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.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Bloomin' Beauties

Yesterday morning, I dragged the chaise over to the lawn area and read the paper while enjoying the quiet warmth. Not a sound could I hear other than the odd cheep cheep of a couple of birds. I noticed that one of the poppy buds was starting to show some colour and that one of the iris buds was close to opening.

This morning when I pulled open the family room blinds, lo and behold the iris had blossomed! I ran to get my camera to take a photo and after doing so, looked around and saw that the poppy had also opened overnight.

I find this an exciting time of year as the flowers start to blossom and stretch toward the sun in the brilliant blue sky. We now have 8 fuschias hanging from the patio edges, 4 tomato plants, 4 pots of osteospermum at the front, and a pot of margueritas and a pot of cosmos beautifying my little patio. Oh yes, we've now been discovered by hummingbirds, too. Such fun!

Today it's very hot - almost 30C here in my little village with just a bit of a breeze. We're bbqing chicken tonight and steak tomorrow when my friend Josie comes out to enjoy the 'burbs with us.

Be sure to click on the photos to see the detail. Notice how many other iris buds there are and see how many poppy pods you can count. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

S is for Spring Has Sprung

Best said in a thick Cockney accent:

Spring is sprung,
The grass is ris.
I wonder where them birdies is?
Them birdies is on the wing!
That's strange,
I thought the wing was on the bird!

Although Spring officially began two months ago, I can honestly say that it appears to really be Spring now. My garden is blooming and a chickadee family has taken over my decorative wooden birdhouse, that I nailed up on the side of the house on the patio, as their home. Apparently, chickadees are quite picky about where to nest and prefer fir, white pine, cypress, or cedar, so we should be honoured that our home was chosen. "Mama Chick" has been sitting on the nest that "Papa Chick" made for her and the other day we saw Mama out and about bringing food to the newly hatched baby chicks. We're now constantly on the lookout for the neighbourhood cat who regularly visits our garden and has discovered the nest. We're constantly hearing loud chick-a-dee-dees when Papa wants to get into the nest and the cat's around. So out we go and shoo the cat away. Now Papa doesn't seem to mind if we're outside on the patio, weeding the garden, or even standing by the barbecue awaiting our ribs or burgers or such. Last night we sat on our lawn chairs away from the patio and watched Mama and Papa fly in and out of the house bringing food to the babies. As soon as they enter, we hear sweet little cheeps and we're wondering how many chicks there are. We felt part of nature and hope that the babies will survive.
Anyway, I thought you might enjoy seeing some photos of our garden with cornflowers, English poppies, rhododendrons, and azaleas. We also have a bleeding heart that's growing like a weed, some lavendar that isn't in bloom yet, some California poppies (pods are still closed), and other annuals in bloom. We've also planted 5 tomato plants in pots along the sunny side of the house and are hoping for a good crop. Be sure to click on the photos to enlarge them.

In the last photo, you can see where the birdhouse is located, so it's amazing that this chickadee family has taken it over. Around the corner to the right is the sunny side of the house where the tomatoes are growing. As you can also see, our patio and garden are not huge, but we're enjoying it so much right now. AND we saw our first hummingbird tonight, too!

ABC Wednesday is hosted by Mrs. Nesbitt.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

R is for ROAD TRIP

I Recently Read in a magazine that travelling to Europe is passe now, but Road trips are Really IN! We took our first Road trip together this past weekend and drove up to the Okanagan. We lucked out with the weather as it was cool and cloudy but it didn't Rain. Our first glitch, though, was when we were driving through the back roads not far from home in order to avoid the traffic on the freeway because of the Cloverdale Rodeo. All of a sudden, a tractor stopped and took over the entire Road as it maneuvered its way backwards into a farm's driveway. Once we got going again, it was clear sailing, though. We drove through the Fraser Valley area that is a great farming area in BC and headed towards the mountains. There was still quite a bit of snow on the mountains and along the edges of the Coquihalla Highway but the roads were clear all the way. Be sure to click on the photos to enlarge them.

Our destination was the town of Peachland where friends live overlooking Okanagan Lake. When we arrived, all I wanted to do was admire the view. My "chauffeur," on the other hand had been there before and headed for the lounge chair with a beer. I got out the camera and starting clicking away. The lake, home of the legendary lake monster Ogopogo, is the largest lake in the region at 135 km in length and 4 - 5 km in width. At one end of the lake is the town of Penticton and at the other end is Vernon. The lake's deepest area is in Peachland, but I never did get to see the Ogopogo.

The next morning, after Relaxing on the deck drinking tea and eating freshly-baked banana bread, we went into the "downtown" area of Peachland to the annual antique car show. Upon arriving, we were greeted by the "Blues Brothers" who were absolutely fabulous as they entertained the crowd with all the old favourites. Let's face it, most of the visitors were of a "certain age." Here is a sampling of what we saw. Check out the interior hood of one car!

I was quite impressed with Peachland in that it Reminded me of my own little village. It has beautiful beaches, although they are a bit Rocky, but heck that keeps the tourists away! The beaches are also lined with deciduous trees to give shade in the hot summer months. There is a lovely park with gazebo, a town clock, boat moorings, and flower gardens. It was very pleasant to sit down on one of the many park benches to cool off a bit and eat a hot dog barbecued by the Lions Club.

Finally, for my Regular Readers who have been Ragging on me to see a photo of the two of us together, here we are Relaxing lakeside before heading back to the house for barbecued chicken and Fanny Bay oysters.

ABC Wednesday is hosted by Mrs. Nesbitt. Check out all the participants!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Uninvited Guests

There's a party going on inside my body. And not one guest was invited by me!

It started last Friday when I noticed some pin-prickling sensations in my throat. Those prickles quickly turned into pain when those nasty little rhinoviruses invited their friends, the picornaviruses and the coronaviruses, to pop on over.

The party then really kicked off. Those little buggers danced around in the cavernous recesses of my pharynx until, by Monday, I wasn't even able to utter a sound. Even my "cries" of pain were silent. And the acetaminophen, the Cepacol lozenges, and hot tea couldn't ease the agony.

On Tuesday, those irritating rhinos, picornas, and coronas decided to move the party up into the nasal passages. On the way, they must have dropped all their liquid refreshment because for three days now it's all been oozing out my nasal cavities. Then they decided to spread the party out into my respiratory organs. There are so many of those little buggers crammed into my lungs that nothing is moving...the cough medecine my doctor recommended tries to attack these invaders and sometimes there's a sound like a whip cracking as I try to evict them.

I love this comment from Wikipedia: Within a few days, the body's humoral immune response begins producing specific antibodies that can prevent the virus from infecting cells.

"Humoral?" That sounds like the body thinks parties of this type are funny! Trust me, this is NOT funny! I've had to cancel all my tutoring work this week!
Today is Thursday and I feel like I've been run over by a truck! I hurt all over, have no voice (and for me, that is a great problem), am plugged up and have to breathe through my mouth causing my lips to chap, am coughing like a chain smoker, and can't eat or sleep.

I do not like this kind of party. It's time for everyone to go home!
... or else I'll have to join in by making myself a rusty nail.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Q is for Quiz

Keep track because you'll find the answers at the end.

1. When the earth shakes we call it a ___

2. The amount of a number of something is the ___

3. The female ruler of a country is a ___

4. One fourth of something is a ___

5. A line of people waiting for something is called a ___

6. Something that takes a short time is ___

7. When there is little or no movement or sound, then all is ___

8. What "Q word" means to suppress completely? ____

9. To repeat or write words someone else has said or written is to ___

10. To give up something like a job or school is to ___

11. To have an angry argument is to ___


1. quake 2. quantity 3. queen 4. quarter 5. queue 6. quick 7. quiet 8. quash 9. quote 10. quit 11. quarrel

So, how did you do? I think you all probably thought this was quite easy, right? I could have made it harder for you all by using words like quag, quiff, quire, or quoit but it's so much more fun to get an A+ on a quiz!

ABC Wednesday is brought to you by our hostess Mrs. Nesbitt. Click on her name and go to her responses to see who else is participating.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Real Mothers

Real Mothers don't eat quiche.
They don't have time to make it.

Real Mothers know that their kitchen utensils
Are probably in the sandbox.

Real Mothers often have sticky floors,
Filthy ovens and happy kids.

Real Mothers know that dried play dough
Doesn't come out of carpets.

Real Mothers don't want to know what
The vacuum just sucked up.

Real Mothers sometimes ask 'Why me?'
And get their answer when a little Voice says,
'Because I love you best.'

Real Mothers know that a child's growth
Is not measured by height or years or grade...
It is marked by the progression of Mommy to Mom to Mother...

The Images of Mother

4 YEARS OF AGE - My Mommy can do anything!
8 YEARS OF AGE - My Mom knows a lot! A whole lot!
12 YEARS OF AGE - My Mother doesn't really know quite everything.
14 YEARS OF AGE - Naturally, Mother doesn't know that, either.
16 YEARS OF AGE - Mother? She's hopelessly old-fashioned.
18 YEARS OF AGE - That old woman? She's way out of date!
25 YEARS OF AGE - Well, she might know a little bit about it!
35 YEARS OF AGE - Before we decide, let's get Mom's opinion.
45 YEARS OF AGE - Wonder what Mom would have thought about it?
65 YEARS OF AGE - Wish I could talk it over with Mom.

The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows, and the beauty of a woman with passing years only grows!

The top photo is of my mother and my sister - probably in the late 80s/early 90s. The bottom photo is of all the women in the family who were or became mothers - probably in the early 70s. Top row left to right is: sister Jackie, my mother, my aunt (Dad's sister). Middle row: half of my sister Robin, my Nana Jones (Dad's Mom), my Grandma Williamson (Mom's Mom). And there's me bottom center. Let's see, my Mom had 3 daughters, Aunt Jo had 2 sons and 1 daughter, Nana Jones had 2 sons and 2 daughters, Grandma Williamson had 1 son and 1 daughter, my sister Robin had 2 sons and I had 2 daughters. Sister Jackie never married or had children, but she is the absolute BEST Auntie you could ever ask for. Click to enlarge photos.

So here's to all you mothers out there! May you have the loveliest weekend ever celebrating with your children and if you aren't able to be together, may you have the loveliest memories.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

P is for Purple Pots on the Patio

About a week ago, we went browsing at the local nursery to get ideas for decorating the patio. There was so much to choose from, but we were mostly interested in fuschias for hanging planters, tomatoes to grow from pots situated along the sunny side of the house, and other colourful flowers for the garden beds. At one point, I pointed to some flowers and said, "Oh, those are so pretty. I love the colour!" The response was a sort of "Uh huh." That day we only bought 4 humungous bags of outside potting soil and some black pots. It was still a bit early for planting...

The next day, upon arriving home from an appointment, what did I see on the front porch area? Two large, gorgeous pots full of those beautiful purple flowers I had seen at the nursery! I've since discovered that these flowers are called osteospermum, also known as the African Daisy, South African Daisy, Cape Daisy and Blue-eyed Daisy. They come in all sorts of colours and are considered semi-perennials - they don't tolerate wintery conditions. They might survive here if we have a reasonably temperate winter.

Anyway, the pots aren't really purple (as my title suggests) but the flowers range from pale to deep purple and are absolutely magnificent. They're growing and thriving and I've already had to do a bit of deadheading.

The fuschias were planted yesterday - four pots in all, so far, and hung along the overhang of the patio at the back. Also, there's a new HUGE pot of cosmos on the patio and another pot of white osteospermum joining the purple ones.. Pretty soon we'll go and buy the tomato plants and other flowering plants for the garden beds - that is, after we do some weeding - and then we can sit back and relax, getting up periodically to water the plants and get a fresh drink.
ABC Wednesday is brought to you by Mrs. Nesbitt, so do pop in HERE to see other contributions.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Bonds of Love

This evening I was presented with a dozen beautiful white roses! What a lovely surprise! My sweetie often brings me flowers but this is the first time he's brought roses and naturally he received profound thanks. He said he wasn't sure what the colour "white" meant with regard to roses and I wasn't sure, either. So I thought I'd check it out.

History and Meaning of White Roses - from here.

Primary Significance: Purity, Innocence, Sympathy, Spirituality
With its pristine appearance, the white rose has come to symbolize purity, innocence and secrecy. There are myths and legends from several different cultures relating to the origin of the first rose which is initially white in color and is then miraculously transformed. Oftentimes the pure white rose was depicted as being stained by blood, or made to blush from a kiss. The recurrence of this theme does a great deal to establish the white rose as a symbol for purity.

Early traditions also used white roses as a symbol for true love, an association which would later become the hallmark of the red rose. However, white roses continue to endure and retain their symbolism of innocence. White roses are now used to express a number of different sentiments.

Also known as the bridal rose, the white rose is a traditional wedding flower. In this sense, they are a representation of unity, virtue, and the pureness of a new bond of love. White roses are also a symbol for young love, which further strengthens the association, and makes them ideal for marriages. Bridal bouquets are often comprised of white roses and other white flowers.

White roses are also associated with honor and reverence, which makes them a fitting memorial for a departed loved one. Funeral and sympathy arrangements traditionally incorporate white roses as a part of the tribute. As a symbol of remembrance, the white rose represents heavenliness and is an expression of spiritual love and respect.
While most of the long-established meanings of white roses are still quite commonly used today, others have become less prevalent. White rosebuds, for example, are a traditional symbol for girlhood and carry an underlying message of one too young for love. While perhaps no longer falling into the realm of common knowledge, this is still very much a part of the language of roses.

White roses can mean many things to many different people. They can symbolize new beginnings, or be a sign of farewell. They can convey feelings of love, friendship, respect and hope. Underlying all of these messages is the impression of innocence and purity with which white roses are now synonymous. An arrangement of white roses is not only beautiful; it can carry a complexity that belies its simpler appearance. Whatever the reason white roses are given, it can be assured that they will be deeply appreciated by their recipient.

As I was arranging the roses in my grandmother's cut glass vase, I heard the lawn mower start up. There he was mowing the lawn because apparently it's going to rain this weekend. Am I lucky or what? When he finishes, he's barbecuing hamburgers for us. Oh, and he didn't forget the wine, either. Aren't they gorgeous? Click to enlarge.