Sunday, November 30, 2008

Black Jack's 7 beds

I have to finally face up to the fact that Black Jack is a tad spoiled.  It's fortunate that I didn't get her as a puppy.  I think that fact saves her from being obnoxious.  Here is a rundown of the seven beds she considers hers.  First, the one I bought the day before I drove to Seattle to pick her up at the foster lady's house.  It is by far her most expensive bed, but well used.  It mainly stays under the kitchen table.  When playing, she takes a running leap into it, so that it slides right back to the wall.  Here she is in the car, coming back with me to Vancouver.   She really loves this bed, and did from day one.
Bed number 2 is an old quilt that stays on the end of our bed.  Bill generally is the one to place her carefully on it each night.  He uses a section to cover her up, and she rarely moves until the morning.  
Bed number 3 is Bill.  When she wakes up (usually around 5:00 a.m. when my alarm goes off) she moves from the quilt to lie or sit on his chest.  He sleepily gives her a little massage. I find it both amazing and adorable that he is so patient with her.  Black Jack, however, clearly considers this her due.  
I can't remember when we bought bed number 4, but this little brown bed has become the one that stays in the computer room.  It is sometimes used as a place for her to chew her bully stick, and also goes on Bill's knee so that she can supervise his computer activities.  Although she appears comfortable and secure in it most of the time, she occasionally seems to be falling over the edges.

Bed number 5 was very inexpensive and she seems to recognize that, as it the only one of her beds that she tosses around in play.  In the warmer weather, when the kitchen door is open, she sometimes uses it for lying in the sun.  At other times, I have seen her carry it down the steps into the back yard for a play session.  She often likes to chew her bully stick in it.  It's a most versatile bed.
Bed number 6 is a small mat that stays on top of the chair by the front window in the living room.  It is is used a great deal.  She spends hours watching the dog equivalent of television.  Squirrels and Cats are her two favorite shows, but she also likes to watch for the mailperson and for Bill's truck.
Bed number 7 is me, and is generally used in the evenings when I nap on the couch.  It requires my soft, white housecoat as an accessory.  Sometimes, she rests in the crook of my knee, as in the next two pictures.  
At other times, she prefers to brace herself between the back of the couch and my shoulder.Bill reminded me that she has one more bed, and that is the seat of his truck.  I had forgotten that one, and so do not have a picture to include in this blog.  It is only used when Bill is out of the truck to run short messages.  Otherwise, she resorts to either bed number 3 or number 7 for travel.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


When I left for school on Thursday morning, the 27th of November, a gentle sunrise appeared as I began my descent down the Point Grey hill. Bill had left shortly before, to take his sister, Phyllis, to be with her daughter, Glenys, who was giving birth to her first child. A first grandchild for Phyllis, she could hardly contain her joy. The pinks and mauves of that sunrise were the only color warmth in an otherwise grey day, and I believe they were heralding the arrival of the beautiful boy who arrived later that afternoon.
Here he is, little Oscar Robin Luchkow Webster, with his enraputured parents, Glenys and Paul.
Here, on Saturday, when Bill and I saw him for the first time, Oscar is swaddled in the little blanket knitted specifically for her first great-great-great grandchild by Muriel Webster, Glenys' paternal great-great grandmother. As Phyllis said, "How wonderful it is that we are able to gift our future generations in this way!"
Bill hit if off really well with Oscar, who particularly enjoyed sucking on his little finger.
This is Zoe, one of the two cats who live with Glenys and Paul. She shows a gentle interest in Oscar. Meg is there in the background as well. I'm actually surprised to see her in this picture. She generally stays out of the way when visitors are present. To everyone's surprise, she hasn't shown a lot of interest in Oscar to this point.
And one more of Zoe.
I brought this stuffed elephant, perhaps more for me than for Oscar, since I had so much fun choosing it. Phyllis gamely modeled it, while Bill waited his turn. I have a good picture of him wearing the elephant, but he suggested I post our very proud and absolutely indispensable Grandma instead. He said when it was on his head, he was too tall. (Thanks, Bill. Ah, brotherly love:) I have yet to get a picture of Phyllis with her first grandchild, but will be sure to do so before she heads back to Winnipeg. Oscar has the best start to his beautiful life that any child could ask for. Welcome, lucky little boy!!!

Baby on the way!

Glenys' and Paul's baby is on the way and Grandma is very excited!!  
This modern day and age, for a Mom to send an e-mail when she is in labour.  Safe journey little one.    Grandma is on her way to meet you NOW.  Bill and I are excited too.  We send you love and a beautiful welcome into the world!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A dog and a duck

Today, I took a walk along the river, on a break between classes.  I've been at my school for almost ten years, and at the new building in North Vancouver for over four years, but in a ten-minute walk, saw a part of the school surroundings that I had completely missed up until now.  First, I met this dear little dog, named Chrissy, and her adored human.
Chrissy is two, but spent the first year of her life at the breeder's, and so is quite timid.  However, she came a long way out of her shell for treats.  Her tail was wagging so quickly, it was a blur.
She is learning the word "dance" but doesn't quite have it down yet.  She tried her entire sit/stay/down repertoire, hoping to get another treat.  (It worked)A failed photo, because I missed the top of her head, but oh I love the expression.  
I also saw a beautiful duck.  I think this may be one of my better duck photos.
I don't know if "river", the term I've been using to describe the body of water flowing into the ocean,  is correct.  It's such a tiny little stream, but there is a lot of activity along it.
Today, I discovered a little waterfall at the end of the stream.  There was a small, wooden lookout nearby, and that's where I met Chrissy.  Amazing to think it was so nearby, but undiscovered until today.  I hope Chrissy and I will meet up again soon.   

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Lattes and Ducks


There's a new Wicked!  I tried it out yesterday morning on the way to school.  Same great coffee and the Hornby Street location is perfect - only one block out of the way and at about the midpoint of the commute.    

Drama in the afternoon sky.  I took a few pictures in the break before the Jazz Band rehearsal. This one looking East.   

The next two looking West.

Two adorable ducks were feeding in the river behind the school.  They kept ducking:) under the water and popping up in new locations.  The waves took their cue from the sky.  
At home, much later, it was nice to visit with Bill's sister, Phyllis.  Her daughter, Glenys, is due to give birth any day (minute) now.  A first grandchild for Phyllis and exciting times for the family.  While we chatted, Black Jack enjoyed her bully stick. 

Monday, November 24, 2008

Running Shoes?

Today, I took a picture of this photograph in the Globe and Mail.  The thing that really caught my attention were the shoes on the horse.  I guess they were put on to save the floors?  Or to keep the horse from slipping?  Why hasn't she tied up the laces?  I'm usually all for animals being inside, but this somehow seems strange to me.  Or are miniature horses a completely different nature than ponies and horses?  Now that I think of it, I did see a youtube story once about a horse that went for rides in the car, and came in the house as well.  The horse did seem happy, although I felt a bit strange about that one too.     
And about my commute.  I realize, as Winter sets in, I become obsessed with the weather.  I hate not being able to take my bike.  Rain, wind and cold, I can work around by wearing the right clothes.  But, ice and snow really scare me.  Last winter, I missed about two weeks because of weather, and almost six when I broke my arm.  I was not a happy camper taking the bus, and even worse when I had to accept Bill's generous offers of rides. Today was fine, in spite of my concern at the white coating on the grass, and the added bummer that my right knee was acting up.  There were no slippery patches, the granny gear worked for the hills, and a little slower ride wasn't the end of the world.  And tomorrow, there is to be rain, so that's okay too.  But Friday, they're calling for a mix of rain and snow.  Oh dear.  I'll just have to hope the forecast is wrong.

The snow in the mountains shifted today.  The white peaks (previous post) that I had photographed only yesterday from the Lions Gate were almost green again.  But the ones to my left that I photographed this morning, as I crossed the Burrard Bridge, were a brilliant, glowing white.  
Another of those things I've always promised myself I will do, and haven't, is to learn the names of all the mountains and peaks that I see each day.  I need a good diagram with labels. 

Snow in the mountains

It is cold this morning (for biking).  There's a lIttle bit of white frost on the grass in the back yard.  

The pictures are from yesterday's trip to North Van.

This one is from West Georgia.
The next three were taken from the Lions Gate 

The crows were meeting in the late afternoon before their trip to Burnaby.  
Along 1st on the way to Bridgeman Park, the pigeons were also gathering.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Music and light

Black Jack and I enjoyed a sunny walk yesterday.   We met my favorite neighbor, and found that she had been to the same concert Bill and I were to attend later.  The whole day seemed colored with my anticipation of that performance.  

I loved the light and Black Jack, the warmth, as we made our way to the endowment lands.  I noticed this leaf propped up on the sidewalk.  The light seemed to come from under.

I have no idea which mushrooms are edible, but these looked inviting in the sunlight.

Little tiny, emerald green leaves were everywhere. (Lower right in this picture)

On the way home, the red in this woodpecker (I think) caught my eye.  By the time I snapped the photo, its head was in the shade, but I like the tree bark and memory record of a stunning bird.
Photo cropped to give a slightly better view of the bird.

Later, I biked along 8th Avenue.  Splotches of fall color continue to warm the November view.

This was taken along 7th, later in the afternoon, as I made my way downtown after a trip to the music store on Main Street.  Each intersection gave incredible views North. 

Another failed (but I thought interesting) bird shot, taken from the Burrard Bridge as the sun went down.  Several groups of Sea Gulls attacked this one spot.  Food, or maybe tricked by shadows?

These Grackles were enjoying the frame of the bridge, in between frenzied group flights one way and the other.

And at home after a jump-up-and-down-let-it-all-hang-out concert, Black Jack enjoys our company and one of her favorite spots.