Posted by: Kate | January 21, 2018

Winter Storms

This week brought the first serious winter storms we’ve had this season. Coastal winter storms don’t generally involve snow (although we do get snow it’s not usually stormy) – they involve a lot of wind and a lot of rain!

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We don’t face the freezing temperatures of the rest of Canada, but we do face a lot of dark, wet and windy days. It can be a struggle to get out there, but it always feel better once you do (or at least, it does for me). All week I kept up my early morning walks, although they were shorter than some weeks. Then on Saturday I ventured out into the wind before the rain got really heavy. Today I was lucky and caught the break in between rain systems. The wind finally died down at about 6am this morning.img_3251img_3252

There is a wild beauty about the coast that shapes your psyche when you live here. We don’t have that same stoic character that has to face the endless winter of the prairies, instead we have that wildness, that melancholic greyness that is blown out by a good wind storm.IMG_4379

Exhilarating and exciting and proof that I am alive. In all that bluster, I find my peace.IMG_0333

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Posted by: Kate | January 14, 2018

The Power of the Walk

I realized last summer as my pants got a little tighter and the scale crept up, that something had changed. With the loss of Chika back in 2016 and with my job being busier, I simply wasn’t moving the way I used to. While I still was going for interesting walks on the week-ends, I wasn’t moving regularly during the week.

In late August I set out to change that, and I started getting up a half hour earlier every work day and getting outside for a 20-25 minute walk. I started in August because I knew that I needed it to be second nature to get up and out, before the bad weather came.

My pants are now a little loose, and the scale has crept back down to a number I am happier with. But what I hadn’t counted on (even though we all hear of the benefits) was what else walking in the mornings would bring me.

I don’t listen to music when I walk (especially not in the dark) and so I am left with my thoughts wandering all over the place. I find this centres me for the day, letting me work through things or just contemplate a new project. It has become my morning meditation.

I am calmer these days, and I put that down to walking. My skin and hair look good (or so people tell me). I just feel better.

Just 20 minutes out of my day has made all that difference. It truly is the small things that can effect big changes.

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Posted by: Kate | January 7, 2018

A New Year, a New Perspective

I am an observer of the world, as a writer, an artist a photographer. I love to look at both the big picture and the little picture. So I know that sometimes, to see something that everyone thinks they know everything about in a different light, you need to look at it from a different perspective.

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This year part of that is reminding myself to look at, well, myself from a different perspective. Who am I at this stage in my life? Who do I want to be moving forward? What do I see when I take a step back?

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Of course, a new perspective doesn’t mean all the answers are different. I will always be a person who needs nature to balance me. After the first  tumultuous day after my brother’s death my husband looked at me, hugged me and said, “Let’s go for a walk. You need to be outside.” He was, of course, right. Nature is always the right space for me to be in, and will always balance me.

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But I will remind myself to look and see what else I need and want to be the me I want to be.

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Posted by: Kate | December 31, 2017

Closing out 2017 and my Word for 2018

2017 was a year of wonder as well as a year of challenge. IMG_3696In November, my brother passed away from a drug overdose. He lead a difficult life and we had a struggling relationship. He hadn’t spoken to me for a number of years. Although I didn’t refuse to speak to him, I did refuse to see him in person or have him visit my family, which is what set off him not speaking to me. I don’t regret that decision – it was the right one for my family – but I do need still to let go of the tension we had. I haven’t thought how to forgive him yet for both recent and historic anguish, but I am working on it. Letting go is hard.

My mother was sick this year as well, and while she made a full recovery it was a scare as she spent time in the hospital. Our relationship is also changing, and keeping up with those changes can be difficult.

Bushboy is in his final year of high school. Not a moment too soon as far as he is concerned! This has meant planning and talking about options and lots of extra deadlines (Grad is so complicated these days). He also got his ‘N’ license this year and is happy with the old truck as his own now. Watching him turn into the man he is going to become has been an honour.IMG_3851I started to ride with Mr. Kate on his motorbike this year, and we are planning some trips for the new year. It is a wonderful way for us to share time together.IMG_0007We camped of course, and enjoyed our beautiful corner of Vancouver Island. Natural beauty always brings me joy.IMG_40522018 promises a lot of changes for our family, especially as Bushboy graduates and moves into the next phase of his life. Mr. Kate and I are also moving into a new phase with school no longer a part of our family dynamic. I also have some emotional issues, around my brother and the family I came from, that need to be put to rest. So my word for 2018?IMG_4105

PEACE.

I especially hope for peaceful transitions as we embark on these new chapters.

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Happy New Year (I also hope to be more active here again, although I love Instagram I have missed writing longer posts).

Posted by: Kate | May 14, 2017

You Know Where to Find Me

It’s been an interesting few weeks around here, dealing with aging parents, busy work schedules, a cross-country band trip and disappointing spring weather. But whenever I get a moment, you know where to find me.

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It’s not warm down there yet, but it always feels good.

Posted by: Kate | April 29, 2017

And So the Garden Grows

Spring has been very coy with us this year – a sunny day followed by cold and rain has been the norm for weeks. But there is no holding back the seasons in the end and so the garden is, although it seems reluctantly, getting on with things.

As usual, the cherry tree was the first to bloom. There have been bees around, so hopefully we will get some cherries.

The Apple tree and the clematis are both greening up.

Maybe this will be the year we finally get a pear?!

Very happy strawberry bed. They are trying to reach out to the other beds, too, and I’m having to pull them out of the path. Cheeky things.


Rhubarb is ready for harvesting!

Lots of herbs are up as well. Unfortunately it looks like my 20 year old rosemary bush was killed by all the snow fall. Another good reason to redo the back bed along the fence this year!

How is your garden space?

Posted by: Kate | March 19, 2017

Book Review: Hotel du Lac

I have long been a fan of Anita Brookner‘s writing. There is a quiet fierceness to her prose that greatly appeals to me. I think I relate to the sense of reserve with undercurrents that she often portrays.

The book is short, a snapshot of lives in one place, yet not until the end was I sure of where the story line would go. Based in a small hotel in Switzerland, the story follows a writer who is in a type of exile from her life as she knows it. While there we slowly learn why exactly the exile happened (not what was expected) and we watch as the character learns about herself and her needs through both her own introspection and through the interaction with other guests at the hotel.

The main character is an observer but shuns that description. She simply lives mostly inside her head, never certain how to allow herself to project the true person she is.

“I too have a past, she thought, with an uncharacteristic spurt if indignation. I too have had my deaths and departures, some of them quite recent. But I have learned to shield them, to hide them from sight, to keep them at bay. To exhibit my wounds, would, for me, denote an emotional incontinence of which I might later be ashamed.”

The book is an examination of women, of relationships, of identity and of self-discovery. The people staying at the hotel provide wonderful character studies, each created with depth and subtlety, even the ones which seem over-the-top. Things are never quite as they seem at first glance, at the Hotel du Lac.

Hotel du Lac won the Booker Prize back in the 80s, for good reason. It is clever, with an expansive vocabulary, yet not too clever. It is relate-able, readable, and enjoyable.

Posted by: Kate | March 11, 2017

Scribbles From My Notebook

Wet leaves on the ground

Shadow imprints left behind.

Natural art class.

Muddy boots left at the door,

wet raincoats on the hook.

Rain on the windows making the cats

look up from their naps.

Hot tea steaming in a mug

set on the table beside a couch

where a warm blanket waits for my lap.

Rain drips from the branch

Fern fronds bend down to the ground

Moss soaks up the damp

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Posted by: Kate | March 3, 2017

Sentimental Fool or Keeper of Stories

I grew up in a household where stories were not told. Not stories of the past anyhow. Both my parents left their homes in other countries to make new lives, and they embraced that. Life was about the new, the now, the current experience. There was a lot of emotional disconnect in my house, and I think this was another symptom of it – no connecting through shared reminisces.

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I, on the other hand, love stories. The writer in me loves the connections and building blocks that the past creates. I don’t cling, but I do remember.

I scrapbook for that reason – I want to tell the stories. I don’t know who will ‘read’ them, but that isn’t the important thing. For me it’s that they are told, with passion and respect and humour. These stories make up our lives, they make up a part of who we are.

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I didn’t know the full story of the day of my adoption until my Mum told me when I was 18 and getting ready to leave home. It just came up casually in conversation – they weren’t keeping it from me, they just didn’t see it as relevant and I didn’t know how to ask. How to explain that to me, that is my birth story? My rush to the hospital story? My origin story? How to explain that importance to someone who sees it as sentimentality of no importance? (Not that she doesn’t remember it fondly, just that it didn’t seem overly important to our daily lives to her.)

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We love to experience new things, but we also love to tell stories of the past. These connect us, creating a stronger, richer story for Bushboy to continue his life with. They also, I hope, show us, his parents, as people with lives and feelings and experiences beyond what he sees.

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I don’t say that either way is right, or the one way. I just know for me I want to be a keeper of stories, a teller of tales, a sentimental fool of the highest order.

Posted by: Kate | February 22, 2017

The Unknown Things

Feeling like a walk down memory lane, so here are some of those random things about me that are these days mostly unknown…. (the photos are random as well, just some I’ve taken in the last week).

1. I lived in England for a year when I was 7. In Warsash, outside Southampton to be exact. My dad is British and was there on sabbatical working at the University of Southampton.

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2. I performed the Athlete’s Pledge at the B.C. Summer Games when I was 15. I was competing for the third year in Orienteering. The Games were in Victoria that year, my home town, and the Opening Ceremonies were televised. When I started at a new high school in September of that year, I actually had some kids come up to me and ask if that was me they had seen on TV that summer.

3. My first job, aside from babysitting which I started with when I was 11, was at a small garden shop in downtown Victoria. I worked there from 14 until I moved away after high school. I was the only person under 40 working there, and I loved it. It definitely sparked my love of all things garden-related, and started my devotion to West Coast Seeds (which were called Territorial Seeds at the time). I got the job because one of my Mum’s best friends was the manager. She is still a very important person in all of our lives.

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4. I completed my Grade 7 Royal Conservatory of Music in piano as well as my Advanced Rudiments of music theory. I can still play some songs although I don’t get much opportunity. I am a sight reader, and so can generally muddle my way through if I have the music in front of me. I don’t consider myself a natural musician, not like Bushboy, but I did enjoy it and worked hard at it.

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5. The summer between Grade 11 and Grade 12, Mr. Kate and I lived together in Bamfield, on the west coast of Vancouver Island. I was working as a nanny for family friends and he was working at the local fishermen’s cafe. It was one of the best times of our lives.

Tell me some random thing about yourself, if you feel so moved…

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