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Remembrance Day in Canada

It is not in our nature to spend this year in Canada without participating in the local proceedings to the best of our ability. For some folks, being a part of a church group is not their thing, however, for us it is proving to provide not only food for our souls, but for our sense of belonging, something we, of course, took for granted while living mostly all of our life in one place. And so it was that a week ago Sunday I wrote that it was a terrific service, in part because they take their duty seriously as to remembering those who have gone before them. Tremendous music, as well as recited poetry, lighting of candles for those who passed away during the previous year. That sort of thing. And yes, there was the singing of O Canada with vigor. We learned that the red poppies everyone was wearing were to be removed on November 11, the same day we celebrate Veteran's Day in the States. Throughout all of last week I saw the young and the old sporting poppies on their jackets, their way of showing support for the military. So, that is a little background for you and I'll get to more on that in a moment.

At this time of year, if the sun is shining you want to be out of doors, that is all there is to it. Except, try as I might to get a mani/pedi appointment for one of the rainy days, it didn't happen. Instead, I had one for 10:30 on the only sunny day of the week, Friday. On my way, I could not help but be smitten with the trees along Beach Crescent.
Most of the park trees have lost their leaves, aside from this large stand.
You may be thinking to yourself, why not just wait as you've done for quite some time now? Well, we were actually going out for dinner with some locals! Yup, the same fellow that makes the furniture for Earls, invited us out to eat at one of their families favorite local places in Kitsilano. Pina, Giovanni's wife, grew up there as did he. As they are both Italian, we went to, you guessed it, an Italian restaurant where they know the owners. We had a delightful time, however, like a dummy, I left the card out of my camera so no photographic evidence!! After our meal, he drove us around that part of Vancouver, showing us where the University of British Columbia campus is. I can't wait to go back during daylight hours.

But, back to the manicure. You may recall that the last time I had one here, two woman worked on me at once which felt so strange to me. I knew I did not want to return to that salon so I tried a new one that has all Chinese workers. I got a wee bit lost finding it, but eventually I made it,and had Cynthia all to myself for the next like 2 1/2 hours!
Talk about diligent! Oh my...finally my feet feel better after she cut calluses off the bottom....well, I won't go into the gory details, suffice it to say, although as the hours passed, and the sunshine was waning, it was all worth it in the end.

After a late lunch and attending to Baxter, I decided to take a walk while it was still daylight, heading to the West End along Beach Avenue.
Before the leaves are all gone, I especially wanted to walk down Burnaby Street as I'd seen from Burrard that it was pretty magical.
The West End is a perfect place to walk as most of the streets are residential, with lower rise buildings, although that is soon to change, much to the chagrin of the locals.
I am always amazed when I see folks with walkers heading up or down the steep streets. Not steep like San Fransisco, but steep enough. What can I say about the Japanese Maples that hasn't already been said before?
When I first set out, I got a call from the vet who told me that the geriatric blood work came out just fine, as did the urinalysis, so that was good news. She said she would call today with the culture results; she is as good as her word because I just heard from her and indeed that showed bacteria. I am putting off the walk there to get the medicine, finishing this up, and hoping the rain quits in the meantime. For that I'm not holding my breath!

Could this place be affiliated with our Hamburger Mary's? It's a small world after all!
I'd read in one of the papers that the Remembrance Day ceremony and parade were to be held on Saturday morning in Victory Square, near Bruce's office. How could I not go? The day was gloomy, and a little bit wet, so I wore the Uniqlo Heat Tec pullover, as well as a long sleeved t-shirt and my hot pink rain jacket. At the last minute I changed backpacks in order to carry an umbrella as well. All precautionary mind you. As I drew nearer, these little girls were handing out programs, having fun while doing so.
I heard singing and a large crowd forming. I will say this much, these Canadians, (because I don't want to generalize too much), were so respectful, it was really something.
Finding a bench to stand on, I thought perhaps I'd call Bruce to let him know I was fine and dandy. Except, I had left my phone on the counter when I changed packs. Not to worry, a lovely woman allowed me to text him. He replied he'd walk over. She, the nice woman, texted him that I was standing on a bench in my bright pink jacket so I'd be easy to spot. The festivities, if you can call it that, began with a parade of soldiers, and the like, marching down to W. Hastings to listen to the program. Kilt wearers!
I'll tell you what, it was such a moving program and again people were so respectful, I was amazed. At the beginning of the program, there was the singing of O Canada followed by a fantastic reading, by the director of the local Shakespeare troupe, of a poem that is guaranteed to bring a tear to your eye. Something called the Last Post with trumpeters, one situated on the balcony next to the WE,
while the responder was on the ground. Wreaths were placed, and the program ended with God Save the Queen. So, the nice woman left, and I was still standing on the bench looking around for Bruce when all of a sudden someone said, Hi Gail! Holy Cow! That someone was a man from church who we've chatted with on a number of occasions. What a shock that Gordon would see me amongst the crowd. But then again, I was wearing a hot pink rain jacket. He asked after Bruce and I said I had no idea where he was because I had no phone. Call him, he said as he extended his phone. Between Gordon and myself, we guided him towards where we were. Woo hoo!

The parade passed by..
and then following Gordon's lead, as he told us the poppies were meant to be pinned on the various wreaths, we did just that.
Honestly, they take this all very seriously.
By now it was darn chilly with rain imminent. We parted ways with Gordon, heading to Bruce's office so he could finish up what he was doing, but not before Gordon loaned him his scarf!
Looking down from one of the windows in his office building as we left. So happy the rain held off until the ceremony was complete.
Bruce asked if I wanted to go out to lunch and my answer, of course, was yes, let's go to the Railway Stage and Beer Cafe, mostly because I'd read some things about it.  Who knew that a band was playing? Lots of folks actually as the stage area was full so we sat in the back enjoying the music and the rustic look.
Pouring rain outside, but very cozy inside. The whole band was super; the woman singer did an acoustic rendition of O Canada like she often does for the Vancouver Cannucks NHL team. If you are counting, that is the third time we'd heard it in less than a week, which is fine by me because it is a lovely song. The day ended in front of college football and the fireplace.

Sunday already??  While waiting for the walk sign to cross the street, I put my umbrella down and asked B to take a photo of me in the COAT. Ignore more wet spots!
As I am the most non-photogenic person you know, this isn't too horrible for a quick shot. I was wearing a dress and a light scarf with my coat, and I was comfy as could be. Instead of our usual wandering and lunch out after the service, we came home instead because I had a plan. After eating and a nice long nap for Bruce, we braved the weather again, heading back to church for something they call Jazz Vespers. We'd heard of it for the last few months so now was a good time to find out what it is all about. In this instance, it was about a group playing songs from the war years, and were they ever great.
I wish the above were better, but I take what I can get. Following the service our plan was to go to Bin 914 on Davie Street, a small tapas bar Bruce had passed on several occasions. Before we got there though, I was delighted to see the Burrard Hotel sign lit up as I've admired it in daylight.
Plenty rainy for sure. This taking photographs is going to get a lot trickier in the upcoming days! The place was super cozy, and small, seating only about thirty people.
I think you must have to get there when they open at 5 to get one of the two window booths. Brussel sprouts to die for. Oh my!

Bruce left this morning for some days in Seattle during which time I am planning to stay busy so I don't miss him too much. Doing what you ask? Who knows?

yours truly,



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