Back Home Again

It would be hard to overstate what a wonderful week we had in Whistler, B.C. What a beautiful place! Whistler sits in a valley rimmed by jagged mountains. Its having been the scene of the 2010 Winter Olympics only adds to its charm. Being there with our good friends Deb and Tom Zynda was the icing on the cake. It's been a few days since I've blogged, and so I need to catch up on a few things.

Thursday, Deb and I visited the aboriginal Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre. Deb was an anthropology major in college, and has a wealth of knowledge about the First Peoples of North America. We took a guided tour of the museum and its associated art galleries along with two of the most ill-behaved children and clueless parents I've ever seen.

The museum is a mutual celebration of the Squamish Nation, whose symbol is this eye:

And the Lil'wat Nation, whose symbol is these mountains and their reflection.

The two nations worked in cooperation for generations.

Our guide explained this totem pole, which interestingly, was 200 feet from a Seattle resident's home. Although in plain view, they didn't notice it until clearing some trees from the property.

The Squamish people are noted for their canoe building. These canoes are hollowed from a single tree. This one is about 40 feet long, although canoes of 70 feet are not unusual. Notice the "bumps" on the cross pieces in the canoe.

They represent the spirit selves of the oarsmen.

Our guide explained that the first peoples of the two nations were expert carvers, basket weavers, and cloth weavers, and that it was the abundance of the land that allowed them to engage in these artistic pursuits. There was plenty for them to eat and plenty of natural resources, which allowed them time for other things aside from simply subsisting.

Our tour also included a lesson in rope-making from cedar bark. Here are the strips of bark we were working with that have been soaking in water to make them pliable.

We looped them around a peg and then twisted the individual strands outward and continued crossing right over left to form these ropes.

If you're doing it correctly, you can release the ends without having them come apart.

Then we tied the ends in a knot. Deb's was long enough to form a bracelet. Mine is more like a bookmark.

I only took the image below because I thought it gave a mouse's perspective on Smitty's face.

That's about all I have to say about the museum. It was interesting and well worth a visit. 

Now I have a couple of leftover images from Whistler, and I'll tell you about the trip home. This "leftover" image is a sign from the restaurant where we had lunch in Pemberton, B.C., north of Whistler. It was a great restaurant. Incredible food in huge portions all for a good price. The chef brought out our meals and then checked in with us to talk about the preparation. I was quite taken with this sign at the restaurant's entrance. Perhaps some time I will embroider it for my own kitchen.

On the way home from Whistler, we stopped off at Shannon Falls in Squamish. This was a huge waterfall. I tried to make a video of it, but it wasn't that good, punctuated by someone coughing, and so I bagged it. Sorry I can't give you a better picture. The waterfall was high overhead.

The drive from Vancouver, B.C., to Whistler was one of the most scenic I've ever ridden. It was hard to get good pictures on the way up because we were on the wrong side. On the way home, we stopped in at a boat launch and picnic area where we were able to take some better pictures. The bouys you see in the water marked sunken wrecks for divers to explore and that will hopefully also build some reefs.

This is the view from the other direction.

About an hour later, we crossed back into the USA. We had about a dozen and a half eggs that I expected would be confiscated, but the border agent waved us on through.

We spent the night in Mt. Vernon, Washington, and then headed for home the next morning. It's always fun seeing the Space Needle.

Even better is crossing over the Columbia River into our home state and knowing it's only about another hour to home. I was missing my kitties bad. More accurately, I was missing my bad kitties.

Everyone was happy and healthy when we arrived. We usually separate them when we are gone for a long time, but it seems Mr. Smitty has settled down enough to be trusted not to pester Gracie too much. When I opened the patio door, both were right there and Gracie took a mighty leap over Smitty to get outdoors to the green grass as quickly as possible. Apparently, Gracie is a grazing cat and was Jonesing for her grass.

As for this guy, he's already had his morning mouse, leaving the guts on the carpet for us to find this morning. Yuck. It's good to be home and find business as usual.

Everything looked good when we came home. Erik was up to water a couple of times because the weather was hot and dry while we were gone.

Since arriving home, I've been looking at the quilting competition rules finally posted on the Oregon State Fair website and planning my work for the next couple of months. I've learned that I can only enter four quilts in the fair, and so that means my quota is filled for the 2015 fair. These are the quilts I'm planning to enter:

Shoot for the Moon and Psycatdelic still need hanging sleeves, and so time's a'wasting on those. It means I can slow down on my plan to quilt the Irish Doors and re-prioritize my work a little. The Irish Doors will be first on the list for entry into next year's fair, and I can still enter it in Stitches in Bloom in January. I only bring this up because I was feeling a little under the gun to get things finished, and now I can relax some.

Since I still owe you a quilt shop, I'll stop here and tell you about that in a separate post.

11 comments from clever and witty friends:

Valerie Reynolds said...

Welcome home! Perfect entries to showcase your talent. :)

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Welcome home you happy wanderlust! Excellent pick of quilts for the fair.

Julianne said...

Welcome home! Smitty and Gracie are thrilled to see you! Love the quilts you chose for the fair, that sunflower one is amazing!

Quilting Babcia said...

Great photos. Do you see a future quilt in those Squamish symbols? Good luck with your fair entries.

Quilting Babcia said...

Great photos. Do you see a future quilt in those Squamish symbols? Good luck with your fair entries.

Quilting Babcia said...

Great photos. Do you see a future quilt in those Squamish symbols? Good luck with your fair entries.

Sandra W said...

Re First Nations--In Canada we have a quilting magazine--CQA Quilting--which one gets as a member of the CQA. The current issue has an article which says basically that you can't enter a quilt in a quilt show (the show is in Kitchener ON) that features a First Nations symbol UNLESS you, the quilter, is a a First Nations member, or has had your use of the image "approved" by a First Nations person (chief, author). The symbols that were used included a full moon and a raven, and some images derived from some totem and other art.
I took great offense to this and wrote a letter to the CQA board saying--long story short--that it was a good thing that Paul Gauguin wasn't a quilter or his Polynesian images would be lost to the world. I got a polite note back stating they had researched the topic and wanted to ensure that First Nations was presented "respectfully." I noted that I wondered if they would apply the same restrictions on those quilters who used the Celtic Knot, or Japanese symbols. They replied thanking me for me opinion.
So, I would warn your readers that if you plan to ever enter a quilt in a Canadian quilt show, be aware that the quilt police are alive and well and ready to censor your work. First Nations images are not acceptable in a quilt--according to this one major quilt show--unless you are a First Nations person or can get a Chief to approve your work.
I find it absolutely absurd!

KMSC said...

Again, I've really enjoyed your posts on your Whistler vacation! I love history so I would love to learn more about the First Peoples of North America. Thanks for the inspiration.
PS Could you please tell me the name of the Sunflower quilt you show in your post? It really caught my eye. Thanks!

quiltzyx said...

Great trip through the museum! How funny that the totem pole was hiding amongst the trees for so long. What a great discovery. :) Interesting carvings on the canoe seats...
Love the picture of the two of you at the picnic area/boat launch!!
I bet Gracie & Smitty are so glad you're home again. :)

Lynda Halliger Otvos (Lynda M O) said...

Love totem poles. Great find for that family. I hope they get years of enjoyment from the location and the past history.

Brown Family said...

Great pictures. Would love to visit the museum! I am not sure what is going on with my PC, but your pictures are coming in strange! I have empty boxes, but when I click on them i mostly see the photos. Some have a color wash of green or orange on them and a stripe across the middle.