Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Pear Tree

David under the pear tree by the ramp camp
Check where the sun has touched his cheeks.
Was it only last year that people heard some limbs crack over at the Pilling's and their pear tree lost two of its heavily laden limbs?

During the clean-up Janet had large boxes and stripped the fallen branches of their fruit.

What else was there to do?

Now the pear tree at the ramp camp has taken root.  David is checking the tree out, to see if it really is a pear tree.  But I think pears must be planted in twos to fruit.

There is no chance of that tree loosing its branches.

Perhaps it will just end up being a good place to hang a hammock.


Saturday, May 30, 2015

Indigenous Cultural Competency (ICC) - Part I

Resources from "My home and Native land."
I am taking a course through my workplace called Core Indigenous Cultural Competency Health. I knew it was a course in which I could register for free, but other competing motivations kept pushing it down on my to do list.

After attending a workshop with Rebecca in Victoria called Wrapping our Ways Around Them:  Aboriginal Communities and the CFCSA guidebook I went straight home and registered for more education.

Our first assignment was to introduce ourselves. We were asked to "Personal Background (First name, ancestry, nation, race, location, and occupation)." I am asked to introduce myself almost daily in my job, so I thought this should be a quick task ... but I laboured and laboured over it, and even called others to get their advice about how many details to include. I suppose some of this was my perfectionist, and some of it was knowing that my contributions can be hard to modulate (I either stay quiet - keep the faucet off, or turn the faucet on full blast forgetting that I should leave space for others to share their introductions).

What would you store in this handcrafted basket?
I went with, 

My name is Bonnie and I am a speech-language pathologist. I live in Annis Bay in the Interior Region of BC in Sewepemc Territory. I'm a fifth generation White Settler and of British/European descent. In the mid 1800 my ancestors emigrated to the United States and then to Canada and settled in Southern Alberta in Kainai, Siksika, and Northern Piegan Territory. I am excited about this course and being in a community of learners.

I easily could have added, "It took me over an hour to look up the names of the indigenous territories in which I live and my ancestors moved to. I

'm terrified to write, lest I say something offensive out of my ignorance that comes from lack of personal determination to learn about those who lived in these lands before my people and the unearned privileges that come with my skin colour and my ancestry."

If you would like a basket of your own, here is the
contact information for the artist who made it.
I am very slowly making my way through each page of the course, looking up words I do not know. For example, I did not know what a "potlatch" was nor why the federal government if Canada outlawed them 1884-1951. As I read the history time-lines, I try my hardest to match those up with my own generations of ancestors and where they were and what they were doing. In spite of many examples, I am still struggling to differentiate between the terms culture, ancestry, and race.

What would you store in it? This is what  David and I store it in.
This is my first online course. I registered for a Biology correspondence course with Athabasca University in 1994, but didn't even manage to submit one assignment. I am determined to do better with this one, and am grateful that my facilitator gave me the nudge. I was 8% through the course material at the half-way point in the course. Time for me to pick up the speed, let some details go, and accept I am in this course to learn rather than show how culturally competent I want others to think I am.

I was looking again at the essay that transformed my thinking on the topic of being White. I found a reference to a film in which she speaks called Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible. You might enjoy it like I did.

Doing Things at Least Twice

From Catherine:

My new kitchen-- before it gets taken apart and redone.

Following along my life's pattern of having to do everything at least twice.

Honouring Arta's 75th: Third Quarter Quell, Day 19

Our Old Family Flag

From Catherine:

Hebe resurrecting our old family flag.

Might need to make a new one with her.

I'm sure she'd have something silly or fun to add.


Honouring Arta's 75th: Third Quarter Quell, Day 20

Friday, May 29, 2015


Feels good on this side.
From Catherine and Hebe:

If Hebe and I had $99 we would buy this for the cousins to use this summer at the lake.

Find it at Home Depot if you are interested.

Arta replies:

I was thinking about summer furniture as well.

And it feels good on that side.
There is a great picnic table at Costco for kids.

Then I saw a hammock with a canopy at London Drugs.

Next I saw a gazebo to cover the BBQ.

Cool!  Now 2 benches and a table.
Richard and I were planning for something even harder.

How to keep the summer furniture off of the grass, so that when he goes to mow, there isn't 1/2 hour of moving furniture out of the way first.

Holy cow!  So much summer furniture.

So little summer.


 Honouring Arta's 75th: Third Quarter Quell, Day 21

The Glow of the Moon

Bonnie Wyora and Moiya were trying to figure out facts around the annual home owners grant and they called me. Though I had no information that was not available to them, we still chatted, and talked about our recent purchases.  Moiya has recently installed a bidet in her bathroom.  She has already taken her computer there to show someone over FaceTime, its wonders.  It is not so wondrful if you start it while holding your computer over it to give your audience the best view.  Moiya said it took 3 days to dry her computer out.  It works still, but there is no picture taking in the bathroom anymore.  After spending an hour on the phone together we decided to try Face Time and once we got on it, well, there is a certain joy in being able to talk on the phone, as it were, and see the other person on a screen.

I can remember the time when doing this would have only been an idea for a science fiction movie.  So it still seems like one of the miracles of the 21st century.  We talked past midnight.
... the moon behind the trees on the dark walk home ...
Where are the flashlights when you need them?

This was the view on the walk home for Bonnie. An amazing glow surrounding the moon.

Some of life's miracles are new.

And some are the same.


Grizzly on Highway

Grizzly Bear 

Even when I was a little girl, travelling out to the lake in the old red and white Travelal, I used to keep my eyes peeled to the side of the road for almost the whole trip.  You know that in the forests closer to Alberta, that you can see quite a distance through those trees because the diameter of those tree trunks  are a little smaller and the trees are not as close together either.

The further west you go you cannot see very far into the forest.  Not only that, the travelal was going so fast that you had to really concentrate to keep your eye on that area because it disappeared before one could get a really close look at what they were looking for.

What was I looking for?
A Bear!  Finally spotted on May 3, 2015
At the age of 63 years, I finally saw one.
This bear was trapped between the two fences that they have running along side the highway on both sides, so that the wildlife cannot get onto the road.
I was a little annoyed that he didn't stop to pose for me.
Someone once asked me why there was a fence on either side of the roadway and I told them it was to protect the wildlife.
They said, "Notice who is caged in."  :-)

Graduation - David's orange belt

From Bonnie Wyora:

... David at his Orange Belt Graduation ...
David stayed for the adult class.

He was allowed to hold the target for others.

He was instructed to give students push-ups if they forgot to "keep up" or they didn't have enough control to stop their leg in front of the target.

... 'we are allowed to be crazy' photo ...
See the tallest men in the photo.

David kept giving them push-ups to do.

He did so with respect for them and for the rules set out by instructor Kari.


Morning Sounds

...louder than the back hoe, louder than 60 elementary childen ...
From Bonnie Wyora

Heading in to work there were a lot of competing noises.

There was a backhoe working on a trail and 60 elementary school children being lead down the sidewalk by three teachers. All of the children were trying to get cars to wave at them by whooping and hollering.

The shrill sound of a bird on top of a light pole caught my attention.

"Reeght, reetght, reeght."  It was pecking at the pole like woodpecker might but woodpeckers are supposed to have a red stripe on them.

I can’t identify this bird. I say if it pecks like woodpecker, is it a woodpecker. But all I got to help identify it was its silhouette.


Monday, May 25, 2015

The White Streak

From Catherine:
... white streaks, a genetic gift ...

Thank you for the white streak.

Sending photos today of my beautiful white hair which I inherited from you.

Glad you were a mother who enjoyed her white and didn't spend years covering it up.

Gave me courage to do the same.

Arta replies:

That white streak began for me in high school, long before I had any money to do anything about it.

... letting the silver show ...
Then when I decided to colour it all in, the hair dresser told me that there was not dye strong enough to really give a good black colour.

And furthermore, that it would grow out and be a real mess.

So I think I took the best of all worlds, saved my money and missed having to fight the curse of white roots.

I was more interested in experimenting with different hair styles so there have been Afro's, buzz cuts (almost), and page boys,

I have names for hair styles that don't exist anymore.

I notice that Bonnie has picked up on beauiful highlighting.

... why not relax and accept the more mature colouroing ...
Another good choice, but not one for everyone.

And of course, Rebecca likes being a red-head.

And Mary plays with the joys of having hair that can be braided and wrapped around her head like a crown.

... new colour ...
... plus silver necklace created by Rebecca
in her silversmithing class ...
And Wyona puts in purple streaks.

And Kalina Oldham has her mother put in an extension -- a hair braid with ribbons in it.

I think the idea now is for the parents to ask for the new hair style before their kids do.

There is fun for everyone in hair statements.  I like yours, Catherine.

Honouring Arta's 75th: Third Quarter Quell, Day 18

Preparing for Summer 2015

A hazy, lazy day in Annis Bay.
As I watch the rain fall on the lake-side of the porch, I think to myself. "Nice! A pre-soak for the annual power washing of the deck I have yet to finish". 

This thought makes me realize I have "really and truly" moved from seeing myself as a visitor to recognizing my right and responsibility to take care of the space around me. 

LaRue continues to blossom.
As I do chores, I remember those who have done them before me and wonder who will do them when it is my turn to go.

I spray wash the deck section by section. I know the Woods have a power washer that will do the job at least twice as fast, but I want to put the one I bought to good use. 

Can you spot the clump birch stumps
for a party of  three?
I put on my headphones. I think of my friend Tammy, a custodian. I asked her once how manages remembering what parts of a gym floor she has cleaned and which parts she hasn't.

By chunking it, of course, was her answer. I divide it up in my mind, she said.

I need something more concrete but she has given me the nudge I need to try something new. I end my spray washing session by drawing a boundary around a manageable section where I could start next time. The outline left visible by the power of the jet stream of water leaving my power tool. A manageable portion of black dirt and mildew contained and ready for removal.

This act of sectioning also helps me stop, a way to curb the desire to go right through the night spraying and dreaming I can "finish the job" in one go. 

My eyes search for the section I had planned to do next. I spot it. I hazy outline of a triangle. I can do this. All I have to do today is that one small section.

I don't remember seeing these before
at the base of the rail road tie spiral staircase.
It doesn't matter that I know this is a strategy, a trick I play on myself. I always do more than I plan to. But getting started is chronically a problem for me.

This slight of hand distracts me from thoughts of it being more than I can manage.

Off I go to turn on the water, and I pass by the white rose bush fondly named LaRue. It's now in bloom. I race inside to grab my camera and take a quick picture to capture that sign of summer's approach.

I try from every angle to capture its beauty without also capturing weeds I have missed, dirt on the railing, a brach from another rose bush behind it that I forgot to prune. A sense of overwhelm begins to grow.

I chase away that thought by quickly snapping a shot, accepting momentarily that it is impossible for anyone to tame nature for as far as their eye can see.

So green. So  lush.

Once I have photographed the blossom, my eyes are drawn to the place the climb birch use to reside. I photograph the clear view down to the Meadow Reach of Campbell Creek. 

The name makes me smile. I think of hiking Mt. Revelstoke with my family as a child. The ride up the mountain was filled with bumps and turns and concentrating on not getting motion sick.

But once on top, it was a short walk to find the most beautiful Mountain Meadows. My eyes fall to debris below the tree and I make a mental note to pick up those branches so the mower does not have to stop when its blades approach the branches. 

[Just one more photo, I think, before I return to work (branches beneath the boughs of the Cedar tree already forgotten). I search with my lens as if looking through binoculars.

Now where is the Yew Tree? Ah there it is. It is a beauty. Arta was right to keep it. I remember I have not yet taken David down to play with me on the tiny stone wall hidden close to the bole of the tree, ledges just perfect for Lego figures.

I recall my self-appointed chore of deck cleaning, but a sound looms large into my thoughts. A familiar low rumble. A train! I race around to the other side of the deck hoping to capture a photograph of it.

Can you see the blue box car in the lower left quadrant of the photo Alice?
I will send it to two-year old Alice who talked to me on the phone earlier when she was bringing pancakes over to her grandmother.

I can see the engine so clearly in my mind, headlights a-glow in the mist, but it doesn't appear in my camera lens. Of course, that mental image was to archived from this spot where I get to enjoy shade from the trees. I step back to the very NW corner of the porch hoping I can capture at least the blur of a box car for Alice.

A triangle marks the spot. And where did
those leaves come from? I swear
I swept them off the deck late last night.
I look down and find myself in the triangular section on my task list for the day. I grab the large heavy broom and commit myself to expending 5 minutes of elbow-grease. The rain has picked up and the spray wash will have to wait for later.

I scrub the deck with thoughts of gratitude for the mountain rain pre-soak. The dirt lifts beneath the bristles.

I haul the furniture around the side of the porch. The side of the porch that generates annual discussions about whether it is the anabatic (valley breeze) or katabatic winds (mountain breeze) that we are enjoying in the evenings. I never can remember.

My eyes then are drawn up to the roof, the moss that I must get down, or will I end up needing to replace it before I get to that chore. Lucky me. I have a roof over my head. A roof replacement to start saving for.

I have been studying the License of Occupation for Lot 3. I cherish the signature of Matiram Pun, the witness for the contract. Beneath his signature he has written out his name, his occupation (graduate student), and his field (Mountain Medicine & High Altitude Physiology, University of Calgary) and where he lived on the 10th day of October in 2009 (Calgary, Canada).

I think of the photo he tweeted recently of a collapsed roof of a medical building at the base of Mt. Everest, brought down by a recent Earthquake.

Yes, a roof over my head. Gratitude.

Mati also tweeted about the torrential rain that is pounding down on the tent city of those whose homes and belongings are now buried beneath the earth [@hypoxiamedicine].

My eyes lower in reverence but my mind is racing at its usual pace and I spot through the window that the front door has been left open. 

I head back around the porch, through the kitchen, and reconstruct that I must have left it ajar when all thoughts were pushed aside by the need to photograph those white rose blossoms.

I listen.
I am alone.
When I see this house in photos, I see through Mat's eyes. 
"I thought only movie stars lived in homes like this."

David is out with his father.
No summer visitors have arrived.
No wild critters have noticed the open door and taken it as an invitation to enter.

Summer's Preparations can wait til tomorrow.

I step back out under the porch and enjoy the sound of the rain.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Nostalgia ... a little more

From Bonnie Wyora:

What a great image I have in my mind now of you two shining the outside of your train window.

My mouth is watering, savoring those last pastries, cheese and yogurt from John Lewis.

I have never shopped at John Lewis before, but if Wyona and Greg buy there - that is enough for my mouth to start watering.

As dusk was falling I started running around Lot #3 taking pictures to send to Arta.

It is so beautiful out here right now. It doesn't seem right for it to be all just for me, and for David when he knows cousins are on the property. So, I enjoyed it for all of you.

... dusk falling on Lot 3 ...
I took in the fragrance of the lilac tree for at least 10 people.

I studied the volunteer chives that have sprung up by the stream for at least 5 people.

I took pictures of the wedding reach, quiet now, but in my mind still filled with the crowd from Miranda and Richard's wedding.

I got very close to the baby blue eyes flowers in the Meadow reach. I think Glen told me they are Laynie's favorites so I enjoyed them for her.

I studied the rock wall and called to Ron, "Come back and see how well it's holding."

I photographed the rocks that Ina painted down by the missionary reach of Campbell Creek.

I lingered where Trell and friends go to smoke, to protect the lungs of us nonsmokers. The birch logs still lay across the creek where he last placed them.

I photographed the sky for Rebecca, pink clouds with a sliver of a moon seeming to hang suspended between the upper boughs of two Douglas Fir Trees.

I collected over a dozen nerf bullets from the Victoria Day weekend battle between David and his Robertson second cousins.

I parted the strawberry plant leaves and craddled the ripe strawberries weighing pros and cons. I was of two minds - bite down and taste that fresh BC taste born of Arta's labours at the compost and in the garden or leave them and see if I can lure David to come look for strawberries with me on the weekend.

Can't wait for the most important part of summer.

The arrival of the rest of you.

Bonnie Wyora

Nostalia ... continues

... studying travel book as the miles roll by ...
Wyona's words about nostalgia bring back many warm and cherished memories.

At one point in reading her thoughts about London, my memory turned to my hope for Greg.

And that is, that he can keep his camera pointed toward the faces of his loved ones who are having a good time.

A photo which I may never see again but which is sealed into my memory is one he took of Wyona and me when we got to Penzance.
... let's get this window cleaned ...
He was inside the train with the camera. Wyona and I had taken serviettes, towels and water and had got off the train, walked down the platform to the car we were riding in, and we took our cleaning equipment and we were scrubbing off the window. The trip to Penzance has been so wonderful that we wanted it to be even better on the way back, and we made it so by giving a real shine to the window we would be looking out of. The conductor had walked down the platform also, stopping when he got to us and he asked us what we were doing. We told him and said, “I bet you have never seen this before.” He smiled and said, “You are right. This is a first. The passengers cleaning the outside windows of the train.” Then we walked on.

At the same time, Greg picked up his camera inside the train and preserved for us that happy moment, two women giving a shine to what they would see in the next few hours.

Every day ... something that can be nostalgically remembered.



From Wyona:

... crowds at Portobello ...
Our trip has become nostalgic. There is a time when a couple can see that this might be the last time they go somewhere. That time has come for us -- not for health reasons -- just because it is time to do other kinds of planning.

Today when we went to Portobello we seemed to be doing everything for the last time. Last time to not get day seats for Memphis. Last time to take Bus 23 to Portobello Road. Last time to eat a schnitzel in the rain, finding an overhead to duck under waiting for the rain to stop. We ate the same schnitzel at Portobello a few years back but in the hail with Trent, Jamie, Vicky and Stuart. The next five days will be nostalgic because it might be for the last time. So after we finished our schnitzel we bought a sausage to share, since it is our last time. Zoe once wanted ‘all the chances’ not just another chance. Now I want ‘all the last times’.

Moiya telephoned me yesterday and told me that Glen made her go over to his house to see something. Then he pulled up a picture of me taken this trip in Tampa, Florida and another picture taken on this trip. Then he showed Moiya a picture Greg took of me at the lake in April, chasing ducks on the front lawn trying to get as close as I could to take pictures of them. Apparently I was delightfully smiling while chasing ducks and Moiya said I looked miserable in Tampa, just miserable. So Glen’s deduction is that noone can tell him cruising is fun.

I am think this may be our last trip or fling abroad.

Greg has said a number of times today that cruising was fun while we did it. We have seen more of the world and travelled more than I could ever have imagined.

It has been a wonderful ride. My heart however, lies with 27 of us scattered around Canada and U.S. so that is where we will focus our next years of living. Our excursions will be from Calgary and Shuswap to places nearby where our loved ones are living.

Since we had rain at Portobello today I was afraid of getting wet and sick so we came back to the hotel, stopping by John Lewis to pick up a few pastries, cheese and yogurt for the last time. By the time we returned to the hotel my feet were swollen so I laid down and slept while Greg went out on London town. I have been looking for Downtown Abbey on TV but I cannot find it.

... named from the hospital and priory,
St. Mary's Spittel that was founded in 1197...
Tomorrow is Petticoat Lane and Spitalfields for the last time. Greg just returned back to the hotel at 10:35 p.m. He was just walking London, to Trafalgar and back from Euston Station.




I like to sing

Today Catherine sent me 3 pictures of the kids in Primary.  Here is her text:
The pictures are notfor blogging but just to show you the wonderful faces of the children I get to share music time with in Primary each week. Learned everything I know about music time from you. Today got to sing with these kids while we waved a flag and sang happy birthday in French , Moldovan, and Spanish. How lucky am I.
It is OK with me if I don't see their faces.  It is a lot of work to o around and get people's permission to have their faces up on the blog.   I do "get" her thrill of singing with children and why she would want to include it as an instance of what makes adults happy.

Baby Alice from next door laid on my bed with me today, along with her dad. They were delivering their left over crepes from breakfast. Richard and I laid there and talked. She spontaneously sang Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star as she played. I knew what she was singing from the music. Her words are still a blend of any sounds she desires to put on those notes. but she was in tune and had good rhythm.  I told Richard that laying there and listening to her might be the best part of my day, though there was still day to come.

Tonight I am still thinking about that music. One of my failed New Year's Resolutions was "learn the lyrics of a new song every day". I worked hard at that, and would sometimes take a copy of new lyrics off of a google search and have them in my pocket. I would hum and sing while I was in the car, or when taking my morning walks and I would refer to my pages of lyrics printed from the internet.

I am not going to call that resolution completely failed, for I still pick up on it and try to learn new lyrics in some days. The latest set I have been working on are from "This Train Is Bound for Glory", since having a bag full of train songs often serves me well with little children who like trains.

Guess which line I keep forgetting:
This train is bound for glory, this train.
This train is bound for glory, this train.
This train is bound for glory
Don't carry nothin' but the righteous and the holy
This train is bound for glory, this train.
Poor little Alice.

She is going to have to learn that hard line ... as soon as I learn it.

Honouring Arta's 75th: Third Quarter Quell, Day 16

Time to Select Backsplash

... and now to select the type of type for the backsplash ...
The last time I was in this kitchen there was some counter space designated for the snail tank.

Does that still exist?

There was a bottle of water nearby so that the snails could be misted occasionally.

The environment was perfect.
... should the backsplash be subway tile or glass waterfall ...

So much so that the snail population would get bigger and bigger.

Are those the snails that are outside and that Hebe is now finding outside on the leaves,  part of the original population inside.

Or do you have many snail populations on your property?

Either way, I would love to come and cook in that kitchen.

Just show me where the flour, sugar and yeast are.


Honouring Arta's 75th: Third Quarter Quell, Day 15

Faces of Research - Rebecca


 If you would like a visit with Rebecca enjoy a minute with her in the Faces of UVic Research utube.


Friday, May 22, 2015

London in May

Just a quick report.

Have been in London since Monday.

Went to Beautiful on Monday night...the story of Carol King.

Great music. Never knew she wrote so many songs including Care-a lot.

 Tuesday we were going to go to Pirates of Penzance but there were no senior tickets.


... the musical ...
Wednesday we went to High Society at the Old Vic.

Some of the dance numbers were amazing, pianos coming up from the floor and tap dancing on them.

Today we went to the Globe twice. Saw Merchant of Venice in the afternoon and As You Like It in the evening.

Had lunch at Portabello...schnitzel.

 I booked twin beds so there would be room for our shoulders.
Carmen ... modern day staging
We do not have a kitchen or fridge.

We buy yogurt and fruit and then have chips, fish or meat pies once a day.

We also have Leonidas that I bought from Brussels when we were cruising. However today when I was at the market I saw the nicest radishes so I bought a bunch and I am eating those now and the Leonidas are sitting in the box. I must be sick.

 We are off to Portabello tomorrow to walk the walk and eat. Checking out tickets for Carmen and Pirates of Penzance first thing.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Random Moments

... stop for a moment and enjoy the wall ...
From Catherine:

My days rarely unfold as I plan.

However they are often filled with interesting and joyful moments.

Here are a few:

1. Driving past my favourite graffiti wall in the neighbourhood.

Was in that area yesterday taking Rebecca to the optometrist.

... Catherine's rhododendrons, just before their full bloom ...
Rebecca called me mid morning to say she was having pain in one eye.

Spent the afternoon trying to find someone to see her.

Eventually found an optometrist who was able to remove a small foreign body - success!

2. My rhododendron bush is one or two days from being in full bloom.

Can hardly wait!

2. Spontaneous Game of Limbo

... getting lower ...
Catie and Hebe started in the new kitchen.

Hope you are having a few joyful random moments too.
... and lower ...

... and yes!  ...
 ...I made it ...

 Honouring Arta's 75th: Quarter Quelle, Day 13

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


 ... snails ...

It rained so we had a lot of visitors.

... take one if you would like ...

Here Hebe is discovering both large
and small baby snails in our front yard.

Day 12 of the Quarter Quelle by Catherine Jarvis