Monday, March 20, 2017

A few critters and some thoughts about Juvanescence

I missed the "H" and "I" posts for ABC Wednesday's meme but it looks like I Just might make it into the "J" post  Since I have lots of critters to share, I hope I can Justify posting to Eileen's Saturday's Critters meme as well. Many thanks to the administrators of each of these memes.  Their Job of Joining up bloggers from around the world is one they do with Joyful committment.

We hear this Flicker most days long before we spot him.  On this day, his call was so loud, there was no question he was nearby.  But where?  After much searching, I was Jubilant to catch him as he peeked up over the street lamp.
When he wasn't "kyeering" and "rolling-rattling", he was drumming on the lamp edge for maximum effect. (You can hear examples of his calls and his drumming technique by scrolling down a bit at this site),  No females responded. Perhaps, he was a Juvenile and needed more practice. :)
Suddenly, he stopped his work and stared into the sky, perhaps wary that an interloper might take over his Jurisdiction.
Before hiding again, he glanced at me, his Jaunty, red "moustache" looking positively dapper.
We saw this adorable little fellow in Olympic Village Park during one of our Jaunts about town. I learned that he is nine years of age but  he plopped himself down with a slightly Jaded air.  Perhaps, he was feeling impatient at having to wait for our conversation to end so that he could get on with his day. 
12-and-a-half-year-old Black Jack has a heart murmur and some other age-related issues but she continues to show a Juvenescent attitude.
Perhaps, that is because playing and Joking with Bill..
keeps them both nimble and full of Jollity.
Once invigorated by play, Black Jack looks like a Junior half her age.
This dog, encountered as we walked along a Yaletown street, displayed a Jazzy sparkle that was in contrast to..
the slightly Jittery attitude of this cute little one.
I liked the way his human smiled, aware in a Joshing sort of way of the impression the two of them made as people stopped to admire the little one.
Though the weather has Joggled and..  
Jiggled back and forth between sun, snow and rain, sometimes within just hours,
stopping to take a moment to recognize that fun can be had on even..
the more miserable days brings Joy to our life.  In the picture below, Bill and I played pickleball in the pouring rain.  We put a garbage bag under Black Jack, with her bed on top of it, a towel on top of the bed, and created a tent over her with a space blanket and Bill's down Jacket.
As we played, we noticed the wet court created its own shadow-reflections that were fun to photograph.  We Jested that there was something reassuring about knowing we weren't wimps. :)
As we walked home from our favourite café later that day, we were amazed to see some pink in the sky after a day that had contained hours and hours of rain.
Learning new skills is another way to preserve the Jollity and fun in life.  My attempt to learn to draw took quite a Jump forward with this copy of a drawing.. 
by Charles White.  I didn't get the lips and Jaw quite right, so my "preacher" has a slightly different expression than the original, but overall, I am encouraged to see more progress than I expected to make after only a couple of months.
All around us, as Bill and I ride our bikes and walk together, we see that hitting the Jackpot is not so much about..
winning the lotto as it is about doing what we love..
and seeing the humour..
and colour in our world.
There are Jewels to discover in our surroundings.
and in the people and pets we love..
that will keep us Jumping..
for Joy.
Don't believe me?  Sure you do!  Just ask Black Jack if you have any doubts. 
No Jesting about that, nor about the heartfelt thanks I extend for stopping by!!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Gentle Gestures, Gulls, Geese, and the colour Green

I Genuinely hoped to be on time for ABC Wednesday's letter "G" posting, and for Eileen's Saturday's Critters meme (critters begin at picture number 11).  I tried but failed to keep it simple.  I apologize, especially to those who faithfully leave comments every week. Conceding that a Goal to learn to draw is taking up more time than anticipated, I decided to explore the different shades of Green in my world and thought to focus less on drawing technique.  I found many greens to inspire me. There were palm trees at English Bay..
 and a painting by Tatianna O'Donnell at our favourite café at Harrison Galleries..
and a Gorgeous landscape by the Jellybean sculptures in Charleston Park,
We had ridden our bikes there and then walked to the nearby pond, where I considered trying to draw Bill in his green jacket.  He had Generously..
Gone along with my suggestion that he pretend to bask in the sun. But no, a portrait of him will have to wait until I have a better chance of doing him justice.
Besides, he burst into Gales of laughter as soon as I began to snap the photo.  He is SO not a sun bather, though, like Goldilocks, he appreciates warmth, as long as it is just the right temperature - not too hot and not too cold. :)
Finally, I resorted to my friend, Mrs. Google for this week's art project.  There was a lesson on line for kids, with fairly Good instructions to draw a stylized jungle.
A lesson for kids, but tailor made for this Grey-haired senior!  Well, perhaps not.  The one below was my first effort, and Bill says he likes it the best.  Though initially disappointed that my colours lacked vibrancy, my attention was soon drawn to the varying thickness of black lines.  I had never noticed before how such a simple technique can indicate depth of field.
I took a photo of the drawing, and edited it to saturate the colours, Guessing..
that might produce a stronger effect, but then I felt Guilty for cheating.  Bill, ever the enabler of my passions, encouraged me to buy some coloured markers.  I printed the photo of my original drawing, and overexposed it to edit out most of the colour.  Then, I coloured it with my new markers. That had its own challenges, as I tried to combine markers, watercolour pencils, and regular coloured pencils to create a variety of hues.  Another morning Gone, and after all of that, we both agreed the original effort was the best.  Still, I'm just happy to be Gaining a little knowledge with each project.
Thoughts of the letter G and the colour green stayed in my mind all week.  I even remembered a green insect that had walked along the top of the bathroom door way back in July.  I never did identify it (some sort of cricket?) but I took this quick photo before carrying it Gingerly outside..
to the balcony.  I loved the brilliant shade of green and those intense eyes, though I Grant some readers may not respond as I did. :)
There have been Gobs of American Wigeons around lately, and on a sunny day,
their green markings Grabbed the light beautifully.
They were Grazing on a lawn, but when a dog came along, they flew to the water.
I was way overexposed for the flying shots, but loved the exasperated expression.
"The Gall of that dog!"
Gobbling on this seaweed as soon as it landed improved its mood considerably.
A second one remained Grumpy, complaining loudly to bystanders.

Bill and I remark on the Gulls and Geese just about every time we go out walking or riding.  
Canada Geese Get the Goat of many people but they are wonderful parents and committed to their mates for life.  One of the sources of irritation is the waste they leave wherever they graze, but if you think about it, that waste is almost entirely comprised of Grass.  I do concede, though, that it is not pleasant to walk in, and definitely not the best diet for dogs (who often seem to delight in picking it up).
Each season, there seems to be one goose that looks different from the others. We saw this one last summer by English Bay.  I thought it might be a Greylag Goose but I looked them up and in the photos, their bill is an orange colour. Perhaps this is a Canada and Greylag Goose hybrid?  Or, possibly a White-fronted Goose hybrid?
Last week, in the midst of a Gargantuan flock of Canada Geese, we noticed this one was quite a bit lighter in colour than the others.  I wonder if the one we saw last summer bred with a Canada Goose and this is one of its progeny.
This close-up shows the Graceful neck of the lighter coloured Goose with its decidedly brown tones..
compared to the black Generally seen in Canada Geese.
Whatever their colours, I am always held in the Grip of their spellbinding beauty when they fly!
Seagulls are among the most difficult birds for me to identify.  We watched some bathing one day.  After a Grandiose display,
their Glorious lift-off was magnificent to me.  I believe this is a Herring Gull, though the bright orange spot on its bill doesn't show up very well here.
Their lift-off makes me Giddy with joy. :)
This gull, seen on another day, was much smaller than the ones above.  I wasn't able to identify it.  Rather than make a Gaffe,
I'll let that go this week.  Perhaps, I'll be Galvanized into action and do a bit more research in the days to come.

Another idea I had about the letter G had to do with gestures.  A long time ago, I bought a book called Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards.  It sat on the bookshelf for months and months but I've looked through it a bit lately, hoping to gain some inspiration for new projects.  When I saw this drawing titled Preacher by Charles White, I knew it was too big a project for now, , but it remains a goal to attempt to draw (at least) a hand at some point.
Gestures run the Gamut from looking directly at someone..
to racing away with Gratified relief when set free on the beach..
to a barely discernible turn of the neck to check out a camera.  We saw these horses when we rode along the bike path by False Creek.  They were Groomed..
for the Cavalia show that has been in Vancouver for the past month or so, but I guess were enjoying some rest between performances.  This one turned to look at me more carefully, although with a Gregarious attitude that made me pine to approach more closely.  We didn't, nor have we..
gone to see the show.  We saw it a few years ago and we're blown away by the athleticism and grace of these beautiful animals, but the Gist of the matter is that I worry for their well-being when they race around tight corners in small spaces.
Bill spotted them in the coral that day as we rode by, and Genially offered to..
look after Black Jack while I Gratefully took some photos.
Black Jack was on Guard, in case those large creatures escaped but all was well.
This next photo might seem to be a complete change of topic, but it fits under the idea of Gestures to me.  These are some of the people who go to Gym class with me in the mornings.  On Fridays after class, we often go to a neighbouring..
café where we are slowly but surely getting to know each other as friends.  Caroline, the second person from my right, was the one with the Gumption to suggest this, and I am so Grateful that she did.  In all the years that I have gone for gym workouts, this is the first time that people have reached out in this way.  Some have even offered up their homes for the Gatherings and others have taken a close interest in my attempts to raise awareness about the lack of research funds for kids' cancer (a subject for another day).  Caroline, I want to take this opportunity to officially thank you on behalf of all of us.  It was an unusual step that you took, and it has made a positive difference in our lives.
Black Jack wanted to get in on the idea of gestures too, and Bill helped her..
show her cute side, much to her Gratification.
This is Matilda.  We have been getting to know her over a number of years and she Greets us almost daily when we walk out the door.  She knows us no matter what we wear and no matter how we are travelling, even following us when we ride our bicycles.  She is very Gentle when she takes salmon treats from us and we have come to love her.
These last gestures..

were taken in fun..
one day after a Pickleball Game.
I hope they bring a Grin..
or two..
as I finally bid adieu for today.  Many thanks for stopping by.  Have a GREAT week, everyone.