Friday, June 29, 2012


Ever wonder what your ceiling would look like if a bottle of Flagship Sea Cider exploded? Unfortunately this photo does not adequately describe the damage. The contents flew everywhere... dining room, kitchen cupboards, counters, windows, floor. Because the floors were being replaced in the living/dining rooms, all of the china & glassware from the buffet was on the kitchen counter. Needless to say, it was liberally sprayed. Everything needed to be washed. The floors were swabbed seven times before the stickiness was washed away!! I will spray the ceiling with KILZ before repainting!! Yikes!!

Meanwhile the first stage of reflooring was completed and looks really good.


The next step is to bring in all the other pieces of furniture.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Collage workshop

I was asked to facilitate a Collage Workshop at the Gallery today. 
The 5"x7" creations will be on display 
during the month of August 
in the "Gems of the Shuswap" exhibition.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

It still hurts

Today I planted a heart rock garden
in memory of my sister.

We lost her seven years ago.
It still hurts.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Still rising!

Our daily walk to check the water level...still rising!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Road trip

Today we took a road trip to Sicamous and around Mara Lake to Grindrod and Enderby.

At Sicamous the signage was redundant!

The entrance to the beach and playground area was totally submerged.

This area would normally be full of visitors with picnic baskets.
Instead the garbage containers are full of water and the tables are submerged.

The boat launch in Enderby has been swamped by the rushing waters of the Shuswap River.
The marker indicated that the river level was almost at 12 feet.
We saw sandbagging at several properties around Mara Lake and on the shoreline of the river.
There is another 10-14 days before the lakes and river reach peak levels.
With a stormy weekend ahead, there could be massive flooding.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Lake levels

The Shuswap Lake is the center point of a large stream and lake network. Approximately 526 streams and lakes, covering a runoff area of about 25,000 square km, contribute their water into the Shuswap Lake. According to statistics, the lake level rose 5 1/2 inches during the past 24 hours. It is expected to surpass the last record level of 1972.

We walk to the wharf every day to check on the rising lake level and the osprey nest. The breakwater is completely submerged and has been replaced with a series of floating logs to alert boaters of the cement structure below the surface.

Normally, boaters would walk "down" this ramp to the dock and onto their boats!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Dublin Lilt

The melodic lilt of her voice brought a smile to my face. Marie was calling from Dublin to check in with us, to share stories and memories. Throughout the years we have communicated by email and blog, attached to a computer screen. It is impossible for typed words to convey the emotion that her voice carried. We talked for an hour, warmed by the length of our friendship.

How can relationships today be sustained by emails and texts? The subtle nuances in a voice are lost. The exchange of typed words releases us from sincerity and reduces our contact to a series of letters. 

I must admit that I have fallen victim to the ease of emails, even with friends living in the same town. My pledge, after Marie's phone call, is to use my voice instead of my typing fingers whenever possible in the future.

Father's Day

A Father's Day walk at the wharf
to watch the little ones 
compete in an annual fishing derby.
The breakwater has disappeared
under the rising waters of the lake.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Colour for a grey day

A blaze of colour for a grey day!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Our house

Sunset from the front windows

"House for sale by owner". The sign was firmly planted at the bottom of the road in May 2006. Two hours later when I returned from grocery shopping, it lay on the ground. Grabbing the hammer, I hurried back down the hill and slammed the stake back into the ground. The next morning the sign was face down. What was happening? We decided to change the location slightly, moving further uphill where the soil was more receptive. At least one foot of the stake was buried below the ground. This time it stayed for almost two days before apparently being caught by the wind and carried further away.

It seemed apparent that the house did not want want to be sold. The sign was permanently removed. It was time to examine other options. Our initial goal was to sell the house, put the proceeds in safekeeping and travel for a year. After weighing the options, we decided to rent the house to a friend, leaving the furniture in place and storing a few valuables in the basement. This plan worked very well. We were gone from September 2006 to September 2007.

In the spring of 2010, we decided to list the house with a realtor. My husband was finally convinced that we should downsize, buy a condo and use the residual cash for future travels. Following the advice of experts we didn't invest in upgrades to the interior, money that we would not get back in the sale. I decluttered, cleaned and simplified the rooms. Fridge magnets, family photos and precious trinkets were stored away. Special bed coverings and towels were purchased for display. Kitchen counters were emptied of small appliances. Floors were washed and vacuumed. I even resorted to baking cookies before several showings. For six months we vacated our home whenever strangers wanted to cast a critical eye on our home.

In November 2010 we removed the listing. Winter weather is not kind to our road and we were concerned that prospective buyers would be deterred by the slippery slope.

The following spring we listed again with the same real estate agent. Once again everything was cleaned and prepped. People came and went. Some wanted a fenced yard, others wanted upgrades. During the next six months we lowered the price twice. No one made an offer. In August my husband had surgery and it was less convenient to vacate during his recovery period. We began to resent the intrusions.

As we were going to be away for most of the winter, we decided to leave the listing active. To our surprise we finally received an offer a few days before Christmas 2011. Unfortunately it was a lowball offer that we couldn't take seriously.

There have been several showings this year with ongoing feedback about the need for upgrades.The question for us is "What exactly do they want?" We could spend thousands of dollars on new flooring and kitchen counters that would please one potential buyer and displease the next. We would never hope to get back the cost of alterations. Apparently buyers want a "turnkey" property, a place that does not require any changes or alterations. They want the house to display their colour of preference, flooring of choice and contain stainless steel appliances in a granite countered kitchen!

So, do we make alterations or do we, once again, accept the idea that our house does not want to sell?! 

Round and round

The discussion goes round and round about whether to move away from Salmon Arm. While we're away, we don't miss the small town atmosphere. When we return, sit on the back deck and listen to the birds, we wonder why we ever left.

Where else can your day be filled with impromptu morning coffee chats about the health issues of a friend's son in Japan, hugs for a special friend at the wharf, discussions of "simple spells for success" with a couple of dragon boater acquaintances, analysis of world economics with your financial advisor in a chance meeting on the street? To top it off, in the evening, there is a gathering of jazz musicians at the gallery with performances that rival any in the world! The cost of admission?…by donation!

Daily walks on the wharf allow us to follow the growth and eventual training flights of the young osprey. Grebes dance across the water. Goslings swim by in carefully tended packs. Red winged blackbirds protect their marshy nests. 

As I type this, a robin's song drifts through the window and a male pheasant squawks a warning. There is no traffic noise, no polluted air and the sun is finally shining.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


With my patient swaddled in the back seat, the trunk stuffed to bursting, the passenger seat overflowing and three small bean plants between my feet...we headed home this morning. Smooth travels into unseasonal wintery weather. The snow line was down to the road at the Coquihalla Summit. Had to turn on the furnace when we got home!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


We have been asked how we can stand to be away from home for so long. It has been 6 1/2 months this time with a short two week return in April, just long enough to plant the garden. John's answer to this question is that "home has many faces for us".

Home for us during his recovery has been at my sister's in Burnaby where we share meals, laughter and pets. Rocky(the aging dog) naps alongside my patient in the afternoons. Lucky(the huge black cat) routinely demands treats and strokes. In the kitchen I share daily meal prep and essential glasses of wine with my sister.

We are very grateful to our hosts in Puerto Vallarta, Vancouver and Burnaby for sharing their homes with us. Also, our long absence wouldn't have been possible without the regular visits of our neighbour who collected mail and kept a watchful eye on our property. Many thanks to all.

Where will we call home next winter?

Friday, June 1, 2012

Home soon?

Physio sessions going well. Patient continuing to improve. Home next week.