Saturday, April 30, 2011

Just took it for a spin in Stanley Park..

Now I'm beginning to understand why people buy new! I just love this car...finally some visibility which the Mustang nor the Concorde had. It's just the perfect size.

Happy Birthday, Roger!

Jim and I will be thinking of you all in Edmonton for the family gathering of the big 65! We were remembering "big nights" in our university days together were sharing a bottle of Baby Duck between the four of us and playing Touring in your apartment on Bute in the West End.

All the best, Roger, and have a great day with your family!

Friday, April 29, 2011

A new car for us...first time ever...

Well, as everyone who knows us knows we are not car people...anything that works, is cheap, is good enough for us. In fact, I drove an old Buick Skylark we picked up for $300 for a long time...had tremendous rust damage but drove like a charm. Was a little embarrassed that the shop at my school used it as an excellent example of serious rust damage but what the's just transportation.

I don't think we would have considered a new car unless the current situation of prices coming down considerably was the situation. Buying used and keeping an old car too long just doesn't make sense in this new reality. And we are so pleased to get rid of the Mustang...never liked it. We bought it because we just wanted a convertible like we've had for 30 years. We won't be missing a convertible a bit.

But when we only have one car now we need four doors so we don't have to squeeze our friends in and some trunk space. And I'm prepared to try driving to PS again so just transportation isn't an option. We've booked two months in PS this winter and also want to explore Arizona so it will be nice having a new car!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Our new car!

In the end we decided to go for the Elantra sedan rather than the hatchback even though with the cash incentive and gas card we would have saved $3,000 on the hatchback. We just didn't like the styling of the hatchback and we really don't need more cargo space than the sedan. No incentives on the sedan since it's such a hot item apparently and inventory is low.

However, gas mileage is better even though it's a peppier engine. And the new colour, Desert Bronze, was the colour! We pick it up tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Photos with my new camera...

View from Fern's...I think the wide angle does make a difference.

Homemade pear and gorganzola pizza, avocado and prawn, salad with pistachios....yum!

Carole and Fern.

Jim and Terry.

Patty and me.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A flying visit...

Well, it's been quite a flying visit to Victoria but it was great to be able to see so many people.

Fern spoiled Carole and I with a fabulous lunch yesterday, then off to the Penny Farthing with Patty and Terry for dinner. Photos to come. I have a new camera since the old one packed it in and I've packed away the cable for the computer. I love it...just a point and shoot like I always get but has a wide angle lens so hoping the scenery shots will be better.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter at the Curlings

We had a super untraditional Easter dinner at Don and Elaine's yesterday. Don's candied salmon, then wonderful crab cakes, and a delicious shrimp and prawn casserole...yum! We began with Pastis de Nice which Elaine brought back from her Rhone River Cruise. The monks of Nice make it and we all enjoy pastis and all the memories of France (and especially our wonderful little village of Carqueiranne) it brings back for all of us. Elaine used the tablecloth she bought in Carqueiranne...the provence colours are perfect for Easter.

Thanks, Guys!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Lunch at Chou Chou Charcuterie

Heather and I went for lunch at Chou Chou yesterday. We sat outside and it felt like a little bit of Europe. I was very impressed by the pate I had and also the tastes of the tourtiere and soup that Heather had. They had some very interesting looking in store made sausage like a lamb merquez...might rival Oyama, Don. And their duck confit looked excellent as well.

A retro night....

Faithful Ian, the dog.

Derek having a laugh.

Mary and the garlic bread.

The famous of the night!

We had a very fun retro night at Derek and Mary's. Mary made lasagne...she hadn't done that for 25 years but Nin had commented recently that Mary made the very best lasagne so she decided to make it and take some to Nin. And with garlic was like being back in the 70's. We began our friendship in the 70's. Thank you so much....great evening...and lots of leftovers for Nin and family.

Friday, April 22, 2011

A shaggy dog story....

A very sweet and well trained dog!


Quite the excitement today. Around noon this dog came running down the street and stopped at our neighbour, Susan's feet. She was obviously frightened and there were a couple of deer so perhaps they had been chasing her. No collar but obviously a well cared for dog...really just a puppy. Susan phoned the SPCA but no one had reported such a dog lost. The city's animal control was closed for the holiday so no one could pick it up until Sat.

Susan put Charlie's (her dog) leash on it and wandered around the neighbourhood hoping to find the owners looking for it. She arranged for another neighbour to take it overnight since Charlie probably wouldn't have appreciated a bedmate but gave her food and water and kept her in the yard. I came home after swimming and lunch at the Grand Pacific and heard about it all.

Susan went out and I thought of putting up a sign about a lost dog so the owners would be alerted. Within 15 minutes the sign had done its work! Coincidentally, the daughter of my friend, Carole, had been walking in the neighbourhood with a friend and they had come across a couple of young women who asked them if they had seen their dog. Within minutes they passed my sign so came to the door then went to try to find them. About 10 minutes later the owner came and it was a joyful reunion! It seems "Shayla" found a way out of their back yard.

We went out to see Jane Erye (excellent BTW) and have dinner and came home to flowers and a thank you on our front porch. All's well that ends well...

Update from Susan: Nikita, the dog's owner, came by with flowers for Susan as well and to thank her. It seems that Shayla just lives at the bottom of our block so Susan will have a chance to see her again...she had begun bonding with Sayla. She is a lovely dog!

Topsy Turvey

Back in Victoria to visit with friends and for Jim to get his teaching materials. A beautiful day today but weather around the world has been "topsy turvey" as the BBC weather report described it. 25C in London and 12C in Madrid. Monique came for dinner last night and apparently it is 30C in Annecy. She's heading to Montreal next week and there is a snow storm predicted...yikes!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My old stamping ground...

We went out to Central Park Pitch and Putt to pick up a couple of golf "caddies"...carriers for a few clubs and balls that are ideal when playing the small courses. They didn't seem to be available anywhere else.

It was fun to go out there and see the changes. I spent a lot of time in Central Park with my trusty Cocker Spaniel called Rusty. Probably a good thing he was around to protect me!

Our old house is the same only no longer white and there's a fence around it plus they made a back addition. Most of the houses in the neighbourhood have been torn down. One other one that wasn't was the Kirkpatrick's of the girl's there, Sylvia, babysat me and taught me piano lessons.

45th Avenue has now become a very quiet street as they've made part of it one way and lots of traffic calming. Great for the folks living there!

Our new golf caddies.

The Kirkpatrick's old house.

Mostly houses like this now.

A brief glimpse of my elementary school. Carleton School almost was closed this year but got a reprieve.

Collingwood United is now a Chinese church.

The house I grew up in from age 4 to when I left home.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

News alert: Old Geezer snags job!

Jim got a call from Vancouver Community College yesterday with a job offer to teach a first year literature course May-Aug. He was really pleased and couldn't be happier with the time. It runs Mon-Wed from 10:30 to 12:30.

Morning visitor

This little guy was pretty cute and unlike the raccoons he didn't try to open the door...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sun Fun Run

These were the first runners who came by...I imagine they'll be in the top winners.

At least a fairly sunny day but a chilly start.

Buying an education or a brand?

I always find Seth Godin's blog to be of interest. I especially liked this recent post.

"It's reported that student debt in the USA is approaching a trillion dollars, five times what it was ten years ago.

Are those in debt buying more education or are they seeking better branding in the form of coveted diplomas?

Does a $40,000 a year education that comes with an elite degree deliver ten times the education of a cheaper but no less rigorous self-generated approach assembled from less famous institutions and free or inexpensive resources?

If not, then the money is actually being spent on the value of the degree, on the doors it will open and the jobs it will snag. If this marketing strategy works big, it pays for itself in no time.

A marketing tactic might move the dial, but that doesn't mean it's always worth the money.

The question is whether a trillion dollars is the right amount for individuals to spend marketing themselves. What would happen if people spent it building up a work history instead? On becoming smarter, more flexible, more self-sufficient and yes, able to take more risk because they owe less money...

There's no doubt that we need smarter and more motivated people in our organizations. I'm not sure we need them to be better labeled or more accredited."

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Capers...what a discovery!

I guess there's a Capers in Victoria but I never used it...Thrifty's and Pure Vanilla looked after specialty items. There's a great Capers here within walking distance and I'm very impressed with the stock...good thing I discovered those reasonable fruit and veg stores...

Friday, April 15, 2011

Big city paradoxes

David Owen speaks about the paradox that Manhattan residents were among the greenest in America because most Manhatanners do not own a car and so their greenhouse gas emissions were far lower than people living in rural Connecticut. Sam Sullivan has been encouraging increased density to reduce the impact on green space of urban sprawl. As mayor he often had to spend a lot of time with community groups who didn't want more density in their area. Sullivan has an idea that perhaps communities who don't want density should pay for something like carbon offset credits to go towards communities that will allow more density.

I've noticed another paradox about big city life. The neighbourhood hardware store is back! There are two small hardware stores within walking distance to us and they are small spaces crammed with stuff.

I've also discovered a couple of small local stores that sell fruits and vegetables at great prices. Green peppers for $1.29 a pound (Safeway's price $3.49 a pound and Capers $3.99) a pound to give you an idea.

Many small businesses offering good value can exist because of the population base because many people don't have cars and even those of us who do have one car tend not to use it much. We're filling up about once a month. In Victoria, we each filled up about every two weeks.

I love this tissue box...fellow bought it on 4th Avenue.

39 cents a pound for Korean!

Just one other aisle like this one and loads of stuff!

Rocking at the Sylvia....

Last night we decided to go to the Sylvia to have a drink and a snack and Kentish Steel was performing. He was around in our university days in Vancouver. Thursdays are live music nights at the Sylvia...we'll take in a few as it was fun to be there!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Yes...only in Vancouver

I love this photo John posted recently which he took April 11th, 2011.

"Beach volleyball in the summer at Spanish Banks is a Vancouver tradition and if you look very carefully you can see people skiing in Cypress Bowl on the North Shore Mountains."

Miscellaneous photographs

This is good news!

Vancouver Sun News Alert:

The B.C. government infringed teachers' rights when it passed a law in 2001 ending their ability to negotiate class size and class composition, B.C. Supreme Court has ruled. Justice Susan Griffin said most, but not all, of the challenged legislation is unconstitutional and invalid because it violated teachers' rights to associate and engage in collective bargaining. She gave the government 12 months to make changes.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pitch and Putt

We played the Stanley Park Pitch and Putt today for the first time...great stuff...and we both got one birdie and various pars...and we walked to it...does it get any better?

Then home to watch our fearless leaders' debate....does it get any worse? We're looking forward to not voting...hoping we'll be where we're not registered. OMG...what a horror is CDN politics. Gilles Duceppe is particularly hopeless...where is Tina Fey when we need her?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Our walk tonight

I think I'm going to have to paint this!


Heard this today and snapped a photo before they disappeared...been meaning to capture one for a while. I think the Mounted Police on horses mainly are out in the Spring and Summer.