Thursday, August 30, 2018

A Change is Coming

The last few days there has been a definite change in the temperature of the air. While it is still generally warm, there is now a distinct chill and I need to have a shawl or a light jacket when I go out. It seems to me that the chill has arrived somewhat early this year and rather abruptly. We don't usually notice the shift until the day after Labour Day (the first Monday of September).  This year Labour Day is on September 4, 2018.

The sky was looking quite cloudy when I came home from an appointment around 4 p.m. on Thursday.  There is no rain in the 14 day forecast but the temperatures are anywhere from 6-10 degrees cooler each day than they have been for months.  I don't mind because the Fall or Autumn is one of my favourite seasons. I do not do well in intense heat.  I far prefer the chill of autumn when it isn't yet cold and one can wear cosy sweaters and scarves. In some years the Fall season can go on for some time. Those are special times.

After I finished my errands I stopped for this breakfast/lunch. It isn't my favourite place to dine but it was handy and I enjoyed the omelette and sourdough toast.

The next few photos were taken on Wednesday. You might notice that the light of the day is not a intense as the past few months.

The photo below was taken at 7 p.m. It was still quite bright out but now the daylight hours are shortened by 1-2 hours each day.

I'm reading my 45th book of the year.

It is very interesting.
 I haven't gotten to the sad part yet but it will come.

Here is a synopsis of the book taken from the internet.
On July 12, 1969, Ruth Davis, a young American volunteer at Dr. Jane Goodall’s famous chimpanzee research camp in the Gombe Stream National Park of Tanzania, East Africa, walked out of camp to follow a chimpanzee into the forest. Six days later, her body was found floating in a pool at the base of a high waterfall. With careful detail, The Ghosts of Gombe reveals for the first time the full story of day-to-day life in Goodall’s wilderness camp—the people and the animals, the stresses and excitements, the social conflicts and cultural alignments, and the astonishing friendships that developed between three of the researchers and some of the chimpanzees—during the months preceding that tragic event. Was Ruth’s death an accident? Did she jump? Was she pushed? In an extended act of literary forensics, Goodall biographer Dale Peterson examines how Ruth’s death might have happened and explores some of the painful sequelae that haunted two of the survivors for the rest of their lives.

I watched the much hyped first episode of Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan on Amazon Prime Video. If you have a chance to watch it I would recommend it. It is very well done and quite riveting. 


I managed to get my documents photocopied yesterday to add to my earthquake kit.
If you missed my post on earthquake preparedness you can find it here.

I've always loved zebras. They are so beautiful and these ones are from Lake Nakuru National Park in Kenya. I'll never forget my safari there.
I'm sharing them for Saturday's Critters with Eileen.


Last but not least, I am remembering my mom today.
She would have been 82 on Friday.

 These photos are from the last celebration of her birthday and were taken a few days after her stroke.
We were surprised to arrive and see her driving her wheelchair. She couldn't swallow yet so she she couldn't eat the cake that's why we only bought a small one. We usually bought her a chicken, seafood or Chinese dinner but this day we didn't want to eat in front of her so we only bought a cake to mark her day.

I always liked to treat her on her birthday.
 She loved her roses, her cake and balloon.

I remember wanting to wait until she was able to eat with us to celebrate. My youngest brother insisted we celebrate on her day. I'm so glad he did because it was the last time we were able to do so and see her smile.

 That's all for now.
Wishing you all a wonderful and safe weekend.

Joining with

Skywatch Friday

Friday Foto Friends


Saturday's Critters

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Earthquake Preparedness - How Prepared am I?

In my last post I had a few people ask me what is contained in my emergency kit.

My kit is rather large because I'm of the belief that if a major disaster occurs one will need to fend for themselves for longer than 3 days.  I only have food and water provisions for 3 days but I have some other supplies which might help me for a longer period of time.

I have prepared a small suitcase on wheels and in it I have put a ready made emergency kit and added many other things.  In the store bought kit there are basic medicines and band-aids as well as 3 days supply of food and water. I've added more band-aids and some antibiotic ointment.

The food supplies and water have expired and need to be replaced but I would use them if needed before replacing. I've been researching on line about where I might find and purchase replacements. I think I have to call the stores first to make sure they have what I want. I prefer buying ready made food and water because they are small and packable and not nearly as heavy as packing canned goods and bottled water. If I can get to the Boy Scouts shop or the Travel Clinic I would also like to purchase a Life Straw which is a filter built into a straw.  You can also find a Life Straw on Amazon. One Life Straw will filter up to 1000 liters of impure water without using chlorine or other chemicals. Water purification tablets are also a good idea and I have a box of them.

I thought you might like to see my actual bag and what is in it.

When I open my suitcase to the main compartment it looks like the photo below. In the pockets on the left I have reading glasses and sun glasses. On the right I have my store bought 3 day emergency kit in the red bag (I'll share the contents a bit later in the post).  The burgundy cloth is a pashmina shawl and under it I have a pair of stretch jogging pants as well as a few long tops and a few short sleeved ones as well as socks and undies.  I've also packed a few toiletries (toothpaste, toothbrush, facial wash and hand lotion), facecloths and two small towels.

My suitcase has two main compartments. The second compartment holds small towels, light sticks (a source of light), emergency blankets and waterproof pouches for storing paper items and other things you don't want to get wet, like your cell phone.  I want to put a few paper documents in the pouches too (passport copy, birth certificate and insurance policy) and I hope to prepare these in the next day or two because several of these items have been updated.

Inside my store bought emergency kit there are blue and white packets of water which you see below and the blue shiny packet above at top of photo is the dried food bars. I purchased many other things to add to the bag.

I have added 2 pair of basic work gloves, a stove, some fuel for the stove, toilet paper, whistle, camping matches (they are supposed to help you light a fire even if they get wet), water purification tablets, light sticks (in case one runs out of candles), fire starter, some velcro ties, an exacto knife, a mini magnifying glass, a sewing kit,  a few Tylenol, extra candles, an AM/FM radio and some extra batteries to power it. I also have some silver coins. In the event of some economic collapse I figure that real currency like silver, gold or jewels would be of assistance. One can barter with it. While I don't have family jewels I went and purchased silver coins in smaller units as I couldn't afford gold. These coins might also be useful in an earthquake because one might not have access to ATMs and I'm not sure how far paper money will go.

I do not yet have a warm jacket in the kit. I have purchased a packable one and need to pack it before the weather gets cold.

My bag is small but very heavy.  Even though it is on wheels I may need to find a new bag or think about reducing my clothing. The last thing I'm missing is sturdy shoes. I've heard that it is important to have sturdy shoes because there will likely be a lot of glass and rumble to find your way through. I don't have these yet in my kit. My kit is already too heavy.  I need to figure out what to do about this.

I need to try and do that soon because the earthquake forecaster is saying that another larger earthquake will likely hit off the west coast of Canada/ Vancouver in the next few days.  There was a 6.2 earthquake off the coast of Northern Vancouver Island around Port Hardy 6 days ago. See here if you are interested in today's global earthquake update.

In another bag, I have some items like garbage bags, more toilet paper and a crowbar.  I need to check and see if I put a collapsible cooking pot in there. These are " in case" needed  items.  You might wonder about the crowbar.  I  was advised to buy one.  In the event of an earthquake it may be difficult to get in and out of buildings due to shifting ground and buildings being damaged.  I was also told that people who are unprepared may try to steal what others have (the bad side of desperate humans).  If you don't want to lose what you have you need to be prepared to defend your property.

What I Don't Have

I do not have a Grab-and-Go bag. This is a bag you take with you for a quick overnight need. I don't think I can keep track of so many bags and to have everything one needs in several places gets to be expensive.  Ideally one should have an emergency bag for 72+ hours (what I have), a grab-and-go bag and a car bag.

I found the information on a provincial website for a grab-and-go bag (see the graphic below). You can see that it is quite comprehensive and that is why I figured I might as well have a bag that keeps me for at least a few days or more.  I would still like to prepare a modified version of a grab-n-go bag soon.

I don't have an extra phone charger so I haven't packed one in my earthquake kit. There is unlikely to be any electricity for the most part so a charger isn't going to help much. I do own a power bank but it is quite heavy and I use it on a regular basis so I don't want to pack it away. I see a solar charger in the graphic below. I've never seen a solar charger myself but it sounds sounds like a very good idea to have one.

While I have a portable stove and fire starters I also need a Swiss army knife, a collapsible pot, cup and cutlery and a small flashlight. I already have several small flashlights, some collapsible cups and some cutlery. I just need to pack them. I also have a small tin plate that belonged to my great grandmother (the only thing I have of hers) and I'll add this item to the kit as well.

I haven't saved any photographs and I'm not going to bother keeping paper photos.  I have many saved on line and if and when electricity is restored I can access them that way.

I have it on  my list of  'to dos' to talk to my doctor about what to do about extra medications. I don't get prescriptions for extra medicines so I can't add my medicine to the kit. I don't quite know what to do about that. I also have a medical device which runs on electricity. It is too large to put into my suitcase and I can't do that in any case because I need to use it every day. Again I have no idea how to deal with this.

I mentioned that I need to copy my birth certificate, passport and insurance papers.  I already have this information but with the exception of my birth certificate they need to be updated. I  also need to get an extra set of keys for both the grab-and-go bag and the larger earthquake kit. I have several sets of keys already but one is already placed in the house in case I need it and one each given to two different family members.


   I am not fully prepared yet. I'm hoping and praying for the best as I need more time to get properly and fully ready.



Grab-and-go.  I got this from the provincial website for earthquake preparedness.  These supplies or a modified version should probably be in a back pack so at the very least you have some basic supplies if you can't access the larger kit.


Don't count on being home when there's an emergency. In addition to having one at home, create grab-and-go bags for your work and vehicles that contain:
  • Food (ready to eat) and water
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • AM/FM radio
  • Medications
  • Seasonal clothing
  • Blanket
  • Cell phone charger
  • Pen and notepad
  • Personal toiletries
  • Small First-Aid kit
  • Extra pair of glasses or contacts
  • Cash in small bills
  • Local map with your family meeting place identified
  • Whistle
The challenge in preparing any bag for an emergency or disaster is reminding yourself once or twice a year to check your bag and change out anything that needs changing:  clothing for the appropriate season, expired food and water, medications and batteries for your flashlight or radio.

In Canada we still operate on setting the clocks forward (in Spring) and backward (in Fall) by one hour. That would be an appropriate time to also check supplies and make sure they are up to date. If you live in other parts of the world that are not on Daylight Savings Time perhaps you can set a phone reminder to check supplies at two different times of the year that work for you.

Safety Tips (These tips relate to apartments but some of them are applicable to a house).

  • In the event of an emergency, do not use elevators
  • If your power goes out, know how to navigate your building complex without electronic access 
  • Do not use BBQs or camp stoves in your unit following a disaster
  • Fire alarms and sprinklers may go off: do not panic.
  • Do not flush toilets in case water lines are damaged.
  • For tips on how to respond to specific hazards, visit

Last but not least, I'm dealing with two family members and trying to prepare them. Unfortunately neither of them really believes that anything is going to happen or if they do, they can't be bothered to take time to prepare. Their inaction causes me stress because I don't want loved ones to be unprepared. A few years ago I bought both my younger brother and my nephew a few supplies to get them started and asked them to at least add a few clothing items for themselves in a backpack. I don't know whether they have their bags at the ready but I've recently connected with my nephew's girlfriend and she hopes to get both herself and my nephew better prepared if and when she has time. Currently she is dealing with a family member who is dying.  So she has a lot on her plate.

I'm also telling all my friends and people I come into contact with about the need to prepare. From time to time I am sharing the information on social media and here on the blog. Again, some read or hear and believe but still do nothing to prepare. Others are already nominally prepared and yet others have good intentions to prepare.  I know it took me years of hearing things and trying to educate myself before I actually took some positive action and I am still not fully prepared.

Wherever you live I hope you have an emergency kit. You can turn to it if you have a disaster of any kind. It is a good idea to store your kit outdoors in a space that will hopefully be easy to access. If you live in a house or building and it all collapses it could be difficult to find and access a kit even if you have one. If you live in an apartment there isn't much choice as to where you can store it. This one factor kept me frozen in inaction for many years before I finally decided I would prepare a kit and keep it near my bedside since I couldn't keep it outside.

It is also helpful to check out your neighbourhood before a disaster to see where it might be safe to go in the event of disaster.  It won't be easy in an urban area due to tall buildings and the rubble and glass that can block your path.  There will also be live wires on the ground from telephone poles and so on and fires started by broken gas lines.  If you remain indoors I've been told that you should get under a desk or a table in the event of an earthquake to protect yourself from falling debris. It is not safe to stand under a door frame. 

I hope this post helps someone or motivates someone to get better prepared. I know the information presented  isn't comprehensive but it is a start. Any action you take to prepare yourself or your family is  probably better than no planning at all and quite likely much more than your neighbour has done unless you live in an earthquake zone and have already experienced many large earthquakes. In these places people do tend to be more aware of the need for preparations.  I don't have pets or children so if you have pets or children or both, you need to prepare for them too.

Let me know in the comment section if you have an emergency kit or if you are planning to prepare one.  If you live in an apartment and have a kit I'd like to know how you have stored your things in your apartment or condo. Preparing this post helps me crystallize what I have and what I don't have and will help me continue to refine my kit. It also helped me realize that the food, water and some other supplies are also available through Amazon and maybe it would be quicker to order on line rather than run around to all the local shops which often don't have certain things in stock.

If you want to hear today's Earthquake Forecast you can watch and listen here.  Several significant earthquakes have occurred around the world in the past week and several today (Tuesday, August 28, 2018) alone, in New Zealand, New Caledonia, South California, Timor Indonesia, and Java among others. Earthquakes are forecast in several places in the next few days including for the Philippines.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Air Quality and Other Things

My niece has been gone for about a week and I've been trying to catch up with things. It seems I'm doing loads of laundry, lots of dishes, a bit of grocery shopping, a bit of reading, a few personal care appointments (foot reflexology and body massage) and connecting with friends near and far. It's been steadily busy but not so hectic.

The air quality all week was very bad as the state of emergency and the wild fires continue around the province. Today I read that it is the 2nd worst year for fires and poor air on record. Last year was the worst. Our provincial premier said a few days ago that these kind of summers might be the  "new normal". That's not a good thought.  The following photos show the recent skies.

Sky on Sunday, August 26/18

Rain on Saturday, August 25/18

At the same time as the poor air quality has been occurring, I've been tracking earthquake activity around the globe. It's scary stuff but one has to try and be prepared when they live in the earthquake areas.

In the past week alone there have been over 70 earthquakes around the globe. Two of them have been closer to home (off the coast of Oregon and off the coast of northern Vancouver Island). Every Sunday a fellow who calls himself "Dutchsinse" on You Tube predicts earthquakes.  He posts 3 videos a day and on Sundays he posts a vlog forecasting where he thinks earthquakes will hit over the next 7-10 days. The "experts" say that they cannot predict earthquakes and that there is no credibility to what "Dutchsinse" is doing. However I would say that if you watch him yourself and track things each week you will understand that he is on to something.

Little by little too his theories are being confirmed by research.  Most recently by the University of Oregon. Click here if you are interested in that study.  If you are interested in following him or at least listening once click here. His motto is "Don't be scared, be prepared" and his aim is to educate people to be aware and be prepared if there is an earthquake alert for their part of the world.  As for me I've been on a mission to let my loved ones, friends and professionals I deal with know about the potential earthquakes. A lot of people don't like to think about it and would rather pretend it won't happen though one young Brazilian lady I know told me that a number of Brazilians she knew who resided in Vancouver, have opted to return to Brazil.  At least Brazil is not located along the Ring of Fire so the likelihood of a huge quake is much lower. In  my household I've dragged out my emergency kit and bag of things I would need in case of emergency. It was a few years ago since I prepared it and I need to change out the water and the food.  Since I last updated my kit I've noticed that the earthquake preparedness store has moved to an area where I never go.  That means I have to plan specially to go and get what I need.

A few weeks ago I wrote that I now am a fan of meal planning and batch cooking. I've pretty much used up the fod I prepared in batch cooking last time so I need to get started again.  Having my niece visit put me a little behind schedule but it's okay. I now need to get into some much healthier eating once again. While she was here I just let her enjoy her holiday and we had all kinds of food that are not really the the healthiest. It's okay because she is only here one week out of 52 and I do try to incorporate some healthy salads and fruits and vegetables during the week as well.  Meal planning and batch cooking are not yet habits for me and to make them into habits is going to take some consistent planning and time.

Today is a busy but good day.  I'm folding laundry done earlier in the week, vacuuming, washing dishes and floors and making dinner.  Later, if I am up to it I have some paperwork business to catch up on. Alternatively I will wash all the fruit and vegetables and store them for use in batch food preparations this week.

My reading has slowed down a lot though I've read

The Night Visitor by Lucy Atkins

A strange story but really well written. I gave it 4* out of 5.

Right now I'm slowly working my way through The Gate of Angels by Penelope Fitzgerald.  I'm reading because it came in a book of 3 novels in one.  The first book I read in the consolidation is The Bookshop.  I didn't like that one so much but it was better than the one I'm reading now. Truthfully I'm finding her books rather boring and unappealing on many levels (did I really say that?).  But I like to finish what I've started and I hope to finish all three books though I'll do it slowly.

I attended a festival yesterday called Harambecouver. They had an excellent line up of performers but it rained heavily early in the day (the first real rainfall in months) and the turnout was dismal. Perhaps the festival lacked promotion too and as this is only it's 2nd year they are still learning what to do.  I spoke briefly with the festival organizer and he mentioned moving the festival up by a few weeks so as to avoid the rains we usually experience in Vancouver from mid-August onward.

I went with friends and we stayed only an hour or so and had a bite to eat. When we were leaving my friend's son ran up to the stage to listen to a performer sing "One Love".  he wanted to dance. When he came back he asked "did I dance good?" I thought that was so cute.

Here is his mom, his brother and a church friend watching him dance from afar.

Here is his dad.

And, here is the young boy having a well deserved drink of juice.
I couldn't get a good shot with my old compact camera.

Sunday dinner is traditional roast chicken with red potatoes. It's a lazy dinner so I can work while the dinner was cooking. I also picked a few strawberries from my garden. I'm not up to making salad today so this will be it. I did roast a few onions and carrots under the chicken. Normally I roast until the all the skin of the chicken is browned but I felt I had the oven on long enough so I aborted roasting once the fowl was cooked through and the potatoes soft.


One final thing before I go.


You may have noticed I changed the theme of my blog. I like it but am not sure how long I will use it  because there seems to be a glitch in the template.  
The preview function doesn't work and so that makes it hard to check on photo placement, spelling errors and so on. I'll wait awhile and see if that gets fixed before deciding whether things have to be changed again.
I'd be interested in what you think of this format.


In closing, air quality here is not expected to improve this coming week and the temperatures are expect to climb again.

I hope you are keeping well wherever you live.
Thank you for stopping by!

Update: I think my blog has been hacked or hijacked.  Either that or there are numerous issues with this template making it a pain to use.
If I cannot resolve this I will have to start another blog from scratch.
I'm not sure how much time this is going to take me.
Another update:  I discovered that the Contempo theme which I'd tried to use has some glitches when it comes to use of widgets. I found out I wasn't the only one with this issue and once I'd deleted some widgets I could access the templates. So far I've had two comments about the new new blog format and I appreciate them. I reverted to the original them with a different background and header as I too wasn't quite happy with the Contempo theme and don't have time to learn how to tweak the html code.
My apologies and thanks for bearing with me as I try to correct and improve things.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

The End of My Week

Hi friends and fellow bloggers,

Today's post is filled with photos. I am joining up with Skywatch Friday, Friday Foto Friends and Saturday's Critters. Thank you to hosts of all these memes. I know it takes commitment and reliability to keep these memes going.

My niece has been here having a short holiday and she will return home tomorrow. We managed to go and see a movie, Christopher Robin (a cute movie), do some light shopping, watch TV, colour, listen to a lot of music on YouTube, go for walks and ice cream and go for a car ride up to Squamish. On other days she went with her brother to spend time at the waterfront.

You can see Squamish on the map below (to the north of Vancouver).
We had dinner in the small town though there wasn't much selection.
We tried to get some photos but I didn't get any good ones of my niece and I. 
For some reason I am not very photogenic at all.
Top it off my niece is not very patient when it comes to posing for photos and she always has her head too high or too  low or never looking at the camera and so on.
The main thing then is to enjoy the ride and get some scenic photos.
(Click on photos for a larger and better view)

On the way to Squamish

This ferry is leaving Horseshoe Bay. Not sure where it's going but probably to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.

We continue north on the Sea to Sky Highway.

I'm afraid I didn't get photos of the small town of Squamish.
 I wanted photos of the famous rock cliff where many do mountain hiking. 
It is a challenging trail on the rock called Stawamus Chief.
You can read more about it by clicking here.

The view of Stawamus Chief from the main street of Squamish.

After dinner we were in a rush to try and get some coastline photos while the sun was still up.
Access to the ocean was not possible in town so
we headed south back to Vancouver on the Sea-to-Sky Highway.

Not too far from Squamish you get to the Britannia Mine Museum & the Britannia Mine.
I've never been inside. In fact I've only ever been in this direction for 4 complete round trips over the many years I've lived in Vancouver.  Usually it was to Whistler Village.  Many of you may have heard about it because it is a very famous skiing village where celebs from all over the world visit for winter vacations.

The coastal scenery is spectacular.
I captured the following photos at a view point area near the Britannia Mine.

As we continue south we find a new to me park called Porteau Cove Provincial Marine Park.

It is a lovely little spot with beautiful scenery, a secluded swimming beach, clean toilets and plenty of picnic tables. 
It is definitely on my list of places to return for a lovely picnic on a hot summer day.

The sun was setting at the same time the moon was showing it's face.

Beautiful clouds

Sky gazing
I snapped this photo of  the ferry en route to Horseshoe Bay from Nanaimo. I almost missed it.

Another drive by shot. This one over the Lion's Gate Bridge from North Vancouver into Vancouver. Spectacular colour.


From my garden

Tuesday 4 ~ Books

Welcome back to Toni Taddeo's Tuesday 4 . Books are such a big part of many people's lives. Maybe we should talk about that. 1. Do y...