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, August 30, 2009

Monochrome Weekly - Canada Line

Last week, I decided to take a trip on the new Canada Line rapid transit from Richmond to Vancouver. I got this shot from the front window as the train left the station in Richmond going north towards Vancouver. I like the variety of straight lines in the photo and if you look towards the top, you'll see wavy lines of the North Shore Mountains that hover over the city and Burrard Inlet. Click to enlarge photo.

Most of the trip was underground and thus dark...I was glad I had someone to talk to during the trip. I think I'd rather pay for parking downtown, though, than take the train again as I had to take a bus into Richmond and then catch the train to the city. All in all, they figured this would make people's travel times shorter, but in actuality, it was far longer. Ah well...bureaucrats!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Day at the Fair

In 1889 a 114-acre site was granted in trust by the Province of British Columbia to the City of Vancouver. But it wasn't until 1907 that a group of Vancouver businessmen got together and decided to develop a fair for the city. The Vancouver Exhibition Association was born and the first fair was held three years later in 1910. The Fair was dubbed "The Industrial Exhibition," and focused on promoting Vancouver's industrial and resource potential. Prime Minister Sir Wilfred Laurier officially opened the Fair in 1919 and admission to the much-anticipated event was .50 cents. Over 68,000 people attended that first fair.

Since the first Fair in 1910, the PNE has generated many memories for generations of British Columbians. It started as a showcase for BC industry and evolved into a place where Vancouverites come to celebrate. Whether it is the beloved 17-day PNE Fair, the thrilling Playland Amusement Park or the hundreds of year-round sporting, consumer, cultural and community events that bring visitors from across the city, province and around the world to Hastings Park, the PNE remains at the heart of one of the world's most vibrant cities.

Yesterday, I attended the PNE, which is currently in its 99th year and gearing up for its 100th anniversary. We decided to have a real adventure by getting there via the new Canada Line, the new rapid transit line in Greater Vancouver. The main line goes from Vancouver to Richmond, a city bordering on my little village of Ladner. Therefore, we had to take a bus to Richmond, board the Canada Line and get off in the depths of downtown Vancouver, and then find the bus to take us east out of the downtown core to where the PNE is located. In total, it took us almost 2 hours to get there! If I were to drive to the PNE, it would take me about 30 minutes max. However, where to park once there??? I must say the Canada Line is a smooth ride but mostly underground and so there isn't anything to look at, scenery-wise, and thus I was glad my friend and I were able to chat the whole way. I don't think I'll be using this method of transportation again any time soon.
Once at the gate, I had to take a photo of the famous statue that Josie wrote about recently. If you missed that post, be sure to pop over to read all about the famous race when Roger Bannister broke the 4-minute mile.

Once inside the gate, I was impressed by the number of trees that had grown very tall over the years since I've missed the Fair. They provide welcome relief from the sun beating down on excited fairgoers. As we arrived in the late afternoon, we knew there were only a few things we wanted to see.

First, the SuperDogs! I cannot ever go to the fair and not see them! On the way into the Colliseum, we bought an early supper of White Spot burgers & fries. Then we settled down to await these famous canines. If you ever have a chance to see these dogs at a fair near you, you absolutely must go! It's a lot of fun and interactive hilarity and the dogs are intelligent and fast! Their competitions kept the audience on their toes, rooting for either the "Mighty Mites" (the small breeds) or the "Bruisers" (the larger breeds).

Then we decided to see how long the lineup was to view the Prize Home. It wasn't bad, so we joined the queue, finding ourselves at the front door only about 5 minutes later. This year marks the 75th Anniversary of the PNE Prize Home Lottery. It's also the first time that the home will be located on a lot in Kelowna (our sunny Okanagan area in the south-central part of British Columbia.) To see photos of the prize home simply click here. I did take photos, but none of mine equal what is already on the web. Take a look - it's gorgeous, with over 3000 sq. ft. of living space. Click here to read what is included in the grand prize!

Our final stop was at one of the beer gardens where Lorne was bartending - this is his 48th year of working at the PNE as he started as a kid directing cars that wanted to park on the site. He found us a table near the bar and brought us our drinks. Later, he sent over a very nice couple visiting from Prince George (500 miles north of Vancouver) to sit with us. They were total strangers but we had such a wonderful time chatting with them and getting to know them. They were there to hear The Headpins and when they'd finished, the couple continued on.

We stayed to hear Randy Bachman, formerly of The Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive. Born in Canada, Randy is a favourite of anyone Canadian. After a rousing, dance-inspiring hour-plus of some of his biggest hits (Shakin' All Over, American Woman, These Eyes,) Randy ended with an encore of "Takin' Care of Business." The crowd went wild!
We stuck around until the bar closed and Lorne was finished whatever he had to do before he could leave. As we waited for him, we caught a bit of the fireworks display that ends each evening of the Fair.

We didn't even go near Playland, the area of the Fair where you'll find the rides, including our famous Roller Coaster, and the carnival. You could spend at least a whole day in Playland! Neither did we see the barns where you can see cows and horses, pigs, sheep, goats, etc. Those things will have to wait for another day or another year.
If you're ever in the Vancouver area during the two weeks leading up to Labour Day, be sure to visit the Pacific National Exhibition and plan on at least one whole day or more in order to take in all the sights, sites, exhibitions, displays, and concerts! You won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

ABC Wednesday - F is for Flailing for F Words

We were talking about this week's ABC Wednesday last week, and I mentioned that the letter "F" was coming up. I had a few ideas about what I'd use...like flowers for all the fantastic ones he's planted in the garden for me, or all the fabulous flowers he's brought home for me.

I also considered using food, for all the wonderful feasts he's prepared for me and the few meals I've prepared and that he's favoured. And for the time he cleaned out the baked foods cupboard and organized it all for me.

I thought about him as my former flame, and how he used to make my heart flutter whenever he came near me.
These days, my heart fills with wonder and awe that we've found each other again and that our love today consists of fervour, fealty, friendship, and fondness. And I must say that my heart still flutters.

Then I thought of how we've just ordered new furniture for the living room and how that symbolizes the fusion of our two individual lives into one.

But I think I will leave the final word for him.
His choice for the letter F is:


How can I argue with that form of thinking?

ABC Wednesday is the brainchild of Mrs. Nesbitt and you can participate or even just read posting from participants by clicking here.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Desperately Seeking........

.....an Ikea makeover for Daughter #2's apartment. Click on the following link to take you to her entry in Ikea's "Any Space Can Be Beautiful" contest, see a photo of her living room and what she has to say about it. You can vote for her right there at the site and even make a comment if you want.

D#2 has worked so hard the past two years to become a functioning and contributing member of society after discovering, accepting, and working to conquer her disability. Like most young people starting out, she had to accept hand-me-downs to furnish her apartment. But because the government disability plus her take-home pay working half-time (mandated by her physician) barely makes ends meet, she can't afford to save for the niceties of life. Niceties like a new sofa, or a second chair for her 2nd-hand dining table, or a TV large enough to actually see what's going on in the show.

So if you have a moment, click the link and vote for her to win an Ikea makeover. Vote every day, too, because each vote gets her another chance in the draw for the grand prize, which takes place on September 3rd. The grand prize is a $15,000 makeover by CityLine interior design expert Karen Sealy.
Thanks, everyone~!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Over the Top Tomato Crop

In early spring, we started talking about growing tomatoes and where they would thrive the best in the garden. We decided that along the south side of the house along the sidewalk would be the ideal spot as it gets sunshine most of the daylight hours. So in early June, we bought some small plants - Early Girl, Patio, and three cherry tomato-types (yellow, white, and black). After carefully planting them in pots and giving them lots of Miracle Grow, we sat back to watch. Little did we know how well those tomato plants were going to grow! By the end of June, we had to put cages around them to hold them up.

Then in July we started watching for the first yellow flowers to appear and shortly after that we were rewarded with small green tomatoes. But the plants were growing so fast and so well, they needed some support. So out came the green twine and nails so they could be held up to the wall of the house. The photo on the left is in late July and I realized that these tomato plants were taller than myself. It wasn't much longer when they outgrew "him!" And HIM is 6'2 1/2" tall. When they hit 7 feet tall, we started crimping them at the top or else we'd never be able to harvest the crop!

First tomatoes:

We've been thoroughly enjoying our crop of tomatoes by eating them like an apple, sliced with a bit of sea salt on them, in sandwiches, with cottage cheese, etc. The bowl is always full, but there were so many green ones still on the vine that I started thinking about my mother's old "Green Tomato Pickle Relish" that the entire family loved. It's good on beef, pork, ham, chicken, sausages, or anything else you can think of.

Last week, we bought some jars and today I pulled out the recipe from the little box that I'd inherited and went to the store to get all the necessary ingredients. And I began:

And TA-DA! A dozen jars of green tomato pickle relish that I think we will test tonight at dinner to make sure they're okay before sharing it with anyone else. Lucky me my children don't like pickles, so all the more for us!

And we STILL have LOTS of tomatoes on the vine to pick and eat, whether we like 'em yellow, white, black, green OR the traditional red.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

ABC Wednesday - E is for Expectations

Thanks to David over at authorblog for considering this worthy of POTD.

Today, E is for Expectations.

This is going to be more of a rambling essay today, I think, because the topic has been on my mind for a while. When I was married 36 years ago, expectations of husbands and wives were quite different from today. First of all, we were 36 years younger, just starting our careers, were healthy for the most part, and expected to have children. But if you are of the vintage that recalls life in those days, we weren't that far away from the idea that husband goes out to bring home the bacon and wife stays home with the kids and cooks said bacon. Oh sure, the expectation then was that girls have some type of vocation on which they could fall back if something were to - heaven forbid - "happen" to their men. An enriching career like nursing, teaching, or secretarial work were the suitable choices.

I think our expectations of married life get absorbed throughout our childhood experiences of watching our parents, other adults, TV, movies, books, and church affiliation. Thirty-odd years ago, we tumbled into marriage expecting a fantasy happily-ever-after-love. Thirty-odd years older and thirty-odd years wiser, I know that that happily-ever-after-love is a very fragile thing.

But when the relationship deepens and needs aren't met (and that can be from either side), arguments can develop to threaten the very foundation of that love. When you're young, new expectations can develop at various turning points in marriage, such as when buying your first home, planting your first garden together, become parents, dealing with major illness, or entering the empty-nest stage. So it's important to build skills to help uncover what's really on your mind at any stage in your relationship.

However, at this stage of our lives with, hopefully, a third of it left to live, it can be challenging to figure out exactly what the expectations are of each other. With no young children or in-laws to deal with, our working lives all but over, and carrying some minor health issues, what is life to be like together? Melding the lives of two people who have been entirely independent for a total of over 40 years is exacting to say the least. It's not just two sets of furniture and personal belongings, but rather the cumulation of years of doing what we want, when we want, with whom we want, and how we want. It's also figuring out how we each think about things now and how we approach challenges and difficulties along with the joy and happiness of everyday life.

Letting go of some of what we used to do for ourselves is one of the most difficult things to experience. As a former teacher, I was trained to explain everything, and I have done so with my children and hundreds of other children and adults since I was very young. Also, as a young single mother I had to be the head of the household and deal with all things legal, financial, medical, educational, etc. etc. We've both been learning very hard lessons lately. We're trying very hard to find the right balance between being there for each other, yet allowing the other some space. We're also trying very hard to allow each other into our personal space while retaining a semblance of independence and freedom.

Something that has actually surprised me and gives me comfort is the fact that we communicate very well most of the time. We talk. We listen to each other. A lot. But even so, there are times when we miscommunicate. He says it's because men live most of their lives in the garage and have to wiggle their way through a long, tight tunnel to get to the living room where they have to take time to readjust to their environment. But women are able to straddle that tunnel and be in both places at the same time. Kind of an interesting analogy. So I wait, sometimes impatiently, while he winds his way into that space where we can communicate our expectations of each other.

Expectations need to be realistic yet recognized as deep needs, and each partner should attempt to meet at least some of them. When some of our expectations aren't met it's easy to get angry or sulk. However, acceptance of your mate despite imperfections is necessary for a happy, healthy relationship. If suddenly you're disappointed in the other, stop and think about what you'd expected. This can help guide your attitudes and actions the next time a similar thing occurs.

Some of my personal expectations (deep needs and wants) are:
  • I want to say and hear each day those three magic words - I love you.
  • Forgive me when I make a mistake in either words or action.
  • Take some time every day to talk about more than the day.
  • Put a high priority on quality time together.
  • Listen to me with both your ears and your heart.
  • Say "please" and "thank you."
  • Be affectionate.
  • Take care of yourself physically and emotionally.
  • Share in the day-to-day responsibilities of running a house and home.
  • Be yourself.

ABC Wednesday is the brainchild of Mrs. Nesbitt and she has done a marvelous job at keeping this going for over three years now. Drop in to read what other participants have to say each week. Just click here.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Want to Trade Houses during the Olympics?


The 2010 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XXI Olympic Winter Games or the 21st Winter Olympics, will be held February 12-28, 2010, in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

That is less than 6 months from today.
How many of you wish you could be here?

We live about 20 minutes from the Richmond Oval speedskating facility.

We're also only about a 30-minute drive from downtown Vancouver where you can see men's and women's ice hockey, curling, figure skating, and the opening and closing ceremonies. There is also public transportation right through the gate from our place.

Everyone has heard of Whistler! It's about a 2-hour drive from our place, but the drive is spectacular, with stunning vistas of sea and mountains all the way. This is where you'll see alpine skiing, biathlon, bobsleigh, cross-country skiing, luge, Nordic combined, skeleton, and ski jumping competitions.

It's going to be difficult to find accomodation in Vancouver during the 2 weeks of the Olympics. Therefore, we've decided to make our home available for a trade. For two weeks, you come and stay in our house and we go and stay in your house. On the upper level, we have two bedrooms available, each with its own bathroom. One has a double bed and the other has a queen bed. On the main level, there's a living room, dining room, and family room, as well as a powder room and laundry room. Parking is on our property.

Because we're talking "February" here, we'd prefer someplace that's a bit "exotic," either in the warmer areas of the USA (or the major cities like New York, Chicago, Boston) or in western Europe or the United Kingdom. We'd prefer at the minimum one or two bedrooms, a sitting room (lounge) with TV, kitchen, bathroom, and laundry facilities, along with a car with AC (if you're in a warmer climate).

We're not attending the Olympics, but don't let lack of accomodation stop you from attending. If you're interested, or know someone who is, please feel free to email us with your details and we can talk.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

ABC Wednesday - D is for Distance

My humble thanks to David over at authorblog for considering this worthy of mention in his Post of the Day.
Distance between two hearts is not an obstacle. Rather it is just a great reminder of how strong true long can be.

Continuing with the theme of my new life, this week I'd like to say that D is for Distance. We've been "together" for almost a year now, and it had been over 6 months since we'd spent any time apart when I left with 3 girlfriends for a few days. I was really looking forward to it and L was looking forward to some alone time, too. Having been a bachelor for most of his adult life, he's not yet completely used to being with someone on a permanent basis. So it was good to get away from each other for a few days.

We went to a cabin at the base of Mount Baker. We had a lot of fun talking, eating, walking, eating, watching movies, eating, taking photos, eating, laughing, eating...getting the picture here? We laughed during dinner one night about how women eat like birds when they're around men, but together or alone they eat just like men do. The first night we had steak and more salads than you could possibly imagine; the second night we had lasagna and more salads and foccaccia bread; the last night we had a huge turkey dinner and finished up all the leftovers! Of course, in between times, there was breakfast, lunch, and cocktail hour! If you look at my previous post about Nooksack Falls, you'll see photos of our of our adventures there.

On the second evening, I discovered a pay phone, so called home (I couldn't get service with my cell as I was in the USA). My sweetie sounded so happy to hear my voice, and teased me about "Bubbles" and "Trixie" being over. And on the way home, I gave him a quick call to let him know I'd be there in about half an hour and he better get Trixie and Bubbles out of there. It was fun to kibitz like that, knowing that I would be welcomed home with loving arms.

And it was wonderful to be back in each other's arms. A little distance can go a long way.
ABC Wednesday is brought to you by Mrs. Nesbitt and you can peruse participants' posts here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My World - Nooksack Falls, Washington

I spent three gloriously relaxing days near Mount Baker, Washington, last week and, although it's not exactly my neck of the woods (pun intended), it's close enough to consider "my world." Be sure to click on the photos to enlarge them.

This is the sign welcoming visitors to Nooksack Falls. Apparently, many people have lost their lives here by slipping and falling either over the falls or onto the boulders below and being swept away by the whitewater. You MUST enlarge this photo and read what it says about taking photographs!

It's definitely a rainforest area as you can see from the massive evergreen trees dripping with moss.

We crossed over the bridge just before the falls and on one side you can see the river winding its way through the rocks and boulders and on the other side you can see a brilliant blue pool, very calm just before it drops over the cliff.

I then traversed the trail, carefully planting my feet over the twisted roots and lowered myself over huge boulders to get to the viewing area - thankfully fenced.

I couldn't even see where the Falls landed at the bottom, so I turned to my right to take a shot of the gorge. I also carefully moved further down to where there was no fence to try to take a few shots right below me. As I was doing this, I was holding onto a tree for balance!

Finally, just to show the contrast between one side and the other:

That's My World Tuesday is brought to you by a great team of people. To see participants' offerings, simply click here.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Monochrome Maniacs

I've been away in the Washington rainforest with three girlfriends and just finished uploading my photos. I thought this one looked good in black & white so am sharing it for MM. We were staying in a cabin at the base of Mount Baker and one outing was to see Nooksack Falls. Surrounding the falls are thousands of very tall cedar and other evergreen trees and we had to wind our way through some quite narrow trails in order to get to the Falls. The dark forest was a tiny bit spooky and I would not want to go through here on a rainy day or in the twilight hours.

To see other participants of Monochrome Maniacs, click here.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

I'm off this morning with 3 girlfriends (Cathy, Irene, & Eileen) to a cabin at the base of Mount Baker, Washington. Three whole days of rest, relaxation, and chat. We're taking junk food (popcorn & Munchies) and some old videos to watch if we run out of things to talk about. I've never been to this particular place before so it'll be interesting to see if there are enough photo ops for me. We plan on doing some hiking, some swimming, and lots of eating! I'm hoping to take lots and lots of photos and NOT of any bears charging me...hear that, David??? So stay tuned for the further adventures of Moi et Amies.