Transformation…A City Grows Up, Literally!


 

Queeens Park April 2015 058

Springtime in the lower mainland finds us in the pink

Last week I began doing research on Vancouver for an article that I was working regarding the recent oil spill. It really is quite remarkable how Vancouver has in fact changed.  The thing now is the height of the buildings they are erecting in the downtown core.

Having worked in the architectural world for eight years the term ‘densification’ has been tossed about and embraced by cities throughout the lower mainland.  There is really nowhere to go but up.  At one time Vancouver had height restrictions regarding the view of the mountains.  As you will see the Vancouver skyline is being dominated by high-rise condo towers.  This is trickling into the suburbs as well.  I live in New Westminster and there are two 19 storey buildings going up.  One is on the corner from my building and the other is right next door. They are planning on building three towers down on the New West Quay which sits right on the water.  I’ve seen signs up in front of automotive shops over on Carnarvon Street indicating that application for rezoning has been made with the image of yet another tower to be built.

New Westminster has held onto many of her historical buildings.  And I am now wondering what is to become of this place?  Is New West going to follow in the footsteps of Vancouver with condo towers obliterating the river view?

The following photo essay is a then and now expose.

11.1  DT Van w Stanley Park 1970s11.  Burrard & Cambie Bridge 2015

Downtown Vancouver in the 1970’s and today

As you can see industry once ruled the waterfront.

2.1.  Quebec & Terminal 1970s

This location now houses Science World.  This vantage point shows the Georgia Viaduct at the top of the photo and we are looking at Quebec St. northbound

2.  Science World 20154. Science World 2

This is Science World today as it sits at the mouth of False Creek. 

Industry no longer exists on this part of the waterfront and a seawall has been built along the shore line.  You can now walk from Kitsilano Beach over to Coal Harbour.  Might take you a few hours.

10.  Burrard & Cambie St. Bridge

Above the Burrard Street Bridge with the Granville St. Bridge to your right looking at the downtown core in the 1970’s

6.1  DT Van 2015 312.  Cambie Bridge today 2015

The Cambie Street bridge which was built and opened in 1983 and the view of the downtown core now.  As you can see the difference over just a 20 year span is quite dramatic.

9.  DT VAn looking north 2015

8.1  DT VAN 2015 2

The Vancouver Skyline today is slowly obliterating the mountain view 

37.  Burrard St Bridge 2015

View of Burrard Street Bridge from Granville Island

1.  2nd & Cambie 1970s

Image of the old Cambie Street Bridge.  You can see the waterfront was used primarily for industry.  This would begin to change in the late 1970’s when the city began to buy back the land and redevelop  False Creek area West of the Cambie Bridge

Granville Island 1971

Granville Island 1971 was a rough area at that time. 

Granville Isle 2Ferry Terminal

Granville Island today is a tourist hot spot. 

the old island

A shantytown was set up on Granville Island when the sawmills began to struggle during the Great Depression

Granville Island at nightMarket shote

The marina now hosts houseboats and a yachts galore 

Mansiiongabriola-house-1

The Mansion sits at Davie St. & Cardero St. just a few blocks up from English Bay.  It was built by Rogers who also built the Sugar Refinery.  This grand dame has served as a restaurant for many years and is currently sitting empty.  It is a heritage house though.  It is believed to be haunted.

Science world and BC Place 201516.  DTES, False Cr, Georgia Viaduct at Quebec & Main street

Quite the change to False Creek. 

Granville b 28368697571_14c5d498a7_z

DT Granville Bridge 201533.  FC looking East

Some views of the City.  Top Left:  Downtown view from Granville Bridge circa 1970’s

Bottom Left: Aerial view of Granville Bridge circa 1990’s

Top Right: View from Hotel Vancouver looking North circa 1930’s

Bottom Right:  Science World looking East circa 2000’s

Beaches 2015grey whale

Sunset Beach was developed back in 1977 and a photo of the Grey Whale that returned to False Creek in 2010

PC & Hotel Georgia 2015New Hotel Georgia 2015

The Hotel Georgia 

Hotel Vancouver 2 2015Hotel Vancouver 2015

Hotel Vancouver

The Hotel Vancouver, downtown Vancouver

columbiathenandnow_DSH-300x277

8th & Columbia in New Westminster

Commercial & napier thne and now

Commercial Dr. & Napier Street, Vancovuer

3917377790_1e4e15996d_z

1st & Clark Street in Vancouver

3988443697_7fe132db28_z

Commercial & Broadway looking west

32.  False Creek, Fairview & Granville Island at Lamey's Mill Rd.21.  Downtown 1970

Industry in the City circa 1970’s

8301233082_aaabb790f7_z

The Blue Horizon Hotel on Robson St. 

Ocean Concrete

This is one of the few industries that still remains on Granville Island.  They have worked very hard, however, to conform to keeping their business practices environmentally sound.

3785966618_8e0a9089d3_z

3785158183_01b330dd67_z

Commercial Dr. & 1st Ave looking East & West

Granville b 1

Granville Street Bridge heading North into the downtown core.

Well I do hope you’ve enjoyed this little photographic essay.  As stated I personally would like to see them slow down on the building. Vancouver’s transformation and her surrounding suburbs has been quite remarkable.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

Advertisement

The Body Temple


images[3]

 

As I drove in to work today at 6:00 AM to have my morning shower the radio station spoke of 12 senior students at Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary in Surrey who have been charged with ‘sexting’.

It is a new thing regarding youth who take pictures or have photos taken of them in sexually provocative and/or naked postures then post them on to the internet.

The 12 students were in fact circulating these images through online social media; some of the images from 13 year old students having just entered the 8th Grade.

What happened here? What did we forget to pass along to our youth in this insanity?

From the Eaton's Room in the old bldg on Hastings

We have men and women on shows such at The Bachelor & The Bachelorette who are becoming ‘celebrities’?  Am I missing something here?

These days I see toddlers with mini iPads in hand playing ‘games’?  Is this a good thing?

Apparently these games will make them smart? Can’t say that I can really comment on this but what I do know is that because of technology, because of computers they are no longer teaching cursive writing in schools.

And that is just wrong!  You have now idea how much this saddens me.

images552IE2Y3

Youth today are being robbed in oh so many ways. Flashed with images of what some obscene bastard thinks we all should look like.

They pile into a restaurant booth then pull out their iPhones and begin to ‘chat’ without uttering a word.

Lost in translation.

Kids these days seem to go from toddler to highly sexualized being in the blink of an eye.

What happened to the growing up part? The life unfolding part? The mystery part?

Now is seems youth are obsessed with appearance, with gadgets, with sex?

And where, pray tell, did the little darlings get these ideas from? Hmmm.

I also heard on the news today that a town in Montana wants to pass a law that any women wearing ‘leggings and/or Yoga pants’ in public 3 times in a row be confined to prison for 5 years.

This was a total ‘WTF’ moment for me.

paranoid

We have our babies taking selfies of their selfies and then some and posting on the internet for the world to digest never considering the consequence of their actions.

Let me ask parents this. Did you sit with your child and tell them how beautiful it is to discover their sexual self on their own terms?  To explore the body temple, revere in its mysteries and hold sacred to their sexuality as it is revealed to them.

I’m guessing that you didn’t.

Does an image of a vagina or a penis define your sexual self?  No.

And sex isn’t just about having an orgasm either.

fit 2

But if you are 13 years old and taking selfies of your ‘private’ parts…what may I ask are you actually trying to convey in your photographic essay?  Or weren’t you told to consider this aspect.

As females, we all have vaginas and a clitoris and we all have breasts.  How these parts of being operate really is determined by each of us and our individual preferences.

A little overwhelming, yes?  Not really.  Listen to the body temple.  It will guide you.

Boys all have penis’. They are expected to be quite proud of them.

The mystery of your body though is your own journey. It will define and carry you into adulthood and help shape who you are.

Respect not just the body but the unique aspects of it that make you…you.

Now ‘Game of Thrones’ may have us all believe that everyone shaved their nether regions and their chests, and their legs, and their pits….

It’s just a show people. A good one…but just a show.

The hairless phenomenon, the beauty debacle and of course the skinny business.

We’ve convinced our children that to get anywhere in this world they have to look good.

Then through the most fucked up ad campaigns, we’ve convinced them that if extreme measures are necessary…then do it.

Boob jobs, nips, tucks…

Bleached out hair, botox and collegen shots.

Size Zero.

puzzle

Diet supplements dominate the market; this obsession with appearance on one side of the coin and on the other side is the indulgence that youth today are being assured they deserve.

Just where do think this will take you?

Beauty fades. All the plastic/cosmetic surgery in the world will not change this fact.

But keep in mind that beauty is subjective. It’s mysterious, evocative and it really is in the eye of the beholder.

I’m 57 years of age, gorgeous and fat as hell at the moment.

Would I undergo a tummy tuck to rid myself of the pot belly I currently have?

HELL NO!

depression

Surgery is no laughing matter. I just want to get well enough to start kicking it at the gym again, to run again. These days the restrictions of my physical body as a result of the car accident and the accumulation of all the other shit I’ve endured over the last few years (i.e. cancer) has me feeling rather frail.  And I appreciate the

Ah but youth…it teases you into believing that you’ll always be just as you are.

Sorry kids.

And to the parents out there, teach your children…teach them well.

Some life lessons are tough but in my mind…no preschooler should be playing with a technology that has unfortunately been so corrupted.

If seeing boobs and cocks rocks your world…then I must say I have sympathy for you. Not empathy…just a pause of why you’re not looking past the 2 dimensional world you find yourself in.

And kiddies…if you think photos of boobies, vaginas and cocks and their hosts is the epitome of sexuality then you are sadly mistaken.  Respect yourself first and foremost.

Put down the iPhones and talk to one another.

 

 

 

 

 

Oil and Water…They Just Don’t Mix


duck 4Whales 1

 A duck covered in oil  and a pod of Killer Whales photographed a couple of weeks ago in English Bay, Vancouver, BC

I am fortunate to live in an area that is naturally beautiful with the benefit of rivers, lakes and the ocean within close proximity to my home.  We are sheltered by mountains here on the coast as well.  They too are easily accessible.

When the news broke that an oil spill had occurred in English Bay, I, along with everyone who lives here, became incredibly concerned regarding the environmental impact this would have.

The question has still not been answered, however, as to why this happened in the first place.  After all, it is a grain ship that is anchored in Vancouver’s harbor.  And bunker fuel was spilled?  How?

Heron 1

We’ve recently been enjoying the return of marine life such as whales and sea lions to this area.  Otters can be seen quite often as well.  And we have ducks, geese, herons, kingfishers, gulls and an abundance of other marine bird life in all shapes and sizes calling these waters home.

Whales 3Whales 4Whales 2

The whales drew quite a crowd and hung out in the bay for a few days

Still, upon reflection the explosion of technology in this industrial age of ours is concerning.  We have an oil company Kinder Morgan that wants to build an additional pipeline so that they can transport the stuff being pulled out of the oil sands in Alberta and transport it to places such as China.

Otterduck 3Duck 2

Over the last hundred years the changes to this world have been incredible.  And the impact that oil has had on us, well it has been a little more than frightening for this gal.  Considering that there are so many other clean ways by which to generate power, ideas and practices that have been in existence for a very long time as well, I know one of the reasons that oil and its subsequent affiliates have had the success they have is simply that in the beginning oil was not very expensive.  It was a cheap form of power and a dirty one.

Bulk Carrier

At the beginning of the industrial revolution we were wasteful as well.

Yet when I hear that the oil sands will produce enough energy and whatever else we use oil for over the next 100 years, it is concerning.  Hadn’t we best begin to look at some tried and true methods to produce energy such as wind and water and develop these on a large scale and sustainable one?

Gulf Coast Struggles With Oil Spill And Its Economic Costs

oil

And it is imperative that we keep our water as clean as possible.

We’ve had an incredibly mild winter here on the south coast of British Columbia which won’t bode well for the salmon run.  With no snow pack all we can only hope for is a lot of rain this year to keep the water levels high enough.

Politicians are laying blame and pointing fingers. Then they raise taxes to  stop global warming but in truth I believe this world moves in cycles.  Oddly enough the east coast of North America was hit incredibly hard this year and they had a brutally cold winter with enormous amounts of snow accumulating.

Weather patterns are not really something we can change.  Perhaps we should study more of ice samples that are being taken from Antarctica. We can adjust how we live in this world, how we function and how we interact with this organic planet of ours as this is within our control.

By all counts, this planet can be a violent place.  It is the nature of the beast.

I saw images of Paris, France on the news the other day where the pollution hung thick in the air and was a major concern to the city officials.  Something to do with allowing free parking in the downtown portion of Paris, though having never been there,  I cannot say where that may be.  Still the images of the Eiffel Tower shrouded in air thick with pollutants is disturbing.

Was the cheap alternative of oil offered at the beginning worth it?

Here in Vancouver we at one time clouded the waterfront with any number of industries that polluted the waters to the point that they were something of a dead zone.  Marine life will not venture into such water channels as they will not survive.

Paris-Pollution

Beijing

Think of Paris and Beijing and how you feel breathing in these places then think of fish swimming through clouds of oil.  And like trees that die as a result of air born pollutants being caught in the rain that falls to feed them, hence the term acid rain, is it any wonder that barnacles and coral reefs are fast disappearing.

Politicians express outrage while the federal minister stands up and says ‘We dealt swiftly and effectively with this.’   Still no answer as to why it happened at all.

And it was just a small spill after all.  A few ducks and geese, a sea lion or two.  Somehow I feel like they are missing the point and the big picture all together.

This should not happen…ever…anywhere!  We have the technology, yet we don’t use it.

And today I feel such a deep sadness because despite the advances that we’ve made in so many areas, we still suffer from our own inhumanity on so many levels.

A host of isms still cloud our thinking.  When are we going to learn its not about us.

Vancouver is my birth place.  She has listened when I’ve screamed about indignities that were awarded me.  She has caught my tears on her sidewalks, in her grassy fields and on her beaches.  She has shared her quiet beauty with me time and again reminding me when I was in the depths of sorrow all I had to do is look around me to see the wonder of this world.

I’ve stood at the break of dawn being bathed is morning light watching the silhouettes of this city come alive.  I’ve sat naked on her beaches well past midnight letting a summer’s breeze kiss my skin.  I’ve run through her streets and parkways.

She is and has always has been a gracious and beautiful lay of land.

5470158836_4b6a179544_z

The thing is this whole oil thing is a global issue.  The spill in English Bay could have happened anywhere.  If it happened out at sea would there be concern?  Would we know?

I would like to share a few images and history of Vancouver, particularly the waterfront.

Some poor decisions were made back in the day born more of need than anything else.  And I get it.  We do know better now and collectively we need to recognize and adhere to this.

Last weekend of summer 2014 028

The following is an excerpt taken from historical accounts of Vancouver.  It is quite remarkable that city officials bought back much of the waterfront that was dominated by industry, converted it to shops and housing and began the slow process of restoring the water ways.

Archival photos were obtained from Flckr.

The following is in regard to False Creek:

‘During World War 1,  the easternmost part of False Creek, which formerly ran to Clark Drive, was filled in by the Great Northern Railway and Canadian National Railway to create new land for their yards and terminals.    For many years there was talk of draining and filling the inlet to Granville Street throughout the 1950s, but this never occurred.

The False Creek area was the industrial heartland of Vancouver through to the 1950s. It was home to many sawmills and small port operations, as well as the western terminus of the major Canadian railways. As industry shifted to other areas, the vicinity around False Creek started to deteriorate. In 1960, BC Forest Products plant and lumber storage facility on the south side of False Creek caught fire in Vancouver’s first-ever five-alarm blaze. Every piece of firefighting equipment and all of Vancouver’s firefighters fought the blaze for hours, but the facility was totally destroyed.

The future of False Creek south was subsequently shaped by debates on freeways, urban renewal, and the rise of citizen participation in urban planning. Through the 60s, the ruling NPA (Non-Partisan Association) city government and senior city bureaucrats had hatched a plan – with little or no public consultation – to run freeways through the city. In the same period, the City razed large portions of Strathcona under the aegis of urban renewal. A group of influential citizens formed The Electors Action Movement (TEAM) to oppose the freeway and to radically change the way decisions were made on land use. A key figure amongst these people was Walter Hardwick a Geography professor at UBC who envisioned the retrofit of this brownfield industrial site into a vibrant waterfront mixed-use community.

The North Shore of False Creek (NFC) was further transformed in the 1980s, as it took centre stage during Expo ’86. Following the Expo, the Province sold the NFC site to Li-Kai Shing who brought ideas of a higher density waterfront community to the downtown peninsula. Vancouver’s experience with South False Creek and the public participation that shaped it was key to developing NFC as a livable high-density community. For example, Ka-shing’s company wanted to develop “islands” of market condos on the waterfront but was soundly rebuffed by the public and by planners who favoured the extension of a 100% publicly accessible waterfront and seawall. The 1991 Official Development Plan enabled significant new density commensurate with the provision of significant public amenities including streetfront shops and services, parks, school sites, community centres, daycares, co-op and low-income housing. Since then, most of the north shore has become a new neighbourhood of dense housing (about 100 units/acre), adding some 50,000 new residents to Vancouver’s downtown peninsula.

On December 1, 1998, Vancouver City Council adopted a set of Blueways policies and guidelines stating the vision of a waterfront city where land and water combine to meet the environmental, cultural and economic needs of the City and its people in a sustainable, equitable, high quality manner.

Several decades following the suspension of industrial activity in the area, a number of shore and seabirds such as cormorants, ducks, herons, kingfishers, owls, geese, crows, and gulls have returned, as well as harbor seals. In an unusual sighting, in May 2010 a grey whale entered False Creek and traversed its length before returning to the open waters of the Strait of Georgia.

Factors working against the further return of wildlife include residual industrial contaminants, spillage from the sewer overflow system into the creek, and the seawall that constrains much of the shoreline with little habitat value. The city has attempted to recreate the natural shoreline in some areas and is working to phase out the antiquated sewer overflow system.’

I wanted to share this history with you because at one time Vancouver’s waterfront wasn’t particularly attractive over in the False Creek area.  English Bay has always been a jewel of sorts.  It sits next to Stanley Park and the area around the park has been protected over the years.  Vancouver’s Main Street runs from it’s northern most point south almost to the Fraser River.  In the downtown core of the street this was and still is a hub of industrial activity.

I want to look after what we have.  Let’s preserve it.  Oil and water do not mix.  And do we need more condo towers?  I have put together photo montage of Vancouver.  Enjoy.

Enlish Bay 19096085430331_d2a9022335_z6077703925_85dcff26e6_z

English Bay over the last 100 years…the gazebo still stands as does the Sylvia Hotel.  The Pier was removed in 1938.

Vancouver Courthouse 1930Vancouver Courthouse (VAG)Vag 2

 The Vancouver Art Gallery began has the city jail.  It still has cells in its bowels with brick walls a few feet thick.  It later became the courthouse and in 1983 has been the Art Gallery.
Vancouver Opera House (now Orpheum)orpheum-granville
The Vancouver Opera House and its subsequent transformation to the Orpheum Theatre.
Kitsilano Beach 1960kits 2
Kitsilano Beach and Pool then and now
Vancouver AirportVancouver Airport 1965Vancouver Airport 1950VIA
The Vancouver International Airport is growing every year.
Victory SquareVictory Square looking north 1913Victory SquareVictory 2
Victory Square through the years where all Remembrance Day ceremonies are held.
Hastings St., looking westHastings at CambieHastings at Cambie2
Looking west on Hastings Street from Cambie Street.  The Marine Building was at one time the tallest building in Vancouver.
Second Narrows Bridge No 1"Yamahide Maru" under both RR Bridges at 2nd Narrows6475192929_f2fb850bb8_z
The Second Narrows (Iron Workers Memorial) Bridge and its many transformations.  19 men were killed in a tragic accident during the construction of the newest model back in 1958. 
Granville St. Bridge looking north6407149829_be1c8929d5_zGranville b 2Granville b 1
The Granville Street Bridge in her many transformations.
Burrard st. 3Burrard st2Burrard st. 4Burrard st 1
The Burrard Street Bridge under construction and on opening day on July 1, 1939 and today.  It has remained largely unchanged. 
Fire Station at Nelson & Nicola in West End.Davie St. looking toward Denman St.Davie to English
The Fire Hall No. 6 still stands and is pretty much the same at Nelson & Nicola.  The view on Davie St. toward English Bay then and now. 
Davie Street looking south from Denman St.Denman & Davie2
Looking up Davie Street from Denman then and now.
I hope you have enjoyed this.  I will offer up more but for the time being I must have some dinner.  Cheers!

 

The Responsible Writer…


forgiveness

I got together with my writing group tonight.  The topic for tonight’s discussion was a provocative one.  It had in fact sparked a weird conversation on the Meet-up site. I had found the conversation rather amusing in that obscure and animated manner that we at times come across.

The topic for tonight’s discussion was the role of the ‘responsible’ writer.

An interesting notion regarding the ethics of what we write and how they impact the reading public.

Certain things were declared to keep us in the realm of respectability regarding our writing.

One was to not take a real person and fictionalize their life in a derogatory manner.

The second was not to be deceitful. Michael Moore’s ‘Bowling for Columbine’ was used as an excuse as apparently not all the things in that movie / documentary? were factual.

Still, sometimes you have to stand back and look at the message….yes?

Drive the point home by whatever means but some felt he’d been rather deceitful in the execution of telling the tale.

A lot of questions sprang to mind as I listened to the views expressed.  We all agreed that journalism is held to a very different standard than your run of mill book.

And it should be.

Las Vegas 2015 178

The term ‘literal truth’ was a raised a few times and I sat considering what meaning this held.

It is a factual term that cannot be disputed. For example the Moon circles the Earth every twenty-eight days.  It is a literal truth that is a proven fact and cannot be altered.  Now that I had reconciled it’s meaning in my head then came the ’50 Shades of Truth.’

And I say this with tongue firmly planted in cheek.  This particular book was mentioned a time or two as well tonight.

While almost everyone and their dog that I have spoken with will tell you how poorly written it is, I ask you this?  What then was the appeal?

To say that a lot of bored housewives were out there smacks of a certain duplicity and insults women in general.

I read the first book.  Didn’t like it.  It was billed as erotica and in truth it was a poorly written romance.  Nothing more.

But I will take my hat off (if I wore one) to E.L James.  She sold this book through brilliant marketing.  Sex and controversy!  Hell, now that is combination that is irresistible.  Get the public curious and they will take note.  She also used social media much to her advantage as well.

I can recall when Michael Jackson wrote ‘Moonwalk’.  The lead up to the release was hyped to the max and ‘promised’ to give us the skinny on the ‘gloved one’ in his own words.

Personally it was a disappointment for me.

Michael was trying to sell a story he’d been parroting for years and in many ways it read as though he was trying to convince himself as well. I didn’t buy it.  And it made me sad.

bs 1

The responsible writer…provocative.

What if a woman writes about her love and adoration for her husband who happens to be extremely abusive and controlling to the outside world?  Does this set a poor example for our youth?

If a woman is raped in book and confesses to ‘liking it’ what message does this convey?

At the age of 12 or 13 I slipped beneath the covers with flashlight in hand and read my father’s copy of ‘The Happy Hooker” unbeknownst to him until I was caught.  Back in 1970 I wasn’t too certain what much of what I was reading meant, but I can assure you I was not inspired to go out and fuck a German Shepard.

We need to respect that our children are not mindless sheep who will believe everything that they read.  Also we must infuse a sense of kindness and love in them and teach them by example.

Mark Chapman read “Catcher in the Rye”  It triggered something in him and he killed John Lennon.

Is the book at fault?

No.

face pain 1

Mark Chapman was mentally ill and unfortunately the object he fixated upon was a brilliant musician.  I love John Lennon’s music. His gift of song spoke to me on such a personal level.

There are many who condemn him for being and an abusive asshole.

I do not condone this type of behavior.  What  I saw was a man trying to change, wanting to be a different man, wanting to be better.

I have not always been the lovely woman I am today either.

John was not afforded certain opportunities as his life was cut short.

In high school we read two books back to back in social studies.

“Mein Kampf” and “The Diary of Ann Frank”

Quite simply the lesson was ’cause and effect’ intimately woven together and it was an incredibly powerful lesson.

One was the progression of an intelligent and extremely impotent and insecure man who was falling into the obscene and frightening belief of his own myth that he had created becoming the epitome of evil.

The other was the beautiful innocence of a girl hiding in an attic with her family experiencing the tender chutes and passions of youth only to be discovered and effectively killed.

forgiveness 2

I have always been fascinated by the human condition and what we choose to accept or reject.  We can alter our memories particularly those that are extraordinarily painful. We can press them back and deny them simply because they are too raw and savage.

Human kind has a dark history in this regard.  Through the ages the manner by which we’ve killed our own is truly disturbing.

And it continues.  Atrocities still exist.  I see the intolerance that hate has blossomed into and the false bravado these  men try to wear.  Very sad.

Young people are taken at such a young age and fed a litany of propaganda that they later act upon.

Think about this.

cirillo w dog

We tell our children there is a man named Santa that comes every year and flies about the world in a sleigh pulled by eight magical reindeer and delivers a gift to each and every child.  Mall Santas’ sit listening to each child’s wish list and Canada Post will even send a child a letter back if they’ve written to the North Pole.

This is of course isn’t harmful to them, is it?  There is a sweetness to it.  Oh they will eventually grow up and know that it’s not true and when they have children of their own they too will carry on the myth of Santa.

I am simply using a very base example of how myth can affect the mind of a child as I can well recall laying in bed on Christmas Eve wondering if Santa would come.  For a time I believed.

Now think of how they take young boys in the middle east and feed them fear, conditioning them to close their minds and only accept a ‘truth’ bound in darkness.  Because to raise a child up believing that by forfeiting their life serves their ‘god’ and a higher purpose is truly tragic.

What I took from the meeting this night was more in keeping with free thought, free speech and the responsibility to ensure we always have it.

 

Peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Game of Germ Warfare?


imagesJQ5YKSZZ

(It has taken three weeks to put this post together.  It began just after Christmas. Enjoy!)

I’ve been dining out a little more often over this holiday season.  I am beginning to settle back into my routine now that Christmas has passed.  Still, I will be enjoying a few more social engagements over the next few days to celebrate and welcome the New Year and pay homage to the year that is coming to a close.

On Boxing Day, for example I had spent a great deal of time on the road and finished the day by purchasing a T.V.

I had dropped off my purchase and headed back out to grab a nibble before heading home to tackle the task of assembling said item.

imagesUU2KE3F3

 

I like to multitask.  I dropped off the T.V., picked up the laptop.  Ate with one hand while the other tapped out some brilliant piece of prose on the computer.

Am I not humble?

Thinking back it may have been more prudent to take a certain manual with instructions to review while dining, however, I didn’t do that.  And yes, hindsight is a bitch at times.

But I digress.

The T.V. is working just fine.  I am still working on putting the ‘smart’ aspect of it in as I’m having issues regarding the signal.  I’ve got the majority of it figured out at this point.

Having finished up my meal it was off to use the facilities and freshen up.

It occurred to me once I’d done my business that very seldom do I have to use my hands to flush toilets located in public establishments.  They often have a sensor that will be activated or have foot flushers.

marvin-the-paranoid-android-the-859409-480x320

 

Leaving the stall I washed my hands.  I often find the dispenser is activated by a sensor and the water to wash with turns on via the same manner.  Sometimes there can be a challenge trying find the sensor on some of the sinks and I stand there waving my soapy hands wildly about trying to activate the stream of water.

dyson-airblade-hand-dryer

Not sure how it is that the sensor can become defunct…but it can.  After waving my hands wildly trying to get the damn thing to work…and I’ve likely fondled it aggressively several times at this point (which is what I shouldn’t be doing if I’m trying to avoid those damn germs!), then I move to another sink.

There are some pesky taps that spurt out a minute amount of water and the hand waving must continue until all the soap has been rinsed from the skin.

Of course to dry your hands either a sensor is activated by waving your hand and paper will be dispensed or you slip your hands into an air dryer that has the power to change the formation of your hand!

I seldom touch very many things though while in public restrooms.  Get in and get out…fast!  That’s my motto.

imagesHI43I0X0

Then I got to thinking of all the ads out there to kill all the germs that invade our daily life and I just had to wonder if perhaps we are becoming a little manic about the whole clean thing?

I’m a clean person.  I’m not obsessive about it.  Not by any means.  I can wash my kitchen and it will appear dirty by days end.  I’ve got a ceramic floor and I’ve found they are annoyingly bad for showing footprints and dirt of any kind.  Am I going to wash my floor every freakin’ day?  I think not!

I give the place a good scrubbing once a week and perform the normal day to day stuff like dishes, maintaining my bathroom and making the bed on a regular basis.

I’ve been in homes that made me feel incredibly uncomfortable.  Everything spotlessly and perfectly in place . Not a speck of dirt ANYWHERE!

images9SJ13XR1

Suddenly I would feel so nervous.  Did I have any dirt on my socks,  as I was requested to remove my footwear?  Staring at my socks I note that my big toe is trying desperately for a jail break.

Peering around me I want out too.

My hostess was another parent from my daughter’s elementary school.  We were not friends or anything like that.  It was just a brief get together to ensure that her daughters’ could join mine for dinner and movie on the following Friday evening in downtown Vancouver to celebrate my child’s 14th birthday.  (This was many, many, many years ago!).

Unsmiling she pointed to the sofa and I sat.  The plastic covering the fabric made an unpleasant crackling noise.  The interrogation began.

Paranoia

“Where you go?  What movie you go see?  What other grown-up be with you?”  (She had a strong Italian accent)

My response, as my sweat glands opened and I tried to will the perspiration from slipping onto the plastic coverings, was as follows.

“Planet Hollywood.  Jim Carrey’s ‘Liar Liar’ and as far as I know, I’m the only adult that will be in attendance.”

A flat stare ran up and down my person.  My toe now decided to try and crawl back inside the sock and hide.  I wanted to join it.

“Who else go!” she spit out.

“You mean girls?” I offered dryly.

“Yes!”

“Betina, maybe Cicely…not too sure and of course your two little ladies, Gloria and….”

It was in that moment that I forgot the other twin’s name.  It was the stress, dammit.

Yes, the girls were able to go.

Later, my friend Cathy would tell me of just what a poor impression I made on the woman.  In fact she found me very ‘weird’ among other things.

And I’m cool with that. I’ve never really understood having furniture covered in plastic.  Somehow that seems a little too freaky and obsessive for me.

imagesQ4W2EGIH

Back to the germs now.

We live in a world filled with bacteria and germs and all sorts of stuff we can’t see.  Some of it good, some of it bad.  It’s  all part of our ecosystem stuff.

Somehow we’ve gotten into this mindset where we really seem to fear these things we call germs.  We sterilize our children’s rooms, our homes, our bodies.  And yet we just don’t seem to understand why we are still susceptible and still get sick.

imagesFEYNU3MP

News flash.

You need to allow your body to build up an immunity to the germs and bacteria that we share this planet with. It’s an organic thing really.  If you’ve every made and eaten mud pies you’ll know that they were a lot more fun to make than consume.  And guess what, you’re still alive and kicking to tell the tale.

Letting your child roll about in the backyard or at the park is not a bad thing.  Not at all.

Running through mud puddles and jumping into a pile of leaves that have fallen…fun, fun, fun!

When I grew up using public facilities could be down right frightening.  Public washrooms were used as a last resort.  And I can assure you, they were scary!

Often they were only cleaned maybe once a week though at time it appeared a monthly thing.

paranoid

The moment you entered the facility your senses were assaulted first by the smell and then you took in the visual of how it looked.

This was a place that you did not want to come into contact with any part of your person.

In fact, it made you feel dirty just being in there.  Toilet paper would be draped over the seat and then you’d hover over the damn thing in order to relieve yourself.

Soap containers were often crusted over if they had anything in them at all. It was seldom that paper towel could be found to wipe the gunge from your fingers that now covered your hands as you tried desperately to get something the resembled soap out of the dispenser.

Rolling about in the grass or freshening up in a mud puddle was at times preferable.

I understand the mindset that has evolved with public facilities, still I’ve not walked into a bathroom like that in well over 30 years.

These days such places are cleaned at least daily, if not more.

untitled

Now I watch these commercials that seemingly have a certain paranoia attached.  A young boy in bare feet refusing to walk across his living room carpet because it ‘feels’ dirty.  The damn thing is pristine in appearance but no, our young man will jump from various pieces of furniture to avoid his feet touching the carpet.

My first thought was ‘dude, put your slippers or socks on’.  My second thought was this is just stupid.

And what’s the deal with bears and Charmin?

Commercials still depict women dressed impeccably washing their floors with a Swiffer.  A smile of pure pleasure grace their faces.  They never break a sweat, and their houses never really appear dirty at all.

light bulb

Sinks gleam under the ‘Mr. Cleans Magic Eraser’ and all those terrible food spills have been eliminated by Lysol.

Rust build up?  CLR it.  Calcium build up. CLR it.

I see people walk about during cold and flu season with surgical masks on. And these influenzas just seem to get worse and that much more powerful and devastating.

It is impossible to ‘kill’ every germ on this planet.  Nor should we want to.

imagesGK9HSDDF

Over the last few years we’ve heard of these ‘superbugs’ that have invaded hospitals for example.  Why do think that is?

Bacteria and germs want to survive as well.  And they will.  For everything we throw at them…they restructure their ‘immune’ system and become that much stronger.  Meanwhile our children are becoming sicklier as we scrub and clean trying to protect them from an organic planet.

I’ve seen the ads ‘Not all bugs need drugs.  Wash your hands.’

imagesWVCPWE1W

It’s a simple and effective method to be sure.  I’ve met people, however, that insisted they soap up for 30 seconds and rinse for just as long.  And not just their hands but up to the elbow.  And after my 10 second sojourn as I dry my hands I suddenly felt condemned by my practices as judgmental eyes perused my person.

And you know, I want to scream in that moment that I had simple had a pee and wiped my self effectively.  I wanted to reassure that at no time did I piss over my hand.

As humans we are covered in parasites.  Even as we towel down after a shower these organic creatures that depend upon us have begun to reassemble.  It’s just life really.

What are we fighting anyway?

We expect with the advances in technology to live in a certain manner, don’t we?

Yet sometimes, when I see someone shrink back from me because they feel I have a germ that will ‘threaten’ them in some manner, well, it just makes me sad.  We continue to isolate ourselves.  We live in an overstuffed world and never have we been lonelier.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back in Training: Week Seven, The Christmas Week


fit 2

I’ve worked out a few times leading up to Christmas.  I worked out good and hard too!  On the 23rd I was at the gym getting my sweat on.

Time for the Christmas confessional.  I’ve imbibed a wee bit.  I’ve consumed some beer and wine over the past few days.

On the 24th at noon my boss tossed a couple of growlers up on the table and along with the rest of the staff I raised a pint to toast the season.

For the most part I’ve been quite good with not over indulging in the food area of the holidays as well.  Mind you a pizza recently visited my life as well.  I’ll man-up about this though.  I was simply too damn lazy to cook.

This occurred on the 26th.  I drove a great deal that day you see.

I visited with my sister who lives about a one hour drive away.

And as I left I went about my second task of the day which was to replace my T.V.

imagesMVVWYOI2

I’ve had the current television for close to 15 years.  It is just the third T.V. I’ve owned in my life and still worked just fine, however, with the new technology my unit kept losing the signal.  The technicians, who were are very pleasant and based out of Guatemala did their best to assist.

The problem still persisted.  I pondered on the fact that perhaps my old tube T.V. just couldn’t translate the information adequately. I had been advised that if a technician was sent to my home and the problem was my ‘fault’ then the cost would fall to me.

Odd, yes?  I haven’t touched anything behind my T.V. other than to clean in the last 5 years.  In any case I considered what my response would be if I was informed that my T.V. was too old for the technology.

I decided that perhaps it was time to purchase a new T.V. rather than possibly causing bodily harm to a technician.

I did my homework on the Boxing Day offerings.  Had my budget set out and decided that Visions Electronics had the most lucrative deals.  Next was to find a location that would not be inundated by the masses.  In other words, I had to find a store location that was not attached to a godforsaken mall.

I decided upon the store location on Marine Drive and as I arrived it was as I suspected busy but not unreasonably so.

A young store clerk showed me my options and I asked a series of questions then I told him I would like consider my options and he left me alone. I read the fine print and half hour later waltzed out of the store with a 40″ Hisense LED Smart TV at a cost of $350.00.

images5MYO8L7P

Yay!  I had met my objective.

I headed home with my purchase.  I passed the lineup on the Queensborough Bridge.  The outlet mall on Queensborough Landing was just insane as cars were lined up for miles trying to access the stores.

I was really hungry at this point so I dropped the T.V. off then headed out to grab a quick bite.  And as I consumed my meal it occurred to me that I have a ‘Smart’ phone that still confounds me on many fronts.

Now, admittedly, I really only require the basics of talking and texting from my phone.  There are a plethora of apps available to me of this I’m assured, but they hold no appeal to me personally.

They don’t really make phones with just basic functions any longer.  Still there are those moments when I’ll push something I ought not to have and the damn thing won’t do what I want.

Bloody hell!

And it is in these moments that I feel very foolish and not particularly intelligent.

For example shortly after I had purchased this smart technology, I was certain I’d found a ‘lemon’ as it was now frozen.  I went back to London Drugs and expressed my dismay to the clerk.

With a slide of his finger and an apologetic smile on his face the clerk handed the phone back to me.

I had inadvertently locked the phone.

I have this affliction though.  When it comes to directions I glance at them then launch into whatever it is I am trying to accomplish.

Why I have this idea in my head that I should know what I’m doing without the benefit of being guided by the directions that have been so thoughtfully included, well I wish I had an answer to this.

I paid the bill and headed back to my homestead to get this technological wonder up and running.

So let me ask you this.  Having just made the confession I did, do you think I read the directions prior to embarking on this task?

After all I only wanted to plug it in and ensure that it did in fact work.  How difficult could this be?

imagesDNTMWLCJ

Welcome to the episodic adventures of ‘The Dumb Blond Meets the Smart TV.’

First I had to unhook the old T.V. and this proved to be a challenge. I needed a wrench to loosen the cable that was screwed in tightly to the back of the set.  Then I pulled the cumbersome beast off onto a sheet I’d placed on the floor so that I could pull it out of the way without scraping up the floor.

Next I removed parts from the box.  The stand seemed to require screws and after a brief search that lasted a nanosecond I was convinced that his puppy snapped together like Lego as I could not find any screws.

imagesZ93YJI1R

(Queue the music…the theme from Pyscho or Jaws will do)

Note to self:  It would have been very beneficial to have read the directions at this point.

They did in fact kinda sorta snap together.

So I crawled in behind the T.V. and began plugging in various coloured cables into various coloured plugins.

The flashlight was directed at the plugins and the batteries were fading fast. The object was so that I could see which colour I was inputing and damned if I could find a yellow plugin for the yellow cable. Briefly I wondered at their various designations.  It was at this point as I poked about the back that the T.V. that it fell forward onto the floor.

I gasped in horror as my mind immediately began trying to make excuses to trade this back to the store with no additional cost to me.  Now just how pathetic is that?

Gingerly I lifted it up and it appeared fine. My smart T.V. had just survived its first test of having me as the owner.  Laying the screen down gently I walked back over to the stuff strewn across my sofa.  There an image glared at me depicting screws going into the holes on the stand.  A few moments later said screws were located.

imagesY4N2BTCK

I now had everything secured and hopefully plugged in correctly.

Several buttons ran down the side of the screen and I noted the power button and with baited breath pushed it.

A red light came on and I felt a small wave of triumph wash over me.  The word ‘HISENSE’ appeared on the screen in a lovely shade of light turquoise.

A tentative sense of relief slipped in.  I’d not broken it!

Now it asked me my language preference and where I lived.  It asked my provider and my password and that is as far as we got. It kept looping back.

Maybe I did damage it I thought in despair.  Would I not be able to watch a show?

I gazed down at the remote and pressed the button that said TV on it.  We had contact, baby!

imagesVPI37D1U

Brightly coloured people appeared on the screen unusually short and wide much to my delight.  I played with the settings and managed to get them looking fairly normal.

And the manual sat before me taunting me.  Yes, I will read it.  Just not at that moment.

My home once again resembled a war zone. I stared at my kitchen and loathed the idea of cooking.  I had tested my mental acuteness and the idea of cooking just seemed a rather exhausting task, hence, I invited a Pizza into my home.

As I nibbled on the cheesy goodness and watched ‘True Grit” on the Tele, I assured myself that I would go for a run in the morning.

At 7:00 AM I woke to the sound of rain falling outside.

People, I ran in my heart!  Truly I would have but hey, this induction back into running in the dark of morning just can’t begin with a torrential rainfall in the mix.

But yes, it is time to hit the gym and get back to training in earnest.

I had a lovely celebration with my daughter and her boyfriend.  My daughter cooked her first Turkey dinner.  She was insistent from the outset to do all of this on her own with no assistance from moi.

I smiled in pleasure as she swore like a banshee as she tried to extract the food she’d stuffed into her too small apartment oven.  In the end everything was delightfully delicious.

images7XD0JJ0V

This was a great Christmas.  The last few years I’ve felt the strains of battle.  The continuous fight with depression, issues with my heart and the battle with cancer.  The residue effect has been felt over the last few Christmas seasons but always I’ve been with those that I love dearly and for that I am so blessed!

This Christmas I felt as though we’d come through that darkness and a promise is beckoning.  I just have to stop and read the directions.

I am rebuilding and I’m back on track.

On the morrow I have my reading tasks set out.  Not too sure still why I feel I should know that which I do not.  Perhaps I’m simply human after all.

Cheers!

In Rememberance….Postcards from the Past


I’ve taken on a labour of love as of late.  I discovered that I was in possession of several old photographs, some more than a hundred years old of various family members…many of whom sadly I don’t know.  I began scanning them into the computer and then running them through the program Adobe Lightroom to restore them to some degree and this has proved to be very successful!

I also want to be able to put together a package for family members as well.

Then came the curiosity of trying to discover who it was that was in some of these photos.  I accessed a few of the genealogy sites and had some success.  However these site are not always easy to navigate.

Yesterday I attempted to discover some information regarding my Grandfather Pilling’s time in World War l and my father’s time in World War ll.

I have documentation as to one of the regiments my father was in any yet when I entered the information then checked that I was only interested in Canadian records, the result was 97,000 possibilities, many of them from the U.S.

The same issues with my grandfather, though I don’t know what regiment he was in, I do know he was stationed in France during 1916 and 1917.  What I wanted to do yesterday was to put together a commemoration of sorts for both my father and grandfather respectively in remembrance for November 11, 2014.

0. PILLING, Arthur, Army Uniform

Grandfather Arthur Pilling, circa 1916 stationed in France.

I came across four postcards that are now close to 100 years in age.  They were sent by my grandfather to his parents during the war.  Beautifully embroidered with intricate needlepoint with the fabric then glued to card stock that is incredibly strong.

1.

Postcard No. 1: The intricate detail is just amazing

 

2.

Back of card: CHRISTMAS 1917

 

3.

Postcard No. 2: The detail again is remarkable.

4

Back of Card: 16th September 1916 Dear Parents, Just a line to let you know I am quite well. Hope you are alright. I just got a letter this week, will reply tomorrow. I have halfday holiday today. How do you like this? Best love from your son, Arthur

5.

Postcard No. 3: This one is just gorgeous and the detail incredible.

6.

Back of card: 1917 Dear Mother and Dad, I am sending you these cards wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Years. From your loving son, Arthur

7.

Postcard No. 4: Again I am amazed at the detail of these items.

8.

Back of card: CHRISTMAS 1916 From Arthur to Ma and Pa From France

 

My father was a young man when World War II broke out.  In 1942 he would have been just 17 years of age.  He joined the Pacific Coast Militia Rangers.  From my research this was a volunteer program that was set up to have men familiar with their respective areas patrol them in the event that our shores were invaded by the enemy.

I cannot imagine the fear and paranoia that must have been rampant at this time.

My father also served eight months active duty in the army overseas.

The PCMR disbanded September 30, 1945 at the end of World War II.  Below are the discharge papers of my father who was also a Ranger Captain.

 

9.

10.

My grandfather was part of a team of men who opened up the first Royal Canadian Legion up in Gibsons Landing, BC.  These were social clubs that were established for Vetrans.  I believe that they were instrumental for the those coming back from the horrors of war to have a place where their experiences were understood.

11.

My grandfather Arthur Pilling is in the first row, second from the right.

I can’t say the exact date of this photo, though I will go out on a limb and suggest that it was in the 1920’s.  Then in the 1940’s land was donated and larger Royal Canadian Legion was built.

12.

Site of the second RCL. My father Arthur John Pilling can be seen sandwiched between the two drummers. My uncle with the rosey cheeks and winning smile is just to the right of the drummers centered in front of the boys that are kneeling down. My grandmother and grandfather are pictured in the back row to the far right.

I wonder sometimes what both men were like prior to going to war.  I wonder sometimes had they not ventured into warfare how their lives may have differed.  Below is a photo of my father at about eight years of age with my grandfather up in Gibsons, BC.

PILLING, Arthur Sr. & Jr., 1939_

In remembrance to all those who have served and paid the ultimate price for the freedoms we know today, may we never forget.

 

 

The Human Condition


IMG_7956

The poster showcases a muscled beast of man with a shaved head and a trophy belt tossed over his shoulder as if it was merely an after thought. The expression, while shadowed, appears remote and angry, yet oddly defeated?

It is flanked by a framed sketch of a whipped latte and a cup of coffee.

The poster seems oddly out of place. Still, in this hang out of mine there are many contradictions.

I, myself, am one in many ways.

The balance between sinner and saint really is non-existent yet I foolishly try to sell this world this odd combination of what, I’m not too sure. I think I’m fooling myself more than anyone else.

And to what purpose?

It is simply a fact of being human I suppose.

I’ve been inflicted with this condition you see…no way around it. Some manage the human condition better than others. Then again it is dependent on so many infinite combinations, is it not?

The consumption of my meal is taking place as I listen idly to the conversations that are filtering through around me.

Germany apparently started both world wars. Ah yes, the quest to dominate, to run the whole show. Unfortunately far too many have sought that narrow minded way of thinking.

What is the imagined prize I cannot help but wonder.  Power?  Control?

IMG_7944

Our waitress prattled on at the table behind me about ‘Fright Nights’. The thrill, the excitement, the fear, the fun!

‘Fright Nights’ is basically our local fair ground reconstructed with Haunted Houses to celebrate the season of Halloween.  Oh yes, it has indeed become a season albeit a short one.

Staff members are dressed in grotesque costumes with frightening makeup and chase you about or jump out at you hoping to scare the bejeezus out of you.  Often they are very effective.

I’ve gone a few times.  One thing they do is turn the lights off on our glorious old wooden Roller Coaster. My friend Kathy and I went on it a few years back. They have a camera mounted to take your picture just as you make your first descend.

I don’t believe I’ve ever laughed so hard at our expressed horror. We bore the same expression with our then blonde manes practically in a vertical position upon our heads. Our eyes were wide, mouths open and the wind factor added a rather animated effect to our expression.

It was the most unflattering photo of the two of us ever and but one of the funniest.  .

I enjoyed it immensely but truth be told, I wasn’t willing to cough up twenty dollars for the damn thing.

After work today I met a woman I went to school with for a drink. She lives very close to my new place of employment so I danced across the street to the Deep Cove Brewery to sample their wares.

Impressive! Christmas giving will be full of spirits this year.

IMG_7946

Sharon was responsible for putting the cruise we went on earlier this year together.  And it was one of the best trips I’ve had.   And Sharon is a lovely woman.  She is in this life to live it fully and from what I can determine she’s doing a damn fine job of it.

And we make our choices on the direction we want our life to take, don’t we? Some of us do this with a great deal of clarity while many of us do this with blinders on.

Personally I’ve stumbled through this life’s journey and it has been an interesting one

At times we are all asked if we have any regrets.

The guy in the UFC poster I described earlier looks like he may have some, though it may debatable as to what the origin may be.

I love the line in ‘My Way’.

Regrets, I’ve had few…but then again…too few to mention…”

Perhaps I should have regrets. But at the end of the day, I have to accept that I made the decisions and choices that I did based upon the knowledge, or lack thereof, that was available to me at that time.

Expansion can only occur when you reconcile all the emotions that have bound you and release them.

Letting go of fears that have confined you for a lifetime, beliefs that may well have been misguided and the self-depreciating manner by which we subject ourselves to is not an easy task.

I’ve the muscled man in the UFC poster, a baseball game (the World Series) and a soccer game vying for my attention in a restaurant with about eight pages of food on their menu.

Pizza, pasta and beer.

I won’t be some skinny mini, of this you can be sure. I have no desire to be cut and rock solid.

I just want to enjoy a healthy body once again so that I can enjoy all the activities that I fought so hard to have in my life.

IMG_7869

Pizza and beer will not assist me in this endeavour. And while I try to persuade the rest of the world that these two items should indeed be considered superfoods, I can assure you that I am not too convincing. After all it is self motivated on my part and rather delusional at best.

We like what we like, even if our arteries are hardening at the thought of it.

The question of air pollution resulting from the use of automobiles certainly hasn’t deterred our desire to drive or our love affair with our automobiles.

And while I am trying to consciously cut down on the eco footprint that I am making, I know I could do better.

Why don’t I?

The answer to this is simple. I’m human. No, it’s not a cop out. We are conditioned and I am trying to change this on a daily basis, trying to turn those habits that have been ingrained into something far more constructive and benefical.

I want to be a kinder and gentler being. Oh, there are many things I want to aspire to. There is a bombardment of stimuli, good and incredibly bad, that I and everyone else inhabiting this planet is assaulted with each day.

Dear old technology rushes and washes over us like a tsunami. Oddly, we welcome the assault.

The news about the iPhone 6 and its release to the world held my attention simply in the absurdity that people were waiting in lines over night to attain this new object

Why?

So why the fascination and the must have? Will it change your life? Make it better than it was a day ago?  Not likely.

But again, it all comes back to the human condition.

That moment of supremacy, however fleeting, when you feel you’ve got the edge on this thing we call life.

Stick that phone in the pocket of your jeans and find out the next day that it’s warped.

IMG_7954

Back in the 1970’s women were making a real mark on their position in this world. They were challenging the role that they had been cast in on every level. Equality, fairness in the workplace, and a host of other inequities founded the women’s movement.

Then someone whispered in a woman’s ear…you’ll be far more successful if you dress like this and look like that.

We were on coltish legs understand and suddenly those insecurities were turned inward.

Today aging is considered a disease. It can be fixed though. There is a surgical procedure for everything now.

Wrinkles? Botox

Fat belly? Liposuction.

Sagging lips? Collegen shots.

Boobs? Implants or a reduction.

And to what purpose?

How will this enhance our human experience?

I really don’t think it will.  Oh, you might well think that the $10,000 that you spent on correcting the flaws that society insisted made you unacceptable will improve the quality of life…but sadly that can only come with acceptance of who you are.

With every perceived imperfection included in this acceptance.

Last year when chemotherapy induced the departure of my hair, I stood in the shower rather fascinated by the wads that slipped so easily from my head. My daughter shaved the remainder off at my request.

I stood for a time gazing at this bald head of mine.

It was a humbling moment yet equally liberating.

How much stock I put into my daily appearance, wanting to be accepted, wanting to be found desirable, and ultimately wanting to be loved.

Nothing had changed in my personage…just my appearance. I was the same woman I was a day ago, only now I was bald.

And it’s a dramatic change in such a visual society as ours.

But I’m alive. I’ve got another day, another moment, another chance.

These days the news is filled with men dressed in black beheading their fellow man.

Why?

Ebola is raging through West Africa and as it turns its insidious direction toward our continent the tendrils of fear are building.

Why are we not sending our knowledge and medicines over to West Africa?   Why are we not trying to save these people?

Oh, government officials will stand up for posterity’s sake and say they’ve committed so much to the effort while we watch yet another diseased body being lifted onto a gurney by a people wrapped in plastic.

What the fuck is going on?

IMG_7966

Lineups for days for the iPhone 6?

And everything is supersized or minimized. Our manic senses need to be filled. We need to feel normal in this abnormal world. We need to find sense in the non-sensical.

I saw the image on TV.

A figure shrouded in black standing next to a man in orange who was on his knees in all his fragility. A desert backdrop lent so much despair to the situation.

I gazed at the figure in black. What struck me was that this person had never known love; had never truly experienced its power. They wouldn’t be taking off a fellow man’s head had they.

And this saddened me so deeply.

They take these boys at such a young age. Feed them hate, fear and loathing. Promise things that will never be attained.

Now take a step back. I know it’s horrific. I know they need to be held accountable.

But what are we feeding the young minds of this world?

Love, compassion, empathy?  Gotta wonder.

Be a size zero, get your masters in anything, have a line of credit to live off because you’ll be paying off your student loan well into your 40’s, then pretend that you’re not polluting the world in that 3,000 sq. ft. home you live in that you can’t afford.

And across the globe young boys are being conditioned to serve a master that detests all you believe to be good and true.

They believe if they walk into a busy marketplace and blow themselves up and take a few of the bad guys with them, they are assured with their death that 76 virgins will greet them.

I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that it’s the same 76 virgins for each and ever fool who tosses the gift of life away for an angry god.

And isn’t that the crux of it all?

We all think we know, believe we’ve been shown the way, the path….

The very fact that the man in black beside the victim to be persecuted is so well covered speaks volumes.

IMG_8017

They know it’s wrong. Gazing into that damnable camera they know it’s insidious.

That is why they are hiding, covering themselves.

Again, it is the human condition.

And I hurt for them as much as I do for the soul who is on his knees begging for mercy, for their life as they are remembering the love afforded them. In that moment they want to be enveloped by it, wrapped in it, lost in it.

And the one to take it from them, who stands shrouded in black covets it.  Yet he’ll never admit to it.

A week ago I stood in this town of mine and watched and took some shots as we commemorated a photograph that was taken at the beginning of World War II.

A young boy broke from his mother’s grasp reaching for his father who was marching off to war.

IMG_7883

I am a photographer, albeit an amateur. But I know why this shot struck a nerve worldwide and still does.

There is an honesty to the anguish, to the fear….

It is the last photo of the family as a unit.  A small boy in that moment knew somewhere deep within that his life was about to be forever changed.

And as I continue to see horrific images of people dying horrific deaths, I’ve no answers.

IMG_7879

I got up this morning and readied myself for work.

God, it was beautiful out! The moon still flirted in her magnificence, while the clouds that lingered shone pink and a mist hung mysteriously on the river wrapping the trees in a sultry manner.

I stopped to get my morning coffee and man I see frequently was curled up on the sidewalk.

“Could you mange a coffee for me this morning?” he asked.

“ Sure. You good with cream and sugar?”

I got him a muffin as well.

We exchanged pleasantries when I delivered the goods and he thanked me.

As I drove into work, an obscure thought slipped through the grey matter.

“What if this guy were Jesus in the expected second coming?”

IMG_7902IMG_7963

 

How many of us see these people as being invisible?  There are so many out there now, too many.  I don’t know what brought him to this point, in his life but as stated earlier, we make our choices then we live with the results.

Still, for some, well likely for many, the road is not quite as conquerable as we’d like.

I am a bit odd in that I’ve got the tenacity of a badger and the heart of horse. I look for the good, seek the good yet I’ve known enough crap to appreciate life on a whole different level.

And we only have this day.

IMG_7956

I wake each morning grateful. Another shot at doing, another chance to make a difference, another opportunity to influence change?

And I’m no one special; just a woman who has far too many things running through her head at any given time.

I am preparing at 8:39 PM to head home. The ad in the bathroom stall is somewhat confusing.

Collectible plastic toys are being offered. There are 800 in all. And as I do my business I find myself saddened. Sell your condoms, your taxis, your warnings about smoking or drinking too much…but toys?

What does that say about our footprint?

Another poster of the UFC guy is hanging in the bathroom.

Pausing I look at the image. I wash my hands and leave.

Nothing much to say really. They are selling a product. One I don’t adhere to and it makes me feel sad simply because of it’s physicality and intent.

Oh, I can assure you that when I watch hockey this year I won’t turn in horror when the gloves come off.

And again, it comes down to conditioning.

I am feeling chilled. Time to head home and wrap a fleece blanket about my feet.

We only this moment.

Enjoy it.

Peace be with you always and may love always shine its light.

The New Independence


Lonsdale Quay 153

A teenage boy sits in the middle of the wilderness.  A shiny clean Ford pick-up and a man (presumably the father?) are in the backdrop.  A computer is perched on the teen’s lap and he is skyping his mom.

She gushes “You made it!” to her smiling son.

The punch line to this Ford commercial is ‘Welcome to the New Independence!”

If that is what independence now looks like,  I firmly believe someone forgot to cut the umbilical cord.

I did something last week I’ve not done is a long time.  On Sunday I slept in.  And I didn’t go anywhere or talk to anyone.  I did some writing, cleaned my house, washed some clothes then curled up and watched a bit of television.

I can’t remember the last time I decided to just cocoon myself within the walls of my home.  Perhaps what was stranger yet is that I found this rather remarkable in some strange sense.

Just how plugged in have we become?

imagesFTG0UZDR

And so I pondered this commercial and so many more that cater to a populace that seems to thrive on the next technological ‘wonder’ with a fervor or perhaps a fever?

Send a text or an email to a friend, family member or loved one and if the response isn’t reasonably quick, worry sets in.  Something is wrong!  The phone call is made and voicemail comes on.  A sense of panic washes over you.

Then you stop to think if you’ve perhaps offended in some way?

You feel a little foolish when it is discovered that they were in the shower or in a meeting….or, I don’t know, living?

And they were doing so without you.   Strange.

I stopped to get my coffee fix at Starbuck’s this morning as I always do on my way to work.  A beautiful day was dawning.  The rising sun was kissing the clouds causing them to blush a deep pink.  The sky was a sleepy blue and a mist hugged the trees.

Crema's Cruise 2014 277

I slipped back into the car and began my trek to the office as Willy and the gang discussed on the radio that distracted drivers (i.e. those using their phones to text and  talk) were now responsible for more vehicle accidents causing serious injury and death than drunk drivers.

This caught my attention and began to really observe those on the road with me this morning.  It didn’t take long before I noted driver’s with their heads looking down toward their lap or looking downward at the passenger seat even though no one was in the car with them.

Some openly held the phone in front them as they spoke into it.

IMG_1044imagesN49IHXI4

Hey I’m no saint.  I’ve used my phone a time or two while driving, though rarely.  I’ve never tried to text.  Still, this really raised a certain awareness for me.   I am now committed to never using the phone while driving.

I love to drive.  I love to crank up the radio and sing to a favorite song.  I always enjoy the changing vista that surrounds me and often I am stimulated in the creative sense.  Man, there is nothing worse then having a line or two for a story that you’ve been working on suddenly rise to the surface and you just happen to be doing 100 KM on the highway!

But here we are now evermore enslaved by these technological tools that have invaded our lives.  I am no longer working in the downtown core, however, when I was it was increasingly apparent this absorption with the iPhone, Smart phone, Android…whatever it is we are calling this thing.

I’ve posted about this.  Of how I’ve had people walk into me and barely glance up.  Heads bent with that familiar little screen glowing up at them.

My daughter mentioned at dinner tonight that this was likely becoming an addiction of sorts and it was probable that some form of neurosis would result.  Sadly, I do believe she’s right.

She was also correct in stating that collectively we’ve never been lonelier.  I love conversing and sharing ideas.  I confessed, and rightly so, that often I have very strong opinions and its a well known fact that I’ve had my foot in my mouth more times than I can remember.  That is who I am.  I do learn from conversations and debates though.  A point of view will be expressed giving me pause and open up an entire new path of thought for me.

10635814_10152763789495850_477226452633464319_n[1]

New Westminster in its infancy

Still, even when the tongue is running with blinders firmly in place…it is still just my expression of thought.  There is no malice or ill intent.  Just me thinking I know everything.

And I say this with tongue firmly planted in cheek.  I’m silly, garish, brash and at times amusing, even humorous.  I’m also intelligent, thoughtful, intense and care very deeply about this world I inhabit.

The idea of conveying all your thoughts, of who you are through, texts and tweets, well, my daughter pointed out that all of this could be edited, until the sender was satisfied it represented who they thought they were.

But was it accurate?

In a conversation you can say things in the heat of the moment.  Emotions can run high at times.  At the end of it however, Are you giving an impression of who you really are perhaps?

And as I write this, there is some conflict, because writing is such strong expression for me.

There is a difference though.  I’ve a very deep love of these things we call words.

puzzle

And while I have a Twitter account, I’ve found having only 140 characters impossible to work with.  I’m still far too long winded.  But again, I digress.

What is happening to us?

In 1997 I purchased my first computer.  I can recall being on a ‘chat room’ talking with people who were in Australia.  This fascinated me.  And what do you suppose I asked them?

Oh, it was hopelessly mundane.  “What’s the weather doing?”  “Do your toilets really flush counter clock wise?”

Why I needed verification of this type I cannot say. I was a different woman back in 1997.  I was emerging rather awkwardly into this life.  And while I’ve made leaps and bounds in the social department, I can still be totally inappropriate in what is uttered from these lips of mine.

Still I am searching for the human experience. I want to drown in it.  Want to find its honesty, its wealth, its truth…my truth.

I want to find a certain peace.

balance 1

I don’t know.

Somehow skyping someone from a desert or a forest or from wherever to let them know they are where they are holds little appeal.

The new independence.  From what?

Definitively I am very independent. I’ve had to be.  The life plan dished out dictated as such.  And what is independence?

It is in my mind it is someone who is ‘stand alone and self-sufficient’.   They don’t need anyone.

There are times when I wish I could ask for help, when I could admit I’m only human, when I could express comfortably my vulnerabilities.

That requires a great deal of trust and I’m still working feverishly on letting myself do this naturally.

I hope Carol reads this post.

Thoughtofdayforgiveness

She was a pen pal of mine some 40 plus years ago.  It used to take some three weeks to a month to mail a letter over seas.  Carol lived in England and I, of course, in Vancouver, BC Canada.

We wrote for a few years. Pen pals were the thing back in the day.

And while I was writing Carol, my life was falling apart…rapidly.  I don’t know what I told her.  I don’t know if she knew.  But close to 40 years later I received a message on Facebook.

At the time I wasn’t very good at checking messages.  Carol had sent me a message asking me if I was the person she’d written in her youth.

It blew me away.  This was my pen pal after all these years.  And I hope to meet her one of these days.

We shared an energy, a time, a confidence.  Both young girls with a life ahead of us.  And we made choices.

Yet I must thank technology for allowing me to connect to her again.

No, I’ll not slam this ‘new independence’ of ours.  Perhaps we should use it with caution and appreciation though.

The frailty of youth is that they think they know how to resolve the sins of the past.

In time they’ll come to know it’s just human behavior.

images (1)

A bronzed moosehead gazes out above a fake fireplace tonight down at Begbie’s.  A barrel of peanuts sits at the door for those barbarians who will swill the shells upon the floor after consumption.

The Eagles serenade me over the sound system as I wrap this up.  I’ve watched an array of personalities come and go in the last two hours.

The girls that work here know me.  I pop down from time to time on a consistent basis to write.  It’s what I do.

And as this night closes all I can think is just how grateful I am to be here.  How much I love all of those that share my life, how much I love the energy beings that encourage and drive me each day.

Blessings and peace to you all.  And always offer a smile and greeting. It’s just good form.

Namaste.

 

 

c

A History Lesson


 

 

10635814_10152763789495850_477226452633464319_n[1]

New Westminster back in the late 1700’s

I must admit sometimes I tend to get my head stuck in the clouds.  Lofty ideals and wishful thinking fill this head of mine and at times the translation of what’s in there can come out rather garbled.

I was thinking about the phrase ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”   It seems like a rather strange statement, doesn’t it?  Then again intentions can go south and sideways fast I suppose.

I’ve been refocusing my intentions and shifting them back to a level that is reasonable.  I guess you could say I’m removing the rose coloured glasses for the time being, and you now what?  The cold light of day can be pretty damn beautiful.  I guess it just depends upon your perspective and your state of mind.

This summer has found me ensconced in my orange room tapping out the final edit for the book and taking photos whenever I could.  I’ve at times been a little reflective as I pick up the pieces of this body and soul of mine in the aftermath of the cancer and subsequent treatment.

Lately I’ve been feeling like a lump on legs, but hey, I know the road back to good health will be tough but worth the work.  Last Saturday I hiked up Quarry Rock in Deep Cove over in North Vancouver.  Tough for sure, but man, you should have seen the view!

On Sunday the new civic centre in New Westminster had its grand opening.  It is known as the Anvil Centre and I must say, it is a great looking structure.  It houses a theatre, museum, archives, art gallery and much more.

The City of New Westminster is not a very large in terms of area.  The main road in the downtown core is known as Columbia Street.  It stretches about eight or nine blocks, then it turns into a busy cause way that will take you over to the Sapperton side of New West on one end and over to the Queensborough side on the other.

In any case they closed the downtown core of Columbia Street down on Sunday to celebrate the grand opening.  The one thing I’ve come to love about living here is that this little city celebrates a lot!

I grabbed my camera and headed out into a cloudless late summer afternoon to enjoy the festivities.  I took my time wandering down the street taking in the sights before heading into the building.  I’m sure half of the population of New West was in attendance.

10703632_10152763789165850_2706453405835770370_n[1]10646946_10152763789155850_2895658512454743673_n[2]

It’s truly a beautiful space.  On the third floor I got in line for the museum then made my way in.  Several volunteers came up and offered information freely.  I could use my camera, just not the flash.

10696418_10152763790035850_778442966743911447_n[1]10702205_10152763790045850_3678319542022517872_n[1]

There was a strong aboriginal presence in the artifacts that have been preserved, as there should be.  I walked about taking the odd photograph and reading a few things.  Then I came to the midway point in the gallery.  I was quite impressed with what greeted me.  It was a scale model of the Patullo Bridge.

One of the volunteers came up and noted how impressive it was.  I concurred completely.  It is a magnificent structure.  He then told me the story of it.

10690357_10152763789575850_1970118854818802534_n[1]10599280_10152763789625850_2051823621510288574_n[1]

The model was built during the great depression by a young boy.  It took him approximately two years to build it.

His model won a competition at the PNE, which is our annual fair in Vancouver.  The boy was later awarded a scholarship and went on to be a life long learner.

And guess what?  That boy is still alive at 90 years of age he was at the Anvil Centre able to witness his creation being restored and being placed permanently on display.

Below is a new story from a local paper.  The article was written a few months before the opening.

What is remarkable about this story is simply the chain of events that occurred after he built this scale model and how it impacted his entire life.

I love stories like this.  And can you imagine winning a pair of shoes for your first model of an antenna?

It was a very different time and this man has witnessed all of it.  Enjoy!

24294newwest130614-Bridge[1]

Jack Lubzinski peers through the superstructure of the scale model of the Pattullo Bridge he built when he was 13 years old. Now 90, he’s supervising the restoration of the model for permanent display at the new Anvil Centre.

— image credit: MARIO BARTEL/NEWSLEADER

There’s not a lot of love for the Pattullo Bridge these days.

But the venerable old crossing over the Fraser River that links New Westminster to Surrey helped put Jack Lubzinski through school, kept him out of the war and launched a lifelong interest in math and physics.

The Pattullo still had that new-bridge sheen when Lubzinski was first captivated by it. The Richmond schoolboy had just completed a scale model reproduction of a huge transmission antenna that had won him a pair of new shoes in a contest when one of his teachers challenged him that the antenna would be as monumental a project as he’d ever be able to achieve.

Lubzinski took the words to heart and spent the next 18 months designing and constructing a scale model of the Pattullo that would stretch more than seven metres long by the time he was done.

Now 90 years old, Lubzinski was a doting observer and sometime supervisor Wednesday as the giant model’s six sections were carefully moved from the basement of the New Westminster Museum and Archives where it had been gathering dust for decades. The grey wooden model will be restored and reassembled by conservator Shabnam Honarbakhsh with the help of funding from the Rotary Club of New Westminster for eventual display in a permanent exhibit at the new Anvil Centre.

Lubzinski smiles at the irony that his model may outlive the actual bridge, which is slated for replacement or rehabilitation by TransLink.

“If there’s a need for a new bridge, then I guess they’ll replace it,” said Lubzinski, matter of factly.

It’s that kind of pragmatic attitude that propelled him to build his model in the first place. The derisive words of his teacher ringing in his ears, it took him a week to whittle and assemble the pieces of B.C. cedar for the first girder. With hundreds more needed, Lubzinski devised a system that got production down to a couple of hours.

Working after school and on weekends in the kitchen and living room of his family’s home, Lubzinski gave painstaking attention to the bridge’s details, right down to the sequence of vertical bars in the outer guardrails.

When the model was finished, he took it apart in sections and transported it to his school, where it became a showpiece attraction in front of the office and a constant reminder to the teacher who dared question his abilities.

In 1940 Lubzinski presented it to the bridge’s namesake, premier Thomas (Duff) Pattullo.

The premier got him scholarship money to continue his studies and when the military called him to service, a judge intervened, ruling Lubzinski’s “place is in technology rather than in the army.”

Lubzinski earned a bachelor’s degree in physics in 1947 and a master’s in 1950. His thirst for knowledge not sated, he went on to take more than 360 university courses over the next 40 years, including every physics course at BCIT.

To pay the bills Lubzinski and his brother Joseph started Marine Products Company, manufacturing mahogany steering wheels for boats for more than 50 years before it closed in 2005.

He also founded the Lubzinski Center for Innovation in Point Roberts to further the study of quantum physics.

“That bridge changed my life,” said Lubzinski.

 

 

Jack Lubzinski and conservator Shabnam Honarbakhsh will be at the museum June 26-28, 2-3 p.m., to meet the public and talk about its construction and restoration. The New Westminster Museum and Archives is located at 302 Royal Ave.