Monday, December 27, 2010

like a well-dressed duck in a three-piece tux

Hello world! it's me, Brooke!

Happy mid-holiday-recovery-period! We've made it through the Christmasness, revelled in the glory that is Boxing Day, and in less than a week it starts all over again. only it's called New Years. and there's no presents. or turkey. or annoying songs. (author's note: I'm not hating on all Christmas carols.. just the stupid ones.. since I adore lists, I'll provide you with a smattering of my favourites…
-baby it's cold outside
-happy christmas (war is over)
-winter wonderland
my domestic skillz are undeniable
ALL TIME FAVOURITE: Silver Bells. the Roch Voisine version. 
Favourite album as a whole: Fred Penner- Christmastime. 
turns out I don't have that many favourites…author note over). 
As promised: my Dr. Seuss-threw-up gingerbread house...-->

This was a solid Christmas, nearly one for the ages. The lead-up was frantic, but everything turned out in the end (as it always seems to). Let me tell you all about it!
Christmas Eve Eve was Tear Up the Town night. (You: "what night??"). Tear Up the Town night! (you: "is that a thing?"). Of course it is. (you: "nope, I'm pretty sure you made that up").  I might have. But it still happened. After a day of packing/ organizing/ cleaning (on Ally's part) and sitting around (on my part) and a Mason Raymond run, we hit the city. And by that I mean we went to a bar or two, saw some Christmas trees, watched some hockey and football, visited Edwhale Cullen and spent the rest of the night watching the OC at home. (you: "wow.. you really know how to have fun…"). Thanks. 
Real Christmas Eve day started at 540am. We went to el aeroporto, got some Timmies, went to West Vannie and sat in the dark (the power went out.. not by choice), went to the ferry and finally ended up in Victoria for the beginning of a Very Hanna Christmas. We don't have a whole ton of Christmas traditions in my family, but one of them is Chinese food for Christmas Eve. So that's what we did. After a quick sing-along with Scott, Justin and Andre (Departures-style), we went to bed so Santa would come. 
Christmas day was leisurely; I crossworded, Braden photoshopped himself into pictures with Taytay, mom and dad ran, we drank champagne. It was all quite perfect. As you can see from the pictures, we are very cutting-edge when it comes to headwear. Its ok to be jealous. 

Best thing ever: BLIZNAK jersey. Represent! After a lovely Christmas dinner with family, we settled in for another Christmas tradition: Star Wars. But for real. Nothing says Christmas like Darth Vader. 
Boxing day (my favourite holiday fyi) morning I flew back to Vancouver bright and early to be at work for 9am. I spent the day crosswording (best part of Christmas- the GIANT newspaper crosswords!!!).   I went for a little Boxing night run, just as the game ended, so I dodged my way through sad Oilers fans around the seawall.

Favourite time of day: sunrise. Not the waking up part, that sucks every time. But it's almost always worth it. It's like sunset, but just for you, because everyone else is still in bed. Well, except in winter, when it's 9am and the sun is rising and everyone else is awake too.. 
flying home
Know what's weird? When you read your horoscope and they're eerily accurate. I'm not a believer in astrology, I do think its interesting, but that's about it.. yesterday though, my horoscope in the Province was dead-on, it was weird. (you: "cool story Hansel").

I'm listening to… Penguin, James Penguin (brad paisley). Southern Voice (tim mcgraw). Put you In a Song (keith urban). Louisiana Rain (tom petty) the whole blue rodeo album The Things We Left Behind. Whatcha Say (jason derulo).

I'm reading… Uncle Tom's Cabin (harriet beecher stowe). I've been taking my sweet time with it, but I'm loving it. I feel like if you liked To Kill a Mockingbird, you would enjoy this one. 

annnnnnnnnnnd now I sound like Oprah. so sorry. I should go now. 
well of course you did. 

WAIT! shout-out: TEAM CANADA'S WORLD JUNIORS TEAM. bring it home boys! 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

victory. eternally.

one of my favourite things: flying at night.
'specially over eastern and central north america- all the little towns connected by fingers of streetlights. it's all so peaceful and pretty.

recap of the last week. it's been an unusual week. that's why we're recapping together. 
the meanest cat in old chicago town

mom and i spent sunday night through tuesday night in chicago. chitown. the windy city (true story). we spent 2 days straight on our feet, walking walking walking (and a never-ending-feeling run) with the exception of the all-too-short windows we set aside for sleeping (we called those windows "nighttime"). despite the fact that i could barely get off the plane when we landed in vancouver because my legs were so stiff, it was a great trip. we saw friends. we window-shopped. we ate. we drank. we were merry.
thursday night i went to leonard cohen. that man can sing. forever. seriously- i left at the 3 hour mark. i just couldn't keep my eyes open any longer (in my defense, i'd been up at 5.15am to get to work for 6…). 
saturday was a little bit of shopping and lunch with my brother. then a soccer game; 2-0 victory for team blue! 10 game winning streak (even more impressive since we've only had 10 games!), we're keeping up with sid and the pens. after a quick shower and shot of whiskey, it was off to the soccer christmas party.
woo! WOO! woo!
and finally, sunday. was work in the morning, then a stroll across the bridge into the city to watch my boys take on the blues. in spite of mayray not being there, and losing 3-2, it was a fun night. we'll get 'em next time boys.

a free observation: if you want to see a city at its very finest, go during the christmas season. everything is more magical draped in twinkling lights. its a scientific fact: normal city < twinkle city. chicago did not disappoint- giant wreaths, pretty lights, some reindeer, all the stores are all decked out…its the best.

fun and interesting stories:

1. in chicago i went into the apple store to see if by some miracle they could make my phone get service while in america. the apple genius took my phone from me, turns it on and says "oh, i'm sorry, you're a canucks fan [canucks app on my phone, not psychic].. i can't help you". and if we hadn't just been DESTROYED 7-1 by the hawks a couple weeks ago, i would've come up with a brilliant and disarming reply. alas, all i could come up with at the time though was "nooo way man, this is our year, we got it. and please can you make my phone work?" he did. i love him for it. but it would never work out long term. at least he's not a sens fan. 

2. also in chicago the mall we walked through had a pet-relief station, complete with biscuits, a water bowl and baggies. IN THE MALL. way to go chicago!

little tug. not unlike hydropuppy.
3. today was a busy day of pre-moving moving. greyhound and sally-ann trips. so by the end of the day i was getting a little (or a lot) cranky. but ally and i were still car-dancing to JT. a bc hydro truck pulled up next to us at the stoplight. i peered in to see if one of the two guys was owen (side story: i don't actually know owen.. i just know he works for hydro and likes to kayak or something..i though maybe i'd recognize him as an owen). no owen (at least not that i know of). anyway, the two guys obviously saw us rocking out and me creeping on them. so they started creeping on us. THEN all of a sudden they had a puppy. a little chocolate lab. and they made her wave at us. BEST THING EVER. so not-owens, thanks for being the best.

4. tonight at dinner there was a lady wearing a jacket covered in biggish sequins. she looked like a giant, scaly fish. 

5. last night was gingerbread house night. mine looks like "dr. seuss threw up". pictures to follow.

6. WE GOT SNOW! for 4 days straight! its gone now, its raining again- radio quote: "tomorrow there's a 70% chance of rain. there's a good chance of rainbows." but the snow was so pretty. another favourite thing - snow.

that may be the end of fun and interesting. at least for today.

currently listening to: all i do is win (dj khaled), club can't handle me (flo-rida), as she's walking away (zac brown band ft. alan jackson) song for a winter's night (gordon lightfoot), california girls (katy perry)...i'm not proud of all of these..

olympic village snow day!
time to kill? 
watch this:
lou poetry--- 

do a quiz: (do countries of the world. my record is 175/195)

a shout-out: sid the kid, you rock.

one last thing- this is me extending a bbq invite to danhuis- that's dan hamhuis, fyi. he seems like a good guy. he's on the list. (yeah, it's that easy)

ok. bye.

sharing is caring.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

officer daniels, marine officer

it was a dark and stormy morning. and i went running. it was the kind of stormy morning that soaks you right through within a couple minutes of stepping outside. so needless to say, i was throughly drenched early on in my little run. oh yeah, it was mad windy too. heaps o' fun. there were very few people out on the seawall- a vancouver rarity; there's almost always people out strolling/running/biking/not knowing how to walk (KEEP TO THE RIGHT PEOPLE). i was halfway through my run, and i knew there was a biker coming up behind me, but just wasn't passing me. he pulled up slowly beside me and says "GOOD FOR YOU!!" (for being out running). i hollered back "hey, you too!" and we went our separate ways. and it made my morning. and probably my day. nice people rule

last weekend, i hid out on denman island. my very favourite place in the whole wide world. it was a cloudy, rainy kind of weekend (are you catching on to the wet coast winter theme?), so i snuggled up in plaid flannel and a wool sweater and my sweet new plaid-ish ski socks. island fashion at its finest. i also wore jeans. just so you don't think i forgot to put on pants when i got dressed…braden and i spent the weekend doing nothing. we drove into "town", we ate pizza, we watched hockey, i ran.. thats about all that happened. until we had a ferry debacle on the way home and got home much later than we had planned. ah well. 

the other day- remembrance day- i worked late, so i took myself out for a run in the morning. i was just passing by bc place around 11am, just as some of my buddies from the airshow were doing a fly-by. i was so focused on the cool airplanes overhead that i ran into a fence. smooth moves brooke. then i went to work and it flooded. awesome.

channelling my inner bella swan.
recently, during a hellcatseroony/ jack & cokeroony night, i somehow found myself taking online personality tests..yep, i'm that girl. here are some of the results…
  • if i were a dog, i'd be a bulldog.
  • if i were a twilight character, i'd be bella. (don't get me started on how much i HATE bella. i was not impressed with this result. but i took several different quizes hoping for a less emo answer. all the studies concur, i am bella swan).
  • if i were a taylor swift song, i'd be fearless

and my favourite of all: 
  • if i were a fish, i'd be a common fish. SERIOUSLY?! what does that mean? there is no such thing as a COMMON FISH. come onnnnnnn. 

alright, i had to go out for a few hours- a lunch date and some shopping. remember how it was a dark and stormy morning? well, by the time i was showered and dressed to go downtown, it was beautiful and sunny. i'm telling ya, the weather in this city is definitely bipolar. you'd be silly to leave home without your sunglasses, umbrella, mittens, toque and quasi-rainproof footwear. you also probably want a jacket with a hood. and i promise, you'll use all of these items at least once throughout the day. no matter how you're dressed when you leave home in the morning, it will be all wrong by the time you leave to go back home. so BE PREPARED. like a boyscout. 

paddle board + dog. not false creek though...
um. today i went to a craft fair. it was pretty fantastic. all kinds of women wearing weird knitwear and stuff. i ate some chocolate covered raspberries. there was a man with an eagle head on a staff. mom wouldn't let me pet it. there were people selling dog jackets. and handmade salad tossers (that's a thing, right?). and "art" and a MAN WITH AN EAGLE HEAD ON A STICK! and a blacksmith. and lots of sparkly things. and two really bored boyfriend/husbands talking about how they were going to throw a hat down and start singing and dancing for money. i would've given them money. and maybe thought about joining them. post-craftiness, mom and i went to mink (because that's where we go when we're downtown and need a coffee) and saw a certain 25-year-old buddy (sort of). then i walked home. in the sunshine. and i saw a dog in a sweater. OH! and even better! a man on a paddleboard with a dog! crossing false creek. fantastic.

i'm going to go now. i'm going to try a new thing, where i keep you updated once a month. i make no promises though. i'm going to have to become more interesting or i'm going to lose you. i'll do my best to rise to the occasion. 

wait- some of my favourite songs of the "right now" include- quiet your mind (zac brown band), stars in alabama (jamey johnson), romeo's tune (keith urban), fiddler's green (the hip) and mean (TAYTAY!).

oh, one more thing- how great is mario bliznak (62)? bliznak bliznak bliznak. so much fun to say. and a very unexpected goal-scorer (that one time…). dreamboat. 

bliznaky and t-glass. cute.
done for realeroony now- 

note: sorry bout the font weirdness- well, the unintended font weirdness.. not really sure what happened...PEACE

Friday, October 22, 2010

transit, fortune squirrels and BBQs

Today I got chastized for not updating my blog. Personally, I didn't think people really cared that much about my daily life. But what do I know? Apparently not as much as I sometimes think I do...

So, this one goes out to my adoring (albeit, very small) public..

And since I now know how much you care about my daily life, I'm going to share some really fun Brooke-trivia with you. Yes, I'm spoiling you. Don't get used to it. Ok...My most-played song is American Girl by Tom Petty at an embarrassing and kind of impressive 1050 plays. Interestingly enough, it's also my third most-skipped song at 109 skips. Baby (You've Got What It Takes) by Michael Buble is first most-skipped at 309. My current desktop background is of Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas, from 2007 when Braden and I roadtripped America (the first time). I had a sesame bagel with cream cheese for lunch today. My socks are white with two black stripes around the toes. Tug (my dog)'s favourite toy is named TigerStick. I buy family-sized toothpaste- Colgate Total plus whitening. 

Oh wow. This is going to be good. I'm standing at the seabus in north van, waiting to ferry across the inlet to downtown to hop on the train to my fabbity fabfab loft. These transit details aren't really important at all. What really matters is the man in the brown suit’s beautiful whiteman Afro. The poor lad! He looks like he could even be a nice fellow, I wonder if he maybe lost a bet? Like he bet on the Canucks beating the Wild... Embarrassing...

Now I'm on the seabus. Which I sometimes call the seamus (pronounced Shay-mus) like it’s Irish. It's more exotic. Plus it's how my phone autocorrects the word seabus.. We're not moving yet.. Its dark and rainy- winter arrived in Vancouver tonight. On the scale of 1 to excited I'm probably a 2.76 regarding biking to work tomorrow at 535am.. Oh, we're moving now! Whirrrrrrr!

Alright, so besides the fact that I now wish I was the guy sitting across from me so that I too could be eating a timmies bagel, this morning I rode my bike through a horror movie set. It was very dark- 540am is like that this time of year... And the moon was a day or two from bring full (unless it actually was full, I'm not a lunologist).. There was an eagle in a treetop, I couldn't see him, but he was laughing his eagle laugh at me. Which is really cool when you're not alone on your bike going to work in the dark, then it's creeptastic. So just to be safe I covered my blinking light in case he got confused and dive-bombed my bike... I'm sure you'd have done the same. Then the fog rolled in. Wispy and hanging just over the road and making all the lights eerie and all the shadows extra spooky.

science world and bc place
I'm downtown now! The miracles of public transit never cease to amaze me. Still raining. But it's sparklier rain in the city.

I did make it to work in one piece. And only minorly freaked out. But a coffeeshop is probably the least freaky place ever, so it was just fine. I spent the rest of the day building a crow. Until I had to go to the dentist, where I got a gold star. YAY ME.

Home now. It seems I’ve drawn a blank, I guess I think better when I’m surrounded by strangers. I had so many brilliant ideas on the train. Then I got home and now I don’t remember… think think think.

Oh yeah. Ok, question for you: would you go see a movie called Banditos and the Good Fortune Squirrel? It’s about a couple of raccoons and a black squirrel (today I learned that something like only 1 in every 16,000 squirrels are black squirrels…and that makes them good luck…?) and they are on the hunt for a therapeut. Which is where therapeutic milk comes from. That’s a long story though, so I’m not going to bother with that now… anyway the squirrel is magical and whenever it smiles it rains acorns and dollars. You’d see that movie right? I personally think it’s brilliant, and am starting on the screenplay tomorrow.

the BHannas go to a game
I would now like to take this moment and fill you in on the more general things that have been occurring in my life relatively recently… I moved into a new apartment. I live 2 blocks away from the Olympic Village- where the athletes lived during the 2010 Games. It’s AMAZING. My new place, the Village, everything about this place is the best. I’ve even got insuite laundry! Livin’ the dream! I went to see Toby Keith in concert. And to the Air Show where I learned a lot about planes and got a whole bunch of really cool temporary tattoos. I spent a weekend in Connecticut with Meagan, Julio and AJ and it was so great to see them and catch up. I spent a week in Canmore and a wonderful overnight in Edmonton with Playgroup friends. I joined a soccer team. I’ve been running lots. I went glow-in-the-dark-bowling last week. And to a Canucks game- always a great time. I’m addicted to Hellcats, which is probably the cheesiest show on TV… but it’s filmed in Vancouver! And set in Memphis… if someone can explain that one to me, I’ll give you a good fortune squirrel. Having been to both cities, I would say the only similarity between the two is that they both have roads, people and buildings.
you're not allowed to be sad at a Canucks game

I’m also addicted to this blog : You should all read it. I want to be Ben’s friend. Ben makes me want to run every single day. Sadly, my shins do not support this lifestyle and I must occasionally take a day or two off and spend a little quality time with icepacks tied to my legs. I think you’ll like Ben too. Especially if you run. Or have ever thought about running.
Ben is on my BBQ List.

Some people have a bucket list. Some people have a who-would-you-invite-to-a-dinner-party list. I have a Barbeque List.  I don’t really like dinner parties. When I picture dinner parties I see a long, lace-decorated table with an ornate candelabra in the centre, in a dimly lit, oak-paneled room with lace sheers and velvet curtains. Not really inviting.  Not that I’ve ever actually been to a dinner party like that… but still.  So instead, may I present to you, the Barbeque List- a list of people you want to mingle with in a backyard or on a patio, with a couple beers and some burgers.  I would invite Ben to the BBQ.

Who else is invited, you may ask? Let me give you a quick overview- please bear in mind this is a work in progress, the actually BBQ isn’t for a while, so people may be added to the list at any time… Invitees so far… Shea Weber, Sidney Crosby, Mason Raymond, Mike Rowe (from Dirty Jobs), Tom Petty, Taylor Swift, Scott and Justin (from Departures), Jon Montgomery, Shelly-Anne Brown (and her extended family), Gord Downie, Patrick Marleau, Rick Hansen, Anze Kopitar, Tom Hanks, Jonathan Toews, Zac Brown (plus band), Desmond (from Lost), Bill Clinton, Justin Trudeau, Clara Hughes, Batman, Kevin Martin, David Attenborough, Seth Cohen (from the OC), Ron and Don (McLean and Cherry), Jim Cuddy, Jack Johnson, Brad Paisley, Jacob (also from Lost), Quatchi.
So please, if you know any of these people, or if you know someone who knows someone whose third cousin is one of these people, please let them know they’re invited and give them my number. But seriously, do it. I’ll bake cookies for you. And since my name rhymes with cookie, I’m really really good at baking cookies.  (you’re lucky my name isn’t Moccoli or Thurnip).

I think that’s probably enough for you for now. 

Monday, June 21, 2010

some old news. and some current news.

oh hey!
I know, it's been a while... these things happen. you'll get over it. quick overview of my life since the olympics:
march- paralympics; i went to some wheelchair curling and a couple sledge-hockey games and the opening ceremonies. it was a good way to ease out of the olympic-lifestyle that vancouver had come to know and love in february.
april- worked making coffee, then at the end of the month headed east. to oakville and quebec city, caught up with friends, went to braden's final gallery, helped braden and jess pack and move. beginning of the playoffs. canucks made it through rounds 1 and 2. nashville did not. both lost to chicago.
may- got home from the east, packed my life up and moved into an apartment across the bay from my parents' house. got a job. making coffee. again. got restless, drove to canmore for the 2-4. leapt on the chicago bandwagon (if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right?) and followed them to the cup. ran the 10k sunrun.
june (thus far)- braden and i roadtripped to america. spent a night in seattle with laur, then a night at the gorge with tom petty. amazing. a PERFECT weekend. lots of sunshine, good music and real beer (imported from canada, obviously). ish-following the world cup, most of the games are on in the morning here, and i'm usually at work. i did get up at 4am this past saturday to drive across town to a bar to watch a 430am game. just so i could say i did it.

ok, now that you're caught up, i'm going to backtrack and make you read something from mid-may... back when the canucks were still in the running for the cup, and braden and i spent an afternoon adventuring around downtown vancouver. because right now it's just sitting on my computer and no one's ever going to read it there. so read on, young grasshoppers.

As with all successful trips downtown, we grabbed lunch and a Granville Island Pale Ale at the Kingston. Classic venue for the lunching crowd- pizza, burgers, beer, fantastic old building, lovely little patio- generally a great place and at the top of my list of downtown regular haunts. Boo!

Having completed our lunch, we were prepared to take on downtown. But first- to park the car. We found a spot down by the water, no problem, then did exactly what you're never ever supposed to do- we sat in the car, in a parkade while Braden got all the camera gear prepared. Never, in my many years of forwarded email experience seen an email that says "if you find yourself with some free time and fancy an incredibly safe, low-risk place to spend some time, try sitting in a parkade with thousands of dollars of camera equipment visible and keep the doors unlocked." in all seriousness though, I’ve spent my fair share of nights downtown Vancouver (some more sober than others), and have never felt I was in danger. Sure, you get the odd catcall or whistle, but where doesn't that happen? Nowhere I’ve ever been, I’ll tell you that. But that's not really why we're here right now, is it?

We started our adventure in earnest at Canada Place- the iconic five-sailed convention centre and hotel on Burrard inlet. On our walk around the outside of the sails we saw a Bollywood movie being shot (not necessarily true.. but it had the look of a Bollywood movie) and a seal in the harbour. Neither are unusual sights around here.

So the FIFA world cup starts in a couple months, and that will be huge. But before the city divides itself along nationalistic, futbol-inspired lines, we're all pulling together and standing behind our Vancouver Canucks. After all, we are all Canucks. Now, I am writing this the day after our downtown adventure, and hindsight is a tricky thing... the city stood together; flags on cars, every 4th person on the street sporting a jersey or Canucks t-shirt or hat, signs in windows, sidewalk chalk drawings on the ground… you get the idea. We stood together and we fell together. Our boys just couldn't manage to pull through the second and third periods. The better team last night won. Unfortunately, that wasn't our team. Even more unfortunately, it was Chicago’s. And most unfortunately, it was the 4th win in a 7-game series for the Blackhawks, thereby knocking all dreams of Lord Stanley visiting Vancouver right out the window. It was a sad night in the city last night.

Now, the reason I’m telling you this is because we were not only on a downtown photo-adventure, but also on the prowl for some Blackhawks. Really, only one of them- we won't get into naming names, but lets say despite the fact that I’m considerably shorter and lighter than he is, I am not afraid to play dirty and go for the knees. No such luck (probably for the best, at least if you start thinking about the consequences of assault); no Blackhawk sightings.

From Canada Place, we headed next door to the new convention centre (formerly known as the Media Broadcast Centre during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games! - this will be a recurring theme… get used to it now). I got my picture taken in front of a giant tire. It was thrilling. Context- there was a mining convention going on and everyone knows you can't have a good mining convention without at least one pair of excessively large tires. You’ve got to show these urban dwellers that you mean business. Your convention does not mess around.

We meandered the Seawall around the building- which really is quite lovely, glass and wood and a green roof and other generally aesthetically pleasing architectural elements… And there's a giant Lego killer whale statue on the west side of the building (just next to Jack Poole plaza/ place/ square/ whatever)! The torch is still there. Fenced off (of course) and unlit (duh). It would be really cool if they could keep it, it's so pretty. And it’s a reminder of what we can be, what we were for two and a half weeks in February, not just Vancouver, but the whole world. We were supporters. We obviously all cheered on our own teams, but we also supported each and every team and lived their dreams as our own. I’m getting off course, and I could follow this road forever, so let’s get back to the torch. Being, as it is, at ground level, it would be a very easy target for stupid people looking to do mean things. It will be interesting to see just what happens to it.

It is rare to make a trip downtown without having to stop in and visit someone at work, especially when you're with Braden. Yesterday’s stop was at Mink- chocolat extrordinaire!

From there we headed northeast to Gastown. The original Vancouver. Then the rundown Vancouver. And now the slowly rejuvenating Vancouver. The charm of Gastown lies in its buildings and brick roads. Vancouver is a young-looking city. It is, as others have noted, literally built nearly entirely of glass. Gastown is not. Gastown is brick and stone- turns out that back in the day (and by that I mean the 1880s) glass buildings were wildly inconvenient; hard to heat, hard to cool, shows fingerprints… now, maybe it's because I grew up in the east where everything is built from brick and stone- houses, churches (mosques and temples too), downtowns, schools, arenas… everything, but I love it. It feels like history. Glass doesn't date a building quite as well as stone does. That’s why I like Gastown. It feels like history. And it has such potential. Of course, this potential needs to be realized in a way that sees the past, present and future work together. Those who live in Gastown now are very different from those whom I suspect will be living there in the next 15 years. But it will be home to both groups of people, and they need to figure out early how best to get along with each other. My favourite Gastown landmark is John Fluevog shoes, the giant windows looking north to the mountains and the huge open space just makes it an amazing building.

Just south of Gastown you'll find the stadiums. GM Place was getting ready to host Game 6, and now that we know how that ended, we'll just carry on to BC Place. GM Place feels pretty darned big when you're inside, BC Place is three times the size. you can fit 60,000 people into BC Place- 60,000! that is a lot of people. as you can probably imagine, it takes a while to walk around a building of that size. I can attest to this as I spent months doing laps of the inside of that building leading up to the Olympics. it's a big place. and right now, it’s also a roofless place. the dome came down earlier this month for the last time (and this time was 110% intentional). BC Place is finally getting a new roof.

once we'd made it from one side of BC Place to the other, we just about ready for a cold one. it was a brilliant, hot sunny day, and we'd been on our feet for a couple hours at this point. fortunately, we were also in Yaletown. there is really no better place to go in downtown if you're looking for a drink on a patio on a nice day. Yaletown was once warehouses. it is now high-end condos and lofts, fun restaurants and boutique shops. Yaletown is Cool. good-looking people live, work and hang out in Yaletown. but don't worry, they let ordinary people in too. we finally settled in at the Yaletown brewing company. always go local if you can, you can drink imports anytime.

that was pretty much the end of adventure number one. after sampling a couple different brews and discussing future adventure ideas, it was time to be headed to our respective homes. walking back towards Canada Place, we took Richards, a one-way street with traffic flowing north-> south. walking south-> north on Richards (or against traffic on any one-way street) gives you a whole new perspective on the city. I saw buildings I’ve never noticed before- big buildings, not just little low-rises, I’m talking easily 15-storey buildings. so, if you think you know your city, walk the wrong way down a one-way and take a look around.


hmm. i think that's all i've got for you right now.. if i have any excellent adventures this summer, i'll be sure to keep you posted. although right now, vancouver isn't being very summery at all, hopefully that all changes soon and the sun finally comes out.

with much love.

Friday, March 5, 2010

with glowing hearts- vancouver 2010

ALRIGHT. so its been five days since the closing ceremonies of the 2010 vancouver olympics. and i know that if i wait any longer, things are only going to get blurrier.. so here's how the games went…

we'll start with a little bit of a warm up.. opening ceremonies were friday, feb. 12th. braden came home on the 10th, and we spent all day on the 11th driving around the city taking pictures of various olympic-type things.. the lions on the lions gate bridge had red mittens on, as did the inukshuk at the mouth of false creek. so we visited those and took pictures with our mittens on. then we hit downtown and wandered robson square, down to canada place (which became the media centre) and up granville, where we saw trevor linden in front of the royal canadian mint pavillion. we strolled through yaletown, under the cambie bridge- where you could see the athlete's village across false creek, then to bc place, where i had to be for our final rehearsal for the opening ceremonies.

friday feb 12.
i got to bc place around 10am and was assigned to start "snowing" the stadium. so i went up to the 400-level, grabbed a plastic bag and stuffed it full of snow. well really, full of tissue paper squares… then i spent hours going up and down rows, making sure there was snow everywhere. essentially, they were telling us to go nuts making a mess that we wouldn't even have to clean up later! could you ask for a better job?

then we heard about an accident up at the whistler sliding centre. a luger was hurt changed quickly into a heartbreaking story about a 21-year old georgian luger. we were lucky in that we didn't have access to tv in the stadium, but were getting messages that the footage was horrific. i still haven't seen the video. i can't. i don't see how any good can come from watching a boy die, a family collapse and a town crumble. was this going to be the much talked-about 2010 legacy? were the games going to slowly fall out from under us? they didn't. in the end, we all came together, united by tragedy and joy, inspired by the stories around us.

after another classic boxed lunch- sandwich, granola bar, green apple and bottled water (same thing once or twice per shift since christmas)- it was time to load some batteries. every single seat in the stadium had an audience kit on it. thats approximately 65,000 audience kits. this includes athlete seats, the press box and the dignitaries box. its a lot of seats. in those audience kits were 1 mini flashlight, 1 battery-operated candle, 1 canada flag (its never too late to become canadian), 1 drum stick and 1 VERY stylish white or sky-blue fabric poncho-esque cape. dispersed throughout the stadium were 220-something audience leaders- VERY enthusiastic individuals in charge of guiding their sections through the timing and use of their props (ie- candles for song of peace etc..). fortunately, we didn't have to load batteries into ALL those kits. only the 2700ish athlete kits, because they would be arriving after the audience got their little intro/ practice session in the pre-show (the hour leading up to the actual opening ceremony). so we sat in groups, on the floor, in chairs, around tables opening the kits, opening the flashlights and candles and popping batteries in, then making sure both lit up before repacking everything and moving on to the next kit.

and then it was time to get downstairs to lockup. quick description of the set up of the stadium…. ok, under the lower stands and the concourse level (where you would normally enter the stadium, buy your hot dog/beer/ popcorn.. before you actually go in to your seats) is what i'm calling backstage. there's a road all the way around the inside of the stadium (its called the ring road.. go figure). the actual INSIDE of the stadium, where all the performances were (the "stage" if you will) is the field of play (or FOP). and finally.. there were 6 doorways for performers to get onto the FOP- 2 big ones at either end of the stadium, and 2 on each side.. these doorways= voms. short for vomitory. you think i'm making this up? i only WISH i could be that clever. they are vomitories. vomitoires en francais. they're numbered 1-6. lockup, where we kept our props was located between vom 2 and vom 3, and was just that- a whole bunch of moduloc fencing covered in black felty fabric- set up on both sides of the ring road. during the ceremony we were technically supposed to stay in lockup, out of the way of athletes and performers.. that didn't quite happen though.

they had us all in lockup pretty early… maybe an hour and a bit before the show started, and our prop wasn't until an hour and a half into the show.. so we had some time to kill. a group of friends and i played some pretty intense games of crazy eights and go fish, then worked (as a team) on a crossword or two. yep, good times.

BUT THEN! the athlete's started arriving. so we all ran to front row seats (still within the doorways to lockup) to clap and yell and take pictures of vancouver 2010's athletes. quick note- in opening ceremonies, teams walk in alphabetically. greece always starts (because they had the first games ever) and the host country always comes last. so they all filed in, team by team, in their wintery ceremonies best gear. because the athletes all had to be there early enough to make sure everyone was in place, they had to wait quite a while (45 mins) backstage. with us. we had team finland parked in front of us for a solid chunk of time. then we started to break free from lockup. we got pins and pictures with athletes from all over. the ceremony finally began and the athletes started marching out onto the FOP. we cheered our little hearts out for every country (except for georgia, because it just didn't feel right… we did clap politely though). then we were swarmed by the american team (which was HUGE). and because they're american and we're canadian there was a pretty hefty yelling match going- USA! vs. CANADA! now, as 50ish props volunteers, we didn't do very well, despite our best efforts, you can't competed with hundreds of very fit people in a yelling match. but then we were joined by team canada. poor uzbekistan- the team of mayyybe 5 people were trapped between a friendly yelling match between 2 of the biggest teams at the games. they all looked very overwhelmed by it all. we wished both teams (as well as uzbekistan) good luck and good times. i managed to sneak in a picture with clara hughes, the canadian flag-bearer, one of only 2 athlete's to ever medal in both a summer and winter olympics. she's just amazing.

for those who did watch the opening ceremonies.. i was a part of the fiddler/tappers number.. with the guy in the canoe coming down from the ceiling.. for those who didn't watch.. you really should have. right at the very beginning of the number, 50 or so strong-looking men carry out giant maple leaves that stand up around the centre of the FOP. my parter kaveh and i were in charge of maple leaf #7. that means carrying it from lockup onto sawhorses in the ring road by vom 1, making sure it was all untangled and preset properly, so that our two builders (milan and scott)- the cast members responsible for getting them on to the FOP and setting them up- wouldn't have any problems getting the leaf to open. the builders (all of them) were great guys. it was pretty funny just how nervous they were. nervous and excited. they rocked those leaves. i'm proud of all my builders.
after the number, we collected our leaf, slammed it into a giant bodybag and set it back up leaning against the wall where it rested. then we were lucky enough to get to go upstairs and watch the rest of the show. which was amazing. i'd seen everything but the torch before in rehearsal. but it was a million times better in real life. and despite the little glitch with the cauldron, everything was perfect! the games were on. vancouver was pumped.

i met up with my family after the ceremony (they were all there) and headed out for some champagne- well, a lot of champagne.

monday feb. 14- chinese new year & v-day
i worked on sunday, and then caught up on sleep. so nothing really happened… monday, braden and i went downtown and met friends in town from edmonton for lunch and some beer. it was a PERFECT vancouver day- sunny, clear and beautiful, so we walked down to the outdoor cauldron to take some pics. my parents also happened to be in the area, so we all met up and went for some more beer. while we were in the bar, alexandre bilodeau was skiing the moguls up at cypress (literally 15 mins from my house). then the results came in and CANADA HAD A GOLD MEDAL!!! the first of the 2010 games for us. but more importantly, a gold on home soil- the first ever! (we failed to get a single gold medal in the 88 winter games in calgary or in the 76 summer games in montreal…there were a lot of people out there believing we were cursed to never win at home). holy exciting!! after dani and mike left, my family stumbled down the block to dinner. at one of the fanciest restaurants in town. i believe i was wearing blue jeans, converse sneakers and a red canada hoodie. there may have even been a flag cape.. its all kind of a blur. oh. and its valentines day. so everyone in the place was dressed up for their dates. yeah, we crashed that party.

the next couple days were work work and rehearsals for closing ceremonies.

thursday feb. 18.
i headed downtown to meet dani and mike (edmonton friends) and watch the hockey game- canada vs. switzerland- at a sports bar. we watched most of the game together, but early in the 3rd, they had to leave to go to a victory ceremony. so i stayed at the bar, made some friends (because i had free chairs all of a sudden) and kept them updated on the nail-biter of a game (which went into shootouts. i HATE shootouts). crosby came through for us and put one in on our 4th shot. spent the rest of the night wandering the streets generally celebrating life. with thousands of other people.

friday feb 19.
after work, i went downtown to meet my dad for dinner, then we headed to canada hockey place (aka gm place during the non-olympic time) for the 9pm germany/ finland game. neither of us really cared who won, but the girl next to us was a diehard fin fan, so by the end we were yelling at salo almost as loud as she was.

saturday feb. 20.
worked all morning, then headed out to pacific coliseum in east vancouver for short track speed skating. we figured we'd drive because then we could just hop on the highway to get home instead of having to go back downtown. so we're donig big laps of the area looking for parking. we turn down a residential street and there are probably 8-10 asian women outside in their big winter jackets, waving us down. we pulled over to talk to one of them and she said for $20 we could park in her driveway. so we did. we were a block away from the coliseum, for $20. doesn't get much better than that!! we saw the mens 1000m and womens 1500m races- heats, semis then finals. things were going really well for canada, we ended up with 1 woman in the finals (of 8 women) and 2 men in the finals (of 5). tania vincent ended up 8th, you could just tell she didn't have it in her. then the hamelin brothers- charles and francois ended up in 4th and 5th. it was heartbreaking.

sunday feb 21.
our second group of houseguests arrive. the first, maureen, is a friend of braden's from his antarctic adventure 2 years ago. she was a volunteer slipper up at cypress. basically she was halfway up the runs and in between heats, was one of the many shovelling and side-slipping down the mountain to get more snow onto the course. she stayed with us for the entire 17 days of the games.
second group- wendel, frances, her husband walter and their 19-month old son andre. the brown family. an athlete family. wendel is the brother and frances is the sister of shelley-anne brown, brakeswoman on the canadian bobsled team, in the canada 2 sled. andre is probably the cutest little boy of all time. ever. we were watching the americans kill us at hockey on tv and andre pulled himself up onto the couch and just plopped down right next to me. and stayed there. when he wasnt being my buddy, he was hunting the dog. "dog dog dog dog tug!" as he would wander around the kitchen looking for tug. they stayed with us until the 24th, when they headed up to whistler to watch shelley-anne race.

so lets skip some days of rehearsals and an 8-2 victory in the qualifying (read: extra practice) game against germany and jump to the 24th….

wednesday feb. 24.
so after losing to the americans in mens hockey on the 21st- because marty (brodeur…) got confused and thought he was playing baseball.. everyone was feeling a little down. it seemed we were going away from gold. really, we were just taking the hard way… we should've seen that coming early..
anyways.. vancouver was still rockin, but not as hard as before.
until the 24th, that is. because that was the day of 4 medals and the canada/ russia hockey game. probably my second favourite olympic moment. i was lucky enough to get to be at the game with my parents and my uncle. laugh all you want, it was the best game i've ever seen live. ovechkin- russian enemy #1 had made it known that his mission was to bring team canada down on home ice. OVECHKIN FAIL. he barely even showed up to play. but that didn't stop our boys from throwing in a little extra elbow whenever possible on our way to a 7-3 victory.

oh. and. shelley anne brown, our girl, won the silver medal!!!!!!! she and her partner (the pilot) helen finished 2nd behind canada 1. silver AND gold! SO EXCITING!!! we watched the last couple runs at canada hockey place, right after the game. UNREAL! huge congrats to shelley anne!

after that vancouver didn't stop. it was the beginning of the party-til-the-end. and what a party it was!

thursday feb. 25.
mom and i headed out to pacific coliseum to watch the women's figure skating long programs. story of the night- joannie rochette. the 24-year old skater from quebec, who lost her mother sunday morning. 2 days before her short- program. she went on to skate, and finished in 3rd. 2 days later, at the long program, she skated her heart out and managed to hang on to that 3rd place finish and win the bronze medal. absolutely incredible. she is such a trooper.

we also won women's hockey gold. we were halfway there.

friday feb. 26.
canada v. slovakia. braden and i ran around downtown trying to find a bar that wasn't full. this was an hour and a half before the game started. we did everually get in somewhere and watched a solid first 2 periods and a very shaky 3rd. but the boys hung on and louuuuu saved the day.
which capped off a 3 medal day.
the bar we were at was right on the water by the cauldron, and when we won silver in womens curling, the olympic rings in the harbour changed from blue to silver. then we got gold in mens 500m and 5000m short track and the rings turned gold. very cool.
it was pretty rainy out, but we had 3 pitchers of beer in us, so it didn't seem so bad at first. so we headed out to the cauldron and were the last people let in that night before they closed off the viewing area. then we met up with laur, my roommate while i was in victoria, and the three of us hit robson square (the centre of everything downtown) and granville street and just wandered and made friends with some very happy people. our boys were one away from gold. one away from all the way.
so what to do? its raining out? hit the bar of course! we met up with a couple more friends from victoria who were in town and laur's cousin and hung out for a while. braden left to be part of a music video, laur, her cousin and i left to find cabs home. oh, and we saw gretzky. no big deal…
somehow it had gotten to be 230am and pouring rain. so cabs were pretty hard to come by. i had started walking towards home (really, what else could i do) when i finally managed to leap into a cab, nearly landing on the people trying to get out.

saturday. feb 27.
braden and i both slept in a little and headed down to the athlete's village (on the far side of downtown) for 1pm. both my parents were volunteering there- my dad in the parking lot and my mom in resident services in team canada's building (does it get any cooler than that?! i mean, unless of course you're a props vollie at the ceremonies). so they hooked us up with some guest passes and a tour of the village. SO FREAKIN cool! they have free dental and eye exams! which means if you're from a country where you can't afford to see these kinds of doctors because all your money goes to being a superstar athlete, you get hooked up with a cleaning and fillings and contacts or glasses. how cool is that? i was very impressed. they've also got a mobile CT and MRI. unreal! we poked our heads in one of canada's 2 residences and bilodeau just happened to be walking out.. AH! we took our pictures with the moose out front, saw some other pretty cool athletes, talked to a pin-trader from atlanta (btw- if the olympics come to your hometown… pins are HUGE! people go crazy for them!! its so funny!) then i had to leave to get to the stadium for dress rehearsal. which meant that braden would obviously run into crosby and weber in the gift shop. I COULD HAVE DIED when he called me. SERIOUSLY?! classic braden.

dress rehearsal went well… pretty standard… hanging out with michael buble and some giant inflatable animals.. then a private concert with avril, nickelback, hedley and simple plan… whatever...

sunday feb. 28.
THE BIG DAY. closing ceremonies. preceded by canada vs. the us for mens hockey gold. not going to lie, i was nervous from the moment i woke up. as much as i hate to admit it, i nearly had a moment's doubt that the boys could pull this off. i mean, miller is a machine. he's the best there is right now. and we needed to get at least 1 by him. preferably more than 1.
i was on the bus going downtown at 755am- i had to be at the stadium for a 9am shift start. the bus was nearly full of people in jerseys and canada sweaters and flags. and red mittens of course. i got downtown at 830 and every bar in town had line ups outside of people waiting to get in, so they could be there for the 12:30 puck drop. i think the same was happening all across the country. beer was being chilled, jerseys donned, faces painted, flags secured to hockey sticks (for superior waving techniques) and then the waiting started.
for the first 3 hours of my shift i was snowing the stadium again. this time i was assigned to the press box, so i went nuts.. i didn't want the media to feel left out of the snow fun. pretty sure every other volunteer in the place wanted our jobs.
i grabbed a really quick lunch (sandwich, green apple, granola bar, bottled water) then we hunted down a tv in the media section of the stadium- they had couches and nice big tvs and carpet! luxury!
and then toews scored. and everyone KNEW we could do this. we just had to fight through the next 2 periods.
fearing we would soon be kicked out of our cushy viewing spot, we booked it across the street to the lunchroom for security and other volunteers (we got our lunches in the stadium) between the periods and were nicely settled by the time the 2nd started. and perry scored. 2-0. more comfortable, but not quite relaxing yet.
then kesler scored. and the whole room's heart rates went up by 5 times. we just had to fight it out. one more period. 20 minutes. and we nearly did. until parise. 25 seconds from gold. the room stopped breathing. overtime. 4 on 4. sudden death. gold on the line. i have never been that stressed out before in my life.
and then there was crosby. sid the kid. who played an overall unimpressive (if not pretty darned lame) game. it couldn't have been anyone else. that's how things were meant to be, you couldn't have written a better ending. "crosby scores for canada!" everyone knows where they were when it happened. 33 million people know exactly where they were 7 minutes and 40 seconds into overtime. crosby brought us gold. he saved the day. he saved the city from rioting. he saved the country from a collective heart-attack followed by a long and deep depression. he is why canada believes.
by this time we were a little bit late for our 3 oclock call back to the stadium, but there was NO way we were leaving that tv before we had gold. so we ran back, everyone texting friends and family- gold medal hockey texting is a lot like drunk texting.. all that excitement means a lots of mistakes. but it doesn't matter in the least.
our assignment when we got back to the stadium was to "protect the props from the athletes who will be in VERY good spirits". basically, line up in front of our giant hockey player props (they were most at risk because of their location in the airlock doors where the athletes were entering the stadium), and just stand between the best athletes in the world, and huge hockey players. oh. and help to get those giant gold medals on the hockey players (which apparently the techies weren't even allowed to make before we had beaten slovakia and made it to the gold medal game, then weren't allowed to put them on until we had it- mostly because that would be bad luck in the biggest way).
once we had made sure our props were safe, we went back towards lockup, where team canada just so happened to be waiting to walk onto the FOP. so we just hung out. i found shelley-anne and introduced myself. she rocks. niedermayer bumped into me. my friend yelled out to jon montgomery HEY JON! he yelled hey back.

then it was go time. for the last time. get the mounties set up. wheel the beavers into place. squeeze the moose through the ring road. inflate the beavers. hold the beavers' hands down so that their heads don't hit the potentially pointy or hot pipes up above. get a major case of beaver hand (hand cramps). chat with the beaver wranglers. such a fun group of guys. didn't let any of it go to their heads, just wanted to rock it. then the beavers were out, buble was on his mountie hat and then beavers were flying back down the vom ramp. i was in charge of the 3rd beaver off at vom 1. this meant getting a team of 4- 1 person/ beaver hand, 2 on the tail to make sure nothing was hitting the roof or walls as we ran down the ring road to put our beaver to bed one last time. after all the beavers and moose and canoes had been put away, i helped deflate the 70 kilo zorbs (the russian hamster balls with people in them) and stack those. and then it was over. poof. c'est tout fini. i stepped out of the stadium 20 seconds before the fireworks were launched from the roof. i have never stood directly under fireworks before. its amazing! quite a view! the mood on the street was pretty upbeat as you can probably imagine, everyone out enjoying the win and the last day of fun together.

17 days. i can't believe its over. monday morning began the citywide depression. no one could believe it was over. no more partying in the street? no more making friends just because they're waving the same flag you are? no more interesting foreigners on the bus with amazing stories?

all good things must eventually come to an end, i suppose. all i know is that i don't think anyone here will ever forget those 17 days. i know i won't.

we've been through some things together
with trunks of memories still to come
we found things to do in stormy weather
long may you run.
-neil young

now the final flick of a hockey stick, and the one gigantic scream
the good ol' hockey game.
-stompin' tom connors