"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Sunday Salon--- Whistler vacation highlights

Panorama view from Whistler
Weather: lovely, mid 70s. The whole week at Whistler was lovely, with the possible exception of the first day when it was TOO hot. Our time-share condo has no air-conditioning (hey, it's a ski resort, right?) so it can get stuffy and hot inside the unit during the day but it always cools off at night since it is in the mountains.
Sticky Toffee Pudding. Yum!
Happy 35th anniversary to us! Our oldest daughter joined us for the first part of the week since her husband was in Florida. She helped us celebrate our 35th anniversary first at Lakeside Park on Alta Lake, where we reveled in the sun and waded in the lake. That night she paid for dinner at a unique restaurant, Elements: Urban Tapas. Every serving is meant to be shared but comes in small portions. We ordered four tapas, which are brought out one at a time, and a dessert to share. The meal took over two hours and brought to mind the Danish word HYGGE...a feeling of well-being brought on by good company sharing a wonderful experience. The next day we hosted dinner at our favorite Whistler restaurant, The Rimrock Cafe, and yes, everything was delicious again, and yes, we had Sticky Toffee Pudding (our favorite.)
A black bear #1 near the Olympics ski-jumping venue
Bear #2 a little further down the road
Bears: On Tuesday we made our way to the spot where we have found black bears feeding before and sure enough, we located two fellows munching on vegetation not far from where we saw bears last year. We stayed inside our car so we were never in danger and we got a few good photos each. We also played a lot of board games while Rita was with us. The girls and I like games better than Don does, but he will play with us if we are on vacation. We played a seemingly never-ending game of dominoes that went on all day. We also played Five Crowns, Tsuro, and Farkle.
On the top of Whistler 
To the top we went: Whistler operates a good portion of their ski-lift chairs and gondolas during the summer months for hikers and bikers to experience the mountain in a different way than they do in the winter. Weather being as beautiful as it was, we decided to head to the top of the mountain for a look around. Once up you can even take a Peak-2-Peak gondola from Whistler to Blackcomb. When we completed the first leg of our mountain journey a guide recommended that we take a chair lift up to the top of Whistler then walk down on a trail which passes snow walls which are still over 15 feet high. The hike, he said, should take us around 45 minutes and we would end up at the gondola to ride over to Blackcomb. That sounded like a great idea and it was in the beginning. The views of the other mountains in the range were spectacular. The weather was perfect, very warm with blue skies. We started the hike and were in awe of the walls of snow and ice. Then we hit the part of the hike which had a very steep decline and my poor toes got jammed into the front of my shoes to the point that the pain in my big toes was pretty intense. I vow to never go on another hike without first buying some good hiking boots that fit my feet! We made it down, thanks to Don's willingness to go slow and let me lean on him, and enjoyed the rest of our mountaintop experience.

A view of the mountains from the dock on Alta Lake

Floating on Lake Alta: a few years ago we purchased a rubber canoe and we use it once a year, at Whistler! This year was no exception. On Friday we inflated the canoe and floated out on the lake together. To be really honest, I floated and Don rowed us around until we were far enough up wind that we could safely float back to our original spot. Ah, that is my definition of vacation. We even managed to put on enough sunscreen to avoid sunburns all week. We have no photos of us in our canoe because we didn't take our phones (cameras) with us on the boat.
Happy 150th, Canada

(Concert venue: Whistler Olympic Plaza)
Happy 150th Birthday Canada! July 1st is Canada Day and this year they celebrated their 150th birthday. At noon we headed to Whistler village for the annual parade. We've been in Canada enough times to know what to expect, lots of red and advertising of businesses on the "floats", but we still love the whole thing. After another trip to Alta Lake for more canoe floating (rowing), we went back to the village for a concert in the Olympic Village venue. The Vancouver Symphony came up and played a wonderful, free program. Don and I purchased a pizza from Creekbread and brought a bottle of wine with us to eat and drink while we listened to the nicely varied musical program. The most moving piece, called "Ancestral Voices", was written by the conductor, Bramwell Tovey, in collaboration with a famous native opera singer, Marion Newman. They used documents, letters, and poetry from the past century that were evidence of how the white people took advantage of the native Canadians. (Click the link here and then scroll down on the VSO page to see the words.) While the symphony played, Newman sang the words from these incriminating documents. It was very moving and healing experience.
(Waiting for the concert to begin)
Sitting back-to-back: we got to the Whistler Olympic Plaza an hour before the show and spread out our blanket on the grass. Neither of us are used to sitting on the ground for long periods of time and soon our backs started to bark. Solution---we sat back to back, leaning on each other for support as we listened to the wonderful concert. I couldn't help but think about the symbolism of that. After thirty-five years of marriage we often do lend support to one another, support we used to not need when we were younger. Without Don's love and support I don't know where I'd be. Thanks for letting me lean on you, Don!

Reading: I was in a true vacation mode, so I got a lot of reading done, too.

  • Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur---poems about abuse, trauma, loving, breaking up, and finally healing. Very well done. Print.
  • A Girl Called Vincent by Krystnya Goddu---a biography about the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay. It included lines from some of her famous poems. She was quite a gal! Print.
  • The Dead Inside by Cyndy Etler--- a memoir about Cyndy's experience as a young teenager when she was sent to a drug rehabilitation center which was more like a concentration camp. Print. (Read my review of the three above books, click here.)
  • Bull by David Elliott---the story of the Minotaur from Greek Mythology, written in poetry, many could be made into  hip-hop music. Print.
Not quite finished:
  • Reader, I Married Him short stories edited by Tracy Chevalier. Twenty-one short stories inspired by Jane Eyre. I am on the last story. Some I enjoyed a lot, others, not so much. Look for my review tomorrow or Tuesday. 95% complete. Print.
  • The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. This year's Pulitzer Prize winning novel. Yes, it is about the Underground Railroad which helped move slaves to freedom, but it is not the form we know from history. Don and I listened to 8/9th of this audiobook on our trip to and from Canada, now we will both have to finish it separately. Audiobook.
Fab Four: I've been listening the Beatles channel of Sirius Radio a lot lately. They have a feature where they ask a famous artist or musician for a list of their favorite FAB FOUR Beatles tunes. I've been thinking about this, too. What are my favorite Beatles tunes? What are your FAB Four favorite Beatles songs and why? Play along!!! Here is my list, though it probably changes every day...
  1. "Hey Jude"...when I was young I would put on "Hey Jude" on the record player right before starting to wash the dishes. My goal was to finish with the dishes before the song ended. "Hey Jude" is a little over 8 minutes long, so I would really hurry to finish up my job. Lots of times I didn't make it, but I would try.
  2. "Lovely Rita, Meter Maid"...we didn't name our daughter Rita after this song but almost all of our friends have asked us if we did. I can't help thinking of my darling daughter whenever I hear the song.
  3. "The Birthday Song"... the standard happy birthday song is so old and tired and no one can really sing it well. I love this rock-n-roll birthday greeting instead. It makes me happy.
  4. "When I'm 64"...I find myself singing this song more and more these days. I wonder why? 
Your turn!


  1. A fun post and the scenery looks beautiful! I've never been there and would love to go. Such a special way to spend your anniversary.

  2. "My Guitar Gently Weeps" is my favorite. Also "A Day in the Life", "Norwegian Wood (This Bird has Flown)" and "Across the Universe". For some reason I am feeling a little bit "Eleanor Rigby" tonight. Perhaps tomorrow morning I will have a little more energy and a "I Saw Her Standing There" mood:)

    1. I considered "My Guitar Gently Weeps", "A Day in the Life" and Norwegian Wood", too. I like a "A Day in the Life" because of the line "...I just had to look, having read the book." Ha!

  3. Such an interesting post! Really enjoyed your holiday account - excellent selection of photos too. I particularly liked your description of the meal and think that idea of small portions to share and the whole thing taking a long time is great. I tend to be a bit of a gobbler, so that would be very good discipline for me!

    Of the books, the ones that stood out for me are 'Bull' and the one about the Underground railroad. I'll watch out for these...and as for the Beatles, I live fairly close to Liverpool so they were kind of local. There is a house in Chester (where I live) which is supposed to have inspired John Lennon to write the Nowhere Man because it is called 'Nowhere' and is close to where one of his relatives lived. My favourite Beatles song changes with time - but at the moment I guess it's 'She's Leaving Home'- mainly because I saw a programme analysing how musically innovative it was for pop at the time.

    1. Look around for a book on Hygge which is the Danish word for making thengs cozy and providing a sense of well-being. I complemented the server for helping us have a hyggeligt experience at the restaurant (a hygge-like experience or one which was cozy and comfortable leading us to a sense of well-being.)

  4. A lovely holiday for you with boating, good food, music, a little reading, and excellent company. What more could you want?

    I like all the Beatles magical songs best, I think.

    1. I have a really hard time selecting my favorite Beatles songs too. My favorites are usually the ones I am listening to at the time.

  5. The Beatles are definitely the sound track of my early years; I even lived in London just off Abbey Road in 7th grade. Whistler sounds like a fabulous vacation with all the right elements of relaxation and activity.

    1. Is Abbey Road anything special? Or is it just a place in a city? No big deal?

  6. You're back! Happy Anniversary & Happy Retirement! What a way to kick off the rest of your life :) Your trip sounds amazing - I have loved your photos all week. What a beautiful place!

    I still need to read Underground Railroad - it is on my shelf! Don;t you hate when you don;t finish a joint audio on a trip? My husband and I are in the middle of Exo, a YA novel, but luckily, we are traveling again next week & can finish it.

    Enjoy your books this week -


    2017 Big Book Summer Challenge

  7. I'll have to give The Beatles question some thought, but had to share that "When I'm 64" was our wedding song! :)


    1. OK, let me know what you decide. My daughter lamented once that we were so lucky to grow up in a era of good music like the Beatles. I agree.


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