Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bo's Diary

I know I posted a whole lot of text yesterday but I read this in the Globe and Mail and thought it was very funny. Just think...I could be raving on about how brilliant Obama is but then I think everyone is beginning to get that...


From Wednesday's Globe and Mail

April 29, 2009 at 2:00 AM EDT

Jan. 20: I finally graduate from obedience school. Apparently, a bunch of other Portuguese water dogs went through this same school. Boy, am I tired of hearing, “Why can't you be like those nice Kennedy dogs?”

Jan. 21 – March 12: Sleep, eat, poop and lick myself.

March 13: A couple of burly guys in suits take me in a big black car to a big white house. I think I'm being kidnapped, but the next thing I know, this nice family shows up and starts playing with me. The two kids are real cute and I stay on my best behaviour. Hey, you never know. Maybe they'll adopt me. Sadly, the two guys in suits take me back to the kennel.

April 12: Great news! One of the young puppies here is being paper trained and I get a peek at today's front page. Big headline about the President and his family getting a Portie and a picture of the dog who looks a whole lot like me. Man, that big lawn looks inviting.

April 13: I'm so excited, I can only sleep 14 hours today. Almost forget to lick myself. Trying not to get my hopes up, but I can't help picturing myself marking my territory in every room of that big white house.

April 14: All right – in your face, Labradoodles! Two different burly guys in suits arrive and take me away in another black car. I'm so excited, I almost pee on the back seat. But I figure I better hold it in so I don't jeopardize my chances at getting a new family.

April 15: Wow! This has been one exciting day. My new family makes a big fuss over me, especially the two girls. I'm so busy posing for pictures and looking cute that I hardly get a chance to use that great lawn. Oh well, there'll be lots of opportunities to leave little presents out there soon. In fact, I see another burly guy with a suit and an earpiece holding a plastic bag. He doesn't look very happy.

April 20: Receive a letter of congratulations from a dog named Barney who claims he used to live in this same house. He tells me to hang out in the big kitchen downstairs where I can get “mucho scraps,” as he puts it, especially if I do something cute like pee on the French president's leg.

April 24: Almost get in big trouble. I'm just lying around in the Yellow Oval Room, enjoying the sun, when the mom shows up with this lady she calls the Queen of Jordan. Well, I started jumping up and down on the visitor just to show her how adorable I am, but I accidentally knocked a cup of coffee on her dress. The mom shoos me out of the room and says something about how if I wasn't already neutered, she'd be ready to “do a Jesse Jackson” on me.

April 30: When Barney wrote me, he warned me to stay away from the vice-president's office because there was a really scary guy in there. But, of course, I can't resist and have to go exploring. I enter the office very carefully, but the guy in there isn't scary at all. In fact, he keeps petting me and talking to me so long that I finally leave because I'm afraid of falling asleep.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Happy people read more papers

This is apparently the case so if newspapers die off I guess there will be a lot of unhappy people. I don't think I could personally do without my fix of a local daily newspaper. The Times-Colonist has had an interesting series on "The Enduring Newspaper" which is encouraging for all newspaper lovers. It does seem things aren't perhaps quite as bad in Canada as it seems even with all the current debt problems of CanWest.

Although I usually go onto the Telegraph online to pick up the headlines and might read a story online it's not a substitute for reading a real London newspaper or any local paper...something we love doing wherever we are. Ian Wilson, recently retired as Librarian and Archivist of Canada, has some very interesting thoughts as to why print newspapers are so appealing.

"There is something more in reading a newspaper--with the stories juxtaposed piece by piece on a page. It's not just the headline, it's the ad, it's the comic strip, it's the news, it's the analysis, it's the coming events. It's the totality of that--seeing the whole community. Seeing the same information in the disjointed, layered fields of the computer screen too often leads to a fragmented world view that the newspaper experience- paper in hand, to be leafed through like taking a trip from Canada to far-flung parts of the globe and bacd to city hall--surpasses every time."

Absolutely agree with that! And perhaps that explains why the dismal French newspapers of Le Monde and Le Figaro which consist primarily of academics and intellectuals conducting debates on issues just don't cut it. The only voyage you've taken is a trip to a lecture on politics.

We’re still kicking, thanks, and here’s proof

Monday, April 27, 2009

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Vancouver Convention Centre

The new way over budget Vancouver Convention Centre opened recently and we were in a good position to see it while staying at the Waterfront Centre. It seems the public can take tours and see around it when events aren't going on. There was a meeting of Liberals at the time...lots of suits around so we didn't get a chance to go in. It's pretty impressive and of course the setting on the waterfront is spectacular.

Vancouver Convention Centre

There are neat reflections off the glass...Vancouver mounted police were going by at the time.

My favourite Vancouver building is still the art deco Marine Building...getting a little crowded out but at least it's reflected in some of these new buildings as well.

And one of my all time favourite views of Vancouver are the "lions" on the mountains...looking quite wonderful that day. As a young child I think I believed they really were animals.

Friday, April 24, 2009

More Vancouver

We ended our Vancouver visit with a lunch at Carole and John's before heading to the ferry. Carole's a tremendous cook and we feasted on seafood quiche and lemon pie to die for. And John had hung some new really interesting photos he had taken. They look like paintings since he used a technique to take all the shadows out of them.

I can never resist taking some photos of Granville of the very best things Vancouver has to offer and I think it reminds me of all the markets in France especially Carqueiranne's Thursday morning market.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Farewell Vancouver

It's been a great mini holiday and this first photo is what I took from our room this morning.

We had a delicious lunch in Yaletown with Richard yesterday at a restaurant called Simply Thai...amazing portions for lunch so Richard got the rest of mine for his lunch today.

We hadn't been up to the Cloud 9 revolving restaurant for a while so we went there last night. The food has usually been pretty ordinary and somewhat pricey but for old Vancouverites you just can't beat the view of the city. When I went online to get their number there was a coupon for $20 off so that was a nice surprise. But an even nicer surprise was we had a rather amazing meal. We ordered surf and turf and the lobster tail was like a whale's tail and the AAA Alberta beef steak was excellent as well. I've had less lobster in a whole lobster than in this tail. It was unusual, though, because our server mentioned the chef said we really lucked out.

And a few photos of the view. It was quite nice initially then started to rain which was ok too then we got the night view with all the lights. I don't think I'll ever tire of Vancouver's scenery.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A wonderful Vancouver day

We began with a swim in the outdoor pool here...great views of the buildings and mountains then lunch with old school friends, Kerry and Donna, at the Pan Pacific across the street. A bit of a rest then Richard and Claudia joined us for bubbly and sushi in our hotel room then we walked to a very cool French bistro called "Jules Restaurant" in Gastown for dinner. We hadn't been in this hotel or this area for a while in Vancouver so it's been great to explore around and there is now this fabulous new Vancouver Convention of that tomorrow.

Waterfront Centre Hotel

Our room view...I love watching the working harbour of the container ships, the seabus, helijets, cruise ships etc. You can't get this as much anymore since because of security the working waterfront is very restricted. No more Cannery Restaurant because of that...dommage!

Monday, April 20, 2009

The lovely Baby Harmony!

We had a super time meeting Katie and David and of course the wonderful Harmony...such a sweetheart! It's amazing what they have for babies these days. The swing not only turns in every direction but has various speeds, a mobile, music and sound effects...what a great idea and she loves it. I wouldn't mind one myself...

Then off to a wonderful Italian meal with the proud grandparents...would it suprise anyone that Jim ordered spaghetti bolognese...

I was trying to get Harmony's face showing but I'm a little out of practice in the baby holding these days...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Plus ça change...

I was intrigued by this 1974 photo that John posted on his photoblog Miscellaneous photographs the other day. We don't seem to have made much progress.

July 1974 — This woman was living in what is called in Vancouver a “single occupancy room”. It’s one room containing a sink, a hot plate and a bed, the bathroom was down the hall. With three people in the room it was crowded. One floor below was a pub. I’ve lost the notes to go with this story but I remember the reporter being appalled a single woman her age had to live in these conditions and I remember the woman being grateful she finally had something this good. The photograph was taken to go with a story about the Downtown Eastside Residents Association renovating these rooms to make them more suitable for seniors. Housing the poor has always been a problem in Vancouver and is still the subject of newspaper stories.

Grateful was posted April 11, 2009

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

New Zealand red wine: icons of the future? - Telegraph

Monique and Jim and I compared "new world" and "old world" wines the other day at a local tasting chez nous. The new world Chilean Gran Reserva Shiraz from the Colchagua Valley (2005) by Louis Felipe Edwards came out much better than the very good St. Emilion (don't have the details of the bottle since I recycled it but have another bottle of the Chilean)

This was proved very dramatically in this account of a wine tasting that was in the Telegraph today. New world wines of $30-$40 stacked up well against old world wines of $600-$2,000 a bottle.

New Zealand red wine: icons of the future? - Telegraph

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Olympics were fabulous today

The Olympics were pretty amazing today...glad I got a photo with a freighter going by. I love the little daisies that were in the lawn where I took the photo and on the other side daffodils growing wild in Beaconhill Park.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Jim's copper pots

Jim was very thrilled to find these copper pots on our trip to Palm Springs...quite a deal in a thrift shop for $65. He's seen them since on eBay without the brass hanging bracket for $500 so I guess they're a bit of a collector's item.

He spent several hours yesterday polishing them up and then today Chris came over and put them up for us since he has the know how and the tools. Chris (bless his heart!) had gone to two hardware stores to find the proper materials and then there was a bit of a glitch today when we discovered that wall has the original plaster and lathing so no stud and of course everything weighs a ton.

But all problems were overcome and they look great! Now, we're all waiting for these fabulous gourmet meals that Jim plans on cooking for us...

36 Hours in Palm Springs, Calif. -

Mary sent me this link from a travel story in the New York Times today. I thought it was quite interesting and may even make a few comments myself in the interactive sections.

36 Hours in Palm Springs, Calif. -

Sunday, April 12, 2009

More adorable animals...

Mary sent me this wonderful photo of Holly and Ian seatbelted into her car while she takes them to doggy care while she works. Holly is staying with her now for 10 days while Kate and Jean are on a holiday in Japan.

It's been quite an adventure having the two dogs!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter!

I thought these photos were very cute warning us to be aware of identity theft during Easter.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Old Town La Qinta

I forgot about these photos I took on a visit to La Quinta just before we left. It seems to be hurting with the economic situation. I wonder what next year will bring to the whole desert area.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Willows Beach, Oak Bay BC

We have had the most amazing weather since Friday...sitting out on the deck in shirtsleeves and having to wear hats for the sun!

Willows Beach, Oak Bay BC

Monday, April 06, 2009

Fisherman's Market Grill

We managed to get to the Palm Springs location a few days before we left and we really enjoyed the combo plate except for the clam strips which weren't worth eating...I've never tasted a good example of these...are they always just batter? Anyway, the cod, shrimp, and scallops were all good and the calamari was excellent...huge succulent strips. And Singha beer for $2.50...what a deal.

Although restaurant meals seem pretty reasonable for the most part in the desert I am always surprised by the price of food in the grocery stores. There must be price fixing of some kind or perhaps they just don't have all the independent grocers that we have that keep prices down. I also think the Chinatowns in Victoria and Vancouver keep fruit and vegetable prices down. These are the items that seem the most overpriced. This is especially bizarre since this is the heart of the Imperial Valley where fruits and vegetables are produced for the whole country!

I was delighted to arrive home for the first fresh halibut of the season and it was the first thing we ate. I did it my favourite Eric Akis recipe...very simple with chives, lemon, and butter. It's a recipe that really lets the taste of the fish come through. And what a deal at $16 a pound Canadian. Would you believe a few days before Fisherman's Market Grill (they have seafood for sale too) was selling it for $24.95 a pound US!

Friday, April 03, 2009

The best airport experience in the world

The new airport addition in Palm Springs opened the day before we about luck! I doubt there's anywhere else in the world where you go through security and you have a wonderful outdoor area with tables and chairs, playground for the kids, views of my beloved mountains, Palm trees, etc. What a treat to be able to sit outside at an airport! Then upstairs there's a covered concourse with shopping, restaurant/bar, etc.

This first photo shows what people see arriving in PS Airport and the outdoor area that you have access to after security. If all airports were like this I might even enjoy flying again!