Sunday, January 15, 2017

Art for ABC Wednesday

When I saw a comment by Trubes on a recent post, the enjoyment I found from several years of posting at ABC Wednesday came flooding back.  She and the other volunteers at that meme have truly stood the test of time.  I had dropped out of blogging for 10 months, and had responded less and less to even the kindest of comments.  Yet, there she was, having read my post from beginning to end and taken the time to record her impressions of every detail in it.  Thank you, Trubes.  I am rushing to make it into the "A" posts before it is too late, but I will return to comment on your "Z" post, especially since zithers hold a special place in my heart.  Does this badge (that I have yet to add to my page, but will) mean that the meme will close forever after this tour?  I do hope not, but have to congratulate you, Roger Green, Leslie, Joyce, Gattina, Melody, Pheno, and Troy for running this meme that Mrs. Nesbitt began 10 years ago so very successfully.
For my "A" post, I have chosen "Art" for the theme.  As a musician, I know I fit into the world of the arts, but having never drawn even stick figures with Any success, I had Assumed that drawing was not something I would ever be Able to do.  In fact, I had pretty much Accepted that idea until Bill's cousin, Maryel, visited us at our favourite café (that also happens to be an Art gallery).  She had recently taken up drawing, and I was blown away by her portrayal of an owl.  What an impressive start to her new hobby.  I posted this photo recently but will put it here Again for anyone who missed it.
Inspired by Maryel's success, and encouraged by her suggestion of a place where I could buy some pencils and other Art supplies, and even more encouraged by Bill's enthusiasm that I give drawing a try, I decided to Attempt something that started with "A" for this ABC post.  What I found is this Aye-Aye..  or Aie-Aie (I saw both spellings on line, though I think the first is the more common).  This Madagascar lemur was on the extinct list but was rediscovered in the 1950's. You can learn more about it from this video.
 As Maryel told me, you can learn to draw just about anything from youtube.  Sure enough, there was a video to guide me with specific instructions for my Aye-Aye.  How Amazing is that?? I know this isn't perfect.  I have a long way to go, but it sort of looks like an Aye-Aye.  I'm really happy with this beginner effort.
 And, because I love to include Black Jack in most posts, here she is.  I took this photo of her yesterday..
 and then I tried to do an Artsy photo by cropping the photo to capture her eyes only.  If you look closely, you can see me in one of her eyes.  You can even see the balcony window behind us.
 I also love to include my Adored Bill in most photos, and he spontaneously did this pose yesterday.  I think his eyes are not only Adorable..
 but rather Artsy as well.  I love that you can see the smile in this 2nd shot.
 And then, the laughter. :)
 I guess my camera is something of an Art tool as well, and I liked this scenery shot over False Creek, taken moments after the one showing Bill's eyes.
Since the café at Harrison Gallery is surrounded by beautiful Art, I thought you might like to see a couple of professional paintings.  I love these two by Jose Trinidad.
 Art Around us enhances life so very much, as do All of you at ABC Wednesday for the many ways you Augment our pleasures.  My deep Appreciation to each one of you!!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Critters, past and present, for Eileen's "Saturday's Critters"

Because there was a gap between March 18, 2015 and January 4, 2016 when I didn't blog, I have a ton of critter (and other) photos waiting around in my iphoto to share with Eileen for her Saturday's Critters meme.  (Thank you so much, Eileen!) These are from March 21st, 2015, when Bill and I bundled Black Jack into the bicycle basket and rode to Jericho Beach.

There is an eagle pair (Ethel and Bert) that has been around that park for many years.  That day, we were excited to see that one of them had gathered some..
 nesting material and was taking it to the..
 platform that wildlife people built because Ethel and Bert..
have had nest upon nest fall to the ground.  Rescuing their young after these falls has had some success but still, it was deemed a good idea to try out the platform idea, and that has worked out well.  You can read more about these eagles here.
 While we were there, we enjoyed watching seagulls..
 flying around the fishing dock in the hopes of catching some leftover crabs.
 We laughed..
 at this happy dog..
 digging a hole..
 ever deeper into the sand.
 Bill, laden down with everything we had brought along for the ride, still had energy to smile as he followed Black Jack over the rocks and along the beach.
 We saw some Barrow's Goldeneyes by the dock..
 and then we walked our bikes to the little bridge over a nearby pond.  Black Jack watched the action from her basket.
 There were some Ring-necked Ducks in the pond..
 and also some turtles.
 I was happy that the sun caught the "ring" in this male..
and his mate's colours showed up nicely in the light as well.
 Here's a close up of Mrs. Ring-Neck..
 and also one of the turtle.  S/he looked up because of our shadows as we leaned over the railing.
Many people throw food in the pond for the ducks and turtles There are signs asking them not to do this, and the bread offered most frequently is the last thing turtles and ducks need, but sadly, they believe they are educating their children about wildlife.
 I have to admit that the side benefit for me is the opportunity to get close-ups.
A post without a recent photo of Black Jack wouldn't feel right..
 so here are a couple taken this morning.  She stretched for me, and then suddenly looked up at a bird in the tree outside the balcony window.
Bill isn't officially a critter :) but I like to have a recent photo of him in most of my posts, so here is one taken at our favourite café/art gallery yesterday.  We were working on a Sudoku while Black Jack sat on Bill's knee.  She kept an eye under the table, just in case there might be a crumb or other food item dropped.  
We still do crosswords almost every day and we both get a lot of pleasure out of Sudokus.  I think that shows in Bill's face. Black Jack has almost disappeared, but Bill makes sure to keep her safe.  He multitasks well. :)
I loved the way her paw draped over the bed that we bring along to keep her comfortable.
That's the critter post for today.  Thank you so much for stopping by.  I know you would love Eileen's meme, so head on over there to see many more critters from around the world.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Birds and Haircuts

I am sharing with Wild Bird Wednesday today for the first time in forever. :)  Many thanks to Stewart for such faithful administration of the meme.  His photos are truly spectacular.  Today, he shows us the Blue-faced Honeyeater.

As some of you may have read in this post, Bill's cousin, Maryel (photo of her with Bill about half way down this post) has taken up drawing.  She is having so much success, it inspired me to buy some art supplies, but sadly, I haven't yet drawn so much as a stick man.  I'm sure impressed with this little owl, though.  Isn't it magnificent? 
 Yesterday, after getting haircuts, Bill and I walked along Richards Street.  I know the sound of Bushtits (scroll a tiny bit down this page to hear a variety of calls that they make), but often, only their sounds catch my attention as I can't seem to spot them.  Short of standing forever while Bill and Black Jack wait, it often makes more sense just to walk on.  Some days, however, they are impossible to miss.  It was like that yesterday.  Not sure if we are seeing a Bushtit's tongue here.
 They like to eat insects, and though the temperature was about 0 degrees Celsius yesterday, the insects must have been plentiful in these trees. 
 I caught some flitting and fanned tails..
 but no flight shots.
Here's a look at one lovely, amber eye.
The next 9 photos show their gymnastic skills.  Flipping..
 upside down is no big deal at all.  They remind me of trapeze artists.
 Two feet holding,
 and then swinging on one foot to..
 transfer to the other side. This one seems all puffed up with a "Look Ma...." pose.
 From there, a flit to the branch above.
 Catch it with one foot,
 and hang on with two.
 Was this one eating the green moss, or perhaps finding insects inside?
 Their feet hang on so efficiently.
 Wonderful little birds.
Anyone strictly here for the birds :) is excused now.  The rest of this post is about our haircuts.  Elvis, of Zhape Studio, is a former student whom I met when I first taught at an international school over 15 years ago.  It was a stroke of luck to discover him one day, quite a few years later, as I walked past his studio.  
 I post on facebook or in the blog about him almost every time we go for haircuts.
We love that he is very cool; we never know what outfit or hairstyle he will be sporting when we arrive.  Yesterday, he had pink hair (he said it is a wax product that just lasts for a day).  If you are interested, he also has blue and purple choices.  As cool as he is, he understands that Bill and I are more conventional.  He gives us wonderful cuts and wonderful care.
 Here are Bill and Black Jack at our favourite café after leaving Zhape.
 And here I am.
 Side view here.
 Apart from the fact that we love Elvis, I promised Bill's sister that I would send her a photo of the two of us after our haircuts.  These are a fail.  Too dark and out of..
 focus, but we laughed quite a lot in the attempt to get them, so thank you, Phyllis!  I'll try to get another photo for you fairly soon in better light.
For any bird lovers still reading, don't forget to take a little trip over to Wild Bird Wednesday.  Many thanks, as always, for stopping by!