If we were having coffee (#Weekend Coffee Share)

If we were having coffee you too would have stopped mid-sip and we would lock eyes because we just heard that today is National Sword Swallowing Day as was just announced on the CBC radio program I am listening to this morning.

Apparently it’s a tradition on the wane.

Well, who knew.

So anyway, today I will be jumping in my boat and heading to town soon to my mom’s place up island. She will be meeting with the people who will be moving her to her new sweet suite in the next few days. Can I get a Hallelujah?

This service is supplied by the Assisted Living Village and once the move date is set the action begins. They pack and unpack, AND hang all art work etc. all in one day- and that is fantastic.

The move is a big transition for all concerned, of course, but will have so many benefits for all concerned too, finally having her in our neck of the woods. No more long drives up and back.

Mom and Bob 2016

Seems many my age have stories of “moving a parent.” I see and hear them everywhere. Stands to reason, there are sooo many Boomers out there doing exactly what I’m doing right at this time too. ¬†A zeitgeist perhaps?

It’s the opposite end of the spectrum of a young parent meeting other young parents with small children. Kind of. You share experiences good and bad and talk of challenges rife with concerns, worries, and conflicts.

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SO I’ll let you go cause it is the weekend and I know you have a lot to do, getting outside to make the most of this (almost) spring day. Here on the West coast we have some sun and the birds have come back from winter, a welcome sound!

Enjoy your day~ ūüôā

 

 

 

 

 

One of Those days

Moe napping 2014
Moe napping 2014

I had accomplished one hour of yoga, made some business phone calls, made some chocolate cupcakes, and checked the mail. And that’s it.

By the late afternoon I made some popcorn, plunked down on the sofa and turned on the TV. Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind was on and I settled in to watch- what’s got to be the 50th time over the years. So corny I know, the acting is laughable, but because I am one of those who watch a night sky in hopes of seeing ET, I get hooked in again and enjoy the ride. I Give myself permission today to indulge in being a couch potato.

It’s a down day. Not in mood but in activity. The rain is coming down, I have the house to myself and I’m reveling in my own company.

And oh what luck, on next is Young Frankenstein, one of my favourite movies with Gene Wilder, next to Blazing Saddles – Cloris Leachman – Love her Frau Blucher (cue neighing horses). Both of those movies I have also seen a gazillion times and can be heard speaking the dialogue along with the actors- annoying, but I’m here by myself so‚Ķ excuse me now, Frodrick and Frankenstein are singing Puttin’ on the Ritz –

Happy Friday!

 

 

 

 

Fallen Angel

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I looked out the window to my backyard and noticed my Garden Angel had become liberated from the fence she hung upon.

To hell with it, she might have said, I just have to smell that lavender bush.

I totally empathize.

My new Chill

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Thought I’d share the arrival of the new appliance. Exciting I know.

This is one mode of transport by which many of the islands’ things come to us. They have a truck and boat trailer on the main island too and are able to take the skiff to any place to load directly, then simply launch and pull out on our island. And visa versa. Anything bigger than what the skiff can manage is brought over by barge- a large barge.

These guys are the bomb. Every other week they come around and do a garbage and recyclables collection for a small fee.¬†Each spring they organize a Garden Run, bringing everything from fencing, manure, topsoil and potting mix, to what have you. Just put your request in and they’ll get it to your yard.

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Up the access-

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Up the slippery slope-

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Up the steps-

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And in. After the 2 hours it took flipping the door so it opens to the right,¬†peppered with expletives of course,(Guy at Home Depot said, Oh yeah factory takes 10 minutes, you maybe 20, it’s easy!), I whipped up a pizza (I had dough I¬†previously made, so no biggy) and Bob and I cracked some champagne and waited for the fridge to come to temp before I moved everything from the coolers we had outside.

And that’s how we do it. ūüôā

 

Appliance meltdown

fridge 2016

A quiet Monday night was interrupted by a weird noise coming from the kitchen. Bob got up to check, came back saying he didn’t see anything. 20 minutes later again the noise, I went to see and found light smoke coming from what I thought was the basement but as I approached I could see it was coming from behind the fridge.

I called out and we pushed the fridge away from the wall and unplugged it. Yikes.

We pulled off the lower panel to have a closer look and found that a LOT of dust bunnies set up camp in there, so the intake fan probably wasn’t able to perform well. That and the fridge is 15 years on. I vacuumed it out and we let things cool down then¬†we plugged it back in to see how it goes. Seemed good. Just needed a vacuuming. We returned to our cozy couch.

Then the noise, we jumped up to see a thin plume of black smoke, so not good.

Thus was the demise of the ice box. Luckily we have several coolers to employ while we wait for our new fridge this weekend.

Luckily this didn’t happen last weekend when we were away for the night.

A wee run away

Victoria 2016

We all have to do it, some more often than others.¬†Luckily I don’t have to go too far to get to one of my favourite Happy Spots for a getaway. Just one and half hour drive brings me to Victoria, a city I once lived for six years when a single mom.

It’s the funniest thing- whenever I revisit I feel like I’m home. I definitely have a deep connection to this spot on the map even though I have lived in my current city for decades. Go figure. ¬†I booked a sweet room at a B&B right on Dallas Road which runs along the waterfront and is part of Beacon Hill Park. I didn’t even tell Bob that I had made plans to spirit him away for the night. I love spontaneity.

What prompted the escape was knowing that our little islands power was going to shut down the entire day of Feb 2 due to power poles being replaced and, truth be known,¬†I just really wanted to be somewhere else for a time. If I could have nabbed a flight to Cuba for a week it would’ve happened.

Victoria would have to do. So we left on the 1st.

We didn’t see a performance or a film, we didn’t go to a high end restaurant either. We stayed close to the area of the B&B and walked the parks waterfront and took in the splendid Ogden Point Breakwater.

Ogden Point 2016

The excitement I guess came that evening in our room. Not what you think. Our hosts had taken the liberty of upgrading our room since they had many vacancies that night; being a Tuesday I guess, so that was nice. The place was a heritage building and in true Victoria fashion the decor followed suit.

The duvet covered bed was encased in a beautiful rich wood frame and layered with several pillows large and small, a bank of multi-pane windows opened out to the ocean. Ahh.

I brought some Pinot Noir, and filled our glasses with a quarter pour and we reclined back on the pillows. To read the paper. Yes, 25 years of marriage- this is normal.

But when handsome hubby put down the paper and turned towards me (might there be romance?) as he did so one of the small pillows slide out from behind him and ever so quickly nudged his glass of red to the floor. He jumped up so fast and picked up the glass only to see a long, deep red gash stretched out over the pale carpet. Gasp!

Why didn’t I bring the Chardonnay.

Amazing how far a small amount can spread. Cocoa powder and tomato sauce have this same capability.

We quickly soaked wads of toilet paper and began dabbing and dabbing, then I took my clean underwear from my overnight bag, (I certainly couldn’t use the hotel towels now ¬†could I?) and soaking them and using soap started scrubbing.

Not so romantic. Although I giggled the whole time, because it is so unlike us, and what else could one do but lighten up?  Needless to say Bob felt very bad about it.

In the morning- notice the segue- we arrived too late for our breakfast and even though our charming host Mike said he would make it we said thank you, no, and uh, oh by the way, yada, yada yada. Mike said don’t worry about it, but we left a generous tip anyway.

And we drove home. Not necessarily rested but a change of scenery was had, and anytime I can spend in my favorite city is a good time. With or without wine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Domicile Love

Cleaning ones abode is a fact of life. Whether you actually do it is your own issue, but eventually you’ll have to dig yourself out of the laundry pile. Personally I approach housework as ‘House Love’. Corny, ¬†yes- but to give a little attention to the place that shelters you is meaningful, no?

Except this.

cleaning racks

This is my absolute least favourite domestic duty. Cleaning my oven racks rank right up there with…- no they stand alone in that, yep.

 

It Takes a Village

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Because I live on a rock that I share with about 300 others, you get to know its people. Many I’ve known for over 20 years, others more recent. For me this is the longest duration in one community in my entire life – in California we moved several times: Garden Grove, Tustin, Santa Ana, Huntington Beach, and this continued when we relocated to Vancouver Island.

Landing here on this tiny Gulf Island I remember saying to my new husband (that would be Bob) that I have no intention of leaving. Of course this was after experiencing the grunting work of loading cars and boats with my things and barging across the waters to off load, then reload onto a truck to the final destination of Bobs house. Then off load. I ain’t doing that again, I think is what I mumbled under my breath. Little did it sink in then that this in fact would be a constant way of life. Hauling things. But I’m good with it now.

So this is home and I am surrounded by people who know me. They know my children. Our story.

And I know some of theirs, when someone gets married, when there is a new baby, when someone falls on hard luck, the fundraiser events. But because I’ve been working so much out of the home for many years these events have been more on the periphery of my scope. Acknowledgement, appreciation, yes – but also a little taken for granted.

Until now. Living in this community the more I am awakened to the profundity of it, the depths it reaches into what it means to know your neighbour, to be a part of this tiny part of humanity.

She was a gardener, taking care of others’ plants and flowers, she and her partner working together on landscaping jobs for about 15 years here and she passed away. She was in her 50’s and died of Lung Cancer a few days ago. And when I mentioned this one evening to a friend how many neighbours have passed my friend said, It’s our age. She said, there were three people in my condo on my floor that had died within a few years of each other.

I thought about what she said, but it wasn’t the same.

It was then that I realized what it is I am a part of here.  At that moment I came to fully understand the connectedness that resides here, what it means to be a supportive community, to BE IN a community. I realized how far on the sidelines I have dwelled.

It was an epiphany.

Because when I see Anne I can remember her husband, and see Liz and remember her husband, and see Pat and remember her husband, and see Veronica and remember her husband,  and see Keith and remember his wife, and see Shannon and remember her daughter, and when I see Dan I can remember his partner. And because I can see my neighbours navigating catastrophic life changes and doing the wrenching work of carrying on, of salving wounds. Of finding a new normal everyday.

I have newfound respect and even a reverence that wasn’t so present before as a resident here. Of what Home means, and Connection.

 

 

 

 

Freeze up

Protection ice floe

This is rather a rare occurrence for us west coasters to have our bay iced over for nearly 3 days, but there have been tales told that in the far past people have ice skated out to this little island.

The above photo is the third day as it’s finally breaking up. Bob and I have a welded aluminum boat which means it can take pushing through the ice, and we did. (This also scraps clean the bottom of our boat brilliantly too.) We went out to where our sailboat is moored and did a few circles around her to free her up and then we went all around the rest of the bay to break ice for those that are living aboard their boats and would have difficulty getting to shore with their row boats.

Off to a good start since this happened on January 1st  making it our first good deed for 2016!

Our sailboat in the icy bay 2016

gulls standing on ice

Hola! Ole!

Week two of my island neighbourhood Spanish class and it went well! She covered numbers and we did some merchant/shopper roll playing ¬†and then the class ended on a musical note; two students brought a Spanish translated rendition of “Row, Row, Row your boat”. Next week they said we’ll sing it in the round. Uh huh, should be smooth! Anyway such fun to get together with my neighbors and learn something as a group. I love my little community, so fortunate to be in an enclave such as this. Oh and according to Duolingo I now possess 15% fluency in Spanish, whoo hoo!

Hablo Espa√Īol- well, my reoccurring attempt to

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I’m no stranger to the Spanish language, and not that I have any proficiency what so ever, but being born in California the school curriculum included Spanish, not sure if it still does as I’m talking some 45 years ago. My breath got caught just there.

I had it in junior high grades 7, 8 and as an elective in my junior year grade 9 at Huntington High, then my family moved to Canada where French was the dominant second language and was mandatory up to grade 10. I rather regret not taking advantage of that new language, but rather than jump in I stayed with what was familiar and was allowed to take Spanish by correspondence instead, which didn’t come to much since I had no one to practice with. When I got to grade 11 I took it as an elective. A side note about my Spanish teacher for that class, Mr. Gallagher, the first day of class he burst into the room holding a guitar, threw himself onto an empty desk and belted out La Cucaracha. He was an engaging teacher far and few between.

Later in life my husband and I traveled to Mexico a few times, one trip lasting three months backpacking and I took some Spanish tutoring, until our rented bikes were stolen one night and had to re pay the bike shop thus blowing my tutoring budget.

I took more classes in my town upon returning from that trip to keep the language alive. And again years later when I was employed at the University I recently retired from; one of our perks was exemption from tuition, so I had enrolled in a class that was compatible with my work schedule. One year.

One whole year, and I did o.k. but I struggled with exams and the finals. So obviously not quit getting it and I’m¬†dismayed¬†by this since this language and I go way (way) back.

So now a neighbor on my little island, who is originally from Colombia, has decided to hold  Spanish classes at our community hall each Wednesday morning. It is beginner level and I am attending, along with 20 of my neighbors, and although I know a bit more to take her intermediate class she plans on following up with,  rather than wait for that class I think I really need to begin the very basics again. I have  3 people in close proximity  that I can practice with too, I want to get this, I want to speak another language and by gum I plan to master it!

Anyone else out there having second language learning issue and successes? Did you have to persevere for years to break ground?  How did you finally break through the barrier?

Studio Plans

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I have been mentally planning the placement of a studio space and where to build it.

In the front yard or the back. If I build in the back I will need to move as much soil out of the existing vegetable garden as possible to the front lower yard. In the front, the light and the area is brighter, more open and flat which would be ideal for the garden, but the ground is on the hard side and tends to be rockier and I will have a lot of work to do to prepare another growing area. This area is also ideal building ground and good light for studio work.

The back area on the other hand is becoming more shaded each year due to the surrounding trees, not optimal for growing but still very good, but do I feel the light would be insufficient for the studio? Also would I feel more comfortable with a small building in the back of the house or plunked in the front yard, albeit off to the lower side.

Then there is the consideration of using the basement, a¬†finished off, mostly unused space that has a futon couch, (when the kids come for a visit) heated, clean and possess straight walls, an asset the main upper house doesn‚Äôt (yay A-Frames! ), along with a tiled floor so no big worry about mess; whatever I throw at it can be wiped up- not that I’d throw stuff, but you know what I mean. Mess is integral to creation.

The big issue with this space is it is on the dark side, especially in winter months; it is partially below ground after all, but it has beautiful recessed lighting in the ceiling and extra lighting in the way of floor lamps will boost the brightness. ¬†At first look the basement space feels non conducive to creativity, not “Studio” but rather ‚ÄúGrotto‚ÄĚ.

Just in writing this out has it become obvious that  judicious practicality has to prevail here.

Since I haven’t done a serious lick of painting or even a drawing in god knows how many years (at least 28, since my last big graphites while living in Victoria) perhaps before investing too much in exterior building costs (on the island no less with it’s inherent added costly logistics, etc.) I am better off to see how I do with what I now have at my disposal.

The indicator to build a separate studio space needs to be when I fill up the basement with work and it begins to overrun into the upper house. Then I can feel ready and confident to warrant my own work space. To build before then could make me feel pressured to “produce” in some stupid arcane way, to “validate” the money and effort in it’s building.

Am I overthinking? Perhaps but I think that this is the approach I need to take. Let it open up organically, and hey I’m a Taurus, I’m supposed to be Practical!

Breaking Ground

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My garden space in its post winter state.

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The new starts waiting to take their place for the season !

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After a hard days work the space is ready to plant. My leeks that were divided and put into a row are a little beleaguered but they’ll come around~

I’ve done it

My last entry was quite some time ago, and as I write now I realize I just hadn’t felt compelled to come to my computer to write out what I was processing in my mind- which is different for me, writing things out is my usual behavior in matters of gaining mental clarity. In that hiatus I entered my 57th year on this planet, and came to a decision.

After some lengthy deliberation I officially gave my resignation notice as of June 19th. Doing this three years before I had planned gave me small pause, only small. I love where I work and will miss my colleagues, but it is time and I feel good about it. Once I finalized my decision I felt relieved and lightened.

I will have the flexibility now to care for my mother who will be 90 this year and lives on her own 45 minutes up Island-no more renting away from home and husband each winter as in the past three years. No mandatory daily, dark, early morning winter crossings to get to work either, I can go at my leisure.

Time also to bring all those things I left simmering on the back burner to the plate at last. Hopefully nothing vaporized over the years, I won’t know until I lift the lid and have a look ~

Adjustment will of course ensue but I’m ready to meet the challenges!

Shrouded

The fog is back! Well, I suppose it’s a small price to pay living on the Wet, I mean West Coast; those poor East Coasters still digging themselves out from under the ice and snow. Here’s my world this morning on my commute to work. Have to admit fog brings its own beauty to the table, but oh can hardly wait for the sunny days to come!

My dock on P.I.
Log booms loom long, low and dark, town harbour beyond

 

Coming into the inner harbor
Coming into the inner harbor, the Herring boats have been working the last few days

 

The gas docks
The gas docks

Packing for Home- the nuts n’ bolts of island life

 

So moving my belongings of 3 months of living at the vinyl cabin back to my home island involves some logistics, which I would like to share! This process applies to anything of a certain quantity that one happens to be bringing over. For bigger items or larger quantities we have a small skiff company and a barge service available to us.

BTW – I am NOT whining!

First I pack up the car and drive to the marina parkade

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Carry stuff from car down to my boat- this day it took 2 arm loads down

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Drive car to my own parkade across the street. Why not keep the car at the marina parkade?  Difference of $50.

Walk from parkade to boat

Travel across the water to a drop off point

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Unload

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Take boat to my dock

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Taking my valuables, walk to house to pick up van (up to about 5 years ago out of 25 we used a wheelbarrow)

Drive van to pick up spot.

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load stuff (two trips up/down ramp again)

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drive to house

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unload ( two trips)

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And rejoice over all the money I save on Gym memberships!

A Walk in the Park

Sharing some Tree Study photos I took on the weekend in a large Provincial Park that is also on an Island, right next to my Island. How lucky am I?

 

Lattice
Lattice

 

Wood Watcher
Wood Watcher

 

A Walk in the Park
Exposed

 

 

Opening
Opening

 

 

Cleave

 

 

Dk Brint
Arbutus Eye

 

 

DK Brint
Cleft