Thursday, October 12, 2017

A new home

We have finally found a new Langley. It is an 1140 square foot condo on 54th Avenue that offers a large bright space for my studio. Possession will be on November 30th (exactly two years after selling our home in Salmon Arm) but we don't plan to live in the unit until next spring.

The month of December will be devoted to cleaning, painting and re-carpeting two rooms. January and February will be spent with friends in Mexico while the condo bathroom is gutted and refurbished. the spring...when the roads are clear of ice and snow...we will empty the storage locker in Salmon Arm and bring our stuff down to the new home.

Meanwhile...reservations are made for a celebration dinner tonight!!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Thanksgiving Monday

More walkabouts in town on Thanksgiving Monday...

...and then a delicious dinner with our niece and her family...

...where we we did the traditional "height test"!
Our grand nephew is 6'-5"...and still growing!!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Campbell Valley Regional Park

This morning we decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather by going for a walk through Campbell Valley Regional Park.

A woman was photographing birds as they scooped up seeds from her hand. She offered us each a handful of seeds to distribute to hungry birds along the trail.

This little guy made sure that his competitors stayed away!

Forevers and what-ifs

I realised this morning that I have been weighted down by the heavy thoughts of "forever" woven with thick strands of "what-ifs". It was time to remember a couple of truths...that nothing is forever ...and... that it is impossible to consider all of the solutions to "what-ifs". When this reality settled into my anxious brain...there was a feeling of lightness. Freed from having to forecast every possible scenario of life in a new home...I was able to discard my doubts and take a fresh look at the streets of our future home as I walked along.

A local artist expressed joy in this scene!

Friday, October 6, 2017


We are on the verge of ownership...again. Our offer was we wait for everything to clear by October 12th. It is old...with many stories... hidden in the walls... from 1978 to today!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Solo in Downtown Vancouver

Yesterday was an interesting experience in solo travel to downtown Vancouver. I had scheduled a hair appointment for 1:00pm so I decided to leave early in the morning and use the transit system instead of driving. I was not only the oldest passenger but also the only one with white skin and white hair in a melodic blend of youthful coffee colours and scents for the entire trip!

I had forgotten how Saturday mornings in downtown Vancouver are quiet! My first choice for a morning coffee was closed(no offices open in the Marine building) so I wandered over to Granville Street to find an Intelligensia outlet where I sat with two other customers. They stared at their handheld devices while I studied them...young and oblivious. Could this be a future theme for paintings?

When I became bored with observing these inert young people I wandered up to The Bay. This store holds many memories for me... hours spent shopping for shoes, clothes and panty hose when I was working downtown many years ago. I caressed the $90 bras and closely examined the $850 shoes while wondering ...who shops in this store now?!

Back on the street I decided to check out the library...previously only viewed from the outside. Wow! The layout that was posted inside directed me to the 5th floor...the QUIET floor... with magazines and newspapers. Fortunately it was also loaded with shelves of art books. Taking several books, I found a quiet table and comfortable chair to (hopefully) stimulate my creative side.

I marvelled at Richard Estes' realism, wondered at Alessandro Raho's translations of emotion through clothing and loved Jonas Burgert's swaddled images. It was thrilling to discover these artists!

Filled with imagery and stimulation I decided that it was time to see the exhibit at the Art Gallery and savour the flavours from one of the food carts that sets up outside the gallery. Unfortunately, when I arrived at the gallery, there was a long line of people to enter the gallery along Howe Street extending toward Georgia Street and no food carts in sight!

My solo day in downtown Vancouver was not working out exactly as planned! Maybe a little sushi was the answer. So, after enjoying some sashimi, I finally arrived at my hairdresser's for the scheduled appointment. After having white hairs snipped and shaped I hopped on the Expo Line and then squeezed into a jam packed bus for the trip back to Cloverdale. Young people offer me their seats these days!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Leaving Chicago

We are packing and making leisurely plans for our Chicago exit.

"Gentlemen", a bronze plated sculpture by Ju Ming, located in the AMA plaza.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Sunday in Chicago

Our day started near noon today...brunch at Hub 51 with Mitch and Sander...great food and another chance to replay the events from last night's birthday celebration. We all agreed that it was a huge success...every detail well organized by Mitch!

After brunch we ventured into the heat and walked to the Chicago Cultural Centre, housed in an amazing building on Michigan Avenue. The current exhibition is a 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial...North America's largest international exhibition of contemporary architecture.

The bottom photo is actually a miniature...tiny tables and chairs!

While the exhibitions were very interesting...the building itself has several unique features.

These two domes are breathtaking!

Piranesi Circus in the (inaccessible) centre courtyard of the Cultural Centre.

Back in the outside heat we were in need of hydration and stumbled into a Mexican pub!

Our waiter was very sweet...only charging us for one Diet Coke instead of two!

After a much needed nap we returned to Sullivan's Bar 
for a glass of wine and appies before an evening stroll.

Surprise 90th birthday celebration

Mitch picked us up at 3:00pm and took us for a personal tour of Oak Park, the area where he grew up. We drove past his his childhood home and down the street to Frank Lloyd Wright's home and studio. It is a beautiful part of Chicago with many examples of Frank Lloyd Wright's stunning architecture. Mitch pointed out particular buildings and their histories. 

After this personal tour we drove to Fred and Toby's apartment for the first part of her 90th birthday surprises! She was truly surprised when we walked in! It was the first meeting for John and Fred, Mitch's adoptive father. We spent a couple of hours visiting, looking at photos and we even managed to fit in a game of of Toby's favourite pastimes. 

Time passed quickly and it was soon time to walk over to the Italian restaurant where family members were waiting to surprise Toby again! It was a great surprise! She was embraced with hugs, stories were shared and we were introduced to everyone! It was very overwhelming for me to finally meet so many family members that I have heard about over the years.

Mitch presented several gifts to Toby with much applause from the group....

...including an autographed copy of Rich Little's (Canadian comedian) book.

The Italian restaurant did a wonderful job of serving several courses of delicious food over the next couple of hours and young family members provided entertainment. Several of the adults also sang songs and played guitar music.

Aaron and his children played Happy Birthday while a beautiful cake was carried into the dining area.
Very kindly, there were less than 90 candles on the cake!

After walking back to the apartment with Fred and Toby we sped back to the downtown area
where Mitch had reserved a table for us at Andy's Jazz Club.

I am sure that the Jazz was was that cacophonous jazz 
that assaulted my eardrums and resulted in a roaring headache.
We stayed until almost 1:00 am before retreating to the busy streets of Saturday night in Chicago
where long lineups of gorgeous young people were on parade outside clubs.
There was definitely more skin than fabric on display!!

Architectural Boat tour

What a day! The temperature was already climbing upward into the nineties when we left the hotel around 10:00am. The River Walk is a short distance from the hotel so we sauntered along the pathway while watching bridges open and close over the river. 

The next Architectural Boat tour was scheduled for 11:30am so we bought tickets and found a shady spot to wait. I visited a Walgreen's store to buy water and picked up a baseball cap for myself. The tour boats are all open topped with most passengers seated in the open under an extremely hot sun! We managed to find seats under cover in the bow of the boat. For most of the 1 1/2 hour trip we were protected from the sun...but...we couldn't hear the tour guide! Chicago's architecture is varied and interesting. Also...apparently you can follow the Chicago River in a southward direction and link into other waterways that will take you to the Gulf of Mexico!

It must have been close to 100 degrees when we disembarked and walked back to the hotel...a tough walk in the heat. There was time for a shower and short rest before Mitch had arranged to pick us up at 3:00pm. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Chicago - Day One

Well, we missed breakfast after a wonderfully long sleep. It felt like the temperature had already reached the predicted high of 94 degrees when we left the hotel at 9:30 am in search of coffee and a bagel. My apologies if the photos and text don't look right to my viewers. It's this damned iPad again!!

The Art Institute welcomed us with air conditioned galleries full of valuable artwork. We wandered past pieces by Edward Hopper, Grant Wood, sculptures by Rodin and Picasso, stained glass by Chagall and paintings by all of the Impressionists. 

The Museum Cafe offered a wide selection of foods for our lunch before we headed back outside for a HOT walk back to the hotel around 2:00pm.

The downtown core is easy to navigate and the tall buildings provide shade and a corridor for the breezes to whip through...very appreciated! Enroute we passed a four sided piece by Chagall in tiny tiles and stopped for a rest beside a full sized sculpture by Picasso...the same as the miniature one in the Art Institute.

It is time for a rest. Tonight promises more adventures with Mitch!

Thursday, September 21, 2017


It was a long day of travel...up at 6:30am for a drive to the airport...transfer in Seattle to a full load of passengers bound for Chicago. After a jerky, slow taxi ride from O'Hare airport to downtown Chicago we arrived at the hotel around 7:30pm, unpacked our "bag" and went for a short walk to Sullivan's for a drink and appies. It was the perfect spot...the perfect drinks (I had a martini) and the perfect appies! music...a taste of the big city. Just enough before returning to the hotel to rest up for a busy day tomorrow in 90 degree heat!!

Saturday, September 16, 2017


We are enjoying the (possibly) last day of summer before the weather reverts to typical fall precipitation. The tomatoes have been harvested before their skins split in a heavy rainfall that is predicted for tomorrow. The kitchen counter is lined with shiny red and green balls of flavour.

This morning we visited my sister who was hosting a Yard Sale before her move to Campbell River.

Their driveway was lined with hundreds of treasures that they have gathered over the years...but very few customers arrived while we were there. Maybe the afternoon hours will bring hordes of buyers.

The condo market continues to deny us are just waiting for the right place to come along. Until then...we are enjoying life in the slow lane.

Sunday, September 10, 2017


Thank God for Toaster Ovens!
The food was ready...brie stuffed salmon for baking, veggies for roasting...and the doorbell rang. Our dinner guests had arrived and I still couldn't figure out how to operate my sister's oven. I pushed "BAKE" and it fed me a message about a fan not cooling. I repeatedly cancelled everything and tried luck. 

Fortunately my sister has a lovely little toaster oven on the backyard patio that she used during the heat of summer. I moved the salmon onto a pan that fit the small oven and transferred the veggies into a smaller dish. The meal was a success! I will never live without a toaster oven!!

Our guests arrived with a beautiful floral arrangement and were very understanding of the delay in dinner delivery. It wasn't until later in the evening that I realised that it had been many months since I had attempted to cook a meal in an oven!

Today was harvest time for tomatoes in the garden...some were chopped up and frozen for winter soups and sauces...some were added to a Greek salad and the precious little yellow cherry tomatoes were eaten like candy. There are still some green ones on the vines. If they don't ripen we will have fried green tomatoes in the future.

Now that we have settled in one spot for a while our discussions are becoming more serious about where we want to find a new home. For the summer months we were considering Langley...but, now we are uncertain about this area due to the crime statistics. Vancouver Island is another possibility as our daughter just moved to Comox and one of my sisters is moving to Campbell River. Fortunately there is no pressure to make a has only been 21 months of homelessness!!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Decompression time

We have been driving and ferrying and visiting and eating and drinking! Whew!
After three nights in Gibsons with Shelly and the puppies
we finally arrived back in Cloverdale for a two day visit
with my sister and her husband before they left in their RV.

Safe and fun travels!!

We will finally be in one spot for at least three months!
Our bodies have been relocated from bed to bed 
and back again....53 times in the past 21 months.
It is time to decompress and focus on the next chapter.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017


Enjoying our visit in Comox!...

...with local produce at Seifert's Farm...

...and "climb-on" tractors...

...and gymnastic leaps on the trampoline...

...and experiments on one of the community pianos!!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Leaving Saltspring

On Sunday. our last full day on Saltspring, John went into the gym while I explored the town again. 

These gorgeous driftwood creations were on display.

I spent the rest of the day preparing salads...potato, kale, rice and Greek salads...all ready to share with our friends on their return last evening. Ingredients and herbs from their garden were mixed into the salads and chilled along with a bottle of Vino Verde.

This morning we had a quick breakfast before heading to the ferry...back to Vancouver Island.

A twenty-five minute ferry ride took us back to Crofton.
Driving north past Chemainus we spotted a small cafe and decided to stop for coffee.

The Dayliner Cafe is a "delightful little bistro".
The building was once a garage and Saltair's railway station.
Inside we found some memorabilia and lovely seating areas.
Outside there were tables in the garden.
Great food and excellent, smiling service!

In Qualicum Beach we visited our friend again and were thrilled to spend time with her daughter and grandson. After sharing many more memories and some good food we headed north again toward Comox, making a short detour through Cumberland, originally a coal mining town that is packed with old buildings. With a population of 3400...many live in company houses...reminders from the past.

After another day of travels...we are finally in Comox and ready for a rest.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Busy week

We have had a busy week. John signed up at the local gym and I have made trips to the Community Garden every second day to provide nourishment for the herbs and veggies. We have also been ensuring that the home garden is watered every evening.

Adrian arrived on Wednesday for two nights and prepared a delicious dinner for us. He also tried to teach his father the intricacies of using "Spotify"to select musical options on his iPad.

The results were his father refused to accept our song choices 
and kept interfering with the musical flow!

On Friday we took Adrian to the ferry at Long Harbour and welcomed my sisters to the island for a six hour visit. Barb's Buns supplied a delicious lunch before we attempted to find the cabin that we had occupied fifteen years ago. It wasn't until we returned to the house and checked online that we found the location...nowhere near our search area!

Saturday Market is a weekly event in Ganges that attracts hordes of islanders and "blow-ins" from the mainland. We headed into the town centre early this morning for coffee and John's gym session. While he was at the gym I wandered through the market stalls as they were setting up. Cranberry and white chocolate scones caught my eye...and...fresh, juicy figs! I also discovered Stephanie favourite Saltspring artist in her stall. What a treat to talk with her about her process and some of her pieces. Unable to afford an original, I did purchase a print of "Tea Time"!!

From the market I walked across to Black Sheep Books and found a section on Saltspring Poets. "Anything but the Moon" by George Sipos looked like a gift that John would appreciate so I took it to the cashier who questioned me about why I had chosen this particular book. I explained that a brief overview of his poems struck a cord with me. She replied "Oh good! He's my husband! Now I can tell him that I sold some of his words today!"

Our friends are returning to Saltspring tomorrow so our housesitting will come to an end. We plan to ferry back to Vancouver Island on Monday for a quick peek at the freshly painted walls and new furnishings in Comox. From there we will travel across to Powell River and down to Gibsons for a couple of nights before returning to Cloverdale.

Saltspring has been wonderful!