It’s not just a phone

I’ve been taking photos – a lot of photos – with my cellphone. The SLR snob in me is a bit annoyed, but the practical side of me has to face facts: with a 2 and a half year old in my life, carrying around ten pounds of camera gear just isn’t an option the way it used to be.

Last year I got a new Android Nexus One to replace my ancient cellphone. It’s nearly as powerful as my 5 year old laptop, and I’ve discovered that with a good camera app (namely, Vignette for Android) it’s a pretty powerful photographic tool. I’ve captured some shots with this phone that I’m very happy with… even proud of.

These are a few of my favourites:

It’s not so friendly, if you ask me…

I turned the last corner on a lovely walk from my home to the mall down the road and saw this building and its inviting sign. Behind the run-down fence covered in mildew and rust was the least appealing series of row houses that I had seen in a long time…. I felt sad for the people who lived behind that fence.

Friendship Place

Wading in the shallows at Rocky Point, Port Moody

My daughter, Lyra, is almost fearless. A warm autumn day and clear skies brought us out for a walk at Rocky Point park in Port Moody, where we discovered a ramp down to the water. In seconds she had waded in far enough to fill up her rubber boots, but she didn’t care – splashing around made her happy. When she’s happy, I’m happy. I’m glad I got a photo of this moment.

Wading in the shallows at rocky point

Kitsilano sunshine in spring

On my lunch break at the David Suzuki Foundation, when the weather is nice, my team will get sandwiches from the local Safeway and sit in the grass behind the store to eat them. Third Avenue is a piece of what makes Kitsilano beautiful – overhanging trees that throw dappled shadows on the road in the early spring, cherry blossom snow for that brief time in April when they’re blooming and magical, and on the occasional Vancouver snowfall they shine like the mountains themselves. It seems to me that this is sometimes overlooked next to Kitsilano’s more obvious charms – the beach and its view of the city and mountains, the shopping, the culture. This simple overhang of tree branches is my favourite thing about Kits.

My lunch spot behind Safeway in Kitsilano

The Olympic rush subsides

I like watching the Olympic sporting events. This is the first time I’ve lived in the host city for the Olympics and been able to experience them in such a direct way.

That isn’t to say that I bought tickets and went out to the events. I didn’t. There’s no room in my budget right now for that sort of thing, so I watched what I could (which was a lot) from the comfort of my own living room. Every workday, though, I was on a bus heading through the chaos. The mornings were fine — better than fine, even, since so many people were afraid to commute downtown the roads and buses were practically empty. The evenings on my way home were busier, sometimes excessively, but the atmosphere was one of celebration and friendliness, so I never really minded being a little late getting home.

Vancouver 2010 by night

I love watching the sports on tv, though. Women’s downhill, with so many wipeouts at such high speeds, reinforced my longtime fear of getting back on skis. (I fell when I was sixteen and terrified myself, and haven’t been skiing since.) Curling (yes, curling) had some crazy tense moments. Seeing the men’s moguls gold medal win was exciting. Watching the women’s gold medal game made me want to get out and join a team, even though I can’t even stand up on hockey skates. And today’s Canada-USA men’s hockey game was so intense and stressful and amazing to watch that I can’t really express it appropriately. It was maybe the best hockey game I’ve ever watched, and the winning moment felt like a triumph for the country somehow, and an amazing end to the whole show. Let’s not discuss the actual closing ceremonies (except that part where they raised the fourth pillar and let Catriona Le May Doan light it with her torch properly. That was classy. Oh yeah and Neil Young, I like him too.)

Considering I live in the host city, I didn’t really get out to many events. The logistics of navigating downtown with a toddler who wants to walk everywhere herself in those crowds was just too overwhelming to contemplate, and going without the family (which I did for one whirlwind night, and took photos of,) just wasn’t as satisfying somehow. There was certainly no chance we could get into the multi-hour lineups for some of the venues with Lyra to contend with, and in some ways that was a disappointing thing to come to terms with. In the end, though, it wasn’t that big of a deal. I don’t feel like I needed to get out to those events to be able to say that I was here during the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. I definitely don’t feel like I missed out because I have a kid and didn’t do my best to work around that fact. If it had really mattered that much to me, I would have made it happen.

Now that the games are over, the city will revert back to its normal self. I think some folks might have MegaPartyWhiplash after this. It’s definitely going to be strange to NOT have the games hanging over our heads all the time… I sometimes feel like that’s all people have talked about since I moved here. Now that it’s over, we get to enjoy the aftermath, which is probably not going to be very pretty. But hey, the highway to Whistler looks good now, and we got a new Skytrain line to the airport, so yay us. I can’t imagine what the longterm financial costs will be. Oh well, it’s not like I could afford a house here anyway.

But right now, after the games have ended and we’re all reeling from various victories and stories of winning against all the odds and so on, things feel pretty good. It was a fun ride, Vancouver, and thanks for coming out to play with the world for a couple of weeks.

Vancouver 2010 by night

Sunny Break

Today was one of those days that makes Vancouver in the winter the best place in Canada. Yes, it rains and is overcast a lot in an average Vancouver winter, but those days when the sun comes out and it warms up make all the rain and damp chill a distant memory.

It took me a while to get out today, but once I did it was lovely. I met up with a couple of other moms and we walked around the Lynn Valley area for a couple of hours. We kept to the sunlight as much as we could, which was lovely.

My legs, however, are much tireder than I would expect, considering how much walking I do fairly regularly. They ache a bit tonight. Ah well, it’s a good ache I guess.

I’ve been doing a burlesque workshop for the past three weeks. My last class is Wednesday night, and theoretically by then I’ll be able to do a short burlesque routine to Madonna’s Hanky Panky. It’s crazy fun, but I am still a terrible dancer. I am, however, far better than I was the first week, so that’s something good.

Tomorrow I hope to go down to the Library for baby song time in the morning, then stick around for the Diaper pickup guy in the afternoon, and perhaps relax at home the rest of the afternoon. The rest of Lyra’s & my week is shaping up to be pretty busy. I’m okay with that, though.

Flugtag and Pirates!

On Saturday, Adam, Chris and I went to Red Bull Flugtag, an event where people build strange flying contraptions and attempt to fly them off a platform, crashing into False Creek. Whoever goes the furthest and has the most style and showmanship wins.

Naturally, I took pictures, although I forgot my extra CF cards (they were in the wrong bag, doh!) and didn’t get pictures of them all. For all the Flugtag pictures, you must check out my Flugtag Gallery. For a sample, see Continue Reading

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Posted at Metblog Vancouver again. Last night we went to see laser Floyd with Tara, and it was a great show again. Lasers are cool. So is the planetarium.

I’m catching a cold. Woke up with a sore throat this morning and that fuzzy-headed feeling you get at the onset of a cold. Not fun. I took some tylenol cold medication, though, so that should help.

Now it’s time to go to the Market and get something to bring for a pot-luck over in Vancouver. These are the days I love owning a car. It’s snowing and wet out, and we have to go far.

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I think I have rarely endured a day of work filled with so much overall tension from so many different corners as today, if ever. It’s days like these that make me wonder how anyone stays at a job for ten years, five years, anything. There’s so much psychology and techniques and so on that people use in their personal lives, with family, with friends and lovers… and yet we still often spend a lot more time with the people we work with, and there really isn’t any sort of system for that.

Most of it didn’t impact me directly – I just got to watch it all. What did impact me, I dealt with early in the day and promptly forgot about since it was dealt with.

Ever since we got back from the wedding, we’ve been off and on looking for a new apartment. It hasn’t been a serious search as of yet, really – we’ve only looked at one place, and it wasn’t at all suitable. The problem is, we’ve also noticed since we got back that apartments are getting more expensive, even over the last few months. We’re not exactly in a place where we can think about buying a house, especially not in the Vancouver market. We’re really fine with renting right now at any rate. The problem is, with the rent going up the way it has been, we’re starting to worry that we won’t be able to find a place that will suit us. The other issue is the cats, as a lot of apartments in Vancouver have a strict No Pets policy and we have the two cats.

The internet search for apartments has so far been a little disappointing. I’m hoping now that Adam’s starting to feel better we can get out and start walking around. It’s strange to think that we’ve actually lived in this apartment for 11 months now. By the time we move it will be over a year, I’m sure, and we still don’t have anywhere near all of our stuff here.

In this aspect, Adam and I have discovered a difference between us. To me, since for my entire life I moved around every couple of years, changed houses, changed schools, and so on, I associate the feeling of being settled in, the feeling of home, to be the place where I keep my stuff – books, pictures, cds, toys, and so on. To him, he feels home where he lives – it’s the place that is home. Because of this fact, the lack of our stuff has bothered me for the past few years (as long as it’s been in storage, which is since we first moved up North to New Liskeard back in December of 2002. That’s three years for me of feeling displaced, of not feeling like where I am is home.

This makes me sad. I really, really need to get my things out here, or I’ll never really feel like I’m home again.