Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Virgo birthdays and verisimilitude

I'm not sure why it is but Virgo birthdays are big in my life.  It seems that the majority of my friends and family have their birthdays as August wanes and slides into September.  August 27 is my dear husband's birthday and this year marked his 70th(!)  So of course we had a late summer party.  

In preparation I pulled out some old photos of Harry and did a double take on one taken at his first wedding in 1964.  He got married just out of university, which wasn't unusual in those days.  That's how things were done back then.  

The uncanny thing is just how much our son Jamie looks like Harry in that long-ago photograph.  They're about the same age and they're in the same T-shirt and sunglasses. But there are 48 years separating them.  Take a look.  Do you see a resemblance?

Here they are now in August 2012 wearing matching sweaters and happy smiles. 

And here's Ben, Harry's first son, sitting with his girlfriend on the steps talking to Jamie and my friend Wendy, who by the way also has a Virgo birthday.

Happy birthday to all the Virgos.

Friday, August 24, 2012

An art show opening

Last night we went to an art show opening--but not just any opening.  This was my stepson Ben's first solo show of his paintings.  Ben is a talented photographer, filmaker and painter.  This year he's tumbled into painting in a big way.  It started when he was invited to take his cameras along on a boat trip up the coastline of BC with a group called Artists for an Oil Free Coast.  At the end of the trip he was invited to submit a painting for the group show and the book this group is producing.

But once he started painting he just kept going and over the summer he has produced seven large paintings that capture the spirit of this remote and beautiful coast that will be threatened if oil tankers are allowed to travel through it.  Here are three of the paintings.  The one at the top will be part of the group show.

Here are a few scenes from last night's opening.  The paintings looked beautiful on the old brick walls of the Habit Coffee Shop in Victoria's Chinatown.

That's Ben on the right talking to his high school art teacher.

I'm so proud that Ben has taken this giant step forward with his painting.  I see big things ahead for him.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Which one do you see?

 This is the view from the cabin window at the front of the cottage on Saturna.  There's an interesting snag at the edge that captures everyone's attention.  A few years ago it had some living branches above it but in a winter storm those broke off, leaving this caricature for all to see.

Here's a closer look.  Some people tell me they see the face of Saint Francis inside a hood or a cowl with his hand extended to the left.  Others (like me) see a witch's face with a big staring eye and a sharp nose and stern mouth facing to the left and an arm extended out to the right.

What do you see when you look at it?  Maybe you see something completely different.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Saturna escape

Last night I got back from a weekend trip to the cabin at Brown Ridge with four of my best women friends. Sunburned, talked out, and a bit hung over kind of sums it up. Oh yes, stuffed to the gills with delicious food too. It it was a wonderful time.

The cabin sits atop a ridge that's at least a thousand feet above the ocean on Saturna Island in the Gulf of Georgia between Vancouver and Victoria. The nearest neighbour is about a mile away. It's so serene and beautiful without traffic noise of any kind.

Here are a few photos to give you an idea.  My friend Joan with her camera taking a photo looking south towards the islands far below.

Here was our evening wine and cheese on the deck at sunset.  Looking down we see huge freighters heading south down Plumper Sound towards Seattle.

To the north and west we see misty islands fading into Vancouver Island in the distance.

The highlight of our trip was the goat parade. A herd of feral goats lives on the ridge and often as dusk falls they wander in a line in front of the cabin. We were honoured to see them on Saturday evening.

The goats walk along the edge of the ridge and then stop to look back at us as they round the cliff and head towards their night time sleeping place.

The lamps are waiting in the window to be lit as the sun sets.  There is no electricity at the cabin so we use these for light at night.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Summer slips by

How did a week go by without my posting here?  Here on Canada's west coast, August is so lovely  that everybody goes into a sunshine trance.

We have impromptu barbecues, take the ferry to visit gulf islands, visit with friends in the back garden, go on picnics, walk on the beach with the dogs, hang out on docks...

We know it won't last very long so we grab every chance to enjoy the warmth.  That's my sister's back deck and a view of her gourds.

Early morning at the ferry dock, and the sun on the water in the channel.  

This fat harbour seal is basking on a rock at East Point on Saturna Island.  That's Mount Baker in the background.

East point is a great place for a picnic.

At the bottom is my nine-year old niece Callie watching fish off the dock.

I hope you're enjoying your August!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Canine Freestyle

Last weekend I went to a canine freestyle competition.  In case you're wondering, that's a fancy word for creating dance routines with your dog.  You might have seen some videos of amazing teams that turn up on America's Got Talent or other shows like that.  It turns out that lots of people here in Victoria do this with their dogs--and have a lot of fun with it too.

As you can see, dogs of all sizes and types can do this.  It all depends on the skill and commitment of the dog owners who spend a lot of time training their pooches to do the moves and then set it to music.  The thing I noticed was that it wasn't just the people who were having fun here; the dogs love it too.

These photos really don't show what it's like.  It's actually very fast and lively.  The dog just above is new to it and is in the ring for the first time.  She's using a ball to keep her dog's focus.

Some people (my husband for example) laugh at this but I think it's amazing the bond that you can see between the people and the dogs.

The woman below left is waiting with her dog to enter the ring.   Her dog is watching her with rapt attention.  Of course it could be because she's holding dog treats in her hand.  You're not allowed to use them in the ring but they're used plenty in the training.

The woman on the right is actually doing a routine with both dogs at the same time.  That was fun to watch.

Some people get dressed up in a kind of costume for their routine.  This woman was wearing a wig with Dutch girl braids and a European style vest.  

Oh go ahead and laugh, and then I'll tell you that I actually took Geordie to a few freestyle classes and we developed a cute routine to Tijuana Taxi that included Geordie spinning around, weaving through my legs and jumping up to touch his nose to my raised hand.  He's actually very good at this sport and if I weren't so busy I'd probably be doing more training with him.