15. Inspiring Victoria

  1. 01. Minutes of the COCKUP
  2. 02. A Public Service
  3. 03. The 22% Solution
  4. 04. On The Campaign Trail
  5. 05. Athens of America
  6. 06. A Yankee’s Yankee
  7. 07. My Canadian Family
  8. 08. Edmonton? Why?
  9. 09. Prairie Singers
  10. 10. Deconstructing Calgary
  11. 11. My Kelowna
  12. 12. Wine Whine
  13. 13. Fire Mountain
  14. 14. A Stopover and a Popover
  15. 15. Inspiring Victoria
  16. 16. Planet Rosehip
  17. 17. Carry On Grunge
  18. 18. Street People
  19. 19. The Curse of Portland
  20. 20. Mean-Spirited, Powerful Justice
  21. 21. Amtrak’s Jewel
  22. 22. Managing Yosemite
  23. 23. Yumpin’ Yosemite
  24. 24. Parched
  25. 25. Brave New San Fran
  26. 26. Over The Hill
  27. 27. Greatest Again

Months ago, not long after I was advised of my mother’s death – I think it was about twenty seconds – I did a rough calculation of the dollar amount I stood to inherit. Scottish heritage, don’t you know. It wasn’t a huge amount, nevertheless it was a something of a windfall since her mother lived to the age of a gazillion.  Gramma left her estate nearly penniless, having squandered her dwindling fortune on life. I had expected nothing more or less from Mom.

After Mom’s funeral, I was feeling flush, as well as grateful to the friend who had put us up for several days. In thanks, I offered to buy him and his extended family dinner at a local restaurant named Brine on State Street in Newburyport. We sat down and started ordering “flights” of geographically diverse oysters. Even those from Long Island Sound were tasty and did not kill us. Yet, anyway.

A lovely time was had by all, the food was great, the service better. The check came to eight hundred dollars, which is quite reasonable for seven people at a fancy restaurant.  Nevertheless, it represented a couple percent of my inheritance. Realizing that if I did this fifty more times, well, “poof”, Ma might as well have lived another twenty years, I reviewed the bill carefully.

I had spent over four hundred dollars on oysters. Continue reading 15. Inspiring Victoria

14. A Stopover and a Popover

  1. 01. Minutes of the COCKUP
  2. 02. A Public Service
  3. 03. The 22% Solution
  4. 04. On The Campaign Trail
  5. 05. Athens of America
  6. 06. A Yankee’s Yankee
  7. 07. My Canadian Family
  8. 08. Edmonton? Why?
  9. 09. Prairie Singers
  10. 10. Deconstructing Calgary
  11. 11. My Kelowna
  12. 12. Wine Whine
  13. 13. Fire Mountain
  14. 14. A Stopover and a Popover
  15. 15. Inspiring Victoria
  16. 16. Planet Rosehip
  17. 17. Carry On Grunge
  18. 18. Street People
  19. 19. The Curse of Portland
  20. 20. Mean-Spirited, Powerful Justice
  21. 21. Amtrak’s Jewel
  22. 22. Managing Yosemite
  23. 23. Yumpin’ Yosemite
  24. 24. Parched
  25. 25. Brave New San Fran
  26. 26. Over The Hill
  27. 27. Greatest Again

Ah, Vancouver. At once hip and conformist, flakey and staid. For years Vancouver has jousted with my home town, Melbourne, for the ill-defined and less understood title of “Most Liveable City”. One could be forgiven for concluding that a city’s “liveability” requires it to have exorbitant housing costs, one of many traits Melbourne and Vancouver share. (Note that San Francisco is often the USA’s “Most Liveable City”.)

Melbourne has won the worldwide title five years running, while Vancouver is has faded a tad, recently yielding its runner-up position to Vienna. Nothing is more certain than change, which dictates that Melbourne and Vancouver can only grow less livable, at least in relative terms.

We found ourselves visiting with Lauren and Peter in their uber-efficient one bedroom apartment smack dab in the middle of downtown Vancouver. Yes, the same Lauren and Peter we had seen married only days earlier on the prairies of Alberta. IMG_2689We were going to skip Vancouver, but then realized that we hadn’t actually spent any time with Lauren, despite having spent four days at her “wedding that kept on giving”. For a couple that had just written, directed, produced, cast, starred in, built the sets, promoted, and swept the theatre for an eighty-four hour production, they were remarkably well rested and relaxed. Our overnight stay did not appear to disrupt their honeymoon in the least. To be sure, honeymoons aren’t what they used to be.
Continue reading 14. A Stopover and a Popover

13. Fire Mountain

  1. 01. Minutes of the COCKUP
  2. 02. A Public Service
  3. 03. The 22% Solution
  4. 04. On The Campaign Trail
  5. 05. Athens of America
  6. 06. A Yankee’s Yankee
  7. 07. My Canadian Family
  8. 08. Edmonton? Why?
  9. 09. Prairie Singers
  10. 10. Deconstructing Calgary
  11. 11. My Kelowna
  12. 12. Wine Whine
  13. 13. Fire Mountain
  14. 14. A Stopover and a Popover
  15. 15. Inspiring Victoria
  16. 16. Planet Rosehip
  17. 17. Carry On Grunge
  18. 18. Street People
  19. 19. The Curse of Portland
  20. 20. Mean-Spirited, Powerful Justice
  21. 21. Amtrak’s Jewel
  22. 22. Managing Yosemite
  23. 23. Yumpin’ Yosemite
  24. 24. Parched
  25. 25. Brave New San Fran
  26. 26. Over The Hill
  27. 27. Greatest Again

I forgot to mention that in addition to visiting seven wineries and a cheese maker, the wine tour also included a stop to pick up some fruit. The Okanagan has been cranking out a lot of this fruit stuff for a long time.  In fact, the vineyards are the johnny-come-latelies.  Most of our crew raved about the peaches, which had come in early due to the unusually early, long and hot summer.

I’m something of an apple man – the fruit more so than the computer – so I was impressed by the apple orchards with trees “trained” to grow into perfect rectangles only as high as a person can reach, and in neat rows to boot. These tactics, developed by the Canadian government’s farm scientists, result in reducing the farmers harvesting costs considerably while increasing output substantially. All this with bits of string, wire, and pruning, producing a mind-boggling wide variety of apples, many of which I had never heard of.  Pretty cool. Continue reading 13. Fire Mountain