Monday, February 7, 2011

My world last week

Tuesday, February 1st, riding to work.

I arrived at the Lions Gate Bridge just as the sun peeked over the mountains.

Wednesday, February 2nd

A short walk by the river near my school yielded just one bird photo, but what a lovely bird it was!

One of the students left this on the piano at lunchtime, and I thought about the change to my teaching world since the birth of the computer. Everyone is required to have a laptop in the classroom, and the trick now is to convince students to go to the library and read some of the fine books available to them when they do their projects. Google and Power Point are the research tools of choice. Most who come to the music room in their spare time bring a laptop, an Iphone or a Blackberry. Printed music is still used in band and choir classes, but most of the piano and song repertoire is available on line, and much of that is free of charge. Would I go back to computerless days? No, definitely not, but sometimes, I feel grateful that my growing up years were before the age of technology.

Saturday morning walk to English Bay

It was mild on Saturday, but the forecast was for rain. I was happy to see clouds but no raindrops, and it was fun to take Black Jack for her walk. There is a small off-leash dog beach near the Burrard Bridge, and although the water looked cold and uninviting to me, this pretty lady was enjoying her spa treatment.

When she came out of the water, I thought she might like a brisk towel-down, but she knew of a better way to massage every inch of her back while drying off.

She repeated the process over and over.

This youngster had no interest in swimming, and balls were also ignored, but running in the sand was most entertaining.

We met an old friend, Roxie, from years ago when Scott (my last dog) was still living. Roxie's human had a pet shop where Scott always felt sure of a kind word and a treat. Roxie is now eleven, and suffers a little bit from arthritis, but on Saturday, she thought a good ball game was the perfect way to spend her morning.

Black Jack had a little run with the other dogs, and then we continued on our way. She was clearly wishing that I had remembered to bring her ball along, since one of her small-dog survival strategies is never to challenge another dog for their ball.

As we walked along the beach, she suddenly stepped into the water, eyes fixed on..

a scrap of ball that some dog had abandoned.

She doesn't have much insulation, and I used her long leash to encourage her to turn back, as the ball was floating out to sea. I worried she would be cold,

but she was just fine. Black Jack is quite a hardy little dog.

We left the sandy beach, and walked up to the street (aptly named Beach Avenue) to return home. This Flicker was in a tree at the side of the street. It was calling, perhaps to its mate? I spent a little time watching it.

Just before we reached the Vancouver Aquatic Centre, I noticed this table, set up under an overpass, and looking as though company were expected. My big lens could only fit in bits of the table and chairs, but..

this red basket (hat?) added warmth to a grey day.

I've been noticing signs of Spring for a couple of weeks now, but these pink-mauve berries seemed brand new. I wonder what flower they will become.

We returned to the beach path for the remainder of the walk. These Inuksuit were new as well. I wondered if the man at the back of the photo was the artist. (I have just now learned the plural of inukshuk.)

Again, colour created warmth. Tall ones,

and little tiny ones covered most of the waterfront path between Granville Bridge and David Lam Park.

I watched a crow struggle to crack open its meal, dropping it from a great height, but..

finally choosing to jam its beak right into the centre.

On Saturday afternoon, we spent a couple of hours at Greens and Gourmet restaurant with two wonderful friends, Jock and Kitty. They took time from their busy life to celebrate my birthday (it's today) with us. I didn't take pictures, but we laughed and talked and laughed some more, as we always seem to do when we are together. There could be no better celebration than to laugh with friends.

There was some nap time later in the afternoon, and our plan for the evening was to attend a play. Before we left, I took Black Jack for another walk, and again, brought along the camera. This time, we headed east, towards the Cambie Bridge. The camera always seems to pick up blue light at dusk, and the marina sign added to the glow.

Under the overpass, two young men worked on their skateboarding technique. I am in awe that someone can approach a bench,

jump up from the ground while the board magically stays attached,

roll along the narrow path,

without falling off,

come to the edge,

and slip to the ground, board still magically stuck to the shoes.

Here, the second fellow also has what to me appears to be a miraculous run. They were methodical in their practice. Over and over, often observing each other and offering advice,

they risked life and limb (well, certainly limb) in their effort

to perfect their skills. They kindly allowed me to watch, and to take pictures in the challenging but not completely impossible light. It was most enjoyable to see their companionship and energy.

We continued on, and I took a shot of city light reflections before returning home.

Later, as we walked through David Lam Park, on the way to the truck, we saw this racoon. I sometimes forget that there are many inhabitants of the park other than birds.

The play, Marion Bridge, was outstanding. All the performances were strong, but Rebecca Husain's left me in awe. The set was perfect - cozy, simple and so

close to us, you can see that if Bill stretched his legs out just a bit, his feet could rest on the carpet. This photo is really poor, but shows the tiny little theatre where we have twice enjoyed excellent plays.

It is at the back of a very busy restaurant on Commercial Drive called Havana. It feels strange to walk through crowds of bustling waiters and patrons, before being admitted to the theatre, but this arrangement works well. I look forward to going back there again soon.

It rained quite a lot on Sunday, but we enjoyed a meeting at Brazza's in North Vancouver with Dianne and Doran, two more wonderful friends. The lattes and vegan muffins were absolutely excellent, and again, the laughter and stories made the time fly. We walked over to Harbourside Park for a walk in fine mist, and I even managed a seagull shot,

one of Haley trying to figure out why Dianne's face is covered up,

a very blurry one of a Turnstone walking from rock to rock,

and a slightly less blurry one of the same Turnstone hunting for food.

Supper and a movie called "Quiet Chaos" concluded a great weekend. It is just over two years since a serious bike accident, and I am most grateful to be alive and able to celebrate another birthday with precious Bill, with wonderful friends, and with all of the pleasures that Vancouver so generously provides. Thanks for reading, and happy Monday, everyone.


  1. That is a lava sunset, Carol, what a spectacular photo! I also feel the joy of holding a book is insurmountable. But I suppose that to some the phone and laptop is now held in similar regard. I enjoyed all your photos from the table scene at the beach by day to the skateboarder in motion by night. Glad you mentioned your birthday … I wish you all the best! Why am I not surprised that I, too, have a birthday this month? I looked at your link about the accident and will read it in further detail soon. I never realized you went through such a serious fall. Your true grit and optimism is inspiring. :)

  2. Happy birthday! You celebrated all weekend, I think! I also think Marion Bridge is an excellent play! I cannot believe how many beautiful sunrises and sunsets you manage to capture! The skateboarding pictures should be sent to their organization if there is such a thing!

    The Sagert Webster family are certainly grateful that you are well and healthy! Phyllis

  3. Happy birthday, Carol. Think of it not as 'getting older' but as 'getting closer to the halcyon days of retirement!!!" I highly recommend them. :)

    I love the first photo (but of course, you know I am partial to sunrise and sunset photos).

    Sounds like you had a great weekend, with good friends and good dogs (is there any other kind?), and some surprises along the way. I would love to know the story behind the table under the overpass - who set it there, if they had a picnic, or if it was for a photoshoot or painting, or perhaps the attempt of a homeless person to make life a little more 'normal'. There is a story there....and I loved the image.