Saturday, December 9, 2017

Morning walk

We are still shrouded in fog although it has lifted occasionally throughout the day.

Morning sun trying to brighten the day.

My morning walk revealed some shapes in the water.

Thursday, December 7, 2017


Yesterday marked our 25th Anniversary...legally...and 37 years of "togetherness". We drove into Vancouver to celebrate the occasion...planning to share wine and nibbles at The Sylvia Hotel. By the time we spent three hours in transit (including a Doctor's appointment), we were too tired to contemplate a walk through the fog to The Sylvia. Instead we trudged up to Davie Street in search of The Brasserie. Shivering in the cold we discovered a sign on the door that read "Closed for a private function". Hmmmh! What now?! John suggested that we walk down to Cafe Luxy for a pasta dinner. That sounded like a good alternative so...hand in hand, we carried on down Davie Street where we were surprised to find that Cafe Luxy had become Davie Dosa Company!! The idea of Indian food didn't interest either of us. The next choice was to hop on a bus to The Sylvia Hotel...but...neither of us had our compass cards or cash!! "I'll hail a cab!" John announced. After several futile attempts, and increasing chills, we opted to dine at Taki's Taverna. With a bottle of Greek wine and a platter of calamaraki...we warmed up and toasted our ability to be flexible...after all these years!

This morning we woke up to fog horns and a blanket of white...the building was completely shrouded in fog and eerily quiet. It was a chilly walk to Denman Street for our morning coffee at Delaney's before John visited the gym and I went for a walk along Coal Harbour.

Lonely seagull...

...and no sign of Stanley Park across the water...

...just a few brave souls on the boardwalk!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

A quick visit to Comox

We brought Adrian over to Comox for a pre-Christmas visit with the family as he will be working over the Christmas holidays and not able to join us on Vancouver Island. After he finished work yesterday we picked him up and headed to the Tsawwassen ferry terminal for the two hour sailing to Duke Point. When we disembarked at 5:30pm it was totally dark and raining heavily until we reached Parksville. Thankfully the rain finally stopped and an "almost full moon" was visible through the clouds as we drove between Partksville and Comox.

Reinforcing drinks were poured when we arrived after 7:30pm!! The Christmas tree was decorated and the fireplace warmed us as we shared stories and exchanged our traditional gifts of books.

There was a heavy frost overnight and this morning we made a chilly visit to Goose Spit where we quickly realised that we (John & I) did not have appropriate clothing!!

A c-c-c-c-cold Papa with a swaddled Heather

Lots of snow overnight.

From Goose Spit we drove to Cumberland for a walkabout through the historic centre of town.

Cumberland's Ilo Ilo Theatre (meaning place of variety in Japanese)
opened in 1914...and closed in 1955.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Adrian's at the Airport

Our Notary's office called this morning to tell us that the condo purchase was finalised and we are now the owners of a new home....still don't have the keys until Thursday morning...but...we decided to celebrate anyway! So...I began the research for Greek restaurants in Langley. Much to our complete amazement we discovered "Adrian's Restaurant at the Airport"! How perfect! Greek food in a restaurant with our son's name at an airport...Langley Airport.

We shared a delicious dinner(lamb for me and prawns for John) in a funky place that resembles a diner from the road and is quite nice inside. It is owned and operated by a Greek fellow who named the place after his grandson...a great discovery!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Salmon Arm and Langley City

In 1991 we moved to Salmon Arm from Richmond B.C. We left my family and all of our community connections behind in order to start the next chapter of our lives in a small town. Not long after arriving in our new home we read in a Canadian magazine that Salmon Arm was one of the most intolerant, bigoted communities in the country. What a scary idea! What could we expect on the job, in the schools, on the streets?!

To our relief we were soon welcomed into the arts community, minor hockey, rotary and everyday life in our neighbourhood. I am sure that there were intolerant people out there but we were rarely exposed to their ignorant behaviour. For over 24 years we enjoyed the support of our friendships, our community connections and a peaceful life in Salmon Arm.

Now we are ready to move into Langley City. With a population of 25,000, it has recently been designated by McLeans magazine as the 6th most dangerous community in Canada! Another scary place to live!! Again...what can we expect on the streets?

There are homeless people on the streets who seem to keep to themselves. There is social housing for a large number of people with special needs. It is encouraging to see these people welcomed into the Community Centre and library, to see them enjoying coffee with their assistants, to witness the patience of clerks in the grocery store as they help to process orders.

We have joined the community centre with its modern facilities and friendly staff. The Red Velvet Cafe has already become a favourite hangout for morning coffee served with smiles from Pam and Daphne. The Opus Art store has everything that I will need and John hopes to become active again with Langley hospice.

So...after we have time to settle into our new home...we will see if it is a comfortable fit. If not...there might be another chapter waiting for us!

Monday, November 20, 2017

birds and bags

winter days are filled
with strange images 
of birds and bags
as we wait for the keys
to our next chapter

Monday, November 6, 2017

Almost two years

The end of November will mark two years since we sold our home in Salmon Arm...two homeless years dedicated to travel and new experiences. We spent a total of six months in Greece on three separate trips to share Easters, John's 80th birthday celebration and a special baptism with our Greek family and friends. There was also a tour of several Balkan countries with our group of Balkaneros from Greece and Turkey ...wonderful friends who happily shared adventures with a couple of ageing Canadians.

In between these European trips we managed to fly to Mexico twice for visits with friends who generously hosted us in their new Mismaloya home for two months on each visit.

The other days, weeks and months were filled with house sitting gigs in Vancouver, Gibsons, Saltspring Island, Surrey and Cloverdale.

Added to all of these adventures was a test of endurance for our relationship. It seems that we can still laugh at each other's foibles in between occasional gasps of frustration!

So, at the end of November we will start a new chapter in our condo owners! But... before we get settled...we will fly to Mexico again at the end of December for a couple of months in the sun!

After living out of suitcases for two years...there is no rush! 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

End of the weekend

Last night we decided to take public transit out to the River Rock casino in Richmond for a birthday celebration. I am quite enjoying this new experience of having a seat on the bus offered to me. As I don't spend a lot of time in front of a mirror these days, it is surprising to acknowledge that others must see me as a white haired old woman!

On the return trip to downtown Vancouver a young woman immediately stood and offered us her seat and the empty seat beside her. I happily accepted but John, perceiving himself to be younger than his true self, refused her generosity and teetered on his pins for half of the trip. When another seat finally became available, he plopped down by the window and was immediately joined by a "white faced ghoul" with a stitched bloody scar across her cheek and hair laden with dead leaves. She was obviously on her way to a Rocky Horror party. Of course it was one of those times when I had left the camera and the iPhone in the apartment!! Back on Davie Street we found ourselves in the midst of various monsters and ghouls lurching along.

This morning we woke to another gorgeous day...walked down to Denman Street for coffee and a reunion for John at the gym. While he was lifting weights I enjoyed a walk around Coal Harbour watching kayaks in the water, seaplanes landing and a ridiculous number of small dogs with their poop-scooping owners.

Coal Harbour yellow harvest of leaves

When we returned to Cloverdale the temperature was 18 degrees and a warm wind was blowing leaves from the trees out front. Intent on harnessing the leaves we attacked the front lawn with great zeal...for the fifth time ...and discovered that the leaves on our neighbour's lawn were being carried over to us! 

With any luck the wind will blow the remaining leaves off 
and we will do the final raking tomorrow!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

A Vancouver weekend

We are enjoying a weekend in Vancouver and an opportunity to attend the preview performance of Calendar Girls at the Metro Theatre last night. What a great story!...and the cast did an incredible job.

Adrian has dual roles in the production (this is a rehearsal photo).

This morning we sailed across to Granville Island on a beautiful sunny day.
Musicians were singing, children were playing and leaves were falling.

Kayaks were stored in hibernation for next spring...

...alongside life jackets.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Sunshine Coast Art Crawl

What a great weekend!
I travelled to the Sunshine Coast for the annual Art Crawl.
Shelly and I managed to visit eleven artist venues on Saturday
and a couple more this morning before I hopped on the ferry
for my return to Horseshoe Bay.

Sunshine Coast affordable housing!

A fascinating studio!

There were 144 venues listed in the guide
for this event from October 20-22, 2017.

Thank you very much to Shelly for hosting me
and to the organisers and artists!

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!!