Category Archives: Here’s what’s new with me.

The View From Here – Canada Reads on CBC Radio

I love books, magazines and most paper products and not just for the content inside. The look and the feel of a pristine new book is very intoxicating. I often visit bookstores as a treat to myself, but mostly I just browse as I can’t justify the cost to purchase all of the books I’d love to read. I usually only buy books when I go on holidays or as a present to myself and for others. That said, I was in total book ecstasy when I won five books at a radio show taping. These books are on the list for Canada Reads a program sponsored by CBC Radio One. There was a panel discussion about books that epitomize Canada especially for newcomers. Audience members were also invited to recommend their favourite books. If you haven’t read any books set in Canada, you might want to consider the following: Jade Peony (Wayson Choy), Nikolski (Nicolas Dickner), Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald), Good to a Fault (Marina Endicott), Generation X (Douglas Coupland). I haven’t read any of these books yet and I look forward to learning more about my country. Go to http://www.cbc.ca/canadareads to follow the discussion on these books.  As well, CBC Radio has a number of shows where authors are interviewed and you can either tune in or listen to a podcast of interviews from their archives.

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2010 — Off We Go Again!

New beginnings are usually associated with the new year and it hasn’t been any different for me. Getting up in the morning to go to work was new though. But it’s like riding a bike, you don’t forget. Not so with names. I probably was introduced to everyone in the office when I worked those 2 days in December, but now they are just a bunch of nameless faces. And if I met most of those people outside of the office, I wouldn’t even know that I worked with them. So today I got a list of everybody’s name and a office lay-out. Would it be such a bad idea for everyone to have a name plate? I haven’t even met the other lawyer that I will be working with.

The office is located in an area called Mt. Pleasant – it feels a long, long way from the downtown and not just in distance. I love downtown Vancouver. I feel like a foreigner. This is the area where I volunteered for the Drift Art Festival and Studio Tour, so I’ve recently become familiar with it. Everyday I explore a little looking for some interesting places where I can hang out during my lunch hour. I’m happy about the brand new community centre and library that is just a few blocks from the office. The library is like going into a book store – lots of brand new, pristine books – a little bit of heaven for a bibliophile like me.

Anyway, it’s good to be back home in my apartment. I just wish I had a Tardis like Dr. Who so I could travel to Ontario frequently and easily.

What Not to Do in an Emergency

I did the one thing they tell you not to do. I had left-sided discomfort in my chest and upper left arm and I took a taxi to the hospital, by myself. I went to WebMD to check my symptoms, and as I thought, was advised to go to the hospital by ambulance. Vanity? Independence? Afraid to be the talk of the highrise residents where I live? Waste of taxpayers money? Probably a bit of all of those things. The good news is that I am now home again just 2 hours and 15 minutes later.

I walked directly into Emergency at St. Paul’s Hospital, checked in with the clerk, had an indifferent once over by the nurse, pulse, blood pressure and temperature taken simultaneously by another nurse, bum barely warmed the chair and I was sent to the waiting room. Relatively good sign.

Into the inner sanctum: given an EKG which took 5 minutes tops after getting hooked up, blood was drawn and next thing I knew I was walking down the hall for a chest x-ray. Another very good sign. The technician was very kind-natured, a few quips about various places I could be headed to in the hospital, including my comment about the basement being the worse possible scenario. In and out, lickety split and back to the waiting room.

I saw Dr. Skinner 3 or 4 times – checking in with me, keeping me posted about the various steps. Incredibly calm, informative and thorough. (And the most beautiful eyes I’ve recently had the good fortune to be looking into.)  Everything checked out okay. To be 100 per cent sure, the blood tests would have to be repeated 6 hours after the discomfort started – approximately 2 hours from now. I could wait or go home, it was my decision. I could always come back if I felt worse or was still concerned. Dr. Skinner could not say why I was having discomfort in my upper abdomen or in my ribcage, but nothing requiring emergency care. I decided to go home. One more short wait while the doctor got the papers for me to return to the hospital for a stress test 3 days from now.

The care at St. Paul’s was incredible. I saw 7 people in total. It was smooth and seamless. No drama, no waits, nothing like you see on tv. Thank goodness for that.

I still feel discomfort on my left side.  I still have some nausea (ought oh, the doctor asked me that) or then again, maybe it’s not nausea. I sure hope Dr. Skinner was right.

The Drift Art Walk Main Street Vancouver, BC October 3 & 4, 2009

The Drift is almost here — October 3 & 4, 2009

The Drift Art Walk and Studio Tour happens on Saturday and Sunday October 3 & 4, 2009.  Main Street Vancouver will be the place to visit artists in their studios or see an artist at a Drift partner retailer with an exhibit of their work.   This is local art and local small businesses at their best in the SOMA / Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood of Vancouver.  And take in the silent auction (location to be announced) to bid on original artwork (approximately 40 pieces).  Main Street is home to many unique cafe’s and restaurants so take time out to have lunch (The Whip Restaurant), afternoon tea (Shaktea), a java jolt (Re-entry Espresso) or perhaps dinner (Burgoo).  The long range forecast is for sunny weather.   For more information go to the website at thedrift.ca.

The Main Drift Art Society, Art on Main Street 2009 Vancouver British Columbia2009

Volunteering with The Drift, Art on Main Street 2009

I have always liked the Arts and 2009 seems to be my year for getting involved.  Volunteering with The Drift will be my 2nd involvement with an arts organization fund-raiser. 

You could say that this all began through my taking a painting course with Lori Sokoluk in 2008.  Lori joined forces with William P. Stock, a photographer and the brain-child behind this, to co-produce an Art Event for The Salvation Army raising funds for The Downtown Eastside neighbourhood.  In their “calling all volunteers” email, I naturally responded to Lori, happy to help.  I met Bill at our first artist / volunteer meeting.   Even though I started out as a generic volunteer, it was soon evident to me that Bill and Lori needed some more help and I was only too happy to oblige.  Soon I was the Production Assistant and the Assistant Event and Volunteer Coordinator. 

We put together a fantastic event showcasing  painters, photographers, a  jewellery designer, a furniture designer and a fused-glass designer, all from the Vancouver Eastside.  We held the event at the funky Chapel Arts Gallery (a former funeral parlour with morgue and chapel).  We entertained with the Kevin Elaschuk Trio along with Bill Coon and André Lachance; and pianist/entertainer Bruce Tilden.  Our charity recipient was the  Salvation Army Harbour Light a wonderful program offering a continuum of care program including meals, drop-in centre, substance abuse programs, shelters, and more for the downtown east side – one of the neediest community in our city.  

The opportunity to work on The Drift is completely due to my now, good friend Bill Stock.  He’s one of the new Drift Board members and being the kind, generous and big-hearted man he is, he put my name forward as volunteer coordinator. 

The Main Art Drift Society is a not-for-profit society run by its’ volunteers to increase public awareness and to strengthen neighbourhood ties among local artists, the arts community and local businesses.

Be sure to attend our Opening Gala Dance on Friday October 2, 2009 and then spend October 3rd and 4th “drifting” along Main Street visiting artists’ studios and businesses or restaurant where they will be hanging artists’ work between October 1 – 14th.  For more information visit www.thedrift.ca