Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sign photos in the Telegraph

This one from a restaurant in Beijing.

It reminded me of being in a restaurant in Hong Kong and reading a rather confusing English menu translation for a shrimp dish. All I could really understand was that it was quite special. Well, the quite special part was that they brought a burner and pot of boiling water and proceeded to cook the the plate of live shrimp at your table. The shrimp were excellent but I think I would have preferred not to see the cooking!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Translation of the talking cats

You need to watch the two talking cats in the previous post to appreciate this. I just replayed it and this came up as a choice to watch...very funny.

The two talking cats

I went onto YouTube to look for something and I almost never look at things that are "recommended" to me but I thought my cat loving friends would love this!

From the owners:

Stina and Mossy usually fight instead of communicate, so this was an odd moment. They kept "talking" for about 1 hour, constantly.

Ducks at the Grand Pacific

This is our first sighting of the Grand Pacific ducklings. It sounds like the custodian is keeping the real little ones at home in a box to protect them from crows, eagles, raccoons, etc. Tina, our server, took our photo while we were there.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Trader Joe's Fearless Flyer

Richard mentioned they saved a bundle at the music festival by buying their food and drink at Trader Joe's. It's our favourite place to shop in the desert and we especially miss the great wine prices. Every couple of month they publish a flyer with specials and recipes. Here's link and the first page of the current one for southern California.

Welcome to Trader Joe's - Your Neighborhood Grocery Store - Radio/Flyer

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sasquatch Music Festival

Richard and Claudia and friends had great weather and a great time at this festival in central Washington over the Memorial Day weekend. It certainly beat the Glastonbury 1998 experience he had in the mud...

Sasquatch 2009

Glastonbury 1998

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Fabulous Rhodo

I saw this rhodo driving back from the library today...I don't think I've seen such a large rhodo growing over an entrance.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Itty Bitty Book Review: "Mr. Pip"

"Mr. Pip" by Lloyd Jones

Jones is an Australian writer who is very much worth keeping an eye on. I was very impressed by this novel. It begins with a light and charming touch that is somewhat reminiscent of the "First Ladies' Detective Agency" series but soon becomes a very serious look at how people react under stress and loss and ends up being more similar to "A Fine Balance" where the human spirit and resiliency triumph over misery.

Grand Pacific Seafood specials

Elaine and I almost always order the lunch special if it's seafood. Last week was particularly yummy...salmon with scallop mousse in filo pastry with avocado and spinach salad.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Burger update

On Saturday we were going to try the Glo Pub burger but with Swiftsure there was some big noisy event going on in the Selkirk area so we went to Aura at Laurel Point Inn instead. Great sunny day and super table with a view outside. We used to go to the Laurel Point Inn quite a bit in the past especially when they had the bar with the water view. When we moved to Victoria in 1971 we were amazed how few restaurants and bars took advantage of all these great views...this has changed somewhat. At any rate, the fairly new Aura restaurant there is great for lunch on the terrace and probably good for dinner. I see they're offering a Spring three course dinner for $33...might be worth a try.

Back to the burger. It was excellent with its carmelized onions, wild mushrooms, and lardon type bacon. It was very messy and although the beef was excellent I just don't want a huge half pound patty. If we went again we would do like we do like we do at Spencer's in Palm Springs...share one burger and order an appetizer to share.

A few interesting things we found out while we were there is we were reminded that Arthur Erikson who recently died was the architect for the 1989 addition. And even more interesting is that Artie Arsens, the wife of Paul Arsens who owned the hotel along with Paul's Motor Inn, died at 94 last September and her will dictated that the hotel must remain independent and it is run by a foundation and the proceeds go to her various charities. As well, the families of patients being treated by the cancer clinic can get great rates. Quite a legacy.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Itty Bitty Book Review: The House on the Strand

"The House on the Strand" by Daphne du Maurier

This novel was published in 1969 and deals with the protagonist being a guinea pig for a scientist friend who is experimenting with a hallucinogenic drug which takes him to a world in the 14th Century. This world and the people in it become much more interesting than his own life and he becomes quite addicted to getting his fix to go on a "trip" does the reader since this other world is much more interesting to us as well. It has a bit of a thriller quality and I quite enjoyed it.

I wasn't really that familiar with du Maurier who is most famous for "Rebecca" which also became a Hitchcock film. I guess I've seen it at some point. This was one of my Christmas books from yesteryear.

Friday, May 22, 2009

TripAdvisors Top 10 Romantic Destinations for couples

We've been to the first seven (Paris a dozen times) and I would agree with 6 of them. I'm afraid Las Vegas just didn't cut it for me as a romantic destination. How can a place be a "romantic destination" when you can't stroll down pleasant streets!

Top 10: Romantic Destinations for Couples
New York City
San Francisco
Las Vegas
Bora Bora

Just about the first thing I do when I'm in Paris is look at Notre Dame from the Seine and take a bunch more photos...this one in June/07.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Where's the beef?

There was an interesting article in the Globe and Mail yesterday on a fellow called Donald Kennedy who has a "burger blog" and rates burgers in Victoria and other places. He rates the Pink Bicycle highly and the prime-rib burger at Glo which was blessed with a "killer red pepper aioli". Also, very highly rated was the burger at Aura (Laurel Point Inn...lunch only). Will have to give some of these a try.

Victoria Burger Blog

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Be very afraid...

I've just got the new iLife 09 application and have learned to make slide shows with music with my photos and I can play them on our big screen TV. Soooo...fair warning that the age of slide shows has returned...I have about 12,000 photos on my computer.

Making a little movie and putting it on YouTube is a bit of an experiment. I was quite disappointed in the quality of the slide show movie because the quality showing the slide show on my computer or TV is excellent. Probably a better way to do it...maybe Richard will have some suggestions.

Celebrating Robbie Burns at the Union Club with the Curlings.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Forty-one years ago...

I've been posting an old wedding photo on our anniversary lately so I'll keep with that tradition. I'm also posting the telegram my brother sent me from Whitehorse. He was working as a for a mining company in the region as a summer job since he was studying Geology at the time and couldn't get away for the wedding. It scanned pretty well...I love my new scanner!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Baseball and Writing by Marianne Moore

I enjoyed Kate's blog entry on why she likes Marianne Moore's poetry (she's doing her Master's thesis on it) and read some of her poetry.

I think Richard and Jim will like this one since they are big baseball fans. I've included the first verse only and the rest can be read in the link. Even I collected baseball cards in the 50's...Mickey Mantle being my favourite.

"Baseball and Writing"

Fanaticism?No.Writing is exciting
and baseball is like writing.
You can never tell with either
how it will go
or what you will do;
generating excitement--
a fever in the victim--
pitcher, catcher, fielder, batter.
Victim in what category?
Owlman watching from the press box?
To whom does it apply?
Who is excited?Might it be I?

Baseball and Writing by Marianne Moore:

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Health care is good for the economy

I never thought I'd ever agree with Diane Francis who is a very conservative economist. She makes a lot of good points in her article that's well worth reading. Here is an exerpt:

"If a worker in Canada or Europe or Japan loses his or her job this recession, it's a psychological and financial blow. But if an American loses his or her job, the family faces financial ruin if sickness strikes any member because they are without health coverage. Bridge coverage is available but unaffordable for anyone but the wealthy. Worse yet, if a major illness is diagnosed during unemployment, a worker become unemployable, bringing about a life sentence of poverty...

As an American living in Canada, I find it embarrassing that the US - rich and smart - has such a mediocre health care system. I find it embarrassing that even educated and financially astute Americans buy the lies that the American Medical Association and others spew about Canada and other "socialized" medical schemes. Facts are that governments in the US are suckers. They cover the high-risk populations-indigent, elderly, and veterans and leave the gravy to the private sector health insurers."

Health care is good for the economy

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Ridiculous complaints by holidaymakers - the Telegraph

We booked an excursion to a waterpark but no-one told us we had to bring our swimming costumes and towels.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Itty Bitty Book Review: "Intuition"

"Intuition" by Allegra Goodman

Claire introduced me to this author and book and I was very impressed. A gripping story about the intrigue in medical research labs and the world of academia.

The Good Wife's Guide

Don sent me this and I had quite a laugh and decided to post it on my blog. I googled it on the chance that I could blog it since I couldn't seem to copy it. Of course there are loads of entries for it and I particularly liked this one since it links to Snopes and suggests that the article could be fake. It was very interesting to read what the Snopes site had to say. It seems we are very susceptible to wanting to think that we are very enlightened these days in comparision to the past.

The Good Wife's Guide

Monday, May 11, 2009

See Kate read See Kate write See Kate run

We had a fabulous dinner Sat night at Mary's and Kate and Jean showed us their photos of their Japan trip. Kate has a blog now and I really enjoyed reading it. I have never been that intrigued by Japan but her thoughtful comments made me think differently. I really wish other people I know wrote blogs because Facebook and MySpace just doesn't do it for me. Richard got me blogging and I loved reading his blog but alas, he doesn't do that anymore. Take a look at Kate's blog:

See Kate read See Kate write See Kate run

I've taken a few photos from her blog that I really liked.

Kate made this cake...more details and even the recipe on her blog.

Dinner alfresco at Mary's before taking the dogs to Anderson Hill.

View of the Mainland from Rebecca Spit on Quadra Island...a fabulous photo and I may
just have to paint this scene...wonderful colouring of the mountains, ocean, and pebbles.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Thank you, Richard!

Some beautiful orchids just arrived from Richard...I love these plants because they are gorgeous and they last so long. Jim is making dinner tonight so I feel quite spoiled.

Sunshine and pastis...

We haven't had too many days we can pretend we're in the south of France but we've had a few and taken full advantage. This was a prelude to Monique joining us for a lobster dinner and some fabulous French wines she brought over so a French day all round.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

TC will cease Monday print edition on June 22

I guess our luxury of having the TC seven days a week was inevitable to end with all the problems newspapers are having. They ran this story on where they usually have an obit...seems appropriate.

News article:

These are challenging times for businesses around the world, and the Times Colonist is not immune. The weak economy and an increase in the cost of fixed items such as newsprint and staff salaries have presented us with unprecedented challenges as we commence our 151st year in the community.

As a result, we will cease publishing a Monday edition of the Times Colonist, starting June 22. However, we’ll be beefing up content in our Tuesday edition and other editions and increasing the amount of local material on our website,, to bring you breaking news online seven days a week.

The Times Colonist is not alone in adjusting its publishing schedule to reflect changes in the media world. Many North American newspapers have reduced their in-print editions, and several Canadian and U.S. newspapers have ceased publishing a Monday edition.

As the industry changes, we remain committed to delivering information to you in print and online, where and when you want it. The Times Colonist has been the primary source of information in Victoria and on Vancouver Island for the last century and a half, and we intend to maintain that relationship with you.

Friday, May 08, 2009

An exciting new hobby

Kerry has been turned onto quilting and it seems like such a super hobby that allows you to work with colour and be creative doing something with your hands. She got into it when a friends of Katie's was giving a baby shower for her and wanting everyone to do a quilt square for a mothering quilt. She's made a couple of quilts for Harmony...I l especially love the one with the African theme.

Making placemats and tablerunners seem like a good idea for gifts and I see that you can make a memory quilt from photos with this product. Endless possibilites it seems with this activity.

Miracle Fabric Sheets

I've suggested to Kerry to keep a portfolio of her work especially as she will be giving away a lot. A neighbour suggested this to me and it's been a great idea especially since I've given away about 100 items of artwork. I remember talking to P.K. Page about her artwork that she never took photos of and many are out there in places she doesn't know.

Kerry's first quilt...the African theme is so perfect.

Quilt #2...wonderful colours for Harmony.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Itty Bitty Book Review: "Cupid and Diana"

"Cupid and Diana" by Christina Bartolomeo

This was a Christmas book from a while ago that I had never read. Lately, I seem to be mainly reading about half of a book and ditching it. I actually finished this one even though it was pretty lightweight it was engaging for some reason. A Washington Post reviewer called it a "sitcom with soul".

Monday, May 04, 2009

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Swine flu, climate change, terrorism: we're living in a culture of fear - Telegraph

I liked this article by Bryony Gordon in the true. Malaria is killing thousands of people a day and yet there seems to be relatively little world concern about that. When these schools close because of a suspected case all the kids go to the is that helping?

Swine flu, climate change, terrorism: we're living in a culture of fear - Telegraph

'A secondary school in a seaside town…' said the news reporter morbidly. 'A mutant flu virus from another continent…'

I peered at my set-top box and checked that it hadn't over-heated and switched itself from Sky News to Sky Movies. It had not. I scratched my head for a moment. And then I realised that my life – our lives – had begun to resemble an especially crummy B-movie, complete with killer pigs, and that we were all probably doomed.

If the swine flu doesn't get us, it'll be the collapse of the economy. Should we survive that, an ice cap will most likely melt on our heads, and if that doesn't happen, there's always a terrorist happy to blow you up. I feel sorry for anyone who remains alive afterwards: think you're safe? Fool! You're going to starve to death due to a food shortage."

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Where the wild things are...

I fall completely into letting what grows grow and what survives survive as far as my garden goes. It's pretty wild but this time of year really shows to advantage and I think the stuff growing on the wall really liked this late cool Spring.

We've had some fabulous summer like days to the point we had to bring up our sun umbrellas to the deck since it was too hot unless we were in the shade. Back to dull dreary drizzle but at least it's warmish. Super weather for the first golf game with my ladies' group...the latest start ever...

Friday, May 01, 2009

Fell Street houses

Fern and Carole and I went to lunch at the Blue Coast Restaurant (the old Jimmy's Place location) and Fern knew this great street to park on since you get 2 hours instead of the usual 1 hour on Oak Bay Avenue and other streets. And a big bonus is some great old houses that have super paint jobs. The purple and yellow etc. seems a bit wild at first but it works nicely somehow.