Saturday, February 18, 2017

The adventurers

Now that they're (mostly) retired, Janice and Jim split their time between Palm Springs and Vancouver. On Saturday, John and I went to their place for lunch before their next trip down south. John photographed Janice (right) and me at the window of their apartment, which overlooks Lost Lagoon in the West End. 

Jim, an English professor and Aldous Huxley expert, sports a very professional-looking chef's tunic while he makes lunch. Photo by John. 

I was deputized to "fatigue" (toss) the salad, a French term I had never heard before. Janice and Jim's foreign adventures have taught them many things. Photo by John.

The chef invites us to the table. His spaghetti Alfredo was a hit. Photo by John. 

Getting together with John's cousin Janice and her husband Jim in their West End home is always an adventure. Will they be getting rid of a kilt and a few boxes of academic books? Will they loan a stranger a towel off their balcony? Will Jim be describing his battles with the noisy buskers on the seawall, or recounting a childhood bike ride that shattered his knee?

For two Metro-Vancouver-born sixty-somethings with teaching backgrounds, Janice and Jim manage to inject an element of the unusual into whatever they turn their minds to. When they were young, they toured Europe on the world's thinnest shoestring. Later, through Jim's clever strategy of arranging teaching exchanges with his foreign counterparts, they were able to spend months at a time in Europe. Janice retired from teaching English early and found that instead of writing, as she had anticipated, she was a natural-born painter.

Janice usually does the cooking, but on Saturday, Jim donned a white chef's tunic, complete with an embroidered "Chef James" name tag, to whip up a batch of spaghetti Alfredo with shrimp and clams for us. Why an English professor who specializes in Aldous Huxley has a chef's tunic with his name on it wasn't clear, but it also wasn't surprising. The pasta was excellent.


  1. I loved your post, of course! Ah yes, did Jim have a secret career as a gourmet chef and has been holding out on me all these years? Actually, Jim was hired to teach in the south of France those three years. Teaching exchanges never worked out. He always has many trial balloons out but not even in his wildest dreams did he really think someone would take him up on the idea that University of the South in France should hire him to teach Huxley because Huxley wrote Brave New World in Sanary, France. Well, the first year they threw him a curve ball and he was scheduled to teach "Canadian Culture and History". That was a bit of a stretch but "Canadian History for Dummies" was a good source. He found the French students were particularly interested in the North, the Inuit, and First Nations.

  2. From Huxley to the Inuit, via Canadian History for Dummies -- now that's adventurous!