Tuesday, January 31, 2017

For the victims of the Quebec mosque attack.

It is a beautiful morning today as I mourn the victims of this terrible act of hatred towards innocents.  May their family and friends and all of us find comfort in the beauty of nature and the goodness of  people.

From the balcony this morning.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Itty Bitty Book Review: "Do Not Say We Have Nothing"

"Do Not Say We Have Nothing" by Madeleine Thein

Well,  this is a pretty amazing novel and I see why it won both the Giller and the Governor General's and was short listed for the Booker.  It is certainly not an easy read and I learned more than I wanted to really know about all the horrors that took place in China with all the various "revolutions".  Of course,  all the world seemed to experience the Tiananmen Square Massacre.   Terrible events written about with amazing beauty.   Interestingly,  we have been watching "Four Seasons in Havana"  on Netflix and while it is mainly a "cop story", it does capture the lost hopes and freedom of the current generation and Castro's Cuba  as well.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Chili with biscuits

I couldn't find my recipe for chili so adapted one that seemed similar

1 lb ground beef
2 onions chopped
1 green pepper chopped
1 28 oz  can diced tomatoes
1 28 oz can kidney beans (drained)
1 16 oz can tomato sauce
2- 3  tbsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika...smoked if you have it.  I had some from Trader Joe's
1 tsp tumeric (the recipe called for cumin which I didn't have)
1 tsp salt
a few drops tabasco
1/2 cup water if needed

  1. Cook ground meat with onions and peppers.  Add tomatoes, sauce, seasonings, and water, bring to a boil.  Add beans, cover and simmer 1-2 hours.
Yum,  yum,  yum

The dough....so easy peasy..

 The herb packet in melted butter.  You brush this on after the biscuits are ready.

The biscuits!

The chili....perfect!

    2. And the biscuits were a complete breeze thanks to Linda and Costco!  I put the rest in tin foil and it will be interesting to see how they are tomorrow.

Ice Cream Social

I got a message from the Canyon Sands Social Committee that they are having an Ice Cream Social this weekend at one of the large pools.  I remember these from when we were kids...mainly to do with church I think.  I hadn't heard of the term in years.   A perfect event for a warm,  sunny Palm Springs day.

  Susan K. mentioned she saw her first snowdrop.   This is  always big news for West Coasters....Spring can't be far behind.

Friday, January 27, 2017

The half way mark...

Three weeks down and three to go.   It's been fun meeting people for lunch.  On Wednesday,  Maureen and I did the usual Sylvia Happy Hour.  It was great that it was still light around 5pm and there was a wonderful sunset over the water.  Thursday,  Susan and I met at City Square.

I had to try the calamari lunch at the Greek place.  The calamari was tender but too small and too much batter so won't be doing it again.  It was a pretty good meal with an excellent Greek salad,  rice pilaf, roast potato and pita bread.

Today,  I met Linda and Donna and we went to Original Joe's at 10th and Broadway.  Donna and I hadn't been to an Original Joe's.  We all had the fish tacos that were quite tasty but very little fish.  We had a good time and Linda brought me the mix for Red Lobster's Cheddar Bay Biscuits....wow,  great gift!  It's available at Costco.

The light was very bad for photos except for the food!

My Red Lobster biscuit mix....brought in a Princess Cruise bag.  I think Linda must be up to over 50 cruises now.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Baking powder biscuits

I've been thinking about making baking powder biscuits since I bought this new package of baking powder.  Then Linda brings these wonderful biscuits to Carol and Dave's Sunday....Red Lobster biscuits....very yummy.  Then,  on Tuesday,  Carol V. posts her experience trying to duplicate her mother's baking powder biscuits.   She includes the recipe in this post:

Carol grew up on a farm and so heavy cream was always available fresh from cows.  This recipe takes 2 cups of cream.  No wonder they are good and I can just imagine they were absolute heaven when made from cream fresh from a cow.  One of the best things I ever tasted was fresh cream from a recently milked cow.  My mother's baking powder biscuits weren't so good.  In fact,  my father often referred to them as "Kill Me Quicks".   Well,  they were made with powdered skim milk...no wonder!  She used this for baking after unsuccessful attempts at getting my brother and I to drink it.

Here is the recipe for the Red Lobster biscuits....healthier I think because buttermilk (which is quite low fat)  is used....although the cheese may neutralize that.  I will have to try both recipes!

These copycat biscuits are so easy to make in just 20 min, and they taste a million times better!


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, garlic powder, salt and cayenne pepper, if using.
In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk together buttermilk and butter. Pour mixture over dry ingredients and stir using a rubber spatula just until moist. Gently fold in cheese.
Using a 1/4-cup measuring cup, scoop the batter evenly onto the prepared baking sheet. Place into oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.
For the topping, whisk together butter, parsley and garlic powder in a small bowl. Working one at a time, brush the tops of the biscuits with the butter mixture.
Serve immediately.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Happy Robbie Burns Day!

I opened my computer today to receive a lovely message from Jim's cousin,  Maureen,  to wish us a Happy Robbie Burns day and to tell us about a trip she's making to Scotland with her sister and her husband in March.  It sounds wonderful and a great way to start the day!

We spent many great times with the Curlings celebrating Robbie Burns at the Union Club.  Now,  John,  I do expect to see a photo of you wearing Jim's kilt today!   I believe these were the terms we agreed on :)

Monday, January 23, 2017

A wonderful sunny day here in Vancouver....meanwhile in Palm Springs...

I really had to laugh at this fellow who floated in a rubber duck down a flooded street in Palm Springs yesterday.


I took my good camera with me today and took some photos of the mountains I see (well,  when it's not raining)  as I walk into the Cancer Agency.

I finished fairly today so I suggested we drive up to Horseshoe Bay to have lunch at C-Lovers.  Our usual yummy "Ultimate Platter for Two"  and mushy peas.

Nice to look at the ferries and not be waiting for one...!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Great afternoon with Linda and Cec and Carol and Dave!

We had a super long lunch and visit today.  Thank you so much,  Carol and Dave,  for  hosting.   We have had this planned since the first week in January but the weather predictions made it too uncertain for driving.    Good food and good friends.  Carol,  Linda,  and I have been friends since we were four years old and we're now all lurching towards being 70 years old...how did we get that old?  We were reflecting that no other age milestone really had any particular meaning but somehow 70 hits you.

The boys...

The girls...

The food...very yummy chili.  I used to make chili quite a lot but somehow forgot about it.  I will be making it soon!


This is a very cool publication that is worth reading and supporting.  It always has something of interest and you can get them to send you a weekly newsletter that arrives Sunday with the best of the week's articles.  I found this article focusing on some thoughts of Carl Sagan in today's newsletter especially relevant to current world events.


Saturday, January 21, 2017

Jack Knox is always good for a laugh

I enjoyed today's column in the Times-Colonist.  


Jack Knox was always one of the best things about the TC.   And I get a free copy of his book,  "Hard Knox" because Grace edited it.  Richard forgot to bring it when he came for dinner the other night but I'm really looking forward to reading his old columns.   I know I've missed quite a few when we were travelling even though Elaine sent me TC clippings  (before Internet access was everywhere) and always included Jack Knox's columns.

What is really cool is that Jack gave a really nice tribute in the book to Grace as his editor.  Usually,  she doesn't even get an acknowledgemet for her editing work.

Las Margaritas today

We had lunch here today and they had a special dessert offering of hot chocolate and churros.  We usually don't have dessert but my tortilla soup was rather thin (and just after I got off the phone telling Nicki it was the best in the world...)  so we got one order to try.   It was pretty good but nothing like the  chocolate drink and churros we got in Spain in 2010.  The chocolate drink was very thick and rich and the churros unbelievably good.

Jesus introduced us to this great dish when we were in Grenada.

I decided to post these photos of a paella we had at a beach cafe in Nerja since they were in the same blog post.  The sun did peak out a bit today but nothing like the warmth of that November day!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Obamas finally arrive in Palm Springs

Looks like we're not missing much in terms of weather in PS!  

This from the Desert Sun...

"About an hour before rerouting to Riverside, the Obamas' plane circled the valley for forty minutes, attempting to land at the Palm Springs airport twice, according to air traffic control transmissions. Other flights were also delayed or cancelled due to the weather. By late morning, low clouds covered the valley, high winds rocked the area and rain flooded the streets of Palm Springs."

All Pho's are not created equal...

I met Susan K.  for lunch today at the Food Fair before my treatment and we decided to go with the Beef Pho soup.  I had only had this once before from a place on Denman.   It was fabulous.  Not so this one.  There was something that looked like beef but chewy and tasteless and then a lot of "mystery meat"  as Dick refers to it.   Well,  I won't be patronizing that kiosk again.  I think I might get brave and try the calamari that's on offer at another one.  I will be surprised if it is any good since I'm pretty fussy but you just never know.

It was fun to see Susan and we had a good chat.  She lucked into a great day for walking!

Kin's Farm Market at City Square

I really like the way they have this one set up and the people are very friendly and there are always free samples on offer.  I tried persimmon the other day and bought one.   I had never had one,  probably because I was completely unfamiliar with it.  I will be buying those again.

I had to make two trips out yesterday since I had a bone density scan at Vancouver General.  It's also an easy walk from City Square.  It was at the Jim Pattison Pavillion.  There was a lot of interesting artwork on the walls as there is everywhere in the hospitals and the Cancer Agency.  And there is going to be more...especially therapeutic art.  More on that in another post.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A busy day....

Jim was having lunch with Dick today so I went to the Food Fair at City Square before my treatment to have lunch.   I chose my meal based on which kiosk was doing the most business and wanted to try something I had never had before.  Teya Grill had the biggest line up and I chose Beef Yakisoba.

This is my beef being cooked up fresh...a lot better than choosing something from a warming oven.

Then at the Cancer Agency the cart that supplies free tea and coffee for patients and their caregivers came round.    I had a lovely cup up Earl Grey tea.

Then to The Sylvia to meet Maureen.  We always have a nice chat and who couldn't like The Sylvia on a rather gloomy day although the rain did stop and a bit of sunlight was peaking through while we were there.

And then Richard came for dinner.    It was great to see him.  He's had a bad cold so wanted to be well before he visited.   We had home-made burgers and peanut butter cookies.  Two things that we used to have a lot at home when he was growing up.

As usual,  Richard got dragooned into helping Jim with some tech issues.

At least he was rewarded with a Guinness tie I bought at a thrift store in Palm Springs (and the got some extra cookies to bring home).

The Little Pleasures of Paris

I found a couple of other things I didn't know about before I read this lovely book Elaine gave me for Christmas.

French postage stamps...the famous Matisse that we have in Palm Springs and that was in our villa in Carqueiranne in 2005.

The other thing is that there are lots of skating rinks that pop up around Paris during the winter.  I guess we've never really been to Paris in the winter.  If I had known this we may have torn ourselves away from the south of France to take a look.  The Eiffel Tower has one...this is literally so cool!

From the 15 December 2016 to the 19 February 2017, the ice skating rink will be located on the 1st floor of the tower and features the colours of the World Ice Hockey Champions.
Once again this winter, the Eiffel Tower welcomes all those who want to ice-skate and have fun, 57 metres above ground, overlooking all of Paris. What's new this year? A genuine ice hockey rink (a little smaller naturally!) and a glimpse into this sport which will be be taking centre stage in Paris next May.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Modernism Week

There will still be a few days of Modernism Week when we arrive Feb. 23 so I've been looking to see what's available.  There was a biking or self-driving tour of doors and I was going to get tickets for that but then I thought there just might be something online for free and there was!  Now we can do this anytime.

I've posted a few but go to the link to see the rest.


And I've got tickets for this free event....can't beat free!

West Elm Home Tour


And I've registered for this free event as well.  We pass this church all the time and it will be interesting to see the Sanctuary.