The aquarium is much more than a tourist attraction or a place to visit on a lazy Sunday afternoon

Vancouver Aquarium - preservation & education Vancouver Aquarium - preservation & education Vancouver Aquarium - preservation & education

Vancouver Aquarium - preservation & education 


New is not necessarily better

Remember Easy Bake ovens?


New is not necessarily better

The original toy used an ordinary incandescent light bulb as a heat source. Betty Crocker, the company behind the cake mixes sold for the toy, had flavors like German Chocolate to Rainbow Chip even back in the day.

My daughter begged for one when she was about seven and played with hers–unsupervised, yes, unsupervised for what harm could a light bulb do?–for hours on end, generously sharing her goodies with the family.

My granddaughter also dreamed of owning an Easy Bake Oven so of course indulging grandparents bought her one for her birthday–a rather cumbersome affair that looks nothing like an oven.

New is not necessarily better

Unfortunately, this model is electric, must be plugged in and warmed up for 20 minutes. The baker has to slide the pan into a slot, ensure that it is centered and wait 9 minutes while the cake or cookies bake, push the tray a little further along into the cooling area and then engage in the delicate maneuver of removing the bake goods from the slot on the other side of the oven.

Now, my granddaughter is bright, but this cannot be accomplished on her own. With the amount of supervision required we might as well bake a “real” cake.

Give me the good old oven any day.

Now, to handle the media….

Facebook, The New York Times, Twitter, CNN, MSN, magazine, gossip rags, blogs … really, what is one to believe?

Now, to handle the media....

Meditation and yoga to help kids? You hit the share button. Then someone comments, “Who are the behavioral specialists and who pays them? This seems like it would take some extra funding. They do this in Baltimore in a underprivileged neighborhood? Really?

Mind moves to, “All schools should do this, if it’s true.”

Now, to handle the media....

4Ocean–two young guys trying to do their bit by cleaning up garbage from beaches. Awesome! Let’s send a donation. Then someone claims it’s all a scam. You do some digging. Scam. Scam. Scam. But wait, the BBB says they are legit. But, is the BBB site you’re looking at legit?

Mind moves to, “How can I help, if it’s true.”

Now, to handle the media....

Headlines scream from the magazine rack. Brad and Jennifer reuniting now that they’re both single. Not a chance, screams the next.

Mind moves to, “Ooh, how romantic! If it’s true.”

Now, to handle the media....

Twins? Wait a minute. The palace always makes formal announcements. Not a family member herself.

Mind moves to, “Gotta be fake, but … perhaps best to wait and see.

So do we give up? Stop reading the news? Research endlessly before we decide to believe? Go with our gut? Or, move to a desert island?


The thrill of finding a new (to me) author – Jane Davis

Scrolling through my Paperwhite recently, I happened on An Unknown Woman by Jane Davis and, intrigued by the sample, decided to buy it.

“Where has this writer been hiding?” was my first thought as I read. Only later did I realize she’s written several books. I’ve since read her I Stopped Time and have added more of her work to my e-reader.

And now this:

Jane Davis Launches ‘Unpredictable’ Eighth Novel


Fans of Davis’s fiction have stopped trying to predict where she’ll take her writing next. Since winning the Daily Mail First Novel Award in 2008, she’s become known for writing about big subjects and giving her characters almost impossible moral dilemmas. She’s said in the past that what interests her is how people behave under pressure, because it reveals so much about them. And as the tagline of Smash all of the Windows suggests, her new offering is no exception.

When life steals everything you love, is anger the only answer?

Says Davis, “This book started life as my reaction to the outcome of the second inquest about the Hillsborough football stadium disaster, when the ruling that had laid the blame at the feet of football fans was overturned. The expectation was that now justice had been delivered, the families could ‘get on with their lives’. My question was, What lives?

In creating my fictional disaster, I combined two of my fears – travelling in rush hour by Tube, and escalators – plus a fall I suffered on my way to a book-reading in Covent Garden. I was overloaded, having just finished a day’s work in the city. I was carrying my laptop bag, my briefcase, plus I had a suitcase full of books in tow. The escalator that I normally use was out of order and we were diverted to one that was much steeper and faster. I pushed my suitcase in front of me and it literally dragged me down head first. Fortunately, there was no one directly in front of me, but things could have ended very differently.”

Jane spent her twenties and the first part of her thirties chasing promotions at work, but when she achieved what she’d set out to do, she discovered that it wasn’t what she had wanted after all. It was then that she turned to writing. Her debut, Half-truths and White Lies, won the Daily Mail First Novel Award. Seven further novels, which straddle contemporary, historical, literary and women’s fiction genres, have earned her comparisons to Kate Atkinson and Maggie O’Farrell. An Unknown Woman, was Writing Magazine’s Self-Published Book of the Year 2016.

Smash all the Windows

Genre: Modern and Contemporary Fiction (FA), Literary, General fiction

‘A dazzling high wire walk through interwoven strands balanced so carefully you know you’ll never fall.’ Dan Holloway, novelist, poet and spoken word artist

‘Just fricking perfect. An all-round triumph.’ John Hudspith

‘This is an astounding read. I was completely captivated.’ Liz Carr


It has taken conviction to right the wrongs.

It will take courage to learn how to live again.

For the families of the victims of the St Botolph and Old Billingsgate disaster, the undoing of a miscarriage of justice should be a cause for rejoicing. For more than thirteen years, the search for truth has eaten up everything. Marriages, families, health, careers and finances.

Finally, the coroner has ruled that the crowd did not contribute to their own deaths. Finally, now that lies have been unravelled and hypocrisies exposed, they can all get back to their lives.

If only it were that simple.

Smash all the Windows will be released on 12 April, but you can pre-order it now for the special price of 99p/99c (Price increases to £1.99 on 12 March. Price on publication will be £3.99). The Universal Link is


From 13 February to 10 March, US readers can also enter a Goodreads Giveaway for a chance to win one of 100 eBooks.




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A Look at Vancouver – the Aquarium

“Look, Grandma, the world is upside down,” says the Munchkin as we enter the Vancouver Aquarium.


A Look at Vancouver - the Aquarium

Or, perhaps it isn’t we decide. Maybe the people in Australia are right and they are on the top of the world.

We wander through the exhibits enjoying, in particular the warmth of “The Tropics” on this cold and rainy day.

A Look at Vancouver - the Aquarium A Look at Vancouver - the Aquarium

We then take a look at marine life closer to home.

A Look at Vancouver - the Aquarium

A Look at Vancouver - the Aquarium A Look at Vancouver - the Aquarium

All of which is fascinating to us as we’re originally from the prairies.



The Munchkin goes to school in Mexico

We’re in small town Mexico for a month over Christmas holidays and the Munchkin has a chance to go to school for a couple of hours one morning with her best friend. This is one of the schools she has gone to with her mother to talk about pet care and to explain about the free spaying and neutering clinics offered twice a year.

Today, she’ll just be another student in her friend’s classroom.

The Munchkin goes to school in Mexico









The school isn’t fancy, but the rooms do have air conditioning. The playground, as you can see, is cement. At recess the kids improvise a soccer game using a small plastic cube for a ball.

The cafeteria, manned by a couple of local women, offers (mostly) healthy food at a nominal price.

The Munchkin goes to school in Mexico





















The Munchkin goes to school in Mexico




Yes, we tried some and, yes, they did taste like cucumber–with a dash of chili.

Only in Mexico - cucumber candy


corn syrup, sugar, water, gelatin, citric acid, modified startch, natural flavours, lactic glycerin, red, yellow, and blue food colouring.

Each package contains 3 grams of protein and 26 grams of sugar.


Now that the festivities are behind us, we’re ready to while away the evenings with a good book so head over to your favorite online bookstore and load up your ereader with these.

Ready to Read?

For a little Mystery, join Brittany: Her dream was to go to university. Instead she’s working in a nursing home hunting a killer. (When the Sun was Mine)

Mystery and adventure are yours when you embark on a wild trek across the Sahara as Sidu tries to escape his fate: The old lady is dead, but she could still destroy him. (Whispers Under the Baobab)

to learn more about Brittany, old lady Flo, and Sidu:  click HERE

Or, if Science Fiction is more to your liking, check out the Em and Yves series.

Book One: Em –  Gifted with superpowers she can’t refuse, her life spirals out of control.

Book Two: Jaz –  She’s crazy to build her life on childhood visions, but …

Book Three: Abby – Controlled by an Alien, Abby must decide if he’s real before she loses her sanity.

Book Four: Emily – Inexplicably drawn to the man stalking her, she knows she needs help.

to learn more about the alien who has taken over their lives click HERE

And click HERE  for a bit of humor in Mali to Mexico and Points In Between