Sunday, February 28, 2010

Olympics-Day 17

Even Blackstar was decked out in red to celebrate our Olympic hockey win! He was really proud. After all he is a Canadian dog.

Olympics-Day 17

Today was the last day of the Olympics and the BIG hockey game. It was inconceivable that we would lose to the US. Canada has been so successful in these games with 14 gold medals. Before these games we hadn't won one gold medal at home and just look at us now. We aren't humble Canadians making excuses for why we can't win any more.

The game 2-0 Canada then 2-1 and in the last twenty seconds two all. It was nail biting to say the least. Overtime and Sidney Crosby scored the winning goal to give the games a story book finish.

We decided to go down to the front in White Rock for an espresso and gelato. What better way to celebrate! There were cars, busses, the fire truck going up and down the strip with flags flying and bells ringing. Everyone was dressed in red with many waving flags even in the middle of the road.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Birthday Bath

Last weekend it was a birthday bath for Blackstar.

Blackstar is 10

Today our Newfie, Blackstar is 10. It's really a miracle as he's had a lot of problems. He can't move around a lot as he's neuropathic in his back legs. Blackstar has a ton of personality. It's thanks to the staff at Aldergrove Animal Hospital that he's reached 10. Happy Birthday, Blackstar.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Olympic zip line

Looking up from the Art Gallery is the zip line that runs from the law courts to the Art Gallery. It looks really cool and I love to try it but some of the waits are up to seven hours. Those people deserve to have a good ride.

More Olympics

It was a beautiful day in Vancouver yesterday. The city was awash with red and black as everyone donned their Canadian Olympic colours. There were sprinklings of other colours as the foreign athletes and their supporters wore jackets and tops with USA, Great Britain, Italy, Romania, Russia, China, Ukraine, Holland, Finland and many more.
This is the view in front of the Art Gallery. Notice the the cherry trees in bloom.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

View from the Art Gallery

We decided to visit the Art Gallery as we really wanted to see da Vinci's, Mechanics of Man,
drawings but it was a two hour wait. Another time when the Olympics are over.

The feeling in Vancouver is electric with lots of smiling faces. Everyone is very helpful and it's easy to get around.


Olympic spirit is everywhere. Go Canada Go!

After wandering around for ages we got back on the Skytrain to Yaletown, where we had lunch at the Yaletown Brewery. Their Nigali pale ale was so good. There are times when a beer hits the spot.

Then it was off to the Italian pavilion where I bought a great Italian team polar fleece. All my Italian friends were soooo jealous the next day at coffee.

We didn't go downtown this weekend because of long line ups for transit. So stay tuned, Later this week we're going back to check it out.

Olympic Visit

Today's trip took us to Vancouver to experience the Vancouver Olympics live. We drove to Richmond and got on the new Canada Line train that whisked us downtown. Everywhere you looked it was a sea of red and black as Canadians donned their team colours. First stop was the Olympic flame. Unfortunately, you have to take your pictures through small gaps in the chain link fence. The powers that be are looking at changing this. Still it was pretty impressive to see the flame with the mountains of the north shore in the background.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Today spring has arrived in White Rock. It's a balmy fourteen degrees, the camelias are in bloom, everyone is out walking on the promenade and best of all Dolce Gelato opens today. Dolce has the best gelato. Everything is made from scratch with the best of ingredients. New flavours for 2010 are I Believe, which is strawberry and vanilla gelato with gold sprinkles, in honour of the Olympics; lemon curd and meringue. I tasted them all and they are to die for. So it's back to work for Davide and Betty and yummy eating for the rest of us.

Washing Blackstar

Yesterday was a wash Blackstar day. At 170 pounds, Blackstar takes a lot of washing and it is hard to get right down to the skin with his heavy down coat. His lack of mobility doesn't help so it takes two of us to wash him and then we dry him with the dog dryer. It's a two and a half hour job but very worthwhile.


he smells so good afterwards.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Crescent Beach

Some of our travels are very close to home. Today was a beautiful, sunny day, 15 degrees Celsius so I decided to go for a walk at Crescent Beach. This area used to be filled with little cottages that people from Vancouver visited for their summer homes but today a lot of these have been knocked down for larger year round homes.

There is a wonderful walkway all along the beach in front of the homes. At this time of year there are a lot of migrating birds, mainly geese and ducks. You can walk all the way to the end of Blackie's spit and then around to the dykes, where there are all kinds of wildlife. The beavers have been repairing their dam and in one spot they have demolished a whole area of trees.

I left my ipod behind today and enjoyed listening to the birds. In fact I think I heard a red winged blackbird but didn't see it. However, I was fortunate enough to spot an eagle enjoying the sunshine and there were several Great Blue Heron looking for fish.

The gardens look beautiful. Even the forsythia is in bloom.

It's off home to wake up Blackstar to see if he is interested in a walk.

A Short Trip to Blaine

After the Olympic Torch celebrations it was off to Blaine, which is across the border in Washington state but only 8 minutes from home. Gas is thirty cents cheaper a litre so it's always worth the trip. Since it was a beautiful day I decided to drive to the fishing pier and there was the Royal Hudson waiting to go back to White Rock to pick up passengers for the return trip to Vancouver.

Blaine has a fishing fleet with many of the boats going on long trips up to Alaska. A lot of crabbers go out of Blaine and catch their crabs in nearby Mud Bay. The saddest part of this is you can't buy any fish here and there don't seem to buy any fish shops in Blaine. Still it's a beautiful drive and I love looking back at White Rock across the bay.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Olympic Torch Day in White Rock

It was very cold this morning when Penny, Cathy and I headed down to Marine Drive at 6:15 to wait for the Olympic torch to roll by. We grabbed some very welcome coffee at Ulis’ and staked out our spot. As far as the eye could see people were lined up waving their flags and sporting their Olympic gear. The Squamish nation drummers played for a bit then came the coke floats complete with dancers. Five minutes to go. Then in the wrong direction along comes a bread truck. The traffic has been stopped so how did it get here? So much for the security we keep hearing about. The motorcycle police were on it and made it back up to a spot near the pier.

Finally, we see the bright orange of the flame in the distance and it’s in front of us, held high in the air and all too soon gone. As we were heading back to the car we linked up with Betty, Jan and JP so you guessed it. Off we went for breakfast. We watched a beautiful sunrise over the pier and on the TV watched the torch ceremonies from the Peace Arch border crossing from the warmth of Charlie’s.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Steam Train Comes to Town

Today's travels take us back in time to the age of steam as I watched the Royal Hudson steam train roll into White Rock this afternoon at 4 o'clock. Over two hundred people took the train trip from Vancouver and will return tomorrow. The old steam train number 2860 is here as part of the pre Olympic celebrations.

The Royal Hudsons were built between 1929 and 1940. 2860 was one of the last five built. She travelled between Vancouver and Revelstoke and was known as a high speed train travelling at 90 miles an hour.

It was fun to be part of the enthusiastic crowd at the old White Rock Station, which is now a museum. The mayor greeted the passengers as they got off the train.

Now if White Rock could get their act together to provided enough parking or shuttle busses for people to get down to the front our celebrations would be even bigger and better.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Travels with Blackstar

Blackstar is our Newfoundland dog who we got from a breeder in Texas when he was two. He had been given back to the breeder a month before we got him and was only 100 pounds. She added another twenty pounds. When we opened the crate at the airport he looked like an Afgan hound.

Eight years later Blackstar is 168 pounds. He is the best dog, the real gentle giant, with loads of personality. Unfortunately, Blackstar hasn’t been dealt a very good hand. He is allergic to about 25 things that have been identified and didn’t have much luck with allergy shots. Now he is on cyclosporine and ketokenozale to suppress his immune system and keep him from scratching and going bald. He had a botched cruciate surgery at 7, ended up in ICU, recovered from the infection and the removal of the surgery and later had a TPLO surgery to correct the cruciate.

After the surgery we took him to Aldergrove Animal Hospital, which is about 45 minutes away from where we live. Blackstar was virtually paralyzed when we took him there but by having laser therapy and by working on the underwater treadmill and swimming in the salt water pool, he started to walk again. By this time we discovered that he was neuoropathic in his hind legs and probably always had been as he always scuffed along when he walked.

We take Blackstar to Aldergrove once a week to walk and swim. He does this with Lisi, who was a vet in Brazil and now does rehab with dogs and one cat. Lisi stands behind Blackstar and moves his hind legs on the treadmill. He walks for about ten minutes, does some interval training, swimming for almost a minute while Lisi holds him, has a rest and does it again. This is what keeps Blackstar going; although his progressive mylopathy is getting worse and his walking at home is deteriorating. Blackstar also worked with Tiffany, who is now on maternity leave. After the swim he gets an underwater massage and then we blow him dry.

Dr. Jeff Bowra’s Aldergrove Animal Hospital in an amazing place.

Here is Blackstar in rehab yesterday.

Seattle Birthday

Last Thursday our travels took us to Seattle for my birthday to visit Barolo, an Italian restaurant our friends were raving about. I set off with Davide and Elisabetta for our two-hour drive to Seattle and checked in at the Harbor Steps, which is a fabulous little hotel in a condominium complex near Pike Place Market. Lunch was a panino at De Laurentis followed by illy coffee at the gelateria a few door away. By this time Seamus had joined us and we set off on a quick shopping expedition.

When we returned to the hotel it was time for a glass of wine and some nibblies that the hotel offers in the afternoon. Here we linked up with Penny and Dino and after a quick visit to Nordstrom’s it was off to Barolo.

Barolo is an Italian restaurant named after the town of Barolo in the Piedmont in Italy. The restaurant was very busy but we had excellent service from our server,……..We drank Barolo Brezza and Nebbiolo from a winery we visited a few years ago in Barolo. My dinner was melt in your mouth veal carpaccio and rockfish. Later the Sicilian chef was kind enough to come out and meet us and tell me how he cooked the rockfish I ate….Butter, wine, garlic and parsley. Sauté. Simple. The others had sea bass, pasta with huge chunks of crab and (Seamus). Dessert was fresh fruit, some gelato and a candle.

We walked the eight blocks back to the hotel and by this time one of our group was a little hungry. Finally, we ended up in a very cool Irish pub with a slightly crazy Irish lady serving us. The amazing thing about all our walking around was that we weren’t wearing coats.

Breakfast was followed by another illy coffee and a visit to the Pike Place market. It’s always interesting to watch the guys at the fish counters throwing the fish to one another. I bought some fresh mahi mahi for dinner.

On the way home we stopped on the Chuckanut and had fish and chips for lunch. We had a beautiful view of the ocean from our table. The Chuckanut is scenic drive along the coast for about 20 miles and is much nicer than the I-5.

It was a wonderful way to spend a birthday with friends. I hope I get to do it again.