Thursday, December 31, 2009


I can't believe I last posted to my blog on Dec. 28th ... it's been a whirlwind of family, food, fun and friends in our world! But the last of the family leaves this morning -- we'll put Joshua on the train for up-Island, and then I'll drive Hailey to the ferry.

Here's the last of the Christmas knitting to show you...

I made a pair of these for Mike on Galiano, and Jason saw me knitting them and wanted a pair, so.... what's a gal to do?

I've also made a pair of mitts for Hailey in the last 3 days -- not fingerless, she lives in Whistler! And Gibson's Christmas socks were too small, so I've frogged them back to before the toe decreases, added an inch, and I'm now decreasing again.

I love Christmas. And I also love it when it's over, and I can get back to my routine -- I have a LOT of (paid) work to do , and now it's only a month until I leave for Whistler for the Games, so January will be pretty crazy.

Tonight I'm looking forward to curling up in front of the fire with some new knitting, though ... I can't think of a better way to 'ring out the old and ring in the new...' -- Happy New Year!

Monday, December 28, 2009


It was a lovely, and busy, time. I got what I wanted, though ... the whole family, here, safe and sound (and behaving reasonably well, too!) :-)

Mischa hosted, as always...

... and I even got a rare photo of Jeff! (He's not around much, and when he is, he hates the camera).

On Christmas Eve I made chili for our supper, at Mischa's, and we ate goodies and Jason played the guitar, and we listened to the NORAD report until we could put the boys to bed. Tradition has it that Jason and Hailey 'camp out' on Mischa's floor on Christmas Eve (well, they don't sleep much ... they're often up reminiscing and wrapping gifts until the wee hours of the morning, and then the boys wake up early) and we are under strict instructions to arrive back there no later than 8 a.m.

Hailey cooked us brekkie, as always...

Gibson modeling the hoodie I knit him...

River showing off his new 'PSP'...

Hailey modeling the Ruth Stewart hat I knit her.

Jason taking movies of the boys...

'Ancient Mariner' (Galiano) Mike opening the socks I knit him...

And Michael modeling the leather jacket I bought him...

And my other favorite part of Christmas Day at Mischa's? The girls do dinner, I'm banned from the kitchen!

Then, on Boxing Day, we had another 'round' when Joshua arrived from up-Island and Kristen could join us, too.

Last night we were back at Mischa's again for leftovers ...

I completely forgot to take a picture of the sock brigade, and if anyone got any pics of me, they haven't shared them yet.

Hailey and Joshua are both here until the 30th, so we may go look at lights tonight, but otherwise, we're all just 'chillin' today and tomorrow. Hope you all had a lovely Christmas, too...

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Hailey arrived home from Whistler safe and sound night before last, so yesterday morning Michael went over to be with the boys so the girls could do the Christmas grocery shopping and I could knit in peace and do a little sorting and wrapping. Finished the sox...

... and a 'coffee cozy' with the left-over black yarn.

Last night we all bundled up and went out to the Esquimalt Navy Base to tour the ships all lit up for Christmas. It's a great evening -- you park and then they put everyone on buses to go round the base, with a narrator explaining the base history and describing the ships and their duties. It was too dark and the bus was moving just fast enough that I didn't get many pictures...

(That second one is the HMCS Calgary, for those of you who recognize the giant 'C'.)And while I'm on the subject of Calgary, a special Merry Christmas to my sister Julie, my niece Doneen and her partner and my nephew Jordon and his girlfriend, who are celebrating the holidays together at Doneen's in a town called Cochrane, near Calgary!

All of these ships have been overseas in the past two years, at least once, and one of them was in world headlines recently for thwarting pirates off the coast of Somalia.

When we left the bus, Hailey said 'Merry Christmas' to the woman soldier who was our host on the bus, and she said, 'I'm already having one.' Hailey replied, 'Oh! Why?' and the woman said, 'Because all of our ships are home.' Wow ... I almost cried, because the image that came to me was that all those folks could be here with family and friends for Christmas.

Which is exactly where I'll be if I don't post again for a few days ... I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas -- and stay safe, and be grateful!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

First of all, check out this story of a sea lion rescue just 'around the corner' from me. We've seen lots of these animals close up, and they're HUGE -- I wouldn't want to mess with one!

Yesterday morning our friend Mike from Galiano turned up for a visit, so I drove him back to the ferry after he did his errands. I was knitting in my favorite spot and watching these sailboats off in the distance...

... when I noticed a big fancy yacht coming from American waters and heading straight to the Port Sidney Marina. You don't see a whole lot of cruisers this time of year, so I made up all kinds of stories about this dude, but he was probably coming in to visit someone for Christmas.

And speaking of Christmas visits, this morning Monica is coming over from Mayne Island and we'll have the day together. I need to knit, but she crochets so we'll probably find a latte somewhere and maybe go to Clover Point for a bit. I'll take Monica back to the ferry this afternoon and have about an hour's wait for Hailey's ferry to bring HER home for Christmas! :)

Monday, December 21, 2009


Anyone who knows me knows how crazy I am about Christmas -- but today is a day I celebrate, quietly and joyfully, almost as much. The 'return of the light' has always been a big deal to me -- not because I celebrate the Solstice, per se (but I love to honor those who do, and the history of those who have) but more for practical reasons -- I love daylight, and the more of it, the better! I have always felt a little less safe driving at night, and since we moved to this neighborhood, even walking at night. So turning the corner to longer days ahead is always a day worth noting!

Trepidation about driving in the dark didn't stop me on Friday when I relieved Michael of his 'child care duties' -- I decided to take the boys out for a drive to check out some Christmas lights. We picked up burgers at Beacon Drive-In and then cruised through the Oak Bay area singing Christmas carols -- it was lovely!

And these ones weren't even prize winners -- we may go for a longer drive this week, after Hailey gets home, and check out more! Even Oak Bay Avenue looked Christmas-y:

After Mischa got off work, I stopped in to the Knotty by Nature social on my way home to pick up the last of the donations, and I'm sure glad I did:

There were two children's sweaters and three pairs of socks in the batch, as well as several hats!

On Saturday morning I drove out to the church that hosts the dinner where these knitted goodies are distributed.

No one was at the main hall yet so I didn't get to see how it all looked, like last year, but the smells coming from the kitchen were heavenly!

THANKS TO YOU, community knitters, we delivered 368 KNITTED ITEMS to Extreme Outreach this year! That's a LOT of warmth ... and once again, I'm so impressed with how knitters step up to the plate when there's a need like this. (And we can all start knitting for 2010 anytime ... our goal every year is 500 items, and we've never quite reached it!)

We had the boys overnight on Saturday, and after supper we took them to Bear Wear 2009, a fundraiser for the Queen Alexandra Foundation, which has helped River a lot. I gave them each a 'twoonie' to place a vote for their favorite bear, and we had lots of fun checking them all out.

Yesterday I knitted! I've wanted to try the 'Houndstooth Check' pattern for a long time, and when River asked for black and red socks, it was the perfect opportunity. I've never been crazy about stranded knitting or intarsia, but this pattern is worked in only one color per row -- it's the use of slipped stitches that creates the effect.

It's been a quick knit, which is a good thing -- I still have a few more items on the list for Christmas knitting!

Friday, December 18, 2009


Yesterday and the day before I spent rounding up knitted goodies for the Christmas project -- the community dinner (at which 500 low income and homeless folks, including families and lots of kids, get a traditional Christmas meal) is tomorrow evening, so we are down to the wire now. As of last night, our count was 356 items, and there may be a few more turned in at Knit'n'Cafe today. Last year we were stuffing stockings right up until an hour before they opened the doors!

I'm knitting like crazy, and can't show you a single thing.... :)

River's last day of school today, and then he's on Christmas break -- the boys are definitely getting excited about Christmas now!

One of the things I'm hoping to do during this Christmas holiday is tour Craigdarroch Castle here in Victoria -- I've been there several times, but only once during Christmas. That was years ago, and I remember it being quite amazing! Another thing we like to do is check out the lighted Navy ships at the Esquimalt base.

Back to knitting...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Jason and Kristen arrived home from Kelowna last night, where they'd gone to celebrate an early Christmas with Kristen's family. Their flight was supposed to be in at 6:55 pm, and since it was kind of threatening to snow, I decided to head out while it was still daylight -- I had a pair of socks 2/3 complete, and could get a bite to eat, and knit and wait.

Jason texted me while I was on the highway en route -- the flight was running late because it was snowing like crazy from Winnipeg to Kelowna, pretty much.

So I ate dinner ... and knitted... and waited...

He texted me at least twice more, with updates.

Their plane finally touched down at 9:17, but I'd finished these by about 8:40...

Doesn't he look happy to be home? :)

They had a great trip, but they were actually glad to be back...

And I was glad to have all that unexpected knitting time -- the Christmas list is becoming more manageable all the time!

It's pouring rain and I'm going to Mischa's this morning to finish all the baking!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Where did the weekend go? I know I made it down to the water at least once, because I took this picture of the HMCS Oriole coming back in to the harbour sporting brand new navy blue sail covers.

The ketch-rigged Oriole was purchased by the Navy as a sail training ship, in 1957, for $14,500. She is both the oldest vessel and the longest serving commissioned ship in the Canadian Navy -- in addition to racing, she does lots of 'community service' and was supposed to be in the Carol Ship parade, but she wasn't. Here's a shot of her under full sail...

We went to Penny and Robin's for roast beef dinner on Sunday night -- it was lovely! We hadn't had roast beef in years, probably ... AND ... they play euchre. Not only that, but the GALS won!

Knitting has happened, too, but not a lot that I can show given the time of year. I have, however, been wanting to knit this cloth for a long time:

River was in a fun mood, so he modeled it for me. It's from the 2009 Knitting Pattern a Day calendar (August 12th), and it was totally fun to knit.

We went with Mischa yesterday to take the boys to Santa ... and I got my own pics while they were waiting in line.

Got home after dark, but it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas... it was snowing!

(That's the 'scaled down' version of the Wind Walker's winning lights -- we have to put the tarp up when it's raining (so some of the bridge lights had to come down after the parade), and one other Christmas tree got destroyed in the wind. The tarp goes up, by the way, because 1) it's not sea water that destroys old wooden boats, it's fresh water -- and because 2) we don't want to constantly mop up the bridge all winter, and 3)it creates a 'porch' for Michael!

The snow's all gone this morning, but it was fun while it lasted.

Friday, December 11, 2009


Yesterday I read this story, so I headed down to Ogden Point to check it out.

Disclaimer: As a boater (on a pretty restricted budget!) who loves to cruise new areas, I am at once fascinated and yet sickened by this practise ... here's what I saw:

So the freighter, which came from Florida, has unloaded several boats here already -- the ones you still see on the deck are staying on for the rest of the voyage, to Singapore, apparently. But see the yacht in the water between the two tugboats? It's going aboard the freighter, and apparently the freighter's cranes weren't able to do the job so this extra barge and crane arrangement had to be brought in from somewhere -- and it's being held in place by the two tugboats. Quite the operation, huh? Here's how it works -- giant slings are lowered into the water by the crane, and then divers go under the boat to secure them. (The yacht, by the way, is about a 70-footer).

The divers get out of the way...

And the crane starts to lift the boat up out of the water...

Then the handlers, on the barge and on the freighter, use ropes to turn the vessel...

... and it gets 'parked' on the deck of the freighter and 'blocked up' for the journey.

All this ... for a mere .... hmm... somewhere around $30,000?

That's a year's income for lots of folks ... which is where the 'sickened' part comes in for me. Yes, I know I have a lifestyle that lots of folks envy, and it *looks* 'rich' -- but we have to make choices every month that will allow us to have the money for that September Gulf Islands cruise that we take -- and it's a 'no-frills' affair when we do go (as you know)!

Anyway, it's entertaining to watch... ...