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, June 19, 2011


The first time I visited Winnipeg, in the prairie province of Manitoba (which, by the way, has over 110,000 lakes)was in 1972 when I travelled by car with my best friend and her family. They were living there at the time, so I was able to stay with them and see all the sights. I still have the photos I took that summer, but remember those old sticky-type photo albums? Well, they are well stuck so I can't use them here. However, the internet has lots of great photos, so thanks to Google and Yahoo, you can see some right here.

The name "Winnipeg" comes from the Cree for "muddy waters" because it lies at the confluence of the Assiniboine and Red Rivers. It was a trading center for Aboriginals before the arrival of Europeans, the first fort being built by the French in 1738. Many of these French traders, and later British, married First Nations women and their mixed-race children were called Metis. It was one of these children who grew up to become Louis Riel, the leader of the famous Red River Rebellion, which paved the way for Manitoba to become the fifth province in Canada. You can read more history at Wikipedia here.
I remember our visit to the Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site, which has been named as one of the top ten national historic sites in the country by Canada's History Magazine. It was a lot of fun watching costumed interpreters recreate life in the early 1850's. It was interesting to see original walls and buildings, participate in hands-on activities and view original furnishings. You can read about the fort's history here.

When I visited in 1972, we went to the Assiniboine Park Zoo and I clearly recall seeing polar bears there. Other animals you can see there now include deer, bison, elk, bears, lions, monkeys, koalas, yaks, camels, and zebra. There is also currently a "Boo at the Zoo" and a Pumpkin Patch, both Halloween events.

An interesting story that comes out of Winnipeg is the fact that Winnie the Pooh was named after a Canadian black bear that Christopher Robin, son of A.A. Milne, used to often see at the London Zoo. The story goes that this particular black bear had been purchased from a hunter for $20.00 by Canadian Lieutenant Harry Colebourn in Ontario and named it "Winnie" after his hometown Winnipeg. Colebourn sneaked Winnie into England during WW1, and left him at the zoo in London while he went off to fight the war in France. After the war, Winnie was officially donated to the zoo, where Christopher Robin saw him. Of course, the toy bears have been practically every child's favourite toy from then until now. Below are the original Winnie the Pooh bear (left) and the one we know today and the one my children had when they were small (right).

I hope you've enjoyed your little virtual tour of Winnipeg, Canada's 7th largest municipality. And if you like perogies or cabbage rolls, be sure to visit Brandon, just 132 miles or 212 kms west of Winnipeg. We stopped there on our way from Vancouver to Ottawa in 1987 and had the most delicious perogies ever! It's because of the high number of Ukranians living in the area. Yummy!
ABC Wednesday is the brainchild of Mrs. Nesbitt who is now assisted by a whirlwind of wonderful assistants, moi included. Check out the ABCW site and join in!

Monday, June 13, 2011


I cannot believe we're almost at the end of Round 4 of ABC Wednesday. My theme this time is "Destinations," in case you haven't noticed, and I've been saving Vanuatu for some time now. So far, I've used destinations that I have actually been to, but I must admit I'd never even heard of Vanuatu until a few months ago.

Here is the story. My friend Cathy was on disability for several months while she underwent some medical treatments. She regularly received her cheques from our provider in Michigan, USA. One month when her cheque didn't arrive, she phoned long distance to have a new cheque made up. Many months later, what should arrive in her mailbox but the missing cheque. It had been sent to none other than Vanuatu, a group of islands off the northwest coast of Australia! I googled the name and saw that it's a gorgeous tropical place full of white, sandy beaches and palm trees - a veritable paradise for honeymooners and tourists. I'm sure Cathy's mail had a wonderful voyage, but she would have preferred it to arrive in a more timely manner. Here's a copy of the enVelope.

Now I must use VANCOUVER this week because it is my home town, a place where I was born and where I've live most of my life. I'm sure you all remember only a little over a year go when we were hosts for the Olympics and the town went wild with excitement when both the Men's and Women's Canadian hockey teams won GOLD medals! Well, let me tell you about the excitement raging in the streets, restaurants, bars, homes, and - well, EVERYWHERE right now as the VANCOUVER CANUCKS hockey team vie for the STANLEY CUP. If they win, they will bring the cup back to Canada, where it originated and where it belongs!

We are vieing against the Boston Bruins, who last won the cup in 1972, but since the Canucks entered the league in 1970, they have never won it. You can read about it here on Wikipedia. Tonight is Game #6 and the Canucks are leading 3 games to 2. If they win tonight in Boston, they win the cup and will fly home victorious! If not, the final game will be on Wednesday here in Vancouver. Both teams desperately want the cup and both teams have been playing hard, forcing the two goalies to stay alert to their utmost ability. You can be sure that whichever team wins, there will be victory parades and victory parties while the other team will go home to drown their sorrows.


Update: They're gonna win at home on Wednesday!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Weather means more when you garden.

We've had the wettest and coldest April and May in 50 years! It's been absolutely miserable with furnaces on full blast, rain pouring down, the wind blowing, and everyone's temper flaring! Unfortunately, magnolia blossoms were destroyed by frostbite and the cherry blossoms were literally washed off their tree branches, with the result that it looked like it was snowing pink snowflakes. The last few days, however, have been fairly sunny and fairly warm bringing us hope for a reasonable summer. Gardens are blooming late, but I did get some tulips in the back garden while only a few in the front garden appeared. The azalea and rhododendrons finally bloomed, but the flowers died off within a few days. The English poppies are doing well, though, and my irises (which didn't bloom last year) are blooming like crazy right now. I have a little "school" birdhouse nailed to the side of the house just outside my patio doors. Two years ago, some chickadees made a nest inside and raised a little family there. I was on the lookout last summer for them, but they didn't appear. But just the other day, I started hearing loud cheeping in the patio area and yesterday, lo and behold, there was a baby chickadee on the fence waiting as the mother flew back and forth feeding it. Any time I got near to the window, though, the whole family flew off into the tree by the fence. I'm glad the little school/birdhouse has become of more use than just being decorative. It makes it feel alive somehow. As I was saying good-bye to a student this evening, I glanced at my rose bushes in the front garden. Two of the three planted last year have survived and are doing very well, but the last one seems like it's gone. I guess I shall have to go and see about buying a replacement and hope it catches up with the other two. I already see lots of buds on the bushes and one particularly lovely red one just beginning to open.
We have been waiting impatiently for our weather to improve and finally, we're seeing action. Let us pray ....

Sunday, June 05, 2011


Our destination this week is the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Click on the photos to enlarge - you'll probably be tempted to do so for the last few!

I entered the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia in the fall of 1965. At the time, I didn't think about the university's history; I was only concerned that this campus would be an important factor in my future. I had wanted to be a teacher from the time I began school and had never hesitated in my life plan.

The university is the oldest in British Columbia with the first lectures being held in September, 1915. Currently, there is an enrolment of 41,000 students on the Vancouver and Okanagan campuses. You can look up the facts and figures about UBC by clicking on the green name above, but I'd like to tell you about some of the lovely places you can visit on the campus. First of all, it's only about 20 minutes from downtown Vancouver and is near many beaches and has gorgeous views of the North Shore mountains. The Pacific Spirit Regional Park serves as a green-belt between the campus and the city.
The campus is the home of the Nitobe Memorial Gardens, built to honour Japanese scholar Inazo Nitobe. This garden has been the subject of more than fifteen years' study by a UBC professor, who believes that its construction hides a number of impressive features, including references to Japanese philosophy and mythology, shadow bridges visible only at certain times of year, and positioning of a lantern that is filled with light at the exact date and time of Nitobe's death each year. (from Wikipedia)

When you visit the UBC campus, you must take a look at the Chan Center for the Performing Arts. Surrounded by evergreens and rhododendrons, this state of the art venue has 1200 seats in the concert hall, the flexible seating Telus Studio Theatre, the 160-seat Royal Bank Cinema, The Great Performers Lounge, and a glass lobby. I've had the pleasure of attending several concerts and plays here!

The university campus is almost like a small town unto itself as it offers not only lecture halls and seminar rooms, but also dormitories, apartments, non-student housing, clubs, restaurants, pubs, art galleries, an aquatic center, a hospital, and various churches. It was great for me because I lived on campus and seldom had to leave its environs. This is Dene House at Totem Park residences where I lived.

Although I didn't join a sorority during my years at UBC, I was secretary of the student council at Totem Park and I was "involved" with one particular fraternity. Yes, my first long-term boyfriend was a member of Sigma Chi and we went to many many parties and outings. I particularly remember dressing to the hilt for the "Sweetheart of Sigma Chi" dance in a long green chiffon dress complete with elbow-length gloves, Mardi Gras, and one other dance where we dressed up as pioneers. Good memories. I wish I could find my old photo album that has the pictures from some of these events...but it's probably packed away in the crawl space under the stairs.

Here's an old scanned photo from Totem Park Residence's "The Wall" from 1967-68 - I was secretary of the council that year, here with the president leading a meeting.

And here I am acting in an all-too-familiar type of collegiate behaviour - swigging a beer! And one last one where I had the role of a "Playboy Bunny" in a skit. (can you spot my ears?)

I just KNEW you were curious as to what my life at UBC was like! And yes, I did get a well rounded education, including a teaching degree, believe it or not!

ABC Wednesday is the brainchild of Denise Nesbitt who now has an ultra-terrific host of assistants, including MOI. Click here to see the contributions this week.