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.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

O is for OLYMPICS 2010

October has been a very busy month. As I mentioned in a previous post, there were 3 birthdays to celebrate, Thanksgiving (Canadian), and Halloween this Saturday.

On top of all that, my fiancé received great news that he's been hired as a Security Supervisor for the upcoming Olympics here in Vancouver! What an opportunity he'll have to meet people from all over the world, both athletes and tourists alike. This international company that is handling the security here is the same company that the IOC deals with all over the world. Therefore, if he can optimize this opportunity by doing a great job, we're hoping he might be kept on to work in London preparing for the next Olympics. Fingers crossed!

In the meantime, there couldn't possibly be any better setting for a winter Olympics than right here in western Canada amidst the mountains right next to the ocean!

If anyone is attending the Olympics and needs a place to stay, we're renting our guest bedroom with private bathroom. It's just a hop, skip, and a jump into the city to see hockey, figure skating, and speed skating. And one more hop on the special buses that will take you up to Whistler to see the skiing, bobsledding, and luge events. And if you can't make it out this way, be sure to check the TV for not only the games, but also some spectacular scenery from my hometown!

ABC Wednesday is brought to you by Denise Nesbitt. Please take a moment to pop by her place and give her your condolences on the loss of her beloved German Shepherd Wilma.

Monday, October 19, 2009

N is for NAME

When I got married the first time, it was natural and expected that the wife take the husband's surname. However, not long after that it was considered acceptable that the couple take on a hyphenated name in order that the wife retain her identity. (I always wondered about that reasoning.) Then it seemed to be completely kosher that the wife keep her own (maiden) name for business reasons, but be called Mrs. XXX in personal situations.

How confusing!

When Lorne asked me to marry him, I said that I wanted to take his last name as my own. He wondered if it was really that important to me. And I said, "Absolutely!" (I think he was pleased.)

Why, you may wonder.

The surname I have now was my late husband's name, but I have never felt that I was a "Smith." His family didn't really accept me wholeheartedly and I've had no contact with any of them since before my husband died. (That's another story for another time.) I really only kept the name because of my two daughters. But now they're all grown up and one is married with two children and is know as "Mrs. Husband'ssurname."

Lorne has a Welsh surname and my maiden name was also Welsh (Jones), so I can hardly wait to take his name as my own. We both want to travel to Wales to experience our heritage, and Lorne wants to take the family Bible to donate it somewhere in the country - maybe St. Fagan's living history museum just outside of Cardiff.

It was 40 years ago that we met and started dating. Today the ring is finally on my finger and we have set a date to get married. And I can hardly wait to be called "Mrs. Evans."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

...perchance to dream

Hamlet:"To sleep, perchance to dream
ay, there's the rub."
I had the weirdest dream last night. Briefly, my ear got cut off and someone said to me, "Well, it can't be reattached so you'll need a transplant." Huh?

There was no pain or blood or anything but I did see my ear and the cut edge that looked like it'd be cauterized. Anyway, in the dream I wasn't the least bit upset and just carried on with whatever I was doing.

I couldn't stop thinking about it all day, so I checked online to see if I could find some sort of interpretation. I looked up "amputation."

From my research, I think losing my ear indicates that I've taken on a totally new approach to life. I've abandoned and discarded my former ways of thinking and doing things, including listening to others' criticisms of how I'm living my life. Maybe with my "old" ear, I was unable to stand up for myself and do the things I wanted to do without worrying about what others would think. With a new ear, maybe I'd feel more free. The dream could be a metaphor for what's going on in my waking life and the changes I'm making. I do know that I have an increased level of self-confidence and greater independence.

It's just kind of eerie to dream of losing a part of your body. Maybe it just means that I'm losing my hearing...or could there be some sort of Van Gogh connection?

Anyone else have any weird dreams like this? Or an interpretation for me?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

M is for Mountains

We have lots of mountain ranges in British Columbia. In fact, the entire province is comprised of mountains and valleys from the border of Alberta to the Pacific Ocean. Where I live is part of the Coastal Mountain range and one particularly beautiful region to visit is Whistler, right in the midst of all the mountains.

Yesterday, we drove the "Sea to Sky Highway" all the way to Whistler in order to visit a few of Lorne's old hockey and skiing friends. We're hoping to have our "Big Chill" weekend there next spring and also have a reunion with the guys who played on the Burnaby Stealers hockey team.

I've taken lots of photos around Whistler before, but this time I took the opportunity to take some photos of the mountainous areas just off the highway and towards the ocean. I hope you enjoy them as they were all taken from a moving vehicle. And NO, I wasn't driving. Please click to enlarge.

ABC Wednesday has been hosted by Mrs. Nesbitt for the last 3 years. However, due to business practicalities, she won't be able to host it after this round is over. Many thanks to Denise for the awesome job she's done and hopefully someone will take over for her.

Friday, October 09, 2009

To CPAP or Not To CPAP

This morning I saw the respiratory specialist and was fitted for my first (trial) CPAP machine. Apparently, I have a small nose and extra-small nostrils so the full face mask was way too big. So I have a device that fits just over the nostrils and is strapped to the top and back of my head.

It's a strange feeling when the air blows into my nostrils and at first I didn't like it at all. However, the specialist said that it take time to get used to it. I'm to use it for an hour each day for three days (sit and watch TV or read or something) before I start to use it at night. I have to go back next Friday to get the monitor checked and get another device to check my oxygen levels overnight. I had that done already and that showed that I stop breathing on average 25 times an hour - severe sleep apnea. Hopefully, the next test will show that the CPAP is working as it should.

So why bother with all this? Well, I first inquired about my snoring because it was keeping my sweetie awake all night. I thought maybe something could be done about that. Now I find out that sleep apnea can actually kill you! I found the following on the internet:

What's the proof that Sleep Apnea can kill? The study published by Terry Young, Ph.D. and her colleagues at the University of Wisconsin at Madison is particularly convincing and ominous. Back in 1988, Dr. Young rounded up a large group of randomly selected Wisconsinites (about 1,500 people) who agreed to be tested for Sleep Apnea. Dr. Young recorded not only whether they had Sleep Apnea, but also if they did, the level of Sleep Apnea severity. Dr. Young asked this group, known as her "Wisconsin Cohort" group, to agree to be tracked over the years, and they agreed. Fast forward to 2006, when Dr. Young checked in on them. After 18 years, some had passed away, some were still as healthy as they were back in 1988. The key for our purposes is that, controlling for all other factors, the folks who were identified as having severe Sleep Apnea and who did not get treatment for it were three to four times as likely as the others to die from something . . . anything, and five times more likely to die from stroke or cardiovascular disease.

Basically, sleep apnea is like a person choking you very slowly. Instead of someone choking you fully and killing you in 5 minutes, it kills you softly in a number of months or years. Most people don't bother treating it or giving it their full attention. Also, lack of sleep causes your mind to lose its ability to focus, which makes it more likely that you could have a motor vehicle accident, stroke, cardiac arrest, or death let alone the high blood pressure, weight gain, and serious diseases like diabetes and cancer.

So my question is, "To CPAP or not to CPAP?"

I don't believe there is any other answer but a resounding YES! Not only do I want my sweetie to be able to sleep with me, I also want us to wake up together for many, many years to come. I'm hoping that within a few months I'll have much more energy and be able to go walking, swimming, cycling and read a book for more than 5 minutes without drifting off.

If you or someone you love snores a lot and/or seems to stop breathing during sleep, please share this information with them and get them to a specialist.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

L is for LAKE

Today, L is for lake, Green Lake, to be precise. At the beginning of June, we went up to this lake with a group of Lorne's friends. We all stayed at a fishing resort, some of us in cabins and others in their own RVs. The guys went out fishing while the gals visited, drank coffee, and took photos for posterity.

Here are 3 of the guys out fishing.

A gorgeous shot of the surroundings reflected in the lake.

It was quite marshy at this place ...

and as such, there were lots and lots of ducks around.

This was the scene from the balcony of our cabin.

and this was the wharf that greeted us each morning.

Some of you might remember it was here that Lorne and I got officially engaged on June 5, 2009.

ABC Wednesday is brought to you by Mrs. Nesbitt and it's amazing that we're on Year 3, Round 5 already! Click here to see other participants' postings and/or to join in.

Monday, October 05, 2009

No wonder I'm tired all the time!

This morning I had my long-awaited appointment with the sleep disorder specialist. The results of my night wearing a monitor on my finger showed that I stop breathing about 25 times an hour!

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the rear of the throat collapses and closes during sleep. In central sleep apnea, the airway is not blocked but the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe. Mixed apnea, as the name implies, is a combination of the two. With each apnea event, the brain briefly arouses people with sleep apnea in order for them to resume breathing, but consequently sleep is extremely fragmented and of poor quality.

Most nights I go to bed around 11:00 pm and get up around 8:00 am, but without my alarm clock on I could "sleep" for up to 12 hours! It doesn't matter how many hours I "think" I sleep because I'm not really sleeping, but rather gasping for breath every other minute! And snoring like a old truck at the same time. No wonder I'm tired all the time!

Sleep apnea is very common, as common as adult diabetes, and affects more than twelve million (North) Americans, according to the National Institutes of Health. Risk factors include being male, overweight, and over the age of forty, but sleep apnea can strike anyone at any age, even children. Yet still because of the lack of awareness by the public and healthcare professionals, the vast majority remain undiagnosed and therefore untreated, despite the fact that this serious disorder can have significant consequences.

Untreated, sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure and other cardiovascular disease, (like strokes or cardiac arrest) memory problems, weight gain, impotency, and headaches. Moreover, untreated sleep apnea may be responsible for job impairment and motor vehicle crashes. Fortunately, sleep apnea can be diagnosed and treated. Several treatment options exist, and research into additional options continues.

The specialist also told me that drinking alcohol, especially close to bedtime, can exacerbate sleep apnea. There's one good reason for not drinking except at special occasions. Plus since I'm already on high blood pressure meds, there's another reason to get this condition under control. AND I'm still having trouble losing the 7 pounds I've put on since my surgery in January. I thought that was because of lack of exercise (well, oKAY, that's part of it but now I have another excuse reason.)

So what to do about it? First, I have to wait for a phone call from a clinic that will give me a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine to try out for a couple of months. (Free!) I will then see the specialist again to let him know if it's working. If it is, then I buy the machine (and get reimbursed by my Extended Health Benefits). I also have to go to the hospital to have the entire testing done to find out if I have "obstructed" or "central" sleep apnea. The wait time for this procedure is up to 12 months! But it's important to have the test done because then they can tell whether I can get surgery to trim my palate or not. This could relieve the apnea and I wouldn't have to use the CPAP.
Let's hope! Poor Lorne has the choice of sleeping in the other room or with me looking like an alien!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Birthday Lunch

What a gorgeous day to visit Granville Island! Clear blue skies formed a ceiling over the brilliant trees just turning red, gold, yellow, and burnt orange. We lucked out getting a free parking spot as someone pulled out just as we arrived giving us a 5-minute walk to the Granville Island Hotel and Dockside Restaurant. Oldest sister had already arrived so we joined her at the table by the floor to ceiling windows overlooking the marina full of massive sailboats. This was our view! Check out that chandelier...

After the formalities of "Happy Birthday," etc. we set to deciding on our drinks. Sisters had mimosas (which I dislike) so I opted instead for a pear cider. Brunch for me was a shrimp bennie and a circular caramel pecan cheesecake for dessert. I was SO full that I was grateful for that bit of a walk back to the car.

Oh, I got prezzies, too! The book, "The Time Traveler's Wife," a CD called "Paris Café," and a gift card to Starbucks. Just the ticket for a grey, rainy Vancouver day - I'll get some Starbucks coffee and a nice new mug and settle in to read while listening to soft French musique in front of a warm fire.

But before that happens, I want to go on a photo safari to capture the colours of the season. Plus I need to get the tulip bulbs planted soon, too. Although our temperatures are in the high teens celsius (in the 60's), it does cool down at night.

So the first in a month of special days has come and gone and I'm looking forward to Tuesday - the real birth-day - when Lorne and I are going out for dinner. We actually haven't done that in a while, so it should be nice.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

October Already!

Man, the year is going by too quickly! Today it's the first of October, which means another very busy month. First up is my birthday on the 6th (which I share with my son-in-law), and then comes Thanksgiving - yes in Canada it's the 2nd Monday in October - and next is my older daughter's birthday on the 29th, and finally it's Halloween.

Sunday, my two sisters are taking me out to lunch at the Dockside Restaurant down in Granville Island in the big city of Vancouver. I always say that because I've lived in the 'burbs for so long, I feel like a tourist every time I drive in. I've never been to the Dockside before, but apparently it features floor to ceilings windows overlooking the water and a 50 foot aquarium. I'm really looking forward to it and will let you all know how the food is there.

Then after my students leave on Tuesday (my b'day) Lorne is taking me out to Earl's Restaurant for dinner. It's probably going to be a late night, replete with lots of vino, so it's a good thing Wednesday is a light day with only 2 students late in the afternoon.

The family is coming for Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday so we'll be busy cooking a traditional meal of roast turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes, a corn scallop I make that everyone requests, and maybe a few brussel sprouts for colour. Seriously, I have a video of my grandson eating one last Thanksgiving and he actually liked it!
Halloween is a Saturday this year, so I'm expecting it to be a noisy evening after all the little ones finish their rounds. I'm sure all the teenagers will be out and about lighting their firecrackers and getting into all sorts of mischief. But we'll be cosy in our nice little house with the fire on and nibbling on popcorn and Halloween candy and sipping warm apple cider.

We've been wanting to get away for a few days, but life just seems to get in the way. Sometimes I wish time would stand still for a little while so I can absorb the moments rather than flitting through them to get to the next task.
October is one of my favourite months for all the reasons mentioned above. I hope it's sunny a lot, too, so we can go on a little photo safari to capture the colours of the season. Stay tuned for updates on all our activities. And wishing everyone a wonderful autumn season!