I’ve come back to the country where I was happy

changed. Passion puts no terrible strain on me now.

I wonder what will take the place of desire.

I could be the ghost of my own life returning

to the places I lived best. Walking here and there,

nodding when I see something I cared for deeply.

Now I’m in my house listening to the owls calling

and wondering if slowly I will take on flesh again.

Linda Gregg 1942 –

(From A Book of Luminous Things edited by Milosz, 1996)

I am not fond of several of the poems found in the chapter titled Women’s Skins – some of them portrayed a very discouraging view of aging, of women.  This one, however, catches the essence of aftermath.  At least for this reader.

IMG_1069August evening at Iona Park.

And now, lets lighten up a tad shall we? (The seriousness of the poem does not reflect any serious goings on in our house – but my goodness, I love this set of words and the way they reflect, and evoke.)


Knitting up the odds and ends. This project is leftover BFL/silk handspun done up into a nice scarf. This will go into the donation pile with all those hats. It is very satisfying to use up those balls of yarn that remain from other projects. Of course, that leaves some room in the stash for some more. The circle of life, crafting life that is.

Wandered Upon…

It’s a common story.  The growth of the “big box” stores on the outskirts of a town results in the decline of the old main street with its local businesses and “mom and pop” cafes. There is a move, here and elsewhere to try to remedy this, to build community. Even in our enormous city neighbourhoods develop, each with their own “flavour”,  their own character. I read in our local paper that one of the areas near where we live has been officially dubbed “Little Saigon”, an acknowledgement of the numerous Vietnamese immigrants who have landed here.  Vegetarian Pho restaurants are taking over the sites of the steak and pancake houses  – a reflection of the market changes in the area, and a fine development to this vegetarian knitter!

This does relate. I have written about the Riefal Bird Sanctuary before. I was there early today, just me and one other guy for the first hour. (Me with my little “entry-level” camera and him with: giant telephoto lens, tripod, binoculars, backpack – the dude was one of the serious ones.) He was pretty helpful actually, pointing out some waxwings, (I pretended I knew what they were) and telling me a bit about what species he’d seen before he wandered off to a secluded part of the sanctuary.  And by the way, as a result of his pointing them out, I actually now know what a waxwing looks like. Thanks fella.

IMG_1094I did capture a few images, but more than anything, it was a treat to wander around in the quiet this morning.

I ended up going for a coffee in nearby Ladner Village. This is a community outside Vancouver, originally a fishing village. The village site looks as though it may have seen more prosperous days but what delighted me was what I discovered when I went for a stroll, fuelled by an excellent cappuccino.

In the windows of the shops and offices were beautiful quilts. In the hardware store window, the insurance agent, the massage therapist…

IMG_1141Tomorrow is the Quilt Walk and Classic Car Show. 

Now isn’t that a good idea? A community that hosts a bi-weekly Farmers Market, craft fairs that get you walking the neighbourhood, that include eye candy for those that love the classic cars, and a really fine cup of coffee from a non – franchise establishment – that will get me and my wallet back.  The access to the gem that is the bird sanctuary doesn’t hurt either.  I suppose it’s not likely that there are enough birders to keep the whole economy afloat, but hey, it has got to help.

IMG_1107On the personal crafty front, I have often wondered if other bloggers have, shall we say, “edited” a bit when uploading pictures of their work. After all, no one would know, and with a bit of trickery one can look very capable, all the time.

This is a prime example:

IMG_1083Still using up bits and pieces. Twill cotton yardage, think they could be tea towels. Artfully folded to hide the big honking threading error that shows, oh yes indeedy. It is like a dark goofy line drawn right down the middle of the white. I wove for hours telling myself that “it will block out.” “It will be different off the loom, it’s a tension thing.”  Sigh.  I thought I might give these away. Instead they will go into my collection of the weird and wonderful kitchen linens I am accumulating…


(Edited to add: I was not thinking of anyone else “editing” when I wrote this,  definitely not taking a pot shot at any of the lovely stuff I see on other’s blogs, I was thinking about how I present stuff to the world of the “interwebs”. I will stop typing now…)

So, You Take a Left at the Waste Disposal Plant…Or, Evening Motorcycle Ride to Iona Park

Everyone knows what I mean – those evenings that are “tropical” in feel, mid summer. The light is warm and gold  and the air is still. Iona Park is fairly easy to get to, but not as busy as other beaches in the Lower Mainland. Maybe the route by the waste disposal plant is why this is? The park has a long walkway in one direction, and a fairly undeveloped beach in the other. It is also right next to the Vancouver International Airport so it is a prime place for folks who love to watch the planes come and go.


We stayed till dark and rode home in the warm night air.

IMG_1074View of the Gulf Islands just at sunset.  My attempts to make the birds pose for me are again unsuccessful. At least these cormorants obligingly flew overhead. I think I will come back in the winter, with a lawn chair and a thermos of tea. That’s the ticket! Apparently some two hundred plus species spend time out here. I think a good number are on summer holiday, or maybe they know I have my camera all poised…hmm.

IMG_1064My weaving guru Unni, (don’t tell her, she doesn’t know she is my guru…) told me to keep knitting despite arthritic hands. Something along the lines of “you lose it if you don’t use it.” In the spirit of “using it” and using up bits and pieces I have been doing knitted hats the last several weeks. They will go to a non-profit organization in the fall. Grant works in the Downtown East Side and knows the best places these can be used.

IMG_1082The WIP is from some handspun singles, done to learn thick and thin slubby yarn. (Deliberate thick and thin that is!  Pretty fun hat – hopefully someone will find the colours cheery, not just blinding…)

Bits and Pieces

IMG_1044Cushion covers waiting for filling and some sachets filled with cedar shavings. It might be the line of work I do, but once I reach a certain saturation of bits and pieces in my so-called “craft studio”, it is time to use them for something and move them along. I am a bit sensitized to hoarding! The cushion covers were made from my first  weaving attempt with the Jane, which resulted in a less than satisfying shawl. (Much better in this form.) They are mohair and hand spun wool done in twills, while two of the sachets were made with some of the samples from the same project. The other two sachets are from the “ubiquitous  blue” series of  samples.

There are some amazing (shocking?) photos of stashes on Ravelry and elsewhere. It is understandable that the stashes get out of control in a way, given how many materials are needed to do some of these fibre crafts. I joke that I won’t get dementia, I am always trying to sort out new ways of organizing my space. Once a certain bin starts to get too full, I get nervous! And then the cycle begins again, in terms of where do the finished objects go? There are plans for these things at least.

In my work life I have occasion to enter homes of hoarders. No two places have been the same, but the same theme runs through – the clinging to the objects in the home, regardless of whether they are obviously useful or not, and the sheer strength of the hanging on. It can be  profoundly traumatic to intervene, both for the person having to give up the stuff, and for those who have to watch.  By the time people like me have been called, the situation is often out of hand and clearing up must be done in the name of public health and safety. This is one of the harder parts of the job.

And that is one of many reasons heading off to the mountains is good! The air is clear, the task of walking is physical and demanding, and the body is tired, and not from the tasks of the mind and heart.  There are all types of people who work in health care, you can’t generalize. But I sure know a lot of them who head for quiet whenever they can, even for a short time, just to recharge.


View of Mt. Baker from up on Welcome Pass.

Heathers, lupines, tiger lilies, avalanche lilies, fawn lilies – those were just the ones whose names I knew. This is the prime time for wildflowers up high.

IMG_0876Pretty hey?