Thursday, January 29, 2009

Britain's recession will be deepest, IMF warns - Telegraph

Poor old blighty. I never thought I'd see the day when the pound was almost at parity with the Euro.

Britain's recession will be deepest, IMF warns - Telegraph

On the home front we are continually being told Canada isn't in that bad shape. I guess time will tell. The tax cuts in this new budget are pathetic...hardly enough for one lunch each. I don't think that's going to stimulate much. I like the home reno break especially since our hot water heater blew yesterday and so we saved over a hundred dollars in tax credit there (if this budget goes through). We need exterior painting and we may just switch to gas if incentives are attractive enough.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Chinese New Year's Feasts

Richard had Chinese New Year dinner with Claudia's family on Sunday, which was a blast. Lots of great food: lobster, beef and lotus root soup, duck, the works. And the famous red envelopes full of cash. There's another party in a couple weeks with the cousins, a younger crowd. I like the idea of this extended party the Chinese have for their New Year's.

On Monday we lunched with Monique at the University Club and they were offering a special New Year's menu...yum!

And Elaine and I are going to have this delectable sounding feast at the Grand Pacific today.

"New Year foods are symbolic, portending good luck, good health and abundance for the coming year. Executive Chef Rick Choy has condensed the traditionally elaborate twelve-course banquet you’ll find at Chinese restaurants, into a three-course lunar feast brimming with good fortune.

The first course, delectable spot prawns and scallop in egg crepes with Hon-Shimiji and Maitake, is shaped and tied like a money purse. That’s followed by pan seared Berkshire Pork Rack served with Ox Tongue Dumpling in the shape of an ancient gold ingot splashed with liquorice and anise, and Lotus Root Rosti. The dumpling and lotus root portend prosperity. Finish off the meal with a coconut tart that marries caramelized walnut and cinnamon gelato with a wish for a harmonious family and a sweet year ahead."

Chinese New Year's Parade in Vancouver

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Weather - 7-day Forecast Summaries

We woke up with a dusting of snow this morning and it seemed wretchedly cold. Looking out at a combination of snow, sleet, and rain that is currently falling in Victoria.

I always get a laugh out of how the weather people in Palm Springs try to get variety in describing good sunny weather.

Weather - 7-day Forecast Summaries

Palm Springs here we come

We've decided to fly to PS since I can't see sitting in a car for four days with this sciatica. I'm pleased as I don't like driving that route in winter. Looking forward to getting to the warmth. Modernism week coming up soon after we arrive. I see they're having a big martini party at the Frank Sinatra House...$125 a person is a bit rich for our blood and we did visit the house last year on the bus tour.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Newseum | Today's Front Pages | Map View

I felt this was a very cool site especially for newspaper junkies like ourselves. If we get to Washington D.C. again we'll have to get to the Newseum. One of the inaugural balls was there I believe.

Newseum | Today's Front Pages | Map View

Saturday, January 24, 2009

New iPod

Well, my old iPod packed it in so I was thinking of waiting until we were in the US to buy one but Best Buy in Palm Springs is asking $249.00 US for the 120 GB and our local Future Shop was asking the same CDN for a silver one. Simply Computing (the latest Apple outlet in Victoria and is a very cool shop) matched the price and I could choose a black one.

I love the video aspect and it certainly would have been great to have in France when we were there for long periods since the media is the pits and all movies in theatres and in video stores are dubbed into French. Weird system the French have...Monique's mother thought Robert Redford was French! You can rent movies from iTunes for $4.95, have them on your iPod for 30 days and then have 24 hours to watch them once you start. And of course you can watch them on your computer screen rather than the small one on the iPod. Probably can hook up to TV's as well if they're relatively modern.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Guess we haven't all been in the sunshine...

Seems it's been quite foggy in Vancouver all week. We did start with fog ourselves yesterday but four sunny days before that were fantastic.

This photo was taken from Cyress mountain overlooking Vancouver. I'm mainly making this post to see if Blogger has got back their future scheduling feature back so if you read this on Wed and it's dated Thursday...I guess not.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A new day dawns

Yesterday began with a beautiful sunrise. It was very moving to watch the emotion and excitement with Obama's inauguration. I think it did remind people of the moon landing when just about everyone in the world watched it. I thought of that and took a photo of the TV just as I did when the moon shot happened.

I thought his speech was serious and down to earth and just what was needed. It wasn't a time for soaring rhetoric. I liked the fact that he included "non-believers" in his appeal to people of all religious faiths. And didn't we all smile when the Rev. Joseph Lowery said: us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man, and when white will embrace what is right."

But of course it was the kids that stole the show.

It certainly is going to be interesting being in the US these next couple of months.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Yes, we can...

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today."

- Martin Luther King

Can anything be more appropriate today than these few words from Dr. King's famous speech. I remember studying this speech in a rhetoric course in 1976 at the University of Oregon when Jim and I were doing graduate work and was very moved by this passage. I don't think then I could have conceived of this day and guess that these words would become known to so many people.

What a wonderful feeling of hope in the United States and the world.

This is the full text of this amazing speech.

The I Have a Dream Speech - The U.S. Constitution Online -

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Itty Bitty Book Review: "Good to a Fault"

"Good to a Fault" by Marina Endicott

This novel was nominated for the Giller this year. Of course Boyden's "Through Black Spruce" won as it should...he's an amazing writer. But I think this one deserved the recognition of a nomination. Not the greatest book in the world but worth a read and moved me to tears at times. I thought it was going to cave in to sentimentality at times but managed to avoid it. Endicott was born in Golden, B.C. and now lives in Alberta. The novel is set in Saskatoon although setting isn't particularly important.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Day of the Jackal

This is a 1973 film that we saw probably about when it came out. I noticed the DVD at the library yesterday so picked it up. We thought it was a fabulous film at the time and it was really worth seeing again. Apparently Roger Ebert gave it a perfect 4/4 rating but it was a box-office failure according to Wikipedia:

"The Day of the Jackal is a 1973 film set in late 1963, based on a novel of the same name by Frederick Forsyth. Directed by Fred Zinnemann, it stars Edward Fox as the assassin known only as "the Jackal" who was hired to assassinate Charles de Gaulle.

The film was expensive to produce, as it was filmed on location throughout Europe. Despite being heavily promoted, being based on a successful novel, and receiving generally positive reviews, the film was a box-office failure. It did, however, make Edward Fox a star, though many speculated the film's lack of an established star (with Michael Caine having lobbied for the lead role) was the reason for its lack of success. In his review of the film, Roger Ebert gave it a perfect 4/4 rating, and referred to it as "one hell of an exciting movie", and a "beautifully executed example of filmmaking".
- from Wikipedia

If you haven't seen this film you are in for a treat...and great on location scenes of Paris.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Can you be in love with a cushion?

This cushion is saving my life these days. I've been troubled with sciatica since the end of November off and on and mainly on lately. Leslie suggested this and it's helped tremendously along with physio and anti-inflamatories. It's going to be very helpful for the long car ride down to California. Jim's going to buy one for himself as he feels it helps give him support while sitting as well.

It's actually called a "Contour Lumbar Cushion" and is available at the "Relax the Back" store...great product.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Majority of Two

This is another blog I've been following recently and it's rather fun because the woman lives in Vancouver where I grew up and is about my age so I've been enjoying her stories and reflections on things. Very different from the Paris blog that brings a young European man's perspective. This is what makes blogging fun!

I've been finding these blog by taking a look at Blogger's "Blogs of Note" recently.

A Majority of Two

Monday, January 12, 2009

Snow in Joshua Tree National Park

Looks like they got snow in December in the park...this is a pretty desert like place usually!

Sunday, January 11, 2009


I don't read many blogs but I came across this one and have been enjoying the photos from Paris.


Thursday, January 08, 2009

We're not alone in this miserable weather

This is a photo of the old port of Marseilles...even at this time of year you would normally be walking in fairly warm sunny skies.

MARSEILLE, France (Reuters) - Heavy snowfall in Marseille forced the international airport to close and paralyzed all train and bus traffic on Wednesday in France's second-biggest city.

The usually busy and sunny Mediterranean port city ground to a halt as snow overwhelmed infrastructure and stopped school buses and all other public transport.

"The weather conditions no longer allow air traffic to take place in satisfactory conditions so the airport of Marseille Provence is closed to air traffic," a spokesman said.

The airport was expected to remain closed at least until Thursday morning, management said.

France is experiencing a cold weather snap that has gradually moved from north to south. Electricity consumption has hit record levels as families turn up home heating.

Rail, road and air traffic have been disrupted for several days, notably at the main airport in the Paris region, Charles de Gaulle.

Secretary of State for Transport Dominique Bussereau demanded an investigation on Wednesday into "unacceptable" chaos at Charles de Gaulle, where hundreds of flights were canceled and thousands of passengers stranded earlier this week.

In Marseille, the main Saint Charles train station was paralysed as signaling froze. School buses were canceled in the entire Bouches du Rhone administrative area, where Marseille is located.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

3191 ~ a year of mornings

This book coming out of a website was mentioned in the TC. A rather neat idea and I've been enjoying their follow up which is "A Year of Evenings". I guess that will be a book too. They have a new project for 2009 which sounds interesting as well.

3191 ~ a year of mornings

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The amazing Olympic mountains

The other day the mountains and ocean just looked fabulous and there was some wonderful light going on. These photos were taken around noon.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Even more snow in Vancouver....unreal!

From John Denniston's Photo Blog:

January 4th, 2009 — It was supposed to rain yesterday afternoon and wash away the snow but instead there was another 6 inches of snow. By 6pm the transit system was paralyzed as these two people found out. The bus they were waiting for slide into the curb twenty feet from their stop and was stuck. The driver told them he wasn’t going anywhere soon and it was best for them walk.

- John Denniston Photo

James Joyce Bistro and Peacock Billiards

Jim and Ann invited us and other friends for lunch at the James Joyce Bistro Sunday. It was a really fun and interesting group to chat with sitting amidst all this wonderful artwork that Robert Amos has produced for the bistro...the tables and bar with quotes from Ulysses and Finnegan's Wake and paintings and design work everywhere. And a special treat was Robert was in the group and talked about the artwork and his friendship with Dave Peacock and their obsession with Joyce. The food was great and I do recommend having a meal here.

Peacock Billiards and James Joyce Bistro

Afterwards we dropped by Jim and Ann's RV that they have parked in the West Bay Marina for the past couple of months. They have a fabulous view and are very cosy there. Ann and Jim live in Sequim but enjoy coming to Victoria and they have loved being on the harbour. They are the folks who have that very neat boathouse we stayed in on Lake Sutherland a few years back.

Robert talking about his artwork and love of Joyce.

Some of Robert's creations.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

More world famous food....

We shared the fabulous tourtiere and homemade tomato chutney that Fern gives us every year with Don and Elaine last night. Don made his wonderful Caesar salad and they had given us (among many delicious goodies) this lemon curd and tartlettes for Christmas so I made some up. Most of you know how I love lemon tarts and this special lemon curd was bought at the Fairfield market. So easy to make as you bake the tarts, cool, then fill. Of course the pastry couldn't match Fern's on the tourtiere...only my Grandmother Fleming could make pastry like that!

Jim's eyes are closed in divine anticipation of the Caesar.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Itty Bitty Book Reviews

"Empire Falls" by Richard Russo

Well, I solved the problem of not being able to settle on a book after Russo's wonderful "Bridge of Sighs" by reading the one he won the Pulitzer for. Apparently they are making a film of it. Hope it will live up to the book which was great.

"A Curious Cage" by Peggy Abkhazi

This is a journal that Abkhazi wrote while she was in Japanese Internment Camp 1943-45 in Shanghai. I don't read much non-fiction but I quite enjoyed reading this account of life in the camp and the lead up to it. They were quite well treated and it was interesting to see how she managed to take a fairly humourous view to it all. I must go and visit the Abkhazi gardens (she donated her garden when she died to Victoria and it has recently been brought back to its former glory). Mary visited the gift shop this Christmas and said there were lots of interesting things to buy.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Thursday, January 01, 2009

A wonderful New Year's Eve Dinner

We had a super evening with Chris and Susan and Monique. Monique made her world famous escargots and vichyssoise and brought a great Pinot Gris from Alsace to accompany the soup...perfect pairing. Chris and Susan brought a red wine from Australia called "Two Left Feet" from the Molly Dooker Winery (Molly Dooker is slang for left handed in Aussieland). This was fitting match to the escargot like you wouldn't believe! I think the best red wine I have ever had and Monique said she had only had one other bottle of red wine in her life that was better so I would say that's a pretty good recommendation!

Here's their website...I see you can get on their wait list (limiting purchases to 12 bottles per person) for a wine they call "Velvet Glove"...coming in at $195 a bottle. I imagine that's quite a wine.

Mollydooker Winery - Australia

My contribution was rack of lamb and this fancy thermometer Richard gave me for Christmas worked perfectly. You can set the temp you want the meat to come to and the alarm goes off when it's done. No need to open the oven to check it as the probe is in the meat but the thermometer is outside the oven...brilliant!

And Susan and Chris also brought a divine cake from Pure Vanilla and lots of bubbly.

I used my mom's china and my grandmother's sterling and it all went in the dishwasher with no ill effects.

Monique's world famous escargots.

Monique and Jim

Susan looking very elegant.

Chris trying to look elegant...