Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Number II

Thanksgiving is celebrated earlier in Canada than in the United States. So I cooked a turkey with all the trimmings in October. But this year we were also with my daughter and her family for American Thanksgiving.

She is married to an Italian and he is the family chef and although he has lived in the USA for nineteen years certain dishes have not yet become traditional for him. So the Thanksgiving dinner we ate last Thursday was a little different.

The first course was a mushroom risotto with quail.

This was followed by stuffed turkey breast with cranberry sauce (made by me as the chef had never even tasted cranberry sauce before), pancetta (don't ask) and boiled leeks with a delicious sauce.

For any Italian wine is a very important part of any meal so on offer was a 2003 Pinot Noir from New Zealand with the odd name Box o' Birds plus a French chablis to wash it all down.

We joined friends for dessert at their house and we contributed the French Apple Tart above made by my daughter while I baked the Pumpkin Pecan Ricotta Cheesecake seen below.

I hope that you enjoyed your Thanksgiving meal as much as we did.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Saturday Photo Hunt ---- Metal


I know we've done the Metal theme before because I used the perfect photo then, so I had to scrabble a bit for this one. This time I am using probably one of the most famous pieces of metal in the world.

Bronze is a metal alloy consisting primarily of copper, usually with tin as the main additive, but sometimes with other elements such as phosphorus, manganese, aluminum, or silicon.

Rodin's Thinker, outside the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia
which I visited last year

Entitled Mignon, this exquisite bronze represents a twenty-five year old Rose Beuret, Rodin's lifelong companion for more than fifty years, despite his many other lovers. Mother of his son, his model, and finally his wife at the age of 72, she died two weeks after the marriage.


NB: Still on the road but will be visiting you in between activities

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Lunch with a Twist

These two ladies had lunch together today. No, not in Second Life where they met, but in real life. L was the person I met through my blog friend and SL landlord and who was so helpful to me in the early stages as I tried to master the intricacies of SL. She spent many hours with me advising me about my appearance and teaching me how to do some of the things which are essential to make things go smoothly in that virtual world.

For me this was not a first as I have hosted and dined with many of my online friends, some in Vancouver and some in other parts of the world. Many have been from my dunnetworks group, an online group devoted to the discussion of the works of the Scottish author Dorothy Dunnett, and some I met through blogging like fellow Blogpower members Lady Mac and Liz who came to Vancouver.

But for L this was a first and while she wanted to meet she did have some reservations. We are both temporarily in the same general area and it was easy enough for me to borrow a car to drive the forty minutes to meet in a pleasant place, convenient for us both. While we usually communicate only in SL, we moved into email contact, both still using anonymous addresses, but I had no problem giving her my name and a contact telephone number and a recent photo, in order to reassure her. We had used voice in SL so she did know that I actually am female.

Don't laugh. There are people in SL who do crossgender roleplay. In fact I think most people have an avatar of the opposite gender and trot them out on occasion and I think some people are not above pretending with strangers so one does have to be wary. Of course the use of voice in Second Life brought to light many of these situations, or the reluctance of some to actually use voice for this very reason.

So L remains just that to me. Just as I know nothing of Moggs in real life, other than what she reveals here sometimes, I know only a little about the real life of L, not even her surname or where she lives.

But I am sure she won't mind me telling you that she has found a role in SL as a photographic artist. She has discovered techniques using the tools of SL and having both the "eye" and these techniques she produces art photographs which are truly wonderful. On occasion she has shows in SL and at the moment is very busy preparing a photographic series for a show in January. Currently her photographs are displayed in four different galleries in SL.

This one did not reproduce as well as I would have liked, since it is my photo of her photo, but it is one she took recently of me and it hangs in the dining area of my Canadian log cabin in Second Life. I think it is very beautiful and I am proud to display her work in my house. Click to see it a little better.

We partook of a most enjoyable lunch and chatted for quite a few hours and I am sure that we could quite happily have continued but since I had to drive back and wanted to avoid driving in the dark if possible we bid each other farewell with, "See you soon in SL."

Unfortunately, the forty minute easy commute to lunch turned into the two hour commute from hell on the return journey. The highway seemed to be almost gridlocked and until I turned off onto one of the Parkways, I was not above 10miles/hr for an hour and a half. My daughter kept phoning me on my cell phone to see where I was, but it is illegal to use a hand-held cell phone in New York State so I had to ignore her. I just clicked it on and off again so she knew I was alive and well.

I guess everyone was on the road because of Thanksgiving which is tomorrow. Many people I have spoken with recently tell me that they love Thanksgiving so much because it is a gathering together of families without the pressure of gifts. That had never occurred to me before but it does make sense.

So may I wish all the Americans, who a celebrating the big day tomorrow, a very Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The perils of Teleportation

More like the perils of Moggsy ^_^

Of course they all happened in SL (Second Life). The first “peril” I may have touched on before, but is worth repeating. It happened simply ages ago now, when both JMB and I lived at our old places, well the one before last in my case…

I had been out shopping with JMB, we went back to her apartment after to chat. I logged out from there.

Later I logged back in and went home. Later on at home and undressed when I got a warning the region was shutting down. I didn’t think much about it and just stayed on until the region closed down on me and I was kicked out.

Later still I logged back in again. Did I rezz (materialise) at home, as expected? Nooo, *shakes head* because the region had shut down I rezzed where I last properly logged out from, JMB’s place… but in the state of undress I had been in at home. JMB was out/offline at the time and I just teleported (tp'd) directly home when I realised I wasn’t where I expected.

I thought after that it was just as well I hadn’t logged off from the Mall that time, or I would have found myself materialising in the middle of a busy mall in a state of undress! Absolutely the stuff of bad dreams. Get that picture out of your heads Guys *wags finger sternly*

Now only the other day I attended a big fancy function in SL. It was really lavish.

It was at a castle complex by the sea. Within the walls there is a little inlet between two towers with a quay, for access from the sea. A dance floor and seating had been laid over the little harbour.

There were tables and chairs to the sides. There was a good DJ/music and lovely fireworks had been laid on. It was beautiful and a lovely time was had by all including your intrepid correspondent

Came the time I had to go, and without thinking left SL from where I had been chatting with someone, near the edge of the dance floor.

Now you normally reappear at the spot you logged out from when you log back into SL. The following day I logged back in and guess what? Everything had been tidied away and the dance floor removed.

I rezzed above the harbour, where I had been standing, and fell directly into the sea. Like a roadrunner cartoon, when he finally realises he has walked off a cliff? Now flying is physically prohibited at the castle, so I could either teleport somewhere, or swim round the castle to the shore. I swam as it was quicker.

A day or so after that I thought I would go visit a Mall, in a space habitat that I remembered had some really neat outfits. I had not been there for ages, but I had kept a landmark for the place and fished it out of my inventory to go visit the place. I teleported… only to find myself somewhere very high up, surrounded by lots of absolutely nothing, just distance.

As soon as I realised I did the road runner thing again, and plummeted. I figure now they must have moved or closed. I was so very high up I was able to teleport home long before I ever saw the clouds, let alone the ground. Just as well there seems to be no conservation of momentum between teleports ^_^

Sunday, November 23, 2008

This and That

Boeing 777

Flying is not much fun these days, that's for sure. The first flight I ever took was from London to Dublin, in 1960 and I'm sure I thought it was one of the most exciting things I had ever done. Now it is simply a means to get from one place to another and the time spent in airports, after you have checked out the bookstore, is a complete waste. Let's not talk about having to get half undressed, including your shoes, taking your laptop out of its case and everything going through Xray security. On the other side you scrabble to put on your shoes, find your jacket and hat and hand luggage and put your computer away while everyone behind you piles through on top of you.

Cathay Pacific seems to have purchased some new Boeing 777s for this route and thank heaven they did, since the old planes were basically falling apart, in the cabin at least. Last time we flew to New York, my seat belt didn't work properly nor did the individual TV. They had two planes flying non-stop between Hong Kong and New York with a stop in Vancouver and thus no time to fix these things. Sadly I thought the B777 a most uncomfortable plane. Instead of the seatback reclining the seat slides forward and your knees hit the seat in front of you. There is no pocket in the back of the seat in front of you so nowhere to stow your book. Instead there is a pocket for the inflight magazine underneath your seat and not in the most convenient place.

The entertainment options were quite good after I finally figured out how to work the little TV with its very sophisticated remote control. There was a choice of several movies or TV programs and a wide selection of music programs. I read for a while and watched Mamma Mia which was entertaining enough.

We always fly Cathay Pacific to New York for they have one of the only two direct flights from Vancouver. Unfortunately they have changed their schedule so that it leaves at 10 pm and arrives the next day at 6 am! Isn't that fun? My poor son-in-law had to give up his early morning fishing trip to pick us up and we got to go for almost 36 hours without sleep!

In addition it was bitterly cold, being minus 5 degrees Celsius when we arrived and quite a shock to the system but no rain so far.

One of the first things I had to do was to go with my granddaughter to the Build-a-Bear Workshop, which I will tell you more about next time. It is necessary to have one of these bears to join the virtual town Bearville, at, a world with some similarities to Second Life, but for very young children in the five to ten year old range. My granddaughter already has an avatar there, Sofia Astronaut and today Joanna Astronaut (me) joined her in Sofia's back garden. Yes, I have red hair in Bearville too. If you click on the image below to enlarge it, you will see Joanna and Sofia along with their furry friends Cleo and Cody.

You can't take snapshots in Bearville the way you can in Second Life but I managed to capture this with Printscreen and trim it a little. It's actually quite a hoot and entertains my five year old granddaughter no end. More later.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Saturday Photo Hunt --- Reflection


I am sure lots of you will be coming up with brilliant shots for this theme. Some even post series of reflection photos on their blogs since they are so interested in them. Me, I hardly even notice these things. But sure enough, in the archives I found a couple of shots to fit the theme.

I see herons quite often, but I always take a photo anyway if I have my camera. So one day I found this one, standing in the water near Granville Island, with his reflection.

Another thought I had while browsing was how many times do you have a photo ruined by reflections when you are trying to take a photo of something behind glass? Isn't it frustrating? This photo of the very beautiful mask in the window of the Eagle Spirit Gallery was totally unusable because of the reflections. Mutter, mutter, grumble, grumble.


NB I am travelling out of town at the moment but will get back to you as soon as I can.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Farewell Lunch

Recently it seems that my social life consists of going out for lunch. It is that time of the year, when we, who have lunch together every Thursday anyway, seem to take it in turn to host the group at our houses and go all out.

Of course we are gearing up to bidding farewell to our visiting ScotAussie or AussieScot whom we will certainly miss as part of our group. So this week ten of us gathered in the home of one of our German members, J, who is a very fine chef. Unfortunately it was her maid's day off so we had to help with serving. Just kidding, she doesn't have a maid but she always says this with a big laugh.

I took lots of photos of the attendees but you don't get to see those. However you do get to see the food. Well OK, you get to see the lovely smiling face of our ScotAussie since she has appeared here before.

The first course was a perfectly delicious squash and apple soup, the recipe for which our hostess said she had obtained on a cruise she took.

Seafood crepes are perfect for lunch, not too heavy, although this was a French recipe and it was rather rich. Garlic bread and salad were the accompaniments.

Did I say that J is a very good cook? Well how about this dessert for the pièce de résistance? Pavlova, almost everyone's favourite dessert. Well if not favourite it is certainly near the top of the list and deservedly so. Our ScotAussie contributed the fact that Pavlova is said to have been originally served by a hostess in Kalgoorlie, although as she said what on earth a world famous ballerina was doing in a outback mining town known for gold and prostitutes she had no idea. Of course there is great controversy between Australia and New Zealand as to the creator of the dessert. While it did appear firstly in a New Zealand cookbook, we Aussies are not having any of that and continue to lay claim to Pavlova. I must admit that is the first time I had heard the Kalgoorlie story.

The birthday candles were there since we have three Scorpios in our group. Myself and my twin and the third, an intrepid 86 year old, could not be with us today as she was feeling unwell.

All in all it was a very enjoyable occasion: good food, good wine (so I'm told) and good friends, with lots of laughter.

Now tomorrow I'm taking off for New York, well just outside the city, to spend Thanksgiving with my daughter and family. Yes I am celebrating Canadian and American Thanksgiving this year so I get to cook two turkeys. Lucky me. Naturally I am taking my laptop with me and plan to continue blogging here but blog visiting will probably be lighter than usual, so I hope you will forgive me. I'll be looking for new blog fodder but of course I get to be grandmother for a couple of weeks and I'm looking forward to that. I can't believe she is now in school.

So take care and behave yourselves while I am gone.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Strictly Dr Who

I guess every one likes to be seen to address the burning questions of the day. I figure I am no different.

There are two that currently consume the British public like nothing else. No nothing so inconsequential as how PM Gordon Brown is spinning things, or the state of the economy, or the stability of the markets.

No important stuff…

I am talking of course about John Sergeant’s continuing survival on the BBC program “Strictly Come Dancing” and the equally important concerns over who the New Dr Who might be, again a BBC program.

Who says we don’t at least get something for our TV tax. ^_^

US readers will know “Strictly” as “Dancing With The Stars” and may not get the references to “Strictly Ballroom” or “Come Dancing”. (Strictly Ballroom was a pretty good Australian movie and Come Dancing was a longstanding UK TV series about ballroom dancing.)

OK so I figure this will probably mean absolutely nothing, nada,zilch, to the vast majority of the world…

First there is John Sergeant, a BBC political correspondent. I guess he is cute in his own Dadsy way, intelligent and witty.

His professional dance partner is the attractive athletic, platinum blond Kristina Rihanoff who has a hint of the Marilyn Monroe about her.

Now John, for all his good qualities is actually pretty dire when it comes to dancing. He is easily the least able and talented of any of the celebrity performers left when it comes to dancing, and has been for some weeks, but he keeps avoiding the dance off, as better dancers fall by the wayside.

To be honest, I think this is a little unfair, as the program is billed as a dance competition. Clearly the public are voting for him because the judges have been increasingly frustrated and a little harsh in their comments about his dancing, Harsh, but fair.

Now, a contestant I admired, Cherie Lunghi, who was really pretty good has been kicked off the program, just so John Sergeant can be embarrassing to watch for yet another week. You have got to wonder What is the point of the good contestants making the effort? I am not sure how far Cheri could have gone in the contest as standards are much higher than in previous series, but I figure in previous series she could easily have been a finalist.

So, an appeal to the members of the public who like to cock a snook at the judges but don’t care about dancing, could you maybe offer you support to someone who is actually good, and not be unfair to the other contestants or spoil it for the rest of us.

Shame they don't let you vote against contestants, maybe they are missing a bet there...

Now on to Dr Who. Since David tenant announced he would be stepping down from the role speculation has been feverish as to who would replace him. Even within Blogpower itself, Sandy Toksvig has been suggested at Finding Life Hard.

Now the charity fundraiser “Children in need”, a bit like a PBS funds drive has dropped a teaser of the Christmas Special episode. It has, along with Tennant, a Dr Who type character played by David Morrissey, complete with assistant and sonic screwdriver, in Dickensian England, some are speculating that he will be the new Dr Who.

I figure not. Yes he would probably make a good Dr, but my bet would be the writers have something else up their sleeves, something more twisty. Maybe Morrissey will be a Dr from an alternate reality, like the Cyber men were. Maybe something else. My bet this is not an intro to the new Dr though. What are the bets the writers can resist a nod to a Christmas Carol?

Maybe now she is free from her dancing commitments Cherie Lunghi might make a pretty good hot mature woman type kickass Dr…

Monday, November 17, 2008

Brilliant Fall Day in Vancouver

Often with the Thursday Walking group, I do the walk along the southern foreshore of the harbour starting at Spanish Banks. The view towards the North Shore Mountains is spectacular so it is a splendid walk on a fine day.

There was a heavy wind during the night and when we met last Thursday we were not surprised to find it still quite windy there. So it was a brilliant clear day and there were lots of white caps.

The high wind had tempted all these kite surfers out of the woodwork to enjoy being pulled along in the water. To be honest I had never seen them doing this here before in Vancouver. I thought it was amazing and I even saw a couple of them actually flying but unfortunately I was unable to capture it.

A closer look. I imagine one has to be quite strong to enjoy this activity. Certainly this fellow below was quite a husky chap.

There was quite a group of them and they had set up their equipment on the beach. Do you think they all called in sick when they saw what a great day it was and how ideal the conditions were for this sport?

Above, looking towards the downtown skyline.

A quiet eddy, near the yacht club. I did not see any sail boats out that day

We get the most amazing pieces of driftwood on the beach sometimes. I have never noticed this one before but it had been nicely arranged and we used it for a background for a group photo.

All in all a perfect day. A healthy walk in the brisk air, with an interesting view, followed by lunch at the house of one of the group. What more can one ask?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Happy Birthday ---to the Old Scientist

Yes Amarone Classico della Valpolicella, 16% alcohol,
2003, a good year I guess. Goes
well with fava beans I hear.

Yes, we are both Scorpios but so completely different. Not that I pay any mind to astrology.

When you get to our age you have most everything you really want and if you don't, you buy it at any time, since you are wasting time without it while you wait for your birthday. Plus we believe in asking each other since we are not too big on surprises.

JMB: What do you want for your birthday. New CD's? Tell me.

OS: No, I already have over 400 CD's.

(Editorial comment--all in a database, let me tell you, all played in rotation. More editorial comment, gee I only have about 170, some in a database but others not. I'll have to get cracking, I'm falling behind!)

JMB: So what do you want?

OS: A bottle of Valpolicella.

JMB: OK, do you want to choose it or shall I?

OS: I'll choose.

So off we went to the liquor store to survey the choices. Usually he shops in the $20 range but this time he chose one at $29.99! Wow, he's going all out. Now in the meantime, I had been poking around and came up with this one above. Normally $115 but on special for $80.50. Now that is more like a bottle of wine worthy of a birthday present. And on sale, such a bargain!

Suspiciously I asked the clerk stocking the shelves, Why is that on sale? No space ,she said, we sell more liquor at Christmas and have to make room. We are clearing out our back room of some of the more expensive wines, but it is regular price at the other branches.

So I told him, not that one, this one. He hesitated, but only for a moment. I asked him are you saving it or drinking it right away? I'm drinking it on my birthday, he replied. I was absolutely petrified we would drop it on the way home.

So he and my son will partake of this gem. I will not know how the most expensive bottle of wine I have ever bought (original price more than the champagne for our daughter's wedding) tastes since I am teetotal.

I also bought him some of his favourite marmalade which I normally do not since it is ridiculously expensive here.

Robertson's finest. I don't eat marmalade either.

Finally I thought this card rather appropriate don't you?

So happy birthday to my dear Old Scientist and I wish you many more healthy years.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Saturday Photo Hunt --- Ruin(ed)


I think I did all my ruin visiting in pre-digital camera days. So these are scanned and not such excellent photos I'm afraid. They may have been seen on this blog before but not for photo hunt so I hope you don't mind.

This is probably one of the most famous ruins of them all. No, not JMB, who was in her prime, in those days, in front of the Colosseum in Rome, on her honeymoon in 1961.

One of my favourite ruins although not shown at its best here, the Villa Romana at Piazza Armerina in Sicily. The furnaces where the wood was burned to heat the water both for the baths and the heating system of the villa itself.

The Roman Greek theatre at Taormina Sicily below

A view of the approach to the same theatre

This is the famous Greek theatre at Syracuse in Sicily


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Remembrance Day ---- Poppy Day 2008

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

John McCrae

John McCrae was a Canadian doctor who served in the First World War and in honour of his friend he wrote this very famous poem, In Flanders Field, which is commonly used on this day, November 11th, when we remember those who have died while fighting for their country. Click on the link to read it in full.

Last year the Political Umpire of Fora, who has given up blogging for the moment but whose blog lives on, wrote a series of posts about the First World War which I found extremely informative and different to boot. Reading them again I can still recommend them. It begins here, followed by Parts II, III, IV, V, and VI.

Last week, many people posted Peace Globes. Maybe, one day, there will be no more wars. Even then we must never forget those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Lest we forget

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Black and white, or colour

The other day Crushed did a post about the election of President Elect Obama. Now some times I agree with some things he posts, sometimes I don’t… and sometimes he makes me mad. But most times he also makes me think.

As sometimes happens I had some slightly out of the box thoughts on that post and commented, but I thought on it some more and figured they might make a post on their own, so hat tip to Crushed.

It’s a controversial subject, so hard hat time ^_^

Before anyone tries to misinterpret me, while I might not necessarily agree with all of Mr Obama’s politics, I am truly profoundly pleased that it was possible for him to be elected. I think that says something very positive about the US, a country I am familiar with and am, on balance, fond of.

I think the English speaking nations generally work quite hard to be fair and not be racist. Maybe even more than some non-English speaking nations judging by what you see from time to time. But I do think there are some underlying ways of thinking and assumptions that everyone seems to accept, black or white that could do with actually being thought about.

Examined rationally... And I don’t mean politically correct stupidities like banning the word "blackboard".

I figure sometimes it is good to look at stuff, fresh, from scratch.

For a start there is the words “black” and “white” being applied to people. Black people aren’t really black. They range from pink/tan/very light brown through to very dark brown. Also white people aren’t really white either. They range from pink/tan/very light brown through to dark brown.

Still I figure it is mostly arbitrary. If you graphed it, the height of the bell curve for “blacks” would probably be slightly towards one end and for ‘whites’ slightly towards the other.

But simply put there are lots of “white” people who are darker than some "black" people.

Now Take President Elect Obama. A black president everyone says, but why is he black?

I mean that seriously. His father is African and black, his mother is American and white, so why is he black and not white?

After all he is as much white as he is black when you think about it isn’t he? Yet It seems even he sees himself as black

Now suppose his father had had one white parent and one black parent. That would make him three quarters white instead, but many, possibly also including himself, would still see him as black.

This sort of thinking seems to me far too horribly close the old US “one drop rule” used in slave days to decide if a person was black. Basically a black person was anyone with any known African ancestry.

You can’t help thinking the one drop rule might have been a lot to do with increasing the number of slaves.

More to the point surely it’s what sort of a person he is that really matters. Is he a good man and a good husband, good father, good neighbour, and for most of the world, will he be a good president? It ought to be.

It seems that electing any politician with such a landslide is, as they say about second marriages ^_^ rather a triumph of optimism over experience. It would be lovely to think he will turn out to be another George Washington, Abe Lincoln or Nelson Mandela and maybe he will be, but I still remember the sense of optimism in the UK when Tony Blair was elected with a similar landslide. Ultimately Blair was a terrible disillusionment.

When he is President Obama he will have his work cut out for him indeed, he will have to be very good indeed to even mark time. I am sure we all wish him every success, the better job he does the better, safer, world we will all have.

Though I figure if the only thing he ever manages to accomplish is to make people stop thinking colour and race matters so much by example, then it will be a job well done. Maybe a little colour blindness might do us all some good.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Another Year Older

and deeper in debt, well not true but certainly significantly poorer after the recent stock market meltdown has reduced my retirement savings more than somewhat.

Yes today is my birthday. Today I have reached the venerable age of 73 years. Last year on my birthday I pondered life expectancy. This year I am going to look back a little and ponder on how truly fortunate and blessed I have been for most of those years.

I was the first in my family to attend university although that was not an easy task, let me tell you. I grew up in a rather emotionally dysfunctional family although I did not know it at the time and things finally came to head when my severely clinically depressed father committed suicide when I was seventeen years old. I had won a scholarship to attend university and had hoped to study science and chemistry in particular, which was my first interest but these plans were shelved for a time.

I suppose you would say that we were part of the working poor, for while we always had enough for necessities there was nothing at all for luxuries, although my mother was an amazing manager of the money that my father earned. However his death put everything into disarray financially speaking and for the next several years my brother who had just finished his engineering studies at a technical college and I worked to support my mother and our household.

Finally I was able to go to university but instead of Science I studied Pharmacy since it allowed me to work and study at the same time. Eventually my mother qualified for a widow's pension and things became much easier for us. My brother married and moved to Perth and since my mother was now self sufficient I travelled to England on a working holiday, intending to return after several years.

Now look how that worked out as I got married in England, to another Australian it is true, but we came to Vancouver to live and here we are 47 years later. Together the "old scientist" who was the young scientist then, and I made a very satisfactory life here, brought up our two very healthy children and saw them well educated. Although, as is quite common nowadays, their careers have changed somewhat as the theoretical physicist is now the chartered accountant and the university French professor is now the high school French teacher. But we are very proud of them both and they seem content enough.

I had the luxury of being a stay at home mother for my children's early years and then working part time and finally full time when the younger one reached twelve and I went into hospital pharmacy where for the next 18 years I like to think I made a small contribution to society.

I have been very fortunate in that I have travelled extensively over the years to many interesting places and experienced other cultures. I have lived in three different countries in my lifetime, in two of the most exciting cities in the world, Sydney and London, and in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Vancouver.

While in these latter years I struggle with a weight problem I have been unbelievably healthy overall and I am so grateful for that. Better than most, I know how many things can go wrong with the human body through illness or trauma and so far I have enjoyed good health . Although there is always that niggardly thought in the back of my mind, when am I going to get my comeuppance.

Finally, after listening to my friends' stories of their grandchildren for years, at the age of 67 I became a grandmother and this young one has brought much delight to our lives even though she lives far away. The modern technology of the webcam along with visits to each other and amusing phone conversations have allowed us to share in her growing up in a way that was not possible even twenty years ago.

So the "old scientist" and I cruise happily along together, even after 47 years. Yesterday afternoon he said, "Do you want a new laptop for your birthday? Let's go out and look at them." My reply was "Oh no, I'm still thinking about it." PC? No, who wants to deal with Vista. Mac? Twice the price of the equivalent PC and hard to justify. Maybe by Christmas I will have decided. It's quite amazing how you can adapt to anything and this external keyboard is a very good one if a trifle large. I suppose I'll get some fancy soap for a birthday gift. He doesn't have any imagination and I'm sure he was hoping I would choose my own birthday present and he would just slap down his credit card. Hah! Think again!

So you see I have lived an amazingly fortunate 73 years on the whole and I am looking forward to more of the same. So Happy Birthday JMB, you have been truly blessed.

While in my mind I still feel like that confident 35 year old of so long ago, the mirror tells a different story. From last year's birthday post, the very pertinent last five lines of a poem written by Janice Thompson of Drinking the Moon called When did I grow old?

Now the hair on my head has gone whiter;

the wrinkles on the face deeper and wider.

Now the seasons pass by so quickly

the taste of death is in the air...

When did I begin to grow old?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Saturday Photo Hunt ---- Together


OK, let's all get together, turtles on the raft and ducks on the log. What is that turtle doing on the log together with the ducks? Obviously he is confused. Click to enlarge.

While just across the path from the canal the belted Galloways all sit around together chewing their cud and enjoying the beautiful summer day. Another maverick off to the left, stoking up on the summer grass.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Dona Nobis Pacem

Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will be as one

John Lennon, 1971

Mimi's Official Site of Blogblast for Peace

Peace Globe Gallery

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

It’s a kind of Magic

“It’s a kind of magic”. No. Nothing to do with Freddy Mercury, or Queen . well… except maybe as a sort of cultural short hand.

No this is another book review and it is the title of a book by Carole Matthews (Published by headline Review ISBN: 9780755327676). Again this probably falls into the category Chick Lit. But well crafted, well observed and highly amusing. Dare I say it and enlightened guy might even enjoy it were he secure enough to be seen reading it.

The story centres round Emma and Alec long time Girl/Boy friends who have their own apartments. Plus their close friends. Emma and Alec break up on a regular basis.

It is Emma’s birthday. She is waiting in a posh restaurant with her family for Alec to turn up. He is out with his two best friends and getting seriously pickled. He is not looking forward to the occasion.

When he does finally make an appearance he manages to fall into the birthday cake. This precipitates another break up, but this time there is an added complication. In her distress Emma wishes it was possible to wave a magic wand and somehow make Alec over into a proper boyfriend.

Now it is a saying that you should be careful what you wish for; as Emma comes to quickly realize when she finds she apparently really has broken up with Alec and he almost immediately gets a new girlfriend, the gorgeous, almost too good to be real, Isobel.

Saying any more might spoil it. I recommend it.

This book made me smile and quietly laugh to myself on public transport, like a crazy person. It does keep you guessing as to the outcome and has a satisfying conclusion. I really enjoyed reading it.