Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A Morning at the Beach

It is amazing what you can cram into a day. This morning I wanted to get some time to take Lucy to Semiahmoo Beach for a swim. It was a gorgeous day for it so I got up early and worked till 10:30 am and then she and I grabbed my camera and off we went.
Semiahmoo is about 15 minutes from my house and right on the edge of the US. In fact from the beach you can see the Peace Arch and the Canadian and American flags flying. As friendly as that sounds and the fact that at low tide you could swim to the other side I for one would not be trying it. Those border guards can move faster than you can say "free donuts" when they want to and I have been in their offices there and they have a great view of that beach.
This beach is the only beach in the area that allows dogs on it . Can you believe that? Miles and miles of beach and you can't take a dog even on a leash? I have dirty and more rabid friends than most dogs I know, but those are the rules except at this beach which is owned by the Semiahmoo Indian band and I am very grateful to them for letting us go there and walk our dogs.
Today the tide was very far out and Lucy and I walked right out to the edge only to discover that it was a very busy day there. There were kingfishers, seagull, ducks and an immature eagle all fishing for salmon and obviously the run was in and they were getting their fill.
Lucy enjoyed playing with her chuckit and chasing the birds when she got a chance. Meanwhile I couldn't snap pictures fast enough. I decided to put them in a slide show for you. You can have a better look if you click on View All Images.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Finally a Moment to Catch Up!

This summer is turning into the summer from hell! First it was Lucy down with a bad abscess, then it was the car, then it was the car, then it was the car! (no that is not a typo) The car is giving me fits. Why is it that I always have problems with my car that no one can find? Am I special or something? Or do I just get stupid mechanics? Almost every car I ever had has had a problem that I have spent hundreds of dollars trying to find out what was wrong with it only to find out that it needed a fifty dollar part that took ten minutes to replace. The verdict is still out on this one. So that is how my week went one thing after another. Sometimes I feel as though there are so many problems to solve that there is not enough time to live life. That was last week.
This weekend I helped put on a fund raiser for the NDP in this riding. It was a Hawaiian themed pool party that the weather did not co-operate with us on. It didn't rain exactly, but it wasn't really warm either. However my daughter and I made a cute cake for it all thanks to Betty Crocker.
Okay so it doesn't look exactly like Betty Crockers, but you have to admit that for someone who bakes once a year at best it was not bad! However my friend Denise who hosted this party seemed less than impressed! Oh well!
The event was a lot of fun because we have the President who is the most fun of all the constituencies presidents. Okay I know that I am prejudiced, but Brenda thinks so too and she is his wife. He is always good for a smile and a laugh. Without him I don`t know where this riding would be.
Here he is tending bar with his good buddy Harry Bains the MLA for Surrey-Newton. And of course he helped himself a little at the bar too!
Then did a little Hula Hula for us all! Thanks Bob I like your style!
The food was great and cooked with love by our very own Al Rondpre shown here serving the first Hawaiian burger off the grill to Sue Hammell MLA for Surrey-Green Timbers.
Everyone dressed up in theme for the event including me. I wore a blue Hawaiin silk shirt over a blue halter top, white cutoffs and I had fresh orchids in my hair. I know you are dying to see the picture of me so I saved the best for last.
Unfortunately though you will have to settle for this adorable picture of someone`s little girl dressed up Hawaiian, because as I was the photographer no one got a picture of me. She's much cuter anyhow.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Celebration of Lights

The annual Celebration of Lights has arrived in Vancouver and Spain was the first to display on Wednesday night. Every Wednesday and Saturday night for the next two weeks there will be a fireworks display from a different country at Kitsilano beach. This event attracts thousands of people and this Wednesday night was no exception. Three hundred thousand people crowded into the downtown core of Vancouver for this event. I live in a town about twenty minutes from the city and have not been to this event for many years. The crowds and the time it takes to get back out of the city and home are just too much for me. However the fireworks are very beautiful especially on a nice night.
Three hundred thousand people can leave a lot of garbage on the beach and streets. Usually in the morning the civic workers are out there with trucks and rakes cleaning up a ton of garbage. Not a very pleasant job especially in the hot sun. This year there was a bit of twist to the event. City managers were out there cleaning up the mess instead of the civic workers. No it is not be nice to your city employee week. The civic employees are on strike in the middle of summer. No garbage pick up, no libraries, no swimming pools, no recreation centres! Soon we will have to wear a mask to travel in the downtown core because of the stench. I think Mayor Sam Sullivan should be made to participate in the clean up after Saturday nights maybe he would reconsider negotiating in good faith with these employees.

Lorelei has a Brouhaha!

Lorelei over at Musings has a brouhaha going with her professor from school and she awakened a lot of feelings in a lot of people including me!
Lorelei's posting is well worth reading and will probably excite some emotions in yourself as well. In her posting Lorelei made some very strong points on racism and gender bias.
She stated that people should be judged by their worth not by their color.
That Obama was using his race as a means to win an election and that women have been socialized to accept their role as family first and career second!
Apparently her professor did not take kindly to this and reprimanded her for her remarks on a student website. But did Lorelei take that sitting down?...no she came right back at her and didn't back down. Good for you Lorelei! You can read what she had to say here at www.blogsdon.com as well as some of the responses she has gotten so far. The following is my response to her post.
Here in Canada the color thing is not really an issue. Not that we do not have our share of prejudiced and racist history. Our treatment of Native Indians in the past is a prime example. We didn't give them the vote till 1952, we made them live on reserves and we took their children and put them in Catholic run boarding schools forbidding them to speak their own language or learn anything about their culture. When I think of it I am ashamed to say I am Canadian and I have a great deal of empathy for the Native fight for rights and recognition in this country.
As a Canadian I also rebel every time I am asked what nationality I am. I was born in Canada, raised in Canada - duh! I'm Canadian. Inevitably when I tell someone I am Canadian they will say "well ya but what is your nationality?" GRRRRRRRRR I'M CANADIAN EH!
As for voting. I'm with you on that one. I think that we should vote for the person we feel is the best candidate and race or gender should not enter into it. In this country we also have this policy of giving priority to female candidates and minority candidates. I feel this gives me little choice as a voter and rarely gives us the best person for the job. As a woman I find the whole thing demoralizing. I don't want to be judged because I am a woman, but for who I am and what I can do!
I also agree, Lorelei,that women are socialized to put family first and choose that over a career. Despite the fact that I have a strong belief that raising children is one of the hardest task that anyone can take on in life and that to raise children right and with your family values you need to spend enormous amounts of time cultivating that relationship and that leaves little time for much of anything else I also believe that this role need not be a woman's alone. For too long we have let men believe that they are the only ones who can be the hunter and the little woman should stay in the cave fanning the camp fire and breeding. So long as women do not demand quality child care alternatives and equal pay and treatment in the workplace this attitude will continue to prevail and women will constantly be forced to make decisions with few real choices.
Thanks Lorelei for posting your opinions and having the courage to stand up for what you believe in.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


" Life can suck sometimes but.. Don't make me do this to YOU!"
A friend, knowing I have been having a few rough days, took me for lunch today and bought me this card to cheer me up. The card made me smile and we had a nice couple of hours chatting. I felt a lot better for it and I am very grateful to her. Thanks for being there Janis!

Hold a true friend with both your hands. -- Nigerian Proverb

Monday, July 23, 2007

Singing My Own Song

"A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer a bird sings because it has a song. "
Maya Angelou

"The woods would be silent if only the song birds sang."

Today has been a long, sad, tiring day for me and these two quotes just seemed to bounce around in my head.
You ever get that? ... just out of no where something keeps banging around in there.
Maybe I just need to sing my own song no matter what it sounds like to anyone else. And maybe I just need to sing it because it is me and what is inside of me?
After all do the chickadees really like the song the blue bird sings or do they just put up with each other out of respect? And when all that chirping and squawking is going on as the sun rises in the morning are they giving each other some deep and profound advice or are they just telling the world who they are and what is inside of them?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Harry Potter

The last book in the Harry Potter series has arrived and I am sure that millions of people especially children around the world have been reading this book all weekend. Every time a new Harry Potter book comes out our family pre-orders and it is delivered first thing on Saturday morning. If I am not home the mail man usually leaves it at my door. This weekend I could not be home nor any one else in the household and on Saturday afternoon on my way home I thought how great it would be to get home and find the book! (can you believe that?)Alas the mail man for the first time in since I moved in here was worried about security for some reason and chose to leave me a notice to pick it up today at the post office instead. I was surprised at how disappointed not only myself, but my daughters (both adults I might add) were to have to wait till today to get the book. Now JK Rowling is either a very good writer with a very good book or she has a marvelous marketing team!
I have read every one of the books in this series and loved every one. They are like brain candy. Every page seems to hold a surprise. They are not rocket science, just good fun and relaxing, but I also realize that one of the best things about the book is that so many others are reading them at the same time and it is great to be able to discuss the exciting twists and turns of the plot. Last time my household went into a total state depression over the death of the beloved Dumbledore. This time we are told that someone else will die and it could be Harry Potter himself. If that happens I am almost sure there will be a full fledge funeral right here in my living room for him.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


I grew up in a small town on a peninsula on the west coast of British Columbia. I lived three miles from school and town in an old farm house with a tin roof that banged like old pots whenever it stormed. The sound of water beating on the tin roof was soothing to me as a child and many nights I lay in my bed listening to that sound as I drifted off to sleep. The house we lived in was almost a 1/4 mile from the gravel road that I walked every day to school. It was in some ways a lonely life for a child. My sisters were older than I and there were no children next door to interact with. So I learned to interact with nature. It was not uncommon to see deer or bear crossing the road on my way to school and the chirping and cawing of birds outside my window was usually the first thing I heard every day.
My mother, having grown up during the great depression was a consummate collector of things and she showered her children with things as well. I had plenty of toys, especially dolls and stuffed animals and anything that my mother considered cute or pretty. Yet my memories of my childhood are not about the things in my life, but about the world around me. I remember vividly how the pond in the woods behind the barn would look like a fairyland on an icy winter's day The pond covered with ice and a light dusting of snow made the frost covered trees that rose from the frozen water look like fragile glass sculptures.
In the summer you could lay in the pasture and watch the clouds scudding across a pristine blue sky and pretend that they were big downy pillows and you were sitting up there watching the world below. At night you could hear the frogs croaking and owls hooting in the trees out side my bedroom. I loved to sit on the window sill and stare at the star covered sky. Even the putrid odor of a skunk the dog had scared in the early morning hours was a source of excitement to me as a child.
I roamed the woods around me like a traveler in a foreign land and in the summer I would take my pillow and sleeping bag to the old apple orchard and spend the night counting shooting stars!
Today, as an adult, I live in the city and rarely get the chance to view a pitch black star studded sky or listen to the waking chirps of the birds without also having to listen to the rattling and honking of trucks and cars fighting their way onto the freeway below my home. I own lots of things some necessary and some not and the older I get the more I realize just how little I really need to make me happy.
Family, my dog, sun on my face, rain drops, birds, trees, animals, the sea and one good friend who is there in good times and in bad are all vital to my wellbeing. Things don't even factor in.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

After A While

After A While
by Veronica A. Shoffstall

After a while you learn
the subtle difference between
holding a hand and chaining a soul
and you learn
that love doesn't mean leaning
and company doesn't always mean security.
And you begin to learn
that kisses aren't contracts
and presents aren't promises
and you begin to accept your defeats
with your head up and your eyes ahead
with the grace of woman, not the grief of a child
and you learn
to build all your roads on today
because tomorrow's ground is
too uncertain for plans
and futures have a way of falling down
in mid-flight.
After a while you learn
that even sunshine burns
if you get too much
so you plant your own garden
and decorate your own soul
instead of waiting for someone
to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure
you really are strong
you really do have worth
and you learn
and you learn
with every goodbye, you learn...

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Different Yet the Same

The world's tallest man ,Bao Xishun,shaking hands with He Pingping, the man who hopes to be declared the world's smallest man. Although few of us in the world will be so different from the rest of the world as these two this picture reminds me of how different and unique each of us.
At the same time I recognize that mankind no matter their size, shape, color or background are basically the same the world over. We all start out as babies with the very same needs and desires. The need for food, warmth, shelter and most of all nurturing. As we grow we still have those very same needs, but now we also want to feel part of the greater whole and useful and productive. Our need for nurturing now turns into our need to be loved and needed. Yet we all have unique ways of going about these things and what might make me feel productive and included may not be what does that for others. What feels like love to my neighbor or co-worker may not feel that way to me.
We are all created uniquely different, yet underneath it all we are so much alike.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday the 13th! Yeah Right !

Friday the 13th, and what a day it has been. I was late for work because I thought I locked my office keys in the house. So I drove ...oh let me see .... twenty minutes round trip to my daughters work and got her keys only to get home and find that my keys were where???? Why right in the car the whole time. They had merely fallen between the seat and the console!!! Now I don't really believe in bad luck on certain days. So I just chalked it all up to old timers disease. You know we all get it ... forget the keys, can't remember where we put that special something so it would be safe... have to leave yourself notes all over the house so you can remember to take that book to the library. Yep! That must be what it is.
So after work, with the sun being out and the cool breeze making it perfect for a trip down to Vancouver with my daughters for a walk on the sea wall with Lucy and a bite to eat I loaded up the car and we headed out. All seemed to be going as planned until half way there the car decided to spew steam!!!! A hose had come loose from my radiator and spilled the coolant out all over the engine and almost causing the car to seriously over heat. So I called my BCAA to get some road side service and was told by John, the dispatcher, that my card was due up in three days and guess what all my available road side service days have been used up for this year. No problem I will just pay up right now on my credit card for next year and I will have five new days right John ? NO.... it doesn't matter if I pay or not I will not be allowed any more days for three days!!!! So... my daughter and I trudge up to the gas station 12 blocks away and buy a water can and fill it with water and fix the hose and tighten the clamp and several men stop to examine what we are doing and lend useless advice. Hours later, covered with dirt and grease and anti-freeze, we finally get going and head slowly back home praying that the clamp holds till I can get the car to a mechanic in the morning.
It is now almost midnight thank goodness and Friday the 13th is almost over and I can hardly wait and next time the 13th falls on a Friday I am staying in bed with a good book , Lucy beside me and bag of munchies and I am not going out till it is over.
I really hope that everyone else had a better Friday the 13th than I did.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Theatre Under the Stars

Went to Theatre Under the Stars in Stanley Park last night to see a stage production of Grease and look who was watching from the trees.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Birthday Hang Over

My birthday is over and I think I celebrated Friday & Saturday enough for several birthdays, so I was not disappointed that I had no real plans for Sunday(my actual birthday), but I was not expecting to discover that Miss Lucy needed to go to the vet! Miss Lucy got an abscess on her bottom and had to get it drained. The pour girl was in such pain. We had to put her in a head cone so she would not try and chew at herself and she really hated that. So did I.
It has taken me two days just to get over my birthday weekend. There was just too much eating and drinking for me. Especially the eating. I might have missed out on the birthday cake, but I certainly did not miss out on anything else ( I am ashamed to say the my daughter took me to the Keg for prime rib on Sunday night as well) and my body is definitely the worse for it.Need I say more...

It is time for the four letter word DIET and worse exercise.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Lovely arn't they?

My birithday isn't even here yet and it is all over! I have been celebrating my birthday all weekend long starting with my friend Denise giving me this beautiful bouquet of flowers and taking me to my favorite restaurant Cloud 9. Cloud 9 sits on the 42nd floor of the Landmark Hotel and rotates 360 degrees every hour and twenty minutes. They say that on a clear day you can see 200 miles in every direction and Friday was clear and sunny. The views from up there were spectacular. The food was great and the service first class. Denise and I ended the evening at our local pub chatting with a guy who was covered in tattoos and telling us how he had a vibrating tongue ring at one time..... un huh! It was a lovely evening and I enjoyed myself immensely.
Today was supposed to be the night Alana, Karen and I went to the Greek Summer Festival with their father to celebrate, but Alana has been so ill for the last four days with some kind of bug that she was not up to it so Karen and I went and had a great time.
The Summer Greek Festival in East Vancouver is always held around my birthday and is a great way to have some fun. The Greek Orthodox Church at Boundary and Moscrop puts up tents, hauls in giant barbecues and builds a stage to host one the best festivals in this city.
They play Greek Folk music and bring in Greek dance clubs to perform traditional Greek Dances. The traditional dances are fun to watch and everyone seems to get into the spirit of it from the little children to the elders of the community they all take their turn performing the traditional Greek Dances. I love to watch the men dance. They dance with such passion and seem to put so much emotion into it. I especially like to watch Kosta the MC for the festival as he has such a keen sense of rhythm and timing.
As well the festival is such a multi-cultural event with people of all nationalities participating.
Of course no festival is complete with out the traditional food and this one is no exception. The minute you step out of your car you begin to salivate from the aroma of roast lamb with all the trimmings. They tell me that they need to roast 40 - 50 a day just to keep up with the demand. They also serve all the other traditional food such as Greek salad loaded with feta cheese, Souvlaki, Tzatziki with Pita Bread and of course those wonderful pastries such as Baclava, Bougatsa and our favorite loukoumades! Heavenly little warm mini-donuts dipped in honey and sprinkled with sesame seeds.

We enjoyed every morsel of this stuff and had to resist ordering more.
I have had a wonderful birthday and feel very spoiled by it all.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Indomitable Spirit of Women

I have just finished reading Khaled Hosseini's book, "A Thousand Splendid Suns". Set in the city of Kabul this book takes you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions. While the book is really about two generations of families and the changing political current always around them, I found it more about two women thrown together by circumstances beyond their control and how they endure the incredible hardships that the political, cultural and religious dictates of the day put them in.
Hosseini's incredible writing makes you feel every hunger pain, every beating, every disappointment and every joy that these two women felt. I came away completely impressed not only with his writing, but the insights he has into the lives of women in countries where women are seen as a burden and their lives are worth nothing. Where every day women are subjected to ridicule and made to suffer for nothing other than being born the wrong gender in the wrong country. However, he also gave me a glimpse into the spirit of women. While the book is fiction, I also know that women are the nurturers in this world and make sacrifices not only for the greater good of their families, but also for the good of their community and their country.
I have known women like these he describes in his book. They survive the seemingly unsurvivable without bitterness or self pity. They have a strong sense of justice and integritiy. They are women of character and they are all heroines in my book. I admire their courage, but most of all I admire their indomitable spirit.