Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Six Short Stories About August

Whoa! What just happened?
The last thing I remember, it was July 30. I sat down to finish and polish up my handouts for a couple of workshops. Then there is this blur. And now it's September!
So what did happen to August? Let's look...
1.) As I mentioned, I sat down to finish a few handouts for my workshops in Gibsons. This, somehow led to me deciding that I needed to make illustrations, which led to buying a new scanner, which led to having to learn a new Adobe Photoshop program, which led to no time to eat, sleep, or pack.

I still have work to do honing my computer skills, but I now believe I understand why so many techno types are so pale and skinny. I takes forever to create even the simplest illustrations with this modern convenience we call the computer. You do not see the light of day, and the only food you have time to prepare is Pizza Pops. Give me a pencil and paper any day!

2.) At some point, I decided enough was enough and packed a bag full of clothes and a couple of bins of fibre. I gathered up my family, including Brendan, and we set off for the West Coast.

Awwww, look at us! Four-fifths of the clan, on our way to join the fifth one in Vancouver. What could possibly go wrong?


Yep. Car died, just a few kilometers past Mount Robson. We had to be towed into Valemount to get it fixed, but the CAA guy neglected to mention to the tow truck driver that there were 4 of us to transport. Steve and Julia went off with Doug, our friendly tow-truck dude, and Brendan and I waited for the local taxi. When we hopped in, we were informed that we would be sharing with "some rock band" that was coming back from whitewater rafting. Okay.

I rode shotgun with the driver and learned a lot life in Valemount. Brendan got tucked in the back with her young sons and learned a lot about T. Rex (the dinosaur, not the band) The band got in and pretty much chatted amongst themselves and, occasionally with me and the driver. Turns out that The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus are pretty decent travelling companions. (I'm sure that will do wonders for their reputation!)

Sooo, we spent a day in Valemount, B.C. waiting for a part to come from Kamloops. There is a salmon spawning viewpoint in Valemount, and we spent a lot of time pondering the life cycle of the Coho salmon and watching them struggle to reproduce. Lots of little fishy fights!

Saturday morning, we were ready to go, but not before photographing the culprit in this little detour. Cracked manifold. Seriously, Ford, who puts a plastic manifold into the largest vehicle they manufacture?

3.) We made it to the Coast with out further incident. All was well. We went to White Rock on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. All was wonderful!

Look at the fun we were having!

Then I dropped my cell phone in the ocean.

There are no photos of me sitting on the beach, crying. Or of the mad dash up to the mall to buy a new phone. Or of the lovely and helpful young woman who helped me get a great deal on the new phone.

But there are pictures of me and all my babies together.

Once I recovered my equilibrium, it was a wonderful day...

...ending in a spectacular sunset. All was good again.

4.) Many adventures ensued in Vancouver. We went to the Vancouver Aquarium.

There were jellyfish.

We explored Stanley Park.

We played on Jericho Beach.

We ate wonderful meals and just plain enjoyed one another's company. I have amazing children (two of whom are now, technically, amazing adults) and I love spending time with them, both individually and as a group. Sadly, we are getting rather spread out, so this time together was extra-special for me. Well worth the car repairs and the cell phone!

5.) Off to Gibson's Landing Fibre Arts Festival! This was my second year teaching there, and I absolutely love this festival. The organizers, the students, the vendors and the community all combine to make the festival...simply amazing.

I taught two workshops, String Theory and Short and Sweet. I had two wonderful, smart and inquisitive groups of students who kept me on my toes, and, I must confess, I did a wee bit of shopping. (More on that in another post.)

Steve and Julia went kayaking and explored the Gibsons area and took me out for some more fabulous meals.

I eated a crab.

All was good. (Well, for me. Things didn't work out so well for the crab.)

6.) We came home.

Fort McMurray holds an annual event called The Country Fair. Though this arts and crafts exhibition and competition has struggled to go on after the demise of the Blueberry Festival, which used to host it, The Country Fair has persevered.

So, almost on impulse, I thought I should put some items in, if for no other reason than to raise the profile of handspinning hereabouts. On Friday evening, I dropped off my Fire and Water shawls, a crocheted top of handspun tussah silk, and 3 skeins of novelty yarn.

I popped in to see the show on Saturday afternoon. All I can say is "Wow". There is a wealth of hidden talent lurking out there in a community that has a very low-profile arts and crafts community. Knitting, crochet, painting, quilting, photography, pottery, sewing, and Lego artists abound.

There was no judging, but rather, winners were chosen by popular vote by the public.

The people spoke. And I won 5 ribbons! The crocheted top took first in Crochet-Garments, Fire took 3rd in Knitted-Garments, one of my skeins took 3rd in "Miscellaneous" (in competition with turned wood bowls and scrapbooking!), and Water took 1st in Knitted-Garments as well as Best of Division (Knitting). Whoo-hoo!

I'm not really in this for the prizes. I spin for my own pleasure and I'm thrilled when others acknowledge my skill, but I'm not terribly competitive. However, I am inordinately proud of the fact that the general public liked my work enough to vote for it. Especially my skein of yarn.

At first glance, a 3rd-place ribbon doesn't seem like much of an accomplishment for a Master Spinner, but in context, it is astonishing. There was no category for handspinning, and the organizers had no idea where to put my skeins. So, miscellaneous it was. A catch-all category that included wood-turning, beading, and scrapbooking. Amongst this wild array of very different craft techniques, my skein was acknowledged. Thank you, Fort McMurray!

So, now I'm home and it's September. There is much to be done, preserving fresh veggies from the local market garden and my own wee patch, clearing up the paperwork from the last couple of months, much spinning.

Last night a flock of geese flew overhead, headed south. I was serenaded to sleep by the coyotes on Birchwood Trail. The stars are bright and clear and the leaves are turning.

Time to settle in for the fall.


  1. Anonymous6:26 PM

    Glad you're back! Thanks for the stories and pictures. August was a real dry spell for both gardening and blog-watching. The tweets kept me going, but just barely. Supposed to rain this weekend :) ~Jen~

  2. Wow! You did great at the summer fair! WTG!

    I guess I should have gone down there on Saturday just to place my votes!