Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve

There are days in Vancouver when the low overcast and misty rain make me want to get on a plane. Not necessarily because I want to leave town. It's a great town. But just to climb above the gloom and see the sun that I know is above me. On those days, it is fortunate that I can walk to the beach, look to the west and receive a blinding flash of unfiltered sunlight just before it is swallowed by the sea. The glowing end of one day gives me hope for the next.

2008 was a year like that. The Bush Gang spread such a pall of lies, criminality and fear that honest people were deceived and depressed. War over oil and oil over environment. The parting gift from these sanctimonious fat cats was a recession that that will hurt them the least of all. They have surely taken care of themselves and will temporarily retire into their fortified playgrounds. Still - the election of Barack Obama is like a blinding flash of light. He is clearly one of us, a good man. His new team seem to be people of rational thought, ethics and science. His inaugural promises the beginning of something larger even than the American Presidency. The turning of the year gives me hope for tomorrow.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Let it melt!

Picture originally uploaded by Bree

EEK! Is it NEVER going to stop snowing! I must have become a real Vancouverite. Just like everyone else here, I am used to rain at this time of year. In fact, I embrace the simplicity and lifestyle of rain. Rain does not require the putting on and taking off of layers of clothing, the balancing act and tug of war with boots, the hunt for the missing mitten. I can drive and park in rain. Everything is conveniently close and quickly reached in the West End - in rain.

Only a mere ten days ago, I was rhapsodic - isn't the snow pretty/quick, let's take a picture. Then, it snowed and I shovelled and it snowed and B. shovelled and it snowed and M. shovelled. This is not right. Is THIS global warming? People moved here to escape this sort of thing. People born and raised here have a crazy, end of the world look in their eyes. Or maybe that's just the shivers as they lean on their shovels in their all year gear - a jean jacket and flip flops.

The weatherman says beware of severe flooding when it warms up. Nobody cares. Floods we know and love. Let it melt. Let it melt. Let it melt.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Fresh snow for the holidays.

Fresh snow for the holidays is a rare Vancouver treat! We have been decorating and baking. Our Christmas scones have green cherries and peppermint oil in them. Yummmm. The sweet smells from the kitchen combine with the evergreen odours of wreath, garland and tree.

Inside, everything is cosy by the fire. The old house creaks in the frosty weather. I am sure she feels her age on winter nights but her spirit is ready for another hundred years.

Even though we close the B & B for Christmas Eve and Day, New Year's Eve and Day, we receive lots of holiday guests, who need a little getaway to shop or ski or just to get away. Sometimes, it's an especially good time to rekindle a romance and look forward to the new year together. Sometimes, it's solo downtime, to write, to think or just to rest. We understand. We set the stage, spread a big home-cooked breakfast but otherwise leave them to their privacy and own thing.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hi Santa !

Sunday was such a cool, clear day - enough to put a rose in children's cheeks. 300,000 folks, including me and my honey, cheered as Santa came to town. He ho-ho-hoed, the bands played and the floats floated in a sea of sparkles.

Hi Santa !

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Techies love bed and breakfast too!

Do you love your iPhone? Are you lost without your GPS? Technology may aggravate but sometimes it does truly impress. Nelson House B & B is pleased to announce that we are among the first bed and breakfasts in the world available through iPhone.
The screenshot above is a sample of a typical listing on a free application called "Inntouch." It can be found here.
You just download it to the iPhone or iPod touch. Then you can launch it and use the integrated GPS search function to find a B & B nearby your current location. Gotta admit, that's cool.
The Inntouch app includes a link to the B & B's website, email, a map locator and best of all, with one touch, that big green Call Button connects directly to the B & B that you are viewing. Did I mention that this app is FREE!
The app was developed by the tech-friendly folks at and Apple.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Vancouver dreamin'

Vancouver used to always be followed by "B.C." You know - British Columbia. It was because of the other Vancouver, in the state of Washington. I have noticed that the BC suffix has now been dropped. B.C. now designates a whole other subject, like British California or Bring Cash. The city has achieved standalone status.

Vancouver has grown up. She is young(c.1880s) by world standards but the world has begun to take notice. For a longtime, she was a provincial place, a rather rough town that grew into Terminal City. Terminal in the sense of the end of the road(as viewed from back East), as in a major rail, freight and port facility. Vancouver's reputation has suffered the envy of some other cities that have more history but less geography. For too long, Vancouver was all about setting - a city that leaned against a wall of mountains as she splashed her feet in the vast, mild Pacific. A surreal green rainforest with mist dripping from every limb. A westcoast experience derided as the Wet Coast. It was only with Expo'86, that the world was compelled to note the chutzpah of a gawky teenage city bold enough to invite everyone to come and see.

And they have come and seen. And many have bought a piece of paradise, a room with a view. Beauty, beauty everywhere. For some, that beauty has been reason enough to lay back and roll another one. For others, it has been a magnet that uprooted and drew them from half a world away. The world's languages fill the streets. Smart young people in sandals design the computer games that the world will play next year. They social network avidly, climb a mountain competitively and are as apt to take the bike to work as the BMW. Their world is plugged in, 24 hours and global.

Vancouver is now as fresh and dewy as this year’s Hollywood starlet. The city has great bones - the Coast Mountains soar over a glassy new skyline. The makeup is minimal and immaculate - the Pacific Ocean washes miles of chilled but sandy beach. Most attractive - for Vancouver’s turn in the spotlight (and to the delight of visitors) – this city is a friendly tease. She has become open-minded, hip, cosmopolitan and maybe a teensy bit pretentious.

Vancouver offers both sexy and becalming lifestyles. Canadians elsewhere trade down from high-powered careers and trade up to more expensive housing, just to be here, to go play outdoors, and yes, to smell the roses. Non-Canadians have ceased comparing the city to the mountains of Zurich, the bayside zaniness of San Francisco, the Pacific ports of Hong Kong and Sydney. Vancouver is unique. She is no longer just a pretty young thing. No where else do you hear people talking endlessly about "quality of life". Ultimately, this city knows that her inner beauty will define her and that remains a work in progress, a work of maturation. In 2010, she knows that the world will see an Olympic Vancouver with panhandlers outside the ice arena, homeless outside the many fine restaurants, the poor and deranged, the rich and deluded, side by side in "lotusland". Still, the city beckons - come and see!
Youtube videos courtesy of paulngstewart