Monday Mood Board #4

QUAINT – WINSOME – WILD

I always thought it would be great fun and somewhat adventurous to live on a houseboatafter knowing someone who did.  Then I decided it might be even better to live on a tugboat in the forest across from a lake.  Something like this would do.

Driving Above Christina Lake, British Columbia

Old fashioned fun

We like to keep on truckin

child size vanilla

Really good borscht at The Borscht Bowl in Grand Forks, B.C.

Really good Thai at Benja in Keremeos, B.C.  Good local fruit too.

 

 

Yes, we saw a big black bear close to the road.  Too close for comfort actually.

Then a curious moose we call a cow

Dogs just want to have FUN. And they know how to keep COOL on a HOT day.

Photos: d. king

 

 

Feel-good Friday:  SPRING  has SPRUNG 

Oh, Spring! I want to go out and feel you and get inspiration. My old things seem dead. I want fresh contacts, more vital searching. – Emily Carr

The sun just touched the morning;
The morning, happy thing,
Supposed that he had come to dwell,
And life would be all spring.” – Emily Dickinson

The spring wakes us, nurtures us and revitalizes us. How often does your spring come? If you are a prisoner of the calendar, it comes once a year. If you are creating authentic power, it comes frequently, or very frequently. Gary Zukav (best selling author, “Seat of the Soul”).

I had always planned to make a large painting of the early spring, when the first leaves are at the bottom of the trees, and they seem to float in space in a wonderful way. But the arrival of spring can’t be done in one picture. David Hockney

“When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.”  – Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

Spring in the Desert brings more Spring in his Step

Sundog Jack – “the grass is always greener in Spring”

Fresh Photos: d. king

Art/Nature: DesertX

Well the thing is, art can be found everywhere, even in the desert.  And it makes perfect sense; beauty with beauty.whitewater3

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Wildlife with Art

Wildlife with Art

I realized that while taking a nature walk with the dogs right after a picnic.  The location being Whitewater Preserve about 20 minutes northwest of Palm Springs.  An absolutely stunning setting of over 2,000 acres of pristine desert with hiking trails and wildlife.  From a distance I came across what looked like a birding roost, and on closer inspection found out it was made from sand bags.  It’s actually an art piece. built to replicate how pigeons in Israel are put to roost. But it’s hard to keep up with everything that’s going on around town especially now, so I had to find out *more.
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*From Feb. 25 through April 30, 2017, the Coachella Valley and its desert landscape will become the canvas for a curated exhibition of site-specific work by established and emerging artists, whose projects will amplify and articulate global and local issues that may range from climate change to starry skies, from tribal culture and immigration to tourism, gaming, and golf.  The artworks, in various indoor and outdoor locations will be available for free and will offer visitors a way to see the valley and reflect on serious and playful issues through the lens of the participating artists’ creativity and work.

You never know what you will encounter while out on a simple walkwhitewater2

CHECK out this short VIDEO:

https://www.desertx.org/about-us/

You never know what you will encounter while out on a simple drive

On the drive to the nature preserve you will come across hundreds on windmills20170224_140637The windmills are there for power generation with renewable energy.  However I hate them for the fact that the valley is infamous for the number of birds that are killed because of them.

Photos: d. king

 

 

Travel: Tourist in my own Town

Have you ever been a tourist in your own city?

  Like take a tour bus or be the tour guide?  It can be lots of fun.  I had the pleasure of re-discovering some fabulous places when a friend visited who I have not seen in over 20 years.

Masako

Masako

Kits Beach

Kits Beach

Wild Ones

Wild Ones

I first met Masako in the early 80’s when we both lived and worked in Tokyo. We became fast friends.  I knew she was someone I wanted to keep track of because she’s really smart, funny, hard working (international investments), well traveled, a nature lover, caring and curious.  In other words, the perfect friend.

The tourist photo

The tourist photo on Canada Day (July 1st, 2016)

With Took (from Thailand) and Masako

With Took (from Thailand) and Masako

When I moved to Vancouver and Masako moved to London, England  we continued to stay in touch.  Since that time she came to Vancouver once to visit me and I visited her once while I went to take in London theatre with a girlfriend from New York.  I was in London more recently but unfortunately we were not able to meet up.  She’s a single mom of a very bright 14 year old boy who speaks fluent French and is also an avid tennis and golf player. She dropped him off at Stanford University in S.F. for a 3 week math tutorial and spent time there before visiting me.  She never stops.  But we managed to pick up where we last left off as if no time had passed.  That’s when you discover time is a moving and so much has happened but you’re still the same person.  Almost as if time has stood still. When we first met I was calling my mom in Montreal every day to check in and get her advice on everything from cooking to the men I was dating.

Sunrise on Piers Island

Sunrise on Piers from the house

So during her stay I too felt like I was on holiday.  Vancouver and its environs has an abundance of picturesque places to see but we had to narrow it down.  Two nights we visited Whistler with a stay at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler.  Masako went peak to peak on the lookout for wildlife (specifically bears) while I took in the Audain Art Museum and wildlife at the Scandinave SpaAll amazing by the way.  There was a cute Canada Day parade in the village and the VSO gave a free outdoor concert in the evening. We ate well too.

View from our room

View from our hotel room

Lunch at the hotel

Lunch at Fairmont Chateau Whistler

 The day after we got back we took the ferry to Victoria.  The first time she was here we went directly to Butchart Gardens.  This time from Victoria we were picked up and boated to one of the charming little gulf islands. A car-free little gem of an island called Piers where a friend has a stunning ocean front home where little Jack (the J.R. terrier) resides when I’m not looking after him. We met several interesting locals in the evening at a barbeque.  What I’ve noticed is that island people are artists, musicians, writers, photographers, actors and zoologists.  I was talking to a man who takes people on treks to Rwanda to see the mountain gorillas (a guest had just come back and said they were so close that one gorilla brushed right by him) and also to Churchill, Manitoba to see the Polar Bears (who are now starting to mate with grizzlies should you want to know this fascinating piece of information).  He met Jane Goodall, the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees – a person I’m in awe of and would love to meet.  Future trips to consider.  Sidenote: Lowland gorillas and polar bears are sadly on the endangered list.

Jack & Jia Jia with Took

Jack & Jia Jia with Took

Selfie with bronze dog statue

Selfie with bronze dog statue

Jack eyes the homegrown strawberries after he ate a cherry (he spit out the pit)

Jack eyes freshly picked homegrown strawberries after eating a cherry (he spit out the pit)

The next day we boated to Saltspring island (separate post to come) while seeing many seals (not bears, but still...)

In Vancouver we stayed mostly local biking around a couple of times, eating out and also cooking at home.  Next

Scandinave Spa

Scandinave Spa

time the Okanagan and Tofino is high on the list of places to take Masako.

His spot waiting, waiting

Jacks waiting location

Too much excitement for one day

Off to bed – too much excitement for one day

Overview of the Spa. No photos allowed inside.

View of the Scandinave Spa, Whistler from the inside. No photos allowed outside.

I’m not sure when the polar bear trip will fit into schedule; certainly not in the summertime.

By the way, you are guaranteed to see these gorgeous giants in close proximity.

And my friend just left but I already miss her

Photos: (moments in time) d. king    Photos: (airport, kits beach, boat) kind stranger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ART – Natures Greatest Artist

He’s a small fish in a big sea with one thing on his mind (not unlike other male species) – what can I do to attract a mate? hardwork4Ahhh….think I’ll create a masterpiece like all the greats before me.  

 That’ll grab her attention!

Unfortunately the small Japanese Puffer Fish is apparently dull almost to the point of invisibility, but to compensate he’s probably nature’s greatest Artist.   To get a female’s attention he creates something in the ocean floor which almost defies belief…with his only tool – his fins in order to attract her.  How charming is that?

In his head a pound of mathematical perfection.  He plows the sand, breaking it up into the finest of particles.  He uses shells to decorate the bridges of his construction.

He can’t rest for more than a moment.  He’s a total workhorse fish. He must work for 24 hours a day for one week or the current will destroy his creation.

A final tidy up and his masterpiece is complete!  Because…hardwork1

I would definitely go out with him..if I were a little fish.  Looks aren’t everything!hardwork3

Source: Blue Planet Wildlife

WATCH this amazing short video clip:

So….know any man who can top this??hardwork2

An Inspiring morning of  Fun, Fitness, Flowers & Friends.

You can’t ask for much more than raising awareness for a good cause while getting exercise in fresh air in an unbelievably elegant, artful environment.

L-R Kasseda, Cher, Wendy, Me (with candy in both pockets), Hannah, Colleen, Stacy

L-R Casseda, Cher, Wendy, Debbie (both pockets full of candy), Hannah, Colleen, Stacey

That’s what happened yesterday morning when I met up with friends at Vancouver’s magnificent VanDusen Botanical Gardens to support our mutual good friend Colleen Kohse. Colleen is the oldest living person (with the youngest spirit) with CF in all of Canada to have received a transplant.

Photo: d. king

Photo: d. king

Photo: d. king

Photo: d. king

Colleen is a miracle and a true inspiration to everyone because she doesn’t take life for granted.  She’s lost too many friends and two young siblings to this fatal genetic disease which primarily affects the lungs and digestive system in mostly young adults and children of which there is no cure.

Come this October it will be 28 years that I first met Colleen, just before she left for London, England to receive a heart/lung transplant.  But we didn’t get to really know each other until after that.  We’ve been friends for years and have travelled together to places like Jamaica, Havana, Florida, Savannah, Ga, Charleston, S.C., New Orleans, California and even a short Caribbean cruise out of Miami.  Always fun. Colleen is lucky to have the most wonderful, supportive family.

The morning started with a breakfast of pancakes & sausages, then dancing to warm up the crowd followed by a very pleasant walk through the most exquisite park to raise money to help find a cure for CF.  There were also fun great silent auction items.  I ended up with 2 out of the 3 items that I placed bids on.

 VanDusen Botanical Gardenvanduesen1

You will be inspired by 22 hectares of well-designed landscapes with plant species representing ecosystems ranging from the Himalayas to the Mediterranean, from Louisiana swamps to the Pacific Northwest.

Photo: d. king

Photo: d. king

Photo: d. king

Photo: d. king

Vancouver’s mild climate makes it possible for plants to bloom year-round – so there is always something wonderful to see. Our climate creates a unique environment where plants from varying climates thrive. At VanDusen you will see plants from the southern hemisphere, tropical areas and the high Arctic tundra alongside native species. Seasonal highlights include: Spring — bulbs, cherry trees, azaleas and rhododendrons; Late Spring — Laburnum Walk and roses; Summer — annuals, perennials and water lilies; Late Summer – wild flower meadow and the Heirloom Vegetable Garden; Autumn – brilliant autumn colour, heathers, perennials; Winter — witchhazels, viburnums and hellebores. The Elizabethan Maze is one of only six in North America. In addition to the plant collections, VanDusen’s eco-sphere is home to numerous fauna – small mammals, fish, amphibians, reptiles and insects. During the course of the year 65 species of birds make the Garden their home, either permanently or as a respite on their annual migrations.

Photo: d. king

Photo: d. king

It’s a must-see if you plan to visit Vancouver.

To find out more about CF please visit: www.cysticfibrosis.ca

VanDusen website: http://vandusen.org/

Plant Info: Tourism Vancouver

Feel-good Friday: feeling ducky

ducky1Some random charming & delightful shots while out and about walking the dogs

an unusual duck

Heron and some quacks

Fond memories of Hy’s Mansion in West End, Vancouver.  I used to love going for dinner here with my mom and her sister when they visited me when I first moved to Vancouver from Montreal. It was a special time and place. The grounds are beautiful.20160405_162451

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Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?

“When you think things are bad,
when you feel sour and blue,
when you start to get mad…
you should do what I do!
Just tell yourself, Duckie,
you’re really quite lucky!
Some people are much more…
oh, ever so much more…
oh, muchly much-much more
unlucky than you!”  – Dr. Seuss

 goodfriday5

A SUMMER SUMMERY

Today is August 31st – the last day of summer!

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Okay, the last official day of summer is really September 21st but for me today marks the end, for after today it doesn’t feel the same as we start to move slowly towards Fall.  While I love Fall for the clothes mostly I still want to hang on to summer and milk it for all it’s worth.  This summer was fantastic weather wise except for the forest fires, so the best thing to look forward to now is Fall boots and sweaters see, it’s all about the clothes and maybe Halloween.  It’s funny though how everything can change in an instant and we still tend to adapt.  Well I’m moving a bit slower this time.  My flip flops are not moving to the back of the closet just yet……….  I love the warmth and lightness of summer and think what you wilI but I just bought the Beach Boys greatest hits to listen to while glamping.  So???

In this

In this pop top Eurovan camper

Parked right at the lake

Parked right at the lake where Jia Jia is walking back from in this photo

So here, for your viewing pleasure, is a pleasureable last days of summer re-cap:

Lake Kalamalka, Penticton. Jia Jia realizing he could swim.

Lake Kalamalka, Okanagan, B.C.  Jia Jia realizing he can swim.  And me too for that matter.  Just kidding, but it was coooold!

I was preparing at Kits Pool

I started preparing at Kits Pool

With good friends like family

With good friends who are like family

A friend flew in for the party

Some hot shots flew in for the get together/party/= lots of food & wine/= meeting some nice new people too and catching up with old friends like no time has passed (= good friends).

My friends place

Staying at a friends place in the Kootenays – a resort style home with an amazing view.

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Friends we met on our first stop

Friends we met at the first campsite

Freshly picked Okanagan Peaches

Freshly picked Okanagan Peaches

Jia Jia’s favourite moments:

Waiting for his ice cream cone

Waiting for his ice cream cone

His new friend Hugo

Jia Jia’s new friend Hugo, a Silver Lab.

Hugo found a ball

Hugo found a ball

Hugo found a stick

Hugo found a stick

Jia Jia found a deer

Jia Jia found a deer at another friend’s property = lotta landscape

And crossed a few bridges

And crossed over a few bridges

Japanese Garden

Japanese Garden

I found a salt water pool I can live in - or at least float in.

I found a salt water pool I can live in – or at least float in.  But why is the cup holder empty?

The cup must always be full!

And how was your summer?

Photos: d. king (except for the obvious)

 

Art/Nature – GREEN PORNO

The iconic Isabella Rossellini was in Vancouver to perform her provocatively acclaimed and comedic one-woman show Green PornoGreenPorno-Sold-Out-1200x590at a sold out, one night only performance Saturday night at the Vancouver Playhouse.  Presented by The Vancouver PuSh Festival and the Italian Cultural Centre.

Green Porno, explores the fascinating sex lives of land and sea creatures. C’mon, tell me you haven’t ever wondered? Encouraged by actor-filmmaker Robert Redford (who is tremendously supportive of experimental, independent films and very interested in nature), Green Porno was originally a popular web series for the Sundance Channel. Green Porno featured Rossellini live on stage discussing and acting out the scientifically accurate reproductive habits of marine animals and insects in an extremely entertaining manner.  The opportunity to learn about the mating habits of some creatures which aim to astonish anyone.

I am personally fascinated by the femme fatale of all insects –the female praying mantisShe always devours the male after mating, sometimes even during if she can’t waitI can understand this if he doesn’t please her and his services are no longer required; but must this always happen?

Rossellini exposes the intricate and often surprising reproductive rituals of the natural world—from pachyderms (very large mammals with thick skin, like an elephant or rhino) to bugs (no need to explain) to shed light on the fragile balance of our ecological future, to which humans are inextricably linked. From stage, Rossellini delivered a riveting presentation with props, costumes and remarkable wit and charm, accompanied by her Green Porno short films.


I had the opportunity of catching up with the glowing Rossellini at a reception following her performance
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I asked how her daughter Elettra was doing. No surprise to find out she’s a successful New York model (discovered by Bruce Weber), and has a very interesting food blog (which I will talk about soon, since this blog is about Isabella’s show). But I can’t stop…In 2014, Elettra hosted the first ever Live Stream of the Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute Gala.  She’s founded a charity called “*One Frickin Day” for which she won the “Young Environmentalist Award” in 2011, among other things. I am so impressed by everything this woman is setting out to accomplish or already has. Needless to say, her mother is very proud.

I found out that my green porno name is “Black Widow” (be careful, I bite!)

Rossellini’s films include Blue Velvet (a personal favourite), Cousins (filmed in Vancouver), Immortal Beloved, The Saddest Music in the World and many more.  She was the face of Lancôme Cosmetic Company for 14 years and had a modelling career that lasted for 25 years. Isabella was recently seen in the romantic comedy Late Bloomers.  She’s still blooming.

*A charity aimed at equipping PIH clinics (Partners in Health) throughout the third world with solar power via another partner, Solar Electric Light Fund.