Friday, November 29, 2002

Richard Rushworth Remembered

Richard Rushworth passed away this evening around 6 o'clock. He'd been in the hospital for a week and I didn't know. I was on the phone this evening with Allan, half consoling him, half trying to convince him that he should not feel guilty for not being right there by his side at the end, to say goodbye to probably his closest friend.

We knew Richard would not be able to survive his bouts with illness for too much longer. But we're still sad to see him go, especially Allan, understandably. I just went through some of the e-mail conversations Richard and I had, and looked at photos I'd taken of him with the kids on some of our visits. I told Allan we should go to Raf's for fish and chips on Sunday at Crescent Beach, because that was Richard's favourite thing. He really looked forward to when I would drive out there with the bambinos and we would split a massive piece of halibut and chips. I'm glad Richard introduced me to that place and we were able to shoot the ocean breeze together over a mutal love of Raf's tartar sauce. Even if he had tubes up his nose and the kids had ketchup smeared all over their little faces. There is something still very poignant about that, and the image is imprinted indelibly in my mind.

I've been studying the philosophy of life and death since September, and I think the academic approach has made it easier to deal with those two subjects. I've thought about it a great deal while reading the texts and writing three papers. At the very least, I felt I had something constructive to say to Allan to help him feel better about missing out on an opportunity to say goodbye, even though I didn't get this idea directly from readings or discussions. I compared it to the phone call we were on -- I told him the goodbye isn't so important, it's the hello and the conversation you had beforehand...

Melissa and Michael harassing Richard.

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

I haven't posted for over a week... I have a Philosophy paper due tomorrow and all I want to do right now is to go to sleep for a hundred years.

Sunday, November 17, 2002

Science World

Melissa and I hit Science World today!

Melissa at Science World

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

How do you know when you need more sleep?

When you dump a massive cup of coffee in your lap in class while you're sitting in the front row and spend the next hour trying to dry yourself discreetly while trying not to distract the professor, reeking of denim latté, then sneaking out at the end of class strategically holding a rucksack to hide the embarrassingly large wet spot between your legs and forgetting your digital recorder on the speaker's stand...

That's how you know...

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Calgary Debriefing

Monday night. Kristin and I just ate enough fondue for 5 people, just between the two of us. We gorged ourselves. We had to, after an evening like this... for the second time, Kristin and I missed each other at the airport! I thought last time was bad, but this time I waited at the airport for nearly 2 hours! Kristin and I just couldn't find each other...

Calgary cousins

What a day! Met with the cousins for lunch, at 4th Street Rose. Ron, Ritchelle, and Gin all made it and I played raconteur for a couple of hours. It was great to see them again, and after I dropped Tyrone off at his office I went straight to the airport to return the rental car and make sure I had plenty of time to make the flight. I was so knackered...

It's been an interesting long weekend.

Tyrone and Chris in the cable car


Saturday, November 09, 2002

Calgary Saga

When I finally made it to the gate via a circuitous route I breathed a sigh of relief. But I wasn't the only late arrival -- in the end, by the time the plane took off at 9pm, it was delayed 45 minutes. Apparently it was waiting for another plane of connecting passengers, then the computer that generated tickets was giving out more boarding passes than seats on the plane. I hit a rather embarrassing snag when my bag wouldn't fit in the overhead bin. That's one major downside of showing up late -- people just watch you while you struggle trying to put baggage into a bin that a short person like me can't reach without putting the people below into danger! And of course where are the flight attendants when you need them?? Nowhere. After several unsuccessful attempts to close the bin, witnessed by the entire back of the plane, I headed down the aisle to search for some options. This kind woman finally stopped me and mentioned that the outside compartments were larger... crikey, I'm glad SOMEONE spoke up.

After all that, I finally arrived in Calgary at 11 o'clock local time. Talk about a people jam -- hordes of reunited families and friends crowded the airport. YVR seems so spacious by comparison.

I talked the Avis agent into upgrading me from a Cavalier to a Malibu and I set off to find Chris's place, through black ice and blowing snow... I thought, 'Great, from torrential rain to ice and snow...' It was so slippery I had to go at a snail's pace. I found Chris's house and we headed downtown, into more snow. Snow. Great to look at but crappy to drive in. The accident in January is still clear in my mind.

Chris and I found Tyrone at a tavern downtown, playing pool with his teammate, Rob. Apparently Tyrone is playing in an expensive pool league ($240/year + nightly fee!). Karaoke was the entertainment of the evening, and I don't believe I have ever seen so many pub patrons so gung-ho about karaoke!

Let the driving begin... Rob took a taxi home and we drove over a vast, flat plain of residential areas on a mission to find a liquor store for Tyrone, some food for me, and cigarettes for Chris. If you asked me to retrace that route, I would have no idea... with Tyrone backseat driving and Chris telling him to shut up, it was amazing I was able to get us to anywhere.

Will we get to Banff tomorrow? Or will the boys sleep in and Gail slip away to Banff by herself? It's nearly 4am, so we'll see if anyone gets up at all before noon.

Getting to Calgary

It's early early Saturday morning and we finally made it to Tyrone's house. I feel like I've driven from Vancouver to Hope -- Calgary is so spread-out. Although I should be happy I made it to Calgary at all -- I got to the airport 15 minutes before my plane was due to leave! Kristin was doubtful I could make the flight, with traffic so blocked up it took 10 minutes to make 3 stoplights. I was pretty optimistic until we reached the end of Granville Street -- and I thought "home free!" -- and realized that the cars were bottlenecked at Marine Drive. And it was already five minutes to 7 o'clock.

My very first flight on Air Canada, and I nearly missed it! The last and only other domestic flight I've taken was when I was 18 years old and living in Banff, and it was the same city pair, Calgary to Vancouver. This was long before the YVR domestic terminal was renovated, and I remember even now that it was in dire need of a wrecking ball. Unrecognizable now that it's all shiny and new.

A bit of anxiety set in when the Air Canada express check-in kiosk immediately rejected my request and I found a queue of people waiting for counter service. The clock was ticking past 7 o'clock and I hadn't even checked in! I managed to take my reject notice to an agent and there was yet another hiccup when he had difficulty getting me a seat. After the speediest AIF credit card transaction ever came the biggest hurdle: the lineup at security check. It seemed to crawl slower than molasses. I started getting discouraged when I noticed a bunch of people getting their shoes inspected... Then my rollerbag almost didn't fit through the x-ray machine, which, if unsuccessful, would've sent me right back to the service counter.

Monday, November 04, 2002

From 'To Kill a Mockingbird' to Maplewood Farm

The last couple of days have wiped me out!

Yesterday morning was Spanish class, which I feel a bit more caught up on now because I missed last week. Last night I went to see "To Kill a Mockingbird" at the Stanley Theatre with Karen Ameyaw and her friend Lauren. Karen's brother Kwesi played Tom Robinson, and was he ever good! He had probably the best performance of the night. We went out to Earl's after for a bite to eat, along with two of Kwesi's actor friends, both named Dion, one was white and the other black. What are the odds....? Anyway, I ended up sitting next to the extremely jaded and condescending white Dion, who started off with the one question that drives me absolutely bonkers: "So, what do you do?" I'm sure I have told every living soul about why I detest this question, so I won't get into it here. Suffice to say, after debating with him over numerous sociopolitical issues for the duration of the meal, I was not sad to part company. People like him get my hackles up like nothing else.

Today I took out the older M's -- Michael and Melissa -- because it was gorgeous outside. We first went to Maplewood Farm, and I bumped into Jasna and Zoran and their son Simon! I was so happy to see them! We couldn't talk long because the M's were shy but very restless to get to the fun...

Melissa feeding bunny.

When we were at Maplewood Farm, the M's spent much of their time in the rabbit cage, feeding carrots to the bunnies. Michael even tried to feed Bugs Bunny. One new thing we did today was try to get the parrot to talk.


A Day Out With the Kids

While the sun was still burning brightly in the sky, we made a trip out to Ambleside Park, which is right by the beach in West Vancouver. As the crow flies, my apartment is so close by, separated only by Georgia Strait between Stanley Park and Ambleside. There were all sorts of playground equipment there and the M's seemed impervious to the cold air (I was freezing! -- but my gloves and hat were in my car, which was with Allan & Cheryl).

Ambleside Park

We met Allan and Cheryl and Madeleine at my apartment, and I took them to Capers on Robson so Allan and Cheryl could see the variety of food available, especially since Maddy is allergic to everything under the sun. They've got a great deli department, and a section for made-to-order sandwiches, desserts, and beverages. It always takes me so long to figure out what to eat.

La Casa Gelato, on Venables in East Vancouver, is one of the best places to take people who have a widely differing set of preferences for dessert. Or in our case, differing dietary restrictions. Maddy was fast asleep the entire time we were there, so in the end we didn't get her any ice cream, but we got Michael and Melissa two kid cones each (they were free!). It was Allan's first time, and Cheryl's second, so making a decision was a long process.

La Casa Gelato

Friday, November 01, 2002

Dame Edna

Dame Edna was HILARIOUS... if it weren't for Dame Edna as a major part of this evening (my mother's 55th birthday), I would've slit my wrists... why am I always the one to take her out for her birthday?? Because no one is brave enough. That's why.

OK, on to the woman of the evening; strangely enough it was really Dame Edna, and not my mother. I was having a look at her touring schedule, and the Vancouver engagement (11 days!) is in between New Haven, Connecticut, and Minneapolis, Minnesota!! Have a look at a map. Vancouver is a very long ways from both cities. In fact, Vancouver is the only Canadian stop on her North American tour, and it's the only city that isn't on or near the Eastern U.S. Makes you wonder, really.