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.

Sunday, September 30, 2007


Update: On a lighter note, and please pardon the pun, I lost 3.5 lbs in a week. I assume it's partly the stress of the loss and the release of the stress worrying about Dad. I'm on the mend and thrilled to have found a new "little black dress" in a smaller size. I plan to party hearty Saturday night at my birthday soiree.
I thought I was doing quite well after my Dad's death. Unfortunately, being alone with Dad and holding his hand as he took his last breaths was more traumatic than I'd realized. I thought all those tears I shed were healthy, and of course they were, but little did I realise that the real pain had yet to come. That first phase of grief - shock, disbelief, numbness - is always a time of ritual mourning. That is, we were busy with the restless over-activity of managing all the business and details of the Celebration of Life, the will, getting the death certificates, responding to friends' condolences, etc.

The second phase of grief is what I believe I experienced over the last few days. The intensity of the pain was unbelieveable and apparently can last for days, weeks, or even months. I've just been through 4 days of that intensity and this morning feel like I've been through the proverbial wringer. I know I'll be okay (having been through it before with my husband and my mother), but right now I'm a limp rag. One night I slept for over 14 hours, waking up to sensations of total body numbness as though I'd been drugged. Then Friday night I didn't sleep at all, getting up several times in the night to play games on the computer. I finally got up close to 6:00 am when the newspaper arrived - with the official obituary. I think that's when it really hit - the finality of it all when I saw it in writing. What followed was extreme nausea, fitful sleeping complete with vivid, crazy dreams from the exhaustion that had set in, headaches, and crying all the way from gulping sobs to quiet and relentless weeping. I felt dizzy, weak, and as though I weren't even real myself.

I'm coming back now. I guess this is what they call the third stage of grief. It will take time as we still have Dad's reception on Oct. 11th, and then all the business part won't be completely over until tax time in April. It's a strange thing knowing you're the older generation now and will be the next ones to go on that final journey.

But I'm okay for now. Life goes on and already I've stripped the bed and have the first load of laundry in. I'm going to have a shower, put on some clothes and even a touch of makeup, and if the rain lets up, maybe go for a walk and get some fresh air.

Friday, September 28, 2007

How To Look Good Naked

Do I have your attention now?

Sorry I don't have all the answers because God knows if I thought I looked good naked, I'd be in that state most of the time. However, I even wear panties with my nighties and in the winter if it's cold, I wear socks! When my husband was alive, I always made sure I had pretty nighties or satin jammies and there were no old makeup smudges under my eyes. Now, I must admit that I sleep alone so I don't have to worry about "looking good" in the dark for anyone. I do, however, attempt to look presentable during the day, especially in public.

There's a new TV program (from England) called "How to Look Good Naked." I saw one episode and just might take another peek at it. Maybe in one show Gok Wan will focus on tummies that need tucked or muffin tops that need suctioned - both areas I'd like to improve. It's actually quite a fun show and takes you through the transformation of some rather blah-looking British women into quite stunning-looking goddesses. Their self-esteem blossoms to the point where they're able to pose naked without having had any surgical procedures.

My self-esteem is still at the "voyeuristic" stage - I'll watch and learn but don't think I'd ever go on a show like this. Would you?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Celebrate the Sixties

Is 60 the new 40? It could mean that people are living longer today, they're healthier, and they're enjoying life more. Now the average age for someone moving into a nursing home is 81, but in the 1950's, it was 65. In a 2005 Merrill Lynch survey of people between the ages of 40 and 59, 76% said they planned to retire when they were about 64 — and then start an entirely new career. Men and women in their 70s and 80s race in almost every marathon. Seniors teach and take classes, travel, and just seem to live fuller lives than ever before.

On the other hand, are we ageing gracefully? In other words, how many are turning to Botox, collagen injections, and laser skin treatments? How many grey-haired over 60s do you come across? I’d like to age gracefully and I am lucky that I inherited good genes in that regard. When I was married at 25, I looked about 14 and now as I approach the final week of my 50s, I recall going to my daughter’s office one day and her telling me later that her colleagues thought I must have been a teenager when I had her. (I was 29) I must be honest, though, as I have often thought of having the inherited droopy jowls hiked up and the inherited muffin top suctioned. Will I ever do it? Probably not.

Mark Twain once said, "Wrinkles should merely indicate where a smile has been." I smile a lot because it’s a natural and instant facelift. I wear some makeup to enhance my appearance and I have my hair done because I like the colour. I eat healthily and walk to keep fit because it makes me feel good. Fellowshipping with friends and family, keeping up with what’s going on in the world, and finding things that interest and challenge me will help me to age as gracefully as possible.

I predict that the last third of my life will be the best! As a single sixty, I can do what I want, when I want, if I want. Some plans are to travel more, write those books, and become proficient in photography so I can design greeting cards from my photos. I hope to make even more friends from all over the world and if God intends it, find a companion to join me in the exciting journey to come.

Like Sylvia does, I plan on celebrating for the whole month of October this year. So watch for lots of photos of the birthday dinner at River Rock Casino with my girl friends, the family Thanksgiving/birthday party for me and my son-in-law (remember my American friends, our Thanksgiving is in October), the celebration of life for my Dad, my daughter’s birthday, and Halloween. I also plan on getting out and about taking photos of the changing colours of the season in this beautiful corner of the world.

I plan to live, laugh, and love – in that order. Anyone want to come along for the ride?

UPDATE: Just did a fun little quiz that a friend sent me and apparently I'm going to live to be 95.8 years old. So I've got a lot of living still to do.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Au Revoir Papa

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)

Two weeks ago today, my Dad fell and broke his hip. Miraculously, he survived the surgery he needed to fix it. And also miraculously, God gave us two more weeks to share in his life. Today at 12:05 p.m. God took him home. Dad is finally at peace and reunited with his beloved wife, my mother, whom he had missed terribly for over 5 years.
I received a call from the care home at 10:05 a.m. telling me that Dad was not doing well, his breathing was very laboured, and I should come. I was there at 10:35 a.m. and as soon as I saw him I knew this was it. The nurses told him I was there and I spoke to him, saying, "Dad, I'm here. It's Leslie. It's going to be all right now." I asked him to squeeze my hand to let me know he knew I was there because he couldn't open his eyes. He squeezed my hand and also was able to indicate to me that he was in no pain. When the nurses left us alone, I told him, "It's okay to let go, Dad. I know you want to be with Mom, so go and be with her. I promise we'll be okay."

After a while, Dad's breathing eased off and he seemed to drift into a deep sleep. I kept holding his hand and his breathing got slower and slower. At 12:05 p.m. he just simply stopped breathing. And he was gone. Peace at last and with my Mom.

When we have the obituary done, I'll post it so you can all see Dad's wonderful accomplishments - from flying during WWII to being in the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame. Thanks to all who prayed for him and for me during these difficult times, especially since we're really just "virtual" friends. As you can see from the photo (taken last October) that he had a wild and wacky sense of humour, too. We're really going to miss him.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Britain's Got Talent- Connie

You have just got to watch this! Talk about natural talent that has even Simon Cowell almost speechless.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


We've had a busy few days as everyone pitched in to help daughter#2 move into her first very own place. The journey we've been on for the last 6 months has been extremely stressful - tense, traumatic, and taxing. Almost two months of her life was spent in two different hospitals to help her get her mood disorder under control with pharmaceutical therapy. The rest of the time was spent in an adult transitional house where workers assisted her in preparing to return to the work force and to live on her own. Many, many tears have been shed over this period of time.

Back in April, I met with J's psychologist and social worker and told them that I would not allow J to come home to live with me again. They looked at me like I was evil incarnate. Knowing her as I do, I knew that it would be the worst decision to allow her home because we would both fall back into our old "roles." The only way I could help her was to NOT help her. I remember that day, as I sat on the edge of her hospital bed and listened to her cry as she said to me, "I just don't understand why I can't come home!" At the time, I told her, "I know you don't understand now, but I hope one day you will."

I think she understands now. Last night when I popped over to see how she was managing with unpacking her things, she welcomed me with a gigantic smile. She was in high spirits and said that it was great to be in her "very own place." She actually asked me to turn out the dining room light, too. I had to laugh because now she has to pay her own electric bill and is more aware of these little things. She proudly opened her kitchen cupboards and drawers to show me how she'd arranged things and told me that she would need to buy a cutlery organizer and some tea towels (no dishwasher in this place!).

Today, she went out for brunch with a girl friend and they drove into Richmond to Michael's (the craft store). As well as working to pay the bills, she's going to be getting back into designing jewelry, painting on canvas, and writing poetry. Tonight another friend is bringing sushi over to share and tomorrow she's off to check in with two of her doctors.
A lot of people showed up to help J move. The whole family helped as well as 3 of her friends and 3 people from my church, including the pastor himself - even with his bad back! At one point there were 11 people in her apartment and we all paused for a few minutes as my pastor led us in prayer to bless J and her new home. Family and friends - that's what life is all about. J's first day in her new apartment was filled with love and, even though she's living by herself, she knows that she is not alone in life.

She is nesting. She is filled with the joy that can only come with victory. She has succeeded in overcoming a frightening and debilitating illness that could have killed her. She's alive...she's well...she's back! With the help of family, friends, and prayer nothing can stop her now.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Virtual Pet

I saw this virtual pet thingy on someone else's blog site and thought it was really cute. Since I adore dogs, but don't have one at the moment (you may remember what happened to my cocker spaniel last spring) I thought this was great. I've always wanted a chocolate brown dog I could name Hershey - and this is the best kind of all. They don't cost any money for vets, food, toys, kenneling, etc. and best of all, you don't have to clean up after them. So here's my little Hershey - he's fun and you can even play with him. Click on the "more" button, and using your cursor, toss the ball around for him. He'll bark and chase the ball. Oh yes, click on the puppy treats box and feel free to give him a cookie, too. He also watches with curiosity your cursor move around. The only "down" side is that you can't really cuddle him. But what the heck, the pros outweigh the cons, don't you think?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Miracle: any amazing or wonderful occurrence or a marvellous event manifesting a supernatural act of God.

I believe my family has experienced a couple of miracles in the past few days. First, my Dad made it through the surgery for his broken hip. Not only was the surgeon able to pin his hip but also was able to bring Dad out of the anaesthetic faster to minimize any possible brain damage.

When I visited Dad this morning, he recognized me right away, calling me by name. He spoke to me almost as well as he could speak before the accident, too. He managed to do some exercises for the physiotherapist who came in and he said to her, "I'll do anything I can to get out of here." Wow! And he proceeded to keep working his legs until exhaustion set in. About 1/2 an hour later, the occupational therapists came in and got him up on his feet and he walked about 4 steps before getting himself into a large special chair. As I left, he was focused on the sports section of the newspaper I'd brought him. I guess God isn't quite ready for him. Even though he's still very weak, he sure is one tough old guy! To me this is a miracle as no one, including the surgeons, believed that he'd even make it through the surgery.

Next, my son-in-law got the word that he does NOT have a hernia which means that he can start his new job as of tomorrow. He is thrilled, to say the least, because after more than a year on disability he has been so bored at home. Also, he and my daughter were feeling really stressed and under the gun financially because of the new baby coming in early March. His going back to work full time really takes the pressure off her, and hopefully she'll be able to relax now and feel better. This pregnancy has been a bit more difficult that her first one. This is also, to me, a miracle in that SIL was nearly killed in June 06 and has come out of it with an even better paying job!

There have been many many people praying for my Dad and for my SIL's medical situation. So whether you believe in divine intervention or not, I am certainly considering these two things as miracles. And I want to sincerely thank those of you who have actually prayed for them and those of you who were sending good thoughts/vibes.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Church Squirrels

There were five country churches in a small Texas town: The Presbyterian Church, the Baptist Church, the Methodist Church, the Catholic Church and the Jewish Synagogue. Each church and Synagogue was overrun with pesky squirrels.

One day, the Presbyterian Church called a meeting to decide what to do about the squirrels. After much prayer and consideration they determined that the squirrels were predestined to be there and they shouldn't interfere with God's divine will..

In the Baptist Church, the squirrels had taken up habitation in the baptistry. The deacons met and decided to put a cover on the baptistry and drown the squirrels in it. The squirrels escaped somehow and there were twice as many there the next week.

The Methodist Church got together and decided that they were not in a position to harm any of God's creation. So, they humanely trapped the Squirrels and set them free a few miles outside of town. Three days later, the squirrels were back.

But -- The Catholic Church came up with the best and most effective solution. They baptized the squirrels and registered them as members of the church. Now they only see them on Christmas and Easter

Not much was heard about the Jewish Synagogue, but they took one squirrel and had a short service with him called circumcision and they haven't seen a squirrel on the property since.

For all who appreciate the outdoors . .. . the rarely photographed South Florida Squirrel.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Waiting is so hard...

Update: Dad made it through the operation! The good part is that the surgeon was able to pin the hip and didn't have to do a complete replacement. The bad part is that they couldn't give Dad an epidural with a mild sedation because he has been on a drug that could cause him to bleed out. He had to have a full general anaesthetic which could worsen his mental capacities. So now we wait again...and see how he is when he comes out of it. Thanks to everyone SO much for your kind thoughts and prayers.
The following is a shortened version of a post (from Dec. 06) about my Dad. He had a bad accident at the care home yesterday (Friday) and long story short, broke his hip. Turns out the xrays indicate he'd broken the same hip further down some time in the past and it had healed on its own. Now I know my Dad is one tough old coot, but imagine the pain he must have endured, thinking it was probably a pulled muscle. He was quite the athlete in his day (as you'll read below) and was never one to give in to a bit of pain. The photo is from last October when we celebrated Thanksgiving and my birthday together and you can see his great sense of humour. It's unbelieveable how he's declined so fast this past year. He sure doesn't look 86, does he?

As I write this, Dad is toothless, with a suction tube down his throat, and oxygen in his nose awaiting surgery tomorrow (Sunday) to repair this break. If his old bones won't hold three screws, the surgeons will need to do a hip replacement. He's not giving up because he's so mad at the other old coot who pushed him down. Hopefully, this anger will keep him going so he'll survive the next few days. I also keep reminding him about his next great grandchild coming so he'll have a reason to hang on. But, he is so high risk because of his age and having already survived a quadruple bypass, knee replacement, colon cancer, and the strokes that landed him in the care home last February.

The waiting is so hard on us all. We were at the hospital from noon until almost nine last night when Dad was transferred to another hospital for the surgery. I didn't sleep and only managed a short nap today after seeing him all prepped. My eyes are burning and my throat is sore from crying and worrying about him. All I can do now is pray that God's will be done and that Dad doesn't suffer. All prayers and good vibes gratefully accepted. Thanks everyone...

I've learned a lot about my Dad in the last several years. It's helped me to understand him as a person, not just as my father. He was lucky not to have had to go overseas during WWII, but he was a pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force training other pilots and patroling the East Coast of Canada for submarines and enemy aircraft. He never talked much about the war until recently and it's been fascinating to hear his stories.

On Christmas Day, my daughter was showing Dad the wonders of the internet. He was amazed when she pulled up the 1946-47 photograph of his soccer team. Dad was a local athletic hero back in his younger days. We have many newspaper clippings from the Vancouver Sun Sports pages extolling his skill on the soccer field. Bookshelves proudly display his medals, trophies, and framed photos. He then became a linesman and referee, and ultimately, Northern Commissioner for the province of BC. He was also instrumental in modernizing the referees' uniforms, changing them from the black and white stripe to basic black with white collar. In 1987, the St. Andrew's Soccer Team was inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame. It touched my heart as I watched the memories flooding back to him.

I remember Dad blasting on his referee whistle to call us kids to come home from whatever we were doing in the neighbourhood. I also remember going to soccer games around Vancouver, especially Callister Park. We kids loved Callister Park because it had bleachers and a refreshment stand. We'd run up and down the steps and around the outside of the stadium, stopping for a hot dog and a pop when we got tired. At outdoor parks, we'd play on the swings as my Dad ran up and down the field blowing his whistle, making weird gestures, and waving flags. Before the games, my Dad would always tell us to stay out of the way if a fight broke out. That happened frequently when the Italy and England teams played. We weren't really interested in the games and didn't understand such things as "penalties" or "offsides" but what was important was that we were with our Dad.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Living in the Sticks

As most of you know, I live about 1/2 hour south of Josie in a small village called Ladner. We have all the major conveniences here, but if I want to go to the city of Vancouver for anything, it's just a short drive. We have the "village feel" with lots of countryside surrounding us and on a clear day you can see Mount Baker in Washington State, the Coast Mountain range to the north of Vancouver, and in the west you can see the rolling hills of Vancouver Island.

My Humble Abode

You might think that all the houses around here are sort of average, middle-class, country-style. Well, yes, some are, but you just might be amazed at what else you'll find around here. One of my girlfriends is a real estate agent, and she just managed to nab quite the listing. If you check on her website, be prepared to enjoy some of the most beautiful homes for sale in the area. I was awestruck! The one that has just been sold on Westham Island was the home of some friends of ours and I've been there. It's stunning! And I think I've driven past the other one (on 28th) that's on the market for $4,500,000 but never realized what was behind that front view. So sit back and indulge yourselves for a few moments of viewing and listening pleasure. http://www.wendybetts.com/

Note: This is by no means any advertisement for my real estate agent; it's strictly for fun.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Buzzard, Bat and Bumblebee

If you put a buzzard in a pen that is 6'X8' and is entirely open at the top, the bird, in spite of its ability to fly, will be an absolute prisoner. The reason is that a buzzard always begins a flight from the ground with a run of 10-12 feet. Without space to run, as is its habit, it will not even attempt to fly, but will remain a prisoner for life in a small jail with no top.

The ordinary bat that flies around at night, a remarkably nimble creature in the air, cannot take off from a level place. If it is placed on the floor or flat ground, all it can do is shuffle about helplessly and painfully until it reaches some slight elevation from which it can throw itself into the air. Then, at once, it takes off like a flash.

A bumblebee, if dropped into an open tumbler, will be there until it dies, unless it is taken out. It never sees the means of escape at the top, but will persist in trying to find some way out through the sides near the bottom. It will seek a way where none exists until it completely destroys itself.

In many ways, we are like the buzzard, the bat, and the bumblebee. We struggle about with all our problems and frustrations, never realizing that all we have to do is look up. Sorrow looks back, worry looks around, but faith looks up. Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly and trust in our creator who loves us.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

An Open Message to My Daughters

The photos above are two of my favourites from when the girls were little. D#1 on the left was about 11 and D#2 was 7 1/2. It isn't often that I actually say the words, "I love you" to them or to my son-in-law. But today I've been thinking about them because they're all embarking on a new course in their lives.

D#1 is expecting her second baby. She's exhausted from the first trimester, working full time and coming home to her husband and little boy. Her husband has been on disability for over a year now, but just as he was ready to begin work again he found out he might have a hernia which could delay his start date. So they're both worried about finances with a second baby on the way.

D#2 is moving into her first apartment and will be totally on her own for the first time in her life. Some of you may recall my post of July13th when I told about her being diagnosed with bipolar 2 and how she's had a really bad spring and summer this year. But she is now back at work part time and doing extremely well. But along with the excitement of having her own place, I think there might be a bit of anxiety as well.
And so, loving them as much as I do, I wanted to tell them right here out in the open how much I love each one of them and how much I pray for them. I pray for rest and renewed energy for D#1. I pray for my SIL that his health not be compromised to the point where he can't start his new job. For them both, I pray that their financial situation will improve. I also pray for the health of the new baby. For D#2 I pray that she will have an easy move and that she will feel no anxiety as she starts out on a new path. I also pray that she will continue to gain confidence in working again and that her energy level will continue to improve.

Those of you who are parents know what it feels like to have to sit back and allow your adult children to experience difficulties in their lives. We still think of them as our "children," and much as we might want to jump in and look after them, we know we must let them live their own lives, make mistakes and even experience some failure. Only in that way will they become truly independent and confident in themselves.

I am so proud of my girls (and the one SIL I have so far) and so I'm dedicating this song to them. As I watched it, I remembered them taking their ballet lessons and floating around the house in their little tutus - laughing and frolicking like little fairies, free from all the worries of life. May they listen to the words of this song and think of it as a philosophy of life. I love you all...
PS: Double click on the video and you can watch it full screen.

Monday: I don't know why the video isn't coming up - something's wrong with Blogger. I'll keep trying to get it back so you can enjoy it. It really is a lovely video.