Thursday, December 31, 2015

A few birds and a lot of laughter with friends

Two parts to this post:
1. Birds seen October 10th, 2015 for Stewart's Wild Bird Wednesday meme.
2. A recap of our day with two delightful friends, Mary and Bev.

*I've already strayed from my carefully laid out plan to spend no more than an hour writing a post.  Back to the drawing board tomorrow :)

Part 1: Wild Bird Wednesday
A lone white goose hung out at Sunset Beach with the Canada Geese.
I'm guessing it was a Snow Goose.  We saw it for a few days and then it disappeared, hopefully catching up with the other members of its flock.
 It was a little bit smaller than the Canada Geese and seemed to have the same..
 grazing habits.
 The same day, we saw several clusters of Barrow's Goldeneyes.
One or two Surf Skoters  appeared in the midst of the Goldeneyes.
This lone Killdeer showed up at the edge of the beach.
 At first, we thought it might be injured..
 but after remaining in one spot for a long time, it finally turned,
 took a look at us,
 and then walked away with a decidedly..
 jaunty step.  I think it was fine, after all.

Part 2: A recap of our day today with Mary and Bev
Mary (Lilee -Jean's grandmother) drove for over an hour from the Fraser Valley to spend time with us in Vancouver today.  We laughed and laughed with her and with her friend, Bev. Our first stop was to look at the cormorants on the "Brush with Illumination" sculpture  by Buster Simpson. Mary had a new and wonderful hat.  But more about that later.
I wonder if Mr. Simpson had any idea his sculpture would be such a popular one with the cormorants.  It is fascinating to watch the juveniles practice landings and take-offs on the slippery railings.  I wrote a story that you can read here about one determined young cormorant that struggled with landing technique.
Bev was meeting Bill for the first time but their love of laughter gave them an instant connection.
The day was magnificent, with some of the bluest skies we've seen in quite a while.  I had fun taking reflection shots by the Granville Bridge.
 Black Jack had a lot of running to do to keep track of the four of us.
We spaced ourselves out on the beach and Black Jack's job was to run to the person that called her.  She was a bit confused at first, but once she caught on, she went into super-speedy mode.  I love this "greyhound" posture when she runs so fast, her back feet land in front of her front feet.
She had to skid to a halt to get her treat from Bev. She is about ten and a half now. Recently, when we visited our vet for a dental check, he discovered that she has a grade 2-3 heart murmur .  He asked if she was coughing or showing exercise-induced fatigue.  In fact, she isn't showing those symptoms and her blood tests came back normal.  I've decided to carry on with our regular activities and have opted not to do an ultrasound.  Even if there is something concerning going on with her heart, we wouldn't be considering surgery or any other invasive treatment.  I'd rather that she do the activities she enjoys most even if that means a shorter life span. I think/hope the trade-off in happiness will be worth it.
After a few tries, she sat politely for her treats.
How lucky we are to live in Vancouver.  We have great walk-on-the-beach weather as the new year approaches, but there is lots of snow in the nearby mountains for those who want to ski, snowboard or snowshoe.  We did have a 4.8 magnitude earthquake last night, the first one that I remember since 2001.  That inspired some shopping today to buy canned provisions.  The bang was pretty frightening, but no one was hurt and no significant damage was recorded.  I come back to my original idea that "we're very lucky" to live here, but no matter where one lives, making a plan for possible disaster is a good idea.  Bill and I are working on it.
Bill posed with Bev and Mary inside the "217.5 Arc X 13" Bernar Venet sculpture.  That title describes its mathematical composition.
 Then Bill insisted it was my turn :) Black Jack is in my right arm, though she's a bit hard to see.
 When we passed this lady with her grand-dog, I couldn't resist asking for a photo.
 They were so clearly enjoying their day together.
One of our goals for the walk was to introduce Mary and Bev to the "A-maze-ing Laughter" sculpture by Yue Minjun.  There are a total of 14 patinated cast-bronze figures, each weighing approximately 500 pounds.  Mary walked among them,
and then she and Bev played the imitation game that has become a favourite of tourists and residents alike.  We had a lot of fun laughing along with the sculptures.  I only noticed the person behind Mary and Bev when I looked at the photos later.  I think that's called photo-bombing.  Bill and I quite enjoyed discovering her.  I've come to love these sculptures more and more because it's so much fun to watch people respond to them.
 That hand resting on Bill's shoulder is interesting from the side,
 but takes on a whole different persona viewed from the front.  Bill saw someone else doing that pose and knew he had to try it.  In fact, he held the pose for a very long time.  I think he would do well in my morning gym classes where we seem to do endless squats.  :)
I thought this expression would sum up my feeling for the day, but we smiled..
 even more broadly when Mary agreed to pose in the Harrison Gallery Buzz CafĂ© with her new hat.  As I was taking the photo, Bill had the idea to..
show off the hat's versatility.  I love Mary's expression here, as she wonders what Bill is doing.
 Then, she totally gives in to the moment.  
 And talk about photo-bombing.  Bill and I laughed even more this evening when..
 we noticed the young girl at the table in the background.  If you go from photo..
 to photo, you can watch her expression change.  I'm not sure if she was irritated, or perhaps, fascinated, or possibly just curious, as she tried to figure out what could possibly be making these (mature) people have so much fun.
On the way back to Mary's car, we passed a little wedding party on Homer Street.  Though Bill and I have passed that restaurant many times, we have never been in it.  I think it is called Brix & Mortar.  The bride must have been quite cold by the time she finally walked through the velvet curtains.  I hope she and her new husband will laugh a lot in their future life together. 
Special thanks to Mary and Bev for sharing the day with us.  Thanks as well to you for stopping by, and to Stewart for hosting Wild Bird Wednesday.  His meme is well worth a visit as it will take you to amazing birds all around the globe.


  1. Hello, I can tell by your photos you had a great time with your friends. Laughter is good for you all! Love the photos of your sweet Black Jack and Bill posing with the sculpture. Awesome bird photos, great sightings.
    I wish you all the best in 2016, a Happy, Healthy New Year!

  2. I like those statues. Sometimes they can even seem maniacal with their big broad smiles. The arch sculpture also reminds me of a big smile. What a perfect way to shake off the year that has passed and look forward to the new with friends. :)

  3. Awesome geese, and wonderful killdeer shots as well!

  4. These are all so fun and I loved your birds as well. They are what makes me smile, along with the laughter of your fun human shares as well. Happy New Year~

  5. Happy New Year Carol! Hope you manage to stick to your plan!

  6. What a wonderful outing! All of that smiling has got to be good for you.
    I'm heading out tomorrow to find a hat like that, although it may not be too practical here in Florida.

  7. Made me smile all over again when I finally read your blog and looked at your beautiful photos!

  8. What a wonderful way to celebrate the end of the year and the beginning of the next. I love the laughing statues and agree that we all have to laugh more!! Happy New Year and I wish you both much laughter, more interesting adventures and contentment! Love, Phyllis