Friday, April 27, 2018

A Beautiful Week

Hi friends and fellow bloggers,

It's been a fantastic week weather wise here in Vancouver.  

The photos I'm sharing today were taken with my phone camera on Wednesday April 25, 2018.

A house on my walk. I was drawn by the big cherry tree on the side of the house.

 I was surprised to see a number of gardens that were quite far along given that we haven't had a warm spring.

I didn't take many photos of gardens that day.
I normally wait for summer walks for garden photos.

Magnolia tree blossoms are almost all gone but they are so pretty.

In my last post I shared pink cherry blossoms. Today I'm sharing white ones.
These trees are very tall.

Whether the cherry blossoms are pink or red, I love them all.

Vancouver has an estimated 40,000 cherry trees and at least 54 different varieties of them planted throughout the city.
The first cherry trees were a gift from a sister city, Yokohama, Japan.

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Monday, April 23, 2018

A Busy Week

Hi friends,

I hope all of you are well. I've been a little less present on the blog this week due to busyness.

Unexpectedly my washer broke down so that added to my usual workload. I cleared everything out of the laundry closet and sorted everything as well as wiped it all down.

Of course, the washer breakdown necessitating an analysis of whether repairs are worthwhile or whether a new machine is needed.  This in turn meant even  more time doing online research, telephoning washer repairmen, researching flyers for washer sales and so on.  It looks like I will have to purchase a new machine.  After talking to experts, reading reviews on line and speaking with relatives with similar washing  machines I feel rather fortunate to have had my washer working as long as it did.  Many people seem to get only 4-5 years out of a similar model while I had 10 years. Even so, it is really   shame that we live in a throw away society and that manufacturers and retailers have done so little to improve the longevity of machines.
Most of us have become aware that machinery and equipment of various kinds are no longer built to last even if they don't become obsolete due to technological advances.

While I was cleaning out the closet, I was motivated to complete a number of Spring cleaning projects.  Things get so dusty over the Winter despite regular cleaning.
It feels good to clean in nooks and crannies and get all the dust bunnies out.  

Several bags and boxes of items to give away were put together and photos taken so that various advertisements could be prepared and posted on line.  I'm always surprised at what people are interested in.  This time the large bucket of powdered laundry soap was a sought after item. And also some clothing which often seems to be the hardest for me to get rid of.

It is very time consuming to give away several different items at the same time.  It requires responding to emails and scheduling meet up times when it is convenient for both parties. Inevitably I find, that often those that are the first to request an item are the ones least likely to be reliable when it comes down to picking the item up when they say they will.  I still prefer to give things to someone who might actually use them rather than to throw things in the trash and add to the landfill.

Since Saturday the weather has been slowly improving with more sunshine and gradually warmer days.

Soon I will need to prepare the garden.
 In the meantime I've started some seeds, both flowers and vegetables. This is the first year of starting my garden mostly from seed. Usually I purchase starter plants because I'm often behind schedule.
This year due to late warming weather, I think I can garden in the old fashioned way which is how everyone did it when I was younger.

On the hobby side I've read a few more books and increased my year-to-date total to 21 books.
I've put together several completed books to gift to my hairdresser tomorrow. I usually get books on loan from the library but from time to time I purchase a novel or two from the thrift stores. I often return them to the thrift stores once I'm finished but this time I am happy to give them to someone I know enjoys reading.
I had a huge surprise late last week when relatives arrived in town without  notice.  They were here on other business but managed to find time for a lovely dinner.  Eight of us dined, visited and laughed together at a local neighbourhood restaurant and we had a lot of fun.
  Considering they live so far away it was touching to know they made time for me.
This particular set of relatives always does.

Last, but not least it seems so many people I know have their birthdays in April and May.  This has been keeping me busy writing and sending cards and phoning far away friends.
It's always nice when someone remembers me on my birthday and I try to remember special days of friends and family members.

I'm enjoying the last days of the tree blossoms.
I missed out on a lot of them but there are still some beautiful ones around.
I hope you enjoy the few I've posted here in this space today.
I think this variety of cherry blossom is the Prunus kanzan or the Prunus serrulata.
Sadly the trees are getting rather old and I never see anyone pruning or tending to them but they are still blossoming each year and bringing a lot of joy to me and to others.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Books and More Books - A Quarterly Update

This is my quarterly update on the books I've read in 2018. 

The books I enjoyed most are An African Love Story by Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick,  The Secret Daughter by Shilpa Somaya Gowda and The Laws of Harmony by Judi Hendricks.

Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick is a Kenyan author, conservationist, and expert in animal husbandry, particularly the raising and reintegrating of orphaned elephants into the wild.I completed reading the book on March 31, 2018 and learned that Dame Sheldrick passed away in Nairobi on April 12, 2018, after a long battle with cancer. 

In previous visits to Kenya, I have had the pleasure of visiting the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust dedicated to the conservation of elephants and rhinos. If you are all interested in this work please see more information here about the trust and the ways you can help in the conservation efforts.  The work of the trust will continue under the leadership of one of the daughters, Angela Sheldrick.

On my current reading pile are several books:

Very interesting book on breathing and fitness/health.

An interesting book written by a prop stylist about how to identify your decor style and tips for achieving it.

A new to me author. The story is set in 1940s British ruled Malaya.

I'm interested in the book, Oxygen Advantage for health reasons but it was written with athletes in mind. If you are at all interested in oxygenation for fitness or health reasons you might be interested in watching this short video presentation by the author.

If you have any good book recommendations please feel free to share them in the comments.  Thank you for stopping by.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Quick Travels

Hello friends and fellow bloggers,

I'm now back from my quick trip out of town to attend my late Sister-in-Laws (SIL) funeral. It was a very unique funeral. My late SIL had many interests in life and a host of friends and family members. She was a bit of a maverick and one of the MC's at her service called her one of the last true cowgirls of the area.

It is only fitting then that they opened service with a Cowboy's prayer. The MC's were and are cowboys too. Her son and other relatives also work with horses and cattle and many work on the land. Many First Nations dancers, drummers and singers were there to honour and sing to her for several days before and during the service.  A fire was kept for several days and nights with young fire keepers staying awake to ensure the flame never burned out. Food was brought in by many locals and tea, coffee, juice and water was constantly available as we condoled with family in the days and nights before the service.

One thing that stood out to me is how everyone spoke of my late SIL's hospitality and kindness. Her brother was one of the MC's and he told the assembled crowd to put aside any differences and love one another as that is what his late sister was good at. Loving others and embracing people of all backgrounds. I certainly do remember her kindness and care.   She was always positive whenever we interacted.  I also remember her as an avid cowgirl and outdoor person, a hunter and fisher providing food not only to her family but to others. These are just a few of her unique characteristics and accomplishments.

After the service, her casket was driven to the local cemetery in a truck and was escorted there by several horses and riders including her son. Her grave marker was carved by one of her nephews.  All in all, I know she would have been happy with how her family organized everything on her behalf and I'm sure she was looking down and smiling at the proceedings.

Her son (my nephew) on the gray horse.

These friendly horses came up to greet us as we parked to get photos of the riders.


After the service, a few of us drove back to Vancouver. 
About an hour into the journey home, we ran into miserable weather.  At one point the weather was extremely stormy and windy while the skies poured down hail.  
Other times it snowed or rained until about 2 hours from home when the sun came out.
Thankfully my brother was the driver and he is a most excellent driver in terrible weather conditions.

This photo was taken about half way through the journey home.

All this wintry weather is not terribly surprising given that much of our journey is through the mountain highway, called the Coquihalla (Coq for short). It has the distinction of being the deadliest highways in the province with 400-500 accidents during the Winter seasons.  Fortunately for us, there was not much traffic on the way home given it was still early in the week.

We arrived at the dinner hour but most of the traffic was leaving Vancouver, not entering,  as people headed home from work in the city. We didn't have to compete for highway space.  To be honest, the traffic was lighter going into Vancouver than I've seen it for many, many years in all my many journies back and forth to visit my late mom.

This photo is taken at the highest elevation of the highway. Surprisingly it was not snowing here.

I'm now back home, recovering from the past week and trying to catch up to things.
It has been a very busy and difficult week to lose and bury a friend and family member.
I need a bit of recovery time too.
We are expecting a wet weekend so I won't likely be going far afield.
 I'm hoping the weather will improve before all the cherry blossoms disappear so I can get more photos.

Thank you to everyone who made inquiries and kept good thoughts and prayers for the family.


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Thursday, April 5, 2018

Signs of Spring & Transitions

Every man must do two things alone; he must do his own believing and his own dying.

Martin Luther 


Thank you to all who left comments and sent messages inquiring after my health.
It seems that I've spent much of 2018 in the clutches of a cold or pneumonia or both.
I still have a touch of it. The weather doesn't help as it's been cold and sometimes wet.

Even so time marches on.

I can count on this tree to blossom first every year. It looks quite old.

I always look forward to Spring when warmer climates and clearer skies prevail and the blossoms unfurl in earnest.

But this Spring has started on a sad note.

I said goodbye today to a very dear and very long time friend. 
She passed 2 weeks ago of diabetic complications.  Her daughter arranged for services today as there are many relatives who had to travel far to be at the service.
It was a lovely service and my friend was noted for her long and faithful service to the church amongst other fine attributes.
I will miss her. Besides relatives she is one of the people I have known longest on this earth.

One spire at the local Catholic Church.

Also very unexpectedly my sister in law passed yesterday.
She suffered a brain aneurysm and was airlifted to Vancouver for surgery.
They could not save her.

I was at the hospital late into the night with the family as they made the heart rending decision to 'let her go'.

I am expecting that the funeral services will be as soon as possible. Several of my family members here will make the road journey on Monday for a few days.

Friends we never know what this life will bring us.
Sometimes we have a long journey in this life and sometimes we have a short one.
In all cases, it is made a bit easier in the knowledge that those of us with faith will meet again one day.

It is almost one year since my own mother made the transition. 
She left in peace and contentment just as I know my dear friend did also.
That is a gift to the family especially when we know they have suffered long due to ill health.
Where they are now, they will not suffer again.

There are always Canada geese on the lawns in front of train station.

In my sister-in-laws case the end came very suddenly and totally unexpectedly.
It is harder to deal with loss in such cases.
My heart aches for her only son.

A few seagulls overhead.

Spring seems to be a season in which many leave this earth.
It is also a time of new growth and rebirth.

I thought  this new growth in the bottom of the tree trunk was interesting.

 I ask you to pray for the children and families involved and affected by these recent losses, especially for the children.
Also, my close friend's grandma Sally has been in hospital in Kenya for many weeks.
I ask for prayers for her and her family as well.


I hope you all had a pleasant Easter holiday.
I had a quiet but pleasant one.
I've started to visit some of your blogs again.
Please bear with me if I am a little slow to get to your posts.
I miss reading what you all share.

I like the light in this photo.


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Neighbourhood Street Scenes

Hello friends and fellow bloggers, I hope you are well today. These are photos I took on a recent walk in the neighbourhood. You can see the...