Sunday, October 30, 2011

Thanks and more

Congratulations to my sister and her husband.  They celebrated their 40th Wedding Anniversary on Thanksgiving weekend.  This photo was taken in David Lam Park.  The light shining through the two blooms seems a fitting symbol of their steadfast love for each other.    
I replanted this African Violet and thought of my mother, who seemed to do especially well with these plants.
This plant, given to me a little over four years ago by Bill, also received some badly needed TLC.  It had spent the summer on my balcony, one that gets direct and unrelenting sun.  I removed the scorched leaves, gave it some new earth, and thanked it for forgiving my neglect.
On Saturday morning, this seagull seemed to have especially pink feet.
The droplets on this red flower gathered together for a meeting.
These two dogs were play-fighting in front of JJBean coffee shop.  I learned their names were Frankie (on the right) and Tsar.
Frankie's expression was one of adoration.
Tsar seemed to accept (and appreciate) that sentiment as his due.
Later in the day, Bill and I took Black Jack for a walk.  Some men were working on the stadium roof.  It occurred to us that there will be constant employment for a select few, just to keep the roof clean and in perfect working order.  I thought of a conversation I had with a worker several weeks ago.  He was just finishing his shift and was taking off his climbing gear.  I asked him if he enjoyed his work, and he answered, "I love it."  
We walked through a small park on the way to Chinatown.  This crow had lined up a few morsels of food on the edge of the fountain, and was soaking them, one at a time, in the water.
Bill pointed out the Sun Tower, the Revolving Restaurant, and Woodwards, peeking between the newer high rises.  
The dragons of Chinatown's street lamps seemed about to leap into a very blue sky.
Some of the Chinese students at school expressed shame for Chinatown, but I love going there.  This gate symbolizes entrance to an exotic kingdom.
Red accents add character and warmth to the streets.
We came across a street fair, and learned that people come each week to sell, buy or trade.
I found myself taking lots of pictures of fancy shoes, ones that I could never wear.  Comfort and support have been priorities for longer than I care to admit, but it is fascinating to think about encasing one's feet in fragile glamour. 
We stopped to talk with two men, the first wearing a pink headpiece and..
the second arranging his pose just so for the photo.  I felt richer for the encounter.

Gassy Jack  surveyed his kingdom,
and The thin building pointed us in the direction of a very nice coffee shop. 
This leaf fell onto the table, as we sat outside with Black Jack, sipping our delicious lattes.   
A couple of weeks later, after a leadership training camp for our students (I hope to do a future post about that experience) I thought back to that leaf.  It wasn't a perfect and brilliantly-coloured one, but I was drawn to the way it seemed at home with the wood of the table.  As one of the instructors taught us, nature's leaf-decomposing-system is a perfect one, and that made me wonder about the leaves that fall to city streets.  I can tell you now, after checking a Vancouver web site, that the leaves gathered in the city are turned into compost and returned for future gardens.  Yes!  Here's a little quote I found that echos the words of our instructor.
Down at the base of the enormous canopy trees is the forest floor. This is a dark, still and extremely humid world, alive in a way that's difficult to perceive. The inhabitants here have to eke out a living from the leftovers that fall from above - specks of light, dead leaves and over-ripe fruit. Most of them are involved in decomposing the leaf litter. Termites, soil mites, bacteria and fungi run an efficient recycling plant that returns the nutrients to the soil almost as fast as they arrive.

After our lattes, we walked up a few steps to a small courtyard, and looked through an open area to see empty train tracks.  A man watering flowers in front of a nearby restaurant said he had never before seen those tracks with no trains on them, and he had been watching for many years.
A couple of weeks later, I checked out the same place, just to see if there were trains on the tracks.  There were.
We continued along Water Street and stopped for a few moments to admire the Steam Clock.
Bill was holding Black Jack and I admired her perfectly healed right hind foot, only two weeks after surgery.  Thank you, Dr. Bhatla!
The tree by the steam clock had beautiful root patterns that seemed almost sculpted.  Black Jack inspected every inch of them carefully.
There were lots of interesting shops.  You can see my reflection in this photo as I stopped to check out the euphonium (or tuba).  
Halloween themes were beginning to show up in some shops.
We spent some time admiring the Woodward's Building. There is a long and complicated story to go with that building, and if you have the time, check out that link to fill in the details.  I am grateful for the effort made by the city to redevelop the area, and to preserve what they could of its history.  
Bill was curious about the patterns on either side of the windows.  We figured out that there were three variations repeated in its design.  
In the photo below, you can see the "W" that was preserved, and that replaced the searchlight-beacon in 1944.  The beacon was taken down at the beginning of World War Two because of fears it would act as a landmark for aerial attacks.
The excellent photo below shows the replica of the Eiffel Tower that the "W" sits on.  That photo was taken from this blog, where you can see more wonderful images and read lots of fascinating information about Vancouver.  Here's a link back to the photographers.  Their business is called Nordica Photography
This is why I take so long to post!  I begin with one thought and it takes me to another, and another, and..  Anyhow, I found this image of the original beacon at Dependent Magazine.  They found the image courtesy of Vancouver Archives.
This mural was in a lane just behind Woodward's.
I noticed a pigeon land just over the mural, and thought that its colours were perfect.
The pigeon moved to sit in the doorway of the mural.  I don't know if my photograph will bring.. 
out the colours enough for you to see how beautifully the pigeon complements the artwork. 
On our way home, we passed by BC Place stadium roof.  It continues to hold great fascination for me. Strange, because the chances of my attending a sports event under that roof are minimal.  In front of the roof, the steam that powers the clock (shown earlier in this post) can be seen.
We also passed by the latest Terry Fox monument.  I like it a lot for several reasons.  The four images growing progressively larger can be seen in several ways, but I like to think of Terry's indomitable spirit carrying on into the future and inspiring others to go for their dreams.  I'm sorry that Telus didn't think of a way to create a more pleasing backdrop for the monument.
A close-up of the knee mechanism.
Talking about knees, mine was starting to hurt that day, so we stopped by a Starbucks to have a second latte.  This dog's human was reading the newspaper at the neighbouring table.  The dog melted my heart when it quietly turned, and laid its head on my knee.
Pleased to meet you!
This sign lives just around the corner from David Lam Park.  It always makes me smile.
This cat lives next door to the welcome sign.  Black Jack is fascinated by its confidence.  It never backs away from her, but I've kept them apart.  My thought, though, is that they would get along just fine.  (A cat that runs is another story.)

We were looking for a new destination, and this one turned out to be very enjoyable.  As that link tells you, and I quote: "The park is an unusual combination of outdoor recreation space, industrial facilities, and memorable views. New Brighton is a popular and exciting park. Captivating views of the North Shore, Burrard Inlet, and the grain elevators of Cascadia Terminals are available from the walking trails, outdoor pool, and beach areas."
I zoomed in on the anchor of..
the Golden Endeavour, with my big lens.
Bill let Black Jack play by the rocks, until she became too excited. 
Bill's almost successful calming technique.
He clowned around, pointing at imaginary sights when I directed the camera his way.
These geese flew by, just as he was pointing.
It was a fairly dismal day, but small snippets of sunlight appeared now and then, catching some dandelion-like flowers,
that I thought were lovely.
This dog glued itself to Black Jack for quite a few minutes, but Black Jack seemed oblivious. She was far more interested in exploring the territory.
I spent some time trying to get a photo of a different bird, one that I hadn't seen before, but even with Bill's encouragement and help, could not capture it.  The white-crowned sparrows offered to pose instead.
This tugboat was really churning up the water.
I forget exactly why I took this picture.  I think it was to show the Second Narrows Bridge and the older bridge which is now used only for trains.  Again, there is quite a history behind these bridges. 
This was Black Jack's first run since her small surgery.  We only let her have one turn going from Bill to me, but it felt so good to see her running free.
We liked some of the Inukshuks by the shore.  This one was wearing a baseball cap.
Unfortunately, this one was forced to carry someone's garbage.
This lady was standing with her hands on her hips (I thought).
A Morning Glory and a picture of..
this Trans Canada Trail sign were my final shots of the day.  It made me think of someone I met only once, Herman Jackrabbit Smith-Johannsen.  He was born in1875 and died at 111 years of age.  I thought that he was instrumental in starting the idea of a network of trails to cross Canada, but I haven't been able to find information to support that assumption.  What I do remember is how spry and articulate Mr. Johannsen was at age 107.  He had given up x-country skiing at that time, but still walked a couple of miles each day.  I also know that he cleared miles and miles of trails in the Laurentian mountains of Quebec, trails that I enjoyed for the ten years that I lived there.  His story has always been one that inspires me.   

Just a few more pictures from times past. 

Someone crocheted stockings for Jerry Pethick's Time Top.  They only lasted a couple of weeks in the salt water, 
but I thought they added colour and beauty to the vista. 
And again, the stadium roof.  It went through many stages as I watched it being built.
There were times when it was very colourful.
Here it is, viewed through another of Vancouver's outdoor art pieces called Ring Gear
I thought the roof and the art worked really well together.
I guess colour is a bit of theme in my posts.  I liked these Canada Geese because they sat on colourful, 
reflective patterns in False Creek.
  This one agreed to pose for me.
And, a little secret about Bill.  He loves motorcycles, and especially, Harley-Davidsons.  He posed beside this one, one day when we were enjoying a walk at Granville Island.  Having enjoyed the thrill of riding my Yamaha 180, I have some idea where he is coming from.  I wonder if there's a way to simulate a ride on a Harley.  I wonder if it would be as much fun.    
One day when we were enjoying some time at Vanier Park, I took a picture of these barn swallows.
I tried all summer to find a family of swallows and catch a shot of parents feeding their young, but was never successful.  This was as close as I managed to come to a swallow photograph.  I love these birds for their swiftness, and for their cobalt blue feathers.
That's it for today.  As usual, there is so much more I would like to write about, but I'm out of time.  Thanks, as always, for taking time to read about my adventures.