Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Thinking about living in Kits 1967-68

Carol did a post on Kits the other day and it brought back a flood of memories from when I lived there while going to UBC.  My friend,  Beth,  and I shared a couple of rooms in a house on 2nd Ave.  We did have a small kitchen.  It was a closet that had been converted and we shared a bathroom with the people upstairs.    Our  rent was $75 a month and included utilities and a shared phone.  It was really fun to be close to UBC and share in that hippy dippy vibe.

We had both gone to Expo in Montreal in '67 so neither of us had very much money.   Kerry and I went back on the train (half the price of the plane...$129.00 including three meals in the coffee shop) and shared a lower berth.   There were actually some fairly large guys sharing the upper berth...that must have been tight!  Three days and three nights on a train.  The worst part of it was the day and a half we went through the prairies.  Jim had given me 1984 to read as a "wonderful book I should read".   Not a great choice of reading material while going through this dismal landscape.    It's a wonder I married him.  If I had known  he was going to read a Graham Green short story that was about a dead baby when I wanted distraction when I was in labour,  I wouldn't have married him!  (In fairness,  he hadn't read the story himself.)

Beth had been on some special program where she worked  in Montreal but didnt make much money.  We put $5 a week each in a pot to buy food and sometimes added an extra dollar each to tide us over.  We were amazed how much of that small budget went for toiletries...toothpaste,  TP,  etc.  We had a lot of tuna casserole with cream of mushroom soup,  noodles,  and frozen peas.  A can of tuna was 23 cents,  2 lb bag of peas,  39 cents,  soup was 15 cents.  We bought some sweepings off the floor patty for 15 cents from Rob Roy Meats.  For a special treat we bought one of Paul's 50 cent steaks.

The trick to making it work was being invited out a lot and making sure we ate heartily  I had been going with Jim in the summer and in September I had the first meeting with his parents.  It was a beautiful evening and his parents didn't seem too shocked that I arrived on my motorbike (a Honda 50).  We ate outside in the back yard and the food was a bucket of KFC chicken and corn on the cob.  Well,  I love corn on the cob and the chicken was a special treat.

I was really enjoying myself and we were all getting along famously.  Towards the end of the meal,  my future mother-in-law looked over at my plate in astonishment and asked if I had actually eaten all that corn!  She wasn't being catty..she just couldn't believe it.  I  looked down and counted up 9 empty cobs along with a huge pile of chicken bones.  Jim's parents smoked heavily at the time and didn't eat much.  Each of their plates had a half empty cob and a few lonely bones.  I think Jim at least had a full empty cob and a few more bones.

Note to self:  If what you're eating leaves evidence,  keep  that in mind....

I remember we hated the dull curtains so splurged on $1.49 day and bought orange burlap to make new curtains.   As the term ended we were really broke.  We could have asked our parents for money but I was getting married after exams and had told my parents I had saved some money.  It was a bit tricky for Beth too.  She had run out of money in Montreal and her parents sent her money for bus fare home.   Then,  friends of hers talked her into joining them for a trip round the Gaspé since she now had money to help out with gas and for meals.  They knew some guys who were hitching back to Vancouver so she could join them.   She didn't tell her parents about how she spent the bus fare and how she got home until she arrived.

So,  to get money for food we took down the curtains and made book bags/purses out of them dripping paint on them in an abstract design.  They probably looked quite cool if you were on LSD (which we weren't).  We sold them in a little hippie shop on 4th Avenue.

Kerry and I met these friends she had gone with on the Gaspé trip.  They invited us over for a drink which was a bottle of gin infused into a watermelon which we drank with straws.  They had picked up a large fishnet and wanted us to transport it on the train.  No problem taking a box on the train and the fishnet was part of our apartment decor!  I remember being in the old clunker of a car they had driven around the Gaspé which at that point had no brakes....and nobody had any money to fix them.

When Kerry and I were in Montreal,  we stayed shared a room in the dorms at Marianopolis College for $7 each a night.  It was a nice location and lots of trees as I recall but we had to walk about a mile then up 142 stairs from the metro stop.  This was after walking all day at Expo.  And of course we wanted to go back into downtown Montreal to have dinner in the evening....too exciting to miss!  People really dressed up in Montreal in those days and being young women we certainly wouldn't have done anything else so it was skirts and high heels for our second trek of the day.

Ah...to be young.

Monday, May 30, 2016

ATC's...second attempt at collage....four squares technique.

Well,  now that we're moving I probably won't get to this month's meeting and also it's "car free" day which is a real hassle as well.  I'll be all ready for July!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

My Dad's violin is getting a new life

The violin sat on top of my parents' corner china cabinet for years and it was a wonderful memory of my father but now the cabinet and other items are getting a new life with Kerry and Roger's daughter and son-in-law....so glad they are taking things we can't really use anymore!

And I felt it time that the violin was played again so I donated it to the Vancouver Academy of Music.  They were thrilled to get it and I know my father would be pleased that some kid will play it rather than it just gathering dust.  My father went quite far in violin and played in the second violin section of the Vancouver Symphony.  That didn't last long as he told me "playing second fiddle was very boring".

I hated taking piano lessons but one pleasure was when my Dad accompanied me which he was always pleased to do.   Since I had "talent" my parents had big plans for me to go to Toronto to study at the Royal Conservatory and stay with a good friend of my spinster aunt.  It sounded like a fate worse than death.  I wanted to be a foreign correspondent travelling the world and filing stories from exotic places!  When I was about 14 yrs old,  my parents reluctantly allowed me to quit piano.   I began playing the trumpet in the school band.  That was fun.  Although my dream was to play the accordion which I did when I first retired but the teacher was awful so quit.

We found out a bit of information about the violin maker,  Archibald S. Hill.  It seems he had a fairly good reputation.  Not long a bow of his was being advertised for $1500.  It will be interesting to see what the evaluation will come in at.


Saturday, May 28, 2016

Very cool Alexander Calder

Heather James is selling this piece...curious to know for how much.  So glad to see some very high prices recently for E. J. Hughes,  Harris,  Carr and others.

I see he did a lot of these
"Soucoupe Volants"

I'll maybe play around with the idea when we get settled into our new apartment.


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Quite the squall tonight...

Lots of rain and thunder and lightening...so glad to see some real rain that will dampen down a very dry Stanley Park.  Fun to watch...and realized I better not pack up my candles yet.  No power outage but you never know.

Times have changed since we last changed our address three years ago...

I googled how to change our address for our drivers'  licences,  etc and this came up on how to change Name,  Address,  and now the category of Gender.  Well,  why not.  Interesting that B.C. is the first jurisdiction to do this.  I would probably have guessed Quebec first and Ontario second.

B.C. is the first jurisdiction in Canada to revise its legislation to remove the requirement for transsexual surgery in order for an individual to change their gender designation on their birth certificate.
Amendments to the Vital Statistics Act replace the previous requirement with a new process that allows citizens to change their gender designation on their government-issued identification to reflect their identified gender.

Wow...that was quick!

My friend,  Kerry,  has already made a mini quilt from Diane's card...love it!

Monday, May 23, 2016

We're moving!

Well,  just a few blocks away to 2020 Haro...the Laguna Vista.

We’re moving into a third floor, two bedroom,  one and half bath unit with a view of Lost Lagoon July 3.  It’s smaller (855 sq ft as opposed to 1300)  but a lot of the space we have here is rather wasted and we have figured out how to fit in what we want to take.  It has a FABULOUS indoor pool and it’s a much quieter location  across from Lost Lagoon (the road there has speed bumps every 10 feet) and away from buskers,  bongo drums,  and all the summer noise of being on the seawall.  We will miss our fabulous view and being able to walk across the street to jump in the ocean but we’re only an 8  min walk (or couple of minute drive)  away from our paradise beach  and we will continue to enjoy the views from The Sylvia,  the Cactus Club,  Cloud 9 etc.

We have been looking for a place with two elevators after realizing the tremendous disadvantage of one elevator.  Over the last 18 months there have been 22 repair calls (i.e. breakdowns) and it is very old and will soon have to be replaced.  That means 2-3 (or possibly up to 6 months since there are major difficulties) months of a complete shutdown and we’re told it will be in the summer holiday period so going to Palm Springs isn’t really an option.  We have 7 flights of stairs to walk up at The Flamingo.   There are also some other issues that concern  us like Hollyburn's owner's daughter who lives beside us.  We could be booted out if she wanted the whole front.  The son did that to the people in the penthouses.

One of the big advantages of our new place is it’s over $10,000.00 a year less although if there weren’t these issues and we felt we could stay here forever we probably wouldn’t move.  The wonderful pool makes up for a lot.  I’ll be in there everyday even if we go ocean swimming later.  There is also an observation deck on the roof so that could be fun.  They have two couples who manage the place and they seem very on top of things and screen tenants very carefully.  When we initially made contact,  the woman told us there was a “huge waiting list” and wanted to meet both of us.   It seems we came to the top of the list.  She’s from the Gaspé and we spoke French so that probably helped.  We’ve been impressed with the calibre of people we met while we were there….more of an older crowd like us.  The new tenants at the Flamingo all seem quite young….I guess because of the elevator situation they want people with good young knees!

So,  another adventure!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Some wonderful photos of floral displays in Vancouver from Carol today.

 I love this wildflower meadow.

And I'm a sucker for white picket fences.  One of my favourite jobs was to paint our white picket fence at our family home in Vancouver.  I believe I got $5.  A lot of money for a kid in those days.

I  just had to snag a couple of photos from Carol's blog....here are the rest.


Funny how Carol's mother felt there was too much "abundance"  in Vancouver after her experience on the prairies.   I really missed my Vancouver mountains when we lived in Victoria.  The Olympics were often not visible but I did savour them when they did show their very special beauty  and perhaps appreciated them all the more.  They always lifted my spirits.

A colleague of mine in Victoria was from the prairies and she felt hemmed in by mountains,  even the rather distant Olympics,  and insisted her husband build her a home on the Sannich Peninsula where she could look out over the ocean without a mountain in sight and imagine the ocean to be wheat fields.  I think we are very shaped by our geography growing up.  And perhaps one reason why we love the south of France on the Mediterranean so much is that the Alpes-Maritimes are a presence.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Cannery Row at the Sylvia tonight...always wonderful!

We love this band and so much fun and good food.

Well,  I think is from Las Margaritas yesterday.

Jim's wonderful steak/frites....fabulous aioli sauce.

And I had the salmon chowder...yum.

The wonderful lead singer/musician of Cannery Row.

Rose's idea goes out of town...

I offered my two quilting friends one of Diane's cards to make a quilt and they both took me up on it!

Kerry from Edmonton chose this one:

And Fern,  from Victoria,  chose this one:

I look forward to seeing their creations!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Our 48th Anniversary today!

And of course,  our dear friend,  Elaine,  send a wonderful little package of goodies and gift cards for Chapters even though she just got back from a cruise from Hawaii a few days ago!

Thank you so much,   you are a real sweetheart!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Clever Rose

Rose,  one of our ATC folks made a lovely little quilt using one of Diane's (another ATC member) fabric cards.   Rose lifted the piece of fabric from the card and made it the centrepiece for the quilt.

I'm always amazed by the creativity of this group!

It happens to be one of Diane's lovely cat cards!

Reykjavik 1972

We saw a very good movie on Netflix last last night "Pawn Sacrifice" which was about the Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky World Champion Chess Match in 1972 which took place in Iceland.  On our first trip to Europe in July, 1972 our plane touched down to refuel in Reykjavik  They weren't playing at the time so just the room and chessboard were being shown on the monitors in the airport.
Quite a fascinating story and sad.  Although I'm sure some of the paranoia Fischer experienced was justified given the times,  he was delusional and mentally ill.

The movie brought back memories of this time period...the Cold War,  the Vietnam War,  Henry Kissinger,  the IRA was blowing things up in London and the Algerians were blowing things up in France.  At that time I don't think anyone would have believed that the Cold War and the threat of a nuclear holocaust would ever be over.

Ah...but there was Paris ...which made one forget all those mundane issues.  Our arrival in Paris was probably one of the most memorable experiences we've ever had (well,  the birth of our son was far and away the most memorable).   Even though there were police with machine guns in the Latin Quarter...a remnant of the 1968 student riots,  we stepped out of the metro into what seemed like a fantasyland.

Maybe I'll get finally motivated to finally put together a book about our experiences in France.   I do have a working title:  Provence and Paintbrushes
and I do have quite a lot of written material already from letters,  blog posts,  etc.

My beloved Notre Dame de Paris....one of the first things we saw as we came up from the metro.  One of the first places I need to see when we are in Paris.

Monday, May 16, 2016

My treasures from Sunday' s ATC's

La Bodega on Main....a litte bit of Spain.

We went here last night with Richard and Grace for tapas.  We let them order and everything was very yummy!   A group of six cancelled so we got the prime big table in the front window.  Nice to luck into that.  Lots of fun and good eats and cool atmosphere.  Great choice,  guys!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Artist Trading Card day....

My first attempt at collage (with apologies to Matisse).

Took this photo yesterday....seem to be more sailboats than usual.  Must have been a big race.

Saturday, May 14, 2016


We really have been missing the Denman location so went over to North Van today.  It really didn't take long and we enjoy going over to the North Shore and across the Lion's Gate Bridge.  We got our usual Ultimate Platter Dinner for 2 and mushy peas.   We felt the preparation was even better at this location.   The price is up to $26.95 but still a great deal especially when you consider the price of halibut.

And then over to West Van so Jim could go to his favourite thrift store (no joy today) and I popped into Fresh Street Market.  I got some chorizo that I have had difficulty getting.   I have made my Paella Even More Simplified recipe even more simplified and halved the ingredients so figuring I can do this for an everyday meal for us.  I seem to have quite a bit of saffron around.

Funny if it works that way...

I enjoyed Douglas Todd's article in the Vancouver Sun discussing a book "I'm right and you're an idiot".  It's basically about how we need to stop "polluting the public square" and consider the opinions of others.  Being someone who can be pretty stentorious in presenting my own views which I hold strongly on just about everything,  it struck a chord.

And made me think about what is going on in US politics at the moment.   The Republican old guard and Trump are having to talk to each other  and consider their differences and where they can reach agreement.   Given Sanders tremendous appeal with many Democrats,  Clinton will eventually have to do the same.   Could it be possible that the craziness and total polluting of the public square could actually have a salubrious effect?

Well,   I am known to be an optimist!


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Pizza night with Derek

Always lots of laughs and great to  spend time with a very old friend.  Derek brought a great wine from the south of France and we had the Olympia House pizza as usual....always a yummy treat!

Derek will be retiring the end of December and returning to live full time in Victoria in the wonderful house Mary is now renovating.    We will really miss seeing him.   Derek taught at Camosun for many years and would you believe Derek and Mary and Jim and I all lived in the same apartment building in our early years in Victoria before buying houses.  Will we ever forget the Rob Roy evening?   Ah...to be young.

Women writers

  • In May my Canyon Sands Bookclub was going to discuss women's writing and whether there still needed to be a Woman's Literature department at universities or whether we have moved on from that.   I was sorry to miss the discussion.  

    I've read about 100 pages of Alix Hawley's first novel "All True Not a Lie In It"  and thinking that it really sounds like it was written by a man although she is a relatively young woman of 40.  It was hard for me to come up with other woman writers that also didn't necessarily sound like they were women in their writing.  I could really only come up with Zadie Smith who wrote her amazing first novel,  "White Teeth,"  at the age of 25.

    And then I tried to think of male writers who sound like women writing.  I could only think of Alexander McCall-Smith who writes the Number One Ladies Detective series (and also other series....also, very much from what seems a woman's point of view).

    I read a lot of woman writers and I very much appreciate that they give voice to woman's issues and concerns but I do really like the idea that these two young women at least are writing a different type of story.  And I think real progress will be achieved when we just talk of writers without any prefix.

    A few interesting side bits.  Zadie Smith studied English Literature at Cambridge and Alix Hawley has a Ph. D.  in English  Literature from Oxford.  Hawley came to my attention because Jim hired her to do a unit on "To The Lighthouse" (she is a Virginia Woolf scholar) for his open textbook project.  She teaches at Okanagan College. 

    This novel won the Amazon.ca/Books in Canada First Novel Award and the BC Book Prize's Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize.  She is definitely someone to watch.   It's a fictional account of Daniel Boone who isn't really a figure or time period I'm particularly interested in (even though I did love playing "cowboys and Indians" as a kid...)  but her writing makes for an engaging story.  Apparently,  she is already on contact from Knopf Canada to publish a second novel.  

    I did alway want a Daniel Boone "Coonskin" hat but of course,  being a girl,  my parents didn't like that idea so I never got one!


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Sunset tonight...

And the Blue Jays are winning so far.  They are playing the San Francisco Giants.  What a wonderful baseball field right on the water.  We saw a game there when Richard was working in the area.

Great to watch the game while watching the sunset.

Jim's first class at SFU this year

As usual and expected he has a wonderful group who are very appreciative.  They applauded at the end of the class and many came up to shake his hand!

My class began last week and I'm enjoying it very much.  It is such a pleasure to watch a master teacher like Lealle Ruhl.   And I talked Carol into taking it so it's really fun to take it with a friend.  She agrees Lealle is a wonderful teacher.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Some rare good news on Vancouver's housing front

For those of you who love Mid-Century Modern.

Tech millionaire steps in to save Vancouver's historic Friedman house.


You, too, can spread joy across the nation!

Carol was really pleased to get feedback on her blog and especially from a newly widowed aunt in Montreal who has had a bad fall and is now somewhat incapacitated.  It really gave the aunt a lift and I know she will be looking forward to Carol's daily posts just as I will be looking forward to them and also to Susan's posts.  Looking at their blogs is just about the first thing I do every morning.

Carol emailed "So already, your encouragement of my little effort is helping to spread joy across the nation!"

So,  one last appeal to my blog readers.  You should try this.   You will be amazed how gratifying it is and to know that you are giving pleasure to important people in your life.

Carol's blog:  mountdunbar.blogspot.ca

Susan's blog: passionforpaper-passionforpaper.blogspot.ca

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Mother's Day Brunch

Richard made brunch for us today  (yum....even home-made hollandaise sauce!) and we had mimosas too.  I got some very cool gifts...a lavender tree to remind me of the south of France,  a Catfé memo pad,  and the publication for the upcoming exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery "I had an interesting French artist to see me this summer"...works by Emily Carr and Wolfgang Baalen.  Grace edited the book so this is an advance copy.  Wow...I can't wait to see the exhibit.  I love the book!

 So,  Jim snagged Richard to do some tech stuff for him....that's his Father's Day present!