Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Skagway, White Pass, and some Scrabble

Woke up in Skagway surrounded by cruise ships.  It's been so stormy here, there was actually one more ship that was supposed to come in, but it wouldn't risk it.  I'm glad we came.  Mom and I spent the morning lounging on the ship (hence the sketch), then we went in and boarded the White Pass Rail.  It's a rail line that was built during the Klondike Gold Rush, taking miners up a really treacherous pass.  You see bits of the original footpath that the rail replaced, and there are trestle bridges and some of the most beautiful terrain imaginable.  We cut back into Northern BC part way through the trip, into an area where you can see rain forest, boreal forest and subarctic land pretty much all at once.  There were some beautiful lakes up there.  Fish don't live in them naturally, since they sit on top of an impenetrable granite bed and freeze completely in winter, but they get stocked in the spring so the workers up here have somewhere to fish.  I'm sure the bears appreciate that as well.  We stopped at a suspensions bridge and had a big bowl of Bison Chili.  I should have asked the server "Is this wild bison?  I won't eat farmed bison" ;-).

We got back to the ship, had a little rest (I love cruise ship naps!), and let our ongoing battle of several decades continue.  Greg would tease me, anytime he saw me playing with the Scrabble ap on my iPhone, he'd say "Practicing up for your trip with your Mom?".  Which, of course, I was.  This wasn't our best game now that I look at it; a board full of 3-5 letter words.  We're usually pretty good.  We must be tired from all the excursions.  Or dulled by cruise ship gluttony.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Alaska Sketchbook Pages

The first few pages of my Alaska Sketchbook. More to come!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Back From Alaska!

What a great week.  My mom and I are just back from a one week cruise to Alaska.  It poured rain the whole time, and we rocked and rolled in 100 mph winds.  We loved every minute of it!  I'll post the whole sketchbook over the next while.  Forgive any wobbly lines.  It was a rodeo ride out there.

This trip was a total gift.  Greg was invited to Alaska on a fishing trip last May with his good buddy Ken.  He didn't want me to feel left out (what a guy), so he suggested we get my mom this cruise as a birthday gift and I go with her.  So, I ended up with the trip AND a freezer full of halibut.  Not a bad deal.

It's been almost exactly a year since my dad's been gone.  It was definitely time for mom and I to go have some fun.  We played endless scrabble games in our cabin, met lots of interesting people, and did some fun shore excursions.  More details to come!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Tragedy on the Sea Wall

Inspired by Cyberdave's Vancouver Sketches, I headed to the Seawall a few days ago to sketch.  Yogi and I have been running along this route every morning lately.  It's absolutely stunning, littered with great sketching spots.

The day after I sketched this, we headed out for our run.  7am.  We had the seawall almost to ourselves to ourselves.  I saw a paddle boarder drifting along slowly, fairly close to the wall. Then I noticed a Coast Guard vessel, also drifting slowly in toward the wall.  As the two of them converged on a point, my consciousness snapped into focus and I realized what I was looking at.  The paddler had spotted a body, and was leading the Coast Guard ship in for pick up.  Yogi and I stood.  It felt dismissive to turn our backs and walk away, and wrong to stand and stare.  We drifted awkwardly together with the couple of other people on the wall, all of us holding our hearts and shaking our heads as a woman was pulled up onto the boat.  Nothing has appeared in the news.  So sad.  I'm carrying a thought for her, whoever she was, with me today.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Lap Dog?

Dear Yogi,
No, this still doesn't make you a lap dog.  Besides, I know you can't even read, let alone use a keyboard.
But you're cute.
Love Mom

Monday, September 12, 2011

Goodbye Z

Okay, I'm totally cheating.  I sketched this months ago.  In fact, I've done a whole trip to mexico since I sketched this.  I got a nudge from a reader (thanks Hap) who pointed out how long it's been since I posted, so here's one to get me rolling again.

It's been anti-technology month for me.  My email got hijacked, my internet at home went down, my computer broke and I left my camera charger behind on a trip.  Do you think something was telling me I needed to disconnect for a bit?  This last trip to Cancun, I spent three days at a conference for work, then 5 days chilling with an old girlfriend, reading, paddling and drifting in the water, walking dogs, napping.  No email to check.  No reports to read.  No fires to put out.  It was like going to the chiro and getting my spine adjusted.  And now, email accounts fixed, passwords updated, chargers replaced and computers functioning, and the cute cable guy (why are they all cute) just left leaving me with a restored portal to the wide world of web.

I'm back.

Friday, July 8, 2011

At Seawall With Dog and Dinosaurs

I did this sketch at the seawall the other night.  I didn't have time to paint it then (if you read the text in the sketch you'll know why) so I just added some colour now.  I'm playing hooky from work today.  Will go in later, but right now I'm needing to fill my soul with a little art, a little music, and a little actual daylight.  Thirteen hour days inside a mall, which is how I spent my yesterday, does not a summer make.

Note to self: Find more excuses to go outside and play.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pirates and Canucks

Ahrrr matey.  There's something about a black and white striped top that screams pirate, especially with swashbuckler boots.  Maybe the only things missing from this outfit are the eye patch and the parrot, but I felt great in it all day.  We were hauling boxes in and out of storage at the store, and these boots, already twice revived by the cobbler, are remarkably comfy.  The choker is from a very cool little store that used to be (maybe still is) on Ellis, just off of Bernard in Kelowna.  The gafas are my new 'lucky brand' frames that I bought online.  The handbag was a gift from one of our suppliers (OPI, where the 'chick flick cherry' nail polish came from).  Both the sweater and the capri's are about one million years old.  I'm thinking they were Winners finds, but honestly I don't really remember.

Today, Game 7 day, I will be wearing blue and cheering on our 'Nucks' to Stanley Cup victory from a Yaletown bar with some friends.  This cup run has been the biggest wave of city spirit to ever hit Vancouver, definitely more than the Olympics, and maybe even more than Expo.  Crazy.  And we're right in the heart of it.  I can hear the roar from the stadium and the streets as I watch the goals on TV.  The parade up our street after each game, home or away, is unbelievable.  And it's all just been a warm-up for tonight.  Should be interesting.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

New Style Obsessions

I have a few new obsessions lately.  One of them is work, which is why it's been SOOOO long since I posted (thanks, Hap, for the nudge).  I'm spending seven days a week in our stores right now, hiring, training new staff, etc.  I'm in the mall before it opens and there usually until after close.  I know it's temporary, and the days are actually pretty fun.  We're in the beauty industry, so things are pretty, and the new staff are all great people to pass time with.  I spend so much time now in consumer/fashion land, and that's led to my other new obsessions: painting my fingers and toes (means I'll chill out and stay still while they dry, plus nail polish is one of our best selling items so it makes sense to 'be polished'), fashion blogs that I cruise while waiting for my nails to dry ( and are two of my faves), and buying funky eyewear online (,  good deals). 
So, that's where I've been; in a mall, living off of starbucks coffee and food court fare.  I squint in direct sunlight and know every word to the top 40 songs that play over and over on our instore music system.  The new staff is almost trained though, and there's a light at the end of the tunnel.  Two, actually.  At the end of August I'll be heading off with 499 other industry folk to a conference in Cancun, and two weeks later I'm taking my beautiful mom on a one week cruise to Alaska.  Paint bag will be joining me on both trips.  And maybe a few bottles of nail polish as well.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Ah, Betseyville!

Text says:
"Oh, how I love this house!  I spotted it online when I was googling Zihuat before our trip.  It's about 40 minutes south of Z, belongs to American fashion designer Betsey Johnson.  We thought we'd go for a drive (thanks for the car Pablo!) and see if we could spot it.   The next thing I know we'd talked our way in the front door and were given a guided tour by the caretaker.  It is magnificent, if a little faded; two pools, main house plus 3 casitas.  There are a few bucket list items that could be crossed off by buying it.  Did I mention it's for sale?"

and again in Spanish:

¡Me encanta este casa! Lo he visto en el internet cuando estaba googling Zihuat antes de nuestra viaje.  Es aproximadament cuarenta minutos sud de Z, y la dueña es Betsey Johnson, la diseñadora famosa de eeuu. Pensamos que hayamos ido a dar un paseo en coche (¡gracias por el coche Pablo!) para buscarlo.  Y de repente, estabamos en el tour con el vigilante que vive alli.  Es magnifico, la casa, si un poco descolorido: dos piscinas, una casa y tres casitas.  Hay algunas cosas en mi 'lista antes de partir' que podrian ser tachados si lo compraríamos.  Y ¡está en vente!

Ok, I'll stop torturing the Spanish language.  I know there's a million mistakes here.  Please feel free to tell me.  I'm wanting to get a better understanding of Spanish grammar.

The house really is amazing.  We spent a couple of days thinking we were going to put an offer in.  What held me back is the fact that it needs a LOT of work, and soon.  And it may be a little too remote for us.   A girl can dream though.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The view from Rana Rene

Text says:
We're at Rana Rene, noshing, sketching and watching the world go by. I just bought a little mariposa from 5 year old Alejandro who works this part of the beach. Around the point here on the right is the home of the drummer from Supertramp, or so says our waiter. How fitting for us, since they're Greg's favourite group, and their song 'Downstream' has huge meaning for us.
And it goes a little something like this...
"Took a boat Sunday, Down by the sea. It just felt so nice, you and me. We didn't have a problem, or a care. All around was silence, everywhere."

We went out to Barra de Potosi yesterday and looked at a house. It belongs to fashion designer Betsey Johnson. We're seriously considering putting an offer in on it.

More to come.
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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Playa Las Gatas, Zihuatanejo

text says:
We caught a little ferryboat down at the marina and came across to Playa Las Gatas. It's pretty cool over here. There's a big long strip of restaurants that will provide beach chairs and a wide range of offerings if you choose their location. We walked out to the point where we found this cool eco-info center, then settled in for some serious r + r. We went snorkeling, which I wouldn't do here again. It's all rocky and coral-y. We saw about four fish and spent ten minutes getting trashed by the waves on a big bed of coral just past where these boats are. Not fun. On my toes I'm sporting OPI's 'Yoga-to-get-this-blue'. At home it looks black. Here the sun makes it glow neon blue. Bring it on, I say. Here comes the sun doot 'n do do... it's alright.
We bought some 30 sunscreen on our way to the ferry. Wish we'd thought to use it. Apparently one squirt doesn't cover you for a full day in and out of the water. Who knew?! We are back at Rob's, nursing our sunburns. We went out last night to see our new friends play at Paccolo's, but it was full. We headed to Coconuts where there were some other groups playing, including the two rocker women I most wanted to see at the festival, but it too was full. Then we thought 'Hey, I bet you can see it perfectly from the rooftop of Don Memo's'. We headed up, and sure enough we had the best view in the house! It was awesome. We would have spent a few hundred dollars at Coconuts, and instead we spent a few hundred pesos, had a great meal, great seats, and loads of fun. We made reservations to sit at that table again for Friday's show. Our table is right under the cupola that I sketched a few days ago.

Club Intrawest Zihuatanejo

Spent the day at the Club. My brother Rob has been coming down here for the past three winters working at the club doing member updates. It's a beautiful place; everything I always thought it would be. I worked for this company for many years as a sales person, coach, manager and sales director. I've worked in Whistler, Vancouver, Mont Tremblant in Quebec, Blue Mountain Ontario and San Destin Florida. Every location has its charms. This site was just being finished when I last worked there. Maybe club locations are like seasons; my favourite one always seems to be the one I'm in at the moment, but it certainly seems to me that this'd have to be the winner.

We helped clean up after the tequila tasting event for members at the club (interpret that as you will, there were no mops or rags involved), then left the club and went to Don Memo's for dinner. It's the domed building I sketched the day before. Good food, fun spot, Memo is super friendly. Everyone wants to tell me how much they love my hermano; what a big heart he has. I know, but it's nice to hear it.

We left Memos, then stopped at the bar underneath La Hija del Capitan. There were some really good local musicians there. One of them was a guy my brother knows named Eric who made a guitar sound very different than we do. He also has a good gritty singing voice. Greg and Rob decided it was a good time to see if the chipotle burgers were as good downstairs as they are upstairs at La Hija. Well boys, it's the same kitchen. I couldn't even look at the burger after our feast at Don Memo, but they wolfed it down, and yes, it was apparently as good. We stumbled home, full and happy. Yay Zihaut.
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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Restaurante don Memo

We went by bike and scooter to one of Rob's favourite breakfast places, then he left for work and Greg and I wandered the streets.  There are so many cool little vistas here.  We picked this spot partly because the building is so cool, and partly because there was a lovely little cafe from which to view it.  Comfort first.  The building is Restaurante Don Memo, which apparently is a good local eatery.  Our plan today is to hang out at Club Intrawest, then come here for dinner.

Yesterday we roamed the streets in search of a good burger/cerveza joint (when in Rome...) and settled on one of the beach restaurants.  When Rob finished work he picked me up on the scooter and we went in search of a book store.  I wanted to find some little novels in spanish so I could work on my reading skills.  We drove all over town and ended up at a little book shop about 2 minutes from our beach hangout.  I got two books that are just about the right speed for me.  Afterwards we took a cab to Ixtapa to go check out the marina.  We ended up walking the length of the beach there, then coming back to Zihat for what was probably one of the best meals I've ever eaten.  The restaurant is called Espuma, and if you consider yourself a foodie and you happen to have a little cash or some airmile points, get yourself on a plane immediately and see for yourself.  Not only is the food completely mind-blowing, but the view/decor/atmosphere is at the top of the world.  I'm thinking I may find some time to go back there and sketch before we leave.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Playa Madera, Zihuatanejo

The boardwalk here is very cool, gently undulating along the edge of the beach.  There are hand painted signs everywhere reminding people in spanish not to tire their basura, and to keep their playa clean.  I sat and sketched while the boys went looking for some speakers for our music at the house and a basketball (there's a bball court in our front yard).  When they came back we walked from here pretty much right through this sketch, and then up the hill.  At the top is a restaurant called Espuma.  The views from there are absolutely stunning.  We're heading back there for dinner tonight.  If you continue along the hilly road from there you'll come to Club Intrawest where Rob is working.  It is lovely, which I will attempt to demonstrate with a sketch a little later in the week. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Airborn Otra Vez

Yahoo!  We're in Zihuatanejo.  We're visiting my brother Rob who comes down here to work 5 months a year.  We arrived at 7pm last night.  I had a good laugh leaving the airport.  In Canada, we choose to to put a big grizzly in a mountie suit at the airport.  In Zihuat, just outside the airport, there's a giant bottle of Corona, and standing right beside is an enormous sand sculpture of a bucket of Coronas.  Interesante.

We decompressed for a bit, inspired by the airport art, having a few cervezas, then saddled up and walked into town for some dinner.  We went to Hija del Capitan for some amazing camarones coco.  We met some of Rob's local friends and I got to torture some locals with my rusty spanish.  Zihat has such a cool feel.  I'm in love with it already.

Text says: March 5th.  Took the skytrain early this morning to meet jGreg at YVR and catch a flight to Zihautanejo/.  I cannot wait to get my winter white toes in some sand/.  We're early, thanks to Greg's 6 am flight in from Penticton/  I had planned to use the time to sketch the magnificent Bill Reid sculpture here in International Departures, but for some reason settled here instead/.  Interesting choice, the bear in the mountie suit/.  I wonder what the designers were trying to say.  "Thanks for visiting our country.  Come back soon/  We have grizzlies, and they're helpful and friendly!"

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Life (Changing) Sentence!?

My new scanner is very blurry, so here's the text..

My model buddy lisa invited me out to a runway show for Vancouver's Eco-Fashion Week.  "It's fashion-y" she said. "Wear heels."  I wore this great little wool strapless Kenzie dress and vintage choker from my sister's closet.  The dress has an empire waist, front pleat and pockets.  I love pockets!  Then for the shoes.  I was deciding between these fantastic 4 1/2" slingbacks and my comfy stack-heeled everyday boots.

And then, from seemingly nowhere, the little voice in my head piped up and said "It's February, and you're forty-seven".  I zipped up the boots.  The show was great.  I loved Nicole Bridger (

Still not talking to the voice in my head though.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

New Hood

Braved the February chill this morning and sat at the end of our block to capture this view.  I've been in Vancouver pretty much full time since November.  We took a townhouse in Yaletown, which is about equidistant between our two stores down here.  Life has been a circuit of work, dog-walk, sleep.  I keep walking past all these great sketching sites every morning, afternoon and night when I take Yogi out to the puppy park and 'poopy island' (the giant grassy median one block over from here).  Every day I walk past something and think "this'd be a good place to sketch", and somehow three months have rolled by without taking the time.  We just planned a trip to Zihuatanejo, so I thought it was time to get out my bag and get the sketch brain going.

This spot is a busy one.  I'm sitting at the T intersection of Beatty and Nelson.  There are bikes, dogs, one million cars and busses, several passers-by, and one lady asking directions to Expo Boulevard.  Traffic is racing past my toes, headed onto the Cambie Street Bridge via Nelson.  Our townhouse is on the left here, obscured by the cars and trees, and that's the lovely Sun Tower Building at the far end of Beatty, on the right.