Sunday, December 30, 2007

Postcard from Ottawa

We heard from our family in Donegal we did an exchange with in 2000. They are currrently doing an exchange in Ottawa and have had three more babies since then so that makes four kids...Eoin, Conor, Dermot, and Aoife (is that last one a girl...perhaps they'll quite now!)

I bet the kids love being next door to their aunt and uncle who have sheep and two wonderful border collies. This is a little video I made at the time. Their Aunt Teresa is talking.

Saturday, December 29, 2007


I just picked this up from the webcam from the bridge on the cruise Neil and Donna are on...first sighting of Antarctica!

Boxing Day with the Curlings

Leftovers at our place is almost becoming a tradition too. We had a lot of fun playing this game we gave them. | Foodie Fight

The Curlings got a real kick out of these magnets their nephew Jay gave them...only for extreme catlovers!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Some photogenic gifts...

Jim always manages to find some great stuff for me...gets to be more and more of a challenge every year.

The Soles gave us this wonderful "Art in Wax" Luminary. The design is Maud Lewis's Model T on Tour. I love her work and having this in candle form is terrific. A perfect design since the headlights look like they're on when the candle is lit. They're handmade and hand painted from Chester Candles in Nova Scotia.

The Curling saw this tray when they were on a wine tour in the Okanagan and of course thought of us and our wonderful time in Provence together.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Dinner at the Soles

We had a super Christmas dinner with the Soles clan. We kept with tradition...the salmon was excellent, the jokes in the crackers were awful, the hats made us all look ridiculous, the dogs were the stars of the show, and we all had a wonderful time being with friends and family!

The master chefs...Mary and Kate.

Jean and Richard catching up on news.

Ian and the dogs.

Ian listening with rapt attention to Derek.

Jim enjoying his cracker.

Richard and me.

Ian with Ian, the dog, and Holly.

The reading of the cracker jokes

I know it's Dec 27th but....

Christmas Eve is becoming another tradition with Monique, Ian, and of course the three of us. I make a ham which is quite easy and Richard's favourite yam and apple dish and Monique makes her wonderful wonderful potatoes with gadzillion amounts of cream, gruyere, garlic etc....

Just for fun I took an empty table pix...this was a family tradition for both the Sextons and the Flemings and I have a whole slew of them.

Richard, Jim, and Monique

Ian, me, Jim, Monique

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas everyone!

This is a "photobooth" pix of us...very authentic don't you think with the black and white?

Monday, December 24, 2007

Queen Elizabeth 1957 Christmas Message

The Queen podcast her Christmas Message last year and this year it will be on YouTube.
This was the first televised broadcast 50 years ago. I found it quite interesting.

Oceania Cruiselines Cruise Ship Webcams with itineraries and maps

Neil and Donna are off on this fabulous cruise to the Anarctic. Linda sent me the webcams from the ship. It's going to be fun looking at them from time to time.

Oceania Cruiselines Cruise Ship Webcams with itineraries and maps

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas lunch with John and Carol

We had our usual Christmas lunch with my cousin John and Carol. This is becoming a family tradition! This time Richard was around to join us since we had it before Christmas rather than after. It was a lot of fun as usual.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas comes early for Oscar....

All this for me...and I didn't send a single card this year!

Didn't I make a nice job of decorating this tree?

Is this for me? Be patient...I want to save the paper.

Ooooo...exactly what I wanted...a catnip spider!

Another cat on our sundeck

I wonder if these cats can smell something we can't with our new sundeck as I don't usually see cats venturing up. I believe this one belongs to the neighbours across the street. It is a shy one so beetled off as soon as it saw me.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Reindeer Cookies!

Our servers, Teresa, Tina, and Donna, at the Grand Pacific gave us great gifts this past week when Elaine and I had our weekly lunch there this past week. We got some lovely olive oil soap from Teresa, homemade salsa from Tina, and the reindeer cookies from Donna. Donna has a young son and we're always hearing about these great creations she comes up with for birthdays and other special now we got spoiled too!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Monday, December 17, 2007

A winter's day at Willows Beach

This first photo I took today looks very wintry, I think. But then I turned around and took the one of the Palm trees...says it all about Victoria!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A snowy day in Toronto

As I listen to the wind howling outside and the windows rattling I guess we can be glad at least that we aren't in the mid west or even Toronto. We westcoasters have to keep up appearances at least that we do have the best weather....

This photo from [daily dose of imagery] yellow in snow

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Laura Archera Huxley 1911-2007

We learned today that Laura Huxley passed away Thursday.

I think Karen Pfeiffer captures Laura exactly with her comment that “she was the most beautifully eccentric person I've ever known."

I just met Laura once in 2006 when we visited her in her old rambling Spanish hacienda style house in the Hollywood Hills. Jim had met with her a number of times and she had always been welcoming and gracious. We were looking forward to seeing her again this winter when we are going to be in California. She was so enjoyable to talk to and had a wonderful wit and amazing memory.

On this visit Jim spoke with her about the volume of Huxley's letters that he was working on at the time (now recently published). She recounted a couple of anecdotes about letters from Aldous she wished she still had. One was the one he wrote to her father asking permission to marry her. The other was the letter he wrote to the Queen explaining why he was refusing the knighthood offered. Laura said it was really mainly because of her because she wanted to be free to "wear shorts or any old thing" and not feel she had to live up to being "Lady Huxley"!

Laura touched many people in very positive ways and she will be missed.

Laura and Jim.

Laura and me.

View from her terasse.

The following is an excerpt from the LA Times Obituary:

“Laura Archera Huxley, a lay therapist, author and widow of Aldous Huxley, who shared his vision of human potential and devoted the nearly five decades since his death to preserving his legacy and helping others -- particularly children -- achieve happiness, died Thursday at her home in the Hollywood Hills. She was 96.

She created her foundation after the granddaughter of a lifelong friend came to live with her for a week in 1978. Huxley told The Times in an interview that year that the child's visit "threw me into a state of expanded consciousness. I wandered through the house feeling great love and compassion."

Among Huxley's many brainstorms was a room in Venice that she called the caressing room, where people could come to hold babies. She regarded it as a place "where the new and the old will meet and loneliness will dissolve," she wrote in a description of the project in 1978. She said there should be such a place on every city block.

Well into her 90s, she worked out an hour a day on a treadmill and could balance herself on a rubber exercise ball. She practiced yoga and extolled the benefits of seeing the world upside down, standing on one's head.

Asked many years ago why she never had children of her own, she replied, laughing, "I never thought I was old enough to have one."

Friday, December 14, 2007

The cat came back...

While I was at my computer yesterday this cat came up on the sundeck to take a look see. I haven't seen this cat around before...must be a newcomer.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Snow globe

Seeing these giant outdooor snow globes around gave me the idea of getting a small one like we used to have when we were kids. I always loved watching it snow...often the only snow we got at Christmas.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas hassle solved

I was actually thinking of not putting up a tree this year since we are leaving Jan 2 and we have recently rented our house so that means more organization and things to do.

I put up my village on the piano and love it there since you can see it better. Yesterday I was in Home Hardware getting some of those plastic hooks for the window lights and I saw a prelit three foot tree...perfect! I think we'll make this a tradition and I'll just store the whole thing in a garbage bag so I won't even have to decorate it! Less is more...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Vesuvius Beach Indolent Society

I love this photo John posted today...time to be thinking about warm, indolent days. Saltspring's Vesuvius Bay is a place locally you can often get a warm ocean swim in the summer.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Itty Bitty Film Review "Jane Austen Bookclub"

Patty, Annette, and I went to this film at Cinecenta last night and had a good laugh. Annette and I agreed that the movie is better than the book which we both found a bit tedious (I don't think I finished it). It's quite cleverly done...the novels are reflected in the goings on of the people in the bookclub. It's playing at Cinecenta again tonight so you might want to take it in.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Time for a bit more Children's Art

Remember around this time last year we had a big (well, big for Victoria) snowstorm.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

And a few more bears...

Elaine and I loved the nails on this one.

And Harry Potter of course.

The Bears have arrived!

The Bears have arrived at the Hotel Grand Pacific and they're just great as usual...the people who do them up for the various businesses must have a ball. A great cause for The Queen Alexandria Hospital. In the TC the other day I believe it mentioned they have raised over $140,000 since they began doing it. Good on the Hotel Grand Pacific!

Cleopatra relaxing in her boudoir

Perhaps this Knight in Shining Armour will be interested in her since he appears to have slayed his dragon...

Some kid is going to love getting this corvette!

The "Flying Red Bearon"

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Al Jazeera English - Front Page

I've been looking at the English version of Al Jazeera quite a bit lately. Worth a look...there's so much news that never really gets to us.

Al Jazeera English - Front Page

I enjoyed this cartoon.

Pudding Cartoon on Al Jazeera

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A few images of downtown Victoria

Taken from the Yates Street Parkade...if I recall correctly this area is slated to be restored. The idea is to preserve the original buildings as much as possible I think.

Murchies is in receivorship so it's quite likely this won't be a feature of Victoria anymore...too bad.

I hope Munro's will always be there. I still see Jim Munro working there so things look good for the present. But, if a Victoria institution like Murchies can be on the block then I guess the demise of Munro's is possible especially given the tough bookselling business these days.

A Victoria institution we will all love to see leave...the homeless on the streets. There does seem to be some progress for creating homes for these people.

Monday, December 03, 2007

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel looks like an interesting place...and a great way to escape from the rain I'm looking at now...