Archive for March 2003

Fine Dining at the Normandy

In the 1940s Vancouver was a much smaller city.

The neighbourhood I lived in is called Granville South because Granville Street once stopped at 15th Ave; it now stretches through Vancouver into the city of Richmond. My grandparents lived here during WWII when my grandfather was training at the Canadian Air Force base at Boundary Bay, they recall a city of large trees, small houses, and quiet streets. When we went back to the house my grandmother had rented rooms in, we found it had been torn down to build a monster home, and the lovely trees in the backyard had been cut down.

In a city of glass and new development, sometimes it’s nice to see some continuity. On Granville, just across from our apartment, is the Normandy Restaurant. We’re not sure of how far back the restaurant dates to, but a newspaper clipping at the counter shows a picture from 1943 with the Normandy in it’s familiar place.

Inside, the decor is pure prairie diner as we see it, or perhaps just pure traditional. Brown vinyl seats, tasselled lamps, and a menu of meat, veg, and potatoes. The diners are almost exclusively elderly, with the exception of us and several other tables of younger folk enjoying the all day breakfast at lunch time. Cory takes pictures, Des and I chat about perogies, family, and a need for coffee while we wait for Andrew and Chad, and a breakfast of eggs, bacon, and fluffy hotcakes served by our waitress who manages to have an attitude and yet still makes us feel welcome.

There are trendier places in the city, ones where you line up down the street for twenty minutes before getting a table and paying $9 for breakfast. It’s not quite the same though as good company, hard earned ambiance, and perfect poached eggs. Sometimes traditional is best.
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fighting along the Euphrates

One sentance caught my attention on the news this morning, “fighting along the Euphrates River”. It brings up memories of high school, old wooden desks with the chairs attached and the squeaking of chalk along the blackboard in my ancient history class. The fertile crescent, the birth place of civilization, the incubator of farming, writing, nationhood. Rivers such as the Euphrates and the Tigris carrying such powerful associations of history, and the first war of this millenium occuring along their banks.

Perhaps I’ll just drink another cup of tea and read the poetry of Seamus Heaney instead of listening to the news today. Perhaps I’ll walk down to Granville Island in the rain and look out at the water and think about beauty in a world divided and angry.
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the world with 20mm

We had an amazing getaway to Harrison Hot Springs resort last night. I think we were in the pools for at least three hours, and in the local pub for about four. Getting away is such a treat, and somehow as soon as I was out of the city, I felt relaxed and happy.

These pictures are from last weekend however, these are the test pictures we took with the new lense. You can see a slight distortion at the sides, but it doesn’t yield a fisheye view, just 94.5 degrees of scenery.
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Joy and Appreciation

i received a benediction from a wise friend today, “May even your pink bathroom give you joy”. To receive a positive email admist all the stresses of current events brought the largest smile on my face. Susan’s not suggesting a silly or irresponsible sort of happiness, but an awareness and appreciation of how lucky we are, how wonderful the world can be. I need to remember to be joyful for what I have in my life.

There are a lot of negatives in the world, but there are a lot of positives also. The way spring is starting to arrive and my anticipation of Sunday’s trip. The way the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland is a place of symmetry and beauty, especially in the winter when the hordes of tourists are driven away by rain and cold weather.

The Causeway is just one example of a positive, but as I looked through our pictures for something to illustrate my mood, this one jumped out at me. It was cold and wet that day, the weather as glum as the mood is now, but the causeway was still beautiful, perhaps more so in the contrast. In an imperfect world many ordinary things seem luminous and wonderful. Even my pink bathroom.
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Close to the wild

There’s two major roads in eastern british columbia closed by avalanches right now, one of which is the Trans Canada Highway near Revelstoke. I’m very glad Cory’s trip to Panorama isn’t this week, this is another pic he took when he was there.

It’s easy to forget, living in comfy Vancouver, how powerful the local environment is. A few years ago, coming back from Ainsworth Hotsprings, the road was blocked with a small avalanche and people were out clearing it with shovels. New to the mountains at that time, I was amazed at how matter of fact everyone was at dealing with the danger, and now I’m relieved at how lucky we were not to get hit by another slide as we stood there on the road waiting for a snowplow.

This sort of event keeps you aware that we are not the masters of our environment and it deserves our respect. Perhaps the north, with it’s inhospitable temperatures keeps us more aware how small we are.

P.S. Mom and Dad, I don’t think I ever told you that story, oops.
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the world through photos

We splurged yesterday, or rather, Cory splurged and I egged him on. We bought a 20mm 1.8 wide angle camera lense for the SLR, and it’s amazing. I can’t wait until we get a nice bright day and we can test it’s capabilities with a couple rolls of film.

I’m applying for the Alaska summer school today, and now Cory’s even more excited about the thought of a weekend in Alaska in July. It just changes the way you can capture the world.
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Out of Town

I’m off to the island Thursday, no email, no internet, and most important, no phone to yell at:

  • the finance dept at work for screwing up my T4s
  • the royal bank for not closing my bank accounts after asking four times
  • palm for failing to fix my M515 after eight weeks
    it should be a relaxing day.

    In other, Cory and I played scrabble last night and then when to bed at 9pm. Really, there is no news. Except I’m out of chocolate and my feet still hurt.
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  • Rising from the plains

    Cory had a site visit in Panorama last week which involved him flying to Calgary and then driving out to the resort. The rockies are such majestic mountains, they rise up from the prairie like tall sentinels guarding the way west. I can only imagine the despair of the trans-canada railway surveyors when they reached this point and realized the exact nature of the task ahead.

    This was the first night in months where I was home alone, Cory hasn’t had a work related trip since Germany, and I’ve gotten used to always having company at bed time. It was strange, I checked that I’d locked the door, lay down, and then got up again to make sure it really was locked. What upset me most wasn’t being nervous, but how much of a change that nervousness was from the girl who lived alone for a year and a half in a basement apartment with easy access from the road.

    I’m a pretty firm believer in the importance of self-sufficiency even within a relationship. My knowing that I can take care of myself means I don’t need Cory to take care of me, and it’s a treat when he does. I think that attitude builds a strong sense of teamwork and sharing and a more flexible relationship than one where we need each other to function. After thinking all these things through, I curled up under the blankets (with an extra one to keep me warm without C’s body heat) and slept soundly through the night.
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