Friday, January 8, 2016


My year end wallet cleanse produced a hand-written note that I'd intended to commit to a blog post quite some time ago. It's a dream I had a few months ago; you know, one of those ones where everything is crystal clear upon awakening, but mind images fade rapidly from memory by breakfast time.

Perhaps since this one was so clear still by the time I was chowing down on my morning muesli that I decided to commit it to posterity; well, to scrap paper at least.

Here goes: our new house (completely fictional apparently) was under construction, the excavation fully underway. The excavation was mirroring a house under construction at the time about 3 blocks from our present home. I've been monitoring its construction on daily dog walks since it differs from the norm in this 'hood, its concrete foundation being supported by piles driven deep into the soft earth of its immediate area.

The really strange part of the house construction process was that our friend Darren had drawn the blueprints. Its not strange that he would do it mind you, but considering he's an accountant, drafting is most certainly not his strong suit.

(The rapid scene changes within my dream I'll attribute to my short attention span regarding TV/Youtube viewing; I tend to channel-surf.) As far as I can recall there was no transition from house construction to the next scene where I found myself in a Yaletown-like pub having a beer with Joey from the 90s sitcom "Friends".

I wasn't a particular fan of that show, but there was one episode that stands out to me featuring Joey where he was convinced he spoke passable French, but in reality, to put it in musical terminology, he was completely tone deaf. Since my wife teaches French, we've pulled up that clip on Youtube several times just to bust a gut.

In the dream-pub Joey insisted that I have more than one beer, one being almost always my normal limit.

(Channel change) I'm walking alongside a canal, kind of like the Sumas Canal in Chilliwack. I'm still holding the glass stein half filled with beer. Suddenly, and without warning, it gets so dark I wouldn't be able to see my hand in front of my face. I can't see where I'm going so I have to stop. Apparently I can still see the sky as I notice very dark storm clouds are rolling in. A sliver of sunshine breaks between the clouds and I quickly fumble for my camera that I know is stashed in my backpack. I miss the best photographic light but I do mange to snap a few shots of the sunbeams through a narrow break in the threateningly black clouds.

I awake with the urgent thought that I should play back those (supposedly) captured images from my camera's memory card.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

White Rock

As I mentioned in my blog about Semiahmoo Resort, I was a resident of White Rock for my first 30 years. It's really interesting to see it from a different perspective, i.e. from the American side of the Bay. Night photography was a perfect outlet to try out my new Christmas tripod.

Colourful lights from Marine Drive's restaurants intermix with Semiahmoo Bay's winter tidal currents.

The Lions are captured peeking over White Rock's south slope hillside.

Gingerbread Trim

Only a week into the New Year and already it appears a demolition permit has been issued for this gingerbread bungalow. Despite its period charm and classic curbside appeal it could not withstand the advance of the proverbial wrecking ball in this rapidly densifying urban metropolis of Vancouver.

Fortunately the "Hobbit House" (as it has become known) on W. King Edward Street, just off Cambie has been spared a similar fate. Over the Christmas break I noticed work is about to commence on the main floor of the townhouses, since the below-grade parking garage structure is complete. The vintage Hobbit House is intended to be placed on top of the parking garage. In the end it'll look like it was never moved.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Semiahmoo Resort

In keeping with the recent trend of gifting experiences rather than superfluous stuff, this Christmas we gave each other a short vacation to Semiahmoo Resort located due south of White Rock, BC in Washington state. I had some extra time off this year so we managed to take advantage of this slow post-Christmas week when school is back in session in most districts. The hotel was practically deserted; perfect for non-crowded pool, jacuzzi and steam room sessions.

Evidence of winter was noted on the east shore of Semiahmoo Parkway leading out to the resort.

As an added bonus, it turns out they had a "Bowl and Biscuit" package for our best friend Tannah.

The sun came out the day we left creating a photo-op beside an abandoned former cannery building.

A seasonal ferry departs from this landing destined for Blaine. The shoreline of White Rock is in the background. 
The water tower is a central feature of the resort site but I doubt it's still functional. It's pictured in historical photographs posted in the corridor leading to the restaurants, depicting the former cannery setting.

Some trees along the peninsula appear to have been topped but several large limbs were retained for the use of resident birds. While walking our dog we saw two eagles on a single limb but they flew away before we got close enough for a decent photo.

One morning I saw this eagle perched in a tree right beside the hotel and he was still there about 2 hours later as we returned from a hike along the peninsula.

I grew up in White Rock and lived there for about 30 years but never did I encounter a seal anywhere along the waterfront. However on our first trip to the Washington state side of Semiahmoo Bay we saw this seal bouncing around in the surf on the west side of the peninsula leading to the resort. It's surprising how far they can lift themselves out of the water while swimming to look around.

Tannah gave the whole experience a "two paws up" rating.

A light display mimicking a Christmas tree was set up on the north side of the hotel complex, visible from the pier and the Bay.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Christmas Collage

To celebrate the successful construction of the first gingerbread house I've made since I was a kid, I decided to create a still-life scene with my new Christmas tripod. Nothing says Christmas like gingerbread, Lego and a Cocker Spaniel in my humble opinion.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

El Nino Ski Season

About a month ago I remember thinking that the local ski hills were off to a pretty good start compared with last year, but as of today it looks like their white wonderland has melted.

I was in North Van yesterday for awhile. In directly sunlit areas like the patio at which I was sipping my afternoon coffee, it was almost t-shirt weather. Twelve degrees Celsius on Dec. 11. It might as well have been Oct. 11. A nice respite from the month of torrential rain we've experienced, but none-the-less also a bit un-nerving in light of the recent climate discussions going in on Paris.

View of Grouse Mountain from East Van.
View of Grouse Mountain from North Van.

Downtown Christmas

Since Nordstrom is getting all the press lately I thought I'd post a photo of our good ol' tried-and-true Hudson's Bay store all decked out for the Christmas season.

Another iconic Vancouver building lit up for the evening is the home of Birks. I took this photo in 2011.