Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Quirks of mind, city and nature

This post was to showcase the letter "Q" for ABC Wednesday but I was way too late to make the deadline.  I've decided to publish it for Our World Tuesday, (with thanks to ArijaGattinaLady FiSylviaSandy and Jennifer) since it has morphed into a reflection of much of our world over the past couple of weeks.

Though I'm not linking up to ABC Wednesday today, I hope to join for the letter "S" tomorrow.  As always, I feel enormous gratitude to Mrs. NesbittRoger GreenReader WilLeslie and Trubes for hosting a fine meme.

I sympathize with bloggers trying to leave comments for a large number of posters and having to wade through my epistles.  I've used headings here so that you can choose something of interest to you.  It's just fine to ignore the rest.  

"Q" Shapes
This is Bill's impression of a Q in the sand at English Bay
Here's another "Q" that I noticed in the English Bay landscape, though we both remarked that finding an image with the little line through the "O" at just the right angle is challenging :)

My "Quirky" pose and thoughts about runner, Percy Williams
I've done a number of "Q" posts over the years, and I think "Quirky" has appeared in each one. On Sunday, I asked Bill if he would take a photo of me that would demonstrate my slightly "off-the-wall" leanings in a quirky pose :)  We were walking around BC Stadium, and he suggested I mimic the sculpture of Percy Williams in starter position before a race.  I didn't get it quite right.. in fact, I wasn't even close, but it was fun trying.  I hope Percy Williams wouldn't mind my posing beside him.  He suffered from arthritis in his latter years, and I'm very sad to say he committed suicide at the age of 74, five years after his mother died.  At this link, I learned that he lived on Chilco Street (as did I for a year) in a building that Bill and I bike past every time we ride to the pond along Coal Harbour.  Remembering him strong and eager, as he appears in that sculpture would please him, I think.  I hope so!
Black Jack is only mildly curious about my pose :) 

I wondered about composers with names beginning with "Q" and, at the Canadian Music Centre site, came across some recordings of broadcasts discussing the life and work of Joseph Quesnel (1746-1809).  Businessman, ship's captain, composer, militia officer, playwright, hero (he rescued a drowning child just a few months before he died) and poet, he not only wrote two operas, but was himself the subject of a comic opera.  
This link will take you to some audio clips of excerpts from the two operas he composed. His works stand as the very first operas written by a Canadian, though the manuscripts found were incomplete.  He isn't considered in the same league with the great opera composers of his time (Mozart, Beethoven, Rossini and Donizetti, to name just a few, but hIs story (described at the Wiki link above and also here) is a fascinating one.  His efforts to bring culture to Quebec included transforming his house into a temporary theatre, complete with ushers and elaborate sets. He had to fight the Catholic Church as the priests declared that absolution would be denied anyone attending the performances.  However, petitions were signed and the church relented under public pressure. There's a BC connection as well.  The town of Quesnel, British Columbia is named for his son, Jules Maurice Quesnel, who travelled with Simon Fraser on his journey to the Pacific Ocean.  I love that blogging takes me to discoveries like this one.

I found one other musician with the name Quesnel.  I wonder if he could be related to Joseph, the composer.  The youtube below shows Jason Quesnel in a JMC Academy student performance.  It is full of creativity and tenderness. You may want to listen to it in the background as you continue through this post.

Unusual words that begin with "Q"
Here are a few unusual "Q" words that I enjoyed at the Phrontistery site:
1.quarterlight - small triangular ventilation window in a vehicle.  
2.quatsch - nonsense
3. quicksticks - without delay
4.quiddle - fastidious person
5.querl - to twist/curl

An attempt to use those unusual words:
I'm going to try to wrap up this post Quicksticks..  you wish :)  
The Quiddle in me hopes it won't seem a lot of Quatsch, but a few Querls along the way are impossible to resist. 
As for the Quarterlight, though I remember these windows in my father's various cars, I had never heard that term.  I think we should bring Quarterlights back :)  

Querls (twists and curlycues) in our World
In recent treks around Vancouver, Bill and I have retraced on foot some of our favourite bicycle routes. We've looked up at some of the older buildings and we've stopped to watch and listen to people around us.  I don't remember the name of this building, or even exactly where it was, but I loved the ornamental trim. 
These gargoyles shocked both of us.  They are at the top of a building we have passed many, many times, but we hadn't noticed them before.
I looked up as we passed the building below, attracted to the marine images.  I had never noticed them before.  Bill knew the building well.   

  "You've never been inside?" he said.  "Well, let's go in."  
 I thought the inside couldn't possibly match the beauty of the exterior..
 but I was sure wrong about that.
This is a building everyone in Vancouver should see..
  and treasure.
 Bill and Black Jack went for a little ride on the elevator so I could see the inside.
The attention to every detail was extraordinary. 
 When was the last time you saw one of these?
I failed to do justice to the building with my photos, but..
one site claimed it the most beautiful office building in Vancouver.  Though I haven't checked every building, I suspect that could well be the case.   
This photo (found at this site) shows the beautiful marble floor and the three elevators.  
This plaque describes a little of the building's history.
Leaving the building, I looked down the bike path we have traveled many times.  You can see someone just about to ride up to where we were standing.  We go down to the waterfront, check out the cruise ships, and from there, can ride to our little pond along Coal Harbour.  Though we had passed that Marine Building over and over, I hadn't noticed it before.  My thought about that is that we could explore Vancouver (even just the parts of it that we can get to by bicycle) for many years to come, and will never discover all of its secrets.
We continued down to the cruise ships that day.  One of the biggest ships we had ever seen was docked, and there appeared to be a work project going on.
We didn't figure out what that was, but it sure is fascinating to watch the tugs.. 
and think about all the people who must coordinate their minds (quirky or not :) to keep life going on in a busy city. 
Looking way down, we saw a cormorant.. 
fly alongside the ship.  The reflections of machinery and nature.. 
making a dreamy background for bird and boat. 
Here is one of the bike lanes we normally travel to head back to Harrison Galleries for some refreshments and crossword time after our seaside jaunts.  Being on foot allowed me to take photos and to see the view with new eyes. I love Vancouver's bike lanes.  They keep us safe!

Querls in nature
Curlycue branch tendrils over a cloud reflection in Beaver Lake.
This next photo looks very similar to the one above, but those are different curlycue branches hanging over different cloud reflections in a puddle along the walking path under the Cambie Bridge.

Querls in a chance encounter
A kind girl celebrating "Day of the Dead" on May 5th was willing to pose for me (or perhaps, it was "Day of the Skulls" if she was from Bolivia?).

Stanley Park horses
We saw horses (with curlicues on their wagon) as we made our way to Stanley Park's Beaver Lake.
and they came by a second time just as we were leaving the park.
Tree blossoms and dapples blended prettily.

Jamus Pajamas
This is Jamus Pajamas and he could well have been the subject of an entire post. A documentary at his web site does a good job of revealing the creative and Quirky mind that came up with the idea of these heart pipes (you can hear them at his site). The Querls of his instrument symbolize the twists and turns of his own life journey.  
To be honest, the volume was an issue as we listened to him on the street, but the great advantage of listening on line is that we have the option of setting the sound at a more comfortable level.  
My respect for the talent, energy and heart of this musician was there from the moment we met him, but continues to grow after a short time at his site.  

And random moments enjoyed
Laughter as Bill moved right and left, trying to put sun on top of his head, and important messages written by local school kids. 
A pigeon under azure blue sky left this perch to meet up with.. 
his/her companion and received a whispered message.
Lily pads in Beaver Lake,
and a wood duck resting on a nesting box (first time ever to see that).
A mallard pair peaked from behind the corner of the bridge..
at a squirrel.. 
on the other side.
Bill passed Black Jack to me so the ducks wouldn't be stressed by her, and then.. 
the female approached for some seeds, the male staying back, perhaps..
because he knew she needed her strength to raise a brood of ducklings.

Police Motorbiking
We were biking towards Olympic Village when Bill suddenly gave me the "we're stopping now" signal. City police and RCMP officers in a large parking lot were riding their motorcycles through a maze of pylons.  
They twisted and turned through impossibly narrow passageways, sometimes even dropping their bikes.  When that happened, I imagined their embarrassment,

especially since we noticed some officers on foot with clipboards and I thought this could very well be examination day.  
One fellow with a clipboard was especially friendly and Bill asked him the secret to making tight turns successfully.  "It's all in the speed of the approach," he replied.  "The throttle and the brake have to be synchronized perfectly so that the engine doesn't stall."  I thought that the best approach in the world wouldn't work if the allotted space to navigate is smaller than the width of the bike.  I think that is what the policeman in the photo below was demonstrating :) All in all, though, apart from some great entertainment, this was an opportunity to witness first hand the training and hard-earned skills required for police motorbiking.   

The Handkerchief Tree and my thoughts about manicured lawns
The blossoming of the handkerchief tree (Davidia involucrata) in David Lam Park (across from our apartment building) has come and gone.  The blooms seemed to fall more quickly than I remembered from other years.  There were only a few days to enjoy this beautiful sight..
and then I think it could have been called the "used-kleenex" tree :)  The link (above) has interesting information about the history of the tree (native to China) and includes a picture of the tree's fruit, a very hard nut.
You will notice that the grass around the tree is not looking very healthy.  I might be the only person on the planet that breathes a sigh of relief when grass does not have a perfectly manicured look.  Hopefully, that means synthetic fertilizers were not used and perhaps, this would be a safer place for Black Jack to "nose" around.  I have long felt that the unusual cancers we hear more and more about in pets and humans could be connected to our obsession with "perfect" lawns and gardens.  I did a quick google and found that I'm not alone in that thought.  In fact, according to this article, even golfers (and groundskeepers) are found to be susceptible to a long list of unusual ailments.  This site has a list of strategies to keep lawns healthy without chemicals.  Yay for non-perfect grass!
Lastly, a favourite shot of Bill and Black Jack.  Have a happy day, everyone.  Thanks so much for stopping by!  If you have a little spare time, do visit Our World Tuesday and/or ABC Wednesday.  They are both wonderful memes that will take you into the lives and thoughts of people from around the world.  


  1. 'used kleenex tree' - ha! lots of beautiful building details you found. i like the word querl, too! great shot of you in the starting block!

  2. Hello Carol, I learned some new "q" words today. Thanks! I like your pose copying the sculpture. Lovely details on the building! The horses are pretty. I agree with you, I much prefer the non-perfect grass.Cute shots of Black Jack and Bill! Enjoy your day!

  3. Loved that gargoyle building and enjoyed all the visual humor.... Such a beautiful city!

  4. Quantity and quality are the two “q’s” that fill this post. Many sights during your photographic journey caused me to pause, learn, smile and admire. Although it wasn’t easy picking a focus, I have to say Jamus Pajamas is awesomely creative and a picture of ingenuity. What a great find he is as well as the Marine Building I had forgotten about that is enduringly beautiful. This post shows the natural world intertwining seamlessly with the bustle of manmade city life.

  5. The Marine Building is awesome. You could spend a month studying everything on the inside and outside. I love the Handkerchief tree. I've never seen one. How unusual. We have a Mallard pair that come up from the creek, looking for snails I think. They sometimes pass down the side of the house, cross the road (not a busy one) and then explore the neighbors' yards and a grassy patch across from us. The male always stands back a little and watches like he is on guard as the female forages. Lovely post.

  6. I assume Bill did some work in the Marine Building. We must visit it one day because it is remarkably beautiful. Barrie's Dad worked there during his first job! Thanks for the visit! I love the Q words!!! Hugs, Phyllis

  7. What a wonderful variety of pictures you provide us! That Marine Building is amazing, and Jamus Pyjamus is pretty interesting too!

  8. Lots to love in this post Carol. I too am a great admirer of the Marine building and the Hotel Vancouver but have you noticed the gargoyles above the Nuses at Cathedral
    Place? As always wonderful pictures of bill and black jack, I am glad you are all well!

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