Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Remembering Karen, a Year Later

Tuesday marked a year since we lost our dear Karen to cancer. Some of our friends took the day off to spend with Nick and remember her, so this post is both my outfit and a ton of pictures from our wander around. 

L and Yvonne took the full day off (it was already my regular non-work day) and hung out with Nick for almost all of it. 

Based on Monday's insanely high temps, I dressed in anticipation of another very hot day. 
I indulged in some Colour Therapy to help keep my mood up all day. I can't help but feel lifted when I look at this gorgeous skirt! 

  • Hemp blouse - Sure 1032, thrifted; last seen here in April for swanning about at the field
  • Skirt - A Tribute to Marimekko by H&M, thrifted; last worn here (2nd outfit) in June 2020 (Flashback there)
  • Shoes - Sam Edelman, thrifted; last seen here in September with bright pink (Flashback there)
  • Coat (below) - Club Monaco, thrifted; last worn here earlier this month

I often wear black with this pink/orange skirt, due to it being a very powerful blast of colour and pattern. 
This hemp top protected me from the sun (I was also fully sunblocked), and is nice and loose. 
The skirt itself is a silk/cotton blend - very swooshy! 

It has pockets! 
This skirt joins some of my items from last week in the "I can't believe that's H&M" category. I would love to find more from this tribute collection - I love Marimekko. 

I did bare legs, but wore my black petit-pants for thigh protection. 
I'm such a saucy minx! 

Covered up - it ended up being a hugely windy day, and I had to carry my hat frequently.
My little woven purse was admired. "It looks like a canteen!" exclaimed Randall. 

After we had breakfast, I was so chilled from the wind that we swung by home for L and I to pick up jackets. 
This was taken at the end of the day, so speckly sun is peeking through the trees. 

I didn't wear the mask much, as we were outside for the bulk of the day. 

  • Hat - thrifted
  • Purse - Street Level, thrifted
  • Mask - Lazy Susan's

The stuff: 
These flat shoes were great for the amount of walking I did, although were not appropriate for the light hiking part. I had one small blister on a toe by the end of the day. Not bad for close to nine hours!

Silver/turquoise bling: 
Like many of my girlfriends, we wore Karen's jewelry to feel close to her. 

  • Belt - Brave, thrifted
  • Wrap cuff - Karen's
  • Silver cuff - vintage, thrifted
  • Earrings - Charmaine's
  • Silver/gold/turquoise ring - Karen's
  • Silver/turquoise ring - local
  • Silver/turquoise pendant - Karen's

L and I were up early to meet Yvonne and Nick at Shine Café for breakfast. 
It was a gorgeous sunny day, but that wind was cold. 

After eating, we strolled to Nick's place, stopping at our house to pick up coats - L also changed from shorts into long pants. 
Just up ahead, we spotted one of Victoria's urban deer. 
This was quite a young fawn. 

We hung out at Nick's for a couple of hours, looking at pictures and talking about Karen. Telling stories, laughing...
Greg (above) and Casey (below) showed up. 
We meandered down to Cook Street Village for some "road pops", then walked to Moss Rocks, a local mini-park. 
I did not know this secret back way! 

None of the paths up to Moss Rocks are paved, just this hard-pack and scree of pebbles. 
It's a steep walk, so I was careful. 

The views from the top of this modest hill are spectacular, so forgive the number of pics. 
Scrub underbrush and arbutus trees. 

Looking south, towards the USA. The snow-capped mountains are the Olympic range, in Washington State.
L and Yvonne on the right. 

More southerly views. If you head straight ahead, you'll reach Seattle. 
There was a gent enjoying the bench in the centre, but he nimbly hopped down the steep front face of the hill shortly after we arrived. 

The stretch of water you see in the middle of these pics is the Juan De Fuca (WAN-duh-FYOO-cah) Strait, and connects to the Pacific Ocean. 
This lush neighbourhood is Fairfield. Lots of very expensive houses (houses in Victoria average around $1 million and up - yes, I'm serious). 

I zoomed in to the east - more of the Olympic Mountains, and the eastern bits of the tip of Vancouver Island (which is where we are located, on the southern tip).
More rooftops. The light haze is the chill from the water hitting the heated air.

Back to the south-west. 
The lighthouse on Trial Island. You can see a lot of whitecaps on the water - very windy! 

A zoomed-in view of one of the barges that travels in the Strait - most of those goods are from the US and China, destined for Vancouver (which is the major west coast port). 
There were wind-surfers and parasailers enjoying the water. The largest white speck is a wind-surfer (click any of the pics to make them bigger).

Looking east, towards James Bay (another residential area). The two towers are apartment buildings. 
There are houses and condos on Moss Rocks, nearly up to the top of it. 

I climbed a bit higher on the rocks. 
Looking south again. On very clear days, we can see the town of Port Angeles twinkling in the sun. 

L clambered up the rocks to the top. 
My shoes said, "That would be a bad idea."

Such blue skies. 
The area near the water here is part of my Mental Health Walk route. 

Looking down from my slightly higher perch. 
And back up at L on the peak. 
It looks really high, but Moss Rocks is barely a hill. 

Looking further east, over the roof of one of the condos. 
You can see Mount Baker on the right - it's a dormant volcano in the Cascade range.

I loved the starkness of this tree against the blue sky. 
What a peaceful place. 

We sat sheltered from the wind and just chatted for a couple of hours. 
This young crow joined us, cawing madly. 
Just like a teenager, always cranky. 

As we walked back down the hill, we heard the telltale, "Hey, Al!" sound of a peacock, and were startled when one suddenly appeared beside us. 
I left my shadow in so you can see how close we are! 

What a lovely fellow. 
Beautiful rich colours. 

We walked beside Ross Bay Cemetery, and I looked back.
The red arrow is where I was standing for most of these pics. 

We walked through the graveyard to connect up to Dallas Road. 
Hello, Poet-Tree! (there's a poem inside that hole, see here).

We didn't see too many deer aside from this young buck. 
He was snacking on the clover. 
Only a small set of antlers, still with their velvet on. 

We headed for our little cove in the corner. 
A lot of people visit this section of the beach. 

The tide was in, and the sun was starting to lower in the sky (this is around 5:30pm). 
Looking across Ross Bay towards Clover Point. 

The rocks were mostly covered by the high tide - no climbing on them this time. We were here in April for Karen's birthday (post here). 
It was very cold near the water. If you ever come to Victoria, no matter what time of year it is...bring a coat! 

The seagulls were soaring on the wind. 
The rocks and pebbles shushed under our feet. 

Casey, Rosanna (with her no-sun brolly), Nick, Greg and L putting his hat on.
Chris and Ali joined us. 
Then Cat. 
Smart Ali, wrapping herself in a blanket. 

Caro arrived a few minutes after that. 
The driftwood logs are quite comfortable to sit on - many of them are cedar and are a bit squishy due to being in the water at some point. 

The view from our gathering spot, which was out of the wind. 
What an amazing place to remember our dear friend. 

We had about 15 of us (note that we're still spaced apart - force of habit!), which is the biggest group we've had together in over a year and a half. 
It was so good to see everyone. 

Justin and Vero brought another bouquet of wildflowers from their garden. 
I chilled with Ross (in the Evel Knievel bike helmet) and Cat (in the straw hat in the foreground). 

Since we'd been with Nick all day, the newcomers spent beach time with him. 
We laughed and talked about Karen, discussed the things we're planning for the summer and beyond, and savoured each others' company. 

Nick brought along a picture of him and Karen from when they first met in 1997. 
I know he was soothed by the outpouring of love from everyone. 

L and I walked home and relaxed with Vizzini (he'd missed us). It had been a long day of emotions, and we were both exhausted. 
But Karen will always be in our hearts. 

If you're feeling like a good cry or walk down Memory Lane with me, please feel free to revisit my tribute posts to her from last year here:

Thanks for indulging me in this remembrance, my friends. We'll be back to my usual outfit postings shortly. 


  1. I can't believe a year has gone by since Karen's passing. The pandemic has erased all notions of time. I'm sure Nick much appreciated the company on this difficult anniversary. Looks like you had a beautiful day, and were able to support each other in your loss.

    1. It's been a really weird time, hasn't it, Shelley? Nick was really happy to have everyone there. Thanks so much.

  2. It seems impossible that it has been a year since her passing. How fortunate that the restrictions have eased so that you could all be together, pay tribute and provide consolation to Nick.

    You look wonderful as always and I think you are courageous to undertake a walk of that scope in a maxi skirt! I always appreciate that you share the gorgeous Victoria and surround scenery with all of us :)

    1. I know, the time has flown, Nana! I'm so glad we're all able to gather now, and soon, we'll be able to be indoors in larger groups, as our second round of vaccines are now underway.

      Thank you so much! It was easy to walk in the skirt, but I did have to hold it up a few times. Glad you enjoyed our lovely corner of the world.

  3. It's already a year?? I'm glad you were able to have a positive day with Nick to remember Karen even if it is bittersweet. The walk looks really beautiful.

    I'm amazed that skirt is H&M. How is that possible????? Beautifully teamed with hemp!

    1. I know, Kezzie! Where has the time gone? It will always be bittersweet, that so much life and energy could be snuffed out. It was a lovely day to celebrate her.

      I know, what the heck? H&M? Thank you!

  4. I love that black blouse with the maxi skirt and it looks like such a nice day - how good you got to spend so much time with your friends remembering a lovely lady. I can't believe it's been a year.

    1. Thanks, Mica! I know, where has that time gone? It feels like just yesterday. What a weird year.

  5. Good morning Sheila, what a beautiful post. Firstly, what a lovely group of friends you have and what a stunning place you live in. Loved the photos of the peacock, the stark tree and the crow. I am sure nature soothes the soul. Your outfit is divine. You know how mad I am for your jewelry and that blouse is the perfect match for the colourful skirt. I spy some shape matching with your cute little bag and the pattern on the skirt. You look so comfortable but of course with the Sheila pizaz factor ! Your dear friend Karen had a fitting tribute and thanks for sharing your day. Hugs Shazxx

    1. Aw, thank you, Shaz! We are the Family We Choose and I'm so grateful at how we all drew together for this, and for all of our celebrations. I do find nature very soothing, all the colour and smells and such vivid sensory input.

      Yes, good job on spotting that! :) Thanks again, hon.

  6. Those twelve months have raced by. I'm so glad you were able to mark Karen's passing in such a beautiful way in good company in the most perfect of surroundings. Having seen some of Karen's incredible jewellery I know she'd have loved the fabulous outfit you wore. xxx

    1. They have, Vix. There will still be some sort of formal memorial - she knew a LOT of people - but I don't know when that will be. Yes, she would have liked my colour! Thank you.

  7. What a beautiful way to remember our friend. Those that we lose too early hold special places in our hearts.

    1. I'll always associate that part of the beach with our remembrances of her. We hold her dear, thank you, Sam.

  8. For me it feels this past year stretched out like a roll of warm taffy that had the potential to get even longer, not necessarily in a negative way, just in a slow, stretchy manner. At some point the taffy cools at the length it is, and so, too, with this pandemic year, as it cooled down to what is now a manageable state.

    All that by way of saying there is a poetry in the pandemic winding down as if Karen helped wave a wand to make it happen now. Yours and your family-you-choose day with Nick, filled with support, memories and love, and a tribute to Karen, is heart warming. Thank you for sharing it. I remember your three posts and how much they moved me then.

    I am agast but not surprised that you wore backless shoes!! Yikes, for warmth and foot support I thought you *might* have chosen your walk-to-work shoes! Nonetheless, a cheery outfit hugged by jewelry embued with meaning. ❤️

    Hoping you are staying cool! I am bundled in long pants, socks and shoes, a shirt, sweater, vest and sweatshirt. The weather.

    1. I like the taffy analogy, Laurie! It's just been a strange, strange year. I hope we are able to get to that "new normal" they've been talking about for so long!

      That's a comforting thought, thank you, my dear. It was good to have those we love surround us and pull together to share the love.

      Oh, the shoes were fine - they are quite comfortable and good for the amount of walking we did. The backless thing doesn't bother me and my feet weren't cold. Thanks!

      Yes, we've pulled all the curtains to keep the house from getting too hot. Yikes, all your clothes are giving me a hot flash, lol!

  9. Most of your readers never had the honour of knowing Karen in person, but through your blog, she became a familiar friend of sorts to many of us over the years. Thank you for sharing the gift of her life as well as the memory of her passing with us. We are, as each of you gathered on the sun-kissed beach that day are too, so very blessed to have known this incredible lady.

    Autumn Zenith 🧡 Witchcrafted Life

    1. I know, and I'm so glad I included her and all of my friends, in my blog over the years. I hope it serves as a reminder to not take our loved ones for granted. Thank you so much, my dear.

  10. I can't believe it's been a year already since Karen passed away. Taking the day off and get together to remember her is such a lovely thing to do!
    The outfit you wore for the occasion is delightful, that swooshy A Tribute to Marimekko by H&M skirt in particular. Definitely in the I can't believe it's H&M category!
    I love how you girls paid tribute by wearing Karen's jewellery. And I really need to dig out my round woven purse. Now where did I put it? xxx

    1. I know, where did that time go, Ann? I'm glad we were all able to gather and just hang out and get used to being together again. It was special.

      Thank you! I know, I just shake my head...H&M! I love wearing her things - it makes me feel close to her. Get that purse out! ;-P

  11. I remember your posts about Karen, such a tragic loss. It is nice you all were able to spend the day with Nick, I'm sure it meant a lot to him. I think support of friends and family really means a lot when grieving.
    I cannot get over how similar your Canadian island looks to Hvar. The houses and the architecture in general is quite different but the nature is quite similar....The sea views are so similar. The American coastline in the distance looks like mountain semisland Pelješac. The hike you all took together looks amazing. I think I remember the beach where you hanged out together in memory of Karen- I think you were all there together some time ago in tribute to Karen as well. It is so nice to see you all together. Being by the sea is always therapeutic for me. Plus, I love pebble beaches.
    Your outfit is fabulous. I love the vibrant maxi skirt paired with the black top. You look great.

    1. It really was, Ivana - I was not ready to lose my dear friend, none of us were. It has brought all of us closer, and we don't take our time together for granted.

      I know, I've been telling you that! :) You'd feel right at home here! Yes, we met at this beach for her birthday in April. I love the sea and am glad I get near it at least once a week.

      Thank you so much!

  12. I remember vividly your sad news when it happened. I'm glad you're remembering Karen with your friends. The pictures are beautiful.

    Coincidentally, I just returned from a funeral and got notice of another one in a few days. Three deaths touched me this week. You know things are rough when you have to go to the store to buy MULTIPLE sympathy cards.

    1. Thanks so much, Ally. I'm glad you got to meet her, although I know it was just a jumble of people when you were here.

      Oh no, I'm so sorry to hear that. :( My thoughts are with you.

  13. Isn't it so beautiful to remember here with friends. We do it every year on our friends birthday, he died 10 years ago. Karen would be so happy to see you all together remembering her.

    1. It really was so good to be amongst our friends to remember her, Nancy. Karen would be happy that we are all taking care of Nick.

  14. Sheila, I'm so sorry for your loss. Your posts when Karen was going through her illness always made me tear up-hit too close to home in some ways. I really admire how you have a circle of close knit friends and that you guys are always there for each other. I'm glad that Nick has you guys to help see him through this. I will keep you guys in my prayers.

    1. Thank you so much, Patricia. It's heartbreaking to lose a friend so young, and even worse when we realize, this is how it's going to be now, as we all get older.

      I'm so very grateful for our close-knit group. They are my family. Thank you!

  15. Totally agree with previous comments, I can't believe it's been a year!
    So lovely that you met your friends and shared some memories and laughs too!, it makes a difference.
    Love your skirt particularly, and love your accessorizing!

    1. It's just flown by, hasn't it? I'm so grateful for our group of friends. Thank you!

  16. You are such a terrific group of friends. So moving to remember Karen this way and to spend time with Nick. Very thoughtful. The skirt is my kind of skirt: it looks beautiful on you. And the shoes by Sam Edelman... big want here.

    1. We are, and I'm so grateful for them all. It was good to gather to remember her.

      Thanks so much, Greetje!


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