Sunday, December 30, 2012

Happy New Year 2013

from the Wet Coast of British Columbia.  We have no snow here and sometimes it even stops raining.  The other day I was talking to Karen from Flatistan and she asked me if I had planned to ride my bike today.   During this time of year I have things to do and friends to visit.   I am still a chauffeur as Mrs Skoot broke her right wrist and is still not allowed to drive so I have to pick her up from work so free time is limited and just not worth the bother of digging my bikes out.

Also the Deere digger came back and gravel was delivered to block my rear escape route

It is even a challenge to bring out our garbage container.  It just seems that every time our garbage day rolls around the contractors put another obstacle in my way

Even the front route is a maze of dirt.  The main problem is having to turn my bike around in the carport with all the sandy gravel which makes your footing not very secure

My narrow sidewalk has been removed and a new retaining wall is being constructed.  Eventually there will be a new fence and the gate will be full width to make it easier for me in the future.  Except for the early morning hours when there is frost, it usually burns off by noon with temps around 5°c, so it is possible to ride your bike nearly all year round, but not necessarily for those of us who have to leave early.

My front sidewalk is also a challenge with all the sand being dragged into the house.  Connecting the pipes to the water line meant having to remove the sidewalk and now a new one has to be poured when the weather warms up

This afternoon we drove downtown where I snapped a photo of our skyline as viewed from Crab Park in our inner harbour

It was a bit cool and pleasant without the rain.  That revolving restaurant is Harbour Centre and was previously home to Sears, before they closed their flagship store recently.

During the summer I often come down here on my bike, sit and just admire the surroundings

Just around the corner you will find our fishing fleet at rest, waiting for a new year.   Those orange cranes behind are part of VanTerm where cargo ships are unloaded.  Today they are idle and presumably enjoying a few days of rest during the Holidays

I know, it seems a while ago since I have posted any motorcycle content.   My blog is not always about motorcycles, it is about life, scenery, food and  sometimes a bit of photography which has been my hobby for nearly 50 years.   I know others have more than one blog and I know it is a challenge to keep them all going.   It seems to me like going to a circus and someone is spinning a few plates on a stick trying to keep them all spinning without falling off.  I prefer to just have one place to maintain and mix them all up.

I am looking forward to next year and making plans to GSWIHNBB.   New roads, new friends and new memories.  I am grateful for the chance to meet all of those I have met in the past and also for the opportunity for all of us to be together during our previous iMBC reunions.  There is nothing better than to have friends and thanks to the internet I would like to think that we have friends all over the world.  Yes, friends we have already met, and those "to be met" and even though we are separated by great distances I know that when we meet, it will be like we have never been apart.

Right now Roger has arrived in North America and hiding out in Atlanta, GA.  I have never met anyone from NZ yet but when we spoke on the phone the other day I told him that we needed a translator for I couldn't understand a word he was saying, but when he spoke slower for me and I think I caught the gist eventually.  I know we are going to have a good time in SFO next weekend.

I wish you all a very Happy New Year and I am hoping our paths will cross sometime soon.  I also thank you all for being such faithful readers

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Non Traditional Christmas

dinner which we had on Christmas Eve.  We were invited by our BIL: Brother-in-Law, who wanted to host our family dinner again.  It has been at least a couple of years since we last made Turkey.   Last year was roasted Duck, and this year it was Alaskan Black Cod, aka:  Sable Fish.

We had big fillets ready to roast

The fillet was slit into portions and lemon was wedged inside to keep it moist

Then there was the dangerous knife operation to open up the coconuts so that we could drink the milk inside

After the liquid is finished you can still scrape the insides for the coconut meat.   I try not to take a lot of photos at family functions but we also had Quinoa with raisins & walnuts, yams, leeks and sweet potatoes.  For dessert we had a large assortment of french pastries and cream puffs.

The following photos are our desserts from Christmas day

Christmas Log

and a nice cake which was shaped like a coffee cup

I hope all of you also managed to eat too much during the Holidays

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A very Merry Christmas to all my friends

the ones I have met and the ones "to be met".   These photos are a random selection from our iMBC2012 trip to Hell's Canyon, Oregon last summer.  So sorry that my archives and postings are devoid of photos due to the closing/sale of Webshots which was my image provider

I am thankful for the opportunity to meetup with others whilst on the road and I am looking forward to meeting more of you during 2013

May you enjoy the Holidays with family and friends and I truly hope our paths may cross in the near future.

My hope is for all your dreams to come true and may you find peace and happiness throughout the year


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

It hardly snows

on the Wet Coast but yesterday was our first taste of Winter

The snow was stuck to the windshield like frost and I had to scrape it off.  The roads were mainly clear until I was about half way to work when it turned to white

I just don't understand how some drivers can just hop in their car and drive blindly down the highway without clearing their windows.  They are a hazard to others

Unlike dry snow, ours is wet and with the frozen pavement there is no traction.   I have 4 snow tires installed and even on the flat portions I was slipping as I started  from a standing start

We have lots of steep hills around here so you have to keep your speeds down

Here is a view from my office.  Nice and bright, much better than our dull, rainy grey days

Sunrise as I arrive at work.   This is one of those rare sun shots

Before long our clean snow turns into a messy slush .    This morning it started out worse than yesterday with more snow accumulations.  As usual, I clear off all the snow from the hood, roof and trunk areas

but there was no frost to scrape.  The snow layer came off easily but the roads were very slippery as I spun my tires all the way around the block on my way to the main road

but as I neared work, the roads were nearly bare.  There was a heavy snow warning forecast for later in the day and it started to snow around mid-day.   We had so much snow in our area that we had a power outage around 2pm, but unlike SonjaM ,  we had to remain at work.   We are computer dependent and there is nothing that can be done manually so we had to sit in the dark.   We had no phones, and no computers.  I was lucky to have my office chesterfield (or settee, divan, davenport, couch, or whatever you call it) where I took off my shoes and had a short nap until the power came back on about an hour later.

After work it was a challenge to get home with all the accidents, downed power lines, and closed bridges.  My afternoon commute has doubled since Mrs Skoot can't drive due to her broken wrist, so I have to leave my office in Coquitlam, drive through New Westminster and Burnaby to arrive in Downtown Vancouver to pick her up and take her home.   I have one busy serious commute to get myself downtown, and then another maze of traffic to navigate in order to get home.  It takes between 1-1/2 to 2 hours by the time I leave work and arrive at my front door.  Hard to believe that it takes this long to travel only 36 kms but we have no fast way to travel through our city due to lack of freeways

Now that we have arrived home I have to change into something more comfortable (get rid of shoes) and start a simple meal.   The hardest part of meal arranging is to decide what to make.  Today is pizza night

I turn OUR counter into a pizza production line.  I bring out OUR cutting boards, and OUR kitchen knife.  To cut down on carbs we use whole wheat Pita Bread.  I use left over chicken cut into thin slices.  I put on a tomato base, then the chicken and add Mozzarella cheese

I have enough to also make one each for lunch tomorrow

The chicken is a left over from yesterday.  A BBQ supermarket chicken which cost $7.99 which we had for dinner yesterday along with two ears of corn each .   So for a low cost we had enough for two dinners and one lunch

I use OUR hand grater to shred the cheese

and I just love Cilantro  (aka: chinese parsley)

Since these pizzas are so small, we use OUR toaster oven.  I pop the first completed one into OUR toaster oven as I am still producing the others and when it is done, I sprinkle the cilantro on top

OUR Pizza cutter does a fine job of cutting the pizzas into segments.   For portion control I usually make 3 pizzas which we split evenly

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

48 years ago I was

single and working at my summer job over on Vancouver Island in a little community west of Lake Cowichan called Mesachie Lake.  I had been working there for a few summers and periodically coming back to Vancouver on some weekends.  Most weekends we would just cruise up and down the Island Highway down to Victoria or over to Chemainus or northward to Yellow Point.   I worked at a lumber camp and shared a room with my cousin.  There is not much to do there on the weekends when you don't own a car and where there is no public transit.

One weekend during the summer I was invited to a house party in Vancouver.  Back then it was a 2 hour trek to Nanaimo to catch the BC Ferry, plus another 2 hours to get back to the mainland.   Our family were  friends with another family and it was their daughter who was hosting the party in their home in the Dunbar area.

Meet Bonnie   (November 2012)

Little did I know at that time that this would be the first time that I would set eyes on Mrs Skoot, so many years ago.  We do keep in touch although she did used to live in the UK and Australia but she has now come back home to Vancouver.   She invited us for dinner a month or so ago and I was watching her prepare our seafood soup dinner

she was getting the prawns and scallops ready to add to her soup base.   She is an excellent cook so I was  watching her every move

The soup was nearly ready as we chatted the hours away

It was finally time to sample our meal.  Excellent if I must say

She also made a most excellent apple cobbler dessert while I brought my chocolate bundt cake

Mrs Skoot, Bonnie & Myself

Older but wiser.  Who would have thought that 3 teenagers would make it this far ?  Still friends after all these years.   That party changed my life for the better, thanks again Bonnie

Sunday, December 16, 2012

It started as snow

on Saturday morning as I was getting ready to meet my buddies for breakfast

It was about 2°c with snow flurries forecast for the rest of the day .   Our snow is usually wet and slushy so I didn't have to scrape my windows

This week they have been working on our front yard, removing our side walk and they brought this machine to do some work on both sides of our house

It was hard to take photos during the week as it is dark when I leave for work and dark when I get home so I had to wait for the weekend for daylight

Notice my narrow sidewalk and gate are gone and enlarged to make for a wider sidewalk.  A new fence and  larger gate will also be constructed

Naturally I have to play with their equipment when they aren't looking

I head around to the front of the house where I am attracted to a large area of mud

It is hard to explain but I can't resist . . .

The air temperature was around 4°c (and with the wind chill -2°c).   All this time it was drizzling and it wasn't long before I was numb and couldn't feel anything so I hobbled inside to warm up.

Soon after I got to play with my new kitchen accessory.  It is an ice cream scooper which can eject by squeezing the lever

I have been doing a lot of baking these past few weeks, nothing fancy just dozens of Orange Chocolate chip cookies to give away and I wanted some way of making them a uniform size

People have been feeling sorry for Mrs Skoot's broken wrist and giving us containers full of food.  Of course you can't return containers "empty" so I have to fill them with cookies before we can give them back.  I like the larger cookies, while Mrs Skoot likes smaller ones.  I like them not so hard but Mrs Skoot likes them hard and crunchy so I plan to make some smaller, thinner ones and bake them longer

Earlier this week it was 12-12-2012 12:12pm.  I was at a business lunch meeting so we enjoyed a nice Christmas Buffet at the Sheraton Hotel

Plate One

I tried not to eat too much as I am keeping an eye on my figure, but I couldn't resist and

had Plate Two, but I was being very selective and only took what things I liked.   And then came

dessert . . .    The next occurrence of this repetitious date will be in 89 years  (01-01-2101 1:01am/pm)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

High Water - Part Two

This is a continuation from Part One HERE, a medley of photos to show you the high water levels in the South Richmond/Steveston area.   I have posted photos of Finn Slough before but since my photo host (webshots) shut down their server on December 1st, all of my images have been deleted so I cannot refer you to my previous posts.

Near Britannia Heritage Shipyard, Richmond, BC

Finn Slough surge channel, Fraser River

Finn Slough

I come here often as there are so many things to photograph

I do not believe these homes have indoor plumbing so I would be careful about "touching" the water

Gary recently made a comment and he has some photos here, taken when the water levels were much lower.  Take a look at his photo #7

While this originally started out as a community of squatters

some value their privacy, and we are told to keep out, even though they are living off the land, most likely rent free

I have never seen the water this high before.

Be careful where you walk, the bridge is slippery

and you don't get slivers with shoes on