Friday, November 30, 2012

Guessing game...

It's been fun for me picking up ornaments for the Christmas tree on our travels....ok, who can find the following:

cicada from the south of France
cable car from San Francisco
mask from Florence
dove from Mexico
cactus from New Mexico
celtic cross from Wales
bagpipes from Scotland
big apple from NYC
hummingbird from Palm Springs
harp and rosary from Ireland
Big Ben from London
boat from Travemunde, Germany
lobster from Maine
starfish from Maui
chimney sweep from the French Alps
elephant from Thailand

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The one minute Christmas tree...

I brought up my tree today which was all decorated, lighted,  and ready to go.  Took a minute...I love it!

I've always found it fun to put up the other Christmas things like my village but the tree always seemed a hassle somehow...many memories of problems getting a live tree in a stand so it wouldn't fall down,  problems with lights, etc.  Not terribly designed to get you in the Christmas spirit!

Donna,  one of our servers at the Grand Pacific,  got me into doing Christmas decorations on the early side.  Why not enjoy them for longer....indeed,  why not?  And the smaller tree makes it possible since it doesn't disrupt the living room at all.

P.S.  Jim just said we should have been doing this for the last century.
P.P.S.  And our $300 rebate from Fortis for installing the gas fire place just arrived in the mail...this is beginning to really feel like Christmas!  And the sun is shining when I believe rain was predicted...

And speaking of the Grand Pacific,  they have a new lunch menu and we had a fabulous seafood pizza the week before and this week this very different and special clam chowder...made to order with clams in the shell and a wonderful,  not gloopy, base.  FABULOUS!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Curling up with a good mystery before the life like it.

I've read two Louise Penny mysteries in the last few days and they really caught my attention.  "Still Life" is her first one and is our bookclub choice for Dec and then Patty brought over "A Trick of the Light"....couldn't put them down.

Picked up her second one, "Dead Cold" at Bolen's today and settling down to a good read by the fire.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The restaurant on the Avenue

Jim and Anne (American friends from the Port Angeles area) invited us with a group of 9 for dinner last night.  It was after the Oak Bay Light Up and it was very busy but we had a reservation and were seated quickly.  Our server and other front line people were experienced and very pleasant and dealt well with the large crowds that night especially given they had only been open a couple of days.

Everyone enjoyed the food they ordered but it took all of us a while to figure out what to eat probably because it was more of a pub menu than what our group would expect for a dinner menu.  There do need to be some seafood options and given the pub like atmosphere a steak sandwich at a reasonable price rather than just a $24 steak would be a good idea.

We began with  a couple of orders of yam fries for the table....excellent and a nice sauce.  Quite a few at the table had the short ribs,  one had the blackened chicken (quite spicey apparently),  Jim had a burger, and I had the garlic dry ribs appie with a side of mushy peas (excellent example!).

The downside are the three large screen TV's constantly flickering so that would make me hesitate to return.  Anne did ask if  you could request that the TV's be turned off if we returned and our server was very happy to ask the manager.  The reply was that for lunch they might consider this if you made the request with a reservation.  At night,  it seems the TV's are essential.   Going for more of a Sports Bar atmosphere I guess.

It was a fun evening and great to see Jim and Anne and Richard and Judith again and their other friends.  And I really do wish the restaurant well and hope they are successful.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Raclette with the neighbours

We had lots of fun last night having a raclette with Susan and Chris and no one had to drive!   I chose wine from the Mendoza region of Argentina since they will soon be on a trip there and they brought a great  Bordeaux since we love France so much and also a California wine...very appropriate since we all enjoy Palm Springs.

We do live in a great neighbourhood where within minutes I can swing by Ottavio's for the cheese,  head up to the The Whole Beast for the meats,  then round to Pure Vanilla on the way home for dessert....lemon tart of course.

And waking up to another beautiful sunny is good.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Excellent dinner in the Camas Room

Last night we went to the University Club with Don and Elaine to have their special three course dinner for course was excellent and what a deal!

Chef’s $19.95 Prix Fixe Menu

Crispy Squid w Wasabi Tzatziki
Baked Lamb & Goat Cheese Lasagna
Zesty Lemon Flan

The roasted veggies with the lasagna were a super accompaniment.

We all looked pretty awful in the people photos so I'll just stick to the food....

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

iPad mini has arrived!

Well....I was hoping this one would be mine but it seems I'll be lucky to get the iPad I back again....

Teddy Bear's Picnic at the Grand Pacific

We began with a great swim as usual then were treated to a new lunch menu,  the arrival of the bears, and cheery Christmas decorations up...and the sun even came out!

We absolutely loved this new seafood!
Scallops, Shrimp, Smoked Salmon, Basil Garlic Butter, Buffalo Mozzarella all on a homemade fantastic thin crust.

 We got a real kick out of the "bear muffs".  I tried them on and Elaine took a photo but they looked much better on the bear...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

CUPE on strike today and tomorrow at Camosun

Jim will probably join CUPE workers on the picket line for a bit today.  No one likes to lose money and cause disruption.  Striking is a blunt instrument but a lot of groups including teachers and our fathers wouldn't have had salaries they could support families on if unions didn't exist.  And, unfortunately, a lot of people in the developed and undeveloped world will never have a fair living wage because they don't have access to a union.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Itty Bitty Book Review: "The Age of Hope"

"The Age of Hope" by David Bergen

I sometimes didn't quite know what to make of this novel but in the end I think he did capture the life of a woman born in 1930 living in a small community really rather well as understated as it was.  The novel just sort of "is" without a lot of fuss....kind of like Hope herself.  One reviewer said he was trying to "channel Alice Munro and failed".  No,  I don't think so and the novel is successful on its own terms.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

If photographs had real scents...

Passed by these live Christmas trees that had just arrived and loved the scent.  Just think....looking a a photo of a baguette and the scent of fresh bread.  Maybe one day....

Monday, November 12, 2012

It doesn't get any better than this....

Colourful art,  doggy welcomes, and dinner with good friends.   I knew that going into the Red Art Gallery on Oak Bay Avenue would make me feel can you not feel good looking at such wonderful colour?  But I wasn't expecting to be welcomed by two friendly lovely dogs...what a bonus.  Then a dog in the car next to me when I returned from my walk on the Avenue.  And then to dinner at Derek and Mary's and welcomed again by Holly and Ian...both sweethearts.

 I saw this mat on my walk....definitely a doggy day!

Holly and Ian.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Lest we forget

The poppy fields of northern France.

"In war,  there are no unwounded soldiers."  
-Jose Narosky

Friday, November 09, 2012

Itty Bitty Book Review: "Y"

"Y" by Marjorie Celona

It's a special thrill to read a novel by someone local,  in this case very local.  Marjorie is Kate Soles best friend.  

The story could easily have become sentimental and although we are very touched by the story it keeps its gritty realism.  And all the Victoria references give it a special quality.   I feel I really do know these people.

This is a first novel and I'm very impressed and feel very confident she will do well as a writer.  I'm looking forward to her next novel!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

A lot to like in the election result....

 Well,  gay marriage wins the day,  pot is legalized in Washington State, and the Tea Party has lost its influence. 

Matthew Dowd, who was a top adviser in the re-election campaign of President George W. Bush, said on ABC’s “Good Morning America” that the Republican Party had become a “'Mad Men’ party in a ‘Modern Family’ America.”

So true....these photos tell a lot I think.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Yes! Obama wins!

Supporters of US President Barack Obama celebrate the result at the McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois


I'm thrilled that Obama won but I did feel Romney's speech was appropriate and dignified.  

Monday, November 05, 2012

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Music at Christmas...

Emily's parents brought back a Whirling Dervish Flute for Richard from their trip to Turkey.

Richard,  we will at least be expecting Jingle Bells at Christmas...