Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Dark Table

OMG! What an experience! Tonight we dined at DARK TABLE, in complete blackness!

We entered in single file, holding onto each others shoulders behind our server, into total blackness. There was not even a slight shadow, not a glimpse of light. I was disoriented and initially sensed a warning sign of vertigo. Feeling for our chairs, I was able to keep John from missing his chair entirely and sitting on the floor! Once we were seated, it seemed easier to just close my eyes. Psychologically it felt as though it should be dark. With my eyes open, I was discumbobulated.

Amy, our server, was very charming. We were able to hear her approaching when her bracelets jangled. She also repeated "careful...careful...careful" when she was coming and going. Feeling around the table we discovered our cutlery, a small plate, napkin and disc of butter. Amy brought a basket of bread and we made blind attempts to apply the butter.

Although we had ordered a bottle of wine, Amy brought glasses of wine to the table. Imagine the challenge of trying to pour wine in the dark. Adrian and Ashley ordered surprise cocktails and realized that they were tasting mojitos. The first course, a surprise salad, tested our recognition of different flavours...arugula, sliced apple, spicy brazil nuts, blue cheese, strawberries, greens. It was amazing to taste all of the flavours unseen. Two of us used forks and the other two ate with their fingers!!

Ashley and I had ordered beef tenderloin with pepper sauce, John ordered prawns and Adrian chose wiener schnitzel. Amy brought the dishes to the table along with "careful...careful...careful" as she approached. The food was delicious!! We were challenged to guess the identity of the veggies. The meats had been sliced so I didn't bother to find my knife, just chewed on savoury chunks of tenderloin after stealing one of John's prawns!

The final course of our three course meal was a light, air-filled cheesecake. We had finally relaxed into the blackness and were totally sated. It is different to converse in the dark, without making eye contact, unaware of whether your table mates are picking their noses or smooching!

It was a total sensory experience that I would recommend to "almost" everyone!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Two apartment viewings in one day and trying to get ahead of the kitty footprints on the stovetop, his favourite perch. From there he can see what's going on in all directions! Fortunately the elements are computerized to activate with a metal pot so he won't end up with a fried butt!!

The insurance forms for the break-in are daunting but I am trying to think in terms of replacement cost rather than worrying about depreciated value. Apparently Birks has an insurance department that will send an evaluation of lost items to the insurance no cost! They just need a list of items.

We visited The Bay today to photograph some replacement items...jewelery box, jewelery, backpacks. Information for most of the other things is accessible online. It just takes time!!

When are my daddies coming home?

When are my daddies coming home??

Another city sculpture

In the evenings we often walk past this sculpture on the Vancouver School Board parkland.
It always seems to say "Yeah! Summer is here!"

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Fireworks and MOA

Last night we watched the first fireworks display in this year's Celebration of Light. It was probably more impressive from the beach but definitely not from the apartment terrace. It was a creation and presentation from the United Kingdom, accompanied by songs from Bond films...uninspiring!

This morning we joined Heather, Chris and Augie for a visit to the Museum of Anthropology. A special exhibition entitled "Safar/Voyage: Contemporary works by Arab, Iranian and Turkish artists" was the highlight. An installation piece by Taysir Batniji, a Palestinian artist, featured thousands of red pencil shavings on a floor space about 8' x 16'. It was entitled "Hannoun", the Palestinian word for poppies, an association with the memory of freedom fighters. It looked like the floor was littered with thousands of flower petals. I wondered who handled the installation of the installation!! Unfortunately no photos were allowed.

In one of the hallways we discovered a collection of ceramic mosaic figures created from broken china and tiles.

Another project for Shuswap artists?? 

MOA houses over 40,000 ethnographic objects from around the world, including the South Pacific, Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas. The MOA building also holds 535,000 archaeological objects under the care of UBC's Laboratory of Archaeology.
The ethnological collections are comprised of over 15,000 objects from Asia, almost 12,000 from North America (including over 7,100 from B.C. First Nations), approximately 4,300 from South and Central America, 4,000 from the Pacific islands and over 2,300 are from Africa. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Pool time

Fun in the pool on Ashley's birthday!

Looks like the next painting!

Saturday's words

This morning's walk took us over to Arbutus Street and back to the apartment. Enroute we kept discovering pages ripped from a book.

"Saturday's" words 
scattered across
city streets

page 52 under foot
echoing sentiments
of the downtrodden

traffic lifts and floats
the yellowed pages
onto doorsteps

"you use words as a hiding place"
she says on page 51
lying in the gutter.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Living Roof

This morning's walk along Coal Harbour seawall.

Looking at the 6 acre "living roof" of the Vancouver Convention Centre. 
A gorgeous variety of grasses forms a carpet on the rooftop.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Monday, July 22, 2013

Bicycle Skills Park

On Saturday morning we visited the Bicycle Skills Park at Burnaby Mountain.

It is located on the north side of Burnaby Mountain above Barnett Highway
and provides a variety of training trails for all ages and skill levels.
Mountain bike trails lead down from SFU at the top.

Under the watchful eye of his father,
Augie tested the planked washboard pathways 
with his push bike before attempting
the steeper dirt hills in the background.

What a trip!

What a trip! Left Vancouver at 7am, picked up Dorothy and headed to Salmon Arm. After a full review of the house we made a list of missing items: flat screen TV, 2 cameras, cell phone, jewelery, jewelery boxes, foreign cash, backpacks and laundry basket. (laundry basket? carry the loot?)

Tried to contact the RCMP to get a file/case number but it was Sunday and there was either reduced or no personnel on hand to answer my query. We decided to place the perp's ladder (not ours...probably stolen from another residence)in the basement to ensure that he couldn't use it for a return visit. Dorothy secured the front sliding glass door. Apparently it is quite easy to jiggle open(who knew?). Still not sure whether he entered through the kitchen window(a physical size challenge and no sign of ladder imprints in the garden below) or through the front sliding glass door. Fortunately there was no sign of damage to the house or contents.

Our neighbour was quite sure that the B&E took place sometime between our departure on Sunday July 14th and her visit to the house on the morning of Tuesday July 16th.

As the afternoon wore on and our assessment was complete the heat escalated to about 35 degrees in the house, hotter outside. By 4pm I decided that we didn't need to sweat our way through the night in Salmon Arm. At 5pm we climbed into the Honda and headed back to Vancouver. In the trunk we carried any remaining "valuables" that had not been taken...just in case he planned to return!

Friday, July 19, 2013

A thief won't ruin our day!

Determined not to allow the thieving house invader to ruin our day, we embarked on a walk around part of the False Creek seawall this morning. What a gorgeous day with lots of walkers and cyclists enjoying the sunshine. A pleasant breeze followed us.

John decided to entertain passersby with an impromptu rendition of an unknown song!

Two carved tree nymphs stood guard at Science World.

This dinosaur behind Science World was created from recycled materials.

The aquabus delivered us back to our start point where we rehydrated and headed back to the apartment and a warm welcome from Frannie.

What a day!

As I was preparing dinner last night the building's fire alarm went off. It is a deafening sound! As we all know, you are not supposed to use the elevators. We had already descended ten flights of stairs earlier in the day so John was not in a hurry to test his new knees on a second descent to the street. Consulting with neighbours we decided to "wait it out". Looking down we saw Adrian and Ashley stepping out of a taxi at the same time as the fire truck arrived.

It was at least 45 minutes later that the alarm was turned off. Frannie, John and I could finally remove hands and paws from our ears. Adrian and Ashley could enter the building for dinner. Apparently the Remax Barbecue had set off the smoke detector!

Around 10pm, when Adrian and Ashley had headed home, I checked the email to discover that our house had been broken into! The TV was missing, a ladder was tossed into the bushes, dresser drawers were open.

What a day! 

Thursday, July 18, 2013


Never a dull moment in the big city! The appointment scheduled for this morning to fix the entry phone was a "no show". After waiting for 1 1/2 hours and calling to leave messages with the company twice, we decided to head out for our walk. Neither elevator was working so we walked down ten flights of stairs and found one elevator door open...not going anywhere. I called the emergency number and was told that the only solution he could give me was regarding the elevator door! What the hell did that mean? I replied that neither elevator was functioning and there could be a serious problem in an emergency!!

Our walk took us over to the Arbutus Cafe for morning coffee and muffins the size of submarines! Good thing we're on diets and didn't plan to eat for the rest of the day! When we returned both elevators were working. Still no response from the entry phone service company.

Franny is always happy to see us when we return. At last count there were about 15 little rolled up balls lost under the couch after he chases them around!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Back in Vancouver

An early morning walk
lily pads float on reflections
in the lagoons.

Van and Fran

My ex-husband's spouse greeted us warmly when we arrived back in Vancouver to stay with their "cat-child".  Franny, adopted in Puerto Vallarta, travels between Vancouver and PV with them. This time he would have to adjust to life with the Maxwells. In Puerto Vallarta he has free access to indoor/outdoor adventures. We just hope that he doesn't decide to have too many adventures in this 10th floor apartment where he also has access to outdoor terraces!

The first cat disappearance happened this morning after we returned from our walk. I had removed him from the kitchen counters a couple of times and thought that he was sulking under the "drawer" bed. After searching everywhere, I was in a panic! Did he get up on the roof? Did he fall over the edge? John finally found him curled up on a dining room chair, fast asleep!!

Following my afternoon walk, on this very hot day, he decided to stretch the entire length of his body on me while I rested on the couch, turning himself into a purring machine! I didn't have the heart to push him off….it was as though he was giving me his full acceptance!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Sunburst Crafts and potato salad

We were treated to a tasty lunch yesterday with our good friends Murray, Annette and Reedi. Annette's special Dutch potato salad was decorated with tangy marigold blossoms from the garden...delicious!

They took a break from their workday to host us. Usually they are in the studio by 7am, creating an artful collection of leather works.

They have been creating exquisite leatherwork for over thirty years. Based in Salmon Arm, their unique pieces can be purchased through and on Etsy. They will also have a booth again this year at Salmon Arm's annual Roots & Blues Festival.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Just finished this painting of Arianna that I started last October.
Originally from Cuba, she has entertained us in Salmon Arm
for the past two years. At the end of the month she will move 
to Cranbrook with her young family. We will miss her!

Monday, July 8, 2013

A weekend of games

Another weekend with family visitors. This time it was our niece, her husband and our great-nephew from Delta. They arrived on Saturday for two days of Bocce, Mexican Train, Rummy-Q and UNO tournaments!

Millie also provided entertainment with her agility. She can jump 5 feet from a standing position!

Friday, July 5, 2013

New deck railings

We had the new railings installed on both the front and the back decks today. The guys from BTC Construction arrived at 8am and finished the job before 1:30pm...very fast and professional.

Our house has morphed from its original "alpine" look to an updated appearance. Some repair work is necessary for the front to replace small vertical pieces of siding. We are very pleased!

The Jazz Benders

What a treat! The sound of jazz on a warm summer evening
in downtown Salmon Arm at the Ross Street Plaza!

The Jazz Benders with Brian Pratt-Johnson, Bill Lockie and Neil Fraser
entertained a small, but very appreciative audience, at the Ross Street Plaza 
last night with classic jazz tunes. 

80th birthday celebration

About twenty women gathered on Wednesday to celebrate the 80th birthday of our dear friend.
Held in a garden, on a gorgeous summer afternoon, the environment reflected
Lois' love of nature and the Shuswap.

After sharing a delicious catered lunch of spinach quiche, 
a variety of garden salads and homemade carrot cake 
Lois was presented with a basketful of cards and tributes. 

There was a heartfelt appreciation for this special person
who has warmly enveloped each of us into her circle of friends.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

How to beat the heat!

Someone left an umbrella at the water park... 
...a perfect prop on the hottest day of the year!
Reached 100 degrees(36) in the shade on the back deck!