Monday, September 29, 2008

Picture Hanging 101

* Warning * Strong Language

Jim and I went over to the Curlings yesterday to help hang their many paintings and I went back today to help finish off. For anyone who has done this you'll understand the frustrations! We were quite a team...Elaine, ever the perfectionist; me, pretty random; Jim supplying comic relief with suggestions of how the Three Stooges would approach the job; and Don, of course, knowing he will have to carry the can for it all in the end. No one ended up hanging from the Garry Oak and all the paintings are up. Don made a great lunch today (shrimp and avocado sandwiches) and we celebrated with Champagne.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The LeBaron finally packed it in

Our old LeBaron convertible which we drove for 16 years and loved finally packed it in. We're very pleased with our replacement...a 2006 Mustang which is the pretty much the same burgundy colour. It's a lot of fun to drive!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Katherine Mansfield

Jim found this neat little film on YouTube which gives a brief bio of Mansfield and includes a dramatization of one of her most famous stories called "Miss Brill". The dramatization makes use of impressionist paintings and is quite interesting althought there is nothing quite like just reading the story for impact I think...or have Jim read it to you as he is a wonderful reader.

Mansfield even lived in Bandol for a short time (we have seen the plaque where she lived)but lived mainly in Menton which is close to the Italian border not far from Nice.

I often got Jim to read me my favourite Mansfield story which is "The Daughters of the Late Colonel". I asked him to read this to me when I was in labour with Richard but he thought something comedic would be better and chose a story he hadn't read but thought would be good from Graham Greene's "May We Borrow Your Husband? and Other Comedies of the Sexual Life" The story was called "The Over-Night Bag". Well, it involved a man travelling from Nice to London and when he was questioned by customs about what he had in the bag he replied "A dead baby". Jim tried to brazen it out for a bit but I soon protested that I didn't think a story about "a dead baby" was very appropriate when our child was about to be born!

We never did finish that story until about a month ago (almost 31 years later!) when we dug it out and I had Jim read it to me. It did turn out to be rather funny and the "dead baby" was just a ruse not to have customs take too close a look and to get through faster. How times have changed in terms of getting through customs!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Views for those of us who lack!

I was helping unpack the dining room at the Curlings (if you thought you had lots of stuff...!) and got to enjoy their wonderful view while eating a great lunch Don made. It goes right over from Trial Island to the Breakwater and it's just fabulous sitting in their sunroom on their swivel chairs...what a great idea!

However, for those of us who lack a view I found a couple of webcams that pretty much cover it. So...we can all see what you're seeing!

Dallas Road #2, Victoria BC

Dallas Road/Cook Street, Victoria

Itty Bitty Book Review: Sointula

"Sointula" by Bill Gaston

It's always fun to read a local writer writing about local places. A pretty interesting novel and quite a lot going on along with a certain amount of mystery and suspense. An unusual physical and mental journey. Am I at a certain age where I wanted to keep mothering these two souls and tell them to take some water and food and don't stay out in the rain!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Albuquerque Old Town

After the museum we wandered around Old Town a bit and lucked into "happy hour' at a good restaurant so cheap drinks and appies. Just what we wanted in terms of a snack and to kill time before leaving for the airport.

There was a very nice town square with a bandstand where a wedding was going on. It was fun to watch. I took a little movie of it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


We spent our last day in New Mexico in Albuquerque seeing a colleague of Jim's and his wife at their super home close to the Rio Grande and seeing some of Albuquerque. We were very impressed with the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History...super sculptures around. And we lucked into an exhibition of the artist Ernest Blumenschein who knew Huxley and was part of the Taos artist scene. I really quite liked his work.

A few Blumenschein paintings to give you an idea of his work:

Monday, September 22, 2008

Museum Hill Santa Fe

They have four art galleries in this area and it's a fabulous development with loads of sculptures in the area as well...beautifully done I think.

The galleries are the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, Museum of International Folk Art, and the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian.

Canyon Road Arts - Other Santa Fe Art Galleries

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ah, Are You Digging On My Grave? by Thomas Hardy

Jim read me this poem last came out of something we were talking about. I quite enjoyed it even though it does have a rather pessimistic view...
I hope my dog loving friends will get a kick out of it too.

Ah, Are You Digging On My Grave? by Thomas Hardy
"Ah, are you digging on my grave,
My loved one? -- planting rue?"
-- "No: yesterday he went to wed
One of the brightest wealth has bred.
'It cannot hurt her now,' he said,
'That I should not be true.'"

"Then who is digging on my grave,
My nearest dearest kin?"
-- "Ah, no: they sit and think, 'What use!
What good will planting flowers produce?
No tendance of her mound can loose
Her spirit from Death's gin.'"

"But someone digs upon my grave?
My enemy? -- prodding sly?"
-- "Nay: when she heard you had passed the Gate
That shuts on all flesh soon or late,
She thought you no more worth her hate,
And cares not where you lie.

"Then, who is digging on my grave?
Say -- since I have not guessed!"
-- "O it is I, my mistress dear,
Your little dog , who still lives near,
And much I hope my movements here
Have not disturbed your rest?"

"Ah yes! You dig upon my grave...
Why flashed it not to me
That one true heart was left behind!
What feeling do we ever find
To equal among human kind
A dog's fidelity!"

"Mistress, I dug upon your grave
To bury a bone, in case
I should be hungry near this spot
When passing on my daily trot.
I am sorry, but I quite forgot
It was your resting place."

Friday, September 19, 2008

Sounds like the poor folks of Galveston have even more to worry about...

This from CNN today:

GALVESTON, Texas (AP) -- Hundreds of people whose beachfront homes were wrecked by Hurricane Ike may be barred from rebuilding under a little-noticed Texas law. And even those whose houses were spared could end up seeing them condemned by the state.
Rebuilding after Ike is not a sure thing for some Texas property owners.

Rebuilding after Ike is not a sure thing for some Texas property owners.

Now here's the saltwater in the wound: It could be a year before the state tells these homeowners what they may or may not do.

Worse, if these homeowners do lose their beachfront property, they may get nothing in compensation from the state.

The reason: A 1959 law known as the Texas Open Beaches Act. Under the law, the strip of beach between the average high-tide line and the average low-tide line is considered public property, and it is illegal to build anything there.

Over the years, the state has repeatedly invoked the law to seize houses in cases where a storm eroded a beach so badly that a home was suddenly sitting on public property. The aftermath of Ike could see the biggest such use of the law in Texas history. How did Ike affect you?

"I don't like it one bit," said Phillip Curtis, 58, a Dallas contractor who owns two homes -- a $350,000 vacation home and a $200,000 rental -- on Galveston Island's Jamaica Beach. "I think the state should allow us to try to save the houses. I don't appreciate the state telling people, `Now it belongs to us.' It breaks your heart."

The former state senator who wrote the law had little sympathy.

"We're talking about damn fools that have built houses on the edge of the sea for as long as man could remember and against every advice anyone has given," A.R. "Babe" Schwartz said.

Read the whole article at:

Texas law keeps rebuilding after Ike in limbo -

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The amazing art world of Santa Fe

Although Santa Fe has only 70,000 people the amount of art sold is third in the U.S. First if NYC and second is LA. So that means there is more art sold than in Chicago or New York...pretty amazing!

In addition to all the museums, the city itself, there are so many art galleries with so much to see you kind of feel like you do in Florence...too much to look at.

Here are a few of the many many galleries in the city.

These next two from the Children's Sculpture Garden in the heart of the gallery district on Canyon Road.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

More Santa Fe...

I did see lots of opportunities for paintings when we were in New Mexico. And I loved the fact that the high desert seems rather like the Mediterranean (other than the ocean of course!) in terms of producing my beloved olive trees, sunflowers, and lavender.

On the way to Taos. A lot of overpasses are decorated this way

The first night we went to the town square in Santa Fe to listen to the music we felt there was an incredible police presence but then realized it was a special night for the police to let the public see a lot of their equipment.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Extreme weather

Well, we thought the weather was pretty extreme that night we went to the opera. I guess Ike isn't as bad as Katrina or others but certainly a lot of devastation, some loss of life, and tremendous inconvenience to say the least for those who can't get back to their communities any time soon. Even those who escaped damage won't have power for weeks it seems. Pretty grim situation for these folks and my heart goes out to them.

We were in Galveston this last Spring and I posted photos of homes on stilts in the Crystal Beach area. John wondered why people would build homes in this area if storms and flooding was such a problem. I guess many of these people are wondering exactly that now. We have enjoyed Galveston the two times we've visited and had a wonderful swim in the ocean this last time. We're really sorry to see the hit so bad.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Santa Fe Opera

The opera house is pretty amazing and we were looking forward to a warm soft evening enjoying our buffet before the performance and looking at all the people who bring picnics. They provide great facilities. However, that was not to be as we had the most incredible thunderstorm and the loudest cracks of lightning I've ever heard right above us in the hotel plus torrential rain. It did ease off so we went in the end and there was still food at the buffet and since we were the last to arrive and the only people at our table we had two bottles of wine at our disposal. In the end the whole evening was very enjoyable if a bit cool.

Not the sort of photos I was hoping to take....

Saturday, September 13, 2008

More Santa much for the eye to see

Georgia O'Keefe Museum

Some great murals in the courtyard of this museum.