Thursday, September 5, 2013

They never did make it to Victoria…

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Do you remember the old Diorama at Knott’s Berry Farm? The one where a family is crossing the plains, in a covered wagon, and the little girl says to her mother, “Momma, I’m hungry.” I know Dear, just go to sleep,” her mother replies. Then the narrator in his deep booming voice comes on to say…”They never did make it that night.” Well, that’s how I felt about Victoria…we never did make it to the Inner Harbor, even though we made it to the island.

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We had a little bit of a problem with our GPS that kept sending us round and round and round in circles. Our plan was to meet up with some old friends, who had relocated to the island several years before, after we had visited Hatley Castle for my garden fix.
The day was so hot and I had dressed for cooler weather...much cooler. OI was it hot! So hot that we only stayed a very short while at the castle. After a brisk walk through the rose garden I found myself heading back to the parking lot striping off layers of clothing as I went. First the boots next the stockings, then  I dropped my petticoat on the pavement, and if I could’ve  taken off my sweater, I would have, but I didn’t for fear of frightening the Canadian geese.

We stood there by the car waiting in the sweltering heat, until our friends finally arrived.

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Did you know Victoria has traffic jams? Neither did we! So, instead of heading into the traffic we went straight to our friend’s house that over looks the sea. Such a beautiful sight to wake up to each and every day.
We had such a delightful time and were taken such good care of that I would have been perfectly happy to spend the rest of my holiday visiting with them, however we had a room waiting for us in Vancouver and a concert to attend. Oh yes, a concert, which was part of the reason we were there in the first place.

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You see, when I originally decided to take this little Holiday, I thought it would be fun to plan it around an event. And that event just happened to be a Loreena McKennitt concert that I THOUGHT was on Vancouver Island. But as it turned out it was on the mainland. So at the very last minute all of our arrangements had to be changed.

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The original plan was to fly into SeaTac Sunday morning, rent a car, hop on the Ferry, and spend four days at a lovely Inn on the island. The concert wasn’t until Tuesday evening so we’d have plenty of time for sight-seeing and visiting with our friends while we were there. In the planning…after I booked our flight and hotel…I decided to print out an itinerary and map out all the locations so we would know distances and how best to spend our time. The concert was to be held in the Queen Victoria Theater that I thought must be located behind the government buildings along the Inner Harbor. As the map route came into view my panic rose as I realized the concert was 3 hours and a ferry ride away from our hotel…Nooooo!

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In a panic, I quickly picked up the phone, and started canceling reservations to make new ones closer to the concert hall. What a pickle I found myself in! I certainly wasn’t looking forward to telling the hubby about my huge blunder and how everything had to be cancelled as well as re-arranged.
So our four days on the island turned into one, we added another Ferry ride and booked a hotel on the mainland.

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We ended up spending Monday night at our friends house and a quiet Tuesday morning visiting before driving to the ferry terminal and heading to Vancouver.
And so our journey continued…

Monday, September 2, 2013

On a Holiday…

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August 11, Twenty-thirteen,

hubby and I decided to set out on a long awaited adventure. One that I have been dreaming about for several years. A little Holiday that would allow us to soar high above the clouds, quietly glide through picturesque islands, swathed in mornings misty fog, then safely land on distant shores…hubby’s homeland…Canada! I don’t know why, but this country has stolen a piece of my heart. After years of living in the Big City, I’ve decided I’m not a Big City girl. I much prefer the wild spaces where the mountains reach the sands that tumble into the sea.

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There’s something to be said about the openness of the sea and the calming effect it has on ones soul…at least on mine. These past few years, I’ve felt a certain restless of heart, that seems only to be tamed by the raging sea. I am both at home and at peace, while reminded of the smallness of who I am and the immensity of the God that I love…and Who first loved me.

(Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.  His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters. He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.  And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.  I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen.)

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We had been here a few years before and I was captivated by its rugged natural beauty. Something we rarely see in a city made of concrete and steel.

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(These images are from our Ferry ride starting in Anacortes, WA and ending in Sydney B.C.)

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We sailed into Friday Harbor Monday morning…

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and I was sad to see that this beautiful Victorian had been torn down and replaced with shops. I guess progress continues its march across the landscape, even in town’s that appear not to be touched by time.

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We continued on our journey until we came to our destination…Sydney B.C.

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along the road we passed many many signs as we drove into Victoria…which we never saw. But that’s a tale for another day.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

It all began here…

In the old abandoned rose garden

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Where once there were nine beautiful rose bushes…growing…thriving…producing gorgeous, fragrant, flowers. And then the weeds set in…they took over. Hubby and I would go round and round about the weeds and what to do with them. He is an avid fan of Round Up, while I prefer to pull the infernal things out by their roots. So, the debate began about what to do with the area in question.

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A certain someone (that would be me) came up with the idea of ripping the entire garden out…posts and pickets included…and adding a sleeping porch to the side of the garage. I’ve always loved the idea of having somewhere to escape, from our hot summers, and a sleeping porch seemed the perfect solution. So we ripped out the roses and another year went by.

This year…2013…we decided to host Easter at Brambleberry Cottage and as I looked at the view from my kitchen window I was faced with a 16’x8’ pile of dirt…filled with weeds…still no sleeping porch…”but what about an Arbor covered in grapevines,” I thought to myself? That seemed like a perfect solution…so we began to dream and plan and build.

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By Easter we had the posts and cross beams up as well as a pea gravel floor beneath, but no paint and I debated as to whether I wanted to paint at all. What about just leaving the wood as it was. But I, being a girl who LOVES COLOR was not about to paint it white!!! I am so OVER WHITE!!! Now don’t get me wrong because I do enjoy all the varying shades that white has to offer, as long as they’re mixed with texture, texture, texture! But white by itself with just white…no thank you!
God has created so many gorgeous hues, shades, and tints in nature, as well as giving us red and green cones to view all the colors of a rainbow. So why would we want to limit our eyes to just whites?

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Well, I can see that I’ve gone off on a little rabbit trail and need to find my way back to what I was thinking. Oh yes! The arbor and color. As you can see I decided to go with green. It’s a lovely shade that my images don’t quite reflect, but I would have to say it’s close to leaf green.

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Then I decided to add a back wall to my arbor.
1. To block the view of the ugly cypress trees from my kitchen window, and
2. To add a back drop for the iron bed I bought for the sleeping porch.
The question again…to paint or not to paint? I decided to leave the back natural because I loved the varying knots and grain of the shiplap. The lattice was salvaged from our old garden fence that had fallen to pieces and was hiding behind the garage. Plus, it  just happened to be the perfect size.

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Oh! I see another rabbit trail…shall we follow it for a moment? Why yes, I think we shall…
when I went out my front door yesterday morning, to pick these roses, I walked right through a giant spider web. It would seem that this spider has taken up residence in my wisteria because this morning he was there again. Right in the middle of the arched vines. Luckily hubby saw him before he stepped off the porch.

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Sometimes, in the cool of the morning, I like to come back here and play my harp. Did you know I had taken up playing the harp? It is the chosen instrument of Angels, Elves, and Faeries so why would I not want to learn how to play it?
I’ve heard it said that the harp is the easiest instrument to pick up and play, but the hardest instrument to master. Me thinks that’s an understatement! Try learning to play the harp, read music, and get your fingering straight all at the same time. It is really difficult…especially when you try to play with your toes…she giggles to herself.

Do you have an instrument you play?

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I’ve been staring at this piece for months. It’s a beautiful arrangement by Loreena McKennitt called Bonny Portmore and a difficult piece to learn when you have the tune in your head but not necessarily the notes. But I will learn this piece if it takes me a year…or two…or three.

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There is still so much work left to do back here, so until it gets done, I’ll continue to dream and plan and create.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013



Friday, June 7, 2013

Remnants of my past

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Mother’s Day weekend, Twenty-thirteen.
Hubby and I decided to go spend the weekend in Yuma AZ. A place I spent part of my childhood, a place I loathed, a place my mother feels I ran away from. Maybe I did, I don’t really know, but what I do know is that when I was old enough, I got out of Dodge and swore never to return. At some point each of them left too, only to return a short while later and that’s where they are to this day. Rooted deeply into the brown parched ground of the old desert town.

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(The old counter where I spent much of my eighth grade, collecting money from clients, and totaling out the books at the end of each day).

When we cross over the muddy green waters of the Colorado, and pull into town, we always make a right onto 1st Street, then pass the old brick house where I once lived. About a mile down the road we make a left onto Avenue B. And that’s where they always greet me…so many forgotten memories flooding back to the forefront of my mind. There, stands the old shop that was once owned by my grandparents and now its sole owner, my papa. It didn’t come to him easily, In fact there was a huge price to be paid. The cost? His own personal dreams, shattered then tucked away in a little box, as the life he planned for his family was altered, and new plans were made by another. But it is finally his and he’s putting his own personal mark on the place, plus he’s cleaning it up at the same time.
My old grand-dad would part with nothing!

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There is all manner of interesting objects hanging or propped precariously against the walls and I wonder if one of those objects might contain my papa’s hidden dreams. Does he take them down and sift through them from time to time…wondering what might have been, what could have been, but never was? Does he sometimes wonder, or is he content with the way his life turned out.

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In the back yard of the old shop is where the true treasures can be found…

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The faint indentations of my childhood memories, reminiscent of the old vehicles deteriorating in the yard.  Riddled with rusting holes and battered by the desert sands. Some of those memories are fond while others of them are not so.
Take this old Ford Vanette for example. I still recall the morning when my papa stopped five blocks from my high school to drop me off. My choice, of course. For what young sophomore wants to be seen driving around in an old Ford Vanette with two 6 foot long  yellow #2 pencils on top? And then the humiliation to follow, that same afternoon in the cafeteria when one of the varsity football players shouted from one end of the room to the other, “Hey, Hilsinger! I saw you get out of that giant bread truck with the yellow pencils on top! Where’d your dad get such a weird truck?” Like Bilbo Baggins used to do when wandering through the woods, I wish I could have reached into my pocket to slip on my magic ring, only to vanish in thin air.

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Now I look at this lovely rusted heap and wonder to myself, “how much do you think it would cost to restore the old thing? Would it be worth it? Would it finally be redeemed in the eyes of a young impressionable girl, as something worthy?” Aah, one has to wonder.

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Sadly, it has seen better days and most likely will continue to sit there until all hope for it is lost. Funny, but that’s how I felt about living in that dry parched town.

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The old Mustang! Now she holds better memories for me. Memories of our family driving along the coast. Singing songs and stopping to buy peanuts from the “Peanut Lady” along the Palos Verdes peninsula. I still remember the day my papa brought her home. He wanted the fast back model, but mom being a little more realistic knew that you couldn’t fit three kids in the back seat of a fast back. “Really, Cloyce Hilsinger, what ever were you thinking?” He did get to drop the car off at Earl Schieb’s and have her painted candy apple red when I was in kindergarten. Now the red has faded and the old copper color is beginning to fade too.

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I think hubby was asking himself the same question that I was asking about the old Vanette…”hmm, what would it take to restore this old girl. Would it be worth it?” He once had a Camaro Rally Sport that he called his sweetheart and I for one do not know if I could handle the competition of another lady in his life. Even if she is just a rusted bucket of bolts and rubber hoses “-).

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So, we spent a lovely weekend in the old desert town and when it was time to leave,
I realized that I never ran away, I just went back home.