Posted by: Kate | September 5, 2018

A Summer of Change

Bushboy both graduated and moved out (of both our house and our town) this summer, bringing much change to our household. Being a tight little unit of three, this has been a big adjustment for all of us. We were all ready for it logically and even emotionally, but still our spirits are adjusting to not being a daily unit of three.

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My sciatic issues continue, so I have not ridden on the motorbike with Mr. Kate at all this summer other than one short ride to realize I wasn’t able to. This is disappointing for both of us, as we enjoyed that change and were looking forward to more riding and touring this year. IMG_5063

This is the first time in 13 years (and really 15 if we count preschool) that back to school doesn’t mean much to us. It is definitely making me a little nostalgic, especially for those early years when we would walk to school and home again after.IMG_5208

Life changes and how we face those changes, accept those changes and even embrace those changes are what determine the quality of the life we lead. I am determined to lead a good one.IMG_4018

 

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Posted by: Kate | July 15, 2018

Low Tide

The wonderful thing about living so close to nature is that there is always something new to see. Nature’s landscape is constantly changing.

This summer we are fortunate that some extremely low tides are coinciding with daytime, making for great access to exposed reefs and shoreline. When I visited the Willow Point Reef in June it was abuzz with activity – families, couples and even a guide-led group.

This is why I could never move away from the ocean again – this awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping show of nature that is free and at my doorstep.

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Posted by: Kate | July 8, 2018

Book Review: The Great Beanie Baby Bubble

Ah, the Beanie Baby. A cute little stuffed critter that I vaguely remembered as being quite collectible and popular. I was at the wrong age for the craze – out of highschool and not a mother yet, so while I was aware of it I didn’t follow it. But somewhere along the line this book title caught my eye, and I finally found time to read it this spring.

I know a non-fiction book is a good read if I can’t stop reading parts out loud to anyone around me. This book was absolutely one of those – I was reading while on our May camping trip and kept snorting in disbelief or laughing out loud, and then reading pieces to my fellow campers. And while the material was fascinating, that really is a compliment to the author, Zac Bisonette.

The Great Beanie Baby Bubble: Mass Delusion and the Dark Side of Cute, is a fascinating tale. Bisonette tries to make sense of how this little stuffie could have become such a sought-after commodity that people were bankrolling their collections with their mortgages. And how people didn’t see that it would come to an end. The fact that I am left still a little baffled by it is not due to Bisonette’s work. He does an excellent job of telling the story both of the Beanie Babies’ creation and marketing and of the collectors who became obsessed with the stuffed animals. I just can’t wrap my head around it.

Perhaps it is too American for me. I was brought up my English-based immigrants, pre-war babies from England and South Africa who didn’t move to Canada until they were adults and never bought into ‘the American dream’ nor followed North American fads. Or perhaps I am just not the person who would ever be swept up into that mania – which Bisonette, as others have done, compares to the tulip mania that swept Holland in the 1630s.

Beanie Babies made Ty Warner – their creator – a billionaire. They launched through small gift shops and right before the advent of easy-access internet. It was a perfect collusion of things that created the craze, and Bisonette does an admirable job of investigating all the angles.

At turns financial analysis, human-interest story and Beanie Baby history – The Great Beanie Baby Bubble both entertains and informs. While I may not understand the people who were swept up into the collecting, I do have a better understanding of the circumstances that lead one of the greatest consumer crazes of all time. I enjoyed the read very much.

Posted by: Kate | June 25, 2018

Pain Levels

My sciatica is in an acute flair at the moment, which is seriously going to impede my summer. My back is fine, but one of the floating fragments of a shattered disc has compressed my sciatic nerve and my entire right leg is affected. Recovery is 6-8 weeks.

Pain is so subjective I find. Sciatic pain can make me cry at its worst, but I am loathe to take pain killers unless I feel absolutely helpless (I have been taking low doses this week). I especially hate that there is no acute injury, just nerve pain.

I am mostly bummed that this has once again happened in the summer, as my last acute flair was the summer of 2015 so I know from experience how much of an impact this will have.

Counter-intuitively movement is what helps. So I limp along on my numb foot and wish for a speedy recovery!

Posted by: Kate | June 3, 2018

On the Bike

If you’ve read a romance novel or two, watched any American road movie, or love the road, you know that North America has a thing for motorcycles. IMG_2624

Mr. Kate has been riding a motorcycle for about 10 years now, but I didn’t start riding with him until last year. I was never someone who felt the pull of a motorbike, never felt the desire to ride one. Bushboy loved the idea, so he rode with Mr. Kate for a number of years, until he started working and then got a bit big to ride tandem.32457510_781207095411325_1594953800634859520_n

I don’t feel the pull to ride my own bike (just as well, my legs are really short) but I do like being on the bike. One, I like being with my guy that way. It is different than being in the car – more connected, more in sync. Mr. Kate loves riding, and he loves sharing that with me. Two, it provides a different perspective on the trip. Being on the back of the bike I look to the side more, and notice what is passing me by. Three, it is a great conversation starter when you are on the road. When you arrive in your bike gear, people want to talk to you and ask about your travels (goes back to my opening point). 32332172_781207058744662_8388550632121827328_n

People don’t think of me as a biker chick, but I am embracing my inner biker mama just the same.IMG_2623

Posted by: Kate | May 21, 2018

Nature Connects Us

The magic of nature is obviously a recurring theme in my life. It is what I turn to in times of worry and doubt as well as joy. It is where I seek my calm. And it is where I am most comfortable with my friends.IMG_4810IMG_4824IMG_4826

For 23 years Mr. Kate and I have been camping with our best friend on the May long week-end, starting with the year we got married and we camped in my mum’s front yard. Since then we have added our child, and then her husband and then her child. It is the one long week-end we will brave full campgrounds for – to be together in nature and celebrate our connections.IMG_4861

This long week-end was as spectacular as ever; we walked and talked and sat around the fire eating way too many s’mores. We geocached and explored and played with a five-year-old. IMG_4899

And we came home rejuvenated and reconnected.IMG_4817IMG_4803

Posted by: Kate | April 25, 2018

Oh the Frantic Pace of Spring

The rain has stopped and the sun is shining. Birds are chirping, Flickers are banging on anything metal with their beaks, the frog chorus is starting at night. You can see the grass growing over night.

Spring has settled in on the west coast and for gardeners that means one thing: it’s go time!

Spring is a marathon for gardeners and it’s crucial to remember not to run flat out at the beginning or you’ll burn out. I have a lot to do, but I am forcing myself to enjoy it and pace myself.

I am accepting that I can’t do it all in one season and that this is supposed to be my happy place, not my stressed-out work harder place.

So I have a new plan. A reasonable list of what can be achieved this spring, with an acceptance of what can’t. I still feel the call of the spring garden, but I will pace myself. I will find peace, even with the Spring garden chore list.

Posted by: Kate | April 15, 2018

Letting Go

My brother’s 48th birthday would be this week. Instead we went to the woods and found a magical, peaceful spot to say our final goodbye.

Time has helped me gain some perspective. I am letting go of the childhood angst, the resentments, the anger. I am finding positive memories and moments of laughter.

The end of our journey as siblings was inevitable. I have no advice for anyone else in my shoes. I have no regrets in how I handled things, but I have sadness that we got there. I am so sad he was almost never content and he never found his truth.

Addiction is a symptom, and we will never know the root problem in his case. Countless rehab programs and childhood counsellors and support groups and he didn’t know either.

And so I breathe, and I close my eyes, and I let go.

Posted by: Kate | April 1, 2018

At My Doorstep

I live in a city of 30,000 people. We are a service centre for another 30,000 people, so we have a large hospital, big school system, major retailers, two rec centres. We are a small city; I can drive to work along a street with no traffic lights and only three 4-way stops. But we are a city.

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And yet. The ocean is a 10 minute walk from my front door. From my work it is a two minute walk. The forest is a 5 minute walk from my front door. And Elk Falls Provincial Park is only a 12 minute drive from my house.

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This is a 98 site campground at the edge of town, and you’d never know. The Quinsam River runs along the edge and the forest surrounds the campsites. Like all provincial sites, the campsites are spacious and private.

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This wilderness at our doorstep shapes our children, our city, our lives in a mayriad of ways. And that is why we moved here. Bushboy may move away, but I know he will always feel the call of the wild.

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Posted by: Kate | March 26, 2018

March Knittings

I finished up the Boy Sweater this month, which felt great! This took longer than I intended, Christmas got in the way and then some socks for the same boy took precedence. I knew I’d be seeing Boy’s mom this month so that spurred me on to the finish line.

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The pattern was Half-Zip Pullover, from Bernat (now archived). I am a fan of Bernat sweaters – all the ones I have made have turned out well. The yarn was called Ringspun Loops and Threads, which I found on clearance at Michaels last fall. It is a cotton/acrylic blend (45% cotton) and the colour seemed to be suitable for a boy’s sweater, so I scooped it up. Of course, I did not stop to look at dye lots, which led to a hand slap to the forehead moment when I realized halfway through the first sleeve (after completing both body parts) that I had two dye lots. So the sleeves and collar are a different dye lot than the body.

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Zippers are the bane of many a knitter, but I managed to get it sewn in. The sweater reportedly fits and was well received by the five-year-old, so all ends well!

(As an aside, I made Bushboy that blanket under the sweater when he was 4. It has held up well!)

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