Saturday, December 26, 2015

A Christmas Medley

Before the Season gets too old I'm sharing some photos from our Christmas experiences. These first two are from Butchart Gardens, which is a great place to go in December. All the trees are lighted up and there are carollers and strolling musicians everywhere, along with a skating rink and hot chocolate. Living in Victoria, we can benefit from an annual pass that allows us to visit whenever we wish.

On December 20 I flew over to Vancouver to visit my sister who is housesitting for a friend who lives in the West End. It was a fabulous urban experience, beginning with a flight into Vancouver Harbour and a lunch at Stanley Park's Ferguson Point Tea House, an elegant and luxurious spot.

This was the view from the front of the restaurant--freighters and sailboats in the harbour on a calm misty day. Just beautiful.

Other highlights included a trek up to Main Street, a hip shopping area with Jan and my sister-in-law LainĂ©. I found a gorgeous shirt in a designer store called  twigg and hottie. It's my first real designer piece of clothing.

Then we wandered into a wonderful place that featured retro toys and vintage finds; a real treasure. It's called "A Bakers Dozen Antiques" if you're looking for it.

Vancouver is so upscale compared to staid old Victoria. Jan and I wandered into Nordstrom's to find the designer shoe section, where she tried on some very elegant shoes with price tags around $700--and these were the discount prices!

I couldn't even get my feet into most of them.

The West End of Vancouver is such a walkable area with old houses and big elegant apartment buildings. And it's so close to the centre of Vancouver with its art gallery and business towers. 

One night we drove out to a heritage village in Burnaby featuring museum buildings from the 1920s and a carousel.

Our last evening was so special. We walked down the residential streets of the West End, past a sweet little market run by people from Iran with fabulous produce. We dined in a little Italian restaurant featuring dishes from the Abruzzo region. Delicious. This was the misty moon through the trees.

After dinner we happened on a square filled with these laughing Asian statues. You couldn't help giggling as you walked among these fellows.

This photo is another heritage treasure from the West End taken the last morning I was there.  

To get home I took the Sky Train and the bus out the ferry. It's a great way to travel in Vancouver. The message on the floor of the Burrard Station was inspiring.  I hope your Christmas season is full of magic too.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

How quickly a month goes by!

It's hard to believe that it's over a month since I've posted here.  Things got really busy for a while. Well actually things are still really busy. But I thought I'd take a moment to bring this blog up to date.
I went through some of the photos I'd taken to review the highlights. The include trips, art shows, demonstrations, photos walks, and cooking....

We took a trip to Vancouver to see my brother and his family. Here's my bro with his vintage bicycle.

And here are two of my 12-year-old niece Calla's paintings. She's a talented girl with art--plus she can figure skate.

I've rejoined my Wednesday Art group and we put together a group show last weekend.  It was fun but a lot of effort.  This is Marjorie showing some of her latest work and below her Victoria with a couple of her paintings.

I was pleased that one of my little paintings sold at that show.  And now a few of us are working on another group show for January.

On November 29 we joined thousands around the world to focus attention on the need to address global warming. There was a pretty good turnout at the Parliament buildings including my friends Liz and Sue, and this young woman with a very important message.

My photographer friend Jackie and I have taken a couple of nice photo walks, one in my area and the other in Chinatown. Here are a few images. These first two are closeups of the painted telephone poles from my Fernwood neighbourhood.

Chinatown presents some amazing photo opportunities. I'll post more from this day later.

Son Ben returned from Haida Gwaii with a box of Chanterelle mushrooms so some feasting was in order. These were the ingredients for an amazing pasta dish.  

I'll stop now because you can see I've been busy.  Now we're cozying up and getting ready for the festive season.  I'll try to do better with posting from now on.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Leaves in the rain

There's no doubt that Autumn has fully arrived. These were taken in the back yard and on the steps.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

How did I miss Richard Russo?

Isn't it great when you discover a new writer whose work really appeals to you? Especially when there are several other titles to explore. My latest find is Richard Russo, whose 2009 book, "That Old Cape Magic" was selected for our book club to discuss next month.  I really enjoyed the book. It's a traditional American story of a man in mid-to-late life who revisits memories and in doing so threatens his marriage. Russo is a great story teller and quite a philosopher too, as well as being very funny at times.

So I looked at the library catalogue and ordered a few more. It turns out he's both a screenwriter and a novelist and he won a Pulitzer Prize for his novel "Empire Falls." There are also several movies out based on his books.

His most recent work, which I got from the library is "Elsewhere" and happens to be memoir of his life and relationships. I enjoyed finding out about his life and the ways it intersects with the novel I'd just finished.

Now I"m deep into "Bridge of Sighs" and I liking this too. His engaging style and gentle pacing are just what I'm wanting now. He writes from his experience growing up in mill towns in upstate New York.  Probably you know of his work, but if not, check it out.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

A Yukon Street Hallowe'en

It's hard not to get into the Hallowe'en spirit with an apartment house full of kids right across the street.  And with a spirited witch (aka Sue) living upstairs.  Sue decorated the front porch to be spooky. The cobwebs blocked her door and led the way to the door on the right (not shown) where we prepared to hand out candy. The kids across the street couldn't wait to come and trick-or-treat here.

Here's Sue in her witch's hat vaulting over the dog barrier to answer the doorbell. The dogs including my sister's Sheltie were happy to stay in the hallway.

Here you can see some of the kids from the six apartments across the street. They are all so happy and excited. It was fun to help make their evening special. And it helped to chase my blues away.

On the left are some parents bringing their kids to join the fun. And on the right are the two kingpin mothers from the apartment, Cathy and Alicia, who put so much energy into costumes and decorating. It really was a fun time for everyone. I am so happy to live so near to these wonderful families.