On Family, Learning, and Play

Today, in some Canadian provinces, is Family Day. It's a fairly new statutory holiday, and is most welcome in the long stretch between New Years and Spring Break. Coming as it did this year after a week of snow days and professional development days, students and teachers have had a very long break. Tomorrow it's back to normal. 

My parents came over this weekend. We enjoyed visiting, relaxing, reading, eating, and a couple of games of Scrabble. We went for a long drive and a short walk in Sooke before going out for lunch at Mom's Cafe, a diner that has been serving good food since 1964. They left on the ferry this morning. 

On Saturday our eldest daughter and our son came over with their families for a casual supper. I invited the grandchildren to bring along their marshmallow shooters, given at Christmas, saying I would provide the ammunition. It was wild and fun with grownups and children alike chasing each other around the house. Now I'm finding marshmallows all over…

Friday Bliss: Tea, cookies, and SNOW

Bunches of ranunculus appeared in the store this week. Tight buds that will open into layers of pink. I couldn't resist and a small bouquet made its way home with me. 

The big news this week has been the weather. Snow, snow, snow - and more snow. It's been beautiful. School was cancelled for an unprecedented three days in a row. I went for long walks on my own to enjoy the transformed landscape. It's not cold, and so lovely out there.

On Wednesday, I took two grandchildren to visit their cousin, about 15 minutes away. The snow was all the entertainment they needed. 

Driving was fine on the main roads, but our town has few snowplows and side streets were slippery and messy. Coming home I lost traction on the hill on our street, backed up to a clear patch of pavement for traction and set off again, this time with a heavier foot. I made it, but just barely. Later, I saw some of our neighbours out shoveling the street because they could not make it, either.

My father taught me how…

Winter has arrived!

Our corner of Canada is much scorned by the rest of the country when we fuss about snow. It comes infrequently and is usually gone in a day or less. However, we've been in a "deep freeze", or perhaps just a cooler for the past week or so. Some snow fell late Friday, followed by punishing winds that battered against the house and caused multiple power outages, uprooted trees and debris to fly everywhere. 
On Sunday afternoon the snow began again, this time in earnest. Tim and I went for a long walk. It was magical. Fat snowflakes landed on our faces and we turned our open mouths upwards to catch them, bits of cold on our tongues. Snow fell until around 9 or 10 pm. This morning is white and beautiful - and schools are cancelled. More snow is falling. I'm looking forward to taking a walk on my own later this morning. 

Today is this fellow's 5th birthday. He had his friend party last weekend, followed by a little family party here on Sunday. His birthday is a reminder …

Of Light and Shadow on a Friday Morning

Children and children-at-heart are impatiently watching the skies this dark morning. We are waiting for snow. A few lazy flakes drift to the ground as I write. Not enough for a snow-day from school! Ah well, perhaps we'll be able to play in the snow this weekend. I'm hoping so.

Last Saturday we went for lunch with some friends. Our view included a boat-builders' dock and the old boat above. It doesn't look like the best advertisement for the business, but certainly has plenty of character. The day was gloomy with clouds and that's certainly reflected in the photo. 

On another day this week, I drove out to Island View Beach for a walk. The late afternoon light was so clear with temperatures hovering around the freezing mark. (That's cold for us.) Mount Baker, in Washington State, glowed white and blue.

The light transformed rose hips into almost translucent orbs of colour. Soon they will all fall and be replaced by fresh wild blossoms. 

Storms and waves toss up huge…

Remembering Summer

We had our first skiff of snow last night. The grandchildren are excited for more in the forecast, as am I. We'll see. Very often these weather warnings are greatly exaggerated. It is dark and chilly out there, with a wind that nips at ears and nose, although nothing like the effects in the middle of the continent. 

We had our local families over for lunch after church to celebrate a little boy turning 5 soon. The girls made tissue paper parachutes and jumped off of things so the parachutes would puff up. Very creative. 

After they left I sat by the fire doing some hand stitching on my quilt and my mind cast back to last summer's boating adventures. And so I thought I'd tell you of one of the most interesting people we met on our travels in the rather remote Broughton Island Archipelago. 

Billy Proctor is a legend in these islands, and along the coast. Bill was born in 1934 so he's the same age as my father. Bill lived his entire life on the coast and has worked as a hand…

Five for Friday, at the end of January

Schools here began Semester 2 this week. Both of my classes (I teach part time) are in the afternoon, a change from last semester where one was in the morning and one after lunch. I'm finding a wonderful spaciousness of time in having my mornings free. This semester I'm teaching Spanish 10 and Foods 8, an introduction to cooking. 

The flame-coloured tulips brightened the room for almost two weeks, then drooped and began to dry. I left them on the windowsill because I enjoy watching the petals curl and twist. This particular bloom seems to have been swaying to music and just stopped in position. They've now been relegated to the compost bin. 

Two loaves - date and banana cooling on the counter last weekend. I asked Tim which one I should wrap and freeze, and he chose the banana. Date loaf is his favourite. It's mostly gone now. 

These are the books I've been dipping in and out of this week. I finished The Chilbury Ladies' Choir last night - a thoroughly enjoyable r…

Creativity in the Woods

On a walk in the woods today with our local family, I thought about creativity. One definition is "the use of the imagination or original ideas..." 

There are plenty of original ideas in the woods. Moss and lichens, for instance. Such intricate handwork designed by the Creator. 

Along the trail someone had collected and propped up a line of sticks. A creative child? A whimsical and creative adult? Whoever did it, I imagine they had a lot of fun. 

One family brought along a bag of rocks they had painted and hid them along the trail for others to find. It's part of the Sooke to Sidney Rock Hunt. 

An enormous hollow cedar tree sparked all sorts of creative play. Scattered sticks and branches were collected for a fire, which was then used to...

toast chocolate-covered pretzels, followed by an "campfire dance". 

Here's another photo to give an idea of the size of this tree. Although the day was grey, and the woods rather gloomy, everyone had a wonderful time.

Woods. Be…