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, January 31, 2011

C is for Canadian

In keeping with my current theme of "destinations" this round, I decided to show you a few things that are very "Canadian." Obviously, I'm one of "them," having been born and bred here in Canada and never living in any other country. Without further ado, we have:

Chapters - the Canadian big box book store created when Coles and SmithBooks, two of Canada's largest book chains merged in 1994. I buy most of my books online but never fail to drop in occassionally to see what else they're carrying at the time. Most Chapters have a Starbucks Coffee in the store and you will always see lots of people enjoying a cup while reading a book or using the Internet.
Chevron Canada - is one of the world's leading energy companies. Besides being your local gas station, its goal is also to develop, produce, and market crude oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids. It also refines, markets, and distributes fuels and other energy products. I don't know what I'd do without my local Chevron Canada mechanic!Cobs Bread - a successful company in Australia and New Zealand for over 30 years, Cobs spread into Canada in 2003 and has become well known for its delicious creations. My sister retired from the insurance industry last year and then joined Cobs' main office in Vancouver to handle their payroll. For more info on the company, click here. Naturally, I was thrilled when my village opened a franchise!
Cineplex Odeon Cinemas - is the largest motion picture distributor in Canada, operating 130 theatres, 1,347 screens, and serving over 70 million guests annually. It's also the largest exhibitor of IMAX, digital, and 3D projection technology in the country.
Coffee - aka Tim Hortons. Click to read the story about how this chain was founded in 1964 in Hamilton, Ontario, and how it has expanded into the rest of the country. Its drawing card is its coffee, but it also is famous for its donuts, bagels, cakes, pies, etc. D2 and her BF are frequent customers at our local "Timmy's," as it's known, and received a Christmas gift from me of a giant can of coffee plus a gift certificate - best Christmas present EVER, according to them.

Canadian Beer - Molson, to be specific! Although I'm not a beer drinker, having overdone it at university many years ago (and that's a story for another time), Molson Canadian is the most popular beer in the country. It's brewed with Canadian water and the highest-quality hops and barley. They say it's "the true taste of Canada."

So there you have it...some of the quintessential Canadian companies and products that make my country special. Come on up for a visit - fill up with Chevron gas, drop by a Cobs Breads for their special creations, take in a movie at a Cineplex Odeon, and afterwards stop off for a Tim Hortons' coffee or a Molson Canadian beer. You'll have the time of your life!

ABC Wednesday is the brainchild of Denise Nesbitt and is now in its 8th round with her ever-changing team of helpers (Cheryl, Donna, Gattina, Helen, Joyce, Natalie, Roger, Sylvia, Troy and moi.) Click here for more info on ABCWednesday. By the way, all the photos are mine except the last two - they're courtesy of Yahoo.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

B is for Beautiful British Columbia

British Columbia (BC) is the westernmost province in Canada, four times the size of Great Britain with less than one-tenth of the population. It's a very mountainous region with a number of major ranges running mostly north/south from the coast to the border between BC and Alberta. Whether backpacking in the majestic forests or Coast Mountains, or kayaking through the many groups of islands, getting off the beaten path is sure to lead to a memorable trip. The most convenient way to get to much of BC is by air. However, this can be quite expensive, sometimes even more expensive than to fly to Europe! Vancouver is the regional hub for most air service within BC and floatplanes are a convenient way of accessing many coastal locations. (from Wikitravel) As a born and bred BC'er, I've seen lots of the province throughout my lifetime, but certainly far from all. Also, I've lived most of my life in the burbs of Vancouver. When I was about six years old, we travelled to the eastern border of the province to the Kootenay region. One night, a bear entered the campsite and woke the campers by rattling around in the garbage cans. My Dad, brave soul, told us all to stay put, no matter what, and we waited as he shooed the bear away by chasing it with a big stick. We watched, transfixed, as the shadow of the bear and my Dad raced past our tent!
Another summer, we had our summer vacation in the Okanagan region where it gets extremely hot! Instead of tenting that year, we stayed at a motel in the center of Penticton, but it was so hot that none of us could sleep. One night, my Dad had had enough of the heat and went out at midnight and bought A & W root beer and vanilla ice cream for us to make floats!As a university student, I travelled the old PGE Railway up and down from Vancouver to Prince George, where my parents had moved, about four times a year to stay with them during Christmas and summer breaks. My Mom had bought a small wooden ornament of the famous "Welcome to Prince George" sign and always kept it on top of one of her kitchen cupboards, where later on, D1 used to comment on how Mr. PG would watch over her. She now has that ornament as a memory of her Grandma and now it watches over her little boy. I don't go to Vancouver Island very often as the ferries can be quite expensive, but I have been to Victoria (our capital city) a few times and have also been to the west coast of the Island and up the east coast as far as Campbell River. Fishing is a major industry along the coast of BC and, on the Island, there are lots of fishing lodges, some very luxurious. You can also watch the cruise ships pass on their way to Alaska.I also had the privilege of spending a year in the wilderness area of BC in the small town of Bella Coola, where I taught school. My house happened to be right in the path of the bears' route through the woods and my puppy was always very cautious when she was outside. We saw lots of bears that year and learned very quickly where to take a walk and when! One day, D2 and I decided to explore an area along the river, but we both got really nervous about coming upon a bear, so gave up our silly idea very quickly! We determined it would be much better to just watch them forage around the dump where we took our garbage every week. In summary, there are bounteous things to see and do in the province of British Columbia and it's a beautiful place to live. We have a desert, cowboy country, mountains, lakes, an ocean, and temperatures that range beyond the minuses to over 100F throughout the year. It's famous for its natural beauty, the outdoor lifestyle, and even movie making. So be sure to come and visit, as we say on our cars' license plates, Beautiful British Columbia! Come and join the team at ABC Wednesday, the brainchild of Mrs. Nesbitt, during this our 8th round! Click here to check out contributors and please feel free to comment and remember you can start at any point!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A is for Alaska

All Aboard for Alaska!
Ketchikan, Alaska

I'm getting so excited about my trip to Alaska. Although I've already done two cruises to this state, I'm looking forward to sharing the experience with Daughter #2 and celebrating her birthday on the last full day at sea.
My first cruise to Alaska was with a girl friend and a couple from England who are good friends. We left from and arrived back in Vancouver on Norwegian Cruise Lines. The second cruise was with a group of (shall we say "mature") singles and we left from and arrived back in Seattle with Holland America Lines. This time we will be leaving from Vancouver and going back to Seattle with Norwegian and will spend a couple of days there exploring the underground city and Pike's Market. It will be interesting to see if Daughter #2 will enjoy the whole cruising experience.

I'm looking forward to the extracurricular activities while at sea (spa, promenade deck, whale watching, viewing and photographing ice bergs, glaciers, wild life, etc.) along with the night life of Vegas-style shows, dancing, and the all-important restaurants with their impeccable service.

We're leaving mid-May and I'm hoping for decent weather. We'll both be taking waterproof jackets to keep us warm and dry on land. I will let you know how the trip goes and hopefully have lots of great photos, too.

These photos are scanned from postcards I bought the first time I went to Alaska and are, I think, places we'll be seeing this time. I apologize for the fact they're not very clear. Next time, my own photos should be much better.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Z is for The End

I've been thinking about the end of this Round 7 of ABC Wednesday and wondering how I could make my post somewhat unique. The letter Z (zee in the USA and zed in Canada) is the last letter of the alphabet and the symbolic end to each round of ABCW. And in a way, I'm feeling anxious to get this round over with for more than one reason. So I'm posting early.

This week also represents the absolute and bitter end to a relationship that was resurrected over two years ago with grandiose hopes of love reunited. Deep down inside, the love is still there, but for specific reasons the relationship cannot continue. To represent this Z(ed) week, I've chosen a song written in 1967 by Jim Morrison of The Doors, which is about his breakup with a girlfriend.

Structurally, the song crescendos to three separate mini-climaxes separated by slower sections of half-spoken and half-sung lyrics before building to an enormous psychedelic climax right after when Jim Morrison sings "meet me at the back of the blue bus" verse. (Wikipedia)

Listening to this song takes me right back to the 60s and the dances at university when everyone (or almost everyone) was high on booze, dope, or both. I can see myself slow dancing in the smoke-filled basement of the Sigma Chi frat house with my boyfriend, totally oblivious to everything and everyone except this music.

Those of you who "were there" in the 60s will remember this song and the fact that it was used in the opening of the 1979 movie "Apocalypse Now" while those of you who are a tad younger might recall it being used three times in "The Simpsons." It's also been used in other movies or TV episodes, so if it sounds familiar to you...well, now you know. Sit back, relax, and groove to this shortened 1967 live-on-Canadian TV psychedelic rendition of The End.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Y is for YIKES!

Just outside Kelsey's Restaurant in Richmond, BC, amongst a grove of tree trunks, stands an old orange pickup truck. At first glance, one might wonder why it's parked there. However, the last time I was there, I took a closer look and I could not believe my eyes! Yikes! The next time I'm at the restaurant, I think I'll ask the staff if there's a story there . There just has to be, but after searching the web I can't find anything. Any guesses as to how it came about being "planted" there? Maybe the UBC Engineers?

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Sunny Start to 2011

Be sure to click on the photos to enlarge them. I'm quite proud of these ones and they do look so much better "embiggened. "

January 1, 2011, dawned sunny but with rooftops covered in frost. After warming up my innards, I headed out to my usual photographic haunts to capture the day. (Note: watch out for ABCW this week as I caught something else that made me say, Yikes!) First stop was the Deas Slough where you can launch small boats into one of the tributaries of the Fraser River. Across the water you can see ferries that are at rest while being refitted or repaired. Beyond that you can see the snow-capped Coast Mountain Range, which really stood out on this crisp sunny day. The water was so still, the reflections of trees, pilings, and ducks stood out like reverse orientation. Notice the second photo. It's just the reflection of the trees standing along the shoreline. The photo of the pair of ducks looks almost impressionistic to me because of the movement of the water as the female stirs it up with her webbed feet. I also saw several herons, one standing on a bit of ice in the water and another perched on a bare tree branch. See how close to civilization they are! Turning around away from the water but in a swampy area, stood a grove of birch trees. I could just imagine the crunchy sound First Nations people would make as they stalked an errant deer. There is also a shot of underneath the wharf, taken because of how brightly the green moss stood out in the sunshine.