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Cover Bill Henderson performing with Chilliwack. Photo: Daniel Bloch




g n o L The




onesome Mary” kicks off the Chilliwack road show these days. The iconic BC band continues to thrill boomers and millennials alike with 20 to 25 engagements a year (primarily at fairs and festivals) belting out hits such as “Lonesome Mary,” “I Believe” and “Crazy Talk.” And, of course, their signature tune, “My Girl (Gone, Gone, Gone)” written by lead singer Bill Henderson and band member Brian “Too Loud” McLeod in the belly of McLeod’s boat. The opening bars are legendary. Gone, gone, gone, she’s been gone so long. She’s been gone, gone, gone so long. “We got to Pender Harbour. Every night we’d stop and play,” says Bill about that eventful night in 1981. “We’re sitting there and Brian’s got the chord that opens the song and we built it from there. We probably worked out most of the verses on the boat. I took it home and created the vocal stuff that has the modulation in the middle.” Ever since she left me I sure feel all alone. A little misunderstanding, I can’t get her on the telephone. “My Girl” went on to peak at number 22 on the Billboard chart but Bill wasn’t satisfied. “I wasn’t happy with the lyrics and the melody,” he says “but it was our best hit.” And that’s the thing about Bill Henderson; he’s not what you’d expect from a rock legend. As a shy and retiring youngster, he sought solace in the harmony of nature, in the trees, the rocks and

especially the water. He would spend hours on the wharf in Yellowpoint, BC where he grew up, staring at the waves, alone in his own thoughts. “It soothed me,” he says. Who knew that he’d be up on the stage years later, rocking it out in front of thousands of adoring fans? Not him. “I didn’t start out wanting to be a rock star. I didn’t plan it,” he says. “The thing that music did for me was that it solved my inner turmoil and that was a very, very intense experience for me from a little kid onwards. I was extremely uncomfortable. Whatever it was, my gut was flat and hard for a long, long time because I was just plain tense all the time. It’s great to have a hit but, when I play, I want to have a transcendent experience. That’s why I’m in music. And what was the music transcending? It was transcending whatever the turmoil was all about.” My girl, she was the world to me. She’s gone away across the sea. My girl is just a memory. She’s been gone so long away Gone, gone, gone, she’s been gone so long. She’s been gone, gone, gone so long. Credit pop singer Howie Vickers and The Collectors with giving birth to Chilliwack. Back in the 1960s, The Collectors, originally called the C-FUN Classics, played cover tunes at high school dances and events. The band also had a weekend gig at a downtown Vancouver nightclub. The Collectors played rhythm and blues. Bill, who at this point, was studying theory, composition and instrumentation at UBC’s School of Music, liked jazz. The Collectors’ saxophone player, Claire Lawrence, brought the two together.




Snapshot with Bill Henderson

Snapshot Q &A

If you were to meet your 20-year-old self, what advice would you give him? “When I was at Yellowpoint, I was down on the wharf every day. The water soothed me and the advice I’d give that 20-year old is learn how to get back that connection with this beautiful planet.” Who or what has influenced you the most? And why? “A guy named Martin Bartlett who was in the music program at UBC like I was. He was a new music composer, all this wild and crazy stuff, and he had this really deep commitment to music.” What does courage mean to you? “Courage means moving into your fear when you’re afraid. Work with it and do something that you’re afraid of.” What does success mean to you?


“Success means doing something that makes you feel really good. It depends on what you’re after; if you’re after money, you’re going to be a success after you’ve made a certain amount of money. For me, it was some kind of connection with dead centre. It’s been about finding the centre for me.”


“We had to change guitar players so Bill Henderson, who had not played rock and roll guitar at all up to that point, came in and joined the band,” says Lawrence. “We started writing songs almost right away.” “Bill hadn’t played a lot of rock and roll,” says Vickers “but he had a fresh, open mind musically and he had a technical background, too. It was him and Claire bringing that experience and knowledge to what we were doing.” (Lawrence had also attended UBC’s music program, although he and Bill had never met on campus). “Both of us had heard the wildest stuff you can imagine from the classical composers and we brought that into rock, Lawrence continues. “Most rock players didn’t have access to that music because they had grown up learning how to play Duane Eddy. They just didn’t have access to the music that we did.” “It was ground breaking,” says Bill, who was now sharing lead vocals with Vickers. Signed by Warner Brothers, The Collectors produced one album and five singles, building a reputation for innovation and originality. But in 1969 Vickers left the band to pursue a solo career in commercial music. The quintet became a quartet and Bill assumed the role of leader. “I just stepped aside,” says Vickers “and they changed their name. Chilliwack initially was The Collectors minus me.” She was weeping and a-wailing You know she does it every day I said Mary, Mary, Mary How can you live that way? “Lonesome Mary” in 1971 was quite big for us. It definitely put us on the map,” continues Bill. “There was tremendous momentum from The Collectors and Chilliwack rode out on that momentum and started creating new stuff as well.” A stream of releases followed, “Fly at Night,” “Arms of Mary,” “California Girls,” “Whatcha Gonna Do,” and others. The ’70s and ’80s were a busy time for the band – 12 albums in 24 years – live shows and a swing through the States appearing on the TV programs American Bandstand and Solid Gold. “Once we got going, it was not about [the money]. It was about the excitement of the music and the exploration and the new WWW.SENIORLIVINGMAG.COM

sounds,” says Bill. “It wasn’t until 1976, 10 years after we formed the band that we started making any appreciable amount of money – and we’re not talking about a lot of money, we’re talking about not going to the Sally Ann to buy clothes for our kids.” Bill was now a bona fide rock star, but the singer/songwriter was finding it increasingly difficult to feed the machine. “A lot of bands were being trained by record companies to create stuff that sounds the same from song to song. I wasn’t into that. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to; I couldn’t. I could write cookie-cutter stuff, but songs that actually grabbed people’s attention, those sprang out of me and they would happen when I would sit and play my guitar. And those ones I would pursue. I couldn’t control what style came out and whatever emerged, emerged.” He admits distractions hindered the band’s international reach. “We could have gotten farther in our career, if we had managed to get songs all focused in the same direction. That would have been much easier for a record company to market. I wasn’t focused properly. I wasn’t focused on how do we get to No. 1, what should we wear, what are the colours, how do we promote this, what should the album cover look like? My focus was not there. My heart and soul was not there.” Chilliwack released its last new album in 1984. Bill put Chilliwack on hiatus in 1987 and moved onto other projects, joining the folk-rock band UHF with Shari Ulrich and Roy Forbes, performing solo and getting involved, politically, with the Songwriters Association of Canada, the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and SOCAN, a non-profit organization representing the publishing rights of artists and publishers. Bill served with SOCAN for 24 years, speaking up for artists and making sure their interests were represented at the negotiating table. In 2014, he received a SOCAN Special Achievement Award for his advocacy work. In May 2016, he received an Order of Canada. Worthwhile projects all but as early as 1995, the boy was getting restless. “Frankly, I was starting to miss the bass and drums. I wanted to hear the THUMP.” Bill put a new band together in 1997. In 2010, he included old pals Howie Vickers and Claire Lawrence in a commemorative 40th anniversary concert at River Rock Theatre. There was a lot of THUMP, indeed.

Today, Bill tours with his brother Ed, long-time drummer Jerry Adolph and bass player Gord Maxwell. “When you go to a Chilliwack concert, most people say, ‘I didn’t know that was a Chilliwack song’ or ‘I didn’t know that was Chilliwack,’” says Claire Lawrence. “They have so many songs that are recognizable.” “We give them most of the old hits,” says Bill, plus new material, too. “It’s such a release to say okay, ‘we’re playing the past now.’ This band has many pasts. I can move around from genre to genre and I don’t care,” he says, thankful for the freedom that comes with longevity. “We threw ourselves into our music and we got basically high with it. That’s always been my focus, so I’m not apologetic to the industry anymore that I didn’t play their game. But I managed to survive and I’m happy. I’m real happy.”

Photo: Dale Leung

We’re gonna take back this country, we’re gonna take back this land. We’re gonna bring back democracy and build Canada again. Haven’t we had enough? Haven’t we had our fill? Hasn’t it been too long living on corporate time feeding the bottom line?

Yet we know where we’re goin’, we know what to do. We will stand together because our love is strong; it’s gonna carry us on. We’re gonna take back this country, we’re gonna take back this land. We’re gonna bring back democracy and build Canada again.

Chilliwack, post-performance.

“They’re a little taken back,” Bill says of his latest tune, “Take Back This Land,” the closing number in his current show. The song is a slam against consumption and materialism written in 2015, just before the last federal election, inspired, he says “by the need for change at the highest political level. Was I angry for 10 years and that led to it? Sure, but I feel the song is deeper than that. I’m not talking about a person; I’m talking about how we live our lives. It’s about this place and these Baby Shea, Christy and Bryn Fell

people. Democracy is really a way of saying we’re all in this together. Look at this beautiful place. Do we want to ruin it?” Bill co-wrote the song with his wife of 49 years, May, and credits her with the “clearer, saner parts.” “She’s the opposite of me,” he says. They met at UBC and now reside on Salt Spring Island, close to the water, of course. His adult children, Saffron, leads a band called The Ticket and, Camille, teaches singing. They often appear with their Dad as backup singers. “I’m not motivated by picking up girls anymore,” he laughs. “I’m not interested in doing anything but writing for myself and for the band.” And that includes reflecting on what’s happening on Salt Spring and in the rest of the world.

Chilliwack carries on, in spirit and in the flesh. Bill has reunited with Claire Lawrence to mentor First Nations vocalist Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson, and the Chilliwack road show rolls on. He admits it’s a slog sometimes – “if I drive over three hours, I don’t play” – but he remains passionate and committed. Music centres him. “The last thing I’ll do will be the show. I do love it.” “I applaud Bill for what he continues to do out there. It’s just phenomenal,” says his pal Howie Vickers. “Bill is still bloody amazing and Claire, as well. Just having the energy and the desire, that’s truly an amazing thing. The Eagles song, “The Long Run”; that says it all. I’m very proud of them.” SL

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Thorong La Pa

ss, Annapurna



Annapurna Base Camp, Nepal


hen I naively agreed to my husband Barry’s suggestion we trek the Annapurna Circuit in the Nepal Himalaya, I had no idea what lay ahead. A seasoned mountaineer, he considered the 23-day circumambulation of the Annapurna Massif a must on his bucket list. My longest multiday backpack trip to date was 10 days rambling through the hills of England’s Lake District with luggage delivered each evening to a cushy B&B accommodation and a rest day half way. “And, if we’re going to travel all that way, we could add the Annapurna Sanctuary to the itinerary,” he said. “Another 13 days?” I gasped. Not to be outdone I countered, “Well, I’ve always wanted to see the forbidden kingdom of Upper Mustang. It’s 14 days trekking and tenting. Are you up for sleeping on the ground?” “We really should include the classic Everest Base Camp circuit,” said Barry. Finally, the number of hotel days for rest and laundry in Kathmandu and scenic lakeside Pokhara negotiated, at age 66, we packed our duffle bags, shouldered our day packs and set off for a three-month trekking adventure in Nepal. We hoped our regimen of cross-country skiing and snowshoe10 8


ing, combined with four-hour summer packladen hikes, would prepare us. Thirteen hours to Hong Kong, two days to combat jet lag, then on to Kathmandu. Annapurna Here We Come From Kathmandu to Besisihar, passing buses with names like Hero of the Road and Rock Star, our Land Cruiser slip-slid through axle-high mud and ruts on the ride. We were relieved to lace our boots and start walking. Our plan was to complete the 23-day journey during what guidebooks portray as the pleasant, late September post-monsoon


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period. Instead, the first few days the rain was relentless. Sharing muddy trails and suspension bridges with school children, ponies and porters, we gained an appreciation of Nepali flat, ukalo, oralo, a little bit up, a little bit down. As the skies cleared, our focus turned to serious altitude gain. Thorang La, the trek’s high point at 5,416 metres was only days ahead. At Mangang’s Himalayan Rescue Society, the lecture on Acute Mountain Sickness highlighted the need to drink two litres of chlorine-pill-treated water a day and consider the possibility of taking Diamox to combat the effects of altitude. Mild headaches and shortness of breath couldn’t dampen our delight in bridges festooned with flapping prayer flags and yaks roaming heathered hillsides. Day 13 we grumbled out of sleeping bags, donned headlamps and set off at 4 am in the footsteps of our guide, Raj Neupane. At 7:30 am, we celebrated at the summit, Thorang La, among laughing trekkers and singing Nepalis. We gulped hot lemon and took photos before attacking the knee-knackering descent to Muktinath. To avoid the three-day hike along the gritty road to Jomsom, we opted to catch a bus. We came to regret this decision: the teenaged driver fancied himself as NASCAR race driver Richard Petty as he barely negotiated the wild switchbacks above the Kali Gandaki River, the world’s deepest gorge. Back on the trail, a 1,500-metre ascent ended in culture shock as we left the relative peace of the Annapurna Circuit to merge with crowds on the six-day Ghorapani to Ghandruk trek. We joined mobs of tourists trudging up Poon Hill for sunrise photo ops of Annapurna South and Macchapuchhare, the Fishtail. Later in the lodge dining room, we warmed ourselves by the giant fireplace while feasting on flaming chicken served sizzling hot in an iron dish. In the evening, Raj taught us Nepali songs and dances to celebrate Dashain, the national festival of Nepal. Then, for a few days, the trail wound down through farms of millet, rice and mustard. Blissfully back off the beaten track, we slept at Chhomrong’s Excellent View Top Lodge anticipating a breakfast at Cottage Bakery, which featured Nepal’s best chocolate cake. We agreed we’d need the calories to tackle the steep slopes ahead. Instead of continuing to Naya Pul, the traditional end of the Annapurna Circuit trek, we detoured to Tadapani. Our plan: continue to the centre of the Annapurna range to experience the 360-degree view of the glaciers and peaks of the Annapurna Sanctuary. On either side, the Machhapuchhre and Hiunchuli peaks, considered the gates to Annapurna Sanctuary, dominated our days. Bistari, bistari, slowly, slowly, we ascended toward ABC, Annapurna Base Camp. Our spirits were dampened by the descent of a dinnertime fog as we huddled together in down jackets in the ABC dining hall. However, aging has its benefits: “Lucky I had to get up to pee at midnight,” I said, sidling up to Barry, his camera already set on a tripod. “If I were younger, I might have missed this view.” Miraculously, the heavens had cleared. We celebrated life under a starlit sky with jagged snowy profiles shimmering in the light of the harvest moon.

Included in Price: Round Trip Air from Vancouver Intl Airport, Air Taxes and Fees/Surcharges of $540 per person (subject to increase until paid in full), Hotel Transfers * All Rates are Per Person and are subject to change **This tour was priced in USD and converted to CDN at a $1.20 exchange. ***Price is locked in against any currency fluctuation.

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©Amnesty International

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Leave a Legacy Your Legacy for Freedom and Justice Is Her Future.

Rebiya Kadeer was to Section eight years prison for speaking Since 1973, thesentenced Canadian of in Amnesty out against the persecution of the Uighurs, an ethnic minority group International has promoted and protected human rights in China. After Amnesty campaigned on her behalf, at home and abroad,International through ongoing campaigning, outreachcrucial and education programs. she received medical care and was released. International your will AfterBy youremembering have providedAmnesty for your loved ones, pleaseinconsider including and estate planning, you will be helping to build a a gift in your will to help Amnesty International continue to defend future where the Rebiya fundamental of out every personrights. courageous people like Kadeer dignity who speak for human is respected worldwide.

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Two days later, we guzzled Everest beer on the patio of the Evergreen Hotel in Jihnu Danda. A leisurely downhill walk through towering bamboo led to hot pools. Beside the roaring rapids of the Modi River, we plunged our aching muscles into the metre-deep bath. Next stop, Pokhara. Five days of laundry, and reading and leisurely hot showers. Five nights of pizza, wine and gelato: mouthwatering treats after rice, lentils and overcooked vegetables. Happily, due to Raj’s sage advice regarding the lack of refrigeration in most guesthouses, “Don’t eat eggs or chickens unless you see chickens in the yard,” we were not sick the entire trip. I felt fit and confident, ready for the next challenge. On the Roof of the World Our route to the capital city Lo-Manthang snaked along the ankle-jarring pebbles of the Kali Gandaki riverbed from Jomson and over several passes higher than 4,000 metres. Fully acclimatized, our headaches had vanished. Six mornings of blasting winds, sand grains biting at our skin, swathed bandit-like in neck tubes, hats, sunglasses and long-sleeved shirts. Six nights of camping in dusty packed-earth courtyards, our tents protected from fierce afternoon sandstorms by rudely constructed mud-brick walls. By day, we communicated with hand signals, our words snatched by noisy gusts. At night, we discovered sand in our ears, caked on the sweaty interior of our sunglasses and deep in our wool hiking socks. And every step was worth it. Feeling at home means enjoying the things you like to do. Which is why at Amica, you can always enjoy your day the way you like to – read your book in a quiet corner or enjoy a snack when you want to.

I didn’t expect it to feel like home.

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Our goal was to reconnect with the Tibetan culture that had seized our souls during a recent visit to Lhasa and sacred Mount Kailash. We wanted to witness what remains of an ancient civilization. Upper Mustang, and its capital Lo-Manthang, lie at an altitude of 3,840 metres on the high desert of the Tibetan plateau along the border of Nepal, surrounded on three sides by Tibet. Politically part of Nepal, it’s geographically and culturally Tibetan. Travel to the area is restricted and costly. Raja Jigme Dorje Palbar Bista, the hereditary 25th king of the medieval walled capital city Lo-Manthang was reduced by the Nepalese government to the rank of Raja in 2008. The septuagenarian has witnessed myriad changes in his lifetime, the most dramatic during the past two decades when foreigners have been allowed access to his kingdom.



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Tea with King of Upper Mustang

French explorer Michel Peissel, whose pioneering visits opened this region to Western awareness in the 1960s, described the town then as “one great cement block, laid down upon an inferno of barrenness by the hand of some warring god, with houses packed like cubes within the walls.” Now shops, guesthouses and campgrounds sprawl outside those once-impregnable barricades. On our morning walk along the outer perimeter of the walled city, a parade of several hundred scruffy gray goats meandered along narrow streets toward meager mountain pastures. Women gossiped at the communal water source, trekkers sipped steaming tea by their tents inside stone-walled camping compounds and expedition cooks lined up at the kerosene depot vying for rare fresh fruit and vegetables demanded by clients. The air was fragrant with yak and horse dung. Walking back to our tents we heard the din of cymbals, whining trumpets and the rhythmic pounding of drums. Buddhist monks were preparing for Duk Chu, the next day’s festival of dances and prayers marking the coming of winter. After the ceremonies, 60 per cent of the 1,000 resident Lhobas, would depart for the warmer climes of Kathmandu and India. We, too, headed south, the first day by a different route, to the ancient monastery at Ghar Gompa, past the red cliffs of Dakmar, followed by several more days retracing our steps to Jomson for a

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11 13

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Final Push to Everest Base Camp Then the fun began. Instead of the planned flight from Kathmandu to Tenzing-Hillary airport in Lukla, considered the world’s most dangerous airport, inclement weather forced our pilot to set the 18-seat plane down on the bumpy dirt track at Lamidanda village. From there, we whirled through darkening skies in the last helicopter out to Phakding where we would begin walking. The ochre, arid pebbles and dust of Upper Mustang had offered a stark contrast to the greens and blues and snowy peaks of the Annapurna vegetation. Now the rocky, charcoaltoned rugged terrain of the Everest Circuit engulfed us. Thankful for minimal crowds in the Annapurna area and virtually none in Upper Mustang, Barry and I, who had chosen to travel alone with a guide and porter, were rudely awakened from our serenity on the Everest Circuit. Sullen groups of 30, passing with not so much as a Namaste or a nod, jammed the pathways. In Solo Khumbu, the Everest region, this land of the Sherpa people, we learned to circle Buddhist stupas, mound-shaped structures containing religious relics, in a clockwise direction and to recognize sanskrit Om signs carved into mani stones. Five days in, near Lobuche village, we wandered in silent vigil among memorial stupas to climbers who had perished on Everest. Lobuche was as far as I went. The following morning, exhausted by 50 days of trekking, I chose to descend to Pheriche village with our porter, Khil, while Barry and Raj pursued one last challenge, the climb up the 5,644 metre Kala Pattar for a view of Everest. Together again for a late dinner, we decided it was time to head back to Kathmandu, then home. Our trek southward was charged with discussions of future trekking routes and cultural areas to explore, little doubt in our minds we would return for more adventures among the people of the Himalayas. SL For IF YOU GO information, visit www.





Free Fall!


Photo: Sherri Ellison


t age 60, I decide to parachute out of a plane. It would be a fun adventure to skydive, so I make reservations at the nearest licensed facility and arrive on a sunny, cloudless morning. I think, “It is a perfect day for a jump.” The first item on the day’s agenda is a briefing. I choose a tandem-style jump as it is the best for a first-time jumper. There is very little training required and you are strapped to an instructor by a tandem harness. After viewing a short video describing what to expect when skydiving, I sign the typical papers that I would not sue nor would my family sue the facility if anything went wrong. I proceed outside to an elevated structure where I am taught the technique for the initial jump from the plane and how to land. Next, it is time to select my jumpsuit. I pick a bright orange jumpsuit that looks to be short enough for my 5’2” frame. It fits perfectly. “Surely this is a good omen,” I tell myself. The assistant 14 16 18


equips me with a harness, which is buckled around my body. I am all dressed up and definitely have a place to go. As I walk to the plane area, I realize it is just long enough that one could reconsider. “Nope, not me,” I think. I feel elated that I am going to jump. Approaching the plane, the excitement intensifies. I meet my instructor and all six of us – three students and three instructors – along with two videographers climb aboard and join the pilot. There are no seats and we all sit on the floor of the plane with each student in front of an instructor. I am buckled to my instructor’s harness and told not to loosen the buckles. That is a safety rule I am definitely obeying. The plane climbs to 14,000 feet, which takes about 20 minutes. I listen to the hum of the plane’s engine as it ascends higher into the atmosphere. I feel thrilled and fearless as I am about to experience an incredible adventure. I realize that I am definitely going to leap out of a perfectly good airplane! When the plane reaches the


correct altitude, I am the last to jump as the videographers go first followed by the others. My instructor and I scoot to the ledge of the open door and sit with our legs and feet dangling. The instructor tells me to have fun, and we leap out of the plane! We free fall for about 60 seconds. It feels as if you are floating over a very strong fan. As we fall, the wind is noisy, and my face moves just like the flapping jowls of a dog with its head stuck out the car window. I am smiling and feeling the cold as it is about 25 degrees Celsius cooler at this altitude. During free fall, you are travelling to the earth at 193 km/h. What an exhilarating feeling! I see the curvature of the earth and the ground rushing toward me. The 60 seconds goes by quickly. The instructor pulls the rip cord, and I am jerked upward, and all becomes silent. It is so quiet that my instructor and I are able to talk and hear each other easily. He lets me control the chute and we do spins and float along the air currents. I am ecstatic as I fly! Nearing the landing zone, my instructor reminds me to pull my legs up and we smoothly land on our butts. As we sit on the soft grass, I laugh with joy and want to immediately do it again. My first jump is an awesome adventure. If you are inspired to experience this amazing endeavour, you can search the Canadian Sport Parachuting Association website ( and find a member directory list of licensed drop zones. There are several facilities in British Columbia that meet the approval of this association. About 31 million worldwide jumps are done every year with 125,000 jumps in Canada, not including the tandem statistics. I read a humorous (or not) article that said it is far safer to jump out of a plane than drive to the grocery store. Live fearlessly and skydive! SL Nancy J. Schaaf (pictured in free fall) taught English/Literature for 25 years and also earned a RN license and served as a school nurse and as a correctional nurse. She self-published two books on her family genealogy and several articles have been published in national magazines. She also enjoys golfing, reading, riding motorcycles and jumping out of planes as she has completed her second tandem jump.

We all want to believe that we will remain healthy into old age but sometimes that just doesn’t happen. Whether you are 52 with dementia or need care at 105, aging can take away so much. Your donation to the Eldercare Foundation funds community programs and education that help people stay in their own homes longer; funds therapy programs, equipment and homelike enhancements for extended care residents; and gives back dignity and happiness.

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Life After Work


Poster Boy for Retirement


“Life is good in the Comox Valley,” says Craig Bassett.

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hen Craig Bassett and his wife retired to the Comox Valley from North Vancouver six years ago, he had never been in a kayak and didn’t own a bike. He watched as his Island neighbours vigorously pedaled uphill to a coffee shop perched at the crown when he was invited along. Not having ridden since childhood, he bought an old bike from a neighbour. Upon tackling the incline, he was embarrassed to discover he couldn’t make it halfway up. “I thought, to hell with this. I’m going to need to work at it if I want to get any better,” he says. In the years since (and a few higher quality bikes later), Craig is at the front lines of numerous cycling events. After his photo was used in promotional posters for Simon’s Cycle YANA ride (a charitable event that raises money for local families who seek medical treatment for their children), his friends jokingly referred to him as “poster boy.” One day, Craig rode from his home in the Comox Valley to Campbell River and back, a trip that’s approximately 110 km. For someone who didn’t start riding until after 65, the adage that you’re never too old to try something new is a theory he’s tested. Raised in Vancouver, Craig worked as a teacher, counsellor, and mediator in Burnaby for 34 years. For the past 14 years, he has worked part-time as a faculty associate in UBC’s Department of Education, something he’s still able to do from across the Strait of Georgia. However, he says that retirement on the Island has rendered those career stats irrelevant. “When people here ask, ‘what do you do?’ they aren’t referring to whether you’re a doctor or a postal worker, they’re asking what you do as in what activities you take part in.” For Craig, the answer is as long as a weekly grocery list. He’s the president of his area’s Probus chapter, a social and activity club for retired and semi-retired residents, which has branches across Canada. He downhill skies, sails, rides motorcycles, scuba dives, and now even kayaks in his own backyard (or, in the water that lines his property). He leads the kayak section of Probus, despite only stepping into one a few years ago. Craig’s nickname is “salty dog”– the “dog” is a reference to his last name, and “salty,” an allusion to his love of the ocean. When speaking about the water he says, “I’m either on it or in it or under it.” That love of the sea was cultivated in childhood by Craig’s father who had a penchant for fishing. Although Craig grew up with the occasional afternoon spent fishing and taking trips to Mt. Seymour to ski the fresh snow, he doesn’t characterize himself as


inherently athletic; most of the activities he now pursues he took up after moving to Vancouver Island. As Craig has gotten older, he says his perception of physical activity has changed; he’s realized how important it is to link it to health. Despite his younger days spent at the helm of a sailboat, he recognizes that despite the wellness being outside provides, it wasn’t great exercise. Once he incorporated activity that challenged his body, he began to see a difference. Since living on the Island, he has lost 20 pounds. “I’m much fitter at 70 than I was at 50,” he says. The names of Craig’s last three boats have been the same: Aristos, a Greek word that translates to “do the best you can.” It’s a philosophy that has been paramount to his life – whether he’s guiding the student teachers he works with or applying it to each new task he faces. The difference between struggling to be “the best” (a near impossible feat) and simply “doing your best” is critical; it’s something Craig practices. He remembers this year’s YANA ride as a particularly challenging experience. Although it wasn’t a race, he says, “I like to push myself and really go for it.” This meant bettering his previous time – 55 km in as close to two hours as he could. Riding alongside 175 other riders, he was on track to do that, in synch with the top dozen riders for the first 40 km. Then he got a cramp in his leg. “It would’ve been easy to quit,” he says, “to throw in the towel when it didn’t go as planned.” But he didn’t. He knew he couldn’t keep up with the fastest cohort, so he fell back into the next group. Although he may not have gone as fast as he hoped, he ended up beating his previous time by a minute or so. His motivation stems from his belief, “We don’t know how long we’re going to be around. I’m 72. We need to make the most out of every day.” If there’s one thing Craig’s a “poster boy” for, it’s a saying that’s etched into a plaque his daughter gave him: “It’s not the years in your life, but the life in your years.” Craig believes that regardless of one’s upbringing or athletic proclivities, anyone can lead a more active and engaged lifestyle, and they should – especially when afforded the time that retirement gives. “Maybe you’ve watched other people do

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Please support our programs! Thank you for 65 years of support!! We have a variety of ways that you can help!! For more info, Email: 20 18



an activity or seen it on TV and thought, ‘that looks like fun, maybe I could do it on some level.’ And you can,” he says. He underscores that you don’t need to be an Olympian or perform at a BC champion level to make great strides. His advice is to start small and feel good about gradual achievements that are made. Physical activity can take a heftier toll on a senior’s body, so assessing your health and focusing on what you can do is the best route to success. If physical activity isn’t an option, get more involved in social events. “Signing up for events is a way to ensure you actually go through with it. It’s about making that commitment to yourself and doing the best you can,” he says. If you’ve never stepped foot in a kayak or haven’t ridden a bike since you were young, you’re not alone; Craig Bassett said the same thing before he retired. With an itinerary that could challenge any west coast adventurer, Craig proves that age is just a number – and, sometimes, the higher the number, the more time and fulfillment you can bring to your days. SL Photos provided by Craig Bassett

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Active Life

The Kick-Ass Women of Silver Star


“The community of Silver Star is amazing. It provides a unique lifestyle second to none in the world. I am so happy to live here.” –Colleen Lindsay, 58, Silver Star resident


atti Wild peers over the edge of Kirkenheimer, a double black downhill ski run on the dark side of Silver Star Mountain Resort. At 66, the petite, passionate skier, who has undergone two knee surgeries in the past few years, doesn’t hesitate. “It’s my favourite run on a powder day,” says the five-foot dynamo. Then she’s off.

replacement,” she says. “I was on my exercise bike within a month.” She is still going strong. “I love alpine skiing for the thrills and spills with friends, surrounded by Mother Nature in all her winter splendour. You can always improve, even after 50 years at it.” Often seen on the snowshoe and cross-country trails with her dog, she also coordinates locals in inventive projects to support the community. The Brockville, Ontario native shares the secret to her success. “I live in the moment, practice kindness and patience and do a little stretching every day before I head out.”

busy schedule. A skier for 50 years, winter is for Silver Star. “I downhill ski or snowboard when the weather suits me, but classic cross-country is my favourite activity,” she says. “It requires more energy than alpine skiing.” She’s passionate about painting and sculpting, and plays bridge three times a week. “I feel staying active has helped me maintain my good health. And I love my life.”

Trisha Reid cross-country skiing. Patti Wild kickboxing.

Silver Star Mountain Resort, its village perched at 1,609 metres, only 20 minutes above the Okanagan Valley city of Vernon, boasts 131 downhill runs, 105 kilometres of groomed cross country ski trails in conjunction with adjacent Sovereign Lake Nordic Club and 16 kilometres of snowshoe trails. A perfect playground for kick ass Silver Star seniors. When they join up for winter on the slopes, look out. These girls with grit represent only a few of the vibrant, inspirational women of Silver Star. Aged 58 to 78, they’re showing no signs of deceleration. Some work, full or part time. Many volunteer in the community. Above all, despite past issues and injuries, they’re game for the next adventure. At 65, Patti says she forgot to buy the extended warranty on body parts. “I tore the meniscus behind my right knee in a mountain bike fall. The surgeon took care of it. I have had both knees buffed and polished. Two years ago, I had a half knee 22 20


Dixie Logie spring skiing.

When Dixie Logie, 75, is around, things are bound to be fun, whether she’s strutting her springtime stuff through Silver Star Village in a purple bathing suit or burning up the cross country trails with the Sovereign Lake Nordic Club Masters Program. Dixie operates The Calico Cat B&B with her husband in Brockville, Ontario. During the summer, she squeezes walking and biking into her WWW.SENIORLIVINGMAG.COM

Dixie’s oft times partner-in-crime is Trisha Reid, 78. Originally from Glasgow, this former radiographer counts cross-country skiing as her favourite winter activity. “I love to be out in nature for the exercise and fresh air,” she says. Another 50-year veteran of the slopes and trails, Trisha is Silver Star’s resident bird expert. She writes bird articles for the Silver Star Newsletter and volunteers at the Silver Star Museum. “I keep fit just by doing,” she says. “I cross-country ski five times a week. Joining the Masters Ski Program has made a huge difference in how fit I feel.” She walks her dog every day and joins Dixie at the bridge club three times a week. Anyone who knows her will agree Peggy Kassa, 66, is a force to be reckoned with. Busy with water skiing, stand-up paddle boarding and outrigger canoe paddling in summer, she continues into the winter with alpine, cross-country and telemark skiing and snowboarding. Downtime? A bit of gardening.

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Originally from Saskatoon, Peggy brings her skills as a florist, restaurateur and long-time ski instructor to her present career as ski instructor and organizer of Silver Star’s popular Ladies and Men’s Days ski programs. All this despite a torn ACL, which required lots of rehabilitation. Even more daunting, an earlier serious head injury. “I just had to be stubborn and keep trying things over and over and over. I do some form of exercise every day. Sometimes three sports a day,” she says. Truly unstoppable.


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Despite a broken ankle, now fixed with six screws, and her current place on the wait list for two total knee replacements, Kathy Parton, 62, still rips up the downhill slopes six days a week with her pal Peggy Kassa. The one-time hotel interior and fashion designer, originally from Calgary, is Peggy’s right hand in operating the Ladies and Men’s Day programs and decorating Silver Star Village for the winter. No doubt her history as a junior alpine racer and golfer since the age of seven gave her a great start. These days, she keeps fit by walking in the hills at Predator Ridge Golf Resort near Vernon, taking aquafit classes, snowshoeing and playing golf. “I love the thrill of the speed of downhill skiing most and being outside in winter.”

When you include a gift to the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in your estate plans you become a member of the Stradivarius Legacy Circle – a Circle whose members share a vision of a future that includes passionate symphonic performances and inspirational education programs in our province for generations to come. For more information about Legacy Giving, or to join the Stradivarius Legacy Circle if you have already included the Vancouver Symphony in your estate plans, please contact:

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Active Life Sandy Cook cross-country skiing.

“I like doing stuff,” says Sandy Cook, 63. Self-described Jill-of-alltrades, master of some, raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario, she spent her youth involved in competitive and synchronized swimming, alpine and cross-country ski racing, coaching and teaching, scuba diving, squash, road and mountain biking, outrigger canoe racing and kayak touring. “I especially love skiing in all its forms,” she says. “Nothing better than sun and snow – it’s so fresh feeling.” Sandy is out there every day skiing, walking the snowshoe trails with her husband, friends and her dog. A mechanical engineer and expert quilter, she also finds time for knitting, checking the stock market and volunteer work. “I’ve suffered a broken wrist, hand and the usual wear and tear on my knees. I’ve dealt with it with lots of stretching and always trying to stay fit.”

a downhill skier, she started snowboarding at 44 and has been riding the slopes, groomed and backcountry, ever since. Weather conditions determine her schedule: cross country skate ski or classic five times per week, snowboard on a powder day, alpine ski on groomer days, snowshoe on cold days. In summer: single-track mountain biking, hiking or rowing on Swan Lake. With a pin in one ankle, she achieves maintenance with yoga, physiotherapy, Rolfing and regular massage.

Colleen Lindsay waterskiing. Photo: Don Weixl

Carol King hiking.

“My passions are exercise, food, being outdoors, travel and sex.” She escaped to Big White for a while but now she’s back. “I’ve returned to Silver Star Mountain with all of its spirituality, amazing people and the most sun hours of the Okanagan.”

It’s hard to believe. Carol King turns 69 this year. This former nurse, office manager and antique dealer also raised sheep in Ontario for 18 years. Originally Bonny Junkins snowboarding.

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“I shredded the cartilage in my left knee snowboarding. Sports medicine treatments, exercises, physiotherapy and chiropractic care took care of it.” Two summers ago, Bonny started mountain biking, went over the handlebars twice, and injured her shoulder and hand. Time to quit? Nope. “I now wear a brace on my hand during outdoor activities.” The former research biologist also makes time for knitting, puzzles and volunteer work.

Swollen knees? Trouble alpine skiing and climbing the stairs? The answer for Bonny Junkins, 67, was to ditch her alpine skis 17 years ago and take up snowboarding. With no background in sport, the Ottawa native now loves the freedom to ride. Cross-country classic skiing, snowshoe and workouts in her home gym keep her fit. “I love the challenge of steep trails,” she says. “At home, I do weights, bench and floor exercises.” Sidelined by injuries? Not for long. WWW.SENIORLIVINGMAG.COM

The baby in the crowd, Psychologist Colleen Lindsay, 58, refers to herself as a group project. She credits her father, an outdoorsman, for building on her childhood background in dance, gymnastics and swimming. “He took us on family ski holidays in the Rocky Mountains. His motto: try your best and no whining,” she says. When she arrived in the Okanagan at age 38, a group of Silver Star regulars spent many winter hours coaching and encouraging her. “I admired their free spirits and love of skiing. Now I can alpine ski, cross country classic and skate ski, telemark ski and snowshoe.” Weight workouts, biking and water skiing round out her program. She credits yoga with making the biggest difference. Recently, she hit a tree while skiing, broke some ribs and punctured her lung. “Took about six months to get over it. But now I’m back.” Catch them if you can. SL The author, Patti Shales Lefkos, cross-country skiiing.

Patti Shales Lefkos, 70, loves snow sports in winter and stand up paddle and lake swimming in summer. She considers them a great way to stay fit for her true passion, trekking in the Nepal Himalaya (see story on page 8).

WIldlIfe legaCIes If you are interested in making a living Will or leaving a legacy in your Will to North Island Wildlife Recovery Association, please email us at for a brochure & video.

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True Grit

Not Your Average

Alaskan Cruise

The Sistership crew begin their journey. BY LAUREN P. MACLELLAN


boat cruise to Alaska is a dream many aspire to take, fantasizing about calm seas and glacial relaxation. The members of Team Sistership had a different Alaskan tour in mind, “Four Women Over 50, Racing to Alaska. 750 Miles. No Motor. No Support. No Kidding.” They weren’t just out to enjoy nature; they aimed at becoming a force of nature themselves. The idea of Team Sistership began with Michelle Boroski (the captain) and her partner Johanna Gabbard (organization and admin) in the quiet town of Port Townsend, Washington. The idea of a challenge was far from foreign for either woman. Johanna, a former collegiate basketball player, triathlete-turned-cyclist and retired Army Colonel, had discipline in spades, alongside Michelle, who holds a 100-Ton Master Captain License and delivers boats throughout the Pacific, Caribbean, and Great Lakes, including trips to and from Hawaii and the Panama Canal. The Race to Alaska was barely a year old when Michelle, a sailor since the age of 12, decided there was an opportunity to make a statement; “Our mission has been to empower women of our age as well as young girls.” They chose Sistership as a team name because it embodies their supportive code to uplift all women. In the end, they were not the only team with age-defying themes on their mind. Other smile-worthy monikers included: “A Pirate Looks at 30”; “Later Dudes”; “Why Not”; and “Golden Oldies.” So began a simple Facebook post, searching for women over 50 with sailing experience, eager to kick some ass. A message that immediately caught the attention of Victoria native, doctor and former world champion rower Janice Mason. “I was very interested in the race to Alaska, I even followed along last year,” says Janice. She immediately messaged them, with one hell of a resume: completed first Ironman triathlon at 54, Olympic rower, won Gold for Canada at the World Rowing Championships in 1987 and Bronze in 1982. However, even with all her on-the-water experience, Janice was told by Michelle she was interested, but they “didn’t want a fourth person without much sailing experience.” 26 24


Instead of this initial contact inspiring bitterness or a splurge on a ticket to a more relaxing Alaskan adventure, Janice describes how instead “I went to UVic for some sailing lessons and, in February, I went to Port Townsend and met them. They were sailing Sistership for the first time in the Shipride Regatta.” Persistence, as it so often does, paid off. The team went through several evolutions, losing and gaining members. It wasn’t until Janice left for a vacation to Mexico that she received her invitation to Alaska. Life has a sense of irony when it comes to timing. During the turbulent shuffle of the team roster, Sherry Smith joined the team. A 10-year sailboat racing vet with over 10,000 miles of ocean on her resume, Sherry also has innumerable miles around the world from participating in triathlons, including Ironmans in Germany and Canada. In a trick of fate, Johanna also came aboard after health concerns of a previous member caused her to leave. Janice admits the humour behind such a twist, “She had been doing all the organizing and admin stuff and she didn’t have much sailing experience, either, so at the end of the day, Michelle ended up with two inexperienced sailors, anyway.” Dispel any expectations of training montages or a drill sergeant coach yelling as they lifted weights in a torrential downpour. When it came to Team Sistership, their lifestyles provided a constant training ground, preparing them more thoroughly than any short intensive push before the big race. In addition to the numerous triathlons under the team’s collective belt, it was the smaller everyday activities that honed their tenacity. Janice describes constantly keeping active with swimming, sailing and cycling, while Sherry is a certified coach to young triathletes at Stanford University. Their shared passion for keeping healthy activity a constant force in their lives was their biggest asset. Janice, however, makes it clear it was not simply the triathlons that kept her fit, but a fearlessness to constantly try new things; “A big part of it is a sense of adventure.” Having taught herself to unicycle at age 41, she reveals the process of starting by going from post to post at a local tennis court. Using interval supports allowed her to go farther and farther without


them – a lesson worth remembering when trying anything new. The potential of their Alaskan dream transforming into a nightmare was very real. Temperatures at the starting dock average around 10 degrees Celsius in June, and that would be the warmest, by far, they would see all race. With a cabin that would make a trailer feel lavish and a rowing apparatus attached, the sailboat was less of a cruise and more of a work hut with paddles and a bit of roof in the middle. But the daunting task didn’t overwhelm Janice. “I just knew I could do it. I’d gone through training as a physician. I know what it was like being up long hours working. Being a mother, you go through the same thing. I think being a mother is much harder than training to be a physician. I’ve done some long kayaking events. The Yukon Riverquest is an event that goes from Whitehorse to Dawson City and I’ve done that twice by Kayak, once in a double and once in a single. It was 750 km of paddling and not much sleep.” The theme of life as its own training ground for adventure starts to emerge as Janice describes the race, “None of it turned out like it could have.” The biggest fear was expectations. “You hear things about the west coast, places that are notorious, like Seymour Narrows (between Vancouver Island and Quadra Island); I know there can be tremendous whirlpools and tidals and it can get crazy windy. Because I didn’t have much sailing experience, not knowing much about the wind and how much the boat can handle, it’s mostly a

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Photos: Team Sistership

Live Age Well. Well. Live Well. Well. Age

Janice rows Sistership.

fear of the unknown.” In an unexpected turn of events, they travelled through Seymour Narrows “just as it was going from a flood to an ebb. It was kinda slack. There was no wind. We had to row.” Janice’s experience in sailing may have been questioned, but her rowing skills in a race with no wind were certainly recognized. Knowing she could do it didn’t stop her from admitting the hardship in getting there. “The hardest part was the first couple of days when we had to row so much when we weren’t expecting that. And it’s not an easy boat to row; it weighs around 2,000 pounds. We could maybe do about three knots.” When the team left Bella Bella, they spent three nights at sea, where they didn’t anchor at all. “It’s strange, you think you’re really close to shore and you’re actually miles away. You think you are going in the right direction, but you check your GPS and you’ve

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Call 250-478-4888 250-478-4888 Station Avenue, Avenue, Victoria Victoria 753 Station DECEMBER 2016

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The difference you make could be life itself Leaving a gift in your Will helps thousands of women and newborns each year. With a legacy to BC Women’s Hospital Foundation you transform the lives of others for generations to come.

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Retirement Communities

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changed by 30 degrees. It’s super tough mentally because you are constantly on.” It’s unclear whether an intense modesty is at work when Janice describes the race conditions, admitting they were lucky in terms of environmental factors. A sense of quiet fearlessness is as real an undercurrent as those that guided the boat during the race. Considering 75 per cent of the crew are in the medical profession (Janice, a doctor, Michelle, a physician assistant and Johanna, a physical therapist), an uncanny sense of calm is unsurprising yet leaves the impression that if it had actually rained cats and dogs, the team would have given the same response. Michelle was not shy in revealing their true secret weapon in an interview with; “Go hard, sleep little. We sort of have an unfair advantage over most of the teams, ’cause we’re all in menopause and don’t get cold; we have hot flashes. We wake up every two hours, so we don’t sleep a whole lot. I mean we could give them a couple points, a couple miles, but we won’t.” It’s in team Sistership’s sense of humour that you find the most brilliant part of their approach. Their humour doesn’t come from a sense of optimism; it’s a sharp handle on the truth. They aren’t pushing an angle or putting a new spin on aging, they are not here to market a new lifestyle; they unveil capabilities. They claim to inspire and there is no doubt that they do, but the undeniable reality of their pursuit is they are here to dig up a truth that has been buried in preconceptions. They came to kick ass, and they did. As Team Sistership triumphantly glided into Basin Boat Harbor, they became the first all-female team to finish the Race to Alaska and placed 15 out of 44 teams. You can follow a more sport-intensive breakdown of their journey through their social media as well as, which posted daily updates on the race and its competitors. To call Sistership’s journey a revelation is to unfairly present their message as purely a spiritual one. They earned blisters, back pain and a new appreciation for whoever invented the electric blanket. The raw physicality of their pursuit is not just out to change minds, but unlock potential in what our bodies can do. Understanding their story may not unlock the door to an arctic sailboat or even the door to a gym, but it will inevitably be with you at the next door you encounter and maybe push you across its threshold. SL

Inspired Senior Living Mag Planned Giving Ad.pdf



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Talking to loved ones about end-of-life wishes is not easy but it’s important.








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For tips on having the conversation and to learn more about funeral services in BC, visit



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Plan today to help St. Paul’s tomorrow.

LIVE A LIFE FILLED WITH VERVE These INSPIRING Verve residents remain active in mind, body and spirit. They took home silver medals in this year’s Americas Masters Games where they played ladies 3x3 basketball, 70+ division. Go Verve!

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To learn more about making an estate gift to St. Paul’s, contact: Richmond

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27 29


What to Wear to Your Holiday Party


he holiday season is stressful enough – you have to buy sweet, thoughtful, personal gifts for everyone ranging from close family to your son’s new girlfriend, who you’ve only met once, all while cooking dinners and chasing people for RSVPs. Fortunately, there’s no need to stress over what you’re going to wear to your amazing party because whether it’s a casual family get-together or a formal work function, we’ve got you covered.


It’s that time of year where all your hard work is being rewarded, all your co-workers are drinking company-provided wine, and everyone is trying to find out who gifted the folding lawn chair in the annual game of Yankee Swap. This is the occasion to ditch your more formal work wear for a festive flair, all while maintaining your level of professionalism and style. For most business parties, you’re going to need to be a little more dressed than you would be with your family but, remember, you aren’t on your way to a coronation – have some fun with your fashion! Red and green are the colours of the season, but wearing both at the same time can often result in a tacky mashup. Instead, opt for just one of the two colours: red, if you’re looking to stand out with a statement; and green, if you’d prefer to just relax and have a good time. Fitted midi-dresses (dresses that hit midway between the knee and ankle) are often a great choice for these events, and stores like Nordstrom’s often have many professional, fun options available. To complete the ensemble, pair your dress with some gold jewellery to bring some warmth to the winter cold, and finish the look with some black stockings and a low-heeled shoe.


It’s your best friend’s holiday celebration, which means you’re not going to be dressed for the office, but you can’t be quite be as casual as you would be with family. This party is your chance to take some fashion risks, make some bold 30



choices, and stand out in every holiday photo. While business attire leans on a more conservative edge, here you can let your hair down (literally or figuratively). Wear a bold pair of brightly-coloured or shimmery heels (like the ones you bought for your daughter’s wedding and haven’t worn since), or an equally festive pair of flats, if you’re prone to ankle injuries. To show them off, pair them with a mid-length skirt or wide-legged pants, plus a shimmery/ brightly-coloured belt to complement the shoes and your personality. To complete the look, pair the skirt with a simple white sweater to keep you toasty while sipping hot buttered rum punch and taking photos.


This is the one you’ve been waiting for: kids and grandkids all gathered around, laughing over memories and tossing balled-up wrapping paper at each other while sticking bows on the family dog. For those of you who want to be comfortable, this is the opportunity, but without sacrificing your fashion sense. Normally, jeans are a big “no-no” at any kind of holiday party, but a dark-wash pair free of rips and stains can be incredibly stylish (as well as appropriate) for more casual affairs. Pair them with an ohso-trendy wrap-sweater and decorative flats, as well as a sentimental or holiday-themed piece of jewelry to remain chic while spending time with the people you love most in life. If you would like to dress up a bit more, wear heels instead of flats, and a sequinned top under a neutral blazer or jacket to really show off your festive spirit. Make your fashion as hot as cocoa this holiday season! SL

Fitted skirt with an angled, peek-a-boo top by Sympli goes from office party to family fête.






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Riviera Maya


Reverence Zipping acro cenote Caim ss an.


Scaling the Mayan temple ruins.

hat better way to explore an ancient civilization than on an interactive eco-adventure tour into the worlds of the Mayans. Situated in the northern part of the 160 km corridor known as Riviera Maya, we embarked on a group tour of Coba from Cancun. The award-winning Alltournative has been a pioneer in sustainable recreational tourism providing natural-cultural and adventure expeditions in the State of Quintana Roo. After a 170 km drive southwest, we arrived in a verdant jungle. Lengthy paths lead to the various Mayan ruins, so bicycles are offered to expedite a tour. Even two-seaters with a driver are provided for those who prefer to be chauffeured. Settled as early as 100 AD, networks of sacbe (roads) that date back to 600 AD radiate out from Coba. During the Classical period, which coincides with the Roman Empire, it was the areas major city, stockpiling and controlling goods and services transported to the eastern seaboard. The majority of ruins at Coba are limestone foundations of former housing. Utilizing the natural land elevations, the Maya erected their most imposing architectural edifice. Rising 42 metres, the Hohoch Muul (“Big Mound”) pyramid is the tallest ancient structure in the northern Yucatan. Only a rope pulled taut assists you in your ascent to the temple. One-hundred-and-twenty steps to the top and you are rewarded with a panoramic view and the expansive jungle as only select Maya were permitted to do. It was estimated that one pyramidal level was laid every 52 years. The Maya believed in 13 levels of sky (the Supra World) and nine levels below (the Infra World), which constitute the Mayan universe. It is this duality of life that I sought to make a tangible, if not spiritual, connection through our ecologically-friendly activities. After experiencing the Supra World via the pyramid, we arrived 25 km north of Coba to encounter the Infra World in Pac Chen. Pac Chen translates into “inclined world” and we soon discovered why. Trekking through the jungle you immediately become attuned to the assortment of flora and fauna along the root-laden jungle floor. At least I hoped they were roots, since 50 species of snakes inhabit the region, four of which are poisonous. We stopped to acknowledge the sacred Maya tree, Yaax Che, sym32 30


bolic of life. “Known as ‘Ceiba’ in Spanish, its branches form a natural cross with its roots plunging into the underworld,” said our guide Juan. The Maya believe that the Cross is a symbol of unification, a concept which pre-dates the arrival of the Spanish. Continuing along a jungle path we approached what appeared to be a small lake. Actually, it was a cenote (sink hole or pool), which has been the only source of freshwater on the peninsula for thousands of years. Cenotes were created by the impact of a meteorite 65 million years ago and today there are more than 3,000 identified cenotes that interconnect and underlie the Yucatán. Many are quite spacious and cavernous formations connecting underground waterways. Referred to as Cenote Caiman, this one had a 70 metre-long cable crossing the glassy green water. Strapped into a lower body harness, we were to zip-line across at 14 metres above the water. Reluctantly, my fellow zip-liners whizzed across hands-free and even splayed themselves for our entertainment, while others preferred traversing in pairs. Onward and evidently downward, we went as we donned our harnesses for our next eco-activity. Meandering through the pristine rainforest we arrived at a fenced hole in the ground. This was the Dzonot (abyss) Balaam (Cenote Jaguar) where we were to rappel down through its gaping orifice into its watery belly. Rappelling 20 metres, we were conveniently placed on large inner-tubes as a floatation device to swim at our leisure. The cool, clear fresh water was a welcome retreat from the scorching sun above. This cenote is part of an underground cave river system that flows over 70 km into the sea near Tulum, at the south end of Riviera Maya. Cenotes extend into the sea and at high tide offshore caves expel



I belong here, active everyday.

re tion Cent ntre ll Recrea Cedar Hi ad Recreation Ce re He n Cent tio ea Gordon cr kes Re ace G.R. Pear mmonwealth Pl Co Saanich Golf Course ll Cedar Hi


fresh water bubbling at the surface, known as ojos de agua (“eyes of water”) by locals. A hotel located at Puerto Morelos, south of Cancun, bears the same name and features sea kayaking and snorkeling to the 965 km Meso-America or Great Maya Reef, which is the second largest reef in the world. The cenotes were sacred places for the Mayans because they symbolized the entrance into the underworld and the unknown. Consequently, they were commonly utilized for rituals and ceremonies. The region’s porous limestone has often yielded evidence of human sacrifice and sacred funerary rites. Cenote Jaguar has only been opened to the public since the inception of Alltournative in 1999. It was re-discovered 25 years earlier in the dense jungle under-growth. Ancient artifacts and skeletal remains were discovered at the bottom of the 25-metredeep water.  It was a Mayan belief that the body was a vehicle for a journey to the afterlife. This large underground cavity has stalactites protruding from its ceiling, with a camp of bats fluttering overhead and a few fish swimming below. Yet the most impressive sight was the two shimmering formations of natural light reflecting on the wall from two smaller holes above; their reflections creating two wavering images on the wall manifesting as the eyes of a jaguar. This surreal ocular encounter heightened my inner vision and perception reminding me of Marcel Proust’s famous quote: “the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” Maya legend states that a jaguar was chasing a deer and fell into a hole (cenote). The deer begged the gods to intervene and the gods showed mercy, fusing the jaguar’s soul into place. This is why we now see the jaguar’s eyes by the reflection of the sunlight, like a guardian. As with other animals in the Mayan culture that represent specific elements, the jaguar is the symbol of sun and fire. We temporarily transcended this infra world to permit our palate to partake in the traditional Mayan cuisine awaiting us. Attired in traditional Mayan garb (hipiles), the local women of Pac Chen offered us a delectable domestic dish, which included chicken, empanadas, rice and beans. This authentic Mayan village is a self-sufficient community of 25 indigenous families. Mayans lead a simple lifestyle and live for the day – the concept of accumulating possessions is inconceivable, unlike our contemporary society. Tourism and the sale of such things as honey and a variety of handicrafts make this a self-sustaining society. The local inhabitants have successfully managed to preserve the old traditions while improving their social conditions. Being an integral part of the region’s lagoon system, canoes were available to paddle on the placid Languna Majarras and enjoy some ornithology (bird-watching). Some of our group preferred to stroll around and admire the palapas (traditional thatched roof huts), or have a siesta in one of the colourful hamacas (hammocks) over-looking the lagoon. From hiking and cycling to rappelling and zip-lining on an interactive excursion, one can become rejuvenated both in body and soul. An eco-adventure tour into the Mayan worlds provided a glimpse of their cultural vestiges and why they continue to be revered. SL



Prepare a meal and enjoy new company with dinner. This not a cooking class but a cooperative, social, interactive experience.

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Redeemable at Tuesday our 4 Recreation Centres Welcome Summer: May 10 2:30-5:00pm and Cedar Golf Course. Tuesday May 24 2:30-5:00pm. Gettin’ Stuffed:Hill Each class $10. Call any Saanich Recreation Centre to register or 250-475-5408 or visit

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A gift in your will is a legacy of love. To donate please call Chief Executive Officer, Veronica Carroll MBA CFRE, at 250 519-6723 or visit DECEMBER 2016

31 33

University Centre Farquhar Auditorium

Burnaby Village Museum Heritage Christmas Join us for some old-fashioned fun and spectacular light displays. Holiday sing-alongs, stroll the streets to see vintagethemed displays, wreaths and cedar swags. Challenge yourself with our Twelve Days of Christmas scavenger hunt. Crafts, fresh baked goods, and visits with Father Christmas. See ad page 34.


Remi Bolduc Jazz Ensemble

January 21 at 7:30pm


The World’s finest finger guitarists

January 29 at 7:30pm

Burnaby Village Museum Carollers


An Acoustic Celebration of the Songs of David Bowie

February 8 at 8pm


Philip Grecian


Juno Award-winning world music

February 26 at 7:30pm


Running Down the Road Tour

April 28 at 7:30pm 250-721-8480 34 32


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“Absolutely the No. 1 show in the world.” — Kenn Wells, former lead dancer of the English National Ballet

Chemainus Theatre – A Christmas Story It’s a familiar yuletide tale: the allconsuming wish for one special gift. For Ralphie, that is an Official Red Ryder carbine-action BB gun. Follow the bespectacled tyke’s quest in this tale of decoder pins, furnace explosions, and more festive adventures. Based on the popular holiday film. See ad page 32.

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36 34




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35 37

The Transplant Rogues By Wendy Johnstone


ouble Lung Transplant. Most of us couldn’t possibly imagine what that would be like – to have one or to care for someone who did. Beth and Tony Duke, a.k.a. the Transplant Rogues, can write a book on it. After years of trying to get a diagnosis and a referral into the Transplant Program, Tony successful underwent his surgery in the spring of 2016.

Tony and Beth, 10 days post-op.

He almost didn’t make it to the operating table.

It’s probably the only place where his wife, Beth, wasn’t physically by his side. Beth is Tony’s lifeline, except they aren’t playing for a million dollars. They are playing for a much more valuable prize: Tony’s life. By current standard, it is a pretty extreme case of caregiving. Although it doesn’t define Beth’s life, it is the equivalent to a part-time job. That’s in addition to being the sole financial provider in their home. With his progression and recovery, Beth’s caregiving activities continue to ebb and flow.

What they’ve learned: our health care system is “siloed” and all transplants have complications resulting in setbacks. For Beth, this means spending countless hours figuring out how to navigate those silos to get the right services and supports for her and Tony. And when there is a setback in Tony’s recovery, it can also mean trips to Vancouver on a moment’s notice, which, from Union Bay on Vancouver Island, means six hours of travel one way. She certainly doesn’t mind and she doesn’t see her role as one-sided in Tony’s recovery. “We’re a team and I accompany Tony to all appointments – partly because I am now the sole driver. My background is in science and education, so I find myself being the “Geek Speak”

You’re invited!

Coach Caregiver

Live and recorded online discussions with experts and other family caregivers.

translator. We’ve always held each other’s powers of attorney and had health care directives – so we both enter appointments and, ultimately, Tony’s recovery as a team.” It’s hard to set a criterion for a “kick-ass” caregiver. In fact, we think all caregivers meet the criterion. And that’s an important message for all of us to take away. Caregiving is hard. Caregivers are faced with circumstances daily; some extreme and others more routine. But they put their capes on every day.

When Beth puts on her cape, it’s not just with Tony in mind, but all of those waiting and recovering from transplants: to promote organ donation, support transplant candidates and recipients and, most importantly, live life like their donors are watching. She is helping others by creating a “The Rogues Transplant Journey” Workbook filled with everything they wished they’d had at the beginning – to help during every phase of the journey from getting a referral through to living a healthy life after transplant. For more information, visit

Wendy Johnstone is a Gerontologist and a consultant with Family Caregivers of British Columbia in Victoria, BC.

Family Caregivers of British Columbia is a registered charity that provides free emotional support, education, and information to family caregivers.

Toll-free BC Caregiver Support Line 1 877 520 3267 38 36



Senior Living... The Berwick Way™ At Berwick Retirement Communities, you will enjoy an unparalleled standard of living at a superior value. Creating a wonderful environment where residents enjoy exceptional services from friendly staff is The Berwick Way. Find out more about The Berwick Way™ – Ask one of our Senior Living Experts Today! V I C TO R I A | N A N A I M O | C O M OX | K A M LO O P S | C A M P B E L L R I V E R Proud to be BC owned and operated JOB BRC-17779 CLIENT: BERWICK RETIREMENT COMMUNITY PUBLICATION: SENIOR LIVING MAGAZINE INSERTION DATE: TBD TRIM: 7.25X4.75 PREPARED BY: ECLIPSE CREATIVE INC. @ 250-382-1103

You can always be there for them.

that keeps on giving...

Give a neighbour a lift...your gift of time or a donation will help a Saanich resident live independently and stay connected to community. Call 250-595-8008 ext. 21 or visit to find out how you can help. Neighbours helping neighbours

Give a second chance at a happy life… there is no better gift you can give an animal in need. Include a gift in your Will or designate a life insurance policy to the BC SPCA to set tails wagging! Visit us today at or contact Yolanda Benoit 1.800.665.1868




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INSPIRED Senior Living Magazine December 2016  

Inspiration for people over 55. Inspiring People. Inspiring Places. Inspiring Passions.