Thursday, 11 April 2013

For the Record: let me go while the going is good!

We are enjoying a wonderful day. Nothing on the agenda and decent weather. I transplanted some daffodils from the greenhouse into the flowerbed for instant cheer. And while I was preparing an awesome lunch that included fresh dandelion greens, the radio had an item on the importance of preparing for the end of life.

Apparently many people find the topic difficult to broach. I don't. Death is a part of life. Suffering bugs me. Death, not so much. Euphemism for death drive me nuts. I remember old home support clients blackmailing their middle-aged children to not go on vacation "in case something should happen to me". Hallo, you are 89, what exactly do you think might happen? 

I shall not pass on, I shall die. Other dimensions shall be faced when we get to them, or not, as the case may be. I'd like a few more good years, but will not feel cheated if this is the last garden.
One of these days I shall get an official document together, but meanwhile let me put this on the record:   

If decisions have to made regarding end of life care: Keep me comfortable, but don't do anything heroic. Let me go, and throw my body on the compost heap. Since that is illegal, do whatever is cheap and comforting. Donating to science, if that is an option, go for it. Clear enough?

Meanwhile this is a good day and I am heading back to the garden. Spring panic is on and I am enjoying every minute of it.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

The Exam Effect

In a fit of hubris and optimism about my own level of energy I agreed to give a talk on sustainability at the Burton learning center, formerly the elementary school. The closure of the school is a result of the greying of the population. Never mind, that is another topic.

When I promised to do this I figured I`d have all winter to prepare. Yeah, right.  To make a long story short, we are on for Earth day, I am wondering what I let myself in for, and I am trying to get  a nice presentation together. As usual, I only start going when the pressure is on, and once that is the case I am wistfully thinking that if only I had more time I would do a better job. B.S. Let's get real.

It reminds me of studying for the big oral exams a lifetime ago. I'd linger and procrastinate, and once the deadline loomed I'd really get into it and want to read all sorts of extra  material. I'd imagine that I would keep reading old articles in obscure little magazines about, say, the role of political pamphlets in 18th century France. Of course I never did.

Meanwhile the garden season is on. This year started with a backlog because last fall I could not do a thing. What was I thinking?

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Spring pictures from our new home away from home.

We finally managed another trip to the offspring in Metro Vancouver. In normal times we go a few times a year, but last year was not normal. 
For a change we took the Greyhound from Revelstoke, 100 Km North of here, with a ferry across Upper Arrow Lake halfway. We had left with an hour to spare in case we got unlucky at the ferry, so we had time for a stroll along the river. 
The bus took nine hours, but at least it was one of the comfortable new ones. I quite enjoyed not having to worry about arriving before dark and/or driving in traffic.

We needed a new place to stay. Vancouver area apartments are tiny. The time when the grandson could be asked to relinquish his room to Opa and Oma is long past. For some years we enjoyed the guest suite in an apartment building around the corner from daughter's place, but alas, it is no longer in use.

No worries, daughter found a hotel that is not only affordable, but a total pleasure and only 20 minutes by foot and sky train from her place. 
There is no green space separating Vancouver city from the many adjoining municipalities that make up the Metro Vancouver area. We used to think of  adjoining towns merely as 'almost-but-not-quite-Vancouver'. Now that we know the place better we appreciate spacious Burnaby, with its mountain and nature parks, on its own merits. This visit we got to know historic New Westminster, the oldest city in Western Canada.
This picture of our hotel is borrowed from the municipal website.
This is the view that greeted us on our arrival, late at night on Thursday evening. Rather, this is what happened when I tried take a picture of the Fraser River by moonlight. It needed the skills of Piper's Pal Terrence to do it justice. My efforts to use the night setting just resulted in streaks.
The Met Hotel is right on New Westminster's main drag, which itself runs parallel to the river. It is an old brick building with high ceilings, beautiful windows, the friendliest staff and affordable to boot.  People, I am in love and already planning the next trip. We lucked out with blue skies and spring blossoms all around. 
Here are some tourist pictures.
 Above: playing with the fish eye lens, the inviting patio in front of Starbucks on Columbia Street, with lots of pansies. Below: the British cafe. 
We were only a only a few blocks from the entrance to the New Westminster Quay, a beautiful waterfront park. 
The patio of the Riverside market center. What's not to like about  hanging out in the sunshine and watching people while eating superb Italian ice cream? 
Below the view East, towards the Patullo bridge, from the same place.

Too bad the river boat cruises won't start till May.
Above: the section closest to the Patullo bridge, still facing East, and below the bridge with sky train.
Sky train is wonderful! You never have to run for a train, because another one will be along in minutes.
Below, still close to the Patullo, but now facing West.
The city even provides recliners.
We had thought the walk stretched from just below the Patullo bridge to the Riverside Market, but on the next  visit we noticed a whole stretch to the West. We had a date to go for Dim Sum and ran out of time to walk the whole thing, next time. 
Some more flowers.

This stretch of the river walk is bordered by pleasant looking housing.
New West is becoming popular with hip urbanites who are being priced out of Vancouver.
I could almost imagine being content in the one with the rooftop patio. I'd have to be rich to afford it, so I'll stay right here.
Let's not forget this is still a working river. Cranes, log booms and tugboats remind us that a city cannot exist by sushi alone.