Monday, July 31, 2006

Leonard Cohen & Henri Matisse

After seeing the wonderful film (I'm Your Man) of Leonard Cohen's work lately, I've been listening to his music and also bought his new collection of poetry, "The Book of Longing" which I'm enjoying. I came across this super edition of his poem "Dance Me to the End of Love" which has paintings by Henri Matisse.

I've included a few pages here. I'm very attracted to the simplicity of Matisse and especially to his paper cut out phase. He began to do these when he was too ill to paint. Amazing stuff.

Coincidentally, when I found this in the library I had been working out a painting in my mind that would include the Matisse's Chapelle of the Rosary in Vence especially the blue roof and very simple campanile, tiled roofs of the village, and the Mediterranean in the distance. I have tried to do these hilltop villages before without success so am curious to see if I can make it work this time.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Itty Bitty Book Reviews...light summer reading

"In the Company of Cheerful Ladies" by Alexander McCall Smith

I had given this series a bit of a rest but enjoyed getting back to the adventures of Mma Ramotswe and her No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency.

"The Art of Detection" by Laurie R. King

Another enjoyable mystery by King. This time she combines her love of Sherlock Holmes with the Kate Martinelli (San Francisco cop) series.

"The Sunday Philosophy Club" by Alexander McCall Smith

Takes place in Edinburgh so that was rather fun and brought back memories of our exchange there. A mystery with a bit of a philosphic twist. Very readable.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

More furry logic...

Compliments of Jane Seabrook:

"Those are my principles...and if you don't like them, well, I have others.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Itty Bitty Book Review: "Suite Française"

"Suite Française" by Irene Némirovsky

Excellent beginning (340 pages) of a planned 1,000 page novel. She had planned it as a 5 movement Beethoven symphony and finished the first two before she was deported to Auschwitz where she died in 1942. Némirovsky was a Russian Jewish emigre living in France and a novelist. Her husband was also eventually deported leaving behind two young daughters who were hidden and protected by friends.

This fragment of a novel was written in very small writing to save paper and ink and her daughters felt it was a memoir and couldn't bring themselves to read it. Sixty-five years later, her daughter Denise discovered the notebooks contained not a diary but this novel. It is set during Paris' fall to the Nazis in June 1940 and follows a group of Parisians as they flee the city and end up in villages that are occupied by the Germans.

I enjoyed the novel very much. She provides wonderful portraits of a wide variety of people in stressed circumstances. As well, the edition includes the copious notes she wrote planning the novel and what was to happen to the characters. Of course she didn't know the outcome of the war at the time or what was to happen to her. There are also letters from and to her husband to various friends and officials trying for her release and also trying to send her things. Very poignant reading.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Not a heat wave...

Seems we're not officially in a heat wave since that means more than 3 days of 32 C but it sure feels like it!

We had a very warm swim at Cole's Bay yesterday. I'd say the water was at least around 75 F. Augers well for the rest of the summer. Had a great bouillbaise at the Blue Peter Restaurant in Sidney. So dining on bouillbaise on the waterfront, swimming in the warm ocean...almost like being in the south of France only without the extreme heat and the crowds.

And today received this postcard from Paris of Notre Dame and the favourite things in Paris.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Itty Bitty Book Reviews

"Desirable Daughters" by Bharati Mukherjee

This was available at the right time as a bookclub set so picked it up for our bookclub without having read it myself. I felt her collection of short stories "The Middleman & other Stories" was quite good so thought it would be worth a try. Quite disappointing really. "Light summer reading" is probably the best thing you can say about it. I don't think she had a clear idea about what she wanted to do and didn't take the time to craft it.

"C'est La Vie" by Suzy Gershman

Written by an American woman journalist who decides to spend a year in Paris after being newly widowed and ends up living in France permanently. Worth a skim through.

"The Fifth Woman" by Henning Mankell

Just read one other novel by this Swedish mystery writer. They tend to be rather procedural police stories without a lot of suspense but do keep your interest and make for good summer reading.

Monday, July 17, 2006

First the whales, now the bears....

I think the whales worked a little better last year. For the most part the bear sculptures around Victoria don't seem to work very well the way they've been painted. I realize this is a fundraiser but I hope they move to something else next year.

A great exception to this is the Scotsman bear outside the Royal Scot Hotel.

I found some good examples in Vancouver when we were there recently.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Bird's nest in our hanging basket!

We discovered there's a bird's nest in our hanging basket. We've been hearing this cricket like chirping and then saw the parent bird feeding the youngsters and their heads popping up. We couldn't really get a photo without disturbing them. Amazing really since I've been watering the basket every 2 or 3 days.

They flew out later yesterday...all except one who stayed so I went and took a photo. It eventually flew out too and they haven't come back. They looked pretty wobbly going out but I guess they'll do ok.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Mid Century Architecture

If you are interested in the mid-century modern architecture in Palm Springs you might want to check out this archive of articles in the Desert Sun. In the article "Retro Homes Making a Comeback" you can link to a photo display of 29 homes in the Palm Spring area. Look for the camera icon and the title "Mid Century Modern". | Architecture

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

For all you cat and dog lovers

We really enjoyed reading The Desert Sun newspaper when we were in Palm Springs and continue to read it from time to time online when in Victoria. I noticed they have a Valley Cats and Valley Dogs section online where people upload photos of their pets. There are some great photos. | Photos

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Happy Birthday to me

Susan and Alan from Yorkshire sent this electronic card...isn't it just perfect!


Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Old friends, great times...

Linda, Donna, and I just had a blast meeting each other again...lots of laughs and old memories. It was fun to see the men again too but they didn't get many words in edgewise!

What a superb weekend for weather and we really enjoyed dining outside, shopping at Granville Island, and got a couple of lovely warm swims in the evening at Kits. Also saw the new Leonard Cohen documentary called "I'm Your Man"...absolutely wonderful. You are blown away by the performances as they are done with such emotion and love for the songs.

The current Vancouver Art Gallery show of Haida art is amazing. I was particularly impressed with some of the old stuff. Also, the Arthur Erikson and the prefab exhibits are worth a look while there as well.

And on a more amateur note, we headed over to the Kitsilano Showboat and watched a few acts for old times sake.

Me, Donna, Linda in 1963 at a Job's Daughter's Picnic.

Linda, me, and Donna at Spanish Banks on the weekend.

It's so beautiful walking along the seawall by Richard's apartment.

Now if we could just transport Granville Island to Victoria...

We saw this fellow at Kits and Granville Island...gave quite a show.

We tried both the dry saucage with whisky and with pastis...excellent. Actually, much tastier than in France. I think they must use better ingredients.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

It's summertime and the livin' is easy...

Richard's new apartment is just fabulous...a few steps to the seawall, 5 minutes to Granville Island and very cool and quiet. It's great being in a pedestrian area with no cars around. There is a nice view from the balcony out over the mountains and Granville Bridge and downtown.

It was like being in France yesterday as we found dry saucage (Pastis you heart out, Don!), great cheeses and a "real" baguette like you get in kidding. And we had the rest for breakfast French style and it still was fresh and crispy. Wow...what's the secret? You can't even get that in most places in France these days...

We went and saw the New Orleans Preservation Hall Jazz Band with our friends last night and they were terrific. Lots of buzz downtown last night with the Jazz Festival and a Lion's Football game. Off to the beach today and then dinner on Granville Is at a little restaurant that has jazz groups playing all week and offers moules-frites. We really do feel like we're in the south of France!

Annette and Patty....what a great way to start the summer with the teacher's settlement and a bonus....yippee!