Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Please visit my Authors' Den web site:
Here is this month's choose...

On the ceiling of the dank church basement, the harsh fluorescent lights buzz. The lights spread a sickly yellow pall over the room. On the wall by the door, there is a large bulletin board. On the bulletin board, hang announcements and an event calendar. A yoga class is scheduled to use this space on Monday mornings, a writing group on Tuesday afternoons, Tai Chi on Wednesday and a bereavement group on Thursday. Accompanying the bulletin board, several pictures dance merrily across the wood paneled walls. The pictures add flashes of colour here and there. They are the bright, rainbow-coloured crayon art of a Sunday School class. As this is Thursday, the furniture has been rearranged to accommodate the bereavement group. In the centre of the room marooned on the pumpkin orange shag rug are black vinyl and silver chrome chairs. The eight chairs form a circle. Upon each chair sits a solemn, sober participant. In the centre of this circle is a small table. On the table rests a large box of tissues and a stack of books. This collection of books includes titles such as On Death and Dying by Elizabeth Kubler Ross as well as When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold Kushner. Another larger table stands against a wall, away from the group. This table holds coffee mugs, a coffee maker, pitchers of juice, and a plate of cookies. These items rest on the table as a promise, a reward: a reward for attending, a reward for sharing. The room is deathly quite. All participants sit with their heads bowed. They try to hold on. They try not to move. They try not to breathe. They avoid looking at one another. They all know that this uncomfortable peace is temporary. Sooner or later, someone will break: all the participants pray that it won’t be them.

It is the duty of the group facilitator to guide the group through the stages of grief: confront your emotions, let go, and reframe your life. He knows the work they must do is difficult. He will guide but he refuses to push. He has a calm, soothing voice and soulful eyes.

Most of the participants are middle-aged woman. All regularly attend, if only to sit in silence.

Suddenly, a participant stretches her hand forward toward the box of tissues. Bev McDonald grabs several tissues and between sobs, she begins to talk.

“If I had, had some warning it would have been easier. If he had been sick, bedridden then I would have had some time to adjust, time to face reality. But I had none of this. One minute we were having a discussion – the next minute he was dead. No warning, no nothing.” She pauses, attempting to regain composure. Then she continues, “I wish I had been the one to die. I mean he’s just dead. He got the easy way out. Not me. I have to live on. I have to live on when my whole world has come crashing down around me. No one understands. Everyone is uncomfortable about my grief. They don’t know what to say. They don’t know what to do. They want me to be happy. They want me to snap out of it. They want me to snap out of it so they don’t have to deal with it, so they don’t have to deal with me. Everywhere I look there are happy smiling faces and they make me sick. I don’t want to deal with them. I’m too tired to be around them. They drain me of all my energy. All I want to do is sleep. I can’t see anything but grey. I can’t see any colour. Colours hurt my eyes. All I want to do is dig a deep pit and climb in. I am in a pit. I’m trapped in a pit. Worms climb all over me. Dust fills my lungs.” Her eyes fill with tears. Her tears threaten to drown her words. She fights to continue. “I can’t stay in this pit. I have to escape. I need to escape. Tell me how. I can’t be stuck here. I can’t. You have to help. You have to. If you don’t. If I can’t then, then…” she breaks down into uncontrollable sobs.

(c) ldyck

Easing into the new year

I slept in today. Then I sat and played with my muse. She's always a joy to work with. Together we are adding more and more words to my novella. It poured out of me the first time. Words came thick and fast. Friends have reviewed it and now I have begun the first (of perhaps many) rewrites. It was disappointing, at first, to realize that the novella wasn't complete after the first draft. However, now that I see how much better it can be I'm thrilled.
I'm also thrilled at the number of people who logged on to my Authors' Den web page.
My writing does bring me much personal fulfillment but how I love having an audience. The writing desk can be a lonely place. It's good to have a pal or two.
I'm writing this post on my E PC. When I get to my desk top I will be able to share this month's pick from my supply of Authors' Den submissions.
How are the submissions chosen?
I'm glad you asked.
What happens is this. You log on to the story you wish to read. A counter collects the data. At the end of the month I see which you choose. Then I post the chosen story here.
So, please wait here while I do just that.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The year in review and what the future holds

In many respects 2008 wasn't an easy year for me. I spent most of it in pain. I have a digestive disease that meant learning a new lifestyle: one that minimized stress, increased exercise and introduced new dietary issues. Currently, I do largely have the pain under control - knock on wood.
Okay, enough of that, on to the future.
-In February, all being well, I will publish a children's picture book: Beau the Cat. It is a delightful story and I'm very proud of it.
-I will continue working on a novella: Maynely a Mystery. All goes well, although slowly.
-I have been writing for new gulf islands paper: The Independent Islander. I'm very pleased by this new venue. My first article appeared in the December 6th issue.
-Soon I will begin work on a sweater. I am pleased to report that it will be featured in an upcoming issue of Knit Together.
-I plan to finish that vest I promised a neighbour. (Do you remember that little knitting project?)
-Sadly as Coastal Creations gallery on Mayne island will close in January, I will be looking for a new venue to sell my hand knitted items.
I'm sure that 2009 holds many other pleasures for me. I will keep you posted as they unfold.
All the best

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Share a little light

I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday.

The holidays to me are more than the glits and glamour or money and gifts. No, instead, the holidays are all about connecting with friends and family. They are all about being warmed by love from and to good people. This year I was so blessed because I had that and had an opportunity to give that in abundance. It is so easy to be yourself, to love yourself when you find acceptance from others. As we approach the coming year, this is my new year's wish to all of you: may you find acceptance and love.

All the best

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Winter on the gulf islands

It's not that we are slow to learn or that we can't acquire the skills that other Canadians have (some of us have been there done that and that's why we are here now). It's simply that we don't have as much time to practice as the rest of you. Add to that the fact that nothing here is designed for snow. And snow we have been getting: tons and tons.
The cause: it snowed last Sunday
The effect
Power: I woke up on Monday to the oven clock blinking "12:10". Clearly, the power had gone out. We had stayed up until 11:30 pm playing Rock Band so I calculated that the power had been out for about a half hour in our household. We were the lucky few. Others on the island didn't get their power back until late Monday night. (Actually, CBC radio just informed me that the power is still out for some of my neighbours both on Mayne Island and Galiano.)
Internet: Also Monday, Hubby informed me that our internet connection had been shivered. I tried it and sure enough he was right. Why did I doubt him? So we lived our day without access and survived.
Telephone: Today we woke to the ceaseless ring of the phone. No pleasant ring, ring, ring. No this was a r-i-n-g!!! It was a strange sound. The reason for its sounding we know not. There was no one on the other end. The line was dead. We speculated that the line was down. Possibly the weight of the snow was just too heavy for that fragile wire. We unplugged the phone and there was sweet silent. We are now phoneless (except, of course for Hubby's cell phone - I don't have a cell phone nor do I plan on acquiring one. Call me a rebel.) Its either a blood curdling ring or peace - which would you choose?
Apparently, we are due for another dump today. And the fight continues.
Stay warm,

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Things I've watched...including my review of A Christmas Carol

Here is a brief account of the things that I've watched since Thursday.
I've watched the weather as it snowed....
As the sun shone...
As the sunset

And I've watched Mayne Island Little Theatre as they staged a Christmas Carol.
The stage was set

The audience grew eager.

The organist entertained.

And the youngest members of the cast prepared to make their appearance...

Then the play was, well, played. You know it is always impressive to witness the amazing transformation as friends and neighbours become actors. Everyone involved with this play from the actors to those who took care of the house deserve a heartfelt applause. They did an incredible job.
This version of a Christmas Carol was cleverly different. The role of Scrooge was aptly played by the talented oldest member of the cast Ed Pederson. The other four adult cast members with the help of on stage prop and custom changes portrayed the rest of the characters. But, however, in song and charm nothing could compare to the talented children actors. Their addition brought much to the play.
The play opened as a boy was called on stage by his parents. He began to read a Christmas Carol and thus the play unfolded. This boy, Mark Smith, was animated and drew the audience in with his comments of "Cool" and "Awesome".
I enjoyed the chemistry that all the cast shared. They all seemed to have a good time which ensure that we the audience would share in their fun.
They received three well-deserved curtain calls.
I'm still clapping.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A review

I can't tell you what I thought of the play...but I will try. And I will even post some pictures...oh, you lucky, lucky people. Soon, I will do this soon.
Stay warm

The plays the thing

Yesterday, I heard the news from Ebenezer himself, that the play is a go regardless of the snow. Smiles all around.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Mayne Island's Little Theatre

One of my favourite books is:
Being a fan, I was thrilled to hear that MILT (the Mayne island Little Theatre) was planning on staging this play. Without hesitation, the first opportunity I had I bought tickets for opening night.
Opening night is Thursday, December 18th. Yes, tomorrow. The play runs for three nights until Saturday, December 20th. If you run quick you may still be able to obtain tickets. They are available from the Trading Post.
The only thing that may ruin my fun is good old Mother Nature. You see we are currently experiencing "Arctic conditions". This confirms that we do indeed live in Canada. This confirms that we are not in charge. No, all rests in Mother Nature's hands.
So, its a gamble, I may post pictures of the snow or I may report on the play. Remain logged on to discover which.
Stay warm,

Monday, December 15, 2008

My off island adventure

Last Friday Hubby and I left our beloved island and began an ocean voyage that eventually took us to the BC mainland. There we feast, danced and shopped.
It was our Christmas visit. Hubby's office party was on Friday.
I wore a new sweater that I designed and knit for the occasion.
The party was held at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club.
I worried what I would have to eat. I need not have worried. There was tons of food that I not only could eat but was also good for me. If you have IBS or know someone who has it you will know how special that is.
Saturday we went to a mall in Richmond. Richmond is has a wealth of Asian culture. While shopping, I found a pair of boots that I really wanted. They were on sale for $30 but didn't come in my size. I wear a size 8 and a half - nine (40). The largest size the boots came in was size 39. I contemplated cutting off my big toe but decided it would be too painful. You know what a whiner I am. While at the mall we met friends for lunch.
Hubby had...

I helped, I eat his tofu.
That afternoon we continued our shopping spree. I bought a new outfit: pants, 2 ts, sweater, shoes, and earrings. Everything for under $80.
That evening we went to a movie: the latest James Bond flick. How did it end? Well, I wish I could tell you. You see it started to snow and this caused an immediate black out. Fortunately, we had seen most of the movie.
Sunday we gathered at Hubby's parents for a family Christmas meal. It was a traditional Christmas dinner complete with turkey and all the stuffing. It smelt so good. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to eat any of it. Thankfully my mother-in-law had prepared a special meal especially for me. It was delicious. I have to remember to get the recipe.
Once back on the island, we watched the Survivor episode we had taped. I was so glad Bob won.

Monday, December 08, 2008

The Yarn Harlot is Evil

So when I last posted I was telling you about the frogging I had to do.
Well, frogging is not that interesting. Ask any knitter - she/he will tell you.
So, I thought I would just log on to a blog and do a little reading while I frogged.
Sounds like a good idea.
I choose the wrong blog.
I choose this blog:
My eyes darted from her blog to my frogging. Then soon, you know it, my eyes remained on her blog.
Not good.
I ended up with this...
I finally had to finish reading her blog: very interesting. If you haven't visited her, I highly recommend that you do. Just not yet...I'm not finished. Don't worry I'm almost done.
Then I turned off my computer and finished frogging.
All is now good. I finished and delivered my scarves - all is now ready for...

Craft Fair
Mayne Island's Ag Hall
Sunday, December 14th 10 am to 2 pm
Come one, come all
Tons of goodies to be had: eatable and otherwise.

Friday, December 05, 2008

A small gift: a scarf pattern

Look, look, look...a pile of scarves.

The colours are way off and it just looks like, well, like a pile of scarves. Okay, not too impressive.

That might not be impressive but this is...

I knew you'd like it. Its so easy to knit and it can be yours all yours. Here's what you do...

1) Cast on stitches for a scarf (any number from 20 to 40 stitches depending on weight of the yarn, size of your needle and your personal preference)
2)Work the scarf in a main colour and a contrasting colour. Or you could even do what I did and go completely crazy and work in a solid colour and a variegated colour.
3) Work the (solid) main colour in two rows of purl followed by two rows of knit from the (variegated)contrasting colour.
3) (Bind off) Cast off when you reach your desired scarf length.

Wasn't that easy. I know.

Here's what's not easy.
Would you knit with this ball of yarn?
Well, I did.
Did you notice how frayed and knotted it is?
Well, I did and I knit with it any way.
I knit with it thinking that I could get away with it. I can do any thing. Or so I thought. Well, guess what I can't.
So, while you're casting on the stitches and working that cool pattern I just gave you - I will be too.

Am I getting your shoulder wet?

Please let this be a lesson to you. Be careful when you go stash diving. Check your yarn and check it twice. If it looks ratty or you're unsure err on the side of safety. Remember me frogging.

Have you read your Mayneliner?

When friends mention an interesting happening and say, "No, when was that?"
They usually reply, "Have you read your Mayneliner?"
The Mayneliner is the Mayne Island monthly magazine. It contains island news, views, history, and recipes. All the information every Mayne islander needs.
Yesterday the Mayneliner arrived.
I flipped to page 7 and directly underneath a sad memorial to a cute puppy, I read...

Merry Marketeers and More...Christmas Market
Sunday, December 14th
10 am - 2 pm at the Ag Hall
Island Produced & Hand Crafted
Gifts & Goodies For Everyone!
refreshments by Eden

I'm knitting scarves for this craft show. Today I will do the great reveal of the progress I have made. I will also include a word or two on a cute scarf pattern I designed. Its cute and you know its easy.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Hey, you asked for it

You choose it from those listed on my Author's Den page:

You choose:

Real Estate

“Trash can Rockafeller, Rockafeller to his face…vinyl leather jacket, gold jewelry with the gold peeling off. Ya, I know him. He looks like a pimp but if you ask him he’s ready for sainthood. Whose he kidding his work is so underhanded. You don’t need glasses to see through his cheap veneer. You’d have to be insane to buy in. Thankfully that’s exactly who he’s dealing with the insane and the dispirit. You’ll find him at Mickey’s.”

“Hi, ya, I’m Rockafeller. No, that’s not my real name. Some wise guy tagged me with it and it stuck - you get in a jam you come see Rockafeller I set you up.

No body realizes how close to desperation you are until it happens.

My latest client, a young artist, her husband ditches her - so she comes to me. I set her up in a nice 4 x 4 cardboard, large front yard, close to downtown. Heck it’s in the centre of downtown. It’s temporary - my business associates their on the streets right now looking for something better a newly condemned that sort of thing. She deserves somethin’ nice. We’re in the temporary game. It’s all temporary. It could happen to you. When it does you look me up, Rockafeller. I’ll set you up in somethin’ really nice. Ya, you deserve it.”

The knit goes on

All is well in my little kingdom. I met with my friend yesterday and I now have until Monday morning to knit until my wrists fall off. I have three scarves finished and am working on three more. Your positive thoughts are appreciate - as always.
Writing will be posted later today. I promise.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Later today or tomorrow

I apologize if you kept logging on yesterday eager to read my next blog entry. It never came ...but it's here now.

My Salt Spring Island adventure
I arrived on a Saturday and through a tangle of ferries and buses plus a long walk I eventually ended up at my aunt's. There I knit, weaved in ends, knit, sewed seams, knit and knit some more. It was a nice visit.
Then on Monday I packed all my belongs and went to...

Mahon Hall
Don't let the "ho" fool you. It is pronounced "Man". I hate to tell you how many years it has taken me to finally tackle that one. I still find myself pronouncing "Ganges" "Gaines". Why? I have no idea.

As I reached the side door, I was greeted by a bulletin board. On the bulletin board were posted a collection of notices.
One read...

It's rather blurry. Sorry about that. In a nutshell it announces a Victorian Christmas celebration to take place on a number of different islands. One of the islands is Mayne. Ironically, I had heard nothing about the event on Mayne. (now the island is riddled with posters) For those who would be interested in attending: it will be held at Mayne Island's Ag hall on Thursday, December 4th at 7 pm. One day before WinterCraft in Mahon Hall on Salt Spring Island opens.

Inside Mahon hall looked like this...

a promising canvas.
I unpacked my inventory, stored it and then spent three hours arranging and re-arranging. Around lunch time I was in need of some serious rest and food. So, I left Mahon Hall and went across the street to the information centre. There I saw...

I tried not to drool.
Now, you would think, seeing as I travel to Salt Spring Island at least twice a year, that I would be able to navigate without assistance. Sadly, this just isn't the case. This small island girl is just too overwhelmed by the big sister island. Luckily, the information centre was very helpful. They even offered to tend my suitcase. This I was very grateful for - it allowed me to explore a bit.
I found this...
beautiful bird

I ate at this charming restaurant.

The tree house has always been one of my favourite places to eat. They have such delicious soups and sandwiches. I'm sure what I choose was not exactly on my IBS diet plan but I took a risk. The service, the mouthwatering meal, everything was just prefect and best of all my digestive system let it pass.
After my meal I did a little more exploring. Salt Spring Island has one of the most beautiful harbours. It's a very fascinating place to stroll. If you're ever by that way do yourself a favour and explore. It's free.

Then home I went to Mayne Island.
I didn't go back to Mahon Hall. So, sadly, this means that I won't witness the magical transformation. I left further work in far more capable hands. However, I do invite you to visit the hall. It will, no doubt, be full of treasures.
In case you are wondering, I am planning to post this month's pick of the litter. In case you are wondering, I am referring to this month's readers' choose of my writing that appears on my Author's Den page. I am planning on posting it tomorrow. Or maybe the day after... Island time does exist, I set my watch by it.
Craft show Yesterday I gave you to understand that there was a craft show next weekend. Well, (thankfully for me) the craft show is not next week end but rather the week end after that December 13th at the Ag Hall (I think although I will check) on Mayne Island (this I know for sure : ) )

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I'm back

Yes, I must admit that I pined away for my beloved island while away. I know I was only a short distance across the water. I know Salt Spring Island has many fine qualities (some of which I will report on later today). However, I have very short roots and they are buried deep in Mayne Island's sandy soil.
While on Salt Spring I scrambled to finish my WinterCraft knitting. It was a battle to the end. This morning I logged on to this E PC (still loving it) and found an email waiting in my inbox. A friend was reminding me of some knitting I had promised her for a craft show next week-end. By the sound of the email, I had promised to give her the knitting this Wednesday. Hmmm, well, sure I could do that but I'm afraid the customers would have to employ their imagination too much: wrap the yarn around your neck twice and you have a scarf - not everyone's cup of tea. Perhaps, I can arrange to deliver the items closer to the date. Your positive thoughts are appreciated, as always.
Until later,