Monday, July 30, 2012


Watching the Summer Games Opening Ceremony on Friday was really emotional for me! It surprised me, but it took me right back to my Winter 2010 Whistler experience -- still one of the highlights of my life! I went back and read through all my blog entries, and decided, in honor of the athletes, to reprint my favorite one here today:
"The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well."
~ The Olympic Creed, written by Bishop Ethelbert Talbot at a service for Olympic champions during the 1908 Olympic Games~

Ever since I made the decision to come to Whistler to volunteer for these Olympics, I have struggled to articulate, even for myself, how I feel about them.

There’s been lots of criticism of these Games – mostly about the exorbitant amounts of money being spent to stage them (and the fear that we-the-taxpayers will be footing the bill for them long after they’re over), but also about the military-style security, the inconveniences to the folks who live here year-round, the impact on the environment, the long-term effects on local and regional businesses. The negativity, from those who don’t support these games, is loud and clear -- and it overshadowed so much of my experience, originally, that during my first week here, I felt like going home. I didn’t blog about this, but I had come here as a proud Canadian and a happy and enthusiastic volunteer -- and ended up almost ashamed to admit that I was one of the volunteers driving those official IOC gas-guzzling pollution-emitting SUVs around town. In lanes created especially for Olympic vehicles that locals are not allowed to drive in. And parking it in places where locals can no longer park. And with only myself in it.

In the face of all the opposing arguments, my mumbled and vague “I’m doing it for the athletes’ was beginning to sound pretty lame, and it was definitely a reflection of my own deep ambivalence about the whole event.

Then a few things happened …

1. I attended the torch relay ceremony here in Whistler, and along with 10,000 others, witnessed the lighting of the torch.

10,000. People from the community, the region, the province, the nation, and from countries all over the world, who came to watch the torch (symbol of all things Olympic-spirited) being passed from a current Olympian (Julia Murray) to a former Olympian (Steve Podborski) to a future Olympian (Tyler Allison).

And that was just here in Whistler. That torch relay showcased hundreds of stories, all of them inspirational, right across this great nation of ours.

2. I watched the Georgian athletes march into the stadium during the Opening Ceremony only hours after their team-mate had died in a training accident – carrying their flag, proud of their country and prepared to compete in spite of their profound grief.

3. I had a short, and surprising, conversation with a Whistler-Blackcomb Mountain employee during which he reminded me that the country has been in a deep recession for the past year and a half … and that, because of these Olympics, thousands of BC people have been able to stay employed throughout it.

4. I’ve been watching the little feature stories about various athletes on all the major TV networks. Like the one about the skier who broke his neck two years ago, and he’s back competing in these games. The one about the competitor whose older brother with Cerebral Palsy is his hero. The one about the local mom who has two offspring in these Games and who has dedicated her life to supporting them. The one about the hockey players getting up at 2 a.m. to get ‘ice time’ to practice.

And that’s just the few stories I’ve caught. There’s dozens more.

5. I was present at the Ice Dance performance where a 22-year-old and a 20-year-old had the skate of their lives.

6. I had a senior IOC member from Switzerland in my car the other day who, on the way up to the beautiful Callahan Valley Olympic Park venue (where the cross-country and ski-jumping events are being held) described her love of the Olympics and told me about her experience of being in the audience when our Canadian moguls champion got his gold medal. She cried, she said, because the IOC also has such a bad rep due to scandals and politicking and over-spending, and on and on – but she cried because when she saw the medal being placed around Alex’s neck, she “remembered why I spend all this time away from my home. I do this for Alex, and for all the Alex’s in the world.” She went on to say that one of the most amazing parts of her job (having been to three Games now, and already helping Russia with the next one) is the realization, every time, that the Games is the ONLY platform in the world with so many participating countries not only not at war, but CELEBRATING THE SAME THING.

6. I watched Joannie Rochette, one of over 2600 athletes participating in these Games, skate her ‘personal best’ in the women’s figure skating short program last night – three days after her 55-year-old mother died suddenly of a heart attack while arriving in Vancouver to watch her daughter’s performance.

Personal best. Personal best.

This morning, when I woke up, it hit me.

In a world where most of us – the masses, me included – never reach our personal best, never even TRY to reach our personal best (hell, if I break a shoelace before 9 a.m., I’ll have a bad day for sure), I’m witnessing over 2600 human beings who not only have dedicated their entire lives to becoming the best they can possibly be, many of them have done it (and continue to reach for it every day, no matter what), in spite of obstacles and burdens the likes of which have put thousands of others in jails and other institutions all around the world.

Where were you at 19, 22, 25 years of age? What were you doing with your life? I know where I was, and what I was doing …. and it’s kind of pathetic to even think about now, in the face of all these incredible human beings I’m watching and hearing about this month, and the equally incredible families, friends, organizations and governments that support them. People who dare to strive for personal excellence in their lives, and help and support others with those same goals.

Why wouldn’t I want to celebrate that ambition, that persistence, that positive attitude, that determination, at the individual level? Why wouldn’t we ALL? And why doesn’t every nation INTEND to regularly come together to celebrate these kinds of role models and heroes all the time, and to continue creating community in the ways I’ve seen here repeatedly for the past two weeks?? What an amazing, amazing planet we would all inhabit if the ‘Olympic spirit’ that I see at work here, was global, and all of the time.

Couldn’t every one of us stand to go a little ‘"Faster, Higher, Stronger?", as individuals, as nations, as one planet?

You bet I support the Olympics – now more than ever!

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Many years ago, on one of many visits to Salt Spring Island, a friend here introduced me to Beddis Beach, on the south side of the approach to Ganges Harbour. It's been a magical place for me since that first visit -- I've swum in the ocean there, I've walked along the water, I've sat on a log and knitted there. I had a long conversation one afternoon with some Salt Spring old-timers who have a boat here at the marina (Ray and Elsa -- Ray is in his 70s, and was born here) about how drawn I am to this little corner of Salt Spring Island -- they love Beddis Beach, too.
Last year, just after we moved here, I bought a book of Salt Spring 'pictorial' history for 50 cents at a garage sale. As I was thumbing through it, a photo caught my eye -- because it could have been my kid brother. Or my son with darker hair and a beard! When I read the caption underneath, the description was of Salt Spring's first schoolteacher -- a Mr. Raffles Purdy. Here he is staring out at us from the past:
I remembered, then, that the Salt Spring street map showed a Purdy Lane off Beddis Road -- I started looking for it, then, but never could find where it was supposed to be, according to the map.

Anyway, a few weeks after reading the book, I was again chatting with the boat owners here, and told them of this weird experience of seeing the uncanny resemblance to my brother in the old photo of Raffles Purdy. I mentioned that Purdy was my family name, and Elsa said, "No wonder you're so drawn to Beddis Beach -- that's exactly where the Purdy family farmed!!"

Just wait -- it gets weirder. The other day when I was driving along Beddis Road hoping to catch a glimpse of that cruise ship, the World, I pulled over on the side of the road at a point where it looked like I might get a view out over the harbour. There were two men standing there chatting as I stepped onto what I thought was a public boulevard -- they started staring at me, so I politely asked, "Sorry, am I on private property here? I just hoped to take a photo." They told me that indeed I was on private property, but I was welcome, anyway, and could take all the photos I wanted.

As I was taking photos and chatting with these two guys, I mentioned that I was surprised they hadn't seen my van along there before because I'd been looking for what the map called Purdy Lane for a year. Did they have any idea where it was?

The response?

"You're standing on it, ma'am."

Turns out I 'just happened' to pull over AT the original Purdy family estate (Beddis Beach is just a bit further south) - and was talking to the husband of the Purdy grand-daughter who now owns it! Purdy Lane has grown over long since, and he was mowing it when I pulled up!

That's him on the left, and you can see part of the house behind him.

So I have no idea what the family connection is here on Salt Spring Island -- I just know there clearly IS one!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

35 years ago, right about now, I was wishing someone would just kill me. You see, I was in serious hard labor about to give birth to my daughter Hailey, and .... well ... there were complications.

But this isn't about me.  And there are no longer any complications.  :)

Happy birthday, ((((Hailey)))!! This is one of my favorite pics of Hailey -- taken in France a few years ago -- because she looks happy, and free, and confident -- because she is!

I know she's having a happy birthday, because she's been here with us since night before last, and today she got to take a lovely ferry ride on a gorgeous day to pick up her much-loved nephews River and Gibson, and bring them back here for a few days to visit.

I also know she's having a happy birthday because she likes her life. She's single, lives in Whistler, BC, in her own lovely little 'cabin in the woods', and owns her own business as a professional organizer (in addition to taking on the Welcome Wagon gig from Squamish to Pemberton just recently). She's smart, fun and funny, and one of the most thoughtful people I know.

I'll take her to the Ganges market this Saturday, just like I've done every birthday since she was about 18, and she's sticking around for a week or so after that, just for fun. And it will be fun!

In other news.... the cruise ship The World was here at Salt Spring for a few days, and I caught a glimpse of it while driving home from Ganges... you can barely see it among the trees there (click to make it bigger if you want)!
 The light was also perfect to get a picture of the First Nations midden at Beddis Beach:
... and I got a lovely picture of the view from Purdy Lane:
MUCH more about that in my next blog post ... stay tuned!

Monday, July 16, 2012


I'd forgotten that I'd taken pictures on the way out to, and anchored at, Russell Island the other day... this one was taken en route, looking across Swanson Channel toward Sidney, and our 'local' ferry (the Skeena Queen) coming in to Fulford Harbour:
 This is a lone tree on a point at Russell, completely unprotected from the south-easters that howl through here in the winter-time. The raven likes it, though!
 Remember that you can click on the pics to enlarge them ... and then you'll be able to see the great blue heron perched on the tip of this tree!
This family went by in their double kayak (with the kids in the gear stowage pockets)!
And we watched this oyster-catcher for at least half an hour... (not a great pic but I had to zoom in...)
 I love this scene .... looking back into our little corner of the world ....
Back here on the dock, Dan, who is one of the tenants, caught his first Salt Spring fish the other day -- it's about a 10-lb Chinook salmon, and he gave us a couple of steaks from it!
 The next day (in fact, the last few days) have been storms of the thunder-and-lightning variety (very rare here) -- here's the rainbow hanging over the government dock along with the next wave of electrical activity on its way:

After the weird lightning storms of last week, here's the view out my window this morning... it looks like October, or February!

And finally, in the knitting department ... the blue sweater turned out to be completely
asymmetrical (thanks for the spell-check, Esther!) and wonky, so it's been frogged and tucked away for another day... I have no idea where I went wrong, but it was weirdly mis-shaped, and I didn't really notice it, of course, until I had about 2" to go to cast off!
 ... and the Bouvier vest (scroll to the bottom of that link) is moving right along ... about 11" of the back done.
This morning I'm having coffee with the Welcome Wagon area manager, and then there's knitting at Barb's Buns in Ganges this afternoon. Life is good! :) 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Yesterday on my way into Ganges, I had to stop when I saw Fulford's roaming herd (or is that 'flock'?) of sheep...
... mowing the lawn at the historic church in the bay. Of course, when I got out of the van, they started to wander away and hid in the trees!
(Remember that you can click on my images to see them larger...)

It was a full day in town yesterday running errands and doing laundry, etc. In fact, Michael and I feel like we haven't had a full day off in ages, so this morning we are slipping the lines and heading off to Russell Island -- at least for the day, and maybe overnight. I'll be here if you need me... :-)

And I'll be knitting. I'm so DONE with this blue sweater -- but it's not done!!

Monday, July 9, 2012


So we had River and Gibson here for a few days ... Joshua never got here after all ... and we were busy the whole time, and I completely forgot to get out my camera! I do have pictures, though ... from last week when my Metchosin fibre friends group came for a cruise -- thanks to a few of the group for forwarding these pics!

Much knitting took place... 
 ... and exploring the old homestead:
 ... and more knitting...
 ... and exploring the midden:
... and one of them took pictures of my Pi shawl on my bed as a bedspread:
 ... and here's the Wind Walker doing one of her favorite things ... 'swinging from the hook!'

And one more picture. It's a capture of the Ogden Point webcam which I still look at almost daily (I miss Dallas Road/Clover Point!):
Knitting today at Rock Salt -- I'm *this close* to finishing the blue sweater!

Thursday, July 5, 2012


Every morning when I sit down at the computer, I have a little routine .... I check to see how Jeanne on Nereida is doing, I look to see if I have any messages on Ravelry, I download my email, and then I check Environment Canada's website for the daily/weekly weather forecast. Anyone on this coast right now can tell you how shocked I was this morning when I saw this...
... for the first time since last year!!

I had a loooooooooooong day yesterday -- it takes two ferries to get to Vancouver, and I went over to hang out with Hailey for the day. She's just become the Welcome Wagon person for the Squamish-to-Pemberton corridor, and we're both kind of excited about that! It was a fun time, but too short ... and then two ferries home, but between the first and second one, I collected Gibson, who will be with us for the next few days. Today River is coming over and tomorrow Joshua are coming over, so we'll have all three grandsons here for at least one overnight! It seems very weird to know that River is old enough to get on the ferry by himself (as a 'walk-on'), and Joshua will be driving here in his own car. HOW did they grow up so fast??

Knitting this afternoon at Rock Salt, yay!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


First of all, I forgot to show you the one picture I managed to take on our 'Fibre Friends' boat cruise last week...
This is Michael taking some of them ashore at Russell Island. We had a great time!

Then we traveled up to Qualicum for Joshua's graduation celebration ... it was a very emotional time for me, for several reasons! Joshua is an amazing young man and we're so proud of him!
Yes, he is as tall as his Dad! And no, I'm not in a fog ... well, I am, but that smudge on the photo is a raindrop.
 Here is Joshua with Jason, his Mom (Cara) and her grandparents, 'Nannie' and 'Papa' to Joshua -- they're in their 90's now, and they are very special people! We're proud of Cara, too -- she and Jason split when Joshua was about 3, and she was on her own for a few years before she met, and later married, Chris. They had a daughter together, Emma, who is now 10 -- and now Cara is on her own again. When she and Jason met she worked at Dairy Queen, and she's now a successful realtor -- and they've stayed friends through the years (sometimes more friendly than others, it's been a struggle) and always tried to put Joshua first.
 Leaving the school...
I was painfully aware throughout the day how much we've missed of Joshua's growing up, even though we've seen him fairly regularly. Hindsight is always 20/20, isn't it?

On top of all the emotions of watching our first grandchild graduate, we also got to spend some time with Sri ... and his new fiancee. She's lovely ... but she's not Susan ... and that was hard. We went over to his house for coffee after the grad but couldn't stay long because we were invited to a BBQ at Cara's.
Sri was there because he taught at Joshua's school before he retired after Susan died, and their children Rose and Rennie both graduated from there. In addition, he set up a $400 scholarship in Susan's memory to be given each year to a graduate going in to social work, so he was there to present the scholarship.

Since coming back from Qualicum, we've been to Victoria and back -- here was the channel we had to cross to get into Fulford Harbour...
 ... and later that night, the Harbour Authority dock across from us under the full moon...
Much knitting has transpired (thank God for knitting! lol), but nothing new to show -- still working on the top-down royal blue cardigan.

Today we have a looooooong list of errands to accomplish in Ganges!

Sunday, July 1, 2012


Canada Day is a national holiday in Canada that is celebrated with family picnics, barbeques, and fireworks. It is always observed on July 1st unless that date falls on a Sunday, in which case it is observed the following day (though many people still celebrate on the Sunday). Today is Canada's 145th birthday, and this is why:

For 10,000 or so years, the lands we now know as 'Canada' were stewarded (quite nicely!) by our First Nations people. Then about three- or four-hundred years ago, European explorers came ashore and 'discovered' it, claiming the land for Great Britain. Over time, various parts of the country joined together, but wanted to form their own government separate from England.

On July 1, 1867, the British government (under Queen Victoria) approved the plan (called the British North America, or BNA, Act) which allowed Canada to become an independent country. This new nation (which then only consisted of the four eastern provinces of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick) remained loyal to Britain, but was called the Dominion of Canada. Today, there are 10 provinces and 3 territories.

I'm VERY proud to be Canadian!