Thursday, March 31, 2011

A glorious day

(The links take you to the source of the pictures which aren't mine)

A glorious sunny day in Vancouver today so 1 I rode to Greens on my new (pre-loved) bike which Jeremy gave me yesterday in shorts, shoes and a my favourite cardigan grandma knitted... 2 through the streets filled with cherry-blossoms... 3 thinking about where to get a cute basket... 4 to put the cream and milk* I bought to go into... 5 the cups of breshly brewed coffee we drank over breakfast... 6 following which I picked dafodils from the garden... 7 and then received these great bear stamps in the mail.

What a pleasant day. I hope we have more sunshine for snow-boarding tomorrow!

*Over here lots of people drink cream in their coffee or 'half and half' which I guess is like a lighter fat cream. I figure if you're going to have cream just have the real thing so we have been drinking coffee with a splosh of whipping cream. There is a great brand here called Avalon which is from a local dairy, organic, nothing added and comes in glass bottles which you get $1 for when you return.

It is illegal to sell raw milk here (which would be my preference if I could buy it) and the only way to get around that is to buy 'cow shares' or make friends with a dairy farmer who may just 'give' you some raw milk in exchange for another gift. I may look further into these options but am enjoying Avalon cream and un-homogenised milk for now.

I could go on about milk and cream as it's something I'm passionate about (yes I know it sounds a little ridiculous but it's certainly not my main passion) but i'll leave it there and if anyone else shares my 'passion' we can talk more later.

PS This collage was inspired by Anna Bond who has a gorgeous stationery line Rifle Paper Co. I have seen variations done by many designers so I know mine is a little tacky in comparisome but this is the first time I've attempted something like this and hopefully it can only get better.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Just Work


On Wednesdays I have been visiting a pottery studio in East Van to help out where I can. I have wanted to work with porcelain for a long time, and had looked into doing a short course in the past, so this has been an absolutely wonderful opportunity and I have learnt so much in a short time (there is SO much more to pottery and ceramics than I imagined). I have been making ceramic crosses which will be glazed and re-fired and sold to support the Just Work social enterprise - Just Potters. This such a fantastic initiative, born out of a desire to help the people of East Vancouver in a practical way - through employment opportunities. If you have 5 minutes this video explains it beautifully:

They have a facebook page and an etsy site where you can order the beautiful work online. I would love to get some garden markers for my new veggie plot and I am just trying to choose between all of the other mugs, bowls, even a fantastic "berry bowl" which is a gorgeous green and will be great in summer time when berries abound. (There is even more available for purchase in the studio than what is listen online... honey pots, an orange juicer...) Have a look and see for yourself!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Flowers for the table

This morning I bought this beautiful bunch of flowers at the Farmers Market. This is just how I love flowers to be, a collection of pretty stems bunched together fairly randomly. No need to worry about symmetry, or wire or any of the fuss that goes into so many of the fancy arrangements sold in florists. They're grown locally and they probably cost me a 1/10 of the price.

Later this afternoon I went along for a 3 hour shift to shovel horse manure at a fund-raising sale for some local not-for-profit organisations. They were so overwhelmed with volunteers that I hardly shovelled any poo except for the bag I bought for my new garden plot. Yes, I came away from today with a garden plot to my name in a community garden run through our church community here. I am so excited to have some soil of my own to dig in. There is already some thyme, oregano and sage growing which survived the winter. So excited about seeing it full of good eating things in the summer. Enjoyed the afternoon meeting people and chatting even if I was absolutley no use practically. Thanks Adam for your help digging!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

نوروز (Persian New Year Celebrations)

Iranian New Year 5
Iranian New Year 3
Iranian New Year 2
Iranian New Year 3
Iranian New Year 4
Iranian New Year 6
Thankyou Farzan for inviting us to celebrate with you and for putting on such a wonderful, traditional spread including the customary seven 'S's. Lovely to meet Anna and Ben and Samuel too.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Dafodils for spring

625 Mossy Grass
Something delicous about the grass in this top picture. Maybe I haven't mentioned it before but it rains a lot in Vancouver. Summer we're told is beautiful. Winter is grey and wet and cold (but not very cold) with occassional sunshine. That doesn't mean not beautiful, just a different kind of beauty. A kind of everything-is-covered-in-moss beauty. I don't terribly mind the rain so far... but it has been known to cause high rates of SAD (Seasional Affective Disorder) among the people here. One advantage of rain is good soft soil for plants to grow in, something I'm not very familiar with coming from the dry, dusty plains of the land down under. So I was very excited to see these suprises poking up through the soggy marsh grass on our front lawn:
Spring flowers colour 2x2And a few days later they blossomed into these below. I was tempted to pick the purple flowers immediately, but they don't look like the kind that would last well inside... So I resisted. I showed restraint and I was rewarded. These beauties have been flowering for at least a month, beginning small and tight each morning and opening up full and bright with any sign of sunshine. At night they close up again to rest and greet me again in the morning. See they even cope with a light frost and though they were buried in the snow they've kept on warming my heart.
Spring flowers 2 2x2
We turned the clocks forward one hour for daylight saving on Sunday so it is officially Spring now and the days are getting longer. Even the dafodils know the seasons are changing, they were perfectly on time popping up to say hello to Spring this very first week. I'm excited to plant my paperwhites in the ground to suprise someone else next year. Thankyou Heavenly Father for seasons.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Simple pleasures

Simple pleasures
A $3 teapot, paper-whites with beautiful perfume & dark chilli chocolate (mug from Just Potters)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Our little friend

Squirrel compilation 1
Squirrel compilation 2
Squirrel compilation 3
If you squint you can see little "Waynie's" head popping out over the balcony even in that last picture. What a cosy home.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Pancake Tuesday

pancakes and blossoms
On Tuesday afternoon we crossed the border into Washington State for a stroll through the beachside town of Bellingham. There are streets there called "A" street, "B" street and so on through the aphabet. A cute idea and helpful when you're learning your way around. We also indulged in pancakes and various deep-fried pieces of things. One of those treats you do once a year. It seems like a good idea but leaves you feeling regretful and squirmish. On the way back through customs we had our passports officiated with our documents - a work permit for me and a study permit for Joshua. So it is official now. We can work and study and stay in Canada for a few years. I also captured the first of the spring blossoms here.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Purple for Lent

purple jacaranda
While we are experiencing new weather seasons here we are learning to be more aware of other seasons in our lives. I bought this Christian Seasons Calendar from the Regent bookstore when we arrived and added all the Jewish festivals to it as I couldn't find one that combined both. Tomorrow is the beginning of Lent, the 40 day count-down to Easter (and the Passover celebration). Josh and I are both hoping to give some things up. I'd also like to find some tangible actions to take,verse 6 below offers some ideas (commands even?) This 14 year old boy made a beautiful candle holder for lent countdown. I'm wondering if I can whip one up or buy one for next year? I've enjoyed establishing some new traditions with Josh in our two-person-strong family. I think these are the kinds of celebrations which children would really benefit from too. My little (but probably more responsible and mature and absolutely gorgeous) sister is expecting her first little one. First granchild on the Cain side!
purple pretty
purple vine
purple old building
purple flowers
purple leaf
purple Ay Ka Dot
purple poppy seeds
purple josh and myer sign
purple paul
purple lachie
purple easter
I read this verse this morning as one of the readings for Ash Wednesday. I know it looks a little long but it is all so good (and hard) and so challenging. The emphasis is all mine. I can see why light and the idea of abstaining is significant for this season...

Isaiah 58

1 “Shout it aloud, do not hold back.
Raise your voice like a trumpet.
Declare to my people their rebellion
and to the descendants of Jacob their sins.
2 For day after day they seek me out;
they seem eager to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right
and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions
and seem eager for God to come near them.
3 ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say,
‘and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
and you have not noticed?’
Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
and exploit all your workers.

4 Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
and expect your voice to be heard on high.
5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for people to humble themselves?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
and for lying in sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD?

6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness[a] will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,

10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.

11 The LORD will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Pear Portrait

3 pears
I couldn't help but buy these beautiful pears. They are just calling out to be photographed and drawn. I have been trying to buy locally (not much in season at the moment...) but thankfully Washington State is just over the border so I think these are a fine exception.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Types of Snow Diagram

Types of Snow Diagram

Winter wonderland

Snowy compilation roadSomething I've wanted to do for a long time is to live somewhere that has 4 seasons* - an autumn that's red and orange and golden, a white winter, a spring full of fresh bulbs and a summer of long daylight hours. My winter has been fulfilled. It REALLY snowed on the weekend. It didn't last long, but it was all we needed to experience it in all it's fluffy freshness. *Brisbane has seasons of it's own - summer, a little bit cooler, a little bit warmer and then summer, summer summer. But really, I do especially love the change of seasons in Brisbane but a tropical climate just doesn't have the stark differences that Vancouver has to offer me. Brisbane I still love you and being away makes me appreciate you more.
Snowy compilation cat
These were all taken on an early Sunday morning stroll. The snow began on Saturday, very fine like castor sugar (refer to Types of Snow Diagram), by Saturday night we'd experienced feather pillow snow and it looked to be sticking around. We ran around the neighborhood Saturday night like little kids - and were pleased to see lots of others doing the same at 11pm. You have to make the most of it while you can! I woke up early with that excitement you get on your birthday. I had had nightmares about all the snow being melted, but thank the Lord it had snowed all night! It was thick and glorious, and I was keen to make sure my footprints were some of the first.
snowy compilation
I wasn't the only one leaving foot prints. I was pleased to find evidence that another friend had visited our place. I thought moving to the city we might have had to say goodbye to wildlife, but thankfully there are lots of city-dwelling squirrels and raccoons who choose the fast paced lifestyle of the suburbs.
Raccoon foot prints