Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Beautiful morning....another day in Paradise.

I just love waking up to beautiful views of these wonderful San Jacinto Mountains and I am determined to try to capture them in a painting.  I'm counting on Susan to help me since she's a wonderful artist.  Susan and Dick have rented a unit in Canyon Sands  for December and the first week of January.

We had quite a bit of wind yesterday and it was cooler and even looked like the mountains got their first bit of snow.  Temps should be mid 70's to 80 which I find ideal.

Some views from the pool area....cute to see some Halloween decorations up.  Love the pumpkin amongst the cactus.  Canyon Sands has almost all desert type plantings now so I will have lots of ideas for my own little cactus garden.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Candle light and wine

Dealing with lots of house stuff today but relaxed with a pizza, salad,  and wine from Trader Joe's.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The desert...how many ways do we love you...wow!

It's the wonderful desert and the south of France for us...wow, wow, wow!  Moving slowly after our drive.   But everything is pretty great so far and very few settling in problems as it's our own place so we had the beds and bedding as we like it.  Usually not the case when we're renting.

Sitting in our front patio enjoying the  fountain we love...so glad it was still here from when we rented this place in 2006.   Went to Trader Joe's and got wonderful cheeses,  lamb,  wine,  etc.  as usual.  One of their features was "Chariot Gypsy" which we had to get since it's from Healdsburg,  CA.  Great wine and under 5 bucks.  We had a wonderful time there with our very dear friends, Don and Elaine.  Don left some beer in the toilet cistern to cool and we forgot about it...always wondered who found it...someone with the same mind set I'm sure!

We began with Trader Joe's blended scotch....very good at $9.95 for a litre.  Ah yes...life is good.

 Just love this fountain!

 On the patio looking out at our olive tree.

 Our tangelo orange tree is looking very promising for fruit this year.

Growing wild...some kind of impatience perhaps.  Can't wait to get this cactus garden going.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Back in our wonderful, wonderful, desert home...

Just got back from a swim and hot tub after a lovely dinner of chicken, bread, tomatoes, wine...that our wonderful neighbours and friends,  Erna and Marvin,  provided for us.  We feel so blessed to have such good friends here and our lovely home.  Life is very very good.

Breakfast outside by the pool

Warm enough to eat outside today.  Another hot breakfast and could even make waffles and they had fresh fruit so I had two grapefruit halves.  We haven't travelled for a while in the US but I guess hot breakfast are the thing and there is always tea now in the rooms and at the buffet.  That's a change!  It was 80 degrees yesterday after Redding.  Had a great swim and hot tub.

Well,  tonight we'll be in our lovely desert home and swimming and hot tubbing in our own pool...can't wait!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Arrived safely in Sacramento

We arrived around 4:30 pm today...left Eugene around 8:15.  With all the trees turning it really has been quite beautiful  driving down at this time.  We're now at the Vagabond Inn in Old Town.  Chose it for the outdoor pool but didn't realize they have outdoor corridors which I try to avoid.   So far, so good and we're on the top floor so noise shouldn't be a problem.  They have a shuttle service so went to buy a bottle of whiskey and the shuttle guy was great and we saw quite a bit of Sacramento which we really haven't seen.  We commented on some very cool old houses and apparently the district of Sacramento has bought a lot of this stuff to preserve the old look...Vancouver could take a page out of that book.  So, drinking Jim Beam and contemplating dinner.

We fill up the car at the next gas exit when we reach 3 bars so ended up in Cow Creek.  KInd of neat funny old place.  The "washroom" is a porta potty.

Ah yes...we're in the US of A.  This along with advertisements for children's Halloween events.

Outback Steakhouse

We hadn't been to this chain before and were impressed.  I see they have one in Palm Desert.  We had excellent steak and lobster tail with all dressed potato plus Jim began with a Caesar and I had their chicken tortilla soup...excellent and all for $19.95 a person.  Washed down with a nice bottle of Australian wine.

Impressed with the breakfast buffet here....bacon,  scrambled eggs, pancakes and everything else in a continental breakfast type of way.

Sacramento here we come!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Arrived in Eugene 2:30pm

Up at 4:30 today and left at 6pm.  Showed our Nexus after a one minute wait at the border and no
questions,  no hassle....just "Have a nice day".  That was a relief but we did have all the documents the Canadian Snowbird Association says to have just in case.

Funnily enough there was no fog on the water in front of our place but had fog pretty much all the way down until about 50 miles before Portland.  Visibility not a problem just dull and couldn't see much.  After all the fog we've had in Vancouver lately it was a bit of a drag.  We're now in a very nice Holiday Inn Express with an indoor pool so will have a swim soon.  Sipping a drink at the moment.

Lots of choices for dinner including a brew pub next door and an Outback Steakhouse.  Will check them both out.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Almost sunny

After sun being predicted for days,  it does actually seem like the fog will lift!  It will be nice if we don't have to deal with fog on our drive down to Palm Springs.

Packing up yesterday and then in the afternoon Barbara and her son, David, came for a drink to celebrate the archive being accepted at Uvic.  Barbara is full of so many stories about Otto and he led such a fascinating life that I think Jim's planned biographical sketch will turn out to be much longer.  It certainly is a biography that needs to be written.

Then Richard and Emily brought in wonderful halibut,  chips,  onion rings, and mushy peas from C-Lovers for dinner.  Absolutely delicious!

And we learned that Emily plays the violin so they took my father's violin and we'll look forward to hearing a tune!  It isn't playable at the moment and will need some work.  I enjoyed having the violin up on my parents' old china cabinet but have recently been thinking I would donate it so someone would play it and get some use out of it.   So this is great that Emily will be using it and I know my father would be thrilled about it.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

More Fall colours....along with fog...

Enough already with the fog!  I'll be happy to be in the land of eternal sunshine.

Photos taken walking back from getting my hair cut short....getting ready for 90 degrees and swimming three times a day...

Monday, October 21, 2013


Sunday was Artist Trading Card day and it always seems like Christmas.  People bring art supply and crafting odds and ends that others can take if they can use them,  someone comes with some cool idea and the supplies to make something,  then we top it off with the "trading" and that means lots of little works of art.  Tremendous fun!

 We made this cool little box from free used cards from a casino...who thinks of these things?

And then my wonderful little works of art!   We pass binders around with our ATC's and choose which ones we want.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Another great food find "Fujiya's Japanese Food" at Clarke & Venables

Hayne tipped me off to this and what a great store...home of the $2.99 California roll but soooo much more.  Too bad we're using things up at the moment but will be one of the first place I visit when we return.  It was on the way to the Artist Trading Card meeting today so stopped by.

Something new in the Commercial Drive area...had been reading about these.  Great idea.  Didn't see anything I wanted but will take some books next time to leave.

New restaurant and a great time with old friends.

Last night we met Linda and Cec and Donna and Neil at Cravings Restaurant at 72nd and Oak.  Good venue for all of us to get to and we were very impressed with the food and ambiance...certainly worth a repeat.  Linda regaled us with her recent experience on "Let's Make a Deal" ....very funny...what she could tell us anyway.   Not all can be revealed until the show airs.

Pretty much organized for our trip to PS.  Hope this fog is completely gone by then.  Friday we couldn't see a thing all day!

Great to see the leaves turning...from the balcony this morning.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Wonderful news!

The University of Victoria has accepted the Otto Lowy archive!   Barbara and David are thrilled...as are we.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Great fun on "the Drive"

Getting the car serviced and snow tires put on before our trip south so did our usual having lunch and wandering the "Drive".  Some great specials advertised at a Greek restaurant and could sit outside in the sunshine.  Calamari and a sleeve of Granville Island Pale Ale for $8.95...wonderful, wonderful calamari and perfectly cooked.  Elaine,  dear friend,  you would have loved it!  I took half of it home.  Jim had roast lamb (excellent as well) washed down with Greek wine.

Then browsed some bookstores and went to the library where we are now and I'm posting from.

And our dear old cat, Morgan, was in her place at Wonderbucks.  She hadn't been there the last two times.  And she opened her eyes when I gently petted her,  then back to sleep of course.

Amazing calamari...look at the size of it!

This toy store always has a dollhouse in the window...this time with a Halloween theme.

 Well said!

Basking in the sunshine...

Happy Birthday, Richard!

Hard to imagine it is 36 years ago...Happy Birthday, our darling!

Day 1...the most wonderful glorious day in our lives!

Jim's Dad dancing with Richard.

I posted this on Richard's 23rd birthday (and I guess his 30th)  but posting it again today as Susan and Katey are in it and I'm missing them today and they are a long way away...Yorkshire and London.  Their family played a big part in Richard's early years.  Also,  Richard was working in San Francisco for this birthday when I made this and it looks like he will be working in San Francisco again soon!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Wonderful visit with Marilyn and Chris

Nothing quite like old friends.  Just had a great time with Chris and Marilyn today.  They came our way and we had lunch at The Sylvia then back here for dessert and coffee.   They loved our place and understand why we did this.  Well,  talking too much to remember to take photos so The  Sylvia in all its glory.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A great find...Fresh St. Market in West Van

 Fish and chips at Dunderave Fish Market and Red Truck...first time we've seen the glasses.

 Absolutely the most amazing place...I'll mainly be shopping here from now on.  Wonderful selection...good prices.  And live lobster and crab that can be cooked fresh or they have some made up from the morning...brought a crab home of course.  I've been missing that.

 Cool display.

 Haven't seen such a large duck selection since France.

 Every type of mushroom.

Lots of exotic meats.

 Loads of dry sausage and other deli meats.

Fish and shellfish selection is amazing.

Then to The British Butcher...got pork and apple and stilton and leek sausage.

Wonderful selections of bacons as well and white and black pudding...

A review:

 I had no idea what to expect. I found the whole layout and food selection was geared to high-end taste. Gleaming displays featured foods from all over the world. I was expecting elevated prices, but I was amazed to find the prices were comparable to stores of a far lower quality. The staff was a delightful group who obviously loved working there. I noticed a bin by the door that was full of umbrellas----a courtesy for the people who might have left home without one.They also have a self-serve coffee shop; you pay for your delicious coffee by making a voluntary donation to a local charity. The next time you are in West Van, treat yourself and discover a company that is doing things the right way. The store’s name is,’ Fresh St. Market,’ .