Monday, July 26, 2010

Abuzz About Granville Island & Spelling Bee

WE ARRIVED EARLY at Granville Island to take in the atmosphere before seeing the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee musical at the Arts Club Theatre in Vancouver.

The sun blazed in Vancouver and thousands of tourists and locals were out enjoying the scene. While people strolled walkways, rowboats skimmed and speedboats bounced over False Creek beneath the Burrard Bridge that connects downtown Vancouver to the Kitsilano district.

Mimes clowned around with their pretty umbrellas adding colour to the day.

Talented entertainers were everywhere, including Jorge Alfaro who played multiple flutes filling the air with mystical sounds.

I was glad to later learn that Jorge’s haunting tunes are on YouTube. This Pied Piper is definitely worth following.

With feet in flames, this pair fired up the crowd with their amazing acrobatics.

An array of beautiful flowers scented the air.

The Public Market was stuffed with a medley of fresh foods, including locally grown vegetables.

It was time to see the show. We could not have been more impressed with the brilliant performances of the Spelling Bee cast. Mostly I laughed out loud at the musical comedy. But I also shed a tear or two during the moving moments.

Granville Island Stage has brought joy to many thousands of people throughout the decades. So I was glad to discover they are expanding with the help of donations, despite BC government cutbacks to the arts.

We finished the day with a fantastic meal at the Sandbar Restaurant from where we had a bird's eye view of the city.

Winged wildlife, especially seagulls, were also looking for a good meal.

These birds leave their mark everywhere. We couldn't help but notice the unwanted smudge surprise on tbe car windshield as we headed home on a cloudless and otherwise clearly wonderful day.

You can visit more sites from around the world at My World Tuesday.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

From Surprise Diagnosis To VanDusen Delights

THE WEATHER WAS BALMY AND SO WAS MY MOOD when an appointment with the dermatologist brought me into Vancouver. In no way did I expect that the earlier biopsy (due to a skin discoloration on my ankle) would prove malignant Unfortunately, it turned out to be squamous cell carcinoma. Luckily, it is in the early stages and not melanoma. The doctor prescribed a topical fluorouracil cream that destroys surface cancer cells.

Although there are other factors and causes, this cancer is often attributed to too much sun exposure. The West Coast is not the sunniest place to live but it does have its share of harmful rays even on cloudy days. Indeed, some skin cancers start developing in childhood because of neglectful habits when playing outdoors. Protective measures such as hats, sunglasses and lotions need to be taken seriously to prevent problems in adult years.

The surprise diagnosis took a little sparkle from my visit downtown. Hoping to regain some luster on the way home, I stopped to investigate VanDusen Botanical Garden and its ongoing renovations. It is open for business but I didn’t go inside. Some sights at the entrance, however, gave me a lift.

I saw a wasp climbing a leaf to sip a drink from a drop of sprinkler water.

A fuzzy plump bee was enjoying a tasty meal.

An orange cluster of daisy-like flowers looked eye-poppingly bright.

A gorgeous chrysanthemum burst on the scene.

Wispy cosmos appeared strangely windswept in the unruffled air.

Some flower images looked like butterflies trapped behind cellophane.

Driftwood lounged on the ground like bones of an ancient dinosaur.

A woman practicing tai chi made effortless movements and radiated serenity.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

More Peas, Please!

WHEN I WAS small I didn’t like too many vegetables but there were some exceptions. When my mom came home from the grocers with an armload of fresh peas still in their jackets, I couldn’t get enough of the tasty treats. Not only did I love their crisp sweetness, I also loved how the pods could become cozy cocoons for pretend caterpillars and cradles for pea-faced dolls. They also made excellent canoes in the kitchen sink.

Although I don’t play with peas anymore, my appetite for them has not changed. So when my brother-in-law dropped by with green peas from a local Delta garden, I couldn’t wait to start eating them straight from the pod. They rolled from their jackets into my mouth, some scattering onto the floor.

Apparently, in the Middle Ages, King John ll of England had a similar passion and is actually thought to have died from overeating peas. I can't help wondering if there was royal intrigue. If so, perhaps they were poisoned peas? Regardless, they were probably not of the fresh variety I enjoyed today.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Daisy Daydreams

PULLING PETALS OFF DAISIES is a common innocent pastime. Whether strung together for a necklace or a crown, or plucked to chant he loves me, he loves me not, the widespread perennial flower symbolizing purity has been torn to bits for amusement since Victorian and perhaps earlier times. Some say even a dream about picking daisies represents great happiness in love. Luckily, real life daisies (such as the ones I photographed by the side of the road) flourish in BC. They presumably won’t feel the sting of their tortured demise for decorative purposes or in hopes of romance.

You can visit more sites from around the world at My World Tuesday.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Shut Out Of Open Spaces

FIELDS OF TALL GRASSES and wildflowers were everywhere to play in when I was small. Local gardens were a little unkempt and looked pleasantly disheveled. Fortunately, parks, fields and forests still exist today in BC. But like many places throughout the world, they are diminishing as humanity stretches over rocky mountains, inlets and valleys, pruning back plant life and pushing animals to the brink.

Nowadays, it is common to find several construction projects throughout suburban neighborhoods such as mine in Surrey. Often, a grassy knoll is a property-in-waiting where more homes will one day undoubtedly be built. Although natural growth overflows, gone is the freedom to explore these teasingly spacious plots of fenced in land empty of children playing.

You can visit more sites from around the world at My World Tuesday.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Toy Story 3 Takes Lid Off Make Believe

UNDER THE PILLOW, in a cupboard, or stuck on a treetop trying to escape … where has my lost imagination gone? Now that I’m grown it tends to disappear on a regular basis. Sometimes I find it in strange places. At other times, it’s a movie like Toy Story 3 that brings back the ability to pretend.

Imagining when I was a child was natural and key to my existence. The forest fairies I would visit and the house builder I pretended to be with my alphabet blocks enriched my world. Boxes were trains and ribbons were roads I traveled on with my tiny toy cars and dress up dolls.

Creativity can get snuffed out early when school begins and we learn to colour inside the lines. By the time college rolls around, the stumbling blocks of reality and adult pursuits put a lid on the toy box as well as the imagination. Boundaries are set and mental dives into impossible realms rarely occur.

That’s why adults and kids alike will relate on so many different levels to the characters in Toy Story 3 and its brilliantly conveyed plot about a boy whose toys must be given away before he leaves home for college.

It took a thriving imagination to write such works as Toy Story, Alice In Wonderland and Harry Potter. It also took creative thinking to discover the world wasn’t flat, develop a safety pin, make the first fire and turn the first wheel. There is incredible value in quantum leaps of the mind. This is what cracks boundary walls, allowing the light of new ideas to seep through.

After seeing Toy Story 3, the stuffed toys and inanimate objects (pictured above) I have hung onto for years took on new meaning. It is not that I think they are secretly alive. But I did give them a much needed dusting and wished them a very good night before drifting off to sleep.

You can read the children's story I wrote several years ago about inanimate objects coming to life called Couch & Company HERE.

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Kwomais Point Park At A Glance

KWOMAIS POINT PARK in Ocean Park, Surrey, BC, haunts me with its picturesque views and tranquil beauty. The revitalized historic site where eagles soar, seagulls play and meditation happens naturally reminds me that diverse groups of fascinating people throughout the ages were attracted to the same grassy edge that I love to visit. I can easily envision First Nation's people of long ago scanning the horizon for approaching enemies as well as friendly traders carrying goods.

The countryside bluff is an ideal vantage point overlooking Semiahmoo and Boundary Bays in Canada. Birch Point in the US can be seen to the south and Point Roberts (also in the US) is to the west. Between these two points are Galiano, Mayne and Saturna Islands on the Canadian side. On a very clear day the Alex Fraser Bridge with its architectural beauty can be spotted at a distance providing a compelling overlap of modern and ancient times.

People can see more sights from around the globe at My World.

Postcards From Penelope Puddle for more BC scenes.Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Monday, July 5, 2010

Flower Power Gone Wild

THE MORNING GLORY is a lowly cone shaped flower growing on vines in BC that reminds me of an inverted umbrella. Despite its frail appearance, the white variety (commonly known as Hedge Bindweed) can easily overtake West Coast gardens. Buds open with the morning light to wilt in the afternoon. Each fleeting flash of lovely flower is replaced daily by another. The aptly named bloom trumpets the birth of a new day and then gracefully fades away.

I spotted the Morning Glory pictured here during a stroll near Kwomais Point Park. The sleepy bud beside the open flower will unfold to greet the sunrise tomorrow. Although it looks harmless, the relentless weed is quietly crawling around the globe. Sometimes called a cancer of the plant world, its roots spread beneath the ground, strangling foliage along the way with its pretty flower power gone wild.

You can visit more sites from around the world at My World Tuesday.

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms