Monday, September 21, 2020

 The neighbourhood crow - friend or foe?





Yes, the crows are back - and pecking hard at patches of damaged grass around Steveston.

Initially I had considered them to be the main offenders responsible for digging and scattering clumps of soil all over the lawn.

Instead I learned that, if anything, crows, raccoons, and skunks act as agents of pest control. They feed on larvae of European chafers that feed on grass roots - thus preventing them from reproducing and wreaking further destruction. 

Of course this doesn't help homeowners' effort to keep their lawns healthy and their properties attractive. And it is so disheartening to wake up in the morning and find that the area of damage in front of your house has grown overnight.

Fortunately there are things they can do. Here's a Vancouver Sun article that explains this infestation and what can be done about it. The City of Richmond also publishes a page on the European Chafer beetles on their website that provides helpful tips on keeping them under control.

 So next time you see a couple of crows tossing clumps of grass with their beaks, don't be so hard on them. Although it might not look that way, they are really on your side.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

 Traffic pattern in Steveston



As you may know, last August, traffic pattern in the Steveston village was temporarily changed. The expansion of sidewalks on Moncton and Bayview street was implemented to allow pedestrians and cyclists more space and safeguard everyone's health and safety.

Traffic flow on Bayview Street was converted into one-way westbound while that on Moncton Street was changed to one-way eastbound.

As of September 7, both streets have reverted back to the old two-way traffic pattern with planters and guides lining Bayview Street to provide visual guides that separate cyclists and pedestrians. 

Frankly, I have always thought the original traffic flow was just fine and didn't quite see the point of tampering with something that wasn't broken. But then, what do I know? I only live here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

 Smoke gets in your eyes




Since September 8, smoke from wildfires in Washington and Oregon has blanketed Metro Vancouver, including Steveston.

Although air quality has improved since then, the smoke remains. It shrouds the sun, dimming its intensity and smudging its edges like an Impressionist painting. Everything is cast in a yellow glow, making our village look surreal.


Sunday, September 13, 2020

 Summer blush




No it's not about the latest make up palette of a cosmetic company. Or the color that will dominate Paris/Milan/New York catwalks.

It's just the lovely muted shades of humble neighborhood flowers. But they hold this power to uplift our spirits and heal our hurts.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

 Celebrating last summer long weekend in Granville Island




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Visiting Granville Island can be just what you need to pick up your spirit.

Located across False Creek from downtown Vancouver, it offers dining, food shops, and boutiques.

Although not its usual vibrant self due to Covid19 closures and health and safety protocols in place, it is still a special place to meet and share a beautiful moment with friends and family.

Friday, September 11, 2020

 Have a bloomin' good day



As the Covid19 pandemic enters its sixth month in the lower mainland area, we are all wondering when - and if - it will ever be eradicated. Our lives have been totally upended by this disease, some more so than others. 

I hope this short video will put a smile on your face and in your heart - even if only for a brief moment.


Thursday, September 3, 2020

 Steveston Alive!


It seems like an eternity ago, but last summer I and a friend had the pleasure of participating in the Steveston Alive! walking tour. 

Presented by the Steveston Historical Society and the Steveston Museum, we were treated to a play in five parts.

Drama students from Steveston-London Secondary School and returning cast members from sister school Hugh McRoberts Secondary escorted us through historical landmarks and presented vignettes that recreated Steveston's history and the hardships that early immigrants had to endure to survive and thrive in their newly adopted community.

Let's hope that the walking tour will return once the Covid19 pandemic is over. I, for one, can't wait to see it again.



Childhood drawings



Do you have an attic crammed full with your children's artwork? Have you started to separate those to treasure from those to throw away? It's quite difficult, as any parent could attest. 

I know Marie Kondo recommends keeping only things that give you joy. Well, what if they all do? Or, worse, what if your child one day asks for the very ones that you have been tempted to put through the shredder? 

Well, with digital technology you don't have to decide. At least not right away. You can keep them on a hard drive, a USB stick, or in other repository you have handy. And if you have enough time, or energy, you can even categorize them for future search and retrieval.

I took photos of some of my daughter's childhood drawings and put them into a slideshow. When I have a second here or there, I would play it and relive her obsessions with unicorns, dinosaurs, mice, birds, Ariel the mermaid, and pet cat Chico. Ah childhood memories, they are priceless!

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

 Flowers in the wind


To watch this video in full screen, go to YouTube

August sometimes brings blustery winds to Steveston. As an avid neighbourhood explorer, I welcome the blessed coolness that sweeps over our village and the opportunity to capture flowers dancing in the wind.


Thursday, August 27, 2020

 A weekly heartbreak




Having age-related kidney disease, our Steveston cat Roi needs help to remain hydrated.

Every Thursday, we hook him up with an ivy line to administer his subcutaneous fluids.

He tries to escape but, not being fast enough, can only seek refuge in a bookshelf.

This is so heartbreaking but so necessary to protect his well being.

My poor baby!

 A staycation in Vancouver (in 83 seconds)


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It was a short getaway but felt like a real vacation. Vancouver is really worth re-discovering, especially since travels are so limited since the Covid 19 pandemic outbreak.

Go ahead and explore it like a tourist, but with a deep understanding of a longtime resident.

You'll fall in love with it all over again.


Friday, August 7, 2020

 Sometimes you feel like a nut (an almond, actually)



Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

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... About a month ago, Mr. Grey stopped making an appearance in our backyard and we've actually missed him.

A lot.

We wonder if anything unfortunate had happened to him. Although we welcome each new day with renewed hope, it appears more and more that we would not see him again on our patio, his fluffy tail twitching behind him, and his paws poised to pluck some delectable almonds off the ground. 

But we always keep a fresh package of Mr. Grey's favorite nuts and our camera within reach, just in case...


Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Another hummingbird sighting


Image by Marija Gavrilova from Pixabay


While sitting on a friend's third floor condo patio (near Steveston's Britannia Shipyard), we spotted a hummingbird zooming in for a feeder hanging under the eaves.

Apparently Rocket, as it has been named, regularly swoops down from nearby trees and is none too shy when it comes to feeding time. It was a breathtaking moment and we all felt blessed to have witnessed its wildly beating wings and dab of vivid red on its throat.

Rocket circled the feeder and sampled the nectar from different trumpets before blasting off towards the water. Isn't it amazing how little it takes to lift our spirits?

Friday, July 24, 2020

Parking lot rabbits

Image from Pixabay



You'll find feral rabbits just about everywhere in Richmond. Even in the sterile and inhospitable parking lot near the airport.

May be a fast food chain nearby provides the incentive for them to make it their home.

This trio didn't run for cover when we parked. Instead they hovered nearby, perhaps hoping for some goodies to be tossed out the window. Unfortunately, we only had granola bars.

They were adorable of course, especially the baby. What struck me was how much it seemed to want to snuggle up to one of the adult rabbit and how it was repeatedly rejected and abandoned. The baby persisted however, which made me wonder what was really happening. 

Perhaps I just didn't understand the dynamics of rabbit interactions. But as I left the lot, I couldn't help but worry about the baby rabbit's welfare. Let's hope that I had misread the situation and that, in fact, it has many happy days ahead - with or without food being tossed out of parked cars.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Mindful drinking





Being an 18 year old feline with kidney disease, my cat Roi needs to keep himself well hydrated.

With his arthritis and all, I decided to serve his water in a tall plastic tumbler so he wouldn't need to bend down too much.

This is not a coca Cola ad...



Summer colours in Steveston





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Summer colours are here! When it comes to dressing for the season, nature can put any fashion house to shame. 

The roses in the Steveston Museum garden are in full bloom and the flower baskets in front of Steveston Seafood House were overflowing with blossoms and leaves.

Enjoy what nature has to offer you, wherever you are!

Monday, July 20, 2020

Cannery Cafe in 3D


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3D modeling computer programs allow you to make drawings that really pop. I experimented with Sketchup to build local landmarks literally from the ground up. 

Google Earth provided the building footprints and Sketchup offered the set of tools for transforming them into three dimensional structures. Every project was fun, even though I used the free no-frills version of Sketchup.

Here's a personal favorite, locally known as Cannery Cafe. The restaurant has gone through several iterations including Granny's Diner, which was regularly featured on Once Upon a Time - a popular TV series located in fictional town of Storybrooke, Maine.




Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Child's play




What to do during the socially imposed Covid19 self isolation period?

Dig out the old boxes crammed with your children's keepsakes, of course. When the lids come off and you grasp those memorabilia, precious past moments seem to stir back to life.

My child's depictions of dinosaurs, friendship, and the family pet (among other things) captured her first steps towards the amazing artist she later became. They inspired me to digitize and arrange them in delightful patterns which can be transferred onto paper and fabric for fun future projects.

What a great way to honour and celebrate a bit of your family history - and forget about our current unfortunate set of circumstances. At least for a few hours!

Wreath of love





Will we all look back on 2020 as the year that never was?

What with the Covid 19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown, a tragic death in Minneapolis and the explosion of protests and conflicts thereafter, and - closer to home - the closure of cherished businesses that had formed an integral part of our community.

More than ever, I find myself searching for bright lights that will carry us forward - and through - this difficult time. I hope we will all come out of 2020 stronger, wiser, and more loving.

Sunday, July 12, 2020


Pacific Spirit Regional Park - a great way to restore your balance 



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Have you been to Pacific Spirit Regional Park?

Located on the west side of Vancouver, Canada, this 874 hectares (or 2,160 acres) park is part of the University of British Columbia Endowment Lands. 

The Pacific Spirit park offers 73 km of walking and hiking trails that are visitor friendly. Whether you are into walking, jogging, cycling, dog walking, or just family bonding, you will find just the right trail for you.  You can find FREE street parking nearby, as well as amenities such as washrooms and garbage receptacles within the park itself.

Which is, breathtakingly beautiful...
 
Almost as soon as you step into the park, you will be surrounded by soothing shades of green - from the bushes on either side of the loose gravel paths to the protective canopy provided by stately trees. Now and then, you'll catch the glitter of dew drops on nodding leaves and flashes of color (yellow, white, and pink) from wild flowers. Believe me, you won't be able to resist the urge to whip out your phone to snap a photo or two.

I walked away feeling totally refreshed! And blessed that something so beautiful could be so accessible! The Pacific Spirit park is ours to enjoy and it is waiting for you! Believe me, it's a great way to feel free when life is in lockdown mode.


Thursday, July 9, 2020

Pet of the Year


Cats are amazingly skilled in shaping our behaviour - from mindful eating, to slow blinking, to gentle nuzzling, they pretty much have us figured out.

This is my Steveston cat Roi and no, he didn't really appear on the cover of a popular magazine. But I believe that he - as well as all cats - deserves to be crowned pet of the year. Every year.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Backyard birdwatching

Image by Marija Gavrilova from Pixabay


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How do you make the best of your shrinking world?

As Covid19 spread like wildfire at the start of the pandemic, Richmond folks found themselves feeling like virtual prisoners in their own homes.

Some of us live in small boxes in the sky, some of us dwell on sprawling estates, but most of us make do with our humble single family Steveston special with its modest size backyard.

That patch of green, in fact, has become central to our happiness since the lockdown began in March. I wouldn't call us birders yet, but we do whip out the old pair of binoculars when we spy chickadees, sparrows, doves, and other species we can't identify. But the most welcome visitor would have to be the hummingbird (we have since named it "Hummy.") The beauty of its iridescent feathers and beating wings leave us utterly breathless.

We paid numerous visits to Canadian Tire to construct a broad based pole with metal extensions at the top that support two bird feeders. For Hummy, we picked a feeder kit that included the nectar mix. The birds took a few weeks to feel safe and comfortable with the setup but Hummy proved to be especially cautious and shy.

But we didn't mind waiting for the birds to come around. We figured time watching their comings and goings was time well spent. We might even continue our new pastime long after the lockdown is lifted and life is good again.


Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Nature's calming ways




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Yes, we are moving forward in our Covid19 healing process.

Do you remember when there were more things we couldn't than could do?

On those dark days, I found that nature provided unparalleled calm and sweetness. When that sense of suffocation seeped in, I meandered through my neighbourhood streets, on foot or on my bicycle, always returning home with renewed strength and hope for better days ahead.

I hope you too found solace in your familiar surroundings, those spring buds bursting from every branch, and the expansive blue sky above.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Cat in the window



What's more interesting than watching your cat?

Watching your cat watching his world.

There is something magical about their total mindfulness. Even when they make those funny sounds when they see birds, their focus remains laser sharp.

I wish I could have their concentration. 

Thursday, June 25, 2020


Fishing in the time of Covid19



Like many Stevestonites, exploring the village on foot has become my daily routine since the lock-down was introduced in March 2020.

While exploring the waterfront on April 11, I came upon a group of fishermen on the public pier and was struck by how well distanced apart they stood.

Not being an angler myself, I wasn't sure whether this was normal or a new Covid 19 best practice they had embraced to keep everyone safe and healthy.
 
How amazing that a disease that emerged from China late last year had reached our shores and upended every aspect of our lives;and even more awesome was our collective effort to contain and defeat it.

Yes, we all celebrate our health care workers for a job well done, but I think our success in BC was also built on the effort and compliance of everyday people like you and me. We all should be recognized for our part in flattening the curve. 

So, to all of you out there - good job!

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Covid19 and your furry friend
Please release me!



The newly adopted Covid19 veterinary office protocol dictates no pet owners are allowed in the treatment room and waiting area. 

They are instructed to deposit their pets in the treatment room, grab their carriers, and return to their cars until pickup time.

Our cat made a valiant attempt to escape and frantically thrust his paws under the door in a dramatic plea for help.

A picture is worth a thousand tears, don't you think.

Monday, June 22, 2020

 Summer solstice 2020 - Vancouver, Canada


If raindrops fall on leaves and the forest floor, does anyone hear?

The first day of summer 2020 brought rain to Vancouver, BC, Canada. The temperature was mild and the air was sweet with the promise of better days ahead. Can we start dreaming about the end of the Covid19 pandemic and finally embracing our family and friends? I can't wait, can you?

Music: Prelude no.20 by Chris Zabriskie is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)
Source: http://chriszabriskie.com/preludes/
artist:http://chriszabriskie.com/

Saturday, June 20, 2020

The Covid19 scream


How are you faring in our lock-down world?

Although institutions, businesses, and services have opened their doors  - albeit a small degree at a time  - and our collective hearts are lifting  bit by bit - there remain limitations  that constantly remind us that life is still not as it should be.

But still, we are grateful for what has been restored.

However, I remember when the lock-down was first introduced, there were so many don'ts that I felt an overwhelming sense of suffocation. Especially in the evening.

It was then that I thought, Okay, one day down and how many more to go? What will tomorrow bring? More of the same? The future stretched out like a desolate road leading to nothingness. Of course, social isolation made the burden even harder to bear.

With the gradual lifting of the Covid19 lock-down, we can all breathe a little easier. One lesson I have learned is how resilient the human spirit is. So kudos to you and me for a job well done.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Older but still lovable (cat)


Roi sunning himself in his backyard


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Do you have an older cat? Does it need assistance to remain healthy and happy?

Our sweet Roi, all 17 years and 6.9 kg of him, definitely belongs to this camp. As he reclines on his nest made of soft towels atop a heating pad (set to low), you can see the folds of furry skin hanging from his frame like heavy velour drapes. He looks like himself, just deflated, as though someone had let some of the air out of his body.

He settles on his bed with care, extending one front paw, then the other, before gingerly lowering the rest of his body with dignity and calmness. Pouncing on anything is no longer in his repertoire and birds in the backyard do not stir up his hunting instinct. 

Once in a great while, we see flickers of his younger, more active and mischievous self. But they appear less often - and last in mere nanoseconds. We are grateful for them, and all the wonderful years he had blessed us with his gentle presence. Never a claw unsheathed. Never a hiss through his mouth. Just sweetness and patience. How did we get so lucky!

Friday, May 8, 2020

 Happy 2020 Mother's Day


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This one is for all the mothers you have and you love.

I hope the scenes in this video - courtesy of Mother Nature herself - will bring them joy.

Even during the Covid19 lockdown ... especially during the lockdown!

Thursday, April 9, 2020

 Spring nature walk during the Covid19 lockdown




Nowadays, when there are more things you CAN'T than CAN do, nature provides unparalleled calm and healing.

When that sense of suffocation seeps in, I meander through my neighborhood streets on foot or on my bicycle - always returning home with renewed strength and hope for better days ahead.

I hope you too are finding solace in your familiar surroundings - those spring buds bursting from every branch, and the expansive blue sky above.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

 King of the road





This neighborhood domesticated cat owns the road. Cars swerve to the left and right to protect its personal pace. Dogs on walks are pulled back by their owners. Those fearless eyes command fear and respect.

Friday, February 14, 2020

 Happy 2020 Valentine's Day


May everyone in Steveston enjoy a beautiful and romantic Valentine's Day.

Wouldn't it be fun to savour this day on the steps of the London heritage farmhouse with flowers and chickens at your feet?


Wednesday, February 5, 2020

 The shape of water


Heavy snowfall, followed by warmer temperatures, turned the white blanket into pristine water droplets that cling to leaves and branches - turning them into mini chandeliers