Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Why we did it

Today it's raining.  The earth needs the rain...the soil is so dry even where we've been watering.  So, I'm not complaining.  I'll just remember when the day was sunny and the sky was blue.  Like last Saturday when we embarked on our waterfront  adventure.  This is why we went:

I had seen the photos of this wonderful raven carved from the stump of a Douglas fir blown down in the huge windstorm we had a few years ago.  A great number of trees in Stanley Park were toppled.  Most of the wood was harvested.  Some was used in park projects.  And a certain 6 foot by 6 foot stump remained.

Artist Richard Krentz could see a raven in the wood.  While he was creating, the public watched and even helped to place the shells.  And I especially like that river of shells which could be the raven's feathers.  Or maybe something else?  Raven is a notorious trickster, according to Coast Salish legends.

How he tricked me into getting out to have an adventure when none was planned is a mystery.  I don't think of myself as an impulsive person.  But I've noticed how impulses often make my choices in life - usually it is exactly the right one for me.  My unconscious being must be far cleverer than my conscious.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Ruby Tuesday

All aboard  for Ruby Tuesday!

Looking down from the overpass between ferry and buses we can see the trains in the rail yard.  This one looks like a toy train.

But it's the real thing...see the driver?

Here's a little red train with a big driver.  This train takes kids - big and small - around a part of Stanley Park. 

There's red everywhere on Ruby Tuesday and you can see it here.  Thanks to Mary T for hosting.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Mellow Yellow Monday

 Time for some Mellow Yellow  again...

I know that it's getting close to fall when there are so many of these mellow yellow Rudbeckia blooming.  We found this lovely fountain and gardens outside one of the posh apartment buildings on our Coal Harbor walk.  Imagine what the living space must be like!

What yellow do you have to share?  Visit Drowsey Monkey here and sign up. 

Sunday wonders - V and W

V is for Vancouver; W is for Waterfront.   This is a double since I missed last week.

Yesterday, we went for a walk along the downtown waterfront.  The seawalk starts near the Waterfront Station where we arrive by  ferry from  North Vancouver (seen above) and extends into and around Stanley Park.

Where we live is surrounded by water.  There are so many different ways to travel on the water and I think we saw most of them on our walk.  This ship, Diamond Princess, is loading enough fresh supplies for the cruise  up to Alaska later in the day.  This year's season is almost over.

Wheels or air?  This paddle-wheeler takes tours of the harbor and up Indian Arm.  The seaplanes are a common way to travel up the coast and Vancouver island. 

Some like to be close to the water...the Vancouver Rowing Club is nearby. 

And there are critters in the water, too.  This harbor seal has his eye on the main chance.

Why work when the humans will do it for you? The sockeye salmon run is the biggest it's been in a hundred years.  Sport fishers bring their catch in for cleaning.  And guess who gets a hand out then?

All those boats need fuel so they draw up to the barge in the harbor.  The tankers remain aloof.  No puny 'gas stations' for them. 

We finally reach Stanley Park.  Looking back we can see even more boats in this marina and in the distance are the grassy roofs of the Convention Center.  It was such a lovely day for walking, biking, rollerblading or running in the park. 

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Fair

The Pacific National Exhibition is 100 years old this year.  We went yesterday to spend our day at the fair.  We try and go every couple of years just to keep up with all the changes.  This year seemed like a special celebration and it was!

This is nothing like the Fall Fair I remember from my more rural home town.  I always enjoyed coming to the PNE because it was so big and sophisticated.  The rides were higher, the candy floss cones were bigger and there were all those new gadgets at the Home Building.  My parents would probably just have noticed the bigger price tag for all that culture, size and speed.

That big price tag hasn't gone away but I suppose that a day's entertainment for $20 is a good deal these days.  That's all it costs if you bring your own food and water and don't want to see any of the special evening shows.  Of course, most people splash out and buy the mini-donuts, the hamburgers with fried onions - that you can smell all over the grounds - or some wonderful BBQ chicken.  If you want to save big change on the water, there are water fountains everywhere.  And, a sign of the times, hand sanitizers, too.

There's lots to do at the Fair that costs nothing.  When I was a girl, my father would always head on over to the stables and barns to see the livestock.  Sometimes, I had to go too and it was so-o boring.  I could see cows and horses any day right where I lived.  Big deal.  Yesterday, one of the best shows was watching the riders  cutting cows out of the herd and getting them penned.  It was amazing the tension and excitement such a low-key event could generate.  We cheered for the escaping cows and loudly applauded the three women who had the best time.

Another interesting addition this year was the Container Art.  Submissions from local artists are featured inside shipping containers.  It's an interesting concept and some of the work is truly stunning.  I especially liked the tiny mixed media scenes inside what look like pinhole cameras made from large wooden boxes. 

We enjoyed the Superdogs, too, but the show is much shorter than it used to be.  Or are we older and time is flying faster?  No matter, there wasn't enough dog show!  Those dogs are so smart and enjoy what they do.  You can see them laughing with happiness. 

We watched a wonderful display by the Peking Acrobats - it was such a bright spectacular show.  I think the kids in the audience must have been thrilled to see the younger members of the troupe performing.  The BC Sports Hall of Fame has an opportunity to try a bobsleigh or sit-skiing experience. And they have a lot of memorabilia displayed.  There's a long road lined with amazing sand sculptures.   The Canadian Forces have tanks and a fighter plane to look at.  The Mounties have their musical ride.  It seems to be as much about PR for organizations as it is fun.  And there's the huge Marketplace full of the latest time-saving gadgets and other cool stuff.  So,yes, the Fair has changed and no, it hasn't. 

What I miss most, of course, is the individual effort of those canners, gardeners and needleworkers from past years.  This hasn't been a feature of the PNE for a number of years.  There are no longer blue ribbons for your dahlias or your strawberry jam.  I wonder if alll our emphasis on growing our own veg will give this feature a come back opportunity?Is it still an attraction at the  Fall Fair where I grew up?  I'll have to check it out sometime.  Better do it quick before it disappears.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


The author of this novel calls Vancouver home.  I saw an interview with him a few months ago and thought this would be an interesting read.  So, I grabbed it when the library put it on their 'new' shelf.

It didn't disappoint.  The human condition is much the same no matter what country you call home.  And  for these Iranian immigrants,  Bombay is home.  All are Zoroastrians and their religion is the reason for their emigration.

The novel is almost exclusively male-oriented reflecting nicely the cultural gender bias.  There are women but they are like catalysts to the action of the males.  Their very presence in the world sets everything in motion yet they are not completely drawn personalities as are the men.  The women's strength is subversive while they remain in their submissive roles.  The author's talent is to create character from a few words, a look or an implied attitude.

The world of the Irani family is violent and blood is shed frequently.  Even so, the world has a hazy dream-like quality that keeps this brutality from our consciousness.  Or perhaps it is so unremarkable in this culture that it passes for normal.

The happy ending is anything but ideal.  Yet, it has happiness.  And there is a future which, if not bright, will have love.  This is a glimpse of a culture from the inside and a few steps removed.  But there is authenticity and honesty to the view.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Sometimes the camera can't catch exactly what happens.

This is what I can show you. What  I can't show you is the big, blue Stellar's jay that briefly touched down on the bird bath.  And, I especially can't show you how each little lobelia flower danced in the sunlight after the bird had flown off.   Even if I had had the camera with me, getting a video would have taken far longer than the event. 

That brief image can play back in my imagination as long as I remember it.   But, there's no way to really share what happened in the garden this morning.  You'll have to use your imagination.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ruby Tuesday

There is some red in this photo.  Just the tiniest peek through the bamboo leaves...

This is the fruit of the arum italica  which is also known as Italian Lords and Ladies. Ours has a kind of insignificant flower which reminds me of skunk cabbage.  In color only!  It doesn't have any smell at all and is a pale green. 

Then it disappears and a lo-ong time later, there is this glowing stalk of bright jewel-like berries. 

For more Ruby Tuesday, visit Mary T right here.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Mellow Yellow Monday

Startin' the week off right with a bright blast of yellow...

This life boat won't get lost on a gray day at sea, will it? 

More yellows - bright or mellow - over here at Drowsey Monkey's.  Pay a visit, join in...it's fun!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Summer stock

Knitting socks any time makes me happy.  In the summer, it's especially satisfying because it makes me feel virtuous, too.  Like the ant, I'm busily storing for those cold days ahead.  There'll be warm socks every day.   The best part is that in the heat it's pretty hard to do anything but small warm winter-y things.  Like hats, mitts, scarves and - socks!

I've finished the Sweetpea socks and I liked the look of them in the garden so much that's where I took them this morning.  I think they look quite happy in the squash patch.

And I've started my Wowser! socks.  I posted before about these gorgeous twisted, travelling stitch socks.  I didn't choose red, though, because I had a nice bitter lime color in my stash.  The photo doesn't really capture the color. 

This is a whole new technique to me.  It's like cabling but only one stitch at a time - with a twist.  And most of the sock is purled to give the contrast for those beautiful lines.   It's very labor-intensive and takes time.  I watched a movie last night while I did the first part of the pattern - about 8 rows!  I hope I get these done before the snow flies.

Now I think I'll have to get some of those show-off shoes that we all admired in the pattern photo.  These socks will deserve them.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


It's cloudy today.  After the scorching heat of the past few days, it seems quite cold here.

But there are some happy gains to the cool, gray day:

No noisy fan at night - one good night's sleep!

The ability to do more than break into a sweat at the idea of moving!

And, best of all, a breeze.  This is my view this morning as I'm typing - the screen on the window makes a soft focus.  The breeze is bringing in the scent of these pretty pink roses.  It's very strong today and I haven't noticed it at all during the heat wave.  Do you think if that's because it's cool or because the air is actually moving now?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Ruby Tuesday

If you get up early on a summer morning, you can always go fishing.

Remember to take out the little red pontoon boat if it's Ruby Tuesday. 

If you want to see how others celebrate Ruby Tuesday, just click here.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Mellow Yellow Monday

For photo ops, you can't beat the garden.  

We've got garlic hanging to dry which always makes me feel very Tuscan for some reason.  I love the golden brown stalks and leaves.

And some lovely yellow onions that had to be harvested a little early.  The squash was squashing them out of the light. 

For more Mellow Yellow,  why not pay a visit to Drowsey Monkey here.  It'll brighten your day.

Sunday wonder - U

U is for Up - and running.

Here is the new floor that went in yesterday.   The walls have been repainted and we're ready to move all the furniture back in.   Alex and Maria got it all done in one afternoon.  One long - and very hot - afternoon.

Grammy and Anne were in charge of keeping the kids amused, cool and, most important, out of the way.  We read stories, and walked to the cool, air-conditioned mall to play with the toy store's toys and read some books in the cool library.  Then we visited the water park, picked blackberries for our dessert and had a swing in the playground.

Back home again, the packing boxes from the flooring were ready to be decorated and become doors with windows, or whatever else you could imagine. 

We all were tired and hot but we tried very hard to stay cheerful.  There were some pretty sound sleeps last night. 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Oh, wow!

Have you seen these? 

I will definitely be buying the Fall issue of Interweave Knits - just for these Alpen Socken.  The challenge will be worth the purchase.  Yes!! 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A knitter's process

A couple of weeks ago, I received a lovely little cake of alpaca sock yarn - thank you, Betty.  The colors are so bright and vibrant; they reminded me of flowers.

I was thinking of a lace design which might look like petunias or, maybe, fuschias.  I know there's a Harebell lace pattern somewhere in my many books but I couldn't find it quick enough.  Besides, I'm kind of off designing for the moment.  There are so many wonderful designs out in world, that I decided to go looking for the perfect pattern.  I knew it would be out there - and Ravelry didn't disappoint.

As I was searching, up popped this pattern:  Sweetpea by Melissa  Morgan - Oakes.  What could be more perfect for this yarn?  Look how at home the sock is in the sweet peas.   It will bring back summer every time they're worn. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Guess who came to dinner last night?

This morning I noticed these prints on the glass patio table. 

Yup, definitely raccoons.   The chairs are mud-printed, too, so maybe they've been watching us?   Our next-door neighbors have a pond where they can wash the veg they steal from our garden.  A table and chairs? - just the next logical step.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Ruby Tuesday

At first I thought this photo would be all grays.  Our recent rain was more like fog that was full of heavy mist that soaked everything right through.

This giant fir seemed to loom through the fog.   But, wait!  The framing trees are mountain ash and the berries are beginning to ripen and turn red. I kind of like the color and b/w effect.

For more Ruby Tuesday photos, visit Mary T here.  There's lots more red to see.

Mellow Yellow Monday

It's Mellow Yellow Monday!  Our surprise rainy weekend - after weeks and weeks of sun - made the garden mostly happy.

This sunflower is one of our many volunteers from our bird feeders.  She stands guard over the spaghetti squash leaves on their rampant vines.

A sunflower in the rain is not very happy.  She droops her head heavily and waits for the sun to come back. 

For more yellow on a Monday morning, visit with Drowsey Monkey right here.  She kindly keeps this meme going for all of us to enjoy.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sunday wonders - T

T is for turmoil. 

Beware the desire to renovate.  This is what happens.  We've decided to put a hardwood floor in the room where the computers live.  This is probably the most used room in the house and had the most 'stuff in it.  Bookshelves, cupboards, desks with lots of drawers - all had to move out.  To somewhere else.  Anywhere else.  Then the carpet had to be taken up.  The baseboards removed.  And the walls will be repainted this week.  The desks will walk back and forth attached to their life-giving wall sockets with the hope that we can stay connected during the upgrade.

Next Saturday, the new floor goes down.  And normality will return.  A bit tidier and no dust. 

Saturday, August 7, 2010


It's Saturday and it's raining.  I know that it's not happy for the campers but I'm not camping.  Our gardens need the rain and it's a reprieve from having to water.  It may also help to wash away the smoke from the forest fires.

It's a good day to stay inside and get some neglected chores done.  Or I could just to sit here and list all the reasons why I'll never be a knitting designer:

1. I only want to please myself.  My gd was less than impressed with this (unfinished) cardi for her.  Even when I told her it would have buttons on the points.  It's 'too small' because it has 3/4 sleeves and only comes to her waist.  I sort of knew her opinions before I started, too.  How slow a learner am I?  I also hope I'm over this point obsession.

2.  I'm too lazy to write down the pattern directions for stuff I think up. I had only limited success sharing my 'two-at-once baby socks with Deb because I couldn't remember my pattern.  If I'm going to teach anybody, I had better write it down.

3.  There's so many very nice patterns that others have designed that I want to knit.  This T-top  has taken forever because I was working on Project Yarnway designs.  I'm taking the summer off from that and trying to concentrate on finishing what I've started. 

 Not too many reasons but each one is a deal-breaker. 

Time to get some of those chores done now. 

Friday, August 6, 2010

Don't fence me in!

 Some things just don't like to be told what to do.

This is a maturing spaghetti squash and it's already the size of a football.  If you have ever grown any of the squash family then you know how they can just get away from you. 

One minute they are doing as you expect and the next, well, they're off to seek new and bolder adventures. The vines were supposed to grow on the cages and supports.  They did that for a while but then got restless.

It was hard to get this one to sit still for a photo it was so busy sending out it's fast-growing vines.  Wonderful curling tendrils have grasped onto the grass - and weeds - with a death grip. 

It's hard to get a sense of scale but the parts outside the box are longer than what's in.  At least 6 feet and growing along the grass.  There's a  new little squash every few inches.  Good thing I love spaghetti squash.  Hope our neighbors do, too.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin