Monday, October 27, 2014

Saved Blues, Happy Dance, Sunshiny Blues, Paying Respects and Bike Technique

As we walked along Homer Street on Thursday, I thought of Smiling Sally's Blue Monday meme immediately when we passed the window of this shop.  I didn't go inside (clothes shopping is akin to torture for me) but was amazed at the effort that had gone into the display.  It seemed that the entire wall on one side of the shop had been covered with white flowers (material unknown) and there just happened to be a blue outfit at the front of a line of summery ensembles.
I think it was a block or two further when Bill pointed out Matt Devine's Brisas #9 in front of Jennifer Kostuik Gallery.  It  is aluminum with blue paint and the artist's work is described (at the link given above) as "free standing and wall mounted steel sculptures [that] intend to convey the bright colors, bold light and, as he describes, the organized chaos of California that surrounds him."  I had barely noticed this gallery before, but think Bill and I will have to pay more attention to it.  I learned from that same linked article that Mr. Devine was in Vancouver and gave a free talk about his art that I'm sorry to have missed.
Our next stop was at Harrison Galleries where we enjoyed their café's wonderful treats while doing a crossword puzzle.   Jennifer Harrison had done another drawing for the sign that sits outside the café and she does seem to favour the colour blue.  I think this should be one of a set depicting the "before" and "after" images of her coffee-addicted monster.
Jerry Pethick's "Time Top" has been posted here many times, but it seemed especially blue as Black Jack and I walked by the edge of False Creek afterwards. 
Last evening, I found a fascinating article in Vancouver's Georgia Straight about it and will appreciate "TIme Top" with even greater fondness after learning that Jerry Pethick's widow spent three years making sure it was built, following all of his instructions to the letter, after he died of Cancer.  If you live in Vancouver and have passed by it many times, I think you would enjoy the full article but I will quote the final two paragraphs here:
"On August 2, a crowd of excited viewers welcomed Time Top to its site. Friends of the Pethicks, fellow artists, poets, curators, designers, consultants, Pethick's Vancouver dealer, and one lone art critic””all of us whooped and applauded as the work arrived in False Creek by sea. When it hove into view, Time Top was mounted on a barge, accompanied by a small flotilla chugging eastward from English Bay. A few hours earlier, the sculpture had been hoisted by crane from the marina in Gibsons, and now it was being lifted again, then lowered onto its permanent foundation.
An almost ecstatic mood of anticipation was palpable throughout the day. It was as if we were awaiting the landing of a marvellous craft, not from outer space but from the mysterious past. In a sense, we were. Jerry Pethick's posthumous sculpture speaks to us, now and for always, of wonderment, humour, and the fantastic possibilities of the human imagination." 
Rhonda Weppler and Trevor Mahovsky conceived of a climate-change project to paint the pilings of the Cambie Bridge in chromatic blue stripes, and on Thursday, the late afternoon light seemed to create an extra stripe right across False Creek.  This concludes the six photos I saved for Smiling Sally.  There is more blue in the post as I record our day yesterday, but if you are strictly here for the blue, you may want to head over to her meme now.  Many thanks, Sally, for hosting!
The past week has included quite a few rainy days and there is more in the forecast..  in fact, just about every day for the coming week will have a little and sometimes a lot of it.  But, there was one day of sunshine yesterday and the trees on our street..
seemed to appreciate it.
David Lam Park was glowing with good cheer..
and as I walked back to our apartment, I took yet another shot of my favourite two-toned tree.
I found Bill (in his blue pyjamas) doing a spontaneous jig to some lively music on the radio and asked him to recreate the moment.  I had to be quick to catch the mood and didn't do very well with camera settings..  
but I think the "happy-dance" feeling comes through loud and clear :)
I took this photo as I sat at the piano looking to the corner of the room where my Mum's plant, a blue vase and my last dog's (Scott) ashes were bathed in sun streaming in the window.
Black Jack found the sun spot as it hit the blue carpet.  I don't know if any of you have pets that realize something they are doing is getting our attention and they know that could be followed by a nice belly-rub or even a treat so they do their best to maintain the original behaviour.  I noticed this behaviour in my last dog as well.  In this case, Black Jack kept her head down on the floor and tried not to move, but..
her suddenly-wide-open eyes and perked-up ears betrayed her.  She did get a very nice belly-rub seconds later :)
We went out on our bikes shortly after that.  This is the lane behind our apartment building.  It had an enormous puddle left over from the rain of the day before, and I saw the most wonderful reflection of a tree in it.  Black Jack was in her basket and we were all set to go, but I had to get that photo so Bill steadied the bikes while I got the camera out.  The problem was that each time I tried to snap the shot, a car would come through the lane and drive right over the puddle.  Then, we had to wait for the ripples to settle down.
I finally settled for a ripply shot :)
The tragic murders of Warrant Officer, Patrice Vincent, and Coporal Nathan Cirillo have stayed on my mind.  The news continues to be full of heartrending stories and images and I was feeling the need yesterday to pay my respects so Bill and I decided to ride our bikes to Victory Square to stand by The Cenotaph for a few moments.  I knew my sister had planned a visit to Ottawa's War Memorial and wished we could do that together.  I know her heart is very heavy.  Though the gathering of flowers and notes in Vancouver was not a huge one,        
we were touched by the messages placed at the cenotaph.  Someone had framed.. 
Bruce MacKinnons memorial cartoon and another person had..
left this painting.  The cenotaph is in a poor part of downtown Vancouver.  Many of the people who sit around Victory Square are facing addiction and/or mental/physical health challenges..
and there was evidence of that all about us.  Bill talked with a young man who poured the entire contents of this bottle into his coke glass and downed it in seconds, adding that he had come to Vancouver from Nova Scotia a year ago.  The young man was nicely dressed and told us rather proudly that he had had a haircut that day.  As Bill noted, to consume that much alcohol that quickly and still be able to function would indicate serious alcoholism, all the more sad in such a young person so far from home.  The deaths of both soldiers, in my view, were the result of mental health issues either missed or more likely, recognized by people who felt helpless to deal with them.  It is important to remember those who guard the safety of all Canadians at risk to their own lives, but this story reminds us that there are other issues here as well.  We are far from finding the solution to mental health problems, and though we cannot possibly prevent every incident, we have got to continue to seek more successful methods of treatment, and in the mean time, foster kindness and empathy towards the mentally ill, in place of the ridicule and fear that are currently far too prevalent.
Red has become the colour of choice for many wanting a symbolic representation of their pain this past week.  The flags over the mementoes seemed to catch that spirit..
as they waved gently from the top of the cenotaph.
Bill wore a red arm band and I placed a ribbon around Black Jack's neck to mark the moment and then we sat for a while, contemplating..
the messages ("We will stand on guard for thee")..
that were left among the flowers.
A young girl stopped by with flowers..
and then we noticed a gentleman with a "Veterans Canada" crest on his jacket.  He walked around the cenotaph and then came to a stop, taking up his self-appointed guard duty.
I spoke to him.  "We have to remember," he said.  There was quiet dignity in his voice as he made the point that a lot of sacrifice has happened so that we can live our lives in freedom.   I learned that he served for ten years with the Canadian Armed Forces peacekeeping mission in Cyprus.  It was a long time ago, he said, but the memories are still fresh sometimes.  I read up a little about that last night and was amazed to realize that there continues to be a small presence maintained right up to today.
We continued on our way.  Our bikes were locked beside this tree..
that seemed in its own way to keep guard..
over Victory Square.
We rode through downtown, then to False Creek, where quite a bit of blue..
peered from behind the mountains and found its reflection in the water.
Though the sun shone, a steady wind kept the temperatures quite cool and we had Black Jack well bundled up.  She gave Bill a kiss here.  I promised him that if I posted this picture, i would also post the one he took of me, but I'm hoping he will forgive my breaking that pledge.  That photo would scare women and small children..  not to mention blog readers :)
We rode around False Creek and headed up to Broadway Street for a small shopping expedition.  We are now the happy owners of two brand new bike jackets, at least one of which will be modelled soon :)
My last photos of the day were of this fellow.  
He was working very hard to do some tricks on his bike.  
Some of you will have noticed that I am fascinated not just by the talents of people who can do this sort of thing, but by the self-discipline they show as they work to perfect their technique.  
While many are perplexed at energy expended on what some declare to be a waste of precious time, I am always filled with deep respect for the passion, talent and dogged persistence required to bring any skill to a high level.  
From behind the fence, it was difficult to get clear shots, but perhaps you will feel a sense of my enjoyment in taking them.  
Bravo to that young man!  
Thank you so much for stopping by.  
I hope your day will have some smiles,  
some warm thoughts, 
some empathy..
and at least a little time spent.. 
pursuing one of your passions.


  1. a touching memorial. love the watery reflections. and although i don't like scary, i laughed at 'here's coffee'. :)

  2. The cartoonist’s impression of the tragedy at the Ottawa War Memorial really highlights the power of an artist’s pen when inspired. I literally gasped when I first saw it. How clever of someone to put a newspaper copy inside a frame that you in turn were able to photograph.

  3. Hello Carol, lovely series of images.. The sculpture is neat.. And the memorial is touching. I love all your blue captures it is my favorite color.. Have a happy new week ahead!

  4. Hi Carol,
    The blue clothing against the white floral wall is impressive.

    Black Jack is typical of many dogs: he loves to bake in the sun. (Working on his tan, I say.)

    The murders are so sad. What a shame.

    Thanks for being so faithful to Blue Monday, and for sharing your blue.

    Happy Blue Monday!

  5. I love all the blues. I do hope to see the new jackets modeled by both of you! The whole country is in shock and in mourning over the death of the two soldiers. Like you, I think we have to have more awareness of mental health issues, more front line workers, and more places for people to get help with their problems, addictions and pain. Phyllis

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