Saturday, November 24, 2018

Remembering Maggie and Maddie

Twenty years ago today, two little border collie puppies were born in Brentwood Bay. Little did they know how much joy and friendship and love and learning they would bring to two Victoria families.

Jamie was ten when we got this little puppy and when we walked to school with Maggie, one of the teachers there mentioned that her daughter-in-law had just got a puppy that looked very similar. And so, we met Linette and her pup Maddie.

It was destined to be an enduring friendship. Maggie and Maddie hit it off right away and so did Linette and I. Next thing we knew we were training our dogs for the game of flyball. And the dogs, both being competitive sheep dogs, loved the game even more than we did.

Here's Maddie at the beach holding her big stick and Maggie at Goldstream Park.

And here's the whole Capital Comets Flyball Team after our first big tournament in 2003. 

The two dogs were star flyballers and we ended up competing in tournaments and meeting lots of wonderful dog people.  Eventually we bought an old motorhome and travelled with our team to competitions in Washington State and BC.

Before we knew it, we each had found another puppy. Sophie joined Linette's family and Geordie joined our family. That's Linette running a race with Sophie on the left, and sitting with Maddie at the table in the motorhome on the right. She's patting Geordie.

The four dogs were friends for life. Here they're all waiting in the snow for a ball to be thrown.

And here, three of the dogs waiting at the beach for a stick to be thrown.

All four dogs lived long and happy lives, although never long enough.

I will never forget those early days when I learned so much about border collies from spending so much time with the two best dogs ever--litter mates Maggie and Maddie.

We still miss you girls.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Booked our flights to Cuba

For decades I've wanted to visit Cuba and just today I made our flight reservations for January.
We'll be going on a nine-day cultural tour with a small group. The plan is to fly in and out of Mexico City and then return to CDMX in February for two weeks, after which we'll do a little bus touring around Mexico before returning home at the end of the month.

It's a good thing I thought to check the flights today because the Aeromexico flights that I had bookmarked back in September are all booked up on the days we needed. Yikes! I've booked with a company called Interjet. I think I've heard of it.

In any case we have the return flights to Cuba and Mexico so all is well.

My friend Jackie is actually in Havana right now. She went with her brother in the spring and liked it so much that she returned this month with her husband. Jackie is a terrific photographer and if you want to see some of her Cuba photos, just go here.  Can you see why we are so stoked?

Something about booking the plane reservations makes the trip become real.  Yay!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Blue paintings

This  summer I accepted and invitation to display my paintings in the main room of a local community centre.  It's not an art gallery by any means but there are some spaces on the walls where paintings can be hung. So it's kind of a one-person show.

In preparation for this I gathered together the larger paintings and was astounded to see that they were all predominantly blue. Oh no! How depressing to have a display of only blue paintings.

So for the past two or three weeks I've been doing a lot of painting, taking down a couple of bigger paintings from my walls and reworking them.

This triptych was the one I did the most work on. It evolved over a week through some larger abstract shapes into something completely different.  It became a Moroccan village.  And although there's some blue here it's a lot more vibrant than the one above.

The one above the bed also came down from the wall and ended up a little less blue, although it still has a kind of bluish cast. It's funny how pressure can push a person into a whole revision phase.


Of course I was also framing some smaller works, which will really form most of the display. On Friday afternoon we hung the show and it's going to be up for the months of November and December. I'll be organizing a little reception on the afternoon of December 1st to invite friends to view it. Meanwhile here are a couple photos of the space. It's not ideally lighted to show art work but I'm still pleased to be able hang some work.

If you want to stop by, it's at Fairfield Community Place, 1300 Fairfield Road.  It still looks quite blue to me.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

October is Referendum time

As the leaves turn to their brilliant October colours, here in BC we're gearing up for a hugely important referendum. It's an opportunity to change our voting system for the better, to move to a proven system of democracy that gives everyone an equal voice in their government.  It's Proportional Representation--otherwise known as Pro Rep. And it's not like the current system that lets a party with less than 40% of the vote have 100% of the power in government.

Under Pro Rep if a party gets 30% of the votes province-wide, it will end up with 30% of the seats in Legislature. Dozens of democracies around the world use this system because it results in a government that represents everyone's views and cooperates to get things done. If you're tired of feeling like your vote doesn't count then Pro Rep is for you.

I am so excited about this opportunity to upgrade our voting system that I've been volunteering with a group phoning people to let them know about the referendum. But I'm concerned that not that many people understand what it is and how important it is to our democracy. Hence this post.

Ballots will be mailed out to everyone on the BC voters list this week. When you get your ballot you'll see there are two questions on it. The first question asks if you want to stay with our current system or move to a system of Proportional Representation.  This is the only question you need to answer.  And I hope you'll vote for this change. We will have eight years to try it and then there will be another referendum to decide if we want to keep it.

The second question on the ballot is optional. It asks you to select which Pro Rep model you think is best. There are three models being considered. Each of them has been reviewed by a committee on electoral reform. Each of them will provide local representation and proportionality without increasing the number of MLAs in government.  Any one of them will be a huge improvement over our current system by allowing every vote to count. So if you don't have a strong preference for one model over another, you can choose not to answer the second question.

It's the first question that's important. I am hopeful that you will watch for the ballot in the mail and take the time to vote yes to PR and mail the ballot back as soon as possible.

And if you want to see this change to our voting system, please make a point of talking to your friends and family about the referendum and encourage them to vote yes too. If they've  moved recently they should contact Elections BC  to update their information.

By the way, the Elections BC website has a really comprehensive voters guide that will answer any questions you have about the systems and the voting process.

I am crossing my fingers that British Columbia can join countries like New Zealand, Scotland, and Germany and move to a proportional system to create government that reflects the views of all.

I hope you've enjoyed seeing these photographs taken here in Victoria and in Vancouver over the past week of glorious sunny weather.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Moss Street Market and a walk in the cemetery

On Saturday morning Sue and I headed off to the Moss Street Market, one of the best places to see friends and pick up some local organic produce. As usual my camera couldn't stay in my pocket. There are just too many beautiful, colourful vegetables to photograph. 

We have to get there right when it opens at 10:00 because all the best veggies are snapped up pretty quickly. Once we've made our selections we can head over to where the music is happening. This week it was Slim Sandy and the Hillbilly Boppers, a local couple that really get things going on the guitar and the washtub. 

Our next stop was the Ross Bay Cemetery, one of the oldest in Victoria. And we enjoyed a stroll among the lovely trees looking at gravestones from a century or more ago.  

I hadn't visited this place for years actually but for sure I will be back. It's a funny thing--when we travel I make a point of visiting cemeteries in Eastern Canada and France and Mexico but I'd forgotten that we have a spot right here in Victoria that's just as lovely.

There's even a lovely carved angel. I like the way she has her foot lifted as if she's walking.

We headed home after that and I spent some time making this beautiful beet soup for dinner.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Late September Butchart Gardens

Today was quintessential early fall--cloudless and calm, cool in the morning warming up mid-day. We spent a few hours at the lovely Butchart Gardens and I tried out my new camera.  Here are few of the images I found.