weather or not

Looking back at the process we went through I see that I can now afford to be a bit more personal. This month felt like a marathon. Giora and Irit, Anat's parents, my in-laws, were with us for two weeks on a visit from Israel. I was interested in reaching the final mosaic making session with as many of the tiles we needed finished. There was also an application package I was working on that needed to be sent. I had two weekends of this month dedicated to the Urban Design classes in SFU. In normal conditions this would have been busy but manageable. Even the weekend in Silverdale, near Seattle was a welcome break from routine.
Great sunny days on the weekend in Silverdale
At the end of that weekend we drove back to Vancouver to start the week. Anat's parents stayed in Washington for a few more days before joining us and leaving back to Israel. I had a few last touches on the mosaic pieces to make them ready for installation. The whole visit was turning into a great familial update with Inbal, our daughter, getting a lot of attention from her gramps.
Inbal enjoying the play, Saba enjoying his grand daughter
and the Richmond ice rink
On the first day of gramps enjoying the scenery of Mount Rainier, Irit broke her knee cap . This is one of those minor injuries that change your life in an instant and not for the better. In normal conditions she would have been operated in Washington and started rehabilitation. Being visitors in Canada with a flight back to Israel scheduled just a few days later introduced a whole set of considerations into the matter.
A short while before the accident as shot by Giora
As soon as Saba and Savta (Grandpa and Grandma) were back in Vancouver we started preparing for their flight to Israel. Rehabilitation is the most intensive component of treatment for this type of injury. An operation can be delayed for a few days without harm. Tickets needed to be changed, insurance issues were resolved and an operation had to be scheduled as soon as they landed in Israel.
Inspired by the occasion
At dinner of their last evening with us we raised glasses of wine for the admirable way Giora has managed the faxes, emails and phone calls. I complained that my desire to help wasn't fulfilled. To be honest, my in-law's independence allowed me to continue my daily activities with very little if any disruptions. No one wishes to enhance their lives with accidents and hardship. Still, whatever happens to you is part of your life. A day after landing in Israel Irit's knee cap was restructured. A day later she started walking again.
A short while before the concrete was poured
Our mosaics are waiting for a few days without rain to be laid and grouted. Vancouver weather is part of our life...


the best you can

Urban design might sound like a field that deals with inanimate components of the city: spaces, buildings, roads and other built environments. One of the reasons I've joined the certificate program in SFU is my perception of the urban as an extension of the human, physically and socially. I'm happy to find the SFU Urban Design program delivering an approach that runs along a similar line.
The plywood board is later taken away and leaves a recess
where the tile will be installed
The mosaic workshops are wrapping up to their final days of fabricating pieces. Soon we will start installing them in Norquay Park. Most of the concrete that will house our tiles has recently been poured. Each mosaic piece, as an inanimate illustration of water related creatures, is also a reflection of a person or people who created it. We've had school kids, teenagers, adults and seniors participating in this project. I've had the fortune of following some of them go through an inspiring creative process.
The story behind each tile is personal as well as artistic
There are many ways to work on the things you are currently busy with. There is only one way that I can consider to be right: doing the best you can. This is a decision that is inherently an attitude. As soon as you reach that decision, your work is pretty easy. From there you can only improve.
Some of the more compelling results come from challenges
like this somewhat messy start
Guiding people to embrace this attitude is a challenge I wasn't fully aware of getting into before joining this project. I am now looking at our finished mosaics and can't wait to see them in place. Whether it was an hour that some spent with us or a few months that others labored, each brought a piece of their own life into this. The story of each tile starts with an image anyone can see and extends to the world of the people who created it.
Grouting will probably bring this tile
to an even better expression of art.
Urban design deals with the built world and is concerned with us, living its story.