Monday, December 31, 2007

HAPPY 2008 TO EVERYONE

My New Year's resolutions include:

1. Getting back to the gym. I've had a membership at the 'Y' all year ... and only went occasionally. :-(

2. Being more conscientious about the financial reports for the marina owners (we are the managers here). I always get them done, but often late in the month and then I'm sometimes slow in sending the back-up materials away to them. I'd just feel better if I 'tightened up' the process, and I know the owners would like that, too.

3. Biting my tongue more when I'm about to say something critical or negative ... especially to my kids (who are all grown ups! why DO we mothers do that??)

Knitting-related resolutions include:

1. Learning to knit SOCKS. I've said that every year for the past three, and I'm still hopeful....

2. Knitting at least three more sweaters for myself ... I already have the yarn and the patterns, so I just need to make the time. In general, I'm resolved to giving equal time this year to knitting for charity, knitting for others and knitting for me (that's always been heavily weighted toward mostly knitting for charity, then knitting for others, and 'occasionally' knitting for me).

3. And speaking of time, I'm resolved NOT to leave all the Christmas charity-related knitting until September. I'll do a few things each month and just store things until fall.

PHOTO OF THE DAY: This is a shot of the Chrome Island Lighthouse(off the southern tip of Denman Island) with the harvest moon rising over the Strait of Georgia in the background).

Finally, here's my wish for you for 2008 - I've Googled for the author of this little ditty, and can't find any information, so I'm hoping that I'm not infringing anyone's copyright. It's from a screen saver my son had on his computer for a long time, and I hope I'm remembering it correctly.

Walk soft,
Let go,
Be brave,
Sing low.
Plan bold,
Dream far,
Feel loved,
YOU ARE!


ALL THE BEST IN THE NEW YEAR TO ALL OF YOU from Michael and I both!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

ROCKIN' and ROLLIN'

It's 8:45 a.m. as I write this, and the wind hasn't let up all night. It's been blowing about 40 kts, and even though we're fairly protected in the harbour, I still woke up to it once or twice in the night. Here's a shot from the Dallas Road webcam this morning looking south-west(which is the direction the wind is coming from) toward Race Rocks:

This webcam, along with several others, is maintained by a local windsurfer dude, and you can check it out (and all of his cams) any time at BigWaveDave.ca.

Today is almost the last of the Holiday festivities in our world ... we'll go over to Mischa's for a 'brunch' this morning because Hailey has to go back to Whistler this afternoon, and our oldest grandson, Joshua, may go home tomorrow -- and we haven't had a 'family' get-together since he got here.

Tomorrow I'll pick my sister Julie up at the airport on her return from Christmas with her daughter (our niece Doneen) in Calgary. We don't 'do' New Year's Eve so we'll take care of the boys so Mischa can go out, and then on New Year's Day we'll take Julie home to Qualicum Beach, and spend the night with our friends Susan and Sri up there.

And by the time we come home late Wednesday, that'll be 'enough' of the 'Festive Season' for us!

ON THE NEEDLES: diamonds for River's blanket.

... and I'll die of boredom long before I'm done these, so I'll have to get back to the purple shawl, or start a new project pretty quick. Whadda shame...

Saturday, December 29, 2007

HAPPY NEW YEAR

I've had a wonderful Christmas season ... all three of our children and all three of our grandsons have been here, and much eating and merriment has taken place! We spent much of Christmas Day at my daughter Mischa's house, since that's where the two youngest grandson's are -- there's no better fun than watching an 18-month-old on Christmas morning! Having said that, it was his Dad who took all the pictures all morning, so I'll have to wait until he sends them to me to post them.

Michael and I almost always go for awhile on Christmas Day to a place called the Alano Club -- a 'clean and sober' environment where they serve dinner to about 300 folks, and we like to volunteer some time there. Then back to Mischa's for our own dinner -- a 22-lb turkey and all the traditional trimmings.

Boxing Day we spent quietly at home, but went back to our daughter's for leftover-turkey dinner and to spend a bit more time with the boys. This evening we'll have another little family dinner at my son Jason's because tomorrow morning his son Joshua and our older daughter Hailey will go home ... Joshua up-Island to Qualicum Beach and Hailey back to Whistler. Here's pics (my faves from earlier this year, mostly)... Jason and Joshua:
Hailey and Mischa:
River and Gibson:

And here's a local view during most of the Christmas season... a little bit of snow, a little bit of rain, and a lot of fog:
Afterthought: I finished all my Christmas knitting, and have started a 'Building Blocks' blanket in red/black/white/gray for River's 9th birthday, next week. Pics to follow!

All the best of the season, from our 'house' to yours...

Monday, December 24, 2007

Sunday, December 23, 2007

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ME

This is a bit of a story, so come back later if you don't have much time right now...

My big sister Julie just turned 59 a few weeks ago. She has been and done lots of things in her life .... interesting things. She was Canada's youngest x-ray technician when she graduated many, many moons ago, and worked for many years in that field. She is a self-taught interior designer and space-planner, and has a great eye for colors and textures. She's been married twice, and raised two great kids to adulthood -- they all survived very well!

She's a talented quilter and a talented seamstress, and currently makes a living as a (also talented) website designer and private housecleaner/organizer.

Well.... about 4 or 5 months ago, a friend convinced my sister that she should try painting -- you know, with an easel and palette and brushes and such. She was only vaguely interested at the time, but kind of wanted to please her friend, so she got Erin to show her a few brushstrokes.

To make a long story short .... Julie has only painted about 7 or 8 canvasses at this point, but she has SO found her 'calling' in a big way! She LOVES it, AND and she just sold her first painting AND has been invited to exhibit her work in the local art gallery! Needless to say, my sister is OVER THE MOON with this newfound interest (which she is now calling a passion/mission) ... and so am I, because look what I got for Christmas....


The technical details (and since I don't have much of a clue about these things, I hope I have this right!): these are watercolor paintings, and although they are two separate canvasses (called Herring Season I and Herring Season II), together they are apparently called a 'diptych.'

The emotional details: My sister knows that herring season on Vancouver Island, in March, is one of my favorite times of the year. It's absolutely magical out on the water ... the fish boats, the eagles hovering, the sea lions feasting, the warm spring air, the smells, even the color of the water is turquoise-y because of the herring spawn. Here's a column I wrote about it for a newspaper once -- and another one.

The diptych ....



Unbelievable. I'm SO excited about these paintings ... and now I have to remodel the v-berth bathroom before I can hang them up!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

BUT AREN'T YOU COLD?

We've always enjoyed chatting with 'dockies' (dockies are folks who enjoy wandering on the docks, for all you landlubbers) and I especially enjoy sharing about the lifestyle with children.

So last night when our friend Susan from Qualicum Beach turned up with her relatives from Ontario, I knew it would be fun to show the Wind Walker to the two children, who were 8 and 5 years old. The number one question adults ask when they hear that we live aboard is 'But aren't you cold?' (The answer to which is 'no colder than anyone is in their houses in the middle of winter' -- we have two electric heaters that work just great, an additional ceramic we can plug in if we need it, AND the wood/pellet stove we installed just this year! And keep in mind that we only have to heat about 300 sq feet...

But children ask more interesting questions, usually, and in this case the question was, 'But where do you have your couch?' I guess it's not part of childhood consciousness that it's possible to live without a couch ...

We've often said that if we ever won 'the big one,' we WOULD buy a boat big enough to house a couch, but in the meantime, we are indeed couch-less, and none the worse for wear as a result.

These two kids were also interested in the fact that we have a woodstove on the boat -- I resisted the idea of a woodstove for a lot of years simply because it meant having to cut a hole in the cabin roof to accommodate it, but this fall, just before we left on our annual Sept cruise holiday, I knew it was time! And we do love it ... it can burn small pieces of wood, wood pellets, and even bark off the beach. It's a Newport Dickinson marine adaptation, and it's especially wonderful when it's really stormy outside. See?

(And no, that's not a real Christmas tree ... but it's a pretty good fake.)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

OF BEACH BLANKETS AND GINGERBREAD HOUSES

Day before yesterday our grandson River's (grade 3) class made gingerbread houses and I managed to catch him standing still just before it got devoured ...

ON THE NEEDLES: In the absence of current knitting projects to show off (still slogging through that long list of 'finishing/tucking in ends' projects) I'll tell you a story about my 'beach blanket'. Almost two years ago, I got an idea that I'd like to try intarsia knitting for the first time. I had a photo of a favorite beach (Tribune Bay on Hornby Island, to be precise) that I had been hoping to somehow 'reproduce' and it would require knowing how to change colors across the row. Around the same time I found an online site that will instantly change your uploaded photo into a knitting graph. Here's the photo:

And then you upload the photo at Microrevolt.org to have it magically changed to a graph.

And here, with a little creative embellishment, is the queen-sized blanket I knit as a result...

But here's the thing ... after, let's see, 320 stitches per row (which took about 7 minutes to knit) and 6 rows to the inch, and the completed blanket is 84" long ... after about 70 hours of work ... I don't like this blanket. It's not just because it took so long, either. It's because it doesn't work in the bedroom at all, it's much too busy; and because even the tiny bit of acrylic I used (for those dark 'mountains in the distance' at the midpoint) has already pilled; and because I spilled some coffee on it while it was a WIP and the cleaners couldn't get it out. In short, I don't like this blanket. It's a work of art, I guess, but .... I have to decide what to do with it now.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A WEEK TO GO

I mentioned in yesterday's post that I'd stopped at the water to knit for a bit, which I often do. I didn't take my camera out, as it turned out, but I had these pics still on the card from a few days ago during a windstorm on the Juan de Fuca...

That was about a 40kt wind blowing, so the waves were about 6 - 8 feet high -- it gets much worse than that sometimes!

Knitting has been happening. I have three projects on the needles right now -- the first is a gorgeous heathery purple shawl in New Zealand scheepjeswol that I started for Threads of Compassion... but I may end up keeping it for myself. I found an easy 4-row lace pattern somewhere, and I just love how it's working up. The finished shawl will be a rectangle about 20" by 70".

I also have a hat on the needles that I can't say much about because the recipient probably reads my blog. Finally, I got a call from the Neo-Natal unit at our local hospital saying they could use about 8 more Christmas-themed preemie hats, so I've done several of those...

PHOTO OF THE DAY: This is what a 'travel lift' haulout looks like -- a boat gets taken out of the water on giant 'slings' when the owner needs to work on the hull. We haul out the Wind Walker every other year, and it's the single most stressful thing about owning a boat!

Monday, December 17, 2007

MAKING A LIST....

... and checking it three times... is what I'm doing today. I've crossed four things off my 'to-do-before-Christmas' list this afternoon! I needed some yarn for a special hat I want to make and the only LYS that sells it is in Sidney, so I went for a drive. Got the last three balls -- exactly what I needed! -- of the colorway I need (Bravo self-patterning 'Crazy Color'), so that was a productive trip. Stopped to knit along the water for a bit on the way home, and that was really nice -- it's eight days until Christmas and I'm almost ready, and I'm CALM. I love it! I'm working on a shawl in a beautiful heathery blue/lilac tone -- it's too dark to take pics right now, but I'll post some tomorrow.

Then I had to stop at a different LYS for a gift certificate for a friend, and right across the street was an independent toy store -- MUCH nicer than the local ToysRus -- and I found a perfect little ride-on toy for Gibson (our 18-month-old grandson). A quick pit-stop at the local Sexual Assault Centre to drop off the 4 shawls I had for their Threads of Compassion program, and then home with dinner from the deli.

Whew....

PHOTO OF THE DAY: This is, IMHO, one of the most beautiful classic wooden boats on the west coast. It's a Grenfell, and this photo is taken as it was leaving Silva Bay on Gabriola Island.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

SANTA COMES BY BOAT

My friend Monica on Mayne Island sent me some pictures of a fairly big community event in the Gulf Islands, where Santa Claus comes by boat!



These pics were taken by an Island resident named Brian Haller, and they really capture the spirit of the Gulf Island Christmas season!

ON THE NEEDLES:
Well. There's less than 10 days until Christmas, and I have seams to sew and ends to sew in on all manner of projects. All those finishing details I was going to attend to 'later' are now in a pile in the v-berth, and it'll kill me, but I just have to tackle them one by one, and get them checked off the list!

PHOTO OF THE DAY: One of our favorite day trips (or more accurately, dinghy picnics) is to go 'up the Gorge' here in Victoria, in our inflatable. This is a picture of the bridge over the Tillicum Rapids, which can run up to 9 knots at their fastest. It's great fun to go through in the dinghy when it's running fast!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

WELCOME TO CANADA!

I was down on the Dallas Road waterfront by 8 a.m. with my morning coffee and my knitting, just in time to see the new BC Ferry emerge from the fog! By the time I drove my grandson to school and got back down to Trafalgar Park, I was just in time to see it rounding Trial Island ... too far away to get a decent shot of it. I can tell you that it's HUGE, and very brightly colored. . .

According to the Times-Colonist, the 'Coastal Renaissance' is the first of three new Super C-class ferries, and it was built in Germany. It took 48 days to get here, including a trip through the Panama Canal. Here's the rest of the story.

PHOTO OF THE DAY: Fulford Harbour on Salt Spring Island is a place of mixed feelings for us -- we've twice had boating mishaps there. But it IS beautiful!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

Just when I thought I'd be blogging every day again, we left the dock for the weekend! However, we left for a good reason -- it was the annual Lighted Boat parade in the harbour.

So, first of all, Christmas decorating happened...









There were apparently 28 boats, and it was great fun, as always! We had our friends Susan and Sri from Qualicum Beach aboard, along with their son Rennie and friend Kaisch, and a local pal, David.

It sure wasn't our best year, as Michael and I are both getting over crappy coldy-fluey bugs, but it's always a fun gig, sponsored each year by the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority. Part of the deal is two nights free moorage in front of the Empress Hotel, which is like being in a giant Christmas card, so we paid for an extra night just to chill out a bit.

So knitting happened ...

A baby blanket for Afghanistan was a quick knit in a gorgeous dark green Lopi, and I threw in some intarsia stripes to keep it interesting ...

Here's a close-up of the striped bit ...














I also completed one of my favorite knits this year ... a hat, which will be a Christmas present, from a pattern in the new Pattern-a-Day 2008 Calendar. I love it, love it, love it -- and it was my first foray into adding beads with a crochet hook, as I was taught by Sivia Harding, too. I'll definitely make more of these!

And here's a close-up of the stitch pattern, which also shows the beads ... they were delightful 'pre-made' tiny little flowers, which I found in a package in a local second-hand store.



PHOTO OF THE DAY: This is a picture of Bull Passage, between Lasqueti and Jedediah, at dawn. We were cruising to our favorite anchorage (White Rock Bay) on Jedediah at the time.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

FLOODING

I've been reading today that there is flooding up and down the Island (a result of that copious snowfall we had the other day, and then the torrential rains that have followed it) and I'm happy to report that we're simply floating, as ever. No idea if we're floating a few inches higher than usual... and don't care. :-) Just one more benefit of being waterborne...

I'm reminded of several years ago when we lived in a mobile home overlooking the Macleod River (in northern Alberta) about a quarter mile from where it joined the Athabasca River -- powerful bodies of water, both of them -- and one year the Macleod flooded severely, spilling into our back yard. Our home was never in danger because it was still 'uphill' from the banks, but I remember watching and being in awe of the power of that water. I remember that, and not allowing our children into the back yard to play for several days until the water receded.

On the needles: absolutely nothing, for the first time in WEEKS. I finished the baby blanket (edging and blocking will happen tomorrow) and I'm going to cast on tomorrow for a Christmas present hat, but I spent the day running errands, so couldn't even start a take-along project.

PHOTO OF THE DAY: This isn't my photo, and unfortunately I can't give anyone credit for it. Someone emailed it to me, and I can't remember who. This is a common sight here on the west coast - a tugboat hauling a fuel barge. When we lived at Stone's Marina in Nanaimo, it used to come within 20' of our boat while docking at the Esso silos next door.

Monday, December 3, 2007

RAINY DAY PROJECTS

I woke up to the sound of serious rain hitting the bridge of the boat this morning, and it never let up all day. I had to work on the Victoria Knitters Guild newsletter today, so I divided my time between that and this baby blanket I'm working on for Easter Seal House ...
. I was hoping to get it finished, but ... maybe tomorrow....

PHOTO OF THE DAY: If you've ever driven over the Malahat from Victoria, you'll recognize this as the view from one of the 'Viewpoints' at the top. I always stop there whenever I go north, and just get out of the car and b-r-e-a-t-h-e.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

IT'S OFFICIALLY THE SEASON

Last night I took River to the annual Truck Parade on Dallas Road -- I think this was the 9th annual, and I've taken my grandson for the past 4 years. We try to get down to the water no later than 4 pm to get a good spot near Ogden Point where the trucks assemble. Last night we drove in the snow, which made it extra-Christmasy (in River's words!) and it was nearly dark when we found our 'perfect' spot to park, and found the Mustard Seed volunteers to give them our $20 donation. The whole event is a fund-raiser for the local food bank coordinated by The Island Equipment Owners Association, and it's the BEST 'Season Opener' I've ever experienced!

None of the pictures I took along Dallas Road turned out, but it's okay because we get to see the parade twice! After it goes by us at the water, the tradition is that we cut across Cook Street to River's place -- and he just happens to live on the 9th floor of an apartment building that the parade goes right past. So these pics are taken from the balcony ...



The whole thing only lasts about half an hour (there are only 80 trucks allowed), but these trucks are amazing -- I'm pretty sure that whole families spend the entire day decorating them.

To see some REALLY nice pics, check out the Times Colonist's gallery .

PHOTO OF THE DAY: This is 'Boom Bay' on Jedediah Island, a beautiful huge marine park in the Strait of Georgia behind Lasqueti Island. There are rings in the rocks here for anchored boats to 'stern tie' to.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Snow!

I woke up this morning to the snow that's been predicted for the last few days -- I'll get outside later and get some pics. Here's what our marina looked like LAST year when it snowed...

So ... I'm supposed to be taking my grandson River to our annual Truck Parade but I have a hunch it may be cancelled -- in which case I have nothing to do but knit. Whadda shame....

One of my most favorite recent projects is a 'yoga bag' which started out to be a scarf for my son. But I had ADD that day, and a great set of handles on the shelf, so it ended thusly ---



I love to knit cables any time and this looked like just the right combination of interesting and challenging, but do-able. This is an adaptation of a Fiona Ellis design, and I love it! I have no idea what I'll do with it yet, but that doesn't matter ... it was a blast to knit.

PHOTO OF THE DAY: This is one of my all-time favorite photos! It was taken in the middle of the day in a serious fog, and this is exactly how it came out.... "Fishboats in Fog."