news about St. Michael’s


Some readers may recall my posts about our fall 2013 island hopping trip along some of our BC coast, and particularly about Alert Bay where we saw St. Michael’s Indian Residential School. Though that terrible place was eventually closed in 1974, it was left standing as a haunting memorial to those many First Nations children who had lived there.

Now there is news that it will be demolished this month. I only learned this when the reporter requested permission to use my photo for the report in The Prince George Citizen. This has reawakended in me some of those feelings of shock, sadness and horror in seeing it, though nothing like those feelings surely experienced by the families that were affected, so I wish and hope this demolition will bring some peace for them.

Added Feb.15th, 2015: more in CBC/BC News and Global News, the latter with a photo taken in 1970.

Added Feb.19th: Alert Bay residential school survivors gather for the demolition ceremony, in the Globe & Mail, with interesting additional links and video which includes views of the interior of the building.

Plus this heart-rending and heartwarming story and video on The Tyee .

gift of wonder



This morning (December 30th), as I sleepily walked into the kitchen, I was stunned by the low deep yellow rays of the rising sun striking the skylights, skylights covered in tiny little frost flowers.


A rare miracle, a gift of wonder! The beauty of nature right at home.


The Old Year is almost past and the New Year is almost here. I now wish all of you this gift of wonder in all you see, really see in this world. There is beauty even in ageing, in deteriorating, in the returning of all to the earth in the cycles of life and death. Wonder at the light and the dark in the cycles of the seasons and years, just as our long ago ancestors wondered in awe.

Have a happy, healthy and creative New Year!

on the feast of Stephen


photo: 4:30 pm Christmas Day 2014

Good King Wenceslas looked out on the feast of Stephen… I wrote at the start of a post on this feast day in 2008. Please visit that favourite page of mine for an interesting story about the Finnish source of this well-known song. Also check out the comment from Kate Laity!

Note all the snow we had that Christmas. It’s a green one this year. How is yours?

Have a great day! The two of us are having a quiet morning while some of the family are out visiting friends and one is out at a Boxing Day sale.

happy holidays


Merry Christmas, Hauskaa Joulua, Frohe Weihnachten, Joyeux Noël!

My warmest good wishes for a peaceful holiday week to all you dear readers and friends, however you celebrate it, or not. I am so very grateful for your visits and friendship over the years.

I am still baking and cooking and cleaning in preparation for tomorrow. Some of our family will be here for our own blend of Finnish and German Christmas Eve traditions. Our latest wave of the Pineapple Express should be over soon and we may have a sunny green Christmas. Hope yours is a beautiful and safe one.

the Canuck version

Here’s a bit of fun and truly delighful art work for those of us in need of a light-hearted break in the midst of decorating, letter writing, poring over recipes and food shopping lists:

A Moose in a Maple Tree – The All Canadian 12 Days of Christmas

Screen shot 2014-12-17 at 11.32.50 AM

The song is written by Troy Townsin, illustrated by Jennifer Harrington and performed by Canadian Ska legend Chris Murray. More here.

Cards from Christmases Past


Christmas 1999


Christmas 2000


Christmas 2001

I am going through the stash of my own designed and printed extra cards from past Christmases to choose from for this year’s mailings. (Because I cannot print new ones this year). I find a few from pre-blog days which I’ve not shown before and thought to add a little bit of early holiday spirit and colour to these pages. I hope you enjoy them. Now back to those letters!

busy time of year


It has been a week of hard work cleaning house, putting up the door wreath and a few lights outdoors and doing some baking.


It’s a start on getting ready for Christmas but first we had weekend guests, our dearest friends who always bring flowers or a lovely plant, this time a stephanotis with heavenly scent! New to me, what a delight!


Now to the Christmas letters, cards and some gifts to go in the mail. I thought I was making an nice early start a couple of weeks ago when I was about to do a test print of my card design for this year. As I fired up the printer, a little plastic gear fell out in little pieces and the paper feeder would not work. Husband hopes to repair it if he finds the part and a repair manual but it won’t be in time for the mailing. So, we will be handwriting cards and letters, just like the good ol’ days, eh! My handwriting has become atrocious but at least I have lots of extra cards from past years, some my own, some commercial. These days more and more of us correspond by email which lessens the handwriting chore and those trips to the post office. But I do still love real cards and letters.

And how are your holiday preparations coming along?

spooky halloween


Whether you call it Hallowe’en, All Hallow’s Eve, Samhain, Day of the Dead or Kekri, may it be a spine-tingling, fun and safe one. Our heavy heavy rains have finally stopped just now and it might be a dry night for the little ghosts and goblins.

If you fancy a visit through my past Hallowee’en posts to put you in the spirit, click here. As you will notice, the image above is a reworking of a favourite one used before.

another demolition


the house on our south side was demolished last week, not so long since the January 2012 demolition on our north side


it feels so disturbing, so sad to see this happening everywhere; this was a good home for one single family since the 1950’s


the yard had some lovely rhododendrons though overgrown with too many trees and invasive ivy, all now cut and ripped out


including two giant cedars, here with some interesting icicle like rips on the stumps


how many tree rings can you count on this twenty-six inch diameter stump?

our home feels a bit exposed but there is now so much light and views for us neighbours around the property

(all photos taken by my husband with his iPhone)

Added later: Oh, how could I forget: the noise and the pounding? As I sit at this computer in this room on the south side, right next to the ‘zone’, I suddenly notice all the art work on this wall has gone higgeldy-piggeldy. A mini-earthquake.

Midsummer 2014

Husband, youngest daughter and I enjoyed a wonderful Midsummer Fest at the Scandinavian Center today. This time we caught the raising of the Midsummer Pole, a delightful Swedish tradition.


Beautiful Swedish women in their ethnic dresses march around the field to music, carrying the long rope of birch leaves and large rings decorated with birch leaves and flowers.


Hearty strong Swedish men carry forth the birch-twined long and very heavy pole.


This man is preparing the hole for setting the pole. Gorgeous Swedish outfit! Meanwhile the women are placing the decorations on the top of the pole.


Up, up, up it goes!

Of course we enjoyed the many displays by each Nordic country. The highlight is always the extremely well-organized Viking Village that is built and inhabited by Reik Félag, a Norse Culture Recreation Society. (Here are some photos of it taken in a visit in 2009.)

It is interesting to read how differently countries around the world celebrate the solstice.

Happy Summer Solstice, Midsummer and Hauskaa Juhannusta!