Wednesday, April 16, 2014

12-Week Catch-up

It has been almost twelve weeks since my last post.  April 26th will mark the one-year anniversary of Bill's first surgery and the beginning of a medical journey that beat colon cancer but left other challenges in its wake.  A small setback a week ago required a new dose of antibiotics, but overall,  Bill is recovering from post-operative delirium and hospital-acquired infections and we are taking advantage of as many of life's pleasures as we possibly can.  During our outings on Friday and Saturday, the colour orange seemed to pop up everywhere and we came across quite a number of critters.  With the blog memes Our World Tuesday (thank you to the hosts: Arija, Gattina, Lady Fi, Sylvia, Sandy, and Jennifer)Orange You Glad It's Friday (thank you, Maria) and Camera Critters (thank you, Misty) in mind, I snapped away, happy to be out and about in beautiful Vancouver weather with Bill and Black Jack.

On Saturday, we were on a mission.  We heard that Bill's great-nephew (wow..  just 5 years old!) solved a Rubik's cube with only a bit of parental guidance to find some on-line help.  Off we went to Granville Island via the Aquabus.  Why, you ask?  Follow me.
As we walked along the dock, I saw a sight under its beams that still mesmerizes me.  In hundreds of trips around that very same dock, I've never seen the light shine through the openings in the wood like that.  It was as if countless tiny sun beams had been strung for our viewing pleasure.  The colour orange? Not too obvious but there's a tiny bit near the right side of the photo.
There's Bill in The Granville island Toy Company, one of many great stores in the famous Kids Market.  What is he buying?  You guessed it.  Gruncle Bill was pretty good at the Rubik's Cube in his day.  As for Carol, it will be brain training of the highest degree of difficulty for her.
After our purchase, we walked around False Creek from the Granville Bridge to another Aquabus stop just before the Cambie Bridge.  Trees were in blossom and the weather was perfect.  Orange leaves attached to these pink blossoms kept the "orange" theme going. 
Later in the afternoon, I took Black Jack for a small walk along the seawall.  It was a surprise to find this river otter rolling in the grass by the side of False Creek.
 S/he noticed Black Jack and was instantly alert.
 Not the slightest bit worried, the otter stayed around for another ten minutes or so before making his/her departure.  Such a streamlined body in the water!

Friday, April 11
Bill and Black Jack sat for a moment in a small garden by False Creek.  The small flowers at the bottom of the photo are..
better appreciated in this close-up that brings out their orange brilliance. 
A cormorant's orange bill and turquoise highlights gleamed in the sunlight.
Bill noticed the three wheelbarrows that were determined to make it into the "Orange You Glad It's Friday" post.
Earlier, we had admired this lovely flower as well as a sculpture on Pacific Boulevard..
called Ring Gear. It framed cherry blossoms and billowy clouds.
We encountered this Blue and Yellow Macaw perched on a park bench.
His "yellow" seemed orangey to me and he certainly filled the "critter" requirement.
His human was very friendly and told us that macaw rescue is not a venture for everyone.  That cone is necessary to keep "Archie" from biting at himself.  He has other obsessive behaviours that include separation anxiety and screaming, both caused by boredom and by the fact that he was taken from his natural habitat.  We were told that Archie is 29 years old.  Bill and I enjoyed meeting him and were happy that he has found a good home.  We talked afterwards about our hope that humans will one day understand the cruelty of exploiting wildlife for entertainment.
          
Just a few steps further on, we spied an American Coot pair.  This one dove, and I captured a tiny bit of underwater action as the coot gobbled up a mystery food. 
I hope whatever it caught was delicious!  And, vegetarian :) 
It was in the early evening that I spotted this critter waiting outside a restaurant for his humans to return.  Those gorgeous highlights made me think of Sophie, another beauty who shares life with Jim and Ron.  If you love photography, thoughtful writing and  "doodles" it would be well worth your time to check out the links to their blogs. 
Black Jack's last walk of the day took us by the Roundhouse Turntable Plaza.  The mist and lighting brought out vibrant colours that left me pondering..   
the subtle differences between orange, pink and red.

Though there are lots of critter photos to follow and the colour orange shows up quite frequently, my goal for the rest of this very, very long post is to record the past three months in Bill's (and my) life.  Feel free to check out any part of it that interests you, but also feel free to stop at this point.  You can check out these links to read other posts at Our World TuesdayOrange You Glad It's Friday and Camera Critters.

CATCH-UP OF MANY MISSED DAYS
Bill looked at the pictures here and dictated some comments that I have shown in bold italics.  His sense of humour is sharp and the laughter we shared brings a smile as I write.  

Monday, Jan. 20
Bill's second surgery, with added complications, kept him in hospital from January 9th until January 27th.  His sister, Phyllis, was an invaluable help and support to us.  Here, she shows her wonderful smile as I try to entice them to eat cookies from one of our much-loved haunts, Bean Around the World.  
"Hm, are these cookies or cow pies?"

Tuesday, Jan. 21
A walk from Granville Island to the Cambie Bridge helped to replenish my spirit.  This seal spotted Black Jack and..
"Am I the cutest seal or what?"
popped up for a closer look.
Here, s/he rolled over on his/her back, perhaps hoping one of us would toss a fish, as Kevin, of Bonnie Lee Charters, often does.
Just around the corner, this Blue Heron appeared to have the same thought as the seal.  I think this may be Stretch, also a good friend of Kevin's.
The dock's reflections..
made the most of..
subtle light on a grey day. 
These crows groomed each other..
"Phew! Did you take a shower this morning?"
and then one of them left the branch for new territory.
I watched this dog..
with his/her eye on the "ball" and was reminded of the catching skills..
of pro-level baseball players.

Wednesday, Jan. 22
The first "Spring" day arrived early in Vancouver.  These visitors from Portugal and Brazil..
were happy and friendly and their enjoyment of the day added to my own.
I first saw this girl's boots and then felt the contentment between friends on a perfect day.
I'm sorry it took me so long to post the photos.  If by any chance either of you see them, I would be happy to put them in a dropbox folder for you.  As for the wonderful colour of the boots, sweater and fingernails, I guess we'd have to describe it as red but I do believe I see undertones of orange :)  
Looking at the photo brings back the tranquility of that moment in time.   
"Am I beautiful? Say yes!"
Black Jack is the proverbial sun dog.
and for the price of a treat or two, is usually willing to model.
"Ya want beautiful?  Ya got it!"

Thursday, Jan. 23
I slept at the hospital and woke up each morning to flocks of pigeons dashing hither and thither outside Bill's window.  Phyllis saw the same pigeons during her day "shift" and we often traded stories about their behaviour patterns. 

Saturday, Jan. 25
I walked in the afternoon to a small art gallery near the hospital.
"This Picasso-look-alike reminds me of the Nurse Ratchets at St. Paul's."
Stewart Stephenson, the gallery owner, was approachable and friendly, even though he was working on a piece when I arrived.  (His take on Picasso's blue period is shown above.)  A short conversation with him was fascinating.  If you have the time, check out the link, or even better, stop by for a chance to meet him and view the exhibit.
The photo below shows just a tiny part of a much larger sculpture.  I loved the way the light played within its twists and turns.   
Fog is quite unusual in Vancouver, but it stayed around for several days in January.  On the way back to the hospital after visiting the museum, I enjoyed the ethereal atmosphere and.. 
even saw my first cherry blossoms of the year.
That evening, the sunset and fog combined for an impressive view from Bill's window of the Burrard Bridge and surrounding attractions.

Sunday, Jan. 26
On Sunday morning, I tried again to capture the pigeons, this time against a foggy background.  I never quite caught the simultaneous shifts of direction and the feeling of playfulness that may have been an illusion but was fun to think about.  I never see a flock of pigeons now without thinking of Phyllis and her indomitable spirit.
Bill was discharged from hospital the next day (January 27th) and there were several days when photography was impossible.  He was reacting to an antibiotic that made him quite ill, and in the end, did not do its job.  
Sunday, Feb. 2
I went alone to a Jazz Vespers concert on Sunday and loved Brian Buchanan's performance with Bill Coon (guitar), Graham Clark (bass) and Buff Allen (drums).   However, 
even their magnificent performance couldn't  erase my worry about Bill.  The next day, we went by ambulance to the hospital, but after after a long wait and little help, we were sent home and told we would just have to tough it out.  Bill was too sick and I too exhausted to object, though we knew we needed help.  By Friday (my birthday), we were desperate and I called his surgeon.  Finally, some action!  After a long night in emergency,  Bill was admitted to hospital and given a new antibiotic.


You can listen to Brian Buchanan play Danny Boy at this link.  It seems fitting to add this today when my thoughts turn often to Jim Flaherty and his legacy.  Honest, hard-working, fun-loving, deeply loved, and so very proud of his Irish heritage.  There are many pictures of him in parliament sessions with his green tie prominently displayed, but I love this one taken in 2007 with his wife, triplet sons and family dog (shared with the public - no photo credit). 
  

Saturday, Feb. 8
I took this photo from Bill's hospital window.  He was too sick to enjoy this sunset, but by the..
next day (Sunday, Feb. 9), the new antibiotic was beginning to do its job and I knew that Bill, confined to his room, had to keep moving as much as possible to preserve his strength.  I felt like the proverbial Nurse Ratchet, but encouraged/forced him to walk around the room (fortunately, a very spacious one).  Bless his heart, he began to hum "Marching to Pretoria" while raising his knees in march style :)  If you are wondering about the history of that song, you can check it out here.

Tuesday, Feb. 11
Walking home from the hospital on Tuesday, I admired this "marching" pigeon.  
I stopped at Urban Fare to buy some groceries, and saw by their display that Valentine's Day was approaching.

Thursday, Feb. 13
A couple of days later, the sunset was reflected against the hospital windows.

Friday, Feb. 14
On Valentine's Day, I stopped by the cafe at Harrison Galleries and loved this piece that had gone up on the wall.  It was done by students during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.  During serious illness, it sometimes feels surprising that the rest of the world carries on as normal.  I loved this reminder of youth and inspiration and of life journeys played out in so many ways.    
Bill and I caught a little bit of the olympics on the hospital television.  We saw Patrick Chan's interview a couple of days before he skated, and wondered how anyone could handle such intense pressure.  His silver medal win was both heartbreaking and a momentous accomplishment for him.  We were so proud of the way he handled his interviews. His ability to put this experience in perspective showed human qualities that will be at least as important to his future as his magnificent talent and extraordinary self-discipline (photo below by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images).
Each day, on the way to and from Bill's room, I walked by the radiology department.  I appreciated that the staff made an effort..
to remind people that there is a world beyond hospital walls.  In the photo below, I saw tear drops between the hearts.  My love for Bill has survived tears and grown stronger. 

Monday, Feb. 17
Nine days after being admitted, Bill finally came home.  He had gained so much strength that he was able to go for a short walk along False Creek.
The sky celebrated his return.

Wednesday, Feb. 19
Bill and I really appreciate the staff at a small Pharmasave outlet near us.  Black Jack loves them too because they usually find treats for her if she sits politely.  She tried a light touch of her paw against the counter but thought she might get quicker service if she stood back to show off her balancing talent to full advantage. Her strategy worked, but she did agree to sit quietly for her reward.

Thursday, Feb. 20
I felt a special connection to the Canadian women's curling team as my sister curls with the parents of one of the girls.    
What a moment when their years of commitment translated to a gold medal!
As for this smile, it comes from a place of confidence such as I have seldom witnessed.  Game after game, Jennifer Jones curled with a consistency that seemed super-human.
Bill watched the last period of the women's hockey gold medal game.  Canada was down two goals when the 3rd period began but somehow pulled out the win.  I was of course thrilled, but at the same time, my heart ached for the American athletes.  They played an outstanding game.  Jessie Vetter's expression (American goalie) says much about the moment of realization when a dream dies in spite of a valiant effort.  She and Patrick Chan would have much to talk about. 
Meanwhile, Marie-Philip Poulin scored two goals, including the winner, and will treasure this moment for the rest of her life.  My photo from the television screen does not do her smile justice but does, I think, catch a humility that I admire as much as I do her prowess on the ice.
My exuberant bouncing around on the couch brought laughter from Bill.  I think he was as happy for my excitement as he was for the Canadian team.  
I was delighted for the Canadian Men's Curling team's gold win as well.  Finding the optimum blend of strengths for a team with such strong individual personalities was vital if they were to cope with the pressures of competition.  Not only did they have to prepare for this in advance, but they had to be able to adjust on site and in the midst of close media attention. It is a lesson in cooperation for each of us in our daily interactions.

Tuesday, Feb. 25
I photographed Tupper through our apartment window in the early morning.  
She is the only seagull I have known with an upward-pointing tail, and I'm becoming (unwisely) attached to her. Note: until today, I have thought of Tupper as a "he" but Bill has consistently referred to her as a "she" and today, another person who has been observing her also agrees with Bill about her gender so  I've decided to go with the experts :)  
A bit later in the day, the sun broke through the fog to highlight glistening mallards.
Just the tips of snow-covered peaks behind the Cambie Bridge emerged above the fog.  
Bill and I enjoyed lattés and cookies at Bean Around the World in the afternoon.
I noticed that the art on the walls was reflected in the shiny table tops.
We usually walk along Mainland Street when we leave Bean Around the World.  After months of passing by Coastal People Fine Arts Gallery, we decided to stop for a visit.  This dancing bear by Axanguayuk Shaa seemed to say, "Come on! Let's do the happy dance!" 
This one, by Nuna Parr, seemed to be doing a hockey player's "pump" after a goal.  Guess s/he didn't know that the Canucks had a disappointing seasons.  Whatever s/he was celebrating, that raised right foot was the pièce de résistance.  

Wednesday, Feb. 26
We went to see two of my favourite dancers, Tiffany Tregarthen and David Raymond, in a work that we saw and admired two years ago.  It has evolved since then, and the talk-back after the show was both enlightening and wonderful in that I felt I understood a little more about their process and about their personalities.  You can watch some parts of "Me So You So Me" in the video below.


It's an easy bus ride to The Cultch (where we saw the dance), but sometimes there's a bit of a wait at night.  Bill was only slightly anxious for the bus to arrive :)
Granville Street takes on a different charm at night.  Can you spot some famous landmarks through the bus window?

Thursday, Feb. 27
This cello was lying across a coffee table with its neck resting on a comfortable couch in Harrison Galleries. I'm not sure who plays that cello but it makes a lovely photo, don't you think?  It was a different setting, but for the second time in a couple of days, I noticed that paintings on a wall were reflected in table tops. 
Do you see little pug faces in those flowers?  We saw them as we walked home.

Friday, Feb. 28
Black Jack and I walked to English Bay and back.  The Inuksuk man had been busy.
Spring was in the air.
Black Jack invited me to a game of chase..
and then ran around by herself while I called out completely unnecessary encouragement.
Did I mention..
that Spring was in the air?
A Barrow's Goldeneye..
and an American Coot..
and a whole row of female Barrow's Goldeneyes were fun to see but not really surprising.
However, I think this is a Pied-billed Grebe, the first I've ever spotted in English Bay.

Friday, March 7
We went to see a documentary called "Tim's Vermeer" and loved it.  This review will give you a very good idea of just how obsessed Tim Jenison was.  If you have any interest in painting, or in detective work, or most especially, in obsession, then I think this movie would hold your attention.  Below, Tim's daughter, home from university for the summer, has been recruited to help him with his project.  He noted that never has any student been so relieved to go back to school at the end of a vacation :) 
Tim's expression and demeanour here reflect an exhausted why-am-I-doing-this desperation that is perhaps the mark of an obsessed human being.  
Off to Harrison Galleries for lattés after the movie.  I have been enjoying this painting on their wall for some time.  It is titled "Solo Rider" and is by Olaf Schneider.
We also love this one.  I know it depicts Northern Lights but will have to update its artist and title later, as I haven't been able to find it in a search of the web site. 
Tupper made an appearance during a walk with Black Jack later that day.
She seemed determined..
to show herself off and I was indeed impressed.
On the way home, as light was beginning to fade,
the warm lighting over The Burrard Bridge brought familiar enjoyment.

Saturday, March 8
Many of you will remember the heartbreaking story of Lilee-Jean.  Through my initial encounter with her musician father, Andrew, I came to know Chelsea's blog (Lilee-Jean's mother).  And, through that blog, I was privileged to attend a picnic given so that those of us who hadn't met Lilee-Jean would have a chance to see her in person and meet each other as well.  At that picnic, I met her grandmother, Mary Putt.  Believe it or not, in spite of her own pain, Mary took it upon herself to become my friend.  I appreciate so very much that she makes time to visit, though she has a long drive from her home to Vancouver.  I took her to Harrison Galleries where we had a wonderful talk over lattés.  
Lilee-Jean's mom has begun a new blog called The Chelsea Diaries.  It chronicles her journey after the death of her beloved child, and though it is heartbreaking, its honesty, strength and insight are inspiring.  I never miss a post.  The beautiful photo below of Lilee-Jean and Chelsea is by Kim of KLM Photography.  It was taken during an August-Christmas celebration, part of their "dancing-in-the-rain" lineup that touched hearts across the world.  People even found a way to make snow for the big day.  Lilee-Jean's short time on earth left a mark on thousands of people.  This is no exaggeration.  I believe her spirit will live on.  
 

Sunday, March 9
Bill's sister, Phyllis, visited and I was excited to share Harrison Galleries with her.
Later that afternoon, I saw an eagle pair flying over our apartment.  I knew it had to be the Vanier Park eagles preparing for another season of child-rearing.
Tis the season for pairing up..

Monday, March 10
so it was no surprise to see that the blue herons had arrived at Stanley Park
All of the mating behaviours..
that I had noticed over several years..
were again in evidence.
I'm not sure if this was a lover's spat or a warning to bothersome neighbours.
I've learned to accept that the herons will be plagued by visits from the eagles.  It seems that each year, about 50% of the herons survive.  This eagle did a flyover, but there were no eggs as yet, so s/he continued on, hotly pursued by an irate seagull.  They too lose many offspring to the eagles.
Black Jack and I walked around Lost Lagoon and I saw, as I seem to each year, one lovely mallard that appeared to be a hybrid.
The Wood Ducks appeared, as always, to have been coloured in with crayolas.
This Green-winged Teal was an unusual sighting for Lost Lagoon.
His green wing showed up nicely in this side view.
I tried not to take too many photos of the crocuses but these were hard to ignore.
As we walked home, this fellow did the most graceful leap across cement stairs that lead to the beach.  He did a tiptoe landing on the edge of the banister with a step so light, I thought he might fly.  Hard to describe, and I missed the photo, but I was completely taken with his athletic ability and grace, and so I followed him like an obsessed paparazzi.
I called to him, asking permission to take photographs.  His answer was something like, "Sure, if you can keep up with me."
I did manage to keep up, albeit, at a bit of a distance.  Can you spot him in the photo below?
We met up just before this fence and he kindly walked with me, explaining Parkour, a new sport to me.  
I learned that his name is Rene Res Skavington and you can see him in action at this link, posted on his facebook page.  He designed the Parkour Gym and it is truly impressive.  He is self-disciplined, talented and committed to proper training for the youth who come to his facility.  I will never again see my surroundings in quite the same way.
When I left Rene (or he left me :), I thought the walk had been about as perfect as a walk on a beautiful day could be.  I was wrong.  Just before the turnoff to our apartment, I caught a glimpse of two heads peeking up over the hedge.  Two of my favourite people and dogs!  
It was the icing on the cake to see their wonderful smiles and feel their kind energy.  JImmy is holding McKenzie and Simon is on the left with Mimosa.  They told me that the dogs love to sit in the park each day, just watching the world go by.  Jimmy and Simon understand their dogs and provide a quality of life for them that touches my heart.

Tuesday, March 11
My first sighting of an American Coot pair in False Creek.

Wednesday, March 12
Bill and Black Jack posed on the front steps of our apartment building after a walk.

Thursday, March 13
I had "Orange You Glad It's Friday" in mind when I took this photo near our apartment, though I didn't come close to making the posting deadline.  I have no idea what t is..
but here's a look at the whole tree.  Bill and Black Jack kindly agreed to pose in front of it.
We had a delicious lunch that day at Harrison Galleries. It had lots of orange content.
Do you think Bill ever gets tired of being my model?  His expression made me laugh, and yes, there's a little orange content behind him. 
"You talkin' to me, woman?"
On the way home, we stopped at a wonderful art gallery on Smythe Street called Art Works.
It seemed every piece we looked at was competing for "orange content" attention.
I hope I'm correct in attributing the two works above to Houston and the one below to Graff (unable to find a web site for Graff).
"And then I splashed some yellow paint on this part..."
After supper, we walked across the lane behind our building to The Roundhouse, where we saw a dance by Modus Operandi at a week-long International Dance Festival.  I snapped this photo from the back of the room and loved that it caught quite a bit of action.  (Not bad orange content too :)
"Who's in charge, here?"

Friday, March 14
We walked over the Burrard Bridge to see the movie Down River.  I took some photos along the way.
There has been a flock of ducks in False Creek for a while that I haven't identified.  Could they be Northern Pintails?  (love the orange content here)
It was dark when we walked home but Bill was in fine form.
"I can fly..  um...  I guess not then."
My last shot was taken just before arriving home from our very enjoyable outing.

Sunday, March 16
In the morning, I took a couple of photos of this mosaic art in a local park.  
A project that I admire, "Watch Your Step" has a video at this link to give you more details.
That evening, we went for the first time to The Rio to see a movie called The Final Member.  It would be an understatement to describe this story as one of obsession.  
We loved The Rio.  There were mirrors above and all around us that made it fun to play with my camera.
The movie held our attention, sometimes making us smile, but inspiring some introspection as well.  One of several questions that arose is how we want to be remembered after we die.   There were comedic elements in this movie for sure, but to the characters at the centre of this story, the outcome was no laughing matter.  I continue to think about obsessive behaviour and the kind of personality it takes to carry out a dream in the face of great obstacles.

Monday, March 17
On St. Patrick's Day, Black Jack and I donned tiny green ribbons and took the aquabus to Granville Island where we ran into Kevin (mentioned earlier in the post) of Bonnie Lee Charters.  He has gotten to know the local seals, herons and seagulls rather well and he always has a very friendly greeting for Black Jack.
As you can see, Black Jack considers Kevin to be a good friend :)
We walked from there around the seawall and under the Burrard Bridge.   It was fun to run into Peter, a kind and friendly blog reader with a great smile.  He drew my attention to the work going on under the bridge.  I appreciate that work and was hoping it had to do with preventing a catastrophe, should the bridge have to withstand an earthquake.  Curious to learn more, a google turned up this page by Buckland and Taylor, the firm involved with replacing the "PCB contaminated bearings."  Hm..  maybe more to learn here.
Remember those Vanier Park eagles earlier in the post.  Well, they are definitely getting ready to raise another family.
As Black Jack and I neared home, our tiny ribbons, barely noticeable, paled in comparison to the greenery of these enthusiastic gentlemen.  They agreed to curtail their revelry for a moment or two so that I could catch a photo.  I hope they had a wonderful St. Patrick's Day.

Tuesday, March 18
Bill and I read aloud to each other almost every evening.  It is one of my favourite parts of the day and has become even more enjoyable since receiving a Kindle from my sister for Christmas.  I could never have believed the Kindle would make such a difference to our reading comfort.  Currently, we are reading Hundreds and Thousands: The Journals of Emily Carr (the only one not on the Kindle) as well as People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks.  We seem to keep two books on the go, sometimes choosing a short reading from each book, and sometimes choosing one or the other for a more extended reading.  We finished reading Unsinkable by Silken Laumann, The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chen and The Rosie Project by Graeme Simson.  I've read Emily Carr's journal at least three times and love it so much that I've come to think of her as a friend.  Sharing it with Bill is making it even more loved.  When I read her response to Lawren Harris's art, and then realized The Art Gallery had an exhibit of his work, it seemed important to go.  Bill posed in front of the poster.   
A movie was being filmed inside the museum.  The characters in the movie had to look out the window at what was supposed to be a day of bright sunshine.  Since the filming was happening after dark, the sole purpose of these enormous beams of light was to mimic sun. .
Both Bill and I were fascinated with the process of providing light and I loved the almost black and white tones that came through in the photographs.

Thursday, March 20
Black Jack and I went back to Stanley Park to see how the herons were doing. 
The Rhododendrums were magnificent and..
I also loved these yellow flowers that I think are called catkins.  If I've found the correct site to identify them, I think they may be hanging from a Sand Hickory tree.  
This Golden-crowned Kinglet was a happy find, as I've never before managed to catch much of the colourful crown.  This one is probably a female or a juvenile, since the male would have an orange patch at the centre of the yellow. 
Snow-covered mountains, blue skies, birds and blooms - it was a good walk.  

Friday, March 21
Back again to check on the herons, I had fun trying to get flying shots.  This one is clearly going to be a good provider.  

Saturday, March 22
The Roundhouse is steps away from our apartment, the perfect location for us.  I loved this performance by dancer,Yui Kawaguchi and pianist, Aki Takase.  In fact, I loved it so much that I convinced Bill to go back again to see it with me the following night.  I snapped this photo as they were beginning the process of disassembling the contraption you see over the piano.  It was all part of a unique choreography that I will remember for a long time to come.
This video will give you a good idea of the depth of talent of both performers.  I promised Maria, of Penelope Puddlisms (her blog is a must-read for stellar photography and insightful commentary on a wide variety of topics), a couple of weeks ago that I would send her the link to this video.  Well, here it is, a little bit late, but definitely worth the three minutes it will take to view it.  Yui dances a variety of styles within this one piece (titled "Cadenza") that highlight her versatility.  Would you believe she broke her knee five years ago?  As for Aki, at one point, she takes over the stage and we realize she is a concert pianist in her own right.  At the talk back after the first performance, it was fascinating to learn how these performers found each other, developed an artistic relationship over a period of six years, and now continue to grow as a world-famous duo.  


Sunday, March 23
On Sunday morning, Black Jack had a spring in her step as she eagerly ran along the "race track" seawall.
Later that afternoon, Bill and I walked to Gastown to see The Great Beauty, a movie that this reviewer calls "a meditation on life."  The complexity of ideas and the lush cinematography would make it one that could well benefit from a second viewing.  Perhaps the overriding theme for me was that we are all challenged to see the "great beauty" of our own lives from the myopic view at the centre of  our emotional and physical worlds.  The giraffe?  Well, it sure caught my attention, but it was quite an obscure symbol at the time.  The director and writer, Paulo Sorrentino, explains its inclusion in this interview.  

Monday, March 24
Black Jack and I walked again to Stanley Park to see how things were going at the heronry.  I felt that this heron and I were watching each other with identical attention.
The closeness of the nests gives the concept of "neighbourhood" new meaning.  
Just a tiny offering brought to the nest.  Now, to navigate the branches safely.  
We watched another kind of navigation a little later in the day.  I love to see teamwork and..
competition framed in the same view.  The Roundhouse Plaza draws youth to it for a variety of reasons.  As for those red structures, they were meant to be creative seating, but they do function as an even more creative obstacle course.  As for the crazy skills of these fellows, I can only say that I watched in awe. 
Each day, new buds and blossoms appear.  I can't name them but I do appreciate their beauty and love that the birds seem to know the tree-blossoming schedule by heart.

Wed. March 26
Tupper comes for her small salmon treats almost every time I go out with Black Jack.  
She and Black Jack appear to have come to an agreement.  They ignore each other, but at the same time, know exactly where the other is at each given moment.
What a beauty you are, Tupper!
"Beauty?  Let me tell you about beauty, and.. will you save a few for me, please?"
"Well, there's beauty and then..  there's gorgeous, " says this Hooded Merganser.
On the way to the library, I thought we should stop and smell..  the cherry blossoms.
"I used to be a tree hugger..."
Witty quips pop off Bill's tongue as quickly as I  can snap a shutter.  It is so good..
to come back to old haunts with him.

Thurs. March 27
"If I was a boy dog, this hydrant would come in handy." 
"False Creek's cutest couple."
Le Week-End was a movie that I loved for many reasons, but Nick (Jim Broadbent) won the day with his speech at a dinner party given by Morgan (Jeff Goldblum), an old friend.  Both Bill and I found his wife, Meg (Lindsay Duncan), to be a less sympathetic character. 
Once more, we walked home over the Burrard Bridge.  Remember those PCB..
contaminated bearings?  I don't know if we were seeing evidence of them here, but loved that we could witness the inner workings of the bridge I've travelled by foot, bike and car more times than I could possibly count.  It did, in my opinion, look to be in need of some TLC.

Friday, March 28
I was excited to have the opportunity to photograph the rehearsals for a musica intima/Turning Point Ensemble concert of contemporary music on Friday and Saturday.  In the afternoon, two of the composers gave a talk at the Canadian Music Centre. Below, Ana Sokolović talks a little about her life and about her music. The audience was rapt.  Michael Oesterle, in the photo below that, was also delightful.  They were honest, funny, sensitive and down-to-earth.  Two composers with a huge talent and the ability to express their musical enthusiasms accessibly for an audience eager to understand their world. 




Afterwards, Bill joined me for the bus ride to UBC so that I could photograph a  rehearsal.  We stopped on the way for supper at The Naam, a vegetarian restaurant.  Bill was looking less than sure about the whole venture, and then..  the vegetarian thing.  All went well and I'm just kidding about his reluctance to eat veggies :) 
"It's vegetable time at The Naam.  Yippee!"
We had a few rainy days but the cherry blossoms were still fun to photograph.

Sat. March 29
Just a stellar day.  A bike ride to UBC.  Lots of photography.  Beautiful team effort between two unbelievable Vancouver ensembles.  If either of these groups or composers have performances coming up in your neck of the woods, don't miss the opportunity to see and hear them.

Sun. March 30
Another wonderful day!  it began with an email from Ottawa with pictures of my sister, her husband and their grandchild in the snow.  Yes that was a LOT of snow..
and they made the best of it.  Hard to describe how much the love and laughter of these photos has stayed in my heart. 

Then, Bill and I were off for the final performance at UBC.  We had front row balcony seats,  the perfect place to see and hear the concert one more time.  I am so grateful to the members of musica intima for their friendship and talent.  After the concert, we wandered about the UBC campus.  This building was the old library.
We stopped to admire this sculpture by George Norris called "Mother and Child" and..
I found that no matter the angle, it seemed to touch a spot deep inside my emotions.  A small internet search has just revealed that George Norris died in March, 2013.
The statue below is called Goddess of Democracy and commemorates the students who died on June 4th, 1989, when the Chinese government crushed their peaceful demonstrations for freedom and democracy. 
"Bill doing penance in the stockade."
"Bill doing his best forest gnome impersonation."

"Whoops. Who designed this leaning tower?"

Mon. March 31
Bill and I had planned to see a movie, but after a small mix-up, postponed it to the next day.  Instead, we headed outside to catch the beautiful evening light.
"Bill chases his own shadow."
Tupper flew around and around us, but wouldn't settle as she usually does.  I worried something was wrong with her, but have learned since that she accepts only a few trusted people and dogs in her life.  If there are too many people or dogs around, she waits for a quieter time. The next morning, she showed up for our morning meet-up right on schedule.
This fellow (I think I remember that he was from Brazil) had found a way to make huge bubbles that kids and adults alike enjoyed.  He was going to spend his summer in Vancouver, and will finance that with a "party" business that I think is ingenious. 
I love the little hand at the left of this photo.  For kids, the best fun was chasing and bursting the bubbles.  The reflections of buildings and sky were also pretty neat, I thought.

Tues. April 1
I'm so glad we didn't give up on that movie.  Finding Vivian Maier was one more movie about obsession.  Entertainment weekly said this: “More connect-the-dots detective thriller than traditional doc, John Maloof and Charlie Siskel’s revelatory riddle of a film unmasks a brilliant photographer who hid in plain sight.”  I continue to think about Vivian Maier and about the equally obsessed John Maloof.  
Bill, Black Jack and I again decided to take advantage of beautiful evening light in the park.
Once more, we were happy to run into Jimmy (left) and Simon with.. 
McKenzie..
and Mimosa.

Wed. April 2
I loved this tippy-toe landing of a Blue Heron along False Creek.
Black Jack and I walked to Stanley Park. This one's for you, my dear much-loved sister.
This was in a tree by Sunset Beach.  It led to laughter and a conversation with a fellow who only noticed it after he saw me taking the picture.  I have a feeling I should know the character portrayed, but "Green Lantern" is new to me.
Navigating the branches with huge wings continues to fascinate me. 

Saturday, April 5
I went to the 9th Annual Vancouver Pillow Fight and loved the fun of it.
You can see more of my photos and some much better ones by others, as well as a couple of movies at this link.  What a delightful way to enjoy a rainy day.
I stopped in at Marimekko for the first time ever before meeting Bill at Harrison Galleries.  What a great place!  And, check out the orange content :)

April 6
Yet another great walk with Bill and Black Jack.  
I guess these photos sort of..
speak for themselves.
No shortage..
of enthusiasm to be found..
everywhere we went.  Brian, the person below, was hanging out near BC Stadium.  He was very friendly and clearly driven..  maybe even obsessed.  He took some really hard falls but got up and went for his dream again.  Not only that.  He called out a sincere "thank you" to me for taking the photos.  I have more, Brian, though I didn't manage to get the sharp focus I was hoping for.  If you would like to see them, let me know.
These underrated beauties were staring down at us from their cement perch.
We played around with our initials..
just for fun before continuing on for yet another fine walk.

April 7
I don't want to make anyone sad, but Bill and I tried very hard to help out this seagull and failed.  Bill even ran home to get scissors but we weren't able to catch the wary juvenile.  If even one person decides to take more care in disposing of garbage, it will..
be worth my posting the story.  Just a piece of string that someone tossed away, but it caused devastating injury.  Simple things like making sure the lids on garbage bins are closed could make a difference.  We've got to do better.
We continued on our way.  I'm learning to do what I can when I can, but when something is out of my control, there is still a good day to be enjoyed.  Right, Black Jack?
Almost home, but one more picture to mark the season of blossoms.

Wednesday, April 9
Black Jack just hangin' out with her buddy.
I was surprised to see Tupper.  I hope the fountain water is chemical-free.
She flew around and around..
while Black Jack sat back..
to watch the show.  Yes, I know..  her nails are reaching that point again.  But trust me, they look longer than the short distance to the quick would indicate.
The Erickson building was looking especially curvy and Bill drew my attention to the fact that there was an identical tree in the identical spot at the corner of every single balcony.  I wonder if the tenants have any choice as to their selection of balcony adornments.
Almost home again, I love this shot of Bill..
kicking the soccer ball back to some kids with the most dedicated coach I have ever seen.  That man is out, rain or shine, sometimes with quite a few kids, and sometimes, with just one or two.  You can hear the enthusiasm in his voice and it never wavers.

Friday, April 11
There are so many signs that Bill is healing.  One of those is that he once more likes to surf the net, finding stories that catch his attention.  Last Friday at breakfast,  we talked about the recent research to compare the violins of 300 years ago by Italian masters like Stradivari and Guarneri del Gesù to modern violin makers.  Though the assumption has been for most people that the older violins are vasty superior, that assumption is now challenged. You can read about the study in this New York Times article.  The picture below shows the resonance profile between a violin made by Martin Schleske and that of a Stradivarius.  Mr. Schleske has this quote at the top of his page: "My passion as a violinmaker has its roots in the original interplay between art and science.  The only way to overcome that barrier is to speak both languages."  Bill's wide range of interests naturally bridge science and art and he has stimulated me, probably without realizing it, to embrace scientific curiosity along with my more "artsy" leanings.  I love our conversations as much as I love our readings.  
   
 
To those who may have made it to the end of this post, I appreciate each one of you, whether you find time to comment or whether you just do a quick scan to see how we're doing.  Somehow, I feel your support.  It means the world.  Thank you!

And, just a reminder that you can check out these links to read other posts at Our World TuesdayOrange You Glad It's Friday and Camera Critters.