Category Archives: Uncategorized

Bushed in the Bay

The school year is winding down to a close, and may Heaven be praised. I am fighting the good fight in a music room in a school up-island; I’ve lasted a couple of weeks there, and I’m running out of ideas. It reminds me of when I married John Darling – I got him to the altar before I ran out of recipes I knew off by heart. Of course, this system broke down after we were married. A couple of weeks after the nuptials I placed in front of him a dinner of beans festooned with chunks of pineapple. It was not well-received.
I am running out of campfire action songs, and I can drum up only so many backstories for the classical pieces I play. “Henry VIII was the meanest king England ever had, but he wasn’t a bad musician. This was his ‘hit’. And anyone who talked or made racket while Henry VIII was playing his ‘hit’ would probably be executed. Just sayin’.” However, for some reason Grade ones and twos find fingerplays fascinating, and they will sit still for a chance to be the bear that ‘climbs over the mountain’ – thinly disguised as a common classroom chair. Also the older children are interested in the story of how I got thrown off the community piano at Cowichan Bay. “And this is the piece I’m pretty sure that did it.” Then I rip through 8 pages of ‘Bumble Boogie.”
The Vancouver Boat Show this year was a hit. I sold a bunch of books and had a good time, but the event will forever remembered among the BC Marine Authors as ‘The Great Stench of 2019.’ There we were – standing right next to the men’s washroom with pained looks on our faces. They tried perfume. They tried ventilation. Then someone decided to flush the drains and – a miracle! We could endure the rest of the Boat Show. Nobody warns you of any of this at the start of your writing career.
Speaking of writing career, my children’s chapter book trilogy is out – for the horrific price of $13.00 a book (my cost was about $12.00 a book!). The artwork on the cover, and inside, is amazing, thanks to the talented artists who pulled together to make this happen. So for $45.00 mailed out, you may own ‘Jessica and the Polar Bear (Even the Cubs Bite), ‘Jessica and the Dog (Some Dogs aren’t Friendly) and ‘Jessica and the Plane (some planes land hard). The books would be best for children 8 – 9 years old. I apologize in advance that this price is about the same as half a week’s groceries. Or maybe a quarter of a week – groceries have gone up too.
I think I shall publish one more boating book, and then I’ll be done for awhile. “I’ve run out of things to say,” I told a friendly Educational Assistant at the school I’ve been at for a couple of weeks. “Not YOU,” she said. When I told the story to my husband, he laughed all out of proportion to the joke, bless his heart.
John Darling’s stents are holding well, and turns out he doesn’t have dementia after all – he was just a little low on oxygen for awhile. He’s presently no more foolish than when I married him. The sun is up, my sailing dinghy is rigged, and life is good.
May Heaven bless you all.
Catherine

Catherine’s New Books

Hot off the presses! 

Three new titles are being driven to Mill Bay from the bindery even as we speak!  These new titles are a departure from my boating books – they explore the misspent childhood of a young girl named ‘Jessica’ who grew up in Churchill, Manitoba 50 years ago, which coincidentally I did.

The books are strictly fiction, but to be safe, I got my parents to agree to not sue me.
Enjoy Jessica’s antics as she digs through the gravel in her front yard with her mother’s best dessert spoon to replant flowers with a three-foot taproot.  Agonize with her as she worries about what fabric the Hudson Bay Company will put on sale in time for Hallowe’en and her costume,  Mourn with her when her friend is killed by a pack of dogs.

Ever wondered what it was like to grow up in a small Arctic village? Now you know.The books are suggested for 12 and up, but with parental oversight, would be great for younger children as well.

So here they are –

Jessica and the Polar Bear (even the cubs bite!)

Jessica and the Dog (some dogs aren’t friendly)

Jessica and the Plane (some planes land hard)

I’ll be pushing these and my other titles at the Boat Show in Vancouver Feb 6 to 10. John and I will be at the Marine Author’s Booth, and I’ll be making some presentations as well – cooking with nonstandard appliances on a boat (5 pm Feb 7), and ‘Anchoring in the Gulf Islands – tips for the anxious first mate’ (12 pm Feb 6 and 3:15 pm Feb 8)
See you there!

Vancouver Boat Show – Feb 6 to 10, 2019


 

Tortiere and Christmas Naps – more Seasonal Happiness

This is the Christmas I stood in our storage locker, in front of a grubby bag full of home-made Christmas cards, surrounded by cassette tapes, life jackets, dinghy paddles and enough sock yarn to potentially cause death by moths, and thought, “Naaaa – I can’t handle Christmas cards this year.” Besides, I’d have had to lean over two kerosene heaters, a suitcase full of knitting patterns and the keel of my sailing dinghy to reach the bag. Also, I was discouraged. I was cut to the quick because I COULD NOT find the Christmas tree (all 18 inches of it) that I’d bought at Canadian Tire 21 years ago for $15.00. Decorations? check. Lights? check. But no tree. So I gave in, left the tree where it was (wherever that is), and bought a brand new one at the Salvation Army Thrift Store for $5.00. Five dollars! I was thrilled. Until I got it home and discovered the teensy little base was so narrow it wouldn’t stay standing. John Darling to the rescue! He gave it a ‘Cowichan Bay fix’ with a sawed-down two-by-four plank and some industrial-strength glue. The man is a genius.
THIS was the year my tree wouldn’t fall over in the December storms and spray miniature tree decorations into the bilge.
I was wrong. We were hit with ‘the Great Windstorm of 2018,’ and among the trees that fell over was my Christmas tree. More worrisome than the tree decorations we stepped on, was the power. For three days there wasn’t any. And though we had enough kerosene heat to stave off hypothermia, the candles did not really light things up, and – wait for it – there was no TV. John Darling was quite unhappy.
The last day of school before the Christmas break, I was tasked to teach at a middle school in town. I set off in my car in the direction of Duncan, and barely cleared Hecate Park before I spotted the police tape across the road – and the giant tree felled across the road, too. “Gosh,” I thought. “I’ll try the other direction.” But at the bottom of the hill, only a few hundred yards from the first barrier, was a line of orange cones. My only option was Wilmot Road, which I’m ashamed to say I know nothing about even though I’ve lived here for 20-odd years, but I pulled a right, drove up and hill and started twisting and turning through a most confusing subdivision. “Surely not left,” I thought every now and then. “This looks like a good place to turn right.” By some miracle, I was spat out the other end of Wilmot onto a road from which I could spot the highway. Victory! Though I did question whether I’d ever find my way home again.
Anyway, it was the last day of school, so I was asked to watch Christmas movies in the school theatre for six hours, which if I may say, is probably a health and safely issue. I hope I never have to watch ‘Elf’ again in the entire course of my life. (Also potentially deeply offensive was the rendition in the course of the movie of ‘Baby it’s Cold Outside’, but that’s an issue that has been played out on Facebook by all kinds of people with not enough to do)
I DID make it home safely. John Darling, in a different car, became hopelessly lost on his way home and would still be driving around Wilmot Road if some helpful drivers hadn’t tooted their horns at him and otherwise made themselves useful. Then after they’d complained about the way John tried to make up his mind at stop signs, they probably all went home to complain about politically incorrect Christmas songs.
You’ll all be glad to know that after the power came back on, the Christmas decorations were all picked up off the floor, and we’d had hot showers, we were much more cheerful and sweet-smelling.
Christmas day a friend invited us over for Tortiere. Elk, venison and pork in a flaky pastry crust – Marie is a wonderful cook. We came home full of tortiere and good cheer, and spent the rest of the day in a happy coma.
Christmas eve I’d cooked a turkey, so now, 3 days after Christmas, we are marking the fourth day of turkey soup for dinner. John Darling is starting to notice.
My Christmas present this year was a second-hand touch-sensitive keyboard that weighs more than my car. I keep it in the forward cabin and lug it out once a day to practise in the main saloon. Alas, for the couple of hours I practise (anything that weighs THAT much, you leave out for a good practise session), nobody can get by to use the head. No system is perfect, and in the mean time, I am having the time of my life. John Darling’s Christmas present was the earphones I use while I practise. He asks for a Ferrari every year, but once again Santa failed him.
My three ‘Arctic’ children’s chapter books should be ready in 3-4 weeks. I’m starting to think this might actually happen! Yay!
May Heaven bless you this Sacred Season and always.
Catherine

Merry Merry Dribbling Christmas

I am suffering from my annual 3-month winter virus. Darn those little kindergarten snot-dribblers, anyway! Children are delightful, but they are disease factories.
I came home from work on Friday and worked for awhile on translating Egyptian hieroglyphs out of sheer humiliation. Friday was the day that a little girl, aged five, critiqued my numeral ‘four’ and found it wanting. “Mrs. Dook,” she said, “I have a problem with your ‘four.’ Both the sticks have to be high. Here – I’ll show you.” Then she took my dry erase marker out of my hand and demonstrated on the board. This was in front of two classes of children (our big-buddies, a grade 4 class) were in the room as well, and their student teacher laughed so hard she nearly fell over. A day earlier this same child (she reminds me of me), corrected my numeral ‘two.’ “There is no loop,” she told me gravely.
I was in that class for over a week, and did I ever have a good time! there was a keyboard in the room, with a sustaining pedal, so I played improving tunes for the children – like Henry the VIII’s ‘Pastime with Good Company’ (“He was a really mean guy,” I told the children, “but he was a good composer.”) and ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town.’ They received both with equal enthusiasm, bless their hearts. (“A KING,” one of them said. “He was a REAL KING.”) There is a real King at Christmas too, but I wasn’t allowed to talk about him. And upon reflection, it’s probably a good thing. School is the wrong place to have religious debates, so the more secular they make Christmas at schools, the better. Don’t water down religion – either eliminate it or give the full dose. That’s what I say, anyway.
John Darling and I went to a fundraiser Syrian dinner the other night. My glory, how our refugee family can cook! Based on the quality of the Syrian cuisine we tasted the other night, my vote is that we let more Syrians into this country. Frankly, Canadian cuisine could use the boost. There was slow-roasted chicken on fragrant rice, and grape vine leaves wrapped around lemon-flavoured rice, and spinach pies with a pastry cover, and flatbread and sauces to go with, and little round deep-fried bean balls, and two kinds of dessert, one of them flat and honey-flavoured, and the other little sweetened shredded wheat nests with an almond in the middle.
Wonderful!
Tonight, despite my sore throat, I intend to put on my cruiser suit and join my friend MIchelle in her Seagull engine-powered dinghy for the Cowichan Bay sailpast.Last summer Michelle and I entered the Seagull dinghy race (and came in last, but that’s another story). Any day on the water where nobody falls in is a success.
Our two-foot-tall thrift-store tree is up. This year’s tree is new to us. I could not find the other one I’ve used for the last 20 years. It is buried somewhere in storage, never to be found again. As soon as we got our new $5.00 tree home from the Salvation Army thrift store, I noticed that the base was so narrow that the tree tipped over every time the boat rocked, so John Darling glued the base onto a square of plyboard. This is another wonderful example of doing things ‘the Cowichan Bay Way.’ Our philosophy is ‘put a bowl under it’ and ‘put a tarp over it’. The Cowichan Bay philosophy is worth living by.
And good news – we’re on Tulla’s soup list. Nobody makes soup like Tuula. Last week it was chicken with coconut milk and curry.
Some wonderful person gave me a bag of quinces. The only encounter I’d ever had with a quince was many years ago while reading ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’. Here is the excerpt – “We dined on mince and slices of quince Which we ate with a runcible spoon.” My mother explained ‘runcible (curved)’, but she didn’t know what a quince was either.
Well, folks, here it is: A quince is a cross between a pear and an apple and a rock. They’re covered with a kind of grey greasy fuzz you have to wash off, and then you grate your brains out until you get to the core (which is even more rock-like than the flesh), and then you cook and cook and cook until the jam is set (this takes awhile), and then you turn the lumps into jars which you process in a water bath. It takes hours, but John Darling loves quince jam.
I have only two burners on my stove, but I have a system.
Incidentally, I have no idea how the Owl and the Pussycat could have possibly dined on ‘slices of quince’ because the fruit is so bitter you need to add pounds of sugar to the gratings to make a palpable jam.
Quinces are fascinating little suckers.
And that’s all the news that’s fit to print. May God bless you this Holiday Season and always!
Catherine

Mildew and Blackberry Jam

It’s that time of year! The crop is in. I went blackberry picking today and came home with the first fruits of the new crop. In my eagerness to cash in on all that wonderful juicy fruit, I rushed down the dock without socks. It was touch and go whether I would make it home with enough berries to make jam before I was overcome with ankle lacerations. But pshaw! A few scratches hardly slowed me down. Then I opted to boil up a couple of batches of jam tonight, which might have been a bad call on account of the heat. So I’m typing as fast as can before we’re both overcome with heat exhaustion.
We’ve had a nasty spring. John Darling had a heart problem none of us knew about, and his cardiologist guessed wrong and thought he could last three or four months before they stented him, but the family doctor, may Heaven bless her, put her foot down and squabbled with the specialist until he bumped John up on the list. Now stented, he is recovering, though we’re not going boating this summer. I cheated and wrote a few magazine articles using the ‘research and ferry rides’ system.
We did buy a sailing dinghy, so I shall paddle out to the middle of the bay some day soon and look for wind. John Darling promises to stand by with the inflatable dinghy if I fall in.
We flew to Yellowknife to visit with our wonderful family, and meet the newest member. Little Catherine is a terribly clever baby, I must say, but she gets her good looks from her great-grandpa, or so John says. We flew Air Canada. Never do that. We flew Economy AIr Canada. Never do that. “Only one stopover on the way there, and only two on the way back,” I told my husband. Then as we waited nine extra hours in the Edmonton International Airport for our connecting flight, I leaned over to the man I love and said, “You can thank me later for booking this flight.” We fell into bed in Yellowknife at 4:00 AM, and frankly, at our age, this is not good. But meeting us at the airport was Maggie and Ryan and Kelly, and that is the kind of family devotion that we live for. On the way back we were delayed only an extra 2 1/2 hours, got lost in Victoria on our way back from the airport (It was then I discovered my night vision has deteriorated to nil – eye exam pending), and fell into bed at midnight. Sigh. I would like to pause here and publicly thank Hemstalk Motors of Cowichan Bay, who had fixed my headlights before we left for our Air Canada adventure. Those guys are the absolute best. You tell them something like, “Please fix these headlights,” and you end up with more light than you’ve ever had on a vehicle before in your entire driving life. Those headlights were brightened, polished, replaced, and aimed in exactly the right direction. (I own a new-to-me Nissan that I love. My Kia, I am ashamed to say, I foisted off on a very nice Syrian refugee, but I didn’t charge him much. He’ll probably get about a year out of it before he starts hating Canadians. At least I warned him). So as we wandered through the Gorge in Victoria, and then View Royal, we had light, light, light. If only I could have read the signs. Luckily John Darling was driving. He doesn’t read signs as a matter of policy. It’s a guy thing. He goes on instinct. “I bet the highway’s this way,” he says.
Some wonderful person donated a piano to Cittislow, and they plunked (pun intended) it down in the middle of Cowichan Bay. The reason I haven’t been writing my blog is because I’ve been putting in a couple of quality hours on the piano every day for nearly five months now. I’m at the stage where I can listen to myself play and sort of enjoy it. As I recall, I quit as a teenager because I was just musical enough to make it excruciating to listen to myself butcher the classics. Luckily now I’m half-deaf. Bonus! Old age has benefits you might never appreciate unless you’re old and wise enough to identify them. And on the subject, I now have a hearing aid for my left ear. I leave it off when I play, so I have the best of two worlds. May Heaven bless you and keep you, and may your life always have music. Catherine xxoo

Went to the Vancouver Boat Show and Lived!

We made it back alive! Well, think of that!
The Vancouver International Boat Show was its usual draining and rewarding self. Some people laughed at my jokes, and one woman sneered because I’m a liveaboard. “Like most people who live on their boats,” (I started well) “We leave less of an environmental footprint than those who live on land. We use not much water, we don’t use bleach at all, and like many of the people at Cowichan Bay, we own a composting toilet.” There. I ended by talking about our composting toilet – whitened throne, source of pride and. . . . MOST people who live on land don’t discuss their toilets. This is a subtle distinction between land-dwellers and boat-dwellers that isn’t often explored. Mercifully, I shall stop here.
She said she’d ‘think about it.’ By this time I was pretty mad at her. As I watched her self-righteous and indignant back, I thought loudly, “Don’t think too hard, Honey.”
So you see, my Christmas spirit of kindliness and goodwill to all has evaporated like the vinegar I spray on the urine collection chamber of our composting. . . Stop! Stop!
I sold 38 books, which is respectable and paid for six nights in our favourite two-star hotel and two ferry rides. We did not, of course, actually make a PROFIT. PROFIT is for other writers – like the kind who live in the US of A.
Last time we stayed at the Ivanhoe, we tipped our tiny Oriental houseperson $5.00, so THIS year we got a clean room – or at least clean by most standards. The sheets were nylon and a bit split at the seams, but there was a fridge (wiped out and sparkling), a radiator (leaked one day but someone came up and turned it off for us), a dribble of running water out of a clean sink, a mirror with an odd assortment of brass hooks screwed into the wooden frame, some crooked blinds, and out the window a view of the street below and a bit of park. The ceiling is very high and has pipes (painted white to match the walls and ceiling) running overhead. The staff at the Ivanhoe are lovely and very kind to us, the price is right, and there is free parking behind the hotel if you jostle for space a bit at about 4:00 pm as the sun is setting and people leave in their cars.
So when some of our fellow-authors made a pit stop at the Ivanhoe on Friday evening to borrow the facilities next to the bar, they exclaimed the next day that they had never before seen so many disreputable people in one place. “The Ivanhoe?” We said, “You should have visited us! We are staying there!” They looked horrified, but then some people have no sense of adventure. FYI, the patrons north of the bar on the 5th floor look a little down on their luck, but they are quiet and people are people. We had a great time.
By the time I’d made my last presentation (on Sunday – the last day of the boat show), I had all the juice sucked out of me, but my audience was polite, bless their hearts. The audience before them did not laugh at my ‘seagull stew’ story – they were obviously seagull-lovers, and they stared at me with strained and horrified faces. I shall stick to talks about anchoring, about which I know precious little, but that has never stopped me.
The drive back through Vancouver the next day was truly dreadful. “Left! Left! Merge your brains out! Right! Right! Take this exit – are we going the right direction on Marine Drive? Follow the signs to Whistler! Yes, I know we really want Departure Bay, but follow the signs to Whistler! Wasn’t that the exit to Turner? Woops – it was!”
Then home and I was immediately plunged back into substitute teaching. The night of the tsunami warning, at 3 AM our neighbour Gordie ran up and down the docks banging on boat hulls and roaring at us to get to higher ground, so John and I got dressed, grabbed the boat papers, personal documents and first-aid kit, a portable radio, a phone and my knitting,and we hot-footed it for the highest-sitting Tim Hortons we could find. iut of interest, you should know that I am not at my knitting best at 3:30 AM. We listened to our radio until Environment Canada told us the tsunami warning was done, and then we went home. At the side of the road we saw our neighbour unloading two sleepy children and a frightened cat. We were too wide awake to sleep the hour and a half we had left to us before the alarm would go off, and I actually had to work that day. so I staggered off to entertain some 12-year-olds.
I am too old for tsunami warnings, but better a warning than a tsunami.
To entertain myself, I am presently knitting socks with vibrant and clashing colours and reading (still!) Samuel Pepys’ Diary.Our man Samuel lived during the reign of Charles II of England, and survived the plague and the fire of London. I have found out who Samuel Pepys’ wife is. She is cousin to Lord Sandwich, who is Samuel’s powerful patron. Samuel is violently jealous of his wife’s dancing-master, yet he ‘towses’ Mrs. Lane of the fat white thighs, who will submit to all this for a lobster dinner. “John,” I told my husband, “what is ‘towsing’?” “I don’t know,” John said, “But for a lobster dinner I’d consider it.”
May God bless you and keep you. May the waters of despair never overwhelm you, and the Devil never tempt you to ‘towse’.
Catherine

Library Event – Feb 17th in Duncan – Catherine offers a light read from her latest works

Catherine Dook offers a light read from her latest works. Darling the Gulf Islands Have Moved (or our anchor has drifted) and “Darling, Don’t Try This at Home” – Recipes from Mottle Cove

Sat. February 17th Vancouver Island Regional Library (Cowichan Branch) Duncan BC (All Ages)

Visit Cowichan Culture for more info.

Catherine’s Latest Book! – Darling the Gulf Islands Have Moved (or our anchor has drifted)

Catherine’s Latest Book – Darling the Gulf Islands Have Moved (or our anchor has drifted)

Catherine and John are liveaboards and philosophers, but they are not very good boaters. Enjoy Catherine’s stories about meandering around the Gulf Islands dispensing engine exhaust and blackberry jam, catching mooring buoys and colliding with docks and discovering the meaning of life among the salal and seaweed. Or not.

And enjoy hearing about Catherine’s fish-flavoured and wonderful liveaboard neighbours. Ask, as Catherine does, why George of the Snowy-Beard feeds crows, wonder how to get on Tuula’s soup list and consider how much cast-iron cookware Erik can fit on his float home.

There is satisfaction in boating, and some joy, but only if your anchor doesn’t drag.

Signed copies are available for: $23.00(CAN). Price includes shipping in Canada. or: $22.0 (US). Price includes shipping to US. (price does not include any border charges). To purchase – Contact Me

Turkey Coma, Christmas Clean-out

I speak to you from a happy place. I’m high on turkey and homemade cranberry sauce, and I haven’t had an original thought for at least a week. This is a state much to be desired.
I don’t think I realized how tired I was. Tired of being dog-bitten, tired of cleaning up the mess the tenant left in the rental, and tired of catching diseases from delightful young children who incubate viruses as sport, I think.
Now I am not tired. I am relaxed. I am almost too relaxed to type. I am certainly too relaxed to make profound observations on the season, but I will say this:
Clearing out boat of debris and putting it all into storage is cleansing. Attending church and meaning it is wonderful. Ringing bells for the Salvation Army is fun. And spending all year knitting socks so you can gift every family member is an organizational feat of which I am very proud. Yessss – another Christmas pulled off by November 15.
So on Christmas day John Darling and I ate turkey sandwiches and watched BBC detective shows on TV and fielded telephone calls from all the children. It was wonderful. I’d attended church they day before, and cooked the turkey the week before, so we were coasting on Christmas Carol afterglow and leftovers on the actual day. We opened presents and congratulated eachother on still being in love and d still having all our own teeth. (the two are not connected)
So. . . . there’s another book coming out in a week, and another one a month or so after that. We’ve booked our favourite two-star hotel for the Vancouver International Boat Show, and I’ve dusted off my prompt cards so I can make a couple of coherent speeches. I don’t actually speechify – I wave my arms and dance around and crack jokes. It’s the same technique I use for substitute teaching. Last year I had one audience BEG me to read them the article that got me fired from BoatJournal’s cooking column. Luckily, they (the audience) thought it was funny. I’m sorry to say Boatjournal lacked the same sense of humour.
My next book is called, “Darling, the Gulf Islands have Moved ! (or our anchor has)” The book after that will be a departure from the rut I’ve written myself into – it’s the start of a series of children’s chapter books about growing up in the Arctic which coincidentally I did. I sent the manuscripts to my parents, and GOOD NEWS! They don’t intend to sue me. Publication is imminent.
Happy New Year, and many blessings.
Catherine

Merry Christmas from us and the Sealions

I have recovered from my dog attack, I’ve organized Christmas, we have tenants in place who are paying rent and not wrecking the joint (which makes a nice change from the last lot), John Darling’s hair, after dramatically falling out for no reason we can figure out, has all grown back, and the Cowichan Bay Sealions are sitting on the breakwater hooting and fighting and throwing fish in the air. It wouldn’t be Christmas without a pack of smelly sealions in the bay, so God Bless ‘Em!
I’m subbing steadily, and having a good time, though all this driving seems to be more than my hopeless little Kia can manage. This fall we have organized both a transmission replacement and a radiator refurbishment. Turns out the ONLY good thing about my Kia Rio is that when the temperature shoots through the roof, because of a dramatically failed radiator, the engine shuts down BEFORE everything melts. This is a good feature and greatly to be encouraged. However, when I’m a passenger in my own car (when John Darling is driving), you can be entertained by the sight of my spitting and snarling as I roll down my window to reach out to open my car door from the outside. The door latch doesn’t work from the inside. Some day I’ll get around to having it fixed, but I’m so dismayed by the other, systemic, problems, that so far I count it as trivial and a nuisance and not worth addressing – just spitting at.
My friend from Quadra Island scored enough sockyarn for me from a yarn store that went out of business to knit 45 pairs of women’s socks in autumn colours. I am delirious with happiness. And another friend from Oregon sent me a WHOLE BOXFUL of bee-you-tiful yarn which I have stored in storage RIGHT NEXT to the sockyarn. John Darling is under strict orders to make sure both stashes are accessible at all times. No tools in front! No car tires in the way! No pressure washers underfoot! Looking at the stack at the back in storage, even I admit I own quite a lot of yarn. A retired husband who runs errands and enough yarn to last me a lifetime – I am a fortunate woman. A little greedy, but fortunate.
The tree is up, all 18 inches of it, and it’s only fallen over twice when powerboaters burned past at incredible speeds. When my tree falls, it does rather spray ornaments. John calls it ‘Catherine’s Christmas Mess’. I admit it’s a touch overdecorated.
This season I’ve volunteered for the Salvation Army kettle program. They let me ring the jingle bells. It’s a lot of fun, and the weather’s mild, so I arrived at my first shift last night dressed in enough woolens to satisfy even a sheep and was actually warmish. I let a little baby in a carriage ring the bells twice by accident. I didn’t recognize him the second time because he was dressed in different clothes than when he went in. The father was a little abrupt the second time around – he seemed in a hurry to get somewhere. Also the child was sitting higher in his carriage – he might have been uncomfortable.
I’m subbing nearly every day, and though I can’t get my students to do much work at this time of year, it’s all fun. If everyone leaves smiling, it’s all good.
May the blessings of the Season be with you now and always. Merry Christmas.
Catherine