Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Neighbourhood houses:
Ode to the traditional family home

This Steveston gem is one of my favorites 
On my customary walks through Steveston's quiet streets, I cherish the smaller unpretentious single family homes. 

In the shadows of the over-sized newcomers on the block, they appear better proportioned to the lot they occupy. Instead of exuding pretentiousness, they appear cozy, inviting, and well, just plain friendly. They practically beckon you in for a neighbourly cup of tea.

In the summer, I envision herbs growing in the kitchen window; in the winter, I imagine a blanket-draped couch beside a roaring fire.

Some of the owners have obviously invested considerable effort in upgrading their property's curb appeal. Diligently manicured grass, wooden ties cuddling clusters of flowering bushes, and strategically planted trees that shade us all in the summer and reveal bird nests in the winter - they just seem to say, hey, stop and enjoy my handiwork.

While meditating on the charms of tiny older homes, you might even spot butterflies, raccoons, squirrels, domesticated cats, and even hummingbirds on iridescent wings - local wildlife that add so much to our lives in the village.

I personally can't say the same for those monster houses. Can you?

Monday, September 16, 2019

Coffee corner - Rocanini in Steveston


The name Rocanini always sounds so sophisticated to me. so Italian. So chic.

This elevated impression was confirmed when I spotted their siphon coffee maker behind the counter. One day, I decided that this was one item I needed to add and quickly cross off my bucket list. Just like that.

Yes, the barista took longer but watching the process of getting your coffee made was entertaining. And the taste - made it so worthwhile. So rich. So full body. Without any need for cream or sweetener.

My mistake was drinking my cup of coffee late in the day and that night, I found myself tossing and turning. Since then, I usually schedule my Rocanini treat for no later than eleven o'clock in the morning. 

Of course, others have also been smitten by the pastries on offer, the long community table, the more intimate clusters of table and chairs, and comfy upholstered chairs. You can tell from the crush of humanity on weekends and the number of individuals hunched over their laptops, it's a local favorite.

Although you are facing away from the mighty Fraser, Rocanini patrons get a commanding view of our nautical themed scramble intersection, the Steveston historic tram nestled in its protective structure across the street, and the parade of pedestrians, cars, and cyclists streaming past in their delicate dodge-and-dart dance.

So pick a good spot and let your eyes and mind wonder. Just don't forget to take a sip of your coffee now and then - before it gets cold.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

It's a cats' world


Stevestonites love their dogs. On any given day (but especially on warm sunny days) you can see our best friends sauntering beside their owners on the riverfront promenade, sniffing and snuffling every dusty bush on the dyke, lapping up water in metal bowls in front of village stores, or straining their pole-wrapped leashes while waiting for their absent masters.

Yep. No doubt about it. Dogs reign on the well traveled routes in our neighborhood.

But... 

When you take the quieter corners and cul de sacs, you will soon discern that cats rule the backwaters. In the soothing whispers of tree leaves, seductive dances of undulating grasses, and crisp scents of well tended private gardens you find them - sometimes well hidden but at other times, boldly out in the open, as they survey their domain with their characteristic self-assured pomposity.

Their sightings seem to spark a sense of wonder, even privilege, on the part of the observer. Indeed, the cats themselves appear to remind us that such moments are not to be taken lightly - with their cool stares, their upturned Roman nose, and their disappearance just as you whip out your camera phone.