Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Full Experience

Well, I've gotten one thing I came for--the whole snow experience. People are shocked when I tell them I've almost never seen snow before, but what I should be saying is that until now, I've not seen it fall, nor the aftermath. Now I've seen both. It wasn't long after I last wrote that the sun came out and did what it does best, warm things up, including the snow.
Bruce claims that he's never caught up from the lost days in Bellevue so he worked on Saturday and I was to meet him around lunch time. That is when I really saw what happens in a city after a snowfall.
Like a dummy I wore my waterproof tennis shoes rather than boots and at times it was very tricky to not go into a puddle. Let's just say I walked very carefully as to not fall. Because heavy snow, or what passes for heavy snow here, rarely falls, there were families out with their children heading to the parks. I saw this Dad and his girls, in front of our building, heading to the other nearby park for some sledding.
It was cute to watch the younger girl keep stopping to make snowballs while the older girl looked as if she was too cool for that kind of play.
Apparently it is the responsibility of building management to salt the sidewalks but what I discovered on my way to his office is sometimes that does not happen. Again, I walked very warily. With that in mind I took a different route, walking along Pacific because there are lots of businesses that I hoped had salted their sidewalks.
In certain light the new Marriott, covered in mostly copper colored glass, reflects on the pavement, making for a pretty glow.
Although I did not get lost, I'd never walked this route before, but because downtown is so small geographically, finding your way is relatively easy if you remember that the mountains are always North of the city. This photo, taken further from the water, shows the snow was still plentiful.
According to my friend Bonnie, who owns a home in Traverse City, Michigan, had we been there the snowfall would have been up to my thighs! That sounds like way more than I am ready for. Speaking of snow, it has been snowing in London and in fact it is meant to do so much of this week. We are so hoping it will not disrupt travel from there because Matt and Tom are coming for the wedding on Thursday. As a matter of fact, our entire clan will be in Orlando, including all of my sisters, marking the first time that has happened since our Mother died 14 years ago! Back on the weather front, although it has already been sweltering in Orlando, a break in the weather is forecast bringing in cooler temperatures, but not too cool. Plus SUN galore!! Woo hoo! That said, after the January drenching here, the rain was mostly absent through much of February. Cold though, although that has not really bothered me much to my surprise.

I saw this colorful elementary school near Bruce's office.
Arriving there, I saw that it was a good thing Bruce hadn't driven because his parking space was  already occupied with snow. (he parks in front of the closest glass door)
Here is Bruce throwing a snowball at the wall, something he's not done since he was a small boy growing up in upstate New York, otherwise known as one of the snowiest places in America!
The confirmation you needed so as to proclaim me plum crazy.
After lunch, he worked, while I occupied myself with finishing my novel and watching the activity on the street below. It is a sad corner where people are making all sorts of transactions that can't be good. I kept thinking it was maybe what you might call, a street economy.
You might note the public toilet situated in the midst of this corner. Passing through this area on our walk back from lunch we saw several people shooting up which is not surprising because this is the beginning of the area with the highest concentration of people living on the streets, a few blocks up Hastings pictured below.
There was an editorial in the paper last week about how there is a great push to help women in dire straights, when in fact the homeless and addicted population is something like 90% men. Watching the street certainly confirmed that for me. What it also did was make me even more grateful that our family of four sons have, heretofore, managed to thrive and prosper. It is a risky business raising a bunch of sons, that's for sure!

Leaving that depressing subject, Bruce walked with me late Sunday evening to see the Olympic cauldron in Jack Poole Plaza. Thinking it was meant to be lit up for the closing ceremonies, I wanted to see it in person. Apparently I made that up because although the lighting was pretty, there was no flame. I kept thinking about these past Olympics, imagining that all happening here.
It is not often that we venture down here, but I'm always impressed when we do because it just so darn nice and pretty, although I will say I was surprised the plaza was not salted.
A lovely time to see the lights come on in the North Shore.
We then walked home down Granville Street towards our temporary home, passing by plenty of businesses that remind us of our real home in America.

Our 4:30AM cab is already scheduled for tomorrow morning and it won't be long until we see our family, not to mention our new home, once again! Plus there's a wedding to celebrate!!

yours truly,

Gail

Saturday, February 24, 2018

A Very Snowy Day

Before moving here, I will admit that I did not study the weather in Vancouver, figuring it is Canada, why wouldn't it snow? There is a reason I'd only heard about rain in Vancouver because, as it turns out, big snow is an anomaly, happening every so often rather than regularly. And while I'd planned to write about the adventures of the week, including some snow, yesterday's snowstorm trumps it all. Want to watch how things unfolded during a snowy day? Good, I thought that is what you would say.

Wouldn't you know it, Bruce has taken to walking to work, beginning last Monday, with yesterday, despite the light snow when he left, being no exception. It must have been about 8 in the morning when it began, slowly at first and picking up speed as the day progressed.
While we have had snow since we've been here, yesterday it kept snowing and snowing and snowing.  At first you could still see some grass under the snow but in two hours time, it was nothing but snow.
Finally I bundled up to go outdoors, having watched it from the balcony. I always feel so bad for the construction workers who just keep going in any kind of weather!
Oddly enough, or perhaps it was how many layers of clothing I'd put on, I wasn't as cold as I might have been. I'd pull my camera out from under my jacket every time I wanted to take a photograph, and as you can imagine, my bare hands were outside my jacket more than they were inside.
Holy cow, was it coming down. The best way I knew to gauge how much had fallen was with my boots in the snow.
By the way, the boots I was wearing worked beautifully. One thing that was so fun was how squishy the snow feels. Never having walked in snow that deep, it came as quite a pleasant surprise.

Okay, who amongst you loves that silly Corona bottle sitting there? I do. There were only a hand full of people crazy enough to willfully go out at this time but as you will see, later on, folks got into it.
I came back inside after brushing all of the snow off my clothes and did some sewing with the machine facing the windows. You know me well enough by now to know that I had to go out again, this time walking around more. I'd been hesitant before because it was difficult to tell where the paths were, but getting up my nerve, I did it again after another few hours.
Basically I walked around the block to see what I could see.
Snow and more snow is what I saw.
There was no way I could resist taking this little cutie's picture, with the owners permission of course.
I can't help but wonder what Baxter would have made of this kind of snow. Having said that,  I have a suspicion he would not have enjoyed it one bit! So, now the snow was this deep.
I still cannot believe that I had the pleasure of doing this! Dreams do come true my friends.
Abruptly, around 4:00 it quit snowing and you could see again, including all of the folks below who brought their dogs out to play. I may be wrong on the time because in the photo below you also see the crows flying to their roost, generally just before sundown.
At any rate, I knew it was not meant to last because I could see it coming in on the mountains. I'd asked Bruce to leave work no later than 5:00, which he did,  however,  it was not early enough. The snow came right back, falling quite hard by the time he was safely inside. After dark, the lit snow below looks so cool. No pun intended. :)
There is not a chance in the world of getting bored while living in this fantastic condo as the scene below is every changing. How could we not be so happy and grateful?

We went to bed before the snow began falling again, but it was meant to go on for hours overnight, making me anxious for daylight once we woke up this morning.
Wearing two coats, my pajama top, jeans, and my boots, I went out at first light. Yup, it snowed again alright.
Boot photo...
How lucky we have been to live next door to a park.
I was pretty much the first one out, allowing me to experience the pristine snow, along with a blush in the sky reflecting on the water below.
Oh that squishy feeling--so good! Our building in the morning light.
As I type, the sun is brightly shining and the park is filled with children making snowballs, people walking the seawall, dogs racing to and fro, and little ones on the swings, but when I was there, I pretty much had the place to myself.
Sunrise, snow, the mountains in the distance, what a difference a day makes! I could have spent hours out there, however, my battery was blinking, so one more shot before I went upstairs.
This may be the last snowfall of the year, but then again, maybe the prediction for snow next Friday will come true. We won't be around to witness it should that happen because we will be in sunny Florida!

As a matter of fact, the wedding is one week from today. How about that? While we are gone you will get a break from me blogging as I won't have my computer with me. I know one thing for sure, I won't be coming back with any snowy photographs, but I will have some of a beautiful bride and her handsome husband. For sure.

yours truly,

Gail

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Maximum Color

It was cold on the day of the parade, not as cold as today, but enough so that we walked to Bruce's office bundled up where we planned to watch the parade in comfort. Walking down Pender we began seeing a little of what was to come.
Please note the take out sushi for $1.95 in the store window on the left! Sushi is so commonplace here that it is even sold in convenience stores!
As we approached the gate to the parking lot, performers were milling about in front of it.
We had to hunt around for an office window that looked down upon the proceedings and Bruce opened the window that I might use for taking photographs. Friends, I have pared them down as much as possible but with a parade as colorful as this one, it was a challenge to do so.

Unlike any parade we have ever witnessed, this one was full of stops and starts, loads of firecrackers as well as horrible music. Well, not all of it was bad, but they use some sort of cymbals that I was hoping to learn about from this article, however, no such luck. Although Prime Minister Trudeau marched in last year's parade, apparently he had other things to do, however, the longtime mayor of Vancouver is pictured in the blue jacket below.
As is true for most politicians, he is both loved and hated. Following the sounds of hundreds of firecrackers going off the parade began, oddly enough bagpipers were one of the first to march.
Bruce noticed that we were not the only ones watching from above, although I will say I suspect we were much warmer than he was.
Soon the riot of color began,
Although my spot was toasty, I did have an issue that you may notice---a cable runs through the top of many of my shots that I could not avoid including. Just a heads up on that.
It was the weirdest thing seeing photographers get right out in the street to get their shots, beginning with only the professionals, morphing into whoever felt like doing the same. Further, note the position of the sidewalk crowd in the foreground. Later on you will see how they surged onto the pavement in front and were continuously asked by the police to move back. No sooner had they moved back than they surged forward again until the security finally tied a rope in front of them to keep them back. It was pretty crazy watching it all happen from above.
See how they are barely giving the performers room to do their thing? Is this what is called passive aggressive behavior?

I have no idea what most of this signifies, however, this much I do know, it is the Year of the Dog and those little children are supposed to be dogs. Actually, I only think that is what they are. More color coming in the form of dancers,
and I guess what you might call fan dancers.
Mostly there were either women or girls performing so it was rare to see a little group of mostly boys.
Do your eyes hurt from the color yet? There's more! Perhaps you remember me mentioning the large gate in the past? At any rate, it is a remnant of  Expo 86, a gift from the People's Republic of China.
Clearly this woman is enjoying her time in the limelight.
These were some super cute costumes below.
And still they kept coming. The ladies pictured in the second photo of this post, performing below.
One more!
As you can see, the crowds began thinning at the end of the parade, perhaps due to sensory overload? I know I'm feeling that just posting these photographs! That said, I would be remiss not to include at least one shot of the fantastical masks on display. Plenty of them on view during the actual parade.
I cannot even imagine how they make this stuff, can you?

That is going to do it for today my friends although before I go, this blog post from February 21, 2017 popped up as a memory on facebook. To answer the posed question in that post, we are thrilled that we said yes to an adventure.

yours truly,

Gail







Long Beach, CA