Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sunday, October 31, 2010

First Visit to Shelby and Kim's New Home

This was the first time for us to visit Shelby and Kim on Bainbridge Island.  The ferry we took from Seattle reminded me of our BC Ferries... almost the same as the big ones that go from Schwartz Bay to Tsawassen.

The Space Needle always looks spectacular with it's magical lights that pierce the night skyline.

We sure don't see this array of lights between our island and Schwartz Bay from our BC Ferries.

Our kids bought a very comfortable home in an established community... hence the landscaping is mature and absolutely gorgeous.

Shelby is looking forward to building an office in the attic above the garage.... which is where these stairs are coming from.

A great garden spot, which is behind this fence, has been cleaned out and is ready for winter.

Shelby thinks that one day he will turn this garden shed into a guest cottage.  They have a little fire pit with some chairs set up... ideal for making smores on summer evenings.

There are going to be a few pumpkins that missed Halloween this year!  They will have to hurry to get ripe if they even hope to be ready for Thanksgiving!

I know that these pumpkins have since been carved with happy faces, ready for the tribes of goblins and witches that are descending on the place tonight.  I think they made it to a Facebook page!

From this angle you can visualize where Shelby wants to have his office over the garage... with a huge dormer on the left side.

Shirley is checking her Facebook account on her laptop at the kitchen bar...

While Kim is busy working on her computer in the dining nook.

The family room is a cozy spot to relax on a drizzly day outside... what a great little wood heater!

Lucy wants to know where it is written that you must sit on the sofa to watch TV!  Why not stand on your head?  Do you see the fall colors on the trees thru the windows?

From every side of the house the outlook on the yard is lush with green and colorful foliage.  It is almost like living in park!

With only a few mintues walk or run to the waterfront, we all went for a quick little exercise on a pretty quiet, level  road by the ocean... a great place to live!  Congratulations on your new home, Shelby and Kim.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Happy Birthday, Sweetheart

Happy Birthday to You!!
This is the way the Cheesecake Factory gave good wishes to Shirley this evening... A single candle sure lit up that second blob of whipped cream!

Our waiter brought a large group of other servers to sing Happy Birthday to her... there were more than I could catch in this photo.  I believe it was the first time in her life that she was ever serenaded at a restaurant and it was fun to catch the smile on her face.

To me Shirley has the most perfect and beautiful smile of anyone in the world!  Smiling is one of her best qualities... and she does it so honestly wonderful.  I am truly blessed to have such a cheerful and loveable partner.  She has it all over Mona Lisa!  Pure happiness.

We started celebrating her birthday about two weeks ago when I got caught twice in the same day trying to secretly buy her birthday presents... so I just gave them to her early so she could enjoy them right away.  She always wants to know how far she has just walked... so a GPS watch/heart monitor was a hit.  And before I could pay for the set of pan pastels, she walked into the Opus Art Store and caught me at the cashier looking guilty. 

But today, which is actually her birthday, she didn't really get to call the shots to make it her day.  We had weeks ago made plans to drive to Seattle today so that I could catch a plane to Mexico early on the 25th... and she would get three days to be super-granny to Maizy and Lulu as well as get first views of our kids new digs on Bainbridge Island.  I will return on Wednesday afternoon and we will be back together again... and life will go on. 

Since my flight is pretty early, we thought best not to risk the unknown timing to get to the airport from our son's new home, so to take a room near the airport seemed like a better option... plus an old friend from our Loma Linda days was also coming to Seattle today.  Fred Knopper was in high school when I worked with his dad Martin in the LLU School of Health.  He used to come by the office after school and liked to visit with me after quitting time.  He liked art, photography and video stuff... so he thought my job was pretty cool.  Not long after we left LLU he pursued his dreams and today is leading out at It Is Written at Thousand Oaks California.  The photo above is Fred and his wife Judy.

Their son Chris and wife April also joined us at the Cheesecake Factory... they too have a new home not far from Shelby's... in Port Orchard and their parents are here to check it out just like we are!  I think it is fantastic that our kids are not worried about the housing slump... and are doing their part help to get the economy back on its feet again. As I was shooting their photo I had an accidental capture with my iPhone camera...

Usually I dump these kind of shots... the camera moves and goes off when you don't expect it.  But I really liked the colors and the shapes in this accidental shot... even  if it doesn't do justice to Chris and April!  I think I would like to try this in a large pastel or acrylic piece.  Pretty cool, eh?  ...or do you think I've gone over the edge?  Where is it written that all photos or art have to be in focus and have sharp, clear images?  Some of the best art requires that the viewer complete the work with their own imagination filling in the missing parts.  So loosen up and what do you see?  Try rotating it... if you have a laptop or iPad.

Which brings up another Apple product about to runaway... you gotta check out Mac Air!!!  I played with one today in the Apple Store at Bel Square.  Pretty awesome.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Terry Fox Run

First of all I want to say a BIG Thank You to all who sponsored Shirley and me in the Terry Fox Run last Sunday.

This is the first year that we have had anything to do with the Terry Fox Charity Run... and I must say that I was amazed at how well organized this event is here on our little Mayne Island.  And the results speak for themselves... setting a record of raising over $18,000 this year here.

My first contact was with Elaine Marlon-Lambert, one of the co-ordinators along with Carol Haller for the Terry Fox Run here on Mayne Island.  She told me she is a cancer survivor also and has been doing this event for 10 years now.  When I asked if there was a form online that I could get to sign up people to sponsor me she said yes... but I could never find it.  But I did everything else I could do... I registered for the run and set up my own webpage.   I sent out an email with the  link to my friends and invited them to sponsor me.  It was wonderful to see people sponsoring me and sending in their contributions online.  The support was much more than I expected, I raised my goal twice and still blew over the top!  Plus, many of those who sponsored me left encouraging notes on my blog... which was really nice.

On the day of the Run/Walk there were three stations where you could register for the event or make contributions to the charity.  From the left, Rose White, Bev & Ed McKenzie.

Shirley was there to see me come in at the finish line... but I had the iphone camera in my pocket, so she took my picture standing in front of the Terry Fox Run sign.

These are the feet of Shirley after she did the 5 km walk.
These are my feet after doing the 10 km run... which according to my GPS watch was just a tad under 9 km.
As I was approaching the finish line I was looking at my time... I knew already that if I was coming in under 60 minutes the distance was likely less than a full ten km.  An old Clydesdale is not that fast!

Everyone who ran or walked in this event was given icecream with sundae toppings, including Smarties!  It didn't take Shirley long to make it disappear.

They were set up with burgers, hot dogs and fried onions... so since it was getting close to 1:30 pm... we had a little lunch there.  Murray Gratham at the grill.

Jack Lewis was one of many people from the community enjoying a little picnic in the park.

Jerry Betker taking a break from the cooking team, along with Sylvia Slinn and Jeanne Lewis.  There was a pretty good turn out... which is why this year,s numbers were over the top. 

Terry and Jim Forster managed this sales table... a lot of people bought Terry Fox 30th anniversary tee shirts and shoe laces.

There were 20 Mayne Island residents that registered as cancer survivors... for which they recieve a red tee shirt.  Everyone else can get a blue tee shirt.  We stopped and met a fellow runner, Jean Beaudet, who told us how amazed he was to do 10 km. today.  In his wildest dreams he never imagined he would be doing 10 km today!  A couple of years ago the doctors had given him 3 months to live and he is still here.  Every day is a gift from God.
See you again next year!

There is going to be a movie on TSN this Wednesday at 6 PM Pacific Time about Terry Fox and co-directed by Steve Nash... our local Victoria basketball hero! I doubt Terry ever dreamt that his inspiration would generate 500 million dollars in 30 years!  It has been the most successful charity event in Canada!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Carrot Mountain Memories

A week ago when we were in Kelowna visiting Shirley's mother, I asked my realtor friend Marvyn Baker to join me in a hike up Carrot Mountain, which is in the Okanagan community we used to call Westbank.  New signs are up on the highway saying "Welecome to West Kelowna..." so I guess the name change is official.

The trail starts out between two houses on Shannon Hills Place in the Shannon Woods subdivision, off of Shannon Lake Road.

Shannon Woods was a 7-phase 175-lot subdivision plus two condo sites that we started in 1994 and built out at the rate of about one phase a year.

That is Carrot Mountain in the background. 

It was while golfing at the Shannon Lake Golf Course on Friday that the urge to take another hike up Carrot Mountain came over me.  Years ago when we built these condos here, we named these condos Fairway 3... but then they changed the layout of the golf course and the condos now overlook the 10th fairway.

I can never forget the day when I got the phone call at about 6 pm. that the condos at Fairway 3 were burning.  I took this photo as we approached the fire from Shannon Lake Road. 

As we hiked up the mountain together I was reminded of the day we shot our annual Acorn Homes photo on the trail.  It was no small job to get this team, some with high heel shoes, up to this viewpoint overlooking Phase 6 of Shannon Woods.

For all of three years Carrot Mountain was like my own Gold's Gym membership.  Every morning during most of the year I would drive to Shannon Woods and hike up the trail to where I had hidden my pick and shovel.  Depending on my schedule I would work building the trail for an hour or two before running back down the trail and heading home for a shower and breakfast.

Behind me is the rock I call "Bridge Viewpoint."  It is one of the few spots on this mountain where you can see the Okanagan Lake Bridge.

I enjoy watching Mt. Boucherie as we climb Carrot Mountain.  As we near the top we start to see Okanangan Lake water above Boucherie... and once on the very top you can see lots of water above.

Just past this huge Ponderosa Pine on the left is a nice little strawberry patch where I have actually eaten some of the treasured berries.  There is a lot of competition for the berries!

Once you arrive at the East Summit you will see lots of cairns along the trail on the top.  It takes about 30 minutes to hike across the top to the Horseshoe Summit.  I remember  being here one Saturday afternoon when the Snowbirds were doing a show in front of the Grand Hotel.  They seemed scary close to us us as they circled over Carrot Mountain several times!

It is an awesome view from the ultimate summit at the Horseshoe Viewpoint.  I was impressed how well Marvyn handled the hike... not bad for being 75!

The ultimate "high" (pun intended) is to see the Okanagan Fame Flower in bloom.  I learned about this flower from Judy Steeves, who writes about Oakangan trails in the Capital News.  She told me that biologists from Kamloops have flown to this mountain in a helicopter just to see this very rare flower that blooms in early June on the Horseshoe Summit.  Each flower is smaller than a 25 cent coin.

Judy Steeves hiked Carrot Mountian one morning with Shirley and me.  We took pictures of flowers and visited.  She knows the names of every flower.  Later she wrote an article on our hiking trail for the Capital News.

The Desert Rose also grows on the mountain top... and I noticed it blooms earlier than the Okanagan Fame Flower.

Shirley poses on top with Mark and Carole Albrecht on a spring afternoon.  Whenever I see snow on Little White I remember what Emmerson Vaughn used to tell us.... "When the snow is gone on Little White the cherries will be ready."

You would have enjoyed watching me launch several golf balls off the summit.  I only took up about six balls that morning, but never found a single one since.  Do you think anyone else has driven golf balls from this summit?

Several groups have hiked to the top.

As we started back down I was impressed to see how well travelled the trail looked... it told me that people are still hiking up here.

It is like two different trails.  Going up on the sunny side was like going thru a desert where it is dry and you need to be on guard for cactus if you go off trail.  The trail down goes thru a shaded valley where there are a couple seasonal waterfalls and much more lush foliage.

The two waterfalls are at their prime during the spring melt.  When we hiked past them last week the moss on the wall behind where the water falls was lush green with only a few ocssional drips of water.

With a chainsaw I had cut steps into a fallen log... and after ten years or more it still works.

On this group hike we used the log steps as seats for this photo of everyone.

If you love photography, Carrot Mountain provides a wonderful opportunity to take flower pictures.  I will do a seperate blog post of just the flowers taken over the years along this trail... all done before the days of digital cameras.

Thank you for joining me on this hiking trail of memories.

"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings" -John Muir