Left Coast By Design

Tag: Richmond (page 3 of 3)

The Therapeutic Steveston Lifestyle

When Marnie and I moved to Steveston, never did I imagine that the “Steveston Lifestyle” would be therapeutic.

View of Mount Baker

Mt. Baker from Steveston – courtesy of Stephen Rees

Since arriving in July, I’ve found my stress level has dropped. If my mind is all wound-up or the blood is pumping, I simply look out my window and see Mt. Baker. Or if I’m fired up enough to be shaking, I put on the shoes and head out for a quick walk and *poof*, everything is better. I kid you not. Heck, I just watched the Canucks stink to high-hell, Shane O’Brien get the third star in a loss (if that’s not a sign of how bad the game was, I don’t know what else would be), and I’m smiling.

So I ask you this; how can you beat this lifestyle? How can you beat walking down to the river to watch a tug glide out to sea? How can you beat returning the smiles of passers by as you walk lazily down the dyke? Exactly.

Typed as I head out the door for some serious therapy. Steveston style.

The Proud Owner of a Mortgage

For those keeping score at home, I officially became a landowner today with the completion of sale. That’s right. Chris and Marnie are now the proud owners of a mortgage and possible lifelong debt. Although we don’t actually take possession until noon on Saturday, we are both pretty stoked.

Mount Baker 2007

Farmland + Mt. Baker = My New View – courtesy of Gord McKenna

We’re still a fair bit away from being ready to move, which is somewhat worrisome due to the fact that we move on Sunday, but I think we’ll be fine. We provided our current landlord notice for July 31st, so we actually have time in between to ensure we get everything moved out, cleaned up, and sorted. But still, y’know? And I also guess that this means that I’m officially a grown-up or something like that. Sure it took me a few years longer than most, but I think owning a home and getting engaged all in one year is a good sign for a 31 year old who would like to think he’s still 13.

What do you think? 😀

My New Place in Steveston

As those of you who either follow me on twitter or facebook know, Marnie and I recently purchased a place in Steveston and take possession on 25Jul. Being that it’s our “first” home (we rent, so in theory we already have a home), we’re pretty stoked and are currently trying to figure out what we need to do before the big day.

steveston

My New Backyard – courtesy of abundantc

And that’s somewhat the dilemma. I know there are probably more pressing things surrounding our move, such as settling on a moving company (we’ve called those listed in Richmond and the BBB) and getting packed and ready to go, but I can’t get my mind off of all the things I want and see myself doing at the new place.

Like the new LCD TV for the bedroom. We currently have a 37″ or so CRT which is freakingly big and heavy – heck, I’m surprised the thing hasn’t crushed the IKEA tv stand I have it resting on – so I’m looking to “downsize” before we move to our new place. The problem I’m having is deciding on what good value is. I picked up a 37″ ViewSonic LCD from Costco years back and have been happy, but the price was right at the time and I can’t seem to replicate the dollars.

Then there’s the bike. With the outdoor lifestyle available to people in Steveston, I’m dying to pick up a bike to ride with the masses along the dyke and throughout the village. Although I don’t need anything special, most bikes I’ve looked at cost some decent dollars and with all the costs involved in our move, it’s an even tougher purchase to justify.

And don’t get me started about the furniture options. Marnie and I have relied on hand-me-downs and inheritances to this point, but with us moving to a somewhat smaller place, we need to downsize and figured it was time to step it up and get our own stuff. We currently have a 3 piece sectional that we enjoy, but due to the constant un-upholstering our cats have been working on, it’s pretty much in a shambles. So where do we go from there? And how do we do it on a budget.

Any suggestions?

Starbucks No More

Having worked at Starbucks in a previous life, it had always occurred to me that it seemed the market was somewhat over-saturated. Here on the left coast, there was nearly a Starbucks on every corner and when you add in all the other locations you could get some fine java from, such as Cafe Artigiano, Blenz, Tim Horton’s and the like, the competition is fierce.

Starbucks Sign

Starbucks Sign – courtesy of Darren Larson

Therefore, I’m not surprised that the current economic downswing has resulted in Starbucks closing stores here in Canada. It does shock me that the first one is here in Richmond.

As reported on cbc.ca the Starbucks located at Aberdeen Mall will close on Wednesday. Based on the article, staff were only advised of the closure within the past week and I can’t imagine what it must feel like for them. That being said, I’ve heard from a couple of former colleagues that the “partners” (as staff at Starbucks are called) have been offered positions in other locations throughout the district if it suits them.

If I were to be a guessing man, this will likely be the first of a number of closures throughout the Lower Mainland – let alone Canada. I’ve always been a fan of the coffee, but would point out that the service you get today is far different than the Starbucks experience back in the day. I strongly feel that the company went the wrong direction by focusing on consistency instead of the experience. The old bar partners used to pull shots not only added character to the experience, but the drinks were far better than the “cleaner” consistent shot that one gets out of the automated versions. And don’t get me started on how milk is steamed as the automated thermometer and shutoff on these new bars makes it too easy for the barista to not care about what’s going on – resulting in a poor tasting beverage that has little to no good foam.

I think as a whole, Starbucks needs to re-evaluate it’s true purpose in the market and look to make the experience more like the “third place” it once was, as opposed to the place that just happens to serve a typical caffeine fix.

Okay. I feel better now.

The Express Bus

Many years ago, the powers that be at Translink (or Coast Mountain Bus Company – I’m never too sure who thinks these things up) decided that Richmond would be better served by having the 98 B-Line and a number of peak hour commuter buses deliver the masses to and from Vancouver instead of a number of suburban (or would that be interurban) routes. With this change, the powers that be also decided to allow both the pick-up and drop-off of passengers, albeit through a limited stop service, throughout Vancouver to assist with ridership in the city. However, two routes were left as express routes and therefore would “typically” be drop-off/pick-up only in and out of town.

And that’s what has me ranting tonight.

On your marks - get set -

On your marks, get set… – courtesy of Stephen Rees

For as long as I have taken either the 488 Burrard Station/Garden City and 492 Burrard Station/Two Road buses there have always been people who get on the bus in Vancouver thinking that the bus will stop and let them off before we reach Richmond. Although I feel for many as they simply have grown accustomed to most buses in Vancouver taking them as close to their front door as the yellow lines on the road allow, it causes quite a bit of conflict with the transit operators, the transit schedules and people like me who avoided the other choices to Richmond in the hope that we might get home a touch quicker. It doesn’t seem to matter that the bus will have “Express” flash on the front display, nor does it seem to matter when the operator mentions the matter to those boarding. There just always seems to be the one guy who “didn’t know,” and pulls the cord to get off at the “next stop.”

Now maybe it’s the cold I have talking at this point, but there is always a part of me that just wishes the bus kept going. Teach the person a lesson and give them a discounted tour of South Vancouver and North Richmond. How dare they slow me down on my regular commute home from work! I’ve never really counted, but how many different options did this person have to get where they were going in Vancouver, but chose the “quicker” option of a suburban bus? It’s not like it wasn’t going in their direction in the first place, right?

That’s just the problem.

It used to be a common understanding that if the bus was going to Richmond and you didn’t want to get there, you didn’t get on it. There was always that odd exception where someone who truly didn’t know the system or how it worked got on by mistake, but it was so infrequent that it didn’t bother a soul. But now it’s nearly every day. People see that the bus heads down Oak St. and think that it’s okay to inconvenience the majority. Courtesy is tossed to the side of the road. And if the bus doesn’t stop, heaven have mercy on the operator who gets and earful from the person who feels they have a right to do whatever they want.

And Chris sits there. Pissed off and motion sick.

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