Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The art of being lazy

Even the dog on the porch, though he's a statue, knows enough to stop and smell the flowers.

Paddling a canoe on the lake today, a man who clearly understands the spirit of holidays was lying on his paddleboard, just floating, maybe meditating.

Taking a break from life's demands has to be good for us. Otherwise, why would I be posting such an abbreviated blog. Just another aspect of bein' lazy. 

Monday, August 06, 2018


That's a word we often hear. Ubiquitous. It's everywhere.

I know. It's a lot more than plastic straws that are ruining the oceans.

Everywhere I look I see plastic. My toothbrush, the phone, this computer I am typing on. Bread comes in plastic bags, so do cherries, tortillas, potatoes...

My feeble efforts to collect and recycle my plastic bags seem almost stupid, they are so insignificant. What eensy difference can taking my little bundle of bags to the recycling centre mean?

Would it really make any difference if everyone bothered to do this? Somehow, it's hard for me to believe it would.

Still, I am sure that I will carry on, trying to avoid plastic when I can -- whether a straw or a shopping bag. And when I gather a bunch of them, I will take them to the place where I believe (trust may be the more accurate word) someone takes them away to a place where they get converted into fleece jackets or maybe just more plastic bags.

If nothing else, I suppose it will at least help me feel a little better. If only it would make the ocean feel better.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Outdoor art

One of the joys of having a house with a yard is being able to sit outside in the cool of the afternoon. When the experience includes reading a book, it's even better. 

When the experience has me looking up from the book, watching a single-engine plane soaring above, I get a small vicarious thrill, can feel the tilt of the wings riding the currents of air. 

And even, just sitting, my eye meets one of the pieces of art we have on and around the house. Right now I can't be sure which artwork I love more -- the painting of Vancouver or the straggly legs of bolting lettuce casting shadows against the wall.  

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Dreams can come true

It's been one of my small dreams to have a Little Free Library in our neighbourhood. Now, at long last, my wish has come true.

It took a bit of poking around and finagling, but I managed to get through to the right people -- and voila, it's reality.

Both Surrey Parks and the local Rotary Club made the project come together so nicely, and really, I have to say that I'm very pleased with how it looks.

Aside from the fact that it's so darn cute, I'm especially happy that the 'building' itself was constructed by men at the jail where I volunteer. Something about this makes me feel that things in my life are going as they should, and moving in full circle.

Because it had been in storage for a while, the little library's paint needed a bit of freshening up. While I was wielding my brush, a number of people came by to say they were very happy that our park now has one of these. And yesterday, when I was putting the books in, even more people came by and commented favourably.

I made a little sign for the inside of the doors which I hope will encourage neighbours to contribute books of their own.

And I'm hoping this Little Free Library will contribute as part of the feeling of community that our area is starting to grow -- starting this evening with a Free Community Picnic sponsored by the City. Yay, Surrey!

Friday, July 13, 2018

Not exactly 'feathering one's nest'

No doubt you've heard that phrase, 'feathering one's nest' and pretty much always with negative connotations.

The phrase that applies in today's instance should probably be 'flowering one's nest' as that's almost exactly what a pair of robins has done in our front yard.

They made several attempts to build their nest in our gazebo, but since we spend so much time out there in the summer -- reading, eating meals, visiting with friends -- we did all we could (in gentle, kind ways, of course) to discourage them from nesting there. Some of the tricks included putting large candles (not burning, I promise), baskets, even a stuffed animal along the ceiling beams, so there wouldn't be room enough for them to construct a nursery.

But, because they obviously liked the 'neighbourhood' they decided to stay. And where did they build but in a hanging basket of flowers.

I'll admit, it's made it awkward to keep the plants watered. Luckily, a few days ago, nobody was home for a long enough time that I took the planter down to give it a bit of drink. There, enclosed within the perfect circle of the nest were two turquoise eggs. Shortly after that, the robin came back. It was almost as if she'd left for a while so I could look after the plants.

At this point, the little family-on-the-way is our priority because really, where the flowers are mostly annuals, it's not the end of the world if a few don't make it.

I've been doing my best to be quiet when I'm nearby, though the birds seem to be mostly accustomed to our comings and goings. It's as if they recognize that we mean them no harm, and I have certainly come to recognize the bright bead of the robin's eye, watching as I go by.

And oh dear, this morning I felt some pangs of guilt while eating my breakfast outside on the deck. Toast with a hard-boiled egg -- from a chicken, not a robin, but still. I was hoping the little mama's shining eye wasn't focused on me.

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Diversionary tactics

Maybe it's just one of the perils of summer, but I've not been getting as much work done as I mean to. The problem? Falling prey to too many diversions.

Some of these are reasonable, and go along with the season. Keeping up with the garden, whether that's watering or pruning or trying to deadhead lettuces before they bolt into flower (though those are yummy too). And there's been plenty of berries bought or even picked (27 pounds of raspberries), and processed into jams packed into the freezer for winter treats.

Other of these diversions are less productive. As the finals of the World Cup draw nearer, the call of the television gets harder to ignore.

And oh dear, witness the jigsaw puzzle above. Sure, I assembled it in between rounds of dealing with the actual strawberries, but it wasn't a very fruitful way to spend the time.

And that missing piece from the middle of the picture. I wonder whether that nagging bit of unfinished business should serve to remind me that, even though it's summer, I can't fall into too many bad habits. Projects still need to be completed. Deadlines still need to be met.

Oh, but where it's greyish and drizzly this morning, maybe I can get away with just one more day of frittering.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

In search of comfort

Not long ago, walking on a golf course (yes, I walk, sometimes even play caddy though I don't golf), I spotted what appeared to be an inviting comfort station. It looked as though it might even offer a view of the sprawling green valley below.

It's too bad such conveniences aren't more readily available -- especially when one is travelling on Vancouver's transit system.

To get from my house into the heart of the city means two buses to get to the Bridgeport Station, where I can board the Canada Line into town. Natch, if I want to go anywhere not on that line, it means yet another transfer to a bus or another train line.

While it's terrific to have such non-driving options (especially with the price of parking!), it would be nice if there were a public toilet along the way. But the fact is: none of the train stations have such an amenity.

Thinking about this makes me wonder who it is that we are we so afraid of. And what exactly is it we fear they might do? Yes, it's possible someone might do something they shouldn't, but this avoidance of restrooms seems to mostly be a stereotyped backlash against the few who might misuse such a facility. To put a name on who that might be, I suspect: the homeless, the addicted, the poor. A fearsome trio, to be sure.

To give them some credit, TransLink does keep planning improvements, (though I'm not sure toilets are part of their action plan). To support these extensions and services, the Mayors' Council has just announced a hike to the gas tax, scheduled to come into effect next spring. Interesting, as it was barely three years ago that Metro electors voted No to a proposed 0.5% tax to support additional funding for transit.

But I guess those results don't matter anymore. Though where that seems to be the case, I can't help wonder why those millions spent on the referendum vote didn't go instead directly to transit services? Who knows. The money might have even been enough to buy riders like me a little comfort on our travels.

And as for what appeared to be the lovely 'comfort station' on the golf course,
even it turned out to be a bit of a disappointment.

Nonetheless, somewhat better than having to hold it (oh, and now I am just starting to understand those many signs on the train that urge you to 'hold on'). Small comfort, indeed.