Sunday, December 31, 2006

Ending the year on a comic note...

Somehow I got into a cartoon wave for some of Richard's presents this year and he got us the classic graphic novels, Maus I & II, which won a Pulitzer prize...a "comic" but not a comic story.

I found the "Incredible Hulk" lunchkit in Hollywood. Richard used to love being scared to death just before bedtime by Jim's impression of "Trebble Hoag" as he called him.

I'm looking forward to reading these.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Party Hats

My cousin, John, has been teasing me about expecting "party hats" ever since he saw last year's Christmas dinner pictures with us all wearing our hats from the crackers. So, on our now traditional Dec 29 lunch I had a surprise for him. This is a little hat I bought in Thailand years ago and has been decorating the top of our Christmas tree (I had a plush mouse before that...I like unusual things for the top of the tree). However, Jim made a protest this year and we went with his choice...a snowman in a Santa hat.

John with his party hat.

The Year of the Snowman.

The Year of the Hat.

The Year of the Mouse.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Cats and Dogs....

Introducing Holly...a.k.a. Buddy Holly

Kate and Jean's new dog...isn't she a sweetie!

Oscar, the cat Don and Elaine share with their neighbour, doesn't appear too impressed with his new toy.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Congratulations Kate and Jean!

We were very pleased to hear Kate and Jean's big news that they are going to be married. We are very happy for you and wish you all the very best!

Mary on the Buddha Board

We've been having fun with this!
The idea is you make a design "in the moment" and it disappears all on its own.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Welcome to the official web site of the British Monarchy

I just watched the Queen's Christmas message on this site. Jim's brother, Ian, is right in style as his shade of green socks he was wearing last night are the same shade of green the Queen chose in her suit! You can also get the podcast here.

Welcome to the official web site of the British Monarchy

Friday, December 22, 2006

Itty Bitty Book Review: "Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures"

"Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures" by Vincent Lam

This was the Giller Prize winner for this year and very well deserved. I'm impressed with this first short story collection by an Emergency Room Doctor and it is very much about his professional experiences. I see his first novel will be published by Doubleday. I look forward to it. I think he is a writer to watch with special interest.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Stanley Park mon amour...

It was heartbreaking to hear that Stanley Park has lost 20% of its trees due to our many recent storms. I've had so much pleasure from this park over the years beginning with family picnics, going to the zoo and aquarium, watching the yachts come in Sunday evenings at Brockton Point, rowing on Lost Lagoon, riding bicycles around it with friends, playing tennis and pitch and putt, teaching swimming at Lumberman's Arch, walking around it with Jim, ...and on it goes.

If you're looking for a gift for someone who has everything you might want to donate to the "Gifts for Parks" program.

Vancouver Park Board - 'Gifts for Parks' Program

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Great neighbours

We had our neighbours over for a drink today and we feel so lucky to have such great people for neighbours...Elaine, Bonnie, Susan and Chris, Cindy and Dave, Colin and Chrystal and wee William age 10 months who of course stole the show!

Person of the Year: You -

Good on Time Magazine for naming all us bloggers, YouTubers, etc. "Person of the Year"!

Person of the Year: You -

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Everything's yummy at Fern's

Lunch at Fern's at Christmas is always a taste delight...wonderful tourtiere and homemade chutney (and a tourtiere and chutney to take home...I love this Christmas tradition) and a whole raft of new cookies this year. Thanks, was really fun! I took a little movie of all the ducks in front but they were too far out and you couldn't really see them.

Linda, Carole, Fern

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Bearwear 2006

These bears are always fun to see at the Grand Pacific Hotel...great charity for Queen Alexandria Hospital too.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Pate Brisee

Annette is always telling me how easy it is to make this pastry so I bought a tart pan with a removable bottom a while ago but just got around to experimenting with a recipe from EAT called "Roasted Tomato Tart". I liked all the ingredients...cheese (I used 4 yr old goat cheddar), onions, tomatoes, nicoise olives, herbes de Provence, fleur de sel. Tim and Bronwen were the guinea pigs. It was quite delicious except the pastry did fall apart when I put it in the pan and half the crust fell on the floor when I took it out of the oven since the side part of the pan fell off.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Bags from Germany!

I was thrilled the other day to open a package from Germany and find three shopping bags to add to my collection of bags. Maureen saw the photo I posted of my collection and sent these to add to it. It was so thoughtful...thank you so much! When I look at these I will think of the many happy times we spent together here in Canada, in Germany, and in our wonderful village of Carqueiranne.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Itty Bitty Book Review: The Custodian of Paradise

"The Custodian of Paradise" by Wayne Johnston

I have felt Johnston has been somewhat under rated and really felt his "Colony of Unrequited Dreams" and "The Navigator of New York" should have received more acclaim although "Colony" was at least nominated for the Giller. I was surprised to see that "Custodian" hadn't been nominated for anything until I read it. I'm not really sure about its literary merit. It's a gripping story and the plot held me but so does Dan Brown and his books definitely don't have literary merit however great they are for reading when in "trains, planes, and automobiles" situations. I'll have to think more about it. Perhaps it's the myth quality I couldn't quite get into.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Storm Aftermath

Certainly a lot of debris around from the recent snowstorm. They are dealing with it all very quickly around our neighbourhood. Trees have been pruned and they've started with the chipping and clearing away.

I saw this deer while I was out walking so was pleased to be able to make a little movie. I guess they have quite a hard time in the snow.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Magnolia Digital Arts

My friend, Trish, has begun to market her wonderful photographs and her website is really worth having a look at. I especially like the Mexico ones...but of course, that will be no surprise to anyone who knows how much I love the primary colours!

Magnolia Digital Arts

She has some of her Mexico photos hanging at the Baja Grill on Bay for lunch Mon-Fri and dinner daily from 5pm. This is the old El Rancho for those of you who have been in Victoria for quite a while. Our first house was in this area and this became our favourite restaurant especially for the was worth the price just to smell the garlic wafting throughout the restaurant while it was being prepared. It was a very reasonable place especially in the early days when they didn't have a liquor licence and they let us bring our own wine.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

House boat living...The Pink Dishrack

Last night we enjoyed having dinner with the Fishers and the Andersons at the Fin and Gill Restaurant at the West Bay Marina and of course the highlight was to visit the houseboat "The Pink Dishrack" where the Fishers were staying for a couple of nights. The Fishers would like to buy a houseboat at Fisherman's Wharf but there seem to be various glitches at the moment. Funny how both Ann and another friend, Roger, have recently been very intrigued by living on a houseboat. At West Bay you barely feel like you're on a houseboat because of the concrete floats and wharves...probably very encouraging in a storm but there is something very special about Fisherman's Wharf.

Westbay Marine Village B & B

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Crow gets the food...

I set out some food for the birds in the snow but the crow got it. The little birds didn't have a chance. I needed the services of dead-eye Fern and her slingshot.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Victoria BC Winter Driving

This video is for Richard whose Greyhound bus from Seattle gave up in Bellingham. No hotels to be had so a group of passengers got together and took a taxi to Vancouver. At least he got to sleep in his own bed...albeit it was 4:30am.

Cat Massages Dog and other Animals Videos on

The Curlings sent me this and I thought it was very amusing...enjoy!

Cat Massages Dog and other Animals Videos on

Market in Aix-en-Provence

Going through my photos and came across these ones that I took in 2005. A little bit of everything in this market...from soup to skulls...

We spent a wonderful sunny Sunday in Aix taking in their up scale flea market. It is a beautiful city with all the plane trees in leaf.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Latest paintings

I wanted to create two paintings that could serve as blocks for outside light and didn't want them too busy so did two more versions of my "Sunrise in Carqueiranne" that I did in 2003 when we were in France.

"Sunrise in Carqueiranne"
22 x 28 acrylic on canvas

"Sunset in Carqueiranne"
22 x 28 acrylic on canvas

Itty Bitty Book Review: The Architecture of Happiness

Alain de Botton, the architecture of happiness, the consolations of philosophy, how proust can change your life, essays in love, philosophy a guide to happiness

"The Architecture of Happiness" by Alain de Botton. I picked up his most recent book called "The Architecture of Happiness" on a 7 day read so had to skim some of it. His books are usually worth a look through.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Carqueiranne Market

Carqueiranne Market

A cold mistral was blowing the day I took this video. Even so, on market day everyone is happy!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


I've been uploading to YouTube various things I have in my "Digital Debris" file...small clips of things I made when I was using my video camera.
Always a pleasure to think of our wonderful little village on the Mediterranean.

Monday, November 27, 2006

A very cold brief walk...

Beautiful out there but very cold.

Over a foot of snow in Victoria!

This is beginning to remind me of the the blizzard of '96. I see Camosun is closed today and I imagine the schools will be as well. Richard posted a message to me at 4:30 a.m. saying he had just arrived home after visiting friends in Seattle and that he was glad to be in his own bed rather than on the floor of the Greyhound Depot in Seattle. He managed to find a way home but it was quite an adventure...he'll phone later today. I guess a number of people have tales to tell...

Sunday, November 26, 2006

I did it!

More snow in Victoria

I managed to take a video with my still camera and post it to YouTube.

I took this photo at around 3pm today...still light snow coming down. The flakes were as large as loonies earlier.

You guessed it...more YouTube stuff

I've set up easy posting to my blog from YouTube and figured out how to upload video so I'll be posting various mini videos I did when I was using my video camera. And will get to doing some new mini videos when I figure out how to do that on my still camera, convert it, upload it, etc. This one is "Snow in Victoria" from another year.'s really coming down now...perhaps I'll go out and try to get some video on my still camera.

Snow in Victoria!

Looks like we're going to get quite a dump of's piling up quite quickly. A rather nice change from the rain and glad we don't have to drive anywhere. Jim can walk to work tomorrow if it continues. A day for cozy activities before fire.

I hope my pansies survive.

I guess I won't be reading my sundial today...not that there's been much opportunity this last month...

My bistro table is looking a little sad out there...I think it's missing the sun.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Something for everyone on YouTube

It's just amazing what we've found on YouTube. I guess the youngsters are more interested in the original videos but we've found loads of great footage of musicians...Reinhardt and Grappelli, Aznavour, Josephine Baker, Trenet, Piaf, Nina Simone, Simon & Garfunkel, Dylan, Rolling Stones and on and on. Jim found a 30 minute interview (in three 10 minute parts) with Aldous Huxley that he hadn't previously seen.

Some of this stuff is obviously from commercial movies and performances but I guess the copyright isn't infringed because of the idea of "fair use" and using only a small part of the original. Rather curious about how the copyright thing works on YouTube.

For Donna and Neil (and all you other Dixieland Jazz fans)...nice to think of that warm summer evening last June when we saw the Preservation Hall Orchestra!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Laugh and The World Laughs With You

Annette sent me this recently and Richard pointed out it was on YouTube so here it is for everyone. I can see YouTube will become my new toy for a while...

Thursday, November 23, 2006

YouTube via the newspaper, the book...

Richard Friends of Rich recently made some interesting comments on his blog about new and old media and mentioned how he used a video clip YouTube - Reading Rainbow on YouTube when he first messaged his bookclub.

I had read an article on YouTube in the newspaper recently, then the bookclub mention gave me the impetus to take a look. So, it seems I came to the new media via the old media. I think I'm going to have fun with it!

YouTube - Broadcast Yourself.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Masterpiece Theatre | Under the Greenwood Tree

This adapatation of a wonderful novel by Hardy begins this weekend on Masterpiece Theatre. This is a happy novel of Hardy's and takes place in the area where he grew up and where we spent a week in 2004. On Susan and Alan's recommendation I read the novel in preparation for our stay and really enjoyed it. Looking forward to the production.

Wow...this is now unusual for Masterpiece Theatre to have two shows of interest in a row. We really enjoyed the last Prime Suspect...Helen Mirren was fantastic as usual. We used to almost always watch Masterpiece Theatre but Bush's budget cuts to Public Television have really affected the quality of programs...too bad.

Masterpiece Theatre | Under the Greenwood Tree

Monday, November 20, 2006

My faith in western society is restored

Richard just sent me this link. It seems the book and the interview have been cancelled. I hope Fox loses big time on this one. As someone remarked, "Fox was the network that began at the bottom and sunk lower". - News Corp. Cancels O.J. Simpson Book and TV Special - Celebrity Gossip | Entertainment News | Arts And Entertainment

Yellow Holly Berries?

I think these are holly berries but I haven't noticed yellow before.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Tobermory by Saki

For those of you curling (and the Curlings come to mind!) up with a cat and a scotch, you might want to read this delightful short story by Saki about a cat that learned to talk. Jim read it to me recently. Tobermory is the name of the cat and also the name of a single malt. Most of us probably remember Saki's story "The Open Window" from schooldays. This one is considered his funniest and some people even say the funniest story ever written!

Tobermory by Saki

I noticed in the Telegraph today that 90 years today Saki was killed by a sniper's bullet in W.W. I. Even though he was way past active duty age he insisted on getting a post in action as a private. An interesting man...apparently his last words were "Put out that bloody cigarette" before the sniper got him.

Telegraph | Entertainment | The short story king with a sting

Weather Cam from White Rock

What a miserable day! I couldn't find a weather cam working in Victoria. This one is good because you can have the streaming video and I've always had a soft spot for White Rock. In the warm weather my Dad would often come home from work and say let's go to White Rock for a swim. My mom would pack up whatever she was cooking for dinner and adapt it to a coleman stove and we'd head off. A good day to think of warm ocean water and hot sand...

A & A Contract Customs Brokers - White Rock Beach scenic cam

Saturday, November 18, 2006

BBC - Radio 4

We've been listening to a reading of a biography of Thomas Hardy called the "Time Torn Man" on BBC. It brought back lots of great memories of the time we spent in Dorset in a cottage with Susan and Alan within spitting distance of where Hardy lived. I posted photos of Hardy country in my Aug 2004 blog entries.

Janice S.: August 2004

The program is called "Book of the Week" and also "Book at Bedtime" is worth a look. You can pick up archives of the readings so don't need to listen live...what a wonderful thing this Internet is!

BBC - Radio 4 - Home

Friday, November 17, 2006


I had a visit with Tiloup yesterday and gave him some food and company for awhile. He was very sweet and well behaved. I was covered (glasses included) in kisses. He didn't even bark when I left and seemed quite content to go back into his pen after many chasings of the ball.

Tiloup with his pet beaver in the background.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Write HarperCollins

I try to avoid controversial topics on this blog but I am so disgusted by news of the O.J. book that I feel I need to register a protest and have written to the publishers expressing my feelings. If you feel the same way I urge you to write as well and not to buy or read the book, or watch the TV interview.

Jane Friedman, President and CEO
HarperCollins Publishers,
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022

Of course, millions of people will buy into this media circus. It's at times like this I feel very sympathetic to Bin Laden and his belief that our morally bankrupt western society deserves to be blown to bits. O.J. Simpson ‘confesses' publisher says

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Lost Photos...Snow in Carqueiranne

I thought I had lost these photos of the brief snowfall we had in Carqueiranne in February of 2005 but I found them recently. Very unusual...students at the university were asking to go outside because they had never seen snow before. What was even more amazing was snow in Provence in April that year when we were on the train to Paris...that made CNN!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Best thing since sliced bread....

I know some of you may think a hot tea maker is silly but remember when we did filter coffee with those plastic cones...would any of us give up our coffee makers to go back to that? The best thing about it is it makes using loose tea so much less fiddly. I love it!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Itty Bitty Book Reviews: De Niro's Game & The Tiger Claw

It seems appropriate to post these mini reviews this Remembrance Day about the more "traditional" war (WW II) and the other about the kind of wars that never seem to leave us. I think Hage's novel gives us an excellent idea about how a lot of young men are growing up in various war torn areas of the world.

"The Tiger Claw" by Shauna Singh Baldwin

I've been interested to read something of hers so was pleased when it was a bookclub choice. It is based on a true story inspired by the life of Noor Inayat Khan - code name "Madeleine" - who worked against the Occupation after the Nazi invasion of France. It was a pretty good story for the most part but I felt it did bog down and couldn't quite put my finger on the problem with it...perhaps lack of good characterization for most of the characters.

"De Niro's Game" by Rawi Hage

This novel was nominated for Giller prize this year and apparently many people thought it would win but didn't in the end. Hage is a Lebanese who came to Canada in 1992 having lived through nine years of the Lebanese civil war. It takes place during that time...edgy, poetic, pretty powerful writing. In the bio it says he is a visual artist and curator as well. Seems like a talented guy.

111101 - Artworks

Sunday, November 12, 2006


I got a real laugh out of this book compiled by Doug Lansky called "Signspotting". It's published by Lonely Planet.

It looks like a team of translators was brought in for this task. Or maybe it was just one guy making them up.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Little town salutes Nanaimo veteran

What a nice change to have great weather for the Remembrance Day ceremonies. There was a very good story in the TC today about my friend Patty's father.

Fairey Battle bomber - The plane Pat Barron was flying.

Little town salutes Nanaimo veteran