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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Happy Birthday to Me

Happy Birthday was sung a few times yesterday. I celebrated a birthday on Monday and though I don't generally go for big parties I do enjoy more intimate gatherings with family and friends.

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A friend made a scrumptious and diverse dinner.  There were 3 kinds of rice (plain white, brown and chicken pilau), millet ugali, chicken stew, sauteed kale/onions, roasted plantain, roasted chicken legs with a lemon sauce and chapati. Not to be outdone her son made 2 flavours of muffins in two different sizes.  We had a feast and I was stuffed.



I thought it was rather creative how this young boy made cupcakes and bought candles to spell out Happy Birthday. 
It was very sweet.

Here is the young chef lighting up the cupcakes before they sang and I blew out candles.


Not to be outdone my "baby" brother bought me a beautiful fruit cocktail cake with whipped cream frosting topped with fresh fruits. This is my favourite cake and it has now become a staple for family birthday celebrations. I will have a few more birthday luncheons as friends have invited me out later and as time allows in my schedule.

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I haven't had time to post a lot of photos of my various outing over the past few weeks so I'm sharing a few from a few weeks ago when a friend invited me on a harbour cruise.

I have a lot of photos to share.  This post will only cover the walk along the northern sea wall toward the departure point for the cruise.



I alighted near the sea wall close to the entrance of the Westin Bayshore Hotel.  This hotel is popular with tourists and is located almost at the entrance to Vancouver's Crown Jewel, Stanley Park. Stanley Park is a 405-hectare public park that borders the downtown of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada and is almost entirely surrounded by waters of Vancouver Harbour and English Bay.  Read more about this beautiful park at this link.


I'm headed north west of the hotel so I need to go around it.  I found the hotel rather large and spread out.  It is also undergoing some redevelopment though it is still open for business.

A view west towards downtown Vancouver.

A small marshy pond located adjacent to the hotel. Too bad there were no birds splashing about




I love the riotous colour in all the blossoms.



Just as I am about to head due west, I look to the east and snap a few photos. 

The  white building with the 'sails' in the background right is the east wing of  the Vancouver Convention Center and where I was last week for Flyover Canada.  I just learned that it is still part of the Convention Center. I thought it had been replaced altogether by the new one (see photo below) but now I understand there is a west wing and an east wing which are actually two separate buildings.


See the paddle boat with tourist on the top deck.

You can see the port of Vancouver with the multi-coloured shipping containers in the background.  The float plane on the far right is part of the fleet for Harbour Air which flies to our provincial capital, Victoria and to many other points on Vancouver Island.  In late April the airline added flights to Seattle, Washington.



In the photo above you can see the structure in the middle with a green roof. That is the new 'west wing" of Vancouver Convention Centre.   It is built on stilts over the water.

 The living roof, seawater heating and cooling, on-site water treatment and fish habitat built into the foundation of the West Building make it one of the greenest convention centres in the world. The Centre recycles an average of 180,000 kilograms of materials annually, nearly half of the total volume of waste generated. It avoids canned goods, disposable utensils and dishes, and donates leftover food to local charities (source: Wikipedia)



The grey, concrete building peeking out just to the right of the lamppost in the foreground is the Vancouver Lookout Tower. At the top there is an observation deck and the only remaining revolving restaurant in the city.



I enjoyed my walk along the waterfront looking at all the activity on the water and the various boats and ships which were docked. Though the weather was overcast it was perfect for a day out.  Signage was present here and there announcing various tours and yacht rentals.



A float plane comes in for landing.
Signage announcing some water adventure tours.

 

I've now arrived at the departure point for the Harbour Cruise. Here I sit and wait on a bench for my friend to arrive. 
It isn't too long before I heard my name.
My former boss was out for a luncheon walk and recognized me in profile as I gazed out over the boats and yacts.
What a small world we live in.

In a short while afterward my friend arrives and we set off for our adventure.

Stay tuned.

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Thank you for visiting. Please come again soon.




Thursday, May 17, 2018

A Flying and Cruising Kind of Day

The other day I met a friend down by the Waterfront.  

I took the SkyTrain as I was running late.


On the platform catching the train to Waterfront Station.
 
On the ride to town I saw a few interesting sights for locals and tourists alike.

Science World (the globe).
  Click on Science World link above for more information if interested.
As we head northwest, I am looking westward towards False Creek
The building with "spikes" out the top is the stadium called BC Place. Smaller dome on right is "Rogers"


The BC Place is where big concerts are held and also sports like hockey, football or soccer.  It seats 54, 320 people.
It opened in June 1983 and has been the main venue for world events such as Pope John Paul IIs visit to Vancouver (1984) and the Winter Olympics of 2010.   The stadium underwent massive renovations which included the installation of a retractable roof.

 Rogers Arena is just to the right of BC Place in the above photo and is another key venue for major concerts and sporting events.  It opened in 1995 under the name, General Motors Place. In 2010, General Motors naming rights ended and sponsorship assumed by Rogers Communications. The arena is the home of the major league hockey team, the Vancouver Canucks and formerly to the National Basketball Association team, the Vancouver Grizzlies from 1995 to 2001.

The dirt in the foreground is being levelled.  I've no idea what will be built.  Probably a condo.

I asked my friend to meet me at Waterfront Station so we could go to Canada Place together.
She wanted to treat me to a 
tourist experience called "Flyover Canada". 

Canada Place which you see in the photo below used to be the main, convention centre for the city but now we have a new one which is located to the west of Canada Place (I didn't get a photo today). 
The tower in the photo houses the Pan Pacific Hotel.  The hotel has housed many famous people such as President Clinton and a host of others. 
There were a lot of tourists out and about on Wednesday.



Flyover Canada is a multi media experience. 
the name suggests that you will experience Canada but both my friend and I were rather disappointed. She is
Tanzanian and I am a Canadian and neither of us felt that the film gives a good overview and insight as to what Canada is.
One would expect at least a brief photo of key cities and important places in Canada.
That was almost entirely missing!
Also there was absolutely no mention or photo of First Nations or Aboriginal peoples.
There was like a 2 second sound bite of First Nations drummers as one "flew over" 2 dug out canoes which could easily be mistaken for something else.

Now it wasn't a total loss. I did enjoy the flyover where we were strapped into seats and treated to a simulated flying experience.  A few times when going over rapids or glacial field we were treated to a fine mist of water as we "flew" over. That was kinda cool.
But over all the images presented did not do justice either in duration of time or in selection of images.
The experience was only about 20 minutes.
Prior to the flight we were treated to a 6 minute film with no narration or explanation of what we were looking at. Much of it was not relevant in my opinion.

Final complaint is that there is absolutely no signage anywhere that tells a person with disabilities or mobility issues,
that they will have to climb 3 long flights of stairs to get to the top.
Neither do you have time to explain to anyone or ask anyone once you get in line and start moving forward. There are no elevators or escalators anywhere and the few staff on hand run ahead and rush everyone along.

I'm lucky I can climb these days but going up so many stairs and then down so many and again more stairs to get out of the back of the convention centre were starting to take their toll on  me.
I was not happy.
I made inquiries on the way out. 
they said yes they do have an elevator and a wheelchair but you must tell them in advance.
It would be nice to know that in advance. Further it would be more important that they let people know that stairs are going to be climbed. I had no idea this was the case until we were rushed inside and the staff ran ahead so I couldn't ask him anything.

Anyway, I'm not complaining too loudly.  My friend was treating me and I really did enjoy it and her company. I noted the deficiencies because my friend asked for my opinion. It turns out she felt the same way.
Also, I was shocked at the number of stairs without any signage. I managed okay but I am more concerned about visitors and locals being caught in the situation of not being able to see the show and then getting caught up in ill feelings as they have to wait for help and so on.

It is a shame in this day and age that companies that do so much business are not better prepared to deal with all the different kinds of tourists that want to participate.  It is also a pity that they couldn't do a better job of representing what Canada looks like in all it's fullness and have a little more meaningful portrayal of the country though I certainly do realize they cannot do it all. Some 'tweaks' would be advisable.
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After the event I suggested to my friend that we catch the sea bus to North Vancouver. 
We did but we didn't get a good window seat going or coming.  I did manage these photos on the return trip.

You will see a cruise ship in the dock and also a helijet on the way to the provincial capital of Victoria, BC.

The sea bus on the way to North Vancouver had much bigger windows that the one on the return trip.

I was famished as by now it was mid afternoon. I had calamari and Greek salad. Delicious!

I end with a few more photos down at Vancouver waterfront. I didn't get photos in North Vancouver other than my lunch as by then my phone was losing juice.





There were 3 big cruise ships docked.

This is the smaller cruise ship.
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I hope you enjoyed the tour. 

Have a great weekend.

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Monday, May 14, 2018

Miracles Still Happen

And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The Lord, he is the God; the Lord, he is the God.

1 Kings 18:39

Grandma Sally was released to home today (Monday) and will have a nurse at home. This is a miracle as she was on life support just a short time ago and has been in intensive care for several months.  Grandma Sally is very old but obviously very strong and highly favored.  I can't believe she is actually sitting upright.

She does look weak so kindly continue praying for her health and her comfort.

I said a few posts ago that I didn't want to limit God and what he will do in Grandma Sally's circumstances given her very advanced age.  Sometimes the circumstances can look rather bleak but only God knows what he will do and why he is doing it. I hope to talk to Grandma's grandson later tonight to learn the details of her home care.




Update:  Grandma Sally is quite weak. You can see it on her face.  She needs assistance in walking and utters one or two word sentences very slowly.  She has house help to bathe and feed her. A nurse will attend to her twice a week and monitor her breathing and blood pressure which are her two main health challenges.

She is very happy to be home and be able to sleep in her own bed which is far more comfortable than the thin mattresses they have at hospital. She also doesn't want or like so many visitors because the noise (talking) disturbs her. I can imagine it is very wearing because I know when I am very sick I too cannot handle much noise and I don't want to talk to people.  It would certainly be more difficult for Grandma Sally in her current condition.

I'm very happy she is now in her own home with the familiarity of her surroundings and the help of family members and a nurse. That will give her a lot of comfort especially after being away from her own home for so long.

Here are a few photos of the countryside around where Grandma Sally lives near Bomet, Kenya. The green fields are full of tea.





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Have a wonderful week ahead. 

#miracles #GrandmaSally #Godisgood #prayer #KenyaMissionsofHope #Kenyamedicalmercymissions

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Update on Grandma Sally



Hello friends,

Several of you have expressed that you  are waiting for updates about Grandma Sally. For those who are not aware, Grandma Sally has been in hospital for almost 3 months.  Many different medical interventions have been needed during that time and it has been an emotional roller coaster for those involved in overseeing her care since they do not live in the town where Grandma Sally is admitted to hospital.

Grandma Sally has been in ICU for almost all of the 3 months she has been a patient.  She has also been unable to speak for much of that time and most recently had some growths (tumours) on her lungs.  Doctors recommended surgery but the family was reluctant due to Grandma Sally's advanced age.


After discussion with doctors, the course of treatment was changed to some powerful medication.  It seems to have worked but in the recent week or so, Grandma's health deteriorated and she has been on life support. The family's goal has been to keep Grandma as comfortable as possible and not do anything that would jeopardize her comfort.  They would like to see a more natural transition for her rather than more medical interventions.  Among other things, I've been guiding the caregivers during the various courses of treatment and helping them with questions to ask the doctors and so on.  The hospital and it's doctors do everything to prolong life and assist Grandma Sally but they conclude that Grandma Sally is transitioning from this life.  No one knows how long it might take.

Interestingly in today's news, an elderly man of 104 years travelled from Australia to Switzerland to get medically assisted suicide.  Grandma Sally is more or less than same age, but she does not fit the category of someone unhappy with life.  Nor is she, or the family seeking euthanasia. In fact everything possible has been done to treat her symptoms and give Grandma Sally the best possible life for as long as she is alive.

Grandma Sally is a very faith filled woman and also a very physically strong woman. The family got the doctors to remove life supports except for oxygen. They are now working to get medical assistance and transport Grandma to her home where she can see out her last hours and days. They think this is how Grandma would want it and I agree.

Grandma's house in the village


It has been difficult for family and friends near and far. Many have traveled long distances to say their goodbyes.  Having no funds for good or lodging it is difficult to remain in the local area for a funeral that no one knows when it will occur.  They all travelled when it seemed Grandma Sally was slipping away fast and they have been patiently awaiting her transition. 

Pray for everyone involved;  for the dear ones that need to say goodbye and are grieving. Most do not understand the end of life process.  Pray also for strength for the family and loved ones, especially those overseeing Grandma Sally's peaceful and comfortable transition.  It is a stress for them as they also do not live in the town where Grandma is getting care.

All in all we trust that God is in control. When Grandma Sally was first admitted to hospital almost 3 months ago it wasn't long before she lost her ability to talk.  At the time it was evident her mind was still working.



She was always smiling at hospital staff and family carers making motions about praying and praising God. While she could still talk she was encouraging family members to walk the path of faith and to ensure they did not deviate from reliance upon God. She is truly an inspiration to me and to her family members. She is well loved and though she is not my biological Grandma, I am pleased to call her Grandma Sally. I love her as if she were my own dear Grandma. May she move over to a new life free of pain and struggle and hear the words "well done, my good and faithful servant".

Rev 21:4

 

#miracles #GrandmaSally #Godisgood #prayer #KenyaMissionsofHope #Kenyamedicalmercymissions

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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Accidental Detour

A few posts ago I mentioned I had a broken washer. I've been spending time on line since then researching washers, washer/dryer pairs and checking out flyers and pricing.

In the end I purchased a May Tag washer and dryer.  I didn't even consider May Tag during my research. You never really know what is in store until you get to the store no matter how much research you've done.

I've always believed May Tag is reliable and dependable. A message I got from the many years I watched May Tag commercials as a child.  I've posted just one of their many old commercials for you in case you are unfamiliar with them.

Initially I was going to purchase the Whirlpool brand.  Whirlpool and May Tag are made by the same company and I thought May Tag machine looked to be better quality of the machines I was checking out.  It comes with a great warranty and I purchased an extension to make sure any labour repairs will be covered for the first few years.  I think I will be more than happy with the machine.


On our way to check out laundry appliances, we took the wrong turn on the highway and ended up in a place called Horseshoe Bay. This is the place where the ferries depart to various destinations on the smaller islands around these parts. This is also the departure point for the big ferry over to Nanaimo located on the much larger island called Vancouver Island.


We decided to stop for lunch at a restaurant called Trolls.  I've been wanting to have fish and chips there for a very long time.  It was a spectacular day and the food was delicious. The bonus was we got to sit outside and enjoy the air and the view.  Afterwards I crossed the street to take these photos to share with you. Unfortunately I just had my phone camera.  Thank goodness for phone cameras.


At the park area, across the street from the restaurant.

 

The big ferry is readying for departure. I'm guessing this one goes to Nanaimo.

The pier.





My view from the restaurant patio. My face was literally in the plant.  The flowers had fragrance.

It wasn't all rosy and light today.  Earlier I had notice that Grandma Sally is not doing too well. The doctors don't hold out much hope for her and the family members have been asked to visit.  Grandma Sally has been in hospital for about 2 months and most of that time has been spent in ICU. I pray for her healing and comfort but her advanced age and length of time she has already been in hospital make it unlikely she will get strong enough to return home. Only God knows for sure though and I try not to limit him.  My fervent hope and prayer is for Grandma Sally's comfort.

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