Sunday, May 31, 2015

Especially for Erna who missed seeing the VanDusan Gardens

Erna missed seeing these gardens and so many other lovely sites so I was thrilled when Carol sent me an email today with some photos of her garden that she had been working in and she also mentioned that she had walked to the VanDusan Gardens to enjoy their wonderful displays.

From Carol today:

However, a person must also have some fun, so I have also been in the garden staking delphiniums, which look beautiful with the peonies and pink roses that are just coming out now. Blue, purple and pink, one of my favourite combinations. The mock orange under our bedroom window is out now too, so that is pretty and smells good. I also played hookey long enough this afternoon to take a walk to VanDusen Gardens, where the roses are in full bloom. Very beautiful, as is the pond/lake, covered in water lilies. We should take a walk there one day when you are all recovered.

Cats are big business these days...

Richard's friend who is opening the first cat cafĂ©, CatfĂ©,  in the Fall is currently at a conference in LA called "CatCon"….amazing...

CatConLa is a two-day weekend event happening in June, 2015, celebrating groundbreaking products and ideas in art and design, pop culture, and attitude… for cat people.
Part expo, part symposium, CatConLA showcases the world’s top cat-centric merchandise including furniture, art, toys and clothing for those of us who possess a great love of the feline, as well as conversations with some of the top cat experts in the world.

Friday, May 29, 2015

You think you might just catch a break...

I was really pleased when I heard Erna managed to get just one stop on the way home but more problems.  And now Marvin,  our last man standing,  is sick.

Let's hope everyone has a speedy recovery.

I got this email from Erna today:

Hi Janice ,  I hope you are feeling less "miserable" now, although I think  it may take some time to get better.  Marvin now has this cold, laryngitis, etc.  My cough is pretty bad still, have appointment with dr. Monday.
Our trip home was not without problems.  The plane from Vancouver arrived late in Dallas and we missed connection to Baltimore- had to spend night and arrived home today at 12.  finally.  All in all, was great being in Vancouver , visiting with u and seeing your hangouts.  Thanks for sharing. Yes, we will always remember our week from hell in paradise.
Love, Erna & Marvin

Thanks to everyone for sending hugs and good wishes….

I will be back to you but at the moment I'm feeling like this….only worse.

Erna and Marvin left us a lovely card and a gift card for the B.C. Liquor Store.  We will be sure to pick out something special when we both get better.   I was too sick to join them for dinner at the Cactus Club but they really enjoyed it and even went back the next day for lunch!

 Jim's presentation at the Open Textbook Summit went well so that's another responsibility over.  It's a good thing he didn't lose his voice in all this.

We know people who are dealing with much worse at the moment so it all must be kept in perspective. On the positive side I got to postpone my appointment with the retina specialist so no eye dilation today….yeah!

Can't wait to start catching up on the fun we've missed….

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


Erna and Marvin and I did manage to get to Granville Island and do a drive around Stanley Park.  Erna is very tired and I'm in for a really lousy cold/flu whatever it is.  I have no voice at all this morning and had a rough night.  On the positive side,  Jim is getting better and after his class today and his presentation tomorrow at the Open Textbook Summit,  he should be able to breathe  a sigh of relief.

Erna and Marvin got a flight out tomorrow and even better than they had before with just one stop.  I'm sure they will be very glad to be home.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Good news

Erna got an angiogram today and it showed there was no damage to the heart.  The enzyme that was elevated was probably from her bronchial/pneumonia condition.  She was discharged around 8pm and was enjoying the sunset when I called.   Obviously,  she is very tired but we do hope to do some things tomorrow.

So glad things worked out so well.

Jim is more or less on the mend but I may be getting what he had….ah, well….life.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Itty Bitty Book Review: "The Innocent" by Ian McEwan

 "The Innocent" by Ian McEwan

I was quite interested in reading this book since its setting is Berlin in the days when it was a divided city.  We passed through that divided city in 1976.  McEwan is always a fascinating writer for me but I had a bit of a problem initially as the book seemed to drag at times but that made the climax and denouement all the most interesting and in the end I couldn't put it down.  Classic McEwan.

Well, some good news this morning.

Ireland votes overwhelmingly in favour of same-sex marriage.

Now let's hope the US Supreme Court does the same.  I believe that decision will be coming down in late June.


I know people wonder when I don't post regularly to my blog so just to let you know that Erna had a mild heart attack Friday morning and is in St. Paul's.  She is doing well and hopes to be released Monday.  They were going to be flying home today but that is delayed.  They are staying at The Sylvia and there is no problem extending their stay there.

Jim is getting somewhat better but this cold/flu is still hanging on.  It's a busy week coming up for him as he has his SFU class Wednesday and he is presenting at the Open Text Summit Thursday.  I am very tired and may be coming down with what Jim has myself.  He started with a tickle throat and that's what I seem to be starting with.

On the bright side,  we had Marvin for dinner last night and he brought some lovely flowers.  It's nice to have something cheerful to look at….there isn't much joy in Mudville at the moment!

 Walking to the hospital along Comox Street we saw some lovely old houses and this VW Van from the 60's….just fit the neighbourhood somehow.

Marvin's flowers….thanks, Marvin!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Erna and Marvin arrive in Vancouver….and love it!

It was quite the day for them as the plane was delayed but they did arrive safely to great weather and it was super to see them.  We had drinks and snacks here then up to  Cloud 9…a great overview of the city.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

I love this!

Thanks to Linda for posting this on Facebook.  B.C. Ferries decided to have a naming contest for their new ferry and the results are hilarious.  We do love no longer being held captive to ferries.

I think my favourite is "Queen of the Damned"

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Lunch with Carol at Burgoo

Carol and I were going to meet at Au Comptoir,  a French Bistro that is getting lots of good reviews but I failed to notice they were closed on Tuesdays.  We ended up at Burgoo Bistro a few doors down and were much more comfortable and the food was excellent.  I see they have quite a few locations.

We always have a lot of laughs and it was good to get away from "sick bay central".  Jim is just having terrible time with this cold/flu.   I hope he gets through his class today without too much trouble.

Something that is dear to both our hearts is the tearing down of all these wonderful houses in Vancouver.    But at least some things are preserved.   Many years ago,  these typical wooden houses on Pacific in the West End were going to be demolished and they were saved.  I'm often driving  by them and love seeing them.  I took a couple of quick photos while stopped at a traffic light but I must take some better photos.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Making ATC's for Sunday

I have this idea for doing an ATC series of "Birds in my Neighbourhood".  I'm thinking of seagulls,  crows,  herons, geese,  and maybe ducks.  I've done the seagulls.

Making up the words is the easy part!

Seagulls playing after stealing lunch

“Will these chicks never be full!”
says the neron parent.

Geese filling up for the golf course
to do what geese do best

Canny crows planning their next move

An early anniversary gift...

Elaine sent these wonderful goodies for our anniversary which is Monday (47 years).  They arrived Wednesday,  the day of Jim's first SFU class.   He was so sick with this cold that I felt we needed a treat to opened the package early (well,  Elaine,  that's my excuse this year…).

Elaine,  you do always spoil us,  dear friend!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Jim's first class in SFU's 55+ program

Well,  he has had this terrible cold but you just have to turn up for your first class of a course in a program you've never taught in before.  He did it and things went very well and he feels it's a really great group.  Some came up afterward to show their appreciation and tell him it was a wonderful lecture.  But,  he did get an incredible nose bleed towards the end.  I picked him up and it looked like he had been in a fight with all the blood.  The class reacted well and he made a joke of it….he reflected "You can see I'm committed to teaching this course….I bleed for you." That got a good laugh.

Louise Penny writing the new Gamache in Jamaica

Her office today….I see she is using a MacBook Air just like mine!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Another great sunset tonight….

Great to have lunch with Kerry today...

We had a long chat and enjoyed the view from the Sylvia.  We're were seated by the pond and had quite a laugh to see the "alligators"….don't think I've sat there before.  Great view of the ocean on one side and the pond on the other.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Looking forward to my SFU course today

The course sounds interesting but I'm also hoping it will motivate me to finally finish writing up our living in France experiences and get the writing along with photos and paintings into e-book form to share with friends and family.

Every Picture Tells a Story: The Art of Narrative Photography (55+)

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then what is the narrative value of a series of photographs? We will take a journey from the photo-essays ofLIFE and Look magazines of the 1940s, 50s and 60s, to today’s visual storytellers, who use new technology to tell stories with the still image.
On the way we will explore the potential of photography as a narrative tool for telling our own stories. We will consider not only what makes an exceptional photograph but also how to build a series of photographs to create a story. Each week we will look at another aspect of narrative photography. Through a series of short photographic exercises we will further our inquiry into using photography for storytelling.

Every picture

The morning greeted us with a rainbow

I enhance the first one and left the second one as is.  I would say that what I actually saw was in between.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day

Dick sent me this today with Mother's Day greetings.  I found it very poignant.  I guess Gypsy Rose Lee was into micro living before it became trendy….

Gypsy Rose Lee holding her son, Eric, outside her trailer after a show in Memphis, 1949

Richard called and we had a nice chat.  He is taking us out for Dim Sum but not today.  We try to avoid Mother's Day for going out since it's such a zoo.  Also,  Jim and Richard both have colds.  Ah well,  Jim hasn't had a cold for over a year so not so bad.  

Sunset in Palm Springs last night

I quite like the composition and colour of this photo Eric Norland took and posted.  I just may have to paint it.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

River Rock Casino

We can't seem to get interested in the casino scene but there certainly are a lot of people who are.  We couldn't believe how big and busy this casino was.  We met Derek on Monday at The Curve bar for dinner at the River Rock to get some materials he very kindly retrieved for Jim from his office in Victoria.  River Rock is right at the Skytrain station and you can park for 24 hours for $2.50 so a great deal for commuters.  Derek uses it all the time for that purpose.

A different world for sure.

A great addition to Vancouver….Vancouver Public Library's "Inspiration Lab"

We look forward to using this great new facility and the online training.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Life as usual around here….tightrope walkers, morning rowers, sunsets, another run

The BMO Marathon is today and isn't as bad as usual for noise.  They don't have a brass band right outside our window at least this year. …just a sax and drum.   And it's actually over….wow,  that was quick.  I just saw the car that follows the race go by.

One hour later update….spoke too soon.  Now they're coming back on the seawall and there is a cheering section in front.  I knew this was too good to be true.  We remember the BMO as particularly annoying.

 Our new pet.  We call him the "shirker heron" because he like to hang out on this street lamp.  The other herons we see are fishing and bringing food back to the nest.

 The tight ropers seem to be a fixture now.

And of course some sunset photos.

Morning rowers.

The BMO runners.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Douglas Todd hits the nail on the head….again.

He always has an interesting viewpoint.

Douglas Todd: Don’t divide; find common ground


Walking a middle path: Pontiff has shifted focus on the environment, poverty and other important issues that tie all of humanity together

Friday, May 01, 2015

Strider bikes….who knew?

Well,  every parent and grandparent of young children but news to me.  Kerry, Katie, and Zion dropped over the other day and Zion (who is so big these days…wow!) had his strider bike.  What a wonderful concept.   There are no pedals and kids learn to balance gradually so make the move to real bikes easily.

It was great to see them all (Harmony was in kindergarten) and Zion had great fun pushing a cushion around…so much better than playing with any of the toys Katie brought for him.