Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Happy Earth Day

The photos here were taken yesterday as Bill, Black Jack and I walked along False Creek and through the streets of Yaletown.  It is letter "O" week for ABC Wednesday.  It is also Earth Day 2014.

These are at the entrance to David Lam Park.  David Lam was the 25th Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia and he felt a deep connection to this land.  His offering of a space for the community to enjoy is something I often think about when I enter the park.   
 The flowers are just one of the ways that people around us "mamook okoke town kloshe nawitka" (make this community good indeed).
I think of the ocean and of the circular direction of our lives. 
A pair of American Coots have moved into a spot behind those bushes.  Bill looked around, hoping he might discover their nest.  We didn't find it, but the awareness that little ones will be hatching soon makes us conscious of the garbage that is often thrown over that wall. 
I was looking for "O" shapes when Science World caught my eye.  Now I am thinking we must visit soon.  Understanding more about our earth and ocean translates to greater caring.
We gave Black Jack the opportunity for a run in the grass, but had to cut it short as many dog owners had not picked up, and there was other garbage in the grass as well that unfortunately called to her.  
This was part of an ad for a new high-rise under construction.  Some say apartment-style living is more gentle on the earth than single-family homes.  An encouraging sign, perhaps, is the recent trend to eco-friendly tiny houses.  But it is the word ONE that was uppermost in my thoughts.  We have one earth and we are one people.  We must take care of it and of each other.  As Mahatma Gandhi said, "An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind." 
Round shapes, watermelon image (noticed by Bill), cyclist (he gave us permission to take this photo), earth-friendly way to get around.
 I saw greenery.  Bill saw little faces with moustaches.  Two minds equal one smile :)
 I used iphoto to encircle these blossoms within an oval shape.
 This Rhodo was the only one to have opened in a cluster of buds.
 Another round shape.  Just a lamp, but it looked to me like a globe with trees reflected and a basket protecting it.
Hard to describe this.  We walked down some steps that we have taken before, but I looked up and saw ivy draped over a building I hadn't noticed before.  The ivy had died but was beautiful, and the blossoms were framed in a circular entrance-way.
"Ring Gear" is a circular piece that I love.   Yesterday, my big lens caught its lower half.  In the background is just the faintest hint of a bike path that leads over the Cambie Bridge.
Just a bird that sang his Ode to Joy to me yesterday.  This flash mob performance of that wonderful music took place in Spain.  It says much, I think, about Beethoven's hope for the brotherhood of mankind.  And, if you have a half hour to spare, you can listen to a BBC performance of the 4th movement conducted by Daniel Barenboim.  The youth choir is extraordinary.  Full of energy and joy.
 Just a few more photos of some..
 of the beauty..
 all around us yesterday.  Perhaps each of us could do one small thing for our earth today.  
Thank you for letting me share my thoughts and photos.  Happy Earth Day, everyone!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Sunday walk for Our World Tuesday

On Sunday, we walked across the street and into David Lam Park, made a left along the False Creek walkway, another left to turn up Homer Street and then a right to the corner of it Smythe Street for lattés and cookies at Harrison Galleries.  It was an ordinary walk that we've done many times but it felt extraordinary.  A petal was about to fall from this magnolia bloom and I gave it a helping hand.  A magical kingdom was revealed inside.   
I asked Bill to pose by the flowers, but didn't expect what I saw through my lens just as I was ready to snap the photo.  He had moved under the magnolia bush, letting this bloom rest ever so lightly on his head.  I laughed until my jaw and sides ached.  
Then, he suggested I pose as well.  I did, but knowing the lens is heavy (my small one is still broken), and Bill rarely uses it, was not expecting a keeper.  In fact, I will treasure the laughter in this one, inspired by that sweet, silly grin on his face. Perhaps, people will think we were dressed in our Easter bonnets.  Next time, it will be Black Jack's turn.  
 We continued past the sculpture where the cormorants love to rest. 
I had just settled after my laughter over the magnolia, but the shaggy eyebrows and serious expression on this one made me laugh again.
I guessed "Mrs. Eyebrows" was a mom, "Junior" the baby of the family (lighter colour) and perhaps "Big Bro" on the left an older sibling.  
You need to look good for the photo.
Ah, Ma!
What about me? How come I have to do my own grooming?
 A fourth member of the family flew in..
 and landed to the left of the others.  
It's about time you got here!  Ma is giving Junior all the attention.
Oh, keep quiet or I'll cut you right out of the photo with my wing.
Junior: Look at me. My wings are so much lighter now!
Bill was finally able to tear me away from the cormorants, but a few seconds later, I noticed this checkerboard flower.  I had never seen one quite like it.
A helicopter hovered for a while and I used my lens as binoculars to discover it was from CTV.  Perhaps they were doing a news story on Easter bonnets :) 
A voice beside me said, "Does that lens let you see the people inside the plane?"  "Almost," I answered.  The gentleman who spoke had an adorable dog named Dolce.  The musical translation for that word is to play "sweetly" and we had a conversation about its meaning in everyday Italian conversation.  The word does mean sweetly; one of its meanings would be to describe the dessert portion of a meal.
It took a little coaxing but Dolce finally agreed to look at my camera.  What a sweetie!
Bill had a question about the translation for the name Sciuéthe Italian cafe near us.  He was most interested to learn that that word, while Italian, is of a dialect so different, speakers in other parts of Italy would have difficulty understanding it.  The man said it doesn't really have a specific meaning but conveys an essence of the area where it originates. We talked for a little longer.  Another Vancouver encounter (see yesterday's post) with a complete stranger that enlightened and added warmth to the day.  And the bonus?  We got to meet Dolce!  
We continued on our way to Harrison's, checking out the hockey score on a TV showing through the open doorway of the Hurricane Grill (Montreal doing well!)..
and stopping to admire some gorgeous yellow flowers.
New art was going up on the walls at Harrison Galleries.  I am often surprised how beautifully the brick walls work as backgrounds.  These two wonderful paintings are by Stewart Jones.  To the left is "Brooklyn at Dusk" and to the right is "Havana Revisited".
I loved "Gondalier" by Olaf.
As we sipped our delicious lattés and enjoyed our vegan cookies, Mr. Harrison and his wife worked hard.  He took over the gallery from his father before him, and has weathered the changing economy to continue to provide beautiful art for those who find the time to visit his beautiful café and gallery.  He even took a minute, at my request,
to turn the light on his face and smile for my camera :)
On the way home, we took a less-frequented path where Black Jack could have a little run.
A moment to admire the tulips..
along with a couple of pretty pigeons, and we called it a good walk on Easter Sunday.
That was a portion of my world yesterday.  To have a glimpse into the lives of people around the world, perhaps you will find the time to check out a very successful meme called Our World Tuesday.  A huge thank you to the organizers who keep it running, and to you, for stopping by to share in my world.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Vancouver and a wish for peace in your hearts

The photos in this post were taken yesterday (Saturday) but I am joining the meme Sundays in the City because I hear it is okay to show your photos on Sunday that were taken over the past week.  The main thing is to celebrate one's city and that requirement is easy for me.  Here are a few of the things I love about Vancouver:

Going to Sciué for lunches and lattés with Bill.  
The flowers beside our apartment building.
Colour everywhere we look.
Strangers will often stop and talk to you. This person decides to pet Black Jack and we have a conversation that reveals we have both lived in Montreal, we have both lived in Nova Scotia, her partner is a Montreal Symphony musician, and of course, we both love animals.  
We have wonderful neighbours.  As Bill and I are talking about the fun of our conversation with a stranger, this neighbour stops to give Black Jack a treat.  Black Jack chews happily, with adoration for our neighbour plain to see.
I take a minute to photograph Frankie, my neighbour's adorable little rescue dog.
Frankie's eyes become very focused as I search in my pocket for a reciprocal treat.
There is wildlife all about us.  Tupper appears out of nowhere..
and puts her right food out..
and her left foot out..
and dances all about for her treat.
Another neighbour appears and shares some laughter with Bill.  His dog Jimmy..   
checks the ground for possible dropped treats while Black Jack..
goes right to the source for hers.
Ah, I get it!  This is the guy to talk to.
I hope you haven't forgotten me.
We walk along Mainland Street and see it is lined..
with lush blossoms.
Harrison Galleries is our final stop.  We love the art..
and we love that they also serve great lattés and treats.  Added to that, they let us sit and do crosswords together for as long as we like.  If we ever complete the entire one, I will include a photo.  Most days we are happy to solve about half of the puzzle.  One last photo of Bill because his presence in the city makes it especially meaningful for me.
I am including a youtube where you can listen to me perform Chopin Nocturne Op.9 No.2.  It is far from perfect but represents an accomplishment as the first piece I have memorized for a very long time.  I am so grateful to Bill for encouraging me to do this.  I have felt helpless in the face of terrible pain about the world.  The MH370 disaster, the South Korean ferry disaster, the Calgary stabbings, the Sherpas killed in the Mount Everest avalanche, and I never forget sweet Lilee-Jean's family, grieving as they try to celebrate this Easter Sunday without her.  That last link takes you to a video of her enjoying an Easter egg hunt last year.  So many broken hearts.  So many beautiful spirits.  I think of all the sadness, but of all the beauty as well, and find a sense of peace in the music.  Thank you so much for stopping by, everyone.  May peace be in your hearts.