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.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Why do some men hate women?

Update: For another perspective on this topic, check out Ellee Seymour's post called "Why Do Women Stay With Brutes?"

I've been thinking about that phrase from the play "The Mourning Bride" by William Congreve, an English author of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. You know the one: "Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned." ("The Mourning Bride", 3.8) When you think of these few words, you automatically think about a woman who has been jilted by the one she loves and wants to viciously strike back. However, have you ever wondered how a man would feel if he were the one jilted?

This thinking/wondering came about as a result of a man who visits many sites and leaves disparaging, rude, crude, abusive, and cruel comments on women's blogs. Sometimes this type of behaviour accelerates into actual death threats (it hasn't happened to me) as in the case of Kathy Sierra who, in March 2007, shut down her blog because of sexually graphic death threats. So I started wondering just why do some men hate women to the extent that they'd do this.

I started doing some Googling and discovered, to my surprise, that there's a lot out there on this topic. Some write about this phenomenon being the result of original sin when Eve took and ate the forbidden fruit and then blamed it on Adam. That fruit, by the way, is a symbol of the promise of knowledge, something that Adam couldn't supply. Some actually believe that this story is central to the oppression of women worldwide.

Did you know that the English language has 220 words (almost all derogatory) for a sexually promiscuous female and only 20 for a sexually promiscuous male (most of these complimentary). Consider the following: A 'master' exercises authority whereas a 'mistress' is the so-called kept woman. The term 'sir' retains respect while 'madam' refers to someone who keeps a brothel. A 'lord of all he surveys' is quite different from a 'lady of the streets', and the meaning of 'he's a professional' is generally understood differently from 'she's a professional'. (from "Why Men Hate Women" by Celia Kitzinger, new internationalist issue 212 - October 1990).

Susan Forward, PhD, a leading psychotherapist states: "Once we begin to examine the forces that drive the woman hater, we find that much of his abusive behavior is a cover-up for his tremendous anxiety about women. He is caught in the conflict between his need for the woman’s love and his deep-seated fear of her. This man needs, as we all do, to feel safe. As adults we fulfill these yearnings through physical intimacy, emotional sharing and parenting. But the woman hater finds these yearnings terribly frightening. His normal needs to be close to a woman are mixed with fears that she can annihilate him emotionally. He harbors a hidden belief that if he loves a woman, she will then have the power to hurt him, to engulf him and to abandon him. Once he has invested her with these awesome and mythical powers, she becomes a fearful figure for him."

She goes on to explain that the woman-hater's conflicting emotions of yearning and fear result in behaviours of hostility, aggression, contempt and cruelty. Early childhood plays a role in contributing to this mysoginistic behaviour. In an ideal situation, mothers nurture and is a boy’s primary source of comfort, while fathers help pull the boy away from mother so that he does not become overly dependent on her. If you look closely at the childhood of a woman-hater, the father was probably either too frightened or passive to pull the boy from the mother, and consequently, the boy had no option but to make his mother the center of his universe.

"Without realizing it, in adult life he transfers this dependency, as well as conflicts and fears that go with it, onto the woman in his life. The woman hater saw his mother as having the power to frustrate him, to withhold love from him, to smother him, to make him feel weak, or to make insatiable demands on him"—and as an adult he views women as having these same powers.

I feel some sympathy towards this type of man because no matter what, something terrible happened to him sometime in his life that skewed his image of women. At the same time, I can't and won't tolerate written abuse from anyone like that on my blog. When it happens, I do not bother to argue back - it's a losing battle anyway - and I don't want it to escalate like it did on poor Kathy Sierra's site. I simply ignore the comment and delete it. I hope you will do the same thing out of respect not only for your readers, but also for yourself.

Excellence in Blogging

Last week I had the honour of being awarded the "This Blog is Rated E for Excellent" award not once, not twice, but three times! I was very surprised and I must say, humbled. I never blog with the thought of gaining any sort of recognition; rather I just write about what's on my mind at the time, my family, and participate in a few of the photo-sharing blogs (e.g. ABC Wednesday, Skywatch Friday, and Saturday Photo Hunt). However, I guess some of you actually enjoy reading what I write! I've met three wonderful ladies who presented me with this award through the above photo-sharing blogs and all come from different parts of the USA. Daryl lives in New York City and seems to be full of fun. Her blog name says it all - out & about in New York City. Since it's one city I've yet to see, I find it fascinating reading about her day to day life and adventures. Katney is a school librarian and lives in Washington State. She took the time to list her criteria for what she considers to be an excellent blog. I won't relist them here, but go on over and take a look at katney's kaboodles. I must say she's set the bar high. Finally, Ginee Dee is from Illinois, a state I haven't been to but will one day when I drive that Route 66 dream. A few interesting things about Ginni are that she grows beautiful roses (see the photo at the top of her site), loves her chihuahua Rosie, and breeds chickens. Only chicken farmer I know! Go and check out her view from my garden.

Now my problem is bestowing this award on at least ten more people whose blogs I consider witty, thoughtful, clever, helpful, meaningful, etc. There are so many but I will give it a go. In no particular order:

Arne lives in Oslo, Norway, and has had a heart and kidney transplant. He goes through lots of procedures but has a wonderful upbeat attitude. He's an amazing photographer and artist. You must check out his photo gallery here.

David at authorblog hails from Melbourne, Australia, and I happen to know that Katney already nominated him for this excellence award. But I'm going to nominate him anyway. He's a journalist and an internationally-published photographer. For unbelieveable excellence in photography, he's a must to visit.

Ellee in Cambridge, UK is a press consultant, political commentator and journalist. If you want to know what's going on in the UK, check out her blog. Today's post is titled "French chic, where are the heels?"

Gillian at A Bitch About Brittany is an ex-Londoner living in rural Brittany, France, for the last 15 years with her husband and two teenagers and a dog. Her ramblings about life in the countryside are appealing to those who wonder what it's like to live in a foreign country.

jmb at Nobody Important lives in Vancouver but we've yet to meet. She's retired from hospital pharmacy and writes about her travels, books, art, the city and currently is cruising the West Coast. She even finds the time to keep her readers up to date on what's happening onboard.

Kate at Chronicles of a Country Girl lives on a horse farm in Maryland. We met fairly recently and I enjoy reading her reports of life with horses (and her husband and dog, of course). She's just had knee surgery and is keeping us posted on her post-op condition of learning how to hobble around again and how to use her EB ice device.

lady macleod at Braveheart Does the Maghreb is a unique writer. She's a bit enigmatic, but it's always a pleasure to find out what life is like in Morocco for a woman who has lived in many places around the world. Right now she's living with her daughter while she (daughter) does a year of research.

Mary Ann lives on Vancouver Island in a fairly remote community. Her blog is entitled A Place Called Home and it's fun to read about her life there as opposed to her previous life in the big city of Vancouver. She's a nurse and has written some very revealing posts about the health care profession.

Ruth at Upstream and Down resides in Massachusetts and is in her final year of teaching. She is active in school and political issues in her Massachusetts hometown, an administrator for the Internet Writing Workshop, and Associate Editor of the Internet Review of Books.
I could never forget my good friend Josie of C'est la Vie who lives 1/2 hour drive north of me in the Kits district of Vancouver. Josie has a style of her own and is an excellent writer even though she frets about not having had formal advanced education. She draws and paints and has a vast knowledge of art, philosophy, and literature. She's also an avid jazz fan. You can always learn something new at Josie's place.

Finally, I must nominate Edmund the Explorer from the moors in the United Kingdom who is now preparing for an expedition to the Arctic, to raise funds for the children's unit at St. Theresa's Hospice in Darlington. The unit is especially for the children who have lost parents to cancer.
Here are the rules that are passed along with the award:

By accepting this Excellent Blog Award, you agree to award it to 10 more people whose blogs you find Excellent Award worthy. You can give it to as many people as you want but please try to award at least 10. You deserve this! Feel free to recognize blogs that have already received this award.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Saturday Photo Hunt Theme - HIGH

To see other contributions to the Saturday Photo Hunt, see tnchick's site.
In honour of my blogging friend Welshcakes Limoncello who writes "Sicily Scene," I decided to show some photos of her adopted land - Sicily.

I had already spent three weeks on mainland Italy, travelling north from Rome to Lerici, across to Florence and Siena, down to Orvieto and back to Rome, then on to Pompei and the Amalfi Coast. We took the overnight ferry from Naples and landed in Palermo. We didn't stay there, but drove to the hilltop town of Erice on Sicily's north-western coast. This town is 750 meters above sea level overlooking the city of Trapani. It was here that one would have found the most famous temple of the most famous goddess...Venus. Unfortunately, on the day we arrived I fell desperately ill and was not able to leave my hotel bed. Fortunately (for my fellow travellers), we stayed an extra day on my account and they were able to travel down to the seaport cities of Marsala and Trapani to see the mountains of salt being harvested. Click here for more information about the history of salt in Sicily. Trust me, it's a good read and not long.

As we were winding our way down the mountain on the day we left Erice, I managed to get this shot of the land and village below. It's one of my favourite shots of all the photos I have from this trip. Click to enlarge.

We also visited Segesta, not far from Erice, where we saw the first of many Greek temples. We had to take the bus up the hill to see the amphitheatre, which naturally is in ruins now. On the bus ride back down, I caught this shot of the temple far below. Click to enlarge.

This shot reveals just how HIGH the temple pillars are! If you look to the bottom of the photo about in the middle, you'll see a friend (in blue) sitting. I asked her to stay there to show the immensity of that temple. Click to enlarge.

We drove all across Sicily - covering Selinunte, Agrigento, Piazza Armenario, Siracusa, and other smaller places until we reached Taormina on the eastern coast of Sicily. We stayed at the San Domenico Palace Hotel (you must check out the pictures!), a reconverted monastery dating back to 1430. This was pure luxury overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

One day, we took in the Teatro Greco. You can see from this shot how HIGH up we were. And yes, that is Mount Etna in the background. It actually erupted the night we arrived and we saw flames and smoke coming out the top. (Unfortunately, the rest of the photos won't enlarge.)

Turning towards the city, I got this shot of the Mediterranean from the top of and behind the Teatro Greco.

Looking the other direction, we could see in the distance the town of Forza d'Agro where some scenes of the movie The Godfather were shot. Because the town of Corleone was so developed in the '70s, most of the filming was done here and in the town of Savoca. Here you'll find Bar Vitelli and the church Michael was married in.

I hope you've enjoyed some of the spectacular views I experienced from on HIGH in Sicily. But if you REALLY want to see something HIGH, come on over to Canada and cross the Rocky Mountains. Stay in Vancouver, BC, and go up the Skyride to the top of Grouse Mountain to see the city below. Or you can cross the Capilano Suspension Bridge for the scariest walk ever!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Skywatch Friday

Update: I woke up this morning to SNOW! Unbelievable for this time of year here!

It was a very strange day today. I woke up to some sunshine, but it was bitter cold. When I left for a morning appointment around 10:00 am, it was 5 Celsius but by the time I arrived home around 11:30, the temperature had dropped to 3 Celsius. For the end of March, this is very unusual - I even wore my leather jacket and gloves!

The clouds started to roll in and I watched as they turned from white fluff ...

to pale grey wisps......

darkening and thickening up.....notice the seagull at the bottom left of center in this photo....

to dark grey even while the sun tried to continue to push through......

to angry-looking monsters. I see a very grim and vicious creature here!

Man, I sure hope it warms up soon! To see more Skywatch Friday photos, see Tom here.


Only three more sleeps (as we say here in Canada) until school starts on its last term. I wonder how many kids are looking forward to returning to the routine of getting up early, rushing from class to class and then rushing off to things like sports practise, music lessons, dance recitals, and finally home for a quick bite before the evening ritual of homework. I wonder how many parents are looking forward to the same school-day rituals.

Since leaving the teaching profession, my days have tended to run into each other and I haven't given much thought to "routine." It's been pleasant and I haven't had any regret about taking early (very early) retirement. However, having recently taken on a student whom I tutor three times a week, I need to remember what day it is so that I'm home by 3:00 pm to greet him upon arrival at 3:15. And with a grandson who will be entering kindergarten in another year, I look forward to all the musical/drama productions, sports days, and open houses in which he'll participate.

Just for fun, here are a few cartoons that will give you a bit of a chuckle as we think about all those youngsters who are returning to school on Monday. I hope their spring term will be full of fun and happy memories along with a feeling of satisfaction and joy when they learn something new and exciting.
This one is especially for all you Moms out there who can't wait to see their child return to school.
My favourite memory as a young student is playing softball for the school team. I can conjure up the smell of damp grass along with the pungent odor of my well-oiled (by my Dad) leather glove. What's your favourite memory of the last term of school? (And no fair saying "recess," "lunch," or "the last day of school.")

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

ABC Wednesday - J is for JOY

ABC Wednesday is brought to you by Mrs. Nesbitt.
JOY is being a Gramma!

Noah and Eden visit the Easter Bunny for Eden's first Easter.

On the left is Noah when he was about 2 weeks old, and on the right is Eden last week when she was 2 weeks old. I chose these shots because they have a similar pose and they look so pure and innocent. I love these two little ones so much and enjoy them almost more than I did my own (not really) because I can love them and appreciate them and not have to do any of the "dirty" work involved in raising them. I will always be there for them!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Is there good customer service anymore?

I just got home from dinner out with my daughter after a long day's work painting. Since we were both too pooped to whatever, we decided to go out to a local eatery that has a fairly nice ambience but is reasonably priced.

We were seated promptly in a good location, private and off to the side. We decided what we wanted - daughter: grilled chicken burger, moi: garden burger, and we substituted Caesar salads instead of the fries. However, we did order their special sweet potato fries which were supposed to be for two people. When they arrived as an appetizer, both daughter and I looked at the plate and then at each other and almost burst out laughing.

"$5.99 for THAT?" I blurted.

With raised eyebrows, we proceeded to have about 6 pieces each, dipped in their "special" garlic sauce. (I think it was a thimble full of their Caesar salad dressing.)

Anyway, the plate was briskly removed when bare and our dinners finally arrived. Daughter had also ordered a decaf coffee and I had tea. The food was so-so but we were hungry and ate it anyway. When daughter finished her coffee, she placed her cup at the edge of the table so that the waitress could see that she needed a refill.

We waited....and waited.....

So then we started looking at the dessert menu. We thought we'd splurge and I was dying for their peanut butter pie with ice cream and she wanted their Mount Baker divine something or other (chocolate cake and fudge drizzle). Once we'd decided what the next course was going to be, we waited some more.

No coffee refill.....no offer of more hot water for my tea.

We waited.....and waited......

Finally, the waitress came over to our table, bill in hand ready to put it down.
Then, she said, "Is there anything else?"

"No thank you," responded daughter.
"Oh, I see they never came and refilled your coffee. I'll go get you some now."

"Never mind, it's okay." said daughter.

To top things off, just before we were served our dinner, another lady and (probably) her daughter were seated across the divider between us and we were smothered in the extremely powerful scent of her perfume!

I'm wondering about the training these young people receive and if they are supervised closely enough to make sure that their customers are being properly served.

Daughter works in the service industry and she is a real stickler for proper top-quality service no matter who the customer is and no matter how difficult the customer can be. She feels that too many individuals in the industry are ruining the reputation of other customer service personnel by being unapproachable, rude, uncaring, and careless when on the job.

All this might seem trivial but a similar thing happened to us just last week, too, at the restaurant across the street. We filled in a customer response card last week and we are going to fill in another one after our poorly served dinner tonight.
Good customer service is all about bringing customers back. And about sending them away happy – happy enough to pass positive feedback about your business, or in these two cases your restaurant, along to others, who may then try the product or service you offer for themselves and in their turn become repeat customers. I'm not sure I really want to return to these two places. I think it would be well worth the time and cost of gasoline to drive to the neighbouring community where there are lots of great restaurants just waiting for my business.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Tag....you're it!

Sally in Norfolk has tagged me so I'll oblige her. There's Sally over to the right with a fancy Easter decoration she found in a shop.

What I was doing 10 years ago: working at South Delta Baptist Church as a church secretary, assisting in the Music and Children's Ministries. The following year I went back to teaching.

Five things on my to-do list today: go to Easter Sunday service; have lunch with Cathy; visit Jamie & Jason, Noah & Eden and give them their Easter goodies; do the polyfilling in preparation for painting the guest bedroom and bathroom; relax.
Snacks I enjoy: apples & cheese, trail mix, chocolate caramel peanut bars, popcorn.

Things I would do if I were a Billionaire: give 10% or more away to charities, travel the world, buy my kids a beautiful house/car/boat/summer home, take one sister to Hawaii and the other to Scotland, buy a home in the English countryside and live there 6 months a year.

Three of my bad habits: daydreaming (see above), procrastinating about housework, worry about money.

Five places I have lived: Vancouver, Richmond, South Delta, Ottawa, the BC wilderness (Bella Coola Valley). The following photo of Mount Nusatsum is the exact view I had from my house on the outskirts of Hagensborg in the Bella Coola Valley where I taught for a year. I think I might do a post about my time there - it really was quite the experience!

Can you make out the chieftan and the maiden or the decapitated princess and her lover?

Five jobs I have had: Sears (age 16), BC Telephone Co (age 17-21), teaching at various schools and grade levels, Church secretary, private tutor.

Five people who I would like to tag: hmmm, let's see - who hasn't done this one? I'll put down 5 names and let them know I've tagged them, but I don't expect them to do it if they prefer not to. If anyone else wants to do this, please feel free to do so.

Russell at Iowa Grasslands

David at authorblog

Friday, March 21, 2008

Photo Hunt Theme: METAL

When I saw that the theme for today was METAL, I automatically thought of sculptures. I didn't want to go into the city to the Art Gallery or other areas where I knew there are sculptures so I thought I'd post a photograph of a sculpture on the Hermosa Beach Pier. I was there last year and it was a good shot. But then I decided to go for a walk and return a dvd (by the way, "Atonement" is cr*p compared to the book) and I took my camera along with me. People must have thought I was nuts taking pictures of street signs, sewers, fire hydrants, fences, etc. Do you have ANY idea how many things in our everyday lives are made out of metal? I couldn't believe it. So, here are a few of what I found on a 30-minute walk around my neighbourhood.

I found this lying on the grass. If you can guess what it is you get 10 points! lol I'll tell you at the end what it is.

Then I passed by an ordinary tree and was taken aback at all the nails stuck in it. Obviously, it's at a good spot for posting yard sale signs. It's a wonder the tree hasn't bled to death from all the attacks it's had over the years!

Two different coloured fire hydrants.

I passed by the Safeway store and people stared at me as I took this shot of the shopping carts.

Behind the Safeway is this little area that used to be a daycare center. The chain-link fence kept the little ones safe inside as they played on all the metal equipment.

The signage around my neighbourhood is incredible! When I started looking, I thought "Wow!" and I thought I lived in a "countryish" suburb. Not! These are the local television cable satellite towers above a "no stopping" sign.
We can't live without stop signs! And signs indicating street names/numbers.

And of course we need to be careful not to park where there's a "No Parking" sign.

When you need to cross the street, there's a button you need to push so the sign will tell you when it's safe to go.

Go only when it's green for you and red for the drivers.

Drivers must adhere to the speed limit or risk getting a ticket.
And go right when you're told.

This is nice in that it shows that some people have civic pride by adopting a street and are maintaining it on their own.And of course if there is a disaster (like an earthquake, a major fire, or another 9/11) follow this route out of town to safety.

Hope you enjoyed this little "metal tour" of my neighbourhood. Oh! and that picture at the beginning? It was a broken umbrella handle.

Oh and the Photo Hunt is brought to you by tnchick here.

Good Friday

I went to my very first Good Friday service this morning. Even though I've always gone to church, originally with my mother and sisters to the United Church of Canada and for the last 25 years to a Baptist church, I've not wanted to go to the Good Friday service. I thought it would be so dark, morose, sorrowful, and depressing. However, I went this morning and instead of being all those things, I felt rejuvenated, gladdened, and favoured as one of God's children.

When we arrived this morning, everyone came in quietly, almost as though we were attending a funeral. A huge wooden cross stood in the centre of the room with chairs placed in a circular pattern surrounding it. The screen flashed images of Jesus on the cross while soft music played in the background. I go to a small church and everyone participated in some way. Everyone sang, of course, and some read scripture or a reading, while others prayed. We also took communion.

At one point, we watched a video clip that reflected the Gospel of John 19:9-37. This is when Jesus was standing before Pilate after having been whipped and crowned with thorns. We watched as Jesus was sentenced to death by crucifiction and then had to carry his cross all the way to Golgotha where he died a vicious and cruel death. Did you know that the Roman soldiers broke the legs of the two men who were crucified along with Jesus simply because it was getting late and they wanted to hurry up the process? And when they realised that Jesus was already dead, one of them pierced his body with a spear?

It is only when you see with your own eyes a depiction of what was done to Him that you can truly understand the sacrifice He made for us, even two thousand years later. As Reverend Billy Lobbs writes, "Does God really love us? I say look to the crucified Jesus. Look to the old rugged cross. By every thorn that punctured His brow. By every mark of the back-lacerating scourge. By every hair of his beard pucked from His cheeks by cruel fingers. By every bruise which heavy fists made upon His head. God said, 'I love you!' By all the spit that landed on His face. By every drop of sinless blood that fell to the ground. By every breath of pain which Jesus drew upon the cross. By every beat of His loving heart. God said, 'I love you.'"

I am feeling solemn and reverent right now, pensive and reflective of all I've been taught as a Christian. We are the only religion that celebrates the death of our leader because it was through His death that we have been saved. Yes, we suffer but I rely on my God who knows what suffering is all about through His own human experience. Do we understand our own suffering? Not always. But through His sacrifice on the cross we see into the heart of God and find it filled with mercy for all.

He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, will He not also give us all things with Him?" Romans 8:32

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Skywatch Friday

Skywatch Friday is brought to you by Tom at Wiggers World. Go there to see other great photos of the sky.

Last month I went to Fort Langley, about a 40-minute drive from my place. I did a post about it, called "Elvis is Alive and Well" and you can read about it here if you missed it. I was thinking back, trying to recall the last time we actually had a whole day of sunshine here and I remembered that day. So I went and looked at the photos and decided to share the following with you.

The sky was bright blue and the clouds were light and fluffy, scudding along in the light breeze of the day, lavishing my daughter and me with feelings of bliss and tranquility. I am yearning for another day like that but, unfortunately, the weather report sounds a bit dreary for the weekend. So, with another look at that day last month, I feel somewhat better and thought these shots of the old-fashioned church might cheer up others who may be sick and tired of the bleak wintery days.

These photos also remind me that this is Easter weekend and instead of wallowing in our melancholy moods, we should remember what these next few days are truly for - remembering the sacrifice that Jesus made by dying on the cross for all our sins so that we might have eternal life. May I wish each one of you a very Happy and Blessed Easter.

I spotted the church from the south side of the Fraser River.

So I crossed over the bridge and took this shot from the north end of the bridge.

Poking my camera through a thicket, I managed to get this shot using my telephoto lens.

Finally, we drove up a dirt road to see the church up close. It had no sign with a name so I have no idea of its affiliation. Perhaps it's used as a non-denominational church for the locals.