Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Apparently I Was Wrong

When I wrote late last week that the antibiotic worked, I was wrong about that. Wishful thinking on my part, which is par for the course for this gal. Prior to Monday evening though, we were going about our business, which included another trip to Richmond on Saturday.

Not only did we need to make a monthly Wal Mart run, but we needed to pick up the sofa cushions. The day we moved in the young woman who is our condo liaison, if you will, told us the previous tenant left the cushions in deplorable shape, and she was having them cleaned. Great. Unfortunately the cleaning process did not do the trick, so she said she would have some new ones made. Except she didn't. Finally, Bruce took it into his own hands, and made it happen, thus our visit to Bari Design.

Even if we didn't have a need I would still love going there, well, for obvious reasons. I love sewing! Plus, manufacturing in any form. I've been that way since I was a very young woman. Before I got involved with other sewists, I'd never head of the Japanese sewing machine brand Juki, however, turns out, it is quite popular with both professionals, and home users. This $4,000 Juki is but days old.
I was so fascinated to see that the piping is made and sewn at the same time, a practice I'd never heard of. Meanwhile, there is another person who uses a saw to shape the cushions out of super thick foam.
I believe these are the bar stools for the remodel Bruce is doing in the Seattle area.
There was no way to match the fabric, as the sofa came from Europe some time ago, so I picked fabric from what he had out of this bunch that I thought might coordinate. BTW--they made the pictured chairs as well.
Although the cushions and the sofa body are different colors and fabrics, it doesn't look too bad.
It helps that the throw pillows, previously in the bedroom, match nicely and hopefully pull it all together.

On the way home Bruce wanted to go to the car wash, allowing me to see a part of the city a little out of my walking range. Finally in Chinatown I saw produce bins on the street, something you see like crazy in London, but until this sighting, I thought was nonexistent here.
For weeks, at church, the pastor kept announcing something called a Walk for Reconciliation. As it turns out, not unlike most places, Canada has a bit of a messy past with the native people, removing children from their parents and placing them into state-supported, mostly church-run, Residential Schools. As you can imagine, all sorts of terrible abuse occurred, both physically and mentally. The service was moved up from 10:30 to 8:30 allowing those who wanted to, join the walk.

Further, Edgar Harry-Xiquelum, an ordained minister from the Indian Shaker Church, led the opening prayers with song and drum. Here's a little something more about him, should you be interested.
Following the service, the trek began to ground zero for the walk, with about fifty people from the church, including yours truly and her main squeeze, joining the crowd at Queen Elizabeth Plaza.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do, right?

There were thousands and thousands of people, basically as far as the eye could see, walking towards Strathcona Park for speakers, music, crafts, and food. According to the linked article, the crowd stretched 1 KM.
Walking along Prior Street, there is a different look to the city than I'd seen previously.
Apparently, all of Vancouver is not beautiful.
Of all things, taking a break from writing, eating my breakfast of peanut butter toast with a side of the iPad, I came across this article about Vancouver in today's edition of the Guardian.  It makes one wonder how much longer this area of Vancouver will look like the above. Perhaps you recall a photo from a while back where there is a crummy gas station below the super impressive Vancouver House construction site. I learned from the concierge that the owner wanted something like $30 million for that piece of land. Apparently the developers are hoping he will cave in for less, going ahead with the "super prime" real estate project. Not my words, theirs. 
There were people both young and old at the walk. Now, speaking of walking, I am accustomed to it by now, however, Bruce hasn't had the same opportunity to do the same, making the return journey  not nearly as comfortable. As we are both unfamiliar with this part of town, we just began walking in the general direction, coming upon Main Street, and yet another one of those single room occupancy hotels.
I've read that pizza place,  in spite of being a hole in the wall, is excellent. By now, I needed to pee again, Bruce's feet were hurting, mine as well, but that's nothing new, and I wanted to stop for some lunch. Bruce, on the other hand, wanted to keep moving for a bit to get us closer to home. Well, guess what? I saw a bus pull up with Granville Island as the end point and we got on! Whew, that felt good. Here's how the other half lives...
I was fine and dandy Sunday evening, and really into Monday, when I stayed home to sew. Not because I was tired, but because it was gloomy. I have to say, I am pretty proud of how the blouse turned out. This will join the three other long sleeved shirts I have. FOUR SHIRTS...what was I thinking while packing for this adventure???
The fabric, called Cute as a Bug (!), purchased at Fabricana, is just that. Actually, I did go out in the afternoon to the fabric store near Bruce's office because I needed just the right buttons to finish the blouse. It was then that I began to notice all was not right. In fact, I nearly used an underground park bathroom until I talked myself out of it because the area is so sketchy. Then I thought maybe I'd walk to his office. These are the thoughts that run through the mind of someone with a urinary tract infection! I got my buttons, but by the time I walked the mile or so home, I was beginning to feel more and more puny, with an aching pain in my pelvis.
Sound asleep, just after 8PM, I only got up yesterday morning around 7 to answer my ringing phone, thinking it might be Bruce. Anyway, he came home from the office, took me to the same clinic, and the urine specimen showed it indeed had not cleared up at all. I'm now taking a different antibiotic which is not good news for someone with a history of cdiff, however, I have no choice. We are praying this one will do the trick! Well, duh? Who wouldn't?

In park news, some of the trees are turning redder and redder.
Near the water's edge just past the low white buildings in the back left, there are tennis and basketball courts, part of David Lam Park. Here's how some Canadians are using one of the courts.
Every single day I am so astonished how people let their dogs do whatever they please, including swimming in the park fountain, which I've told you about before.
A few days ago we saw an Animal Control officer visiting the park, responding to some calls from others just astonished at this practice. Her mission was to catch the folks who ignore the leash rule, however, she told us they scattered the minute she arrived. No surprise there. What I find galling about this, let your dog off leash business, is the fact that some of these folks seem to be oblivious to the fact that not everyone likes dogs, and in fact some people are afraid of them. It took only about a day after her visit, and a quick glance at any time of the day, shows about ten people letting their dogs run around like mad with no leash. Listen to me...I sound like an old biddy, don't I?

I realized the other day that perhaps I am so wild about seeing the sky every day is because for so many years I had trees blocking much of my view. Do you suppose there is any truth to that?
Then again, one of the neighbor ladies told me yesterday that the forecast for winter is much like last years, with rain for months on end. Perhaps the explanation is that I am taking advantage of it while I can.

In other news...Monday marked our 50th anniversary of being together! I needn't tell you it has been grand.

yours truly,

Gail

Friday, September 22, 2017

Week Eight

Not one to let silly health issues hold me down for long, our eighth week here has been a busy one. Monday, of course, I lallygagged around the house, waiting for the medicine to work, and as far as I can tell, it has. Only ten pills, and that was that. My cold sore is a shadow of its former self.

Can you believe we have been here eight weeks already? During this week, one evening around 5 our time, Bill and Roxanne called to catch up, making me very happy indeed to hear a familiar voice. He was asking me which direction we faced, and I told him we had windows facing both east and west, affording, if I peek around the corner, the sunrise, as well as the sunset. Neither usually interest Bruce, however, on that particular night, even he was impressed. It began with the room turning seriously gold...
and within about an hour and a half, there was, by far, the most exquisite sunset since we arrived.
I mean, you can't make this stuff up if you are like me and don't use Photoshop or filters. In the photo below, the land mass you see in the middle is Vancouver Island, home to Victoria, the capital of British Columbia. The lit billboard you also see is one of but two that I've seen around town. :)
Tuesday, when last I wrote, I spent a stupid amount of time finding both a rain jacket and a small backpack. I've yet to need the raincoat, but the little backpack, suggested by my sister Lisa, has been fantastic! Although I looked all over, the purchase was made at Hudson's Bay, a department store that we both have found to be to our liking, with a wide variety of goods, both expensive, and reasonably priced. Bruce called that afternoon, asking if I wanted to go see Ellie's husband play at the nearby Yale Saloon. You bet I did! He turned out to be a fantastic musician, playing both electric and acoustic guitar while singing rockabilly songs. Or, at least that is what I'm calling it. Ellie works closely with Bruce, buying all of the original art for his projects.
Nancy laughs when I tell her mostly I shop, but I can't help it, having come so unprepared. But some days, I don't. Not many, mind you, but it must have been Wednesday that I decided to walk along the seawall to check something out. From my balcony perch I was seeing what looked like some sort of balloons on the waters of English Bay. Even with my zoom lens I was not quite sure if they were remote controlled boats or what.

The morning began partly cloudy...
and chilly as well, so donning a windbreaker, I set off with my camera stuff in my new little backpack. It was a good test of how I would like using one, and I'm here to report it is a winner. I can't remember who mentioned to me how low the clouds get in the winter; hard to imagine they get lower than this, but apparently they do.

Some pigeons warming themselves in the sun as I took these steps down to the seawall.
I'd also read somewhere that Lionsgate Bridge gets all the attention, but this author is even more fond of the Burrard bridge, which, only on this walk, did I notice some of the finer details.
It really takes repeated viewings of scenes to fully appreciate them, including this moving Vancouver Aids Memorial that I missed during my previous walks along the seawall.
Tragically, by my estimation, there are nearly 900 names on this memorial. While everyone can sympathize with natural disaster deaths; back in the day people did not do the same for the thousands of lives lost to AIDS.

Because it was a Wednesday, the path was not crazy crowded. The outfit the woman is wearing on the left is so Vancouver....leggings on so many of the women, not just for working out either. It's the uniform for those not wearing jeans with silly rips and holes in them. Topknots on girls are a thing as well.
Although you've seen this before, I thought this shot was so pretty, why not see it again? There are lots of better ones here, where I also learned it was the inspiration for the Winter Olympics logo!
Just before you arrive at the above spot, the coast is filled with rocks that people have used to create their own Inukshuks.
Regular sailboats after all....from afar, they only looked miniature next to the cargo ships.
It so delights me when, during a walk, I come across a named place that reminds me of my loved ones, in this case, along Beach Avenue, The Kensington House. Tom and Matt came to mind. :)
It was only about two days ago that I noticed the name of this mews, just across from the park. Bill and Fallon live on Strathmore Drive in Orlando. The white building just below the sign would be our condo. What took me so long?
Speaking of the park, I do believe it is autumn. Yup, just checked the calendar!
Because of the dark days ahead, I felt a sense of urgency to go to a fabric store with sewing patterns and supplies. I thought I could go to Fabricland, so I headed to the Skytrain station, getting off at Marine Drive, thinking I would walk the rest of the way. I began walking on Marine Drive, and it looked like I was back in Florida.
Well, except for the little maple leaf in the middle of the golden arches! I walked a good long ways, finally checking my phone to see how much further. Too far, is how much further. I still had about two miles to go, and of course the return trip, so I scratched the plan, heading back the way I came.  Marine Drive is where the train comes above ground, thus the name Skytrain.
You can just barely see two black squares that provide the opening. Do you see that crazy looking gold tree on the right? I have been fascinated to learn that Douglas Coupland, a Vancouver native, is both a novelist and a sculptor.  That man is crazy talented!

Last evening, Bruce and I strolled through the park, on our way to the seawall, and a walk to Urban Fare, for some, well, dinner fare. There are still flowers, but who knows for how much longer?
Of all things, we saw a sea lion, head raised out of the waters of False Creek!

After more Googling, I found another fabric store, this one located in Richmond, only this time it was but about one mile from the transit station. Very doable. I began my walk under the train tracks running along No. 3 Road.
I have yet to learn how to use the buses, but hopefully soon. This business, seems to have a bit of an identity crisis, doesn't it?
There are a gazillion Chinese businesses and restaurants along the route I took, before I finally came to Fabricana!
I was thrilled to look through pattern books again, although, much to my surprise, they do not sell Simplicity patterns in Canada. The clerk was not quite sure why that is the case. There will be those amongst my readers who will ask, why not buy them online, and my answer to that is, I find it tedious clicking through the designs, preferring to turn the pages. Perhaps in the future there won't be pattern books, but until that time arrives, I'm a paper kind of girl.

Landsdowne is a few stops further south from my excursion the day before on the Canada Line. There are tracks crossing the Fraser River that made it feel almost like riding the Disney monorail.
You know which direction I was headed home don't you? Mountains are North!

I am happy to report I came home with two patterns and two measures of fabric. I've cut out the blouse that I hope to begin tomorrow. Woo hoo! Eight weeks later and I might begin sewing.

yours truly,

Gail































Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Hither and Yon

Looking back on things, it does seem kind of crazy I did not know what was happening to me. No more so than on Saturday when we took a little trip to Steveston. But first we went to Richmond, a largely Asian community to meet up with the fellow who makes all of the furniture for Earls restaurants. By hand no less. Well, machines are involved, of course. Sewing machines and all manner of wood working tools. But, we'll get to that in a moment.

First, let's take the Canada Line to Broadway and Cambie Street, shall we?
The Canada Line actually runs from the waterfront all the way to both the airport and Richmond. Now you know.

Back in early July, the day we were having one of our two garage sales, we quit early to attend Judy's retirement party which was just lovely. So, not only was the party great, but Judy's sister Margie gave me a Lonely Planet guide to Vancouver and has it ever been helpful, with suggested neighborhood walks, points of interest, maps...the whole shebang. One place in the guide that I thought would be doable is the Vancouver City Hall, built in the depths of the depression in one year, at a huge monetary cost, with the then mayor having the idea to put people to work. I am a sucker for this sort of thing. Plus, I've got time on my hands. :)

Along the way, I came across these walking legs,
which according to this website, is a smaller version of ones found in Chicago's Grant Park.

Continuing uphill, I found what I was looking for.
One thing about Vancouver that I've noticed is there are people here with big dreams. I went searching for some information on Vancouver before Expo 86 and found these awesome photographs.
I love how the article begins with a description of modern Vancouver as a forest of glass condos. I wish I'd thought of that! It also notes how, False Creek, the water we overlook, was once a polluted mess that the city mulled over filling. Have I told you lately how much I love the internet? Reminds me a little of a town I know well.

The grounds are park-like, including a community garden, and indeed the building is impressive with marble walls, granite as well as gold elevators.
There is a lot more to Vancouver than the glitzy skyscrapers of downtown. Surrounding City Hall, the neighborhoods are filled with wonderful tree lined streets and old homes. This one is for sale, should you be in the market for some Pacific Northwest property.
This one was not.
Although there are loads of trees downtown, this might be the place I go to see the upcoming changing leaves as the weather has definitely changed for the cooler.

On the way back to the train, I saw this cute little birdie mural--still missing my birds!
I picked up a few produce items from a Chinese market adjacent to the station and back home for me.

Although we have talked about it ad nauseam, there is always more to say about stocking a place for living, not just staying. I have managed to accrue flour, sugar, cornmeal, rice, pasta, and that sort of thing, however what I did not have were containers in which to store them. Thinking back to the quality of goods I bought at YokoYama, the Japanese dollar store near Bruce's office, I set off on foot to purchase some things. Because his office sits adjacent to Chinatown, a Chinese grocery store makes sense doesn't it?
Holy Cow was it interesting! Their cases hold a wide variety of goods I have never seen before.
All flavors of tofu and fish related dishes above. One thing I have not found to my liking is how they sell butter in most of the places I've been. It is a one pound block, rather than sticks, which is fine for some things, but for baking, not so much. I can find sticks, but they are sold separately. and if you can imagine, they cost $2.79 for a stick. Or at Urban Fare a box of them cost $7.59. I purchased the only box they had at T & T for $4.49! Woo hoo! Last week I'd made brownies, mostly guessing on the butter, but now I know I have the right amount!

YokoYama had some remarable quality plastic boxes and containers for $2.00 a piece. I died laughing while reading the "caution" paperwork inside. You may, or may not, find it amusing.
Here's a cute little street scene for you.
Richmond would be like Winter Park is to Orlando, although mostly in a geographic sense. There are housing, retail, and warehouses. Our mission was the later, visiting Bari Design's workspaces. Giovanni took us upstairs to his office, serving Bruce espresso, while I made several bathroom trips.
He must have thought I was crazy, visiting the bathroom four times during our time together!
This is an example of seating for Earls,  ready to head to the paint shop. Made of walnut, the workmanship is impeccable.
It has been a long time since I've seen one of these.
In true Italian fashion, he was an animated host, who, when I asked if he would lead us to the water before we drove back to the city,  he suggested we might want to go to Steveston Village nearby. Then, he led us there, taking us on the back roads which are still quite rural.
Dotted with both 10 million dollar mansions and pumpkin and cabbage fields, the drive was a welcome respite from steel and glass. Then we got to the village which was as charming as he'd described, filled with all manner of waterside restaurants,
as well as a toy shop that would be any child's dream.
We ate scrumptious waffle cones filled with, in my case, raspberry sorbet, while Giovanni showed us the way to the park. We passed this museum along our way.
We also came across this memorial for local lives lost at sea, with a fisherman's needle for repairing nets as the centerpiece.
Perhaps you heard of this awful recent incident that occurred close to this location? You've got to see it to believe it.
I loved seeing the grittier fishing boats as opposed to the yachts I see daily. People line up to purchase the fresh catches of the day, including what is quite the tip off that this is not New England shown in the photo below.
Only about three trips to the bathroom on this part of the excursion and I began to think things were not quite right. We spent a quiet night at home, the doctor's visit on the following day, and I rested at home on Monday, finally finishing the quilt I'd brought with us. How happy I am to have the familiar amongst all of this strangeness.
Yesterday I was feeling much improved, however, the weather was not to my liking. And so it begins. The rainy season. This photo shows so much that to a casual observer might mean nothing. This is the small grocery store I frequent on Seymour. There are bike racks pictured, wide sidewalks, wet streets, Lotto, the multitude of recycling cans found on some streets, and the Georgia Straight paper box where we pick up the free weekly paper keeping us in the know.
Several friends sent me the link to 36 Hours in Vancouver, found in the New York Times this past Sunday. Don't believe it friends....way too ambitious, not to mention wildly expensive. When I had not visited places, I used to believe these guides, but trust me, there is no way, even with transit, that you could travel to Richmond, see the sights they mention, eat a big meal and be back downtown in two hours. Just not feasible. Instead, now I know from first hand experience that those guides are better suited for picking your own adventure. Duly noted.

On the upswing, and it is not raining so far...hurray!

yours truly,

Gail


You Just Never Know