Posted by: Kate | July 25, 2015

Snake!

These knitted snakes are one of my favourite gifts. So when a little boy we love had a birthday coming up, I knew what I wanted to knit. Camo colours suite him so well. I worked this with a plain cotton and a camo acrylic. The pattern is from woolworks and originally came from a knitting list group in the 1990s. There are many other patterns out there, but I’ve used this one a number of times and it works well for me. You can find the pattern here: Harriet Kay’s knitted snake.

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I firmly believe that every knitted toy needs a book to go with it. I searched high and low in our small city for a story about a snake, but this book of snakes was the only thing I could find. A red bow and a red tongue seemed to go together.

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I look forward to hearing the name of this snake.

Posted by: Kate | July 21, 2015

Hibiscus Update

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The flowers have arrived!

Posted by: Kate | July 15, 2015

Stitches in Love and Surprise

As mentioned, I am working on a few sneaky secret projects this year. One is away already, but two are still in my possession and at various stages of readiness.

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I am enjoying both of them, and love thinking of the recipient as I knit. I hope both projects bring joy.

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Posted by: Kate | July 11, 2015

Summer Rain

I don’t know that I have ever been so happy to see rain in July. And it is the good summer rain, soft and constant and soaking. The ground is so parched here on the west coast, that this rain is very welcome. I don’t think a day or two of rain is going to undo the months of dryness and the incredible low level of our lakes and rivers, but at least it will help a little. It will stop my garden from dying a slow death, for now.

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As a child I loved summer rain. Bushboy did as well. Warm and yet wet to play in, just like swimming in a warm lake. Not like our winter rain, which is harsh and cold and bone-chilling. Summer rain like today is whispers, and joy, and relaxation.

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Summer on the coast is often dry and hot, and we all feel this compulsion to live every moment of it at full speed, to get outside and live it up in the sunshine. So a day of rain is perfect for feeling ok to remain indoors, quiet, introspective, contemplative. Cleaning, perhaps, reading and knitting for certain. Enjoying the beautiful rain, while it lasts.

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Posted by: Kate | July 4, 2015

Evening Light

Walking in the evenings there is a beautiful light down by the water. Tyee Spit is the place to walk in town, lots of families and small dogs and older couples. It’s a great place to watch cruise ships and it’s also interesting as it is at the mouth of the Campbell River. A great place to play with the camera.

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Posted by: Kate | June 28, 2015

Unexpected

I’ll take my delights wherever I can get them, no matter how small or out of the ordinary. The hibiscus that survived the winter in the pot at the front door, and now is covered in buds about to bloom – a true unexpected delight.

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Posted by: Kate | June 18, 2015

Book Review: Alone in the Classroom

I can always tell when I am reading a Canadian author. Beyond the place names and history, there is a certain way Canadian authors relate to the land in their writing that is a common thread between them. From W.O. Mitchell, to Farley Mowatt, Alice Munro and Margaret Laurence, Canadian authors have featured the Canadian landscape in their books. I think, given the vastness of the Canadian landscape, this may be inevitable for someone who grew up in Canada and chooses to set a novel in Canada.

Elizabeth Hay, with her book Alone in the Classroom, exemplifies that Canadian influence. I would know, by the gentle manner in which she address the landscape, that here is a Canadian author. The phrasing, the story-telling, the tone – all tell me that this is a book of Canada.

The story of course, is universal. Mystery; family history; character study; behavioural examination. Told in the first person, the story unfolds on a murder, but becomes much more about the lives and history of people around the murder. There are many layers, and Hay gently exposes them, without condemnation or critical examination. Rather she says this is who these people really were and what they did – see what you think of it all. It surprised me, where she took some of the characters. I didn’t always like the outcome, but I understood that this was supposed to feel real. And it did, it felt like I was reading an autobiography rather than a novel.

At times I felt like I was following too many threads, although they all related to the main character telling the story. We learn so much of the other characters and through the main character’s eyes. We then must come to our own conclusions about the person she is and becomes, based on her interpretation and interaction with these other characters.

I’m not sure I loved the story itself, but I enjoyed the journey of reading it.

Posted by: Kate | June 14, 2015

Fruitful

It’s a bit of a toss up every year which fruit will be plentiful and which won’t. If the sun is shining, the temperatures are out and the bees are around then you’ll get good fruit set. If not, chances aren’t as good. The one week we didn’t have great weather this spring the apple bloomed and I saw no bees. But two weeks earlier when the cherry bloomed, there were the bees.

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Raising a child feels a bit like that. You can put the right supports in place, like the good soil and shade if required. You can help direct and suggest movement, just like pruning branches and tying to supports. But in the end, you take your chances on the outside influences of the world.

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Temperament and personality also come into play. Just like some fruit trees seem to thrive under half neglectful conditions while others require constant supervision, so children as they grow seem to prefer one type of care over the other. But figuring out which one nurtures and produces fruit – there is the challenge.

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I’m learning to accept these outside influences. I’m learning that I am not the sole dictator of life direction and choices, just as I can’t control the fruit from year to year, but only nurture what comes.

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Still irritating when you only have a few apples on the tree though.

Posted by: Kate | June 7, 2015

Passages and Transitions

Maybe it’s being so close and connected to the ocean that I tend to think about transitions and passages in life so often. The waterways here are busy with moving traffic – both natural and manmade – and the beachscapes are ever-changing with the tides.IMG_0903

With Bushboy now close to completing his first year of high school, I am aware that his school journey is getting closer to the final chapter. The world of school has played a huge role in all of our lives, as it should when it is such a big part of your child’s formative years. In particular, I have dedicated myself to parent groups, both at the school and district level. I have attended more meetings than I care to count in the past eight years and have tried to ensure a parent voice was heard. I find now that I am pulling back. The urgent need to be informed and to help inform others isn’t feeling so urgent. I find myself thinking as well that no one will really notice. It’s time for another round of parents to step up, to put the students’ and families’ needs forward. I’m not sure at this point what good it did, but I’ve done my time and tried to be a part of the bigger educational picture not just for Bushboy’s sake, but for all of his peers as well.

There are more transitions coming and new passages opening. Some of them are baffling to me, others exciting. Some are small and personal – who knew my garden just wouldn’t call me this summer? We have plans for the summer, and we are already at the beginning of a drought season, and I just can’t seem to get enthused about the garden as I have in the past. I think it will come back to me, but for now I’m accepting that it simply isn’t in me. My body is also telling me this, as I seem to have developed sciatica over the last year or so and can only work in the garden for an hour or so without taking a break.IMG_0908

Some things don’t change and are constant of course. My love for the two men in my life. The ability of water and nature to calm and ground me. My love of words. My desire to create.

How do you handle transitions in your life? Do you feel guilty when moving away from something that was once important? I am trying to not feel guilt, nor regret. Someone said to me the other day, “Regret is selfish. It only matters to you in the end, it doesn’t change anything.” I liked that, and so I strive to move forward, with no regrets.
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Photos from a walk last night, along the seawalk. Just because.

Posted by: Kate | May 29, 2015

Water Dog

On our trip to Cathedral Grove it really wasn’t so surprising that Chika found the water. Or that people stopped to watch him, laughing at the obvious joy he felt. He’s such a water dog! (Photos taken by Bushboy, who kept appropriating my camera.)

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