Monday, January 7, 2013

Vancouver - Day 5

Chris and I had the morning to ourselves while Alice and Elizabeth shopped at Metrotown.  We outlined Bad Uncle, talked about family matters, and shared a few stories of our parents as a means of brewing up ideas for our present project.  When I'm home I'll put in place a rough outline that Chris and I can fill out.

We watched the Seahawks/Redskins game in the afternoon.  The Hawks overcame a 14-point deficit to win the game 24-14.  Very impressive.  For dinner, we went over to Chris Jr. and Natalie's condo in the city.  Their place is warm and comfortable with a spectacular view of Vancouver and the mountains.  We ate at the Afghan Horseman a few blocks away.

Very good and very full!

Chris and Natalie

It was delicious.  Chris and I mentioned hosting an unsung heroes party for our cousins in the summer.  All aunts and uncles are welcome!  I've love to see a few cousins I haven't seen in years...Lisa, Bobby and Leo.  Kim and Gwen would be all over it.

After dinner, we drove back to Chris and Elizabeth's where we watched the two-hour season premiere of Downton Abbey.  The intrigue and melodrama sometimes border on the contrived, but it's still a lot of fun to watch Maggie Smith deliver her signature lines.  Sad to see the Bates storyline completely stalled in prison, but delighted to see Mary attempt to self-sabotage her wedding over a 20-second conversation that by its very nature demands a series of discussions and debates.  The petulant, quixotic Mary is much more preferable to season two's calm, reasonable Mary.

Bed at 12:30, late for us.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Vancouver Days 3 and 4

Friday:  Chris and I had a short writing session in revitalized new shopping center in New Westminster while Alice and Elizabeth walked through the various shops and boutiques.    We also had lunch there...Alice and I had beef brisket and chips.  Very good.  I also ordered a Golden Autumn Oolong tea and bought $20 worth to take home.  After New Westminster, we settled home for a few hours before heading out to a Chinese restaurant to meet Alice's cousin Florence and her husband Howie.  We met them at 7 and had a delicious meal that included Winter Mellon Soup, a duck dish, general's chicken, rice, a sizzling beef dish and green beans.  Afterward, we went to Florence and Howie's house for another hour or so of socializing.  They are very pleasant people.  Like Chris, Howie has lived in Vancouver all his life.

Day 4 - Chris and I brainstormed for a few hours in the morning before we all headed out to UBC where I walked around the clusters and saw the house I lived in when I was 4-5.

We also saw the apartment complex I lived in on Toronto Road when I was 3-4.

The Clusters are either being torn down or renovated.  It's unclear exactly what's happening to them.  They're surrounded by blue fence.  Chris showed us his former office at the UBC Alumni Center (Cecil Green Building...very nice), and we went shopping around his old stomping ground near 12th Ave.  Chris Jr. and Natalie came over for dinner.

It was wonderful seeing them.  We'll see them again tonight after the Hawks Redskins game.  

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Vancouver Day 2

We got up at 5, had tea, then oatmeal at 7.

Chris making oatmeal with his spurtal

We left for Vancouver Center and Chinatown at 10.  We ate delicious noodle soup, pastries, walked around town, then returned to Chris and Elizabeth's by 4.

At Canada Place in Vancouver with Alice and Chris

Played crib with Chris and Alice, had a scrumptious dinner, watched Looper, and ended the day by 10.

Chris and I spoke briefly about Bad Uncle and will continue tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Vancouver B.C. Canada - Day 1

Alice and I arrived in Vancouver at 11 a.m. after a 45-minute delay at our SF gate.  Chris and Elizabeth were there to pick us up.  We Ate lunch at their house, then went on an hour drive through Vancouver to the mountains overlooking the city.

Overlooking Vancouver at Cypress Point with Alice and Chris

From there, we drove to Granville Island and ate butter tarts and cinnamon buns.  So good!  We came back for dinner.  Chris created a "Jamie Oliver"-inspired meal using chicken, tomatoes, potatoes, and herbs.  We ended the evening with a movie on demand, The Beasts of the Southern Wild.

Wonderful day.  Clear skies.  So good to be with Chris and Elizabeth!  Their house is so comfortanble and warm, featuring a five-star guest room with six-star shower.  Off to bed in preparation for a full day of eating, brainstorming and sightseeing tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Welcome 2013!

I just finished Julian Barne’s The Sense of an Ending.  The line that most struck me was toward the end in which Tony writes that back when he was young a man married a woman he got pregnant who didn't abort the child because that was the rule.  The themes in this short book are similar to a book I plan to write this year about my first 11 years from 1963-1975.  I liked The Sense of an Ending.

Today was relaxing.  Alice and I began our day at Starbuck’s and Noah’s Bagels on Lakeshore, then drove to her house in the Sunset district around 10.  I talked to Jill, Dad and Gwen on FaceTime.  Later in the afternoon I talked to Steve and Judy.  FaceTime is becoming my default phone.   I love it.  The telephone never did anything for me, but facing the person I’m talking to makes all the difference.

Tomorrow, Alice and I fly to Vancouver to visit Chris and Elizabeth.  It’s going to be one of those magical five-day trips that I’ll always refer to for the next couple of decades.  The weather will be cold but clear.  Rain comes Saturday.

Just saw on my iPad that the House passed a bill to avoid the fiscal cliff.  All that drama for passage in the midnight hour.  Way to go, Congress.  I hope and pray the next generation of leaders are more mature and responsible than what we’ve had to endure these past few years.  It’s difficult for me to even read about them without rolling my eyes.  They couldn’t come up with a solution in early December because that would have been way too practical.  Nope, they had to wait until the last minute to pen a deal.  It’s stunning to me how much unnecessary drama and chaos there is out there for no reason.

Anyway, I have a lot of material to write about this year.  Austin15 and No Sweat are my first two projects for 2013.