Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thanksgiving at Lulu's

Erna and Marvin took us out to Lulu's tonight for dinner and we all had the three course feast….always excellent.   I followed Marvin's lead this time and had the pork chop for the main course after their wonderful wild mushroom soup with truffle oil…wonderful!

We sat outside and enjoyed the outdoor ambiance…always a fun time together…thanks so much!

My morning views...

 Picking up the paper out back

 Our pool awaits

Our orange tree out front.

Dinner last night with Tom and Claire

It was great to see Tom and Claire last night.  Now that we don't live in Victoria,  we really only see them now in Palm Springs.   I've been on the quest for some decent crab in the desert and I think I found where I can get my fix.,,,Red Lobster Snow Crab legs….yummy and quite reasonable.

And Claire always has some interesting books she's been reading:

A few favorites from 2014--

Annabel-Kathleen Winter
This is the Story of a happy marriage--Ann Patchett
Still Life and Bread Crumbs--Anna Quindlan
Eyrie--Tim Winton
The Disciple of Las Vegas--Ian Hamilton  (Ava Lee series--interesting!)


And there was a dusting of snow back home…overlooking English Bay from a webcam

Friday, November 28, 2014

Winter Creek Pottery Show

Muriel Sibley does absolutely amazing pottery…do go and take a look this weekend if you are in Victoria:

Come to Winter Creek's Christmas Show this weekend, Saturday, November 28th and Sunday November 29th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wonderful pottery and sculpture pieces which will make terrific Christmas presents! Hot cider and cookies and carols! 178 Ross Durrance Road, in the beautiful district of the Highlands

We are joined by Allison Gladwell who moved into our expanded space with her studio - formerly downtown Victoria - and also by Stuart Duncan, showing his inspired silver jewellery and his paintings. 

Lost in the 50's

Linda sent me this today…brought back a lot of memories.  If you remember these YOU ARE OLD!

Louise Penny was asked by the Globe and Mail for her comments on P.D. James

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Yes….a mystery for sure...

From my cousin,  John,  today…

Dalgliesh thinks it's murder as PD was still pumping out the words at a good clip Wednesday afternoon. The chief suspect is one Jane Austen who was pretty pissed off a couple of years ago when James cast Lizzy Bennett as a sleuth in a who done it about Pemberley. Austen was heard to say that she would give James "a what for" when she arrived at the pearly gates and the sooner the better. Dalgliesh suspects Austen's new found zombie friends brought her back to life long enough to poison James evening glass of sherry which suspiciously was missing the morning her body was found.

More to come. John

Happy Thanksgiving to our American friends

We have so much to be thankful for.

Sunrise at Canyon Sands today…courtesy of Lisa and Chris Brady.

P.D. James dies at age 94

I was very sad to hear P.D. James had died,  but she had an extraordinary life and was a very special person.  Apparently she was writing another mystery.  She commented that she didn't think she could not write.   Jim and I both loved her novels and were thrilled last year when we picked up "Innocent Blood" at a library book sale and realized it was the one novel we hadn't read…we thought we had read everything!    I read today that this was her 8th novel and the one that made the huge breakthrough.   Her novels were much much more than just mysteries…always insightful and dealing with important issues.

I wrote to P.D. James twice and received a lovely reply each time.  The second time she sent me an email as a reply.   We saw her read in Victoria a number of years ago and I was particularly impressed by her honest pleasure and joy at answering questions from the audience.  She made it seem like every question was just exactly what she wanted to be asked and was thrilled to do so.

My dear friend,  Patty,  introduced me to PD.  I had disdained mysteries but got into them one year when we were vacationing in Puerto Vallarta when Richard was around 10 yrs. old.  We were both exhausted and weren't up to much other than lying on the beach.  Richard was bored so he chose an Agatha Christie mystery from the hotel gift shop to read.  He read it in a day so I ended up buying pretty much one a day for him since it kept him occupied.  They were on the expensive side so to get my money's worth I began to read them.  I wasn't really up to reading any of the "serious" books I had brought along.  I rather enjoyed them and could see why people liked mysteries.  When I mentioned this to Patty,  she said I must read a really good mystery  writer, PD James….and I was hooked.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Just back from a great golf game...

Just gorgeous on the golf course today and we got to play on our own…always a nice bonus.
In the 80's tomorrow.  Great weather here for Thanksgiving.

This tickled my fancy today...

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Three Pines book bag

On Facebook,  Louise Penny mentioned this business where you can buy some items that are related to the books.

I was really pleased when this arrived in the mail yesterday!

Itty Bitty Book Review: "By its Cover"

"By its Cover" by Donna Leon

I picked up Donna Leon's latest at the Palm Springs Library.   Somewhat disappointing although I never have great expectations usually she does better than this.  Louise Penny just seems to get better.  I think Leon has perhaps run her course.

Monday, November 24, 2014

From Linda...

Thanks for the item on your blog.  If anyone has children/grandchildren who still “believe” they can send letters to:

Santa Claus
North Pole
Canada   HOH OHO

(ho ho ho, I love his postal code) 

No stamps required if mailed in Canada.  We get letters from all over the world.  They are already arriving!


Volunteers needed….from my friend, Linda.

If any of my blog readers want to help,  send me an email and I'll forward it to LInda.

Volunteers needed:
Canada Post Santa Letter writing starts next week in Cloverdale. I am the co-ordindinator. The Cloverdale Post Office is at 66 Ave & 177 St. Even an hour will help. We are doing it in the morning. If you live outside Surrey, anywhere in Canada and want to volunteer message me and I'll pass along your information so you can help out in your area. For over 32 years, Canada Post employees and retirees have helped Santa answer over 21.8 million letters. In response to a call for help that comes every year around mid-November, some 9,000 postal elves are dispatched to help Santa answer the thousands of letters he receives every day. Santa’s postal elves will spend over 226,000 hours to help Santa answer more than 1 million letters in 30 different languages.
To all the postal elves – old and new – thank you!
Santa by the numbers!
There’s a lot of preparation and support that goes into running and promoting Santa’s Post Office and you may be surprised at some of them. The Top 10 things you probably don’t know about the Santa Letter-writing program are:
Since 1982, Postal Elves have helped Santa respond to more than 21.8 million letters!
Santa’s Corner – Santa’s online post office – is visited a quarter of a million times a season.
Information about the program is mailed to more than 3,000 libraries, 4,000 daycares and 9,000 schools!
Santa knows Braille and 29 other languages!
The television and radio Public Service Announcement promoting the program is broadcast an average of 7,000 times in December!

Santa’s special helpers, also known as mall Santas, also depend on Canada Post’s postal elves to answer the mail they receive for Santa. Postal elves get bags of mail from malls across Canada!
It takes a lot of paper to manage Santa’s mail… 1.6 million pieces of letterhead and 1.7 million envelopes!
It takes a lot of elves to manage Santa’s mail – 9,000 elves volunteer some 226,000 hours of time to help Santa with his mail.
The Santa Letter-writing Program is the focus of hundreds of positive media stories every year!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Out to La Quinta today for the first time this year

We always enjoy going out to La Quinta for lunch and checking out the Used Books room.  We got 9 books today for $3.80.  I really scored today with….Elizabeth George's latest "Just One Evil Act", Zadie Smith's latest, "NW",  Willa Cather's "The Song of the Lark" (about an artist in Arizona) and "The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Golf"  which looks like it will be quite amusing….how to survive a bird attack,  thwart a cheat,  tee off in front of a crowd,  how to deal with an alligator near your ball…etc.

re: Aligator near your ball
"Although even small alligators can cause injury,  those less than four feet are not as dangerous to humans.  If the alligator is more than 6 feet be especially wary,  as a bite could inflict major damage.   Alligators more than nine feet should be considered deadly….
After retrieving the ball, or if you encounter difficulties, run.  While alligators move fast, they generally will only travel short distances and probably can't outrun an adult golfer."

Well,  that's good to know!

Then lunch at The Grill on Main.  We always get a good meal here and love the ambiance.  We got a particularly particularly nice Malbec then a burger for Jim and calamari for me with yuzo-sesame dressing….all excellent.

Linda and Cec,  we'll all have to get to this place in La Quinta when you're there in January!

Some scenes from La Quinta,  Old Town.


Good news story from USA Today for those of us who love our newspapers

Philanthropist is out to save Philly papers

"I've given over a billion dollars away…but nothing I've done has the importance of saving these newspapers."
- Gerry Lenfest

A great way to start the day...

To see Susan so happy and enjoying her trip in Israel.

Me, happy? It doesn't get any better than singing hymns with my new United Church friends on the Sea of Galilee!

 Sea of Galilee!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Thunder and lightening and rain last night

Quite the storm last night but it did seem to bring quite a bit of rain so that is great for this region.  I hope it made some difference.   This morning back to warm sunshine…just like Camelot.

I am so impressed with our newspaper delivery…because of the rain it was wrapped in double plastic bags!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Itty Bitty Book Review: "The Long Way Home"

"The Long Way Home" by Louise Penny

I have enjoyed all of Louise Penny books but I think I enjoyed this one the most.  I think she is definitely getting better and I look forward to her next one being released.  She has finished the first draft according to her Facebook postings but she often does quite a few drafts.

Similar weather in Tel Aviv

Susan is on a trip to Israel at the moment and is posting photos and sketches.   Really look forward to following her trip.

View of Tel Aviv from Susan's blog.

It looks like the weather is rather similar to Palm Springs except warmer in the evenings as one would expect.

10:13 AM Palm Spring  70 degrees  (going to be 77 today)

Time in Tel Aviv  8:13pm  73 degrees

We had a good golf game yesterday and were teamed up with a nice couple from Qualicum…retired there after buying a home on Eagle Crest  golf course after 27 years in Victoria.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Another great food find….

We've been meaning to get to the Twin Palms Bistro next to the Ocotillo Lodge.  We got there today for their Tuesday Happy Hour all day….$2  drinks and appetizers.  We got a couple of glasses of very nice Cab and 1 nachos,  1 quesadilla,  2 fish tacos,  and 2 pulled pork sliders….all excellent especially the fish tacos and sliders.  Pretty amazing lunch for the money.  Nice atmosphere and looking at items from the regular menu go by…everything looked great.

 We sat outside and had a nice view of the mountains…inside looks good too.

Part of the decor…looks like an old time movie camera.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Canyon Sands Lending Library….already looks so much better!

Kathy and Patty and I spent about an hour and a half sorting through the Lending Library and got rid of all the damaged,  yellowing books and sorted books that were better for a library book sale than taking up space.

Next we'll sort into Mysteries and General Fiction….pretty much the only categories we have.  We have a bookshelf for hardbacks and one for paperbacks.  And the fun part will be picking out things that we recommend.  This should help people choose a book.  I always gravitate to those shelves in libraries.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Another first…first time using our fireplace this season

Well,  we don't really need it and may have to turn it off but it's cosy and we have been anxious to have it on.  It has been unseasonably warm this November so just wasn't possible before.  Now,  we are into the mid 70's during the day and cooling off at night.

First time at Las Casuelas this year

It was great to get back to our favourite Mexican restaurant here and to hear our "rockers".   They have a new drummer and he sings as well…a nice sound and a little different.  We talked one of the fellows at the break and he said their other drummer went back to Wichita  The guy we were talking to commutes in from Temecula.,,the wine district around here and where we plan to make a little trip to this year.  He gave us some tips on using the backroads rather than the freeway.  It's only around an hour anyway.

 People of all ages having a great time.

Jim in heaven

It's a small world...

Jim was in the hot tub and got talking to a fellow who lives here half the year and in Istanbul the other half.  He mentioned he used to have a Beauty Salon in Newport Beach.  Jim mentioned a cousin (now deceased)  had a a florist shop in Newport Beach…lo and behold their businesses were almost next to each other and they knew each other!

We had a lot of fun at the Welcome Back Snowbirds Potluck yesterday…great food and company.

I had ordered three vintage French travel posters and they arrived yesterday so got those up and are just loving them…they remind us of all the wonderful things we loved in France…many of which we have here as well.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Another book sale….another 4 bags of books...

Got up early and went to Palm Desert Library today and got quite a haul.  Back for a swim then off to Supreme Dragon to get a lunch special.  They are located very close to us and we had a wonderful lunch…duck for me and Szuehaan (or however you spell it)  Beef for Jim.  We started with hot and sour soup(an extra 99 cents…was great!) and the lunch special includes steamed rice or pork fried rice and an egg roll and fortune cookie.  I got a half bar-b-q duck for $9.95 and Jim's beef was $6.95.  And we got a really good bottle of wine for $15.  Pretty great deal.  The duck was wonderful…like what you get in Chinatown in Vancouver.

Book Sale photos...

 Started off the day by getting gas at Von's for $2.69.99 a gallon…20 cents off with Von's points.  A total of $27.33 for a full tank.  That's two weeks driving and we drive a lot more here than in Vancouver.

Wonderful bar-b-q duck

Sitting outside watching our hummingbirds have a great feed.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

All About Books...

This is the name of the newly formed book group at Canyon Sands (our condo complex).  We had our first meeting yesterday and there are about 8 of us and I really enjoyed meeting everyone.  I think it's going to be a fun group!  We've decided to meet once a month to talk about books we're reading or have read,  or going to read…rather than choosing a book that everyone reads.  I like the format.  We're also going to take on various projects…the first one organizing the lending library in the office.

We went to another book sale at Rancho Mirage Library today and picked up a couple of bags of books.  I also picked up my very special Rancho Mirage Writers Festival Book Bag…a real collectable since it's from the very first Festival.  Now,  you may ask how I got this?

Rancho Mirage Library doesn't sell book bags and I really wanted one for my collection of book bags so I emailed the Library Director suggesting they have some made for sale as a fundraiser.  David Bryant replied to my email on the weekend to say the library had tried this but the revenue was minimal and said to phone him Monday.  (Rancho Mirage Library has people donating megabucks to the point that they are going to make build a planetarium on the site so I guess a few dollars aren't worth it. ) When I phoned he said he would provide me with a book bag from the first Writers Festival and he would leave it at the front desk.

I'm thrilled with it!

And while I was out taking a photo of it,  I took of a photo of the cacti Erna planted.  I'm now teasing her that this is a tradition and I will be expecting something planted in my garden every year to welcome us back…

And a photo of our oranges starting to ripen…