Meet Me at Whalley’s Corner

28 Jul

 Note: This post is an excerpt from an article that I wrote for Surrey604 Magazine. Read the entire article and see more photos here.

Sprite Multimedia Systems

Mike, owner, Sprite Multimedia Systems Ltd.

This multi-part feature series explores the Whalley historic district with stories about some of Surrey’s long-standing businesses and their owners and new comers who are making a difference to the city and its residents. In 1925, Arthur Whalley opened a service station at what is now the intersection of 108th Avenue, Grosvenor Road and King George Boulevard. This busy commercial hub became known as Whalley’s Corner.

Today, Whalley’s Corner is the entrance to the Historic Whalley District which includes City Centre and the surrounding neighbourhood. Whalley is the most densely populated and urban of the six town centres in the city of Surrey. This diverse community of residents and businesses, some of which have been operating and living in the area for decades. These long-standing and new businesses are passionately committed to area and through involvement with the Whalley Community Improvement Association and the Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association are committed to revitalizing this enduring district.

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Summer Days — TBT

20 Jul

These lazy days of summer are flying by in a blur of sunny afternoon skies and long warm evenings sipping sangria on the patio. As I sit sipping my cold, fruity wine, I listen to the sounds of the neighbourhood — children laughing, adults chatting and families eating dinner outside, steaks and hotdogs sizzling on barbeques.

This cacophony of summer sent me into a reverie of seasons past and my thoughts drifted to days when my daughters were still at home. The fun days at the beach — with a picnic lunch and and drippy ice-cream cones melting in the sun. I remember days that turned to night as we sat on the sand and waited for the sun to set so we could ooh and ahh at stunning firework displays.

TBT to the Summer of 2010

I miss those days for sure — but I am also enjoying these times that are spent with alone with my husband. Blues and jazz playing on the stereo, quiet talks about books, life and watching movies on Netflix. Life is quieter now, slower, simpler — until the girls burst in the door for pizza night!!

 

Meet the Wonder Women Behind Central City Comix

13 Jul

Note: This post is an excerpt from an article that I wrote for Surrey604 Magazine

 

Central City Comix

Curious about the latest Marvel or DC comic book adventure or searching for that one issue to complete your collection of vintage Spiderman comics? Or maybe you are looking for something a bit deeper — perhaps a graphic novel of science fiction, fantasy or literature. Then look no further than Central City Comix — they have something for everyone!

Located in the middle of Surrey’s downtown core, this unpretentious, friendly store has shelves lined with comics from industry giants Marvel, DC and Image as well as lesser known independent titles. Catering to fans, and collectors as well as casual readers, Central City Comix carries the latest comic books, magazines, toys and collectibles for all ages. And if you can’t find what you are looking for instore, then they will try their best to order it for you.

Co-owners, Elisa and Tanya together have over 30 years of experience in the industry and their shop has been in the same Surrey location for nine years. Their friendly manner and expertise has garnered them a fitting reputation in the business of comics and collectibles.

Read the complete article and see more photos here.

What I Read This Week

7 Jul

Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis

Chocolate Lab

Well written and compelling, Fifteen Dogs was an unexpected pleasure. A charming and contemplative journey that explores the complexities and beauty of human thought.

Through the tale of a group of dogs who are given the “gift” of human language, André Alexis examines the depths of human essence — and our capacity for intimacy, love and understanding.

After gaining human intelligence, fifteen dogs must learn to survive with their new and strange awareness. The pack soon discovers that consciousness comes with a price and chaos ensues.

The author weaves a delightful and heart-wrenching story about the dogs’ experiences using their voices — from their awakening through to their eventual acceptance of their “gift”.

I especially loved the relationship between the canine, Majnoun and the human, Nira. Their road to understanding and their deeply shared intimacy, made me reflect upon the nature of language and consciousness. What does it mean to truly understand another being? Can beings achieve real happiness? How is language a barrier to understanding and can it be a bridge to pure love? How does language keep us apart and how does it foster belonging and harmony?

Fifteen Dogs is a bittersweet and endearing novel that depicts the beauty and vulnerability of human consciousness. Alexis’ clear, easy to read prose offers his audience a set of unique characters and a thought-provoking theme. A book that, I think, would generate a lot of discussion for anyone and especially any book club. I would highly recommend this novel to anyone who loves language and likes to explore human nature.

 

Do Not Say We Have Nothing

23 Apr

Blog Post #365

“What happens when a hundred thousand people memorize the same poem? Does anything change?
~ Madeleine Thien, Do Not Say We Have Nothing

China photo

Madeleine Thien’s novel, Do Not Say We Have Nothing, is a sweeping saga of revolutionary China covering Mao Zedong’s rise to power to the 1989 student protests at Tiananmen Square and across the Pacific to present day Vancouver.

This complicated multi-generational story chronicles a dark era in Chinese history, where friends and families turned on each other in a frantic effort to save themselves from China’s cruel regime. It was a brutal time for the people, especially students, artists and musicians — a time when their very existence was threatened by their resistance to conform.

Central to this story are historical events including the destruction of the Shanghai Music Conservatory, the vilification of the musicians and teachers there and the Tiananmen Square massacre. Do Not Say We Have Nothing follows the lives of Sparrow, an accomplished composer, his cousin Zhuli, a talented violinist, and the brilliant pianist Jiang Kai, one of Sparrow’s most promising students. The book tells the tale of the immense loss, the unspeakable violence and the cruelty that gripped the lives of the Chinese people for over forty years.

Thien expertly weaves together family history, music and math to explore the depths of human emotion that enable us to survive tragedy and loss — even to hold on to love and self no matter the obstacles we face.

The novel follows the characters through the decades as each survives the devastation in their own way. The story travels back and forth in time, moving from Shanghai to Beijing to Vancouver, chronicling the history of the families.

In this novel, Ms. Thien exposes us to great insights into the history of China. With beautiful writing, a compelling story and memorable characters, the author takes us into the dark inhumanity of Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution — retelling a story that must not be forgotten.

Do Not Say We Have Nothing is noteworthy novel, haunting, dark, and beautiful in its complexity. Well worth the read.

★★★★★

Creative Project — A Six Word Story

22 Apr

Blog Post #364

Have you ever worked on a project that seemed to suck the life right out of you? You know, that all consuming task that absorbs all your energy, brain power and stamina. The one you go to sleep thinking about — the one your dreams are centered on and the one you wake up sweating about. Yeah, that one.

Doesn’t it feel great when it is finished? When you come up for air and see that, yes, indeed — you did it!!

Creative - Logic Brain

There is nothing more satisfying than accomplishing the impossible — right?!

Enjoy this six word story in honour of a job well done:

Blood, sweat and tears. Project done.

 

Colour Me Spring

21 Apr

Blog Post #363

Don’t you love spring? The warmer weather, sunny skies, spring rain… promises of good things to come.

Spring makes me happy — I love to get outside and enjoy the sunshine (or the rain!) and revel in all the colours of this season. After a long, dreary winter, the vibrant shades appearing all around are a soothing balm to the soul.

My favourite spring palette include: the dreamy richness of luscious violet hues, the fresh emergent tints of vernal green, the sunshiny warmth of bright yellow tones, and the bold, sassy bloom of deep pink.

Violet

The purple tones of violet have me envisioning fields of lavender or a delicate crocus opening up in the morning sun. I think of early morning sunrises, painting the sky with glorious swathes of iridescent violet vistas.

Lavender Field

Crocus

Green

Spring means new growth — tiny green buds unfurling on the trees, ready to burst forth in all their fresh, lively tones. Crisp, shiny blades of grass pushing upwards from the fertile ground. Green — ranging from verdant emerald tones of emerging foliage to the quiet hues of velvety moss-covered tree trunks.

Budding Leaves

Grass

Yellow

Is there a cheerier proclamation of spring than a bed of lemony yellow daffodils nodding their heads in the sun? I love this time of rebirth heralded by scampering baby lambs and the soft pastel sweetness of a newly hatched ducklings and chicks. Yellow the colour of happiness!

Daffoldils

Duckling

Deep Pink

One of my favourite colours is deep pink — vivid, whimsical and bold — like the striking blaze as a rhododendron opens its blooms. A pair of playful, vibrant pink rainboots adding a flare of pizzazz to grey, rainy April day.

Rhododendron

Pink Rain Boots

These spring colours are a welcome sight as the world awakens from its winter slumber. I know that I feel joyful, happy, and carefree as all the beautiful shades of spring emerge to colour our world. What about you? What are your favourite spring colours?

A Bit of Wisdom

19 Apr

Blog Post #361

It’s Wednesday and as the hashtag goes: it is time for a little bit of wisdom — #wednesdaywisdom.

Bike at home

I’ve thinking about life and how to be happier and more fulfilled and I came across these wise words from Paulo Coelho.

Live simply,
Dream big,
Be grateful,
Give love,
Laugh lots.

That about wraps it up — don’t you think?

A Different Kind of Poetry

18 Apr

Blog Post #360

Yesterday was International Haiku Day and since I wrote a haiku for that occasion, I thought I would explore other forms of short verse, for today’s post. I discovered that there are many kinds of laconic poems, besides haiku. For instance: limericks, the 5-W poem and terse verse, to name a few.

One of the most popular forms of short poetry is the cinquain, developed by American poet, Adelaide Crapsey. Inspired by Japanese haiku and tanka, Adelaide devised the cinquain, a poem written in five unrhymed lines that are meant to convey an emotion or mood by imagery and vivid language.

There are many ways to compose a cinquain, but the two most popular versions (and the simplest) are the syllable method and the word method.

The syllable method is written as follows:
Line 1 – two syllables
Line 2 – four syllables
Line 3 – six syllables
Line 4 – eight syllables
Line 5 – two syllables

And the word method is composed in this way:
The first line has one word for the topic (and is also the name of the poem)
The second line uses 2 words to describes the topic
The third line has 3 words denotes action related to the topic
The fourth line expresses feelings regarding the topic
The fifth and last line is usually another word for the topic

I tried my hand at writing cinquains using the second method. What do you think of my two attempts, below? Do you write poetry? Tell me your favourite style of poetry.

Puppy

Puppy

Puppy
Wriggly, warm
Yipping, licking, romping
Furry bundle of love
Baby

Ballerina

 

Ballerina

Ballerina
Beautiful, pirouette
Bending, twirling, flitting
She is breathtakingly graceful
Dancer

Spring is in the Air — A Haiku Poem

17 Apr

Blog Post #359

Today is International Haiku Day — so of course, I did what anyone would do — I wrote a haiku!

It was a gorgeous day and my haiku is a tribute to the season. I love walking outdoors and noticing the budding trees and the blossoming shrubs. It lightens my soul and brightens my day to see flowers poking their heads out of the earth, preparing to burst forth in a showy hue. Soon the world will be awash in the beautiful colours of spring: fresh green, vibrant yellow, deep red and bright pink. I love the vibrancy of Spring!

Tulips

Spring’s beauty unfolds
red tulips wave in the breeze
tree buds unfurl green

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