Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What I Did During the Holidays

I took a lot of snow white photos over the last bit. Here are a few of my favourites.

Red Hot Dragon's Wing in Sechelt.

Field, Farmhouse and Fence. Frozen.

Drops of white blood from red veins.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Rise of Metrotown

I remember when I was a kid I used to walk 60 minutes in the snow to get to work, there and back.

And so the stories go. And yes, that one is true.

I would walk from my childhood home in Burnaby, along a few sides streets, and then a few major ones, eventually passing Metrotown to get to a restaurant on Kingsway. 60 minutes in the snow, 45 in the summer. There and back. (Truth be known, I was a teenager, not a kid, but who's counting?)

But I remember when Metrotown wasn't there. It was mostly a parking lot, for Woodwards. Or maybe Sears. I don't remember too much about it. Except once upon a time, my grandpa took me to the department store so I could spend the gift certificate he gave me for my birthday. I went in by myself, and came out with my first CD. The Clash. I listened to that CD over and over and over. (How much fun was that to sing "Should I Stay or Should I Go" on Rock Band last night!! Over and over and over!!)

And then, the buildings came. And the people. And then more buildings, and more people. Build it and they will.... you know how that goes.

This picture was taken on Boxing Day morning, when the snow had finished falling and everything was quiet. (I had to truncate it... or should I say tunicate it... to get it to fit here. It looks better in bigger, but you get the idea.)

I call it Rise of Metrotown. I expect in another 25 years the buildings will rise even higher. And then, so will the memories.

Except, perhaps I will be the one taking my grand daughter there for her first memories at the mall.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Beyond Rock Band

What we heard from our youngest son:

Him: Let's see where the marijuanas to play!

Me: Pardon?

Him: Let's see where the mari - juanas to play.

(funny looks exchanged all around the room)

Me: What exactly does that mean?

Him: I want to see where the mayor wants us to play.

He was playing Rock Band.

Me: Do you mean where your band Manager wants you to play?

Him: Yah, that's what I said.

Warmth and light

When we bought our house in Vancouver 6 1/2 years ago, the first thing we did was cut down a sad-looking fir tree, devoid of branches on the trunk with a few remaining near the top, that ran like a flagpole in the centre of the house, blocking light from coming into our upstairs bedroom.

Chop, chop, chop. And so warmth and light came in, literally from our windows (we also took down the black venetian blinds that were left for us) and metaphorically from our new neighbours and community.

Upon moving in, the neighbours came with Jamaican patties and stories and wine and we banded together to organize block parties and Canada Day parties and Christmas festivities at the school, and banded together to shovel snow and help babysit and fight crime, as they say. I had never been part of such a strong community with such great people who just wanted their neighbourhood to be better (all these years later, three of them are now on the Board for our...I mean, their...community centre still doing good deeds).

Just before Christmas we were in Vancouver and managed to get together with the old neighbours for a night. Stories flowed, as did the wine, and we left with warm hearts that grew three sizes that day, as they say.

Later, a short drive through the snow, and we were at our resting place for the evening cuddled up in front of a crackling fire.

"Do you recognize this wood?" my mother-in-law asks.


"You gave it to me when you chopped down that tree in front of your house in Vancouver."

And so the circle completes. Warmth and light still coming from 37th street.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Some nights just seem perfect

Last night,

Lots of kids
Running, rolling, laughing, swinging, screaming, wheeee
Hammock line-ups and giggles first up

Mexican seven-layer dip - need I say more?

Buddies and beer, pouring freely from the keg, and chuckles,
stories of wolf eels and octopus and hoses and soda and rebreathers

And breathing cold air...

Foosball, darts, more darts, broken darts, holes in the wall...wheee

Talk of life and how we want to live

Axes and wood and fire and blazes and matches and ash

Tortillas and tacos and steak and veggies

And more kids rolling in the...

...Snow...falling gently, whipping in the wind, wheeee

Meeting new friends,

Thanks for being safe and sleeping over

Until next year.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


One of the best things about our new neighbourhood is that we live on a hill and can hike up pretty quickly to the lichen-covered bluffs above us. Come with!

Hike up...

Keep going...

Enjoy the view... but don't get too close to the edge...

Ah.... nice view! (Yes, that would be the USA you are looking at in the distance.)

Back down through the forest path.

Home sweet home

I know I am about...oh...six months late on this...but here are a few pictures of the house when we first moved in. Not the deer. Not the waterfall or the frog. Not the hammock. The house. Enjoy.

Walk into the kitchen (see that big empty floor - that is where the drum set is!)

Turn behind you and enter the dining room and living room. The fireplace is on now!

Close up of those beams. (I know I showed these already, but really, they are the best part of the house. Except for maybe the windows. And trees. Um... fireplace?)

Open the sliding glass door in the dining room. Walk out to the deck. Nice trees!

And here is a sliver of the view from the deck.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Trumpet solo

Went to Paris's band concert. He was all dressed in black. Black dress pants. Black dress shoes. Long-sleeved button-up black dress shirt tucked into a black belt. Whew...Handsome man all of a sudden.

Here he is on another day, playing away.

Canadiana Kitsch

Playing with my photos. And yes, this is our backyard.

Happiness assumed

Was reading to the little guy (well, not so little anymore) the other night, and came across the phrase "Mama Bear lost her temper!" (Mama bear was tired of picking up after Brother and Sister bear.)

Me: Do you know what it means to lose your temper?

Him: Yah, it means she lost her happiness.

I love that! Lost her happiness. Implying that at all other times of Mama Bear's life she is full of robust, unqualified happiness. Every other time she was stepping on airplanes and sticking her foot in glue and putting away puzzle pieces she did so happily. Permasmile stuck on.

I don't deny that our life has changed a bit over the last six month, and that with all the backing and forthing and upping early and staying late, our happiness has at times been more than overflowing and at other times swirling around mediocrity. 5:00 wake up to catch a ferry just doesn't have much appeal.

I wonder if our Little Bear thinks we are permahappy parents. (Really, the large majority of the time happiness can be assumed.) I wonder how many of us Mama and Papa Bears could could do with a little finding of happiness.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Positive outlook

¨For every minute you´re angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness.¨

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

So cute

Here you are - photos of our deer.

There really is a herd of about 8 that roam the neighbourhood. Big antlers and everything. They stop traffic.

We're thinking of building them a shelter for the winter. Kinda like the North Pole. Without the Abominable Snowman. Or elves.

You will notice the obvious omission of strawberries in these pictures.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

20,000 Leagues Under

Here he is, down, down, down in the deep blue sea. Back up on surface, I played a bit in Photoshop to make the dive a bit more artistic.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Crisp, clean fall

Just read this passage about fall on the British Columbia Magazine blog.

"It’s a season of enhanced sensory pleasures. The crisp air seems scrubbed clean and its gentle nip makes you appreciate a cozy scarf and gloves. In the coastal forest, the beauty of the evergreens is enhanced by the contrasting deciduous flares of yellow, orange, and red."

I took a float plane today from Victoria to Vancouver and dipped in and out of some of that crisp fog that makes fall what it is. I had on my biggest scarf, my winter coat (the one that makes me feel like I am wearing my mom's old warm winter coat - and that's a good thing) and my new fall kick-ass boots. The enhanced sensory pleasure came in the form of air sneaking into the cracks of the plane by my feet (all normal, I assure you).

Yellow, orange and red could be seen as I flew over Mayne and Galiano and James and Sidney and Saturna. Gulf Islands all a-glowing!

Yep, fall is here in full form. Beauty.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Him: I have special taste buds, you know.

Me: Oh yah, what makes them special?

Him: Half of my tongue has them. Special taste buds.

Me: What is different about special taste buds?

Him: I can taste different things. Like green blackberries.

Me: What do green blackberries taste like?

Him: They were okay.

Monday, October 13, 2008

To my family and friends, thanks.

For asking me to play with you. For asking me to help ensure the dinner table is full of food all night. For asking if your friend can come for dinner, too. For saying yes when asked if yet another friend could come for dinner. For bouncing on my knee and giggling uncontrollably. For asking me to put you to bed, read you a book and kiss you good night.

For wanting to come back to the cabin with me instead of hanging out with your friend. For holding my hand. For dancing and laughing outside on the deck (we really should do that more often.) For speaking french and not once correcting me this weekend when I tried to speak french too.

For not getting upset when I threw your brother on top of you after you were already asleep. For asking me to sit between both of you on the love seat. And then saying you miss my squishy warmth when I moved. For being honest about the homemade blackberry port. For taking your niece for a long, long walk on the beach. I love that you love doing that. For rescuing the crabs and putting them in a bigger home. They were squished too.

For letting me borrow your hot pink wig and feather boa. And not getting worried when I put on your teeny, tiny dress up shoes. (Thank god I didn't break them!) For finding feathers all weekend long and passing them to me as a reminder of how much fun it is to dress up with the girls. For bouncing on the couch. For saying nicely that in your house we don't bounce on couches, recognizing that in our house it's okay.

For sharing your potatoes and peas, pumpkin pie and pinot noir. For fixing the slinky, and then fixing it again and again. And again.

For dressing up. For not dressing at all. (Baby bums are so cute!)

For the toast. Amen. For going golfing so I can have fun with the kids by myself.

For saying you will miss me when I am gone in such a sweet, sweet sad voice. (No you don't have to get on a plane to France to see me and yes, I will see you in just a few short weeks when you come to visit me in my home.)

For the company. All 21 of us.


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Dramatic dew

More from Mount Doug. I love the water droplets full of colour and life. Imagine little fairies sipping from a sploosh of rain.


Fall. Red shoes. Red bags. Red pomegranates. Red flames on swim shorts. Red licorice. Red pepper soup. Red Roma music (Feisty, fiery red full of duende). Went hiking up Mount Doug last weekend. Fell in love with Garry Oak leaves over and over again. The ultimate Red set off in black and white.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Say what?

Me: Instead of getting a dog you can just borrow the neighbours dogs and take them for a walk every day.

Him: That would be dumb. When the dogs were too tired to exercise you would get too much exercise.

Hmmm.... say what? I love it when kids tell you that you are being dumb...and then proceed to say something that makes no sense at all. At least to an adult.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

This was once my favourite photo

For some reason this photo was stretched when it was on the side. It looks nicer here, but nicer in real life. Shades-of-white flower in Waianapanapa Black Sand Beach Park in Maui.

This was once my favourite photo

Ah, to be in Maui again. Such a beautiful village, at least from the road to Hana.

This was once my favourite photo

It still is. Just need some new colours of the page. And besides, I see fern, fern and more fern every day, tucked under the ivy in the yard. :)

This was once my favourite photo

I love this dancing moose near Wells, BC. Really, really, love it.

Red, Yellow and Green

Some days things just don't go right. Bad news, stubbed toes, broken glass, etc, etc. Nothing goes right from the moment you get out of bed until the moment you get back in. This year, the end of summer and beginning of school collided into a few of the those days for me. Too much to do, do little time to do it.

My down days accumulated into a near-breakdown at the local school supplies store.

I needed exactly 9 duotangs for the little guys school suppliers, all different colours. One red, one yellow, one green, one purple, one dark blue, one light blue... oh, you get the idea. Why anyone would want to make a parents life more difficult by forcing them to buy 9 different colours of the same thing is beyond me, but we do what we need to do, and then make sure there are no peanuts around in case of allergies and that all our shoelaces are tight in double knots.

Of course, the local store only had 6 of the 9 colours, and it was at the end of the day and I was grumpy and it was about the 99th piece of bad news in 3 days and I was about to break down, pull off the best kindergarten-sized tantrum I could muster and then lock myself into the nearest locker I could find.

Just then, miracle of miracles, a shop employee said "excuse me" and proceeded to put on the shelf the exact three colours I needed. One red, one yellow, one green. Just enough for me. Just the colours I needed. And she didn't even know it! Divine intervention, I love you.

Needless to say I managed to brush myself off and head home with a smile on my face. Sort of.

Perhaps things would go better tomorrow, I thought.

And then, of course, they did.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Horse Maneuver

The little guy is reading full chapter books by himself, so I expect these little slip ups won't happen for very much longer. (The big guy is reading about how to protect the family from a zombie breakout.) Life is good.

Me: Where did you go today?

Him: Island Farms.

Dad: The milk place?

Him: Yep, they have a thousand cows. It smelled like olives.

(Dad and I smile at each other. Does he even know what olives smell like?)

Him: And then when you get out of the barn, it smells like horse maneuver.

(We smile again)

Just previous to this conversation, I was on my bike talking to a friend about horses on bike paths. Funny, but we used the word maneuver in our conversation too.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Play fair

My favourite route to work takes me by a neat and tidy green sign that says "PLAYFAIR PARK." I love that.

I want to work in a city called CLEAN VILLE in a building called SHARE on a street named BENICE DRIVE for a company called DOGOOD LTD.

We would have lunch at the SHAREWITHOTHERS DINER and order HELPOUT BURGERS.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Insight into a teenage mind

"It's really beginning to feel like home around here. TV, XBOX and even a new tea kettle."

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

New Favourite website

I love this website. Treehouses. Fortune Cookies. Ghost Towns. Beautiful photography. YUM!

Corner Stores

Just a little thank you to all the corner stores out there that make their front doors inviting by greeting me with flowers, that keep the windows clear and clean and free from clutter calling card rates from here to Thailand and Chernobyl and Barcelona, that sell licorice by the piece, that stock magazines and comics with covers my kids can actually see without blushing, that offer cold ice cream sandwiches and 25 cent freezies on hot days for after the swim at the lake, that sell candies in a brown paper bag, that keep cigarettes and zig-zags away from view, that leave water in a dish outside for the dogs, that have bicycle racks, that sell milk not sour and gum not stale, that say welcome and thank you and please come again, that stock their shelves with popcorn and baking soda and brown eggs and good bread and crisp apples and other food essentials that are convenient but still good for us, that cherish their neighbourhood and pick up litter on the street, that remember us, that keep their awnings looking fresh without losing it's aged beauty, that put bells on the door that jingle when we walk in, that continue to live beyond 7-11 and Mac's and all the gas station shops.

Thank you. I will come for licorice and root beer and popcorn and milk and bread as often as I can to support you back.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Star struck

Flew across the straight today. Can't imagine why that guy would want to sit up with the pilot and then read a newspaper the whole way... waste of a good seat. If I do say so myself.

My seat had a front row view of the stars, a few thousand feet up, of course. Tiny specks of sparkles shimmered on the water like fireflies bouncing on and off and around summer-time willow trees. Then, a huge mass of ocean-stars oscillated like the hum of herring floundering on the surface. All kinda blinding, like metal reflecting back millions of miles towards the sun, but stopping in my eyes instead.

Every night when we close the door after reading about ninjas and pirates and mice and puppies we sit in the dark and stare at the glow-in-the-dark stars on the walls. That's another good seat. By the time I kiss good-night and get up and reach them, they have faded.

Seats aren't worth wasting. Life fades too fast.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Pictures Part 2

Check it out! Retro....

Gotta love the glow of the washroom light on the wallpaper... All those hearts are sooo romantic!

In the Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki room...

Every good 70's home has a rock fireplace...

Beams, beams and more beams...

Our formal office, complete with gold stamped wallpaper and faux wood walls...

Rag rugs, rag rugs, red rum... (say that 5 times fast!)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


By special request, here is a photo essay of a few details of our new home. Did you really think I was going to give you more than a glimmer here or there? For that, you need to visit!

Today, we will explore our front yard....


Closer.... ribbit, ribbit... (yes, we have cougar and deer but so far no frogs)

The little guy's favourite window to sit in front of. The rocks at the bottom are inside the house on a ledge. The waterfall is the view outside.

And here I am looking up at that ledge from our stairway.

Tune in next time for shiny wallpaper, shag carpet and glow in the dark stickers!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Week One

Week one is pretty much done. Tied up in a bow. Blowed on by the endless yet gentle winds that push the sailboats across the view from our back deck. Champagne in hand, we watch them leave our sight.

This week, we relished in our new neighbourhood pets. Deer. Many, many deer. Deer that sneak through cedar hedges, eat our strawberries not yet born, eat our fruit trees (fruit yet not known to us) and magically make our perfectly plum-coloured bush disappear in a single gulp. Whoosh.

We are also in the process of stripping our yard of blackberry bush babies (a flock of sharp-thorned branches reaching for the sky, the world, the universe. Yes, we know the truth - they plan to assimilate us all. Be warned ye of sensitive prickle-proof skin!) Dig, hoe, dig, hoe, dig, dig, dig and still their roots cling to the ceiling of hell. Welcome to Victoria they whisper to us while giggling so loud the deer scatter and jump 6 feet over the fence to our neighbours reclaimed meadow.

While growing up, my dad used to sing "home, home on the range... where the deer and the antelope play... where seldom is heard, a discouraging word...and the skies are not cloudy all day."

Deer do not play, they devour!

Just not blackberry bushes.

All about Victoria

So... if you aren't interested in life in Victoria, you may want to tune out for a post or two or two months.

In the meantime, I will be sharing tidbits of life on the east coast of the isle on the west coast. Bits of blackberry and birds, beaches and boys. Farms and friends, lakes and waterfalls and little snippets of the day to day.

For those of you not here with us, I hope to give you a glimmer of our new life that continues down a tab-bit slower path, sort of an Old West Saanich Road kinda thing, with gentle grazing horses and white-picket fenced egg farms, Island ice cream and organic cat nip.

Enjoy the ride, you are always here with us.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Give a Hoot

Kje and I watched a movie a few weeks ago. One of the opening scenes showed a boy on his first day at a new school and of course, in stereotypical fashion, he gets picked on by the bully. A big, fat one at that.

Fast forward to tonight, after three bedtime stories on dinosaurs. (Have you ever heard of a Jubbulpuria?)

"It was a good day at school today Mom," Kje says all of sudden.

"I know," I replied smiling, "you told me already." He had made at least five friends and went outside four times.

"I didn't get picked on by the bully."

"What? Is there a bully in your school?" Mom alarm bells are going off and I am thinking that perhaps the perfect little school we signed him up in isn't so perfect after all.

"You know, like the movie, Hoot. He got bullied on his first day, I didn't."

All of a sudden I realize what he is talking about. Hmmmm...

"I was the only new kid today. I was special."

He snuggles down under his cover and gazes at the glow-in-the-dark wallpaper on the far wall.

My toes fall down on the yellow shag carpet and I look out the window at our forest view. New city, new school, new friends, new house, new yard, new bedroom, and what I hear back is that it was a good day at school.

Special indeed.

Ah Victoria

Well, it's official. I am now a Victorian as opposed to a Vancouverite.

It is always nice when you move into a new home and get a reinforcement or two as to why you decided to move. Yesterday, our official move in day, we got more than a few, in no particular order:
  • A pair of hummingbirds came to greet us at the front door. I think they live in the hood.

  • We saw the view of Mount Baker that was showcased on the "For Sale" promo sheet, but was conveniently hidden behind clouds the day we put the offer in.

  • I met our neighbour and his dog. They both offered to play with Kje.

  • The movers were awesome and I wish they could stay and be our neighbours.

  • Paris and I managed to walk over the hill to the village on the twisting-turning trail without getting lost.

  • Paris still loves his bedroom and bathroom and had his first shower ever without me having to ask him twenty times over four days (okay, I exaggerate, slightly).

  • A deer found its way into our backyard, giving the Czech a reason to try out his mountain bike on our back steps and garden pathway. I have dubbed the trail "Czechworks." Who wouldn't want a bike park in their backyard?

  • The house looks better than I remembered. Whew!

  • More deer across the road, and down the road, and on the road.

  • Time for our inaugural bike ride down Lochside Trail to Mattick's Farm, where Paris won the mini golf tournament and I indulged in a commiserating cone of Root Beer Ice Cream. Smiley, happy people everywhere.

  • Closets, closets, closets. It's the simple things in life that make you smile!

  • Waking up the this morning with the kitchen drenched in sunlight. Ah, you have to love a south-east facing West Coast Contemporary home! Thanks to Mom and Dad for introducing me to this style of home many, many years ago!
Look closely, you will see a deer on the left, Kje on the right and our huge strawberry patch in the middle. And of course, Czechworks trail all around.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Truth or Dare

A little girl with a boyish voice and a little boy with a girlish voice sit on a wooden ledge at our community park. They finish laughing and catch their breath. Two feet between them. And some rocks, and grass, and dirty hands and pants and shirts from rolling down the spring-fed hill.

She: Truth or Dare (looking straight at him)

He: Truth (giggle, giggle)

She: Whooo do yououou have a crush on at school.

Pause (for effect, I'm sure.)

He: YOU! (hee hee)

They pause again, then giggle some more.

No, this is not Paris I am talking about, but the wee one's new best girl friend. Oh boy... here we go.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Paris Made This

When I was in high school, I made an ugly black-and-grey tent dress made out of hot-and-heavy sweatpant material.

Paris made this electronic gum ball machine. I envy him.

Spring is here!

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.

Margaret Atwood