Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Day

Well, we had a lovely surprise on the 25th. A white Christmas!

It started to snow at around mid-day but didn't become heavy until most travellers had arrived at their destinations throughout the lower mainland. Those of us who came for dinner at my daughter's house arrived easily but latecomers like my dad, who's little Honda Civic has baldish tires, had to park and walk. Now, Dad has not been to the new townhouse in Port Moody so became semi-lost. My sister ha
d a brilliant idea; she set off her car's alarm for a minute. Then we called Dad's cellphone and he followed the honks. Poor guy, 82 and stumbling through 4 inches of wet snow in leather shoes. But, intrepid world traveller that he is, he made it in time for delicious appetizers, hot tea, and a good glass of wine.

I didn't get pics of the snowfall, which is too bad.
Their back yard looks into a mix of leafless trees and cedars, Behind that is a protected salmon stream. At night with snow laden branches and nothing but the sound of the water rushing by in the dark, it was quite beautiful. Below is a picture of the previous snowfall to hit Vancouver.

We had a terrific dinner, lots of food, wine, desserts and cheerful, happy chatter. It's a joy when we all get together, catching up on family news, lots of hugs and kisses, watching the excited faces when my grandson and my nephew discover racing car sets, microscopes and geology kits hiding under the gift wrap, bows and ribbons.

Unfortunately, not all the family could make it, but 14 was still a full and happy houseful. We hope Stephen & Aiyana; Tyler, Karen & my beautiful granddaughters; Kyle & Jenn; Angeline & Mac; Aaron & Troy and all the gang on the Island had as wonderful a day as we did.

May your paths always be full of joy and light.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

B&W - Shade and light

B&W - Shade and light, originally uploaded by Shamantra.

Earth Mother Graffiti

Goddess Mother Graffiti, originally uploaded by Shamantra.

Taken from the top of a double decker tour bus in Mexico City. We were stopped at the lights in an artists district and there she was, almost completely hidden by trees and graffiti. Perfect Venus. Oct 2006

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Experiments with eBay

Needed some extra cash so what to do? Had some genealogy books that I'd been carting around since the Dark Ages and some beautiful, delicate fine china teacups, never used. So as an experiment I thought I'd try selling them on eBay just to see how the whole process worked.

Well, I made $500. Cdn on the books! This is so cool. Now I have the money to pay for a membership for the Co-operative Auto Network (CAN) without resorting to my overworked charge card. And although the teacups didn't sell the first time, I've an offer on one the second time I put them up for auction at a slightly reduced price. Now my neighbour has asked if I can sell some of her books, crafts and teacup sets. She'll give me a percentage.

eBay is fun. And Paypal is my new pal.

Mosquito Bite? Sure Cure for Bug Bites

Bug season is in full swing, and with it the nasty itch that comes with being bitten or stung. I have discovered the absolute best instant cure for the mosquito itches and nasty bumps.

The night before I left Merida to catch the Vancouver connector in Mexico City was really hot and humid. The hotel room had a rickety, noisy a/c unit but I was desperate for some cool air. I turned the thing on - standing on a chair so I could reach the dial. While I was cooling off I decided to check out the photos on my digital camera, sorting, deleting fuzzy pics, etc. After a few minutes my ankle started to itch, then a shin, then the other foot. Eek...all of a sudden there were about 42 giant mosquitoes hovering around my legs. My guess is they probably bred in the water that pooled in the bottom of the a/c and got blown into the room. Sneaky devils. They stayed at floor level and were hiding under the bed, camouflaged and armed with huge stingers.

The bites were really nasty, swelling up into big red, itchy, itchy itchy bumps as I watched. I was in a panic because I had no calamine lotion and had no intention of wandering around a strange neighbourhood at that time of night looking for a drugstore. But the itching was making me crazy so I went through all the products in my bags. I thought about whether toothpaste would work, or even my deodorant. Then I read the ingredients on the travel-sized hair spray bottle. Hmmm...denatured alcohol... Well, that should clean things up and cool things down. And papaya...I know that's a natural tenderizer. Good enough. Didn't read the bloody time! You never know what those foreign mosquitoes were carrying. Not like civilized Canadian mozzies...didn't even have the decency to make loud buzzing noises in my ears as fair warning of a possible preeminent attack. Bastards!

So I sprayed each and every swelling bite with Down Under Naturals hairspray. And no word of a lie, the stuff was almost instant relief. Within seconds the itching stopped. So I turned off the a/c and spent the next 15 minutes running around like a madwoman chasing and killing every mosquito in the room. When I woke up the next morning, all the bumps were gone, no itch and couldn't even see any bite marks. A miracle!

This is probably the discovery of the century, folks. So, kudos to Belvedere International of Canada. Not only do they make really good hairspray, their Down Under Naturals Extra Flexible Spray with Frulix (whatever the hell that is) is the best thing ever for insect bites. All you campers and travelers everywhere, except Antarctica maybe, stock up on that little green bottle with the koalas on the label. And trust me, a little squirt goes a long way.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Wow...Life kind of gets in the way of one's plans. It's been months since I posted to this blog (which no one reads anyway).

Lots has happened in the meantime. I'm studying for a Class 2 drivers license. Want to get work as a bus driver. Vancouver Transit has community shuttle buses that scoot around the local neighbourhoods. It's shift work, the pay and benefits are very good. It will be interesting because I love driving. With the Olympics coming up in a few years it's an opportunity to meet people from all over the world, however briefly. And I do love showing off my city.

My youngest is off on another Australian adventure. She's becoming quite the seasoned traveller. She's jumped out of planes, rolled down a hill in a giant ball of water, walked on a glacier in New Zealand, learned to scuba dive in the Indian Ocean near Perth, got a pedicure in Hong Kong's airport, eaten bugs in the Outback, was peed on by Ned Kelly (an orphaned baby kangaroo), visited the Hobbit Village, explored her Maori heritage, walked around Uluru, and met some wonderful people from all over this little green blue planet.

This is Uluru, the navel of the Earth, a most ancient, sacred and mystical place. A great red rock in the middle of the Australian continent. 3 hours to walk around.

Made some money at the Annual Courtyard Sale at our housing co-operative. Got rid of a few household items as well as some beach bags, sunglass bags and crochet cellphone bags that I made for the event. I love my new sewing machine. It's a Pfaff, it's quiet, it doesn't skip stitches and it has a walking foot so that thin fabrics can be fed through evenly top and bottom to prevent puckering. I'd post a pic of the beach bags but sold them all but that's my incentive to make more. This pic is of the first cell bag I made. I was tired of trying to find the phone in the bottom of my purse so made this. It's bright, has a long strap to wear across my shoulder or to tie to the handle of my purse. The others are later variations. There are also small bags for cell, change, keys and a credit card. I've also experimented with crocheted sleeves for coffee cups. Saving the planet in my own little way, by eliminating those foam or paper sleeves. These are washable. More on crafts, sewing and life in Vancouver at a later date.

Sunday, April 08, 2007


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007



Please go to Daylight Again...

An incredibly moving tribute to the poor farmers in India.

The next time you think of what a tough life you are living, go and visit Rauf's India.

The photography is moving. The essays painfully, lovingly honest and sincere.