Favourite Rainy Day Activity

I like my coffee fresh and my books and sundries old.  That’s why this corner in Kitsilano (W. Broadway and Vine St.) is one of my fav’s.  Rainy days provide an easy excuse to welcome leisurely activities such as sipping a latte at Higher Grounds while reading the paper (yes, the print kind – how old fashioned!) and then wandering over to browse the used books at Tanglewood Books.  They have a great selection of current books that are stacked to the ceiling.  I could spend hours in there.  Next stop on the leisurely rainy day tour is Blue Owl Home Boutique.  This store may be small but it carries a wide assortment of vintage home accessories and antiques.  I guarantee there will be items you never knew you needed or wanted once you step into this cozy little home boutique.  After all that leisure I’m usually ready to grab my umbrella and head home for a nap.  That may just be my *real* favourite rainy day activity of all time.
~ Cherish Bryck

DSC_0036 web

I’m afraid I am not as adventurous as my friend on the Westside! Rainy days for me mean staying cosy at home to cook, bake, tidy the house and crochet. So naturally a picture of my girl satisfied after eating my butternut squash soup would be apt to depict our rainy day activity. Yes I am a homebody and I am proud of it :)
~ Tamar Haytayan

Falling for autumn

It’s officially a tie.  While once I fully declared autumn to be my favourite season, I have to admit that with age, I find myself pining for summer and all of its obvious glory.  Summer may be an easy one to love with its balmy weather, cheery blue skies and kaleidoscope sunsets.  Autumn, on the other hand, is the moodier sibling.  The deep, exotic colours and the crisp air begs for woollens and warm beverages.  I’ll admit I’m a sucker for both.  Almost everyone loves to enjoy the gorgeous waning foliage in the fall.  The multi-colour show lasts for a few months and this year Vancouver put on one amazing show! The sun stayed to play for all of September and we got to relish in autumnal beauty.  Vancouver is a pretty city all year round (yes, even in the rain), but this fall it really got dolled up and gave us visual spectacle we won’t soon forget.

~ Cherish Bryck

“Autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower” – Albert Camus

~ Tamar Haytayan

Elevate the Everyday

We enjoyed a busy summer and are so thankful for our contributors in August. We hope they will continue to be a part of this blog as they added so much to it. Thank you Anita, Laura and Tommy.

We chose this week’s theme, Elevate The Everyday, in homage of the founder of Shutter Sisters, Tracey Clark. We thought it would be fitting as we will be joining Tracey and the other Shutter Sisters towards the end of this month to click away in Palm Springs at Camp Oasis!

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-Tamar Haytayan

September for me is usually a time of renewal, of new beginnings, of reinvention and of many possibilities. This is so true for me more than the start of any new year.

The corner of Charles and Commercial has a special place in my heart. It is where I turn right from Commercial to make my way home, several times a day. I could turn right on any other street but I choose this one. This decision elevates me, it is a place of familiarity and it is a place where I am most likely to stop and linger for a moment to admire the colours of the vibrant flower arrangements at The Flowerbox. Most of the time I end up taking a picture of ‘where I am standing’ amongst this beauty and yes, of course it goes on Instagram.

This ritual makes me appreciate life, makes me say thank you for being able to see, smell and sometimes gently touch the flowers.

Right next to The Flowerbox, another familiar and favourite place is Little Nest. The place where I frequented with my second child and acquired memories of relaxed coffees with friends who were with newborns too. It is a place where I would choose to go alone and have a coffee and something yummy if my time permitted.

So, in honour of elevating our everyday, this is what elevates me most days in this lovely nook in East Vancouver.

Cherish Bryck

Our habitual, commonplace activities seem to fill in the cracks between the big moments, the highs, the milestones and special moments in life.  We need those daily rituals to remind us that life is full of the good, the bad and even sometimes the very mundane.  When I am able to turn my camera on the routine, ordinary events of my life, I elevate them to a new perspective – a new understanding.  It doesn’t necessarily mean they are any less of a pain in the butt, or less tedious etc., but I get a chance to slow down, observe and even sometimes savour these passing moments.

Grocery shopping is not something I like to do, but well, it’s on the list of things I need to get done every week.  On the Westside, we are inundated with food stores and I usually like to support my local store owners in Kitsilano.  However, sometimes I just have to go into one of the big chain stores to pick us some necessities that aren’t available at the smaller outlets.  I loathe shopping at the big box stores.  I dislike the whole experience.  The other day I shifted my perspective (and mood) by narrowing in on the pattern of the shopping carts and enjoyed how the lovely September light was streaming in through the big windows.  This small gesture turned the unremarkable into the remarkable. Celebrating the everyday.

“An authentic life is the most personal form of worship. Everyday life has become my prayer.”  Sarah Ban Breathnach

Youthful Reflections

I suppose feeling like a kid again at the fair is a pretty obvious choice. The Fair at the PNE is a highlight of my year. I have been coming my whole life. I buy a season’s pass every year and anybody who knows me, knows that I use it giddily any chance I get.  But our fair is not just any fair. Our fair has the wonderful Big Band conductor Mr. Dal Richards and his orchestra! A Vancouver treasure. I see him every year.

My parents we’re both born in 1925 and I came to them late in life. Big band music is their turf and it is familiar, early memory music to me. Dal has played with and conducted the best of the best. This coming January he will headline his own 95th birthday show ay the Orpheum. That’s right, 95!!!

This man is a dynamo. He is a fixture at the PNE, the Jazz Fest, and plays regularly throughout the year with seemingly boundless energy. He stays ahead of the curve. Last year we became Facebook friends! When I see him on that stage giving it all he’s got I realize I have a long way to go to keep up with him, so I better pick up my pace.  And it fills me up with energy and a whole lotta happy! He’s 50 years older than me and doing a show every day! He easily has a decade on everyone in his audience and he wipes the floor with most of us.  He always sings “As Time Goes By” from “Casablanca” as part of the show. And I always marvel at the fact that he was already a man in his 20’s with a successful music career when that film came out.
Thank you Mr. Richards. You make me realize I might just be getting started.
Guest Contributor – Laura Krutz
Dal Richards Band

To a young boy, the comic book store is like a candy shop and Disneyland wrapped up in a tidy bow. I grew up in East Vancouver, far from the reaches of the two largest comic book stores (that I was aware of) in the city. On rare occasions, a trip downtown always called for a trip to Golden Age Collectibles, and on even rarer occasions, a trip to the west side, meant a trip to the Comic Shop, the Mecca of comic book stores. One glance at the bright yellow awning was enough to set a young boy’s heart aflutter. A glance in the window brought visions of comic books, action figures, busts, statues, maquettes, and other things a boy can hardly dream of affording with a paltry allowance in his pocket. Once inside, pristine comics, bagged and boarded, lay before me in row after tidy row, comic book collectors eagerly thumbing through them with the oh-so-familiar refrain of, “Got it, got it, got it, need it, got it, need it, got it,got it..”. Issues from years gone by, many older myself at the time, lay in Mylar bags with acid-free backings contained safely within glass cases. The tales of the Astonishing X-Men, the Spectacular Spider-Man, and the Mighty Thor, locked away from grimy hands and grubby fingerprints.

It was to my dismay, then, when (now in my adult years), during a drive up West 4th, that familiar canary-coloured awning, that bastion of my childhood, lay missing at the top of 4th and Arbutus. Gone? Closed? But how? Why? My childhood tarnished, my youthful memories in disarray…. Had it closed forever? Shall I never know the joy of wandering through the aisles of back-issues at the once mighty Comic Shop, looking for issues from my youth to fill me with memories of times gone by, reading quietly in my bed late into the night, filling my head with the adventures of the Hulk, Superman, and the Justice League? Thankfully, a quick Google search revealed that it had not closed, but had in fact moved, to another location. It’s further down now, closer to Alma, and I couldn’t help driving down and wandering inside. It’s smaller now, more intimate, but it’s still there. My childhood is (at least for now) still open for business.

Comic books taught me to fight for truth and justice, to stand up for those that can’t defend themselves, that bad guys never win, and maybe, just maybe, if you try hard enough and never give up, you’ll not only get the girl, but you might just save the world in the process.

And that familiar yellow awning gives me hope that the same message might be learned by a few more kids.

Excelsior!
Guest Contributor – Tommy Heiden

Reflections

City reflection, Vancouver reflections, reflection,

Reflection of a man

Can’t is not in his vocabulary!  I was walking along the Marinaside neigbourhood enjoying the evening and contemplating this week’s theme “Reflections”.  Walking along the street I watched as this rowboat slowly floated along the Marina waters. Even from where I was walking I could see the reflection was fantastic.  The water is so still and let’s face it, murky, in marinas; reflections come gift wrapped.

As I got closer, I noticed several people smiling and some even waving and giving the thumbs up as he slowly rowed his boat.  I walked ahead of him, waited and took the shot.  He stopped and smiled for the camera.  Suddenly, my camera went black.  My battery died!  I thanked him and he smiled back and rowed on.  As he made his way, I noticed that he only had one leg.  What an amazing individual.  This week’s theme became so inspirational to me.  What a human being!  I think my camera was telling me that I just got this week’s shot.  Thank you camera, and thank you lovely man in the row boat.
Guest Photographer, Anita Lee
Vancouver reflections

Vancouver skytrain reflection

I grew up shuttling back and forth between my father’s farm and my mother’s small town home. And I always longed for the city and its exotic glass and steel. The noise and wheels, wires and bunches of people. Buildings and people shining and reflected off of one another in a beautiful mass. I knew, eventually, I’d end up where those crowds were.
And now I move through them every day. I’ve never been a driver. It just somehow never happened. So modes of transit fascinate me, but are also an essential part of my daily life. I love the subways in world cities and the amount of bodies they can move so quickly. But I have a soft spot for our good old Vancouver Skytrain too.
Broadway and Commercial Station is arguably a stressful and busy place. A transfer hub for points in all directions. But there is also everything wonderful a city can be, right there in its own little mix.
Guest Photographer, Laura Krutz

Pride

Dykes on Bikes parade

Dykes on Bikes parade

I attended the first Vancouver Dyke March by happy accident. I was out walking with my baby daughter and friends and she started squealing at all the colour and excitement. The march starts at McSpadden Park, by my local school, and makes its way north along Commercial Drive to Grandview Park where there is a subsequent festival and live music. It is one of East Van’s major Pride Weekend events. This year the Dyke March and my daughter both turned nine. I’m happy to report they have both grown in beautiful, marvelous ways.

Guest Photographer, Laura Krutz

Damn it, you should be proud!  It’s summer in Vancouver.  No, I mean really summer: the sun is out; it’s 20 degrees at 7am; people’s spirits are up; convertibles are out; boats are coming in and out of False Creek; strollers trip over beach clad sunbathers at various downtown parks; and it’s absolutely, undeniably beautiful.  Everywhere you turn you are provided with a picture perfect postcard view and we take pride in that in our city.  We apologize for the rain most of the year; but this is when we celebrate our city.
That’s what the people at Lululemon decided to do by holding their first annual SeaWheeze Half Marathon .  Their mission is “to celebrate our hometown with the world by hosting the sweatiest, most fun run out there. Vancouver is our inspiration and we figured it was time to show our city some love!”  Not a bad reason to encourage people to wake up early on a Saturday morning and treat your body to an intense workout!
In fact, the pride I am really talking about is the personal pride that comes in the dedication, determination, and fearlessness that it takes to run a 1/2 marathon. It’s not just a meander along the seawall, or a leisurely walk across the bridge.  So much credit to all the people that were out there today.  Pockets of random people gathered to clap and cheer you on, or wave at you like people used to do to passing passenger trains in the country.  You should be proud of yourselves.  You busted your butts for this moment, this long, long moment.  You are true inspirations and I am proud of you! 

Guest Photographer, Anita Lee

Red

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Vancouver, despite it’s beauty, is a grey city. Occasionally green or blue, but mostly covered in a cloudy grey. When the summer months come the colours pop out at us everywhere. We drink them in just like everything else drinks in the rain the rest of the year. Produce shopping in Hastings-Sunrise is sea of colour right now. The peppers at Donald’s Market swayed many. They stopped all three of my little daughters right in their tracks. So we ate them!
 
Guest Photographer, Laura Krutz
 
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There is something about Granville Island on a weekday evening just before closing time.  It’s usual hubbub of activity and cars slows down a bit to allow for a nice stroll through the grounds.  Colour abounds there and really, there is no better market I have experienced myself with such a diverse number of things to do and see. Everything at the right pace in a great place.
 
Guest Photographer, Anita Lee
 
 
 
 

Festival

What is the idea of the festival?  To me, it’s about a group of people coming together to listen, play, watch, participate, and celebrate.  This weekend at the Khatsalano Music and Art Festival in Kitsilano (on West 4th between Burrard and Macdonald) these very things happened.  People listened to music, danced, ate, walked, supported local artists and businesses, enjoyed each other’s company and the sunshine!  These kids of summer were taking a break from it all and at that moment became the best representatives of their neighbourhood and their festival!


On Saturday July 21st, we celebrated the 24th Illuminares event at Trout Lake. This year’s theme was “Let Your Bright Light Shine!”. This fantastic event is put on by Public Dreams. It is a place where magic happens and community comes together. The young play to their hearts desire while parents, friends and neighbours gather to picnic around the lake and to visit the many illuminated installations.

Alas, we did not stay for the 9.45pm procession around the lake. Our kids were pretty ready for bed by 9.00. There was also a 10.15pm grand finale with a spectacular 30-person fire show by Radiant Heat.

What amazes me about the events that Public Dreams put on is the amount of work that goes into them. So many  people volunteer, gather and create to bring joy to our community and world. Our hats go off to these people. Thank you!

thanks again to Anita Lee this week for being my partner on the WestSide!

Skate Park

Nestled between the two downtown off ramps under the Cambie Street Bridge you will find an area I sometimes like to think of as a little utopia where people can peacefully coexist in harmony.  It’s Cooper’s Park and everything just works in that little space: families with young children can play in the playground; or, young dog families can play in the off-leash park just a few meters away; kids, adults (young and old) are able stroll and bike ride along the seawall; a group of people can shoot some hoops; courageous boot camp souls can be seen getting, well, their butts kicked into shape; all while these fearless skater types leap off benches and rails. Everyone accepts; everyone embraces; everyone respects the space and each other.  Yay, Vancouver!

This is Jake. He is 12. He and his friends often spend their afternoons (every afternoon!) at the Kensington Skate Park found on the east side of Knight Street between E. 33rd and E. 37th. The youngest in the group is an 8 year old boy named Ryley. I asked Jake how long it took him to learn to skate, ‘one day’ he said. I could easily be their mother and was so glad to see them spending their time doing something positive. When asked what they liked best about this particular skate park, ‘the bowl’ they responded unanimously. ‘What do you feel when you are in there?’ I asked. ‘Inner peace’ they responded. Wow!

We have a guest this week for the West part of EastSideWest. Thank you Anita Lee!

Fair Fun

summer carnival

A few weeks ago the Westside got their party on at the Point Grey Fiesta.  This carnival is small scale, but perfect for people who want to stay local and enjoy some fair fun.  All of the quintessential fair accouterments were available.  Cotton candy, popcorn, over-priced games, a fake tattoo parlor and of course lots (well, enough) rides to thrill the younger crowds.  I hope this neighbourhood celebration continues to thrive.  It sure is a wonderful Westside event.

A week before the end of this school year, I had the pleasure of accompanying my son’s class to Playland. I had avoided it up until now to the surprise of many of the parents. I thought it would be too overwhelming and not really my cup of tea as the mere sight of some rides make me cringe. Well, look at this ride! It is called ATMOSFEAR (notice the ‘fear’ in italics), it will either excite you or make you want to just run away. However, needless to say, the children absolutely LOVED Playland and all that it had to offer (there is something for everyone). For a consistent 4 hours, they went from one ride to the other with big smiles on their faces. Some tried certain rides a few times over and over again. It was pure joy for me to witness this and another lesson of ‘never say never’. The parent who avoided this fun fair at all cost is now planning the next trip with full excitement.