Monday, May 30, 2011

Pretty in Pink

I almost drove off the road when I saw this huge rhododendron in bloom across from the Squamish Public Library.  I love the pink of the rhodo and the lilac coloured picket fence.

So colourful, so cheery, so playful, so uplifting.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Of Sunshine and Skateboards

My little town of Squampton as seen from the Smoke Bluffs.

It dawned a bright and beautiful morning.  Something we 'West Coasters' haven't seen in a long time.  This has been the coldest spring in over 50 years.  I believe it.  Heck, we had frost on the ground a couple of weeks ago!

Climbers of Rock.

Anyhoo...back to the sunshine.  Joe and I started the day by hiking the Smoke Bluffs trail, a popular rock-climbing area of Squamish.  There were hundreds of climbers on the rocks today.  But I have to admit, I do not get the allure of rock climbing.  Maybe I'd understand it better if I tried it.  Or not.

Hey!  That mint green building is my school!  
"Hi, Squamish Elementary!"

The views from the bluffs were lovely.  We really do live in a beautiful part of the world.

Once our hike was over we drove south to Britannia Beach where the 'Britannia Classic' was being held.  Long boarders from all over the world came to compete.  This race boasts the steepest legal course in North America.  The riders descend over 1,000 feet in a scant few seconds.

Joe strikes his fierce long-boarding stance.

Whether you're a rider or a spectator, long boarding competitions are not for sissies as this sign clearly points out.


Before we watched any of the competition, there was important business to attend to.  Like getting a hot dog and washing it down with a Coke.  I can now watch the races.

Hay bales line the course.

There are lots of crashes in long boarding.  Thank God for hay bales!

Carol and Kevin 

Carol, one of Joe's colleagues, was there with her son Kevin who is a professional rider.  Kevin has been the undefeated winner of this race for the past few years.  It was fun to cheer for someone we 'knew'.

The speed at which these riders descend the hill is CRAZY!  Some of them hit 125 kilometres an hour.

Sometimes the racers got very close to each other.  And crashes often happened.

Although it looks as if they are standing still in the photos, these riders are FLYING down the hill!  They have ceramic discs on the palm of their gloves to protect their hands when they touch the asphalt.

Lots of the riders wore cameras on top of their helmets.

All ages were represented at this competition.  Some kids looked as young as 15 years old, while other riders had grey in their hair!

Hitchin' a ride back up the hill for another heat.

For a minute I thought this rider was laying in the grass at the side of the road.

After we got home, we learned that Joe's colleague's son Kevin slipped off his board while trying to avoid slamming into a couple of crashed competitors and broke his ankle.  He'll be out for the rest of the season.  Get well soon, Kevin!

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Little Night Market

Throngs of food lovers descend on Richmond's weekend Night Market.

I have wanted to go to the Night Market in Richmond for a very long time.  I mentioned this to Joe the other day and he said, "Why don't we go on Sunday night?"  Since Monday was the Victoria Day holiday here in Canada I answered, "Why not?"

Sunday evening found us winding our way down Howe Sound to Vancouver.  We picked Molly up and took her with us.  Nothing like a free dinner with the folks, we figured.

Every food stall offered something new and different and tantalizing.  I honestly could have eaten a dish from every booth.  We ate Japanese gyoza, Filipino noodles, Halal meats, Hong Kong egg puffs, Korean desserts in the shape of a fish, green onion pancakes, Vietnamese salad rolls, and a deep fried Mars Bar.

Yummy Vietnamese Salad Shrimp Rolls

The three of us wandered up and down the aisles.  Everything Molly and I pointed at, Joe would stand in line and get for us.
We are such spoiled women....

Mr. Hurricane Potato Man.

Lovin' the Hurricane Potato.

The food is healthy and delicious and affordable!

Halal Barbeque

Yummy halal barbequed lamb on a skewer.

Squid anyone?

Lotsa tentacles.

A man hard at work making 'Hong Kong Egg Puffs'.

These cute little fish were filled with either custard, Nutella, or red bean paste.  We ordered one of each.

And for dessert?  A deep-fried Mars Bar!

We stuffed ourselves silly for over 2 hours.  And the bill for this feast?  A mere $35.00 for the three of us.  Now that is what I call a cheap date.

Thanks Joe!  Such a fun night.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Book Club

One of the many pleasures in my life is reading.  I don't know what I would do if I couldn't read.  Seriously.  WHAT WOULD I DO?  I remember one night last summer when I couldn't find my glasses.  I was just about to go to bed and I discovered that I didn't have my glasses perched on the top of my head.  I searched everywhere for the darned things.  I almost had a panic attack.  Get out the Ativan!  (I finally found them where I had left them sitting out on the railing of the back deck.)

Anyways.  I love reading.  It is a major component of my life.

So you can imagine my delight when I was asked to join a book club!  

The year was 1997.  I was a busy woman back then.  My kids were 10, 8 and 5 years old; I was teaching Grade One full-time; I was a Girl Guide leader AND the Squamish District Commissioner of Guiding; I was an avid gardener and a member of the local gardening club.

Did I have time to belong to a book club?  Could I read a book every month and be prepared to discuss it?  You bet I could!

Going to see Jan Wong ('Beijing Confidential') in 2009.

Joining that book club has been one of the best things that has happened to me since moving to Squamish.  The women have become good friends, I've read amazing (and some not-so-amazing) books over the years,  I've eaten fabulous dinners, drank delicious wines and have participated in some incredible (and some not-so-incredible) book discussions, and met brilliant authors.

We were happy to sit on the hard floor to listen to Lawrence Hill read from his novel 'The Book of Negroes' in 2009.

We love to get the authors to sign our books.  Lawrence Hill generously obliges.

We often have the final meeting of the year in my garden. 
May 2009.

I think I have only missed one or two book club meetings over the past 14 years.  Spending an evening with these women is a highlight of my month.  I love when I step into someone's home on a Tuesday night and hear happy chatter above clinking wine glasses.

We had to sit so far back in Christ Church Cathedral that we couldn't even see Ian McEwen ('Atonement', 'Saturday').  We just pretended that we were listening to him over the radio as he read from 'Solar'.

In my garden, June 2010.

Me and my gals.  (Photo credit to Liz Scott.)

I have learned so much from this caring, fun-loving group of women.  We laugh, we cry, we support each other in our struggles, we celebrate each others' accomplishments.

Meeting Elizabeth Hay ('Late Nights On Air', 'Alone In The Classroom')
May 2011. 

Meeting Miriam Toews ('A Complicated Kindness', 'The Flying Troutmans', 'Irma Voth')
May 2011.

These women make me think.

I love reading.