Saturday, November 22, 2014

Saturday thoughts

We walked rather than biked again yesterday, as the rain was steady throughout the entire day.  As much as I love getting out on our bikes, the odd walking day brings a different (and still fun)  view of our world though I am hoping we will be able to ride today. 

For some reason, after finding the video of Vladimir Horowitz playing the Schubert Serenade for Thursday's post, I became more and more curious about his life and his performances.  I had read a biography of him years ago that emphasized what I saw as an arrogant side to his personality. But, seeing this photo (by Jgon Mili) within the Schubert video made me take a second look yesterday.  I learned that he had two dogs during the 1960's, both standard poodles, one black, the other white, one named Peppi and the other Pippo.  He also rescued a cat during the 1970's and named him Fussy (pronounced foosi).    
And this video, discovered this morning, filmed when he was 82, just four years before his death, reveals several sides to his personality and is a testament to the longevity of his talent.  I am conflicted about fame and about the way we choose to idolize people.  Often, admiration is followed by a desire to break down the very people that had captured our hearts in the first place.  This morning, I was awed by Horowitz's playing and struck by his vulnerability.  Here are a few quotes by him that made me smile and/or think: 

  • I am famous, but I am not well known.
  • Perfection itself is imperfection.
  • It's better to make your own mistakes than to copy someone else's.
  • My future is in my past and my past is in my present. I must now make the present my future.
  • When I am on the stage, I'm a king. No one can interfere with me because I have something to do, and it has to be the best which is within me.
  • I'm a general. My soldiers are the keys, and I have to command them.
  • My face is my passport.
  • The piano is an orchestra with 88 … things, you know.

It was too rainy yesterday to take any outdoor photos..
so I played around a bit with some indoor ones.
I saw this leaf sitting on a very wet sidewalk as we made our way to Harrison Galleries.  Bill carried it carefully for me into the gallery.  I laid it on one of their comfy couches..
and thought it looked beautiful.
Then, I gave it back to Bill.
Big mistake :) 
Just kidding..
I laughed and thought there couldn't be..
a better way..
to have fun on a rainy day.
Black Jack absolutely.. 
agreed!  When we left the gallery, Bill carefully placed the leaf in some wet grass.
This morning, the sun has come out.
Neighbourhood dogs and their humans are happy. 
I think the leaves.. 
are feeling pretty good.. 
about the sun too.  
 I hope you will find some sun (no matter the weather)..
and maybe even a revelation or two about the richness of the human spirit with all of its strengths and weaknesses.  Thank you so much for stopping by.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Warmth and Light on a Rainy Vancouver Day

The Orange You Glad It's Friday blog meme came to mind a few weeks ago when I noticed a new art/ad installation in Vancouver's Yaletown-Roundhouse sky train station.  Last evening, I crossed to the other side of Mainland Street to try to get a larger perspective.  Bill and Black Jack posed, while people and smart phones made their way by the corner of Davie Street, bodies leaning in the direction of home after long work days (how I saw them). 
Bill had suggested I cross the street with my too-large lens.  "Just wave in the direction you want me to stand," he said.  He moved around according to my wave and I noticed people catching the interaction between us, some even waiting for me to get the shot.  When both Bill and Black Jack's gaze turned to their right, I followed them..     
to see these three lithesome critters making their way past the station.
Somehow, though we saw names of Vancouver businesses, 
the big picture, even from inside the station, struck me more as art than advertisement.  
Perhaps, the goal was to send subliminal messages but what I liked and took away with me was the play of light over a maze of shapes and letter directions.   
We stopped in after that at little store near the corner that sells a variety of clothes and gifts.  It's so close to home and sometimes, they have practical and reasonably priced things that are needed (sweaters, jackets, gloves, etc) but Bill's attention was caught by this book.
We took a look inside and I smiled.  No need for Bill to read a book like this.  He is a "guy" who "gets" gender differences and understands compromise.  Yeah..  I still pinch myself :) 
A few minutes in any shop is about as long as either of us can handle, and we were happy to step outside.  Across Pacific, the train museum was decked out for the Christmas season.
That museum is staffed by dedicated and knowledgeable volunteers who can tell you everything you ever wanted to know about Engine 374, but for kids, the best fun is to ring the bell.  Yes, it is very loud :)
 One final shot to play a bit with angles.
Moving back in time to Wednesday, we had a great ride along English Bay and home via the Coal Harbour route, stopping only once by a favourite pond.  Bill kept Black Jack happy..
 while I checked out the action around the pond.
These aging hosta plants looked to me like a meet-up of women holding mops and brooms.
We have stopped by this pond more times than I can count.  It is always different.  I added definition to this reflection shot, 
 but even (or perhaps, especially) straight out of the camera, 
I found the images delightful.
 We noticed a herd :) of American Wigeons on the other side of the pond.
 They suddenly seemed to panic about something, and though darkness was falling, 
I tried to catch something of their flight.
As said, I see new stuff around the pond every time we go.  The delicate intricacy..
 of these bushes and trees had never caught my eye before.
 We played with Black Jack and then..
Bill picked her up.  She is just so happy..  playing, sitting in Bill's arms, riding in her basket..
 I truly believe these things are all good in her book.
Before we got back on our bikes, we walked to the other side of the bike path.  Traffic lights from the Stanley Park Causeway were reflected in the harbour..
and we watched a few more Wigeons, these perhaps hoping to escape the larger gathering in the pond.  One male (at the top) warned with a "she's mine" look to the male on the right.
 We rode over this wonderful little bridge after that to head back to..
 Harrison Galleries Café for lattés and treats.  They had completely rearranged the art,
 for an opening night presentation of Chris Dahl's paintings, titled The Golden Age.
 Since discovering Harrison Galleries, I've gained a new appreciation for just how much work goes into featuring gallery artists.  
The gallery had been transformed and I thought, for the umpteenth time, 
how fortunate we are to be able to sit with our crosswords and our treats while the art changes around us.  Chris Dahl's work will be featured until November 29th.  Drop in to see it if you are in the Vancouver area.  
And if not, check out his web site (where I've just learned he is also a musician!) or that of any of the other artists so beautifully represented at Harrison's. 
And moving back one more day in time to Monday evening, I took these photos of the Christmas decorations in Urban Fare grocery store, the one just minutes from our apartment.
 Bill was shopping while I waited with Black Jack (yes, as said, I pinch myself pretty often), and as we walked out onto the street, the lights reflected in this limousine-like car were too striking to ignore.  Bill waited while I got the photo and then insisted I go back into..
 the store to get these shots because he just knew that was what I was dying to do :)
 There hasn't been orange in every single shot, but perhaps you have found..
some warmth and light to take you to what I hope will be a wonderful weekend.  Thank you, Maria, for hosting Orange You Glad It's Friday, thank you (always) Bill, and thank you, dear readers for stopping by.