The things you find when you need to pee

One of the consequences of having the world’s tiniest bladder is often needing to pee when there is no convenient place to do so.

This happened yesterday as I walked to Lougheed Town Centre. Fortunately, much of the walk is along trails and I diverged off the main route to find an out-of-the-way spot to relieve the aforementioned tiny bladder. After I finished I noticed this a short distance away, just a few steps from a nearby creek. It’s a collection of painted stones, inscribed with positive words and phrases like “Believe”, “Keep your head up!” and “Let your path take flight.” Colorful, unexpected and entirely unexpected.

I also took a shot of this flower bed a few minutes before finding the stones, and rather like the way the perspective makes the flowers appear to go on endlessly. The lone white lily poking out is cute, too. The flower bed is located at Griffin House, a printing business on Cariboo Road. Kudos to the company for the color it adds to the area.

Woodpecker therapy in Central Park

(In which I took some time this afternoon to stroll around Central Park in Burnaby.)

Okay, I can’t really say woodpeckers would offer much in the way of therapy, unless you were looking for the cheapest, most excruciating trepanation possible. But I did see a woodpecker, not up in a tree, but sitting on a fallen one (also known as a log) and it was following script, merrily pecking away at it.

I didn’t want to get too close and scare it off, so the photo is kind of blah (optical zoom is something I definitely miss on typical smartphone cameras), but here ya go:

And at the lower pond, things were ducky. It’s also tough to shoot ducks (with a camera), not because they frighten easily, but because you have to be a worm to get down low enough for a good angle.

I took a photo of some of the fish they have stocked in the same pond, but due to reflection, refraction and the dull colors of the fish, I have not included the photo here. Just imagine a beluga whale majestically breaching or something. Yes, I know whales aren’t fish. But they breach a lot better.

There’s no Waldo hiding in this shot, I just like the interplay of light and shadow. The weird, bleached out color is accurate.

And now flowers!

And a few more on the way out of the park:

Finally, on one of the trails I don’t usually hit I saw this atop a giant tree stump. I don’t know.

Flower (and tree and bird) therapy at Burnaby Lake

I usually have two speeds at Burnaby Lake: fast and faster.

Today, I tried a new speed: not fast. That’s not entirely true, as I did power along for six km to reach the Nature House and Piper Spit along the trail. But once there I took my time to saunter around, enjoy the feel of the sun, watch the birds do bird things and then strolled back out of the park, stopping to take pictures along the way.

In other words, I acted like my alternate universe opposite. Slow, mellow, taking in the sights.

The walk into the park off of Cariboo Road parallels a commercial complex for a few hundred meters, though there are some nice plants and flowers along the fence that divides the two. Just be careful if you try to pick them.

At the Nature House:

Baby ducks, adorable as always:

Duck butt:

Birds on the boardwalk. I want to caption this with something funny, but I don’t know what kinds of funny things birds would say to each other.

This is from the viewpoint looking back toward the boardwalk pictured above. You can see most of the lake from here, the opposite of when I am running around it.

Baby geese. Not as adorable as baby ducks, but pretty cute. Too bad they grow into poopmonsters (seen to the left and right).

I have never seen a turtle in this turtle area. (The area is fenced off, I’m just standing right beside the fence.)

I have added what I think is probably a pretty accurate depiction of a turtle, if one ever actually showed up here.

A lot of the land around the lake is marsh, which tends to be quite soggy. This has a certain effect on trees in the area. I call this The Leaning Tower of Treesa (sorry).

On the way out of the park I didn’t see too much to photograph in the way of flowers, but if you imagine a hundred pictures of thousands of buttercups, it would be a good approximation of what I could have shot (ironically, none are visible in the shot above, one of the few stretches that wasn’t festooned with the things).

Yet more flower therapy at Langara Golf Course

I didn’t actually go golfing.

Instead, I went for my usual stroll along the trail around the golf course, except this time I only did one loop (about 2.7 km) instead of my usual two, walked slower, and took the time to stop and take pictures of some of the flowers along the way.

These pink blossoms are in one of the gardens of a home adjacent to the trail (the path in the background is a private one, not the one I was walking along).

Pink blossoms near Langara Golf Course, May 22 2018.

I believe these are Lydian Broom (Genista lydia), growing wild on the perimeter of the golf course. The wooden fence ringing the course can be seen in the lower-left.

Lydian Broom at Langara Golf Course, May 22 2018.

Finally, what might be some orange daisies…or possibly something else. A botanist I ain’t. There’s a pleasant, dream-like softness to the flowers, especially the one in the left of the frame. The miniature picket fence is also kind of adorable. These flowers are part of a small public garden maintained presumably by some public people. I took photos of some of the other flowers, but didn’t like how they turned out. I may try again on my next walk.

Orange flowers and tiny picket fence near Langara Golf Course, May 22 2018.

More flower therapy along the Brunette River

I went for another walk today, a little longer, but at a still-slower pace as befits a statutory holiday when one moves more deliberately in order to sop up all that “would otherwise be working” time. I ventured from home, down the Brunette River trail, then up to the Production Way SkyTrain station, where I let mass transit do most of the walk back home.

This time I did tap the camera “viewfinder” to tell it what to focus on. It worked surprisingly well on one shot.

I’ve also developed a sudden appreciation for flower therapy (I’m sure this is an official term, I’m not even going to check), where you go out, find pretty flowers, then take pictures of them, just to help you relax, unwind and center yourself. It beats thinking about how you spent a long weekend fighting then recovering from a kidney infection.

Anyway, a few more pics!

The first is an artificial pond that was created as part of the restoration work done in 2012 when they expanded the nearby No. 1 Highway by two extra lanes. The pond has a spillover (unseen in the photo) and a stream on the east side that eventually reconnects to the river (also not visible). The white fluff is cottonwood seeds and plenty of them. It’s the time of year when they start piling up like snow. If I was allergic to cottonwood seeds I would still be at the spot I took this photo, unconscious and blown up like a puffer fish.

Cottonwood seeds gather on the surface of an artificial pond along the Brunette River, May 21 2018.

These pink blossoms are in the vegetation alongside Government Street, not far from Brunette River. The best part is how you can’t see the dual railroad tracks that are about five meters behind the flowers, nor the giant Costco warehouse that was directly behind me.

Pink blossoms along Government Street, May 21, 2018.

The final shot is a bunch of daisies not far from the above flowers. You may be able to guess which one I focused on.

Daisies along Government Street, May 21 2018.

That shot almost makes me look like I know what I’m doing with a camera. Sometimes I do.

Another little stroll around the nooks of Lower Hume Park

Yesterday I went for my first post-infection walk, noodling around Lower Hume Park and some of the upper area, taking photos of all this nature stuff while walking at a pace much unlike my usual (which is silly-fast). It was a mild early evening and the sun was just about to dip into its sunset colors.

The first photo is a broader view of the shot I posted on May 15th. The sun is more diffuse here, so the color doesn’t pop nearly as much. It’s like pulling back the curtain to show the weird man behind it. Still kind of mesmerizing.

Flowering tree near swimming pool at Hume Park, May 20, 2018.

I’m not sure if it’s bad composition or pushing the limits of a smartphone camera or just “be grateful I didn’t stick my finger over the lens” but the blowout of the sky is unfortunate in this shot. It otherwise vividly captures the scariest tree in Lower Hume Park. It looks like it ate a bunch of people, then died with them trapped inside. Pleasant dreams!

Definitely not the Tree of Life, seen on a trail in Lower Hume Park, May 20, 2018.

Here’s something far less creepy, a pleasing mix of yellow and white blooms a few steps away from the Brunette River. You can see the camera and I had a bit of a disagreement on what to focus on. I should note that I don’t use any of the available controls–I just aim and tap the “take photo” button. I’ll probably look more into actually shaping the photos soon. The clarity on the leaves is nice, though.

Splashes of color near the Brunette River in Lower Hume Park, May 20, 2018.

This is a cropped photo of a pink blossom located on the far side of a drainage ditch, not far from the covered seating area. Fortunately the ditch is dry, so I didn’t have to get wet and stinky to grab this shot (the travails of not having optical zoom).

Pink bloom in Lower Hume Park, May 20, 2018.

And finally this low-perspective shot of flowers and vegetation leading off into the not-easily-traversed bits of Lower Hume Park, which are probably inhabited by coyotes, snakes and hill giants.

Leading off into the less-accessible area of Lower Hume Park, near the Brunette River, May 20, 2018.

Overall, it was a pleasant walk and I took the time to find little details I’d missed before or had forgotten about (like that delightfully hideous tree pictured above).

Spring springing

Nothing here, just a picture I took while walking along the Brunette River.

(I kind of wished the phone or I was smart enough to keep the flowers in focus. Maybe there’s an app for that. At least it’s not shot from the standard “hold camera out in front of you” height like every other picture I take.)

Flowers at Brunette River