Monday, December 12, 2016

God Bless Us, Everyone, this Christmas and in 2017!

December 4, 2016

 My Christmas e-mail blurb to family and friends:

                               God Bless Us, Everyone …… 

A run down of my year, two thousand and sixteen.

Thanks to checking back with my MacBook Pro storage and their labeling of photos of the past year I can give you a thumbnail run down of my, annoyingly non lucrative and quite unproductive, year.  I cherish some photos that remind me of some special moments.

I returned home to Burnaby late 2015 after many months of travels and exploits, check my blog if you like (Mexico, Peru, Ireland, Spain, Portugal…). Christmas time 2015 Arran and Teresa were away in Asia and I had some pleasant festive times with the Galloways, the Ways and with Karen Kirkpatrick, Sue et al.

The highlight of this year is that Arran asked Teresa to marry him on his birthday, April 21, and she accepted!  They are planning their small wedding in June at a small resort on the sunshine coast.  Their dogs, Billie and Rocky, are the ring bearers!  I am very happy for them and they are enjoying fixing up the house that they bought in Vancouver a couple of years ago.

After Christmas 2015 I was in a car accident and, now, I don’t have a car!  Yes, I miss my trusty blue Honda Civic, and, yes, it is expensive to start over.  Now I walk and cycle to places, but for all that, I am probably that more fit?  To add to this loss, a few weeks later, in January, my dishwasher gave up the ghost!  Thanks to the help of neighbour, Lianne, we dried up the puddles and Arran installed a nice new floor. 

Interesting, the start-off of year 2015, and here I was, without a car and no dishwasher!  This means I continue to be more time/ energy-conscious getting to my early morning yoga classes in Vancouver and to my ESL home tutoring students.  When at home I spend stretches of time writing some more of me life memoirs … slow and steady … ;}

This Summer I bought a year pass for the Grouse Grind mountain and enjoyed challenging myself during the months of May, June and July.  Each climb I endeavoured to beat my own time getting to the top of the mountain.  (2.9km ascent, with an elevation gain of 2,800 feet).  And, I did!

Rosemary and Matthew came out west in February and we had good times together, first in Vancouver, and later I joined them for a few wonderful days later in Victoria.  When there, I caught up with some dear old island friends, Margaret Martin, Christine and Mel Johnson, Sally Hughes, also Sandy and Robert Hatton.

Lesley, Mac and Sidney met me in Victoria and the four of us drove over bumpy roads into the Walbran valley in the center of Vancouver Island.  We slept in two tents under the stars surrounded by ancient trees and ever-flowing rivers.  Memorable.  Wide eyed we were as Mac regaled us with effective activist stories of saving portions of the Walbran valley.

At different times during 2016, good friends visited, including, Ann Atkins, Edna Rogers, Anna and Rodney Williamson, Gillian / Bob Catto, Heather Powell, and, currently, Fatima Bacot and soon, her daughter Thalia.

In June and again in September I housesat two different friends’ houses, the first near my old stomping ground, the University of BC, and the second in Steveston, south of Vancouver.  Both were great places and ambiance  to hang out on my own, with cat and plants and sometimes with friends.

I continue to support the wonderful Child Haven orphanage in Kathmandu.  In September friends and I went to the CH annual fundraiser in Vancouver.  Cathy and Mickey will be coming home soon from Nepal, in time for Christmas with their family.  She is doing fantastic work in the mountains of Nepal while finishing her PhD.

In August, after some bike training, I joined the “Conquest Team” for the Ride to Conquer Cancer. All, except me, were under 30 years!! They were a terrific bunch of folk and very supportive of my endeavours. We cycled from Vancouver to Seattle. Thanks to friends and family, I raised well over $3,000.  Wonderful ride, beautiful scenery, mostly along the Pacific coast.  A fun, inspirational and empowering journey. We camped one night in Mt. Vernon, Washington State.

Throughout the year, I spent a lot of time with my good friend, Valerie Way.  I had happy times with her family after the birth of her first grand daughter to Dave and Julia.  Very sadly, Val’s partner, Dave Roberts, passed on, after a too long illness.  I was happy to be around for Val during some of these sad and stressful times. RIP dearest Dave. 

As with all of us, we have loved ones who are experiencing medical and emotional challenges.  Throughout the last several months I have spent times with Nony, a neighbour upstairs who is successfully overcoming a debilitating illness.  A lengthy saga, but Nony is strong, resilient and, thankfully, she is home again from hospital and she continues to make good progress.

All this been said, I hope that I find you and yours feeling good and looking forward to many positive things in the new year.  I look forward to our future encounters.

Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Namaste, Slainte and Namaste! 



Monday, November 30, 2015

December 2014 until December 2015 ~ starting with Sandduning in Peru .....

To visiting the condors in the Colca Valley and flying above the Nasca Lines ...

To paying tribute to ancient Inca burials ...

Times in Lima ...

Then flight to Iquitos and onto the Amazon ...

Visiting San Pedro tripal village up the Amazon ...

Back to the hostel in Cusco ...

Visiting sacred floating on Lake Titicaca ... 

Dearest Jill, we will miss you, forever.  THANK YOU ...

Helen turns vegetarian in her new kitchen.  Yum yum!  I miss your meals!

Back in Burnaby!

Many people have memories of times in Auntie Evelyn's Victorian house by the sea, 38 Seapoint Avenue.  It has been sold and here is the notice to request permission to refurbish and alter the 'protected structure' of this wonderful place.


Monday, September 7, 2015

Camino Trail, pilgrimage, here I come!

Since my last blog and writing in Inish Turk I have been back in the Dublin area, meeting up with Arran and Teresa and spending times with family and friends.  Later I first went to Roscommon and spent a week in the beautiful Abbey Hotel pool, helping  a couple of women get over their nervousness and get their legs kicking in the water.  Then I took a bus to county Sligo and visited several of W.B. Yeats haunts and stayed in a hostel in Strandhill beside the sea.  Had great fun assisting a group of volunteers for two days with autistic children surfing in the aquamarine seas of the Atlantic.  After Sligo I went to Donegal and spend a wonderful week in Malin Head, the most northerly point of Ireland; stayed at the Sandrock Hostel, walked a lot, met lovely people, and saw basking sharks leaping happily from the sea!  Saw Danncing at Lughnasa in Letterkenny, spent a night in my favourite hostel in Galway, cycled to the Killarney Lakes, briefly visited Cork in the south of Ireland and returned to Dublin on a sad note.  One of my best friends had passed away a couple of days before.  I was glad to be in Ireland to spend some time with her in July and later with her family.  I feel privileged also to have been in Ireland when my favourite English teacher died at a good ninety plus year old age.

It was especially good to be here for my cousin Helen's 70th birthday party, August 31st.

I have so many memories, this blog cannot begin to describe!  Meantime, close up now.  I will go to see my lovely 96 year old Auntie Evelyn soon and before I leave for Madrid this afternoon.  It has been a wonderful three months and now, my Camino pilgrimage! 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Writing workshop on Inishturk Island July 19 - 26, 2015

Our little ferry from the mainland to Inishturk
Looking down at the ferry, the church and the house where four of us stayed
View of Crogh Patrick on the mainland from our place at the bottom of the hill and a few steps from the ferry on the island of Inishturk.

Inishturk is a small beautiful island, 5km x 2.5km, located 9 miles (14.5km) off the west coast of Mayo, between the islands of Inishbofin and Clare Island. It rises boldly from the wild North Atlantic in wall like-cliffs to the north-west and steep hills to the north on which stands the ruins of the old Napoleonic signal tower 688 ft above sea level.
Only some of the very happy sheep on Inishturk

Inishturk, meaning ‘the Island of the Wild Boar’ in Irish, has been inhabited on and off since 4,000BCE and in its present phase since at least 1700. The old settlers seem to have congregated at the southwest corner round the beautiful little harbour of Portdoon, where there is ample archeological evidence of their presence. The ancestry of the current population includes Wicklow, Wexford and Galway. Some of the dominant names include O’Toole, Heanue and Concannon, names from Leinster, Ulster as well as the nearby Connemara Gaeltacht.

Traditionally islanders have emigrated since the famine, to America and England. As a result, the island is now English speaking, although at the beginning of the 20th century irish was the first language. Inishturk has a good main harbour with a new improved pier, fine beaches and many interesting archeological sites.
Walking down a little road to Mary's house
Geologically Inishturk dates from the Ordovician period. Two separate folds of schists and shales rise out of the Atlantic to form Inishturk, which is a continuation of the same folds as Croagh Patrick on the Mayo mainland.

Inishturk has much to offer the outdoor enthusiast – it is a painter’s paradise; ornithology enthusiasts will be enthralled by the number of bird sanctuaries on the island cliffs. The flora of inishturk is of international importance, The Spotted Rock-Rose (Tuberaria guttata), a rare endangered plant, is found here. Fiadh have been located on the island. 

Walking across island of Inishturk
The island is ideal for deep sea diving and boat trips to the neighbouring islands can be easily organised; Celtic and early Christian fortified habitations are to be found and many fulachta. 

On the eastern side of the island are “Tranaun” and “Curraun”- sandy beaches which boast the clearest blue waters and some of the best views in Europe. Completely sheltered by coves, they are ideal for young and old alike to indulge in a bit of swimming.
Fishing for the Inishturk lobster and the Islands’s huge edible crabclaws are the main commercial activity on the Island, these along with the many coastal fish are served fresh in the island’s B & B’s. 

The waters off the west coast of mayo offer excellent bait for angling enthusiasts. Boat trips can be arranged on the Island.
Monument, sea fishing connecting families to home land
Not only do dogs love the rhythm and flow of the sea!
Bathing belles who love to write ...

Connie dressed warm to watch the swimmers!
Back to Gus' place for a 'one on one' writing workshop

Reading a favourite 'final product' after five days of workshops ~  in the bar on Wednesday night
One of our many meals in the community centre
Rita attacks her enormous pile of fish ...
Some of us relaxing after a tasty meal