Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cloud 9

We were waiting for a splendid evening to go to the revolving Cloud 9 restaurant but that may never come so we went last night. We just never tire of seeing this view. We could see our apartment too. We parked on Cardero for free with our West End Residents parking permit and there were some wonderful houses and trees there. There was also a roundabout to calm traffic. Amongst all the apartment buildings and development we find these quiet oases everywhere and while sometimes these roundabouts create deadends that can be a bit frustrating it's great for the people who live here. Blogger is acting weird and I can't seem to upload the photos of the houses and trees on Cardero...ah well.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

English Bay

We went and had a hotdog at the beach yesterday for lunch...about the only thing "hot" around here at the moment. Later in the afternoon we did go and play pitch and putt and joined up with this great couple from New York who were in town celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary. At the end of the game they asked us for a good recommendation for a seafood restaurant and we directed them to the Fish House a few paces away. I'm sure they had a great meal.

Some funny coincidences we all got a kick out of. They had been in San Francisco then driven up to Vancouver via Ashland where they saw Henry IV Part I and it just happened that Jim was quoting from that play today in his class. Then to Eugene where their daughter had done a doctorate and where Jim did a doctorate. They were heading to Victoria for the day by seaplane today.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

World-class cities shouldn't fret about a bit of civil mayhem

Yeah...I know, more stuff about the riot than anyone probably wants to read but Stephen Hume hits it on the nail again.

World-class cities shouldn't fret about a bit of civil mayhem

Heron chicks in Stanley Park

It's quite hard to see the nests now with all the leaves on the trees but you can certainly hear the chicks. A couple of weeks ago we saw two chicks really going after each other. Seems it is survival of the fittest as they fight over food and everything else. In July they take their beginning flights. They start by hanging on to a branch and flapping like crazy. Will be fun to see!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Midnight in Paris

We saw this film the other day and enjoyed it immensely. It is a love letter to Paris...just might have to go to Paris again. The next time will the the 13th but the number 13 is lucky as well as unlucky in France...

It is my favourite city in all the world...however, Vancouver, New York, London, and San Francisco come pretty close. As I'm sure I've probably mentioned on this blog, I just completely bonded with this city coming out of the Metro around midnight after rain, delays and hassles coming from Canterbury, UK. We walked out of the St. Michel Metro and walked into this fantasyland of bustling cafes, Haussmann buildings,...warm summer night and just fell in love. Walked down to the Seine and saw Notre Dame...also, love at first sight. One of the first places I need to go when in Paris.

We were thrilled in 1972 to have sun and warmth after cool and rain in the UK in 1972 but in 1976 we had a rain experience. In 1976 we had this wonderful day of going to Reims and visting the Champagne caves and heard at Mumms that the company was now owned by Canadian Seagram's. We decided we really wanted a bottle of Rene Lalou Champagne which was very special...served to the Queen etc. They actually weren't really prepared to sell us a bottle saying it was "out of stock" but since we were Canadians they found one for us eventually. We really couldn't afford it given we had just spent 6 months in Europe, mainly France, having fun and then heading to an academic year at the University of Oregon as students. We bought it anyway, saying that we would save it for our "first born" or something special.

Well, we had a wonderful lunch in Reims, took the train back to Paris, exited the Metro in teaming rain and a thunderstorm and got completely soaked. Took off our clothes, got into bed to warm up, and cracked open the Rene Lalou. Fabulous...wonderful champagne, Paris in the rain...

A few photos from our last trip there in 2005 with Don and Elaine.

We had dinner in this super restaurant our last day in Paris. A very friendly Australian couple next to us jumped up and got in the photo...Australians are like that it seems!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Raclette goodbye dinner

It's been great having Kerry in Vancouver over the past month while she was helping out with looking after Harmony and we'll miss their visits! Harmony loves cheese so a raclette seemed perfect.

Victoria Times Colonist Letter to the Editor

Restorative justice and the rioters

How tragic it will be if, after easy identification via social media, the majority of the rioters are never held to account due to a backlog in the courts.

And, if prosecuted, will jail terms, fines or harsh punishment change their attitudes or make them better citizens? A more efficient and effective solution would be restorative justice.

In a restorative justice process, offender and victim meet face to face and share how they were affected, and what needs to happen to make things right. Offenders are made accountable and both victim and offender come up with an agreement to repair the harm. Often forgiveness is sought and given. Most offenders that participate follow through with their agreement, which may include restitution or community service, and don’t re-offend. This process can happen immediately and allows everyone to avoid costly legal fees.

In Vancouver’s case, it may have to happen in more general terms than matching offenders with their actual victims. But to allow a now sober and calm young adult to hear the terror from a family holed up in their restaurant while mobs attacked, or the fear and alarm of Bay workers trapped amidst crazed looters, the pain of broken ribs and fractured skulls by those who tried to intervene, or of the financial hardships, jobs and business lost would surely have an impact. It might just nurture the caring and empathy that was so sadly lacking on that Wednesday eve.

Cathie Makaroff


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Why we need newspapers

Established and respectable newspapers report the news and opinion with balance and intelligence due to professional columnists, reporters, and editorial staff. I liked this letter that expresses excellent views about the "Virtual Riot" that is taking place online.

Letter to the Editor, Vancouver Sun, June 25

Re: The Virtual Riot, Editorial, June 23 I am disturbed by the near hatred expressed toward the youth who were both the exclusive participants and primary observers during the hockey riot. As the mother of four young adult children raised on the west side of Vancouver, I have been privileged to know dozens of young Vancouverites from childhood to adulthood.

They have had by and large the protected and nurturing upbringing that allows both courage and confidence, the very qualities needed to go forward successfully in life and the very components of youthful bravado and foolishness.

I admire the open and honest young people I encounter in Vancouver restaurants, shops and businesses. They give off the fresh air of naturalness that speaks of confidence.

What the public witnessed during the hockey riot was the flip side of confidence: bravado and foolishness.

What we as a society need to do is to act parentally with both sternness and compassion. We need to accept apologies and regrets without reservation and set suitable punishments so that foolishness is suppressed but confidence and courage are not.

Robin Russell


Friday, June 24, 2011

Red and Blue Lego Chair

Well, I guess no one will be surprised that I loved this chair that was featured in today's paper at Inform Interiors in Gastown. I thought it might be a cool Christmas present for Richard...however, at a price tag of $3,581.00 I think not!

Summer in the city....

Quite the rainstorm at the moment. These tourists were enjoying a nice walk along the seawall and took cover under a tree. It may be just a squall as it seems to almost be brightening in places.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Test drive!

There was one of these parked right behind our apartment as well as another one a block down so we decided to go for a spin. Very easy to deal with and everything went smoothly. There is even a GPS!

John Koerner, Artist

I quite like his use of colour and often he does an indoor scene with an outdoor background like this painting.

I hadn't heard of this local artist, now 97 years old, but then I don't really follow local art much. There is a retrospective of his work currently and I was quite attracted to his paintings and his ideas. I liked this quote of Matisse he put on his blog:

"the effort needed to see things without distraction demands a kind of courage and this courage is essential to the artist who has to look at everything as though he was seeing it for the first time. if he loses this faculty he cannot express himself in an original,that is a personal way."

John Koerner, Artist

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

First Day of Summer

Old Spaghetti Factory

Cross Canada train

Chez Jules


We did have a fabulous first day of summer yesterday and since we wanted to pick up our Car2Go materials at their office in Gastown we decided to have lunch there. We walked past a patio that had Ricard sun umbrellas...Ricard being the most famous pastis in the south of France so a table there obviously had our name on it. It was a restaurant called Jules and I think we had actually been there before but not outside.

So, moules-frites (fabulous frites, Monique, very French) and crispy chicken wings with aioli saffron sauce...yum.

We saw the train in the station and reminded me of the trip Kerry and I did to Montreal for Expo 67. Brought back lots of old memories.

We passed the Old Spaghetti Factory on the way to Car2Go. Jim and I had many enjoyable meals there when we were going to UBC. For $1.98 you got soup or salad, main course, and spumoni ice-cream, and coffee. They still have that meal deal but starting at around $13 and more variety in the choices.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Our new car!

We joined this new car share and feel we can't lose since they waived the registration fee and gave each of us a $5 gift card for Delaney's Coffee so we're $10 up on the deal. We think it might come in handy and there are three of them parked within a block or two of us. What's different about this car share is that you don't have to return it to the original pickup place and there is no minimum. So, at 35 cents a minute you could drive 10 minutes and leave it. Would be cheaper than a taxi and it will be fun to drive a Smart Car!

car2go Vancouver | Vancouver Car Sharing | Rideshare In Vancouver

Riot a black eye? Try the desperation of Downtown Eastside

As usual, Stephen Hume makes excellent points.

Riot a black eye? Try the desperation of Downtown Eastside

Monday, June 20, 2011

Teachable moments

I'm very happy to be retired from teaching but what an amazing treasure trove the riot has created for teachable moments...the vigilante social media frenzy for revenge, mob behaviour, sport and society, privilege, court system, media responsibility, policing, etc. etc.

Even though school is out I hope someone can teach Christy Clark how to think out of the box of punishing these probably first offenders for the most part to the fullest extent of the law and jail time to perhaps considering alternatives like restorative justice.

"Restorative justice (also sometimes called 'reparative justice' [1]) is an approach to justice that focuses on the needs of victims and offenders, instead of satisfying abstract legal principles or punishing the offender. Victims take an active role in the process, while offenders are encouraged to take responsibility for their actions, 'to repair the harm they've done—by apologizing, returning stolen money, or community service'.[2] It is based on a theory of justice that considers crime and wrongdoing to be an offense against an individual or community rather than the state.[3] Restorative justice that fosters dialogue between victim and offender shows the highest rates of victim satisfaction and offender accountability.[4]"

Restorative justice - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A glimpse or two of the sun yesterday

I too this on our evening walk yesterday. So glad Friday we went to Second Beach Pool and had a great swim and relaxing and took full advantage of the sun that day!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

How Boston prepared

From the Vancouver Sun:

"In Boston news reports said the police banned street parking in that city' downtown, didn't allow any public gatherings outdoors, added hundreds of extra police patrols and did not allow people to enter downtown bars after the second period started....
The Boston police have had plenty of experience to learn from. In the past seven years, three people died and there was widespread vandalism in the city during celebration of big wins by the New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox and Boston Celtics."

Will it take a death to bring us to our senses here? I find it interesting that the police chief, the premier, and the mayor all continue with the same refrain....that cost was not at issue and they are determined to continue to hold large gatherings regardless.

Cost should always be at issue when this city has a serious homeless problem and the downtown Eastside continues to exist. I can't imagine what the final bill will be after the investigations, the prosecutions, jail time, probabtion, damage to businesses, increased insurance costs, and loss of tourism revenue.

Too bad all this money couldn't have gone into solving serious social problems rather than throwing a party for the privileged.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Yes...this is Vancouver

Lots of interesting articles in the Vancouver Sun print edition today as well as online. I agree with those who feel the city shouldn't go into denial about this incident and blame it on a small number of "anarchists" as the mayor is wanting to have everyone believe.

It's a part of Vancouver just like the downtown Eastside is part of Vancouver. The Olympics were something special and had the advantage of a billion dollars worth of security. It was a nice dream that this situation could be replicated with much fewer police resources...not realistic.

Vancouver police say they knew trouble was brewing downtown during Cup run

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Visit chez Harmony

I saw Harmony's great little kitchen and was introduced to her stuffed animals! She was going to cook broccoli and rice for me...actually kerry served me some great muffins...

Seeking Stanley

It has been an entertaining run even with some personal frustration about the nature of the game. I do hope long time Vancouver fans are rewarded for their loyalty tonight...and even us johnny-come-lately fans will delight. More than anything I hope it will be a clean, skilled, honest game and that Vancouver can prove to be a place where large groups can gather to enjoy events like this regardless of the outcome.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Itty Bitty Book Review: "Alone in the Classroom"

"Alone in the Classroom" by Elizabeth Hay

I enjoyed this latest novel of Hay's as I have enjoyed her other ones. She really does capture a time and place and weaves interesting and believable characters into them. Her best yet I think. She really is developing as a writer.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Vancouver in the rain

May 22nd, 2011 — Rain clouds over the skyline of Vancouver. At one point in May it seemed the sun would never shine in Vancouver again. Is the rumour true we traded our sunny weather to the devil in exchange for the Canucks winning the Stanley Cup?

City skyline was posted June 4, 2011 and filed under Weather

Miscellaneous photographs

I just LOVE this recent photograph John is the essence of Vancouver and of course it has my beloved freighters and my not so beloved rain and clouds. Back to this weather today so we were glad we went to Second Beach Pool yesterday and had great swims and sunbathing in the afternoon sunshine. We were also treated to two tall ships having a canon competition while we were there.

I think we'll all forget about the miserable weather if the Canucks win the Stanley Cup...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

An excellent Saturday

We did get some sun yesterday and were able to sit out for a while. When we were sitting outside John rode by and dropped in. He had just done a 60-65 K ride to the British Properties, Cypress, and Horseshoe Bay (i.e. lots of hills) on his new titanium $3000 bike that weighs only 17!

Then Monique came for dinner as she was in town with her Educacentre committee. Really great to see her!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Foam ball tennis

We got introduced to a new sport yesterday...foamball tennis. It is played in a gym with very simple equipment as you can see. It's rather like squash or racquet ball more than tennis really and quite fun and also quite a workout. There's a drop in session Wed and Friday at the Joe Fortes Centre. Equipment is supplied and there was a nice group of people there that showed us how to play.

The day before we played table tennis at Barclay Manor. This is a lovely old heritage home the Vancouver Parks Board has purchased and is using for programs. Jim beat me of course because he is an excellent player but I can still give him a game. In the summer they have a bocce group playing in the lovely grounds so we'll take advantage of that as well.

I also got swimming again this week when we had a bit of sunshine at the Second Beach Pool. It's a huge pool and there were just 6 people in it. That will all change I'm sure when school is out and the sun finally arrives for good but then we hope to be swimming in the ocean.

Second Beach Pool.

Friday, June 10, 2011


I came across a rather amazing display of courtesy the other day while waiting to get some routine blood tests. It was very crowded and there was no where to sit but a young man got up immediately and gave me his seat. And this happened with everyone over the age of 55 even though no one who entered while I was there had a cane, walker, or any visible impairment. Young people, male and female, immediately gave up their seat. made my day to see that!

I was rather surprised to read this account about discourtesy in Italy. Our experience was the opposite. When we asked directions, people often walked us part way to make sure we were in the right direction, a charming young server translated the entire menu for me when he realized I didn't speak or read Italian. Well, yes, we did get jostled in Florence but that was more because the streets are rather narrow and there are loads of tourists.

The Idler: An Unfortunate Account Concerning Italy's "Hospitality" to Travelers

When everyone was doing Europe in the 60's and 70's, people often avoided France because of the reputation of the French for being unhelpful and impatient with tourists. To the point that the government of France actually had a campaign encouraging its citizens to be helpful and friendly to tourists. This situation has changed and I think it's probably because the French travel more and have experience being lost and confused in a foreign place. I agree with Monique that the campaign probably wasn't effective...the French are more likely to do the opposite of what they are told.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Necomimi...the cat's meow

Brainwave controlled cat ears...the ears perk up when they concentrate and then flop back when the users enter a relaxed state of mind. Will this become a fad?

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Hole in One!

Jim got a hole in one at the Stanley Park Pitch and Putt yesterday! Even though it is just a Pitch and Putt and was only 75 yards, it was quite exciting and he has never got a hole in one. He had a great game with a score of 2 over par for the 18 holes.

Now...did I mention my hole in one on a real course in Palm Springs on a hole that was 145 yards...oh, I did...sorry to mention it again :)

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

White Rock

On Sunday we went for a drive to White Rock to give our new car a spin. We love the way it rides! Our family used to often go to White Rock for dinner and a swim. On a hot day my Dad would come home from work and say let's go to White Rock. My mom would take whatever she was cooking for dinner and cook it on the Coleman stove on the beach while we went swimming and played in the sand.

Well...ourselves and everyone and their dog was there. Well, actually, they don't allow dogs on the promenade. We saw a lot of disappointed dog owners who were told to leave. I must say I don't quite see the point of restricting dogs as long as they're on a leash.

We were lucky to get a parking place ($3 an hour...bad as downtown Vancouver) and I don't think we'll return. Loads of restaurants but all except the Boathouse which has a third floor outdoor deck are inundated with the car fumes and don't really have a view because the railway line is elevated and in front of the water so blocks it.

The Boathouse was perfect and they even have suntan lotion and sunglasses if you need them. We shared a great calamari with the usual sauce as well as a sweet chili sauce...yum! Elaine, you would have loved it!

Then for ice cream. I was tempted by the chocolate chip cookie dough and cotton candy flavours but decided on licorice and orange. Jim had black cherry..also very good.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Congratulations to Richard!

Richard was over for dinner last night and we learned that he won the top student in English Education....way to go!

He's loving his new job developing online course materials and the perks and ambience at this Boeing company are similar to his Silicon Valley job days...nicely appointed AC office, free food and drinks, excellent technology to work with, etc. Just a little different from the typical school...

Sunday, June 05, 2011

A bit of Mexico

Yesterday Ian came over to Vancouver with his Mexican friend, Marissa, and her son. They are from Mexico City and have spent the past year in Victoria. Mario, her 6 year old son, went to Braefoot School this year and speaks English perfectly now and is a terrific hockey fan. Marissa is a pretty gutsy lady...drove up here on her own with her son and in three weeks will drive back. Will take about 2 weeks. We all had a great lunch at Las Margaritas on their outdoor deck...heavenly weather.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Sun, wonderful, sun....

Taking advantage of the sunshine yesterday. Went out to the Flying Beaver (sister to the Flying Otter in Victoria) to meet Derek for lunch. It is the seaplane terminal like in Victoria and a great view over the river and fabulous ambience and food. Then for a walk...always so wonderful to see so many people enjoying themselves in this area. Then later our first pastis of the year on our deck.