New Year’s Eve 2016


The Christmas snows have melted away. Now on New Year’s Eve Day the world is whitening again. We are safe at home, playing very old games, some so old that we are having to relearn them to teach the younger family members. All good fun! Eldest daughter has had to stay longer for the highways are not safe, especially through the mountain passes.

May your celebrations be safe and joyful! Happy New Year, everyone! May it be a better year than 2016 has been for so many.

Season’s Greetings


Jack Frost’s art on the skylights December 6th, 2016


Sunrise through the wreath, December 6th


the back garden on Snow Day, December 18th, 2016


O Christmas Tree…. December 2016

After a very wet October and November with long dark days, the three snow storms of December cheered us greatly with brightness and beauty, even at night with the Supermoon and Christmas lights coming up in the neighbourhood. Most of it has melted or washed away by some rain except for patches here and there. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve which we Finns and Germans traditionally celebrate with a feast and gift exchanges.

My dear readers may be as delighted as I am by this: Doe, A Deer, A Female Deer: The Spirit of Mother Christmas. Thanks to daughter Erika for passing it on.

I send my warmest wishes of the season to all my readers with a huge thank you for your friendship.

November already


A few weeks ago I picked these lovely hydrangeas from our garden. They have aged slowly to rich dusky tones and crispiness and are still gracing our table at a time of few fresh garden flowers.

What a rainy fall we have had and still it continues. Out of the month of October, we had only three days without rain, something of a record. That is more typical for November so we are all hoping for less liquid, more sun this month! Between showers yesterday, I managed to quickly gather lots of geranium cuttings to root over the winter indoors. Lots of work still to be done tidying and preparing the garden for winter if we could have some dry days, please.

this summer’s moth




This morning I found this sadly expired moth on the floor of my studio. I was reminded of past similar photo memorials on this blog such as this one three years ago. Time to do another, just to reactivate my long-too-quiet blog and say ‘hello’ to friends and readers. Summer has been and still is wonderful, though sometimes much too hot for my nordic blood, provoking my inclinations towards much laziness and many books. How is your summer?

Michiko Suzuki: Hope Chests

Above image from the Burnaby Art Gallery website

A few days ago we visited an exciting exhibition of mixed media work at the Burnaby Art Gallery, by artist and friend Michiko Suzuki. I really recommend art critic Robin Laurence’s excellent review in The Straight, much better said than I could. We enjoyed the tent-like displays which invited one to step inside to look at the “hope chests”, the framed prints of the girls, and the video. I could not resist purchasing the attractive little catalogue printed by the BAG. Below is one of the better installation shots that I was able to capture with my modest little pocket camera.


We were very sad to have been unable to attend the opening because we had rarely seen old friends from Ontario visiting just on that day! I’m sure many of our mutual artist friends were there, whom I have missed and would have loved to meet. Michiko and I were part of the long-running Art Institute, Printmaking group at Capilano University, which some readers may recall was shut down along with all art programs in 2013. I recall she was working on some of the first pieces in this series back then and told me recently the whole series took her five years. She is one of the hardest working artists I have ever known personally, and one who has exhibited widely. If interested, you may find some of my postings about them here. (Please ignore the other famous Suzuki that comes up in that search.)

hand with Easter eggs


Hauskaa Pääsiäistä, Joyeuses Pâques, Frohes Ostern, Happy Easter and Happy Spring!

This year I’ve decided to repost one of my favourite images of hand coloured eggs as held in my hand, from my series of scans of hands with objects. Should you be interested, you may view other Easter posts via this search.

We will be having a quiet weekend with our youngest daughter. We are looking forward to a FaceTime visit with the other daughters and our granddaughters on Sunday! How about you?

for Women’s Day


a fallen phal flower (phalaenopsis orchid)
captured in a scan of course, as I love to do
timely as a gift to all my women friends
and to the women of the world
on this International Women’s Day
thanking those women of the past who forged ahead
and those still fighting for a better world

Related posts: 2007 and 2009

Added later, this excellent article:
Trudeau On Gender Parity: There’s A Lot Of Work Still To Do

Hand with Rose


inspired by the birthday roses
an addition to my photo series of hands with objects
some others may be viewed here

this February


Oh my, we are already entering the last week of February. This is a month of anniversaries and birthdays at Chez Rathje. First of the month saw the 12th anniversary of this blog, now limping along in its old age. Then there was one of those Big 0 birthdays for yours truly (also limping along, heh), alongside Valentine’s/Friendship Day, for which I received a big beautiful bouquet of deep red roses from my sweetheart. His birthday by the way is coming up soon as well. Here are the first of the roses to wither, still too gorgeous to discard and thus captured into memory.

In the garden, the snowdrops finished a while ago, the crocuses came out early, one pot of hellebores is in bloom and the mini daffodils and pale pink camellia are opening up. We have had a mild winter with no snow at sea level though lots on the mountains. Having grown up in Winnipeg, I still marvel at this early spring on the westcoast!

Related: see some photos from February 2013

last week’s trip




Husband and I took a lovely little trip to Vancouver Island this past week to see our family. Our middle daughter with husband and our dear granddaughters had moved in November from their lake cottage to a farm in the idyllic gentle rolling valleys of Saanich, north of Victoria. Though husband had been there to help with their move, especially with their chickens and coop, this was my first visit.

Being January it did rain on and off but on our first afternoon we were lucky to have a dry spell so we could have a bit of a walk around the farm (owned by their landlords) with its extensive herb plantings, vegetables, trees and most delightful goats, one producing delicious milk, a couple of astoundingly handsome guard dogs and egg laying chickens. I wish my photos of the animals were better but they just did not stay still.

The valley below is beautiful though I was able to only capture a wee bit of it to show here as the sun was lowering in the sky. The camera did not see much action, but there will be another time! We also had short visits with two sets of friends who used to live in our neighbourhood on this side of the Salish Sea. It was a happy week away and just what we needed after that most awful and long cold over the holidays.

Added later: you may be interested in visiting Elisa’s beautiful blog: appleturnover