Tuesday, March 30, 2010

THIS IS WHY I LOVE KNITTING

Yesterday Michael informed me that he needed me to get lost for a few hours. It had something to do with bilges and oil and needing to lift floorboards, etc., so I was happy to oblige! Besides, I've been in work-work-work mode a LOT this month, so it was time for a little play...

Even though it was a downright pissy day, I took myself and three knitting projects down to Clover Point (that would be the blue cotton shawl that's still on the needles, the burgundy socks that are still on the needles, and, just so I could feel some progress, a new project. You understand).

I love knitting because it's so versatile. From plain cotton garter stitch dishrags to heirloom quality silk lace shawls, the possibilities -- including colors, textures, sizes -- are literally endless.

This is what I was thinking when I bought a pair of black summer-weight pants at a second-hand store the other day for $5. They were a bit too short, though, so I got some plain black cotton out of the stash, and I got Nicky Epstein's Knitting on the Edge book off the shelf. I found a lovely lace border that I thought would work out to the 2.5 extra inches I needed, and it took about an hour, sitting in a storm at Clover Point, to knit 22" (the circumference at the bottom of the leg) of it:


So now I just need to make another one, and then sew them to the existing hem, like so:

I love knitting!

I love sitting at Clover Point, too, and a little storm didn't stop all the traffic!
First of all, our local Navy 'ambassador' boat, the 'Oriole', went motoring by:

Then I saw something huge and yellow drifting in on the waves, and before I could figure out what it was, these two Coast Guard Auxiliary boats appeared out of nowhere, and snagged it:


(I talked to one of the guys later at Fisherman's Wharf, and he said they'd gotten a report of an overturned dinghy in the water -- which is exactly what I thought it was, too! -- but that it turned out to be a huge piece of styrofoam 'wrapped' in sheet metal, which was all jagged. They had to tow it in to the Coast Guard yard in the harbour -- what a ride that would have been in that weather!)

Our two local tall ships came by ...

And then the pilot boat went out to meet a freighter I couldn't even see in the mist...

Meanwhile, back on land, creatures were present:



I'm not much of a bird-watcher, but I think the first group was some kind of starling? And the second one was a seagull, believe it or not -- and then, of course, our local Beacon Hill Park bald eagle, who spends quite a bit of time on that rock!

Well, two hours or so went by very quickly, and the weather was starting to really deteriorate, so I headed home again -- and passed this tug and barge coming out of the harbour, and then the After Eight, a prominent Island-owned yacht, heading out - crazy!

Friday, March 26, 2010

IT'S ALL ABOUT THE BOY :)

This has been a week for River! First of all, he played a school basketball tournament for the first time ...

His team won one, lost one, and tied one ... nice! It was totally fun to watch, too -- I haven't done that since Jason played school volleyball (hard to believe that was almost 20 years ago now)!

Then last night was River's school Talent Show ... a fundraiser for a camp his class will attend for a week in June.

There was LOTS of talent there, too -- from ballet to cello, these kids ALL rocked!

I might not have told you this before, but my grandson is a pretty talented beat boxer, and he wowed the crowd last night with this performance:
video

He's growing up way too fast, but it's sure great to be a part of it!

And now, for some actual knitting content ... I'm two pattern repeats (about 2") away from finishing the cotton Diamond Fantasy shawl:

Hoping to have it bound off and blocked before the end of the weekend!

Today is Knit'n'Cafe, and I'm sure looking forward to that ... I've accomplished a lot this week with work, so it'll be nice to relax with friends. :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

BETTER, THANKS :)

We had company on the weekend -- it was actually perfect timing for our friends Ray and Sandy to visit from up-Island!

Ten to fifteen years ago, our four closest 'couple' friends were Susan and Sri, Ken and Michelle, Chris and Barb, and Ray and Sandy ... Barb died of breast cancer about ten years ago (and Chris remarried fairly quickly and drifted away), and if you've followed my blog for any length of time, you know that Susan and Michelle are gone now.

So it was wonderful to spend some time with Ray and Sandy -- we first met them when Ray had bought an old Chris Craft that had sustained a fairly serious fire, and he, being a great carpenter (and having been raised in England by a shipwright father) restored it over the course of a year or two. In fact, the first time we went to Jedediah Island was with Ray and Sandy, and we were also cruising with them the first time we went to another favorite place, the Ballenas Islands. And Sandy's a knitter!

The boys arrived for their Saturday night sleepover, and Ray and Sandy stayed for dinner, too. How can you not be cheered up when you have a 4-year-old hamming it up in Papa's glasses and Grandma's Crocs?

And some time since I wrote my last post I managed to get some good work done, AND .... I went to a sheep-shearing yesterday. These dudes were already done by the time I arrived:

And these were waiting in the pen:

And Peter made fast work of the works:


(So, locals, if you want raw Corriedale-x-Suffolk wool, I have many bags full to give away -- get in touch!)

Then on the way home, I stopped at the Sidney waterfront to knit, and watched this barge come in:

The blue shawl is nearly done, and I may even have pics soon to show you that I really have been knitting!

Then, finally, last night we watched the Paralympic Closing Ceremonies, and said goodbye, as a host province, and as a country, to the amazing Olympic games. What a ride it's been!


Sure glad my funks don't ever last too long! :)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

IN A FUNK

Can you tell? I last posted on Tuesday?? Well, that would be the day that I got a nasty cold, so that was the start of the funk ... and also the day I intended to post about our trip to Jedediah Island with Michelle and Ken several years ago. Then Sri called on Thursday (he's still in the cancer clinic here in Victoria getting radiation treatment), and reminded me that yesterday would have been Susan's birthday. So ... lots of thoughts and memories of my two friends this week...

I also feel like whatever time I've spent knitting is going nowhere -- still have the same cotton shawl on the needles that I cast on on Valentines Day, and the same socks that I started three weeks ago.

To top it off, I had every intention of taking Hailey back to Whistler yesterday and then staying for the Olympic volunteer wrap-up party on Sunday, which I was really looking forward to -- but I was feeling too crappy to contemplate the trip, and we really couldn't afford it, anyway. We just spent $300 on the van's front brakes this week, AND I haven't managed to get any billable work completed since I got home from the Olympics!!

So Hailey left on the bus without me yesterday, and I'm still feeling crappy physically, and now I'm feeling sorry for myself.

Send chocolate. Or yarn. Or both. :)

I am going to share the Jedediah Island story with you, though, because these pictures cheer me up every time I see them! You can read some of the history of Jedediah here, too.

This is Bull Passage, between Lasqueti and Jedediah, and you can see what kind of day we had for the cruise when Ken and Michelle came with us on the Wind Walker for the September long weekend several years ago.

We anchored in White Rock Bay, and spent the first two days hiking and exploring, and relaxing ... sometimes together, sometimes Ken and Michelle would go off by themselves. Typical of Michelle, she wanted to hike up the mountain on the Island, where apparently there was a guest book in a cairn for anyone who made it up.... she did!

You can access most of Jedediah on foot (after dinghying in from the anchorage) but not all of it -- so we had told them that on our last evening there, we would circumnavigate the whole island in the inflatable, so they'd get to see anything they missed on their hikes.

After supper on that last evening we were a bit late getting started, and I was a little concerned because we would have to negotiate this narrow unlit passage back to the Wind Walker before it got dark...

But away we went, anyway, with our coffee and dessert in hand, to set off around the Island. It was a lovely warm evening, and the water was calm. We wove in and out of every little cove and bay around the island just checking out the scenery and looking for wildlife, and as we entered Sabine Passage (between Jedediah and Texada, the next big island to the east) it was already dusk, and we still had a long way to go.

But the sunset, over Lasqueti, was amazing, so we slowed the boat down anyway to just enjoy it ...

None of us spoke for several minutes ... and then Michelle tapped me on the shoulder and pointed back behind us -- the harvest moon had just come up over Texada!

As we all turned to see it, Michael shut off the motor of the inflatable, and we simply drifted in Sabine Channel, silently, with the sunset on one side and the giant moon on the other, for several minutes. It was one of the most magical moments of my life ... and Michelle's, too.

When we finally, reluctantly, headed back to the anchorage, we did, indeed, have to negotiate that rocky, narrow passage in the pitch dark (except for the moonlight!), and it was a bit scary ... but we didn't care!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

NOT DONE WITH WHISTLER YET :)

Some time in the last few days, Audrey sent me a link to some amazing aerial shots of Vancouver and Whistler -- check it out here!

She also sent me a couple of photos from her camera...
Audrey on top of Blackcomb ... you can see Whistler Village, centre left, at the foot of the mountain. And...

...the three of us out for dinner in Creekside.

And I'm not done with Whistler yet because today I got a VANOC email inviting all the volunteer drivers back to the Whistler Fleet compound for a 'farewell' party next week, and I think I'll go!

I'm also looking for some photos of a cruise we took with Ken and Michelle several years ago, and if I find them, I'll tell you that story tomorrow. Today Michael will go look after the boys, and Hailey has a hair appointment and then some shopping to do, so I'll have uninterrupted *quiet* in which to work!

Monday, March 15, 2010


I met my friend Michelle pretty much at the same time, and in the same place, as I met Susan, almost 18 years ago. Where Susan was quieter and more reserved (until you got to know her!), Michelle was always wildly enthusiastic about anything she did, and I've never known anyone else who lived her life with such 'gusto'! Every single day, and everything she did, was not just an experience, but an adventure. And no wonder ... when I met Michelle, in 1993, she was already a two-time gynecological cancer survivor, so she really knew how precious her life was.

When I met Michelle, she had been married to her childhood sweetheart, Ken, since she was 18. They'd raised two daughters, and Michelle was looking for a career change after several years in real estate and property management. We became really close friends and I got to know her daughters, her Mom and her brothers, who all lived here on the Island. For pretty much every special event in her family, she and Ken would 'book a cruise' on the Wind Walker -- over the years, we've celebrated birthdays, babies (her brother's), anniversaries ... and sad events, like the death of her 'little brother', Neil, several years ago.

The cancer came back, yet again, about 10 years ago, and over a period of several months, Michelle underwent surgery, chemo and radiation, yet again. At first, it seemed as if they 'got it' again ... but at her 6-month check-up, they told her that they hadn't, and that she would have to have yet another surgery. Michelle had been changing her eating habits pretty drastically by then, and learning about various alternative therapies -- so she declined the surgery, and I think at the time they may have intimated that she wouldn't live very long without it.

That was nine years ago.

Together we launched ShesACancerSurvivor.com (the site was taken down about a year ago when she became too ill to keep it up) because Michelle really wanted to tell her story, document the changes she was making in her lifestyle, and let women know that there were lots of options to surgery.

During the time we were working on that project together, Michelle and I had a falling out -- she said something really hurtful to me at the time, and we didn't speak for a few years. Even though she eventually made contact again and we tried to re-kindle the old friendship, she never took those words back or apologized, so we were never as close again -- but I never stopped admiring her determination to live her life to the absolute fullest.

Some of Michelle's best adventures happened in this last nine years! And I'll always have many, many wonderful memories of times we shared, in her garden, and here on the Wind Walker.

We went up-Island for Michelle's service on Saturday, and I was tickled when Ken mentioned, in his eulogy of her, our times together here on the Wind Walker.

"People come in to our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime..."

Friday, March 12, 2010

(NO) PROGRESS REPORT

It's Friday, it's spring break, Hailey is here from Whistler, Joshua is here from up-Island ... and I'm having a great time visiting, but not accomplishing much else.

We had a family dinner night before last because (unbelievably!!), Joshua will turn 16 in a few days, but he won't be here ... he'll be on a beach in Mexico, with his Mom, the lucky guy. Mischa's apartment is never conducive to great photos...

... but we had a nice time and dinner was lovely!

Yesterday Hailey and I went for a drive and pulled in to Trafalgar Park just in time to see our local tall ship, the Pacific Swift, coming around Trial Island...


I was wearing my blue Olympic jacket, and that got a conversation started with a couple who were also there taking pictures; after we swapped Olympic stories, they were interested in hearing about the live-aboard life, so we chatted for quite awhile, and felt like old friends by the time Hailey and I drove away. Hailey says I need to start collecting (and reporting to you!) these stories of what happens/who I meet when I'm 'out and about' in my Olympic jacket.

Today is Knit'n'Cafe, which I only ever miss if I'm out of town, so I'm looking forward to that!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

MUCH WORK and very little play here

But I did make it down to Clover Point day before yesterday for 20 minutes or so, just in time to see this pretty little boat going by.

More of the same today -- I'm so far behind on everything. That's the price I knew I would pay for going to the Olympics, but it was worth it! Michael will be taking care of Gibson today, so I'll have several uninterrupted hours to work, which is good, because Hailey will be home tomorrow for several days, Joshua's arriving for some of his spring break, and then we have to go up-Island this weekend.

Oh, and I've finished about two feet on the Diamond Fantasy shawl... this one's going to take a loooooong time, I think!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

THE PARALYMPIC TORCH RELAY


... came to Victoria today, under beautiful blue skies and sunshine -- our best spring day yet!

It started in Esquimalt, and, since most of it was happening on the water, Michael and I decided to have front row seats -- in the inflatable!

The first two torch-bearers had already carried it from the Rec Centre to Lyall Street, but we got to West Bay Marina just in time to see the third person bring it down the dock to a waiting Navy boat.

Once she was aboard, they 'place the flame' in a little lantern (by lighting it's wick, I imagine) for the trip across the harbour.

... complete with police escort!


At Laurel Point, the CFB Esquimalt dragon boat team was waiting with the next torch-bearer...

The hand-off:

And then the dragon boat proceeded to the Inner Harbour:

... where it docked, and was met by the next person:


The next hand-off, along the causeway:

We stayed with the boat, but the torch continued to the legislative grounds for the ceremonial lighting, and then it was brought back over to the harbour a few minutes later by the unstoppable Rick Hansen:

As he passed the torch off, the crowd broke into a spontaneous 'O Canada!' (about the 700th time I've seen and heard that in the last month!), and then, after the torch moved on, Rick stayed to shake hands and chat -- he is an amazing, and extremely gracious, man.

Michael was delighed to shake Rick's hand for the first time, AND he got a 'high-5', too! (In 1985, when he was on his Man in Motion tour, my sister and I took our five children to a remote stretch of highway near where we lived in northern Alberta to watch him go by and donate money, and my kids have never forgotten it!)

And in case you've been wondering whatever happened to the knitting content on this blog, I include some here...

I have no idea who that little girl was, but the hat's a stunner, don't you think?

As we made our way home after the festivities, we noticed this float plane on the dock...

A wonderful day on the water, and a great start to the Paralympic Games!