Category Archives: True Stories

Anecdotes from my past and present.

Sea Lions and bird life

Posted on April 10, 2011 by

Yesterday we went out to Steveston at nine–early, but not exactly crack of dawn–and caught a Vancouver Whale Watch tour along the 7km jetty to see the young male sea lions, both Steller and California varieties, who hang out there at this time of year. According to our guide, these handsome young bachelors come to the Fraser River Estuary to bulk up on salmon, hoping to bulk up so they can eventually challenge some big daddy lion for a harem.

This is the sort of thing that may conjure up an image of seals pumping iron, no? But of course the reality looks a lot more relaxing:

Sea Lions

It was a ninety minute boat ride, in a covered boat, and there had to be about fifty bald eagles on the route. Most of them were immature–it takes five years for an eagle to grow into that snow-white head! I rather adored that the sea lions were hanging out peaceably with double-breasted cormorants and the occasional gull.

Sea Lions

Afterward, we walked along the wharf, checking out fish for sale out of the backs of boats… including sea urchins!

Sea Urchin

And then we went to the Tapenade Grill for lunch.

Ten true facts about Rumble

Posted on April 8, 2011 by

There is (barely) a writing-related point to this post, which is as follows: It’s Friday morning: do you know where your characters are? Do you know as much about your protagonist as I know about my cat?

1. Rumble is willing to pretend to follow a small but fixed number of rules. Since we have been strictly enforcing the ‘no jumping on Minnow’ rule, he has decided he is no longer banned from the kitchen.

2. The one commercially available toy that Rumble will always play with is the Silly Kitty hemp mouse, which, according to Sophie’s Pet Palace, is about to be unavailable forever.

3. Rumble was named for the very loud kitten purr that we almost never hear anymore; as an adult, his purr is very grunty.

4. But once, late at night a couple years ago, I woke and he was doing it, purring like a motorboat between our sleeping heads.

5. When we got back from Alberta after the worst of the family funerals, he slept, for one night, with his cheek on mine.

6. There are three identical hairbrushes in my house. Two are mine and one is Rum’s. If he sees me brushing my hair, he looks beseechingly at me and meows and meows and meows.

7. If Kelly is braiding my hair, he’ll sit up on a stool in front of me so I can simo-brush him. He will get up on the stool if he sees us fetching hair elastics. He will come running if I bang the hairbrush on the stool.

8. Rumble will often come if we call Minnow’s name. Because why should she get any love? (I think you can guess what happens if we call his name.)

9. Sometimes if we’ve both been gone awhile and have come home, he’ll forget we’re back, and go to the door and cry for us.

10. He loves David Attenborough’s The Life of Birds and will always come check out what’s on the toob when he hears Sir David’s voice.

11. He can’t count to ten and probably doesn’t want to know ten things about your pet, but I might.

Cats-Rumble-yoga
12. Even when he is hogging my office chair, he is pretty photogenic.

Bridge over the River Staycation

Posted on April 4, 2011 by

I have been working on a few fiction projects at once these past few weeks: drafting one book, thinking about another, and poking away at a quartet of stories. I prefer to sink a little more deeply into one thing, but I have been playing around a lot these past couple of weeks, even with my fiction time.

(Fooling around at this point in my life seems to include playing with WordPress, which is how I ended up loading the new theme for my site. Very Indigo Springs / Blue Magic appropriate, I think! Well… blue, anyway.)

The reason for the playing around was that Kelly and I were loafing as much as was possible, because she’s changing to a new job and we don’t know yet–but will soon!–how it affects our vacation plans further down the road. And next week I am not doing the mentoring gig at all, though I am doing some other teaching and will still get up and write fiction, perhaps in a less random fashion.

That makes this the week where I catch up everything I neglected last week, and get ahead on everything I plan to neglect next. I knocked two big tasks off the mountain today, and hope to seriously dent another tomorrow.

Stench and swan

Posted on April 2, 2011 by

I have over the past few years become something of an artifical stench-hater, so it’s sad to report that I was at a work site this week and my coat fell afoul of a lurking puddle of disgustingly scented soap. I had thought it was just the heavy winter coat, but my fleece is redolent with it too. It smells like baby powder laced with decaying rose petals and I am quite thoroughly revolted by it. I plan to run the fleece through the washing machine ASAP and trot the heavy coat to the cleaners.

Until that happens, my short-term solution is to go outside in the hopes that fresh air will scrape off the stench cooties, or at least that the sights of spring will distract me from the miasma.
Bird Closeup

Staycation treasure: immature bald eagle

Posted on March 31, 2011 by

It is Wednesday morning as I type this and kelly-yoyoKelly and I are breaking with our usual mid-week pattern, whereby we go for breakfast before schlepping off to our respective work commitments downtown. It is the last day of her staycation… the old job is guttering out Thursday, and the new one starts next week. In the meantime there has been lots of relaxing, including some quality walks. A couple days ago we had a two-hour amble along the river at Steveston, where we saw this immature bald eagle:

Immature Bald Eagle

On Tuesday we went to what is becoming one of my favorite places in Vancouver, Au Petite Chavignol, where we had a long, stunning early dinner with about ten different types of fantastic, deitylike cheese. It was a splashy, indulgent treat; I’ve been feeling the need for something of exactly that nature, and I’m glad to say it didn’t disappoint.

Today began with pouring torrential rain and, in my case, a mere pretense at writing fiction–I typed in the novel chapter I drafted longhand yesterday, and woolgathered a bit about what I want to do with it. I hope to spend many hours reading a novel and relaxing in front of the fire.