Friday, November 24, 2017

A Special Day Under a Vancouver Sky

My family had a special day today. 

My nephew graduated with his Masters in Arts in Psychology.
Graduation ceremonies take place over 3 consecutive days twice per year. Each day there are 3 separate ceremonies.
My nephew's was the 2nd ceremony of the 2nd day which seemed fitting given it is his 2nd degree. It was also the best time weatherwise over the 3 day period.

The crowd assembles in the beautiful Chan Centre.

Ph.D. graduates are seated in their fushia and blue robes at the back  of the stage behind the professors and dignataries. The fuschia looks red in the photo but the UBC website says the colour is maroon.

The Mace is carried by the ‘Macebearer’ who leads the Platform Party, which includes the Chancellor, the President, and other dignitaries, onto the stage for the Congregation ceremonies.

 In the fall of 1957, the University commissioned the late Haida carver Bill Reid to undertake the project of carving the mace. Due to Reid’s heavy workload, he suggested that George Norris be asked to help design and carve the Mace. The planning of the Mace took some time and a final design was not approved until 1959.
(Source:  UBC Website)

The mace is made of yew wood and has west coast carved designs as well as inlaid copper.

President Santa Ono addresses the crowd. He was born in Vancouver but comes to us from Chicago, Illinois.

Vancouver has been having a deluge of rain for the last few days. Miraculously today the rain stopped, the clouds parted a bit and we even had sunshine. A much nicer way to celebrate the graduation as all the graduates like to take photos outside.

After photos we all trekked to the Robert H. Lee Alumni Center.  Along the way I snapped photos of the clock tower which used to be where the main library was located.

The stone building behind the tower is the former library. I spent many hours working there as a student.

An eastern view of Wesbrook Mall a pedestrian mall for approximately 4-5 city blocks.

A new totem pole on campus. I didn't have time to find out its significance. Perhaps it is welcoming people to campus.

The new alumni centre, made of glass, is pictured in photo below.  There the new graduates and their families were treated to complimentary cake (vanilla or chocolate), coffee and water. The chocolate cake was pronounced delicious by our family party. No one tried the vanilla but I'm sure it was also delicious.

Graduates were each given a complimentary glass of wine if they chose.  They were also permitted to keep the glass as a keepsake. Etched on the stemware are the words "UBC Alumni".

All in all we had a lovely day with my nephew. He is now currently working on his Ph. D. And an exceedingly busy young man.



 I may not get a chance to visit you in the next little while as I am having major computer issues which I will need to sort out.

Happy Thanksgiving
to all my American friends who celebrate.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Friday Night at the Opera

Half the day is gone and I'm just putting up my Tuesday post.

It is pouring rain here right now and will likely be like this all week. It was a glorious, sunny day yesterday though.

I wanted to share my photos from the opera I went to last Friday. It was performed in a small church called Canadian Memorial United Church.
It is a beautiful church.

(Photo Credit:  Church website) This is the church located on a busy Vancouver corner (Burrard & 16th Avenue)

I took a friend as a Christmas gift and she enjoyed it very much. She bought us coffee and cookies at the break .  The coffee was fabulous and the cookies were too. I believe the church was raising funds for its out of the cold program.

I've never been to the church before.  Apparently they have different outside events throughout the year.

(Photo Credit: Church website) - This is the main window of the church. Simply stunning.

The opera written by Giuseppe Verdi is Un Ballo in Maschera (A Masked Ball)  was ably performed by a new partnership between a  company called Opera Mariposa and another, called Heroic Opera. Both of these companies were formed by female opera singers for the purpose of giving more performing opportunities to young and upcoming opera singers.

(Photo credit:  Mariposa and Heroic Opera Brochure) - This photo aroused my interest to look for tickets.

The summary of the opera story can be found here. I chose not to recite the summary in this post because it is rather a long story and some of you may not be opera buffs. 
Let's just say, like any good opera, it is full of drama, love and tragedy.
People settling in before the show

Of course I could not get any photos during the opera but here are the photos I managed to get during the bows at the end.

Flowers presented to Sarah Templeton in the role of Amelia, Renato's wife and love interest of King Gustavo

Mark Pepe who played King Gustavo

A longer shot of the stage and the ensemble actors

Andrew Greenwood who played the role of Renato, friend and protector of the King

Director Adam Da Ros, who seems to have grown up in my small hometown. He brought this complex opera to life

It was my first time to the lovely church and my first time to see an opera in a church. 
The director remarked that he chose to keep the set design minimal and play up the features of the church itself.
I thought the idea worked rather well. 
The costumes were meticulously designed.
It's always lovely to see such beautiful period costumes.

The opera singers were all good and I mean that very sincerely.
Seeing the opera in such a small venue gave an intimacy and poignancy to the performance that isn't possible in a large theatre.  I enjoyed this smaller venue as I saw the same opera in a large theatre many years ago and it was nice to have the comparison.
Despite everyone being so talented, I still had a favourite soloist. 
She is soprano Sarah Templeton and her voice is absolutely marvellous.


I have one more event to go to before Christmas; possibly two. I don't normally go to so many concert events in such a short space of time.
But as my plans are totally different this year given that it is the first time I will not have my dear late mom to visit.  Going to concerts and symphonies is something that is a real treat and at Christmas is even more enjoyable so I'm indulging myself this year.

I hope you too are getting a chance to see some marvellous musical events this holiday season.

Joining in with Our World Tuesday

Enjoy your week ahead.

Friday, November 17, 2017

The Weather Around These Parts

In Kenyan news

My young friend, Alvin has graduated today with his Bachelor in Engineering. He is hoping to do his Master's Degree in approximately one year but first he needs a job and to save some money.

That is Alvin on the left and Nathan on the right. Alvin is my friend.
 I met Alvin a few years ago when the choir he is in (Kenyan Boys Choir) were in the city.
Saturday they will have a big luncheon with family and friends to celebrate this great achievement.

My elderly "grandma" is still in hospital. She has been back and forth between the Intensive Care Unit and the private ward at the mission hospital where she lives.  She has pneumonia which she contracted while in hospital being treated for a bacterial infection.
She is a strong woman but she is very old and it is hard to recover.
I continue to pray for her recovery.

In sad news, a friend's uncle, Kipkoness has succumbed to heart problems and passed on.
I met him on my very first trip to Kenya. I am sorry I will not have a chance to meet him again when I return next to Kenya.

In local news
I'm keeping very busy getting parcels and cards out in the mail in preparation for Christmas. Next up will be wrapping the presents for family members. I also had to go to the eye specialist for laser surgery this week. Some of you remember I had cataract surgery but scar tissue grew rapidly due to healthy eyes and needs to be removed. One eye was done yesterday. The other will be done in a month. 

I'm breaking up all the errands with one of the things I like best, the opera. I have several performances to attend. I wrote about one of them a few days ago.
 I said I would be reporting on a special event. That will be posted in a day or two.

Thanks for joining me here.
I'll be sure to visit you if you let me know you were here.

Checking in with


Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful weekend. x

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Red - Red, African Yam & Friends

Though I took my camera to dinner I completely forgot to take a photo of what my friend served for dinner: Red-Red (Black Eyed Pea Stew) and African Yams. 
These are dishes from Ghana but other African countries also make and consume these tasty dishes.

I searched several recipes on line and the stew I found in the posted video seems to more closely resemble the black eyed pea stew cooked with tomatoes, scotch bonnet peppers, ginger, garlic and onions.
But I know my friend also used cabbage and bay leaf and perhaps some fish.  Fish (salted or dried, sometimes canned) seems to be the ingredient most often added.  But variations exist. My friend made it with chicken cooked until falling off the bone and shredded/  He served the dish with African yams which I've never had before.

(Photo Credit:  Africana L.L.C) ~This is what uncooked African yam looks like.

(Photo source: Adamara's Blog) ~ This is a cooked African yam with stew.
I love potatos and the African yam reminded me of Russet potatos except that it is more dense.
I've never seen these in
the local grocery store. My friend had to go to the next municipality (about an hour out of town) to buy them.

He said he will make fufu (foofoo, foufou) next time.  I have had it before and I love it. Fufu can be made with many things: cassava, African yams, potato, corn and perhaps more. You pound the ingredient for so long until it becomes soft and sticky like dough.  Once fufu is finished you work a bit of it between fingers and use it to scoop up some soup.  I like mine with ground nut soup.

(Photo credit: Whats4eats) Here are some ladies making yam fufu the traditional way.

If you would like to try a recipe for Red-Red you can click here for one variation. 
There are many others on line.

I always appreciate friends who take time out of their busy schedules to prepare a meal for me.
The food is generally very tasty when you enjoy sitting down to someone else's labour and shared conversation.
I've asked my friend to join me and my family members for the Christmas meal this year.
He usually goes to his auntie's for holiday meals but his uncle's health is in decline.   His aunt is busy looking after her husband's needs and she doesn't have the energy, strength or time to entertain at the holidays.

We are fortunate to live in a city where people are generally quite hospitable especially at holidays meals.
One can often get an invite or several invites to dinner but it is nice to spend time with friends who are like family.

Come back again soon.
 I hope to share a special event with you next time.
Enjoy the rest of your week.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Sunday Catch Up

It is pouring rain here (though it stopped for a bit) and a wind storm is expected tonight. 

I managed to get out this afternoon though to see a lovely performance of Verdi's Requiem as performed by senior students in the Vancouver Academy of Music and the Vancouver Bach Choir.
It was pretty much a full house At the Orpheum Theatre and it was lovely to see so many seniors from senior's residences being escorted to the concert too.

The program was Guiseppe Verdi's Requiem Mass. 

I took a friend to the performance in celebration of her birthday next month. 
Both she and I enjoyed it very much.
I managed to snap a few photos before the performance but didn't get a chance to photograph the soloists or the conductor. I'm sure you know how that goes with the rules about no photos at concerts.

 Prior to the main program, there was a mini concert by the younger students of the academy. Unfortunately I wasn't aware of this and I missed it when I went out to the lobby since I wasn't permitted back in until it was finished.

Next up conductor, Leslie Dala gave a moving introduction to the Requiem coming right on the heels of yesterday's Remembrance Day services.  
He and the soloists were all wearing a poppy to honour our war heroes.  
Today's performance  did not disappoint!

 Read more here about the Requiem. If you would like to hear it you can click here for a moving performance at La Scala Theatre in Milan, conducted by Daniel Barenboim.

Monday morning I will meet up with my niece and nephew who are both here from out of town to visit friends.  They are on different travel schedules and in different locations so I'm glad we managed to pull it together for a short visit.  I don't get to see them very often.  The last time was when we laid my late mom, and their paternal grandmother to rest. I am so impressed with how they have matured into gracious, loving and responsible young adults.

 Later in the evening I've been invited to dinner at the home of dear Ghanaian friend I haven't seen for long.  We've got a lot of catching up to do.


We are expecting to receive a lot of rain this week.  That means limited photo opportunities since I'll be sticking closer to home until Friday.  

I will write more about Friday's event so please do come back soon for another visit. Don't be too shy to leave a comment if you drop by for a visit. 

Have a wonderful week.


Linking to Our World Tuesday

Thursday, November 9, 2017


I'm remembering better weather with clearer skies....
I captured these shots just over a week ago.

Trees are in the sky! 
Seriously these trees are planted high above the ground as they are part of an apartment building built over top a shopping mall.  This photo was taken near the entrance to the shopping mall but if you want to enter the apartment building the entrance is on the opposite end and at ground level.

Some trees have been looking a little bleak.
I'm remembering trees full of green leaves.  Within the last two weeks many trees have lost their leaves. It is at times like this each year that one appreciates the greenery that remains with all the coniferous trees we have. I am truly grateful.

I'm remembering a colourful container garden.  
A few posts ago, I mentioned that I wouldn't clean out the debris from my garden until the Spring. I meant to empty out the container garden and store the pots though I haven't yet. 
I'm amazed to see how the geraniums have managed to stay so green.

I'm remembering walks to the beach on sunlit days.
On my last walk down at the beach I found these cute critters.

I love seeing the ducks on the water as the sun set.

Most importantly, I'm remembering that on November 11, at 11:00 o'clock, cities and towns across Canada will celebrate our fallen war heroes.

I've always felt the poignancy of this day and the sacrifices made on my behalf.

The poem, In Flanders Field was written by Canadian physician, Lieutenant Colonel, John McCrae after officiating at a funeral of his fallen friend and soldier, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer. If you have a moment watch the video to hear the poem narrated with lovely photos.
If you don't have a moment, I've posted the poem below for you to read.


Joining with 

Monday, November 6, 2017

My World Today

 On October 31st I was out a bit late running errands and enjoying the festive vibe.
While I was out I heard all manner of firecrackers coming from seemingly every direction.

 This impromptu fireworks display was a joy.
I tried to upload a short video without success
(I probably have to upload it to YouTube first)
So instead here is a grainy photo taken with the phone.

I think the vendors who opened for a short time just to sell firecrackers coordinated a fireworks display from 3 different directions.
The particular display closest to where I was was fantastic.

We had a small amount of snow on Saturday but it didn't stay. 
Today is a gorgeous, sunny day but rain is expected soon.

I always enjoy seeing trees all in a row.
Seeing several palm tree in a row is a particular delight.
These trees are in a small park near the Greyhound Bus and Amtrak Train Station.

Seeing all the boats at the marina on a beautiful day makes me smile.


Though I'm enjoying the beauty around me my heart is heavy with concern for a dear elderly lady in Kenya. I call her grandma. She had malaria and a bacterial infection which she overcame but while she was in hospital she contracted a cold. Being very old it is hard for her to fight it and she has been in and out of hospital and is now in ICU.
Prayers appreciated.

Hold fast to your joys dear friends and never take anything for granted.
Today I am grateful for so many things, the beauty all around me, the ability to help others and
loving family and friends.
Today I had a call from my late mom's cousin calling to enquire how I've been doing.
Simple things like this mean a lot.

If you are struggling (health, finances, relationships, other)
 I pray you will overcome your troubles and have the support you need along the way.

Joining with

 Our World Tuesday



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