Thursday, November 27, 2014

Old Time Fences

The rain continued yesterday but we got out for a short ride on our bikes.  Still, the day somehow went by without taking even one photo.  I've gone back into some old files for a few fence shots to share with TexWisGirl's Good Fences meme (many thanks, Theresa, for hosting).

Most importantly, I want to wish everyone celebrating Thanksgiving holiday a beautiful time of appreciation for the love, friendship, food, freedom and health I sincerely hope you are all enjoying.

Here all the old photos with apologies to anyone who remembers them.    

Some swallows on a barbed wire fence were waiting to be fed..
 at Jericho Park two summers ago.
 This old fence was encountered during..
 a walk in the Point Grey area of Vancouver.
 That same day, I found myself on a long walk that took me to roads (and fences).. 
 I had never seen before.
 And this one was wa-a-ay back during one of our adventure days in White Rock.
 We stood on the beach and admired the pier and the train..
and this last one of Bill and Black Jack was taken a few years ago in North Vancouver.  
Today, I'm happy to report it was balmy and just perfect for bike riding.  We saw some birds and had some fun and took some photos, so tomorrow's post will reflect our very good day.  Thanks again, Theresa, for your Good Fences meme.  And thanks to all who found the time to stop by the blog today.  

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The letter T

"Do you have any ideas for the letter T for ABC Wednesday?" I asked Bill as we sat in Harrison Galleries yesterday.  "What about tidal wave?" he responded, as he looked at one of Chris Dahl's paintings.  Hm..  the title of the painting doesn't begin with T but it surely does  show a tidal wave.  I have just learned that Chris Dahl studied with Takao Tanabe, a BC artist born in 1926 and still painting every day.  I can't show you his photo or any of his works, but if you love landscape painting, the link above will take you to a thought-provoking story of talent and tenacity.  Meanwhile, Chris Dahl's work is being featured for the next few days at Harrison Galleries.  He is one of the most versatile artists I've seen, with paintings of motorcycles, landscapes, musicians, dancers, athletes and guitars in the exhibit.  Well worth a visit if you have the time.  
Perhaps you guessed that we were not able to get out on our bikes again yesterday.  The rain has been relentless, and today, the forecast includes a rainfall warning for Vancouver.  We carry on, though, happy to be able to walk to the gallery and play with Black Jack.  Bill teased her a bit yesterday,  
trying to give her Batman ears,  
but she was a bit timid about the whole idea, perhaps even ready to throw in the towel,  
so Bill gave her a treat for trying.. 
and then he gave himself a taste of his own treatment.  Note that Black Jack stared intently at the treats on the table, entirely uninterested in Bill's ears.  Love those two! 

When it was time to leave the gallery, I put Black Jack's coat on her.  I don't know if this behaviour has turned up in any of the dogs you know, but she won't move when her coat is put on until we give her a little tug. It's very handy, as  she waits motionless while we gather our things and get ready to depart (but only when dressed in her coat).   
Walking home in steady rain (though thankfully, no thunder), we stood under a storefront roof to take this photo.  Black Jack is not a big fan of rain, but she stands.. 
tall as long as we tempt her with.. 

lots of treats. 

I looked kitty-corner to where we were standing to notice Choices Market (one of our two favourite places for grocery shopping because of their great selection of organic foods) and thought it looked warm and cozy with the lights on the tree.
They do a thriving business; tons of umbrellas crossed the path of my lens in the few moments that I watched customers making their way through the door. 
That pretty much exhausts my creative potential with regards to the letter T this morning, unless you want to learn my new word of the week which is telestich.  That is a poem in which the final letter in the last word of successive lines forms a word or phrase.  I tried to write you one this morning, but finally gave up.  Perhaps one of you will have better success with that poem technique.  As for my final photo, you may think this leaf has absolutely nothing to do with a T, and you would be correct, but.. 
I've played a little trick on you.  The leaf is resting on my substitute camera bag, because the one I normally use is torn.  The T?  I'm happy to report that I've just noticed the brand name on that bag is Tam Tek.  I bought it for next to nothing at a thrift shop and hadn't noticed the name on it, but that's not a bad T for a rainy day, don't you think? :)  The most important T of all, though, is the one saying Thank you to you for visiting and to Mrs. Nesbitt for starting ABC Wednesday and to the wonderfully tenacious volunteers who visit our blogs and leave comments each week.  Happy Wednesday, everyone! 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Our World Yesterday

I am sharing the day yesterday with Our World Tuesday, with many thanks to ArijaGattinaLady FiSylviaSandy and Jennifer for hosting.

Yesterday was a day of riding up a huge hill in the rain to UBC for a piano lesson with Bogdan Dulu, feeling inspired that he is such a caring and gifted teacher, cycling back home with tired legs, pelting wind and rain, entering our apartment to the warmth of Bill's empathy, walking in the wind and rain again (it has to be mentioned) with Bill and Black Jack to the comfort of beautiful people and art at Harrison Galleries, completing a crossword and a Sudoku puzzle as we ate our delicious treats, coming home and napping while Bill shopped for groceries (!), and then attending a concert at The Roundhouse after supper.  Thinking back on the day, I realize I loved every minute of it.  Even the wind and the rain.  

At the very end of the day, as I was going back through my photos, and thinking of doing a facebook post to show the musicians their photos (will do that today), I came across a post by Shauna, a former colleague.  She is the kind of teacher every parent would wish for their child, the kind of friend you never forget.  She included part of her eulogy to her father on the two-year anniversary of his death.  It is a little bit long but you will read it in a flash because the words will take you straight to her heart.  Life-changing, those words can be, if you find the time to listen.  She has given me permission to post them here.  Thank you, Shauna for your beautiful wisdom and heart.  As an introduction to her words, I am posting a photo of her father with his granddaughter, Shauna's daughter.  At the end, there is one of Shauna with her two children.
How often do we get asked the question, “What did you do today?” and we reply with, “Nothing much”? Now I realize that greatness lies in the so-called average day. I would trade in every material possession I own just to hear the sound of dad’s steel toe boots in the entrance way after a day’s work- and to see the glimmer of excitement in my children’s eyes as they recognize this sound and bounce to the stairs screaming “Baba’s home!” Dad would have a smile from ear to ear and say, “There you are!” What I would do just to hear dad say, “Hi Shauna” while reaching out his large hand, placing it gently on my back- that was my dad’s warm embrace. These seemingly simple, transient moments, are perfection. They stare us in the face every single day, yet we cannot conceive how profound they are until they are taken away.
Dad was the ideal father- a better parent than I will ever be. Now that I am a mother, I realize how difficult it is to love and trust unconditionally. For dad, this came so naturally. He practiced the following principle without ever saying it: “Always love your children no matter what, and trust that they will find their way”. Can you believe that my dad- not once uttered the words, “Be careful”, or “You can’t”? When seeking advice from dad about finding a lifelong partner, he said, “Shauna, it does not matter if a man is green or blue. Just make sure he has a good heart.” He never questioned my decisions for he trusted my judgment.
Dad not only had faith in our ability to make decisions, he had faith in circumstance. One summer day, my dad and I decided to ride our motorcycles up Mount Seymour. We were riding up a windy road attempting to reach the peak, when we decided to take the road less travelled. After about an hour of riding in the woods, we turned off the engines to have a snack. When attempting to start up my engine numerous times, the stubborn Kawasaki did not budge. Finally, dad looked up and said, “Shauna, let’s try to find a wire. If we can find a wire, I can jump start the engine with my bike”. I questioned my dad’s sanity at this point. “What? Dad, I don’t see any evidence of civilization- no garbage or anything- how the heck are we going to find a wire?!” He remained confident and stated, “Shauna, don’t worry. You’ll find one”. Well, we searched and searched. I became anxious because darkness was setting in, but whenever I looked at dad, he was so calm that it was contagious. I continued searching for that elusive wire. Just when I was ready to give in, that is when I saw it. Out of nowhere, a thin long red wire appeared in the gravel. I ran to dad and showed him. I was shocked, but I was equally surprised to see his response. There was no elation and little emotion. It was as if he just expected it. He was a pure, trusting soul.
Then because dad could fix anything with the right tool, he was easily able to jump start my motorcycle with a single wire. I have shared this story so many times in admiration of my father- but dad never did. He never boasted; he never cared to draw attention to his accomplishments. My dad’s modesty has melted me throughout the years. And it is through dad’s influence that I trust in the unravelling of what awaits me- whether joyful or excruciating, it is all part of the ride, the growth process. I also trust in what will become of me beyond this lifetime. What a gift you have given me, dada.
Man oh man, will I ever miss my dad’s quirks. When I was 5 years old, I asked my dad the question, “Why aren’t I white?” Dad’s response, “Shauna, you are just a little overcooked”. I really had no idea what this meant, but it seemed to make sense. Racial confusion continued when dad and I went fishing on the First Nations Reserve. “Are you sure we can fish here?” I asked. He responded with, “We are Indian aren’t we?” And finally, dad receives the gold medal for snoring. He got reprimanded at every one of my award and convocation ceremonies because his snoring was a major disruption. What a character!
Two weeks before my father passed, I experienced the perfect day. On that day, there were a few hours in which the clouds parted and despite the chilly winds, we felt the warmth of the sun. Dad watched Sajen ride his bike for the first time ever and then he held Samaya’s hand as she performed her usual daredevil actions at the park. After this, we went for a family walk. As a family, we laughed, we played, we loved. Although, at the time, I didn’t know that dad’s life would be taken so quickly, in those moments, I did recognize the richness of each second. I allowed myself to feel it all. Perhaps a few years ago, I would have considered this an average day, but now I know that it was much, much more: it indeed was the perfect day. That day happened to be dad’s last day in the outdoors with his family.
We have no way of knowing which day we will go as ‘death’ is the great leveler- taking the young, the old, the sick, the healthy; but what we can control is how we live our lives and how we recognize meaning and happiness in each day. It is something that cannot be found in the lastest Iphone model or in a Christmas flyer, but rather, it is embedded in our daily interactions with loved ones. I urge you not to let days meld into each other in the form of tedious routines. I now recognize- and some days do my best to recognize the richness and love infused into each day. I don’t want this life to pass me by.
My dad may not be here in physical form, but he will be a part of each and every day. My dad IS LOVE and I will feel his love for as long as I live.

Thanks again, Shauna.  The small events of the rest of my day are all the more precious because of your words.  

I took photos at the concert.  It was titled "The Deep Time Project" and the quoted words below were taken from this web site.
 "How does the Earth measure time? In days, seasons, decades…millennia?" 
"How does our time perception expand and contract in states of deep meditation?" 
"And what does it mean to hold infinity in your hand and eternity in an hour?"

This is Bill with his nephew-in-law, Paul.  Seeing Paul twice in one day was a gift.  It had been a surprise to see him at UBC in the morning as I was waiting for my piano lesson.  One of the professional musicians coaching students in UBC's Baroque Orchestra Mentoring Programme, he had caught the ferry early in the morning from Victoria, after  intense rehearsals and a concert there on the weekend.  When I saw him, he was just about to do his UBC gig, and then had one more engagement for the day, to record the concert we were about to see in the evening.  He had to be exhausted, but as always, his ready smile and huge spirit was in full working order.  Below, he and Bill caught up on the latest news.  They look serious, but that's because I caught the photo on the sly :)
Recording live performances involves skills that..
amaze me.  The workings of a mind capable of understanding all those little dials(never mind invent them) is fascinating to me..
 and I'd say Bill is even more drawn in by..
 the breadth of technical creativity about us.  
"Over the course of one evening, with a vast array of gongs and an ensemble of some of Vancouver's finest percussionists, Redshift [explored] the answers to these questions in: The Deep Time Project."  
As each instrument was tapped or struck or caressed or even bowed,  responding sound vibrations were projected on a screen.
Percussionists Martin Fisk, Jonathan Bernard, Vern Griffiths, Katie Rife, Timothy Van Cleave, Nicholas Jacques, Chris Blaber, Robin Reid, Brian Nesselroad and Danny Tones..
were so focused on the sounds they were creating, 
I felt they were almost lost in the intense communication of the moment.
Sounds were received and passed from one to the other..
as the colours shifted and chased each other around the screen.
Most of their instructions were written in words rather than in musical notation.  Here, this musician listens and watches, ready to take up the musical message from a colleague.
I tried to catch the way the sticks danced, sometimes moving so quickly, their path through the air made a sort of white stream of light.  I wasn't able to portray that..
but it sure was fun trying.
All of the musicians had dance-like movements, but this girl, in particular, seemed to float..
along the path the sound travelled.
I wonder if you can almost feel..
the vibrations.
It was an hour-long performance with no break, and I'm guessing they were exhausted but energized afterwards.  Though the audience was small (just 31 people), the response was very enthusiastic.  Jordon Nobles, the artistic director (not in white), was called to the stage to celebrate with the musicians.  Stretching our ears and our brains with new ways of thinking about music is something that leaves a lot of pleasure in its wake.  I am grateful to people who share their passions and their talents with us.   
After the performance, I thought of the time and effort that had gone into assembling..
all of those instruments.  In a day of gloomy weather, 10 musicians and a lot of support people made our day a rich one.  As Shauna said, "I don't want to let this life pass me by."  It won't, Shauna.  Since I've known you, I have seen that quality of appreciation in you for the small stuff, and now, I know it was planted by your father long before you and I met.  Thank you for the reminder.  We didn't let the day pass us by yesterday, and we will remember your words, and those of your father, in the days to come.  
Thanks for visiting everyone.  I appreciate each one of you so very much.  If you have time to stop by Our World Tuesday, that would be great.