Thursday, July 9, 2015

Scenes and Thoughts to share with "Our World Tuesday" (on Thursday)

Our World Tuesday is a meme that takes us into the lives of people from across the world.  It was founded by Klaus Peter over three years ago, and originally titled My World Tuesday.  When Klaus died, volunteers honoured his memory by continuing to inspire us to see and share the wonder in our immediate lives. Many thanks to ArijaGattinaLady FiSylviaSandyand Jennifer for the fine work they continue to do to keep Klaus Peter's original idea alive and flourishing.

This is a look back to some Vancouver sights and a few of the thoughts that roam my head lately. Not a catch-up, by any means, but three days in April, one in May, one in June, and then I'll jump ahead to the past few days up to Monday, July 6th.

On Sunday, April 12th, I admired these flowers by George Wainborn Park.  
I loved the pastel colours..
and creative way they blended together.
This chalk art was on a downtown sidewalk and appeared to be mid-completion.  It is a detail taken from..
Michelangelo's The Last Judgment.  I am wondering if this is the work of Francois Pelletier (link takes you to an interview with him, but you may want to turn the volume down as background noise is loud). He began doing chalk art in Ottawa and eventually honed his skills in Paris.  He has spent time in Vancouver as well, though I'm not sure how recently.  The artist was away when I took this photo.  
We have seen so many wonderful Jazz Vespers concerts that they are beginning to blend together.  This one featured the Jennifer Scott Quartet.  You can hear her sing "I Will Not Waste Another Day" at this link.  Such a good plan and one I aspire to follow.
When we arrive early, I love to look at the instruments waiting for hands and breath to bring them alive.
I also love the moment when I feel the musicians become lost in the beauty of the sounds they are creating.  I thought I saw that in the face of Jennifer Scott's bass player, Rene Worst, here.
On Thursday, April 16, we walked by Olympic Spirit Park and it was fun to spot a few lilacs. There was a Lilac bush beside our house when we were growing up.  I remember the smell when they bloomed in the Spring, and how we carried our wilted offerings to our favourite teachers.  I loved my grade 2 teacher and would take my carefully picked lilac back to school after lunch (our house was across the street from the school) so that she could add it to the many lined up on her desk.  I don't see lilac trees around Vancouver all that often.  This one immediately evoked a memory of happy lessons with Mrs. Templeton.
On Saturday, April 18, we rode to Stanley Park, and walked.. 
 through the gardens,
 stopping to take a picture of this tree that I have long admired. 
On the way to Beaver Lake, we saw this horse, perhaps on the way to pick up a wedding couple. (Stanley Park is a favourite spot for weddings and wedding photography sessions.)
Lily pads..
 and one turtle met us when we arrived at Beaver Lake.
One of my favourite memories of the day was meeting this young couple.  
Their bikes waited while they.. 
slipped off their shoes to relax by the water.  When I asked if I could take their photo, their smiles made my day.
We continued to the little bridge where we often see critters and birds.  Perhaps, we were a little too early.  No birds landed in Bill's outstretched hand, but the..
squirrels were happy to gather up..
anything left on the fence.
Skunk cabbage..
and sleeping ducks charmed us and I was at peace with my world.
On the way back to our bikes, we stopped to spend more time in the..  
gardens.  There was a dance lesson going on in a little space behind the trees and I do believe it was mightily enjoyed.
On Friday, May 22nd the tide was way out and we walked along the beach past the swimming area of English Bay.  Black Jack ran free and I loved this shot as she came back to check on us.
 There were some interesting "natural" sculptures..
 around us.  I thought this one was very creative.
On Wednesday, June 24th, Canada still held hopes that our women's soccer team might make it to the finals.  Jennifer Harrison, of Harrison Galleries, had done another of her delightful chalk drawings for their outdoor sign.  She is always in tune with events in and around Vancouver.  Our women had made it to the quarter-finals and she wanted to give them encouragement.  As it turned out, they lost that game to Britain.  Britain, in turn, lost to Japan in the semi-finals, so the championship match would be between Japan and the U.S. There was a sense of excitement in the city for the game to take place the following Sunday.
On Saturday, July 4th, Black Jack and I were out at 6:00 a.m. and noticed hoses had been turned on to water the grass by David Lam Park.  I didn't get a very good photo with my long lens, but it was really neat to see how happy this dog..
was as he played in the streams of water.
Later in the day, we rode our bikes to the Strathcona neighbourhood as we have done a few times lately.  Our walks there had been so pleasant that a little more exploring seemed a good idea.  We locked up the bikes near this tree..  
and were in awe..
of its beauty.
That tree was a highlight..
for both of us.  UBC Botanical Garden Forum has identified it for me.  What a resource that site is!  I posted the question last night at 10:32 and had an answer at 10:56.  The plant is called Albizia julibrissin and has quite a number of common names, many of those confusing.  "Persian Silk Tree" and "Pink Silk Tree" are two of those names.  In Japan, the translation of its common name is "Sleeping Tree" as the leaves slowly close at night and during periods of rain.  As beautiful as it is, it has become an invasive species there and even in the U.S., it is rarely recommended as a decorative plant because of its invasive tendencies and susceptibility to disease.  The good news is that it is much appreciated by bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.
This truck was parked across the street from the tree.
Great idea!
And, just around the corner from the tree..
was this wonderful swing.
Black Jack had never been on a swing before but she settled in for the ride.
Kitty corner to the tree was a cherry stand.  We bought one pound of organic cherries for $3 and ate some immediately.  My kind of day!
We walked on.  I loved the colour of the top of this Russian Orthodox Church.
There were, as always, lots of interesting sights as we walked on, but I'll just show this crow that was part of a sign on a building.
On Sunday, July 5th, there was lots of activity in Vancouver.  In the afternoon, we stopped to watch this Zumba lesson in the park across from us.
The instructor was very easy to follow.  If we hadn't been heading to a Jazz Vespers concert, I might have been tempted to give it a try.  There were some trained dancers at the front of the pack, but behind them, I saw people with quite a range of talent having fun.  I checked out the web site on the sign behind the instructor, but it appears to be invalid.  This link will take you to the zumba facebook site. 
We left the park and made our way through the streets.  We saw a few Japanese fans and lots of Americans..
gearing up for the game that would decide the World Cup Women's Soccer champions. Huge congratulations go to the U.S. team for a win that was well-deserved.  It has been fun to see their fans around the city.  In fact, an article Bill and I read recently states that the true winner of the soccer world cup has been the city of Vancouver.  I was interested to read that the city benefited to about the same degree with Women's World Cup as it did from the Winter Olympics 2010, and at a fraction of the cost.
Women's World Cup Soccer definitely caught my attention, and not only because of  our Canadian team. I felt that all the teams had worked hard to get there, and that any one of those top teams had been capable of winning.  My sister wrote these words in an e-mail: "I watched the Canadian girls soccer team and although they lost a game they could have won I was really proud of them.  ... these girls have devoted their lives to playing this game that requires such fitness and skill. They played their hearts out and for some it will be their last World Cup. Tough loss but they had gone about as far as team skill could take them. The future for this team is a bright one I think."  Her words made me think about what it takes to achieve a superior level of any physical skill.  Talent, yes, but more than that.  A drive that is unstoppable, for sure, and then, the self-discipline and heart to persist when body and mind are discouraged.  Much admiration is due all top level athletes, but perhaps especially to the women who only gain our attention after years of relentless training bring them to the world stage.

The sky, that day, was hazy in the morning, but by early evening, the haze had thickened to an acrid smoke that made my eyes sting.  In fact, neither Bill nor I had ever seen anything like it.  
We learned that wildfires are burning in many areas of BC, and although we are not presently in danger in Metro Vancouver, the smoke, depending on wind direction, is travelling as far as 200 kilometres.

My heartfelt thanks to all of the firefighters and volunteers who risk their lives for ours. One man, John Phare, died the very same day that so many of us were cheering on soccer players, dancing in the park, and going on about our lives.  An experienced logger with firefighting experience, he was helping to put out hot spots in a burnt out area of the Sunshine Coast when a tree fell on him.  Also on my mind these past few weeks is William Alexander Garvie Hilts, who died on May 22nd while fighting a wildfire in Cold Lake, Alberta.  His father, a fellow blogger, wrote a series of posts that celebrate the life of his son.  In the midst of what I know was overwhelming grief, the courage to write those posts was incredibly appreciated.  I learned about a beautiful human being and his family, and I gained an inkling into the life of a hero who would never have described himself as such, but rather say he was following his dream.  This post describes William's work after he joined Conair Aerial Firefighting, based in British Columbia. It took great skill and years of dedication for him to reach the point of being able to fly single-pilot bombers.  The photography and descriptions in the post really brought that home to me.  My sincere condolences go out to the families and friends of both men lost in their efforts to save lives.
As smoke filled the air, my neighbour, Joe and his dog, Jimmy, were bringing a lot of pleasure to another neighbour, the three sitting outside in hopes of finding cleaner air.  (The air was even worse inside, as our building's ventilation system seemed to be recycling the smoke.)
Black Jack and I walked in the park, following the sun as it travelled behind the buildings.
We could make out a person crossing the Granville Bridge,
but the fact that only a few seagulls were flying told me that we were not the only ones to notice the air quality.  The next day, the wind had carried the worst of the smoke away.  There was, and still is, a hazy sky that seems to worsen in the later afternoons, but my eyes no longer sting and we have been able to ride our bikes without straining our lungs.  Not so for many people, though.  In Saskatchewan alone, 13,000 homes have been evacuated.  If you are a rain dance sort of person, a lot of people and wildlife could sure use your help right about now.
This last set of pictures was taken at Lost Lagoon on Monday, July 6th.
A lone heron looked a bit grouchy, but perhaps it was just a bad hair day.
I loved the greenery,
and the ducklings,
going through contortions..
 to claim their position on small rocks..
while attending to itchy bodies and confusing reflections.
A mallard's lacy tail feathers..
caught my eye, and then, I guess, my camera caught her eye.
A few Canada Geese walked on water,
and a racoon family made their way to dry land.
The adult was very watchful for the safety of her young.
A mystery fish - quite a large one - caused us to sit awhile in the hopes of..
another sighting, but that wasn't to be.  Nevertheless, the moment yielded my favourite photo of the day.
We observed wing and water patterns,
sniffed exquisitely perfumed roses, and admired richly-hued..
hydrangeas before getting back on our bikes to ride around Coal Harbour.
As we passed the Westin Bayshore's flower garden, I asked Bill to stop.
The creative colour combinations, have been catching my eye for quite a while.
I guess this butterfly liked them too.  I've done a bit of a search and wonder if it might be a Pine White Butterfly (Neophasia menapia).
My prevailing thought as I come to the conclusion of this post is how fortunate we are to live the life we do.  We live in a beautiful country, have people who care about us, and are healthy enough to enjoy our surroundings and each other.  We made our way back to Harrison Galleries for refreshments and crossword time.  Jennifer Harrison's newest chalk drawing was yet more evidence of her sense of humour, her talent and her happy-go-lucky, say-it-like-it-is attitude to life.
After the crossword was completed, Bill read me the headlines..
and Black Jack joined in too, as the three of us called it a good day.  Thank you so much for stopping by. Wishing you a happy and peaceful Thursday!


  1. Some great photos there of out and about in Vancouver. I hope the wildfires are under control soon. Have a good week.

  2. We had less smoke in Victoria but on Sunday by noon, we wondered if we would be able to be outdoors for a pot luck lunch and "The Tempest" put on by Shakespeare by the Sea (in a tent). We were all right but I cannot imagine how many asthmatics struggled through the day! As always I love the wide range of your activities and the beautiful pictures which record your fun! Hugs from all four of us...P, B, O and M !

  3. Thanks for mentioning Will. Glad you enjoyed the posts I wrote about him. It really is a bad season for fires.

  4. Hello Carol, I love all the gorgeous flowers and images. The flowering tree reminds me of our old Mimosa tree, it had the same kind of blooms. Great shots of you, Bill and Cute Black Jack! Happy Friday, have a great weekend!