Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A Bill Blog and some other stuff

It's been a while.  It seems my nature is either to keep going steadily at something or risk letting it go all together.  
There's not much about me that's halfway.  All or nothing isn't the best way to go about things, so I'm happy to be back again.

But I called this a Bill Blog.  That's because, even when the pictures appear to be about other stuff, most of them seem to come back to Bill.  He is a huge and positive presence in my life.  Bill knows what it means to be a true friend.  Let me count a few of the ways.

When I moved in my own apartment, Bill took it upon himself to come every day to feed Black Jack her lunch, and take her for a walk.  He took pictures, and sent me e-mails showing their adventures together.  The next five photos are all taken by Bill.

I love elephants.  Bill never forgets when I mention something that makes me happy.  He saw this sculpture on a neighborhood street.  How I've missed it, I can't imagine, but I'm going to make a point of finding it soon.  I love it.
He has posed Black Jack with branch, rock and tree backgrounds. 
His caption for this one is: "I am the master of the universe and this is my rock."
His caption for this one is: "Is that my tail tickling my nose?"
He took this one of me a couple of weeks ago, when we walked in Park and Tilford Gardens, after a latte at JJBean's and a stroll through Bridgman Park with Black Jack.  I am happy to have that photo, as I look a little bit different now, after a surprise surgery a couple of days ago.  But, more about that later. 

The next five photos are rare ones, as Bill hasn't seen them.  He sits patiently, looking at my pictures, admiring the better ones, and never putting down the worst ones.  I rarely post without first asking him which ones he thinks work better.  Anyhow, I took these as I walked along 4th Avenue this morning with Black Jack.  I'm off work for a few days, to heal from the surgery.
I stopped in a flower shop to ask about a hanging basket that will survive on my balcony, in spite of a very low amount of sunlight.  The girl was incredibly kind, and she is going to assemble one for me.  My only request was that it be bright and cheerful.  She took time to check out my favorite colors, and Black Jack checked out this beautiful cat under the table.  The cat was much calmer than Black Jack.
Some of you will remember that I had a subdural hematoma 4 months ago, after a cycling accident caused by bramble bushes.  It's possible to go back and read all about it but I don't recommend that.  I recovered well, except for one area just over my forehead.  For some reason that wound didn't heal, and this past Monday, when I was just thinking I'd have the doctor take a quick look at it, he  decided to admit me right away, and do what's called wound revision surgery.  I arrived with nothing in hand but my helmet and two bike panniers, so here comes another Bill story.  I had left home that morning, wearing my last pair of clean underwear, so he did my laundry before coming to bring me enough clothes for a couple of days in the hospital.  I still can hardly believe it.  Anyhow, a little more hair shaved, a wound clean-up, removal of the titanium plate, some new stitches, and I will hopefully soon be on the way to full recovery.  Not much fun, but I have only the best things to say about the staff at the hospital.  I took this picture of myself, looking in the bathroom mirror this morning.  I put it here partly so my sister can see that while I'm not pretty, I can still smile, and I think I look fairly healthy.  
I do think I look better in my cap, though.  Don't you?
A couple of posts ago, I talked about happiness, and the same day I posted, I saw a book called "The Art of Happiness" written by a psychologist named Howard C. Cutler, after spending several months interviewing the Dalai Lama.  One of my nurses at the hospital is Tibetan, and her first name is Tenzin.  She gave me this blue hospital hat.  I still think I look a bit better in the cap, but this one makes me smile.  Tenzin was so, so kind and gentle.  Any patient would be grateful to have her as their nurse.  She told me that in Tibet, many children are named after Lamas, and she is named after the Dalai Lama.  His name, I hadn't realized, is Tenzin.  She, her sister and her brother all have Tenzin as their first name.  When calling them,and needing to clarify which of them is being addressed, their second names are used.  This I learned because the book was on the window ledge.  I'm not sure why, but I loved that story, and I don't think I will ever forget Tenzin, the sweet, gentle nurse who also enjoys photography.
Now, for some "other stuff" that caught my attention over the past few weeks.  Here is Una.  Una is one of the many canine residents in my apartment building.  Just a totally happy, friendly, enjoy-life sort of dog, even after surgery to remove a tumor.
Una was more than willing to cooperate for a photo-shoot, but had difficulty resisting the urge to get up close and personal.  How's this for just about the most joyful smile one could ever be lucky enough to witness.
Here are, from left to right, Quagmire, Castor (back end only), Paulo, and Vegas.  Paulo and Vegas live next door, and often have visitors.  I love my friendly, lively neighbors!
Bill chose this crow photo, taken at Jericho.  (See, there he is again.)  
This is Andy.  Some of you will remember his sad story of losing his best friend, Miyoko, and a post some time ago about his new treasure, Robin.  They visit me every once in a while at the school where I teach, and it always makes me happy to see them.  
Although I haven't posted for a few weeks, I have taken pictures almost every day.  Believe it or not, I was quite ruthless in ditching most of them for this post.  Only three scenes, this one from the Lions Gate Bridge...
... this one from Jericho Park one beautiful evening...
... and this one also at Jericho, the same evening.
One of the feline residents in my building, staring down Black Jack. 
On our walks, we sometimes see foreign beasts.  Bill chose this giraffe...
... and this sort of stylized cartoon cougar figure.
I took these crows enjoying their bath in a puddle pond at Jericho.
We saw this Laburnum when we walked together one evening.  I didn't know what it was, but Bill sent me a link in a later e-mail so I could read all about it.  Here it is.  
Trick question: How many rabbits are there in this picture?  We watched the rabbits one night after eating supper at the Jericho Sailing club.  The next day, I went back and took this photo.
This heron lives at Jericho.  I found its nest one evening.  I think it is a juvenile, not yet old enough for a family.  It seems to fly between its nest and various spots where it can watch for fish and other food potential in the water.
It always seems that special things happen when I walk with Bill.  Not a good photo, but it was amazing to watch this crow follow, with extraordinary persistence, a bald eagle.  I hope it survived.  It was definitely taking its life in its wings.
Here, for Phyllis (Bill's sister), is a picture taken of Bill the same evening.  We had great fun, and I love this memory.
The same evening, I saw, for the first time ever, pelicans!  What stunningly beautiful birds they are.

I love the mischievous look on Bill's face, as he gets even with me for all those pictures I take of him.
It's not a race but I'm winning!
See?  I won.  That guy in the boat hasn't even left the water!
Come on, everybody.  Let's go for a beer!
Taken the same night.  See?  I told you magic things happen when Black Jack and I walk with Bill.
This one was taken a day or two later, also at Jericho.  Black Jack put on a show for this dog.  I think his name was Ben.
"You think that's good?" said Ben.  "Just watch this!"
We met this dog a few minutes later.  Its name is Mali.  My friend, Mali, at school, will find that very interesting.  Don't you think he's handsome?
Here is another feline resident of my building.  I came into my bedroom one night to find this fellow sitting on the carpet.  Thank Heavens Black Jack was busy with her bully stick in the livingroom.  I was somewhat shocked, and I guess didn't act in a properly friendly manner, so the cat quickly escaped through the narrow (like about two inches!) opening in my window.  How do they do that??? 
And finally, the view from my hospital room on Monday evening.  I love the ivy on that building.
Also taken from the hospital window.  Like Bill, I found myself surprised to see those oh so webby feet.  Of course, webbed feet for a seagull make sense, but sometimes, it takes a particular perspective to bring them to your attention.  I'm not sure what was in its mouth.  Hope it was organic and vegetarian:) 
Here endeth the longest blog post ever, and here again, I give thanks to my good friend, Bill!


  1. Wow, I'm so relieved to see you posting again - I was about to email you privately to check all was well! I hope the head wound recovers fully and without complications this time.

    I love the second Jericho Park photo with the beautiful reflections in the water!

    Now, about that rabbit photo. When I enlarge it, it looks like four rabbits and a......rat????? Eating side by side with the rabbits?? Could that be?

    Friends like Bill (and like my friends Ellen and Ann) are very special. Their acts of kindness bring meaning to the quote about "Friends are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly." (source unknown). A friend who will wash your underwear for you is a good friend indeed! :)

  2. I am so happy to have you back "on air"! I kept checking and checking. I am glad that you are doing so well after the surgery! I loved the stories about Tensin, the rabbits, and Black Jack. And of course, I love the stories about my brother, Bill! I am trying to get him on the phone! Perhaps he is with you! Phyllis Arvo Pert's music is in the background as is Barrie practising the mandolin!!!

  3. Carol, good to hear your voice again, and sorry to hear that you've had to endure another surgery.

    I am in love with your Lion's gate photo - it's stunning! Your photos speak so well.

    On anther note, that funny little giraffe is actually a very expenxive teether, I belived called "Sophie" that is all-natural and BPA free etc etc. We never had one; the kids just chewed on the same things the dogs did,(;)) but hey - I've seen them!!!

  4. OK - how many typos can one comment possibly contain?!

  5. Good to see you back, Carol -- hope you stick around. Pelicans are some of the most comical birds around IMO. The are elegant on the water and elegant in the air, but the transitions between seem very awkward.

  6. Thanks for the comments, everyone.

    Yes, Jean, you win the keen observation prize. That was indeed a rat! The rats and the rabbits seem to have struck up a deal to live and let live. It's my first time finding rats rather endearing, although last night, there were more than usual, and there was some squealing in the bushes that made me walk a bit more quickly than usual through that area. By the way, I loved your friendship quotes:)

    Lovely to hear from you, Phyllis. Your brother is a gem, but you already know that. Sounds like quite a musically inspiring evening at the Webster household:)

    Cristina, that was very interesting info about the teether. Thanks for that and the laugh, as I pictured your own special brand of teethers for the kids. Seems to me they worked just fine:) As for typos, the fact you find time to comment at all is mind boggling. Besides, I knew what you meant.

    Thanks, dp. I hope I stick around too:) Yes, quite a take-off procedure for pelicans. I looked at the picture again, and saw two distinct kick off points before that one was air born.

  7. Beautiful Blog, Carol! Thanks for putting my dog's photos up. Hope to run into you, Bill and Black Jack at Jerico, again.
    Take care, Cleo and Rio (a.k.a. Ben)

  8. Thanks for posting, Cleo. I'm sorry for getting Rio's name wrong, but I'll never forget it again! It's sad to think his family gave him up just because he needed exercise, but Rio was a very lucky dog to find you. He sure is happy now! Lovely to get your comment.

  9. Carol, I agree with Jean - great to see you posting again! another colleague & I were worried enough about your silence that I put in a few phone calls, to no avail.

    I Love the photo from the Lion's Gate - looks like the calm before a storm.

    The pelicans are terrific - what fun birds!

    In terms of underwear washing, I will never forget a gender workshop in Nigeria. Male participants were asked what chores they do around the house. A few cooked, one admitted to washing clothes. One said, "do you wash her panties, too?" Then there was a huge discussion about washing underwear - the men unanimously agreed that they would never do such a thing, not even for a wife!
    So Bravo, Bill :)

  10. Carol wow that is long post after the come back. BTW you still look great after the surgery, and you know what it is, it is the smile, and I can see you happy. BTW that little giraffe photo, my Matthew has one like that - it is teething Sofi, lol, it is made from safe food grade rubber so babies can chew on them. Excellent photos, and again that is lot of cool images. You got some amazing wild life out there in your place. Get well, and glad to see you back blogging again. Anna :)

  11. Thanks, Mali and Anna! Your comments are so appreciated. Interesting to hear about the male perspective in Nigeria, and now I have two positive ID's for Sofi. The blogging world is a rich one in so many ways.

  12. I'm so glad that someone else noticed that elephant on Point Grey Road - it is not easy to spot but blows you away when you do.

    Great photos, Carol, and I love the ones of our canine friends from the building.

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