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Photo of the Month - July

Hi Folks:

In honour of the 30th Annual Moss St. Paint-In, we’re celebrating art in our photos of the month for July!

Marcia’s image is first. We came across this scene and, as writers ourselves, recognized it as everything the modern travel writer needs! It’s perfect!

Everything the Modern Travel Writer Needs

For Mike’s image we have his favourite artwork from the day. Frame courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria; we’ll let you guess who the pretty woman with the parasol is. 😉

Moss St. Paint In

Okay, that’s it for now. Go out and make some photographs!!

Hugs,
M&M

Free Hugs and Free Shoes!!

Hi Folks:

Free Hugs

Free Hugs!

Last weekend was our 13th Hugging session of 2017; a number that is amazing both because it’s far and away the most sessions we’ve done in any year (and it’s only mid-summer!) and because 13 is Mike’s lucky number! (nobody else wanted it 🙂 )

Continue reading “Free Hugs and Free Shoes!!

Eating Our Way Through Victoria...

Hi Folks:

It’s been a while since we did a food post, so it must be time for another one! We had two delicious meals out in July and we thought we’d share a bit of information with you…

John's Place

John’s Place

John’s Place

We’ve eaten at John’s Place before, but only for dinner. As we’ve mentioned, breakfast is Marcia’s favourite meal out, so on a sunny Sunday morning we wandered down to Pandora Avenue for some brunch. Now, normally that time of the week would have a line-up down the street for many of Victoria’s fine restaurants, but coincidentally we timed our arrival with the beginning of Victoria’s 2017 Pride Parade. As such the restaurant was still packed, but with most folks out watching the parade we only had to wait a few minutes to be seated.

What we love most about John’s Place is the laid back atmosphere. It’s very much like being in someone’s country kitchen (albeit with a bunch of friendly strangers). John’s place is open, loud, and it is not pretentious. The staff are great and John’s Place prides itself on serving free run eggs, butter (not margarine) and the freshest ingredients they can source. This shows in both the delicious scents and the taste! They serve LavAzza coffee, so Marcia opted for the bottomless cup of drip coffee and Mike had a double Café Americano. For breakfast Marcia had the Free Run Traditional breakfast – eggs over, bacon and fresh fruit on the side. Mike opted for something a little different – the Valdy’s Frittata. It’s a 4-egg, open-faced omelette, served up with chorizo sausage, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, onions and feta cheese. Both were excellent!! Victoria has a number of great breakfast places, and John’s Place is certainly one of them! (Psssttt… their staff give great hugs)

Table 21

Table 21

Table 21

Table 21 is located on the first floor of the DoubleTree Hotel, at the corner of Douglas and Burdett Streets. There is a bar/lounge seating, but they also have a large dining area. Table 21 mostly does tapas (small plates), and for a general recommendation one orders 1-2 plates per person.

We opted for four dishes and that worked out very well for us. First we ordered the Grilled Romaine Salad, which was an entire romaine heart divided in two and served with a house dressing, candied bacon and shaved Grana Padano cheese. For a vegetable dish we ordered the Ponzu Chili Zucchini Noodle, which was a blend of grated zucchini, peppers, chili sauce and garlic. To round it out we had Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus and Crispy Duck Wings. The duck wings were Marcia’s particular favourite – prepared Asian style with cashews, spring onion, cilantro and green papaya slaw. That was certainly ample for us! We passed on dessert, but Mike did finish the meal with an espresso. One thing to note: Show proof that you are a resident of Victoria and get 21% off your bill!

Victoria has so many great restaurants; these are two more to consider for your next meal out. 🙂

Hugs,
M&M

Photo of the Month - June

Hi Folks:

We had a fairly busy month photographically in June, including some time at the Oak Bay Tea Party and several walks along Dallas Road. It can be a challenge selecting one image from each batch for the month, but we’re happy with our choices. Marcia first:

St. John's Wort

Marcia’s image is a bit different from our regular work in that it was not only made with her phone, but processed using phone software as well. Prisma was used to create the slight graphic effect, and then that image was overlaid on the original image using Snapseed. Phones don’t have the memory or processing capacity of a computer, but used well they can still provide good results!

St. John’s Wort grows with wild abandon here in Victoria (although it’s not as invasive as some other species), and while we love its bright yellow flowers, it also reminds us of a short clip from the wonderful book ‘My Brother’s Farm‘ by Doug Jones. In the book he mentioned that his brother had tried to grow St. John’s Wort on the farm, but it wouldn’t take. His thought was, “I don’t know why…maybe it’s depressed.” 😉

Dallas Road clouds

We get some great clouds here in Victoria, both in the inner harbour and along the Dallas Road walkway, paralleling the Juan de Fuca Strait. This is a composite image made of four exposures, combined and pushed around some in Lightroom.

Okay, that’s it. Now go out and make some photographs!!

Hugs,
M&M

Free Hugs on Canada Day!!

Hi Folks!!

Wherever you are, we trust you had a wonderful Canada Day!! It’s hard to believe that a) we’re at 150 already, and b) both of us were around for the 100th birthday!! 🙂

We invested a part of the morning and early afternoon being part of the ‘Living Flag’ on the Legislature lawn, and then, wearing our bright red Canada Day 150 T-shirts we headed off to our usual location at the Homecoming Memorial to give out some hugs! Several sections of downtown Victoria, including a portion of Wharf St. where we like to go were closed to traffic. That worked out well for us as there was no shortage of pedestrians and cyclists in a celebratory mood!

Free Hugs on Canada Day

Free Hugs on Canada Day

Continue reading “Free Hugs on Canada Day!!

Happy Father's Day!!

Hi Folks:

Today is Father’s Day, and as such today we celebrate fathers, step-fathers, grandfathers, as well as all of those men (and women) who have stepped in as surrogates to fill the roles left open for them. We salute you all. Being a dad isn’t an easy prospect…nor is it meant to be.

Today is a bittersweet day for us as both Marcia’s father and Mike’s dad passed away last year, within a couple of months of each other. As such we were struggling a bit to come up with a way to honour our dads and all that they’ve given us over the years. We came across the following poem from Terri St. Cloud and it says it better, perhaps, than we could:

honoring you

honoring you

We do our best, every day, to do just that. Embrace those you love, today and every day. Let them know how important they are to you!!

With love and hugs,
Grandy and Grandalf

Hidden (photo by Marcia)

P.S. We live in a society where people are fearful of death, and (unfortunately) where the last act for most people is toxic to the planet on which they lived their entire lives. There’s an interesting TED talk on the subject, here: When I die, recompose me

Hugs With Brad

Hi Folks:

Well, it’s only mid-June but we’ve already done eight hugging sessions this year! We started on April Fool’s Day, after all. As we’ve mentioned, this is our 8th year of doing this, and so far we’ve hugged ambassadors from 57 countries (that we know of), including 21 countries so far this year! Every hug is unique and special to us, but we continue to have new experiences, like our first 3-time hugger, random hugging experiences (two strangers hugging each other, spontaneous group hugs, someone making an image of someone they don’t know hugging us, etc.)

In our last hugging session on Sunday we had two women tell us that they had already been hugged by someone else! Curious, we had to check this out for ourselves, so one at a time we went down along Wharf Street, around the corner onto Government and there we met Brad with his own Free Hugs sign! Such a treat! Brad’s been traveling to different places around the world, and wherever he goes he creates his own Free Hugs sign. At the end of each session he leaves the sign behind as incentive for someone else to pick it up and continue the tradition. We’re not sure how long Brad is in town, but we’d be more than happy to see him again and share more hugs!

Today is Victoria’s Ska & Reggae Festival, and last year it was our busiest hugging session of the year. We had line-ups of people wanting to share hugs… it was wonderful! Looking forward to a repeat this year. 🙂 Tomorrow is Car Free YYJ; maybe we’ll bring our posters down there as well! 😉

Remember to hug someone you love today. Or a stranger. Or, preferably, both!!

Hugs,
M&M

Alike

Hi Folks:

We’re stealing this short video link from Kalebra Kelby’s blog; we do so unabashedly for two reasons. First, it’s a wonderful  film, and well worth 8 minutes of your time. Second, it gives us the opportunity to introduce you to Kalebra’s blog, which is filled with insight, humour and warmth (to name a few).

Enjoy!

Alike

Hugs,
M&M

P.S. After viewing this you may wish to visit our ‘Finding Validation‘ post for more feelinggoodness. 🙂 (that may not be a word, but it should be)

P.S. II, the sequel. Mike’s sister Liz passed away 22 years ago today. She would have Loved this movie!

Photo of the Month - Big Skies

Hi Folks:

We thought we’d do a themed post for May’s images. Although Marcia is mostly renowned for her flower photography, she does in fact shoot a wide variety of other work as well! As we’re both big fans of clouds and cloud watching, we thought we’d use clouds as the basis for our photos of the month. Marcia’s first.

Continue reading “Photo of the Month – Big Skies

Having Brunch Out for Mother's Day(s)

Hi Folks:

For Mother’s Day this year we traveled up to the Okanagan to celebrate with Mike’s Mom. We had two days together so we got to treat her to two different places!

Continue reading “Having Brunch Out for Mother’s Day(s)