Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Bye Bye 2014 Blues: Wednesday, December 31st!

The only way human beings can win a war is to prevent it. -George Marshall, US Army Chief, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, Nobel laureate (1880-1959) 

So nice to receive your call last night! And right as we were enjoying cocktails with our kids at the Fleming's happy hour. So a quick review of what we covered briefly on the phone:

This was our third Christmas in Dallas, after Ruth's move here in Spring 2012. During that time, I've been the primary commuter - taking Megabus or driving with the dogs every Thursday night for a long weekend in Dallas - though Ruth comes down once a month to keep up with "Girls' Night Out" in San Antonio. I still have the garage apartment in San Antonio, which though it consists of one small room (with bed, kitchenette, two sofas, a TV and a stereo) is the envy of all my male friends. ESPN and potato chips, with a steady dose of Dave Mathews Band.

I had a bunch of great things happen to me in 2014: the publication of my third book (a textbook which I shamelessly force students to read, and buy!), and receiving a Fulbright (an award sponsored by the State Department representing American "soft diplomacy") - which I have carried out in Taiwan while on a leave of absence from Trinity. The program I have helped to design is a new International College in Taiwan, and its promising start has convinced the presidents of the two universities for me to spend each of three falls in Taiwan, with springs in Texas. Ruth and I miss each other, though, so we made a point to see each other once a month during my time away.

Our dogs Cassie and Max are our steady companions, and Ruth has benefitted from my being in Taiwan. The dogs love us unconditionally and go wherever we tell them to, unlike our ungrateful children.

Speaking of whom, Miranda turned 24 and after two years working in Houston she began a PhD program in Psychology at UT Austin. She won a Powers Presidential Scholarship and has a 4.0 GPA after her first semester, continuing her nearly flawless record from Rice. Adrian is a senior at Brown, majoring in Materials Sciences and Economics, and though he has struggled to get to 3.0, the Engineering major should make him competitive on the job market, which he will enter in earnest in the coming months. Last summer he did an internship for an airplane design and remodeling company, and they want him to come back - but he is keeping his options open (his girlfriend may influence his job setting decisions).

I am looking forward with eager anticipation to turning 60, but otherwise I'm sane and relatively healthy. My doctor is also my drinking buddy so he kind of keeps me in line. Ruth does not look a day over 40. Hope you all have fun activities planned for tonight (we are the first stop of a progressive dinner for some of Ruth's work-mates), and hope the world becomes a safer and more loving and accepting place in the coming year. Happy new year! Randy

Hi Patrizio! As always, thanks for the photos. Still recovering from the shock of possibly not seeing you again once you move away to Saskatchewan. However, good for you and we certainly will stay in touch. Happy New Year and all the best in your BIG MOVE in 2015. CC

Last ride of 2014! What a splendid day for an outing. Out to UBC, via Marine, and then did the Iona Loop. Huge orange sun setting as I rode past campus on way home and its last rays illuminated the windows of the city's buildings, turning them into golden jewels. The mountains were spectacular, cloaked in ermine and diamonds, snow and the lights of the ski runs. What an auspicious way to begin the countdown! Healthy New Year to one and all!

Hello Patrick and Corinne Thanks again so much for your call.  Great to hear from you.  Saturday January 3rd would be great and we wondered if you would like to come for dinner at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.  If dinner won't work then come for afternoon tea/happy hour 3:00-or thereabouts.  Let us know what works for you.  Would love to see you.

In the meantime enjoy a great New Year's Eve! As ever Hop along and side kick,
Jo-Anne and Colin

Hi Chester and Side-kick! Trust your ankle did not keep you from enjoying the countdown to 2015! Better your ankle than your elbow, some might say! Thank you for the lovely dinner invitation which we would be more than delighted to accept. We'd like to contribute to meal so please let us know what we might bring. Since Mme Coriandre is gluten, (and Patrizzio!), intolerant, perhaps a dessert she is able to eat, or some appetizers or a salad of some sort. Let us know. Your wish is our command! Time of 5:30 pm is perfect so thanks again.

One of main reasons I didn't send a reply sooner is that I didn't climb out of bed until 11:00 am this morning! Heavy poundage laster evening! After a hot bowl of Rosie's latest, delicious soup, ("Seaweed" according to ultra-picky Chloë!), I suited up and went for a ride. Had hoped to start earlier in day but better late than never so I set out, warmly dressed, for UBC, via Spanish Banks. Knew it was going to be the last ride of 2014 so I planned to make it a 100 km. 

Distance 101.45 km | Time 4:52:13 | Speed 20.8 kph | Elev Gain 343 m
What a splendid day for an outing. English Bay was picture perfect with a mirror surface and anchored freighters everywhere. Once at UBC continued on Marine to take Cambie Sky Train Bridge into Richmond where I did the Iona Loop. Retraced my Marine Drive route and was treated to a magnificent, truly gargantuan, fiercely orange sunset, the fiery, haloed globe sliding slowly beneath the horizon as I rode past campus residences. By the time I was back along Spanish Banks its last rays illuminated the windows of the city's taller buildings, turning them into golden, winking jewels. The mountains were spectacular, cloaked in ermine and diamonds, snow and the lights of the ski runs. What an auspicious way to begin New Year's Eve! Stats for ride:
While I was cycling, Cora Lee and Chloë went for a long walk. They drove to Jericho and then strolled along the beach although we didn't bump into one another. I wasn't home until just before 5:00 pm and then I was immediately harangued to shower and change for dinner. We had arranged to spend a relatively quiet evening with Clara and Dusty, sipping and dining and playing bridge. We had been invited to join Clan Sutherland for festivities in Coquitlam at the home of Kid Chelene and Beckster but didn't really fancy the drive. 

More importantly this will probably be the last New Year's Eve with Clara and Dusty, here in Vancouver, as they will be giving up the suite next door when they return to Winnipeg this April. They are beginning the process of thinking about selling their home at Falcon Lake and making plans to move into a suite in Winnipeg. Clara turns 90 this month so the upkeep of the large lake property is becoming more burdensome. Dusty celebrated his 90th this past May and he isn't as keen to tend his huge vegetable and flower garden to the same extent as in the past. He's now happier painting pictures rather than weeding and cutting grass!

Watched some of the various New Year's Eve programs on TV, bringing in 2015 in Times Square! Wished each other a Healthy New Year and then Clan Durston said goodnight. A bit of tidying up and then we sat on couch, sipping malt, (The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, Cask 33.63, 58.2%, a lovely drop, I must say and perfect for the occasion!), chatting in front of fireplace, about the proposed move and the possibilities that abound. Certainly a New Year ahead!

At any rate, look forward to seeing you both on Saturday. Let us know what you'd like us to bring and we'll plan accordingly. Cheers, Patrizzio! Pics: The Sisterhood Selfies and bridge last night!

Hi Patrick, It's been a while but hope you had good summer vacation in Manitoba (was it somewhere else? Sorry but I cannot remember) Anyway, it's super short notice but Colin and I are hosting the countdown party at our place from 9pm tonight. If you and your wife can join us, that'll be great. If you look for me on Facebook, then I'll send you the invite with details.

Our address is on West 7th Ave, between Pine and Burrard. Our unit is the west end corner which has own door, not through the main entrance. Anyway, hope to see you there!! Yumi Yamagami

Hi Yumi and Colin! Thank you for the lovely invitation to your "countdown" bash last evening. Sorry we were not able to accept as it would have been loads of fun, I'm sure. Sorry I didn't reply sooner. No excuses but plenty of reasons! At any rate, look forward to seeing you both at some point in the not too, too distant future. Healthy New Year to one and all! Cheers, Patrizzio!

Hi Patrizio! As always, thanks for the photos. Still recovering from the shock of possibly not seeing you again once you move away to Saskatchewan. However, good for you and we certainly will stay in touch. Happy New Year and all the best in your BIG MOVE in 2015. CC

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Edible Donna Maria Heraldo Blues: Tuesday, December 30th!

In religion, faith is a virtue. In science, faith is a vice. -Jerry Coyne, biology professor (b. 1949)



noun: A test used to make sure that a human is using a system, not a computer program. The test typically involves reading distorted text. 


An acronym of Completely Automated Public Turing Test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. The Turing test is named after Alan Turing, a mathematician and computer scientist, who proposed that a computer could be considered intelligent if, while interacting with a human and a computer, someone could not tell which is which. A captcha is a kind of reverse Turing test. Earliest documented use: 2001.
Chloe Alexis Dunn Corinne Durston you are now tagged with getting a puppy!!! I'll let Car2Go for now!!
  • Carol Riera Nana cannot move to the country! I'm counting on them being there when I move back to Vancouver one day!!
  • Patrick James Dunn The die is already cast. Mme Coriandre already purchased a new bed for the guest room in The Naramata. You and Brunello can be the first guests to stay, Chooch!
  • Patrick James Dunn Chloe, you'll need Car2Go even more now!
Hi you Two! Are you really moving to Naramata or did you invest in a summer place?  Are you keeping false creek??? Hi Chooch! You know what Mme Coriandre is like when she decides something! This message, sent to close friends, Lynne and Peter, says it all. So there you have it! Cheers, Patrizzio!

James Murray, first editor of the Oxford English Dictionary
reviewing crowdsourced quotations
Photo: Wikimedia
Hey paprika, Beautiful photos and flabbergasting news! Very exciting stuff but sad that just when I think we will be moving back to the area, you guys will be moving out! Good luck with it all and keep us posted! xoxo 

Hi Chooch and Brunello! Glad you liked the pics! As I see it, we will now have the opportunity to swap homes in the country and have both couples stay with Chloë when in Vancouver! Cheers, Patrizzio! 
Up at 7:30 am as I wanted to spend time at the gym before we met Donna Maria and Heraldo for brunch. Walked over to FCCC after a bowl of Clarisse's delish broccoli curry soup and elliptized from 8:35 am to 9:45 am for 70 minutens worth of burnage: 1015 calorifics over 3.3 milos! Back home for a quick mug of java, shower and change of garb. Famiglia Martini was already seated when we arrived at 11:05 am! Had a lovely brunch, chatting animatedly all the while. I ordered my favourite, QUEBEC DUCK POUTINE: duck confit, Quebec cheese curds, duck gravy, two sunny side up eggs. Fabulous indeed!

After brunch we walked them back to their car and they handed over a couple of bags of household items that they wanted to donate to Urban Thrift. Included was a complete set of pretty high end cutlery so when Cora Lee mentioned that Chloë needed a new set they insisted that we offer it to her. They had been cleaning their son's apartment over the course of their stay this visit and Jeff gave them all the "stuff" he felt he never used. Thanked them for the lovely brunch and waved goodbye. We hope to see them again, between the 11th and 14th of January when they are back in Vancouver prior to leaving for Hawaii for a month. 

Back home to start packing away my fridge magnets as Mme Coriandre says they have to go before we start to "show" the Islay Inn!

Hi Jo-Anne and Colin! Lovely to chat, Jo-Anne, although was saddened to learn some of the distressing news about Richard and Pamela, and of course Pat. Please pass along warm regards and best wishes to everyone when you have a chance to see or otherwise communicate with them.

We'd love to come over to see your ankle and poke and prod it! Saturday, January 3rd, seems like the first date that works for us. Following Monday and Tuesday, January 5th/6th, are fine as well. Let us know and we'll plan accordingly. As I mentioned, h
ave included, (below) the following, from Al Soroka. Cheers for now. Patrizzio! Pics: Brunch today.

Hi Peter and Lynne, thanks for the positive comments about our plans. I agree there are lots of pluses. We are meeting with a real estate person here soon, just setting that up. I've been talking to Gil Sazbo. I'd been looking at places online and had to sign in. So I guess after a few times he follows up with a phone call. He will be sending listings tailored to our specs. I'm sure the other people are great as well.

I've started to edit our stuff so the place does not look so cluttered.
Have bought some big storage tubs and will rent a storage unit near here.
We are going up on January 14. Will stay at the Summerland Lakeside resort for 14 &15. Mom and Dad are coming with us. That will give us some idea of what places really look like and where we want to be. Look forward to seeing you one of those nights. Let us know what works for you, Hugs Corinne 

Hi Donna Maria and Herardo! Lovely to have had the opportunity to enjoy such a lovely meal and animated chat with you two. As I mentioned, I gave Jo-Anne a call and we had a great catch-up for almost an hour. She would like us to come over so I told her we'd love to see her ankle and poke and prod it! Travel safely. Healthy New Year to you both. Fondestos from Mad Packer Cora Lee, de-cluttering as soon as we returned from GI: all my wooden toys are now in a large plastic tub but none of her shoes! Cheers for now. Patrizzio! 

Hi O Susannah, Champagne Charlie, Gladys Knight and the Pips and The Penguin! Lovely, lovely evening everyone. Thanks for such delicious appetizers and wonderful meal. Will have dinner with Clan Durston this evening and play more bridge. Cheers, Patrizzio!

Hi Corinne, We're still pinching ourselves about your plans. If it will work for you, please all of you come to dinner on the 15th. Come early if you like, so the parents don't need to stay up so late.

You might even want to include Summerland in your search, even though it's further from us. It may give you some extra choices. It's funny, Lynne and I were out driving today and got the impression that there are fewer For Sale signs than in recent years. Perhaps that's just a function of winter. Looking forward to seeing you, Peter

Thanks for the invite, my parents stay up later than we do so you don't have to worry. They don't like to eat too late so if we come around 6 would that work? There are places in Summeland but so far have not seen anything that has appealed to me. What can we contribute, maybe later you can let us know? Have a great New Years Eve. Hugs Corinne
Hi Lurkin' and Dom Jugos! Let me echo Cora Lee's appreciative remarks for your more than kind and helpful response to our planned move. Much to say and think about but perhaps best left until we are actually in The Naramata in a few weeks. Thanks as well, muchly, for lovely dinner invitation. Will be in touch, well beforehand, of course. Be great if we could play a few hands of bridge with Clarisse and Dusty while Mme Coriandre and Lynne discuss Sisterhood matters!

Enjoyed the snaps of the Annual Naramata Spirit of Christmas gathering. Guess I'll have to start improving my bidding skills or Birgitta won't let me join DBC! You forgot to mention cycling, only reason I want to re-locate!
Cheers, Patrizzio! Pics: Bridge on Sunday night, (O Susannah and Champagne Charlie with Gladys Knight and the Pips/The Penguin, mother/daughter, and brunch today.

Had a rousing evening of bridge. Sarge and Flamin' were up for dinner, (Rosita's turkey hash casserole, my pan-fried zucchini and mixed saladin), he stayed to play after Flamin' went back downstairs and Cora Lee headed to the bedroom to read. I partnered with Rosita and we had most of the cards, much to our opponents' displeasure. In order to dull their pain Wayne brought up a bottle of rum he'd picked up at a small batch distillery he discovered on their last trip to Seattle, this past weekend when they went to see the Seahawks play. Family has six season tickets so usually two of their offspring, with mates, drive down, sometimes for a weekend, other times just for the game. At any rate, we managed to drink most of the bottle and as a result I didn't crawl out of bed until 11:00 am next morning! 

Patrick, I didn’t mention cycling because it doesn’t really matter what you want anyway. The main thing is that Corinne will be happy. Let’s hope the Valley is big enough for us both. Jugos, Patrick, PS – a bridge game on the 15th would be great. Peter Corinne, 6 would be fine, and I’m sure you don’t need to bring anything but yourselves. Hope the real estate hunting goes well. Funny thing, I went on the MLS listings to see what was around out of curiosity. It was no more than 10 minutes later that Gil Szabo called! I told him all I wanted from him was to find you a nice house. XXX Peter


Monday, 29 December 2014

Betwixtness: Monday, December 29th!

The love of one's country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border. -Pablo Casals, cellist, conductor, and composer (1876-1973)

Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Prosciutto Bites

50 Ways To Eat Brussels Sprouts All Day, Every Day

Patrick James Dunn Paul Simon ate them before he wrote 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover!

Hello Swedish Twins! Trust you enjoyed a wonderful Christmas! Must apologize for not sending along a thank you message sooner, not only for the wonderful gifts of Linie Aquavit, (Matured at Sea in Oak Sherry Casks, no less!), and the Rain or Shine Mulled Wine ice cream,  but also for attending our Open House!

Roasted Sweet Potato With Brussels Sprouts
Thanks again, Lads, for coming to the Open House and the generous gifts! Be great if we can have another visit before Fjord Man returns to Oslo. Give us a shout and we'll plan accordingly. Cheers, Patrizzio! 

Stats for today's ride:

Hi Lynne. Happy Holidays to you and Peter. We are looking forward to seeing you in Palm Desert as well. I have some news. Patrick and I have decided to sell and move to Penticton/Naramata area. Hope you would be too shock by this. I have been wanting to sell for awhile and that is the only area Patrick would consider.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Sweet Chili Sauce
We are in process of finding an agent and have already been looking at houses in the area online of course. But will come up in a couple of weeks with my parents and stay in motel for a night to look at property. I really want a house again. I'm tried of condo politics and living. So maybe if you have time we could have a visit. Off to work in Friends of VPL office. Talk soon, Love, Corinne
Hi Corinne--It's way too early for April's Fool Day … so what you're saying about a move to The Naramata must be true. I must say I am surprised but also anticipatory-ish. Could it really be? If you are looking for a good agent who knows the area really well you should get in touch with Craig Henderson and/or Julius Bloomfield. They are part of Team Bloomfield who all work for Royal Lepage in Penticton ( 

We'd love to see you while you are here searching. Just let us know when you'll be around. Petey should go to the Island at some point before we leave for Palm Desert to visit his brother Bill who had serious hip surgery just before Christmas. Other than that we are chez nous until we leave for PD on or about the 24th. We're planning on taking our time and visiting some friends for a couple of nights along the way. Our rental starts on January 31st. I'm still a bit flabbergasted at your news. Flabbergasted and pleased too, of course. Cheers, Lynnie XOXO

P.S. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas with lots of good cheer and good company … as we did. We're mostly recovered now and I actually went to a fitness class this a.m. I feel great now but think I will be stiff tomorrow.
Hi Corinne and Patrick, Move to the Okanagan? Are you out of your minds? Think of all the awful things you’ll have to put up with: Money left over after you upgrade from your condo to a really nice house; No traffic; Lots of volunteer activities to get involved in; Gardens that practically grow themselves; Wineries; People to drink whisky with – see attached photo of the gang at the annual Naramata Spirit of Christmas gathering, plus the photo of the hosts of same; Visitors from the Coast; A partner for the Penticton Duplicate Bridge Club (Birgitta will be thrilled!) We’re really excited about this plan – hope it comes true. Peter 
Patrick James Dunn The Rio's bulbs will be refurbished! Bravo to all those who supported this campaign!!

Light Up the Rio Theatre for Christmas! Help us light up East Vancouver by restoring the Rio Theatre's historic neon sign!

Hi, Patrick: Hope you received and had a chance to look at the photo gallery that I created of the party last Tuesday.  I think that I sent it at almost exactly the time that you sent the message below -- so they crossed over in cyberspace. Glad to hear that you had a good Christmas and a nice Boxing Day ride.

I am still getting over cold bug and have been very low energy, though still managing some pleasant diversions . . . went to see The Theory of Everything.  (Tomorrow: Mr. Turner; Friday: The Imitation Game).   Today:  a 90-minute massage at 5 p.m.!!!!!!  Yesterday: annual Christmas visit with Chilliwack friends, a connection that goes back to library school days in Halifax. 

On the threshhold of the New Year, I am reluctantly anticipating a campaign to recover a healthy weight -- I am the heaviest I have ever been AND have not been getting sufficient exercise.   At the ripe old age of 56 (!!!!) I find that my body is far less forgiving than it used to be. In the summer, I walked home every day, which helped at least a bit, but I gave it up when it started getting dark early (fair-weather walker).   I'd happily bike commute, as the distance to Dunbar is extremely manageable from here -- the problem is that I am really and truly very nervous on the bike.  I am not the most coordinated person and my space-awareness isn't finely tuned.  Maybe when I am more physically fit, I'll be a little less daunted. Meanwhile, I am actually thinking of engaging a personal trainer which, although expensive, would probably be very motivating. 

I am so interested to follow along as you build your itinerary for India.    And as previously threatened, I do have photos from my 2013 trip that you have to see!!!!!   If we can arrange a get-together along those lines in January, I could also get my cutting board and cookie-container at the same time.   (There should also be a baking tray, which I used merely to balance the several items as  I brought them to and from the car). Hope to see you soon.  Happy New Year! Love to all at the Island Inn. Janet

This is mainly Pat's work, I am mainly in the background, watching soccer.
Happy New Year to you all - and lots of HEALTH!!! Amos & Pat
Hi Patricio, Thanks again for having us to your fabulous open house! Had a wonderful time and enjoyed seeing the family as well as all the other interesting people on the list of attendees.

Been having a very nice time at the cabin for Christmas as well, Colleen's parents, my Mom and my Dad's cousin Bernice came and stayed at a cabin we rented up the street as we had Maureen and Jeremy staying at our place so there was "no more room at the inn". We had a great Salmon dinner on Christmas Eve and a bounty of various Christmas goodies before after and in between!
Had an interesting day yesterday as I took our friend Steve Street out for an ATV ride and went.out to a beautiful beach area by the River . Unbeknownst to me we.were actually on an ice covered Beaver pond and I crashed through and was up to my waist in the icy water. To make a long story short I spent about an hour and a half wallowing in waist deep ice water with winches and boards to finally free the machine and towed it back to the cabin. I will fill you in more later. 
I hope the scotch is one you like and I will look forward to having a.little taste with you as I'm not sure exactly what that one tastes like. Glad to hear to hear you have been for some good rides and I look forward to getting out on some soon. Take care and thanks again for the great party. Cheers, Al

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Pitchfork Penguin Blues: Sunday, December 28th!

Remember when life's path is steep to keep your mind even. -Horace, poet and satirist (65-8 BCE) 

Hi Janet! Trust you enjoyed Christmas with friends and family. Must apologize for not sending along a thank you message for all the wonderful baking you so generously brought to our Open House, sooner. The poor Gingerbread Boy is slowly being dismembered but seems to have adopted a very stoic attitude to the loss of various limbs! Sadly, your tasty cookies have not fared any better and all our belt buckles need loosening!

In spite of all the gatherings and festivities I did manage a wonderful ride on Boxing Day, after Corinne left for Bellingham with Ayn and Los Horridos. (They left at 11:30 am to make sure they were able to cross border in time for their 2:45 pm flight back to Tinsel Town. All went well but did take them just over an hour to enter US.) By the time I was ready to leave it was clsoe to 12:30 pm so I didn't think I'd be able to log as long a ride as I'd thought I'd might but decided I'd make for UBC anyway and then take Marine to Cambie Sky Train Bridge. With a few dipsy-doodles I knew I could have about 35 km on the clock by then so a reasonable round-trip of 70 km. However, day was so mild that I changed my mind and made for Iona even though, by so doing, I knew I would be cycling home in the coming dark if I choose Marine rather than Cambie on return leg.

So I did just that and was very pleased at the outcome. I was back close to Wesbrook Village as the light was starting to fail. Since I had my LED lights flashing away I wasn't worried on that count. Furthermore, there really was very little traffic so, by and large, I had most of the roads between UBC and home much to myself. I guess many folk were inside enjoying leftovers from Christmas dinner! Anyway, I pulled up at our parkade around 5:45 pm. Mme Coriandre had gone downstairs to visit with Clan Sutherland after she had returned from airport run and I bumped into her as I was just about to put my bike back in the storage room. She had arranged for Clara and Dusty to join us for dinner so we , ourselves, enjoyed the above mentioned "overlefts"! Last night we ate at their place and played quite a bit of bridge over the course of the evening. The Sisterhood were quite fussed as Dusty and I had all of the cards, winning two quick rubbers and then a game before they could take no more punishment!

I have the cutting board on which GBB happily resided until rudely shunted to one of our plates so need to know how to return it, along with plastic Christmas tree cookie container. No reason not to re-use it as it is intact. Not quite sure what weather has in store for us today. Some rain and snow as far as weather forecast predicts so I think I'll head over to FCCC to use elliptical before the four of us head out for dinner and bridge with friends, Susan and Charlie Pitchford, (aka O Susannah and Champagne Charlie Pitchfork!). Other mutual friends, The Penguin and Gladys Knight and the Pips will make up other pair. Should be fun as S/C have their own small travel agency so they distribute all sorts of promotional items, (key chains, note pads, re-usable shopping bags, bath-tub cruise ships, and the like), as bridge prizes. Quite a hoot horse-trading prizes at the end of the evening.

Coriandre just sent a message to Vishal about our revised trip plan so once she hears from him I'm sure she'd like to have you take a look at what he has to say. Perhaps we could even have a meal with bridge, here, if your schedule allows. Anyway, let me know what you think. Thanks again for coming to Open House and bringing such wonderful desserts. Fondestos from Cora Lee, trying to finish her overdue library book, Tanya French's Secret Place! Cheers, Patrizzio! Pics: Christmas Eve at home and then service at Canadian Memorial; Christmas morning.

Hi, Patrick and Corinne: I hope this finds you well and that you had a happy Christmas!    We had a nice family Christmas -- smaller than usual, as my brother and his family were away in South America.  From my point-of-view, it was an ideal pace,  as the bug that attacked me around the time of your open house subsequently escalated, and  I wasn't feeling at all well through until . . . today, really.

Notwithstanding, I really enjoyed your party -- thanks for inviting me.  Such a diverse and congenial group of friends and family.   It was interesting to catch up with Ayn after so long.  And the last time I had seen her boys was when they were little munchkins.  Not any more!    Good to see Chloe, too, and it was a pleasant surprise to run into Paul and Joan.

I've created a small online gallery here (16 photos): Island Inn Christmas Party.

Adobe online galleries are a really easy way of sharing photos (as opposed to numerous attachments) but the photos cannot be saved or downloaded.  If you send me the numbers of specific photos (from 1-16) I'll be happy to send you the digital files, though. Best wishes and Happy New Year. Love, Janet

Hi Donna Maria and Heraldo! Trust you enjoyed a wonderful Christmas! Must apologize for not sending along a thank you message sooner, not only for the wonderful gift, but also for attending our Open House. Yesterday, along with Clarisse, we took in The Imitation Game and it was superb. See it if you can! Know you two are probably pretty busy but if you have a moment before you head back to Terrace we'd love to see you again.Thanks again for coming to the Open House and the stupendous Port! Fondestos from Cora Lee. Cheers, Patrizzio! Pics: Christmas sweater! 

Hi Marilyn and Big Al! Trust you enjoyed a wonderful Christmas at Sunshine Valley Paradise! Must apologize for not sending along a thank you message sooner, not only for the wonderful gift of malt, Big Al, and heartfelt note, but also for attending our Open House. Great that Maureen could join party! Thanks again for coming to the Open House and the stupendous malt!  Cheers, Patrizzio! 

Hi Sylvia and Raymond! Trust you enjoyed a wonderful Christmas! Must apologize for not sending along a thank you message sooner, not only for the wonderful gift, (Cora Lee and I had a tasty glass of the Reserve Tawny last night while watching the first episode of The Knick with Clive Owen. Have you watched it?), but also for attending our Open House. Cheers, Patrizzio! 

Wasn't quite sure what weather had in store for us on Sunday. Some rain and snow as far as weather forecast predicted when I first looked so I thought that I'd head over to FCCC to use elliptical. However, although sky was still fairly overcast by noon it looked like precipitation would hold off until later so I headed out to UBC. Really glad that I did as it turned out to be a lovely outing with even some patches of blue peeking out behind the heavy cloud cover. English Bay was quite calm and I always delight in the freighters against the horizon and the backdrop of the mountains.

Had we not been invited out to dinner and bridge later that afternoon I'd have been content to keep riding until the sun went down but was, nevertheless, pleased with the three hours I'd been out. Stats for ride:

Home for a quick shower, (Cora Lee and Chloë had gone to see The Theory of Everything and enjoyed it immensely.), and change and then along with Rosita and Dusty, the four of us drove over to the home of friends, Susan and Charlie Pitchford, (aka O Susannah and Champagne Charlie Pitchfork!). Other mutual friends, The Penguin and Gladys Knight and the Pips made up other pair. Was loads of fun as S/C have their own small travel agency so they distribute all sorts of promotional items, (key chains, note pads, re-usable shopping bags, bath-tub cruise ships, and the like), as bridge prizes. Quite a hoot horse-trading prizes at the end of the evening. Mme Coriandre had top score, fitting revenge for night before!

Pat, Many thanks for the invitation to your Open House. Glad the port is to your liking. Traditional to drink in England along with a piece of Christmas cake.
It was good to see Wayne looking in such good health. With his reduction in weight, he might be healthier than he was previously.

Managed to get a ride in Christmas Day to Steveston meeting Pete at the bridge past South Terminal. It was quite mild and we enjoyed an easy ride. Once home, old friends dropped in with 3 of their 4 sons which turned out to be a very enjoyable visit. Watched a Christmas card on-line this morning at a friend's house. It was called 'Elf Yourself' and family heads were transposed onto dancing elves - extremely funny. Must look into it for next year.

I don't know of the TV shows you mentioned. I never seem to have the time to watch TV other than the odd rugby game. My reading has been quite slow of late with all the social activity. Best wishes to you and Corinne for 2015. Ray

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Rio Bulb Blues: Saturday, December 27th!

Where it is a duty to worship the sun, it is pretty sure to be a crime to examine the laws of heat. -John Morley, statesman and writer (1838-1923) 

MERRY CHRISTMAS Dear Friends Sorry for being late this year, but Hey! I am old!! My eyes have deteriorated a lot since last year, so the card thing is no longer possible. Hopefully I will get through this without too many mistakes… Now that the sympathy seeking part is over… Hi Guys.. how are you?
I had a pretty good year, a ;ot of laughs. A little travel and saw laots of friends. I spent a week in Montreal in May with my good friend, and movie mate Steve. My Dear friend Marion Holoboff visited for a few days this summer. She is amazing.. never ages! In October I took a cruise to the Mexican Riviera with old friend Jim Cameron of Kamloops. It was my first cruise, but hopefully not my last. We had a super time.

The rest of my time is spent with friends and relatives here, eating , small day trips and of course a couple of trips to visit my dear friend Norma on PEI. I would be lost without her (and her lobster dinners.. heehee)

I hope that you all had a great Christmas and that 2015 is kind to all of us…. Remember that when you go to vote, scratch off the other names and write mine in.. I will fix every thing..Love to all and I hope to see you all soon. Bill

Politically Correct Holiday Greetings: Seasons Greetings from ………….,

I wanted to send some sort of holiday greeting to my friends and relatives, but it is difficult in today’s world to know exactly what to say without offending someone. So I met with my lawyer yesterday, and on his advice I wish to say the following:

Please accept—with no obligation, implied or implicit--my best wishes for an environmentally-conscious, socially-responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday practiced with the most enjoyable traditions of religious persuasion or secular practices of your choice with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all.

I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2015, but not without due respect for the calendar of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make our countries great and without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishees.

By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms: This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/him or others and is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. The wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.

Warmest Regards and even love (without prejudice) Name withheld (Privacy Act). You know who

Friday, 26 December 2014

Boxing Day Blues: Friday, December 26th!

If I have ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been owing more to patient observation than to any other reason. -Isaac Newton, physicist, mathematician, and philosopher (1642-1727)

Stats for ride:

Christmas Day Blues: Thursday, December 25th!

If you pray for rain long enough, it eventually does fall. If you pray for floodwaters to abate, they eventually do. The same happens in the absence of prayers. -Steve Allen, television host, musician, actor, comedian, and writer (1921-2000)

The Guide to Buying Booze in Canada

Dear Los Horrido #1! Thanks for the fabulous Stocking Stuffer, Xavierino! Now your Nana and I are set to travel right across the country without ever running out of hootch! Love Porch Climber Poppa!

Waterwheel Petit Verdot  Bruichladdich Barley 2004 Warrabilla Durif

Christmas Eve Blues: Wednesday, December 24th!

The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. -George Orwell, writer (1903-1950)  

Thanks for your email.  Hope you enjoy a great Christmas! Chloe looks happy in her work and the hampers are well needed for so many.

I had tried to call you when I broke my ankle as I wanted to find out about the scooter that I remembered Corinne had when she had her foot surgery.  Didn't manage to connect and I did not leave a message.  I did manage to get a small wheelchair from Kathie Shoemaker and that has helped a great deal as using crutches has been pretty tiresome. The ankle will get better but it is a long haul and very frustrating.  Colin is bearing up well but it is so challenging in so many ways and really wrecks up the holidays.

Chloe Alexis Dunn Merry Christmas from East Van.....
Eric is home for Christmas -- rather tedious for him with me so immobile but a Godsend for Colin as he has a bit of company at least. John was home during my ankle surgery at the end of November.  He and Yulin are in Ecuador right now -- Quito then a bus trip to the Amazon.  Sounds very interesting. Keep in touch -- let us know if you are up to coming over for a short visit would love to see you. Nice to see Dawn and her husband in your pictures. Have a great time with your grandsons and Ayn
Please send out lots of love and good thoughts for Tip and Jim Placzek--Pat their 34 year old son has leukemia and is in VGH having a bone marrow transplant.  Dan is older brother is the donor.  The hope is that Pat's body will not go into rejection.  This really is a last resort. Anyways please know our warmest wishes and lots of hugs are enclosed. Jo-Anne and Colin

Just In Time For the Christmas or Chanukah Turkey – A Turkey Tip: Cut a lemon in half and place under the skin of the turkey before roasting for a Christmas meal the family will still be talking about next year !

Patrick and Corinne, Thank you for the wonderful party! It was so nice to be invited to your nice home and meet all sorts of new people, (including a Chinese/ Swedish budding librarian!). I had a great time, ate and drank too much but I suppose that’s what makes a good party.

I hate to think of the clean up but you have a house full of burly big men who can help. And, thank you Patrick for the pictures from my party. Have a wonderful Christmas and all good things to come in 2015! A move, maybe? Liisa

Merry Christmas, everyone! Thinking of you all, near and far, from our first Sunshine Coast Christmas. Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy 2015. Love to all. 

Enjoyed Dim Sum at the Pink Pearl and then did a bit of shopping for stocking stuffers at the Gourmet Warehouse. Once back home I suited up and headed out to UBC, via Spanish Banks, as it was a simply glorious day, sun shining blindingly, and I wanted to work up an appetite for Christmas Eve dinner: Clarisse's borscht with sour cream before attending Canadian Memorial. Beth conducted a wonderful service and then we all returned to our place to finish meal: perogies from Alinka's, a cabbage/ground meat casserole by Mme Coriandre and fried mushrooms. All sorts of Christmas baking for dessert so a veritable feast indeed! Clan Sutherland departed around 10:00 pm and rest of us lined up to fill stockings. Once Ayn and Chloë had been Santa's helpers they returned to the loft. Rosita was next and then Cora Lee and I made the rounds before heading to bed to read until just after midnight. Stats for ride:

Dusty didn't join us, (although he very generously paid the bill!), as he refers to the meal as Dumb Sum! In fact, I think he was just as happy to stay at home and paint and have the odd rum and coke! After the more than tasty, delicious, filling meal, we took a few snaps with Bob and Doug Mckenzie, the real-life brothers mimicking the  TV brothers on the stage at the restaurant. At the Open House Brian had given us a number of toques and The Lost Burritos mimed being Canadian to the delight of the other tables in the busy restaurant!