May 5th, 2010 | 2 Comments »

Boris and I were in need of a short getaway from the city and after exploring our options we settled on a weekend trip to Galiano. I’ve always wanted to visit Galiano Island but it’s taken me almost six years of living in Vancouver before I could get around to going. We took transit to the ferry terminal in Tsawwassen on Friday morning and caught the 10am ferry direct to the island. Boris’ friend Christian Nally met us on the other side, with a welcoming smile and a car he would end up lending us for the weekend.

Our first stop was lunch at the Flying Black Dog, a small food caravan serving freshly made delicious food which we sat in the sunshine to devour. Christian suggested a hike up Mount Galiano as our next activity, since the weather was good and we had time to kill before checking into the B&B. So off we went through mossy cedar forest along overgrown trails that wound up and up to the very top with a magnificent view of the surrounding Gulf Islands. We saw many birds up there, small ones in the trees and large ravens and an eagle riding the wind above. Not far from the bottom of the trail is the original cemetery with gravestones dating back to the mid-eighteen hundreds. The cemetery has a lovely view out over the water and not far off was a small island covered in a colony of seals basking in the late afternoon sun.

the view

Tree branches

The Bed and Breakfast we stayed in, Sands of Morning Beach, was a lovely spot to wake up to. The front of the house looks out onto Morning Beach and the morning light shining on the water was just stunning. The owners of the B & B have multiple feeders set up in the trees to feed a multitude of birds so the view is also filled with non-stop bird watching. I saw at least five or six hummingbirds zooming around at high speed, plus goldfinches, crows, sparrows, juncos, chickadees, and many more I’m not sure what to identify as. On the inside of the house there is a pet Senegal Parrot named Mango, and two energetic small dogs named Howie and Pogo.

Pogo
Howie

Saturday we spent our day driving around the island exploring whatever we came across. Galiano Island Books is one stop in town I highly recommend. They have an excellent selection of books, and one very demanding cat that commands customers for attention with a loud yowl. My favorite part of the day was having a picnic in sunny Spotlight Cove, with me exploring the tide pools looking for tiny crab while Boris sat on a log reading a book.

I also enjoyed our stop at Stone World, a fantastic Bodega Ridge landscape of standing stones and ritually decorated rocks created by stone carver Steve Ocsko. His wife Barbara gave us a tour of the indoor studio explaining the evolution of Steve’s carving work, which led to a fascinating and inspiring conversation about geology, art, and using the internet. Along with the stone sculptures the studio had many lovely found natural objects, such as a wasp’s nest, a hummingbird nest, the largest barnacle shell I’ve ever seen, and much more. It was a fascinating visit and Boris and I really hit it off with Barbara. Stone World seems to have an odd reputation with locals, or at least that’s the impression I have from talking to people. Lots of people know of it but have strange ideas because of the standing stones, and so they haven’t visited themselves. Our friends were surprised when we told them about our visit and what we found there (nothing weird, that is).

standing stones

Our hosts for the weekend, Christian and Martine, invited us for dinner with friends at their place on Saturday evening. It was a cozy time spent laughing, talking, eating and playing games. Martine runs a catering business on Galiano and as you can imagine, she makes delicious food. Part of the meal was a dish of lentils cooked with bacon, which is something I’d be happy to revisit again since I love both lentils and bacon. Boris was hijacked by Lili, Martine’s six year old daughter, shortly after our arrival and she had him bouncing around on the trampoline which was fun to watch.

Sandstone formations

Our final day on Galiano was a rainy one, but we went out exploring anyway. A walk around Morning Beach with Howie the dog revealed interesting formations in the sandstone and a large water-carved cave to take shelter in when the rain came down hard. There were tiny gardens of succulent plants on the top of large boulders which were very colourful and beautiful. Our last stop before departing the island was a drive on Bodega Beach Road which led to a hike down a slug covered trail and then to a view overlooking the Strait of Georgia with rainy Vancouver across the way.

Succulent plants

It was a lovely weekend away, and much needed for Boris and I. We managed to cover a lot of ground on our short trip, but I’d be happy to go again and see more.

May 13th, 2009 | Comments Off

Magnolias

It’s Wednesday, the day of the week that rests exactly at the point between the previous weekend and the one to come. I’ve been having a series of awesome weekends and I wanted to write up a “Good Things” list before the next one happened. Here goes:

1. Hanging out with Boris enjoying some excellent quality time and adventures. I couldn’t ask for a more fun person to spend time with.
2. Taking myself on a movie date to see the documentary Earth. The cinematography is stunning and spectacular, and showcases scenery and animals all over the world. I left the theatre feeling uplifted and inspired.
3. Making plans with a friend to get back on track with a long neglected photo project.
4. Taking a day trip to Stevenston where we spent a few hours wandering around enjoying the fantastic weather.
5. A bit of unexpected retail therapy at the Orb & Arson warehouse sale, which was located where we changed buses between Vancouver and Steveston. I picked up some great bargains.
6. Lunch on the Wharf in Steveston at Pajos. Yum. Good.
7. Sitting in the grass relaxing and watching people fly kites.
8. Taking an afternoon nap on Saturday.
9. Making dessert from sad fruits wizened with age and neglect, and turning them into a delicious apple, pear and rhubarb crisp.
10. Talking to my mom and sister at the same time through the magical powers of three-way calling.

May 5th, 2009 | 4 Comments »

Magnolias

A few days ago my mom called to tell me the news of my old friend David Somers passing away. She’d been reading the local paper and came across an article in the Brampton Guardian reflecting on his many contributions to the arts and culture in Brampton, Ontario. It mentioned his recent passing at the end of April. I hadn’t been in touch with David in a few years but I had been made aware through a mutual friend that he’d been diagnosed with cancer more than a year ago.

My mom has been diagnosed with cancer twice in the last twelve years. She went through surgery and extensive treatments and has been in remission for a few years now. Boris’ father was diagnosed with cancer last year and has also gone on to a complete recovery with relatively little effect on his overall health. Sometimes people aren’t so lucky, or maybe we (their loved ones) are the lucky ones not to have lost them. My heart goes out to those David has left behind.

I first met David almost fifteen years ago on my first visit to the Peel Heritage Complex, a public art gallery, museum and archive in Brampton. I was interested in becoming a volunteer and David is the one who interviewed me about my interests. My volunteering eventually led to paid work at the complex in various ways, much of it working closely with David and assistant curator, Judy Daley. I can’t really imagine one without the other because they are both so much a part of my memories there, and they made a great team. They were a pleasure to work with and provided me with great opportunities despite my complete lack of experience working in that type of environment. It was an invaluable experience because I learned what goes on behind the scenes of a museum/art gallery, gave me hands-on experience of putting a show together, and was the first push I needed to start showing my own work in a gallery.

David was more than just my boss at the Complex, he was also a friend. I think that’s how everyone who ever worked under him felt because he was such an engaging person. He was known for his infectious sense of humour and charismatic personality, and always had something hilarious to say. I worked with David and Judy for four years before moving away to Toronto and eventually to Vancouver. I’d been good about keeping in touch with them and would regularly go back and visit, but over the last few years I’d lost touch. It saddens me knowing it is too late to remedy the situation, and I will never get the chance to laugh with David again. He will be greatly missed.

The Art Gallery of Peel and Peel Heritage Complex will hold a celebration of David Somers’ life for friends and colleagues on Thursday, May 28 at 7pm.

Peel Heritage Complex
Historic Peel County Courthouse
3 Wellington St. E. in Brampton

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Posted in Cross-process, Holga