Wednesday, June 21, 2017

On the Road with Husband and Hound

Tilde and trophies in the doggy yard
At least once a year, my husband and I travel to the Cascade Mountains of Washington State. For the last two years, we have travelled with our mini-dachshund Tilde. We have taken Tilde to Dachshunds on Parade in Ellensburg, Washington.

Dachshunds on Parade is a  sports day for dogs. Not a serious dog show but a chance to meet other dachshunds and their owners. There are costume parades, dog trick contests and fun races. Tilde loves to play soccer and she is a very fast runner. This year, she won a first place trophy for soccer and a second in the running race.
The Paws a While Pet Suites
I have been researching dog-friendly travel. I found Paws a While Pet Suites on a website called The suites include a unit with a doggie door and a fenced yard, dog treats, a dog wash and a special dog sofa.

wild flowers
We like to stop every hour and a half when we travel with Tilde. Monsieur plays ball and I wander about looking at the various wild flowers blooming at these high altitudes.
taking time
It seems important to take time on a road trip. To notice the flowers, to play with the dog....
Often when Monsieur and I are together, we are busy with our separate interests but our little dog seems to be an interest that we share.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Ageless Pursuits, Pollinators and a Visit

a sunny day on campus
For the last few years, in the month of June, Monsieur and I go back to school. For me, I really have hardly left because I was a student, a parent, a teacher and then a retired student of French, Spanish...
The University of British Columbia, which we both attended many years ago, offers a programme called Ageless Pursuits.

The programme is comprised of short non-credit courses on many different topics. The instructors
are members of different faculties and the offerings are diverse. This week, Monsieur and I learned
about the history of rock music and about tyranny, Trump and Plato's Republic. 

The Department of Continuing Studies is facing financial cutbacks this year. I hope that these programmes are not affected. Adults over 65 can often audit university courses at no cost throughout the year but these classes are especially designed to be of interest to older adults.

salvia with bees
I really enjoy the live photo function of my iPhone. You're not able to see all the buzzing bees in this
salvia but it is alive with pollinators. I've been taking bee pictures because Monsieur and I have now
adopted three parking lot gardens in the hope of creating perennial gardens to attract bees and butterflies. Many of the residents of our complex are too old to dig gardens so M. has become the 
"go to man" for that and I like to play with colour so planting and tending are my preferences. 
The gardens at the University are being left more wild so I had plenty of opportunities to see bees and butterflies.
a musical visit
My husband and his friend of many years sing for the residents of the Purdy Extended Care facility at the University. My father lived here for the last year of his life. Dad enjoyed the Friday pub afternoon when Brian (Monsieur) and his friend entertained. Yesterday, I dropped in. The residents have changed but the songs and the smiles are the same. Some of the staff remembered my dad. It is near
Father's Day and his early July birthday that I miss him the most.

my dad
Going back to university, visiting Purdy Pavilion, gardening plans...There are other fun things to do during our Ageless Pursuit time:eating lunch in restaurants and browsing my favourite 10th Avenue shops. That's for another blog!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Home Again, Again....

Lupines are blooming.
I've been home two weeks now. Fortunately, the weather has been bright and sunny. After three months of vivid blue skies and brilliant trees and bushes, I'm enjoying our West Coast late spring.
May flowers are my favourites. I love the blues and purples of lupines and lilacs. The extravagant blooms of the peonies...
one of our peonies
Reading groups are still in session. I just finished Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance, whose family left a mining community in Kentucky to work in the factories of Ohio. The family migrated with the "hillbilly" values and family structure of their Appalachian home. Vance describes the struggles and disappointments experienced by many of his family:broken relationships, alcoholism and drug addiction while stressing that there were other family members who made different life choices and made a successful transition to a more prosperous middle class life.

I've just started a novel, The Midwife of Hope River by Patricia Harman. Coincidentally, it is also set in Appalachia. It was recommended by Leslie at The Hostess of the Humble Bungalow whose taste in books is similar to mine. I'm sure that I will enjoy it.

Monsieur and I have been volunteer gardeners in our apartment complex. Our apartment is situated
on acres of grounds which are mostly maintained by a professional gardening service but individual areas can be adapted. We buy our own plants and try to create bright and original spaces. As I work in the parking lot, unfamiliar neighbours stop and speak to me. Parking lot gardening may be a way of building neighbourhood connections.

I miss Oaxaca. I miss walking outside my gate and seeing such colour and diversity. We are quite car dependent in my neighbourhood but I have been walking and visiting with friends at our local coffee shop. Our nights are quiet without fireworks, dogs, music and....  At home,we leave the neighbourhood for our entertainment so our evenings are silent.  I miss the sound of the accordion beggar lady with her niños. I always gave her a few pesos. As I have few travel plans for a while, I shall continue to search for and appreciate colour in my local neighbourhood.

I miss the colours of the huipiles sold just down the street.