Here I am, Still Strong, Sassy and Smiling :)
"S" SONGSI asked Bill if he had any favourite "S" bands or musicians. Without missing a beat, he said, "The Stones" and with a little more thought, he came up with one of their Songs that begins with "S" that he particularly enjoys. I recognized "She's a Rainbow" as soon as I listened to it, but hadn't even realized before that it is a Stones song (many hours practicing piano as a young person is the only excuse I can offer to explain that lack of knowledge). I love its happy feel and I love the idea of someone representing the joy of rainbow colours and it is making me feel like dancing so perhaps it will give you that feeling as well.
The idea of colours melting into each other reminded me of something I did many years ago. My father had had a carpentry accident that made me very Sad. I couldn't seem to "get over it" though he had done just that and resumed, with only some Small adjustments, all of his normal activities. One evening, I sat with a box of kids' markers and chalks and Spent a few hours doodling.
For some reason, when I was finished, I felt better. I tucked the two pages in a binder where they stayed for years, but I found and photographed them when Bill mentioned the Stones' song.
Bill had a Second Suggestion and this one, I've loved for a long time. The history of Simon and Garfunkel's "The Sound of Silence" is an interesting one, and I think its idea that people "listen without hearing" and "talk without speaking" is as relevant today as it was in 1963 when they began writing the song.
My band Students in the 70's taught me about this next one. They introduced me to musicians I might otherwise have missed. Shawn Phillips, Supertramp, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin were just a few. We jammed together in small groups when we could, but we even found an arrangement of "Stairway to Heaven" that worked for the whole band, and I remember every moment of those rehearsals with such fondness. It was a good time. I've found a youtube that includes the lyrics because the message is still relevant.
2. STEPHEN SPENDER - MUSICIANThat really was going to be the last song for this post, but on Friday, we sat for a while at Granville Island and listened to Stephen Spender sing. It was the Second time to hear him do "People Are Talkin' At Me" and I only wish I had a video of that to pass on to you. He does that song, in my opinion, more beautifully than the original (though I do like that version as well). The first time I heard him sing it, I bought the music and spent quite a bit of time memorizing the lyrics and notes. I still play and sing it sometimes. After hearing him yesterday, I fell in love with his interpretation all over again and have to say I won't be posting my version any time Soon :) . He is a very talented poet and musician. You can hear him in this video doing a song with the working title "Kitty Kat".
Bill took this photo of him on Friday,
and I took this one of Bill making a small contribution for the privilege of listening to his Superb voice on a beautiful Vancouver day.
Since I've introduced you to Stephen Spender, the musician, it seems important to also mention Stephen Spender, the poet, who died in 1995. You can listen to him reading one of his poems in the video below. "My Parents Kept Me from Children Who Were Rough" felt meaningful for me. You can also listen to him in an interview that must have been recorded quite late in his life.
4. SCULPTOR - JAMES STEWART
We came across this Sculpture one day as we walked home from Harrison Galleries. I liked it immediately and feel it will become an old friend. It is in a..
busy part of Yaletown, with the Sky Train station just behind it..
and trendy Shops facing it, along what used to be an industrial area lined with "handsome brick warehouses built on rail platforms" as described at this site. You can learn more about James Stewart, the Sculptor, here.
This girl was dressed up to celebrate the Cherry Blossom Festival in David Lam Park. When I asked if I could take her picture,
I loved her response..
Bill and I were walking at English Bay when I Spotted this boy.
His Shear exuberance for the..
Sensation of Soaring was delightful.
When Jennifer of Harrison Galleries does a new drawing for her Sign outside the gallery's café, it always brings a smile. Bono (you can hear him Sing "With or Without You" at that link) was in town for a concert and someone had given her a ticket to attend. It would be hard to find a happier camper anywhere on the planet and she had to Share her enthusiasm. A passer by spotted the sign, and said excitedly, "There's Bono!" You don't even have to go into the café to catch Jennifer's magic Spell.
She is mom to three boys, the youngest 19, I believe. Bill and I figure it must be fun to be her son cause she's so cool. I asked her to pose beside her drawing of Snoop Dogg. "With my mind on my coffee and my coffee on my mind" is a take-off on one of his quotes that most people know but I didn't. Just in case I am not alone, Substitute the word "money" for "coffee" and you will have the quote. I can't say I relate to that quote, but I've never had the entrepreneur drive. Jennifer loves his cute pigtails because she figures he's the only rapper on earth who can get away with wearing them. Here's one quote from him that makes a lot of Sense to me: "If it's flipping hamburgers at McDonald's, be the best hamburger flipper in the world. Whatever it is you do you have to master your craft."
Jennifer's days are full of smiles, even though she works Super hard for very very long hours. She had three "smile" stories to tell me without a moment's hesitation when I told her about this blog post. The one about the garbage-truck guy with attitude is still making me chuckle. He Stood on the Step of the truck as it headed to its next pick-up, flipping his hair and checking his image in the Side-view mirror. The only thing missing, perhaps, was a Selfie to mark the occasion :)
Here's another of Jennifer's coffee-cup drawings, this one of Billy Joel. (That quote is for you, Bill!)
Just two more smiles to share.This man was making bubbles along False Creek.
I'd say I had as much fun watching him as any of the kids that passed by.
I Saw all Sorts of Stories and Shapes within the bubbles, as did..
Bill, when he saw them later. Perhaps you will find some as well.
Last one? Well, somebody has been painting the Stones in Vancouver's parks lately. We saw these in an out-of-the-way spot on Granville Island.
We've been watching the dragon boaters on False Creek lately. Their big festival comes up June 19th, but some of the racers we've watched look as though the pre-race events are as exciting as any of the finals.
The two teams below were Sprinting Short distances. The red boat came out well ahead going this direction, so when they turned,
the team in the white boat was given a head Start.
At first, it looked like that advantage would result in a win,
but then the red Started to pull ahead..
and Soon, they were again the uncontested victors.
I Studied the photos to see if I could detect why the red team was so much Stronger. Was it their physical Strength, or were the team members just more in Sync? I'm thinking the latter, but I guess the only way to truly understand would be to participate. Whaddaya say, Bill?
Though Bill and I walk or bike by the Stadium almost every day, we still haven't been inside. A couple of weekends ago, there was a Soccer game and Vancouver's Whitecaps were playing. Bill took this photo.
Maybe one of these days, we'll have a talk with that lone Scalper on the corner :)
Skateboarders are endlessly fascinating to watch and to photograph.
This fellow was practicing near the Terry Fox memorial in front of BC Place.
I think Terry would have been happy that the area is used in this way.
Sometimes, I imagine him waiting for the Skaters to arrive each day.
In my mind, the next few photos also qualify as Sports activities. Bill and I had debated our destination that day and Settled on Granville Island. Then he said, "Let's park our bikes here and climb a mountain." Well, many would say it was a molehill at best, but the Sky was so blue and the clouds full of magic..
and that little guy with his dad climbed it determinedly. Twice! His dad followed..
close behind, ready to help if needed, but the boy needed no encouragement.
Neither did Bill :)
I followed behind, happy to record the moment.
I managed to Squeeze the flag into the photo as well (Still using the long lens).
Now that's a Sweet Smile!
We Sat for a while on a park bench at the top of our mountain. Way below us,
I managed to catch some dragon boaters between the trees.
This time, the team in the white boat won. We tried to figure out if the people were the same as those we had watched a few days earlier..
but didn't really come to a firm conclusion on that Subject.
Just then, a blue heron took off. We had seen the heron when we arrived. It had looked very teeny to my naked eye (can you see it), but I had zoomed in..
to get this Shot.
When it took off from the water, way down there between the trees, I couldn't catch it with my camera, but I sort of imagined and followed its path over the trees and around the buildings with my camera, and..
felt lucky to be on track enough to catch it as it soared past our mountain. Just another good moment in the contentedness of the day.
Can't resist adding this flower, taken as we walked back down the mountain.
Well, I've come to the final Set of photos for this post. I really hope there are still a few people reading, because this was a Significant highlight in our day on May 21st. At the time, I thought I would be doing the "S" post immediately on arriving home, but it took me so long to sort through the photos, and then other days and photos happened, and then I had a Surgery on my gums (tissue graft) a couple of days ago, and thus, this very late and overlong post. The Skateboard culture is one that I am drawn to, which is funny, given that I've never been on a skateboard, and that's undoubtedly a good thing for this physically untalented older woman with a penchant for falling :) We were watching these skaters..
under the Cambie Bridge..
and they Sure were entertaining!
This fellow was trying what appeared to me to be the same trick over and over.
He missed many times, landing on his feet most of the time, but with such a thud that he was wincing in pain as he clutched at his knees. Sometimes, he fell..
to the ground and soon, Bill and I were feeling the pain along with him. I wanted to tell him about the years that I trained obsessively to run/race long distances (including a couple of marathons), ignoring all the Signals my body was Sending. It was only when I hit the age of about 50 that I began to realize my knees were in trouble. The price I've paid for not respecting my body is that I can barely run at all now, though I'm thrilled that I can still do gym classes and ride my bike. I've learned to take care of my knees, respect pain signals, vary my activities, eat nutritious foods and maintain as much overall strength as possible, because I want to stay active to the end of what I hope will be a long life. All this was going through my mind as we watched this young man but we didn't Speak with him. I wonder why humans rarely learn from each others' mistakes.
I was looking at these 5 cars on a tree trunk (!) when..
this gentleman (and I do not use the term lightly) appeared on the Scene.
Rarely (perhaps, never) have we had the privilege of watching someone with..
such talent and grace. He had another quality that, for want of a better word, I will call Self-control. He calmly went about his ride, not once getting in the way of..
the skateboarders, and leaving us open-mouthed in wonder at his Skills.
We did wonder about his lack of protection. Drew, if you see this, you can read here about my Subdural Hematoma after a bike accident. I'm fairly certain I wouldn't be writing this blog if it hadn't been for my helmet. That said, I watched..
you try things that must be at the top of the difficulty Scale, and I observed that you were about the most Solidly Secure rider I have ever seen. The one time your landing didn't seem to go right, you grabbed the bike and Stepped off of it as though it were the easiest manoeuvre in the world. So, I will not judge, but Simply wish you Safe rides.
Remember the fellow trying the same trick over and over?
Since my knowledge of skateboarding is non-existent, I looked up its vocabulary to find a few relevant "S" words. "Switch Stance" is an interesting one, meaning that a boarder rides with the opposite to his usual foot.
I also learned that a fall to the ground is called a Slam. This fellow was a strong and confident athlete, and did not Slam even once, in spite of missing his landings a couple of times. In this shot, and the one above, he looks as though he could be on the wrong side of that fence, but that wasn't the case. The perspective did result in some rather interesting photos, I thought.
Here, after missing a landing, he watches one of the other boarders (who nails it).
Drew,the BMX rider, caught our attention again at this point.
I'll let you Scroll through the next Sequence of 10 in a Series of awesome moves.
He took a well-deserved break at that point and I watched this fellow appear to..
be on the way to a slam, but no, to my astonishment,
his landing was Solid. Although, taking a Second look now, is that right foot off the edge of the board?
But Drew wasn't finished. Can you begin to imagine..
how much energy..
he was burning?
This fellow as well! He barely took a moment to breathe before getting right back to
I noticed that the fellows around the skateboard park rarely Stared at one another.
I thought there was a Subtle..
code that was respected among them. Something to do with knowing..
when it was okay to look/comment and when it was better to look away. It is Significant, though, that every time we have approached street athletes with questions (here is a link that will take you to some of my skateboarding posts and the third section of this post will take you to a conversation with a BMX athlete ), our overtures have been treated kindly.
Two Sky Trains came by, and as I was taking that photo, Bill caught Drew's..
attention and they engaged in conversation. Drew not only listened but heard, not only talked but spoke. He told us of his attraction to the street. Though he taught BMX for a couple of years at UBC summer camp, he was disappointed when fees were raised and rules established. I came away from that conversation thinking about the way well-meaning people "organize" street sports until the very aspects that attracted youth in the first place have somehow been tainted. It's a fine line to walk to get right. I'm not sure that we outsiders ever do. I was Stimulated to learn a little more about the sport of BMX and found this impressive BMX Dictionary for Outsiders by Kyle Garcia. Here are a few of the "S" words found:
Sandbagger (n) – a person who intentionally enters a contest at a lower skill level than they should with the intent of winning a prize and looking good. “There was some sandbagger in the amateur class doing tailwhips over everything.”
Scorpion – 1. (n) a particularly nasty fall where a rider flips over the handlebars and lands on their face/chest, causing their back to arch and their legs to bend over their head as they slide across the ground. “That was a gnarly scorpion skid you did on the first jump.” 2. (v) the act of performing a scorpion skid. “Did you see him scorpion over the first set?” [see also: over, OTB]
Shady (adj) – discomforting, scary, or unnerving. “That’s a shady dirt jump.” [see also: sketchy]
Shred (v) – to ride intensely. “I can’t wait to shred the trails when I get home.” [see also: shredder]
Shredder (n) – one who rides intensely. “Here comes that shredder with the long hair.” [see also: shred]
Sketchy – 1. (adj) discomforting, scary, or unnerving. “That whole skate park is pretty sketchy.” 2. (adv) poorly done. “I did the trick, but the landing was sketchy.” [see also: shady]
Snake (v) – to cut in front of someone else suddenly, disturbing their run or causing them to fall. “I was going to hit the box until that kid on the skateboard snaked me.”
Snake Run (n) – a long, winding quarter-pipe made of cement. “The skate park has an amazing 40-foot snake run.”
Sprocket (n) – the circular cog on a bicycle that is driven by pedaling and transfers the motion via the chainwheel and the freewheel to the rear axle. “My sprocket is missing a tooth, so my bike isn’t pedaling properly.” [see also: chainwheel]
Squatter (n) – one who sits or stands in inappropriate places, such as on top of box jumps, on ledges, or too close to the coping of a ramp. “I really want to hit the box jump, but there are a bunch of squatters hanging out on it.” (I Suspect that I have unwittingly qualified for that descriptive a few times.)
Stall (n) – a trick performed by placing a part or combination of parts of the bicycle, such as the pegs, chainwheel, or pedals, on an object and balancing for a moment. To have successfully completed a stall, one must demonstrate full control of the bicycle and ride away without falling off the bicycle or putting a foot on the ground. “I think I can stall the sub-box, but it’s pretty tall.” [see also: trick, icepick, fufanu, disaster, double-peg]
Stays (n) – the bars running from the dropouts to the top and bottom of the seat tube, generally preceded by seat or chain to indicate which set of stays are being referred to. “I don’t know what happened, but my seat stays are all messed up.” [see also: seat(4), chain(2), frame]
Street (n) – BMX riding on natural or man-made terrain within cities, such as ledges, curbs, broken glass, and bumps. Anything not made specifically to be ridden on is potentially a street obstacle. “We were going to go downtown and ride street later tonight.” [see also: night mission]
Style (n) – the way in which a rider does a trick that makes it his own, the fine distinctions noticeable between two riders’ variation of the same trick. Extremely important in BMX. “Dave Mirra may have huge moves, but he has as much style as two rocks set side by side.”
Sub (n) – a wooden box placed on the deck of a ramp intended to be used for grinds or stalls. “I still can’t believe he icepicked the sub box.” [see also: box]
Switch-footed (adj) –a trick performed with one’s feet in the opposite position one comfortably rides. For instance, a rider who usually keeps their left foot in the front would consider riding with their right foot in the front switch-footed. “Was that a switch-footed tailwhip?”
They took each others' words Seriously. Thanks, Drew! You gave us a lot to think about. It was a pleasure meeting you!
And, thanks to you, much appreciated readers, for dropping by. Until next time!