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Be Your Best ������������� At Any Age



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31 BBB Scam Alert

10 Growing Up With Radio


Taking a look back at the role radio played in our lives in the ’40s and ’50s.

4 The Family Caregiver by Barbara Small

12 Beyond the Dust

Grette Wilkinson sandblasts glass into elegant finished works that are both beautiful and functional.

28 Ask Goldie

14 Search and Rescue

29 Courageous & Outrageous

Volunteers of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary – helping neighbours in local waters.

18 Pulling Out All the Stops

Kathleen Edge came to music later than most, but her passion and drive now has her commanding the “king of instruments.”

by Goldie Carlow by Pat Nichol

32 Reflections: Then & Now by Gipp Forster

20 Telling Stories

Author Rosemary Neering carved out a niche as a storyteller for B.C.’s colourful and quirky past.

24 Skyscrapers, Souqs & Sandscapes of Qatar A culture steeped in tradition melds with modernity.

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Cover Photo: Senior Living writer Elizabeth Godley snowshoeing on a beautiful clear December day on Seymour Mountain. Photo: Phuong Anh Nguyen Senior Living (Vancouver Island) is published by Stratis Publishing. Publisher Barbara Risto Editor Bobbie Jo Reid Ad Coordinator/Designer Steffany Gundling Copy Editor Allyson Mantle Advertising Manager Barry Risto 250-479-4705 ext 101 For advertising information, call 250-479-4705 Ad Sales Staff Ann Lester 250-390-1805 Mathieu Powell 250-479-4705 ext 104 Barry Risto 250-479-4705 ext 101 WWW.SENIORLIVINGMAG.COM


Editorial Oct 2011.indd 1

30 Classifieds

6 Keeping it Simple

Inge Ranzinger turned her love of art and interior design into a fulfilling career.

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11/22/2011 7:49:40 PM

Head Office Contact Information: Box 153, 1581-H Hillside Ave., Victoria BC V8T 2C1 Phone 250-479-4705 Fax 250-479-4808 Toll-free 1-877-479-4705 E-mail Website Subscriptions: $32 (includes GST, postage and handling) for 12 issues. Canadian residents only. No portion of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. Senior Living is an independent publication and its articles imply no endorsement of any products or services. The views expressed herein are not necessarily those of the publisher. Unsolicited articles are welcome and should be e-mailed to editor@seniorlivingmag. com Senior Living Vancouver Island is distributed free throughout Vancouver Island. Stratis Publishing Ltd. publishes Senior Living Vancouver Island (12 issues per year) and Senior Living Vancouver & Lower Mainland (12 issues per year). ISSN 1710-3584 (Print) ISSN 1911-6403 (Online)

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Caregiving During the Holiday Season


he holidays are here again, and although family dynamics may have changed due to caregiving, this season will arrive as usual. With the decline or change in a family member’s health, it can be unrealistic to continue past celebrations while trying to ensure your family member receives proper care. Many family caregivers are caught up in trying to maintain the status quo and continue life as if the care recipient’s situation hasn’t changed. But it has. This holiday season will not be the same as those in the recent past, but that doesn’t mean it can’t still be enjoyable – in a different way. Start by letting go of what “should” happen. Take time to re-evaluate your expectations for the holiday season and create a more realistic view of how it might occur. What do you truly have the time and energy to do? What can you delegate to others? Are you doing something out of habit or because you really want to? What is most important to retain about this time of year and how might you easily achieve this? Ask your family to identify one aspect of the holiday celebration they enjoy the most or start new traditions for this stage of your life. Don’t be afraid to say no to invitations or requests. Only say yes to activities you can comfortably manage. You decide how much you’ll celebrate – if others want to do more they can take the initiative.

Try to maintain a sense of routine for the care recipient. Keep the number of guests manageable. Noise and hectic activity can exhaust the person who is ill and the burnt-out family caregiver. Ask, and then allow, other family members and friends to share in caregiving duties. Ask them to provide respite care for you over the holidays. Just a few hours of time by yourself can help renew your energy. It is natural to feel sad when others are having what seems to be the “ideal” family gathering. Remember, your family is doing the best they can under the present circumstances. Avoid comparisons with the past. This year will not be the same as holidays in the past, but it can still be enjoyed in its SL own unique way. Next issue: Family Caregiving and Making Time for Leisure

Barbara Small is the Program Development Coordinator for Family Caregivers’ Network Society located in Victoria, BC.

The Family Caregiver column is brought to you by the generous sponsorship of Saint Elizabeth




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Artist Profile

Keeping it Simple



Photo: Onnig Cavoukian

isiting art galleries in New York, Munich, Stuttgart, Rome, Milano, Palermo, Sydney, Auckland, Vancouver and the Louvre in Paris gave Inge Ranzinger the inspiration to start her own painting career. “I just thought it was time to pursue something I loved,” says Inge, who becomes completely lost in her painting once she gets started. When her children were young, Inge expressed her artistic creativity by designing and making their clothes. Later,


at Camosun College, the Victoria College of Art and Malaspina (now named Vancouver Island University), she took courses in fine arts and interior design and worked with critique groups. She also took lessons from Brian Simons, “one of the best around,” who taught in Victoria and Vancouver before he moved to the Okanagan. Inspired by many artists, Inge finds each painting speaks to her in a different way. “I love all art,” she says. Inge’s favourite way to paint is to take

Inge Ranzinger in her home with one of her paintings. SENIOR LIVING


a subject and abstract it to make it softer and less realistic. “I don’t always succeed in my attempts, but when I do, it gives me great satisfaction. Abstracting a painting is simply more my style. When I wish to see realism, I look out of the window; go for a walk through parks, along the ocean.” In her art, Inge prefers a style that shows a landscape or a flower in a new light. “When you simply paint the shape and colour of a flower, it actually appears to be a flower on canvas. Upon inspecting it closely, it will be nothing but dabs of colour. That’s the art movement started by impressionism and used in many varieties by artists around the world today.” Although she sometimes paints onto paper and will often mix watercolours and acrylics into a painting, Inge’s preferred medium is acrylic onto canvas. To achieve a more three-dimension effect, she uses anything from plaster to seaweed and fabric to sand. “Experimentation is half the fun of painting,” she says. “The results will often be surprising.” Inge compares painting to any other creation. “Sometimes you create a garden and absolutely love it; other times you feel there is something missing, or you’ve used the wrong colours or perspective.” To make any artist feel good about the work he or she creates, the artist has to accept it as it is. “One time, when I was beachcombing, I picked up shells, seaweed and sand. Then I started working these found treasures into my painting and found the result absolutely wonderful. It was more like the pieces created the art than me trying to create it.” Inge has displayed her art in the former Brentwood Art Gallery and the Gallery on Herald Street. She has also displayed her art at Surroundings, an antique and vintage home furniture store, where the eclectic furniture and art pieces make her feel at home. Fairholme Manor B&B displays 32 pieces

of Inge’s pieces that can be viewed by the public upon request. Another 20 paintings are available for viewing upon request in her home. On several occasions, Inge has been commissioned to paint for clients. “I was terrified,” she says of her first commission, but to her utter surprise, the client loved it. Like painting, decorating and design has been a lifetime hobby for Inge. After freely advising many friends about decorating, she decided to take a course offered through the New York School of Fine Arts. Having assisted with the creation of Mozart House and Fairholme Manor B&Bs, Inge says, “I realized this is what I wanted to do.” She has been working as an interior designer for nearly 15 years. Recently, Inge designed a vacation home for actress Jennifer Tilly, who purchased four of her art pieces. An Academy Award nominee who lives and works in both Los Angeles and Las Vegas, Tilly has performed in over 100 movies and TV shows. “Jennifer was a


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Staying active starts with picking an activity you enjoy – so try a sport or hobby that let’s you have fun!




lot of fun to work with,” says Inge. The key to a good design: listening to clients. Inge learns about their lifestyle, where they spend most of their time, what hobbies they have and what colours they like. She identifies the pieces they love and incorporates them into the new design, including clients in every step of the process until they have a room, a kitchen, a bathroom and a house they absolutely love. “Nothing is more important than knowing the life-

Inge’s art adds to a simple, elegant design.

Photos: Onnig Cavoukian

style of your client,” says Inge whose general philosophy about decorating is: “Keep it simple and keep it clean. Don’t fill the room with too much and keep the lines of the design clean.” Removing two items from a room will sometimes totally change the feel, open it up and make it appear more spacious. “I am a great ‘declutterer,’” she says. “As we age, we need less of everything as it uncomplicates our lives. A bright, open room allows us to move more freely.” Instead of knickknacks, which need dusting and clutter up the room, Inge suggests adding a bouquet of fresh flowers. “They’ll lift your spirits and make you feel special.”

Client Jennifer Tilly’s holiday home.

Over the years, Inge has changed the interior and exterior of many buildings and homes. Whenever she thinks she might run out of jobs and have time to paint, she gets another designing referral. Instead of advertising, Inge relies on word of mouth. “I’ve been blessed with happy customers and feel SL very lucky and grateful for that.” Inge’s studio displays many of her art pieces.

For more information about Inge Ranzinger’s painting or interior design, visit

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Hazardous To Your Wealth


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The Way We Were


Photo: Leslie McBain

ow could Guglielmo Marconi know in 1901 that his new radio system, developed for transmitting Morse code across the Atlantic, would transform the world? For any kid growing up in the 1940s and ‘50s, and certainly for those living in remote areas, radio was akin to a miracle. Back then, we listened, sometimes through static, to RCA Victors or Marconis, tuning in a small table model or a more expensive

console; the radio equivalent of today’s flat screen television. Like a good book, radio opened up the wider world. It gave us the words, but we had to flesh out the characters and events. The mind’s eye was put to work. Radio shows were many and varied. Home from school at lunchtime in the Manitoba town of Wawanesa, my brother and I listened to the Happy Gang, a talented group of joke-tellers, skit artists and musicians based in Toronto. The hosts,




Bert Pearl and Hugh Bartlett, kept things moving. Bobby Gimby, Kaye Stokes, Eddie Allen and Blaine Mathe provided the music and everyone participated in the daily “jokepot” routine. They helped keep the grim war news in the background at least for 15 minutes each weekday. In the evening, shows like the Green Hornet, The Whistler, The Shadow and The Inner Sanctum provided mystery and suspense. Private eyes like Sam Spade, the Thin Man and Boston Blackie were characters almost as real as the man next door, if somewhat more adventuresome. They were tough, but paragons of virtue, solving crimes without excessive violence. Comedians Fibber McGee and Molly, Fred Allen, and The Great Gildersleeve all vied for laughter, but Jack Benny topped the list. Sponsored by Lucky Strike cigarettes, the star was portrayed as a selfish, penny-pinching miser, far from Benny’s true persona. This joke was typical: Mugger confronting Benny: “Your money or your life!” Long, long pause, “Well?” the mugger finally asks. Benny: “I’m thinking, I’m thinking!” The cast was memorable: band leader Phil Harris; the valet Rochester; tenor Dennis Day; Benny’s wisecracking wife Mary Livingston and a host of other characters like Mel Blanc, who provided the voice of Bugs Bunny and other cartoon characters. I can still hear Mel announcing


a train’s departure for “Anaheim, Azuza and Kookamunga,” the first syllable of the last-named destination prolonged for comical effect. Lux Radio Theatre featured Cecil B. DeMille, a great director of epic films, who introduced radio versions of movies. With fine actors like Jimmy Stewart and Katherine Hepburn reading their lines for the home audience, how could the show miss? Love scenes or brawls were left to vivid imaginations. On CBC, “L for Lanky” focused on the adventures of an imaginary Canadian crew of a Lancaster bomber in the Second World War. Documentaries painted a vivid picture of the terrible cost of that conflict. War correspondent Matthew Halton gave vivid reports from the front and in his deep baritone, Canada’s Lorne Greene (later to become famous as Ben Cartwright of Bonanza), read news of the war’s triumphs and tragedies. Despite the great affection I felt for the shows and their characters, as a kid, I was disappointed to learn that the vivid settings I had imagined were just that – imagined. The brilliant talent and clever writing created a whole world outside of our small town. Radio honed my zest for sports. It began with Foster Hewitt’s “Hello Canada, and hockey fans in the United States and Newfoundland. The first period is over

and the score is Toronto 3, Montreal 2.” Hewitt’s intense playby-play made the dullest game seem exciting. Meeker, Apps, Kennedy, became household names. I followed major league baseball too, after hearing the 1945 World Series between the Detroit Tigers and the Chicago Cubs in which the Tigers, led by slugger Hank Greenberg, and pitcher Hal Newhouser, beat the Cubs’ team of Hank Wyse and Phil Cavarretta. Friday night boxing from Madison Square Gardens, with announcer Bill Corum, featured fighters like Joe Louis and Rocky Graziano. Later in a B.C. logging camp on Sechelt Inlet, while studying by correspondence, my brother and I became hooked on morning soap operas. Ma Perkins, Pepper Young’s Family and Stella Dallas all held our interest because of the dramatic lives the writers created. I can still hear some voices, especially Ma Perkins’, weary but full of wisdom, as she resolved everyday conflicts. Radio was also music. Many bandleaders had their own halfhours or were featured on comedy shows. Charlie McCarthy had Ray Noble; Bob Hope had Les Brown. Swing bands like Woody Herman, Tommy Dorsey, and the unforgettable Glenn Miller were familiar names whose popular music is still venerated today. And who could forget Phil Spitalny and his All-Girl Orchestra featuring Evelyn and her Magic Violin? Innovative stations and faithful listeners keep radio thriving. Despite the influence of modern media, it continues to survive, an intimate voice that, like good literature, gives us the power to imagine a wider world. Radio remains an important part of my SL life. Thank you, Mr. Marconi.

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BEYOND THE DUST Artist Profile



Photo: Margaret Growcott

hether art is a painting, mural or sculpture, hanging on the wall in the humblest of homes or in the foyer of a grand hotel, it can be a thing of beauty, gratifying to the beholder. But what kind of art can be both beautiful and functional? Glass artist Grette Wilkinson creates etched glass, via sandblasting, that fits both these categories. The word “sandblasting” conjures up an industrial image: the dirty and dusty process used for cleaning metal, stone and concrete. It’s hard to believe Grette’s elegant finished work comes out of such a grimy and intensive procedure.

Glass artist Grette Wilkinson in her studio.

Born in Denmark, Grette came to Canada in 1966, first living in Toronto. After moving to B.C. and earning a living as a cook in many restaurants, Grette was urged by her husband, Alfred, to try something more creative; something she could do in retirement. A catalogue accompanying an order from Lee Valley Tools showed a book on glass etching. Alfred sent for the book, thinking this was worth looking into, a pastime his wife would be able to learn and enjoy. The book Glass Etching – Surface Techniques and Design was fascinating. It described the procedures, which, at first, sounded labour-intensive, but would soon develop into a labour of love for Grette that has spanned 20 years. Apprehensive about learning a new skill at age 50, Grette recalled her mother’s motto, “If you want to do something, you just do it.” With her mother’s philosophy in mind, Grette decided she would take up her husband’s challenge and make glass-etch12


ing her new hobby, seeing it also as an opportunity for personal growth. Always wanting to draw, she had, over the years, taken a couple of watercolour and life drawing classes and realized she could combine that knowledge with her curiosity about glass. She was intrigued by the way glass shines green when light hits the edge at a certain angle. “When light is trapped in glass it makes a little bit of magic,” she says. Soon it became a passion and within one year, Grette’s work was selling. The production of the etched glass is 75 per cent planning and preparation. It is a multi-stage process: the first step, communication with the customer to thoroughly determine what is required. When both parties are happy with the preliminary sketch, it is worked into a more detailed drawing, which can be brought to the required size with the help of the computer. Then, the actual glasswork begins. This requires a great deal of skill and experience, but is actually the least time-consuming part of the process. First, the glass is covered with a clear, selfadhesive vinyl film. Then, the full-scale drawing is placed under the glass to be traced upon the film, which is subsequently cut out with an X-Acto knife. All lines must be cut precisely so each section can be removed and sandblasted at different times. Finally, the sandblasting begins. The glass is placed on a rack in the blasting “booth,” which is an 8” x 4” x 8” (20 cm x 10 cm x 20 cm) structure built by Alfred, who has also made most of Grette’s other equipment. Grette then enters the booth with the glass, first donning her coveralls, a dust mask and a huge hood with a visor, which looks like a space travel suit. The booth is necessary to stop dust and abrasive from flying everywhere. Once inside, Grette sandblasts the design, removing the precut sections of the design in stages. Each stage has to be blasted to the full desired depth before the next piece of film is removed. The blasting material is sand, not ordinary beach sand, but re-usable aluminum oxide. The dust flies and the clear vinyl film becomes opaque and black as the sections in the design are sandblasted. Everything is grey and dusty, then comes the exciting moment when Grette emerges from her “solitary confinement” and does some cleaning up. Voila! The beauty of the glass is revealed. “It is not difficult, but challenging - you have to figure precisely how to go about it,” says Grette. “Some mistakes can be fixed, but some are eternal, so I have to start over again with a new piece of glass.” Grette takes great pleasure in her work and is gratified by the satisfaction of her customers. Never bored, she believes the


challenges in the work keep her from getting stale. She finds inspiration and all the stimulation she needs, from meetings with customers to the final result - beautiful and practical ways to display art in windows, doors, handrails, screens, lights, mirrors, table tops, room dividers, etc. “The etched glass always provides beauty and elegance.” In addition, says Grette, “it can bring out the personality of a space and make a room into a warm and friendly place. The design can be planned out to provide privacy and also makes large glass panels visible and therefore safe. There are horrific stories of people

Illuminated Orca panel.

Two toddlers.

Photos: Grette Wilkinson

Lacrosse, etched in intricate detail.

walking through glass because they simply didn’t see it. Fortunately, with laminated and tempered glass, these accidents are diminished, but injuries can still occur with plain glass.” Grette is currently working on a door for a dental surgeon. The stunning design shows the Hippocratic staff, used by many medical clinics, featuring feathers and serpent with a subtle variation appropriate to a dental clinic. Grette’s designs have many themes; the peaceful forest setting in which she lives in Yellowpoint, south Nanaimo, is obviously inspiration for much of her work. Also prevalent are sea-

scapes and marine life. Her action figures can be seen in panels at the Nanaimo Ice Centre and Nanaimo Aquatic Centre. All work is by commission, for private residences or commercial use. Grette’s work may be viewed at the Oliver Wood Community Centre, the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre, the Nanaimo Ice Centre and the Longwood Brew Pub in Nanaimo, or by appointment at her home. SL For more information, visit online at or call 250-722-0390.

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Vern and Marlene getting ready to leave on a call.


he caller reported seeing a flare, somewhere between the Canadian Gulf Islands and the American San Juan Islands. The Victoria Coast Guard immediately dispatched Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary (CCGA), Saanich Marine Rescue, Station 36 to respond to a possible Code-3, life in peril. Vern Totten, deputy station leader, remembers that night



Photos: Judee Fong


of cold, heavy rain and poor visibility. “The Victoria Coast Guard Radio/Marine Traffic Communications also reported seeing four commercial vessels in our search area. We were only a three-person crew that night and considered ourselves lucky if we had 15 feet of visibility. While the coxswain was navigating our boat, working the search pattern and checking off the freighters as they passed, the other teammate and


I were draped on the bow with our searchlights sweeping back and forth. For two-and-a-half hours, we searched for our boater in distress. In the end, it was all a hoax.” Vern says it’s not uncommon to receive two or three hoax calls a year. “All calls get our full attention. We can’t ignore a call for help.” Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary volunteers are trained extensively in every scenario that could possibly occur at sea. To be a volunteer, the individual must be 18 years or older, have a Pleasure Craft Operators Card, a Restricted Radio Operators Card, Basic Marine First Aid with CPR C and clear a standard Criminal Record Check. In an interview, the candidates are asked questions and have the opportunity to ask questions themselves to gain a better understanding about what the CCGA does. A retired teacher, renowned kayaker and one of CCGA’s training officers Doug Alderson designed the course that involves a month of classroom training and open water orientation. The graduates are then assigned to a crew and receive extensive training in both the classroom and open waters. Volunteers take a year or more to complete this second level of serious training. “There’s another optional training course taught by the Canadian Coast Guard and is called RHIOT, which is ‘Rigid Hull Inflatable Operator Training,’” says Don Woods. “The first words they say to you are: ‘We’re going to teach you how to operate this boat and drive it like it’s stolen.’ If any boater has a serious situation, you have to get there quickly.” Don Woods grew up in the English Channel, moved to Saskatchewan to work as a research scientist and lost sight of water for 40 years. Retired and settled in Sidney, he wasted no time returning to the sea. An Auxiliary volunteer for six years, Don says, “More than 50 per cent of our calls require some type of assistance, that’s not a Code-3. We make sure the problem is contained, the occupants are safe and able to return on their boat.” Many of the calls for assistance include empty gas tanks, boats adrift and getting lost. Vern recalls a recent incident of a stranded boat with five cold and wet passengers. There was no radio on board but a passenger managed to call for help with his cellphone. “We were there in less than nine minutes. With our crew of three, we were able to safely transfer everyone into our boat and bring them back. It was a good rescue and we felt good about it.” Code-3s do occur and not all have a happy ending. Vern and Don remember the night when a seaplane went down on Lyall Harbour with eight adults and a six-month old infant on board. There were no survivors. Another function of the Auxiliary is supporting other emergency services such as police, fire, ambulance, Land Search and Rescue, Air Search and Rescue as well as both Canadian and U.S. Coast Guards. Volunteers are trained to rescue people on the water, but may be needed to transport paramedics to an injured person or to assist in an airlift. Don recalls a recent incident where they were called to assist. “On one of the islands, this fellow was cutting a branch and fell out of the tree. He landed on the beach but had a broken hip. Our boats are built to land in shallow waters so we were able to assist in stabilizing him and preparing him for the helicopter airlift.”



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There are 78 skills to learn to assist in a call for help. The volunteers practise them until they become second nature. The skills include towing, transferring occupants from one boat to another and “parbuckling,” a rescue technique of lifting a semiconscious or unconscious person from the water. Women are definitely a part of CCGA. As a professional first responder, diving instructor and professional crew, Marlene Dinsmore is one of the newest volunteers to join Station 36. “I enjoy reinforcing the skills I already know, and love the challenge of learning new skills,” she says. “It is very different being part of a search and rescue team. Years ago, I was in a boating incident where the boat flipped and we ended up in the river. I know what it’s like to be the victim and also the satisfaction of being the rescuer.” CCGA Saanich Marine Rescue receives minimal federal funding for the annual $60,000-80,000 required to operate the two boats for Station 36. They rely heavily on corporate and public donations, fundraising, legacies and BC Gaming grants. Volunteers unselfishly risk their lives around the clock, regardless of holidays. They actively provide pleasure craft safety checks as well as boating safety education programs to ensure the waters are safer for everyone and to reduce fewer incidents at sea. Retired twice and beginning a new career, Vern describes his volunteer work as “neighbours helping neighbours and guests to our local waters. It’s a great way to give back to CTFcommunity.” Christmas Ad (Sen Liv)_Christmas Senior Living 11-10-20 6:31 PM our


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Vern checks the equipment used to rescue people from the water.

Wishing you a holiday season filled with

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Wellness & Vitality™! From all your friends at Amica Mature Lifestyles For more information, visit online at To contact Saanich Marine Rescue Society as a non-sea-going volunteer, email For CCGA recruiting, send an email to SL

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Arts & Entertainment



Photo: Linda Foubister

ack in the 1960s, while a student at Oak Bay High, Kathleen Edge rose early Saturday mornings to work at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel. For a natural late-riser whose lively time is evening, that was tough. Yet Kathleen persisted for years, paying her way through university, and the ethic of hard work has never left her: it was only this year that she retired from one career with the provincial public service to concentrate on her other one, as organist at St. Andrew’s Cathedral.

Kathleen at her organ in St. Andrew’s Cathedral.

Kathleen began her music career as a singer, performing in musicals and taking organ lessons while singing in the choir at Metropolitan United Church in Victoria. Meanwhile, she became qualified as an office secretary, obtained a BA with a double major in Geography and Psychology and topped that off with a Teaching Certificate. All this put



her in good stead to teach Music and Social Studies to junior high students, and she also found time to become a licensed realtor. But through all this, her first love was music. “Actually I came late to music,” says Kathleen. “I took up an instrument as an adult – but it’s never too late. To me, music is a calling.” Although Kathleen began with singing, the loudest call came from the pipe organ, named by Mozart the “king of instruments.” First used in 14th century Catholic services, a church organ may have over 10,000 pipes and three or four keyboards, or manuals, with five octaves (61 notes) each, and a two-and-a-half octave (32-note) pedal board. It helps to have played piano, but learning the organ is much more demanding. “Your eyes span a bigger range of notation on the page,” says Kathleen, “and your feet are dancing on the pedals, hands and feet all working independently,” which is a real workout for the back and legs. “You’ve got an orchestra at your fingertips,” she says, which the organist activates by deciding on the registration, meaning choosing what stops to pull out to bring the air into the pipes (hence the familiar term “pulling out all the stops.”) Kathleen earned her master’s degree in music from UBC in 1986, at the same time, acting as organist at St. Catherine’s Anglican Church in Vancouver and commuting to her government job in Victoria. For her bachelor of music degree at UVIC, she had already produced a thesis on historic pipe organs in B.C. In 1983, she received a Canada Council Grant to research organs across Canada, making her a national expert. Meanwhile, she spent 28 years with the provincial government, the majority as Co-ordinator of Adjudications in


the Ministry of Education. The travelling involved with her job dovetailed with detours to historic organs throughout Eastern Canada and the U.S. About six years ago, Kathleen began as organist at St. Andrew’s Cathedral, after 18 years at First Baptist. “The hiring process was more demanding than for any of my government or teaching jobs,” she says. And the demands remain: co-ordinating with clergy and choir to create a program that follows the liturgical year, accompanying soloists and mastering compositions required for weddings, funerals and special festivals. “At the moment, it’s the Crown Imperial March by William Walton,” she laughs nervously. Since it was played at Will and Kate’s royal wedding, this is everybody’s new request. From spring to fall, there is often a wedding or two per weekend at St. Andrew’s. There are about 12 pipe organs in Victoria, mostly played by men. “It used to be a man’s instrument,” says Kathleen, although more women play now. It is not attracting many young musicians, however. “It’s a hard sell for recitals. We’ve been trying to get young people at the Conservatory of Music to choose organ, but where are they going to practise?” Churches closely guard their organs – they’re expensive instruments. Sensitive to heat and cold, they require tuning about four times a year. Kathleen’s opportunity to learn the organ came up unexpectedly, but she grabbed it and has never looked back – except by rear view mirror. The organist faces away from the congregation and uses mirrors to follow the service, while simultaneously keyboarding, pedal pumping and pulling stops. The results sound stirring or ethereal to the listener, but the organist produces them through plain non-ethereal hard labour – and, of course, skill. Sometimes, it takes a lifetime to make a first love one’s career. Kathleen Edge decided, as the age of 60 hove into view, now was the time to focus on the career that mattered most. For someone who has habitually done several, it is a novelty. She still has to wake early on weekends, but she has climbed to where she wants to be – literally: each day she ascends the long winding historic staircase into the roof at the back of St. Andrew’s to unleash the soaring harmonies of Bach, Handel and the moderns. “It’s like riding a powerful motorcycle (something else Kathleen used to do) on a wide open stretch of road with no one else around. You let out the throttle and feel that thrilling build-up of power and speed – that’s what playing the organ is like, there’s no feeling like it.” Not a comparison that would come immediately to mind, yet it makes sense: the crescendo of sound, the complex soaring power unleashed by hands and feet. No doubt Mozart, were he still SL alive in the age of machines, would understand. Advent Carol Service, St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Blanshard and View, Friday, December 9th, 7:30 p.m. WWW.SENIORLIVINGMAG.COM



Author Profile



Author Rosemary Neering in her garden.

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Photo: Judee Fong

osemary Neering, prolific writer, editor, lecturer and photographer, first visited B.C. as an exchange student from an Ontario university. She smiles, “I wonder if they’re still looking for me as I never went back. I’ve been here for over 30 years now!” Supporting herself as a freelance writer, photographer, editor and reporter, she’s also contributed numerous travel features to Beautiful British Columbia magazine. Fascinated with the old-timers’ accounts of the different regions she explored, Rosemary soon carved her niche as a storyteller for B.C.’s colourful and quirky past as well as her numerous “people” stories from the present. Rosemary’s book, British Columbia Bizarre was the result of intensive research for her other books. “I blame it on my ‘butterfly’ mind,” she says. “While searching through old newspapers, trying to find something specific, my eyes would stray to the next column and I think, ‘Really?’ The item doesn’t fit anywhere because it’s not enough to be an article, but it’s funny, interesting or weird. These bits and pieces all went into a file with the thought that one day I’ll compile them into a book. I wanted to do something that was unabashedly superficial and fun.” British Columbia Bizarre is a book meant for skipping pages and perusing random items from old newspapers’ accounts with its original grammar and spelling errors of yesteryear. “Old newspapers had character,” says Rosemary. “On ‘slow’ news days, there were outrageous ‘filler’ stories that were meant to be entertaining or written with tongue-in-cheek. People did that back then – so I wrote in the dedication that this book is ’For lovers of the weird, the wonderful and the wild.’” Coming up with ideas for books has never been a problem for this local writer. One of her award-winning books, Wild West Women, is filled with adventurous, independent and liberated

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women, including Boat Basin’s feisty Ada Annie Rae Arthur or “Cougar Annie,” Lillooet’s colourful newswoman, Margaret “Ma” Murray and the popular nature writer Gilean Douglas. These strong-willed women dared convention to settle and survive in remote areas of British Columbia. Another book, The Pig War, recalls the last serious dispute between Canada and the United States over possession of the San Juan Islands. The idea that a pig almost caused an international war was quirky enough for Rosemary to research and write on this piece of unusual Canadian history. Taking a year away from researching British Columbia’s past, Rosemary and her husband Joe set out to explore the province. They followed quiet, back roads with their natural silence and stopped at small towns inhabited by friendly people, all with stories to tell. “Down the Road became my absolute favourite book, which tells about the hospitable people we met and the fascinating stories they were willing to share,” says Rosemary. Eating Up Vancouver Island was inspired by a road trip from Victoria to Campbell River, meeting the people responsible for all the local foods bought at the farms, wineries and fisheries along their route. Rosemary wrote, “Farmgaters can become so single-minded that they find themselves as I did, wheeling into a driveway posting “Rabbit Parts” only to discover they meant the cars, not the creatures.” Away from her writing, Rosemary enthusiastically works on ...Continued on Page 23



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Pet groomer Jenny Baxter died in 1972.

At 5 p.m. today, she’ll feed 50 stray dogs. Jenny would have done her job for free. She loved caring for animals and was forever rescuing strays. More animals will be saved because Jenny included a bequest to the local shelter in her will.

Thanks to Jenny, tails are still wagging. Include your favorite cause in your will or estate plan. Contact a charitable organization, lawyer, financial advisor or local LEAVE A LEGACY™ program to learn how.


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her colourful container garden, energetically plays tennis and pickleball, travels, enjoys photography and delights in producing whimsical pottery. “I play with my clay and enjoy what I do,” she says. “I love creating the nonsensical, animals, vases and anything else, but it has to be fun. There’s always the temptation to get more serious than I want to be - then I start worrying if it’s good enough. However, I got my own little kiln and I can make fun things whenever I want.” Occasionally, Rosemary works for “Park Watch,” an organization started a decade ago in Sooke. It puts “watchers” in the parking lot of the parks in Metchosin and Sooke, all the way out to Botanical Beach, which gives a sense of security for car owners. “East Sooke Park is my park, so I fill in when the regular person can’t do it during the summer,” she says. “I love telling people about our rainforests and the many trails. You feel as if you’re doing something worthwhile.” Even on one extremely wet shift, when most people stayed away, Rosemary kept her optimistic outlook. “I got out of my car and walked about taking pictures of some tiny ferns, the puddle with its rainbow colours, a leaf dripping droplets of rain. There I was in our rainforest, in the pouring rain, capturing those nature moments you don’t normally stop to see!” Travelling with Joe to their favourite places of Prague, Ecuador and Guatemala, Rosemary confesses she doesn’t like to vacation and work at the same time. “I do a really bad job of both. I don’t work hard enough to produce good ma-

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terial as I get stressed by the effort, so now when I travel outside the country, I’m not writing.” One place she likes to visit is Tikal, Guatemala, famous for its Mayan ruins. She recalls, “One evening, the guide was able to take us in where we sat on one of the pyramids, watching this spectacular full moon – it was extraordinary.” Rosemary was able to capture that unforgettable moment with a series of photographs. “I don’t feel as if every minute of my day should be filled. I like to do a variety of things as it makes life interesting. I’ve done a lot of relatively serious topics, but I’m now at an age and stage where I just want to have fun.” SL

Thank You ��������������������������� ����������������������������� ������������������������������ � ������������������ ��������������������� �������������� ��������������������������� ����������������������������� ��������������� �������������� ���������������

Rosemary Neering’s numerous books, including her soon-to-be-released, Smugglers of the West are found at bookstores including Bolen’s, Chapters and Munro’s. For a list of eBooks, visit online at www. ��������

For information on Park Watch, visit

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Travel & Adventure

Skyscrapers, Souqs & Sandscapes of Qatar




Photos: Irene Butler


ince tales of Aladdin swept my imagination away on a magic carpet in grade school, my desire to journey through the Arabian Peninsula has not waned. Sixty years later, I am to realize this dream. My husband Rick and I arrive in Qatar, the small country that jets into the Arabian Sea like a thumb off Saudi Arabia’s border, to discover how this culture steeped in tradition has melded with modernity. On our first day in the capital of Doha, we jauntily begin a stroll on Al-Corniche, the 8km U-shaped avenue that hugs the shimmering turquoise Gulf waters and is dotted with date palms, flowering plants and amazing sculptures. After a few kilometres, we know why we are almost alone on this promenade, and the stream of vehicles on the roadway with windows rolled-up-tight against the broiling sun makes sense. Our walk is likened to a hike across the Sahara. We thirstily forge ahead to the gleaming towers of glass and steel around the bend, knowing they are not a mirage. Qatar has not escaped skyscraper-building fury of the oil-rich countries. We welcome the stunning marble and glass architecture of the City Centre Doha Mall, and blissfully nestle in coffee shop armchairs with a litre of H2O and silky-smooth cappuccinos before heading back to our hotel – in an air-conditioned taxi. We find Souq Waqif (market) the perfect place to soak up tradition, with a bonus of both outdoor sections and those sheltered from Old Sol. Waqif has been around since the days when Bedouin nomads traded goats, sheep and wool for essential items. Restorations have not changed the maze of passageways with mud rendered walls and wood-beamed ceilings. We meander past small shops piled high with spices, dates, figs, perfumes, pots, dishes, plastic everything, aquarium fish, birds, puppies and bunnies. A father passes with his small daughter clinging to his one hand, while in the other he carries his purchase – a falcon. The ancient art of falconry dates back to at least the 7th century BC, and although Westerners find using these birds of prey for sport objectionable, it is prevalent in the Arab countries and the Bedu are the grand masters. Those hooked on hookahs frequent this market. Every restaurant and cafe is filled with customers puffing their choice of sheesha (flavoured tobacco) through bubbling water pipes. The air is opaque with the smoky bouquet of sweet apple, strawberry, rose and mint. Seeing Rick puzzle over a hookah apparatus, Hussein, a waiter at Café Tasse, invites us out back to where a dozen pipes are being made ready for patrons.

Skyscrapers se en from Al-Cornich e.

A little girl and her father at the market with his recent purchase – a falcon.

In a Sheesha 101 lesson, Hussein demonstrates the basics. Billows of smoke rise into the air with each puff. Rick tries next. With my camera aimed, I wait, and wait for a billow, ahhh, at last, a puff of smoke the size of a walnut. “Not as easy as it looks,” claims Rick, as Hussein cheers, “Way to go!” Upon checking our “must do” list for Qatar, seeing the desert landscapes and camel races are in the forefront. The dilemma – not even the tour offices have advance notice of when the camel races will be held. We are told to check the daily newspapers for race dates, or call the racing committee. Our new friend, Jerri, comes to the rescue! Jerri is one of the


many expatriates who work in the country’s oil industry. He graciously offers to drive us to the unique limestone formations known as “desert mushrooms” at Bir Zekreet and, lucky for us, the famed camel racetrack of Al-Shahaniya is on the way! Practising jockeys and camels in bunches race by stirring up clouds of dust



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As we approach the track, my heart leaps at the sight of these ships of the desert everywhere – in compounds along the roadway, and strings of them crisscrossing the highway bringing traffic to a halt. We pull into the Al-Shahaniya complex and gleefully make our way to the track. Practising jockeys and camels in bunches race by stirring up clouds of dust. Some of the jockeys bouncing along on an adult camel also hold the reins of a juvenile camel with no rider; no doubt a learning process. Duly thrilled by this “sport of sheikhs,” we barrel south again and make it to Bir Zekreet at sunset. The fading light casts an

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Travel & Adventure The author’s husband the middle of the mall’s ultra-wide corrieerie glow over the weirdly spectacular Rick tries the hookah. dors. A gigantic food court overlooks an “mushrooms,” the result of winds that have ice rink where a hockey game is in progwhittled away the softer sedimentary rock ress; the skating finesse and puck-hanleaving pillars below large intact tops – a dling of the players aged 12 to 14 years geography lesson of desert formation. is top-notch. We proceed still further south to the Being Friday, the first day of the Mustown of Dukhan, the location of a maslim weekend, the mall is wall-to-wall with sive natural gas plant and huge comcongregations of family and friends. In pound for employees with every amenity the multicultural mix of 900,000 people, - deluxe accommodations, shopping and 75 per cent are expatriates from around restaurants. Qatar is the largest exporter the world, employed in jobs ranging from of liquefied natural gas in the world. janitors to CEOs. Qataris make up the reAlong with crude oil and banking, the maining 25 per cent and are distinguishcountry has one of the fastest growing able by their dress and apparent affluence. world economies, with an extremely Rolex watches peek from the sleeves of high per capita income. The State of Qatar is ruled by the popular emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa men’s impeccable white throbe (floor-length shirt-dress) as they al-Thani, whose family has been in power since the mid-18th twirl a set of prayer beads between thumb and forefinger, which century. In 2005, a cabinet and advisory council was voted in may be made of pearls, jade or gold nuggets. Their gutra (white to assist in the running of Qatar, which is considered one of head cloth) secured by black-tasselled head-rope called an agal looks dashing. Women’s abeyyas (black robes) and hejabs (head the most politically stable countries in the region. Back in Doha, we see more evidence of the country’s wealth scarves) are trimmed with gold, silver or gems; their fingers and in the stadiums of Sport City, built for the 2006 Asian Games, the wrists flash diamonds the size of marbles as they tote bags with largest ever held. At the nearby Villagio Mall, Jerri says, “The purchases from top-fashion designers. Our exhilarating week in Qatar went by in a flash. I came extravagance must be seen to be believed.” Shoppers take time for a gondola ride along the faux-Venetian canal running through away feeling a genie had granted my wish. The bazaar-like souqs

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and harsh desert terrain were everything I imagined in the Arabia of old, combined with the boom decade’s dazzling skyscrapers and Disney-like malls, all warmly fused with traditional Bedouin SL hospitality – all now fond memories.

by Ken Cameron



featuring the songs of Elvis Presley ®, book by Joe DiPietro

NOISES OFF by Michael Frayn


(contains strong language)

JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR® DREAMCOAT Visas – Canadians can obtain a visa upon entry. For requirements, visit

lyrics by Tim Rice, music by Andrew Lloyd Webber

Climate – Summer (May to September) average day temp 35C (95F) but can surpass 50C (122F), high humidity and frequent dust storms. Winter – pleasant temp during the day 26C (80F) with cooler evenings. Most of the 8cm (3in) of annual rainfall occurs during December and January.

CHICKENS by Lucia Frangione, music by Royal Sproule, Lewis Frere, Mark Lewandowski and Jason Bertsch


Religion – most Qataris, like Saudi Arabians, adhere to the austere Wahhabi sect of Islam, with strict codes of conduct. Visiting women are not required to don traditional dress (as in Saudi Arabia) but men and women visitors should dress conservatively.

by Dan Needles, starring Rod Beattie (Bonus Show!)


Air travel to Qatar is best since it is difficult to get a transit visa to cross Saudi Arabia from other Arabian Peninsula countries. Visit

from O. Henry stories, book & lyrics by Mark St. Germain, music & lyrics by Randy Courts

Budget hotel suggestion – Fuda Hotel, Al Muthaf Street, Old Salata, Doha – five-minute walk to the waterfront (no website, but look for it on wholesale hotel sites).

order a Golden Lift Chair

this season Experience comfort, mobility and more independence in a Lift/Recline chair from Golden Technologies.

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(250) 384 - 8000 Sidney: 7 - 9764 Fifth St (250) 656- 6228

Ask us about our Gift Certificates and Getaway Packages



2012 DECEMBER 2011


Colin Sheen � SeaShine Design � David Cooper Photography

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Est. 1944

Photo: Jason van der Valk

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Dear Goldie: During my working years, I always dreamed about retirement. I thought it would be so wonderful to do things I was really interested in, and not feel obligated to others. Somehow, none of my dreams have materialized. My wife, children and grandchildren always have plans for me. I love them, but they certainly run things. How can I get my life back? –J.D. Dear J.D.: The only way you will get your life back is to take charge of it. It sounds like you are constantly helping others without a complaint. Stand up for yourself and tell your family you have plans for life ahead. Be firm and don’t back down. It sounds like you continually oblige others. As a result, they probably assume that is all you want out of life. Only you can change this situation. Be firm! Dear Goldie: My husband and I just moved to a small town after many years in Toronto. We find people here friendly but haven’t seemed to make close friends. We have been here for two months. Perhaps it is too soon to expect close relationships again. A distant cousin has lived in the area for several years and operates a hardware store. We have met at family reunions but have never exchanged visits. Would it be appropriate to ask his help? –G.W. Dear G.W.: It sounds like a good idea to enlist your cousin’s help in this situation. You are new to the area and he certainly must know many of the residents. It will probably take time to adjust to small town living after Toronto. Usually in less populated areas new friendships form quickly and, before long, you will get to know the local people. I hope you find happiSL ness in your new environment.

SENIOR PEER COUNSELLING CENTRES Campbell River 250-287-3044 Courtenay/Comox 250-334-9917 Duncan 250-748-2133 Nanaimo 250-754-3331

Port Hardy 250-949-5110 Salt Spring Island 250-537-4607 Sidney 250-656-5537 Victoria 250-382-4331

Goldie Carlow is a retired registered nurse, clinical counsellor and senior peer counselling trainer. 28




Photo: Frances Litman

Choices, Chances and Changes Make a choice to take a chance or your life will never change.


hat choice have you made either recently or in the past that required you to step outside of your comfort zone? What kind of change did it make in your life? Are you finding that life isn’t fun anymore? Life’s too short to not enjoy it. Maybe it is time to make that choice to take a chance so that you can make some changes in your life. At the end of this month, we will be well into the second decade of this new century. It is time to make some changes in your life. Try a new computer program, or take a community course on a subject you would never have thought of before. Sometimes the thought of trying something new, like a yoga class, is so scary that we make all sorts of excuses not to go. However, I have friends who are longtime yogis, in their 80s, who move with the flexibility and grace of a cat. If you are having trouble getting out of your chair, make the choice to take a chance and create some flexibility in your life. There are many opportunities to learn other languages. It doesn’t matter that you aren’t planning to travel to Spain or

China in the next while, take a language anyway and learn more about another country. It may change your mind; it will certainly broaden it. There are many courses to choose from, for example, the public library offers Mango – an opportunity to study any one of many different languages, including pirate. Not sure why you might need pirate, but Arr Matey – let’s take a chance. I asked several co-workers about changes they had made recently, and they had trouble thinking of any. It is not because they have not made changes, but many of us go along in our lives without being fully conscious of what we are doing. Thank you, Sue, for sending me this quote via Facebook. It is my gift to you. Three Simple Rules in Life from Karina Radova 1. If you do not go after what you want, you’ll never have it. 2. If you do not ask, the answer will always be no. 3. If you do not step forward, you SL will always be in the same place. Pat Nichol is a speaker and published author.

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Senior Driver Refresher

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We wish you a

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����������������������� DECEMBER 2011


CLASSIFIEDS SAANICH VOLUNTEER SERVICES seeks volunteers to drive clients to medical appointments. If you have time to spare call Heather at 250-595-8008. EVERYTHING YOU NEED FOR A PRINT-READY MEMOIR Aldridge Street Publishing. Transcription - Editing - Cover Design - Book Layout. Call 250-590-5910. THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU of Vancouver Island is located at 2201175 Cook St., Victoria BC V8V 4A1. Toll-free phone line for Up-Island 1-877826-4222 (South Island dial 250-3866348). E-mail:

MOVING? DOWNSIZING? DECLUTTERING? Re:Organized Professional Organizing can help every step of the way. We make it easy! 250-217-9706

DEBI’S MOBILE HAIR SERVICES in the comfort of your home for everyone in your family. Serving the Victoria area. Please call Debi at 250-477-7505. MOBILE FOOT CARE NURSE. Home, facility, and hospital visits for foot care in the Nanaimo area. John Patterson LPN, qualified nursing foot care for toenails, corns and calluses. Direct billing for DVA clients. 250-390-9266.

HEALING CONSULTANT - Specializing in Health Assessment in Home. Let Nurse Marcia Help You to Heal. Call (250)686-3081.

LAWN AND GARDEN SERVICES starting at 30/hr. Certified Horticulturist - Fully Insured. References on request. Call Jason @ 250-893-8620 or email

COLLECTOR SEEKING vintage/collectable cameras, binoculars and microscopes. Nikon, Leica, Contax, Rolleiflex, Zeiss, Canon, etc. Mike 250-383-6456 or e-mail:

WANTED: OLD POSTCARDS, stamp accumulations, and pre-1950 stamped envelopes. Also buying old coins, medals and badges. Please call Michael 250652-9412 or email

RUTH M.P HAIRSTYLING for Seniors in Greater Victoria. In the convenience of your own home! Certified Hairdresser. Call - 250-893-7082.

COMPUTER TUTOR FOR SENIORS Private computer lessons specially designed for seniors in their own home. Apple & Microsoft friendly. (250) 818-8835

CUBA – ‘Spanish Studies in Cuba’ (Havana), $2,500.00 Can. for 4 wks. Hotel with breakfast and dinner, tuition fee. (Air fare not included). 250-478-0494 DRIVING MISS DAISY ® Places to go? People to see? Appointments to keep? Choose one of we three! Susan: 250-588-4638 (Victoria) Heather: 250507-2336 (Sidney) John: 250-813-0440 (Westshore) HAVE YOU ALWAYS WANTED to be a Santa to a lonely but deserving Senior? Enjoy an enriching experience with Home Instead Senior Care’s “Be A Santa To A Senior” campaign. Go to or call 250-382-6565 for details on how to warm your heart this holiday season! 30


HEALING FOOT CARE by Nurse Foot Care Specialist Marcia Goodwin R.N.,B.Sc.N.35 yrs. Nsg. Experience • Caring • Comprehensive • Professional • Gentle. 250-686-3081. (Victoria Area)

RENT EMERALD ESTATES Parksville. 55+ independent supportive living, 2bd, 2bth, quiet, clean sunny end unit Available for move in Nov. 15th – Dec 1st. Walking distance to local amenities. Rent includes housekeeping & onsite manager. (Dining program optional). One small pet allowed. To view, call 250586-6703 MATURE CARING RESPONSIBLE woman available for pet and house sitting. 10 years experience. Call Dorothy at 250-388-9964. WWW.SENIORLIVINGMAG.COM

BRIGHT IDEAS TECHNOLOGY In home computer support & training. 20% Seniors discount. Call Jason today 250480-8259. We look forward to helping you discover today’s technology. REFRESH YOUR FACE, enliven your body Energy/Light Facials are a clean natural treatment Don’t be a Botox™ Babe Call Diana (RAc, TCMP) 250 478 8190

GREATER VICTORIA FOOT CARE SERVICES. In-home care by registered nurse and certified footcare specialist. 250-208-3353

COUNSELLING SERVICES for Grief and Loss; Life Transitions; Anxiety and Depression; Relationship Challenges. Senior Discounts Available. Phone 250812-5634 PERSONALS HEALTHY, TALL, TRIM 68 NS Victoria man wants to meet healthy woman same age or younger for romantic committed relationship. 250-721-1593.

CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING $30 for 20 words or less. $1.25 per extra word. BW only. Red spot color 10% extra. Boxed Ad - Small (2.2 x 1.2) $110. Boxed Ad - Large (2.2 x 2.4) $210. Plus tax. Ads must be paid at booking. Cheque / Credit Card accepted. Ph. (250)479-4705, Toll-free 1-877-479-4705. Email Deadline: 15th of the month. Make cheque payable to: Senior Living, Magazine 153, 1581-H Hillside Ave., Victoria BC V8T 2C1 OCTOBER 2009 39


Privacy Policies on “Dear Santa” Websites


he tradition of writing to and receiving mail from Santa at Christmas makes for exciting and wonderful childhood memories. Now with the power of the Internet, both children and Santa can readily communicate online. Parents and grandparents introduce children to online Santa resources and, just as with all websites, the Better Business Bureau warns parents and grandparents to do their homework before letting children write to or receive letters from Santa this holiday season. More than 60 domain names are registered in the name of Santa Claus, offering children a wide range of opportunities to email or receive email from Old St. Nick. Sadly, some of the websites aren’t always trustworthy, and can potentially be a dangerous way to share personal information. Writing to Santa is a long-lasting tradition, and while it seems innocent and fun, it is important for adults to carefully review the site to determine who is seeking the information, how they’ll be using it and whether they’ll be sharing this infor-

mation with third parties. According to the Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU), all websites directed at children – or websites designed with a special children’s section – should have a privacy policy that explains the site’s information collection practices. The privacy policy should include the name of the company and the company’s complete contact information. It should also state whether the company shares information with third parties, including advertisers, and whether the company publicly discloses the information or retains the information for any future purpose. Consider the following tips before allowing the private information of your children or grandchildren to end up on the web: Check to see what it is they want you to hand over. Websites directed at children should not ask for more infor-

mation than is reasonably necessary to participate in the activity. In this case, a first name and email address is all that should be required. Limit the personal information Santa obtains about children and omit physical addresses. In many cases, there shouldn’t be a need to share this information. Especially since Santa already knows where all the children live. Check websites for unwelcome content. Some sites are geared toward adults and may contain language or advertising adults may not want children to see. Check the links. Since hyperlinks can allow children to move seamlessly from one site to another, investigate the hyperlinks to ensure children don’t access inappropriate content. Practice cautious common sense when using Santa Mail websites and don’t forSL get to check privacy policies.

If you believe you have been the target of a scam, call the Better Business Bureau Vancouver Island at 250-386-6348 in Greater Victoria or at 1-877-8264222 elsewhere on the Island, so others can benefit from your experience. E-mail WWW.SENIORLIVINGMAG.COM





would like to tell you a story; a Christmas story; the story of Uncle Henry. Now, most everyone, at one time or another, has had an Uncle Henry, I’m sure. Uncle Henry is the guy who is not a blood relative, is not married, claims to be an adventurer and works at different jobs, if he works at all. Uncle Henry is a character, not taken too seriously, yet adored and lionized by children. He is a hero to the untried mind: a vagabond to those who know and love him. He always shows up at unexpected times without calling first, laden down with gifts for everyone. He says he has just dropped in for a moment while on his way to another great adventure. Just to touch base, to say hello. A week later, he’s still in your living room lounging on a sofa, which has become his bed, watching television and munching on popcorn while waiting for dinner to be served. One very busy Christmas when Mom was out of sorts, and Dad was pretending it was summer, a terrible thought occurred to them both. What if Uncle Henry shows up? They were bumping into each other as it was. If Uncle Henry were underfoot, confusion would turn to catastrophe. They kept their fingers crossed hoping Uncle

Henry was spending Christmas in India or Siberia or Hong Kong. But they must have forgotten and uncrossed their fingers because on Christmas Eve, as they celebrated their open house with many of their friends, they heard the familiar voice above the din: “Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas, just dropped by for a moment.” And there stood Uncle Henry. It had been a while since his last visit. He had grown a long beard, almost white, which reminded he was no longer young. And not surprising: he was wearing a Santa Claus suit and laden down with gifts. The children squealed, running to him, thinking he was the real thing, while he handed out gifts to overeager hands. Mom and Dad rolled their eyes a little, gave a soft groan and did their best to welcome the sailor home from the sea, the hunter home from the hill. “How are you, Henry?” they asked. There came a wink from his merry little eyes. “My name’s not Henry. It’s Nick.” There was a quick chuckle and grin. “Sorry Henry,” Dad said, “I don’t think the kids heard me. I don’t want to blow your cover.” Mom said, “We got a new sofa.” “It’s Nick!” He insisted with a Ho Ho Ho! “Right,” said Dad, “Nick! How have you been, Nick?”

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“Fair to middlin’,” Nick said scratching under his beard. Mom and Dad had to smile. Henry’s happy twinkling eyes laughed at them, while the same old signet ring remained on his finger as he searched for the itch; the “character” living up to the reputation that harboured him. “You still serving that famous rum punch I like so much?” he asked. Mom, smiling, went to get him one. Dad said, “I’m really sorry, Henry, I mean Nick, I’m afraid we can’t put you up this time. A lot happening.” “Oh, I can’t stay. Too much to do. Places to go. People to see. I’ll have my toddy and be gone,” he said. “Don’t want to leave the reindeer alone too long.” Dad chuckled, “You are a piece of work, Henry. You really are.” The children gathered around him once more, squealing and pulling on his sleeves. With a Ho Ho Ho, he allowed himself to be dragged away. Mom returned with the toddy, telling Dad how ashamed she felt for treating and thinking of Henry as a bother. After all, it was Christmas, the time of peace on earth, goodwill to men. She would take his toddy to him and apologize. But she couldn’t find him. Finally, she went outside and saw all the children on the lawn looking up. Then she heard the tinkling of harness bells, and as she too looked up, she saw the reindeer, the sleigh and Uncle Henry in his Santa suit. And though many years and many Christmases came and went, they never saw Uncle Henry again, which left one probing question: Was Uncle Henry Santa Claus or was Santa Claus Uncle Henry? If your Uncle Henry shows up, you might want to ask him that question. Mom and SL Dad would really like to know.

Senior Living Magazine Island Edition December 2011