Sunday, February 28, 2010
Friday, February 26, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
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
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.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
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.
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.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
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
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.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
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.
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.