Monday, August 1, 2011

Monday, August 1, 2011 - Chit Chat and more Chit Chat

Happy BC Day for those living in BC and Happy Aug 1st for those living elsewhere :)

I've been busted!! :D I was reminded in person by a friend this weekend that twice now I have promised to follow the Health Update blogs with the fun, chit chat and pictures blog. And I have failed on those promises TWICE now!! OMG! Caught red-handed!! What is really funny is the health updates are the harder ones to write, both from an informative perspective and from a "how the heck do I make this interesting to read? I mean, who really wants to hear about someone else's health problems??" Soooo, I figure writing the Chit Chatty blog entries will be the most fun because they don't have to have boring health bits... and I can put lots of pictures (assuming I've taken pictures) and basically just add free-form writing and call it a blog entry . But just when do I think I'm going to get started?? Hahahaha... my excuse to myself has been... oh oh, now I've done it! I've got all these pictures to share, so I have to organize some way of writing in order so the pictures make sense. Well, the longer I put it off, the more pictures I get and the bigger, more daunting the task becomes!

Off I go to the kitchen to get a nice cold glass of orange juice and I shall begin this daunting task of doing the first chit-chatty blog entry. I have tossed out the idea of writing in any sort of date order, or order the pictures were taken... I will just insert pictures when I feel like it, discuss them (or not) and move on to the next topic... whether it makes sense or not! Those of you who know me in person know that I'm a chatterbox but actually having rhyme or reason to my chatter is not necessarily relevant .

In no particular order... I love doing "day trips" around the city and plan on doing a lot more. Sort of like being a tourist in your own city. Going to places you've always taken for granted, only to find out how truly wonderful they are. In particular, I love going to places that off photo opportunities. I have been wanting to get more into my photography. For the most part, I tend to be a "People" photographer... hence why you always see me at rehearsals or opening nights, or events where I can take pictures of my friends. But more and more, I've been enjoying taking pictures just for the sake of taking pictures. I try to take it with a slightly artistic viewpoint... it may be because a bunch of colours have attracted me such as, look at all the colour in this photo:

Colours of the rainbow is an understatement!! All this colour is ALMOST overwhelming, except it's not because it's all so pretty! And soooo striking!! This was a table set up on the sidewalk where you could (and I did) buy one of these tubes for $20. In it was a pink "Gay for a Day" t-shirt, with the definition of the word "gay" on the back, a pair of colourful sunglasses (yes, I got pink!) where the frames would light up, a whistle on a wrist band and I think there's a rainbow flag as well. The $20 went to a charity... a different one every day. The day I bought mine, the charity was for MS, the next day it was going to be Covenant House. Hahaha... I wanted to support both!! And you can find in all the crowd pictures during Pride weekend and the Pride Parade... a lot of people were wearing "Gay for a Day" pink t-shirts :) :)

Oh, but I do want to go back some... I believe this was in early June when my friends, Mark and David, and I went out for dinner and then to a play. Here's a picture of Mark and David at the restaurant...that was when we went to Society, right you two??

Hahahaha... ok, Mark has his eyes closed and it looks like he's praying! Chances are, he's praying that David and I don't make a scene and get us in trouble ... then again, he could be praying to find the extra room for all of us to finish the dessert that we got. It's a "sampler" for two... and yet, there was way too much for the three of us!!

I dare anyone to go with a friend, have dinner, and then order the sampler dessert and see if you can get through it. I don't know if we stopped laughing about this even when we got to the theatre!! LOL!! But yes, a restaurant that actually makes cotton candy on the premises!! :D

Ok... back to the "day trips". One of the day trips I did on my own was back on the July 1st long weekend. I was feeling pretty darn good and rather spunky, even though back then I was having a problem with my breathing. It was a gorgeous weekend and I figured maybe an afternoon out in the sun and fresh air, down by the river, would do my lungs good. So off I went to Steveston, BC. For those of you not familiar with Vancouver and the Lower Mainland (the municipalities surrounding Vancouver), Steveston is actually connected to Richmond, a municipality where the Vancouver International Airport sits. Anyone flying to Vancouver actually flies to Richmond and then you drive over the river into Vancouver. Steveston is on the south side of Richmond and has always been it's own little village. Lots of history there... Steveston has history steeped as being a Japanese fishing village. It is right on the river and also has the Cannery there so the fish was brought in right from the boats to the Cannery. Here are some of my photos I took while down in Steveston:

As you can see, the tide was very low on this day, so I didn't even attempt to go down the ramp. Hahahaha... going down wouldn't have been a problem, what with having my cane and holding on to the handrail... but one would have to come back up and that looks like climbing a mountain :D

So those were some pictures from down on the river in Steveston. Another day, I went to one of my favourite haunting grounds, Granville Island. My only complaint about Granville Island is the one everyone has... parking!! :D Yes, there is parking, but finding it can be a bit of a challenge, especially in the summer when every day is tourist season, rain or shine! I have to admit, having the disabled parking permit does help big time... but even those spots can go very quickly. But once you find parking (or if you come via transit, water taxi, aqua-bus, etc.), then it's all worthwhile! Especially on a sunny day! Here are some pictures taken while down at Granville Island:

Hehehe... this is a fantasy picture! Can you imagine owning a boat like this white one? And you can just come and go as you please, or sail off to other cities and their harbours? I wonder what that would be like?

Ok... let's move on.... after all this time in the sun, whether in Steveston where it was sunny that weekend, or Granville Island, where it was sunny the day I went there... time to pick up a snack :D So these next pictures are going to be all of food... I know, I know... cruel of me! I hope you've had something to eat prior to reading this blog entry :D

Siegel's bagels!! Many, many varieties and the ones that aren't shown are the cream cheese filled bagels that are soft and sweet! They also have meat filled bagels but I haven't tried those ones.

For anyone who has a sweet tooth, this bakery will drive you crazy!! They have all sorts of treats. I find that these fancy treats never seem to taste as good as they look, but then, anything with chocolate can't go wrong :)

Cherries, cherries, cherries!! You know it's summer when the Okanagan cherries are ripe for the pickin' ... and eating!! :)

Peel me a grape!!! :D Oh yum... nothing better than big, fat, juicy grapes, kept in the fridge so they are ice cold!! :D Yum!!

This lady makes her own homemade jams and jellies. Now, there's nothing too exciting about that... I mean, so many people make their own and have their own recipes. But what she made that was to die for is a homemade ginger jelly, made from young, organic ginger. That is the key... finding the young ginger, because what a difference it makes in taste!! She also makes her own "candied ginger" from the same young organic ginger and for someone who has never liked the taste of candied ginger, what an eye opener to try this. It was lovely!

Unfortunately, strawberry season is over now. Oh sure, we can get the imports, but the local strawberry season is over. It either went very quickly or it was during the time I was having all the breathing problems... needless to say, I didn't buy lots of berries to make jam with! So no homemade strawberry jam for me this winter!

Hehehe... ok, this picture was not taken while down on Granville Island... this was actually taken right downtown. Yes, there are lots of restaurants downtown, but there are also LOTS of people, especially at lunch hour. You've got all the workers in the kajillion downtown buildings, as well as the tourists and just people downtown for the heck of it. So there has been this huge competition of sorts of "food vendors" with their "carts" on the streets/sidewalks. Amazing food from all countries and cultures can be found on the streets of Vancouver. This is just an example of one of those carts... Dim Sum to go! :D

You know, I'm getting hungry just putting up these pictures!! LOL!! Nothing I'd like more right now than some Dim Sum or Shrimp Spring Rolls :D And no, I'm not about to get dressed at 11pm at night to go on a search for a place that is open this late that serves either :D

Hehehe... but now that I think about it, even a lot of my posts on Facebook all centre around "food" :D Whether it's me baking, creating new recipes, making single dinners or whether I'm getting together with friends and we go out for lunch/dinner... isn't it amazing how food always seems to sneak in there? Ok, so we all need food to survive... that's a given. And some have much heartier appetites than others, so that dictates what kind of food. I have found with all the various meds I am on at any given time, sometimes I have a ravenous appetite and other times I have no appetite. Rarely do I find myself somewhere in between. So when I DO have an appetite and I feel like chowing down on something hearty, this is what you quite often may find me making at home:

Ahhhhh! The good old toasted Beef Dip sandwich au jus. Very easy to make and very filling because of the meat.

Another favourite of mine is breakfast... and if I'm not making it at home, then one of my favourite morning restaurants in my neighbourhood is De Dutch Pannekoek House... yep, you guessed it, a Dutch Pancake House. They have the most incredible thin, thin pancakes. Everything from savory to sweet. But when I go there, I rarely get one of their pannekoek (pancakes), mainly because, by the time I get through one, I am uncomfortably full for the rest of the day ;) I usually go for the Ham Hash 'n eggs, where the eggs are basted:

Mind you... when I go through the phase where I have no appetite, I could very easily go all day without eating and I wouldn't notice... as long as I'm getting plenty of liquids. I make a point of having two or three kinds of juice in the fridge, milk, and usually a diet soft drink. When I'm on a no appetite phase, I have to remind myself to eat a little something even if I'm not hungry. Those days I find hard to go out with friends to restaurants... it's not that I'm sick, I'm not, but if you have no appetite, it sort of is a waste of money to be ordering anything off a menu when you know you are only going to pick at it. Hahaha... especially if you are given a menu such as this:

Hahaha... not sure if the picture is too small on this blog page, if you can read it or not... but that is no accident of missing decimals . It's true, that one type of abalone would cost $398!! The cheapest abalone is the Australian abalone at $88. Sheesh... I wonder how often any of these dishes get ordered? Like yes, I know, I'm making fun of the dishes and the prices, but would they actually be in the menu if they weren't ever going to be ordered?? So someone must be ordering them... and that just blows me away that anyone (I don't care how much money you have) would order one dish of food for basically $400!! And for dishes of those prices, do you not think it ironic (or is this just my warped sense of humour) that when they took the picture for the menu, they took it and there is a fly on the plate!! How the heck could the photographer have missed that???

So let's leave food behind for the time being. I think I've mentioned it in previous blog entries and of course on Facebook that this summer Metro Theatre offered a 6-day Intensive Musical Theatre course. There were two levels... Level I for those just beginning or who was interested in what all was involved in performing in a musical and then Level II for those who have had some experience, both in training and in performing and they would get more intensive training. The students would be so lucky because this 6 day intensive workshop was being led by Jeff Hyslop. For those of you involved in musical theatre for some time will already know who Jeff is. For those of you who are not involved, Jeff is one of Canada's treasures. He WAS the Canadian "Phantom" in Phantom of the Opera... which he did for 900 performances. He also was the one who originated the role of "Mike" in Broadway's original Chorus Line. He went on to perform that same role in London's West End's original production of Chorus Line.

So for anyone to have the opportunity to get training from this wonderful man, it is a real privilege... and for our very first workshop at Metro with Jeff (and two other fabulous instructors, Mark Carter and Caitlin Hayes), we had the very best group of young people. They were incredible!!

Clockwise from left to right Jesse, Allie, Mark, Caitlin, Jeff, Julia, Tyler, April, Kayla, Vanessa, and Destiny.

Now, I really think I should close this entry. It's been a wonderful long weekend (BC Day) and for once the weather has finally decided to show us some summer! Still cool for this time of the year (although, if truth be known, I quite enjoy this cooler weather rather than the hot, humid stuff). This long weekend has been particularly busy, what with the international fireworks (Celebration of Light) with China starting the competition with a magnificent display Saturday night. It really was incredible, and incredibly loud!! Wow... I mean all the countries every year, their displays are loud and living here in the West End, across the street from the barges, it sounds like we are in the middle of a huge war zone. But last night was even louder than normal... so loud, you could feel the building shaking. Now, I know Bridget is hard of hearing so figured she'd only get a muted version ... but I really was surprised when she didn't even flinch! She had no idea they were going on around her. I'm sure she must have felt the building shake but she was on the bed eating her cauliflower and quite content to just munch away. If she did feel any movement, she probably just put that down to like when the bed is on "massage" mode, which she has finally gotten used to and doesn't mind at all. So, I guess we have to accept, the little darling is deaf... not that you would ever know it. Other than you would think she is being a princess and ignoring you, if she is looking at you, you'd almost think she was reading lips . She certainly knows how to communicate to Toby and myself when she wants something... and likewise, she knows what we expect of her. Of course, she was "hand signal" trained, as well as command trained so she can still read hand signals ;)

But, I really don't think the little princess is too hard done by, even if she has gone deaf in her old age (she will be 14 in November). Obviously the noise from the Fireworks didn't bother her, and on Sunday, with thousands lining the street of the Pride Parade route, she didn't hear the cheers, whistles and hollering. I couldn't ignore them and once the parade started and made it down to our end of the route, the cheers of the crowd got much louder... so as much as I had NOT planned on going to watch the parade this year, of course I ended up going. Nowadays, I'm a little (ok a lot) leary of crowds. I don't have the balance I once did and I do have this fear of being swept along with a crowd, when I really can't walk that far. So I went across the street to the building there and up on one of their levels (where I ran into my friend/neighbour, Doug). So the two of us watched from a great vantage point, ABOVE the crowds.

Here you see some of the crowds lining the parade route. Where I am taking the picture, I'm on the second level. You see the first level right below us, and then there's the street level below them.

Here are a few pictures from the parade...

Tradition... at the end of the parade, the crowd follows, starting at the beginning of the parade route, then they pick up more and more as they go along. By the time they get to where we are, you can see they've got quite the following.

People... for as far as the eye can see!! And they are all following the parade down to Sunset Beach (which is about 6 blocks from where we are)... and that's where the Pride Festival will continue for the rest of the day.

Ok, it's now the bewitching hour... the clock struck midnight 6 minutes ago!! Time for me to pack it in and head to bed. Of course, although I've shown a lot of pictures, I've missed so much. But, there will be new pictures and new adventures to report on in the upcoming days :D I hope everyone has a great short week... and rumour has it, the sun is going to be out for some time now!!! YAYAYAYAYA!!

Happy BC Day... and Post-Pride!!! :D