Friday, August 31, 2007

New Whoreleans?



we finaly made it here after 12 hours of travel. our luggage took another 20 hours to get here...

I'm not taking my computer with us. So these pics are from last year... Hmmm, looks like we had a very good time!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

stuck

you know that guy over there? the one playing with his phone? guess what? its me!

i've stolen the husbands phone while we shit, er, sit on a runway in austin tex-ass.

we were headed to new orleans. weather closed the dallas airport. now its been an hour and they've announced an additional TWO more hours before they consider taking off to go to dallas.

we are now those people you read about in the news. no idea if we will even make it to new orleans tonight. bugger.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

NYC vs. NoLa

I was thinking about what Rachel said in the comments of the last post. How the city of New Orleans is raising property taxes (and probably giving all sorts of corporations tax breaks to bring them back) to be able to run the city. That the city needs tourists to come and visit and leave lots of money behind.

Remember New York after September 11? It was our patriotic duty to go to Manhattan and spend money. Do your Christmas shopping. Eat at a restaurant. See a Broadway show. The Republicans even held their convention in New York City.

You don't hear any of that regarding New Orleans. You only hear about crime.

I think it has to do with some very manipulative people out there in our government. The tragedy in NYC was "terrorists" and the more people that went and saw ground zero the more fired up we as a nation would be to attack "the enemy".

What if all those people saw what happened in New Orleans? Would they be angry enough to attack "the enemy" of that tragedy?

I think the Republican convention should next be held in New Orleans. I think they should be forced to stay in private homes and see exactly what is going on.

New Orleans

On August 29, 2005 Katrina landed in New Orleans.
This is how it still looked at the harbor one year later.

We love New Orleans. We went for the first time in mid-August about 15 years ago. What were we thinking? MID-AUGUST!? I remember vividly how when you opened the door to the outside the steam would roll into the air conditioned room. Being from a colder climate, I was fascinated to witness the reverse of my entire life's experience.

When we first met our friend Vida, who was from New Orleans, she told us about a party that "you boys" would enjoy that happens in September. She was referring to Southern Decadence. Basically Gay Mardi Gras in September. It took us over ten years to take her up on her suggestion.

Our first Southern Decadence was in 2004. We had such a good time. It's not just the gay Mardi Gras atmosphere, but the city with its shops, restaurants, history and the amazing people we met along the way.

We had our tickets to return for Southern Decadence in 2005. Then along came Katrina.

We missed that year. But we headed back last year.

We decided to support New Orleans with cash. Lots of cash. We ate as much as we could. We drank a lot. We tipped generously. We bought with abandon. We had to pay extra to get our luggage on the plane home. Luckily they only weighed the luggage and not us.

And now another year has gone by. And so we've been starving ourselves for weeks to better fill our gullets with amazing food from The Louisiana Bistro, Coop's Place and Cafe Du Monde.

We arrive Thursday in time for dinner.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Trying something new...

Blogger just added a new feature that allows me to post video! Oh the horrible things I can show you now without having to place things on Youtube...

But I am not certain how it will work, so here is a video of a woman working her mojo for all its worth from our recent trip to Vancouver... I should mention she is wearing some fierce heels in a blacktop parking lot that has a slight incline.
video

Mostly because I just had nothing interesting to say today.

Friday, August 24, 2007

What's that on your head?

Today on Carolyn's blog she wrote:
I have never seen anyone take advantage of a photo op like Jim. Here is what it must be like to walk down the street with Jim.

Carolyn: "So then this stupid bitch in my Bible study starts to talk about her big old King James and...

Jim: "WAIT!!! There's a huge pyramid of oranges over there! Take my camera!"

Carolyn: "WHY? I was just getting to the part when I opened my jacket to reveal my "Jesus is my Homeboy" t-shirt!"

Jim: "Whatever! If I stand in just the right way, I will totally look like Carmen Miranda!"

I take probably 100 photos A DAY when I am on vacation. Not all of them are things on people's heads. But many are. No one is safe from my critical eye for embarrassing pictures.

Here's how it really happens:

Jim: Ha-ha-ha... that's a funny story. Now just stand over here.

Carolyn: Why? Are they lowering a piano from a crane above?

Jim: No. Don't worry. A little to the left, little more, now stand on your tip toes... (click!)

Again, No one is safe!!!
My dad at Hollywood & Highland with an elephant on his head.

My friend Robb in Shanghai.

My friend Rachel at the Summer Palace in Beijing.

Lyle in Cozumel during Carnival.

It's not always things on heads however. Sometimes, you find yourself driving through Southern Alberta and you see a perfectly good opportunity just waiting for a photo at a rest area. Perhaps it's a rest area that has an exhibit. An exhibit on the natural wonders of history and fossilized bones of creatures that lived many years ago. And it comes to me, as if in a dream, with just the right positioning, and just the right camera angle, I could have the most amazing picture for my photo album. (click on it to see it larger) I promise you, this one is not photoshopped in any way...

Mugger

Poor Lyle. This is who he lives with.

I just can't help myself...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Hot. Hot. Hot.

It's been very warm here for a couple weeks now. I am not complaining. I like it hot. I can even stand the humidity. I'm not always a fan of the kitchen, but that's off topic.

With clever training from my mother who does not like the heat, I am able to keep the house cool by chasing the sun across the sky all day.

Before I go to be, I leave the front windows of the house (we face East) all open but close the curtains. The evening air gets in and cools the house, but when the sun comes up the greenhouse effect doesn't begin.

By 10 am I have closed up the house except for the very West end. This is to trap all the cool air in, and keep the warm air out. All windows get closed and draped get pulled. This is my special cave ambiance.

By Noon, the sun is overhead. I can open the very East curtains for light. The very West windows get closed as the backyard is now warmer outside than in. The air is only being moved by the ceiling fans.

By 3, the front of the house is now hotter inside than out. It has born the brunt of the sun all day, but now is in the shade. I open the windows and let a breeze in.

By 5, it's time to open all the windows, but keep the curtains pulled shut to keep out the hot light and let just the wind blow through.

At 6:30, the sun has gone behind the trees in the back of the house. All windows and curtains are open. Time to take the dogs out for a walk and let the house cool.

Midnight, I start it all over again.

And you guys wondered what I do all day?
Cooper likes to run.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Moving Pictures

I'm not a huge movie going fanatic. There I said it. As a child I couldn't fathom why my parents didn't want to see every movie that came out nor ride every ride at the dirty rotten carney that came to town twice a year, I swore I wouldn't become old fogies like them. Now it turns out I do still like really big roller coasters but dirty rotten carnies are no longer my thing. Neither is attending a movie.

I still enjoy movies. I just enjoy them at home. We have a VERY LARGE screen television. We have surround sound. We don't have any babies or sticky floors. It's nice at mi casa.

So there is one theater that I will go to. The Arclight Cinemas attached to the Cineramadome.

When they started, it was all about a premium experience. Pay more! But get more! There are NO COMMERCIALS at the Arclight. I like that.

Regular admission is $11.00 except for Friday and Saturday nights after 6pm and Sundays before 6pm and Holiday Periods when tickets are $14.00. You can purchase your reserved seat in advance, print them out at home and proceed directly to your movie of choice.

As a "member" (signed up for e-mails) I get $1.00 off Regular price and gain points towards free stuff.

From their website: "ArcLight discourages bringing small children to films they won't be interested in, and children's prices not available for R rated films or for infants under 2. Because ArcLight is an all-reserved seat environment, infants must be ticketed and are charged adult prices." And this keeps the theater a little quieter.

At full price on a Friday night for two of us to go to movie here with no discounts (but we would be gaining points) it would cost us $30.

They also feature reserved seating, better than standard snacks and have a full bar. Parking is $2 for the first 4 hours with validation.

Another theater near me is at the Grove. They do not have online ticketing. The tickets need to be purchased by a third party who adds a "convenience" fee. On arrival, you need to queue to get your tickets. Once you are inside, the theaters are smallish, no assigned seating, and they have numerous commercial before the previews and film finally start.

Ticket prices at this theater are $12.75. If you buy online you add $1 service fee. Then the parking is $4 for 4 hours with validation.

For two of us to go here on a Friday night and sit through commercials and get no loyalty program points, it would cost us $31.50. Only $1.50 more? And for such an awful experience? Why so crabby?

OK, you caught me. I hate people. I hate stupid people. Slow people. People who speak loudly. People who eat popcorn behind my head. People who talk during a movie. People who have to pee. People who can't drive. People who must have never left their home before and hove no idea how one of those "parky tower buildings" work. You catching up with me here?

Last year I missed seeing the Harry Potter Theatrical release in a full theater because it didn't come to the Arclight. I saw it first on a plane then in my house. This year, same scenario. If I was gonna see "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" IN a theater, I'd have to brave THE GROVE. Ugh.

In spite of the theater, I really enjoyed the film. Though parsed of a lot of the book plot, I didn't really notice it as I read and forget quite quickly. It makes re-reading books so much fun. "I wonder what happens?!" I thought you read that book already. "I did, but I can't remember!"

Another movie I got to see recently was "The Simpsons Movie". I am a huge fan of the TV show and was ever so thrilled that this movie came to my beloved Arclight. I enjoyed it from the opening of Homer in a multiplex, to the closing humor over the credit roll. My only wish was for more of that precious angel Ralph Wiggum.

One more film and I'm all out. Playing at a theater very near my house (the Showcase) was "La Vie En Rose". I am a happy comedy pleasant ending type of movie goer. I have people that pre-screen movies for me and tell me if I can go. The monkeys in "The Wizard of Oz" gave me nightmares. Still can. I just can't do unhappy.

Well, shit if Edith Piaf's life story wasn't the most miserable event ever to take place in France in the last century. I swear there may have been at least two or three happy moments in her life, but it seems the filmmakers cut those out for a faster paced miserable fest. To be fair, I had no idea going in. Like going to see "Titanic" on Broadway, I had hoped for the sunny side of the tale. Who lived? Who survived? I enjoy Edith Piaf music and you know I love France. What's not to enjoy when the two are put together?

Now, if you can stand all the misery, I actually do recommend going to see it. Marion Cotillard absolutely inhabits the role (and that's the only way to describe it, INHABIT, not acting) is unbelievable. Perhaps that was why it was so sad. Oh, and the film is French with subtitles. And has a very French non-linear way of story telling. Oh, the French!

Oh, and the reason I was able to suddenly break out and go see all these movies? Because I was too sick to go to the gym and too tired to argue about not going to my beloved Arclight. people around me just made decisions for me and I got in the car and rolled with it. Thank you people!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Everything test

Uh, this test thing has messed up my template. Since my computer drives that hold all my music and photos are not working, I have to find things to amuse myself on-line. I got this test via jay+gay=me.

The Everything Test.

There are many different types of tests on the internet today. Personality tests, purity tests, stereotype tests, political tests. But now, there is one test to rule them all.

Traditionally, online tests would ask certain questions about your musical tastes or clothing for a stereotype, your experiences for a purity test, or deep questions for a personality test.We're turning that upside down - all the questions affect all the results, and we've got some innovative results too! Enjoy :-)

You are more emotional than logical, more concerned about others than concerned about self, more atheist than religious, more dependent than loner, more lazy than workaholic, more traditional than rebel, more artistic mind than engineering mind, more cynical than idealist, more follower than leader, and more extroverted than introverted.

As for specific personality traits,
you are slutty (79%),
romantic
(71%),
horny (64%),
intellectual (63%).

Stereotypes
Prep
(100%)
College Student
(73%)
Young Professional
(70%)

Life Experience
Sex
(27%)
Substances
(22%)
Travel
(56% )

Politics
Your political views would best be described as Liberal, whom you agree with around 79% of the time.

Socioeconomic
Your attitude toward life best associates you with Upper Middle Class. You make more than 97% of those who have taken this test, and 57% more than the U.S. average.

If your life was a movie, it would be rated R.

By the way, your hottness rank is 79%, hotter than 96% of other test takers.

TAKE THE TEST?

Okay, how can I be 79% slutty, but only 27% sex experience? This is like those horoscope readings that just keep saying contrary things to get you to agree.

With that in mind, it did nail me on the 100% preppy, though I am not 73% a college student. Then it gets that I am Liberal, and duh, most of my friends would agree with me.

As for my life being rated R, I was really hoping for an artistic NC-17 but you just can't fight the review board. I think it told me I was 79% hot just to get me to post it. It worked.

Then I just needed to double check and discovered that I am actually

Quelle disappointment, not even PG-13!!! The irony being that this blog got that rating because I used the word "ass" once - as is "big Ass Sunflowers" and the word "sex" twice - which would count even if I was writing a Christian pamphlet that said "no sex before marriage". Now I just want to write some filthy words and have it evaluated again... Cause you know I need a higher rating for my big ass gay gay gay blog!

Made it.


And just for irony's sake, I put in the address of a nice Christian woman I am friends with here on-line, Carolyn. Be sure to check out her blog, it must be exciting because here is her rating:

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I have been ill (je suis malade)

Since our return from Vancouver I have had one nasty sore throat.

So bad it was, that I went to my doctor. He took a culture and also gave me some antibiotics. I've been on them for almost a week now and am feeling much better, thank you.

I think it was trying to fit a month's worth of fun into four days. No one can survive that... but wait, maybe I can...

So while the illness is pushed from my system and I have lain low, this song has been stuck in my head.



And though the words are in French, I took the liberty of doing a little translation. I had no idea the words were this harsh!

I do not dream any more
I do not smoke any more
I do not have even any more history
I am alone without you
I am ugly without you
As an orphan in a dormitory
I do not want any more to live my life
My life ceases when you leave
I do not have any more life
And even my bed is transformed into quay of station
When you go... I am sick sick completely
As when my mother left the evening
And that it leaving me only with my despair...

Wow. Remind me to not get that stuck in my head again.

Monday, August 13, 2007

In a pickle?

Dear Jim,

Cucumbers! Cucumbers! Cucumbers!
I can't keep up with them anymore!!! I refuse to cut the plants out of the garden. I refuse to open a stand on the side of the road. all my friends have had enough and my husband is sick of taking them to work. WHAT CAN I DO? Signed, In A Pickle

Dear Mrs. Pickles,

Perhaps you could cook them up in some fashion?
From the right, a regular large canning jar containing only a part of one LARGE cucumber. This will be good for hamburgers as I can just slice once and have a pickle piece large enough to cover the entire bun. In the middle is the large Tupperware pickle container which has about 5 cucumbers in it. The final monstrosity on the left is a piece of Tupperware large enough to hold a loaf of bread. All the rest of the cucumber went in there.

I didn't have to locate all the jars of the world because these come from Lyle's refrigerator pickle recipe.

bring to a boil in pot on stove.
1 quart vinegar
3 quarts water
1 cup of salt

Place in container
cucumbers
2-3 pieces of garlic (or more, depending on size of container)
fresh dill (Lyle's measurement, "some". I put half a bunch [store bought measurement] in the jar, a whole bunch in the middle container, and a two bunches in the giant container)

Pour boiling hot liquid into container (I used the baster). Seal container. Bring to room temperature on counter. Refrigerate.

Ready in a week.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Big Assed Sunflowers!

Remember when I was talking about how huge some of the sunflowers in my front yard were getting? Well, all good things come to an end. Above, that's my rear end. Some of those puppies got not only bigger than my head, but also bigger than my butt!
We've started the harvest. Not because I'm going to dry, roast and salt my seeds (that sounded dirty!) but because the flower tops are puling the stalks over and the yard is starting to go all jumbled. Not the yard I envisioned. Very tidy is what I seek.

I will however, be saving a number of seeds for re-planting. I have greatly enjoyed my time with my sunflowers.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Vancouver final day & departure

Here's some ramblings and more that I may have left out before.

I think these fairy princesses were the same folks who wore the fabulous pink frocks two years ago. Can you imagine, Halloween twice a year, and in the summer, people would applaud your outfit!

On our final morning in Vancouver, we got up and went out for coffee... no wait, we stayed home and had coffee! It was shock to my system as well.
I think I spent too long at Gay Pride the day before as this outfit seems totally "gay" to me... wait a minute, I packed this from home and fully intended on wearing it just like that... nope, I was gay before I left home.

Robb & Lewis needed to do some work things (even though Monday was a holiday in British Columbia), Lyle and I got out of the way and took a walk along the water. Everybody was out. Young, old, gay, straight, dog, child, bike, rollerblade and skateboard... all out and about on a lazy holiday Monday.
Lyle lets the Granville Street Bridge rest upon his head...

Robb & Lewis met us down by the water and we had our final coffee together. You knew we'd have coffee again before we left. (this one was THREE blocks from the condo. Across the street from yest another Starbucks.)
Apropos of nothing, my petite friend Cathy and I recreate my photo opportunity as Shrek and Florence Henderson.

As the husband had to go through immigration to renew his visa we knew we needed to allow some extra time. Since it is normally 2 hours in advance for international departures, we allotted 3 hours. Then since there was no one at the airport in line, the whole process took ten minutes, leaving 2 hours and 50 minutes to kill in one of the world's most boring international departure terminals. UGH.
After three days of a knotted stomach (cause you never know with U.S. Customs and Immigration) the hubby pigs out on a rare Canadian delicacy, a Tim Horton's Maple glazed doughnut.

Our flight from Vancouver to L.A. took about two and half hours. Once we got to L.A., we were early and they had to wait for a gate. Then the luggage took an eternity to arrive at the claim check. It took so long that Alaska Air was forced to make announcements (three times) letting people know their bags were ACTUALLY coming in the next five minutes, no make that five more minutes, no wait it will be about five minutes more... From the bags to the shuttle bus, to the car park to the cashier and voila! We had no been on the ground longer than we had been in the air and we weren't even home.

Glad to be home. Happy to be with the dogs.

Other observations about being in Vancouver:

We took a Prius taxi. Tree hugging hippie Vancouver has quite a few of them. There was enough room for three of us to sit in the backseat together.

We met a woman in the elevator and she used the term "carbon footprint" in casual conversation. And also mentioned that we all needed to watch ours. (Could she tell we owned a Range Rover?)

The recycling program for cans and bottles in the city is to have a caddy on the outside of public trash cans where you can leave the items that have a deposit paid on them and other people come by, pick them up and take them in for money. Recycle and give homeless people a job at the same time.

I am totally looking forward to attending the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver even though I hate the winter up North. I've already made my condo reservations with my friends in advance.
Our view from the 34th floor for four days.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Vancouver Day 3

We are ready for Gay Pride, but is it ready for us?

Sunday - Gay Pride in Vancouver. Are you starting to see why I might be tired? We got up and went out for coffee. (there's a reoccurring theme here) Then breakfast. Then to the parade. Friend's of our friends had rented out a Japanese restaurant, Black Tuna Sushi, at THE corner of the parade. Davie and Denman. We were on the second floor, removed from the crowd, and able to drink copious amounts. Well, others were able. I just had a couple glasses of champagne.

The Pride parade in Vancouver is like nothing I have seen in Los Angeles or New York. It's like a hometown parade with better music. Sure it starts with the required dykes on bikes, but instead of black electrician's tape or stickers over their bare bosoms, they just have bare bosoms. It's legal for woman to go topless in British Columbia! Because to require a woman to cover her breasts and not a man to cover his would be sexist and Canada is very P.C.

Mixed in between convertibles with this dignitary or that tanning salon came the local bar floats with go-go boys in their underwear. Here's a question worth posing for all occasions, why is it that the people you most think should be seen naked always have their clothes on and the people you most think should have their clothes on always want to be naked? Yes, next came the Nudist society.

In the midst of the parade were the political statements, "9-11 was an inside job" "Overthrow the Bush monarchy now" and then came the national leader of the NDP party. That last one was a big deal. Sort of like having one of the candidates for President walk in the Gay Pride parade. Welcome to Canada.
There's Robb & Company up on the second floor at Black Tuna, post parade.
Following the Parade, we walked along the water towards the festival. Here's a funny thing, to get into the festival in Los Angeles, you have to pay about $15. You can get a wristband with your ID that says your over 21 and then drink all over the festival, no limit to how much you can consume. At the Vancouver festival, it is all open. No fee to get in, no fences. But the Beer Garden was separate. Again no fee to get in, appropriate ID for drinking age (19) but then you can only buy tickets for up to 5 drinks at any time. (as opposed to LA where you can buy enough to quench an army and its horses providing you brought that kind of cash).
You may have already guessed, Robb & I went to the Beer Garden. Lyle and Lewis went home. The drink choices were beer, cider or wine. Who would drink wine on a hot day at a gay dance party? Robb did. But we got our dance on anyway (oh yeah, I was drinking beer. That happens about twice a year in my world). The music was well received but they never, never, never played anything from a year past 1993. WTF? Suddenly there I was, THAT drunk girl at a bar going, "Why can't they play Umbrella!? I wanna hear Umbrella! That's my sooooong.... Umbella-ella-ella!" She's always so pretty and popular isn't she?
This man was, as you may have guessed, part of the Nudist group that had marched. In the photo above he is wearing a grocery sack to cover his, uh, sack. It was a clear bag and you could see all the produce he had in his, uh basket. This is the most I had seen him in all day as he had previously been on teh dance floor sans sack.

Lyle had made a reservation for 8 pm for dinner at the restaurant where we had had our wedding reception 2 and half years ago, the Parkside. Oh my goodness, the food, the food, the food. I can only remember mine as the day was getting a little hazy after 9 pm...
I started with the frozen Cosmopolitan. Cranberry sorbet shaken with vodka and a splash of lime. First course, the foies gras parfait, served with mini-toast (naturally) and a sweet fog compote. Second course brought the first bottle of wine and my porcinni mushroom risotto, then my main course of Duck confit and another bottle of the red wine. Finally I was torn between the lemon souffle crepes stuffed with ricotta cheese and fresh strawberries or the chocolate torte. I went with the souffle crepes as did most of the table. Then the waiter brought out an extra chocolate torte (with whipped cream!) for us all to share. Once again, something that rarely happens occur ed, I couldn't finish my dessert(s). So amazing.
We walked all the way back to the condo. Which means that by now I have crossed the West End of Vancouver north to south and east to west. More than once. All that walking and I've failed to mention the BLISTERS on my feet. I brought the wrong shoes. They'll be the right shoes soon enough, but here's a tip worth remembering when you travel; don't take brand new shoes. Oops! One of us had to give and it turned out it was my heals.

Tomorrow (in this recap) we head back for home (cause we've already made it home).

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Vancouver Day 2

Saturday - We got up early (yes, I think 9 am is early) and went downstairs to the coffee shop on the corner that didn't require crossing a street, Triggiano's Caffe. Robb's mum and aunt Diane met us for brunch. We dined at Nu, which used to be Riley Cafe, which used to be Andersons, which used to be... suffice it to say it's in a great location on the water and we seem to go there no matter what they call it. Brunch was gorgeous, as were the people and the view. Compliments of the restaurant, an "amuse bouche" arrived before our meal that was a mini croissant and a tiny mug of hot chocolate. A delicious and lovely touch that I wished I could order as my entire meal.

After, we finally got to see Robb & Lewis's new condo that they are preparing to renovate. I can't wait to see my new summer home in Vancouver when it's completed. We did a very speedy tour of Winner's (the Marshals of the North) and then it was time for Robb's mum to go home and me to get a nap. The funny part of the Winner's tour was it was Robb & I who were aching to get our shop on and his mum only came along reluctantly. Fast forward to 45 minutes later and mum is the only one making a purchase as Robb and I droop there empty handed.
Lewis needs a sever caffeine injection while tries (but fails) to give him the bunny ears.

Instead Lyle and I got coffee downstairs from the condo at the shop across Davie street called Coo Coo Cafe. C'mon, there is coffee on every corner! Literally, EVERY CORNER. IF we had wanted to, there was another coffee shop downstairs across the street to the West, one of a chain called Blenz. There were also two Starbucks within two blocks to the East, one after another, in the same direction.)

Saturday night we went to a friend's house back in Kitsilano and they served dinner on the rooftop deck. It looked like an ad for gracious living in a gay magazine. "Say yes to expensive champagne, you've earned it with your attractive friends," type of ad.
After dinner just the four of us walked to the water (uh, half a block, those dinner friends have a great location) to better view the fireworks over English Bay. The Symphony of Fire lasts for two weeks. The first three nights of competition are solo competitors. The final night is a selection of all three then a grand finale presented by the sponsor. We were there for the finale.

Most people go to the beach early and stake out their prime viewing spot starting around 4 or 5 in the evening for a 10 pm show. We walked down at 9:50, leaned against a fence around a pool until 9:59, then moved forward to the back of the crowd at 10. We were 6 rows from the waterfront. Someone else had brought a radio so we scooted closer to be able to hear the music that went with each performance.
I think we can all agree that firework photos are boring after the show. But since this is my blog, I get to post them anyway. These are my greatest hits. Click on the photo above to see it bigger.

Fireworks take my breath away. My favorite part is the BOOM that pushes your chest in. In my book, the closer to the launch zone the better so you can really feel the boom.

After fireworks, we walked all the way back to the West End of Vancouver. About a 2 miles. I have a theory that I normally adhere to, outdoors is a place you pass through when you get out of your car at valet and have to get into the mall. Walking is what you do between stores. Was this my life this weekend?

We did not go out Saturday night. (close your mouth, it happens.)

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Vancouver Day 1

I am exhausted.

Thursday - we arrived almost an hour early. There was NO ONE in line at immigration. Our bags were already on the carousel when we got there (it's a LONG walk from your plane). For Dinner we went to a restaurant called Fiddlehead Joe's down on False Creek. Walkable from the condo. We got seated in a corner by the kitchen. At first I was a little put out. That corner was a tad smokey! But oh, that smoke smelled good... and since I was already inhaling it, I had the burger. Robb & I went out after dinner. To stun our viewers at home we were headed to bed by 12:23 am (I took special note, it was that early).

Friday - Lyle and I got up early (you know, 8:30 am) and went for coffee at Cafe Artigiano. Beautifully done coffee and so tasty too! The Frommers guide lists it as a "must do" and there must have been plenty of people who read that as the line was OUT THE DOOR the entire time we were there.
We took a walk along the seawall down to the rock sculpture. Out in the bay was the firework barge waiting to blow its load on Saturday night.
This is the beach at English Bay. The next night it would be teaming with about 300,000 people. (okay, they are spread out all around the bay, but you get the idea.)

As we were fully expecting summer, but did see clouds that morning, we had on long pants but they were white. AS we left coffee, it began to rain. RAIN!? I had numerous choice words for rain on my lovely August weekend and NONE of them can be written here.

So we ducked into a covered mall. Saw the new Holt Renfrew of Vancouver (for those not in the know, Holt Renfrew is a bit like the Neiman Marcus of Canada. The Vancouver store recently moved from being about a quarter of a block, to becoming an entire block. 4 stories.) The old location seemed to have a healthy mix of price points. The new one, mostly just the top end. We were disappointed. There is an odd thing that happens in Vancouver, it's hard to find color. All the gray, black, brown and navy you could ever want to own is readily available, but good luck on finding something bright. (as if to prove that point, our friends kept telling us how easy we were to spot on the street, Lyle in white pants and blue white and red polo, me in white pants and an bright orange polo.

We toured the city by foot for the rest of the day. Gastown in Vancouver used to be cute and touristy. Then it went down. Way down. Now it is on its way back up. Cute trendy overpriced shops are springing up all over. We also stopped at a great restaurant called Salt. The entrance is down a dark alley and the only indication you have arrived is the banner hanging overhead. If you turn down one alley too soon, you are likely to run into a dumpster diver or two asking for spare change. See, Gastown is in transition!

Friday night we met up with Cathy and Graham in Kitsilano. Enjoyed hearing about their trip to Paris and Germany, then off to our favorite Greek restaurant in Vancouver, Acropol. This is where we held our rehearsal dinner the night before our wedding. We love it there and make the effort to go there on every trip to Vancouver. Once again, we walked to the restaurant then back to Cathy & Graham's.

After all that, I went out with my friend Neil and we did manage to balance the early karma of Thursday night with a 4:30 am return home time. But what a fun time I had. I ran into two more friends while out. Another Neil and my friend Jay. As we entered the bar, I said, "I ALWAYS run into Jay when I go out here. ALWAYS." But then he wasn't there! About 2 am, finally,. JAY! I swear, if I hadn't run into him, I would have been home much sooner. Yes, I blame Jay. And beer. I never drink beer. Gin, yes. Vodka, yes. Beer, no.
This is the view from Fiddlehead Joe's. Where the Granville Bridge support comes down is where we will have brunch tomorrow, Nu. Above us (you can't see it, so stop trying to look up) is the Burrard Street bridge. We will walk across that Saturday night.

Home again, home again jiggety jog.

Wow am I grogged over. After 4 days and nights in Vancouver I was so looking forward to my own bed and puppies.

As we were having our last coffee on Monday, Robb looked me in the eye and said, "Stay another week." I had to return the gaze and tell him, "I can't. I'm just too tired."

If you know anything about me, you then know that you will never hear that from me.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Gay Pride as well...



I won't have time to get my pics uploaded away from home, so these are two of my favorite photos from Vancouver Pride 2005.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Fireworks for Friday, er, Saturday...

This weekend is Symphony of Fire here in Vancouver.

My photos of fireworks are never this good.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Off to Vancouver


It seems like for the rest of the year we are to be gone the first weekend of each month.

First weekend of August and we are headed for Vancouver, BC. I grew up an hour south of Vancouver. I love this city. In the summer. Hate the winter. And the Spring. Falls sucks as well. But god, I love the summer in Vancouver!

I have the entire weekend planned out and it all revolves around friends and food.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Produce(d)

It seems like just yesterday we were talking about a giant zucchini... After keen detective work we added up the facts and discovered who was on the counter gnawing at the giant gourd.

Lola is completely motivated by food.
Cooper is motivated by toys and the outside world.

Lola is never satisfied with her portions.
Cooper sometimes turns food down.

Lola does not often get caught up on counters.
Cooper is often told to get down.

Lola had a full belly when we got home.
Cooper had a normal belly when we got home.

Lola had green stuff around her mouth.
Cooper's mouth was normal and smelly.

Lola can be quite vindictive.
Cooper is not that clever.

Judgement: It was Lola who got on the counter and ate at the side of the zucchini!
Lola surveys the world and all its food which clearly belongs to her and her alone.

But Jim, you ask, what happened to the zucchini AFTER all that? It went into the fridge and didn't want to fit. We had to clear an entire shelf to fit it inside. After two days, I thought I really must do something with it before it goes bad. First I cut off the gnawed on bits, then I got out the food processor and began to grate, testing the limits of my Cuisinart. After grating all I could, I morphed into a mad scientist measuring, sifting, and creating certain chaos in the kitchen.

Lyle had come home earlier with a headache and gone to bed. I grated and cooked, grated and cooked, spilled a bunch then grated and cooked. I used up all the flour in the house and was forced to access the backstock. Next went all the sugar, all the canola oil, all the cocoa powder and all the milk chocolate, white chocolate and butterscotch chips we had in the house. There was no backstock on these items, sadly that is what finally forced me to stop. I left behind 4 eggs. I used up every cake pan I could find in the house.

I cleaned up the kitchen. Stacked all my baking on the stove and counter near the stove. Fed the dogs and sent them out to potty. Checking my watch I was now going to be 5 minutes late for the gym.

I told Lyle I was headed out to the gym and there was a gate across the kitchen door. "No dogs in the kitchen," I told him, "I didn't have time to bake the cakes. I'll do it when I get home."

I thought he might stay in bed, but while at the gym I received this text message from Lyle,

"Are you INSANE?"


Ah-ha, he had made it to the kitchen.

So from giant gnawed on zucchini I was able to create all this:
(Click on photo to see it in all it's glory)
From the left; small cake of leftover batter, Tupperware container of leftover grated zucchini, two chocolate cakes, a white chocolate cake, a butterscotch cake (sampled for quality control) and 24 cupcakes.

I sent three cakes away in the morning. One even went to our gracious patron saint of zucchini, Farmer Dean.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering about the tomatoes, here are a few layered with buffalo mozzarella, sprinkled with red Hawaiian sea salt, a drizzle of olive oil then topped with basil.