Friday, July 21, 2017

Yummy chicken pot pie....who knew?

It never occurred to me to order the chicken pot pie at The Sylvia.  I guess I have too many memories of soggy bottoms and tasteless fillings in the chicken pot pies I've had.  The other day when we were having dinner at The Sylvia (Jim needed a treat and steak-frites did the trick) I noticed something rather delicious looking going by.  It could have been a very large French onion soup but I know they don't have that. It turns out it was a chicken pot pie with a wonderful looking flaky top and in a pot so no soggy bottom and the server said it got rave reviews.  I had already ordered but we took a young UBC prof out to lunch Thursday and I just had to order it....chicken,  bacon, pearl onions,  and mushrooms.  It was fabulous and Judith noted it for herself for another time.  It seems her mother made a wonderful one and this looked like it might live up to it.

We had a really nice chat with Judith and it was great to meet someone so enthusiastic about teaching and her research projects.  She is certainly one busy lady!  There is some possibility  the next Aldous Huxley Symposium in four years time will be in Vancouver and she expressed interest in organizing it at UBC.  From what we saw of her today she would do a wonderful job and Jim would help of course.  Vancouver is a backup at the moment as they do hope to have it in Sanary (the actual conference would be at the university Jim taught at there) in the south of France where Huxley lived and wrote Brave New World.  I hope

Judith gave me her blog with the courses she teaches,  conferences,  projects.  I'm always on the lookout for new and different things to read so was curious about her course readings.    You can see she has her finger in a lot of pies.   I've read quite a few of the reading selections and an amazing coincidence is that one of the readings is "The Man in the High Castle" which is being filmed on Lost Lagoon!  Now,  how likely would it be that I meet someone who teaches this novel in the afternoon after I took photos of some of the set up for the filming!

Update: Jim tells me they were filming "The Man in the High Castle" last year at UBC so perhaps not so much a coincidence as she probably chose it if they were doing the filming when the course was going on.

Judith's blog.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Filming in our front yard

We noticed they painted the tennis courts a nice blue and then we saw the notice of filming so figured that had something to do with it but talking to a flagman today I think the Parks Board is redoing the courts.  The filming is taking place on the lagoon.  I was curious and took some photos.  There are lots of geese there so I imagine they'll be curious as well!

They're filming the TV series "The Man in the High Castle"

Monday, July 17, 2017

Jim's a bit better and the Blue Jays won

Jim woke up this morning without feeling like he had an anvil on his chest so although the ears are still plugged,  he's coughing less and feeling a little bit human.  We decided to treat ourselves by going to the Provence Marinaside in Yaletown and splitting a bouillabaisse.  It was excellent and just about perfect for lunch given we weren't ravenously hungry.  We lucked into getting the last outside table.   We always feel like we are just a little bit in Provence at this restaurant and the fellow we got talking to was from Provence.  I think he is probably involved in the ownership of the restaurant but Jim started getting into a coughing fit so we didn't talk long.  

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Life isn't always a bowl of cherries but...

We have been enjoying our wonderful B.C. cherries this last week or so.  When our family went camping in Penticton  it was alway in July when it was cherry season.  I ate lots of cherries.  We didn't have a lot of money but my Dad was determined to give us nice camping holidays in the summer.  The first year he bought a tent,  cooler,  and Coleman stove. Air mattresses were old inner tubes tied together (great fun using in the lake  in the day!) and sleeping bags were blankets pinned together.  The next year we got sleeping bags and then the year after we got air mattresses.  I really missed all the inner tubes that we could make rafts of and had so much fun with them.   Thinking I probably made a post like this at some point...ah well.


Especially for library lovers....

I've been following this blog by these folks who were visiting Paris.   I loved the photos and the text is interesting too.  The whole post is here:

Saturday, July 15, 2017

I just had to post this ...

From Linda,  my first friend.  We moved into the neighbourhood when I was four and she was four as well.   Since we've moved back to Vancouver,  we have had a lot of laughs and hope we'll have many more.

Building a dinosaur

I need a lift today and there is nothing like Linda's (Carol's friend) dinosaurs to cheer you up.  Jim still isn't very well and we had to cancel our birthday celebration with Linda and Cec and Donna.  There will be another time and Jim will eventually get well so we must try to keep our spirits up.

Carol posted the whole process of what Linda does....amazing!

Friday, July 14, 2017

A quiet birthday yesterday

Jim is getting better but we're glad we cancelled our plans for Whistler....altitude with his ear situation just wouldn't have been on.  We had lunch at Las Margaritas,  then Jim needed to do work on his current book project as his co-editors want to sign off on it soon,  and then we decided to have a snack and take in the music at The Sylvia.  It was particularly fun since we saw our "beach friends" who we haven't really been seeing since we haven't been at the beach.   It hasn't really been ocean swimming weather so we haven't really been missing much.   Most folks have been swimming but they are a lot hardier than we are!

This photo came up on Facebook memory from three years ago.  Richard was over and Jim was showing him his open textbook project.  So,  same old,  same old,  in terms of Jim always having something on the go...

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Jim's birthday gifts...

From me,  for the love of my life and who I've shared 50 wonderful years.

And from Elaine....another wonderful load of goodies and reminds us of our wonderful times together in France and Ireland...and Victoria,  of course.  Thank you so much,  dear friend.

Mistral Pour Homme Teak Wood soap,  Irish Whiskey Fudge,  Rogers Sea Salt Cashews,  a little flashlight....Jim loves such gadgets!

And special salts from France no doubt bought on her recent cruise which included France.   Fleur de Merlot and Fleur de Cabernet.  Special instructions from Elaine:  This salt is used after food is cooked and adds a wine flavour to meats or vegetables,  so used at table.

Sounds wonderful and can't wait to use them.

And this lovely tea towel although we won't be using it as that.  We'll find a special place for it.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Decommissioned my Harrods bag today....

I am so thrilled with my new beach bag that Elaine gave me!  It means a lot since it was given to me by a dear friend who bought it in Alicante,  Spain on her cruise and I just love the naive style cat with an interesting look.  Sly?   Come hither?  I know something you don't know?  It's large enough that I see it while I'm swimming in the pool.  Also,  I can put the bag down and still hold the handle.  It's perfect in every way!   And I got a compliment on it the first time I used it from someone in the elevator.

Here with my Paris cushion that Elaine gave me another year for my birthday and what gives me pleasure everyday.

My old bag which held great memories of London.  I cut out the Harrods logo and will keep that as a souvenir.  It was getting pretty ratty.

Happy Hour on a park bench

Maureen had a good idea to have our usual Sylvia Happy Hour on a park bench in the sunshine with our own BYOB.  It was a beautiful afternoon and on the way down I watched a bit of tennis.  It seems there was a young people's tournament with participants from B.C. and Alberta.  There was quite a variety of talent.  Some of these kids were pretty amazing players and then others were really over powered by the level of play.  It looked like everyone was having fun and that's the important thing.

Maureen told me about an "Open Door" visit she had at the Vancouver Mounted Police stables in Stanley Park.  She has seen the evolution of the horses being very accessible to people and now pretty much inaccessible.  Understandable given the times.  A young woman officer gave the presentation and had lots of interesting information.

* Officers can join this division never having ridden a horse.
* The horses are purchased from various sources unlike the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who raise their own horses,
* The division doesn't have a certain area to police and can go anywhere in the city.
* They are sometimes the first responder in a situation.
* In any situation they need to have an "out" if a horse starts behaving badly and could pose a danger to people.
*  Crowds and parades are difficult especially because of so many children who end up being close to the horses.
* Her worst situation was when her "out" was the seawall and just as she was about to make use of it she got a call that a police car was going to be speeding down the seawall answering an emergency.  It worked out in the end.

It's been really interesting for Jim and I to see these horses in action and we often hear the clip clop as they come round our neighbourhood.  Generally they are a non threatening presence but the first summer after the Stanley Cup riots in Vancouver,  we were watching the Celebration of Light fireworks from our apartment on Beach Avenue and they were a pretty strong message.  After the fireworks ended,  a row of about 8 or so mounted police cleared the crowds in front of us.  No one stuck around or asked questions.

We've often commented on what a good idea the police on bicycles are and how they provide surveillance but in a pretty gentle way.  But I imagine a group of them could present a pretty strong message as well.

It's tough being a good cop these days and I have a lot of respect for the complex skills they need and that they put their safety on the line all the time.  And as Maureen says,  the ones that just can't really do it can always be put in the "Lost and Found" department.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Itty Bitty Book Review: "My Italian Bulldozer"

"My Italian Bulldozer" by Alexander McCall Smith

I thought this one,  not part of a series,  was going to disappoint because it seemed rather "masculine" and not really quite like the style of his that I like.  His protagonists are usually women.  But I really got into it and enjoyed it very much.   What would be not to like...Italy,  food,  wine,  good characters and his usual charm and wisdom.

Monday, July 10, 2017

I started painting again Sunday

I'm not quite sure who I am channelling....not looking a lot like Monet but I'm having fun splashing paint about.  My technique is to look at some Monet images then look at the photo Carol took and then just kind of go for it.  I'm still working on the other two but I think this one is finished.

8 x 8 acrylic on canvas
July 2017

Carol's photo

My new studio with the beginnings of the other two paintings I'm working on channeling Monet.

Ursula K. Le Quin on communication

I quite liked this from Brain Pickings the other day:

"Every act of communication is an act of tremendous courage in which we give ourselves over to two parallel possibilities: the possibility of planting into another mind a seed sprouted in ours and watching it blossom into a breathtaking flower of mutual understanding; and the possibility of being wholly misunderstood, reduced to a withering weed. Candor and clarity go a long way in fertilizing the soil, but in the end there is always a degree of unpredictability in the climate of communication — even the warmest intention can be met with frost. Yet something impels us to hold these possibilities in both hands and go on surrendering to the beauty and terror of conversation, that ancient and abiding human gift. And the most magical thing, the most sacred thing, is that whichever the outcome, we end up having transformed one another in this vulnerable-making process of speaking and listening."

Why and how we do that is what Ursula K. Le Guin (b. October 21, 1929) explores in a magnificent piece titled “Telling Is Listening” found in The Wave in the Mind: Talks and Essays on the Writer, the Reader, and the Imagination (public library), which also gave us her spectacular meditations on on being a man and what beauty really means.

I think Calvin and Hobbes had some of the greatest "conversations"....

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Wild fires, wild boar....

We haven't been watching the news much lately but reading about the wildfire situation in B.C.  in today's Province was very disturbing and my heart really goes out to all those people being evacuated and  some losing their homes.  It's a really tough situation for everyone but as usual people pull together and help each other out.  It does give one hope for humanity with all the other bad news going on....why we're not so keen to watch the news these days.  I really hope there is some relief for the situation soon.

On a lighter note since I do try not to have sad and depressing stuff on my blog.  This from The Telegraph today.   We never went swimming in Marseille but had many great bouillbaisse on the side streets the evening before taking the overnight train back to Paris.

I must say the beachgoers seem pretty calm.  I don't think this would be the reaction if wild boar turned up on our Bikini Beach in English Bay!

"Marseille has long been notorious for crime, corruption and gangland violence, but the Mediterranean city’s beaches now face a new danger from wild boar.

A long dry spell has left the potentially dangerous animals desperate for food and water. They are increasingly being encountered on beaches where they snuffle around bathers’ bags in search of food. Officials warn that they may be prepared to venture closer to people than is considered safe. 

Holidaymakers exploring Marseille’s fabled ‘calanques’ — fjord-like coastal inlets that offer some of the city’s prettiest and most secluded beaches — are being warned not to approach or feed the hairy beasts. Local residents have been asked to limit the use of garden sprinklers to avoid attracting them.  "

Day of Laughter on Jim's birthday....July 13

We were going to be up at Whistler on Jim's birthday but we cancelled since one of the things we wanted to do was the Sea to Sky Gondola and that just wouldn't be a very good idea with Jim's ears the way they are.   We'll get there at some point.

It actually works out well because I wouldn't want to miss this event at The Laughing Men.  I love this work of sculpture and so many people get such pleasure out of it.   Every time we pass by there are people enjoying it and you can't help but smile too.

The artist, Yue Minjun,  will be in attendance and there will be various activities like a Laughing Yoga session.  It will be his first time in Vancouver and the first visit to his sculpture in situ at English Bay.

From the press release:

"Throughout the day, we'd also like to share the laughter with people near and far.  Strike  a pose, take a silly photo, tell a joke, let us know what makes you laugh and why it's important to you.  Share with friends and family and social media.  Tag us and we'll share it too!"

Yue Minjun

Saturday, July 08, 2017

What we did after lunch yesterday

The Bill Reid Gallery is at 639 Hornby and we were very interested to see this plaque commemorating The Cave Supper Club.  We had been to it once to see Ann Murray but it was quite famous in Vancouver for bringing in some pretty famous people,  even Josephine Baker appeared there.   

This is what the site is now....pretty typical for Vancouver in current times.

And we were also pleased to see this plaque for Jack Wasserman.  We always really enjoyed his column although his replacement,  Allan Fotheringham,  was excellent as well.  We were surprised he only lived to be 50 years old.

The Bill Reid Gallery is pretty amazing in terms of being housed in a wonderful building and also the artwork...really worth a visit.   They have a number of videos you can watch on various artists,  Susan Point being one of them.

I found these "miniatures" rather interesting and hadn't seen anything like it before.

These next two works are Susan Point.  This first one is a glass rattle.

I found these abacus pieces rather fascinating.

This piece of jewelry is by Bill Reid.  All gold and diamonds...lots and lot of diamonds!