Saturday, December 29, 2007

My Pottery

Since so many people have requested that I post pictures of some of my art in pottery (:o) I thought I would put some of it on the blog. Diane is very sick, and is very disappointed in this turn of events for the holidays. She had planned to attend a party, throw a party, etc. It will just have to wait. I have cleaned, cooked, nursed and now I'm bored.


Fatanna(aka Montana our fat child)

Pencil holder for Diane with my signature lizard crawling up the side.

There you go, my first attempt at pottery.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Scout finally gets her hedgehog for Christmas!

Part 1
Happy Holidays to all!

Scout has already managed to identify and partially unwrap one of her Christmas presents. She brought the saliva-soaked wrapping paper with a stuffed hedgehog peeking out the end and dropped it at my feet. She stood looking up at me expectantly, wagging her little nub of a tail.

How can you be upset? The little things are the delights.
Love to you all.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Diamondhead Apricot Mousse

We lost our eldest baby on Thursday night. She had been with us for 14 years, almost 15. She was bred to be a show dog and after several wins in the ring, she told us she didn’t like it. So her career ended in the show and she became our pampered princess.

We called her our million dollar dog because she had been plagued with so many health issues through her life. Eye surgeries for entropian, back surgeries (she was paralyzed twice), eye laser surgeries, glaucoma, severe allergies, eye removals and several bouts with cancer. She overcame every one of these adversities and came back stronger every time. She was deaf because of the many ear infections common with Shar Pei’s. Many Veterinarians’ said she would have been put down by any other pet owner long ago. One Vet said he wished many parents took as good of care with their children.

It still doesn’t make it any easier or stop our doubts that we did not give her enough and make her life spectacular enough.

The trip to Canada was very hard on her. I was worried she was not going to make it. How do you cross the border and land with a dead child in the truck? But she made it and flourished up here. The allergies that ravaged her in Las Vegas went away. She loved to wander around her yard and smell the forest. The cooler climate brought her to life.

A tumor was discovered in her abdomen several weeks ago. A very, large tumor. After removal, the Vet said it was 8 inches in diameter. We had a biopsy done prior to surgery deciding if it was cancer, we would let her go and not put her through anymore trauma. The results came back that it was not cancer! But it needed to be removed or she would die a horribly painful death. Even considering her age, the lab report said the prognosis was good to very good for her survival and recovery.

We had to give her just one more chance.

We had seen her come back from much worse.

She came through the surgery but once in recovery her poor old heart just gave out on her. They resuscitated her 3 times before she just would not come back.

So it is with much pain and sorrow I post these final pictures of our baby when she was a pup. (And so were we) Notice the shirt Diane is wearing.

Cheers Moussie!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The weather channel says it is raining right now in Victoria. Yes, big white fluffy raindrops. I took a ruler outside and measured 7.5 inches of fluffy white rain.

December started out very white and wet for us here on Vancouver Island. It has been snowing solid for 2 days. I made a snowwoman, which I will post a picture of. Then, a snowwoman murderer, whom shall be known only as Joe the Grinch, backed his Jeep over the snowwoman last night when he and wife Karen left our poker party. I still believe it was revenge for less than honorable poker playing. We didn’t have six shooters so it had to be handled in other ways. Unfortunately, the snowwoman suffered the most! We had a good time, despite the heavy snowfall. We had enough food for 20 people. All of it fantastic. Heather, Karen and I did most of the cooking. It was all appy's. Darren was kind enough to drive my and Diane’s trucks up the hill this morning and park them so that we can be sure that we will get to work (and pottery class :J ) tomorrow.

We were supposed to meet Doug and Dixon this morning at Starbucks and mutually decided we were going nowhere. It a shame really because the best Christmas Craft fair on the Island happens today in Dean Park, which is quite a ways away.

So, I guess Diane and I will take a walk in the forest a little later. Maybe, have some mulled wine and watch a little American football.

Diane is calling me to start the fire in the wood stove so I will leave you with some pictures of the snow, I mean, rain.

Monday, November 12, 2007

It is Remembrance Day here in Canada. Diane and I have had the flu all long weekend. We are finally feeling semi normal today. Just in time to start the work week all over again tomorrow.

Diane has started a curling class. She really is enjoying the sport, so much so, that she has also joined a beginner’s league. I have yet to go watch her in the ring, but when I do, I will take pictures to post. Of course, now she must purchase the outfit that goes along with the sport. She say’s it is a lot of exercise.

I have begun a pottery class. We started out on the wheel last week and I made too rather plain looking bowls. I kept asking the teacher, “But what about a plate”. I felt like I was in an old episode of Monty Python when someone took a self defense class and the instructor said, “This is what to do if you are attacked with a Giant Strawberry” and “This is what to do if you are attacked with a bowl of sour milk” and the student kept asking “But what about a sharp stick?” Maybe this week we will get to the plate in pottery class.

We had a Halloween party at work and I wanted to include a picture of my co-workers. I came as an American Football Fan. I know it is lame and not a very far stretch. I really had nothing else. We sold off all that kind of foolishness before moving here. I do regret getting rid of my Elvis-In-His-Later-Years (read: fat) spandex bejeweled outfit.

We are still doing our walks although we have missed this weekend and last. We are branching out to others walking trails. I’ll include some pictures of the last walk at Matthiessen (sp?) Lake.

We are looking forward to the Holidays. We both have off the week between Christmas and New Year. I’ve arranged all my deadlines at work to be completed the week before. We are having an app’y party on December 1st. It will be our Christmas party. My work Christmas party is on December 8th and Diane’s is on Dec 14th.

Well, I will sign off for now as we are going to a Christmas Craft Fair this afternoon since it’s the first day we have not been tied to the washroom all day.

Monday, October 22, 2007

There has been a lot of conversation here in Victoria on the immigration front. I'll post a link to an article I read today. It brings up some interesting points of view.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

(Belated)Happy Thanksgiving!

Last weekend we celebrated Thanksgiving with our friends Heather and Darren. Darren rotisserie cooked the turkey and it came out fabulous!

We had all the fixings and plenty of wine to celebrate our first Thanksgiving in Canada.

It somehow makes more sense to me to have Thanksgiving before Halloween. You have the cornucopia with all the bounty of the harvest first and then the dead scary bundles of cornstalks later.

These are some pictures of the day. I know you will be able to tell what a good time we had by the laughter and smiles.

Diane had a big important lunch with the owner of her global company. She wore a blue pinstriped suit and looked very nice. She said it was very pleasant and she got on with him very nicely.

We are continuing our 7k walk on a weekly basis. We took Montana and Majik today. Heather brought her boxer, Jackson and Ann brought Westie Maggie and houseguest Westie Wilkie. The weather is beautiful with crisp autumn in the air and maple leaves turning every shade of yellow to red. Some leaves are as big as your head. Ann pointed out the eagles nest on the walk. It looks about 4 feet in diameter. No signs of eagles now, but Ann says they have used the nest for several years.

We bottled wine again last night. This time a California Zin. Right now the wine count in our cellar is about 623 with another 120 in the works. Diane says the goal is to have about 1000 bottles on hand at all times. Okay. If anything ever happens to us, Heather and Darren are directed to come and get the wine first thing. We have a small cellar and a large underbelly in the basement that we store the wine in.

Work is work. Some days are better than others. It is very nice to have a paycheck to help support our house in the States. When it sells, we will re-evaluate the whole working fulltime thing for me. This is a lot of house to try to keep up with on the short weekends alone.

That is it for now. I’m off to shop online with L. L. Bean, who is offering free shipping to Canada for a limited time.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The bounty of VanIsle as in the picture above. Items purchased in the Saanich Market on Saturday mornings. We have soooooo many tomatoes from our own vines that I'm making spaghetti sauce and salsa today to try and use them.

We have been invited to join a group of friends on a weekly dog walk, at a spot we don't want to advertise since it is virtually undiscovered at this point. The walk is about 7k give or take a little. This was our second week of the walk. I thought I would share some of the beautiful scenery that we saw.

The new job is going okay. I still don't know how well I fit in there, so I'm giving it a while to see. Things are done much differently there than I am used to, so I am definitely out of my comfort zone. I will give it my best shot.

I've been reading all the blogs but have just been overwhelmingly busy. I'm hoping for good news on the last of the 'family' to get the green light to move to Vancouver.

Now if all of our US houses/real estate could sell before the Loonie gets any stronger . . .

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Great Canadian Beer Fest 2007

We had a good time at the festival. There were vendors from all over B.C. and some from the States. We met a couple who had come all the way from Massachusetts to be at Beer Fest. We talked to them for a long while and exchanged emails. They are very unhappy with the current state of affairs in Georgie-Land. They were dismayed by the fact that Canadians have commented that American’s voted him into office. We all agreed that W was not elected by the American public, the election was stolen. Then we drank some more beer.

This is my “I’m-buzzed-what-time-is-it?” captioned photo

Then we have Diane-has-had-too-many-Scottish-Ales.

We took public transit all day. It was a little too hot for us at 82 degrees. We are very fond of the milder climate up here.

Today, the first NFL Sunday of the season, we have joined a football pool back in Vegas. Diane actually started it when she worked at her old engineering firm in Las Vegas. We will see how well it goes. So far I’m not looking that good.

Now for the good news – I’ve accepted the position with University of Victoria as Senior Accounts Payable Clerk. The pay is pretty good but the traffic and parking is atrocious. I may end up taking the bus from Langford Park and Ride. I will have to see how it works out for me. To start out I will probably drive. I start on September 17th. I did have high hopes for taking the month of December off, but probably not now. My main function is back-up for the Accounts Payable Supervisor, so I’m sure my holiday times off desires are down at the bottom of the seniority list. It is a Union position.

Well it another beautiful day at the most beautiful place on Earth, so I’ll get out there and enjoy it! This a photo of my biggest tomato, so far. And a little visit from a tree frog.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Greetings from the Best Place on Earth!

I hope everyone had a great long weekend last weekend. Diane and I enjoyed the time. We went to the Saanich Peninsula Fair on Saturday. It was a great time. We looked at the 4-H animals, passed right by the Girl Guides of Canada cookie sales, compared our tomatoes to the winning vegetables and marveled at the various baked goods and homemade wines. It was a lot of fun.

Sunday we went golfing at Ardmore golf course and Diane played the best game of her life. Well, I didn’t golf because I am recovering from a pulled muscle in my back. But I walked the course with Diane’s bag in tow. Offering her my advice on the club selection and angle of the hole, I did my best caddy impersonation. She managed to have a stellar game in spite of all that.

Friday as I was driving home from work and the golden sunlight was filtering down through the trees and the breeze held just a hint of autumn, I did feel like this is the best place on earth. My last day of work with BC Transit was great. My bosses (4 of them) started the day off with Tim Horton’s then a Shark Club lunch, a bouquet of flowers and a card. They presented this to me and told me what a great job I had done and how I was making it really hard for them to miss the girl I was temping for. It was all very, very sweet.

Now on to Diane’s news - She was hired at her Engineering firm as a Mechanical Project Manager with 3 months probation. Two month’s into that probation, one of the Principle Engineers turned in his resignation to go off on his own and start a new company. His role, aside from being a Principle Engineer, was to be the Team Lead for the Mechanical Division. Diane has been offered his position and offered an associate position in the firm, all before she even passed her probation. They have hammered out the contract details and now it is official. This has been very affirming to us in our timing for landing as Permanent Residents. Even though our house is still on the market in Las Vegas and there is always some doubt that creeps into the back of your mind (i.e. Did we leave too soon?), this has been a great affirmation that we are on the right track.

I had an interview yesterday at UVIC for a full time job. I find more and more everyday, how even though Americans and Canadians speak the same language, the differences in meaning and expressions are vast. I frequently ask for translations for things. I know in the interview, there were several phrases that I was not familiar with. I looked them up when I got home and realized that we had just called the process something different in the States. The written test was a challenge for me because the instructions given were not clear in my mind. Small differences in word meanings matter a lot. I think I will write a blog on American to Canadian expression equivalencies. (For example; a camper shell on a truck is called a canopy here. Um-humm is said with a certain inflection here that is hard to describe, accent on the humm part with a little question of interest.) I don’t think I will get the job, but if I do I’m still a little at odds about it because I really like the temping thing. I don’t need the benefits, so the in lieu of pay is even better. We will see how it goes. As my friend from BC Transit says, “It isn’t prison, you can always say no or quit if it does not fit.” I think I would have a feeling prior to taking the job, if it was a good fit or not.

Oh and I had one of my famous dreams last night. The house in Las Vegas sold for asking price. It was done. Severed. Finished. That was a really good dream.

This weekend we will go to the Great Canadian Beer Festival. BC Transit gave out free bus passes for the event if you bought a ticket – so no one drives under the influence. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Now, I'm out to the woods to load and stack firewood for the upcoming winter.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Happy B.C. Day! We are enjoying our long weekend. The weather is glorious at 79 degrees.

I do volunteering for the Old Cemeteries Society of Victoria. We are currently working on the Ross Bay Cemetery documenting the monuments. When Diane goes into town on Saturday mornings for her meetings, I usually go to the cemetery and do a little work. I have a certain row that is my assignment. There are very large trees all around. The crows gather in the trees above me and chatter, flapping their wings and watching me measure and draw. After my latest visit I had a dream that night when I went to bed. I dreamed a group of crows were talking to me. They explained that why they hang out at the cemetery is because they escort the spirits of the dead into their next life. (No, I never saw the movie/comic book “The Crow”.) I said, I thought that we were all connected to the people in our lives because of karma and being drawn together life after life? The crows said, No, it’s all random. It is who ever needs a spirit (they never used the word soul) and who ever is available. When the spirit leaves the body we show them the way to their new life. I might add that none of this is my waking belief system, which is what makes the dream so strange. And no, I don’t smoke anything illegal.

We had a lovely lunch at Brentwood Bay Seagrill Pub after shopping for veggies at the Saanich Fairgrounds Market. The view from our patio table was splendid.

Yesterday we went on a walk in Goldstream Provincial Park. It was lovely and very busy. Then, we were on our way home and noticed that the new 'Everything Wine' store had opened. OMG, they had some of our favorite wine from the States. Stuff we have never seen here. It is right down the mountain, so it is close and easy to get to. That is a good thing for our palates and a bad thing for our pockets.

I am told by Diane that I have to wait several more weeks before announcing her big news.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

It's a beautiful day here in Victoria. This is the view of the sky from my deck. I call it the Ponderosa sky. I love this view.

Week 2 done at the new job(s). I have 5 more to go, unless they send me to another department, which they could do. One of the benefits of working for BC Transit is an unlimited bus pass. So Saturday, Diane and I took the bus into downtown. She had an appointment and I went shopping. We met up for lunch shopped a bit more and then took the bus back to the Langford park and ride. It is so much easier to take the bus versus find parking downtown.
And there is no stress to get back to your meter before it requires another loonie.

I have no news on the Vegas house yet. There is an open house today so we are holding positive thoughts about today being 'the day'.

Finally, we have tomato's on our vines. It just has not been warm enough until now. We planted an heirloom beefsteak-type tomato and it looks like little pumpkins all over the branches instead of tomatoes. i guess we will probably be able to pick the fruit in about a month.
I don't want to jinx anything, but I think by next week, I will have some big news to announce as far as Diane's job goes. There have been some major developments over the past week. So I will just throw that out there as a teaser. . .
Stay tuned!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

One week down at my new job. I am being shared between 2 different departments. Training & Safety, dealing mostly with the accident reports that the bus drivers or patrons submit. I only have worked there one day so far. Most of the week, I spent in the garage doing payroll. This is the kind of work I really love! The BC Transit has its own drama’s and politics (I never worked anywhere that doesn’t), but overall I’m in my element with the timesheet entry. It’s a little archaic (BC Transit admits) compared to the system I worked with in the states. Here you have to manually enter all the time sheets for the Mechanics by hand. Human error and all, it can be challenging. Especially, when several of the workers came into the office on Friday disputing their paychecks. Glad I didn’t do the time for that pay period. Although I am sure I will get my own fair share of questions/complaints.
Tomorrow, I am back to Training and Safety. This is a great way to check out an organization to see if there is any interest in working there fulltime. Part of me would still like a part-time job working in a wine makers shop. Our wine maker lost an employee this week. They are thinking of making it two 20 hour a week jobs instead of one 40 hour. I have a contract through the end of August, so I can’t jump ship and go work for much less hours and much less money. Aside from the fact Diane would not approve,. It just is not the right timing.
This weekend we went to Moss Street artists Paint-In. The great part is the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria offered free admission to the Rodin exhibit. It was a great exhibit on loan from B. Gerald Cantor collection. I’m currently wearing my souvenir t-shirt that says “I have seen the gates of hell . . .”
The Luminara took place later last night and we opted out of it because of the rain.
It’s raining outside right now. Yesterday, we had lunch at Spinnakers Pub. As we sat looking out the window at the fog and seal lions in the harbor, I realized that every other time in my life I have seen fog or sea lions, I have been on holiday. We keep having to pinch ourselves and we keep reminding each other, we really live here.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Hello bloggers, happy Friday the 13th! This week Victoria felt like Las Vegas when we had the highest temperatures on record. It was 104 degrees on Wednesday. Luckily we have air conditioning. Our friends here in Victoria are convinced that we brought this weather with us. We have guests visiting from Las Vegas this week and we are officially blaming it on them.

No new news on the Las Vegas house selling. This is one of our last hurdles to overcome. Once it is sold, life will be looking pretty peachy.

This weekend we plan to take the ferry to Salt Spring Island and walk through the market. It is a great way to spend a Saturday. This time, I think we will stop at The Garry Oaks Winery on the way back to the ferry. They have a great wine called ‘Fetish’ which is worth it for the name alone.

I start a new job on Monday with the BC Transit doing payroll/timesheet management. It is a full-time temporary position. The good thing about temporary is if we don’t like each other, it’s only six weeks. The bad thing about temporary is if we really love each other it’s going to end before we would like. I hope it is the later. So I’m really excited about my first job here in Canada. I work for a temp agency that I really like. The people who manage the agency are fantastic and have very positive attitudes. I don’t feel invisible there. I’ll let you know how it goes after the first week. Another great thing is it is very close to where Diane works so we will car pool for the next 6 weeks. I have a parking lot at my job and she does not so I will drop her off and pick her up. She usually takes the bus.

Now if the house could sell this week . . .

Sunday, July 08, 2007

A tiny slice of Gay Pride in Victoria BC

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Independence Day-after thoughts.

Monday, July 02, 2007

We had a great Canada Day bar-b-que. The little dogs got to enjoy their yard and frolic in the high of 82 degrees. I cooked most of the day and then didn’t feel like eating when all was said and done.
My birthday was great. We went to Oyster the 13th down at the harbor. It is a wine and oyster extravaganza. The wine tasting was from all the BC wineries. Oyster shucked, raw, bar-b-qued and grilled. We will go again next year.

We also went out to a farm and picked a flat of strawberries. That was great fun. I had to end up freezing some of them and they will eventually find a home in strawberry margaritas.

Diane bought me a Celtic design necklace from a downtown jeweler. It is beautiful. She also brought me home a lovely cake.

I went to a headhunter last week and took a barrage of tests. I scored very well. The good new is I have an interview this week for an office administrator with firm here on the west shore. So I will be brushing up on my answers to the most commonly asked questions.

We have a lot planned next weekend. We have a wedding, wine bottling and gay pride in Victoria. I will try to take video but definitely pictures.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

I hope everyone is having a safe and happy Canada Day!

Monday, June 11, 2007

It is June 11th and it is 47 degrees outside at 8:30 in the morning. I’m still wearing sweatshirts and jeans. Last week, when it got up to 83 degrees, I thought it was too hot and just wished for the cool rainy temps. In Las Vegas right now it is 86 degrees which is cool for them.

Our Realtor says that there is an interested party in our house. They have come back to view it 3 times. I hope that this is the one. Finding a buyer would really help us out in so many ways. Two mortgagees and all utilities for 2 houses gets to be a grind. I went to the Realtors web-site and cut a picture of the for sale sign out, edited it with a large red banner across the front “SOLD”. This is probably more effective than the St. Joseph statue. Visualization is a powerful tool.

Diane is settling into her new job. It is an adjustment for her. Not only is she now working in metric, but she has the building codes of our new country to learn. She is out of her comfort zone for sure.

I continue to job seek. I had an interview on the 4th and just learned last Friday that I was not selected. It was one of the nicest rejection phone calls I have ever received.

“We regret to inform you that the position has been filled. We would like to encourage you to keep watching the job web-site because we think you would fit in very well at the University and we feel that there is a job here for you." (Read: just not this one)

So on we go. It has actually been very good that I have not started a job full time outside of the house before now. I have been very busy with appointments from service contractors, veterinarians, tour guide duties, carpet cleaning, grounds maintenance, etc. Diane used to handle a lot of these things in the States because of her position and flexibility to take off work when it was needed. That is no longer possible. She takes public transportation to work, (gas prices have just dropped from 122.9 per liter to 112.9) parking in Victoria is ghastly expensive and not easy to find. Parking can cost between $95 and $150 per month. The monthly bus pass is $72.

Another thing I appreciate about our new home other than it being the most beautiful place on earth, is recycling. You are limited to the size of a trash bin you can use but recycling is unlimited. As much cardboard, paper, plastic and glass that you can put out, they will take. This is probably not news to most of you, but to us coming from eco-enemy Las Vegas, it is refreshing.

Oh, and as an aside, we went to the First Unitarian Church of Victoria on Sunday. It was really nice to be amongst like minded folks. We already have an invitation on Wednesday evening for tea at one member’s home in
Metchosin, not too far from where we live in the Highlands.

All fingers crossed for our house to sell in Vegas. Then the next to sell will be swamp land in Florida for West End Bound:)

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Bumper stickers for your enjoyment.