Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Haiku Moment: remember summer

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winter winds blow brisk

dark skies strip warmth, steal hope, joy;

remember summer

 

hold tight, my dear ones

bundle and cocoon yourself,

summer will return

 

Haiku and photo by Angie Quantrell

 


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Throwback Thursday: Flowers and Me

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I was pleased to find this little gem of a photo in my baby book. After losing mom in May, every treasure I uncover has become much more precious. My mama loved her little Angie.

I don’t remember seeing this photo before, though I know I’ve had it for years. Mom despaired of my hair growing and I was often seen sporting a comb-over wave to give the appearance of ample hair. Curly and fine, just like it is today. Though with much more gray.

These irises bloomed in front of my Grandma Wheetley’s house in Sunnyside, Washington. We visited often, I imagine, and this is also the town where my mother and father met and started the journey of lifelong marriage.

Little Angie, as I was nicknamed by grandparents on both sides, is nearly as tall as the gorgeous irises. What I love, besides seeing a much younger, cuter me, is that I obviously love flowers. Just like I do now. These days finds me planting more sunflowers, wildflowers, and blooming bushes, but the beginning of my love affair with gardening sprouted right there with me playing in the irises.

My mama was an excellent seamstress. I can’t ask now, but I think she or my grandmother probably made this dress. I so wish I could sit and pour over these childhood photos with her one more time. My siblings and I were blessed to have a mother who loved us unconditionally. Not that we didn’t get called on the carpet, but good mothers have to do that to straighten out our stubborn bits.

What special memories do you have of your parents or grandparents?


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Fun Things to Do in Victoria BC

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Downtown Victoria BC view from our Hotel Grand Pacific balcony

Millions of thanks to my cousin, Melissa, for taking me to Canada with her! We had such a wonderful cousin time, exploring, giggling, eating, and shopping. So much fun and tons of memories (and calories). Don’t forget your passport!

Here are some of the fun things we did.

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Picturesque views while riding on the Clipper

1. Ride the Victoria Clipper. Besides getting us to Victoria in 2 hours 45 minutes, it was a fun way to travel. Parking at the Bell Street parking garage was only $10 a day with a pass from the Clipper. And only a block from the dock. Do check in online as soon as possible. We were in boarding group 1, and it only made life easier.

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Melissa and I headed north on the Victoria Clipper

2. Splurge for a nice hotel. Melissa chose the Hotel Grand Pacific, literally one block from the Clipper dock. It was so easy to wheel our luggage across the street and down the block. Check in was a breeze. Do check. They had our room ready early, though I can’t promise that all the time. The room was fabulous and we had a combined view of the city and the harbor. Comes complete with pool, hot tub, restaurants, high tea, and very friendly and knowledgeable concierges. You can’t lose with this hotel.

3. Schedule High Tea. Do it! Sure, it’s another splurge, but where (in my neighborhood) can I get fancy high tea? Uh…nowhwere. We researched a bit and settled on High Tea at our hotel, Hotel Grand Pacific. So much food, plenty of tea, oodles of sugar, ample time, short walk, wonderful company. Instructions included wearing proper shoes (no flip flops or beach wear items), so we planned ahead and brought summer dresses and dressy sandals. We both ate most of our tea foods, and swapped items we didn’t finish. Or left them on the tier. Not saying who. But I do enjoy a good smoked salmon. And tuna. Our server was kind enough to pack what was left in a container for later snacks.

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Loved this fountain!

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Two adorable 50-somethings enjoying Butchart Gardens

4. Ride city bus #75 to Butchart Gardens. Originally, we planned and booked a day-long tour which featured many popular destinations. Due to low registrations (I think we were on the only two), it was cancelled. We hemmed and hawed and eventually overhead someone saying, “Take the bus.” Excellent suggestion. $5 Canadian for an all day bus pass. Worth the entire fiver. Saved tons of money by going to Butchart on our own. And saw some great sites along the way. Skipped the parking lot fiasco. Butchart Gardens. Two words. DO IT. Gorgeous. We had lunch at The Blue Poppy Restaurant.

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Water lilies in front of Hotel Grand Pacific

5. Wander. From the bus windows, we saw the drug store we needed, plus many other fun places to explore. Touristy shopping is right on Government street, filled with all such souvenir treats one could want. It was pretty easy pickings to find surprises to take home with us.

6. Murchie’s. Visit both sides of this landmark. Coffee, tea, breakfast, lunch, snacks. We hit Murchie’s for breakfast one morning and I was enchanted to have my hot tea come in a pot! If you do this, check for tea strength. I think there were 4 (FOUR!) teabags in my pot. A bit strong, so I pulled some out. The bran muffin was excellent. We then walked right next door to the shopping portion of Murchie’s where we sniffed teas, handled tea items, and purchased loose leaf tea and gifts. Bagged and loose leaf teas are available, as well as tins, tea cups and pots, tea paraphernalia, and assorted whatnots. Knowledgeable tea staff are on hand to help with purchases and tea choices. Sadly, they no longer sell spices.

7. Eat at 10 Acres. They have 3 restaurants with farm to table foods. They grow most of the items they use to prepare meals. We first visited 10 Acres Commons Bistro. I loved my fresh salad and French onion soup. The drink I had included a (ONE) fennel seed, which had accidentally transferred over during the herb harvest process. It was so tasty. We would definitely visit this bistro again. A different evening, we timed our visit to 10 Acres Commons for happy hour when some foods would be on special. Delighted to have an outside table with a lovely view. My bunless burger and salad were exceptionally delish and Melissa’s fish and chips looked super tasty. Just a warning. And I thought it funny. My usual take when I ask for no bun, lettuce wrap instead, is that I am saving you money and buns. Their take is sure, we’ll leave off the bun, but charge you extra for the lettuce wrap. LOL. My happy hour price was eaten up by my lettuce wrap and bacon. Oh well, it was so yummy, I didn’t care.

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Garden of Roger the Marmot…we did not see him.

8. Stop and smell the roses. Or lavender, geraniums, dahlias…Victoria is a beautiful city. We traveled north in August, and flowers were on abundant display. Bees and bumbles adorned nearly every flower bed we saw.

If you wander near The Empress, facing the Empress from the harbor, follow the path along the left of the far left entrance. You will find the home of Roger the marmot and his accompanying bee hives. Though native to the area before land development, marmots do not usually live within city borders. Somehow, be it RV, big truck, or baggage, Roger found his was to this tiny hidden corner of rock walls, trees, and flowers. Four attempts have been made to capture him, but he is wily and wants to stay where he wants to stay. We didn’t see him in person, but what a fun character! The Empress has turned his garden into a wildlife bee and marmot sanctuary. Go see it.

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No photos of Rogers’, but plenty of treats from High Tea!

9. Rogers’ Chocolates. If you love chocolates, you will want to enjoy some treats. We only stopped once for an after dinner truffle. Mine was pretty tasty. But they don’t give correct change (true elsewhere). I asked why I didn’t get any pennies back for my change. I was kind of grumpy about it. I love my pennies. But she said they didn’t have any. Then as I wandered on, I vaguely recalled Canada doing away with pennies. Yep. That was true. No more Canadian pennies. The Rexall cashier explained in detail. I don’t know who benefits most. The government does surely, as it costed about $1.40-1.50 to make $1 worth of pennies. Do shop keepers? Customers? No idea. But don’t expect exact change OR pennies.

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Harbor view from Fisherman’s Wharf

10. Walk the harbor sidewalk. Sit and rest, watch the people, watch the boats and air traffic. Even sitting still, there is so much to see. Victoria is beautiful and popular.

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Pot of tea at Hotel Grand Pacific breakfast. My kind of WAKE up time.

We need to plan another trip. There was so much we did not see. Castles, distilleries, China town, pickle boat rides, museums, Parliament buildings . . . So many more restaurants and malls and exciting things to see.

Have you been to Victoria? What was your favorite thing to see, do, or eat?

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Fisherman’s Wharf. It was a hot day when we walked here, only food and one shop! But beautiful. Most of these are personal homes.


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Haiku Moment: fuzzy chap

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hello fuzzy chap,

head-heavy, deliberate

feasting on beauty

 

fuzzy chap by Angie Quantrell

 

Be still my heart. Butchart Gardens in Victoria BC are gorgeous! Though there were nearly as many human visitors as bumbles and honey bees, the gardens were enchanting. I was captivated by the colors and busy bobblings of these miracle workers following the career of pollination. The true imagination and wonder of God’s creativity put on an amazing display. Such a vast array of design, purpose, enticement, fragrance, color, and beauty. Make the trip!

Tip: $5 Canadian will give you an all-day pass for the city bus. Take #75 to Butchart Gardens and avoid long lines waiting for parking spots. An added bonus is seeing beyond the touristy (though peachy) downtown area.

 


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Happy Hump Day Haiku Challenge: flutter

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you flutter and flit

blossom landings, flower sip,

whispers of beauty

 

flutter by Angie Quantrell

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Even in the mountains of Central Washington, with no evidence of water, dry dusty soil, and an abundance of rocks and weeds, beauty is on display. Towering pines, blooming wildflowers, and clouds of butterflies floating and feasting on the myriad of blossoms wrap viewers in a blanket of peace. The sightings make the steep bumpy road worth enduring.

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Happy Hump Day Haiku Challenge: cotton candy

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cotton candy clouds

effervescence, bees’ delight

pink blossom carpet

 

cotton candy by Angie Quantrell

 

I love spring blossoms and the buzz of happy bees. Welcome, pink!


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Flowers in France #TBT

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Ten years ago this spring, my honey and I spent 3 weeks in France. Most of our time we stayed in Paris, where flower shops and coiffured gardens displayed dazzling blooms. I loved gazing at the gorgeous blooms. And, according to my external hard drive, spent much time clicking photos to remind myself of their beauty.

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The first two photos are favorites because of the price tags. Without those French words and Euro price tags, one would assume the flowers could be found on any continent during the proper season. Well, maybe not Antarctica or the Arctic.

at monet's water lilly pond

One of my most favorite memories was taking a day trip to Giverny, the home of Claude Monet. I have been a long time admirer of his impressionistic work. With settings such as these, how could he NOT paint? Breathtaking! If you squint, you can see his featured bridge back beyond the willow trees.

 

bedroom up, studio down

This is a part of Monet’s home. We took a walking tour inside. I don’t have any photos of the inside, I think because we were not allowed to take pictures. It was inspiring to see the places he worked, slept, ate, and enjoyed family life. I would move in in a second!

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The flower gardens are all that-and more! One could spend days exploring and not see it all. Actually, I want to return one day and spend the entire day soaking in the beauty.

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Oh, the flowers that grow! Below you can see the green bridge covered in tourists. Alas, I attempted photos without the crowds, but you can see I created a false impression. 😉 Plenty of others had the same ideas we did about a day in the country.

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Have you been inspired to travel some place special? What captured your imagination and led you to visit and explore?


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Spinning: Happy Hump Day Haiku Challenge

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Spinning

lacy edges spin

wrapped tight, unfurling swirls hint

at blossom beauty

 

by Angie Quantrell

It’s Happy Hump Day Haiku Challenge day! Post your haiku in the comments or the link to your page so we can read your haiku!