Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Enbridge ads begin

 So,  read the first Enbridge ad today in the Sun.  Seems they are going to be spending about 5 million on advertising.  It would be nice to just say no. Apparently Canada imports more than half of the crude oil it uses.  I imagine these imports involve pipelines and tankers in countries that aren't as vigilant as Canada might be for safety.   Somehow we've managed to live with people in other countries taking risks for us.  And we are all using oil.  What did you have for breakfast today?  It's very unlikely oil wasn't involved in some way.

John reminds us that oil spills aren't new to Vancouver.  From his blog:

"September and October 1973 — There is a lot of controversy about pipelines and oil tankers these days. The threat seems remote to some but we forget that oil spills were once common in Vancouver harbour. In 1973 in less than a month there were two. One caused by carelessness on a ship at dock and the other by a collision of two freighters at night in English Bay. The result was a mess on the beaches of West Vancouver and the shore along Stanley Park."


I prefer using foam plates for palettes rather than palette paper.  I usually throw them away after they get too messy but maybe I'll keep them or perhaps at least take photos.  I think they're kind of cool.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The friendly Aussies

Don, the friendly Aussies, Elaine, Jim, me

With the Bings the other night we got talking about how friendly the Aussies are (we haven't visited there but Don and Elaine have).  I thought I'd post this photo from our last night in Paris with the Curlings in 2005.  We were headed for Brussels next  then back home to Carqueiranne.  I think we had just exchanged a sentence or two with this couple but when we asked the server to take a photo of the four of us,  they immediately jumped up to get in the photo....cute!

Interesting column in the Sun today about urban density

What if everything we've believed about the benefits of urban density is wrong?

What if restricting car traffic in favour of public transit hurts a city rather than helps it?
Here in Vancouver, the benefits of densification and transit are planning gospel. They're the twin pillars of the Greenest City.

Wendell Cox begs to differ. Cox, a U.S. public policy consultant, and a thinker who most urban planners would consider the devil incarnate, argues that densification has hurt the quality of life in Canada's major cities, not helped it.
And that includes Vancouver. Cox makes his case in Mobility and Prosperity in the City of the Future, a paper just released by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute in Ottawa.

"Among the two most basic underlying philosophies," Cox wrote, "are an interest in reducing travel by automobile and an intent to force people into more dense living conditions, at least in part by not allowing further expansion of the urban area. [Urban] planners have been successful in characterizing 'urban sprawl' as a cardinal sin, making it almost impossible to objectively discuss the natural growth patterns of cities."

But densification, Cox maintains, rests on a mistaken assumption - that if a city is dense enough, we'll get out of our cars in sufficient numbers to make a difference.
Instead, Cox wrote, densification does exactly the opposite. Most people continue to use their cars, but in a slower, less efficient flow of traffic.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Les chats Ninja....

 Funny cat video...

Chris and Susan come to the big city

Susan and Chris came into Vancouver to see the Roger Waters:  The Wall at B.C. Place (fabulous production it seems) and Sunday night they came over to our place bearing gifts...super flowers!  We had a wonderful dinner at the Raincity Grill beginning with their "Spoons", then ribeye steak for the fellas and cornish game hen for the gals.  

tartare sauce 4.25

chili mayo 4

hazelnut crumb, farmhouse goat cheese 3.50

endive, roasted apple vinaigrette 3.75

russian blue potato, grainy dijon 4

19 for a selection of each (five) 


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Paintings Photo Gallery by Jak King at

"Kansas Tornado"

 I came across this fellow's blog when I searched for a review on that cheap restaurant on the Drive.  He wasn't impressed by the food.   He writes interesting stuff about Vancouver and does photography and paints.  I quite liked his simple way of painting (surprise, surprise!) and his photos are interesting too.  Take a look.

Paintings Photo Gallery by Jak King at


25 � May � 2012 � Jak’s View of Vancouver v.3

Saturday, May 26, 2012

New Urbanists debate merits of glass towers

 I do find the Vancouver density issue interesting and have mixed feelings about all the glass towers.  I certainly wouldn't want to live downtown.   As most people who know me know that I think we are living in the best piece of real estate in the entire world but then I am perhaps a little biased.  But to me this is the perfect mix of parks, beaches, high and low rise,  houses, pedestrian only areas, trees, gardens, retail, restaurants, and every imaginable service within walking distance.  Paradise!

* I seem to be back to the template that allows bigger photos...yeah.

New Urbanists debate merits of glass towers

A trip to Commercial Drive yesterday....

Well, it wouldn't be Commercial Drive without a visit to Morgan, the cat. He actually moved about a half an inch curling up more after I petted him very gently. He usually makes no reaction.

Now, this is an unusual thing for Jim to be doing...looking at books.

This is a new restaurant on The Drive...everything on the menu all day for $4.95. We weren't tempted since we were looking for a place in the sun to dine...not that much choice as most outdoor terraces are in the shade on the Drive. The one review I read when I got home wasn't great for the food. I think the demographic will be young people mainly wanting to drink and get some cheap food.

Menu is limited but doesn't look too bad.
- The Dime -

We ended up at Biercraft Tap and Tapas Bar. Loads of Belgian beer and we had a 4 selection taster. One a very interesting flavour of watermelon called "Spitting Seeds".We split a panini and salad and  fish and Belgian fries. Pretty good food and beer but anything would taste good basking in the sun outside yesterday. Then home to more basking in the sun on our balcony.

Friday, May 25, 2012


If you have Netflix give this a try. We've really enjoyed it. Steven Van Zandt who played Sal in The Sopranos plays the lead. And it seems he had another life with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

From Wikipedia:
Lilyhammer is a Norwegian-American television series, starring Steven Van Zandt, about a New York gangster trying to start a new life in far away Lillehammer in Norway. The first season premiered on Norwegian NRK1 on 25 January 2012[1] with a record audience of 998,000 viewers (one fifth of Norway's population),[2][3] and premiered on Netflix in North America on February 6, 2012, with all eight episodes being available in full for streaming on the service.[4] Lilyhammer is the first original series by Netflix.

A second season has been commissioned, but due to Van Zandt's upcoming tour with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band it is currently unknown when production will commence.[

First swim at Second Beach Pool

* Not my photo...never been there with this many people!

I had a wonderfully warm swim (first of the season) at Second Beach Pool yesterday. Great smell of the ocean as well. There were four people when I arrived, a couple more came later. Fabulous to have this huge pool pretty much to myself.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Update to Victoria Day post

 It seems that Queen Victoria's journals are now online.  I wonder if she would be amused...

Queen Victoria's Journals - Home Page

Introducing Josie and Trots...

Susan and Alan sent us photos of their cats today...great photos! Sounds like Josie is in the tradition of the Curling's Oscar and Ian's Binky.

"Here are two photos of our cats Josie (properly Josephine) and Trots (officially Mimi). They enjoy the garden, particularly at the moment as it is very warm. But unfortunately Josie is a wonderful hunter and we get birds, lots of mice, shrews, occasional rabbits and one mole. Not all are dead which is very upsetting. But what can you do except keep them indoors and I refuse to do that. If we put collars and bells on them it doesn't seem to help and they get tied up in the bushes. So we just live with the problem until they get older and less agile like us."

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Always interesting stuff on our walk...

We've met this fellow singing twice now....kind of cool. Here he is in action.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Texas Police Car

I thought this was quite a clever way for the police in Texas to get their message across about drinking and driving.

Seems Blogger has taken away our ability to get larger photos...sigh. Guess I'll switch to something else eventually.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Thoughts on Victoria Day....

I was quite interested in the Vancouver Sun's editorial for Victoria Day. Here is some of it. Can't seem to blog the link but it appears at the end.

...Of course, there was a real person behind the indelible image of the dowdy dowager.

Victoria began her reign as a beautiful young woman throbbing with passion and sensuality. Her journals survive, or at least 111 manuscript volumes do — about two-thirds were edited out by her youngest daughter after the Queen’s death. They include in her own words her impression of momentous events: meeting her future husband Prince Albert, the death of the king and the awesome realization that she had just become queen, her coronation, her wedding night, the death of her lover and soulmate.

These entries reveal not a political caricature of prudery and hypocrisy — the stereotypes that subsequent generations affixed to her age — but a high-spirited romantic. “I never, never spent such an evening! ... bliss beyond belief! Oh! This was the happiest day of my life!” she wrote of her wedding night. The mutually smitten couple had nine children.

Victoria proved a feisty, self-directed woman with an earthy, well-developed sense of humour, capable of laughing uproariously at an accidental double-entendre or an official faux pas. And she was also wise, pragmatic, tough-minded and fearless when she had to be.

During one of the eight personal attacks and assassination attempts during her reign, the 23-year-old Victoria responded to one by using herself as bait...

After being installed as Empress of India, she scandalized high society by taking it upon herself to learn Urdu from a young Muslim man who introduced curry to the royal menu. Abdul Karim became her personal confidant regarding matters on the complicated subcontinent. He taught her well enough that she kept a 13-volume journal written in Hindustani. Victoria brushed aside complaints about his presence at court as racism and bigotry unworthy of response....

On Victoria Day, this is what we celebrate as much as the birthday of a monarch whose reign happened to be in the right place at the right time. But let’s strive not to forget the pulsing vitality of the young woman who could write in her diary of her beloved prince, that he “clasped me in his arms & we kissed each other again & again! His beauty, his sweetness & gentleness — really how can I ever be thankful enough ...” It’s spring. Summer will soon be here in full. We’re celebrating life, too.

Read more:

Sunday, May 20, 2012

First pastis of the season....

It was quite neat to see the rock balancing with the tide coming in last evening.

*Blogger seems to be weird today...back to the old template where I can't make the images bigger.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Breakfast this morning...after several days of yogurt.

Pain au chocolat
Mini cream puff and lemon tart

* And yesterday, we also had a great lunch at Las Margaritas...Jim got his usual and I had a cup of tortilla soup and a chilli relleno.

A Vancouver crime show...?

We had a great time at The Sylvia Thursday night watching Kentish Steel and we had a super seat in front of the band and looking out two picture windows.  Watching all the goings on outside and inside we thought what a great idea for a crime show starting with the video like I've included.  How about doing just cold cases so the focus could be on "old" Vancouver and "new" Vancouver.  We love them both.  I wonder if there's another major world city that has changed as much.  Certainly NYC, San Francisco, London and Paris haven't.

A Slyvia Caesar for me (to sooth my aching gum...) and a Red Truck Ale for Jim.

**The one on the right is the video I wanted to upload....can't seem to delete the other one.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Our 44th anniversary....

Well...usually,  I post an old wedding photo but don't have access to those in Vancouver so this is a photo from May 18, 2005, at the Pins Penches Restaurant in the south of France.  A fabulous meal there as always.  I had a difficult tooth extraction yesterday so we will postpone our celebration for this year for a while other than champagne and who knows...perhaps more since it hasn't been that bad so far. 
We had a great time at the Syliva last night listening to Kentish Steel.   More of that to follow.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Anniversary Gift

Well,  Elaine said I was very naughty to open their gift that arrived in the mail before Friday but I know Elaine always finds the perfect gift so can anyone blame me for ripping it open immediately....I don't think so! 

Along with some snacking goodies there was this fabulous book called "The French Cat". perfect!  Wonderful photos of cats and scenes of France along with commentary and excerpts from famous writers.  And believe or not,  one of the first pages I turned to was one that had two of our Oscar cats...the Chartreux.

And it's very special since we all love cats and we spent time together in France.  Brings back many happy memories.  Merci beaucoup,  Guys!

 Could be Oscar up in the tree.

 The first page of the typically French!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Dinner at Coal Harbour

We went to Cardero's Restaurant last night since their patio is rated one of the best on a warm night.  Didn't want to wait for a table so went into their pub which actually was great since it had wonderful air conditioning and great windows for a view.  You can also get Mussel Mania in there so we got one of those and a steak sandwich and shared.  It would be a very cosy place in the winter as well. 

All new development (to us at least) with this great seawall which seems to go right to Gastown.  We used to stay at the Bayshore quite a bit and guess we haven't been down since then....many years ago now.

I think we can probably park in our resident's zone and walk down.  Maybe we'll even walk to Gastown...

Love the windoww in the pub!

Monday, May 14, 2012

A super weekend...what weather!

Of course,  the perfect ending to the weekend was Richard coming over for dinner and bringing me this lovely orchid....merci beaucoup, Richard!

And just before that Monique was in town for her committee and dropped by for a brief visit.  Great to see her and she brought over some French goodies.  I particularly like the Crepe Dentelles....merci beaucoup, Monique!

Saturday, we went out to Steveston with Donna and Neil and had a great walk the other way than we usually go.  They have restored and are preserving a lot of original dwellings and other buildings related to the cannery.  Most interesting to see.  Then to The Tapanade Bistro where we all had an excellent lunch.  Jim and I had the bouillabaisse...excellent!  We had a very cool waiter who happened to be from Toulon.

The south of France feeling continues today with this gorgeous weather we're having.

 Donna and I are both glad we're not cooking on such a stove....
 Must have been pretty cool and damp.  Simple pleasures helped to warm the evenings.
 Some people created great gardens.

 La piece de resistance!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Appies and wine tasting cruise

Dealfind had a cruise from Granville Island for $39 each (regular price $99) so didn't figure we could lose.  And Friday evening was such a spectacular night that one could have been in a rowboat with a bottle of pop and still enjoy the evening.  We quite enjoyed it although the boat, the food, and the wine were all somewhat mediocre.  On the way up toward Horseshoe Bay we enjoyed seeing the waterfront houses in West Van and coming back we were quite close to the freighters so that was a big thrill for me.

Can you pick out our apartment?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Pitch and Putt

Another great game of pitch and putt yesterday and I got a few photos.  And Jim only beat me by one stroke and he was one under par!