Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Nearly as rare as Leap Day

Since cell phones have become so ubiquitous, with nearly everybody hanging onto one so much of the time, the old-fashioned pay phone has all but disappeared.

So I was surprised today to notice not just one, but a bank of six of them, at Vancouver's Waterfront Station. As you can see, at least two of the phones are even being used.

Considering how rare these have become, I don't want to place any bets that I'll be able to find another one quite so easily next time we get a February 29th. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Grace found in a kitchen garden

I never understand how February can feel so long, and yet how it can slip away so quickly. Here it’s been nearly two weeks since I’ve even posted anything. But that doesn’t mean that nothing’s happened. In fact, it’s more like the opposite: too much has happened, my world’s been all a-whirl.

Even a sixth blogiversary came and went (February 16th) without so much as a candle on a virtual cake.

I can’t help but think this lunar year’s water dragon may have something to do with it. The dragon’s arrival and this swirl of activity seem to have coincided.

Despite the fact that I am not a fan of white stuff that falls from the sky (or, for that matter, most things referred to as ‘white stuff’ whether dust that grows under the bed or cocaine), yesterday’s brief snowfall seemed like a message to slow down.

One of the first harbingers of spring, the snowdrop bends to whatever weathers may befall it. Its grace inspires tolerance, acceptance and calm.

The snowdrop blooming in the snow-dusted garden will be the symbol that carries me through the rest of this hurried month. Even with February’s extra day this year, March feels awfully darn close. And who knows, maybe I can carry the message of the snowdrop even longer.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Romantic or what…

What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than with a brand-new book of love poems!

The Wild Weathers, edited by Ursula Vaira of Leaf Press, offers a roster of poets both known and lesser-known. Daniela Elza, Patricia Young, Susan McCaslin, Janet Vickers, Susan Iannou, Vaughan Chapman, Peter Trower and many more – but there’s no point in merely listing names. Instead, step in and take a bite of one of the poems.

Sample these, the opening lines of Elsie Neufeld’s meditation on a lifelong relationship:

Love, 34 years in the making, is more than
a tongue in the mouth, it’s all that holding
your tongue when one or both have said
too much: you always, you never, I can’t
stand it
; you’ve heard yourself say it, and
worse, believed it, but love is an act, a play
on grace….
Try writing some love thoughts of your own on this, the day we all have an excuse to get romantic.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


I guess that’s a made-up word, but it seems applicable to last night’s performance at the local First United Church.

Billed as “Roma Swing”, the event featured Romanian-born Lache Cercel, a maestro of the violin, along with his ultra-talented ensemble. As might be expected, the presentation included a few traditional-sounding Romanian melodies, including ones that featured Albanian accordionist, Ben Mati. Whew, his fingers flew!

But the event went farther afield, including jazz interpretations of a spectrum of music, from Rachmaninoff to Django Reinhardt. There was even a flamenco singer/guitarist. He was accompanied by a dancer whose pounding feet made me worry for the church’s polished wood floor.

A highlight for the White Rock audience may have been those spots featuring vocalist Wendy Bollard, who offered standards such as “Blue Skies” and Patsy Cline’s “Walkin’ after Midnight.”

Eclectic? Absolutely. But with enough trans-European spice to warrant the made-up name, Eklektika.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Superb Owl, the annual quest

Yesterday, while many were hunkering down in front of the tv for some overhyped football game, I was walking the trails at nearby Boundary Bay. My quest, the visiting snowy owls, a species that fits my definition of superb.

Although I didn’t succeed in spotting the visiting owl (it turns out, I went to the wrong arm of the bay) I had a great walk and saw many other birds – ducks, gulls, herons and the always-magnificent-looking eagles. And, as is so often the case at the shoreline, the clouds were the ones putting on the best show of the day.

As for superb owl, there’s always next year. And who knows, maybe later this week I’ll make the time to head out that way again.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Oscar alert – a new category?

Ever since I saw Woody Allen's Manhattan, I've wanted a new category for the Academy Awards. That's some while to be wanting a thing, but like so many unlikely wishes, it's one I've been able to leave on hold.

Still, seeing The Adventures of Tintin this week, the wish has once again embedded itself in my mind.

The award I'd like would be for a film's opening sequence -- a feature, if you consider my two examples, that not every movie even contains.

Think back, if you will, to the opening of Manhattan. All that skyline, the iconic buildings, but most of all, the Gershwin soundtrack. As far as I'm concerned (sacrilege alert, I am sure:) it was the best part of the movie.

And while the opening to Tintin was definitely NOT the best part of the movie, it provided the perfect introduction to the spunky reporter and his brainy dog, Snowy.

Steven Spielberg often makes me crazy (as with the way-too-sentimental War Horse) or all those sparkly bits he always has to toss in, falling from the sky. But with Tintin, he's done a service -- not only to longtime fans of Herge's character, but to a whole new potential audience.

Can you think of other films that qualify for this award?