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★ Vancouver

Louise and I left Seattle at about 4:30 on December 16th, 2003, just in time to hit major traffic. We got to Vancouver at 8:30. Just before we got to the border crossing, my dad called and said that Aunt Mary is very sick and will likely die either Wednesday or Thursday. I’m terribly sad about this, but we’re determined not to let it ruin our trip. There’s nothing to be done. When I can I’ll try to get a flight back for the planned memorial service this weekend.

After we found the Barclay House last night – and we found it to be very charming and cozy – we walked westerly on >Barclay Street to Denman, then headed a bit south to Comax, where we found a funky little restaurant called the Brass Monkey. Louise had a delicious salmon and a tasty glass of red wine. I had the chef’s special pasta and a couple of traditional Canadian beers. A fine meal. Lost my debit card. We walked back to the restaurant. Couldn’t find the card. Left my number. The waitress called a few minutes later; found it! We walked BACK to the restaurant. Got the card. Yay. Avoided a suspicious man on a bicycle on the way back. Relaxed with the fire and soft music.

Had a lovely talk over breakfast with Bruce and Una, a couple of physicians from Edmonton. Went to Vancouver Art Gallery for most of the day to see the Chagall exhibit. Lunched at a wonderful little Italian restaurant right across from the Gallery (we were invited in by the charming proprietor). Back to the Gallery. Back to Barclay House. My aunt died. Dad called and gave me the news. She died at noon with the arms of her family around her. Called Stef. He sounds fine. Everyone seems to be holding up. I’m looking at going to Chicago.

I proposed to Louise tonight. Gave her the ring right before we went to eat. She said yes. My head was swimming. I could hardly get the words "Will you marry me?" out of my mouth. Thank God she said yes, otherwise dinner might have been a little awkward. As it was, we had champagne to celebrate and another meal served in a banana leaf at The Crime Lab, a hip little two-story bistro on Jervis & Pender. Back to the B&B to watch a movie on the PowerBook and fall asleep in each others' arms in front of the fire that you turn on with a switch.

It’s late. I'm really happy. Being engaged, and all. :-))

Thursday we got up and had breakfast just the two of us in the dining room. We left our stuff at the house and caught a bus to Granville Island. The market was full of delicious foods, including the Red Snapper Chowder we had for lunch at the Stock Exchange. Browsed for Christmas gifts, but nothing leapt out at us. Took the Aquabus across the water to the bottom of Burrard (?) and walked into downtown. After a quick stop at the Cyber Café in Chapters, we walked to Sophia Books for some foreign language books. Best find of the trip turned out to be there in the form of the Haitian Creole - English, English - Haitian Creole dictionary by Charmant Theodore. We continued to the convention center, then tried to go up in the Harbour Centre tower, but they don’t take debit cards!

It was dark, so we walked back to Barclay House, got our stuff, and drove home.

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