Monday, August 30, 2010

Fun time with the Curlings...

We had a great pre-birthday dinner with Don and Elaine...impromptu. Thanks, Richard, for doing the cooking. Don enjoyed his birthday present from Oyama saucage and his cookbook from Barbara-Jo's books to cooks.

Busy day tomorrow....

Richard, the overseer...

Well, since his arrival, Richard has certainly been cracking the whip and picking up the pace.

We're making great progress...he's a real slave driver. He got us into not even thinking of wasting our time having a garage sale, getting rid of stuff, having it hauled nonsense.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


A very busy time since we got back. Elaine did yeoman service Friday (Jim was playing golf....)helping me get the house ready for the three realtors we're interviewing this weekend. The fellow who I had arranged to clean the carpets arrived two hours early so threw my plan of attack into chaos but we managed. The good news was that September is one of the best times to sell and best time in September is two weeks after Labour Day.

So the panic is off as I have three weeks to get the house ready. It will work out well as we'll go into Vancouver Sept 23 -27 when the launch happens and miss the initial flurry. Marcel, the painter, is coming today to figure out refresh and touch up. He's terrific. Then another realtor at 1pm. Then Richard arrives from Vancouver on the 5pm ferry to help for the next few days. Fern and Carole are coming to help Thursday. It's all beginning to seem manageable!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Back home (?)

It was a funny feeling to come back to Victoria after setting up our new household in Vancouver. Amazingly, it's Vancouver that feels more like home...and this is only after 12 days in Vancouver in our new digs! Strange, really, because we have lived in Victoria for 39 years, raised our family, had our careers, and made lots of good friends.

It certainly has something to do with Vancouver being our home town and also the home town of my parents. Things like watching people going down the water slide at English Bay and thinking of us doing that as kids and my parents doing that as kids.

I had read a review of "The Happiness Project" in the Globe and Mail and was rather intrigued by someone who was really quite happy but wanted to research being "more happy". I feel I'm very happy and content and hadn't really considered being more happy. I logged onto her blog and then bought the book. One of the things she talked about was living in New York in an apartment with her husband and two kids and how wonderful NYC was but also some of the disadvantages of having a family in such quarters but still thinking NYC was the best choice.

That got me thinking that we love the vibe of large urban cities and now that our son isn't at home we can so easily live that urban lifestyle. And a big bonus is that our son lives in Vancouver!

When we went into Vancouver the end of July, we really had no plan to change our life in an hour. The idea was to identify good buildings to rent in to try out the lifestyle perhaps in a couple of years. But an apartment was available at a reasonable price right on Beach Avenue with a fabulous view over English Bay. I think it just might be the best real estate in the world...quiet area, Stanley Park a few minutes walk, and all the action of the West End in a 5 minute walk.

Now, we're putting our house up for sale after being in a wonderful residential area for 35 years and loving the idea of living in a one-bedroom apartment. A month ago I would have said anyone was completely crazy if they suggested we might be doing this...

Another day in Vancouver....

Very neat effect of silouettes walking back from dinner.

Flame thrower on English Bay...he's been there most nights.

Donair cooking...reminds me so much of Paris!

My Brooks Brothers purchases for Jim. The chinos are "British Tan"...seems appropriate since he became a British citizen recently.

Ebi Prawn Mayo for lunch...didn't quite know what it was but apparently a specialty...wonderful bar-b-qed prawn in a great mayo sauce.

I began by meeting Richard at the Art Gallery to see the exhibit from the Musee d'Orsay in Paris. Excellent drawings of women by the impressionists. Neat to see as I haven't ever focused on the drawings when I've been at my favourite art gallery in the world. Pretty hard to draw yourself away from those wonderful paintings. I almost wept from the passion and beauty of the Van Gogh's.

musee d'orsay van gogh - Google Search

Then to Brooks Brothers to buy some duds for Jim. Richard scored a tie since he's been such a great help and lots of dirty work coming up when he comes over to help. Richard was going to show me the transit app on my iPhone but catching a cab seemed a better idea.

Grabbed this great tasting Ebi prawn mayo for lunch. Then chatted to the manager about upgrading some things in the apartment. Apparently most people customize. So I'll be buying better fixtures for the bathroom and having it repainted that cool green that I fairly recently had the basement bathroom painted. Then, "Mary's Red" for one wall in the living room. So, I will have my wonderful red on one wall (all red wouldn't work) and we'll get an electric fireplace with a white mantle...should look great.

Went down to Denman and got a haircut from a really fun young Vietnamese woman telling me about her trials and tribulation learning salsa. We had a lot of laughs and the price was half what I pay in Victoria. Then to get some extra keys cut from a great Yugoslavian woman who told me about all the services in the mall there underneath the Coast Plaza. We're somewhat familiar with it as tourist since we've stayed in the hotel so know the wine store, Shoppers, and No Frills grocery. But there are dentists, medical clinic (great doctor apparently who might take you after he's seen you a few time according to her), massage, physio, insurance, lawyer, travel office with great deals posted, etc.

Jim came home rather tired from his golf game...great course but rather hilly. So, we had to revive ourselves with beer then headed to Denman to have a Lamb Donair with pint for $9.50. Loads of lamb and veggies so a big dinner and for lunch you could split it ($6.50 for just the Donair) Not sure we'll ever cook again....
Dodged the lineups for ice cream, watched the flame thrower for a while, listened to some accordianists who were taking turns playing, then admired the great silouettes walking home.

Jim said he missed a great silouette shot because I didn't give him the camera quick he'll just have to learn how to take a photo with his iPhone!

Back home today for the dreaded task of preparing our house for sale and all the hassle of selling.

p.s. If I mention race it's only because I've always loved the fact that you sit at English Bay and hear all these languages and see all these people from different places....maybe we won't even have to travel!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Quite a coincidence!

We were coming out of the Canadian Tire store on Cambie and 7th when we met Richard coming out of amazing was that! This is a great new complex with huge stores that include Winners, Homesense, Home Depot, Save-on-Foods, and even Whole Foods.

So we all went to Bridges on Granville Island for lunch and shared a great appetizer platter washed down with a pitcher of Granville Island Pale Ale.

Then Richard very kindly (mucho gracias!) spent the rest of the afternoon helping us with pesky problems punctuated with beer breaks and a swim...the water was wonderful.

Enjoyed seeing the kayakers in False Creek. Richard is very fortunate to live in such a great place.

Richard and I are heading to the Art Gallery today and Brooks Brothers for their Summer sale. Jim is taking advantage of a free reciprocal at Seymour Golf Course. Looking to be another wonderful day!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Another day in Vancouver....

We walked over to the lawn bowling club and pitch and putt golf course...both within a 5 minute walk. The lawn bowling...really it's like very cheap for a membership and "new members welcome". They let you borrow bowling balls for the first year and teach you to play. People are a variety of ages and all very friendly.

Also had a nice welcome at the golf course. We'll start with a punch card but probably have a yearly pass then you can just go anytime and play 9 holes just for fun.

The tennis courts are also right there and there's a back board so I think we'll bat around a tennis ball too. We used to be very keen tennis players!

And The Fish House is right there too and open 7 days a week from 11:30 and doesn't close at all during the afternoon. I can see being regulars there. The chef, Karen Barnaby, even offers cooking classes. Elaine, that name rings a you know her?

Then take-out fish and chips from the Raincity Grill which we took down to the beach...fabulous and only $10 each and in future for lunch we'll split one since they're such a large serving.

We were going to go to a baseball game tonight with Richard and Claudia but we're a bit exhausted so early to bed...

The Fish House Restaurant

Golf course.

Lawn bowling pitch.

A change of weather...

Not exactly swimming weather yesterday when we got up but it's going to be fun storm watching here. We'll definitely be getting an electric fireplace.

Aren't these great egg cups? I got them in that provencale store I didn't have a change to get back to. And don't they look great with the little cat knives!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Brunch at the Sylvia

Well, we've had breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner at the's definitely becoming our local. Sunday's they have quite a neat brunch menu...I got a seafood (shrimp and real crab) Benny.

Carol and Dave joined us and we had a super visit. Carol and I grew up in the same neighbourhood and have very recently reconnected and it's been so much fun tallking about old neighbourhood and school times. Dave was actually in Jim's first year English class at UBC! We all had lots to talk about and had a great time.

We usually see this fellow every morning binning and having his dog pull him on his skateboard...tney both seem to be having a great time!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

PNE Parade mini videos

Another day in Vancouver....

We began by putting together an Ikea table...amazingly without too much trouble!

Then we went and viewed an apartment for sale in the Panorama building behind us. Stephen, a friend of Barb's, showed it to us as he still is doing some real estate work. Friday he came over for a drink and showed us his suite in the Panorama, on the 18th floor and fabulous. It's featured in this September's Canadian House and Home.
The one he showed us for sale was on the 12th floor and just didn't have views we wanted.
It is a fabulous building just behind us on Pendrell, has good sized pool, and a spectacular rooftop. Walking around is like being in the Cloud 9 revolving restaurant.

However, we love having this place right on Beach Ave and low down so it seems we are really part of all the action.

He also showed us the place he had restored and is selling. This is the big building just at Denman and Beach. We've always been very interested in that building but didn't like the fact there were no balconies. It was really interesting to see as the views are so amazing that you don't worry there are no balconies. We seem to be the only ones who use the balconies in our place. I'm not quite sure why. Perhaps because the views are so good from the suites and you can walk outside in a minute and sit on a park bench?

Then, John made a surprise visit on his bike, then Richard arrived to give us a tutorial with the iPhones. John had a chance to play with the iPad and was our cameraman for the tutorial...could go on SNL I think;)

In the evening, Donna and Neil came over and gave us a wonderful glass pitcher perfect for martinis...will be a little more classy than that old beer mug we've been using. Merci beaucoup, Neil and Donna! Then we headed for the Sylvia for dinner and all had excellent steaks with peppercorn sauce...a real winner. Neil hadn't been in the Sylvia for years.

PNE parade

We had just the greatest time watching the parade yesterday evening...for once we got a good viewing place! When we were kids it went down Hastings and we were always way back in the crowd. I remember my Dad lifting me up on his shoulders so I could see better.

And it was great to see Red Robinson who was associated with rock and roll and everything cool when I was a teenager and Dal Richards, who was the Grand Marshal. We just loved seeing the groups with the big hair jiving and doing the twist. And the Elvis impersonator was perfect along with the big Elvis balloon.

And would you believe the first pipers' band to come through was playing "A Scottish Soldier". Remember, Derek and Mary, when Jim (as a joke because we thought the request thing was pretty hokey) requested the entertainer where we were someplace to play that and he actually did it!

Videos coming soon.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Merci beaucoup Don and Elaine!

The first mail in our apartment was a package from Don and Elaine...goodies on the provencale theme and of course, some cat stuff...I love the little cat themed spreaders.

100th Anniversary PNE Parade along Beach Avenue

I took a little video of these floats that passed by today and was wondering what it was all about then we saw that Beach Avenue is closed from 5pm - 10 pm. Another parade...what fun!

The Fair at the PNE - Pacific National Exhibition - 100 Years of Fun

Into the modern world...

After Jim's citizenship ceremony we went on the hunt for iPhones. Not so easy as even the G3's are scarce. The Apple Store downtown didn't have any stock. Wow...what a fabulous store and it's going to be so great to deal with Apple directly like that. Richard says they're terrific and just replace things rather than mess about like the dealerships. That will be heaven for me!

Richard managed to track down one iPhone G3 and unbelievably and an iPhone 4...could well have been the only one available that day in all of Canada! It was in a small Rogers outlet in the Kingsgate Mall. Just to explain why Richard lined up all night for one is that those ones are "unlocked" so you don't have to buy a calling plan. We need a plan anyway so it worked out perfectly.

I will have the iPhone 4 and it will be great that Richard has one because we can see each other when we talk and show each other technical problems with our computers. So, our own 24 hour help line:)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

JIm became a British Citizen today...

The passing scene

What is so wonderful about being here is that you see happy people swimming, sunbathing, playing games, walking, cycling (even some on a unicycle!), roller-blading, skateboarding etc. every minute of the day. It would be hard to feel lonely or depressed!

And of course there was this Chariot of India parade to welcome us...


So, the first thing Richard shows Jim on the iPad are crosswords and scrabble...very cool! Richard is a big scrabble and crossword fan like his Dad. I like the idea that folks are enjoying these old pastimes that have given inexpensive pleasure for years on this brand new technology.

The iPad came in really handy for Richard the night before as he lined up at midnight to get one of these iPhone 4's. Actually, he bought two and hopes to make a profit selling the other one. He watched movies on the iPad most of the night. Apparently it wasn't so bad as people had fun chatting to each other. The girl in front of him had been paid $120 to wait in line, then her boyfriend came to keep her company and someone paid him $60 for his place in line! Richard referred to them as "hippies" so I guess they could use the money.

We all walked down to Denman to Fattburger for a casual meal and Jim and I were reflecting how we felt Victoria was a wonderful place to have had our careers and raise a family and that we had had a great life and made many wonderful friends there. Richard completely agreed and felt that he had been blessed to grow up in such a magical place.

Victoria is magical and it will always hold a very big place in our hearts. Victoria is a very special friend and we will miss it.

We walked back along Beach Drive just at dusk looking at a beautiful sunset and the freighters lit up against the backdrop of the mountains.

Vancouver will always be mon amour...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A day in Vancouver...

Well, the day began great. I dropped off Jim at UBC and went browsing. First stop Liberty Wine Merchants on 10th Avenue where the first thing I saw at the entrance were reds and rose from Bandol! The owner spent many summers in the Bandol and Sanary region and of course knew Carqueiranne. Then a very interesting Bourbon caught my eye.

I was driving up Dunbar and saw a Home Hardware and remembered a purchase I wanted to make and lo and behold a parking, what luck. I was gone about 5 minutes and walked out of the store to see my car being towed away! So, a taxi to the Vancouver City Impound...rather interesting drive, though, and somehow I found the whole thing rather funny. Jim didn't. I was 20 minutes late to pick him up and he thought I had been in an accident. I told him he saved money because I didn't have time to get back to that store I spotted with lots of provencale looking things.

So, iPhones for the both of us soon. Monique...I'm finally convinced.

Then to the University Club Golf Course to check it out and have lunch...very impressed and I'm sure we'll play there the most. Mug of Kilkenny, muligitawny soup, and a shrimp sandwich for me (turkey for Jim). Very reasonable prices and excellent food.

Richard arrives momentarily with our iPad all apped and programmed up. Jim's pouring us a pastis and the sun is shining and the water is shimmering...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My new collection....

I've decided to start a beach towel collection...seems appropriate for living on Beach Avenue. We still have these old beach towels, one a tennis theme and one a golf theme, from since we were first married!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Our new digs....

Everything worked out really well. I've put my studio in the dining nook and the dining table in front of the view. My south of France paintings fit the location perfectly, n'est-ce pas?

We're just amazed by the room in this one bedroom apartment. Much more counter space in the kitchen and bathroom and loads more cupboard space than our house.

After our swims we've been nibbling on Fern's delectible goodies on the balcony then out for dinner at the Sylvia last night and will head to Maria's Taverna tonight. Soooo... nice not to have to worry about driving.

All moved in...even the paintings!

Thanks to Ian, Graeme, Richard, John and of course, Jim...things went very smoothly and we're completely settled in and just about ready for a swim. We swam yesterday as well...beautiful. We're sold and will be selling!

Being on the corner we get a cross draft so even in the heat it's been pretty good. And there was even a parade yesterday down Beach Avenue to welcome us!