Thursday, 31 October 2013

They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway ... and Granville.

It was decidedly darkish, and wettish, when Freddie and I headed out this morning. I don't usually take him down Granville Street, but I thought a bit of city light might hit the spot ...

The cyclist I intended to photograph (before receiving the dead battery beep from my camera) was perfectly kitted out in screaming "Don't-Hit-Me" orange and yellow. This guy, on the other hand, is askin' for trouble on a morning like this!

This DKNY shop pretty much captures the sorts of commercial changes that have been afoot in the neighbourhood for some years now. I can't remember exactly which business used to occupy this spot. Mackinnon's Bakery? Tanglewood Books? The Normandy Diner? Maybe it was my good friend Dr. George's family business, Szasz Deli.
Here are a couple of shots of that classic Hungarian deli, courtesy of Dr. George:

Haute couture does Hallowe'en:

I like the blending of the old Stanley Theatre (turned movie cinema turned stage theatre once again) with the swanky shop mannequin. If you look down near the bottom, you can see yours truly ... unswanky as ever in rain jacket and fleece beanie.

The commercial activity over on busy, Kitsy, Lululemony 4th Ave., our new 'hood, won't be a perfect fit for us ... but there's a Kitchen Corner and a Home Hardware, a butcher, a baker ... and I'm pretty sure the Whole Foods at 4th and Vine sells beeswax candles!

Contrary to what regular readers might think, Freddie and I have not zipped back to Paris! This is — correction: was — the Café Crêpe at Granville and 13th (ish). It's closed down, and the space is up for lease.
What'll it be next? Gourmet chocolates? Designer clothing? Telecommunications?

I need to invest in some welly boots for the dog park. These puppies didn't have a price tag on them, but I'm guessing they're more than the twenty or so bucks I'll be prepared to spend. Army & Navy, here I come!

Now, this place has pained me a little ever since it arrived — several years ago now. This corner used to be occupied by Hearts Grocery. It was the kind of store you'd expect to find over on the Drive: casual, hippy-dippy, neighbourly to the max. Hanging high on the walls, around the perimeter of the store, were photographs of the seniors who regularly shopped there (and who once accounted for most of the neighbourhood's population). "Hearts' Sweethearts" the gallery was called. Meinhardt could hardly be more different: high-end, attractive and orchestrated to the max, clearly aiming for coziness in its ambience, but always a little cold ... 


I sometimes wonder how many other people look at this sign and automatically replace "dry" with something else ....? Now, that would perk up the neighbourhood. ;-)
Finally!!! says Freddie.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Losing my Religion

In truth, I lost my (WASP-y) religion a long time ago. I was about fourteen, and I experienced a sudden, overwhelming sense of the meaninglessness of life while watching a rerun of Laverne and Shirley. Thus began the long project of finding meaning in a godless world — well, "godless" relative to my original sense of God as an independent being with some kind of interest in human life. Dog walking helps ... and, to avoid further crises of this sort, I stopped watching TV after the final episode of Cheers.

Still, I like churches ...

I like the idea of a place where people meet on a regular basis to think about what matters, what constitutes a good life ... and, well, just to be mellow together for an hour or so. If the Unitarians or the Quakers were closer to home, I'd maybe become a churchgoer again. Or maybe not. After all, if I really wanted to, I could get to 49th and Oak or 70th and Oak easily enough.

The dog park has a nice kind of spirituality to it ...

... a reminder of our connectedness to the natural world.

This building, at 16th and Burrard, used to house the administrative offices of the church pictured above. One guess what its purpose is now (see the heritage sign below if you're wondering) ...

This centre for peace is located behind the church and is, I think, connected to it.

And this sounds like a very groovy event. Here's the Wikipedia link to Hunter Pitts "Jack" O'Dell. I wonder how Freddie would manage at this ....

Georgie and Rosie engaged in peacekeeping negotiations

On the subject of residences that were once religious gathering places, any idea what this apartment building, located in our new neighbourhood, on West 2nd Avenue, used to be?

Check out the sign! 

 Witching hour is tomorrow ......

Bah, bah, Labradoodle, have you any wool?

About half a trash basket 's worth, but the work is still in progress!

May your day be peaceful and well groomed!

P.S. Any takers on the Ridge Theatre poll matinée options?? :)

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Guest post: From Doggy Doomsday to the Cottonwood Greenway!

Freddie and I are excited to present another guest post — this one from our friends Leigh and Brian and their pup, Wiley. They are posting from Comox, BC, where the dog-walking looks mighty fine!

Like Piper Jones from our last guest post, Wiley, now almost 11 years old, is a rescue dog who hit the jackpot — just in the nick of time. Her story starts in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, where Leigh and Brian were living in 2004. Here's what Leigh wrote when I asked her about Wiley's past:

She had been at the Moose Jaw Humane Society several weeks, was really unfriendly and had had a very bad life, from everything that the people there could figure out. The pads of her feet were nearly worn through, and the vet said, "That dog has run a long way away from something or after something on pavement." He said the only time he had ever seen pads like that was on sled dogs.  We were helping the Humane Society with their annual "dogs for adoption" walk. Brian had been working almost daily with Wiley, and she was really friendly towards both of us. When we took her out on the walk, the Humane Society people said that there really wasn't any need because she had been there so long and was going to have to be euthanized the next day. So that pretty much made our minds up for us: Wiley came home with Brian and me.

Phew! Yay! Now we can relax and enjoy our walk with Leigh, Brian, and Wiley ...

We decided to check out the Cottonwood Greenway in Comox - a path and area unexplored by us until now.  What better reason to take a road less travelled, than as a guest blogger for Heather.

Wiley always has to "go before she goes", so she seeks an appropriate bathroom.  We are definitely "picker-uppers" and always have extra bags to compensate for less-responsible dog owners.
Brian and Wiley start out.  It's a perfect fall day:  everything blue and gold, and a breeze scattering leaves everywhere.

People live in their houses along the path ... and there are also accommodations for the neighbourhood feathered folk.

The backyard pool for the aforementioned feathery residents.

I'm guessing that woodpeckers must be very smart birds, to be able to read this special sign just for them.

We're glad we came upon this scary tree formation in the daytime.  At night, I'm sure you could hear "None shall pass!" coming from the tree.  [Oooohh!]

Whew!  Back out into the sunlight.

There are signs all over Comox that say "Expect deer on our roads".  Those who live here also expect deer in their yards.

It's normally a safe, quiet neighbourhood, but crime still exists.  Witness this attempted murder. [!!!]

If only we were smaller, this would be a great day for swinging. [Smaller-schmaller!]

Here's someone who's more the right size.  But he already has his swing.

At the Comox recreation centre, Wiley can indulge her inner Super Dog!

Holly! Holy!

Hallowe'en is just a few days away, and people here are ready for it!

One view of the Comox marina before we head home (in our car, because we had to drive to walk).  [Ah, the irony! ;-) Lovely view, though!]

Fresh air, sunshine and exercise leads, of course, to an afternoon nap.

And here, at last (on a walk in Port Townsend), are Leigh and Wiley. Leigh and Brian decided to get hitched last spring, and this photo was taken on their honeymoon. I hear dog-friendly honeymoons guarantee everlasting marital bliss. Congratulations, you three, and thanks so much for taking us along with you on your walk!

Monday, 28 October 2013

Seize the Right-of-Way!

I only recently learned (from Paul) that the term "right-of-way" can apply to a railway bed and/or the right to run a rail line through a particular area. Nifty. So while Freddie and I did no seizing of automobile thoroughfares this morning, we did seize both the day and the old Arbutus rail line.

Here's Freddie on his long leash. I suspect he'd do just fine at off-leash seizing, but with traffic just over the hump and a few busy roads to cross — not to mention Freddie's persistent puppyishness — I thought it best not to take the risk.

He seems pretty happy with the compromise!

Now, that is one carefully groomed hedge! We'll see how I do later today when I attempt my first home grooming of Freddie's coat. Probably a good thing Hallowe'en is just around the corner.

This next hedge proved to be a little more interesting. I'm not sure where the passageway leads, but the two people who emerged seemed to be from somewhere (somewhen?) else.

Here they are. The man was somewhere between sixty and seventy, I'd guess; the girl was around six. As they passed, I heard the girl say, "When the snow comes, will Jake pull us to school in the sled?" And the man — her grandfather? — answered: "Oh, yes. That'll be Jake's job when the snow comes."

Really? Did I hear right? Was my blood sugar tanking?

Nope. No excuse here. I hope the snow comes. I look forward to seeing Jake pull the sled.

This is Mike, a professional dog walker/biker/trainer. He claims he can cycle with up to 12 dogs tethered to his bike. After Freddie had a bit of a play with these two labs, Mike offered to take him on a very short trial trot, attached to the bike. Freddie seemed interested, so I said sure.
He did want to make darn sure I wasn't letting this friendly but unusual guy take him away!

But Mike turned around just a few meters on, and Freddie was all smiles, trotting along with the other dogs. For my own cycling purposes, I feel more confident with Freddie strapped into his trailer ... but I've thought about trying to rig something up with a scooter, like this guy Dave did with his diabetic alert dog, Luka.

This afternoon's walk took us to Tisol, where I acquired an attachment for Freddie's clippers and learned I should probably set aside an entire day for my first attempt at home grooming. Okie-dokie ... I guess the new haircut will have to wait! More interestingly, we ran into Alina, one of my grade 6/7 French immersion students from (I'm guessing here) 1990-92. She was an über-smart, charming kid back then, and now she's an über-smart, charming hematologist!

Our second stop was the new digs, where our friend David, a talented writer who moonlights as a talented painter, is busy beautifying our walls. No bites yet on the current place (is there a stress/anxiety/insomnia emoticon I can insert here?). I wonder if we'll end up re-listing the new one and seeing which sells first. Gah. When I go to bed tonight, I need to think about snow and sleds and dog scooters!