Thursday, December 26, 2013

Bill and Carol's post #11: The days before and up to Christmas

For the benefit of any new readers, I am repeating an introductory paragraph to fill you in on some background.  Bill joined the blog eleven posts ago.  He is recovering from the affects of delirium that resulted in cognitive dysfunction after surgery for colon cancer.  His short-term memory suffered at first but is now excellent.  Still, we keep a memory journal and are employing quite a few strategies to deal with "initiation" and "flooding" challenges that are described in a book called "Over My Head" by Claudia Osborn.  Bill continues to improve and as you will see, we have been able to attend quite a number of cultural events since our last post nine days ago.  The journey back to health isn't over.  There is a surgery coming up on January 9th to reverse his ileostomy so all of the good wishes and thoughts that you have been so kindly sending our way will come in very handy.  

Important note: Blue font indicates writing by Carol and Black Font indicates writing by Bill. 

Today is Christmas Day, 2013. Or at least, it was until the clock struck midnight and kept right on ticking.  (I will continue to write as though it were still the 25th.)  How to express some of the deep appreciations as I take stock of my life: 
1. Bill, Sherrill (my sister) and Black Jack. I never for a moment take their presence in my life for granted.  They are precious and loved deeply.
2. New and old friendships including those formed via internet.  I do not take these lightly either.  There are too many of you to name, but you would be surprised how your lives are part of my thoughts.
3. The fact that a piece of music, a photograph, a smile, a leaf, a sweet thought, a story can inspire passion.  How good that I wake up excited to meet most days.
4.  There are more.  Perhaps this will be continued.   
You are all so very much appreciated.  
May this Christmas season be one filled with peace, laughter and love.
And now, Hee-ee-er's Bill! 

Hello.  Welcome to Harrison Galleries with Sheila Neufeld's work displayed above me.  Carol likes the colours in this picture.  Black Jack..   
just likes posing for pictures cause she's so darn cute! 

December 17th
Here's Tupper, our favourite seagull with the uplifting tail.
 He comes to meet us every time we are out and about.  I am happy that his unusual tail  doesn't hamper his flying in any way that we can detect.
 Did you hear the one about Santa, the bear and the penguin?  If you did, please pass it on.  Bill noticed these friendly critters on a balcony in the West End.
 These legs are not made for walking.
They stand guard over the fire escape ladder of a house on Davie Street.

December 18th
Tupper makes a perfect two-point landing.
 This is not a crop circle but a rock circle.  Seen along False Creek.
 If I had wings, I could fly!
 Let's see.  Is this a modern painting worth millions or just some leaves floating near the bottom of a fountain?
 Just to give you some context for that rock circle.
 Genny, a friend and former colleague of Carol's, does her Titanic imitation.  I wasn't available to pose, but Genny does a bang-up job, don't you think?  
 Shake a paw, Niko?  Niko and his mom, Tanja (another friend and former colleague) joined Genny for treats with us at Harrison Galleries.  Niko and Bill had an instant connection.
 The window at the left looks like a painting, but it was real life Vancouver along Homer Street.  Carol liked the photo because of that window, the painting on the right by Bill Schwarz, and the warm expressions and colours.  
Here I am at the escalator to International Village Cinema after seeing Philomena.  It was our first movie since I became ill and it was a good one!
   It was a beautiful, still night..
 with stunning reflections..
 of False Creek lights and Cavalia tents
 and Cambie Bridge as we walked home.

Friday, December 20th
This was the morning view as I looked out the window before dawn broke. 
 Snow laden trees just outside our apartment balcony an hour or so later.
 Yippee, I get to be a snowman for at least another day!
 Winter wonderland in Vancouver.
Forget the snow.  What's in your pockets, Bill?
Same day, a little later, we were warm and dry in Christ Church Cathedral listening to one of our favourite vocal ensembles, musica intima.
 This nativity scene was very popular at Woodward's store, last century.  You can read about it below.  I wonder if any reader remembers this as a child.

musica intima members can always make me smile.  Here, they relax after an amazing concert.

Saturday, December 21
The lady duck has to do all the work breaking through the ice.  The male follows freely as it floats behind, hot on her tail.
We noticed lots of different art had gone up on the first floor of the gallery.  The artist, Bill Schwarz, practices as a lawyer but balances that life by developing his artistic talents.
Winter Solstice celebration as seen from our balcony.
Sunday, December 22
St. Andrew's Wesley all lit up in anticipation of Bramwell Tovey's (conductor of Vancouver Symphony Orchestra) appearance for Jazz Vespers.
Bramwell's piano playing is every bit as impressive as his conducting.  He and Jaime Croil jammed Christmas themed jazz that had the audience on its feet.

Monday, January 23rd
On Friday, there had been snowmen.  On Monday, we were back to Springlike conditions.  The snowmen were history.
Here, we're on the bus for Uncle Vanya at The Cultch.  I felt my first taste of Chekhov would be my last but as I lay in bed that evening, I had to reconsider the fact that I was most impressed by how the plot unfolded and spoke to universal values and emotions.  A play that keeps me thinking long after it is over is, I feel, obviously a success.  

I wanted to take a taxi to the theatre but Carol talked me into taking transit.  You sure see a slice of life on transit which is in its own way enriching.  Certainly more enriching than a taxi ride.  A very nice lady saw Carol taking a picture of me, and to our surprise, volunteered to take this picture of us together.

Christmas Eve
An extra Jazz Vespers in honour of Christmas Eve proved to be the perfect beginning of Christmas.  The Three Queens encouraged the audience to sing their hearts out for two of my favourites, "O Come All Ye Faithful" and "Silent Night."  I felt happy with my candle.  The beauty is that you don't have to have any religious fervour  to have this feeling.

Christmas Day
Black Jack gets a run in George Wainborn Park and rewards us with a one pointer.
Nice Christmas Day meet-up with two of our favourite people.  Jimmy carries McKenzie (left) while Simon carries Mimosa.  They live in the area but always drive to David Lam Park because (claims Jimmy with a shy smile) they need the car to pick up groceries.  Mimosa and McKenzie also know that walks in the park are fun no matter which legs are doing the walking.
Carol's sister, Sherrill, and her family sent a large Christmas parcel from Ottawa.  We waited until the afternoon to open it.  Here we are posing with the thoughtful gifts they sent.  Can you tell we were pretty happy campers?  Black Jack looks on from her bed, wondering why she hasn't been permitted to join all those carefully arranged items on Bill's lap.       
It was her turn to pose a few moments later and she made the most of it.
From us to you come heartfelt thanks for stopping by and for all of your good wishes.  We send hugs and happiness right back to each one of you.


  1. Another active week for you three. Black jack is just too cute for words. That snowfall made everywhere look so Christmasssy but I was amazed how soon it melted. Bill you are looking fitter and fitter. Take care and of course enjoy the rest of the festivities.

  2. I enjoyed your post and reading and pictures.Pictures delightful. I enjoy peoples photography and you have many variety. Thank you.

    I am glad is all well again.

    God Bless.

    The very best to continue for 2014.

  3. black jack is just adorable - always. :) loved the night reflection shots, the leaves under ice was amazing. loved that you got to lunch with friends - and got to see your pup-loving friends again, too. i know how much you enjoy music and art and am glad you get to fill your senses. (i love tupper).

  4. That last photo of Black Jack is gorgeous - love the lighting on the top of her head. Sounds like you are having a busy holiday season, full of my favourite things - friends, music, nature, family. Belated Merry Christmas, Bill, Carol and Black Jack.

  5. Happy New Year to your both. Hope all is going well. I have enjoyed your photos. Looks like you are having a busy time. cheers.

  6. Thanks for sharing! It was very nice to see some photos of you two together! I hope to see more! I too would like to see Philomena, so glad for the recommendation. Bill, you are looking healthy and well!! Have a very HAPPY NEW YEAR!! Looking forward to more posts. All the very best, xoRaven

  7. I am so glad that "Uncle Vanya" was well done! Chekhov always gets to the heart of the human condition and leaves the audience feeling as if they have had an amazing experience! Bill, I had no idea you liked Christmas carols! I have been singing along with the Messiah for the last few days! My favourite is "We like sheep"! Phyllis

  8. So good to read all your posts and to see the wonderful photographs. Glad to see Bill is making great progress. As for Black Jack, she is a bundle of sweetness -- with plenty of energy too it seems. May you have a very blessed, happy and healthy New Year.

  9. Carol, I love how you look in red and Bill, I love how you look in blue. More importantly, you both look well and happy. I can't believe that I forgot to include a gift for BJ. I beg her forgiveness and will offer an extended belly rub during my next visit. May 2014 bring you both good health and happiness. I hope that it is filled with love, lattes and cookies, movies, plays, musical performances, walks and nature's beauty. Much love to both of you. Sherrill

  10. Good to know you had a great Christmas! We had planned low-key, but I ended up having a Christmas lunch with my two sisters on the 22nd, then Christmas Eve day with my 2 daughters and 2 grandchildren (brunch and opening of gifts in the afternoon), and Christmas Day with one of my sisters and Lorne. Boxing Day was very quiet and today Lorne is resting as he had chemo on Christmas Eve morning. Life goes on....

  11. It's good to read that you all doing better and able to enjoy different events together. You are both in my prayers and may 2014 be filled with many blessings.

  12. ✰¸¸Happy ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸✰¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪New¸¸✰¸¸ Year
    2014•*¨*•.¸¸✰¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ Peace ♫♪ JOY ♫♪ and a ✰¸¸ Healthy Year ahead☆☆☆A♪♫•*¨*•

    The Joy is shining through!!!