Thursday, September 29, 2011

Binky's on the mend....

Binky was having some bladder problems but an ultrasound showed no tumors so great news and now being treated. An injection from the vet once a week and drops in her mouth every day. You can see she wasn't exactly liking having the drops...poor thing! Jim did the dirty while Ian held her.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Photos: The 12 coolest libraries in the world

In the TC today as part of their Raise a Reader campaign. We've been in a few of these wonderful libraries...the one's I've posted photos of here.

Photos: The 12 coolest libraries in the world

British Museum Reading Room. Probably hadn't seen too many libraries when I first saw it in 1972.

Vancouver Public all time favourite, of course!

Seattle Public Library. Saw this a couple of years ago...absolutely fabulous!

Yale University's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Well, I wouldn't want to be a student in New Haven where Yale is. We had a heck of a time finding it and got lost. While Jim was in the Beinecke doing research I explored the town which has almost nothing of interest that I could find and it even seemed hard to find a place to have a drink. Guess it's a good place to be studious....

Trinity College, Dublin. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful...and made even more wonderful by The Book of Kells.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Autumn came in with a roar...

Autumn certainly came in with a roar yesterday...ferries cancelled, our power out, mucho rain and wind! All of a sudden I notice lots of trees that have already turned colour...when did this happen?

I'm still in the mindset of the folks with the badminton net still up and the summer chairs out.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Itty bitty book review: "Half-Blood Blues"

* Power back on now after being out a few hours. Went to Uplands to warm up and have lunch.

"Half-Blood Blues" by Esi Edugyan

Pretty impressed by this second novel of local Edugyan which is on the short list for the Man Booker. I hope it wins the, how exciting would that be! The Julian Barnes which is touted to win is only 150 pages...come on...this isn't a novel. And a review in The Guardian seems to agree. Winner announced Oct 18...keeping my fingers crossed.

Takes place in Germany in the 30's, Paris, 1940 and Poland 1992. The story is about a brilliant jazz musician is arrested by the Nazis in Paris, 1940 and is never heard from again. He was black and German. Flash forward to 1992 when he turns up in Poland and a couple of his old band members seek him out. Mostly, it's all about jazz, and blacks, anti-semitism, and all that stuff going on in the 30's and WW II. Beautifully written...I highly recommend it.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Saylor Foundation

Jim has been very impressed with what he's seen on this free online university that is sponsored by the Saylor foundation....even a course on using the iPad!

The Saylor Foundation

Thursday, September 22, 2011

So many little time....

Five of us from the bookclub went to hear Michael Ondaatje read from his new novel, "The Cat's Table" enthralling book and Ondaatje was the opposite of what I expected. I was expecting someone very intellectual and celebral and he was very down to earth and accessible. His novels are so wonderfully crafted that I thought he spent most of his time working them out ahead of time but it seems he makes stuff up as he goes along then does numerous rewrites so things fit and make sense.

I think perhaps his publisher got impatient with his last book "Divisadaro" and just said "give me what you have"...I felt it need a few rewrites.

This one seems perfect and I can't wait for it to arrive from (I've bought books recently from Bolen's and Munro's so felt I could indulge myself in cheaper prices for a couple of books.)

I also ordered Julian Barnes "The Sense of an Ending" which is favoured to win the Booker prize. Jim is more a fan of his but he is also always interesting. I'm taking great interest in the Booker this year as two locals from the Victoria are short listed...yes...amazing as that may be! They are Esi Edugyan and Patrick de Witt. De Witt is currently living in Portland so not quite as local anymore but I immediately went out and bought Edugyan's "Half-Blood Blues" and am enjoying it immensely.

Then Guy Vanderhaeghe has a new book, "A Good Guy" and also Wayne Johnston with "A World Elsewhere". Vanderhaeghe got lots of recognition and a film made out of "The Englishman's Boy" (very well deserved) but Johnston should have won everything going with "The Colony of Unrequited Dreams" but didn't get much from it so I'm really hoping he scores with this new one.

Good luck to them all and merci, merci, merci, my beloved authors for giving me so much to read this year.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A good laugh this morning

I received this from Don this morning and got a real laugh. The subject line in the email was "0" (the number 0)

Many people will walk in and out of your life but only a true friend will leave footprints on your computer!
Forward this message to 5 other people...... And you will get......

Bugger all!

That's right bugger all.

You won't get good luck or a nice surprise, 5 grand or a bloody holiday in Jamaica , just bugger all...... it's true...... It works.....!

I sent it and I got........

Bugger all. Yes that’s right. Absolutely BUGGER all.

Don't break the chain! It's the only one of these things that actually does what it says!

Your Friend Don

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Super lunch at Tim's

Tim cooked a fabulous sockeye salmon for! It was great to see his garden and we hadn't seen the paint job on the house...great choice of colours. We got a laugh out of Jenny, the cat, loving her treats, salmon, and chicken liver pate. She was in heaven but kept whining for more! I forgot to get a photo. Thea is off to a good start at UVic and especially enjoying her Shakespeare course.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Odds and ends

Well, we almost have our house back as the painters only have a couple of things outside and inside to do. We're very pleased with the basement. Mary, you made an excellent choice for colours! I probably would have gone darker but the area really does need these light colours.

The floral display has some meaning but couldn't quite figure it out....any ideas? This is the area in Oak Bay where they had a "floral bed" complete with bedframe and alarm clock. I perhaps missed the sign explaining it.

We went to Uplands with Monique yesterday and she and I both had this great bouillbaise...Jim had his usual steak.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Gashlycrumb Tinies


Only for people who enjoy black humour and don't have any "tinies" at home at the moment.

The Gashlycrumb Tinies

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Change in the weather

Quite a change in the weather so thought I would post these two children's drawings of sunshine. This is what I miss most about the TC and I don't think this feature appears in the online edition.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

New York 9/11

I didn't quite know what to post today. Kienan's return was fabulous and now 9/11 will always be somewhat associated with that. Today, a friend mentioned that she had mixed feelings about all the focus on a tragedy. I think she meant that it's important but also to move on. Seth Godin always has something of interest to say. I really liked his blog post today and I think he speaks for New Yorkers...fabulous folks who live in a great city.

From Seth Godin's blog:

It's different here

The other day, walking through Grand Central, I bumped into a friend, here on vacation with his fiancee.

I got to thinking about why New York City attracts so many tourists, more than just about any city in the world. Not because of natural wonders or even outdoor sports activities. It might be because:

* It’s different here (as in not the same)
* You can find someone to have an argument with, about just about anything
* There are fringes--cultural, educational, architectural, societal
* More than 42 languages are spoken at the Queens public library
* You can get something that’s not the regular kind
* There are profit-seekers who will happily sell you something, anything
* There are many who do things for no profit at all and will eagerly entertain, entrance and change you for the better
* You will find a diversity of religious belief like no other
* It’s changing
* The food hasn't been entirely homogenized
* People are active
* A stranger will go out of his way for you, perhaps, and more often than you expect
* There is more information per minute, per meter and per interaction
* Neighborhoods are more important than homogeneity, and co-existing is most important

The thing is, here can be anywhere. There are New Yorks going on in towns large and small, in companies big and tiny and in families that support and respect at the same time they embrace and encourage difference.

I remember ten years ago like it was yesterday, looking out the window of my office and wondering if it (all of it) was over. I remember those that suffered and were lost, and those brave enough to risk everything. Not sure we'll ever forget, or if we should.

But now more than ever, I believe we have an obligation to stand up, stand out and to do work that matters. Wherever you are, there's an opportunity to be different, with respect.

Missing boy found: Kienan Hebert returned to family in Sparwood

What a wonderful ending...unfortunately very rare.

Missing boy found: Kienan Hebert returned to family in Sparwood

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Goodbye to my ocean and taste of France...

After I started painting I became very enthusiastic and wanted everyone to share in the fun. So...I painted an "ocean" in my basement and various things I loved from France on my walls. I got my friends to contribute to the was tremendous fun!

But all good things must come to an end and I'm having it all painted over with neutral colours. Quite a job for the painters as much of the paint is glossy and needs to be sanded, two coats of primer and two coats of finish. Glad I'm not doing it...creating it with my friends was a lot more fun! The painters started to do some sanding already of the Moulin Rouge and Sacre Coeur so figured I better get some photos.

Sacre Coeur by moi looking a little worse for wear by sanding.

Killer Whale by Richard (rubber ducky by moi...)

Dolphins and otter by moi.

View from our favourite room at the Hotel Splendid, Bandol.

Tidepool by Carole who got me into painting in the first place!

British Octopus by Nin.

Fish by Fern.

Crab by Patty.

Jim's contribution

Walrus and the Carpenter by moi.

Mermaid by Marnie.

Treasure Chest by Annette.

Seahorse by Barbara

Shipwreck by Trish.

Seabirds by moi.

Lighthouse by moi.

Deux Chevaux by moi.

Moulin Rouge by moi.

Penquins by moi.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Blog | Mango Languages

When I logged onto the Victoria Public Library today I see they have free access to the Mango Language Learning facility. Looks pretty cool. You need a Victoria Library card to access the database.

Blog | Mango Languages

Lunch at Cedar Hill Golf Course

Patty and I went to Cedar Hill Golf Course for lunch to celebrate her back to school! They now have a very fancy clubhouse and great food, great views and hanging baskets, planters, etc. You also get a good view of the Olympic Mountains but they didn't show up in my iPhone photos. I hadn't been there for years but have fond memories of this golf course since this is where I learned to play golf when we first moved to Victoria and where I bought my first set of clubs, took lessons, etc.

Some of our last few games there were very memorable as we rented a cart and took Richard along when he was a toddler. He had lots of fun bouncing around...very sure they wouldn't allow that now but we all survived...

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Back to school

Elaine and I restarted our weekly swim and lunch at the Hotel Grand Pacific yesterday and were a long way in thought from "Back to School"...great to be back in that routine and fun to be welcomed by our servers, Tina and Donna, and catch up on all their news. It seemed like yesterday Donna's little guy started kindergarten, now heading to Grade 6, first year of Middle School. And there's a whole new menu and new chefs so that will keep us occupied for a while trying all the new things. We went for the special yesterday of sable fish...wonderful!

I got a real kick out of my friend, Linda's, photo of her 6 yr. old grand daughter's new "Back to School shoes" bought by the other grandmother. Linda and I grew up in the same neighbourhood in Vancouver and we only had one pair of shoes for school...usually rather ugly Buster Brown oxfords in my case.

Oh...Linda emailed again to say there was also another pair that Lexi was wearing...

Tuesday, September 06, 2011


I thought I'd be really interested in this blog where this guy won this gig of living 80 days at YVR at the Fairmont and reporting on the life of the airport but somehow it doesn't do much for me. Partly I think it's his rather artificial tone and I'd rather have stills than videos. And it just seems to be a series of "lists" rather than any insights into anything. Must admit I have just skimmed it very briefly but disappointed.


Sunday, September 04, 2011

Holiday weekend excitement

On Friday, Fern and Carole and I went for lunch at Uplands and it was so great sitting outside watching the golfers. And we saw Jim in his group and I got a little video of him playing. Fern and John are soon heading on a trip to Spain and Morocco and Carole and Don are heading to Turkey. Will look forward to hearing all about the trips and seeing the photos. Bon Voyage mes amis!

Saturday began pleasantly with Tim over for a drink before we headed out to lunch then a wasp attacked me and I had a very bad reaction with my leg swelling up very quickly. This is unusual for me so figured I better head to emergency. So, off we all went and I was treated pretty much immediately and told Jim and Tim to head off for their lunch.

I was released about three hours later then at home began to become very hoarse and lose my voice. So, I googled "hoarseness and wasp bites" and brought up "possibly the beginning of an anaphylatic reaction, call 911"... so Jim took me back to emergency. It didn't develop into a fully developed one probably because I got the adrenalin so quickly with the first incident. They settled it down with prednisone and some great looking pink stuff that tasted awful to numb my mouth and passages to the stomach. The staff ironically called this vile tasting drink the "pink lady"! And they figured I should have an Epipen in case of future incidents.

I'm glad we've been taking advantage of being outside since I don't think I'll be quite so keen until these wretched wasps have left the premises.

Saturday, September 03, 2011


A doe and her two fawns were having a good nibble of various things in our garden last night when we were having dinner ourselves.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Gay McDonald's ad in France

There are quite a few interesting things on the "AllThingsQueer" website. I found the ad beautiful and moving but also sad as well. Good on Macdonald's in France. I don't imagine we'll be seeing a similar ad anytime soon in the US.

Gay McDonald's ad in France

Homosexuality and the Bible

I just loved this post that a friend posted on Facebook. I know a few people who would love to sell their teenage daughter...who knew one could do this!

Ever get tired of people throwing Bible verses at you, and using religion as an excuse for condemning homosexuality? Well, this is something I came across many years ago, and I still laugh every time I read it.

On her radio show, Dr Laura Schlesinger said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura, penned by a US resident, which was posted on the Internet. It's funny, as well as informative:

Homosexuality and the Bible

Thursday, September 01, 2011

A good day had by all....

Ian came over for dinner last night and he had recently been given some great King size bedding (duvet, duvet cover, sheets, pillows, pillowcases, etc) that someone had left. He had very kindly laundered everything and it's great quality stuff like new. We had just bought a King size bed for the Vancouver apartment and had just bought one sheet since King size bedding costs a bomb. It's a great bed even though we did just get to sleep on it once before we left.

Thanks, Ian, great timing!

Don's birthday was yesterday and they went to Matisse for dinner to celebrate...a wonderful dinner for them as usual. Amazingly, we have not been to Matisse. Something we'll have to remedy soon.

From Don today:

Last night at Matisse was fantastic. We started out with a glass of champagne ,then the amuse bouche was
smoked tuna topped with Dijon mustard and a micro-beet leaf { yummmmmm ], then a chilled blueberry
and champagne soup with ginger foam [ ohhhhh ],then seared foie gras on thick bacon and grilled pineapple
[ to die for ], then we split a lobster salad [ buttery ] , then Elaine had warm water prawns wrapped in prosciutto
[ these were the size of the gambas we had in France and had a sweet, gorgeous texture ], I had rabbit loin stuffed
with Toulouse sausage, for desert Elaine had a lemon panacotta and I had blueberry and fig sorbets
[ both were extremely tasty ]. All these courses were paired with wines picked by John. Actually the whole menu
except for the foie gras was picked by John, we love it when he does that. It’s going to be a bitch getting back to
reality today.

Restaurant Matisse Menu