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



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.


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.


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.)


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.


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.


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.


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.


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…

Posted by: Kate | February 13, 2017

After the Snow…

We ended up with about 3ft of snow, a foot of that falling this Thursday. The melt has now begun of course.

But in the meantime, between snow days at home and dealing with rearranged schedules and the parking of cars so that we could still get out when needed, there was some fun to be had and beauty to be witnessed.

This week-end was the annual scrapbooking retreat my girlfriend and I attend. We have been to 8 of these events, and unfortunately this was the last year for it. We will definitely miss both the event itself and the opportunity to get away and be crafty together while someone else cooked all the food!


It felt great to be paper crafting!

Today is Family Day here in BC, and the sun was shining so we got outside. While many of the local hikes are hard to get to if you don’t have a 4×4 to get into the parking areas, we found we could get to the Quinsam River by parking up at the fish hatchery, which had thoughtfully been plowed and had all the walkways cleared. Obviously others had the same idea, as the path along the river, although definitely not cleared, was well traveled.





We even spotted a fellow river watcher…




As you can tell, I’ve been both enjoying my camera and my Corel photo editing!

The whole time we were out I kept hearing Paul Simon’s Boy in the Bubble in my head: “These are the days of miracles and wonder, this is the long-distance call, oh yeah…”

And at the end of the walk I asked Mr.Kate to take a photo of me.


We are all surrounded by wonder, my friends. Enjoy it.



Posted by: Kate | February 4, 2017

It Just Keeps Falling

We are having a repeat of the snow storm from December. 24 hours of snow and it shows no sign of stopping!


I walked in it this morning, but it’s not easy. My boots are boys’ boots that I bought 13 years ago, and they are loose on my foot so my socks fall off while I’m walking. Plus they are only low calf height, and the snow out there is deep! But it was fun to get out and see the world in white.



Bushboy even got a driving lesson in it, as our car is excellent in snow. He did great!

The knitting bug is still biting. I am working on using up my scraps and tackling some projects/patterns I’ve had in mind for some time. To that end I’ve made two hats, one for my little man E and the other for future giving.

I’ve also started a vest for me with leftover skeins of Berroco Vintage, and a freeform scarf, loosely based on the Flowing River pattern. We’ll see how that goes.

I’m feeling very project focused the last couple of months, having rearranged both the spare room and our bedroom as well as getting my scrapbooking organized and knitting more. Feels good! It may be a way to remind myself in all the political turmoil in the world that in my little corner life is in my control, and creating is always a way to soothe the soul.

Posted by: Kate | January 29, 2017

Blowing Out the Cobwebs

When the wind is blowing on a grey January day, there is no better place to be than the beach.

It was cold down there, but exhilarating. I find the wind energizing and instead of cursing it I embrace it.

I love our Harbour city with float planes and boats such an integral part of its daily life. They make up the spirit of this place as much as the islands and rugged coastline that they are used to access do.

At my feet are treasures and beauty. As usual I can’t resist searching for beach glass as I walk.

The trees are used to this wind, and I think I want their strength, that ability to bend and not break.

25 minutes and I have to leave, chilled to the bone but content and recharged.

Posted by: Kate | January 21, 2017

Holiday Knitting

I did more knitting this year than last year for the holidays. Not sure why, just felt more in the groove this year and knew what I wanted to make for people.

My mum of course got socks, what she always asks for. Two pairs made it off my needles, the last pair being finished on Christmas Eve.



Some scarfs for my co-workers. One was a Green Bay Packers team scarf, the other a pink Baktus.



A pair of fingerless gloves for my boss, who is a fisherman and loves these. (Apparently I did not take a picture of the finished pair.)


And my favourite, a pair of socks for a very appreciative 4 year old.


I’m still feeling the knitting vibe, having finished Bushboy’s blanket and am now finishing up the second sock of a pair I started for me ages ago (maybe even in 2015?). Having fun planning ahead and feeling crafty these days!

Posted by: Kate | January 13, 2017

Oh the Math!


The Curve of Pursuit blanket is done – almost. The pattern itself is complete, however because this is for a young man who is 5’10” and potentially still growing, it needs to be a bit longer. I am adding stripes equal to the width of the border at each end (orange, brown, oatmeal, brown). Then it will be done. Well, then and when I’ve sewn in the rest of the ends.


Now let’s talk about the awesomeness that is Woolly Thoughts patterns and their mathness (yup, totally made that word up). According to the designers “Curve of Pursuit is based on the curves that are formed if four dogs set off to chase each other from the corners of a field. The path created by each dog is an equi-angular spiral”. I cannot tell you how this level of math and knitting combining forces makes my heart happy.

Oh, and both Bushboy and Panda approve.



Posted by: Kate | January 6, 2017

Zoom Away

I treated myself to a zoom lens for my Canon Rebel after Christmas. Picked it up for half price at the London Drugs Boxing Day sales. I’ve been wanting a zoom lens for a while, so was thrilled to get it. Mr. Kate and I took it along on our traditional New Year’s Day walk and even though it was very cold in the winter wind, I had lots of fun trying it out.



The above is with the zoom lens and below is with my regular lens.


The series below shows how much detail I can pick up:


Looking forward to many more opportunities to play with the new lens!

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