse"?  Well, which is better - marriage to the same man until you die OR being single (perhaps childless, too)?  Or is there a happy medium somewhere along the way?  I imagine it depends on your circumstances.  If you had great role models in your parents, the odds are you would have a happy marriage.  But what if your husband turned out to be an abuser, an alcoholic, or squandered the money away, putting the entire family into debt?  How much is forgivable and when and where do you draw the line and separate?

If you didn't have great role models in your parents, are you predetermined to fail at marriage?  How do you learn what a good relationship is like and how you should respond in times of difficulty?  My first husband and I went to counseling more than once.  The first time was before we had children and the counselor looked at me and ask if I was a masochist because my husband was never going to grow up.  But I loved him!  So we stayed together and I tried harder.  After we had two children, we ended up at counseling again, where I was told to have a drink ready for him when he came home from work and keep the children away until dinnertime. I actually tried that!  Today I would have told both the counselor and my husband to go take a leap!  But it worked for a while, until it got so bad that my husband would continue drinking until he passed out and I fed the children and put them to bed.  Then I'd spend the rest of the evening staring at the TV. 

After he died, I worked to support myself and my children, doing the best I could under the circumstances.  I never looked at another man until they were grown up and had flown the coop.  One was already married and had had her first child, too.  Then when I met and married someone else, I got nothing but grief from my kids.  That marriage failed disastrously but not because of them.

I'm now single and enjoying life with my precious English Labrador Tegan.  But back to my question at the beginning of this post - what is it like to be married to the same person for forever?  Do friends come and go or do they maintain a circle of good friends for all those years?

I discovered a new sitcom on Netflix that some of you may have heard of - "Grace and Frankie" - about two women whose husbands fall in love with each other and divorce their wives so they can get married.  It stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, two women in their 70s who struggle to deal with their circumstances.  I have been laughing my way through this and it's been making me feel quite a lot better about my lot in life.  One line that really resonated with me was when Grace (Jane Fonda) states how hard it is to make new friends when you're almost history yourself!  But she perseveres and her character's personality adapts and finds joy in her life, as does Frankie (Lily Tomlin). 

So I guess turning 70 isn't so scary now as I know I'm a survivor.  The future is unknown to us all and we all have to make the best of whatever our lives have become.  I have plans for the future and if those plans include someone else, so be it.  If I have to fly solo for the rest of time, so be it. I know I can now count on my "virtual friends" to listen as I share my excitement for each new adventure and to enjoy the tales of my adventures yet to come.

 This is the current love of my life.  You can see how much she adores playing Frisbee!
Thanks to marvelous Roger, our magnanimous administrator and to modest Denise Nesbitt, the creator of ABC Wednesday many moons ago!  Also thanks to the merry band of assistants who manage to take time each week to visit the multitudinous contributors!  Without them, Roger and I would be feeling miserable at the mountainous number of visits we'd have to make. Finally, as we are now about halfway through Round 20, remember that when Round 21 begins, the marvelous Melody will take over the management of being administrator with her own magnetic charm, assisted by two of her friends.  Please get in touch with her if you are interested in joining the team to keep the workload to a minimum