Monday, September 22, 2014

Some blues for Smiling Sally on Monday

The weather in Vancouver is rainy this morning, but I'm not complaining.  We have enjoyed months of sunshine.  Besides, Smiling Sally's Blue Monday meme will easily obliterate any possible gloom that might want to creep into the day.  This post divides into a "blue" and a "non-blue" section for those with limited time.  Many thanks to Sally for hosting!

I saved these hydrangea photos from our walk in Stanley Park on Friday.  Sally's father used to grow them;  I always think of him when I see them now.  Here is the close-up view..
and a zoomed-out one.  I was surprised to find hydrangea blooms as summer comes to an end. Are they not a Spring flower?
I took this during a late-night walk on Saturday.  This window was at the top of a very tall high-rise.  I don't normally take pictures through people's windows, but the blue light really sparked my curiosity.  The lights seemed to be on a small tree in a study or work space.
The same walk also brought a bit of blue over False Creek.
Yesterday, our bike ride took us to Canada Place and along the harbour to Stanley Park.  We have taken this same route many times, but Bill noticed this globe in the window of a very tall building for the first time.  The sun was bright and building reflections came through.. 
as well.  We plan to go back one day when I have my small lens.  Perhaps, we'll be able to go inside to see the globe more clearly.  We both thought it was beautiful.
 Bill In his blue shirt) waited with a very alert Black Jack (and her blue towel) while I took the photos.  Our next stop was in the..
 Stanley Park gardens.  These were only a few blue flowers yesterday.  
 From there, we rode to Beaver Lake, locked the bikes and walked around the pond.  There weren't many blues, but Bill and Black Jack posed on a little bridge.
 Black Jack loves this walk.  Actually, I would say she was hyper-alert for the entire ride and for the entire walk yesterday.  She loves to be lifted for access to different smells and sights.
 We retraced our route as the sun was setting.  I loved the small puffs of cloud in blue skies, and the warm light over the marina.
I am still using the 300 mm while the small lens undergoes repairs.  That was a bit frustrating yesterday as the vistas were spectacular.  Here's a closer view of the cotton puff clouds.
 A fishing boat came in, and with it, a couple of seals hoping for hand-outs.  This one poked his/her head up to see what was available.
 This second one did some adorable..
 roll-overs.  I see (or perhaps imagine?) pale blues in his/her belly. 
 And back to the first one, with sunlight bringing out some details in the flippers,
  soft eyes and whiskers. 
If you came here for the blues, this would make a good point to stop reading and head on over to Sally's meme.  If you have a bit of extra time, here are a few of the other sights we saw yesterday.  The cruise ship as we arrived at Canada Place was perhaps the biggest..
 we have seen yet.
 There did seem to be a tiny bit of blue just over the ship's name.  I wonder if that would be the dining hall, with tables set for dinner.
 The gardens..
 in Stanley Park..
 are still beautiful.. 
at the end of summer.
 I love the huge leaves,
 the shades of pink, mauve and purple..
 and the odd bloom that seems to climb high above the others.
This link tells a fascinating story about the sculpture below, a memorial to U.S. President Warren Harding.  I noticed it for the first time yesterday.  His visit in July of 1923 marked the first time a sitting U.S. President came to Canada and Vancouverites flocked to hear him speak, thrilled that he had chosen their city.  He felt ill while playing golf and called for the White House homeopath.  I guess his worries were calmed because he continued on to San Francisco after that, but died there, exactly a week after leaving Vancouver. I zoomed in..
for the above view and then out again to show you how it appeared to me yesterday.  We didn't walk over to see it more closely. Perhaps, we'll do that next time.
 As for Beaver Lake, the setting sun highlighted warm textures in the lily pads and greenery.
 Bill spotted this frog and I was thrilled to capture a portion of it in amongst the underbrush.  As Bill remarked, they really do have eyes in the back of their head :)
 There were a few spots of vibrant colour..
 and a beautiful web with the spider perhaps working on renovations.
 Black Jack, as mentioned above, was hyper alert.
 She thought every square inch of territory deserved her thorough exploration.
 Bill observed that if I lined things up just right, I would be able to give..
 this Wood Duck a lovely Easter bonnet.  (It took some time time but I finally did it..  sort-of.)
 A couple of..
 reflection shots,
 one dear little frog on a lily pad (pointed out by a passer-by),
 and then we headed back to our locked bikes.  The sun caught these leaves just as Bill was getting us organized for the ride home. 
 We stopped by Canada Place to check out the seals (blue portion of the post) and the glitter in the distance..
 as the sun bounced off shiny buildings.  That was our day, another good one.  Thanks for stopping by.  A very happy "blue" Monday to you!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Golden Times

Bill and I rode our bikes to Olympic Village Plaza yesterday.  We were going to meet our friend, Mary Putt.  It was a day in our city that was quite different from the ones we usually enjoy, but my goodness, it feels important to look back on it right now.  I will share it with Unknown Mami's "Sundays in my City" blog meme, with many thanks to her for hosting.    
Mary was attending a Childhood Cancer Awareness event at Olympic Village Plaza.  She lives quite a distance from Vancouver and she doesn't come into town all that often.  If we wanted to spend time with her, we had to steel ourselves to face kids with cancer as well as their siblings, their friends and their parents. 
Neither of us have children though we do have some dearly loved great-nephews in our lives.  Though Bill went through his battle with Cancer, one that cost him an even greater battle caused by his treatments, we would never, normally, attend such an event.  They are just too sad. I will quote loosely from the mother of a child with cancer: "I used to turn off the television when stories of children with cancer came on.  It wasn't that I didn't care.  It was just too sad.  I don't have that choice any more.  I can't turn this one off."  Please don't turn this post off, folks.  I promise to show you some great smiles and happy stories.  The kids don't want us to be sad.  They just want us to know they are there and they just want to do the "stuff" that most kids do.  They happen to have cancer.  It's not fair, and they do need some help, but it doesn't define who they are.  Turning away from them makes their battle a double-whammy.  We've got to do what we can.

Mary Putt is Lilee-Jean's grandmother.  Lilee-Jean lost her battle with cancer just over a year ago.  I have posted about her quite a few times.  I would not have known about her, except for hearing her dad sing Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" at Granville Island.  I loved his voice, musicality and passion so much, I looked him up and found out that he and Lilee's mother, Chelsea, were dealing as best they could with the worst nightmare a parent can imagine.  You can listen to Andrew here, as you read the rest of the post.

This is Lilee.  I took these photos of her the only time I had an opportunity to meet her.  She is with her Auntie Caroline.  At this point, her parents know she doesn't have a lot of time left, and they have thrown a picnic celebration where her internet fans (and there are many) can meet her and mingle with the others in her life who have been touched by her story.  Everyone is not able to make it.  Many live on the other side of the world.  Lilee-Jean's mom, Chelsea, kept a blog that may one day be a book.  She had to do that.  Lilee-Jean was a spirit so strong, it simply had to be shared.  Chelsea continues now with a new blog that tells the story of her journey forward.  She has to do that as well, for Lilee, for herself and for the thousands whose hearts are wrapped up in their story.
The Butter and Egg Band played some really happy music.  Some people danced, others sang along, and there was a lot of toe-tapping.  Chelsea and Andrew made up their minds to "dance in the rain" even as they knew they were losing their child.  I just googled Lilee-Jean Putt, Dancing in the Rain and got 140,000 results.  
There were many people at the plaza yesterday.  Some may have just heard the music and decided to stop for a listen.  This rabbit came along with a gentleman in a wheelchair.  I don't know if he has cancer.  I do know he loves his rabbit, Boo.
Boo is extremely outgoing.  Not shy at all, I'd say.   
I think he was having a very good day. 
This is Bill trying to convince Black Jack to settle down after she discovers Boo's presence :)
There were posters displaying the children's stories, some currently battling cancer and others whose spirits continue to reign strong in spite of their passing. 
The colour gold has been chosen as the one to represent awareness of childhood cancer.  I thought the sousaphone player's attire and instrument caught the theme colour beautifully.
Mary Putt has many friends, some made through her dear Lilee.  Barely a year passed since losing her granddaughter, she smiles through her tears and continues to raise awareness every way she possibly can.  Her friend Teresa is by her side, with Teresa's daughter and her 10-day-old (!) baby in the picture as well.  A brand new life..
to celebrate.  
And what a cutie!
Never too young to raise awareness.
Bless your sweet little heart, my dear.  May you live a long, happy and healthy life!
Some of the kids singing in the photos below have cancer.  Others are their siblings.
Some knew the words.  Others weren't quite so sure.
What they did absolutely know is that they were standing by each other.. 
and having a lot of fun along the way.
I'm not sure if they realized how much I loved seeing them, 
hearing them,
and recognizing their heroism.  The girl in yellow spoke.  I've forgotten her name but I will never forget her message.  "We want you to know we are here!"  Her hair is just beginning to grow out.  She called to her mom the first day she needed shampoo after the chemo treatments.  As her mom said, "I don't take using shampoo for granted any more."
This girl gave it her best, knowing that what she stands for is far more important than a perfect performance.  Watch for her expression a bit further down the post as she finishes the performance.  That smile just about made my heart burst.
I cannot give you the exact statistics, but I understand that there is far more funding..
going into research of adult cancers than into the very different childhood ones.  BC Children's hospital, the hospice for children, and other organizations such as Children's Wish are just a few of the way we can help.  My personal passion is to do my small bit to make sure the air we breathe, the water we drink and bathe in and the food we consume is safe for us and for our youth.  Though we are still searching for cures, there are many known causes of cancer.  We've got to work together to eliminate as many of those as possible.  Choose your own unique ways to help..  maybe sometimes, it's just a smile.  But for sure, we can't make a difference if we refuse to acknowledge the kids.
Okay, here she is, the song finished.
She is responding to the applause.
She knows she has made a difference.
She sees it in the smiles, hears it in the laughter.
This represents the Tree of Gold.  Conceived of by Team Finn, it won the People's Choice Award last year.  The ribbons, some with wings, represent the children who battled and/or continue to battle cancer.
BC Place and Telus World of Science lit up gold yesterday for the children.  
At first, it was hard to see "Science World's" gold in the bright sunlight, but my camera picked up more of it than I realized.
In the evening, I went out for a walk, hoping to see the golden lights.  I found a few signs of gold that I wasn't expecting..  a flower in the lamplight,
and some reflections..
in False Creek.
BC Place was a bit of a challenge for my camera to capture but there are some great shots of it on line that include Science World and a beautiful False Creek vista.  Here's one taken from the Childhood Cancer Awareness Facebook page.
During my walk, I took this one of BC Place, with a high-rise seeming to show gold as well. 
The Cambie Bridge..
 had golden hues,
and truly, it seemed that..
everywhere I looked,
a gold theme..
could not be..
It was all around me.
I chose not to be sad.
There is too much to celebrate.
I urge you to think of the kids and not of your sadness.  You will find a smile and maybe, you will find your own personal way to make a difference.  Thank you, Mary, thank you Lilee-Jean, and thank you to the kids who showed me who they are, yesterday.  I won't forget you!