Thursday, September 8, 2016

Summer summary -- and a sigh of relief that it's over

Now that school has started we can pretty well say that summer's over for most people. As for Harry and me, we entered a new season on August 30th when Harry went into the hospital for surgery to remove a cancerous area on his bowel.

We'd been waiting all summer for this, since June when a screening test showed cause for concern, then a colonoscopy, then a CT scan and then the appointment with the surgeon. It culminated on the morning of the surgery with a huge sigh of relief. We are told that the surgeon "got it all" and that "it hadn't spread" and these were the words we were hoping and praying for.

It's been a stressful summer waiting and hoping, although we've managed to keep busy with dinner invitations and small group gatherings on the patio (shown in the photo on the left). Plus Harry worked on several house carpentry projects: repairing a deck, installing new fencing, replacing the front steps, rebuilding a gate. These were good because they kept him busy and thinking.

Harry is doing really well recovering from the abdominal surgery.

You can see him here grinning even though he's wired up to bags and tubes.He's been home from the hospital for three days now and can move around and eat normally. He's made a remarkable recovery and now all that's needed is some time for him to get his strength back.

We had to cancel our planned trip to Sicily but we're hoping to take it in the spring if we can get our non-refundable tickets changed.

Today we are simply grateful to have this behind us and to be able to go forward in life with all its beauty and challenges. The take away from this is simple:  live each day with an open heart.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Summer on the BC coast

It's been several weeks since I posted and I'd like to give you a sense of what we've been doing here on the B.C. coast. There are so many beautiful places to go and I've been exploring a few of them. Here are some highlights.

Relaxing at Moses Point

Howe Sound with tug boat

Wharf at Halfmoon Bay

Kayaker at Halfmoon Bay

Sechelt Narrows looking north

Sunset at Sechelt

Wharves at Gibson's Landing

Houseboat at Gibsons

More Kayakers

Sidney Spit brick tower

Sidney Spit

Dock at Sidney

How lucky are we to live in such a beautiful marine environment!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Talented Calla

My niece Calla just finished grade 7 and next year goes to high school. She has been in French Immersion since she started school and is continuing with that next year.  I'm so proud of her. She excels at school, practices figure skating several times a week, and is a talented artist.   

Calla loves the Manga style of illustration and brings to it her own unique creativity.

Here's a recent self portrait showing her little kitten Ivy climbing on her head.

Calla loves animals and fashion and here she's combined the two to create a fashionista giraffe.

These two drawings were also on the fridge in the kitchen at Calla's house.  She has so many talents and I know she'll do well next year in high school. I guess you can tell that I'm a proud auntie.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Got sheared

I went to a new hair stylist the other day and decided to go for a much shorter cut. And I like it.

Here's a before and after photo taken at the salon. It kinds or reminds me of what a sheep looks like after it's been sheared!

Now that I've been styling it myself it looks a bit different from how Piper did it--but I kind of like it. Plus it's a lot easier to take care of--especially after the swimming pool.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Summer afternoon socializing

Summer weekends here in Victoria tend to be a social whirl. Everyone who has an outside area throws deck or garden parties, either with a couple of friends or a larger group. This weekend I think summer officially started as the weather has finally warmed up a bit and we attended two such parties.

Friday night was a small and casual group at a friend's home where they've built a sweet little outdoor dining area in their back garden. The invitation was to come for a glass of wine at 5:00 and when we arrived our friends had also invited another couple. So the six of us sat at the table and enjoyed bubbly wine and appetizers for a while before saying our goodbyes and heading home to our respective houses for dinner.

I think this is a fabulous idea. It can be very last minute depending on the weather and involves no complicated cooking or cleaning up. Nobody has to bring anything, although you can do so if you like, and it can be quite a simple offering, like say a dish of olives or some bread and cheese. This is going to be my entertaining method for the rest of the summer.

At the other extreme was our Saturday afternoon event, a rum tasting party for a group of 12 put on by dear friends on their patio. This was planned in advance and they had acquired five fabulous bottles of rum for us to try.  For us the idea of tasting rum was new. My experience has been the Canadian standby, rum and coke, or a Christmas rum and eggnog, and more recently Mohitos. But these rums were top of the line meant for sipping.

We met at 3:00 and each couple brought some finger food to share and our hostess served us tastes from each bottle, interspersed with water and nibbles from the delicious array.

Here's some of our group on the patio. We discussed the subtleties of each rum and some of us even made tasting notes. Interesting to see the differences in scent, flavour and experience.

Here are more guests, including one of the resident poodles.

As the tasting continued we found we became more enamoured of the rums on offer. You can see here that we also took the comparing of flavours very seriously.

Two of the best are pictured here: Diplomatica from Venezuela and Kirk and Sweeny from the Dominican Republic. Diplomatica is available here in Canada at the government liquor stores, as well as another one called Zaya from Trinidad. These rums are 80 proof and have been aged for many years.  I found them quite delicious, which is saying something as I'm usually just a white wine kind of girl.

Amazing how a little sunshine on a patio can shift things.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Stretch and Sip at De Vine Winery

My pilates teacher is so great. She's a fantastic teacher and also has great ideas for summer fun. Justina Bailey, owner of Studio Fitness offers a variety of classes. One is all about stretching and balance and movement based on the Aging Backwards techniques. And yesterday we got to have our class in an orchard in a fabulous winery on the Saanich Peninsula.

De Vine Vinyards is set in a gorgeous location on a sloping bench overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Mount Baker. When Sue and I arrived for our class after driving through the automatic gate and past the meadow and orchard up to the parking we thought we were in heaven.

That's the view behind our group when we posed for a photo after class. Justina is the gorgeous one in the blue and white tights and the long dark hair.

The winery offers daily tastings and Justina had organized a wine tasting with cheese and meat plates after our hour-long session.  But first we did our class in the orchard. You can see the view beyond the trees.

And here's a picture of the table under the arbour where we enjoyed lunch and wine afterwards. The the orchard can be seen just behind us. It was wonderful fun to sit together having lunch in the soft sun and chatting. Actually, I was right: we were in heaven.