Monday, December 29, 2008


This may have been the quietest Christmas we've had in a long time. We only had our immediate family for dinner and it was so much less stressful. The snow kept falling through most of Christmas week and except for a couple of forays to finish shopping, I remained ensconced in front of my fireplace.

Our older son and girlfriend came on Christmas eve and stayed until this a.m. (the 29th). Christmas day, we had gift opening with lots of pictures and laughs, brunch, some Scrabble playing, Rock Band 2, turkey dinner, more Scrabble playing and Rock Band (last year it was Guitar Hero), then more food and munchies. It was lots of fun. Mind you, I didn't play Rock Band, but it was sure fun watching others play it. Oh, and did I mention wine?

As usual, (among other things) first son got me books and second son got me CDs:

The books:

- A Good Catch - Sustainable Seafood Recipes from Canada's Top Chefs by Jill Lambert (foreward by David Suzuki); and

- Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami and a lovely Gustav Klimt bookmark.

I'm starting Hard-Boiled Wonderland and look forward to trying some of the recipes from Lambert's book.

The CDs:

She & Him - Volume One

The Last Shadow Puppets

Trust J to find me some new and interesting music. I think it's his mission in life to make sure I don't get stuck in a nostalgic coma of sixties and seventies music.

I'm really loving She & Him and I like some tracks from The Last Shadow Puppets, but I need to give it another listen.

What I find amazing (and heart-warming) is that both sons know me so well.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Walk In Bonaire - Part 2

I took this picture because it reminded me of the courtyard at the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome. It looks like a military garrison (complete with cannon in a corner), but is actually the entry to government buildings. There was a huge gate but nobody around, so I snuck around the corner and took a quick shot.

A small local craft market:

Lovely little house:

I could have spent hours here - cold drink in hand, maybe a book to read while lying in the hammock:

Heading back:

The big hole in this pier didn't seem to bother anyone.

Our ship in the background:

Home away from home:

We didn't have nearly enough time in Bonaire. I wouldn't mind taking a land-based vacation here. At any rate, land or sea next time, we'll definitely go snorkeling.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A walk in Bonaire - Part 1

To make it easier to load, I'm splitting up my pictorial (the lazy writer's travelogue) into separate posts.

As previously mentioned, I loved our little stop in Bonaire. We didn't have much time, so decided to spend it strolling along the waterfront area of Kralendijk, Bonaire's capital. I'm not much of a shopper, so avoided going into "town" and the shops.

For those unfamiliar, Bonaire is part of the Netherland Antilles and along with Curacao and Aruba form what is often referred to as the ABC Islands of the Lesser Antilles.

This is at the beginning of our walk:

In the distance you can see black smoke billowing off the water. More about that later.

Interesting buildings and architecture along the way:

I couldn't quite figure out if this was a bar or a closed restaurant:

The water was unbelievably clear (but what's with the black smoke?):

We saw lots of parrotfish that swam right up to the seawall:

Fisherman and his fish:

Fisherman of a different sort:

Remember the billowing smoke from the first picture? It turns out that it was a burning sailboat. This is all that was left by the time we walked over there:

We missed all the excitement. Apparently, several boats and a brigade from the nearby marina had tried to put out the fire, but they took too long to get there. All they could do was get the owner off and watch the whole thing go up in flames.

To be cont'd . . .

Oh the weather outside is frightful . . .

This just isn't right:

The snow accumulation where I live is already around 10cm and the wind chill last night was around -20C.

Winters in Vancouver are supposed to be mild, a balmy 6 to 10 Celsius (40s to 50s for those using Fahrenheit), occasionally dropping to zero. Instead, we've had a week of sub-zero temperatures and snow (which is still falling, by the way).

This has coincided with my return from sunnier climes and this ol' body is having trouble acclimating!

I know many of you on the east coast and in snow belts around the globe are wondering what I'm going on about, but you've got to take into account that the majority of drivers here don't bother to put on their snow tires until the first snow flies or slip-slide around with all-season radials until they figure the snow is going to stick around longer than a day. The reason being that many Vancouver winters consist of one 5cm snowfall followed by rain which effectively clears the roads within 24 to 48 hours.

Meanwhile, as the snow continues, I'm hunkering down in my woolies and leave you with this picture from my trip:

More pictures to come.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Alive and well

I feel a tad bit guilty saying this, but I am alive and well and cruising in the Caribbean.

Today, we were in Bonaire, a lovely, small gem of an island. Some might say it's boring (very little shopping, few shops and restaurants), but I loved it. The water is crystal clear, teeming with colourful fish and great coral reefs for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts.

It's been a great trip and I hope to elaborate more when I get back. We've met some interesting people (lots of Brits and Europeans) and we're having a marvellous time. Most importantly, this brief respite has given us a bit of perspective re the economic melt-down (including our retirement) that is happening worldwide.

So, to those who have been concerned (Joy, Mary and others), I am sorry that I haven't posted - I will take twenty lashes of a wet noodle.

More when I get back (with pictures).