Saturday, March 31, 2007

springtime at last

We went out to Piper's Lagoon for a walk the other day. The fawn lilies are like a blanket over everthing. It is gorgeous. Even Eemer can appreciate it. I looked and looked for some Chocolate lilies to show you but couldn't find any yet this year.
But there is more than enough of these Fawn Lilies to fill every frame of the camera.

This park has a little bit of everything...some hills, some beach to search for beach glass, some nice grassy knolls, rabbits for the dogs to scent, eagles flying overhead, big trees, delicate flowers....


Remember last time we were here when the tides were so low we could walk right out to Shack Island? Well, Shack Island is an island again.

Emma actually stood still for a good photo! Unheard of, especially with Yuko there to egg her on.

And cherry blossoms on the trees around home, too. Well, time to go run some to you later.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

better than cable...

It was a busy day at the crack house over Spanglish yesterday. There had been police here earlier in the day, as well, however I was just plain unprepared for this much excitement on a Wednesday night! Not very long before this came down, I had left a message for the Watch Command that if officers had an extra five minutes here and there, could they possibly just do some drive-bys because it was so busy. I am sure this is not in response to that call, but thank you anyway! Maybe it had nothing to do with anything but THANKS anyway!!!! Thanks. There were many more opportunities for photos, but as some of the five RMCP cars that were there were unmarked and some of the officers appeared to be undercover, I'll contain myself.
I wasn't even aware anything was going on, I happened to look out the window and noticed a large amount of the "regulars" who are flopping above Spanglish hightailing it down the street. That usually means RCMP are around...and they were. In a big way.

Needless to say, high drama ensued. There were people everywhere. Not counting the officers, there were Fire workers and Ambulance workers tending to a very overly medicated woman...whom I have seen selling drugs around here frequently...and hovering around the fringes of all the activity, much of our regular "traffic" in this neighbourhood.
Eventually, the excitement dispersed, the ambulance transported, the Fire Truck and the RCMP left...and merely moments later, there was the lookout guy in the alley...however, these folks are SUPPOSED to be out by the end of the month, according to the building's owner...and it is the 29th today. Cross your fingers.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Bowen Park

In a land known for water, it has been an especially wet winter, long and grey, demanding and, well, literally, OVERFLOWING. The past few days have been a little gift.
I don't think I have taken you all to Bowen Park is a beautiful park, very other-worldly, just like you stepped into the pages of a fairy tale and it is right in the middle of Nanaimo. Today the weather is turning cold again, and the clouds are rolling in, but just the other day... the skies were so blue and warm...

And the grass is coming in nicely, overtaking the vast amounts of mud and muck that the long, cold, wet winter left in such quantity.

There is a beautiful Rhododendron Garden at Bowen Park. These are some of the early bloomers.

Rhodies are not one of my favourites, really, but the sheer fact that there is colour in the landscape is something to cheer about. They look so pale and delicate and it is not that warm out yet, really. I worry about them. There are cherry blossoms out, too, but without the warm air, I can't smell them. Last year, in the heat, you could walk down the streets and smell the cherry blossoms...I would just stop under the trees for a moment or two before continuing on, but this year is too chilly to spread that sweet smell of spring.

I don't know what these are...but they are charming, arent they? They are blooming on the ground in the Rhododendron Garden. I'd like some in my yard, if anyone knows the name of these!

Fawn lilies...just one little patch of them at Bowen. Wait until you see the pictures from Piper's Lagoon. These little beauties are blooming like a blanket out there.

Sunlight through the trees. I do so love the West Coast rain forests, the moss, the ferns, the evergreens....when the sun comes up, there is soft green spilling down to a well cushioned floor.

The winter is long and grey here, but all that rain makes this so very lush come the spring(if it every truly arrives). It's a difficult trade-off. I know we west coasters are considered weather wimps. I would be the first to admit my own wimpy-ness, but it is difficult to convey how very grey every aspect of a west coast coast winter is...the amounts of rain, the need for rain gear for a five minute walk around the block, there being no difference between ten a.m. and 3 p.m.

Even the skunk cabbage is a welcome harbinger of Spring for us right now. I don't even mind the smell so much.

And finding a secret poet lurking in the park made my whole day....Who-
ever you are, you are heroic! Thank You!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

It's been a while....

Wanna come for a walk? Sun three days in a row....not sunny all day, every day, mind you...but three days in a row now, we have had sun. The world seems all over better...a bit. I am behind in photos....this is Harewood Mines walk three days ago. The moss is succulent and lush...."the verdant green," to quote Jane Siberry....I wonder if she will be at the Junos....anyway, the ground beneath our feet is soft, full moss. You could sleep on it without any complaint. It is inches and inches thick here. You couldn't possibly imagine it. I can't fathom it and I am here two or three times a week.
The arbutus groves here on this walk make me ache a bit...I remember being in love with one tree at my grandmother's cabin...a red tree that shed it's skin instead of its leaves. We called her by her other name, "the Madrona. " There was only one. It's still there, though Gramma is long gone. Imagine walking through an entire grove of these things....they are cutting them down by the thousands to make the new highway to Whister for the "greenest" Olympics ever. Isn't that a crying shame? These don't just grow anywhere.

Itsy bitsy mushrooms....

....and again......

Eemer(We call her that more than we call her Emma) in action. She loves the new zip leash...I hate it. She took me down hard with it last I am bruised and have large patches of skin missing from my knees and elbows....but she can RUN for a while....

She can chase Yuko!!!!

And even catch her!

And after a nice long walk and run, it is always good to come home for a snuggle and the paper on the couch....tomorrow(which was yesterday), we walked at Bowen Park and I am not sure if I have ever taken you there before or not. Come on back!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Musical Tag

Well, Life tagged me this week to tell you all about the top seven songs that I am "groovin' "on lately...however, as you all may or may not recall(ha ha), I am in the midst of Deep Thoughts. In times such as these about the only thing you will find on my cd player at all is....can you guess? Willie Nelson.

All five of my cd spots in my cd player are Willie Nelson right now...

Here's the deal with Willie. He and my father are inseparable to me...when I listen to Willie, I can hear my father. My dad and I are good and glorious now, but not always...the really only great memories I have as a kid that involve my dad involve music. He sings...and sang out loud when times were good. He sounds very much like Willie. He should have been a country singer. He should have been Willie Nelson's best friend. Willie is his hero. For a lot of life?!? Willie Nelson is the only thing my father and I ever had in common. And for that, and for a lot of other reasons, Willie is one of my heroes, too, a man who loves music, all music and doesn't limit himself to one genre...and I feel a lot of comfort and a sense of my place in the world when I listen to him. And? My voice is excellent on a country song, just like my father's and singing makes me feel good...touchstone.
Willie covers lots of my favourite songwriters as well, so I get the distinct pleasure of listening to my favourite songs sung by my favourite singer... songs that are often so tender and heartbreaking that I have to put it on repeat....but if the lyrics don't reach you, what is it all about anyway? And so, as lame as you all may think this songs sung by Willie Nelson that I have listened to a lot in the past few weeks...

1. You Remain (by David Poythress) featuring Bonnie Raitt , album:(Across the ) Great Divide

2. Hallelujah(by Leonard Cohen ) album: Songbird

3. Amazing_Grace (by John Newton) album: Songbird

4. Graceland(by Paul Simon) album : (Across the )Great Divide

5. Bird_on_the_Wire (byLeonard Cohen) Album: Tower of Power

6. the-maker (by daniellanois ) Album: Teatro.

7. My Own Peculiar Way(by Willie Nelson) Album: Teatro.

So there you have it...and? by the way? Teatro is one of the best albums ever produced....Daniel Lanois is brilliant. And I tag em and cara.

Friday, March 23, 2007

a wee little bit of it

Trust me, our skies don't look like this right now. It tried to snow again today, mixed into the rain. The daffodils are up, the cherry blosssoms are out, but it still looks miserable out there...
and maybe that is, in part, what is going on with me, with us...Michael and I and our place in the world. We have an appointment with the immigration attorney, starting the final processes for me to become a Canadian. We are talking, in guarded tones, of getting hitched this year. It should be a happy time. We should be excited and giddy.
But, it seems we are, all of a sudden, weary of the battles of this neighbourhood, of the constant fight with a certain landlord who, for whatever reasons, has the ability to keep his properties full of drug dealers and drug seems that no matter how well the neighbourhood pulls together, it is never enough to turn the tide. How is it possible that one man can make life so very difficult for so many GOOD AND HONEST people?
We don't understand how a city this size has a drug problem this size and a drug enforcement squad of so few. We can't fathom how the population keeps growing but the RCMP doesn't. We can't understand the drive to make a ghetto of the south end of Nanaimo. This is where the history of this town is! Right here.
We don't understand how we can recognize every car that arrives to deal drugs every day, multiple times a day and they are still on the road...every day.
We don't understand how we can be threatened and made to feel unsafe in our homes and there is nothing to be done about it. If we band together and make a big stink, we get much appreciated action for a week or two, but then someone else makes a big stink and we have to start over. We're so tired...and I am sure the RCMP is tired...of us, of the problems, of the lack of manpower, the lack of support.
I love my house. It is everything I could ever have hoped for in a home...every single thing we have put into it, every single plan we have for it is EXACTLY what I have ever wanted in a home in the city. If I had known we would find ourselves here, in this place, I would not have put in my soul. I can't imagine living in another home in Nanaimo. Personally, if I can't have this home, I would just rather move on. Completely. This is the big thing that I have not been able to say. I don't want to give up my home...but I was never a good fighter.
I have other homes in my dreams, but not city homes...and the thought of moving to another home here makes me ache. If I have to move away from this house, I want it to be for another dream come true, not because I have given up. A home on the beach...or life on the road in an Airstream....a cabin in Colorado.
So there it is...a wee little bit of the torment I am in right now. Was it worth the anticipation?

Thursday, March 22, 2007


On Found Magazine today, this is what I found. It is exactly where I am right now. I could have written this. I ask myself, "Is this a hill I want to die on?". I can't seem to gather my thoughts to write it all out for you...the greatest anticipation, isn't it? Heh heh. Sorry about that...

Monday, March 19, 2007

Things have been tough around here lately...

and as the dust settles a bit more, I will tell you a tale...just not today, okay? It's enough that today, I find myself here at all, writing to you to let you know all is well (enough). I have been blog stalking you all. Never fear, I didn't leave.
On a lighter note, I promised a photo of my completed baby blanket project....I love it. I wish it was big enough for me!!!! Thanks to my good friend for helping me with the final sewing...funny that I can knit and not sew, isn't it?
So, yes, it is a little skull and crossbones that wrong for a baby blanket?
Well, if it wrong, then why, oh why, do they make flannelette backing with tattoo flames? It is simply just too very perfect. Actually this may be my favourite knit project yet and I may do nothing more than knit skull and crossbone baby blankets in the future.
Anyhoo, my friend is in town in three days and I can't wait to see her face when she sees it.....gawsh, I hope she loves it as much as I do! And? To continue in my happy homemaking tradition....I would like to introduce you all to our new favourite involves beer. This is my favourite beer and one can works perfectly for this recipe, although it is a bit more than called for...but it works well to make a lovely moist bread. It is a BIG can.

Mix up some olive oil and beautiful balsamic vinegar for dipping and enjoy...
some Beer Bread....or Faxe Bread, as we have been calling it around here. I may try Guinness next time....mmmmmmm.

Famous Beer Bread
12 cups (or 4) Gold Medal self-rising flour
1 cup (or 1/3) granulated sugar
72 ounces (or 24) beer
1/2 cup (or 1/6) melted butter
Combine dry ingredients. Add beer to the consistency of a thick batter. Spray four bread pans (10x5x3) with non-stick pan coating(or one). Fill bread pans three-quarters full. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes. Test doneness with a toothpick. Remove from pans, brush lightly with butter. Let cool and wrap.
(make self rising flour)
Using a dry measure, measure the desired amount of flour into a separate container.
For each cup of all-purpose flour, add 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
Mix to combine
And that's it tonight, friends. Honestly, I will take some deep breaths and try to compose something in the next couple of days. Until then, thanks for bearing with me.

Monday, March 12, 2007

still here

still kicking....just, um, undergoing some deep and meaningful revisions...
bear with me...
if you worry, tell me how to contact you, cuz i do miss each and everyone of you...

Friday, March 09, 2007


There hasn't been much word from my end lately. I am down. This neighbourhood is taking a lot out of me lately...more out of Michael. I am going to take the weekend to try and put a post together for Monday or Tuesday to catch you all up.
In the mean time, went to mall for some fabric to back a baby blanket I am working on(I will show you when it's done!)...and had to make an impulsive purchase of not one, but two, Snoopy shirts...stopped for coffee at Coyote Cafe and our barista was there...he always gives me a little endorphin boost and his coffee tastes better than anyone elses and then dog walkies out at Neck Point, where I let Eemer run off-leash with Yuko on this little spit of land that she can't escape...she is zonked out now.
Thinking of another coffee, knitting some more on this blanket, and closing the curtains on the hood for the rest of the day.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

bits and pieces

Holy schmokes, folks, the sun is out and I am in short sleeves...I could nearly weep about that...but I am stuck here at home waiting for BC Hydro to come get our old fridge. AAAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHH!!!!
I am dreaming of camping...literally. I need to get out of this neighbourhood for a few days. I need Michael to be away from here for a few days. We need some solitude...about 100 years of it...shout out to the Oprah Windfey Book Club. We need to spend some time without the struggle. I wrote a poem on the new fridge about camping....
Finally, our first Daddodil is up....brave and fearless, the only one to stick up her head. I LOVE her for that. Isn't she grand?!?
I found these snowdrops out in the bush yesterday...Emma and I were traipsing through mud and marsh and tangles, trying to find something Springlike for photos. Sadly, spring is arriving very, very, very slowly. It's frustrating. There are buds on the trees, but not many flowers yet. No daffies, no tulips and very few crocus. This is not a usual March on the west coast.

The swans are still here... these two were a little closer yesterday...there are two in this photo. It's like Where's Waldo, eh? Gah, I wish I had a telephoto lens...and a super macro lens....

Yesterday, this was the sky, weak and wintery....I was dressed in layers. Today is gorgeous. Where is BC Hydro? I want to go, go, go.

And finally, I would like to introduce you to the newest members of our household....after much delay and frustration, may I present.....


...and Martha......(and emma's nose)....

One freshly painted and trimmed out basement...I know you can't really tell the difference, but we sure can...what once looked like sickly and tobacco stained walls are a crisp white and blue, nautical-ish and clean...and bright, for a basement.

And two laundry sinks(Donald and Lydia) and four weeks of intensive labour later(thanks to Michael's dogged determined-ness), a newly plumbed basement, extra taps, no galvanized pipes(they were here originally but RUST!) and all shiny and new....I have done eight loads of laundry, may do one more today just because I can and George is so nice...and Martha actually DRIES things( without exploding)....
and cuz I am trapped here waiting for BC Hydro....

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Ammonite Falls

You have to be wary of who says "Wanna go for a dog walk?" It does not mean the same thing to all of us...this past weekend reminded me of that.

Lately, dog walks have been kind of the girls' time. We load up and head out...and the weather has been rainy. With some walking spots flooded, we've been kind of sticking to the walks that are reliably passable...but we had a couple good days and this past weekend one of the guys suggested a "walk." It's been a while since the guys suggested a "walk," so we forgot...

Two hours into it, we remembered. We remembered that when one of the guys suggest a "walk" we need to remember hiking boots, climbing ropes, Cliff Bars, bottle of water, a compass...and it wouldn't be a bad idea to bring along a rescue flare, either.

But it was gorgeous out there...and that little pool at the base of the falls? How perfect will that swimming spot be come summer sun?

The fog made it moody and surreal but amazing. I am glad we went, I just wish I had been a little bit more prepared...but, hey, it is the season. We gotta get in gear...the walks will get longer, to more remote spots, where we will linger over snacks and swims, and laughter and company.

This HIKE was a reminder of the good things coming...

and through that fog, I can see the sun. C'mon, Sun. Feels like we've been waiting forever. It's going to feel so good.