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Happy Earth Day!

Earth

(click on image to see 4K footage from the ISS)

Happy Earth Day, everyone! As the saying goes:

“Love your Mother. Good planets are hard to find.”

Hugs,
M&M

Dawn Redwood, Dressed Up for Spring

Hugging Victoria, 2016!

Hi Folks! This is our (drum roll…) seventh year of hugging Victorians and everyone else who wanders by and wants one! We still remember how terrified we were on our first hugging adventure, and how enervated we are now when the opportunity presents itself. We didn’t have as many opportunities last year as we would have liked, but in 2014 we hugged people from 41 countries (that we know about). We wanted to get a jump on things this year, and since we’ve been having such lovely weather lately, we went out on our earliest ever Hugging session on April 2. Well, we hugged people from Victoria and other places on the island, people from mainland BC, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. We hugged neighbours from Washington and Montana, and neighbours from as far away as South Carolina. And we hugged people from Brazil, Chile, China, India, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Romania, Thailand and Vietnam. Thirteen countries so far, and that’s only our first outing!

Continue reading “Hugging Victoria, 2016!

Photo of the Month - March

Hi Folks:

We both love dragons (admit it, who doesn’t?), but this is one of our favourites, captured with Marcia’s camera and pushed around a bit in Lightroom.

Here Be Dragons

Here Be Dragons

Continue reading “Photo of the Month – March

Happy Pi Day!

Hi Folks:

It’s that one day of the year again (3-14) where we celebrate all things irrational by honouring the most famous of their brethren, pi (π). And as any mathematician worth his or her salt with tell you, nothing associates better with pi than pastry! It may be the perfect alchemical blending of flour and lard, egg and vinegar… or it may just be the homonym. No matter.

pi-blue-2400px

Continue reading “Happy Pi Day!

Eating Our Way Through Victoria - Terroir Tea Merchant

Hi Folks:

As mentioned in our last post, the end of February marked Victoria’s “Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown” for 2016. It’s a great opportunity for locals to get out to places they may not yet have discovered in the greater Victoria area. We had loose plans to visit a few places on the Friday afternoon, but they pretty much evaporated when we crossed the threshold of Terroir Tea Merchant (on Fort, between Quadra and Blanshard).

Terroir Tea Merchant

Let’s begin with what Terroir is not: They don’t sell coffee, bottled water, fruit juice, cookies or doughnuts. What they do offer are more than two dozen different teas from the various tea-growing regions, sourced wherever possible from the growers themselves. Our tea was carefully prepared by a tea master, a woman so warm and engaging we abandoned our loosely-knit plans and took up far too much of her time instead. Charity is a certified tea master with accreditation from Australia and her partner (in tea and in life) Jason is a tea specialist with a science background. They are equally open, incredibly knowledgeable and wonderful to talk with. Terroir comes from the French language and encompasses not only the soil of a region but also the climate, rainfall, sun, as well as the culture and heritage of that region as all of these and more impact the plants growing there. An Oolong tea from Taiwan and an Oolong tea from Nepal are not the same by any means. Even plants from the same region, growing at different altitudes or picked at different times will have different flavours to offer.

Charity and Jason also understand the true nature of the word ‘competition’: to strive together. If they don’t have what a customer is looking for, they’ll refer them to someone who might. They have and will continue to incorporate tea pairings with other local businesses, combining their tea offerings with chocolate, perhaps, or different cheeses. More information on upcoming events is available on their website. They’re also developing and offering courses and workshops for those interested in learning more about the art of tea.

We’ve already told several friends about Terroir, and their responses can best be summed up by our friend A. who replied, “Yes! Their tea is amazing! I’m glad you’ve discovered them too!”

Do drop by their store on Front Street, and while you’re there take the time to watch the tea being prepared in what may be the coolest tea-making machine in Victoria. It looks like a French press on steroids and is controlled via an Android tablet. The software allows the simultaneous preparation of four different teas, each brewed for a specific time and at a specific temperature. If a customer has a certain preferences – longer steeping time or difference in temperature for example, custom recipes can be programmed into memory. They wouldn’t say, but we’re reasonably confident it can also monitor and track several small satellites… 🙂

Do drop by; you’ll be glad you did!

Hugs,
M&M

P.S. If you really want to know about the gummi bear tea (no, they do not sell it) well, you’ll have to ask. 😉

Photo of the Month - February

Hi Folks:

At the end of February we took advantage of the Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown celebration to pay a visit to the world-famous Butchart Gardens. The Gardens were busy for this time of year, but not overly, and with a little patience we were able to wander around for several hours and make some good images. Below are two of them.

The first is an image made by Marcia in the Japanese Garden, converted to a monochrome sepia. And no, the white in the image is not snow, but moss. The mosses were so vibrant that day we needed to reduce the saturation on many of the images to make them look believable!

Japanese Garden

The second image was made by Mike in the Sunken Garden. This tree is a favourite of ours, and one of Marcia’s favourite images (for both of us) was made of this tree. The processing here was actually an accident, in part, but it looks as though the tree and surroundings are emerging slowly onto the page, radiating out from the centre.

Sunken GardenOkay, that’s it.

Now go out and make some photographs!

Hugs,
M&M

Dine Around & Stay in Town, 2016

Hi Folks:

One of the challenges with living in Victoria is that there’s always so much to do! Often one has to choose this instead of that (heavy sigh.. 🙂 ). As example, starting last Friday (February 19) and running until March 6 is the 2016 Dine Around and Stay in Town event. It’s an invitation for both residents and visitors to check out over 60 different local restaurants and try one of their prix fixe menus, with prices ranging from $20-$50/plate. Many places also have suggestions for wine or beer pairings. In addition to the food choices, a dozen hotels are offering rooms at rates beginning at $79.

Continue reading “Dine Around & Stay in Town, 2016

Photo of the Month - January

Hi Folks:

As we’re both writers as well as photographers, we’re including two images for January’s photo of the month post, along with poems inspired by them. Enjoy! Continue reading “Photo of the Month – January

Unique. And Perfect.

Hi Folks:

In all of the world you have one thing that no one else has ever had or will ever have: your story. No one in all of history will ever share your thoughts, feelings, experiences, ideas, fears, beliefs, dreams, joys, triumphs or loves. That makes you unique. If you look up unique in the dictionary it means, “one of a kind, unequaled, no basis for comparison.” You’re the only You that will ever be, and that makes you special. Now, in a world bent on expressing conformity it may seem to be non-conformist, radical, or even (dare I say it?) eccentric to be unique, but you Are. There’s nothing to be afraid of, nothing you can change anyway, and uniqueness leads to ever expanding diversity.

Continue reading “Unique. And Perfect.

My Favourite Image of the Year

Hi Folks:

Every year that we can we head to Government House on New Year’s Day for the Lieutenant Governor’s levée. It’s an opportunity for us to meet the present Lieutenant Governor and his/her spouse, listen to the opening speech, the bagpipe music, toast the piper, and partake in some coffee and good food. We also stroll the grounds and make photographs of the flowers already in bloom – that we dutifully send east to family – just as a reminder of what’s yet to come for the rest of the country. 🙂 Before heading out to wander the grounds, however, at some point we head to the balcony at the back of the house, look out over the grounds and the Juan de Fuca Strait beyond. It’s also my opportunity to make some images of Marcia, and without hesitation it’s my favourite image of the year.

Marcia on New Year's Day, 2016

Marcia on New Year’s Day, 2016

I know she looks beautiful here, but the image doesn’t really do her justice. You’ll just have to take my word for it.

From Marcia and me, we wish you a new year filled with as much happiness, health, prosperity, excitement, love, peace and adventure as you can handle!

Hugs,
M&M

P.S. Santa Claus brought us both new cell phone (cameras) this year.  Who knows where that may lead!