Category Archives: Vancouver

A little place we call home.

3 Parties, 2 Christmases and a Funeral

We could have missed so much if blackout dates when booking a return flight home on points.  Of course with that, we would likely be spending New Year’s Eve just with ourselves…and what fun is that?

Last year’s New Year’s Surprise Birthday…must be awesome to have an automatic party event each year that coincides with your birthday

It was a welcome return to Vancouver, starting with a work Christmas party that I had to ask if we were still invited to.  On departing for the trip there was no written or handshake agreement that we might be coming back.  Even on return, there may have been a little hope a job might still be there for at least me…but in this day and age of company financial woes, anything could happen.  To find on return a welcome audience, and Christmas party to let loose at was pleasant.

Following that party, another of the surprise variety.  Surprise for the guest of honor on arrival that there were so many people gathered in an unexpected venue.  Even further surprise to the birthday girl that we were there too.  On the Golden Eagle, surprise birthdays happen regularly and it’s the shock on the face of that special someone that really makes those events worthwhile.  Glee is the best descriptor, but when glee turns to tears of joy…maybe it’s all a little too much.  Each one of those tears is a memory.  I just hope I am not the one crying at the next surprise party Melanie throws me.

More of these please! We really missed friends…really missed them…

Third party was an eagerly anticipated, much-belated housewarming.  Friends galore!  Salty snacks, shortbread cookies, drinks all around in a dog-filled house.  Stories to share, lives to get caught up on, hugs that required delivery, French choupettes that needed to leave our house in a hurry for fear of consumption by just the two of us.  I would post more info, but the pics got a little messy here requiring some serious sequestering.

All the fun and games needed a little balance though, and the discover of a university buddy’s floating off of Stanley Park was a bit of a reality check.  Here was a guy that was more than an acquaintance, due to our long conversations about girls, studies, worldly direction as well as our own.  A guy that would talk your ear off with smooth big words begging the need of a dictionary for those of us laypeople, and follow that up with a raging performance in the ball hockey court with a few major penalties.  A university relationship that like most…ends after graduation.  Seeing the article that he was missing, then found, really makes me wonder how many more of those passing relationships should be maintained…and if forgotten, should be revived?  It wasn’t until the memorial that Kevin and I found out that this guy had gone off to Spain for a few years, learned to be fluent in Spanish, then married a Korean gal.  More importantly, two little boys…with the oldest being 8.  It only seemed like a couple years ago since I last saw Simon, but what seems like a relatively short time turned out to be 10 or 12 years.  Lesson learned… make the effort to stay in touch.

So after that downing experience, I was all prepared to write an article about the experience of ferry travel.  Previous trips have been loaded with virus-laden passengers all hacking and sneezing over every public surface.  Rain-snow mixtures falling from the sky usually make the roads slippery, including the approach to the ferry resulting in late departures.  Masses of people making the pricey trek lined up for hours hoping that they’ll make it onto the next boat.  Surprisingly…we had none of these experiences.  Ferries left a few minutes early, and half full.  Weather was clear, maybe a little drizzle as is typical of Vancouver, and I had the great company of Melanie.  That article half prepared will likely now sit in my Draft bin for another year in hopes of finding those undesirable ferry experiences to write about and finish it off.

What could she possibly be putting into those stockings?

And Christmas, well there’s no need to complain about tasty food, piles of sweets, and good company.  Gifts handed over that were a combination of both Christmas and souvenir.  French finger puppets that were well received by a niece of almost three years old.  Caramels, aprons, wallets, Murano glassware all in exchange for candles, beer, and a bag of various chocolates big enough to treat a small army.  So many that we have had to store them in the back of my car…parked on the street to mitigate the compulsion to consume the entire lot in a single evening.  The only time we might ever need chocolate, and I am referring to the both of us…is if we’re desperate for a sugar fix due to a whole day of hiking around.  That doesn’t happen often enough when back here, which is why we’re looking for a third party to secure the sweets and dispense them to us in a regular fashion throughout the year…only if we’ve been good of course.

3D camera? My finger and full belly are not to be accentuated with technology!

Second Christmas…much the same as the first but with more gut-filling eats, this time to the point of hurt.  Maybe it’s the lack of complete digestion of the first meal, maybe it was the bean dip that preceded the meal.  Regardless, breakfast the next morning was not required…but a coffee filled with Carolans was found to be a great start to the day.  In fact, the three working days this week were much easier to get through with one of these coffees mixed up at the perky hour of 7am.  Might have to replace our usual cream option with this boozy alternative.

Now we’re prepping for a night out of New Year’s festivities.  A few friends, a few drinks, a few free bus rides to get us around from venue to venue.  As for getting home…that might just be walking.  After all those months of walking for hours and hours each day, maybe tonight will be another of those long, cold aimless strolls…just in direction of our home and warm comfy bed.

Happy New Year to all.  Although 2012 is rumored to be the last, it still isn’t likely to be just that.  Let’s live it up as if it were though by not taking life too seriously, live every day as if it really were your last, and reconnect with those people that may be forgotten, but not lost.

2011 in review

Ah…  It seems as if they want me to feel good about the little traffic I have received for the whole year, even though it’s only been a few months of writing.  Below they have compiled pics, stats, and some generalized 2011 annual report which I will not take any credit for.

Thanks to the regular readers, commenters, and ‘Likers’.  The rest of your are almost dead to me.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,400 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 23 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Vancouver, a little place we call home

Well we’ve been back 7 days.  No I am not about to start a blog about resumption of our daily happenings here in Vancouver, but I do need to do a little writing of some sort.  Besides, blog traffic has dropped to only visitors stumbling upon the site while searching for puffy coats or belly button lint.  The audience may have dried up a little, but that doesn’t mean the writing has to…does it?

It’s already been a week since seeing this sun and surf. Maybe we can find a cocktail with that blue, and dream our way back.

I know not everyone has stayed abreast of the 75+ posts.  Competing with Jersey Shore or news of a hockey trade for all of 3 minutes isn’t even a contest.  It appears a few posts seem to have left a lasting impression on people, such as the breakfast choices post from a couple weeks ago.  Whether this was a moment of unique observation that magically combined with what I could muster for writing skills that day, or the post just became a highlighted story on your Facebook newsfeed is yet to be determined.  I heard that one guy actually read the post to his 5 year old daughter as a bit of a bedtime story, of course obscenities carefully edited in his verbal portrayal of that electronic word.  Regardless, if anyone wants to get into this site and review the plethora of material…word of warning, it may take a while.  Grab a beer, or coffee and sit back with mouse in hand.

As for us, settling back into a life of reality is slowly underway.  The jetlag has worn off resulting in near regular sleeping patterns.  The skin is drying out, and not sure why because it’s raining out there in this typical 4 degree Vancouver winter weather.  The car has been dug out from the leaves piled around it, and surprisingly no mushrooms growing in the damp carpet under the seats.  Unpaid bills that sat in the mailbox for two months have been brought up to date, and account holds removed to permit further spending.  A full fridge of groceries is now in place, meaning no more drinking of milk from tetra-paks and a return to brewing up a pot of ground coffee instead of the freeze-dried instant we became so accustomed to.

Time to break out the paintbrush. 4 years of beige is enough.

Ah yes… my first sip of gin in 3 months.  Certainly there were bottles of this clear juniper-flavoured moonshine available in most jurisdictions we stayed, but not once were we intent on going out and getting smashed.  We’re all grown up though, and drinking until we can’t stand up is less entertaining now than it might have been 15-20 years ago.  Of course there are still a few Christmas get-togethers and I am sure a little hot wine will need to be sought out…for comparative research purposes of course.

Before heading out into the cold rainy evenings here in search of a Christmas market or warm pub to meet up with friends, we’ll need to readjust to our surroundings here.  With one week stints in each domicile while away we adjusted to splashes of color on walls, poor furnishings and cigarette smoke sucked through the walls.  Dirty sheets, or a leftover bread heel in the fridge were to be expected with each new accommodation.  With our own place, it was comforting to find we only had a few unsprouted potatoes, some prunes and a half tin of coffee left in the fridge.  It was also obvious that we also desperately need to put a little color on the walls as the neutral warm tones of a beige, technically ‘muslin’, just don’t evoke the same pop as a vibrant limoncello yellow or the burgundies of a wine red.  Not to worry, Melanie is on it and will be diverting the energy usually put into walking for hours each day, to adjusting any blandness in our previous choice in wall color.  She’ll be slaving on that painting activity while inhaling the mystery cooking odours arising from the neighbouring ethnic cuisines.

Maybe a little accordion music from through some internet radio station to set the mood and the transition back to life at home can be slow and steady.  Add to it that spinach and chicken frozen pizza kept on the bottom shelf of the freezer, only to be thawed in the event of emergency, and it’s almost like she never left.

I’ll just be at work.