Shortly after I came out to British Columbia in early 2006 I had a case of severely high blood pressure. It wouldn't have been fair to an employer for me to work for them until I got my health situation sorted out. I was on medications to lower the blood pressure and it took until early 2007 to find the cause. I finally went to a naturopath who found that a microscopic parasite was the cause for all this.

While getting my health in order, I took up blogging to share my photography. This way I wasn't wasting time and others got to enjoy the photos, not just me and those close to me.

In May of this year I had a mini-stroke cause again by severely high blood pressure. I may end up gong to the naturopath again since the specialist and other MDs can't seem to find the cause. This has only been a problem out here. Before that in Ontario, the blood pressure was only marginally high, not severely high like in BC.

Knowledge is good because being forewarned is forearmed!

All that said, enjoy this blog and all the photos I share with you.

Monday, January 28, 2008


Trains have fascinated me since my early childhood when I was still living in Germany. My paternal grandfather worked as a conductor for the German Federal Railways (Deutsche Bundesbahn or DB for short) and before that for the Reichsbahn up until 1945. An uncle, one of my father's brothers, also worked for the railway. Before leaving Germany in June 1957 (my parents, my younger brother and myself) we travelled from southwestern Germany to Berlin and on to Bremen and Bremerhaven visiting relatives before emigrating to Canada. I was nearing 4 years old and can still remember the ride on a streetcar (Berlin, especially East Berlin, still had them) though not much of the details. Bits of the crossing by ship (the Arosa Star) are remembered too. We landed at Montreal and then it was on by train to southwestern Ontario. We ended up in Hensall, a hamlet near Zurich northwest of London. But the fascination in trains has always been strong. I received a book on the subject when we were still in Germany. My younger brother tore it to bits a couple of years after arriving in Canada and that was the end of that book.

When I was eighteen, I took quite a number of trains to get around Europe during a seven weeks stay in the summer of 1972 (Carcassonne, Paris and Strasbourg in France plus a number of places in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and on to Scandinavia, including a trip by train through the Alps from Salzburg in Austria to Basel, Switzerland). Later I took many a train from London to such places as Toronto, Barrie and even Parry Sound. In June 1974 I took the Polar Bear Express from Cochrane to Moosenee on James Bay watching the trees get smaller and the streams full up with fish. Then in October 2005 I crossed Canada on Via I from Toronto to Vancouver stopping in Jasper for three days on the way. The weather was excellent for the stay there. Then it was a mix of bus and train on the return. If you enjoy the scenery and trains, I think everyone should cross the country at least once in their lives. It's worth it!

So this brings me to the photo shown above. It's of a train in the middle of Stanley Park in Vancouver. I hope all this brings back pleasant memories of your own and if you are still in the depth of winter, that it will chear you up some.

Monday, January 21, 2008

There are signs of life even in winter....

Sunday afternoon I was out grocery shopping to get some needed supplies. On my way back home I stopped to take some photos. This was the first day in a while that we had some decent sunshine, including blue skies. There has been a lot of dull, rainy and overcast weather lately. This was a welcomed change and so was the temperature at 8 degrees Celsius. It'll be a bit on the cool side for the week but sunny. The warmer temperatures, and the rain, return by the end of the week but we'll take the sunshine while it's here.

So the above photo shows a condo building nearly complete. There is a pharmacy on the main level and room for other commercial/retail outlets. This building is on Hastings Street in the Heights in north Burnaby. There are a lot of new condo buildings going up in the Greater Vancouver area. I thought I would share this photo with you.

Finally, just before you think all goes lifeless here on B.C.'s lower mainland, below is a photo of heather in bloom (Erica), also on Hastings Street near the new condo building. Hope this cheers you up, especially those still deep in the throws of winter!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Early January scenes from Burnaby Mountain

Last Wednesday I went up to the top of Burnaby Mountain after finishing work at 8am. The #135 bus goes to Simon Fraser University (SFU) and from there I took the trail to the west end of the mountain. The weather looked promissing when I left work but the breaks in the cloud cover began to close as I reached my destination. Oh well. These photos will show you the scene that morning with cloud and all, even some snow on the mountain. We are expecting some sunshine after all these weeks of overcast and rainy weather. This will allow me to take some photos giving a different mood to the scene.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

BC Earthquake Strikes

Early Saturday morning (January 5) a "strong" underwater earthquake occurred off the coast of British Columbia, registering a magnitude of 6.7. The quake struck at about 3:45 a.m. Pacific Standard Time, the second of two to strike within 30 minutes in the same area. It was centred about 135 miles (241 kilometres) southwest of Sandspit, Queen Charlotte Islands. A tsunami had not been expected. Underwater quakes of 30 seconds or more have the potential to cause a tsunami. Since the coastal area of the province of British Columbia is located along the Pacific rim of fire, quakes of any sort should not be a suprise.

The only quake I experienced first-hand was back in London in southwestern Ontario. This was in about the mid-1980s or so. I was working night shift at the time and was getting angry that my sleep was being disturbed by "heavy road equipment" (like catapillar) going down the road. But then I thought at the time, there was no contruction anywhere in the area, so what was happening. The bed frame was banging against the wall. There was this loud noise and shaking as well, like from heavy equipment as mentioned before. My mother, who was alive at the time, had run out of the house. It was over before too long with no damage. I learned later that the quake had been centred in Lake Erie (?) to the south. That one was about 4 Richters or so. So far I have not experienced any earthquakes of any sort on the west coast but I am sure the time is coming.

I am planning to update the links in the right-hand margin soon by adding sources regarding seismic, volcanic and weather related activity. Meantime, are you prepared if a major quake strikes your area?