- 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.
Friday, November 30, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
In today's paper, an article from Rome announced that a 1.5 kg (more than 3 pounds) truffle was found in the Italian countryside near the city of Pisa. Italian truffle hunter and trader, Cristiano Savini dug down 80 cm (almost 3 feet) by an oak tree to find this truffle, the largest unearthed in half a century. It took Savini, his father, and his dog Rocco more than an hour to get it out. They are donating the truffle to a charity auction in Macau where it is expected to fetch 150,000 euros or $221,000 Cdn.
I've only had the chocolate variety of truffles, but has anyone ever eaten the real thing? Maybe Welshcakes Limoncello?
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
Would you prefer rain or snow for winter? I know that most of you will conjure up visions of fluffy white snow banks, skiing or snowboarding down luxurious white slopes, or going for a lovely trudge towing the kids behind you in their sled. What's the reality, though? Biting cold winds working their way under your hat or hood, frozen electrical wires threatening to slap your house dark, stamping your feet as you wait for the trolley bus that got stuck miles away because the wires froze up, trees falling, cars in ditches, and the heating bill soars. Shall I go on?
I much prefer to look at the snow-capped mountains to my north and pray that it stays there. If it rains here, it does tend to get rather dark - especially at this time of year - but I don't have to shovel it, I can easily drive to my appointments, the buses run on time, and the heating bill is reasonable.
Many people share the misconception that Vancouver is a rain-saturated city, where umbrellas are part of everyday life and the sun seldom peeks out. But the truth is, Vancouver enjoys one of the mildest climates in Canada. And all the rain Vancouver is supposed to get? Its precipitation is on par with New York and Quebec City. You can always tell a visitor - they carry an umbrella - hah! Locals just pull up their hoods if it's a bad day or else they just saunter around in and out of the stores, etc. On my way home today, the kids were getting out of school and nary an umbrella in sight.
I lived in Ottawa for about 3 years and I really did not understand all the fooferal of Vancouver's reputation. Well, the first rain in the province of Ontario enlightened me. Ottawa's rain was a driving force, coming down so hard you were drenched in less than 10 seconds. Vancouver's rain is gentle and you'd have to sit out in it for an hour to get wet.
What to do on a rainy Vancouver day? Here are some suggestions:
1. Spend the day with otters, octopi and other sea-dwelling creatures at the world-famous Vancouver Aquarium.
2. Partake in the sensory smorgasbord that is a movie at CN IMAX.
3. View masterpieces by Emily Carr and a world-class collection of other artists at the Vancouver Art Gallery.
4. Make learning fun with the interactive and fascinating exhibits at the Science World.
5. Wander the shops, boutiques and galleries of bustling Granville Island.
6. Discover the wonder and historical importance of native culture at the magnificent Museum of Anthropology. It's located on the campus of the University of British Columbia (my alma mater).
7. Feed your inner shopaholic at any of Vancouver's malls, from Downtown's Pacific Centre to the 470 shops and services at Metropolis at Metrotown in nearby Burnaby.
8. Take advantage of the glass-domed Bloedel Conservatory and marvel at this tropical paradise high atop Queen Elizabeth Park.
9. Put on a slicker and enjoy a brisk walk through Stanley Park. The rainforest canopy provides ample coverage from the rain.
10. Go shopping and celebrity hunting on Robson Street.
Anyway, the point is you probably wouldn't be able to get to any of these places if it snows in Vancouver. The streets are a slushy or slippery mess and you'd take your life in your hands to go out anywhere but your local grocery store when you absolutely have to - and you'd be slipping and sliding all the way there, too.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Friday, November 23, 2007
my children and grandchildren
learning Romance languages
rudeness and arrogance really turn me off.
8 things to do before I die:
Return to Great Britain, France, and Italy and travel to more European countries
go on a safari in Kenya or South Africa
meet some of the blogging buddies I've made
see the Pyramids
finish writing my book and see it published
pay off my credit line
get another dog
fall in love again with a good man who is kind and rich (if only!)
8 things I say often:
This, too, shall pass.
Can Gramma have a hug?
Shit, Shit, Shit.
Give Noah a kiss from me.
I really have to get back to my book.
8 books I’ve read recently:
not a book, but never miss the daily Vancouver Sun newspaper
The Way the Crow Flies, by Ann-Marie MacDonald
Suite Française, by Irene Némirovsky
East of Eden, by John Steinbeck
The Almost Moon, by Alice Sebold
The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman (currently reading the 2nd of his series of 3 called "The Subtle Knife" and will finish with "The Amber Spyglass")
8 songs I could listen to over and over:
Memories, Barbra Streisand
My Girl, The Temptations (takes me back to my first love)
Believe in You, Amanda Marshall (this could be my anthem to my younger daughter)
You Were There, from the movie Simon Birch sung by Babyface
Unforgettable, the version with both Nat King and Natalie Cole
What a Wonderful World, Louis Armstrong
Anything by Julio Iglesias and Il Divo
8 qualities I look for in a best friend:
humour – make me laugh
trustworthy – I want to know I can tell you my deepest thoughts and secrets in confidence
intelligent - enough to have a decent conversation and not just gossipy stuff
kind - enough to offer to bring chicken soup when I’m all alone and sick with a cold or flu
be able to view things from various perspectives but honour my perspective even if you don’t understand or approve of it
be interested in ME and my life
inquisitive – have a desire to learn something new every day
be willing to share a room with me on a trip and bring your own earplugs
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Then, suddenly, the air was full of squawking. Canada geese were doing a practise run for their soon-to-be departure for southern climes. There must have been hundreds of them in formation and making such a racket! Well, just a little excitement on a fairly nice autumn afternoon.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
"The Neverending Story" is a 1984 film adaptation of the German fantasy novel by Michael Ende. Music for the movie was composed by Klaus Doldinger of the German jazz group Passport. The theme song to the American version of the film was composed by Giorgio Moroder with lyrics by Keith Forsey, and performed by Limahl, lead singer of Kajagoogoo. This song, along with other "techno-pop" treatments to the soundtrack are not present in the German version of the film, which features Doldinger's orchestra-only score exclusively. (from Wikipedia)
The story concerns a boy named Bastian who has no friends and is always being bullied by a group of other boys. But Bastian has a passion: reading. He loves to read adventure books. One day, in an old bookstore, he finds a strange book called "The Neverending Story". When he starts to read the book, he finds a world with lots of creatures and a boy that has a mission. And he finds that he is a part of the story. He also becomes confused when he learns that he has been chosen by the Childlike Empress to save the world of Fantasia...
In the book that Bastian reads, the main character is Atreyu, a boy who lives in the Grassy Plains of Fantasia. He has been chosen by the Childlike Empress to save the land of Fantasia. Without any weapon, he goes alone on a long, dangerous, and sometimes sad journey to find a cure for the sick Empress and to stop the deadly Nothing, which is sweeping the land. The Nothing is a force that devastates and engulfs Fantasia and represents the despair of humans who have stopped believing in their dreams. Its servant is Gmork, a huge wolf who has as his mission to kill the only one who can stop this destructive force and save Fantasia, Atreyu.
The childlike Empress rules all of Fantasia. Unlike any Queen, she doesn't need any army or bodyguards. That's because the existence of Fantasia depends on her health and life. Unfortunately, she becomes very sick, and there is a mysterious link to her illness and the Nothing. There's just a small hope that she will recover her health and save the Land of Fantasia. Atreyu is her hope. He will have to find a cure to save her. To help Atreyu, she give away something that represents her, an amulet called the AURYN. Atreyu wears this amulet in order to protect himself from the Nothing.
The saddest place in Fantasia is the "swamps of sadness." When you are in the swamps, if sadness reaches your heart and soul, you will not be able to get out of mud... until you die. Atreyu’s beloved horse, Artax, dies in the swamps.
After saving Atreyu from Swamps of Sadness, Falkor becomes Atreyu's new best friend and partner to save the Childlike Empress. He is a luck dragon without any kind of wings, but he can fly swiftly. He can also swim. He tells Atreyu that nothing is impossible. Many other characters help and hinder Atreyu in his quest, but his mission is ultimately successful.
I love this movie and have shown it to many of my Grade 4 students over the years. Because it’s an older movie, most of the kids had never seen it before and were mesmerised by the story, the special effects, and the music as well as the underlying theme of evil. The movie is exciting even for adults because they can relate to the story on a higher level. If you’ve never seen it before, I highly recommend it. The music itself is worth watching the movie. If you have seen it, what did you think of it?
See the following link for details about the story and its characters.
Monday, November 05, 2007
Sunday, November 04, 2007
There are three heritage buildings that give the island a "turn of the century" feel and recall the settlement history of Delta. The Inverholme Schoolhouse was built in 1909 and is one of the last one-room schoolhouses in the area. Burvilla, a Queen Anne style residence, was built in 1905-06 and belonged to the Burr family of Delta. The Delta Agricultural Hall was officially opened in 1899 and was moved to the island from Ladner in 1989, now serving as a park maintenance building with public space for exhibits and special events in front.
There are over 5 km of trails on Deas Island, all of which are flat and easy to walk. The trails pass through cottonwood and alder forest sporting spectacular views of the river. I think I did about 2 km today and was not the least bit tired; rather I felt invigorated. So, as Josie shares the special places in the city, allow me to share with you an area that is a simple 1/2 hour drive south of where she lives.
I began my hike by taking Tinmaker's Walk.
Peeking through the trees to the Fraser River.
The colours were spectacular today, especially the bright yellow treetops glistening in the late afternoon sunshine.
From another angle, I managed to catch this shot.
More colour, this time purple leaves.
A single rower was practising on the river.
Here is the boardwalk, covered in autumn leaves, leading to a lookout tower.
I hope you enjoyed this little tour of a beautiful spot here in the lower mainland area of Vancouver, BC. Of course I took LOTS more photos, but how many pictures of trees do you want to look at? This is just a taste of what you'll see when you come for a visit. I'd be more than happy to act as tour guide.