Saturday, June 30, 2012

Couple of good movies lately

We were interested in seeing this because it looked pretty interesting and we enjoy Judi Dench and Maggie Smith but we were prepared for it to be a bit corny.  Actually,  not at all,  it had some depth and was great fun to watch and of course the colours and sights and scenery were spectacular.

Well, Sarah Polley seems to have done it again and created quite the movie with Take This Waltz.
It was cool to see Toronto and the beach and I loved the funky settings with all the primary colours and a man actually cooking great food in copper!  Visually,  wonderful for me.  Michelle Williams was amazing as usual.  It's hard to believe it's the same actress that  played "Marilyn".   I thought it was quite a wonderful, sensitive portrayal of a woman who falls in love with another man even though there's nothing much wrong with her husband.

I found the last 10 minutes or so odd and didn't quite see the point unless Polley is trying to not alienate the "morally uprightous"...I wouldn't have thought that was important to her.  I'm sure Polley will be asked about the last part.  Her answer will be interesting.

Well,  I do have to clarify something...the actual very last scene is perfect.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Palm Springs North

Our new garden is really shaping up here.  They moved in two large Palm trees yesterday and filled the old fountain area with sand.  Cactus and possibly more Palms coming soon.    We're going to have the best of all worlds here....the Dogwood not blocking our view,  our Pacific Ocean to look at and a touch of Palm Springs in the garden.

*Update:  Well,  it may be more like Florida South.  The so called "succulants" they have talked about seem to be more like tropical leafy plants.  Perhaps these are succulants too.  I just always think of succulants as cactus type plants.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Merci, Don!

Don sent me a whole load of rouget recipes...thanks so much!  This is a photo of one meal of rouget and another one of Jim at the table.  Can't tell whether this is Carquieranne, Bandol, Sanary, Cassis, or Le Lavendou....all on the Mediterranean and all places where we would have ordered this.

And here are the four of us lunching in Le's quite likely one of us had rouget...

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Fern and Carole come to visit!

Fern and Carole came over from Victoria and it was great to see them and show them our digs in Vancouver.  Fern brought her yummy cheese appy dish with tomato chutney and Carole bought me some wonderful local strawberries when we were at Granville Island.  The weather wasn't great but at least it didn't rain and it didn't matter was just so super to be together.

Carole used to come in for summer holidays at The Sylvia and remembers the house beside us here.  I wonder how many people in who live in Vancouver,  have lived in Vancouver, visited Vancouver have commented "Wouldn't it be great to own that house!"    I think the numbers would be very high.  I see people every day stare in wonderment.

Jim went to UBC to some some research for the day and took Car2Go.  Picked one up on Pendrell here and they have a designated drop off at the bus loop at UBC and he had no trouble picking one up for the way home.  And all on free minutes!  We got another 90 free minutes at the booth at the Jazz Fest.  It seems members are welcome to take advantage of all promotions.  We're planning on going to Canada Day celebrations and I'll be they'll be there, then they will definitely be at the fireworks....I love this company!

 Good for Fern for using the timer feature on her camera.
 Took the little ferry to Granville Island.

 The red fish are "rougets" and we often have them in the south of France.  I've never seen them here.  I'll have to get a recipe or two in case I see them again.

These were so good on our cereal this morning.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Enjoying the weather...

Predictions were not good but yesterday was spectacular and we spent most of the day outside at the Jazz Fest downtown and seeing the Hotel Georgia's new, so impressed.  We did stay at the Hotel Georgia about 40 years ago.  It was wonderfully restored last year.  My photos just don't do it justice so take a look at theirs:

The rest of the afternoon we spent on our deck here enjoying the comings and goings and everyone enjoying the unexpected sunshine.  Well,  even today wasn't bad and we had our tapas and beer at the Cloud 9 Revolving Restaurant.  Our server was from Paris and we had a great chat in French along with the view.

 We had two skewers of the lamb shoulder (below), what a deal...very tasty and cheap at 5 bucks.

 The downtown, Art Gallery location was a first and people loved it.  Places to sit and you could see the bands at the two stages.  Gastown was restricted and the merchants didn't allow the Festival to put on a beer garden.  We enjoyed this a lot because we could sit down and sip and enjoy the music.  Lots or revenue for the Festival I'm sure.

So glad we finally got to see the Hotel Georgia's restoration.  Just amazing.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Lonsdale Quay

Yesterday we took the bus to get the seabus to Lonsdale Quay...hadn't been there for years.  I don't think I've taken a bus in Vancouver for over 40 years...actually never taken a bus in Victoria in all the 40 years I've lived there.   Transit is pretty easy in Vancouver these days.  The day was better than expected in terms of weather but what a storm in the late afternoon...thankfully we were home by then.

 I think Chris hopes to catch a halibut this size this summer....
Loved the red snapper as part of the display.

 Oysters on a stick on the right....we had some.

 Our first experience with bubble tea and probably our last.  Jim trying to avoid the tapioca lumps...very yucky.

 What a cool place for kids to get their hair cut...sitting in these cars and watching videos.

 Always love the building where the seabus is.  Took the CPR train across Canada three times from here when the train was cheaper than flying.
*Update...I think the CPR went from Station Street now that we recently drove there to let Fern and Carole off for the PCL bus to Victoria.

The laughing men always make us laugh!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Coal Harbour Seawall

We only recently realized how great this  seawall is now that  hooks up with the Stanley Park Seawall and goes all the way to the new Convention Centre and the Cruise Ship terminal.   I'm not entirely sure when it was finished but I did pick up a draft proposal for the area that had the date 2002.   What was not really that long ago...commercial, railway, parking lots and really not very accessible to the public is now the seawall with large bike and pedestrian walkways, parks, restaurants, and condos.   This is so prime and what we really enjoy is seeing the mountains which we don't get that much of in our view on English Bay.

Victoria really needs to do something similar with their wonderful foreshore that is mainly taken up with parking lots at the moment.

We have great access as we park in our resident's only parking on Robson and walk down Denman past Georgia and we're there in minutes.  We noticed a bicycle rental offering electric bikes so we think we'll do that one day and go round Stanley Park Seawall.  We're curious to see what these bikes are like.

 Great waterpark for kids...especially good for kids who don't have access to running through a sprinkler.

 Coal Harbour Park.
 You can see the cruise ships and the convention centre.

 Very wide area for pedestrians and bikers.

Some cool houseboats amongst all the yachts.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Best crabcake kidding!

We headed back to Coal Harbour today to take advantage of the sun (rain tomorrow apparently) to have lunch at Lift Restaurant.  Jim had the burger which was very good but the crabcake was to die for and the Japanese potato salad that came with it was also excellent.  There were some tough choices to make and I'm looking forward to going back and trying the Pacific Octopus and the Oyster Po' boy.  And they have Red Truck Ale...our local favourite.

In an ideal world....

 I was quite interested in this article in the Sun yesterday about re-thinking the golf courses the city owns and operates.  Given that golf is on the decline and most private golf courses are having problems getting and retaining members it makes sense to rethink this land use.  If these public city courses were taken out of the picture then the private courses would get a boost.  Although golf courses provide green space they do take an inordinate amount of water as well. 

Think what the city could do with this money....solve homelessness perhaps once and for all,  provide affordable housing for struggling families,  provide recreational facilities that more people could make use of.  It seems like a no-brainer to me.

 From the Vancouver Sun:

The City of Vancouver is sitting on a gold mine - grossly under-used land worth billions that could be used to lighten the tax load or provide amenities.
Or maybe it's three gold mines. They are the city-owned golf courses - Langara, which sits near the southern end of the red-hot real estate corridor created by the new Canada Line, McCleery on the Fraser River in tony Southlands, and Fraserview, which overlooks the river near the city's eastern boundary.
The three tie up large tracts of land that, with realistic zoning, would be worth several billion dollars. Yet they hosted a total of only about 164,000 rounds of golf last year, which netted less than $1 million after expenses. Compared to a prime multi-use public space like Stanley Park, they occupy about one-third as much land and were used by barely more than one-50th the number of people.
One alternative to get better value from these under-used spaces would be to convert them into parks, or a mix of recreational facilities that would attract a wider range of visitors.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Itty Bitty Book Review: "The Cement Garden"

"The Cement Garden" by Ian McEwan

McEwan's first novel published in 1978.  One would expect him to write a pretty amazing first novel and it is.  Another rather weird story but rings with authenticity.  I think I need to read something "normal" for a change.  I'm rather intrigued by his first collection of short stories published in 1975 but somehow I don't think they'd be particularly normal either.   Seems this novel was made into a movie.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Another Kent Spencer column

President Bikramjit Singh Sandhar stands outside Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara Temple on 120th Street in Surrey, B.C. May 30, 2012.

CONGREGATION: Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara temple
HEAD OF CONGREGATION: Bikramjit Singh Sandhar
WHAT IS TRADITIONAL: Respect for the Almighty and reading of scriptures as written by the gurus.
WHAT IS MODERN: From a technical perspective, it would be the use of PowerPoint and English translations of scriptures.
WHAT MIGHT SURPRISE PEOPLE: The free community kitchen that serves food every day from morning to night and the complete equality for men and women.
WHAT IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING ABOUT YOUR TEMPLE: From 3 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. at night there is live hymn singing, and discourse on God in the main hall, which is open to all.

Itty Bitty Book Review: "Worst Fears"

 "Worst Fears" by Fay Weldon

Weldon is always pretty witty and has a somewhat unusual story to tell.  This book certainly didn't disappoint.  I knew I had to read this when Jim couldn't put it down.  After a bit of a slow start, either could I.  Another one of our 50 cent books.  I must say it's really fun to buy books again especially at that price.  We don't regret selling and giving away most of our collection as we can now buy more books!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Super Sunday

We had a great day yesterday beginning with taking in Car-Free Day on Denman.  Car2Go  was there giving out free sunglasses so we each got a pair and also letting members spin the wheel for free minutes.  The cool young man running that moved the wheel to a large number of minutes for everyone and we got 90 free minutes between us!  Hollyburn Properties was there as well giving out free tote bags so we got a couple of them.  Always fun to get free stuff.

Then Richard came for dinner bearing a gift for Jim...a book he was very interested in and has already got some Huxley connections from.  We ordered in from Maria's Taverna....very yummy!

Kent Spencer in The Province

 It's great getting a newspaper Sundays now and I'm a little surprised that one of the features I look forward to is Kent Spencer's article featuring a local church.  All faiths, religions and beliefs are featured.

He begins each article by answering these same questions:

Religion: United Church of Canada
Message in a Tweet: The Christian story is the story of the evolving universe. We believe it to be a sacred revelation, revealing the Will of God.
Sunday attendance: 140 to 180
Traditional: The externals: Gothic style structure, stained glass and organ.
Modern: Evolutionary theology, commitments to the ecology and social justice, and also the spiritual practice of conscious evolution.
What might people be surprised to know? That you don't have to check your brain at the door. That we're not out to convert anybody. That we have quite a few atheists and Buddhists worshipping with us.
What is the most beautiful thing about your church? The people and their commitment to be the new thing that Spirit is doing in the world in the spirit and the love of Christ.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day

I used to spend a long time finding just the right card for my father....something with a gentle sense of humour since he had a gentle sense of humour I appreciated very much.  I might have given him something like this.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Happy Bloomsday everyone!

We had what we call "the full Irish" today for breakfast today....not "grilled mutton kidneys" like in the photo that Leopold Bloom  enjoyed.  For us it's bacon, egg, and a waffle with strawberries.

Joyce fans are pretty pleased that James Joyce is coming into the public domain.  His heir has been a real idiot in threatening to sue the Irish government for a public reading on Bloomsday so no more of that nonsense.

Well...on such a rainy day,  lunch at The Sylvia topped off with an Irish Coffee seemed like a good treat.

Students at the University of Boston have created a cool app called JoyceWays that I've downloaded and look forward to exploring:

"This is JoyceWays. It’s a place for saunterers, idlers, and tech-savvy literati. Enter into the topographical world of Ulysses and Dubliners, the Dublin as remembered by Ireland’s most revered novelist. From the central artery to Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, from the National Library to 7 Eccles Street, JoyceWays allows you to explore the texture of the city through the footsteps of Leopold Bloom, Stephan Daedalus, and other Joycean favorites. Excerpts from the works are glossed with expert criticism, quirky facts, and contemporary images. An interactive tourist map, a study companion, an escapist’s toy—professors and pupils alike will appreciate this indispensable guide to James Joyce’s Dublin."

Friday, June 15, 2012

Enjoying our new view!

This is a photo of the tree taken from our balcony before they got it out.

And this is the tree being taken away to its new home on Nelson just behind us at an apartment called the "Dogwood".  I drove past today and it looks like its always been there.  We're pretty pleased with this new view!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Goodbye to all that...

Well....they took the Dogwood tree out that was right in front of us and blocking our view quite a bit when the leaves were on especially.  They are transplanting it to an apartment on Nelson called The Dogwood...hope it lives!

Amazing...these three young women arrived and got this out within was a 30 ft tree!  I threw them down some peanut butter cookies in a baggie for them...a tremendous hit!  Don,  I think they love them as much as you.

The deal is the pond and fountain are very difficult to deal with so they've decided to make it a cactus garden with palms and everything and so are ripping out everything (transplanting them elsewhere) so it will all fit.    We're really looking forward to having a bit of Palm Springs and we love our new view!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Itty Bitty Book Review: "Cakes and Ale"

"Cakes and Ale" by W. Somerset Maugham

Surprisingly I haven't read any Maugham I don't think.  I know, a great lack and I do recall our bookclub reading "Of Human Bondage" but I think I was travelling.   This is one of our 50 cent books we pick up at either the library or a local thrift shop (amazing how many good books they get in) and I really enjoyed it although I'm sure it doesn't come up to his greatest works.  Makes good fun of writers and the class system and Rosie is a delightful heroine.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Local birdlife

 We have an amazing amount of birdlife where we live in Vancouver.

Our favourites are as always no matter where we are....the gulls.  "Our friends, the gulls" we often comment when we hear them in the morning while lying in bed.  We love the sound of  their "cries" and they seem to be the only bird that will soar and fly for absolute pleasure.  Most birds seem to be on a constant mission to find food.  Perhaps it's the association with the ocean and home that makes us feel so positive to these birds.  Of course,  they are also very badly behaved at Granville Island and other places where they swoop down and snatch food from unwary diners...

 And then there are the Canada Geese who look quite foolish waddling  around and while they look quite beautiful in flight they sound completely dopey!

The crows...our nemesis.  Does anyone in the world like their raucaus caw?  But they are beautiful and I admire their intelligence.  They also seem to nest deep in Stanley Park where we don't walk so we don't get dive bombed like we do in Victoria walking down to Willows Beach.  They seem to mainly hang out at Second Beach so we don't hear them that much either.

 There are many lovely little sparrows and other songbirds that delight us with their singing morning, noon, and night.   We hear very few songbirds these days in Victoria.  Too many cats in the neighbourhood I guess.  I rather miss seeing cats wandering about but cats around here are indoor cats it would seem.  However,  I am compensated by seeing a skunk from time to time...they are so beautiful and don't exist at all on Vancouver Island.

 And then we have the world famous great blue herons.  Stanley Park is home to one of the largest urban great blue heron  colonies in North America.  They are basically just behind us and we see them fishing and flying home with food for the chicks.  Other than hearing the chicks when you're right underneath the nests,  these large birds seem to make no noise whatsoever.

Monday, June 11, 2012

West Coast Sky

It might be hard to believe but these photos were all taken within about a 20 minute period while we were on a walk along the seawall.

 Ocean Temp at 57 F....wont' be swimming in the ocean just yet.

 Folks enjoying a busker at English Bay.

These last two taken within minutes of the first ones.