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.

Monday, November 29, 2010

T is for Teacher

Once a teacher, always a teacher, unless like me you become a tutor after you retire. Today, I thought I'd tell you all a few totally interesting things about the letter T.

Things you may not know about T:
* T is the twentieth letter in the English alphabet and the sixteenth consonant
* T is pronounced the same as a drink - tea
* T is the second most commonly used letter in the English language
* T may have represented a cross in early alphabets
* T is one of the letters given to contestants in the game show Wheel of Fortune
* There are six T tiles in the English game of Scrabble

There are tons of tremendous T words in the English language. When my older daughter was a tot, she fell in love with Tigger, Winnie the Pooh's friend, and she still has her tiger-sized stuffed one to this day. Some of the greatest inventions of all time were the telegraph, telephone, and television. I remember that I taught my fourth graders all about tall tales, tremors, tenses, tactics for totalling numbers, the classroom taboos, the senses of touch and taste, all about spring flowers like my favourite tulip, and I liked to tease them about upcoming tests. When my mother was young, she would take the tram to town, whereas I could take a trans-Atlantic flight to trek around Thailand, Tibet, or Timbuktu!

To tantalize you further, take a trip over to this site to see other posts on this week's letter T.
And to terminate this post, here is a photo I took of my favourite flower, the tulip. This was the first bloom in my garden last Spring and I received compliments on this photo from a favourite photographer friend of mine - some of you may also know him as authorblog aka David McMahon. A positive comment from him is praise indeed! (click to enlarge for details)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Back to Normal

The weather has been rather frightful here this past week, but we seem to be back to our normal grey drizzle, sometimes turning to periods of sunshine. I must say it is a big relief to me 'cuz I always feel housebound when it snows. I have all-weather tires but they are no good in snow. I always keep track of the weather reports, so did manage to get out before the deluge and made sure I had plenty of soup and crackers, a few treats, and most especially toilet paper. A girl just cannot go without toilet paper, can she!

The snow is pretty at first, but here it doesn't last long and quickly turns to a mucky mush. That's because I live at sea level looking UP to the mountains. I love clear, cold sunny days when I can look north and see dustings of dry snow on the Lions. And I'm happy for those who enjoy sledding, skiing, and snowboarding - they can go up there or drive up to Whistler and have the time of their lives. Me? I prefer the mild days when I can go drive down to my beach and enjoy the views.
Back to normal also means realizing that Christmas is less than a month away, so I thought about what I am giving myself this year. Every year since I became widowed, I treat myself to something special. One year it was taking the girls to Hawaii for a week, sometimes it's clothes, a few years ago it was new chandeliers for the dining room and entrance hall. This year I decided it's going to be a new coffee table for the living room. So off I went today in search of just the right table. I drove into Richmond and looked around two furniture stores, one a mid-priced one and the other a high-priced one. I got so frustrated that I decided to just go home. However, I suddenly remembered a little shop in my village where I'd seen a coffee table I really liked several months ago. As luck would have it, that one was gone but an almost identical one had just come in yesterday. I actually liked it better because it was lighter in colour. At first, they said it would take about 12 weeks for it to arrive as it was the only one they had, but I said "Oh, but I wanted it for my Christmas present!" And since I'm such a great and loyal customer, they said I could have the floor model. So...they're bringing over my Christmas present this coming week and I know just how I'll adorn it for the festive season! I put out a few Christmas decorations when I got home this afternoon, but will need help dragging the tree out of the shed. Maybe I'll get it up next week when D2 comes over to give me a hand.
So a normal day - mild with a bit of sunshine and no rain - and a normal Saturday night of watching Midsommer Murders on TV.

Monday, November 22, 2010

S is for Sweeping Saga

I'm almost finished Kenneth Follett's newest novel, "Fall of Giants," a sweeping saga set on the tumultuous stage of World War I. The story has sucked me in! I'm fascinated by historical novels as I learn so much more than I ever did in high school history class.

The story revolves around five families - American, Welsh, British, German, Russian - and it brings readers into their everyday lives, from the stuffy drawing rooms of British aristocracy to the savage battlefields of Europe. In addition, women's suffrage is part of the story as it also was a major movement of the early part of the twentieth century.

While the scope of this story seems impossibly broad, it brings to life universal issues such as world war, the Russian Revolution, votes for men and women, and shocking descriptions of battles like the one at the Somme where thousands of British soldiers were slaughtered.

I'm excited that the story will not end at the end of this book. Two more books will follow the descendants of these five families through the Great Depression, World War II, and the Cold War. However, we'll have to wait until 2012 and 2014 for these stories. In the meantime, I highly recommend this smart and sophisticated story.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

R is for Ruminate

I just finished reading (for the second time) Sebastian Faulks' Charlotte Grey, the story of a young Scottish woman who went on a dual mission to occupied France during WW2. Towards the end of the record of her journey when she had safely returned to London, she reminisced about what an old French painter had told her:
When you are forty you have no cell in your body that you had at eighteen. It was the same...with your character. Memory is the only things that binds you to earlier selves; for the rest, you become an entirely different being every decade or so, sloughing off the old persona, renewing and moving on. You are not who you were...nor who you will be.
This resonated deeply with me, considering what I've been through the last two years by renewing a past love. I still wonder if the possibility of happiness he once held out will rise above the reach of memory to become a reality we can live with, together or separately. I do know he is relying on this hope.
Just ruminating.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Q is for Quotations

I've been feeling quite querulous lately, as though I'm living in a quagmire. But, I've decided it must all stop. Enough of the quavering and quarrels inside my head. It's time to look at myself in the mirror and state, uneQuivocally, that I am born of quality, the queen of my realm, a quintessential mother and grandmother, and no quitter. I'm beginning to enjoy the quiescence and am quenching my soul through planning and researching for some of my needier students. I no longer question some of the decisions I've recently been forced to make; instead I quote my personal mantra: "Tis better to be alone than to wish you were." And following are some famous quotations from those much wiser than me (even "anonymous") about the loss of love:
It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.
(Alfred Lord Tennyson)
Relationships are like glass. Sometimes it's better to leave them broken than try to hurt yourself by putting it back together.
Never regret. If it's good, it's wonderful. If it's bad, it's experience.
(Victoria Holt)
When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one that has opened for us.
(Alexander Graham Bell)
If you're going through hell, keep going.
(Winston Churchill)

Friday, November 05, 2010

What Do Teachers Make?

I'm so tired today. My brain feels like mush and I can't think straight. I've had more work than I really need and I think I'm feeling my age right now. But then I received an email from a friend, and it picked me right up. This is for all you teachers out there who don't receive enough kudos from students, parents, friends, and families.

The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life. One man, a CEO, decided to explain the problem with education. He argued, "What's a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?"

To stress his point, he said to another guest, "You're a teacher, Barbara. Be honest. What do you make?"

Barbara, who had a reputation for honesty and frankness replied, "You want to know what I make?"

She paused for a second, then began...

"Well, I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could. I make a C+ feel like the Congressional Medal of Honor winner. I make kids sit through 40 minutes of class time when their parents can't make them sit for 5 minutes ithout an IPod, Game Cube, or movie rental.

You want to know what I make?"

She paused again and looked at each and every person at the table.

"I make kid wonder.

I make them question.

I make them apologize and mean it.

I make them have respect and take responsibility for their actions.

I teach them to write and then I make them write. Keyboarding isn't everything. I make them read, read, read.

I make them show all their work in Math. They use their God-given brain, not the man-made calculator.

I make my students from other countries learn everything they need to know about English while preserving their unique cultural identity.

I make my classroom a place where all my students feel safe.

I make my students respect the Canadian flag and the men and women who serve under that flag, proud to be Canadians.

Finally, I make them understand that if they use the gifts they were gien, work hard and follow their hearts, they can succeed in life."

Barbara paused one last time and then continued.

"Then, when people try to judge me by what I make, with me knowing that money isn't everything, I can hold my head up high and pay no attention because they are ignorant.

You want to know what I make?


What do you make, Mr. CEO?"

His jaw dropped. He went silent.

Monday, November 01, 2010

P is for Photography and Painting

My first night in Italy at the Piazza Navona (Rome) having pizza for dinner

Here I am with the group in Tuscany!

I'd love to go back to Italy and take a course in Tuscany to learn how to paint the cypress trees dotting the hillsides. (my photo)

It would be paradise to stay in this little piece of heaven on earth.
(rest of photos courtesy of Yahoo images)

The views there are pastoral.

I'd stay in a palatial villa.

I know I'm passionate about the country, but I wonder if I'd meet any passionate Italian gentlemen. (I think this one has passed away, though)

Even if I didn't do well with the painting, I'd take a lot of photographs.
I'd choose the best of the photos and have the pictures framed to hang in my house.

Maybe later I could pop over to Provence to do the same thing in France.

Can you tell what I've been pondering for my next holiday? Thanks to Mrs. Nesbitt and the team at ABCW for this phenomenal meme.