Thursday, December 4, 2014

The letter "U"

My Thursday post for ABC Wednesday's letter "U" is once more unpunctual, but nevertheless, I'd like to underscore my gratitude to Mrs. Nesbitt for dreaming up an idea that was unique and that has endured for more than seven years.  Unequivocal thanks goes, as well, to the fine team of volunteers who carry on her idea.

If you would like some musical background while you read my post, Imre Ungár (1909 - 1972) is a concert pianist I have just discovered.  He had a very successful career in spite of being blind from the age of 3.  You can listen to him play all 24 Chopin Preludes below.  He and Alexander Uninsky (quite a coincidence that both names begin with "U") tied for first place in a major Chopin competition.  Would you believe a coin was tossed to decide the winner?!  Uninsky won out but honestly, that seems an unfair and rather unorthodox way to make that decision.  This story is resonating with me since Bogdan Dulu (two u's in his name, no less) suggested during my lesson on Monday to practice piano in the dark, feeling my way around the keys.  What a revelation!  Not only does one listen more keenly but one begins to understand the tactile element of the keyboard in an entirely different way.    
And, a little update to my last post that pleased me no end.  Jean, of the very fine blog, My Life with the Critters, left a comment in response to my photo of the front door of UBC's music building.  In fact, the person whose name appears on that door is none other than her cousin, Roy Barnett.  Roy's dad was her uncle!  Here is her comment:
"Carol, a little thrill ran through me at the photo of the entrance to the Roy Barnett Recital Hall - Roy is my cousin, my mother's sister's son. Both his father and my father always played the piano at our joint family gatherings - those times were a highlight of my childhood. Roy did not learn to play piano until after he retired, and it was that passion for learning music that promoted him and his wife to donate the money necessary to renovate the old hall. Here's a link to the story. Roy and his wife live in Victoria now. One other little bit of related trivia: Roy's dad, my uncle, whose given name was Newman, was only ever known to me as Uncle Paddy. He apparently earned the nickname Paddy, after Paderewski the famed Polish pianist, when he played for his fellow troops during WWII, and the nickname stuck. He was an awesome pianist!"
I am blown away by the coincidence and absolutely delighted to discover that Roy pursued his interest and obvious talent by starting lessons after his retirement.  It's never too late, folks!  That is just one of the lessons I take away with me from this story.  Thanks ever so much for letting us know about your cousin, Jean!

The rest of my post is just a rundown of some of the photos I took on Tuesday.  I will try my best to use at least one "U" word for each one.

Yesterday, as I looked over the balcony from inside our apartment, I had the uncanny feeling I was seeing water behind these trees in the park across from our apartment.  There is no water there.  False Creek is to the left of this shot; there is a field behind these trees.  Bill  finally figured out that light was bouncing off the balcony glass to create watery images.  
I loved the unbridled fun as children in the playground scooped up leaves from a pile of carefully raked ones and threw them into the air.
This unfocused shot has a softness that made me feel like joining in :) 
Ubiquitous starlings twittered..
 in unison on the other side of the park.
Undulating reflections around the pylons of a structure in the water caught the sunlight.
This mallard was undaunted in his pursuit..
of unconditional love.
It may be a bit unorthodox to show how his efforts played out, but it really was a revelation to see the bowing and posturing back and forth between this pair as they ensured mutual cooperation and respect.  I'll leave you to peruse the set of photos without further comment. 

Umber tones in this Sumac bush as we walked along the False Creek seawall path.
An unusually large gathering of cormorants on the other side of the creek..
caught our attention.  They seemed unanimous..
in their unfettered enthusiasm..
for whatever tasty morsels resided under the water.  Unencumbered, whether in the air,
or under water, 
these versatile birds give us a great view of nature's delights in an urban setting.
Palm trees glistened in the sun, creating ultroneous (spontaneous) patterns..
that I was unable to resist.
Bushtits are unequivocally and.. 
unabashedly cute, wouldn't you agree?
And finally, this little interaction between Bill and Black Jack expresses much about my unconditional love for the two of them.  I had been quietly taking photos while Bill  read to me as he does almost every evening.  He spontaneously reached for Black Jack and the rest, as they say, is history.  Many thanks for stopping by.  If you have time to explore some uncharted territory about the letter "U" as seen by people across the world, I highly recommend a visit to ABC Wednesday.  My undying gratitude, once more, to that meme's hardworking volunteers!  


  1. oh, those tiny bushtits are so cute! loved the water reflections, too. ducks are just not very subtle in their mating techniques.

  2. Wonderful post, Carol! I love the series on the ducks and the cute bushtits.. And Black Jack is always adorable.. Enjoy your weekend!

  3. I like it when you captured the falling leaves.

  4. This is a great post, Carol! The mating ducks had me laughing. I'm glad I'm not a female duck! Kids just can't resist messing up a pile of raked leaves. Those shots bring back memories. But the Bill/Blackjack ones are the best!!! Have a great evening!

  5. Love;ly photos, as usual. You probably KNOW I love the duck sequence.
    And BTW, like the Ungar bit too!


  6. I love the story of Mr Barnett's support of the School of Music at UBC! I suspect he and his wife are at some of the musical events we also attend in Victoria. It was wonderful to see you and Bill today! I wish we lived a little closer! Hugs, Phyllis