Friday, September 22, 2017

Picked up our keys today

We took over a few things...mainly liquids that the movers won't move.  Amazing how many liquids a household has!   It was good to get over today so less to do when we actually move on Tuesday.  I also had to reorganize placement of furniture since  I made a mistake about where the cable was.  We brought over a couple of outdoor chairs so we could sit and enjoy the view.  It was still a bit cloudy today and the photos still don't really show it very well.  We see Vancouver Island and the ferries going into Horseshoe Bay. We're really pleased with the view we'll get from the dining room table too.

We went to Mahoney's and we each had a Kilkenny and split a bacon cheeseburger...excellent.  We are very impressed with the food here.  And the really big news is we noticed a "snug" separated just like in Ireland and with only two tables that seat only three people and there is a fireplace.  It was very cosy and best of all you can reserve a table there..."the snug,  table #11".  Derek,  instead of a pizza night when you come over,  we'll book the snug.

Oh,  and Richard,  they now have a whole load of Evo cars as well as Car2Go

We just love this little nook!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

A wonderful day in the sunshine yesterday

We took a bit of a break from moving preparations and went to Las Margaritas for lunch.  We had our favourite table by the window in the sunshine and our favourite server....what luck!  We hadn't seen her for a while and it seems she strained her ankle and was off work for two months.   She greeted us with " favourite couple!"  She's very special.

Then,  in the evening we dropped down to The Sylvia to take in the music and were treated to a wonderful sunset.

We're pretty organized and I should pretty much get the rest of it done today.  

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

I enjoyed looking at these paintings

When we were at the Coast Harbourside in Victoria,  this artist was "in residence".   I love this tradition of having local artists do their works in various hotels.  He wasn't working when we were passing by but I like his paintings.

Well,  I guess you'll have to look at his website to see them.  He makes it very difficult to upload.

And I got a real laugh out of Linda's blog post true!

Men are just happier people!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

These beautiful photos Susan posted on FB today gave me a real lift

Chris and Susan have been at Cox Bay Resort on the edge of Pacific Rim Park for four days.  What a wonderful place!

Chris and Susan were our neighbours in Victoria and really enjoyed Don and Elaine.  When they arrived at our house and also when they left,  Don always called out an expletive directed at Chris.  I'm not quite sure what our other neighbours thought of that.

We spent many New Year's with Don and Elaine at our home and they always stayed overnight.  Don liked to get up early and dressed in his bathrobe banged on Chris and Susan's door demanding coffee.  Chris good naturally stumbled down to let him in even though he often commented (joking of course) to us,  "Sextons,  I don't know if I can take many more of the first day of  the New Year facing this guy in the blue bathrobe."  And then Susan came down in her bathrobe which Chris referred to as "the mood destroyer".   We, of course, were still sleeping off all the rich food and wine.

I think this tradition came about because one year Don and Elaine arrived as Chris and Susan's guests arrived and they all had a brief chat and Chris had said "Drop over for a drink later."  Their guests had long left by the time we decided to call it a night around 3am.  Even though the house was completely dark,  Don went over and banged on the door.  When he got no answer he came back and made up a number of signs "You cheap "expletive" asked me over for a drink"and taped them all over the sunroom windows so they could read them.  Ah...we had lots of fun.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Remembering our dear, sweet, wonderful friend, Elaine Curling.

July 8, 1946 - September 16, 2017

I love this photo of Elaine.  It says just about everything about her....her kind,  gentle,  loving face and her adoration of cats.  This is the famous Oscar,  who spent more time at our place than his real home.  Elaine loved him and he has an unusual expression on his face.  It's like he is saying,  "I know what I have here and don't you or anyone else interfere with my time with this beautiful person."

Thursday evening, we got a message from Elaine's youngest niece, Tracey, that Elaine was gravely ill in Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria.  I immediately made hotel and ferry reservations for Friday and Jim and I had  a lovely visit with Elaine that afternoon.  We returned Saturday around noon to learn that Elaine had passed away that morning while talking to her good friend,  Susan,  and hospital staff.       Susan and Elaine had been on a couple of cruises together,  the most recent all over Europe.

We were able to say goodbye and give her one last kiss. We feel very blessed to have been able to see her.  When we arrived,  Elaine's three nieces were all there and had all been in town the last couple of days.  We had heard a lot about Elaine's nieces.   They were all very special to her and Elaine was so happy to see them all  happily married and with their own families.  Lisa,  Tracey,  and Lindsay,  it was so comforting for us to see you there with an aunt I know meant a lot to you and that you loved very much.

I met Elaine when I began to teach at Cedar Hill in the early 80's.  I didn't meet her for a while because she taught Math and I taught French so we weren't in the same department and she tended to spend lunch hours and breaks marking,  preparing,  and seeing students.  She didn't seem to need a break!   I also learned she stayed up until all hours of the night marking tests because she wanted to get the tests back the day after students wrote them.  Lots of students had "math anxiety" so she felt that was one way she could help.  She was a wonderful teacher!

We began to know each other when our teaching rooms were across from each other a month or so after I began at Cedar Hill.   My first assigned room was on the ground floor near an area where students congregated after school and there was quite a bit of noise.  I always had students after school who needed help understanding the intricacies of French and the noise was a problem.  Elaine also had lots of students who needed help with Math so it was perfect for us to be away from the fray up on the third floor.

We learned that we liked to ski so our first trip together was a three day ski holiday at Whistler just before Christmas where I had booked a two bedroom suite at Tantalus Lodge.  Jim and I had been there recently in the summer to play golf.  That year we went up separately and at that point we hadn't even met Don.  That was quite an experience!  We took them to our favourite restaurant where in the summer they had been serving these lovely fresh "fritures du lac"...well,  they may have called them something else but they were exactly like what we'd had when we were in Annecy dining at a restaurant on Lac d'Annecy.   They are tiny little fish deep fried.  Well,  they weren't serving them anymore and since Elaine and I loved calamari we had that instead.  It was tough and awful.   When it came time to pay, Jim realized he had left his wallet at home and I hadn't taken my purse.  Don never let us live this down and it was the beginning of a friendship of many laughs,  teasing,  good food (well, usually) and travel.

We did a couple more trips to Whistler and our son,  Richard,  came along as well.  They all had an immediate affection for each other.  We did weekends on all the Gulf Islands,  New Year's in New York,  a week in San Diego listening to waves crashing in our beachfront condo,  a couple of trips to San Francisco staying at the Hilton where we drank the price of the Sunday brunch in the endless Champagne included and toured the wine country.   We went all round Ireland when they came to visit us when we were doing a house and car exchange in Donegal.

And the highlight for everyone was their visit when we had a villa in our lovely little village of Carqueiranne while Jim was teaching at the University of the South in Toulon.  We went all over the south of France,  to Paris, and to Brussels.  They enjoyed it all but questioned,  "Why are we going anywhere else but's the best of all!"

Elaine and I had birthdays a day apart,  me on July 7 and Elaine on July 8.  When we were in Victoria we always took our convertible and went out for a gourmet lunch.  After we both retired,  we swam once a week at the Hotel Grand Pacific and had lunch afterwards.  Those were very special times and a highlight of the year was when the Grand Pacific had their Christmas Teddy Bears.

Elaine always sent us wonderful packages of all sorts of goodies  for our birthdays,  Christmas,  and anniversary.  My blog readers have seen the contents of these and I know they've been impressed with the thoughtfulness of these gifts.  Elaine always thought I was very naughty in ripping these open the moment they arrived rather than waiting until the actual day arrived.  She got quite tricky in having them arrive at the last possible moment  but of course they did arrive just a little early.  This year I promised her I wouldn't open my birthday package early.  Sorry,  dear friend,  I did!  I know you would understand.

When we arrived home yesterday after a very emotional time,  we came home to seeing the contents of those packages everywhere.  Cushions in the living room,  one with a Paris motif and one that says "My other house is in France".  I open a kitchen cupboard to see the special wine salts she bought in France this year.  I make tea in a teapot with a sunflower design.   I go to wash a dish in the sink and there is the tile that has boats like "les pointus" from Carqueiranne.   I go into the bathroom and there are soaps and a lavender soap dish.   In the hall there is the swimming bag with the flirty looking cat design that I look at all the time I'm swimming.

So,  dear friend,  you will always live in our hearts and in all the lovely memories of the wonderful times we had together.

A few photos of some of our time together.

In Carqueiranne.

In La Lavandou...a little village close to Carqueiranne.

In Marseilles.

Our favourite roast chicken guy in Carqueiranne market.  Don and Elaine loved this market.  Don bought a roasted rabbit from him and ate every last part including the brain.  It was delicious!  In subsequent visits to the market,  Don (through our translation) teased him mercilessly about how "that cat was really good that you sold us."    I guess the nieces had heard this story because as we were showing them some photos of this trip,  Lindsay asked,  "Was it really a cat?"  I kept chuckling about this yesterday and it helped me get through the day.

A great meal our last day in Paris.

In their new condo.

For our birthdays one year (Jim''s is July 13),  Elaine got this idea of getting a scarecrow for our garden....priceless!

We had many Robbie Burns evenings together at the Union Club.  Jim is wearing his kilt.

In their new condo with the three Dali prints they bought when we were in San Francisco one year.

Elaine pouring wine....a familiar scene.

We even made some trips into Vancouver before we moved there.  This is on Granville Island.  We stayed at the Granville Island hotel with lovely views over False Creek.

Elaine made two trips to visit us in Palm Springs.  Don wasn't well enough to travel the first time and had passed away when she came down to visit us in the condo we had bought.

We had a fabulous dinner in Rossnowlagh in County Donegal...the best raw oysters ever and lobster to die for.

Taking the TGV to Paris from Marseilles.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Thank you, old Bean! I needed this today. From Linda's blog.

Whenever you are having a sad day, humour always makes things better.  I hope this makes everyone smile.

1.  My goal for 2017 was to lose just 10 pounds … only 15 to go ....

2.  Ate salad for dinner…Mostly croutons & tomatoes ... Really just  one big, round crouton covered with tomato sauce ... And cheese... FINE, it was a pizza... I ate a pizza.
3.  How to  prepare Tofu:
       1.  Throw it in the trash.
       2.  Grill some Meat.

4.  I just did a week's worth of cardio after walking into a spider web.

5.  I don't mean to brag but … I finished my 14-day diet food in 3 hours and 20 minutes.
6.  A recent study has found women who carry a little extra weight live longer than men who  mention it.
7.  Kids today don't know how easy they have it ... when I was young, I had to walk 9 feet through shag carpet to change the TV channel.
8.  Senility has been a smooth transition for me.
9.  Remember back when we were kids and every time it was below zero out they closed  school?  Me neither.
10.  I may not be that funny or athletic or good looking or smart or talented … I forgot where I was going with this.
11.  I love being over 69 … I learn something new every day … and forget 5 others.
12.  A thief broke into my house last night … He started searching for money … so I woke up and searched with him.
13.  My dentist told me I need a Crown … I said, “You bet, pour mine over rocks”.
14.  I think I'll just put an "Out of Order" sticker on my forehead and call it a day.
"Just remember, once you're over the hill you begin to pick up speed."

Almost unbelievable!

Yesterday,  Dave told us about this sign they used to have by the rocks on the pier.  We thought it was a joke.  He sent it to Jay Leno and didn't know if he ever used it but soon after it disappeared.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Lunch in White Rock today with old friends...

It was just a magnificent!   White Rock means a lot to me because on warm days my Dad would come home from work and say "Let's go to White Rock for dinner".  This meant they packed up the coleman stove and my mom cooked on the beach whatever she was going to cook at home.  The tide was usually up and we had a warm swim and saw a beautiful sunset.

It was great fun,  guys,  as usual and thanks for lunch and the great dessert,  Linda and Cec!

From Linda's blog;

Lunch at Washington Avenue Grill

We all lived on the same street growing up!  We've had careers and families and now we are retired we've reunited.  Carol and Dave lived in Antwerp and Edmonton, Janice and Jim lived in Victoria and they all moved back to Vancouver!  We always have lots of laughs when we get together.

Photos by Linda.

We went for a walk on the pier after lunch.

My photos

Jim borrowed Linda' s rhinestone can't really see them in this photo.

Our view from the restaurant.

The famous "white rock" and Mt. Baker in the background

The fish and chips were amazing.

Power outage cancelled

Well,  it was a good idea to clear out everything in our freezer anyway.  Perhaps we'll miss it altogether.  Our manager assured us the generator could run both elevators if needed so that's a relief just in case it's is rescheduled for our moving day.

Rockin' it up last night at The Sylvia

We really enjoyed Taylor James and stayed for both sets.  Super music and she has a great personality and really interacted with the audience well.  It was a beautiful evening and we had our favourite spot  watching the sun go down over the water and in full view of the Sylvia neon sign.  We are going to miss this piece of paradise but new adventure await and we're only a short distance away.

Off to White Rock today to have lunch with Linda and Cec and Carol and Dave.  Good day to be away as BC Hydro is changing a pole and the power will be out all day beginning eat 8:30am.  Better get this posted!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Photos and journal of Bert and Margaret's Alaska cruise

There are actually about 50 photos but I'm mainly posting the ones with people in them.    Also,  Margaret wrote a little journal so I'll post that as well...what fun to look back on these!

This was the photo the cruise ship took.  Looks like I've been out in the sun!

From left to right:  Janet (Ian's wife),  Grampa Penman in the back, Margaret,  Aunt Dorothy,  me
Although we had been married for five years,  this was the first time I had met Aunt Dorothy.  She refused to come to our wedding saying Jim  "was too young to ruin his life."  I don't think Margaret ever really forgave her for that but I quite liked her.  She was quite a character.

"At foot of staircase in the lobby"                   "Lobby of the Island Princess" (my bridesmaid dress)

"Island Princess lying off Sitka"                             "Part of swimming pool on the sundeck"

"Dinner time on board ship"                             "Valentine in the Caribbean  lounge"

"Bar in Carousel Lounge"
Bert is wearing a shirt of Jim's                                   "Lido Bar"

"Bert on sundeck"                                                       "Margaret in Games Room"

After I finally met Aunt Dorothy,  she gave us a belated wedding present of the brass kettle and candlesticks that she had brought out with her from Scotland many years ago.  Looks like Jim needs to do some polishing!

Margaret's journal:

July 11, 1973
Departed Vancouver 10pm.  Sunny and warm.  Dinner at 8:30 pm then in to Carousel Lounge - live entertainment and dancing.  Browsed around ship before retiring.  All very luxurious.

July 12
Cruised Inside Passage.  Dull but pleasant. Still finding out the many interesting spots aboard - so much so, missed out on Captain's Cocktail Party where everyone introduced.  Very elegant gathering-formal 8:30. Buffet style dinner in Coral Dining Room.  Food - magnificent.  10-12pm.  Floor show. Greer Garson and husband sitting close by.

July 13
Ketchican.  Dull and raining.  Arrived 8am. Went ashore after lunch and browsed through the stores.  Local in habitants say it rains here most of the time. Highlight of the day was 8pm with a sumptuous Italian dinner.  10pm  Live entertainment featuring Jim Brooks, cruise director and former dancing partner of Judy Garland.  Entertainers--all professional.

July 14
Juneau.  Dull but pleasant.  Arrived 8am.  Went ashore after lunch.  Visited world famous saloon "The Red Dog" (2 beers $1.80).  Saw old gold mine on face of mountain.  Bert had bridge game with cruise director in the evening and won tournament.

July 15
Skagway.  Warming up.  Typical old frontier town, saloons,  quaint hotels. Best place for shopping for souvenirs.  Was impressed by the lovely air--made one realize what smog, etc. has robbed us.

July 16
Sitka. Sunny and warm.  Left ship by motor launch.  Found it most interesting. Visited Pioneers Home and took picture of  "The Prospector".  View master photographer doing the same. Saw funeral procession in street of Chief of Sitka.  Very interesting--then service in Russian Orthodox Church.  Russian dancers entertained in Centennial Pavillion.  Very colourful.

July 17
Prince Rupert.  Rather cool.  Disappointed in this place.  Visited museum and found it interesting but otherwise nothing to excite one.

July 18
Cruising Queen Charlotte.  Sunny.  Beautiful scenery probably because sun was shining seemed to be the nicest we had seen.  Masquerade in the evening after dinner and Bert came off with 2nd prize.  Anchored in English Bay shortly after midnight.  Vancouver ablaze with lights - a beautiful sight from the ship.

July 19
Vancouver.  Beautiful weather.  An end to wonderful cruise- an experience I would hate to miss, yet a nice feeling to be home again in beautiful Vancouver.

North to Alaska

For our 50th Wedding Anniversary next May we've decided to do an Alaska cruise.  This will be our first cruise ever so I'm quite excited about it.  I love the idea of no flying anywhere.  People come from all over the world to do this so it does make sense for us to do something in our backyard and I think it will be a good introduction to cruising.  Who knows, we might get hooked!

We decided to do the Island Princess because  that is the boat (obviously not the original) that Jim’s parents were on.  When I started teaching,  this was our gift to Jim's parents to thank them for letting us live in their basement when we were students.   My mother-in-law was apparently very frightened and spent the first night awake with a flashlight. They only went through with it because we had paid so much for it.  But, in the end,  it was the best holiday they ever had.  Greer Garson was on the boat and very gracious talking to everyone.  They were quite thrilled. They loved ballroom dancing so it was perfect for them.  For the Captain's Ball,  my mother-in-law wore the bridesmaid dress I wore at Roger and Kerry's wedding.

We remember looking at the menus.  I wish I still had them.  They always chose the most boring thing.  Three choices like “pheasant under glass”  and they chose “roast beef”.  Jim’s grandfather was living with them at the time and went with them in his own cabin.  He was a real sweetheart and I loved him very much.  I hadn’t known either of my grandfathers.  There is quite a good photo (taken by the cruise ship) of him in a British type bar.  He was a Scot.  What was really funny was that when they came home, I served them grilled cheese sandwiches and apologized since they had been having such wonderful food.  Jim’s grandfather took me aside and “ Janice,  this is the best food I’ve had in a week!”.  Well,  he had to get dressed up to dine and leave his teeth in…

Thanks,  Linda,  for organizing everything for us and all the inside information!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Last ocean swim of the season

It was wonderfully sunny and warm yesterday but the ocean water was a little on the chilly side.  It was nice to sit out in the sunshine beachside and chat to our beach friends.

I took these photos of this great garden on Comox and Chilco while we were out for a walk the other day.  These two gardens provide such pleasure for so many.  I must drop a little thank you note in their mailboxes.