Thursday, June 11, 2015

Variable Ventures in Vancouver

This was to be a "U" post with a theme of Unusual/Usual for ABC Wednesday, but I've adapted it for a "Variable Ventures" post to move on to the letter "V", as I missed the posting deadline.  Much appreciation to Mrs. Nesbitt for starting this meme, and to the Unwearying Volunteers who keep it running so successfully! 

I am also too late to post to Eileen's Saturday's Critters, but extend many thanks to her for photographing and writing about the Vast array of wildlife and critters in her life and for her Valiant efforts to encourage her readers to do the same.  If you appreciate critters, be they bird, fish, mammal, or insect, do check out her meme on Saturday.  I can Verify that your time and energy will be well spent.

If you are here strictly for the critters, just skip by the Videos of three Virtuosic Vocalists, though they are Uncommonly gifted tenors, and the three interpretations of "Una furtiva lagrima" show a Variety of approaches to that Venerable aria.

Lots of critters appear after that, though in rather *Vertiginate fashion, as they are sandwiched between Vancouver's city and nature sights. (*my new "V" word found at the Phrontistery site.  It means dizzy or giddy.)

It is Unbelievable to me that we can hear Caruso's voice as recorded in New York on February 1st, 1904.  The instrumentals were recorded in April, 2002 in Vienna.  The wonders of modern technology!  This Wikipedia link tells you a little bit about Donizetti's opera, "L'elisir dAmore" and about Nemorino, the character celebrating the success of a potion he bought to win Adina's love.  (He is convinced by her tears and doesn't realize the potion was just a cheap red wine.)
I believe this Pavarotti Version was recorded in 1981 at The Met.
I cannot Verify the date that this was recorded but it is with the Royal Opera House Orchestra and is conducted by Sir John Pritchard.  I'll add this link in case anyone is interested in a documentary about Placido Domingo that was shown on Knowledge Network a few days ago. It can be watched on line until July 4th and is a Veridical portrayal of his life and passion for opera.

And now to the photographs taken between May 17th and June 2nd, each Valued for the pleasure they brought to daily excursions.

Sunday, May 17th
Two Dachshunds lying in front of a beauty shop on Davie Street on a warm day. 
They turned to look at me at the same moment, but didn't move from their mat.
A man and his dog near the Cambie Bridge.
As I snapped the photo, he turned and waved.  (He couldn't have heard me as I was looking over the bridge from quite a distance away)
That day, Black Jack and I walked to Granville Island and took the Aquabus ferry home. This gentleman was sitting across from us on the ferry.  I noticed him taking a photo of us, and so I knew it would be fine to take one of him with his little dog.  I thought of my sister as she has recently adopted a Boston named Rocky.  I haven't met him but feel as though I have from my sister's email stories and photos.  He has worked himself into  the family's heart and life.  Rocky has already graduated from one obedience class (nursery school) and is now enrolled in kindergarden :) I love that both my sister and her husband accompany him to his classes.  I also love this photo..  not sure why.
A reflection as we disembarked from the ferry.  In it, I see a cat, standing tall, staring straight ahead with disdainful expression, arms/paws folded. (The cats ears are formed by the corner of the cement.)
Monday, May 18th
There was something "human" about the way each member of this goose family leaned into the hill as they made their way up to the bike path.
This is a Usual sight on the downtown East side of Vancouver but it will always feel Unusual to me.  Homeless (or close to homeless) gather to exchange/sell their meagre possessions.  This is Very close to a tourist area.  In a short distance, Bill and I walked from affluence to abject misery and back again to affluence.  The smells, sounds and sights still play through my mind.
Just a few more of the sights during that walk.  A sign caught Bill's eye.
The other side of the sign made me smile.
This plaque and sculpture are in front of Waterfront Station.  The words say: "To commemorate those in the service of The Canadian Pacific Railway Company who, at the call of King and Country, left all that was dear to them,
endured hardship, faced danger and finally passed out of sight of men by the path of duty and self sacrifice, giving up their own lives that others might live in freedom.  Let those who come after see to it that their names are not forgotten."  The following quote about it comes from this site: "Bronze Angel of Victory statue by Coeur de Lion McCarthy. The statue was commissioned by the CPR in 1922 to commemorate its employees who had been killed in action during World War I. This statue was featured in an episode of the television series, The X-Files, which was filmed in Vancouver for most of its 9-year run." 
A homeless fellow sitting opposite the sculpture was using his dog to attract passersby.  I worried for the dog as I always do when I know their homes are not stable. 
We walked to Canada Place and looked over the water.  Bill took this photo of the cranes in front of billowing clouds.
I asked this couple what occasion had inspired their costumes.  They told us there was no occasion; they just liked to dress up.
I asked Bill to take this shot.  I know that's a bit naughty, but orange shoes always catch my eye.
Wednesday, May 20th
A sparrow on a rock by Coal Harbour pond.  I loved the shadows and lines.
Robbie Burns in Stanley Park.
We hadn't noticed the four beautiful engravings, one on each side of the base of the sculpture.  Here's one of them, with the accompanying poem.

Bill being mischievous and Black Jack's contentment when he holds her is always cause for a photo.  
Saturday, May 23
A screen shot from Far From the Maddening Crowd.  We enjoyed the movie.
Biking home from the movie, the colours of BC Place drew us to stop.
Bill asked to take my picture.  That's a fence around the FIFA trailers.
Sunday, May 24th
At the Jazz Vespers performance, we loved the quartet of Colin Maskell (tenor sax), Joe Poole (drums), Karlis Selins (bass) and Brian Horswill (piano).  I thought they were one of the most exciting ensembles we've heard, and we've heard many great ones!  And, check out Rev. Dan Chambers' feet!  You might detect that he is not wearing shoes, and that his socks are a brilliant red.  
You can see them a little more clearly here.
A member of the parish ( a lady in her late 80's) had knit these red socks for him in honour of Pentecost Sunday.  The vestments worn on that day are usually red. I had never seen a minister take off his shoes during a service.  He even held one foot up (sadly, I missed that photo) for everyone to see!  So cool! 
We were happy to see.. 
that Brooklyn is doing well!  She is already a regular attendee of Jazz Vespers.
Monday, May 25th
This is Pacific Boulevard, a busy Vancouver street.  We often walk down this median with Black Jack, as she likes to lead us there.  Seeing a goose walk in front of us was definitely Unusual.
Here, the goose decided to cross the street and I worried, but the cars came to a stop (I was trying to direct traffic so no photo) and s/he made it safely.
We walked downtown that day, and the sign on this truck, at first, made Bill laugh.  However, on checking out the web site, it is clearly a useful and important resource for those who tend to fly off the handle and then feel horribly guilty.
This fellow was standing outside Vancouver's Law Courts by Robson Square.  I had seen him several hours earlier and was amazed that he was still there when we biked by in the afternoon.  His name is Mr. C. Pieszkor. He has been asking for a retrial since 1985. He had copies of letters from various judges and officials,
including one saying that his lawyer was disbarred (he seems to have two issues, one against his lawyer and one against those who refuse to grant him another trial).  I did a search to see if I could find out more information but have given up.  I wasn't able to figure out if he served the two years of jail time.  What I am left with his sadness that so much of his life has been given over to anger.  Perhaps, it is time for him to let this go, and focus on finding some peace in his heart.
We continued along Hornby Street.  That section of the street is lined with trees and the bike lane (we use it often) is separated from the traffic by flower boxes.
 There is also wonderful greenery growing from the law courts rooftop garden.
 The blooms seemed to have appeared overnight.
Walking just a bit further on, we came across this young couple doing..
a pre-wedding shoot.  We were curious that she wasn't in white, but learned..
that Asian brides are establishing a tradition of a pre-wedding shoot that incorporates a collection of stunning gowns obtained just for the photo shoot.
They are often taken in unusual settings.  What I loved about watching this..
couple was the bride's comfortable shoes (first photo), the photographer's..
the reactions of passers by,
and the variety of expressions on the faces of the bride and groom.  Here, they..
work hard to understand and comply with the photographer's requests.
They did eventually kiss, but spontaneous it wasn't :)  In spite of serious expressions in some of the photos, there was fun to be had (the bride even noticed Black Jack at one point, and responded with a smile to my wave).  I'm thinking they went home after the shoot feeling tired but happy.
I can't name this building, but it sure caught my eye as we continued our walk.
Tuesday, May 26 - Olympic Village Pond
It was a big deal to see this frog, the first ever to be spotted in that pond.
A little bit of reading this morning makes me wonder if it was in distress.  That bubble around its mouth does not look healthy and I have read at this site about Gas Bubble Disease.  Perhaps someone with frog expertise will comment.
I thought its eyes were beautiful, and hoped I was wrong that they were also sad.
The pond is a regular gathering place for seagulls in need of a bath.  
They had a sort of assembly line that day, with this rock being the dry-off spot.  They didn't stay long.  Fly in, bathe vigorously for several minutes, line up for a spot on the rock, shake off as much water as possible, and then fly out again.
Black Jack spotted the frog and Bill worked hard to keep her out of the water.
A False Creek marina is very close to the pond, and I rather liked this bike, ready to be ridden at a moment's notice.
Friday, May 29th
This house is not far from where we live but neither of us had noticed it before.
I found the information about George Leslie very interesting and imagined his ten kids growing up in the house.
Not the best photo but I like to think of Mr. and Mrs. Leslie sitting on the balcony on hot summer nights, perhaps hoping to have a couple of minutes of quiet after the kids have gone to sleep.  The house looks in a poor state of repair now, though at this site, I found a photo of it taken in happier days.  I'm not sure what lies in store for it in the future.
Friday, May 29th
On Black Jack's morning walk, I found these shoes lying near False Creek, and wondered about the person who wore them, and about the significance of seeing a second pair of orange shoes in just a couple of days.
Making my way home, I noticed this lover's note in David Lam Park.  I was happy for the Unknown couple, and impressed to see correct spelling :)
As I arrived home from that little walk, the sun caught these lilies on the landing of our apartment building.
Later in the day, Bill and I walked.  The fire boat was doing a test.  I always wonder what the critters think about the huge spray.  It is, I've learned, a Usual first-Friday-of-the-month test.  Here, I have to insert that in looking for some information about those fireboats, I discovered very little about the fireboats, but an Update on the five cars on top of a tree (shown in my last post).  Now that was an Unusual sight if ever we have seen one.  Getting back to the fireboats, there is some info in Darren Barefoot's blog about them. In his words: "The water spouts are a test of the False Creek Pump Station, part of the Dedicated Fire Protection System in Vancouver. Basically, in case an earthquake disrupts the normal water supply, there are salt water pumping stations to assist fire-fighting."
We had to walk to the edge of the creek to see the boat.
As I looked back up to the bike and rollerblade path, I saw someone go by with a basket of coloured balls.  I don't have a good shot of this but the geese congregate on the lawn between the creek and the path, seeming fine with the close proximity of sun bathers and children and just about everything in between.  I wonder what they thought of those balls!
Some new bike racks have also appeared lately. They are heart-shaped and perhaps, not all that practical for cyclists.  I had the brainy idea to ask Bill to pose with Black Jack with the heart framing their faces.  For once, he threw my idea right back at me.  "How about you pose," he said, "and I'll take the photo."  In the spirit of fairness, I couldn't refuse :)  There we go.
It was a bit of a trick to avoid goose poo, arrange my old bones, and find a way to get both of us framed.  This was the best I could do :)
I guess Bill approved :)  Okay, truthfully, we had decided to take the Aquabus ferry to Granville Island.  Bill stood by the open window of the boat, enjoying the breeze.  I sat with Black Jack on my knee.  My big lens could only catch this zoomed in shot of him.  That was probably my favourite shot of the day.
Unless you count this one.  Love it too!
The Lookout on the Pirate Ship seemed a bit shy when I took his photo..
but the drama students that run this project are not shy at all.  From the excellent reviews, it appears they are providing great entertainment that appeals to quite a wide range of ages, teaches some pirate folklore and provides lots of fun as well.
The ship came into dock as Bill and I walked around the island.  I watched this pirate getting ready for their next tour.
That turned out to include a part of chefs.
Bill and Black Jack waited in a shady spot while I checked out the ship and greeted me as I returned to them.  (Yes, I love this photo too.)
May 31st - A walk in Stanley Park
We Ventured into the more forested trails for a change of pace.  There are less sightings of critters because they have an abundance of places to hide, but we did see this Douglas Squirrel..
storing food away, perhaps to feed a brood of little ones.
The trees in this part of the park are enormous.  Here's the root-face of one that had fallen, perhaps in the windstorm of 2006.
I have given up (for the time being at least) on trying to remember the names of plants.  It seems my brain won't hold onto them for more than a post or two.  These, to me, look like apple blossoms.  
Though I can't name most of the blooms we spot, I can Verify that I have lost none of my enthusiasm for their beauty.
And, I continue to be fascinated by the expressive faces in tree trunks.  
Below, a photo of a trunk, one from a group of trees known as The Seven Sisters.
Black Jack liked the walk in the forest, but knew, as we returned to our familiar territory (Lost Lagoon) that this was a favourite hangout for..
racoons.  This one was staring at the one..
hanging out with two geese and a crow.  I had the feeling s/he may have been a parent telling the young one to stop talking to strangers.
Monday, June 1
In the morning, I loved this flower that had popped up in David Lam Park.
I do not love this fake grass, spotted as I walked home with Black Jack. It is beginning to appear along various streets in our neighbourhood.  
This article writes positively of the plastic turf, but it isn't for me, and I'm pretty sure the birds and critters agree with me.
That evening, we watched the documentary about Elliott Smith, a rock singer who died way too young.  Not for everyone, this sort of quiet look into the life of a person with mental health issues and a great talent.  I enjoyed it.  The talks with people who knew and loved him were compelling for me.    
 Tuesday, June 2nd
Another ride to Stanley Park, and then a walk that took us by the station where the horses rest between trips around the park with a wagon loaded with tourists.
The dappled horse on the left was younger and still getting used to her job.
I wondered, as I always do with working animals, whether they are happy.
She rested with weight off one foot.  (Yeah, I wondered about that too.)
Though they are only walked (no trotting that I've seen), they are always on asphalt.  They did have a rubber mat under them at their resting spot.  Beautiful animals.  That is my post for today.  It has been a long time in the making.  Many thanks for stopping by!


  1. I enjoyed viewing all of your images. One that stood out to me is the amount of street people on the street. Not one that I enjoyed but know the reality of poverty in that city. Too expensive to live there now. I don't how folks manage to live on a fixed income.

  2. Vocals from 1904 is truly a gift from the past … amazingly captured and so soulful and beautiful. This post would also fit into Orange You Glad It’s Friday with all the touches of the colour from the shoes, to Bill’s shirt, to the padding beneath the horse collars.

    It is a wonder about the man seemingly trying to clear his name after so very many years. Perhaps this search for justice has more to it than meets the eye and having a “record” is stopping him from traveling or some such thing. Interesting … is it determination or stubbornness. But yeah sometimes we just have to let go!

  3. cute pups. sweet birds. the red socks are too cute. orange shoes? not sure what that could be a sign of!

  4. Wow, Carol! Amazing post and awesome photos. Being an animal lover I do love all the dogs, birds and the horses. And your Black Jack is always a favorite of mine. I thank your being so sweet & kind to mention my blog and critter party. I love the cute heart shot with you and Black Jack. I hope to see you link this post up on Saturday. Enjoy your day!

  5. There is no words to explain. I like many things in your post. The clouds,puppies,red socks,orange shoes...

  6. So many wonderful photos, and I missed them until now!