Gathering Cosy and Safe for Christmas

It seems quaint now, to see photos of being caught up in last year’s bustle of holiday crowds in cafes, stores and yes, even the hotel that hosts for the public, gingerbread collection of cookie, candy and sugar dusted winter tableaux and figurines. At the time, we thought the gingerbread cruise liner ship with onboard…

Overlooked Paths: Discovery and Unexpected Encounters

A few weeks ago, in a park I decided to veer off by bike, onto a different side route.  This side route was right by the entry of a popular bike pedestrian bridge.  I’ve been ignoring this well-marked cut-off, for the past 9 years. I’m not sure why we never bothered to slow down, dismount…

Outdoor Art Adds a Different City Heartbeat

If you need a break from the city’s fast pace and crowds while in the midst of its heartbeat, outdoor art can be a wonderful antidote to slow you down.  Or indoor art in public places, such as the stained glass of Mount Rundle below, taken inside St. Paul’s Church, in downtown Banff. Not every…

Becoming Bird-Alert

Maybe it’s slowly creeping into me over past few years –I’ve become acutely aware of birds as I spin along on bike into park areas or rest for a short time near trees, bushes and tall grasses. It’s like a candle has been lit in me.  Especially this year, I notice bird shadows flitting in…

Social Bonding Over Food

Before covid-19 hit the brakes hard globally on health and our social lives, the last social meal I had with several people was the last day in February. At lunch, I hung out over sizzling stone bowls of bimbap with egg, at a popular Korean restaurant with 3 other employees from another department. In fact,…

Nature as Solace During Uncertain Times

Over the past few decades, I’ve been lucky to live within a 5 min. walk or if further away, a bike ride to very large parks and escape to Nature’s calming presence. Even in urban parks, I can very quickly immerse in the leafy stillness, sunshine, twittering birdsongs, rustling swaths of wild grass and bush,…

Daily Life Lessons During Covid-19 Pandemic

For some folks, a global plague highlights a lot what they took for granted since this past March.  Or confirmed what one knew or decided long ago: Mask-Wearing for Hours is Hot I mean kind of sweaty.  My double-sided, non-medical cloth mask is hot to wear for several hours at room temperature. When reading a…

Fragility of Interconnected Mortality, Trust and Love

I’m sure some travel bloggers look at their own photos and fun posts on where they’ve been, as a string of postcard dreams and memories during the coronavirus-19 pandemic restrictions on daily life. Longing To Be Carefree Again Will we be able to travel again? Carefree and curious, solo or with others immediately beside us,…

Cherry Blossom Bouquets, Sharing Obsession

Cherry blossom bouquets Bounce-sway in warm breeze, Spring pink petals fall. Writing a blog post with photos about cherry blossom season, is an act of memory and hope for me.  Every time.  A thrust forward into the near future with happy expectations of pink bursting-birth all over Vancouver. And Nature delivers every spring. You’re never…

Jasper National Park- Away from Thronging Crowds

If you really want to avoid wilderness national park tourist craziness, go to Jasper in early October.  Be warned:  I’ve never been there during summer and don’t feel like going there then, to challenge my own claim. Just know that Banff National Park received a bumper crop of all-time high of tourists 2018-2019 (data probably…

A Life –So Far

I have had a problem:  it’s hard to squish alot of stuff into a resume.  It’s like stuffing a pillow that’s fluffy, yet lumpy in the wrong places. Then trying to lie down and wondering if now, the pillow is too puffy. Sometimes we amble along in life, nearly robot-like in our daily routine, chores…

Christmas Snow Beauty, Whimsy and Deliciousness

Some Christmases are for real, especially those living in northern climates:   some snow at home, fun irrelevance with all the decorations, even flat-out commercialization and special food treats. Soft Falling Snow Feeds Dreams Lush snowy drifts doesn’t pile on every Christmas in all parts of Canada.  But when the snow does fall around Christmas, snowfluffy…

Monarchs and Other Butterfly Surprises: Toronto

Much to our surprise, our visit in Toronto, coincided with the Monarch Butterflies’ last sojourn in early September before migrating south to Mexico. Monarch Abundance Not Far from Skyscrapers Quite frankly, I had no idea in advance, the number of monarch butterflies we would see in the city in several parks, with the city traffic…

Dinosaur Dreams and Stories –Past and Now

Until I moved to Alberta, dinosaurs never dented my consciousness. World’s Biggest Museum Dedicated to Dinosaurs It was not until a few years ago I accompanied a sister’s family to dinosaur excavation and research hub, at the Royal Tyrell Museum of Palaeontology in Drumheller. It’s in Canada’s Badlands where the dinosaurs roamed or swam and…

A Wilderness Jewel: Lake Moraine

Recently another blogger, an American ex-pat living and teaching in Thailand, mentioned she saw someone selling canned Canadian air to mainland Chinese tourists. Not a surprising scam. Whenever we’re hiking or snowshoeing in a Canadian national park, I always marvel sucking in fresh mountain air,  gazing over clear turquoise gem lake waters, pristine expansive wilderness…

Art and Alchemy of Glassmaking: Tacoma, Washington

After viewing Chihuly’s Glass and Garden site in Seattle, the following year we took the train 45 km. south of Seattle to Tacoma. Tacoma has been historically a poorer, smaller sibling town to Seattle. It has had a predominantly blue collar population with some water vessel building and maintenance facilities for the military and private…

Glass Art Fantasia in Seattle

Many times when in downtown Seattle, we strolled by the Chihuly Glass and Garden, or colloquially named the Glass Sculpture Garden, near the Space Needle.  We finally paid the admission fee and went inside to discover what lay beyond the glass sculptural twirling shapes sticking up over the bush hedges. Alchemy of Glass Colour, Textural…

Bowing Wild Deer, Warrior with a Writing Brush

Since Japan was my first step into Asia, here’s a salutary bag of traveller stories and pithy impressions. After we happily munched on just warm pounded, luscious matcha mochi from a downtown Nara shop, we strolled over to Nara Park, a heritage park steeped in Japanese Buddhism, some temples …and its wild deer. Bowing, Hungry…

Art Awakens Commuters, Tourists: Transit Rail Stations

This blog post aims to inspire the cynic and apathetic.  In other words, art deniers don’t want to appreciate art for waiting commuters and walk-through visitors who appreciate visually distinctive stops for a liveable city. A city worth visiting, stopping and remembering well.  For locals and for attracting tourists to even take transit as part…

Touch My Seoul and its Strength

Oddly, the official tourism sites for Seoul seem to be tepid and lack lots of dynamic photos for this great vibrant and historic city in South Korea. It’s only 20 km. away from DMZ, or demilitarized zone by North Korea. Seoul and South Korea – Not Same Romanticization as Japan Maybe Seoul or indeed South…

Startled by Wildlife in Urban Parks

Until last year, I never paid any attention to birds, except for a trip to Brackendale Park in British Columbia to see bald eagles. I just miss seeing the red cardinal bird that’s frequently found in southern Ontario, but not in Alberta.  Or the blue jay bird which seems to be rarer on the prairies….