Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Jug of Wine, a Plate of Food - and Thou

It's my 50th New Year's Eve and though that seems like a milestone to be celebrated with festivities and fanfare, the truth of the matter is that for the past few years, I'm lucky to be awake at 10:00 never mind midnight.  Our most recent New Year's Eves have become celebrations for two, early in the evening with  some treats, a little wine and a movie.


To ring in 2012, we once again opted for a romantic evening at home and enjoyed some chili topped chevre, tangy blue cheese, garlic stuffed olives, a little prosciutto,  savoury kelbasa, and a surprisingly robust Pinot Noir from Hahn Winery.  Though we didn't make it to midnight in Kelowna, we watched the movie "Midnight in Paris".  I think that counts, don't you?

Friday, December 30, 2011

My Favourite Week

... is winding up...or down.  I cherish the week between Christmas and New Year's Day.  Everyone is so relaxed, there's no schedule, projects are often put on hold, people smile and hug more, there are old movies on TV and after the big Christmas Day bun-fight, meals are help-yourself comfort food affairs. Here's a few of the things I enjoyed this week.

Snuggling with the Woods

Special treats
Laughter with the Youngs
To-die-for Saltspring Garlic....which will go in tonight's Pasta Carbonera..

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Long Day Is Over....


Took this photo from the bow of the ferry as we pulled out of Fulford Harbour to begin a long day of travel. Didn't make the connecting ferry at 9:00 from Swartz Bay and there was no 10:00. We were back on the mainland by 12:30.  Luckily the drive through the mountains was exceptional for the time of year, with a bit of slush at the Coquihalla Summit, but no snow to speak of on the Highway for the rest of the drive.  It was pretty much a dry road from Merritt and we made it home at last, around 6:00.  Can't wait to rest my head in my own little bed.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Global Village

We had a poke around Ganges in the rain today, though before we got to the village, we stopped at Dave Woods' farm where the Saltspring Island Cheese Company makes some very tasty goat and sheep cheeses.


Then it was off to Barb's Buns for a healthy and delicious lunch of Tomato Lentil soup and House Salad. The coffee is just as good as the food and The Lonely Planet lists Barb's as the number one thing to do on Saltspring. 

My favourite stop of the day was the Rainbow Road Trading Company, a fair trade shop just bursting with colour, texture and handcrafted products from Indian, Nepal and Thailand.


Tibetan Singing Bowls
Tapestry and wall hangings from Rajastan





































handmade paper from Nepa




gently worn saris from India

Felted mouse and flower slippers.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Mañana

Island life in the Pacific Northwest is as laid back as Island life in the tropics, especially when it's holiday time, and you're part of a family that spent 20 years in Venezuela.  Today there was a leisurely breakfast that lasted most of the morning, followed by a some puttering around the garden with the camera, a leisurely walk in the rain, a little Junior Hockey, some Wooster and Jeeves, and a lot of R&R.

The view from the front deck.
The original Young family Christmas tree (circa 1960).

Christmas Village
Arbutus
Saltspring Holly

Primula in December


Christmas card pose

It's what all the fashionable Saltspringers are wearing this season
ready, set, nap...

Monday, December 26, 2011

Boxing Day Delicious


It started with the Seafood Eggs Bennie at Clair's B and B in Ladner...

 ...and ended with a Plum Pudding Flambé at Bob and Naomi's on Saltspring Island.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Wishes

This was my mother's Nativity scene and even though we won't be home for Christmas, I thought it was important to put out as part of our minimalist style this year.  Normally baby Jesus and the manger would be waiting patiently in the China cabinet, to make an appearance Christmas eve, but it didn't seem right to leave Him in there until we return next week.  

My posts will be sporadic over the next few days but know I'll be thinking of you and wishing you all the merriest of Christmases, filled with love and joy and memories to keep you warm the whole year through.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Frosty the Two-for-One Snowman

It's a few days before Christmas and there's not much snow to speak of but that didn't stop some industrious person from building a very creative snowman. His hat is a bucket, his mouth is made out of pieces of black plastic pipe, his eyes are rocks and his nose is piece of plastic orange fencing rolled into a cone shape...and he's absolutely filthy. As strange as he is, I think he's the best snowman I've ever seen.  And he's the same on both sides!





Monday, December 19, 2011

Pre-Christmas Gratitude

On this Monday before Christmas I'm thankful for:



50.  the wonderful day I'm having.  Baked shortbread cookies this morning, wrapped presents with my daughter this afternoon and tonight she and I will have a special mother-daughter dinner at Summerhill Winery.

51.  the luxury of semi-retirement.  It's a treat to be able to shop during the week, when the lineups are shorter.

52.  the fact that we'll be able to spend time with both the Woods and the Youngs this Christmas.

53.  discovering this TED talk about feeding your mitochondria what it needs.  I've always said that food is medicine.  After a week of changing my diet where I could, my joints, muscles and range of motion are improving daily.

54. sunshine!  Last week was so gloomy and grey I'm thrilled by the golden light streaking through my kitchen windows this afternoon (even it does show how badly they need to be washed).

Sunday, December 18, 2011

De-Lovely Mushroom Delights!

Don't know where my mother got this recipe, but mushroom delights have been a Christmas tradition for as long as I remember.  The recipe is below.  If you want to try them, make sure you read it all the way through and be sure to set aside a couple of hours.  They are labour intensive, but well worth the effort!


Friday, December 16, 2011

Gloomy Afternoon


My plan was to spend the day writing but as of 3:45 I have only gotten as far as  opening the file with my latest set of pages to be forwarded.  

This morning  I realized I was getting a bit behind again, so I did two loads of laundry, wrote and addressed most of my Christmas cards, went shopping for more cards, bought stamps and mailed what I had already done, bought some santa gifts and a couple of sweaters (I have no winter clothes!).  I came home for lunch and finished the rest of the cards.  The dogs were in need of a walk so I decided to mail the last of my cards at Sunshine Market, not too far away.  I was hoping to see something of interest to capture for today's post and took along my camera to make it true multi-tasking, but there wasn't much going on.  Most of my time was spent struggling with Max on the way there. 

Luckily, he seemed to get a clue on the way back.  It was gloomy and snowing wet flakes that didn't look like they'd be around very long.  I was feeling a bit bogged down as I trudged up the darkening street, disappointed I had no photo for today and wondering what I could make for dinner that was easy so I could spend at least an hour on my pages.  Ahead of me, something was flapping in the wind and I have to say I was cheered by the sight of this snowflake hanging over the sidewalk.  Sometimes a little thing can make a big difference.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Shenanigans





Out of the loop today so I thought I'd post a little video of a recent visit to Mission Ridge with the pooches.  Sorry, I don't know how to make it any larger.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Maximus Decimus Meridius


Another month has passed and Max (full name Maximus Decimus Meridius after Russell Crowe's character in Gladiator) is now the ripe old age of six months...and I do mean ripe.  The odours that emanate from that pup could kill a small bird.  He is a sweetie though, and still full of energy but we're starting to get a handle on it.  We're trying the no touch, no talk, no eye contact when we come home and that usually works well but yesterday when Mike walked into the kitchen I was so sorry I didn't have a video camera handy.  

Max ran around the house like mad launching himself onto the furniture and into Mike while he ran in circles. Pitou followed, growling viciously while he tried to get Max to settle down, but Max was a wild whirling dervish.  I think he may need an extra walk in the afternoons to dissipate some of that energy that seems to be coiled inside him while he waits for his favourite playmate to return.

If you're curious to look at his growth check this link and you should be able to wind your way back every month.  

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Time Travel Tuesday: 2008


My Weekly Day of Thanks

Hello Gratitude Monday.  Today I'm thankful for:

45.  the opportunity to nap during the day.  It's so cozy, curled up on the chesterfield with the fluffy blue blank over me.  Pitou sunggles into the crook of my knee,  Max curls himself into the corner of the couch and we all catch some z's.

46.   less joint and muscle pain since I stopped drinking coffee eight days ago.

47.   the ability to share with those less fortunate.  This year for a change from the Salvation Army, we chose the Be a Santa to a Senior program.


48.  my husband, because I can never say thank you enough.

49.  my children who make my day whenever we spend time together  -whether it's on the phone, in the kitchen or on a dog walk.

Toulouse Le Chat


Let me introduce you to Toulouse, our tuxedo cat.  In truth she is our daughter's, adopted from a friend whose cat found herself "in the family way".  She has the softest fur you've ever touched, if you can get a chance to touch it that is.

They say "Dogs have owners, cats have staff."  We're here to feed her, water her, let her out, let her in, let her out, let her in, let her out...no...in.... and clean up various excretions.  And when she's in the mood...if you're lucky, she'll climb into your lap, press her soft white paws against your chest and rub her face against yours while a deep purr rumbles within her.  Us humans may think she's expressing love and gratitude, but in the cat world she's saying: "You're mine, beyotch!" 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Santa's Favorite Elf

Can't believe I spent the better part of today shopping....two weeks before Christmas...on a Saturday of all days.  Even shopping is fun when this handsome man is with me.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Max Factor

Seems Max is trying to train me to become a better housekeeper.  Slowly I'm learning to keep the kitchen counters clear, but keeping things  off the floor is a little more challenging.  He's a garbage mooch like his predecessors, Zoe and Banjo so we've had to lock the cupboard under the sink once more.  I have to say I'm surprised my slippers survived as long as they did.  Sorry you had to see Squirtle this way son. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Gifts for the Gourmet

Gourmet olive oils and vinegars from Crescendo in the Mission Mall.  Pomegranate Balsamic, Pumpkin Seed Oil, Chili Oil, Spanish Olive Oil, Tangerine Oil just to name a few.  They also carry selection of spice blends - no individual spices, but interesting combos like Pineapple Curry and Garlic Pepper Spice mix.  Bonus - recyclable bottles you can return for a refill.