Wednesday, December 27, 2006

socks and sickness...

well, my post-christmas plan to get to my many work projects has been kaboshed for a few days with the rapid appearance last night of the nasty stomach flu - yuck. i am still struggling today to do anything productive - mainly have just been staring blankly at the tv. did make a quick walk down to the beach this morning when i saw how beautiful and clear it was, but even that didn't much improve how i am feeling.

but moving on - realized i never show any in progress photos of someof my projects so thought i would show how the boy socks are going - well, i think. A. is away at work for a couple of weeks, but i should be done well before he gets back and then will post a finished shot of the socks on his (hopefully) happy feet. i am using my own pattern, with judy becker's magic cast-on, a short row heel (i think - technically i'm sort of making it up, but seems to look good), and a simple rib around the leg. if you're wondering, the safety pins are marking stitches, in hopes that i might successfully make two identical socks! next pair will be for me i think, so then i can do something a bit more interesting - apparently the boy doesn't like fancy cables etc!

Monday, December 25, 2006

clear christmas day...

today is mostly clear and quiet after a loud and happy christmas eve. our family celebrates on the eve, as is standard scandinavian tradition, and we had all 11 of us at my parent's house for lots (and lots!) of food and drink and presents and so on. now will give me a chance to post some of the gifts i made for people, although i forgot to take photos of some! will see what i can dig up. here is a toque and mittens ii made for my three year old niece. i also got a store-bought hoodie (i was a bit last minute, okay) and added a matching trim around the hood. they are resting nicely on the snow we had last week but has since left the ground. yesterday the wind was howling and we though we might lose the power for christmas eve, but abruptly it died in the afternoon, with only the rain to remind us.

Monday, December 18, 2006

elk and other oddities...

another pic from our november road trip - so much stuff i want to show before i even get to climbing pics! came across a small herd of elk in someone's yard on the side of the road in northern california - i was standing within 20 ft of this guy when he posed so nicely for me.
ah, last week before christmas, and i'm feeling even more behind than usual - if you haven't received a christmas card i totally apologize, but seem unmotivated to get them done. i'll be lucky if i finish my presents. after the weekend i will post some shots of my newest finished creations - can't let anyone get a peak until the receiver has unwrapped them!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

coast daydreams...

so back again to the trip - pardon the jumping around but obviously the weather is going to be changing dramaticallly from post to post, depending on where i'm referring (although, change is really west coast weather in a nutshell, isn't it?) after the flooding, we made it further down the coast where we encountered the above shown area, with 20-25 foot waves bombarding the coast. at left, you will seen A. shortly before he was swept away...well, not really, but it could've happened.

a little ways farther and we finally got down to the beach - still, a little sunshine wouldn't have killed anyone. after a night in a motel, we awoke to the rain finally stopped and california was a bit from friendly in offers of sunshine. unfortunately, we couldn't linger in the sand too long, and we headed inland to the I5 halfway through day 3.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

furry friends...

yes, i've been a bit delayed and distracted in terms of posting lately. blame it on the dial-up internet access at my folks' where we are staying for a little while, or the incessant weather that keeps contriving to shut the power off or keep us snowed in, etc. at this moment it is snowing again, a surprise as we were expecting a good southeaster tonight which usually means rain.
here is just a little shot of a busy creature i came across at mount washington last week while snowshoeing. he was quite intent on his pinecones and seemed not much bothered by me.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

back to the beginning...

okay...finally a little recap of the trip. it sounds a bit melodramatic, but things looked a little ominous approaching the US border, with a dark bank of clouds dominating the horizon. yet it seemed as if as soon as we entered the states it was raining, and continued to do so for two days straight. the first night we slept in the truck in a fred meyer parking lot. when we woke up we drove out to the coast and discovered what can be seen in the accompanying photos:

a bit ridiculous, no? luckily we had a truck with a bit of clearance, as they were not letting cars through. the second night of the trip was spent in a hotel - drastic measures were necessary after that first cramped night in the truck. luckily the next day broke sunny, if a bit foggy, and we were on our way again. more pictures to follow...

Thursday, November 30, 2006

back home...

yes, we have returned from the sunny south. and as you can see from photos, it has been a bit of a frosty wonderland waiting for us. we are currently snowed in at the folks' place, enjoying a bit of respite before diving back in to the real world. i have many a photo to post but thought i would first start off with these shots. later i will show you shots of our ridiculous snowy drive home through washington, but for now there is this.

when we arrived home there was snow, but the skies has cleared a little, leaving it chilly and icy. yesterday a storm blew in, with a full day of swirling, blowing powder. for anyone in the know, this is definitely not west coast weather. i am not used to the snow being so light and fluffy, and blowing in swirls off the rooftops and up in drifts against the doors. however, as is typical, things started to warm up and today we are left with a heavy wet mass of snow in the true wet coast tradition. looks to keep warming, so it is evolving into a slushy mess. still might be awhile before my car moves...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

sunshine in november...

yeah, sunshine is a big plus for me at this time of year - the constant southeasters of Vancouver Island and all.

we are in bishop now since last week. cold at night (and the occasional sprinkle of rain) but pretty gosh darn warm during the day - today in fact takes the cake so far as i'm in shorts and tank top. i wish i could post some photos! next time will really have to bring the mac and not A's pc - just doesn't work like i want it to. anyway, i have been keeping a bit of a diary so i hope to post excerpts and photos upon our return.

today headed out to the buttermilks west of bishop for some bouldering - just crazy landscape in the hot sun beneath soaring peaks. luke swears he saw a snake, but i missed it - although he claims it was something black and yellow, so not a rattlesnake at least.

that's all i have to update right now - i'm less good at the communicating without the photos - the landscape is just too cool to describe.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

floods and other gong shows...

i don't have any photos to post at the moment, as i'm not on my computer. but i thought i would post a quick note on my travels so far, for anyone checking in. We departed from home yesterday morning, and after a small border delay (we are suspicious travel candidates to the u.s. as we are unemployed at the moment), we headed down through washington. should have seen it coming - as we headed to the border the sky was a dark leary blue, and pretty much as soon as we crossed the border it began to rain. it has rained every moment since - not a little shower here, a light sprinkle there. essentially a steady pour with no sign of let up. last night we refused to camp and slept in the truck, the three of us cramped in our seats, attempting to find a comfortable spot. our drive down the oregon coast today was hampered by the steady rain and low visibility, not to mention flooding that made for some interesting driving. another night in the truck had no appeal, and we have relented (only the second night of our trip!) and are in a motel. we have since learned that many parts of washington and oregon are in a state of emergency! an excellent start to the trip.

tomorrow there is rumour that the rain will let up a little, and so we will make a quick stop to see the giant redwoods in northern california before heading inland, desert-bound. there better not be any rain to slow up the climbing! i am sad i didn't get much chance for photos of the foggy, windy, and ever so rainy coast, but i will return sometime to spend more time on the sand. but when i get back i will show you the gigantic waves!

Friday, October 27, 2006


everytime i walk on the beach to meet A. after work, I pass this tree. as the leaves have turned to gold, it glows against it's dull surroundings. each time, i try to take a picture, but everytime am disappointed by the results - blinding white sky; dark, flat green background, and a non-appealing house nestled on either side. but the other day i was rewarded by one more rare sunset, and took a chance to capture the vibrant leaves against the blue sky.

four more sleeps and we are moving yet again - it seems we have been doing this a lot lately. but now it feels like a good time for a change, and our upcoming climbing trip is also foremost in my mind. but before then, a weekend of packing and cleaning awaits - oh joy!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Skook 2...

had meant to share these a little while ago. A. and i went up to skookumchuk rapids again to see a few friends who had popped over for the XL tide running that weekend. this trip was definitely more rewarding photo-wise than our last hike out there - or perhaps i just had willing subjects!

some day maybe i'll be a hardcore paddler too...until then will have to settle for watching in awe.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

fall projects...

it seems both me and one of our many spiders are in a crafty mood, feeling the need to weave, knit and sew. i keep forgetting to take photos of my projects, but here is a little sample of what i still have at the house - a soft and cozy poncho for my sweet 3-year-old niece, a merino toque with a fleece lining around the edge for extra softness and warmth, and some "sort of" gloves inspired in part by Carola at Sheep and No City's kolenya.

These have been especially rewarding, as i constantly have cold hands but find full gloves a little tricky when out taking pictures and doing just about everything else. I have made mittens in the past, but this fall have ventured into gloves. I made a wonderful blue-green pair for my mom for her birthday, but again, forgot the photo. am now working on an off-white pair.
the days are passing quickly as we approach the changing time (daylight savings on the west coast, oct 29). the fleeting days are especially worrying as we approach our moving day, and shortly after, our departure date for our vacation. we are moving off the sunshine coast and back to vancouver island at the end of this month. but before we settle in for a wet coastal winter, we are going on a climbing road trip to california for the whole month of november! yippee! posting may not happen much while i am gone, but rest assured i will have many a picture when we return.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

blank slate...

the fog crept in today, damp fingertips tickling the rocks on the beach, an ethereal ghost riding in on the backs of the gray waves marching steadily to the shore. the first taste of the november southeasters, a gentle one to get you started and in tune with the rhythm of the storms that make their home on the west coast for the winter. the colour seemed drained from much of the world today, as demonstrated in the above photo. on clearer days vancouver island makes a sizeable appearance across the strait, but today it was just water and sky, a solid bank of gray.

so i went in search of colour. when the world is blanketed in a fog, the trees of autumn seem all the more bright, glowing underneath their cloaks of mist. the same too applies to the fallen leaves stuck wetly against the shining gray beach rocks. in the stillness of this october day, fall shone with gold leaves on a blank canvas, and i was one of the few who ventured out to see it.

Friday, October 13, 2006

friday the 13th...

the days continue to wane, but the colours around me get more intense, saturated. i am constantly amazed by the blue of the sky, the golds that spark from the trees. here on the west coast, we don't get the vivid array that appears in ontario or new england, but i still appreciate every tree that glows in between the predominant douglas firs, cedars and hemlocks. time soon for black cats and pumpkin smiles, but on this freaky friday everything is bright and sharp.

the air is cold, but the sun hasn't left just yet. we are getting ready for our move off the sunshine coast, so i am trying to get my fill before we are gone. we are moving to much the same environment, just across the straight, but by that time the season will have nearly changed and the rains of winter will have moved in. a whole new phase of fall to relish, but i will take my time with this one first.

Monday, October 09, 2006

sunshine and blue skies...

did i mention that fall is my favourite season? for confirmation, please refer to exhibit a, photo at left. after a late holiday monday start, and breakfast out, we went to browning beach for a bit of bouldering with friends. well, i didn't do much climbing, but was certainly in full photographer mode. the boys cooperated with a full show on the clean, tide-washed boulders that line the rocky shore.

in the summer, the light flattens during the day, but now even in midday the light is sharp and the sky is bluer than blue, and the colours everywhere impress. you may note the silvery white tree in the photo - at first it appeared to me to be in blossom, but of course that couldn't be right. rather, the wind was blowing the leaves so intently that the silvery undersides were shining up to the sun.

at home again, i peeked outside in time to see the the sun glowing orange through the trees. i got down to the water to see the last few minutes of the flaming orange orb sunk down to sleep for the night.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

giving thanks...

happy thanksgiving, at least here in canada. the day started out grey and wet, but the sun is determined this autumn and keeps making appearances.

i am dogsitting this weekend and so took to the beach with a bundle of white fluff in tow (or rather towing me). a havanese like karina's joey's max (gluten-free goddess), but her name is cotton. she's not quite my style, but she is pretty amusing and full of energy. it's good she is so small, as she accosts every person we meet with uncontrollable energy.

so today am giving thanks for beautiful weather, a dog that makes me laugh, and my family even if i won't see them today. instead, A. and i are thinking of having a tradition thanksgiving feast (hah) - sushi!

Thursday, October 05, 2006


today has been a day spent quietly about the house. A. has gotten my cold, so now he is letharic and has spent much of the day in bed. i guess i can't blame him, but i have been restless to do something all day. finally, late this afternoon, i took a short walk to the store for a chocolate fix. the weather has shifted so abruptly, i am still coming to terms with the cold that chills my nose and the many layers i find myself wearing. but there is a certain stillness to overcast autumn days that i like, when the wind is not rattling the dry leaves and the rain has not yet started to fall.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

squash obsessions...

autumn appears, and i start having dreams of squash, all kinds, all shapes. this fall in particular i have been mixing up some unusual creations. above is the pizza i made a few days ago, with thinly sliced yukon gold potatoes & acorn squash, along with portobello mushrooms, garlic and spinach. yum. although despite adding some chili flakes and thyme, i felt it lost a bit of flavour in cooking, so would recommend piling more on later.

however...i have a new squash fantasy. i just picked up an orange kobacha squash from the health food store - looks similar in size and shape to a buttercup, but orange (although i understand there are green ones too). i have this theory that i could cut the top off, take out the "guts", and fill it with something and bake it. i've heard a vague recipe of doing this with a stew, whereby you also get a nice chunk of cooked squash when served your stew. has anyone done anything like this? i was also contemplating trying to cook a chicken pot pie inside, possibly with in a pastry crust top. am i completely crazy?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

northwest chill...

october arrived (or shall i say blew in?) as a cold northwest wind skipping across the water to find me on the beach. the sun is shining, and clouds are sparse in the blue sky, but there is a hardness, a sharpness, that separates the day from summer. the chill of the wind confirms the fact, reminding me the last of the warm and dry days is near at hand. even back in the house, my ears still ache from the cold.
the days are getting appreciably shorter, both in terms of daylight, and in terms of hours where i'm functioning. i still am awake much earlier than A., but the dark that stays in the bedroom till nearly 8 keeps me curled beneath the covers. again at night, our cabin tucked in the trees disappears into the dusk much earlier, and i find myself cozy with a book, or knitting, or some autumn project.
next weekend is thanksgiving (canadian thanksgiving anyway), but this year we are far away from friends and family who we would normally meet for a feast. we may invite a friend or two, but the odds are it will be just the two of us. i am thinking of attempting a roast chicken...

Friday, September 29, 2006

under the weather...

in some ways, i suppose, that describes this photo. in a more obvious way, it describes how i am feeling - ughh. after a week or so of ignoring my body's quiet pleas for some vitamin c, i am feeling the effects in the form of a congested head.

the weather outside is still beautiful - truly a wonderful fall so far, despite the fact that we desperately need the rain. however, my foggy state of mind is longing for a cooler autumn day, which brought to mind this foggy photo of my parents' sheep that i took last year. now if only i could be curled up with a good book somewhere...

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

drive by...

i pass this lake on my way to work, and it, along with so many other things, reminds me why i should really carry a camera wherever i go. that doesn't necessarily mean that i remember to follow through, but in this case i finally brought the camera, and left home a few minutes early so i might have a moment to stop. i was amply rewarded by the calm autumn morning, and a glassy reflection of the bright blue sky.

Monday, September 25, 2006

salt air and sunshine...

home again, happy to be sleeping in my own bed. what a bad traveller am i. however, had a wonderful weekend on the wild west coast. the sound of surf pounding the shore provides a lulling background for a cozy night in a sleeping bag. rising early, i discovered fog blanketing the beach. i wandered the sand, in search of seashells and other treasures tossed ashore by the sea, as the sun appeared behind the trees, cutting through the fog quickly until it was gone.

i have always strived for sharp, high contrast photos with bright colour, but am lately also discovering the pleasures of low contrast with subtle light. photo above case in point. new experiments and evolving, i suppose.

we were in tofino for the surf kayak fest, but the surfers still make their presence known, reminding us that they dominate the local scene. i don't quite understand the whole "localism" vibe, as i occasionally pretend to be a kayaker, and often dream of being a surfer - a definite supporter of both sides. i do admire tofino surfers, sleek, black seals slipping through the waves before riding grace and style. a little more understated and minimalist than the bright colours and bulky gear of the paddlers.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

evening light...

the west coast rule: don't like the weather? wait five minutes.

definitely worth the wait. the rain abated late afternoon and i took my camera out to walk along the beach and meet A. after work. the sky was so dark and moody, but with a patch of sun peeking through. i almost wished for more wind and an unruly sea, but who can really argue with the perfect light that had followed the storm.

the leaves are already changing, but with such a dry end to the summer, they are browning quickly and falling to the ground before there is much chance to enjoy the fall colours. finding a bright spot on the beach like this makes up for it.

hibernation part one...

this was yesterday. granted, a little chilly with a stiff westerly breeze, but sunny and bright. today is the exact opposite. the rain is steady, the southeasterly wind is shaking the trees, and i'm sitting in the house with two sweaters on and a general desire to burrow under the covers till spring. i know i said i like fall, and i do. but when a gale is blowing i'm happier inside, observing nature's fury from the dry comforts of my armchair. i suppose i should be happy that we finally have some real rain, that the parched earth is receiving a bit of attention. tofino, my destination of next weekend, is certainly in need of some water. i just hope we are all done with it by the time i get there, as tenting in the rain has limited charm.

perhaps later i will venture out to capture georgia strait in a fury of whitecaps, but for now i will stay cozy with my knitting and a loaf of bread rising on the stove.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

forest walk...

the air is getting crisper by the day, although the sun is still making its best efforts to stay, creeping in between the rain clouds. could just be a "sucker hole" though - i know a few who argue that any sunshine on the west coast is a sucker hole - the rain is always on its way. i'll take what i can get anyway. or maybe i am just used to the cycle, although i don't look forward to november's steady downpour. i've been steadily making soup since autumn began to show it's face, but i better slow down so i am not tired of it when i need a warm winter pick-me-up.
explored a new little spot on the sunshine coast yesterday, a small park with walking trails through thick forest and beside trickling creeks. unfortunately i was without tripod and most of my shots came out blurry, but a few turned out i hope. happily i was going for the soft-water look.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

west coast dreaming...

am enjoying a bit of sun today as i hear the fall weather will be arriving tomorrow. still, i'm definitely ready for a bit of fall.

A. and i are heading to the west coast - tofino! - next weekend for the surf kayak festival and i can't wait. it's been over a year since i wiggled my toes in long beach sand, and listened to crashing waves - i can taste the salt air already. i know, i live beside the ocean, but it's not the same as the real west coast. i have posted this photo taken last year which i think offers a good feel for the experience. even when the beaches are crowded, you can usually find a spot where you are the only person around, eyeing shells in the sand and staring off to japan.

the paddle fest is also a great time to meet up with friends and long lost acquaintances, take some photos, and get one last "summer" camping trip in. i wish i was there already.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

big water...

in awe of the power of the ocean, the swirling, writhing force that can capture and captivate the unwary and unprepared body or mind. [too much melodrama?] we finally hiked out to see the mighty skookumchuk rapids in the late afternoon light, an "XL" flood tide that proved to be even more amazing than expected. i think i could have sat there for hours, had not the cold and fading light of the sun continued to creep up on me.

in awe too, of the paddlers who venture out to challenge themselves on the big waves, paddling hard for that one shot, and if failing, going on the long tour down to where the current finally abates, and then the long paddle back up. there are so many types of whitewater - river, surf and more, but tidal rapids are a phenomenon uncomparable to anything else.

for those not in the know, skookumchuk is one of many tidal rapids on the west coast, where the ocean is forced through the narrow passage into sechelt inlet, causing a huge overfall and currents up to 30 km/h. as it passes over the shallow bottom, waves and holes spring up, creating a whitewater kayaker's dream. for those not familiar with tidal currents, i highly recommend seeking some out - you too will be awe of the power.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

high as a kite...

well, actually quite a bit higher than that. went up to desolation sound this afternoon for a quick tour with my boss. i always seem to luck out with the weather when we fly, although today was a bit hazy. creates some interesting light, sometimes favourable as i think was the case for this shot. this shows the sound looking east toward vancouver island (note victoria & warden peaks on the right), with cortes and quadra islands in between. i love the low contrast - i think it would be perfect to make a quilt like this.

the second shot here is from another early evening beach walk. the tide was high, leaving only a little strip of sand and rocks to navigate along, the waves crashing at my feet.

Monday, September 04, 2006

sunsets & jellies...

it's a bad time of year for jellyfish. red-purple pancakes beached on the rocks, i stumble upon several in a row. sometimes they are not yet shipwrecked on the shore, but lapping in the waves at water's edge, waiting for the tide to drop and leave them stranded. i am never sure what causes this mass exodus from the sea, but there just seems to be certain times of year when they can be found. there are dozens of gelatinous mounds clinging to the rocks all the way along my short walk.

in the foreground of the photo above you can see one of the jellyfish stuck on the sand. this photo is a bit deceptive - while it was a beautiful sunset, the colours were more in the pale peaches and pinks. here i switched over to a tungsten filter for a few shots to change the mood.

last year, on a trip to tofino, we took to the expansive stretches of sand that i so love about the west coast, and discovered hundreds of electric blue sail jellyfish. after reading up, i discovered sail jellyfish cannot propel themselves, but are swept hither and thither according to the ocean's currents. therefore, their plight on the beach made more sense - they had no choice. but these large maroon jellies - i don't get it.

i had a wonderful walk in the fading light while A. took a small group on a sunset kayak tour. what a perfect night to be on the water.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

the wonders of nature...

secretly i aspire to be a wildlife photographer, but know that a big part of that is putting yourself in the right place. although i live in a great area where the wildlife opportunities abound - whales, bears, marine mammals, birds, ungulates - i either don't have the patience or the luck to spot them often (or only do when there is no camera at hand). thus this little gem made my day.

i spotted (well, almost tripped over) this little harbour seal pup while walking on the beach near roberts creek. he was very complacent and posed quite readily for photos. i was worried he might be injured, but he was in a protected spot away from (most) prying eyes, so i let him be. was later assured that mom seals occasionally leave their pups on shore while they fish. as he was gone later that night, i will assume that was the case.
living on the west coast, i must admit i've become quite complacent about seals, as we see them all the time. but getting this up close and personal was definitely a cool moment.