Marja-Leena Rathje
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Detail of a totem in Thunderbird Park, Victoria

Though there have been many exhilarating days, I've often been feeling exhausted this month due to sleeping poorly. I realize that's because I'm going through a time of transition in many ways, mostly good but still changes in my very quiet life of the past eight months (not counting the trip to London and Paris earlier in the year).

We've had a lot of wonderful visitors over the past month or more, almost weekly: Miguel and Mika, our eldest daughter, husband's older sister from Idaho, and his cousin and husband from Germany. Our middle daughter and granddaughters who will have been here for a lovely two months will be going back home to London in a few days so it will become very quiet here. Good thing youngest daughter is still living at home. My husband has been dealing with extra pressures at work and with changes concerning his late mother's estate so those concerns have been rubbing off on me too.

Daily routines are changing now that I'm back to the printmaking studio. Being in a university setting, it feels like the annual back-to-school transition that has been a large part of my life, first as a student, then a high-school art teacher and then a mother as well as a practising artist. I'm now bussing instead of driving because of the mandatory U-pass and increase in campus parking costs. It's reminding me of my early university days of long bus trips to and fro the University of Manitoba campus. Thankfully this is much shorter and I'm getting used to it. After a longer absence than usual from the studio, it's been an adjustment in routines but it's also been an exciting start having an exhibition with my artist friends on Bowen Island and meeting another artist/blogger there. Happily I've made a good start on a series of small prints (I don't usually do small!) as a way of getting the juices flowing before tackling larger and more demanding work. It feels good, very good.

A changing season in the garden means extra work bringing tender tropicals back into the solarium for the winter, taking cuttings of my collection of pelargoniums and other plants for next year's garden, and the never-ending repotting of plants for they do keep growing! Guess who has too many plants?

September has been mostly gloriously sunny and warm, continuing the pattern of drought since spring. Now cooler, longer nights, heavy dews and a forecast of rain are signalling another transition into October and Autumn here on the southwest coast of British Columbia. Life is returning to a steady and satisfying rhythm of work.

Addendum Sept. 27th: A few people have been asking about the printmaking studio I work in. Please see this post I wrote several years ago, though it is now called Capilano University.

Marja-Leena | 26/09/2009 | 8 comments
themes: Being an Artist, Home


It must be lovely to have your family visiting over such a long period of time. I do hope your husband's work concerns are moving in a good direction. Nice to read a bit longer text about the changes in your day-to-day life.

Lilalia, thanks for the good wishes, I'm sure things with husband's work will be fine, there's just too much of it these days. Yes, I don't seem to write as many longer posts about my life like I did in my earlier years of blogging, and I need to remind myself that most newer readers may not have dug into the five-years-plus of archives.

Sounds like happiness to me!

Hattie, oh yes, much happiness along with exhaustion. I do look forward to a quieter pace for the next little while. And more sleep.

Those totem figures seem to be hanging around relaxing ... let's all aim for that look in the coming weeks! Sounds like busy beavers have been the norm in September. (The middle one seems a bit on the ornery side with his tongue hanging out ... oh, have I felt like doing that once or twice these past several weeks ~ but then I stop myself ~ barely).

R, right, I thought those totem figures portrayed some of my mixed feelings of this month, glad you see that too.

Good luck with the sleep - it makes everything harder when you're sleep deprived. But then I'm not surprised with all that's going on. Sounds like things should soon calm down. Exciting that you're back in the studio!

Leslee, thanks, I do hope this period of insomnia will end soon so that I can have more energy in the studio.