Monday, May 31, 2010

Cystic Fibrosis Takes Your Breath Away

THE SKY WAS CLEAR AND THE MOOD optimistic at the Great Strides walk for CF that takes steps to cure cystic fibrosis literally. I put on my comfiest running shoes and joined the throng last Sunday, May 30th, at Fleetwood Park in Surrey for a 3-km stroll. I was among hundreds of people who participated in the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s largest annual national fundraiser.

My thoughts were of Amanda, a best friend to my daughter and a much-loved young woman and gymnast who passed away far too young from the affects of CF in her mid-twenties.

I was glad to see that CTV was there to report on the event because cystic fibrosis is a disease that requires much more public awareness.

CF is a genetic disorder that affects the lungs and other organs usually from birth. Normally, the lining of key body tissue produces watery mucus that is runny enough to keep organs from drying out. Kids born with CF, however, have mucus that is so thick it sticks to the organs and blocks the tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs. This buildup of mucus is a hotbed of bacteria and leads to frequent lung infections. Serious damage is caused over the years that can tragically result in early death. The poster (at left) and the dyed red hair seen on some folk at the event is inspired by Eva Markvoort who also lost her battle with CF in her mid-twenties.

As the tiger is telling us, families that deal with this disease on a daily basis share a fighting can-do spirit and an optimistic attitude that one day there will be a cure.

There was a decorative clown in attendance with bullhorn in hand to organize and motivate people prior to the walk.

The park was a perfect setting for four-legged supporters.

Many people brought pets along. Big or small, these animals provide unconditional love and special comfort to families.

The empty forest was waiting for the walkers to arrive at around 10 a.m.

The pathway through the trees seemed welcoming and serene as people passed through.

Whether strolling, briskly walking or riding on strong shoulders, the outdoor air was refreshing to all.

We stepped on a bridge along the way and over a scenic creek.

We also met a strange forest creature etched in wood and peeking through the shrubbery.

On the road to raising funds for CF research, transplant centres and treatment programs, (including clinics at BC Children’s Hospital and St. Paul’s Hospital), we walked together with an air of hope by the wiispy wildflowers at the park.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Roadways, Bloggers & Doors, Oh My!

FROM THE YELLOW BRICK road to Alice’s slide down the rabbit hole, there are millions of pathways and entrances we envision lead to enchantment. The curious feeling of unique potential and magic seems to dwell around every corner. As children we found mystery and wonder in storybooks, movies as well as in our own imaginations. I remember a fairyland I discovered at an empty lot near Langley, BC, where I spent hours of my childhood. The fairies eluded me but I was the giant who created their carpets of moss and constructed their tiny tables and chairs from the twigs I found on the forest floor.

I think many bloggers, now grown, strive to capture their own enchantment of life whether through exploring the minute details of their neighborhoods or the enormity of distant shores. The stories they tell through prose and photos show a love of the moment and for the environment that with technology can so easily be shared. As I develop my own blog and open doors to other sites, I enter a world of awe-inspired journeys.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

New Westminster Hyack Festival In 2010

IT WASN'T THE WORST of weather but certainly not the best as we ventured over the Alex Fraser Bridge on a gray Saturday in search of a particular toaster oven in stock only at a New Westminster store.

I don’t recall visiting the Queensborough Landing Mall before. The stores there seemed fairly new.

After finding what we wanted, we headed for the Westminster Quay Public Market, which I haven’t visited for some time, in hopes of buying fresh vegetables to bring home for dinner.

To our surprise the Quay building that is usually filled with shops was closed, potentially for months of repair, and we found ourselves in the midst of halted construction.

We were delighted, however, to discover a menagerie of colour and interesting sights at the surrounding boardwalk.

It could have been a dull day but work had completely stopped and it was all about play.

As it happened, we had stumbled upon the annual Multicultural Festival that was kicking off a larger series of events.

This was the first day of New Westminster Hyack Festival Week, May 22 - May 29, which will feature different daily events throughout the city.

Among the multicultural foods there were tables laden with handmade wares that added great splashes of colour, including the evil eye jewelry that made us stare.

Although the boardwalk celebrations will eventually clear, Paddlewheeler Riverboat Tours will remain as always for sightseeing excursions.

And the subtle beauty of the murky Fraser River will continue to flow past the Fraser River Discovery Centre, with its various rotating exhibits, and provide mooring for the hardworking picturesque boats.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Messages In Red

THERE WAS A TOSSED salad of debris in my backyard. The fence surrounded the mess like a big wooden bowl. Picking up the bits and pieces of broken branches, I hoped to see the chickadees return to the birdhouse that swayed so forcefully in the wind last night. Although I heard lots of chirping this morning, I saw no birds.

Like the crow gets attracted to shiny objects, my focus inevitably turned to something other than the backyard birds that tend to catch my attention. This pick of photos explains why the colour red is my glittery jewel. When it comes to flowers, to me, a vivid shade of red amid the greenery is like discovering a flash of vitality or a beacon of light.

When I notice someone wearing a red coat or hat, I deduce that the wearer is a confident individual less fearful than most.

The red maple leaf on the Canadian flag burns a flicker of pride in me.

There is an underside to red that suggests hot tempers and the potential for violence in mankind and nature.

There is also the peaceful side of red in the evening when a sunset brings the day to its restful conclusion.

Sometimes red screams, "Stop! You have gone far enough."

Awake On A Windy Wet Coast Night

THE WORRISOME WIND bent a maple tree branch, which then snagged on the backyard birdhouse constructed on top of a pole where chickadees were nesting. This caused a chirping frenzy from the pair. I cut away most of the branch but the process seemed to trouble them even more … so I left the rest alone.

Now it is later and the noisy night is keeping me awake and wondering yet again how all the bird nests, so carefully reconstructed after the last wind, are fairing. The howling outside sounds out of control and wildly threatening as it rushes through the evergreens. The wind is pushing against the windowpanes and knocking small stray objects against the house. Although I am feeling cautiously safe inside, I wonder about the wildlife that hides in mysterious places during these callous times. I hope the chickadees that seem so frail survive the night.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Washed In Spring Showers

cleansing in the spring showers this morning.

Just when I thought
I’d need to take out the
garden hose and water the
yard and its flowers, soft rain
scattered around as if kindly
caretakers had come to
nourish the irises and
smooth the uneasy
frown off the
dried out

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Hooked By Something Creepy

I SAW RED the other day when I discovered weird/unsavory sites feeding (perhaps data scraping) on my copyrighted blogspot material. It’s nice to share my family friendly work and thoughts with whoever cares to stop by and I love being on BC Blogger. However, there are risks to being on the worldwide web from other sources that lurk in the shadows. As I try to resolve these issues, I know other well-intentioned bloggers are also vulnerable to thieving feeds and frustrated at having to muddle through the black hole of electronic and barely existing support systems when something goes wrong. I wish I had Penelope’s magic umbrella so I could simply say Poof and suddenly appear only in the places where I am happy to be. I’d much rather be hooked onto something leafy than creepy. On the bright side, my online exposure has caused me to learn some new words. Here is just one of many articles about the term data scraping.

Monday, May 10, 2010

My Non-refundable Life

THE PHONE AND TOASTER oven both died last weekend ... just after their warranties expired. The socket where the toaster oven had been plugged into also stopped working. And the e-mails my friend repeatedly tried to send me never arrived. It probably wasn’t a conspiracy. But seeking help from various “support services” was like falling into a black hole or getting lost in a maze of a thousand hedges. Although there is pretense of help, there seems to be no real solution in this disposable age. I learned that repair (if not impossible) costs slightly more than a new purchase. I also learned all the tools in the world won’t repair a socket, if you don't know anything about wiring.

My response to all the unfixables was to leave them behind for another time and explore early morning at Crescent Beach.

As the cliché says, I stopped to smell the roses.

There were fragrant bunches of wild uncut flowers lining the pathways.

I saw puddles pool in the sand ...

and heard tall grasses whispering to the stony shore.

The broom splashed a bright shock of yellow into the hazy gray.

My short-lived gadgets, far from solid as a rock, reminded me that my body parts are like any other parts.

So now was not too soon to enjoy the sights ...

and savor the sensation of my own non-refundable life.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Under The Mom Umbrella

I’VE OFTEN HEARD it said that selfishness ends when parenthood begins and the focus turns towards children. Usually that is how it works. However, there are many non-moms who are also nurturers that give of themselves selflessly. From tending the home, to encouraging growth in the gardens of others, to fighting for causes that promote wellness, to feeding the intellect and the hungry, I’ve seen "moms of the earth" sprout out everywhere.

Whether checking in on the lonely person next door, being a big brother or sister, rescuing an abandoned pet or tossing hard earned dollars into the canvasser’s pot for cancer or Haiti relief, there are endless needs and endless efforts to meet them. So although destructive forces can crush us, there is the umbrella side of life where people respond like parents to situations that inspire action. It is this urge to protect and care for the vulnerable that provides balance and makes life worth living, particularly when Mother Nature seems stone cold in the face of disasters. So a tip of my umbrella to both moms and non-moms who step in to nurture causes at home and around the globe.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Chilling Out In White Rock

PEOPLE STAYED INDOORS early morning in White Rock where I ventured.

Time seemed to stand still.

Few folk came out to walk ...

the barren, brisk ...

and windswept pier.

A camouflaged gull huddled ...

wrapped inside its cozy feathers.

Grizzlee the bear whose frozen gaze is fixed towards the water ...

seemed to snub his usual seascape stare.

I could see the big rock planted in the distance.

Nearby red-hot pokers, brushed with sunset gold, stood at attention. I stiffened against the chill that followed me everywhere on this crisp May morning.