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Continuing Birthday Celebrations for Mr. Peck

I used up the last of the arborio rice last night making broccoli risotto to go with baked chicken in an effort to begin using up all of our staples. I'm not gonna lie, it is a little bittersweet. In many ways it has been a fun challenge making food here with so little equipment because let's face it, we all get pretty set in our ways. I know I do. There is not much flour left, or brown sugar, or really most things. Thanks to Bonnie though, I still have some spices which I'll have B take to the office before we leave, hoping someone can use them. We will leave behind the mixer, as well as the loaf and muffin pan.  The square pan is in the oven as I type and that will stay too. Hard to imagine it was but, what seems like yesterday, that I was outfitting the kitchen doesn't it?

Pina and Giovanni were back to their ways, treating us like gold. They made reservations for dinner at a favorite pizza place on Commercial Drive, home to Little Italy. What I did not realize was that it was a belated birthday celebration for Mr. Bruce. The dining room is dominated by a pizza oven, the likes of which I've never seen before.
Giovanni was born in Italy, however, he was but a wee one when his family immigrated to Canada. Pina, on the other hand, was born here but both her parents are from Italy and still mostly speak Italian. All that to say, they know their Italian food. Should you be interested, the restaurant is called Marcello Ristorante. During the antipasto round, they presented Bruce with a beautiful German watch.  Wow! Simply wow. Our pizzas were delicious and after all the appetizers, I was full after one slice so both of us ended up bringing plenty home for lunches. Following the pizza, we went to a place that may very well be one of my favorite Vancouver experiences. Holy Cow, this place was crazy.
Gelato and more gelato. In fact, they have over 200 flavors, making it very hard to pick one. Both Pina and I got the tiramisu flavor which was delicious. Bruce got one that  none of us liked--chocolate chili. Seriously hot, I took the tiniest bite and was dying!! How he ate it I don't know but I think it might have something to do with ego. (Don't tell him I said that!)
It is a large space with trash cans situated beside the coolers as they give samples galore.
Those murals! The colors! I was going crazy over the place! Now that I know it is on the corner of Glen and Venerable Street, I'm hoping to make a repeat visit. Chinese characters! 238 flavors!
Gosh they have been so good to us and I can't tell you how wonderful it has been to get to know folks actually raised in Vancouver. Now I understand how new people feel about us in Orlando. We must pay this kindness forward in the future!

When last we met, I talked about that crazy bloom and said I would go take a look at it which I did.
All it seems to do is go limp but as fate would have it, I've met someone who has a plot there and he and his wife were there chatting with some other folks. Guess what? When I asked about the plant, the owner of that plot was one of the folks and he told me it is called a Voodoo Lily. Okay. Once home I looked into it and was surprised to learn all of this and if you care to, click on this link and you will join me in having new knowledge.

Did I tell you it was raining? It was. Something else very strange was there and that was this crazy scene.
I saw it before I talked to the folks, wondering where the heck all of those rose petals came from as I could see no plants with that color bloom in the vicinity. Apparently a drunk woman was found there earlier that morning and she brought those with her. Ahh...city life!

During that visit I also saw a plant with seriously blue foliage that I am not even calling purple. Blue I tell you.
No photo editing tricks, I assure you. That plant is a mystery to me but sure pretty, don't you think?

Saturday morning I walked to Dressew to get some buttons and on my way home I thought we should try a nearby Mexican restaurant for lunch. (see above about how much food is in the house!) Turns out it was authentic Mexican food and very tasty. As we walked home, I noticed a bird which will not surprise you but what might surprise you is the size of the leaf in his beak.
We suspect it was part of a nest building project because he tried to put it in this hole.
Fun, right?

Following lunch I did a little sewing while B took a short nap. Why am I still sewing? I've been working on some short sleeved things, however, with the way the temperature refuses to rise, having a day when I can wear them seems like it will never come. Next up was a trip to BC Place on Beatty Street for another gift for Bruce's birthday.

In our family, we have some people who are excellent gift givers, however, and I don't say this to make anyone else mad, but Matt seems to be at the top of the heap when it comes to unique gifts. He sent some electronic tickets for the Orlando City/Whitecaps game! How fun was it to cheer on our home team in this city? Very fun. Even more thrilling were the actual seats, pitch side.
Across the pitch, one of the very few OC fans in the crowd. :) Another birthday boy sat next to me, turning 31 that day, he was there celebrating with his Dad. Our conversation included how much he loves American football and he showed it by having a crazy good command of all the players and stats.
It was not a great day for the Lions, as the Whitecaps goals kept on coming, including this one when a former OC player scored yet another goal.
We'd wondered what their super fan section would be like having seen the "Ruckus" during OC games cheer, chant, scream like mad. Pretty much the same here, especially when the ref was handing out a red card to one of our players. They liked that a lot.
Yet another goal being scored.
By the time stoppage time rolled around the score looked not much like one you see everyday.
It was super fun despite the loss and I was absolutely thrilled to be in the same place that the opening and closing ceremonies for an Olympics were held. So good. Plus, being able to walk there--perfection! Leaving through the section E doors, look what was across the street in a parking lot!
What will we come across next?

Although Sunday was Italian Days, over on Commercial Drive, we ended up sticking with our routine, partly because Bruce had been having a tiny bit of back pain and walking in a crowd of 200,000 or so seemed like it would be too much. The operative word  is had because he is much improved in part because he's been using that fantastic ointment, Voltaran, introduced to him by Matt and Tom while they were here. Not available in the States without a prescription, it is over the counter here and works like a charm.

Instead, following lunch, we went to the Vancouver Art Gallery to see a new exhibit.
Very interesting indeed and as it was our first visit I was also interested in the building itself before they move to another location.
There were cool tiny models of cabins from around the world and a big one that completely tears down.
Loads more could be said about the experience but not today as I am rushing to finish this before we head off to the ferry terminal.

Leaving we came across two very fun things as we sat on the gallery steps, like people do.
While we were watching a fellow giving an outdoor dance lesson,
adjacent to the rink, inside the rink something else was happening. A fellow was demonstrating some pretty serious moves inside there as well.
What a lovely weekend! Once home, around 8 at night, what to my wondering eyes should appear but well, some color in the sky that was hard to photograph but perhaps you can see it adjacent to the taller building in the middle of the frame?
There is light in the sky beginning around 4:30 in the morning remaining until past our bedtime. I cannot imagine living further North! Alaska, Norway, must be so weird.

One thing I will also miss is the constant sky watching this spot has afforded us. A show everyday.
Woo hoo--I hope we have some killer sunsets on the island! As I am not packed time to sign off without one look back for mistakes. Ignore them please.

yours truly,

Gail




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