Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year to my blog readers!

There is always something of interest out our front window. I call this woman the "bird whisperer" because she manages to have just well behaved crows and pigeons around while she feeds them. No aggressive seagulls trying to horn in. Perhaps she feeds them something the gulls don't like but that's hard to imagine.

Someone was actually waterskiing yesterday. Then there's this fellow who goes by daily on a bicycle pulling a cart with two dogs.

The adventure of living in Vancouver begins...

All the best to everyone in the New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Getting my studio set up and first painting planned

I've really been missing painting since I brought all my painting materials to Vancouver in the summer since my messy studio at home became a kitchen eating area for sale purposes. I'm using the eating area here for my studio/office and we've put the dining table right in front of the best view.

I wasn't quite sure what was going to inspire my first painting here but a walk yesterday afternoon made it pretty clear...I guess I should have guessed it would be my freighters and the view but I didn't have any preconceived ideas since my first real painting ever and my first painting in France was completely different than what I thought it would be. In fact, almost all my paintings in France that year were different subjects than I thought I would be painting.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The King's Speech

Boxing Day we went to a late afternoon showing at the Scotiabank Theatre downtown. Just took a taxi...less than $10 each way and no hassle parking or driving. Great movie...definitely a must see and Firth will be sure to win the Oscar. Coming home we just walked across to the Sutton Place Hotel to get the cab back. Very animated downtown and enjoyed the lights all about.

Not quite sure what's so special about Japadog but I do remember hearing people were lining for an hour during the Olympics for their food. Quite a few people yesterday as well.

Pretty easy day today...walked down to Denman and had a beef & lamb souvlaki pita.

Seemed like a wedding was going on in front of our place today.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A good time was had by all...

It was just great to spend Christmas in our new home in Vancouver with family... Richard and Claudia, Ian, and John and Carol. It's been a long time since we've spent Christmas in Vancouver. And what would Christmas be without some minor disasters...I realized too late Christmas morning that the oven wasn't clean enough to cook a turkey without smoking the place out so Richard came and picked it up and he and Claudia cooked and carved it for us.

And Carol made a fabulous! Sorry I didn't get a photo of that.

I didn't take a lot of photos since it's always such a rush getting everything on the table but I did get some and of course the" tradition" of the empty table!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas to Everyone!

It was fun putting up our decorations here and remembering our travels since we often buy something to put on the tree from faraway places and also remembering our friends who given us various things over the years...the wreath from Fern and John, the cat cushion and the Santa candles from the Curlings, the Maude Lewis candle from Derek and Mary.

Our friends and family not here with us will be very much in our thoughts today!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Lift off for Jim cooking...maybe

P.S. Blog down since things are a little different here in Vancouver. Richard got both Jim and me sorted out with various technical problems...took 6 hours...thank you, thank you, thank you...

The new Safeway on Denman and Robson is just great...lots of free underground parking and really wasn't busy at all. Liquor store right beside it so very convenient. All stocked up with food so we'll see if Jim makes use of his pots and his chef jacket...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Enjoying English Bay

It was great to arrive "home" and have the fireplace all ready to go...mucho gracias, Richard! And our manager Paul had put up the bracket for Jim's famous copper pots so I guess we'll get them up tomorrow...maybe Jim will actually use them.

Enjoyed the view while having a drink then off to The Sylvia for dinner in the pub. Very animated and pleasant sitting by the window in armchairs looking at the Carol Ships and the freighters all lit up. Battery low so didn't get any photos of that but got a few of our apartment entrance with some Christmas lights up and other lights along the way.

On our table was a Christmas Dinner menu from 1939. Christmas dinner was one dollar and this was the set menu:

Stuffed Celery and Olives - Salted Nuts
Shrimp Cocktail
Consumme Royale
Stuffed Roast Turkey - Cranberry Sauce
Mashed Potatoes - New Green Peas and CArrots
Holly Salad
Plum Pudding - Brandy or Hard Sauce
Tea - Coffee

Seems like quite a deal but I guess a dollar was a lot in 1939.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Seth's Blog

I'm not quite sure how I happened on this blog (I read very few blogs) but he almost always has some good food for thought.

Seth's Blog: "Does a ski trip to Aspen make you a successful bond trader, or do successful bond traders go skiing in Aspen?

It's college acceptance season, and worth considering an often overlooked question:

Do people who are on track to become successful go to elite colleges, buy elite cars, engage in other elite behaviors... (Defining elite as something both scarce and thus expensive).


Do attending these colleges or engaging in these behaviors make you successful?

It matters, because if you're buying the elite label as a shortcut to success, you might be surprised at what you get.

There are certainly exceptions (for professions that are very focused on a credential, and for the economically disadvantaged), but generally, most elite products like college are overrated as life changers.

It turns out that merely getting into Harvard is as good an indicator of future success as actually going. It turns out that being the sort of person that can invest the effort, conquer fear and/or raise the money to capture some of the elite trappings of visible success is what drives success, not the other way around.

The learning matters a great deal, and especially the focused effort behind it. The brand name of the institution, not so much."

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Spoiled yet again by Don and Elaine

All the fixing to sip a special martini while enjoying Provence and this fabulous snow globe...thanks so much, guys!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Spoiled by Fern's baking!

Fern brought over some fabulous baking...loads of cookies, mince tarts, tourtiere, tomato chutney, curry cheese torte, almonds, and orange! Thanks so much, Fern, it will all be thoroughly enjoyed.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Caught the sun today...

It's been so rainy lately that the few days the sun was out for a while I missed it so here it is. It does seem like it's going to stay around today but I got fooled the other days. Could even see the mountains from our sundeck today.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Itty Bitty Book Review: "Secret Daughterl"

"Secret Daughter" by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

I almost always enjoy novels that deal with clashes between two this case India and the US through the relationship of an Indian man and American woman who adopt a baby from an Indian orphanage. A most interesting exploration of the cultures...the good, the bad and the ugly and of motherhood.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Deux Chevaux

Smart cars always make me smile and so does the Deux Chevaux. Both suit interesting treatments. I love the red check tablecloth idea! Very appropriate since apparently the seats could be easily removed for a picnic. And I love the simple convertible concept where you just rolled back the canvas. Bill Vance had an article on them in the TC recently and concluded with:

" Over more than 42 years almost seven milliion of these fascinating little French flivvers were built. With nicknames like "rolling garden shed" and "tin snail" they were loved by millions for their basic simplicity, toughness, versatility and economy, all leavened by a lovely air of French whimsicality."

8 x 10 felt pens on paper

Among the first things I drew when I began doing artwork.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Public art in Palm Springs

I read the Desert Sun from time to time and especially as we get closer to our trip to Palm Springs. Very cool sculpture installed very close to where we are staying...looking forward to seeing it. Love the photo because my wonderful San Jacinto mountains are there.

From the Desert Sun:

"Red Echo” is being installed today at Ramon Road and Gene Autry Trail near Panera Bread. It's part of the Palm Springs’ Art in Public Places program.

The wind-driven kinetic sculpture has 23-foot-tall reed-like rods and was created by Australian artist Konstantin Dimopoulos.

When swaying in the breeze, the rods make a sound that Dimopoulos said can be "therapeutic" for people.

The city purchased the art piece with public art fund developer fees for nearly $45,000."

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Itty Bitty Book Review: "Elegy for April"

"Elegy for April" by Benjamin Black

Well, I'm always on the lookout for a good mystery and this was a new author for me. I didn't know that John Banville of Booker winner fame wrote these. It was fairly good even though it did have a cranked out quality. I'm usually quite interested in meeting authors through their public readings and seeing what they're like. This Banville seems like he'd be a thoroughly nasty character.

From Wikipedia:

Banville is highly scathing of all of his work, stating of his books "I hate them all ... I loathe them. They're all a standing embarrassment."[4] Instead of dwelling on the past Banville is continually looking forward; "You have to crank yourself up every morning and think about all the awful stuff you did yesterday, and how how you can compensate for that by doing better today".[5] He writes only about a hundred words a day for his literary novels, versus several thousand words a day for his Benjamin Black crime fiction.[12] He appreciates his work as Black as a craft while as Banville he is an artist, though he does consider crime-writing, in his own words, as being "cheap fiction".

Friday, December 10, 2010

Gingerbread at the Laurel Point

Elaine and I had never taken in the gingerbread Christmas displays at the Laurel Point so went there Wednesday for lunch. Here are our favourites...especially loved the "library" that Spinnakers Pub created. And who couldn't love Cliff the dog's house...Cliff is the hotel pet that guests can play with and take for walks. We had a super calamari.

Spinnaker's entry.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Itty Bitty Book Reviews

I've read a couple of very good books over the past week.

"Love and Summer" by William Trevor

"Room" by Emma Donoghue

They complement each other somewhat as Trevor's novel is a love story about a man and woman who meet in a small Irish town. It's quite beautiful really the way he develops the story as their lives and the society they live in are very contrained. Their love, though illicit since the woman is married, does seem to open a window and allow some fresh air to come into their lives for a while.

I don't want to say too much about "Room" as it may spoil it for readers but it is also about constrained lives. You'll have to read the book!

Monday, December 06, 2010

Good enough to eat

Who couldn't smile at these colourful dishes! Taken out at one of the shops at Mattick's Farm.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Who let the dogs out...

Dogs are allowed on Willow's Beach in the non-summer months and they certainly love it. Will never quite understand why some of them are so keen to go in this cold water. A pretty chilly wind down there but wonderful day in the sun if you were sitting in a window with the sun shining in. I took advantage of my sunroom for that and also caught the sun while we were having lunch with Monique at Uplands.

Mount Baker was spectacular...funny how one forgets it's there and then you see it...magic.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

The bears of the Grand Pacific

The bears have arrived and the star of the show for Elaine and I was the St. Margaret's School for Bears. We just loved it and both voted for it in the People's Choice award. It has won an award already...congratulations St. Margaret's!

And we were also thrilled to see that Jenning's Florist entered a bear and won an award. We have both been clients of Jennings forever.

A few more bears...always fun to see.