Friday, February 26, 2010

First Olympic Event Monday, February 15

We left home about 6:30 to catch the sky train to Pacific Coliseum to watch a figure skating training session for both men and pairs. We knew we would miss the first "flight" (group of figure skaters), but I wasn't about to get up at 5:00 to be there when the doors opened. As it was, I was a little bleary eyed for quite a while. My first official "transfer" from sky train to a bus was completed with no trouble - being able to follow the crowds helped considerably. When we were dropped off at the bus station we had quite a walk to get to the actual entrance, I would guess it was a mile or more. They routed everyone in a very strange way to allow room for line ups and security check points, but boy was it a pain. After we made it into the building, we found our seats and scrunched in. (There was absolutely no leg room and we were looking at a four hour event.) Thankfully there weren't very many people at the venue yet.

We arrived in the middle of the second flight that contained Vaughn Chipeur and Evgeni Plushenko. Skating later in the morning in flight five were Johnny Wier and Patrick Chan; Jeremy Abbott and Evan Lysacek skated in flight six. I was able to get four different autographs: Stephan Lindeman from Germany, Zoltan Kelemen from Romania, Vaughn Chipeur from Canada, and Jeremy Abbott from USA. (The first picture is of Evan the second of Vaughn Chipeur.)

If pressed, I would have to admit to enjoying the men better than the pairs. I was a little miffed with the pairs skaters as the top five didn't bother to "train" that morning. So, all we saw were those that placed fairly low. Atleast with the men, everyone skated even if we didn't get to see their whole routine.

We made it home with no hassels. Actually, the bus we got on, after eating lunch, was completely empty and we had a great conversation with the bus driver. It was great to get home and then to watch the pairs on t.v. that evening. So much fun, I'm so glad we got the tickets.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Last Post Planted

Weeeelll, the last post for the arbor and my clothesline post both went in on Tuesday. What a relief to have both of them done and no more concrete to haul. By the time I was done on Tuesday evening my back was really sore. I had digged the hole too large for the last post and then didn't have enough concrete, so I left Jonathan supporting the post while I ran around the corner to the hardware store for another bag. It is still about 2 1/2 ft too tall, but Jonathan will saw of the top with the Sawzall for me sometime in the next couple of weeks. Atleast I can now get to transplanting my rosebushes before it gets too warm and they really start growing.
I can worry about the top, cross pieces later. I have to buy a new joiner thingy for my clothesline as the plastic one that had been holding the ends together has pretty much disintegrated due to exposure to the elements. When I get the ends joined then I can get it all hung.

My water feature is finished too and working marvelously. I think I fixed all the leaks (famous last words I'm sure) and have all the rocks where I want them. I'm waiting for Sophie to go crawling through it and dislodge the whole thing.

It was quite the ordeal getting it put together, and wasn't supposed to be that difficult. After I had it all set up and was doing a test run, I realised that the water flow I was getting just wasn't enough to make much noise. Unfortunately, I learned this Saturday afternoon about 4:30 pm and the landscape store closed at 4. I had to wait until Monday. Monday morning I exchanged my 150 GPH pump for a 260 GPH pump and asked the guy if I would need to change the water supply hose. His words were, "no, there are several adaptors in the box for that". Ha!!!! I got back home, took the water feature partially apart to reinstall the new pump and discovered that the hose did not fit any of the adaptors. Rather than go back to the landscape store, I visited the pet store around the corner for aquarium tubing. After some very slow customer service, I had my hose and returned home. Then I had to completely dismantle the entire water feature and the supply line runs beneath the stream. So, a couple of hours later and help from Jonathan's artistic eye it was finished. (Finding a way to plug it in is a whole nother story.)

I love it and it really adds quite a nice touch to the yard. What do you think?

Torch Relay, Coquitlam

What a day this was. We left home in the dark and the rain, both of us were half asleep. By the time we reached the Cameron Rec center to meet up with Pastor Turner and Anchor Baptist Church the rain had lessened somewhat. We were still dropped off at Mackin Park in the rain, though in a very good location for distributing New Testaments and for watching the torch. Shortly after we got settled into our location and had gone through a couple of boxes of New Testaments the rain stopped completely and it stayed relatively dry the rest of the morning.

I have no idea how many people were at the park and along the roadside Thursday morning, but we did hand out nearly 1500 New Testaments. The sidewalks were jammed and people were even wandering into the streets, and that was outside the park. There were several area schools represented, and lots of moms with young children. It was great to see such community support. Coca-Cola had a huge presence there as well because they are one of the prime sponsors, they handed out pennants and bottles of coke to the spectators along the torch route.

I think the relay did its job for every one, including me. The hype for the Olympics was definitely at a fever pitch in time for the opening ceremonies Friday evening. What a great two weeks this is going to be.

Friday, February 5, 2010

T - Minus 7 and counting.....

Today we made the journey from Burnaby to Vancouver via Sky Train, to pick up our tickets to the figure skating training session. I finally feel like these Olympics are a little more than road closures, security measures, and protests. This was the first time we had been downtown since Olympic set-up really got going, and wow! I must say I'm very impressed with everything I saw. People in the street even stopped to ask if we were lost - was it really that obvious? I guess Vancouver can really be a friendly city.

We got off the train at Granville station, and for those of you that don't know Vancouver, that is underground. We were both completely turned around and had no idea where we were when we surfaced, nor which way to go. Our faces must have betrayed our confusion. Soon though, with our trusty Olympic visitor's guide in hand (I hate feeling like a tourist in a city I have lived in for 5 1/2 years), we were on our way. We stopped every few feet to take pictures of all the cool Olympic "stuff" on display. Did you know that they can "wrap" buildings with pictures and other images? Here's an example:

I can certainly empathize with the country mouse when he visited his citified cousin. We finally managed to get to the main box office and pick up our tickets with no more mishaps. Atleast for a while.

Lunch time came and we wanted to return to the Tim's (Tim Horton's for you un-Canadians) we had seen in the sky train station. We headed back and found Tim's and had lunch - great Chili, btw., then proceded to buy our return tickets to head home. As we were approaching the platform, we were stopped by a security guard and asked to show our tickets. While holding a can of Diet Pepsi, an extra large steeped tea (triple-triple), and a Boston Cream Donut (very long story) I managed to procure the tickets to show the guard. With grave demeanor he informed us that we had purchase the "wrong" tickets. I had unwittingly purchased senior citizen tickets and we now had to go back to the fare machines and re-purchase our tickets. Through much shuffling about we got the new ones and headed back down to the train. Once again, ready to board, we came to the realization that the train we were getting ready to board wouldn't take us back home, but to Richmond and the airport. We had to go find the very nice security guard and ask him how to get home. We were told that we were at the completely wrong station and had to go back upstairs, outside, cross two streets, and descend more flights of stairs and then we would get to the right train. Sure enough, his directions were true and we found the train and headed for home. Who knew that there were two Tim's that looked identical in two different stations both under shopping malls? I wonder how many Olympic tourists are going to get lost? I live here for pity's sake.

And just think....I get to do this all over again in a little over a week. Only it's a completely different station. There is a reason I don't go into the city.