Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Great video of big cats enjoying their Halloween pumpkins.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Meet and Greet with Baby Eliot

It was great to meet Eliot at proud grandparents' Derek and Mary's place today and to see very happy moms, Kate and Jean. Great grandmother Nin was there too and always fun to see her. And we were all thrilled to meet and hold darling Eliot...such a sweetheart!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I'm enjoying the Halloween displays people are putting up and especially enjoying the lack of the sound of firecrackers and fireworks even as much as I enjoyed them as a kid and glad Richard got to enjoy them as well.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

More of baby Eliot

What fabulous photos of Eliot and proud moms, Kate and Jean! He is just wonderful.

See Kate read See Kate write See Kate run

The new Atrium building

Heather and I went to Pig in the new Atrium building and were very impressed with the architecture. Also, amazing crowds for pretty non-healthy food like pulled pork, baked beans, fries, etc. You'll see the lack of crowds at the organic coffee shop. It did have a very cool "painting" of real plants and also the menu projected electronically. Perhaps this is a good trend...non-healthy food. We do seem very bombarded by the opposite trend where everything is bad for you.

We were commenting negatively on "those rusty circles" when a passerby informed us they were representing the address "800" (correction...looked at their website) then they became quite cool. Except that, the only address we saw except from the rusty circles was 808...a mystery to be solved.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Photos of Eliot...such a sweetheart!

What a beautiful baby boy...I look forward to holding him in my arms!

Mom Kate and Eliot.

Grandma Mary and Eliot.

Welcome Baby Eliot Andrew!

Every child begins the world again.... ~Henry David Thoreau

Kate and Jean's baby boy was born at 12:20 am this morning...such a wonderful and joyous moment!

Congratulations to Kate and Jean, grandparents Derek and Mary, great-grandmother Nin and all the rest of the family. I know Eliot will bring much happiness to everyone.

And I hope to have a photo soon...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Feeding time at the Grand Pacific

Elaine and I had a wonderful seafood special of sablefish accompanied with a featured Rodney Strong Zinfandel and then the ducks and pigeons had their's always so much fun to see the custodian feed his special charges. They do love him!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

More pleasant memories of the south of France...

One of the absolute highlights is the Thursday market in Carqueiranne. Don had great fun talking to the fellow who sold us the rabbit. And then there were the famous gambas (large prawns) in Bandol that we almost had to mortgage our houses for...worth every penny. It was great having the pool at the villa to look at and then May 1 we began swimming every day.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Decided not to do a rant....

It was very tempting to do a rant today reading in the newspaper about this sweetheart deal these crooks got off with...the Basi/Virk case. Unreal really!

Great weather and exciting plans for the future...why worry about these dregs of society taking our hard earned tax money?

So I decided to take a positive view and give thanks for still having the good fortune to have some wonderful friends around who have struggled with health problems. I'm speaking about Don and Alan. And we have felt so blessed to have been able to share Ireland and the south of France with them and their wives, Elaine and Susan. Friendship and good's what it's all about and to hell with the rest of the foolishness in this world.

We'll soon be heading to England and Spain and have some wonderful experiences to look forward to. We'll be seeing old friends like Susan, Katey and David, David and Barbara, Philip and Sonya, Bernfried...and meeting lots of new people that I'm sure will become friends too. I already feel very close to Jesuias in Spain and have loved corresponding on email with him. He's the fellow Jim may do this teaching exchange with.

Me, Elaine, Don, Jim enjoying a fabulous meal in Cassis.

Alan, Jim, Susan at our villa in Carqueiranne in 2005

Monday, October 18, 2010

Puerto Vallarta Amigos Deal of the Day | Groupon Victoria

Elaine and I saw this truck downtown on Yates and Wharf and was wondering if he had a somewhat permanent spot. It seems it is open daily Mon-Fri. This also gives me a chance to introduce a service called "Groupon". I've been using it for Vancouver and it's beginning to have a few things for Victoria and I hope it will grow because it's a great concept. For Vancouver, I get a "daily deal" via email.

The idea is restaurants and various companies offering services offer up to 50%-60% off if a certain number of people sign up. Definitely worth looking into since they are operating in many cities.

Puerto Vallarta Amigos Deal of the Day | Groupon Victoria

P.S. to Kerry...I see Edmonton is in on the deal.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Happy Birthday, Richard!

Wow...33 years old today! I took a few photos of your childhood haunts. Willows School, The Galley (fabulous fish and chips and burgers), Willows Beach and Park (home of the Oak Bay Tea Party) and Sealand. The only whale there is now is the one on the sign...good thing but for a number of years we went pretty much every week (always had to stand in the wet zone) and did enjoy it immensely.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


I've always enjoyed Garnder's writings when they print them in the TC (he's a columnist with the Ottawa Citizen). I didn't realize he had written a couple of books, this being the latest one and the previous called "Risk: Why We Fear the Things We Shouldn't - and Put Ourselves in Greater Danger".

Product Description
In 2008, as the price of oil surged above $140 a barrel, experts said it would soon hit $200; a few months later it plunged to $30. In 1967, they said the USSR would have one of the fastest-growing economies in the year 2000; in 2000, the USSR did not exist. In 1911, it was pronounced that there would be no more wars in Europe; we all know how that turned out. Face it, experts are about as accurate as dart-throwing monkeys. And yet every day we ask them to predict the future — everything from the weather to the likelihood of a catastrophic terrorist attack. Future Babble is the first book to examine this phenomenon, showing why our brains yearn for certainty about the future, why we are attracted to those who predict it confidently, and why it’s so easy for us to ignore the trail of outrageously wrong forecasts.

In this fast-paced, example-packed, sometimes darkly hilarious book, journalist Dan Gardner shows how seminal research by UC Berkeley professor Philip Tetlock proved that pundits who are more famous are less accurate — and the average expert is no more accurate than a flipped coin. Gardner also draws on current research in cognitive psychology, political science, and behavioral economics to discover something quite reassuring: The future is always uncertain, but the end is not always near.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

What a coincidence!

Richard got his school practicum assignment and it's at Templeton School where I did my teaching practicum. Seems like it's a much smaller school now with around 1200 students. I'm sure there were over 2000 when I was there. And it's the set for the school in Smallville which I'm sure I can get on Netflix. Have to take a look.

He's pretty thrilled with the posting since it's a diverse type of place and has a video editing program. I went on to the website and saw they were offering "Salsa lessons" and talk about a pool. No pool when I was there.

Welcome to Templeton Secondary School

Templeton Secondary School - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

What the bookworm is currently reading...

I will miss these fun Oak Bay Municipality displays...I wonder what they'll come up with next year!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Merci beaucoup "La Stupenda"

Dame Joan Sutherland... 7 November 1926 – 10 October 2010

My first brush with opera was hearing a recording of Joan Sutherland with a university friend (Doug McCallum) who was an opera fanatic. Jim and I were more interested in Bob Dylan at the time. I believe the recording was called "The Art of Bel Canto". Between her beautiful voice and our friend's enthusiasm, we became hooked. He had seen her perform with Marilyn Horne in "Norma" in 1963 in Vancouver.

It was because of Doug we learned about students being able to get unsold tickets (this was before opera became trendy and sold out) to the opera for a dollar. And, believe it or not, we saw Placido Domingo singing in Wagner's "The Flying Dutchman" in the late 60's for a dollar. After we had moved to Victoria we came in to Vancouver to see Joan Sutherland sing in "The Daughter of the Regiment". Her husband, Richard Bonynge, was the Artistic Director of the Vancouver Opera from 1974-77.

But probably the most fantastic experiences I had with opera was seeing Leontyne Price sing in recital on two occasions in Vancouver. I even went backstage and lined up to talk to her. I don't think I've ever had quite a handshake like that and she seemed willing to talk for as long as you wanted to. No one got brushed off quickly. She impressed me as a very classy lady.

So, thank you, Doug, and Dame Joan for opening up those experiences for me.

Yeah...well, a few short years in Vancouver and wonderful opera experiences...looking forward to more when we take up permanent residence there very soon.

To give some credit to Victoria, it was thrilling to hear the unknown at that time, Barbara Livingston, from Port Alberni, sing Richard Margison, very known and headlined, absolutely off the stage. It was the final performance...I think he just gave up or was trying to save his voice. She certainly wasn't that night and impressed everyone tremendously.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Meeting Binky

We had a super Thanksgiving dinner...thank you so much, Ian. And met the very beautiful Binky!

Sunday, October 10, 2010


I have so much to be thankful for...even if it sounds like a cliché. Yes...wonderful family and friends. Richard, I took a photo of that tree you like so much at this time of year. Monique, Jim, and I went to the Yacht Club yesterday for lunch instead of Uplands since I had just been at Uplands with Carole and Fern...friends who have done so much for me in all this hassle of moving.

There was such a great buzz at the Yacht Club today...big groups celebrating special events and just friendship. We all started off sharing that wonderful grilled calamari. Elaine, we've got to go back there soon for a treat for all your help lately. I usually do Thanksgiving dinner but Ian very generously and kindly offered to take us out today...thank you so much!

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Star Portraits

I love Bravo's "Star Portraits" where they take a famous Canadian and have three artists paint a portrait of the person. The "star" decides on the one he/she wants to keep and the others go to a charity auction. Great idea and everyone gains. Today, Gordon Pinsent, was the person being featured (a portrait artist himself) and of course, since NewFoundland is about the only new place I want to visit it was great to listen to him. A quote he made which is very appropriate for some current things going on in my life is:

"Don't fight with pigs because you just get dirty and the pigs love it"...Right on, Gordon!

It must portend something wonderful....

I saw this blue heron fly onto the neighbour's roof today...they look so large when they are flying close like that. It must be a wonderful omen to see it.

It does look a bit like a stork and Kate and Jean's baby is due any day now...

Symbolic Meanings Blog by Avia Venefica � Blog Archive � Symbolism of the Heron or Egret

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary Celebrates 35 years

Our good friend, Terry Morrison, has been their Executive Director since the beginning and I would like to support him by asking people to make a donation to their Bridges to Nature fundraising campaign. Every child in Victoria has gained from this wonderful resource. I know Richard loved his school trips there and Terry even gave him his first job at the age of programming...what else?

Or perhaps you'd prefer to support them by partying...that option is available as well!

Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary

Dear Friends:

Two of my passions in life - my work and my music - come together in one fun-filled evening, as my band Backstage Betty plays a benefit dance in support of our Bridges to Nature campaign to raise funds for the replacement of our aging boardwalk.

Backstage Betty is great R&B/Rock & Roll band, one of the crowd's favourite regular dance bands at Swan's Brew Pub. It is an 8-piece band with 3 amazing singers, a great sax player and a rockin' guitar player, and we are all about dance music.

I hope you can make it, and I can promise you a good time - there's a special limited edition Swan Lake Beer being launched by Spinnakers Brew Pub, snacks by Country Grocer, and a silent auction. And did I mention dancing?

Please call (250-479-0211) or email me if you would like tickets, and please - feel free to invite friends, and to pass this email along.

The details:
Dance to Backstage Betty
Saturday, Oct. 16, 8:00 to midnight
tickets - $25 per person
Location: St. Joseph the Worker Hall, at the corner of McKenzie Avenue and Burnside Road

Hope to see you there!

It's all perspective...

I ran into the father of the woman from McGill who rented our house a couple of years ago while we were in Palm Springs. They came to our book party and had a great time. I was right behind him as we were both buying groceries in Fairway today. He asked if we had sold and I said the market being what it is I don't think we will be selling, then he was complaining about the deer getting so many things from his garden (they have a fabulous garden) and we both were complaining about the weather.

The cashier was this very neat First Nations woman I really have enjoyed chatting to. She piped up "Yeah...I know 15 people who are homeless now and listen to what you're complaining about." Right on! We do need to be reminded how lucky and blessed we are.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Wow...what an amazing sky tonight!

I took these photos just before 7pm tonight and wow...just thinking what a beautiful sunset we would have been seeing in Vancouver.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Feather boas at a fabric store...who knew?

Fern and I went to Fabricland today to get material for bedroom curtains that she has so kindly offered to make up. Right now we have a vertical blind that rattles in the wind and doesn't shut out the light all that well. It will be great to have this curtain with blackout lining...thanks so much, Fern!

I was surprised to see hundreds of feather boas of all colours I know where to shop for a feather boa. Also, I saw this very cool oilcloth that will make a much more attractive dropsheet and cover for my painting table than clear plastic.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

I love the Autumn!

Just an amazing sky Fall like. And the leaves are's all beautiful. We went to the Yacht Club tonight for a casual dinner and it was like being in a very noisy pub. Seems it was the end of a atmosphere and the food was great.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Book Party was a blast!

I hope Book Parties will become a trend because we all had so much fun and it was especially great to see some people I hadn't seen for a while. Thank you all so much for coming!

It's great to think that over 400 books are now in the good homes of our friends. It's like my artwork. When I was packing up my art portfolios (where I keep a photo of all the work I've done) I realized I had given away almost 200 items (glad I've been keeping a portfolio!) ...paintings, furniture, trays, aprons, bookbags...and I love the idea that these items are being cherished in the homes of our friends.

And what great friends we have in Victoria. Our Vancouver friends are amazed at all the help we've had. Merci beaucoup encore mes tres chers amis!

I was so busy chatting to people I completely forgot to take any photos...darn!

Friday, October 01, 2010

Book Party today

Really looking forward to our Book Party today and seeing some people I haven't seen for a while. Our library in the basement isn't quite like the Old Library at Trinity University in Dublin and we aren't giving away The Book of Kells...but I think it will be a fun event. One of the highlights for me when we were in Dublin was visiting The Old Library and seeing the Book of Kells...wonderful!

The Old Library.

book of kells - Google Search