Wednesday, January 4, 2017

It's been a while

It has been a long time.  I miss my blogging friends and admit that facebook has substituted for the wonderful times I used to have reading about the lives of people from around the globe.  Nothing against facebook at all.  It has served us very well in many ways, and I still get to read about people around the globe, as many of my facebook friends were former students who have settled all over the world. My facebook page is linked at the side of this blog.  For anyone interested, there are lots of posts describing the past year.  But today, I have a yen to blog.  I will not link up with any memes until I find some time to look up old blogging friends and leave comments.  For now, just a catch up of some thoughts and recent photos.

Bill and I still live happily in Yaletown, Vancouver, BC, across from David Lam Park.  Last winter, we saw no snow at all, but this winter has been very different.  Here was the scene in the park a couple of weeks ago.
A few days later, all the snow melted and green returned to the park.  Right now, though, more snow and a cold spell (dipping to minus 7 Celsius over night but more like O degrees in the daytime) has turned the park white again, and the streets are too icy for biking (one of our favourite activities).
Some of you may remember Lilee-Jean, a little girl who died of cancer on September 6th of 2013. I took this photo of her loving the stream of water in a park, a pleasure she hadn't been able to experience very often because of all her treatments.  This was a couple of months before she died.

I blogged about her quite frequently. She was a beautiful little girl and her mom, Chelsea, brought her into our hearts with her wonderful blog posts.  Lilee-Jean and her loved ones "danced in the rain" right up until her final moments.  Her mom has recently published a children's book called The Ordinary Girl.  It is in Lilee-Jean's memory, though it isn't the story of her life (that one is still in the works.  I haven't ordered the book yet, but will, because it appears to be beautifully written and illustrated, and because a portion of the money raised will go to research for children's cancer.  Through Lilee-Jean, Bill and I met and/or learned about way too many children who have either died from or are battling cancer.  We have reached out in small ways to do what we can to raise awareness.  Tina, mom to Sean, who passed away Nov.24th, 2015, asked that people remember him by doing random acts of kindness on the 24th of the month (he was born September 24th).
Photo credit: Evelyn Ford
We love the idea of remembering a child's generous and kind spirit by passing it on to those around us.  Every month, Bill and I pass out a few photos of Sean, along with a Tim Horton's Gift Card and a snack bar to 6 people we find within walking distance of our apartment building.  Last time we went out, we met Davin Boutang, a gentleman who is now in the process of rebuilding his life.  He sells  Hope In Shadows, a calendar with photographs taken by people who have recovered from dire circumstances.  The street vendor gets to keep $10 of the $20 paid for each calendar.  The rest goes into helping homeless people.  Davin was very proud of this picture that was in the calendar.  I took a photo of it from the calendar, so this is a photo of a photo of a photo of a photo (I think I have that right).  It may not seem impressive at first..
 but if you read the write-up (sorry it is not as clear as I would like), you will begin to understand Davin's pride in the fact it won Best Artistic Photo.  We met many people because of Tina's idea and have become much more connected to the homeless in our community.  I love the idea that these children live on through our memories and actions connected to them.
 Jumping ahead, now to Christmas Eve, 2016.  Bill and I, for the first time, attended a candlelight Christmas Carol service at St. Andrew's Wesley.  We love that church for many reasons. Jazz Vespers performances on Sundays, an inclusive attitude that welcomes even those of us who do not claim to be particularly religious, and the warm welcome given to our dog, Black Jack, would be tops among those reasons.
Here, Bill holds his candle as the church packed with enthusiastic singers, performs one of the most beautiful versions of Silent Night I can ever remember hearing.
 On the way home, we stopped by the Lights of Hope display at St. Paul's Hospital.  A kind gentleman took our photo.
 We both have new iphones, something that has been a rather fun learning curve.  Here's a recent iphone photo I took of Black Jack as she sat on my knee.
Here is one of our first selfies.  It definitely makes me smile. :)
I still love birds and enjoyed meeting this Red-tailed Hawk named Rusty a couple of weeks ago during a public education project at Granville Island.  He was rescued and will not be able to return to the wild because of an affliction called Bumble Foot.  He is very much loved by his rescuer. 
 This Saker Falcon was also part of the demo.  I wasn't as attracted to the idea that he has been raised in captivity, and is not indigenous to the area, but his excellent training to do a job at Vancouver International Airport probably saves many lives.  It did make me happy to learn that he has never had to kill a bird.  Simply flying around is sufficient to clear the skies of all birds around the airport.

We still love to attend movies and all sorts of cultural events.  On Christmas Day, we saw La La Land and enjoyed it very much.
Family becomes more and more important to me, the older I get.  My only sibling, Sherrill, is in Ottawa and we haven't been able to get together for a number of years now.  We do email and send photos and I'd say, considering the distance, we have done a great job of staying in touch in all the ways that count.  Still, I miss her and I'm sad that I don't have a recent picture of her.  The three below were taken in 2013, the last time we were together. I love them, but perhaps, I will nag her to send me a recent photo for my next post.
 We both love flowers.  Here, I was showing her the rose gardens..
at Stanley Park.

I am happy to be closer, distance wise, to Bill's family. This is his cousin, Maryel.  For many reasons, he is really just getting to know her now.  She makes the effort to join us at our favourite coffee shop every couple of months or so.  She happily joins in to make our crossword puzzle a group effort.  We always have fun and we always look forward to the next time we'll be able to meet.
 Bill's sister, Phyllis, just celebrated her 50th year with her dear husband, Barrie.  They are independently active and yet clearly a team and their relationship grows ever stronger.  I wish them many more happy years together!
I met Mary, a dear friend (grandmother to Lilee-Jean) a week ago at Granville Island.  This is the view of the Burrard Bridge, as seen from the island.
 Mary's friendship is something I appreciate immensely. Good friends are gold!
 Raptors were again being shown at Granville Island the day Mary and I met.  There was not a single seagull or pigeon anywhere near her, but as soon as the presentation finished, the birds came flying back.
I love birds, but will admit that the seagulls get pretty aggressive when people are trying to eat their lunches.
 Bill and I eat a big bowl of fruit each evening while we watch the news or documentaries on television (the only television we watch).  On New Year's Eve, we watched a wonderful Passionate Eye documentary about Yo Yo Ma.
Then we read to each other from our Kindle, as we do every evening (unless we have a movie or cultural event planned).  I was so happy just to curl up in our favourite spot with Black Jack close by, and listen to Bill reading from our current book: Do Not Say We Have Nothing. I set up my camera to catch this photo but must have erred with the settings as it is out of focus.  Even blurred I hate this photo of myself but am trying to accept my wrinkles with grace. I post it here because Bill looks great and I love the memory.
 As the new year rang in, fireworks exploded over False Creek.  I managed to catch this shot from our balcony.  Then we went out to soak in a bit of the..
 festive atmosphere.
 When we returned to the lobby of our building, there was no one around, so I used the mirror to try to catch a shot of the three of us.  You can just see the tip of my head in the mirror. :)
It took some effort and lots of laughter to finally get more of me in the photo.
 As we stepped into the elevator, we realized we could use the mirror in front of it before the doors closed.  Again, so much laughter, making wonderful memories.  I would wish laughter in the lives of each one of you over 2017 and beyond!
 This is our hummingbird friend, named Henry.  He comes every day to the feeder at our balcony window.  Here, he sits in the tree by the balcony.  I loved that the light caught his red colouring.
 One more shot of Henry.
 A sunset sky New Year's Day made me happy.
 We saw quite an amazing movie that evening called Cameraperson.  For those of you with a yen for interesting photography and deep reflection, this one is well worth your time.  I snapped a couple of photos of the screen.  Kirsten Johnson took us from her childhood..
 to situations around the world that have affected her deeply, and to her own family situation as well.  The movie is still playing in my mind.
 The rest of the photos in this post were taken yesterday as we walked along the pathway by False Creek.  It was cold, but the sun came out and there were a few Barrow's Goldeneyes around.
 The crows expect attention (more about that in another post) whenever we go out.  This one watched us intently.
 There are always cormorants around.  I love to watch them landing.
There were also quite a number of American Wigeons.  This one was digging through snow to find food items in the grass underneath.
 We only saw one Barrow's Goldeneye pair.
 I watched this female for a long time.  I think she had caught a crab.
 She fought long and hard for her lunch.
 She was finally successful.  As always, I found myself thinking from the perspective of the hunted, but overall, I have come to terms with the fact that nature works in her own magnificent way.
 I think this was Bill's favourite of my photos yesterday.  A female Goldeneye.
 I am not expecting many readers after all this time, but if you have made your way to my post, I surely do thank you for stopping by.  And to repeat: I wish you lots and lots of laughter in 2017!


  1. How good to hear from you and that you are both happy and enjoying life to the full.

    1. I am going to stop by your blog this evening. How wonderful to hear from you!

  2. Oh my, thank you, Laurie (and/or Allan)!

  3. Well for heaven's sakes! You're back - or you're still there! So nice to hear from you. Sounds like your lives have been going well. After our trip to Vancouver 16 months ago, our daughter and her family (our grandkids) successfully moved to Abbotsford this Sept. So we're paying a lot more attention to B.C. these days, and planning to be out there regularly. Take care and drop us all a post every now and then (I don't do Facebook, 'cause I just find it too confusing).

  4. I know some wonderful people who live in or near Abbotsford. There seems to be a very closely knit community of caring people there. I hope you will find some time to meet us when you do visit (though I do understand that visits are often very busy). So nice of you to read the post and comment after all this time. Going to drop by your blog this evening.

  5. What a nice surprise to read your new post after my morning kibble. I was starting to worry you might need an intervention to blog again. Welcome back! Say Hi to Black Jack. Love, Fred The Dog

    1. And an equally nice surprise to see your comment, Fred the Dog! Black Jack says "hi" back. With all that encouragement, I may put off the other things I should be doing and write another post. :) Love, Carol

  6. What a pleasant surprise when I saw your brand new post to start the New Year. As I so often do when I visit, I learned something new reading about the falcon that scares the birds away at the Vancouver International Airport. Enlisting a falcon to save bird, and thereby potentially human, lives is the kind of creative/smart thinking that gives hope for a more environmentally friendly future. It was also great to see you, Bill and Black Jack healthy, happy and enjoying cultural opportunities as well as all the wonderful wildlife in the city!

    1. Aw, Penelope, how wonderful that you found me so quickly. I truly appreciate your steadfast loyalty to your blogging friends, even when they "disappear" for months! Yes, I mostly agree with you about the use of the falcon, though I struggle with the idea of raising any being in captivity when it was designed to exist in the wild. I struggle too with the idea that humans still feel animals/birds should work for and/or entertain us. Those things said, I can't think of a more cruelty-free and environmentally-friendly way of making air space safe for all.

  7. I'm so glad to see you blogging again, Carol! I enjoyed all the family and bird photos, but my favorite is the one of you, Bill, and BJ on your couch! I didn't notice wrinkles ~ I noticed joy and love! My second favorite is the one you took of BJ on your lap with your new iPhone. I'm fascinated that the air port has a falcon to clear the air space. But what I'll remember most are the beautiful faces of Lilee-Jean and Sean. I love how you remember and honor them!