Dare say, love

Sure it was the Port Alberni, Nanaimo, Victoria, Ladner, Vancouver Christmas friendship tour but that didn’t stop me from visiting two fabric stores along the way. One in Duncan and one on Granville Island.

We told my granddaughter this morning that we were taking her to Granville Island for her entertainment when, in actuality, I wanted to go to the quilting store and buy fabric on sale. I’m fairly certain that my selfishness was lost on her. She is two. She got to eat shortbread cookies and dance to the music of a busker. As you all well know, nothing encapsulates the joy of the season more than a good rendition of Harry Chapin’s, Cat’s in the Cradle.

I am left now at the end of our Christmas tour with ten extra pounds on my ass, 900 km travelled on the engine of our car, a hefty dose of quality time with our family, reconnections with friends and………..a ton of fabric.

Our plan is to go back to the island this week and settle into our welcome routine. E will resume work on the bunkie. Once I get the island newsletter published and a bit of other writing done which I have planned, I will continue my education in quilting. Quilting and dieting go very well together and I need to get back on the WW horse.

We have a trip planned for the spring and I am determined to enjoy my time by the pool in Singapore. I’m half way to my dieting goal. I was further in July but my love of wine, pasta and now, apparently, gingerbread, defeated me. I’m giving you a heads up that my postings may be boring as I go alcohol free til March.

And so the Christmas Season draws to a hefty close.

To my brother who took care of our dog, my in-laws who lent us their house, my son and daughter in-law who lent us their baby, our friends who hosted dinners, our friends and family who visited, our friends who let us sleep on their pillows, our son who watched hockey with us, our daughter and boyfriend who hosted dinners……Well really to all of you in our lives…

Thank you.. Our lives as we have been given would not be so perfect without your support, kindness, friendship and I

dare say, Love.

In the world

It’s 5:30 am and I am up. The baby will sleep for two more hours, at least.

It has been a wonderful, if a little busy, Christmas. We have had the chance to catch up with a lot of family and friends, stayed in a lovely home and are in the middle of three days of babysitting our granddaughter.

But as you all know I have become a fish out of water when I am off our property for any length of time and am looking forward to my routine at home. It is one thing to have unlimited water, heat and power but quite another to have unlimited quiet.

I had been wondering if I might be running out of time in this humble life. Maybe thirty four more summers if I live as long as my Mom. So using pretend science and imagined math I have calculated that if I get up at 530 every day instead of 8:30 I could possibly have three extra years of time. It was my New Years resolution last year. It has been the first resolution I have successfully incorporated into my life, probably because it had nothing to do with a resolve to quit drinking.

I have a friend who always has great conversation starters at her dinner parties. Questions like what was your first job or scariest moment always prompt fun and interesting evenings of conversation. Another friend asked me this week who would I invite to dinner if it could be anyone dead or alive, as many as I want.

At one point I suggested Christopher Columbus so I could ask him what the f#*k? She responded she would like to have her mysterious grandmother, so she could ask her the “real story”. So of course I would then need to invite my father again to ask WTF.

We concluded we would need to have a different WTF dinner party. Separate from the one where we invite the likes of Peter Gzowski and Emily Carr. Then there could be a dinner party for the “You were right crowd” George Orwell and Nostradamus as the guests of honour. We had great fun with the topic and I expect/warn future dinner guests of mine they might be asked the same question. I love stealing other people’s good ideas. Feel free to use this one at your New Years parties.

Well I am going to put the coffee on. It’s 6:30 and I can hear lazy bones getting up. The baby will sleep for another hour. It’s pretty easy being the boss of a human who sleeps fourteen hours a day. Why shouldn’t she? She has all of the time

in the world

Stones and Who

E’s sole possessions when we moved in together in 1980 were a five poster king size solid pecan water bed, 450 records, two six foot boards and six cement bricks.

He had no intention of spending the rest of his life with me when we moved in together. He was just trying to halve his rent so he moved in with me. He purchased little round stickers which he affixed to each and every record. His first initial was put in the bottom right corner of each of the 450 records that he owned and my first initial was put on the twelve records which I brought to the table.

Over the forty years we have lived together, we have moved those records to sixteen different homes. We would pack them up in dairyland milk crates and tote them, at first, from one apartment to the next. then one house to the next. It wasn’t that we were trying to stay one step ahead of the law, with all of those sixteen moves. With every move we hoped to improve our lot in life, but we have never been arrested so it must have helped.

After the fourth move we were engaged to be married and the stickers weren’t relevant. After the sixth move there was no room in our bedroom for the five poster king sized solid pecan water bed, it was tossed and we slept on a 3/4 mattress on the floor. I want to mention that I was pregnant with our second son sleeping on the floor. It’s not relevant, I know, but I’m just saying…..

Each time we moved the bricks and boards would be set up, usually in the living room with the records meticulously placed alphabetically on the shelves. E had a routine. They were his prized possession.

He loves those records and when everyone else embraced cds and cast their records to the thrift stores, E held on to his. Even after we moved to the island and had absolutely no where for them to be displayed, they came with us. Our neighbour has kept them safe and dry in her workshop for three years. (Thanks Anne)

Our daughter since she was fifteen has had her dibs on his records. She didn’t want my wedge wood china or silverware when it became available. She wanted his records. E promised he would make a note in his will.

Yesterday we arrived for Christmas and visited our daughter in her new condo. We brought with us seven liquor store boxes of records. She is now the owner of E’s babies… We just do not have room on the island and never will. He is happy they have a good home with two people who will care for them and listen to them.

It was lucky E put those stickers on the records lo those forty years ago. If our relationship hadn’t worked out how would we have ever been able to figure out who owned the John Denver and Kenny Roger records and who owned the Led Zeppelin, Rolling

Stones and Who.

To one ethnicity

E calls it the Port Alberni, Nanaimo, Victoria, Ladner, Vancouver Christmas friendship tour 2019. We are on leg four with 450 km under our belt so far.

I have already eaten far more gingerbread than can reasonably be justified to my scale. I don’t know about yours, but my scale can be particularly judgmental at this time of year. We left it at home.

Tremendous whale show at active pass this morning. The ferry, as you can imagine was packed with children. The Captain alerted everyone on the PA system and the kids were given a close up view of the whale’s feeding habits. At least they did, once their parents figured out which side of the ship was port.

Luckily, E was sleeping in the car (on the port side) at the time and was able to get a good video and some nice pictures.

We have a busy schedule ahead of us this week and are thrilled we were offered the chance to take care of a family member’s house while they are away. This will be our base for the next ten days. So much better than a hotel. We are eternally grateful.

A beautiful home with lots of water to fill as many hot baths as we want, heat which I don’t have to carry down the hill, power even when it’s raining, a liquor store nearby and people who will bring hot food to me anytime I want it, even in the rain!

For the next ten days we are those kind of people who live in the city and just dial the phone and have food, any kind we want, brought to our door. To our door! I am beside myself with excitement and am having a tough time narrowing tonight’s dinner choice down to

just one ethnicity.

is all good

It is December something and I have a Camellia in bud and geraniums ready to flower. The Calla Lily is up out of the ground and I shit you not…. a rose is blooming in the garden. But yesterday it was rainy and cold and it felt like winter for the first time this year.

Yesterday, we had the second worst trip across the water I have ever had. Two years ago we were caught in fog off Duke point. We couldn’t see a foot in front of us heading into Nanaimo. The Vancouver ferry and the Gabriola ferry were out there “somewhere”. It was nerve racking. That was the worst.

We went to town yesterday, not for any real good reason but to load the car up for the trip to town for Christmas. It was windy going over and rainy. But coming home was near to dark and windier and colder… I had forgotten my gloves and my fingers grew numb holding onto the aluminum boat to steady myself. It was not a pleasant trip. Easily the second worst time out there since moving here in 2012. Four years ago E had had a much worse trip, he actually had to turn back at Morris’s point. But for that one I was at home snug by the fire.

Last year we had to leave the island early for Christmas due to an impending wind storm which turned out to be as bad as predicted. The year before that we had a huge storm just before Christmas which provided a ton of fire wood. It doesn’t look like there will be a problem getting off the island this year. With any luck we will be able to get back on when we want.. Travel dates have to be flexible.. Just a fact of life. I am glad we have a nice big boat which we trust.

It has come Christmas time again. Definitely the hardest part about living here is being away from the big family home at this time of year. Those were the best days of my life. The kids decorating the tree. E making gingerbread mansions with them. My Mom living just around the corner. The memories are great ones.

When I see a video of my granddaughter taking the ornaments from her Mom one at a time to hang on the tree like my kids took from me for twenty years it warms my heart. When I see a picture of my daughters new condo on moving day full of chaos and bedlam, I see boxes surrounding a fully decorated Christmas Tree. I am thrilled.

E and I may have had the best years of our life, but now we get to watch our kids have the best years of theirs. So it is all good.

lost in Translation

The dog has needed a new bed since he grew out of the one he had as an infant. I was on Pinterest the other day looking for quilting ideas when an ad popped up for a doggy bed. Not just any doggy bed. The world’s greatest doggy bed. How Pinterest knew that Piper was in need, is bordering on creepy. I took the bait and clicked on the reviews. Four and a half stars… One customer went so far as to detail why she was so pleased with the product.

  1. No unpleasant smell, washed in the typewriter, the dog really liked

Needless to say, I was convinced. The bed arrived last week. As advertised, the dog likes it and when the time comes and the bed needs washing I will bring out the typewriter which we have in storage.

Two days ago we had run out of water. With the mindset that the fall rains would arrive any day we used the 1200 gallons we had in storage willy nilly. Daily hot soaking baths, washing and sterilizing wine bottles, washing a summers worth of grime off the house, but we were confident we would have plenty. But the rains never came. November rainfall here is typically 160 mm but we only had 60 mm.

Wednesday it started to rain. Yesterday it poured. Such a welcome sound. For the first time since last spring there were puddles on the island. We caught 1200 gallons of water in 24 hours. Happy dance…..

We were in town on a gas run while the rain poured on us. Loading the boat we got soaked but it never stopped us from smiling. Nothing better than the sounds of water pouring down our pipes to the loading tank.

We stopped in at our favourite hole in the wall restaurant in town to get warm and to dry out a little bit. The restaurant was decorated for the Christmas season. Very festive, but I’m fairly certain that the decorations came from the same place as our new dog bed.

Some how Santa had been

lost in translation

same thing, really

A young falcon hit our window yesterday afternoon. No doubt he was hungry and the feeder outside my window, crowded with tasty song bird morsels, looked inviting. He misjudged his distance vs. speed ratio and well.. hit the house and landed in a heap on the deck…

The squirrel sat over him wondering if he was going to have a fancy bird feast for dinner. I intervened.

After spending the majority of my working years as a corporate travel agent, I am more than experienced in the heartbreak of unexpected flight interruptions. Delayed arrangements and rerouted trips are well within “my lane”. I felt I could be considered very qualified to take care of an injured hawk.

I have saved many hummingbirds, chickadees and a wren before. A hawk couldn’t be much different..

First I had to get him away from the squirrel so I wrapped him in a towel and put him in a basket outside the guest room where I could keep an eye on him.

It wasn’t long before he hopped up on to the edge of the basket. He tried to fly at one point but then just kind of dropped onto the table… He stayed like that for a few hours.

It started to get windy and cold and I worried the raccoon would stumble upon him when looking for bird seed .

So I wrapped him back up in the towel and put him inside a playpen, in the guest room. There was a log in the pen along with some water. There was a blanket laying lightly over the top and the room was cool and dark. We left him for the night to recover.

I fully expected to find him deceased this morning. But he was bright, if a little cross eyed, bushy tailed and standing up on the log. E opened the door and lifted the log toward the fresh air. The hawk flew off happily to the great outdoors..

Corporate travel agent, avian vet….all the

same thing, really