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Sunday, January 31, 2010

The City is a-buzz

12 days to go

I enjoyed a wonderful afternoon brunch with my friend Cammie down at the Pan Pacific today.  It was yummy and I will be full until about noon tomorrow.  In anycase, the place was hopping.  The streets around the hotel are now shut down.  Olympic folks were everywhere along with a very strong police presence.  I had the pleasure of listening to some athletes from the USA who were discussing how nice it is here and how could they get to Granville Market to sample some of our famous raw oysters (?).

After a comfortably long lunch, we took a stroll (mostly so I could get the blood circulating below my waistline again.  Did I mention how great the food was?).  The city was busy for a Sunday afternoon with people everywhere enjoying the mild weather and the goings on about town.

I have attached a picture of what the front of the Art Gallery looks like.  It seems that it has nothing to do with the Olympics and while I thought it was a throw-back to the 70's style bedspread, upon doing some research it seems this whole piece is the work of an artist who has named it "Modest Veil".  I see nothing modest about it.  It just screams at me and I feel the urge to scream back "what on earth are you thinking?"

The Robson street skating rink was rocking.  A live band was playing bad Elvis and folks were waiting for the mini zamboni to finish up so they could resume skating.  An artist painted snow on the steps around the rink.  So far, this is the only snow the city has seen.  Unfortunately, my camera batteries died as I tried to take a picture so I will have to go back.  I will post it next time.

In the meantime, stay tuned for more updates and pictures.

Go Canada

Friday, January 29, 2010

Transit problems no more

14 days to go

Ok, so the issue of transit up to Whistler is now sorted out.  I no longer have any early morning shifts.  However, since I made a fuss (although how they can blame me for the fact that no buses run at 4am is beyond me), they changed my shifts so that I now don't have to get up in the middle of the night, but now I am getting home on the last bus and should arrive home at midnight.

The weather here is not quite cooperating for the games.  Today, it was 11 degrees downtown.  A little rain in the city but still too warm for the local mountains.  Cypress is sorely in need of snow.  They are bringing snow in from the back country and holding it at the top of the mountain until just before the games.  They have now lined the runs with hay to build a base under the snow they are saving.  We had record cold temps in Nov/Dec and now we are having a record warm January.  It is good for people wandering around the city though.  However, today, I watched some members of some eastern European team (at least I think they were given it looked like those weird Russian alphabet letters on thier jackets) looking around and one of them stomping the street and laughing like he was looking for the snow.

I went to visit the grandkids this evening.  I promised that they could come and stay with me during the games.  We discussed all the fun things we would see and do since I am right in the thick of things.  Xavier got so excited and when I told him I was part of the Olympics as a volunteer he started jumping up and down.  He thinks I am a mascot.  He would like it best if I am Muk Muk.  I think he is a in for one big disappointment.  Hopefully, I can make it up to him with candy.  These kids are the easiest bribes ever.

More Granville street art.  I will ensure I take my camera to work to take more regular pictures to put up.

Stay tuned

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I will be really mad

16 Days to go

I will be really mad if I get blown up. 

This afternoon I recieved an email telling volunteers that we are an extension of the security team.  We are requested to keep our eyes and ears open for anything suspicious.  Ok, that makes sense and I can work with that.

15 minutes or so after reading that email, a notice was slipped under the door of my office.  The notice, supplied by the building management, outlined the security of the building during the games.  It seems that they feel that since the actual venues will be locked down like a  prison,  major buildings situated in the midst of the games will become prime targets for a terrorist attack.

They have outlined the specifics - right down to colour coding - of how such attacks will be handled.  If we hear "code yellow" over the loud speakers we are to simply leave the building in an orderly fashion the same as if it were a fire drill.  This means there was a rumour of something.  "Code Orange" - means move more quickly as they actually suspect something.  "Code red" means it is confirmed and the building will be on lockdown (unless of course it is falling down) and they will take all precautions.  It seems they are hiring extra security.

I am not sure what they really expect to happen but they seem prepared.  All I know is that I will be royally PO'd if someone tries to blow me up.  I will be even madder if they succeed.

I have posted a different piece of the Granville street art.  You can see some of the giant pictures of some of our athletes hanging in front of The Bay.

Stay tuned

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Transportation Nightmare begins

17 days to go

What a day!  Besides the announcements of road closures starting to take place, Vanoc provided the volunteers to the Whistler and Cypress venues the transportation plans. I am most curious to meet the fella in charge of this. 

We found out today that there will be two pick-up points for "club 99" - the BCIT campus in Burnaby and the Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver.  Not too much of an issue I thought.  I can hop on the train to waterfront and hop on the seabus and get to the Quay in time for my bus.  But wait!  Can it really be that easy?  If your shift starts at 11am, this is not an issue.  They request that you be at the pick-up spots 30 minutes ahead of time as the bus will leave right on schedule.  They also ask that you be on the mountain 30 minutes prior to the start of shift to get ready. 

 I have three scheduled shifts that start at 8am.  The bus I need to be on is the 5am bus from either location.  Ok,  I will wake up in the middle of the night in order to do my bit as a volunteer.  I click on the link that Vanoc provided me to plan my public transit route to get there on time.  Turns out someone is a joker with a sick sense of humour.  There is NO public transit at that time.  In fact, Translink just posted the "new" transit hours for trains, buses and boats. 

I might be able to get to waterfront by 5am since the train starts at 4:50am but unless I don a wetsuit and jump into Burrard inlet to swim across, I will be left waiting for the seabus until 6:01am.

Hmm, someone thinks they are funny.  The notice they sent expressly said "if coming to Lonsdale Quay, you MUST take public transit as the area around the Quay is not available to any drop-offs". 

So, I do the only thing I can do, I contact the fella who sent me the notice and mention the problem suggesting that perhaps they have another pick-up point downtown (if necessary I can walk), reschedule my start time or send me to a different venue where I don't have to take the 'Club 99' bus.  And you know what the funny man says " have someone drop you off".  Oh boy - can't wait to meet him in person he seems like he has a swell sense of humour.

I have attached more Granville street art.

Stay tuned

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The New Streetcar

19 days to go

This morning I walked the two blocks to the Olympic Village Train station to try out the new streetcar that runs along the old False Creek train tracks to Granville Island.   Bombardier donated the two trains and the city paid about 2 million to update the old tracks.  It runs about 1 1/2 kilometers to the top of the Granville Island marketplace.  They are very nice trains and the Engineer moves from front to back to each of the terminals to drive - depending on the direction he is travelling.  Was it worth the 2 millions?  After my 3 minute ride, I am thinking we have better uses for the money.  I can get closer by bus than by the tram and it already goes fromt the end of my block to the same place on Granville Island.  The train will be running from now until the end of March when the Para-Olympics are over.  What they will do then is anyones guess.

Well, since I was trying it out anyway, I made my way to the Public Market for some shopping.  I usually stop off on my way home from work.  I had forgotten how busy it gets on the weekend.   Since I had suffered a banged head, a broken nail and a face plant this past week, I figured I deserved a treat.  In addition to purchasing some fresh bread, fruit and a cookie, I dipped into my line of credit and purchased 1/2 pound of fresh scallops for dinner.  This turned out to be only 5 of the suckers.

I have just finished enjoying my scallops and feel a little disappointed.  I should have dipped even further into my credit and purchased a whole pound.  They were incredibly good but even though I tried to eat them slowly and make them last, before I knew it, I was scraping the bottom of my plate.  I have made a promise to myself - if I break another nail, bang up any part of my body or break a bone this coming week, I will take out a loan to buy a whole pound.  I may even take the streetcar again.

Today's picture is of one of those pieces of art on Granville.  When I got closer to this one, it turns out to be a whole bunch of gold painted upside down WOK's.  I felt a kinship with this one.  This is pretty much how my cooking has been described and it has been suggested that I too, turn my WOK upside down and put it away rather than use it for any cooking.

Stay tuned

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Some People!

21 days to go

I was minding my own business walking to the train after work when this rather beat up kid jumps in front of me with a sign.  Seems he is protesting the Olympics.  He shouts right in my face " how do you feel about starving children in India?".  Well, naturally, I said - I am against it.  "Well, it's the same thing here.  How do you feel about starving street peopel?"  Again, naturally I said - I am for it now get the hell outta my way.  If I hadnt been wearing my 'walking around town shoes", he might have caught me with the sign.  Seems he was not happy with my answer.  I have had run-ins with this guy before.  He is a squeegy guy who doesn't take no for an answer.  He has called me some choice names and I have threatened to run him over.  I figure we are about even.

Whether you agree with the games or not, they are here now and we have paid for them and will continue paying for them for decades to come, we might as well enjoy them.

Granville street was ridiculously busy today.  They had the lighting of the lanterns for the Lunar Fest which will continue until the end of March.  I will try to get a picture of it all lit up.  The amount of security is quite astounding.  It seems it is almost 2 to 1.  New structures seem to be appearing all over the place.  They are building on the grass of the art gallery but not sure what they are yet.

Robson skating rink is really busy and they already have live music on the weekends.  Downtown is really becoming party central.  It is hard not to get caught up in all the excitement.

The picture I posted today is the one where Kris thinks I resemble a tube of toothpaste with a cap.  Oh well, hides the bad hair.

Stay tuned and I will try to keep you posted.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Not nearly enough insurance

22 days to go

So, I settled into my seat on my regular #50 False Creek bus for the 10 minute ride home from work.  Now, either our driver was mad at the world or is suffering from Mario Andretti syndrome.  I settled into my seat with my book and admid the warmth of the bus and great story in my book, I became oblivious to everything around me.  I had sort of felt the speeding up and stopping.  However, he seemed to have really picked up consierable speed along the Granville Street bridge.   Seems he missed the turn off and felt the need to slam on the brakes.  Next thing I knew I was falling off my seat into the aisle and my face slammed into the leg of a guy sitting two seats up.  People reached out to grab me.  I think I have a date with one of them.  I mean, it was the least he could offer after where he grabbed me.

I now have a scraped up knee and a broken nail.  I am more upset about the nail.

This was the cap to what was otherwise a pretty good day.  As mentioned previously, the city is morphing each day.  Today, they added new pieces of art work to Granville street as part of Lunar Fest which kicks off tomorrow.  I took a few pictures of some of the pieces that line the street.  The one I have attached here today looks a little like balloon art to me but I will let you be the judge.

Stay tuned and I will post more pictures.

Cheers

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Have You Met Me?

23 days to go

Some folks say I am clumsy.  Some say I am unlucky.  Some say I just don't pay attention.  I just say "have you not met me yet?  It is well known and incidently, well documented, that crap just seems to happen to me.  I have been known to trip over a leaf on the sidewalk and break my toes.  I recieved a hug from my husband and broke my ribs.  I tripped over a dislpay at the PNE and broke more ribs.  Boogie boarding - more cracked ribs.  Snowboarding - cracked tailbone.  Crossing the street - broken toes. Like I say, crap happens and it just always happens to me.

Today was just another day where I was minding my own business and it happened.  I arrived in my office and was removing my 'walking around town' shoes to put on my office pumps.  I was holding on the back of my chair as I changed shoes and poof - the chair rolled away from me and I fell backwards banging my head on the corner of my desk.  Due to cut-backs in staffing levels, I lay on the floor under my desk in a bit of a daze for about 10 minutes.  No one came.  Not that I expect it anymore as I am quite capable of handling most small incidents when they befall me.  This time, it was just a wee bump and a headache that lasted all day.

Later in the day after I self-medicated, I went for a stroll outside along Granville street.  They have been busy along the road.  There are now a number of interesting pieces of art gracing the way.  I am not an afficiando by any stretch but some of them appear to have been devised by someone seriously taking advantage of a little of our famous BC Bud.  I will bring my camera to work tomorrow and take some pictures to share with ya'll.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Broken Promises

24 days to go

Since moving to the west coast 27 years ago, I have not owned a winter coat or winter boots.  I have a trench coat and 8 umbrellas instead.   However, due to the cold snap we had the beginning of December, I had to break the promise I made to myself to never be cold enough to need them again.  December 4th found me purchasing my first winter coat.  I am now on the hunt for a pair of winter boots.  I figured, given the fact that we are having record warm tempatures and local mountain snow is melting faster than a snow cone in Mazatlan in August, I could come up with some sales. 

During a trip to the shoe store just outside my office, I quickly discovered that while I might find sales, the problem now is to find black boots with no manufaturers logo.  It is a requirement of VANOC and the 2010 games, that participants must only wear approved sponsors gear.  This requirement extends to food and beverage as well.  No Pepsi for me while in uniform.

I must now find a pair of boots that are not only black and comfortable, but will also look good with a giant piece of tape over any possible logo.  Hmm, I wonder how much more of a fashion plate I can become.  Just watch out for the giant smurf with tape all over her hands and feet (gloves are Isotoner and I need to cover the V logo on the back of my hands).  I should be easy to spot.  Most likely, I will also have spinach caught in my teeth.

Ever since I was informed that there was a good chance I would be caught on camera with the athlete I escort to doping-control, I have lived in fear of the spinach teeth.  That is only preceeded slightly by the thought of being caught adjusting my underwear on camera.  Oh boy.

Stay tuned

Monday, January 18, 2010

ok, bad hair day

so, thank you so much Luisa for the pictures.  I will rotate out one or two.  Keep in mind that it appears I was having a very bad hair day.  I also appear to be thinking of chocolate or something as I have a sort of retarded dreamy look about me.  Alas, poor Luisa had a poor subject.  But just look at the view behind me!  That is from my office 29 floors up on the corner of Georgia and Seymour.

Oh well, in person, I think I look a little better.

The Face of Vancouver is changing

25 days to go.

So each  time I stepped outside today I noticed something new.  After just completing Granville street construction so you can walk freely everywhere, today they started putting up fences and rolling out Olympic signage.  It seems that right in the middle of the block between Robson and Georgia, there will be a "fest' of some sort that they promise will be 'party central'.  100 feet away and across the street, The Bay sports 50 foot pictures of some of our athletes.  The Scotia Bank has 25 foot red and white window posters of smiling and cheering Canadians begging us to 'show our colours'. Across the street and on the corner of Howe and Georgia, the old Georgia hotel is sporting a 300 foot Canadian flag.  And one block down, the Royal Bank is starting to unfurl a 20 story sign touting thier involvement with team Canada.  Only half of it is completed and right now it says " Proud Supp of team Can".  And for some reason, the Art Gallery has these giant floral sheets streaming down from the roof.  They cover the whole building.  I do not understand what they represent but I guess they must mean something.  Perhaps I am just not bright enough to figure it out.

It seems the tourists are already streaming into the city.  Not a day goes by that I don't get asked by someone coming up to ground level from the new Canada Line trip in from the Airport, hauling some pretty large luggage, directions to a hotel.  I only felt bad once when someone from Germany asked for directions to a hotel on Robson and I sent him to the 4 Seasons on Georgia street.  Ooops.  Honest mistake. I mean really, how many times have I been to a hotel in my home town?  Not to mention, they all look the same to me.

I should have some pictures for ya'll soon.

See you for now

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Have you always weighed this much?

So there I was enjoying a massage and I hear this voice asking this oddly bizarre question.  Normally, I like peace and quiet while enjoying a massage.  However, this time I felt compelled to answer.  "actually, while odd you should notice since we have just met, I haven't always weighed this much.  In fact, I used to be a size zero and weighed 8 pounds."  It seems that I have slack skin and she was concerned about that.  '

Of course I have slack skin.  There are a couple of reasons for this - a) I am not 21 anymore and b) I keep it slack on purpose.  Where would I put the extra winter fat I grow to keep warm October to April if I didn't keep my skin slack enough to carry it?  What do other people do?

So that was the morning at the spa. 

I met with Luisa for my modeling appointment.  Once she has completed all the re-touching and such I will post different pictures of me in uniform. 

One of the bright point of my day was when Luisa pointed out that there is an inside panel on each pant leg that can be unzipped to give me extra leg room.  Well I was so excited that my pants would fit better and I would have room to move that we went right out and had dinner with chocolate cake for dessert.  I mean, now that I know I have room to grow, I probably should take advantage of it.  After all, I will only get to where the pants for 2 weeks so I really should take advantage of all they have to offer.

Ciao for now

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Scream Heard Throughtout The Courtyard

It was announced - 2billion dollars to host Olympics - and a hush fell over the city.  It was announced - taxes will be raised to pay for it - a hush fell over the province.  It was announced - You will have to wear your snowpants as part of official Olympic uniform whenever you appear in public including the  3 hour (each way) bus ride from Vancouver to Whistler each day - a scream was heard throughout the courtyard of the quaint litle townhouse where I live.  It must be some sort of joke.  Given that they constructed the snow pants so that there is room for my skin and light underwear only, the thought of wearing them while sitting on a bus for 6 hours is not what I would call appealing.  Snowpant sweat will not endear me to anyone.  Not to mention, one hit of the brakes and we all go sliding into the aisle.  Might be a good way to meet people but I am shy.

I was assured that as a member of "Club 99" - named after the highway we will be travelling each day, I will enjoy refreshments and entertainment on the trips.  Given that two of my shifts start at 8am and the fact that I have to be up at 4am to be at the bus pick-up zone for 5am, I would suggest to the planners that they better have some damn fine refreshments and entertainment or I might tend towards cranky whilst sitting in my bubble wrap snowpants.  I hope for all concerned they are adding Irish cream to the morning coffee and that their form of entertainment does not include some poor schmuck playing a banjo in my face before dawn breaks.

It may appear I am complaining, you are correct.  I think I am complaining more to the warped sense of style some guy at the Bay came up with for the snowpants for "average" sized woman.   You will be able to see for yourselves soon.  I am having a professional portrait done in uniform by my friend Luisa who is a well known phtographic artiste' - at least well known by her friends and family.  I hope to have it up by this weekend - once all the re-touches are complete.

thanks for the comments and keep them coming.  To my wonderful sister-in-law, Angie, I would love to change the background but I am afraid I don't know how.  I will see if I can scrounge up the required 5 year old to help.  I think if people sign up as followers, you get automatic notices of updates (at least thats how it works with the Rick Mercer blog).

Be back tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

It's a new year

And time for me to start something new.  I am hopeful  that I set this up correctly otherwise the only one to view this is someone who may have hacked into my computer.  This is a big step for a technophobe such as myself with no 5 year old child around to assist in he set up.

The purpose of this blog is to follow the adventures of an incredibly awesome Nannagramma (the grandkids words, not mine - yet) as she navigates the challenges and adventures of someone not yet ready to sit back in a rocking chair with a bunch of cats.

My next adventure is as a volunteer to the 2010 Olympic games.  I will report each day on all the wackiness I may encounter.  So far, I have a uniform.  Depending on your point of view - I either look like a 400 pound smurf or a blue tube of toothpaste (the touque is the cap I guess).  Snowpants sound like packing bubbles being popped when I walk.  A lesser person may believe this would be caused by fat thighs.  Not being one of those lesser people, I believe the makers of ladies snow pants do this on purpose to make it easier to find one should one become lost in the back country.

Will keep ya'll posted as the adventure begins!

Ciao