Thursday, August 27, 2009


... and we're sure feeling like we need a holiday! That must be why I played more than I worked today -- again.

I did get some work done in the morning and met with a client, but then I knew that my friend Wendy was hosting the weekly Metchosin spinning circle -- and when I got in the van to run a few errands, it just kind of went in that direction...

I didn't take my spinning wheel, but I did knit a few rows on the newest pair of socks, and more importantly, I relaxed for a few hours, and didn't think of Susan (much). We ate, we laughed, we knit and spun, in the sun outside Wendy's studio -- it was lovely.

When I got home around 5 pm., Michael was napping -- so I took myself down to Clover Point to knit some more. I arrived just in time to see this:

Here's the story!

After I watched Dockwise go by, I remembered that Hailey and Mischa were taking the boys (including Joshua, who arrived from up-Island to spend the rest of the summer with Jason) for fish and chips at Fishermans Wharf ... so I went to say hello.

I even managed to get another hour's work done when I got home, but will have to make up for lost time again today after Hailey leaves for Whistler ...

Total knitting today? About 3 rows!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Yesterday Michael and I went to visit Susan in the hospital for the first time ... it was SO hard. To see her like that, with a tracheotomy in her throat, and to watch her breathe and listen to the sound of her heartbeat on the monitor ... and to experience her unresponsiveness to anything around her -- well, let's just say it was one of the hardest things we've ever done. We spent the rest of the day, off and on, in tears, and looking for an old photograph of her to replace the image of the Susan who is in that hospital bed.

Anyway, there IS good news, in spite of our experience -- she has been transferred out of ICU into a private room on a ward, and she apparently squeezed her daughter's hand the other day. We left her a couple of stuffed Gibbons monkeys hanging around, held her hand and told her we loved her.

I know I have several lovely photos of her, because she and Sri have been on several cruises with us ... and we've been friends for 15 years! But do you think I can find any right now??

I did find this lovely one, though ... of the Wind Walker at anchor at Hornby Island a few years ago.

We won't be going that far north on our holiday this year, but by this time next week, we *will* be in a cove not unlike that one! Meanwhile, I'm trying to finish the purple poncho I'm making myself, and I'm working on some socks (surprise)!

And yes, I managed to get a LOT of (writing) work done yesterday before we went to the hospital .... good thing, because I was pretty useless after!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


It's been a whirlwind of activity here at the Wind Walker!

First of all, the Susan news: she was brought out of the induced coma late last week ... and is still in a coma, pretty much, except she opens her eyes occasionally. Somehow, her doctor/caregivers also knew that the tubes in her throat were irritating her or increasing her risk of infections, so two new things have happened -- she was given a tracheotomy on Friday, and on Saturday they made an incision in her stomach for a feeding tube. They have no idea how long this state of affairs might last, and these two things will make her more comfortable, apparently. The GOOD news is that the swelling in her brain has gone down, AND she's been moved from ICU to a ward, and I can go visit her today -- the nurse told me this morning that they just talk to her as if she can hear, and that's exactly what I'll do!

My life, on the other hand, 'goes on,' and this weekend has been a celebration of it, that's for sure. On Saturday, after my 'sober' celebration, my friend Rita from Creston, sister Julie,daughter Hailey and local friend Esther joined us for a day trip out to Albert Head:

I managed to finish the 'sea socks' test knit, too...

Then yesterday we went on this summer's only 'Knit'n'Cruise' -- the weeks have flown by 'way too fast! But Penny, Gillian, Arika, Deborah and I had a great time (oh, and Penny's hubby Robin and my Michael came along, too -- but we couldn't convince either one of them to try knitting!)


Gillian and Arika


Then last night, since Hailey will head back to Whistler today, (and Michael and Jason were both busy doing other things), us 'girls' and 'the boys' decided to have our own little picnic ... we went to Fleming Beach in Esquimalt, for a change. This park has a rock-climbing wall, so the entertainment is always fun!

We also made our own entertainment...

We stayed until nearly dark, and I started a new pair of socks.

Today? I'm so far behind I may never catch up! I have a LOT of work to do... and do you see that side-bar ticking away the days until we leave on our holiday??

Thursday, August 20, 2009


I just realized that I haven't posted a photo for two days, and that's just too long! So here's one I took last time I was at Clover Point ... click to make it bigger to see the kayakers. :)

Yesterday was a looooong but great day! It started with this view out over Sidney Spit where I knit while I was waiting for Monica's ferry to come in...

When she arrived, I had a little pit-stop to make at a farm out that way on our way back in to town. Remember in March when I was given bags and bags of raw fleece? Well, as I gave each bag away, I always requested a single skein of the spun yarn that would result ... and in two years of giving away at least 50 fleeces, I've only ever got back ONE skein.

But day before yesterday a parcel arrived containing a pair of hand-knit socks from a grateful recipient! (Of COURSE I forgot to take a picture....) The socks were meant for me, and they were natural color and beautiful -- but I knew immediately that I wanted to give them to the farmer dude who gives me all the fleeces.So while I chatted with John, Monica got entertained...

See those lovely fleeces... I mean, sheep?

Spent the morning with Monica, and then picked up Michael before I took her back to the ferry at about 2 pm. Then Michael and I drove from Sidney to Brentwood to catch a different ferry to go up-Island.

We caught the 3:30, stopped at my favorite veggie market in Duncan on the way through, stopped for a swim and a picnic at our favorite beach, in Ladysmith, and made it to the hospital by 7 pm -- perfect, since visiting hours ended at 8 pm.

Sri is doing wonderfully, and the surgery was successful -- he was happy to see us, and upbeat in general. We sat outside on the grass the whole time, so that was nice, until we 'tucked him in' at about 8:15. Again... forgot to take pictures.

Made it home about 10:30 last night, exhausted but feeling great. Susan is still slowly coming out of her coma, apparently, and I hope to have a better report today!

MUST get to work!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


I had a great day yesterday -- worked for a bit in the morning, went to Clover Point to knit in the afternoon, and then I picked Georgie up after her class and we went out for dinner. Today Monica comes from Mayne Island, and after we take her back to the ferry this afternoon, we'll head up to Nanaimo to see Sri, who had his surgery yesterday. He called last night to say it went well, and he just called again this morning ... the best news is that Susan's doctor has started to cut back a bit on the medication that's keeping her in a coma, and she has moved a couple of fingers and opened her eyes once or twice -- no sign of any recognition or anything yet, though. They've said by this weekend she should be fully conscious again, and they'll be able to assess the damage from the second blood vessel and surgery.

Have a great day -- I know I will. :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


30 years ago this morning, I woke up DONE.

Actually, I woke up scared, shaky and hung-over, but I knew that I was DONE ... with alcohol. You wouldn't have wanted to know me at my worst back then, and I had a lot of changes to make -- I'd just gotten married for the second time, I had three children who needed me, and I was a mess ... physically, emotionally and spiritually.

As badly as I wanted a drink on the morning of August 18th, 1979, I didn't have one. And I haven't had one since, which seems astounding even to me. My life today is a direct result of the choice I made that day, and have continued to make one day at a time since then, with the help of a LOT of people!

I'll be thanking those people publicly with a 'birthday' cake on Saturday morning, including the woman who helped me the most that morning 30 years ago when I called for help -- Rita will fly in on Friday from Creston to spend the weekend with me!

Today I'll just celebrate quietly, and VERY gratefully.

Monday, August 17, 2009

It's been a full and busy weekend, for which I am grateful!

On Saturday, our friends Robin and Penny joined us for a day trip on the Wind Walker out to ... of course! ... Albert Head. For some reason, I never thought to take pictures of the two of them, but we did see the dragon boat festival getting underway...

Correction, I do have one picture -- Michael and Robin went for a little spin in the inflatable so that Penny and I could knit in peace. :)

And we watched an amazing jellyfish swim by the boat -- this thing was about a foot wide...

It was a perfect day with lovely friends under (mostly) sunny skies!

Yesterday my friend Georgianna flew in from Whitehorse to attend a course here at UVic. I was already intending to go to the Breast Cancer Race and ceremony at the Dragon Boat event, and Georgie is a survivor, so I was really glad she arrived just in time to go with me. After the carnation event we just came back here and hung out on the bridge (the boat bridge, that is -- it's my 'sundeck') until time to go for a dinghy picnic supper. Again, I never thought to take pictures.(Hopefully Penny and Georgie will email me the ones they took!)

Georgie will be here all week and we have various evening plans, and Monica comes from Mayne on Wednesday, so today I *must* get some work done. Happy Monday!

Friday, August 14, 2009


... in this case, is bad news. There has been no improvement in my friend Susan's condition since her second brain surgery last Saturday night ... she is still in a forced coma due to swelling, and they won't try to bring her out of it until they see substantial improvement in that department.

So we wait. And try to be distracted...

Having a 3-year-old grandson around helps that a LOT. His big brother didn't want to look up from the computer, but Gibson has no qualms at all about hamming it up for Grandma's camera.

Yesterday, for the first time in days, I got some serious writing work done, thank goodness -- I was starting to worry about me!

And, of course, much knitting is taking place -- there really is no better therapy.

These are a pair of socks I'm test-knitting for a Salt Spring Island designer (Mary Tanti, for those of you who know her!), and they're lots of fun.

I've also started this top in shades of purple -- double-stranded, one is a multi-colored mohair which will be consistent through-out, and the other is two or three different shades of hand-spun (no, not by me) heathery purples. Not a great pic, but here's the first 10" or so...

Today I have work to finish this morning, and then Knit'n'Cafe this afternoon. The next couple of weeks will be busy, so that's good -- we have a couple of day trips planned, I have an old friend coming from Yellowknife next week, a special celebration coming up, and, of course, getting ready for our September holiday.

Keep up those prayers, would you?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


... is how we spent our weekend away, both literally and figuratively.

We got out to Albert Head on Saturday by noon -- it was a bit misty, but nice to be at anchor again. We saw the usual wildlife -- eagles, otters and seals -- and this time we also had a visit from a trumpeter swan:

A pair of kingfishers were terribly busy around us this time, too, chattering constantly and flitting about:

And we noticed a couple of these jellyfish this time -- this one was about a foot across:

But on Sunday morning at 7:30 we got a call from Sri ... Susan had been rushed in to emergency surgery on Saturday night with yet another broken blood vessel, on the other side of her brain. So now she has had brain surgery on both sides of her brain, and this time the doctors have told Sri to prepare himself for the fact that there will be some brain damage... they just don't know what functions will be affected, or how severely, yet.

They put her in a forced coma which they were supposed to bring her out of last night... but last night they changed their minds and have decided to wait a few more days. Immediate family only allowed to visit, only one at a time -- and they must not speak to her or touch her in order to not stimulate her brain, apparently. How awful for all of them!

So we wait... and pray. And try to be distracted ...

I finished Susan's prayer shawl. It's thick and cozy and I hope to hug it around her shoulders soon....

I hope I'll have cheerier news soon!

Friday, August 7, 2009


Thank you all for your kind thoughts and prayers for my friend Susan, first of all. I'm happy to report that Susan came through the surgery very well (it took 4 hours!!) and was doing so well they moved her out of ICU only 24 hours later. She appears to have all her faculties including a sense of humor ... I sent Sri with a pair of wool socks I'd made her for this coming Christmas, and her response was "Oh, sure, I have to have a brain aneurysm to get a pair of Marilyn's knit socks!"

She still has a long road of recovery ahead, and we haven't been able to see her yet, but the news so far is just about the best possible scenario, and her family is immensely relieved. Even though she *can* have visitors now, Sri has asked us to wait a few days because she's exhausted still -- it's all she can do to see Sri, her Mom and her (adult) kids.

That's good, because her prayer shawl will be done by Monday ...

It's baby alpaca bulky weight in a much darker, richer purple than it looks here, and I'm using 6 mm needles, so I'm almost half done -- and it is thick and cozy, exactly what I hoped for! Top down with an eyelet row thrown in every 4" for a little variety.

Today I'll go to Knit'n'Cafe to b-r-e-a-t-h-e and then this evening or tomorrow morning Michael and I will cruise out to Albert Head until Monday to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary, which is on Sunday. Simple, cost-effective, and we love it there!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


So much has happened in the last 48 hours! I'll give you the good news first...

First of all, I promised more pictures of Symphony Splash. Here's a few that will give you a sense of the crowd ... in the water, and up and beyond to the Parliament Buildings (the lawns of which are full, full, full for this event). Remember that you can click on any of the photos to see them bigger...)

A couple of unique things happened this year -- this dude was one of our 'neighbours' in the early evening:

And this dude was cooking and handing out free 'smokies' to everyone, just for fun -- he said at the end of the evening that he gave out almost 100 of them.

The highlight of the evening is always the final number, the Symphony's rendition of the 1812 Overture, complete with real cannon fire provided by the local cadets and fireworks provided by one of the show's sponsors. But the highlight for me is always the grand finale, which is this...

... our local pipe band closes the show with 'Amazing Grace' every year, and it is a completely magical end to a completely magical evening!

But speaking of magical evenings, we had another one last night.

As an aside, I'll tell you that I really believe that, at least sometimes, things happen exactly the way they're meant to happen (as opposed to the way we try to make them happen) and last night was a case in point. After a very long and emotional day (the reasons for which I'll get to in a minute...), I got a gift ... a huge gift.

Hailey's still in town, so she had relieved Michael of babysitting the boys so she could have time with them -- and they love hanging out with 'Auntie.' I was down at Clover Point doing my meditative knitting, as usual, so we had arranged to meet there with take-out suppers. While we were just hanging out there, we saw orcas approaching!

We watched them approach and go by the point for at least an hour -- it was one of the local resident pods, at least a dozen of them, and we think we might have seen a new baby among them. They weren't in any hurry, and gave the few boats out around them a nice show! Then, once we figured out what direction they were going, we decided to beat them to the pass to get a better look. Hailey and 'her boys' know how to wait ....

In the end, even though I took a few dozen photos, only a few of them turned out well...

But watching orcas go through Enterprise Channel at sunset under a full moon rising was pretty magical!

And it was a lovely end to a long and very emotional day...

This morning I will drive up to Qualicum Beach to pay my last respects to Clem, mother of my long-time friend Michelle. She died during the heat wave, at 83 years of age, after a life-time of nursing, mothering and painting pictures, and she'll be missed by everyone who knew her. And I want to be there with huge hugs for Michelle, who is battling cancer herself, again.

I'll be home this evening, just in time to hear how my best friend Susan's brain surgery went today. Susan and her husband Sri (whom you've heard me mention here many times!), our closest friends for the last 15 years, were on their way down here (also from Qualicum Beach) this morning, for two reasons. One, Sri has a specialist appointment here this morning to consult about his recently-diagnosed prostate cancer, and to decide about surgery. After that appointment, the plan was for he and Michael to go golfing while Susan and I grocery shopped and prepared the Wind Walker for our annual 3-day anniversary cruise, leaving tomorrow.

Instead, we got a frantic call from Sri yesterday morning ... Susan had had a ruptured brain aneurysm in the night, and was rushed here to Victoria by ambulance. She's in intensive care, and scheduled for surgery this afternoon to save her life. We drove out to the hospital to meet Sri when he arrived (thanks to Hailey for the suggestion), but they wouldn't let us in to see Susan. We got a call from Sri last night that she is 'okay', resting comfortably, and he'll call us today as soon as he knows how the surgery went.

So ... much sadness mixed with one-moment-at-a-time-joy-for-living going on here in my little corner of the world today.

And I'm knitting ... prayer shawls.

Monday, August 3, 2009


... as Sivia's designs always are! Unblocked...


The pattern is 'Waves in the Square', knit in KnitPicks 50% merino-50% tussah silk in the 'mahogany' colorway on size 3.5 mm needles. I cheated a little ... when I finished the pattern I had quite a bit of yarn left but didn't feel like doing another whole repeat, so instead I added a knit-on Nicky Epstein edging with beads -- I love it!

I got it done just in time to wear to Stephanie and Ryan's wedding yesterday.

(By the way, Steph's dress is wet-felted ... tulle, silk and merino, I believe, and the picture doesn't do it justice!)

Oh, I also finished a pair of socks day before yesterday ..

These were the first ones I've done in a fibre that contains chitin, and I really like them, but these first ones aren't my colors, so will probably be a Christmas present for someone.

And as if attending a wedding wasn't enough in one day, Hailey came home from Whistler, and along with Mischa and River, we went to the Victoria Symphony Splash last night -- it's the highlight of our summer, always, and I'll have more pics tomorrow!

Oh, I have one more stunner to show you... this picture I took a few nights ago from Clover Point, looking back toward Brochie Ledge and the harbour entrance...