Light and Dark

We have a lot of reminders of the coming darker months: the approach of Halloween and the Festival of Diwali are two examples. Another is the ceremony of the Feeding of the Hungry Ghosts, which we do in our tradition and is a favourite of mine. All three festivals involve large amounts of food offerings, and our explanations of why we do this may differ but really, it’s all pointing to the light, offering compassion to those who have died, and the fact that universally good and light prevail over darkness. That’s as theological as I plan to get. Sunshine is going to talk a bit more about what Diwali means to her in an upcoming post I hope.

Some examples of brightness taken under a grey Vancouver sky.

I found this handwoven fabric in my stash. This was a last minute purchase to use up some rupees before we flew to England, and left India many years ago now. At the time I had no idea what it was, it was nice to look at and just the right price to use up the last of our Indian money. It’s cotton from Assam, and pretty sheer, and not a large amount. I am planning to back it with some silk I was given to create a wall hanging and bring it out into the light from my stash. Our trip to India was life changing in many ways, for better and for worse. This will remind me of our incredible trip and really,  it needs to be used. Languishing in a pile of fabric in a cupboard is no way to be. Someone wove this, that takes time and effort  – it really should be seen and appreciated.

An Interview with the Bruise-Guard

Mikey and Sunshine sat down with the Bruise-Guard to ask him a few questions, questions that have lingered in our minds. And this is what he had to say.

Question: First off, what’s with the hair and fake cigarette? And who is that demonic figure in the background?

Answer: Its the hair I used to have. I never did smoke and I always wanted to be cool. The demonic figure in the background is Conky, my favourite character from The Trailer Park Boys. (Sunshine you can’t watch that show till you are 30. And by the way, there is no way that a fake cigarette improves your cool factor!!)

Question: Where are you from?

Answer: I was born and raised in Winnipeg. I moved out when I no longer had hair like it is in the picture.

Question: When were you last back to the Peg?

Answer: I went back to see the folks two weeks ago. (It was actually a pretty good trip.)

Question: What was the highlight of your trip?

Answer: Getting on the plane for Vancouver!!

Question: What’s so bad about Winnipeg?

Answer: Ten feet of snow and forty below in the winter, super hot in the summer with mosquitoes big enough to carry you away, poison ivy, a winter’s accumulation of dog poop melting in the spring thaw, along with the floods, ooh it’s hard to pick just one thing.

Question: Really?? OK, what is good about it?

Answer: People are really friendly, it’s a survival thing.  (Bruise-guard then went on to talk at length about the fall in Manitoba, so despite what he says in this interview I suspect he actually has some good memories and some good things to say.)

So, this interview kind of ended on a mildly confused note, and please, no offence Winnipeg, which is a fine place and has produced some very fine people!!


Autumn in Vancouver is a Season

When I first moved to the lower mainland from the north a number of people told me I would miss the change of the seasons. There was an idea conveyed that somehow the south of BC missed out on the glory of fall, or the lovely snow that can cover the rest of the province in the winter.  They had a point, but only to a point. Living here means missing the northern lights dancing in minus forty nights. (Try describing that to someone who has not seen them -impossible.) I miss the crisp tang of the fallen leaves from the cottonwoods and trembling aspen, and there is a burnished golden colour associated with fall in the north that I have yet to really see here. The sky is too enclosed by all the mountains, and the light is different. But Vancouver definitely has a change of season. My walk today was just the usual neighbourhood ramble, listening to a podcast to keep my pace from slowing to a stroll, because this is an attempt to have a bit of exercise. The colours are changing here, and the leaves are falling. In a couple of weeks my street will be covered in a layer of crunchy gold, tan and red leaves, some enormous. The cedars are becoming the predominant green and they contrast with the deep yellow of the aspen leaves that seem to glow from the inside out when the sun is on them. There is a cool breeze that necessitates a light sweater and it invigorates. There were a  few folks doing tai chi in the park, and almost every single walker that passed smiled and said hello. Not too far away are the grey days here, and it is good to take advantage and kind of store up the light to remember in the winter rains.

(So the rose isn’t really a fall image, but it was still so pretty despite some of the cool weather we have had. A lot of the flowers in the neighbourhood are finishing up, and browned on the edges, and this little bloom stood out against the fence.)

Spinning and knitting continue, and some holiday presents made, and participation in a craft along on Ravelry for the first time. (Added because this is theoretically a craft blog. Sunshine, how’s it going over there in the craft department?)

A couple of finished projects.

This is a skein of my hand spun shetland, purchased locally this summer. My spinning was pretty rough, not my most elegant.   My inexpert assessment of fleece had me buying a lovely colour but missing the fact it was full of vegetable matter and broken bits. I really didn’t want it to be a lost cause and decided to try and create a bulky three ply, thick and thin and lumpy and I kind of like the end result after all.  There’s not a lot of it, maybe 40o metres and it would pill horribly as a garment but maybe it could be a really thick soft hat? We shall see. I chalk this up to a learning experience and thoroughly enjoyed it anyhow!

Now the shawl was fun. It’s a granny square shawl, accomplished by essentially crocheting half a granny square till you get dizzy from the miles of lace weight. It was a weird yarn, mill ends I think, there was no label. As far as I can tell it is bits of cotton in all sorts of colour plied with cotton or synthetic thread. It is quite pretty all done up. I edged it with some silk lace weight singles I had found a while ago in a weaving store. Lots of hours in this thing, but quite satisfying.

This urge to create has always been with me, and I am convinced it is a quality we all share. It went dormant for a lot of years, and again, I think this happens to a lot of people. What a shame if it never wakes up again. I went with a friend to a symposium done by a local shop and was amazed at the overflow crowd of interesting people, all gathered to hear a woman talk about the process of designing knitting. It was fun, just plain fun.


A quick post today, just felt like adding a bit of colour.