Friday, October 30, 2009

More Oscar...

Oscar is usually waiting for us at the front door and gets a good welcome. He gallops into the kitchen to get his treats.

And then he looks for more...

He's found a new perch on a dining room chair.

But he does like his old favourites...this being one.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Autumn leaves

I have rather enjoyed not taking many photos of leaves and just enjoying them. They seem even more wonderful this year for some reason.

Susan has asked Chris not to get rake for a while...just like a red carpet!

I couldn't resist taking a few on Vancouver Street and in front of this old heritage house.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Another Oscar....

This came up on Douglas Coupland's Twitter post. This Oscar was Richard's favourite.

YouTube - Qtv's Channel

Monday, October 26, 2009

Itty Bitty Book Review: "The Elegance of the Hedgehog"

"The Elegance of the Hedgehog" by Muriel Barbery

Translated from the French and seems to be a world wide hit. It is a very enjoyable read and I see in one of the reviews that a Parisian psychotherapist is prescribing this book to her patients instead of Prozac! It does give one that warm fuzzy feeling without being overly sentimental.

It has a very French feel to it and is, among other things, a social satire of class and the French love of philosophy and erudition.

Perhaps the highest recommendation is that I look forward to reading it again for our Jan bookclub pick and I almost never like re-reading books except Alice Munro, of course. BTW, Jane Campion who directed "The Piano" and "Bright Star" which is on Keats and currently playing is directing a film based on a Munro story called "Runaway". Really looking forward to that. Heard Campion being interviewed on Writers and Co on CBC.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Well, I haven't really done very much artwork this year. I didn't even realize I didn't have a 2009 Art Portfolio on my blog. I did try to get into watercolours since that medium is a lot easier to transport around and thought I would do that during Feb and Mar in Palm Springs last year. That didn't work out although I did have a perfect place to do it.

Then the Spring and Summer were so good in terms of weather that I didn't seem to want to do any painting. I generally avoid courses since I like to just do my own thing but when I noticed that a course called "Hands-on Acrylics" was being offered by the woman I took the Absolute Beginner Drawing from I thought I'd give it a try.

It's been interesting to try various techniques and the idea of glazing (a thin layer of transparent paint...mixing medium and paint together) is something I will use and a few other ideas but I think I will find myself going back to my old techniques that I've learned on my own and give me pleasure.

12 x 16 acrylic on canvas

This was the result of the first exercise and what was interesting was that we put the background in later. Not sure if I really like working this way but at least I know it's possible.

12 x 16 acrylic on canvas

This is the same painting but after playing around with glazing.

"Herbes de Provence"
6 x 8 acrylic on canvas

This is a still life exercise we did and the idea was to mix paints a lot so of course what happens is that for me the colours end up being not my palette but I kind of liked it anyway. Next time we're going to play around with glazes with it so we'll see how it changes.

11 x 14 acrylic on canvas

And this is something I started just to get back painting before I even started the course in September. I did sunflowers since I figured it would be a gentle start for me and while the field of sunflowers didn't turn out the way I really wanted (as often happens) I captured something that pleased me (as often happens). I did a bit of glazing on the actual sunflowers but didn't make much of a difference.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

For Jimi Hendrix fans

John posted this photo on his photoblog recently. I didn't know Hendrix lived in Vancouver for a while. Very cool photo...I guess it's the red I like!

October 22nd, 2009 — This small red building at 207 Union Street was from 1950 until 1976 known as Vie’s Chicken and Steak House. The grandmother of musician Jimi Hendrix worked here as a cook. Neighbours remembered hearing the teenage Hendrix practising after hours at Vie’s during the time he lived in Vancouver after serving in the armed forces. He often played nightclubs in Hogan’s Alley

Miscellaneous photographs

Friday, October 23, 2009

Back again in this rain this morning...

I got up a bit early since I thought the poor thing would be waiting on our porch. He has his own towel now. Goodness...what we do for this cat! Taking even more photos since the painting subject for Monday's class is an animal...not much doubt who I will attempt to portray.

Ducks at the Grand Pacific

The fellow who feeds the ducks is back after being ill and the ducks and tourists are very appreciative. He gave this tourist some feed and the duck certainly wasn't bashful about eating out of someone else's hand!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Content this morning but...

Our old pal, Oscar, had a content morning reading the newspaper with Jim but when he cam back this afternoon Jim sat down in his recliner with a tuna sandwich and poor thing was driven mad!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

more Ireland

Teresa and Peter, the aunt and uncle (sister and brother) of Denis and Siobhan lived next door and had 40 head of sheep and old Neddy the donkey. They didn't drive or use much in the way of modern conveniences and hadn't been more than about 20 miles from this place where they had lived all their lives. Peter was known all over for training the sheep dogs and we had a lot of fun watching Flo and Rover (a young one just learning) This was when I was just starting this idea of doing video memoirs so got them on video talking about the old days.

I also interviewed a neighbour, Mick, who I found shearing a sheep with hand shears. It was a hot day and Don brought him a beer later. He actually didn't know how to open the can as he had only had beer in a pub. His comment was that it was the best beer he'd ever had! Mick and Peter and Teresa didn't have a VCR but I sent a copy to Denis and Siobhan and enclosed a note to them all. I received a letter back saying that Mick had died of a heart attack a month ago but that they'd made a copy and sent it to his family. His family wrote me a thank you note and were so thrilled to have this memory of him. Funny how things work out.

Peter and Rover.

Teresa and Neddy.

Mick shearing the sheep.

Jim looking over the cliffs on the Aran Islands.

Don and Elaine in front a very famous old structure called the Gallarus Oratory on the Dingle Peninsula.

Wildflowers on the moors driving to Ardara.

A pub in wouldn't be Ireland without the pubs and entertainment.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I received a couple of emails from Roger and Kerry from Ireland. They are having a great time and the weather was even good although it did start raining in the past few days. They ended up in Donegal staying at this great place, Harvey's Point, where we had a fabulous Sunday Carvery buffet with the Carrs and the Curlings. This was very close to where we did our house exchange in 2000 and I emailed the phone number of Denis and Siobhan and the directions to the house. Roger and Kerry were leaving early that Sunday morning and didn't want to disturb them but drove out to the house and saw the view over Lough Eske and the Bluestack Mountains.

Susan and Alan enjoying the sunshine with the view from our house.

Rossnowlagh Beach. There is amazingly warm swimming in Donegal and northern Ireland.

Enjoying with the Curlings a fabulous dinner at Smuggler's Creek Restaurant...first the best oyster ever from the area and lobster.

They are still harvesting peat for burning...a great fuel. Neddy, the old donkey next door to us, spent most of his life hauling peat down from the mountain. We really enjoyed spoiling him with chocolate biscuits.

I asked these fishermen who were in the process of mending their nets if I could take
a photo of them. One asked for me to wait a minute and went and got his children to be in the photo. It was very sweet.

Alan and Susan and Jim and I with our "captain" after a harrowing boat ride to see Slieve League, the highest cliffs in Europe. In the guidebook it suggested doing it by boat to avoid the scary road to the cliffs...nothing could have been scarier than that boatrip. It's a wonder we all didn't end up at the bottom of the sea!

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Just heard from Kerry and Roger and they are loving Ireland and the weather even seems to be great...bit of a difference from what we have been experiencing the last few days. It was teeming rain at the time I read her message. I'm so pleased for them and they were spending the night in Donegal. It made me feel very nostalgic and will post some photos this week of our house/car exchange in Donegal in 2000. Funnily enough as I picked up Kerry's email from Donegal, Oscar was sitting on my desk with the window sticker of Donegal behind him.

I hadn't begun my painting adventure in 2000 but I'm sure the reason I was attracted to the Donegal design was the simplicity and the primary colours of red, yellow, and blue. Later Oscar got very comfy on the leopard skin blanket.

Took this from the sunroom window...guess we can put the sun umbrellas away. This wonderful Fall weather has just been fantastic for the geraniums.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Happy Birthday, Richard!

Have a great birthday today, Richard!

Dad, Mom, and Richard. October 22, 1977.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Lucy's in the Square

Patty and I had lunch today at this fairly new place in Fernwood and it was ambience, good food, and reasonable prices. They were doing very well and certainly deserve to. We had a pulled pork sandwich and a Croque Monsieur which we split. Both were excellent but the pulled pork was particularly special. Oscar also seemed to think so because he licked off a stain on my sweater from the sauce...his raspy tongue made a very good job of it! These sandwiches were both $9 and I noticed nothing was over $20 on the dinner menu.

We got a kick out of the baguette bread that was brought in a "bag" and the crayons for writing or drawing on the paper over the tablecloth. With the bill we each got a little sticker with their logo. Simply but warmly decorated as well.

This was quite a difference from the experience ourselves and others had at another new place close to us called Bistro 28. Chris and Susan went for dinner and felt the portions were so small they didn't even begin to break their diet even with an appetizer and main course.

I've never really liked the setting but was willing to give it a try for lunch. The opposite of a playful ambience and a haughty waiter who gave Carole a lecture about salt when she asked for it. When Patty went the same haughty waiter gave her a bad time when she suggested that their special ketchup that they make should perhaps not come in a generic squeeze bottle and perhaps they should at least mention it is a special sauce. More the style of a hotdog stand than a restaurant that appears to have pretentions.

Patty had the mussels and fries too and felt the same way as I did...interesting sauce but too rich to really want again any time soon. Also, the tiny fries they served get cold in 30 seconds and I do love my fries hot.

Now this is the way you do moules-frites! Our first day in Carqueiranne in Feb/2005 eating at our favourite restaurant for mussels on the port.

I liked these decorations in The Little Piggy store in the area:

Great old wooden fruit boxes.

Amazing what some old pans can do for a "sculpture".

And the Belfry Theatre is such a treasure and adds so much to the area.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Itty Bitty Book Review: "Year of the Flood"

"Year of the Flood" by Margaret Atwood

I'm not a tremendous fan of dystopian end-of-the-world novels but I generally always read Atwood's novels although I couldn't get through Moral Disorder. I thought it was pretty good and was quite humourous unlike Oryx and Crake which was very dismal. I'm pleased the novel is doing well and getting good reviews.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I was going to take a break from doing Thanksgiving dinner this year but decided to have it after all. I cooked a small turkey the day before and so I actually enjoyed my dinner on the day rather than being exhausted like usual. I think this is the key...or else having Chinese food like a woman I meet at swimming always does.

The Curlings brought some sparkling sake and it was most interesting to taste...I would have sworn it was made from pears rather than rice. And they also brought a very special burgundy...went extremely well with the turkey.

I told Oscar that cat lovers would be coming and glad he turned up for Ian, Don, and Elaine who get such a kick out of him.

Keeping up a long family tradition of taking a photo of an empty table. I don't use this Provence tablecloth much since it's a bit loud but it suits Thanksgiving with the colours, I think.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Early Thanksgiving dinner

Derek was over from Vancouver so we had an early Thanksgiving dinner from De'Lish with Derek and Mary last night. It was delish! Everything was excellent but the crab bisque reminded us of the soupe au poissons that you get in the south of France and that we love so much. I think their stock must be made in a similar way.

Ian gave us an enthusiastic welcome and entertained us throughout the evening.

Ian enjoying have his couch all to himself and playing with his bag of squirrels.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Museum of Anthropology

I had been to this wonderful museum at UBC but Jim hadn't. We lucked into a tour at 11:30 so was perfect. A fabulous collection of First Nation's art and this time we went through the porcelain exhibit that Koerner donated...quite spectacular as well.

Just an amazing Bill Reid piece out of yellow cedar. Koerner saw a miniature and commissioned this large piece. Arthur Erikson, the architect of the museum, designed this special rotunda that houses it. What was really interesting from the tour was that the base was one of these old gun things that they built during WW II and placed around UBC in case Japan invaded the west coast. These were a real feature of UBC when we were there. We used to climb around on them. It was too expensive to get rid of these so what a great idea to use this one as a base...guess the rest are still around somewhere. And the sand that the sculpture sits on is from Haida Gwaii that the children from there collected and brought down for the opening.

A few more scenes from the museum:

Friday, October 09, 2009


We always enjoy Steveston and it was great to introduce Derek to it. He's only about a 10 minutes drive so I'm sure it will become a regular outing with all the interesting shops, restaurants, and of course the fishboats. There were a lot of fishboats selling their wares on the Saturday we were there.

Fishboats and the old cannery building in the background which is now a super museum...well worth a visit.

One of the first things that caught our eye were the sea urchins for sale. These large ones were very different than the ones you find in France. They had some smaller green ones that were more similar. According to the experts around the smaller ones were sweeter so probably more like the French ones.