Thursday, May 31, 2018


First day - Friday, May 4th, 2018 
Alaska Journal

3.29 p.m. and we are on the last leg of our journey and are 20 minutes from landing at Vancouver Airport.  

There is snow down there but it looks in the process of melting. 

There also appear to be many small lakes.

Mountains!  Canadian Rockies?

We have had quite a journey.  This morning we awakened at 3.00 a.m.  A taxi picked us up at 4.00 a.m.  Our flight took off shortly after six.  

I took photos of us backing out of the gate.  We booked with Canadian Air and flew from Washington-Dulles Airport to Toronto, and from Toronto to Edmonton, and then from Edmonton to Vancouver.  It wasn't so bad changing flights.  I liked the fact that we didn't have such a long flight between airports.  Being in those tight seating spaces is always a bit of a challenge for us, and taking the break with an hour or two hour wait was enjoyable, and fun looking around each airport.  By that time we had no luggage and kept our bags to a minimum. It was easy to move from place to place without dragging anything with us.

We were surrounded with people who had bad colds.  One man who came and sat next to me in the gate area at Edmonton, gave me cause for concern.  He was very poorly and I felt sorry for him.  He sneezed and coughed heavily and he never covered his mouth.  I was ready for a walk around anyway, so I got up and took ten minutes to look around the stores.  Time to board and who do you think sat across the aisle from us?  The coughing and sneezing man.  A whole plane, a sky bus, and he sat next to us.  Amazing!  Is someone up there trying to tell me something, teach me more empathy, more tolerance?  He coughed and sneezed and groaned after every cough.  I did feel sorry for him but I also worried for all of us close by, but then again there were others too, maybe not as visibly sick but sniffles abounded.  Hopefully the coughing man finished his flight in Vancouver and his wife tucked him up in bed with a hot toddy.  He had been on the phone to someone a couple of times while waiting to board, and not a quiet conversation.  I think his ears must have been affected also.  As I said, lots of people seemed to have colds around us.  Keeping fingers crossed.

A nice thing happened at Edmonton Airport.  While waiting for our plane we met Guillermo from San Paulo, Brazil.  We noticed him before and watched him moving around.  He had those kind of striking good looks and I love to people watch at airports.  It really does pass the time away.  We still had two hours to go before our connecting flight.  Gregg said he walked like a dancer.  Sure enough, when he asked us a question about the flight, we started chatting to him, and he told us he had three auditions with three ballet companies tomorrow.  He happily showed us on his iPhone photos of him in costume, in ballet poses, alone and with his female counterpart.  He looked wonderful and the costumes told us he must have worked for a professional ballet company in San Paulo.  When we introduced ourselves and I told him my name was Denise, he smiled and told me that was the name of his first dance teacher.  I don't hear that very often, don't seem to be many Denise's out there so this was quite a coincidence.  It was another one of those pleasant conversations with people you meet when traveling, one of the many things I enjoy.  We had a good conversation by using Goodle Translate.  Guillermo said he had given himself a year to get work with a ballet company before going home, his mother hoped for less he said with a smile.  He hoped his English would be better by then.  We told him quite truthfully that he was doing great and that his pronunciation was excellent.

I couldn't help but notice that he was approached by a worried looking gentleman from India, who was visiting relatives in Edmonton.  Our young Brazilian friend asked us if we could help.  Unfortunately, after several tries, we were unsuccessful in dialing the number this gentleman had given us, and this time we couldn't communicate very well.  Gregg asked one of the ladies at the gate.  She seemed very helpful and pleasant in our earlier conversations.  As busy as she was, she couldn't have been more friendly, and assisted this gentleman by getting on her walkie-talkie.  We heard her put out a call for someone who spoke Punjabi, where he was from.  We felt that he was in good hands as we all left and boarded our flight to Vancouver.  Looking back I hope it all worked out well, both for our young Brazilian friend and also for the gentleman from India.

Canadian customs was excellent, thorough and yet pleasant. When we left the airport we got a taxi driver who was originally from Iran.  Gregg always enjoys talking to people from other countries, especially from those countries he has been to in his navy days, and I enjoyed listening to their experiences.  In 42 years I have heard many of Gregg's stories of his travels, but they never fail to interest me, and sometimes something new trickles in that I have never heard before. 

The taxi driver dropped us off at our car rental in the city.   As I waited in the hallway with all our luggage, sitting on a bench, door open and with me listening to the business of renting a car, right opposite psychic reading was offered. I took a couple of photos. of course.  All things interest me visually.

No, I didn't knock on the door.  I was cajoled into going to a psychic in my home town - psychic to the stars - when I was barely 20, and that was enough for one lifetime.

A nice young man who worked for the car rental offered to help us with our luggage.  We had to walk up a steep hill to get to the car.  He wouldn't accept a tip and said he was happy to do it.  A kind and friendly young man.  Our luggage was not lightweight and he did all of the heavy lifting. 

We wondered if tipping was not the thing to do in Canada, so maybe anyone out there who is Canadian or in the know about these things, can tell us.  We certainly don't want to offend anyone.

We reached our hotel in North Vancouver, and checked into our room.  We immediately sank down onto our bed, saying how good does that feel?  We fully intended to go downstairs for dinner, but soon dropped off for what we thought was going to be a short nap.  We woke up (4.00 a.m. our time) at 1.00 a.m. Vancouver time and chatted a little.  Gregg dropped off to sleep again but  I was wide awake.  I decided to finish the first day of my, hopefully, daily journal.  Now that I am getting tired again I will try and get a few hours' rest before the day starts.

(I am not sure where the art in the four airport concourse photos were taken, except for that the last one in the set of four was in Vancouver.)

Wednesday, May 30, 2018


I am back having been gone since the beginning of May.  Because of our schedule I knew I wouldn't be able to keep up with daily goings on while away, so I decided to put together posts for the whole of the month.  That way there would be at least something on here. 

Today, after a red-eye flight from Anchorage, we returned home.  Our son picked us up at the airport, and it was great to see him waiting for us near the baggage carousel.  

So, where have we been?  Gregg and I, and several family members went to Alaska.  We were a group of eight.  

I wrote in my journal every day  and when I couldn't, I caught up eventually.  Future posts will be about those days in Alaska, complete with photos.  We had a great time but as I write this in our own bed for the first time in many, many days, it is a very good feeling to be home.

The moose and the mosaic-style ceiling of the trees above it were seen yesterday at Anchorage Airport, Alaska, USA.

Thank you for all the great comments on my previous posts.  Connections were sketchy at times, and for a while it was hard to get on line.  Then I caught a bad cold, and then our scheduling got so busy, all I could think of was putting my head on the pillow at night.  I was either out like a light or unable to sleep with the sights we had seen that day.  For those of you who live in Alaska, or have visited this beautiful state, I think you will know what I mean.   The beauty in those snow-capped mountains, the people we met, the wildlife, were amazing.  I will never be able to capture these phenomenal sights in mere photos, but I will do my best to share what we saw.

I will also be doing a slow catch up of all your comments and blogs.  Thank you so much for keeping up with mine.  

Tuesday, May 29, 2018


I am reading a biography on Elizabeth I by Alison Weir.  A very well written book.  Elizabeth was a force to be reckoned with.

"Fear not, we are the nature of the lion, and cannot descend to the destruction of mice and such small beasts."

~Elizabeth I~

Monday, May 28, 2018



They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

From Laurence Binyon's poem 
written in September 1914.

Sunday, May 27, 2018


This is an unknown artist's interpretation of a very famous painting, the Creation of Adam by Michelangelo.  It was on a wall mural of a local Italian restaurant. 

The original Creation of Adam is a fresco on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, c. 1508-1512.  It is one of many.  I don't know if I will ever get to see the real thing but it has always been on the bucket list.  I read that it is one of the most replicated religious paintings of all time.

You can find more history of the original here.  There is another interesting website here.

Friday, May 25, 2018


Back in January we decided to visit the art museum.  It is another place we are going back to.  Like most places you just can't see everything in one trip.

I'm surprised I don't have as much information on the artwork I saw.  I think it was because we were rushing through as we had a certain time for the Terra Cotta Army Exhibit.  I do know that the lady in the painting that I cropped from the one above,  is Lydia Schabelsky, Baroness Stael-Holstein.

I cropped and sectioned this one to see the detail.

One of the several tapestries I saw.

The architecture in each section seems to mirror their exhibits perfectly.

Below: Embriachi Workshop
Hexagonal Box from Italy (Venice)
ca. 1400
Carved bone, horn, wood.

One area I would like to visit again is the Faberge section.  

Below: Empress Alexandra Feodorovna and Tsar Nicholas II - ca. 1900.  He is also in the photo above, and I believe one of them is a member of the British Royal Family.  I would have to go back to be sure.

These pieces were very striking, as was the vase and jewelry below it.

"The Virginia Museum of the Fine Arts is the 10th largest comprehensive art museum in the United States today, with about 5,000 works of art in permanent collection."

Wednesday, May 23, 2018


The Legacy of the First Emporer of China

After my extended blog break, I had forgotten all about the time we visited the Terra Cotta Army.  It was being exhibited at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond. 

We had heard of the exhibit and one day in January, we decided to drive the two hours to Richmond.   There is information at this link.  We intended to go back but unfortunately it ended in March.

A nearby information sign gave me the following information:

"Chariot No. 1 with Horses (replica)
Qin dynasty (221-206 BC)
Bronze, pigment"

"Excavated from Pit of Bronze Chariots, Qin Shihuang's Mausoleum, 1980
Emporor Qin Shihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum, MMYL007"

"Drawn by four horses, this painted bronze chariot is a replica of one of two chariots excavated in 1980 and thought to represent the First Emporor's royal convoy.  The carriage is intricately cast and painted with floral and geometric designs, and the horses are adorned with elaborate bridle components."

"At the reins, underneath a tall parasol, stands a charioteer with a long sword, a shield, crossbow and quiver are mounted onto the carriage walls for additional protection."

At this link I found the following information.

"First discovered in 1974 by farmers in China, an underground army of nearly 8,000 life-size terracotta figures is known as one of the greatest archaeological finds of the 20th century.  Discovered one mile east of the known burial site of the First Emperor of China (r.221-210 BC), or Qin Shihuang, the terracotta army was created to accompany the emperor to the afterlife."

Armored General
Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC)

Middle Ranking Officer
Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC)

Armored Infrantryman
Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC)

Civil Official
Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC)

Standing Archer
Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC)

Kneeling Archer
Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC)

Armored Charioteer
Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC)

The following collages are of the exhibits we saw before we went in to see the Terra Cotta Army.

This was a miniature tucked into a planter outside.    

Also, I found another blog today (I wrote this post on May 2nd, 2018) called Southern Virginia Mom, and she also has a post about the Terra Cotta Army with interesting information.  You can find her post and great photos here.

Another blog called Living the Seasons, with a post on the army can be found here.

I hope you have enjoyed our glimpse of this extraordinary exhibit.