A is for
We will be setting sail for Alaska in few weeks – aboard Holland America!
This is a trip we have made before, and No: It does not get boring. Cruising to Alaska is ideal because some of our group don’t enjoy hot weather, we have the bonus of leaving from, and returning to, the port of Vancouver. And really, Alaska is beautiful.
One of my favourite stops is Ketchikan. There is an incredible book store — that just happens to be right above a really cool gift shop — where the owner gets to chatting with you, offers you tea and seats you comfortably with a book. It’s in a cool attic-y space too. So cozy.
Another great spot is Haines. Not all cruise ships stop there, but it is only a short ferry ride from Juneau — great hikes — or Skagway (definitely my favourite shopping port). Haines is one of the most beautiful towns I have ever visited and well worth the extra travel time.
True story: After our last trip I gave S his present – he was 3.5 at the time and oh so serious. He loved it – how bad is it that I don’t even remember what it was? – and asked me where I got it. “Juneau.” I replied. There was a long pause, as he shifted his eyes side to side and then he slowly said “Noooo. I don’t.”
We generally see a large number of dolphins and whales on our way back to Vancouver as we travel through some prime feeding areas along the Inside Passage.
True Story: While standing on deck taking photos of dolpins playing in the waves, a woman grabbed her husband, who was leaning out for a better shot, while loudly cautioning him that he “wouldn’t want to fall over when they’re in their feeding frenzy.”
Speaking of the Inside Passage…True Story: An onboard ‘naturalist’ was narrating while we traveled through the Seymour Narrows. She was telling the story of Ripple Rock and introduced the topic like so, in an ominous tone: “Just as all Americans know where they were the day Kennedy was assassinated, so to, all Canadians know where they were the day Ripple Rock exploded.” Hanging out on deckchairs, we all looked at one another and burst into near hysterical laughter. First of all we had never heard of Ripple Rock (with the exception of our learned seaworthy Uncle D) and 2nd, we hardly thought an intentional blast was comparable to the assassination of JFK. Thirdly, this woman had been prattling on in an inane fashion for hours already. ‘So to, all Canadians’ became a bit of a catchphrase for some of us.
I’ve included some of my pages from a scrapbook of a family trip aboard the Sea Princess. This is my first scrapbook album. I started it about 4 yrs ago – it’s not finished yet. Yep. Startitis is not restricted to knitting projects, well, at least not for me.
Most of our trips are spent laughing like fools, eating like royalty and shopping like fiends. My cousin M and I are particularly unaware of what spectacles we make of ourselves when we get going.
True Story: M and I have been approached a number of times to be asked if we are part of the onboard entertainment, where we get our material and if we are professional comedians.
We have taken our Uncle’s video camera on some late night jaunts and filmed hours of ourselves acting like idiots. Priceless those films are – it is a little scary to watch some of them now and realize there actually are other people around us…people we are not travelling with..and yet no one has ever complained…
We have shorthand for cruising related funny stories: What’s a bell pepper, rice is my favourite vegetable, Regeena, dead a**s floating, Oh God we love you!, Whop-Whop, that’s a bit of all wrong, whaaaaale off the port bow, The Quacker…to name a few. (cruise buddies: anybody laughing yet?)
B is for
*I’m away for a few days, taking the kids @ work camping — hmmmm…what should C be for?
C is for
Oh dear. This little bun is supposed to be staying here temporarily; until my vacation is over and then he is/was going to move to our daycare.
He is the sweetest little thing. And for the record…my Mom was the one that fits this descriptor, attributed to PT Barnum; to paraphrase: ‘there’s one born every minute’.
‘Just to tell you’ (something I heard a remarkable # of times in the last 2 days) Kira was not as cuddly with the bun once I was home from work. Her big brown eyes were just a little green tonight.
D is for
For as long as I can remember I have vivid, complex (and sometimes serial) dreams that I recall upon waking.
In fact, some I recall for years.
For example: When I was in the 5th Grade I dreamed that I was blindfolded, kidnapped and taken to this damp, underground place by a group of men. In the cave (but it was more like a subterranean complex) was this boy from Grade 6 (who lived down the street from me and I had a crush on for like 3 yrs — and whose little brother married a co-worker of mine and lives next door to me today — can you say small town?) and like all the littlest kids from my congregation. I mean, like toddlers even. And they were scared and crying and hungry and we took care of them. And we were there for weeks while the men tried to extort money for us. I don’t remember the details but this was one of the serial dreams – there were a lot of dramatic events and in the end we victims were like a big family and we didn’t really want to get rescued. Weird hey?
Another lifelike dream from my childhood involved me driving a school bus around this dreadful hairpin turn in town (Skyline Drive – which is now a Traffic Speed Hump Zone – seriously, they are calling them speed Humps and not bumps?!?) when the brakes fail and oh right – I don’t know how to drive. Scary stuff.
E is for
Which is something that I pretty much never am!
My Grandpa used to ask incredulously “There’s another 6 o’clock?” He began his day by waking around 9 and relaxing in bed (at least by the time I was on the scene), then rising at 10 am for a leisurely breakfast with the paper.
I think he had it just right. I detest mornings. I hate being woken up early – ooh am I instantly grouchy! I hate having to leave my house early. Actually, maybe it is not mornings I detest, it is having to be somewhere by a certain time in the morning. Not a good thing for a person who works!
My abhorrence for early mornings has led me to staunchly refuse opening shifts if they proceed 8 am. Even 8 am is an issue for me. I am traditionally 5-15 minutes late for work – well…for most events. (sorry Heidi) I figure – why be early? You’re just going to have to wait – or worse: make small talk.
Unless it is a big event (like boarding a cruise ship, going to the theatre/concert) or a ferry I would rather arrive just on time than be early.
I have to share the 3 exceptions to the early morning thing.
1) I love, love, love waking up in a tent – and generally I wake up early when I camp. I am content, I am at peace, I am smiling when I wake up in my tent. Maybe because there is no schedule when you camp. (Unless you are camping with 15 children who want to actually eat breakfast at 7:45 am — ugh)
2) I am excited to wake up with the sun in Spring and very early Summer. I can barely wait to get out in my garden and see what has grown overnight. I love to spend an hour or more in the yard before I go to work. Honestly, this does fizzle out around mid-June.
3) Waking up to the quiet of a world blanketed in snow. Then I like to be up before anyone else so the snow is track free.
I used to worry about this issue I have in case I ever become a Mom, but if this wonder woman can stay in bed until 8…so can I! I have heard of people who walk their dogs at 6 am?!? I figure if Kira can be trained to sleep in, why can’t children? 🙂 Naive aren’t I?
btw: Nope, I can’t knit in my sleep. Though I can fall asleep while knitting!
F is for
I am one of those people who does/doesn’t believe in Faeries. Is that clear?
I want to believe, I find the thought enchanting. But I don’t believe. When I was little I would pretend to believe in faeries, and leprachauns, and elves and such fanciful beings. This is a brillant movie about the Cottingley Fairies – a story about a man desperate to believe.
I am sure I was influenced by the beautiful books my Nana had in her home and that she gifted to me. Books of fairy tales, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Alice in Wonderland illustrated by Arthur Rackham. My favourite book was The Water-Babies by Charles Kingsley. I actually thought it was a colouring book since some of the illustrations were black and white. Oops. I read fairy tales of all kinds voraciously, my favourite author was Hans Christian Andersen. I also liked Edgar Allen Poe as a child — pretty bleak stuff no?
I still love faery art and remember the tales fondly. They are things that I share with the children I work with and hope to one day share with my own children.
Do/did you believe in fairies? What childhood beliefs do you hold dear?
G is for
Gardening relaxes me. It soothes me to dig in new plants, to sow seeds, to watch growth. I love the visitors that come to our yard because of the garden.
Like this blog, my knitting, my bid to organize my home…the garden has suffered some neglect this past month. I would like to plant some last peas and lettuce to take advantage of the warm, sunny days and the cool nights and mornings. When to do it though.
H is for
one Helluva(n) overdue post.
So…here’s the knitting update. Still no pic of the Dress Code – tomorrow should be a red letter day (aka I’ll be wearing makeup and my hair should be somewhat styled) so it could make for a good photo shoot. Then there’s Nagini.
Ah. Nagini. Just writing about it makes me hissss. I have ripped back 3 times now. The foot is perfect. The cables are a dream. The blasted thing won’t fit past my ankle. So. Here is hoping the 3rd time’s the charm or I am going to hex that horrid thing.
Perhaps because of Nagini, camping, family visits and work moves (don’t even let me get started on that!) or perhaps because of numerous intangibles I have been feeling disinclined to knit.
I haven’t even bought any yarn. Shocking isn’t it?
I have been doing the strangest things instead. Excercising. Reading — books! Organizing my house. Watching movies in the dark (remember that?). Talking on the phone. Learning – somewhat – how to work my Ipod (now to load up/upload some new files…).
This is Kira’s reaction to our new schedule of extra long walks.
Speaking of excercising – I realize that I have thoroughly neglected the Weight Loss Challenge – mostly because I was kicking *ss at the Weight Gain Challenge, what with all the chips, smokies and s’mores during 3 weeks of camping adventures. This week marks my return to WW’s and I sincerely hope I have gotten this binging out of my system. At least until my CRUISE!! 12 more sleeps people!
And now that we’ve gotten into binging…I cannot stop with the Flight of the Conchords. They are comedic perfection. Cousin M and I watched the whole season online last weekend. I cannot get their music out of my head. This afternoon an HBO special of theirs was on — right after Rushmore.
Max Fischer: Tell that stupid Mick he just made my list of things to do today.
Thank you Wes Anderson. 😀
What are you watching?
Can I get a redo?
G should have been for the Guru God of Ganja
This video reminds me of The River. Ahh. Jeff Martin. Where have you gone?
The Letter I
Left to Right – Top to Bottom
1. Indigo — favourite colour
2. Icarus — mythology: childhood obsession preceded by Explorers, followed by dinosaurs
3. Illusions — “My illusions Dad. You don’t have time for my illusions.”
4. Island — solitary, beautiful, just out of reach
5. Indepence –not quite there; there too much
Centre. Indian — (politically incorrect) heritage
6. Inkblot — love self-examination, peering into others
7. Indulgence — the luxury of indulgence…
8. Ibex — love all things Egyptian (ok, except for random attacks on tourists)
9. Intuition — crowds out logic for me
10. Innocence — I think I remember that?
12. Intrepid — as a verb, not a noun
13. Interphase — finally science class was interesting & beautiful
The Letter J
Left to Right – Top to Bottom
1. Jungle — lush, green, teeming with life
2. Jellyfish — peaceful, elegant, ethereal
3. Juno — mythology fascinates me
4. J — baby brother
5. Journal –kept one on and off forever, love buying new ones
6. J — cousin
7. Joshua Tree — favourite album of all time
8. Justice/Judgement — always searching for justice; have a tendency to judge others
9. Jeeksy — cat of infamy
10. J — cousin in law
11. Jingle Dancer — would love to be one
12. Jupiter — loved space as a child, one of my favourite Mozart Symphonies
13. Jealousy — might rear its ugly head now and again
14. J — little sister
15. Junk Drawer — my Nana’s yielded many treasures & hours of fun
16. Jabberwocky — incredible imagery, fantastical language
The Letter K
ETA: Oops! Just had family drop by and as they were leaving I called out, “Goodbye K!” and as the words left my mouth, it hit me – I left him out of the mosaic! That’s what max 4 hours sleep per night will get you.
Centre: Kenneth/Ken — my beloved Grandpa. Whom I first called Bugga. I still miss him.
From Left to Right, Top to Bottom
1. K: Named after Centre. 3rd grandchild for #6. I call him nephew – though technically he’s my First Cousin Once Removed. You’d think they could have come up with a better term…
2. Ketch: Not that I sail much, but I do love it. Especially the beauty and balance of Tall Ships.
3. Kumquats: Such yummy juicy bursts!
4. Kilts: My family dress tartan – Royal Stewart. There’s just something about a man in a kilt.
5. Koalas: So cuddly and loving. And drugged out on the eucalyptus!
6. K: Aunty!
7. Keys: Love the promise and mystery of antique keys.
8. Kittens: Not that I don’t like cats, but kittens? I want to take them all home.
9. Kitchen: My favourite room in most houses.
10. Kira Ligons: Just look at that face! Doesn’t she look like she can talk?
11. Kiln: I’ve done ceramics off and on. It amazes me that kilns are so ancient and still used all over the world.
12. Kids: They’re everywhere, and well, I have a lot of fun with them.
The Letter L
Top – Bottom Left – Right
1. L: My beautiful Mom
2. Lost: My current obsession
3. Looking Glass: I wish the whole thing fit in the frame, it’s a handcarved antique
4. Lollipop: Nothing makes me feel young again like a Disneyland-style lollipop
5. Lions: Out of Africa is one of my favourite films – the image of the lions resting on Denys Finch-Hatton’s grave is one that is still with me
6. La Luna: Isn’t it stunning?
7. L: My vivacious Aunt
8. Letters: I love getting real mail, or finding old letters in the leaves of dusty books
9. Library: One of my favourite places to visit ever since I was 7 and sick in bed and my Mom brought me a stack of Bobbsey Twin books from the local library – magical places
10. Lemons: Mmmm…from wedges in my water to Lemon Meringue Pie, I love lemons. If it’s a flavour option the only thing it loses to is chocolate.
11. Listen: Love listening to music while walking, or right before sleep. Lately I am really into audiobooks – they let me multitask. 🙂
12. Lynch, David: Freaking Genius. So intriguing.
13. Lyre: love their balanced shape – have no idea how they sound but have always been drawn to them?
14. Lilacs: Some of my favourite flowers – they are so fragrant. They remind me of simpler times. And the garden is just about to explode with new growth when they are in bloom. Harbingers.
15. Literature: Classics are the genre I prefer to read. My, my, how precious I sound.
16. Limes: Citrus yes, but quite different from lemons. They make me want a crisp G&T from the freezer. I like 2-3 thin slices of lime soaking in my gin since the night before. Yum.
17. Lists: I like to write them. I like crossing things off – gives me a nice sense of accomplishment. Generally lose them and have to write another.
18. L: Cousin In Law — is that a real term?
19. Languages: Utterly fascinating – if I could study languages full time well…what would I do with them?
20. Leia, Princess: I was 4 and I knew who she was. I was going to be her when I grew up. I even had a stuffed pup named Leia whose floppy brown ears were rolled up and held with pins so she looked the part. Once my Mom did my hair like this for me in Gr.1. I totally loved it. But as I got closer to school I chickened out and took it down. Princess Leia didn’t even back down from the Interrogation Droid. Sigh.
The Letter M
Top to Bottom, Left to Right
1. M – Cousin Extrodinaire – actually caught mid-Mutthead in this pic
2. Mother – Something so peaceful and right seeing a Mom and her new baby
3. Mist – Ethereal
4. Marmalade – I love it, why don’t I eat it? Strange
5. MacBeth, Lady – She’s such a powerful figure, dangerously powerful. Sadly, most of her keeps getting cut off in this mosaic – frustrating
6. Magicians, Alliance of – Yay! There’s going to be a movie.
7. Mythology – Favourite since childhood
8. Matrix – I love the 1st one. It still gives me a rush to watch it today. Hey M – remember the theatre fiasco that night? Coward
9. Music – Like another language. I can read a little. I had about 1 yr of piano. I should really go back. Playing was a great way to clear my head.
10. Mushrooms – So beautiful. So gross. Like eating dirt. Mouldy dirt. Except for that one time my brother sauteed them in butter…with maybe some garlic…
11. Meadow – Just looking at the picture makes me breathe deeper. So relaxing
12. Museum – Haven’t been to any great museums, but have visited lots of small, unique museums — some which perhaps don’t even qualify as museums…
13. Macaw – Such vibrantly coloured birds & so intelligent
14. Manatees – Adorable. Look at those little faces
15. Mountains – Ummm…that was a picture of a local mountain range. But it keeps uploading as the mist picture…weird
16. Moss – Fresh, green, sproingy carpets. Love moss – creeping, hanging, waving
17. Mulder – My big grouchy kitty. She is the most dominant pet in the house – though you might have the impression that’s Kira!
18. Mars – Stunning.
19. Maze – Imagine having the space for your own garden maze? I find mazes of all kinds exciting. But don’t ever try and run through a maze with me (especially corn mazes for some reason). Invariably I run straight to the centre – where’s the fun in that? I can’t get lost and wander – even though that is what I’m hoping for. It’s utterly bizarre.
20. Me – yeah. That’s me. 5 yrs ago? 6? That is the me I keep saying is my goal. And then…I keep postponing the goal. Maybe I should put this picture up where I can see it more often – you know, so I can believe it’s possible!
The Letter N
Top to Bottom
Left to Right
1. That’s my Nana – when she was a young girl, just dating my Grandpa
2. Nutmeg — recently discovered how fabulous this is freshly grated over sweetened, milky tea
3. Love, love, love the Nine Inch Nails!
4. A smattering of Natural Wonders – I prefer most things natural: food, gardens, tea
5. A Neuron – incredibly beautiful and so powerful
6. Naan – just yummy especially with butter chicken…
7. Novels – my favourite type of literature
8. Nonsense – refreshing & restorative
9. Nebula – part of the Eagle Nebula here: the astonishing beauty of interstellar gases and dust
10. Nancy Drew – some of my favourite childhood reads, along with the Bobbsey Twins & Trixie Belden. I also loved Agatha Christie and Edgar Allan Poe – what kind of a kid? 😉
11. Narcissus – Mythology. Imagine dying of thirst lest you shatter your own image?
12. Aren’t Nurseries the most calm and peaceful rooms? you know, when there is no crying baby in them?
13. A stunning shot of the Nightsky.
14. Numbers – I have an affinity for remembering telephone, visa and address numbers – I have an aversion to math.
15. I could spend hours in garden Nurseries – the steamy, earthy warmth and all of the growing things feel like coming
16. Noodles – love them from all nations and in all sauces — with the exception of most spaghettis
The Letter O
Centre: Oregon Coast: This is my very favourite vacation spot: Nehalem Bay. It is truly a must-visit place. The campsite we stay at is nestled behind the dunes and there is a 15 minute walk to the sleepy town of Manzanita where Kira and I stroll for a Raspberry Mocha and some homebaked muffins.
From Left to Right, Top to Bottom
1. Ocean: I grew up here on the West Coast and I love the ocean. Listening to the waves is one of the most soothing things for me. I love it stormy, I love it calm, I love it swirling with whitecaps and deep, still blue. Unlike most people I know, I love to be on the ocean when it is pitching and rolling. Exciting and lulling at the same time.
2. Olympia: I am amazed that historical sites like this remain today. I would dearly love to visit them. Perhaps one day…
3. Opera: I love the opera. Ok. Selectively. I love Mozart in particular. I also enjoy the opera I am familiar with via Bugs Bunny. I miss the classic politically incorrect Bugs Bunny of my youth – they did a great job introducing opera and classical music to kids. Along with violence, cannibalism and racism. But hey – it was cartoons!
4. Oleander, white: Loved that book! Movie…not so much. (yeah, I was having a time with the letter O)
5. Orange: Ha! Don’t you love that little orange peel man? I was going to post a pic of an orange grove but couldn’t find one I liked and then I spied that fellow. Pretty cute.
6. Ocelot: Really I just like that word a lot. But the baby ocelot is adorable.
7. Ophelia: How visually assaulting is this passage?
There is a willow grows aslant a brook,
That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream;
There with fantastic garlands did she come
Of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples
That liberal shepherds give a grosser name,
But our cold maids do dead men’s fingers call them:
There, on the pendent boughs her coronet weeds
Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke;
When down her weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide;
And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up:
Which time she chanted snatches of old tunes;
As one incapable of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and indued
Unto that element: but long it could not be
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pull’d the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death.
8. Oddyseus: Yet another ancient legend that coloured my childhood.
9. Owl: Amazing creatures. I also love that a grouping of Owls is called a parliament.
10. Outer Space: So beautiful. And do you remember being a child and the term ‘outer space’ was enough for you? Now Pluto isn’t even a planet!
11. Orchids: The flowers stagger me with their beauty. To be so hardy and at the same time fragile and particular. Adaptation is one of my favourite films too. That car accident scene was so shocking wasn’t it?
12. Oriental Gardens: My favourite type of garden to visit — if I only had the space! This is a pic of Dr. Sun Yat Sen Garden in Vancouver. When I was in college I would go there sometimes on my lunchbreak and just get away from the city.