Monday, January 22, 2018

If it's Monday, we must be at Bill's

It was great to get back to Bill's and we met our Vancouver pals there.  So much fun to see Nicki and Stan and Brian and Susan.  We all love Bill's and love escaping the weather back home.  They've all been coming to the desert much longer than ourselves.  We're newcomers.  Funny how people in Victoria weren't so much into going south for the winter.

And of course we were treated so well by the folks at Bill''s nice to be known.

Before the pizza arrived....

And after...

Comfort food

I made my Autumn soup since temps were supposed to be in the 60's but seems to be warmer with tomorrow being totally sunny and 75 F.   Absolute clear blue skies today and no wind so should be a great swim.

The soup turned out particularly wonderful.  I used chicken bouillon since I didn't have beef on hand.  Maybe I'll alway use that.

We hit the Cathedral City Library yesterday since it's open on a Sunday unlike most of the local ones.   We hit the jackpot.  They have an area of free books and we have picked up the odd one there but this time we picked up half a dozen!  Then we bought around half a dozen.  Prices are the cheapest of all the libraries.

A couple I'm interested in reading.

They have lots of activities for people and this free gardening course sounded great for gardeners.

Quite an interesting calendar.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Sunny skies at the moment

I hope the sun lasts until we have our swim as a few clouds seem to be developing but no wind so we should be able to get a nice swim.   It got cold last night and the temp in the house was 59 F so we have the heat on to take the chill off.   I see back home is getting quite a storm.  I hope family and friends back home don't have any power outages.

Sunday, January 21, 2018, 9:49 AM - British Columbia is being lashed with damaging winds as a new system is set to strike in earnest.
Wind warnings are widespread across much of Vancouver Island and the lower mainland as of early Sunday morning. More than 40,000 power outages were reported across Vancouver Island and the lower mainland and some ferry crossings were cancelled, with strong gusts still ahead for the day.
"An intense Pacific frontal system currently over northern Vancouver Island will slowly move eastward across the South Coast this morning, passing through the Lower Mainland just before noon today," one such warning read early Sunday. "Ahead of the front, strong southeast winds will reach speeds up to 80 km/h, especially over exposed coastal areas."

La Tablita

Well,  you can't be in Palm Springs for more than a couple of days before you need your fix for Mexican food.  It was excellent as usual.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Memory on FB from 5 years ago

We were in Vancouver in January obviously and I guess we did a Dine-Out Vancouver because I normally wouldn't eat three courses.  I guess I forgot to take photos.  Then we headed to Palm Springs for Feb and bought our place!

"Saturday, we began the evening at Neil and Donna's with a lovely single malt and great appies then headed out to the Gramercy Grill. Jim and I both began with the beef carpaccio, then the seared duck for me and NY steak for Jim. Donna started with the beet and goat cheese salad then the veal milanese. Neil had the steak and Jim and Neil both had the flourless chocolate cake and Donna and I had the pecan pie....I passed up the lemon tarte for a change! Washed down with See Ya Later Pinot Noir. Excellent food and drink!
Then, today, we went to see "Quartet"....really enjoyed it but we have a weakness for Maggie Smith for lots of reasons, not least that we saw her live in Edinburgh in Albee's "A Delicate Balance". Those were the days when so many of the famous still did live 1972 we saw Laurence Olivier in Long Day's Journey into Night for 30p at the Old Vic (our very first play in London), Alan Bates in The Caretaker, for around a pound, Glenda Jackson in White Devil for around the same...and others I can't remember now."

The paperwork for the condo down here was unreal...about 500 pages the end.  This is  part of it.  When we sold our house that Spring we had four pages of paperwork.

Feeling very West Coast early this morning

We got a bit of rain and the wind was up for a while but it's quite sunny now.  We'll get our swim for sure.  We usually only miss about one day a year and that is usually in December....this time in January would be a first.

We woke to a clear blue sky yesterday.

Jim with his treasures.

Erna's bougainvillea has flourished again...guess it was the two days of rain they had.

You can see a bit of rain on the sidewalk but I don't think it will count for much downfall.  Good thing this area is out of the drought now!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Whew....back from lots of shopping for provisions

We began with reading our Desert Sun then a swim in the sunshine and a hot tub.  We needed our robes to lie out in the sun but it was so wonderful.  It was 73 F today and getting in the 60's for the next few days so a little on the cool side for a while.  We will definitely be able to use our fireplace for a while.

We hit the Dollar store,  Revivals (Jim got some books and is just reading an amusing passage from one while we sip a drink outside listening to the bubbling fountain), Target, and Trader Joe's.

Photos will come at some point....just a little too lazy and a little too busy getting settled in again.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Arrived safely to our desert paradise.

Everything was perfect when we arrived....internet fired up and so did the car.  We had a fun flight as we had a woman a little younger than us beside us and she had travelled the world since her father worked in the foreign service for the UK.  He was involved in a lot of negotiations with British colonies when they were becoming independent.  She now lives on Pender Island and has a place in the desert.  Her brother lives in France so lots to talk about.

Well,  I guess I will be off to Trader Joe's soon.

Woke up to teaming rain this morning....

...and The Sylvia Hotel January Newsletter

I thought of you, Mary and Derek, when I saw this photo of a golden lab at The Sylvia.

"The Sylvia Hotel prides itself on being the most pet friendly hotel in Vancouver. The hotel staff wait to eagerly welcome you and your four legged family members! Pets stay for no additional cost and we encourage a visit at the front desk for a treat."

It will be nice to keep this view from the Sylvia Pub in mind.  It will never change.

But a memory from FB 5 years ago is now just a memory since Cloud 9 is no longer and the building will soon be demolished.  We were there the night before and it looked like a beautiful rain free night.  Several days of rain forecast in Vancouver this week.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Decisions, decisions....

We head to our Palm Springs paradise tomorrow and will be greeted by the Christmas decorations I left up.  I think it will be a cheery welcome along with the sunshine!   I took down my decorations here but still have the tree up since it's so cheery to have the lights.  I think I might just leave it up.

Soon to be seeing my beloved San Jacinto Mountains and getting a real French baguette...

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Protecting the French baguette

I've heard many people in France bemoaning what often passes for a baguette in France these days.  We were fortunate in our little village of Carqueiranne to have four real traditional bakeries and now in Palm Springs of all places we can get a real baguette....can't wait to have one!

In 1972 on our first trip to Europe we had many meals consisting of a baguette,  a round of camembert,  a bottle of wine and some grapes ...all for the grand price of around  a dollar.

Good on Macron!

French President Emmanuel Macron supports a group of bakers in its bid to protect the baguette, according to BBC News.
Inclusion on UNESCO’s “Intangible Cultural Heritage” list would preserve the beloved baking tradition – its name, shape, ingredients and culinary practice.
“The baguette is envied in the whole world,” Macron said in an interview with Europe 1 radio. “We need to preserve its excellence and know-how. This is why it needs to be (classified) as heritage.”
Baguettes have become a symbol of French gustatory prowess around the world. However, the master bakers leading the proposal are alarmed by what passes for the lean loaf today.
“When I see the quality of bread in supermarkets, it is impossible not to get angry,” Dominique Anract, president of the National Confederation of French Patisseries and Bakeries (CNPBF), reportedly told food website Atabula.
“The bread is frozen, some of it comes from Romania or who knows where, nothing is carried out in accordance of the rules of the art.”

Monday, January 15, 2018

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao

This is probably Gehry's absolute masterpiece and I guess we'll never see it.  We came close as we almost did a house/car exchange with a colleague of Jim's in Madrid just after it was completed although they did ask us not to take their car there as cars with Madrid licence plates were prone to be blown up by the Basques.  We would have taken the train.

Bilbao was the first place in Spain we visited.  In 1972 on our first trip to Europe we weren't planning on going to Spain but we were in Biarritz and thought why not so we ended up driving all the way across Spain to Barcelona.

Now,  this little story tells you something about Spain at that time.  We didn't speak Spanish so had difficulty asking where to get a room for the night.  Jim got the idea of stopping a priest walking by thinking he probably spoke French or English since priests are educated.  He spoke French and came with us to a small hotel in the area he was familiar with.  Even though he was with us and our passports had the name "Sexton",  they were concerned that we were actually married.  The priest assured him we were so we were given the room.

Around the same time,  a couple we knew were travelling in France and weren't married and were asking for separate rooms.  They had great difficulty explaining that they actually wanted "deux chambres" not "une chambre pour deux".   The French just couldn't quite get their heads around a young couple wanting two rooms!

So,  in 1972,  the Algerians were blowing up things in France and the IRA was blowing up things in the UK.   But we must get hope from such wonderful things being created like this museum!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

The "wobbly house" at MIT

We watched the Frank Gehry last night and I was reminded that I saw this building at MIT.  I had an idea that I had seen something else of Gehry.  I made a special trip out while Jim was doing research at Harvard.  When I was looking at it, someone on campus commented to me that they referred to it as "the wobbly house".

And that reminded me of this very cool sculpture and working "bells" on the subway line out to MIT. It was a very fun day!  I can't seem to download a photo but you can see the installation here.

On another day I also really enjoyed walking around Harvard University grounds and even tagged along with a group of parents of future students who were being given a tour.  All, unfortunately, before the days of my blog.  I guess we did that trip in the late 90's.  Jim, of course,  was slaving away in the library while I was having all the fun...

Friday, January 12, 2018

A wonderful new resource!

Jim has access to all the programs on Kanopy with his UBC library privileges.  We found our HDMI cable and have an easy way to hook up the computer to the TV so get it all on the big screen.   Last night we finished watching a four part 2009 BBC adaptation of Emma.   It was very good and we realized how much we had forgotten.  Well,  it has been a long time since we read it although I am in the process of re-reading Jane Austen again.

There is loads of stuff on architecture especially modern architecture so I look forward to seeing those programs when we're in the heart of my beloved mid-Century architecture.  I think we'll watch the Frank Gehry tonight.  I just love his stuff.   I wish I had seen more but I did see the wonderful Walt Disney Concert Hall in LA.  Actually,  we both saw it.  I guess Jim was taking a day off from research.  They offered quite an amazing tour of the inside as well...very impressive.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

A wonderful lunch at Dick and Susan's

Well,  Dick was the chef and made a wonderful poached salmon....cooked to perfection.   We all enjoyed a warm cosy evening and their Christmas decorations.  Dick and Susan have also collected ornaments from their travels and we have some similar things like a mask from Venice,  trolley car from San Francisco,  cactus from Palm Springs....and on it goes.

I haven't taken my tree down's so cheerful I think I'll leave it up until we leave!

Thanks,  Dick and Susan,  for a super afternoon!

Soon back to the land of the gecko

Linda mentioned a cement gecko on her blog so that got me thinking I should have a gecko here not just in Palm Springs.  I copied Erna's idea and got a metal gecko in the Fall but Erna's is the coolest.  I hope she keeps it hanging outside her door so I can enjoy it while swimming at the pool.

So,  googling cement gecko brought up these images.  And your guess is as good as mine as to why there is an image of The Bank of Canada!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

UBC Faculty Women's Club

I've joined this club and look forward to their events at Cecil Green Park on campus.  They have a large number of interest groups and I'm attracted to various ones to do with books,  art,  dining out (couples welcome so Jim can participate) and French conversation.

We're looking forward to exploring our new world when we get back from Palm Springs!

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Finally, we get sunshine and no rain for the moment...

It was nice to wake up to this after all the rain we've had.  But, of course, it is a day when we don't have to do a longish drive.

We were in West Vancouver yesterday having lunch at Tom and Sheila's place.  Tom was a student of Jim's in an SFU course and Jim encouraged him to publish the paper he wrote in the Huxley Annual.  It was quite  a thrill for Tom and coincidentally the copies came to his place yesterday when we were there.  Jim's didn't arrive at our place...hopefully they will arrive today.

Meanwhile in Palm Springs,  they got their first winter storm.  This is the time of year when it happens so not such a bad time to be away although the weather has been great up to this point.  These storms usually don't last too long but there were road closures and flooding.

Benjamin posted this photo of his back yard...looking more like what Vancouver has been lately!

From the local news:

A low-pressure system has brought the first storm of the year to the Coachella Valley. High winds and rain are expected throughout the valley. The storm moved through the Southland overnight and into Tuesday. It is bringing with it the possibility of up to 0.75" of rain for the Coachella Valley.