Thursday, February 16, 2017

Puppy wonderfulness

Last year a number of old dogs departed from our lives. But now it's puppy time--and we couldn't be happier.  In January I drove up to Cobble Hill with my sister to help her choose a puppy. And she brought home a darling Havanese puppy she's named Toby. Oh he's just so cute. He looks like a plush toy that's come to life.

He's turning out to be a most wonderful companion for her, smart and cuddly and fast. You can see here how much Jan is in love with little Toby.

Today she's taking him to puppy class for the first time. How wonderful to have this little fluff-ball in our lives. We're the auntie and uncle and want to be part of his life so we can puppy-sit when she goes away.

And just this week we got to visit our other puppy pals, Raven and Rogue, two 13 week old border collies who are lucky enough to be new family members of my friends Linette and Mark. These two are seriously adorable and smart as whips.  Again, we get to the be auntie and uncle so we can get our BC fix from time to time.

Here you see Rogue and Rave looking up at "Uncle Harry."

We're not ready to commit to getting a dog ourselves so these puppies are perfect for us. They can come and visit but we get to give them back after a few days so we can pursue some of our travel plans in the coming months.

We've been enjoying dog sitting for a couple of canine buddies this year. We've spent time with Piper and Emmy, two different dogs both of who have some Border Collie in them. (I'll add their photos once we're back home.)

Our lives are full of dog wonderfulness.

Monday, February 13, 2017

This is community

Our friends Bill and Jackie live on a lovely old street near downtown Victoria. Jackie has built a little street library box where neighbours put books they've finished with for others to pick up and read. This is pretty common on many streets near here.  But today, being the day before Valentine's Day, they got together with a couple of neighbourhood kids and filled the library box with valentines bouquets and handmade cards. Don't you wish you lived on that street?  What a wonderful community!

Happy Valentines Day to all, wherever you live. Valentines Day is a wonderful celebration of love in all its forms. Here's to love and community.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Snow in Oak Bay

We're hanging out at a friend's place in Oak Bay for the month of February. She very kindly offered us the use of her condo because of a mix-up with holiday dates resulting from Harry's chemo. It's lovely really to be in a new part of town and it's kind of revitalized Harry who's in the last stages of his treatment.

Here's part of the reason we're enjoying it so much: the fabulous view from the living room. This was taken last week when the sun was shining and it felt spring-like.

But in the past two days winter has returned with a vengeance. Snow, snow and more snow.  Here's the same view this afternoon.

This the morning I took a little walk through the Oak Bay Native Plant Garden, a place I've driven by many times but never had the inclination to stop. It's filled with mature Gary Oaks and Arbutus--very pretty.

Oak Bay is named for the Gary Oak trees that predominate here. They really are lovely in the snow.

Our new temporary digs are a pretty nice place to snuggle in and wait out the snow....

Sure hope it doesn't last too long though, because we're scheduled to go to Vancouver on Wednesday to care for our niece while her parents are away doing important things. Cross your fingers that we can get to the ferry then. Victoria kind of shuts down in the snow so the trip may be a bit difficult if this doesn't turn to rain.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Let's just call it pussy power

Here in Victoria there was a rally and a march today to support the Women's March in Washington the day after D. T. was inaugurated. These rallies took place across the globe and here in Victoria there was a crowd like I have never seen before. The square was filled with people of all ages, spilling out into the street on all sides. I haven't heard an estimate but I know there were thousands of people there. I think the crowd exceeded what was planned for because we marched in a square around some of the downtown streets and when  the first marchers got back to Centennial Square the last ones hadn't even left.  A huge success.

Here are some images from this amazing afternoon, featuring a sea of pink.  

Many people wore knitted pink hats with pussy cat ears. 

Including Victoria's Raging Grannies, who led us in songs of rebellion and power, unity and tolerance.

It was wonderful to see so many people gathered, of all ages and genders.

Here's a final view of the crowd (thanks to Helen Zeilstra for the photo). I was so happy at the amazing turnout. It's time for all who oppose hatred to come together in love and support for one another. Pussy power is alive and well in the USA, in Canada and around the world.

We can get through this if we keep in mind that love trumps hate.  

I'm going to be knitting my own pink pussy hat because I have a feeling there will be more opportunities to wear it in solidarity. 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Memories resurface

A friend sent me this photo taken by a friend of hers and I recognized it instantly as a cabin that I lived in with my first husband many years ago. I think it was 1972 that we moved from Prince Rupert across the harbour to this little shack owned by a friend of Doug's. The place was called Crippen Cove and there were about five or six little cabins built around its edge.

This was in the early '70s and everyone I knew wanted to drop out and go back to the land, and so these abandoned cabins were being occupied and fixed up by "hippie kids" like us.

Of course it was summer time when we moved and we had wonderful fun chopping wood for the old stove, picking berries, scaring off bears, and growing primitive gardens. I was still working in town at the CBC radio station and I'd take the little aluminum skiff to go back and forth to work.  We didn't last too long at Crippen Cove because when summer was over it was a lot more difficult to cross the harbour. Plus without electricity or running water, life became pretty challenging in the cold and the rain. I have no idea when this photo was taken or even if the cabin is still there but it's a stunning image and it perfectly captures the essence of magic and isolation of that beautiful spot.

The only other photo I have of the cabin is this one with Doug posing on the ramshackle deck at the front. He liked to present himself as a tough backwoods boy, sitting on an oil drum smoking a cigarette. The photo was taken by my little brother almost 45 years ago when he was visiting us there.

That was the summer of the bear that became too accustomed to people and would come right up onto the deck looking for food. Whenever we went outside we had to go with bells and noisemakers so we wouldn't surprise the bear. Eventually it was shot by the authorities because he was posing a danger to people.

Looking back at these photos feels very strange to me, mostly because I recently heard the news that my ex-husband had died from cancer. We were married for eleven years, eventually moving to Victoria and having a baby boy, Kevin. Our divorce was amicable but after our child died there wasn't really any reason to keep in touch. Doug eventually became a marine engineer and worked on many smaller coastal ferries on the BC coast. He remarried and lived a long and happy life with his wife. Somehow I can't fathom that we're all in our 70s now. So much of the time just seems to slip through our fingers. And yet I still remember vividly that crazy summer in Crippen Cove with Doug.

Today I'm remembering Doug as a young man and a father to Kevin who died on this day in 1985. Here's a photo taken when Kevin was two weeks old in the arms of his proud papa. I'm picturing them somewhere together now sharing love and laughter and magical memories.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Update on The Janion

We've spent the last couple of weeks furnishing the Janion and getting it ready for short-term rentals. Everything is supplied--from bedding and towels to a cute little vacuum cleaner and kitchen gadgets.

We have artwork on the walls and a tv and wifi and cable vision and a PVR.  There's storage units and cooking pots and everything you need to live comfortably in a downtown micro-loft.

Here's the view from the balcony on a sunny day.

And here's the building showing the old and the new sections. We're in the new section.

This is the dining table that folds away to become the queen sized bed.  See the bed folded down below.

The photos below are of the rooftop area, which is available for group gatherings, and one of the entrances off of Store Street. The location of this building is so excellent, right at the bottom of Victoria's Old Town, close to shops and restaurants and brew pubs and steps away from Chinatown.

We've just finished renting it to a student for the next four months, but after that it will we be available for short-term rentals.

All this is to say that if you know people who want to visit Victoria for a few days or a week or so after April, they can contact us to find out it it's available for rent. Prices start at $80 a night and $500 a week--much less than a hotel. Inquire at