VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND DEC 2008/JAN 2009
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Josie de Baat Early Retirement
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A year ago, none of us knew each other. We weren’t looking for new friends when we came to Lifestyle. One day at lunch, we started talking about 5-cent ice-cream cones, the Eaton’s catalogue, our favourite hockey players when there were only six teams, and Frank Sinatra. The next thing we knew, we were singing “Come Fly With Me” at the piano. We drew quite a crowd. Now, we can’t imagine not knowing each other.
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DEC 08 / JAN 09
(Vancouver & Lower Mainland) is published by Stratis Publishing. Other publications by Stratis Publishing:
• Senior Living (Vancouver Island) • Senior Lifestyle: A Housing Guide for Vancouver Island
Sharing a lifelong love of dance.
8 A Labour of Love
Barbara Risto Editor
Bobbie Jo Sheriff firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising Manager
They do it for the animals at the Richmond Animal Protection Society.
10 A Tale of Early Retirement
23 BBB Scam Alert
Island couple living a life less ordinary.
Barry Risto 250-479-4705 Toll Free 1-877-479-4705 email@example.com
14 Platz, Portzelky and Plumi Moos Mennonite cooking, steeped in tradition, brings back fond childhood memories.
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IMG Innovative Media Group Mathieu Powell 250-704-6288 John Dubay 250-294-9700 Ann Lester 250-390-1805 RaeLeigh Buchanan 250-479-4705 Robert Doak 250-479-4705
COLUMNS 2 The Family Caregiver
20 Europe by Rail
7 Between Friends
Fast, efﬁcient and cost-effective, there’s no better way to see Europe.
26 We Are Gathered Here
Senior Living Box 153, 1581-H Hillside Ave., Victoria BC V8T 2C1
18 Get to Know Nanaimo
Visit one of Canada’s cultural capitals.
Contact Information – Head Ofﬁce
28 The Storyteller
Fantasy writer Eileen Kernaghan adds an element of magic to real life.
When it comes to civil ceremonies, Marriage Commissioner Nadine Jones has seen it all.
by Barbara Small
by Doreen Barber
13 Forever Young by William Thomas
30 Ask Goldie
by Goldie Carlow
Phone 250-479-4705 Toll-free 1-877-479-4705 Fax 250-479-4808 E-mail ofﬁce@seniorlivingmag.com Website www.seniorlivingmag.com
Cover Photo: Polynesian dancer Josie de Baat keeps her culture alive through dance. Story page 4. Photo: Kevin McKay
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In the November 2008 issue, the article “This Land is Not to be Developed” in the special Planned Giving Guide should have been credited to Carla Funk. Ms. Funk is the Chair of Canadian Association of Gift Planners, Vancouver Island Roundtable, 250-479-8053. The article “A Renaissance of Philanthropy” was written by Ivor John. Senior Living apologies for the omission and any inconvenience it may have caused.
No portion of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. Senior Living is an indepdendent publication and its articles imply no endoresement 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 firstname.lastname@example.org Senior Living Vancouver & Lower Mainland is distributed free in Vancouver, North & West Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Richmond, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Delta, Twawwassen, White Rock, Surrey, Cloverdale and Ladner. ISSN 1911-6373 (Print) ISSN 1991-6381 (Online)
• VANCOUVER • BURNABY • NEW WESTMINSTER • WHITE ROCK • NORTH VANCOUVER • LADNER / TSAWWASSEN • PORT MOODY • COQUITLAM • PORT COQUITLAM • SURREY • RICHMOND • WEST VANCOUVER
BALL INnGbe fuAn! Gone Sailing! HerAciV sing ca Ex
ion in Adnct ess Love ding kin Sprea the world around OUVER
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DEC 2008 / JAN 2009
THE FAMILY CAREGIVER
Holiday Tips for Caregivers BY BARBARA SMALL
he holiday season, with all its added demands and commitments, can seem overwhelming for an already busy family caregiver. Many will try to keep old traditions alive, while, at the same time, juggle the responsibilities of a new caregiving situation. It may not be realistic to expect to do the usual holiday baking and socializing, while trying to ensure that your ill spouse or elderly parent’s personal care needs are met. Take time to think about how you want to spend the holidays. What do you truly have time and energy to do? What can you delegate to others? Which of those old traditions are you willing to let go, either for this year, or for good? Are you doing something out of habit, obligation or because you want to? Ask the person you are caring for how he or she wants to celebrate or feels up for, over the holidays. Remember, an ill or frail person may tire more easily during the holiday season and may need more quiet time than they did in the past.
• Don’t be afraid to say “no.” Say “yes” only to the things you can comfortably manage.
Below are some suggestions to help reduce holiday stress:
• Avoid comparisons with past holidays. Yes, your family situation has changed and this year will not be the same as holidays in the past, but it can still be enjoyed in its own SL unique way.
• Invite guests to come and visit the person you are caring for so you can avoid the stress and possible discomfort of having them travel to other people’s homes. • Suggest a potluck meal or ask other family members to prepare the meal. Use paper plates and cups to make clean-up easier or order in a meal. Some restaurants or grocery stores offer a complete holiday meal for take-out, or eat Christmas dinner at a restaurant this year.
• If you want to decorate your home, ask a friend, family member or volunteer to do it for you. • Take the hassle out of gift giving. Purchase gifts online, from a catalogue, or ask a friend to help with shopping. • Take advantage of store delivery services for gifts or groceries. • Ask other family members to carry on speciﬁc family traditions. Dividing the responsibility will help you manage your stress level. • Ask family or friends to provide respite care over the holidays. A few hours of alone time can help renew your energy. • Create new traditions that the care recipient is still able to participate in based on their current physical and cognitive health.
Next month: Life after Caregiving Ends Barbara Small is Program Development Coordinator for Family Caregivers’ Network Society.
• Keep the number of guests manageable. Noise and hectic activity can exhaust an ill person, as well as the burnt-out family caregiver.
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Stop by today or call to schedule ��������������������������������� your complimentary lunch & tour. �������������������������������� Ask us about our Assisted Living packages. �������������������������� �������������������������������� ������������ �������������������������� ������������������������ ������������ ������������������������
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STORY AND PHOTO BY KEVIN MCKAY
olynesian dance instructor Josie de Baat was born and raised in Indonesia when it was a Dutch colony to an Indonesian father and a Dutch mother. The youngest of 11 children, Josie grew up without a lot of material possessions in a small village. Her father was a government ofﬁcial and Josie’s mother stayed home to look after a “large happy family.” 4
SENIOR LIVING VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND
As a child, Josie loved to dance but her family could not afford lessons. Finally, when all her brothers and sisters had left home, and Josie was about 14, her parents found a bit of money and sent her to take lessons at a studio where she learned many types of dance, including Polynesian. Then, in 1949, Indonesia gained its independence from the Netherlands
and, over the next few years, all Josie’s older brothers and sisters left for either New Guinea or Holland. Josie and her parents, still in Indonesia, were preparing to relocate to New Guinea, when Josie took a part-time job as secretary at a Dutch import/export company to help her family with some moving expenses. A fellow employee was a young man, named Cor de Baat, who did the
accounting and helped with translation. According to Josie, “he saw me, he put his mind on me and that was it! We got married when I was 17; my parents left for New Guinea, and I stuck around.” Josie and Cor moved into the home her parents had lived in, and their ﬁrst son was soon born. “Times change so fast that we wanted to have children right away,” says Josie. “I wanted to understand them while they are growing up. I felt that if I was too old when my children got into their teens, I would have trouble understanding them.” Following the birth of their son, the family moved to New Guinea where they settled in with Josie’s parents. Cor took a job working as a customs ofﬁcer for the Dutch Government and during the day Josie raised the growing family. Four more children arrived during those years. Every evening, Cor and Josie worked at their corner grocery store, until 1962, when the entire family moved to the Netherlands. They sold the store and used the money to book passage on the last passenger boat to Europe. The voyage lasted one month and this family, who had only known life near the equator, arrived in the middle of a severe winter, where they were given shelter in a summer cottage. “I cried every day and I wanted to leave,” says Josie, “but I didn’t know where I could go. It was just too cold. Everything was rationed, so we only got the bare minimum of food, fuel, everything.” After two years in the camp, they were allowed to move to a house in Doesburg where Cor learned to be a journeyman electrician and Josie worked a couple of hours a day in a factory sewing garments. Finally, four years after arriving in Holland, the family made the move to Canada. Cor left ﬁrst, got a job, settled down, and then sent for Josie and the children three months later. Vancouver was the only place they wanted to live, as they were tired of severe winter weather. After six months in a Vancouver rental, they bought a home in
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DEC 2008 / JAN 2009
Burnaby for the tidy sum of $13,500. An older home, they the senior citizens she saw bunched together in homes and care facilities. “When I grew up all ages of the family lived renovated and still live there. Once her youngest was off to school, Josie went to Vo- together under one roof,” she says. ”I thought what I saw cational School for data processing before starting work at here was terrible. I thought that if we had a little dance group Woodwards. Years later, she applied for a job with another we could go to the homes and entertain them.” Josie never spent one cent on advertising her dance ﬁrm, but she was turned down because she had an accent. “I got mad,” says Josie, “but I appreciated it because they school, yet it kept growing. The message was spread by were honest with me. Now, I can teach about honesty and word of mouth and, before long, Josie was teaching many classes out of her home and even started teaching Polynediscrimination because I have experienced it.” After working at Woodwards for sian Dance at various community many years, Josie took a position as a centres and senior centres across the hostess at a ﬁtness club, something she Lower Mainland. Her students range For many years, she really enjoyed because, as she says, “I in age from three to 80-plus, and one went to Hawaii twice like people. I enjoyed working with senior dancer has been with her since people.” the very ﬁrst seniors dance class Josie a year to study under Along the way, Josie met up with a taught. Josie says she loves to teach the masters and learn Hawaiian band that was mostly playdance because, “it was and still is a hobby.” ing at golf clubs around the Lower new dances, which she Mainland. Josie would meet them at Despite the fact she calls it a hobby, could bring back to their shows, dance for 15 minutes and don’t think Josie doesn’t take her dance make $25, which was a good sum at seriously. For many years, she went to teach to her students. the time. Hawaii twice a year to study under the In 1972, she decided to start teachmasters and learn new dances, which she could bring back to teach to her ing Polynesian Dance in her basement with four students: her two daughters and two of their friends. students. Once she felt she had learned enough she cut back What led her to do this was compassion and sympathy for the trips to once per year, a rate she still maintains. Josie teaches more than dance, music and culture. “I teach them the value of family,” she says. “If they don’t agree with me, they leave. You have to give of yourself and enjoy life without losing your morals. I have a good weekend when people enjoy the show we put on for them. I instill this in my kids. They don’t need to do bad things to enjoy life.” Most of the dances she teaches come from Hawaii, Tahiti and New Zealand, though she also includes some from Fiji, Samoa and the Cook Islands. She teaches her students to sing as well. “It is important that they learn what the dance means. It December 1 is the hardest part because some of the things that the people to singing are thankful for in the songs are not in our culture. January 6 Such as rain. Good there, not here, in our point of view. But if they are with me long enough, they get it.” Josie has always wanted to give back. Her dance school has performed one large fundraiser for each of the past 35 years, plus smaller shows, with the money going to various charities, including Children’s Hospital. Josie says she is good friends with many of her former students and now three of them work for her teaching dance. Two other younger girls are in training. Her hope is that at least one of them will carry on her work one day. For as much as she loves doing it, even Josie admits, “I don’t know how many more years I can do this, but I will do it for as Victoria BC SL long as I can.”
Magic of Christmas
250.652.5256 866.652.4422 (toll free) Forcontrols. more info or to contact Josie, call 604-435-3489. butchartgardens.com Peter Trill at the 6
SENIOR LIVING VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND
Between Friends T
he old adage that we attract more bees with honey than with vinegar holds true in every area of social interaction.
Fifteen years later, in 1957, a friend asked Herman if he wanted to go on a blind date; he agreed. As he and his date spoke of their wartime experi-
BY DOREEN BARBER
to a starving boy in a German prison camp. Serendipity “No act of kindstruck and Herman ness, no matter declared, “That was “A tree is known by its fruits; a man by his how small is ever me!” Herman decidwasted.” –Aesop deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows ed he couldn’t lose Kindness is like her again and procourtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants a boomerang that posed that very night. always returns. kindness reaps love.” Roma accepted his A thoughtful act, –Saint Basil proposal. Their wedcompliment or ding picture is enexpressions of apcased in a cube with preciation are never wasted. Human ences, Roma told him how she had a symbolic red apple to celebrate 50 kindness insulates our hearts from tossed apples and bread over a fence years of marriage. SL the cruelty around us in what can be a hostile world. Without acts of kindness, there is a negative vacuum grabbing at our sense of well-being. This negativity, if not countered, tends to draw people into dark realms of anger, despair and bitterness. Kindness can be expressed as compassion to someone who is in pain or as an act of benevolence to a person in need. Here is a poignant story that illustrates the far-reaching impact of kindness. Roma, an eight-year-old girl, held in a German prison camp, saw a fellow prisoner, a teenage boy named Herman, across a fence. Roma knew ����������������� he was starving so, one day, when the guards were not looking, she threw ��������������� him an apple. They knew that if they �������������������� �������������������� were caught speaking or sharing food, ������������������������������������ ������������������������������������ they would both be killed. Roma con���������������������������������������� tinued to share her food for a time, �������������������������������������� but the children did not speak to each other. Then, one day, Herman told her ������������������������������ not to come around anymore and not ����������������������������������������� to throw apples over the fence because ����������������������������������������� he was being moved to another camp. DEC 2008 / JAN 2009
A Labour of Love
ddie and Marie keep us aﬂoat ﬁnancially. It’s as simple as that. The money they have raised in our thrift store has made the difference between life and death for hundreds of animals,” says Carol Reichert, managing director of the Richmond Animal Protection Society (RAPS). Carol is talking about Eddie and Marie Malinoski, a couple who, in 2005, came out of retirement to take on the job of managing the newly-opened RAPS Thrift and Antique Store at 8260 Granville Avenue in Richmond. The work involved keeps them busy every day of the week, yet they receive (at their insistence) a monthly paycheque of exactly $0. For them, it is a labour of love. The Richmond Animal Protection Society is a registered non-proﬁt organization that operates two animal shelters in Richmond – their own sanctuary for homeless cats on No. 6 Road and, since early 2007, the city-contracted shelter for all surrendered, abandoned and stray domestic animals on 8
SENIOR LIVING VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND
Photos: Mary Anne Hajer
BY PETER HENDERSON
BY MARY ANNE HAJER
No. 5 Road. Both shelters have a no-kill policy, which means no animal is put down unless it is suffering in the last stages of a terminal illness or is a danger to the public. Because all animals that come under their protection receive medical attention as well as food and shelter, operating costs are high. Until 2005, RAPS relied entirely on donations to cover their expenses at the No. 6 Road site, but, as the need for their services grew, so did their costs. Realizing they needed a more reliable source of income, the directors decided to open a thrift store. The Malinoskis were the obvious choice for managers. Eddie and Marie had already been involved with RAPS for close to four years. Despite the discomfort of two hip replacements, Marie helped regularly with heavy work at the shelter, cleaning, feeding and scooping litter boxes. “She acted as a sort of unofﬁcial supervisor for our shift,” says Joyce Burrett, another RAPS volunteer who worked with Marie for years at the No. 6 Road site, and now assists her at the store. “She was very thorough. She made sure every litter box was scooped and every room or hut cleaned. She was also very good in training the students who worked for us in the summer.” Meanwhile, Eddie was busy collecting and repairing items for the semi-annual garage sales he and Marie held at their home, with all proceeds going to the shelter. After retirement from his job as a CPR yard foreman, he indulged a lifelong interest in buying and selling used goods. When he learned of the work RAPS was doing, he decided to donate any money he earned to them. Then he heard about the plans to open the
“If a volunteer wants to have a given. cup of tea and talk to a friend, we “I think it [the store] has saved my tell them to bring them into the life,” he says. “I could very easily sit back room and sit down. We also down and watch TV all day. I know I invite customers in there.” could do that, but I know it’s no good, Starving and ill, “Some people say, ‘You have a so whatever I do here is better than Boo was one of great big family here’,” says Ed- nothing. Even when I’m at home, I ﬁx several abandoned cats rescued from die. “There’s a lot of joking and stuff for sale in the store.” a chemical plant in laughing. We have regulars who Marie smiles when she thinks about east Richmond. come sometimes two times a day. the future. It’s a place for them to go.” “Oh, we’re going to keep going thrift store. When it comes to the store, Eddie as long as we can,” she says. “We’re “I always wanted to own a secondhand SL feels he has gained as much as he has quite happy.” store,” says Eddie. “So I phoned Carol and asked, ‘Do you think you would let me run it?’ She said, ‘Eddie, do you know how I prayed you would ask me that?’” Buy travel insurance That was three years ago and, today, the online and store thrives, paying a large percentage of SAVE 5% the expenses of the No. 6 Road shelter, as well as subsidizing the city-owned facility. Many volunteers donate hours of work to keep the store running, but all agree that it is Eddie and Marie’s commitment to the enterprise that has made it a success. To begin with, they must sort through the large number of donated items and pieces of clothing to decide what is suitable for resale. Anything deemed unacceptable is either sent on to other agencies or to the recycling depot. Very little ends up as landﬁll. “We have a high-end thrift store,” says Marie. “That’s why we added the word ‘antique’ to our name. We carry only topquality stuff. We check every appliance, and if there’s ever a problem, we give people their money back. It’s satisfaction guaranteed, or a full refund.” “We get a lot of new things, too,” adds Eddie. “The other day, we got 13 great big cartons of clothes, mostly jeans and sweaters, brand new, on hangers.” When necessary, Eddie will do pickGet the travel coverage that’s right for you, thanks to our TravelGold® insurance. ups and deliveries in his truck. Sometimes, It’s fully customizable, with options like eyeglass replacement, trip cancellation people will make a donation to help with coverage and baggage insurance. There’s no age limit, and you get great rates on the cost of gas. However, this money, too, single trips or for a whole year. Plus, it’s available online, so you can even get it at goes to RAPS. In fact, all expenses inthe last minute. curred in the operation of the store, aside For worry-free travel insurance call 310-2345 or 604-268-5555, from rent and utilities, are covered by the click on www.bcaa.com or visit your local BCAA office. Malinoskis. Marie oversees the actual running of TravelGold® is a registered trademark of North American Air Travel Insurance Agents Ltd., dba Travel Underwriters, a licensed insurance broker. Insurance is sold through BCAA Insurance the store, including training and supervisAgency and underwritten by Industrial-Alliance Paciﬁc Life Insurance Company and certain Lloyd’s Underwriters, severally and not jointly. ing the volunteers. “We try to make it a fun thing,” she says.
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DEC 2008 / JAN 2009
A Tale of
SENIOR LIVING VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND
We were destined to discover how our participation in earthquake relief work, initiating the replacement of a collapsed village, would result in the most rewarding year of our lives; we repeatedly witnessed the poverty and plight of people living without dignity, sanitation, security, education and economic opportunity; we saw the aftermath of extinction STORY AND PHOTOS and genocide. All these expeBY MALCOLM HOLT riences changed our view of the world forever. Returning to Vancouver Island nine years later, we were motivated by a need to share what we witnessed with regular folk in this privileged part of the planet. Those fateful events more than outweigh what we would have achieved by delaying our decision and retiring 10 years later. Sure, we would probably be “better off” by now. Maybe we would have paid off the mortgage, have more money in the bank, and a pile of equity, but we would be poorer for it. Most signiﬁcantly, we honestly don’t think we would choose to undertake the voyage in 2008 just because of our age. And, besides, we could never have experienced those events, which now weave together as an indelible part of our life story. For us, the bird in the hand proved to be worth far more than two in the bush. Our travels resulted in visits to, and living in 25 countries, cruising about 25,000 miles and experiencing all but one of the world’s major religions. During those nine years, we witnessed the spectrum of the human condition: from the abject poverty of Laos to the dripping wealth of some of California’s ﬁnest communities and postOlympic Sydney. Interspersed with those extremes, we saw the aftermath of what the Conquistadors managed to do to the Incas, the Spaniards to the last remaining residents of Easter Island, and the British to their deported criminals. More positively, we witnessed the economic miracle of Southeast Asia, and the rate at which poverty can be combated. Sadly, we saw the extremely poignant conditions in which Cambodians are trying to rediscover their culture, economy and collective history in the aftermath of the Khmer Rouge under Pol Pot. Our archeological moments ranged from Southwest United States, Mexico, Central America, South America, Paciﬁc islands, Australia and several Southeast Asian countries. We learned that our Eurocentric education blindly omitted the great architecture Photo: Jackie Holt
ost people plan a progression through their career, leading towards a timely retreat in the pursuit of hobbies, recreational activities and dreams put on hold due to the demands of family and work. That’s the way insurance companies and investment advisors would have you do it. We did it differently. Having had the good fortune of working harmoniously together for nearly 20 years in our own consultancy, we realized by the middle ’90s that if we were serious about undertaking our dream of sailing to tropical seas, we risked the statistics of aging and losing our strength. Our fear was ﬁnding, upon retirement, that we would be “past it.” It seemed wiser for us to risk the guaranteed “security” of a retirement in our 60s, in exchange for the relative certainty of our immediate opportunity to gamble on the adventure. Our dream had always been to travel, but family responsibilities, work ethic and conformity always prevailed. With the last of the children gone, we sensed freedom. When we sailed from Sidney in summer 1998, I was 56 and Jackie was 50. We both enjoyed good health. The previous two years had been a steady progression; shifting responsibilities from running our own business to one of boat readiness. Much of my time was spent preparing our 34-foot yacht for ocean passages rather than the coastal cruising we had enjoyed in the Gulf and San Juan Islands since 1990. We told friends we expected to be away for about 10 years, and that we only had a vague idea of where we were headed. Certainly, California and Mexico were our ﬁrst destinations, but after that we really didn’t know; we felt it was probably wiser to determine whether the cruising lifestyle really suited us before we committed ourselves to more adventurous goals. After closing our business, we sold our home, along with all but our most precious possessions. Our accommodation reduced from a comfortable North Saanich house to a compact sailboat, ready to take on whatever fate awaited. To many, this might be seen as burning bridges because of the forfeiture of everything we had worked for; to us it was a matter of seizing our dream. Fate is what made our decision so rewarding; the events, people, places and coincidences led to our growing understanding of the larger world and ourselves.
and civilizations of the non-Christian world; we encountered structures that rivaled – even exceeded – those of the Mediterranean cultures. (At a time when Europe was constructing simple Saxon structures, we discovered that Khmer temples at Angkor Wat were so richly and expertly sculptured, they made European architecture look elementary.) As well, we saw the effect of modern economic development on tiny nations too small to participate or compete in the global economy: the island of Niue – the smallest independent country in the world midway between the Southern Cook Islands and Fiji – was losing its youth to New Zealand in search of a better future. Try to imagine driving around an island the size of Saltspring Island, only to discover that half the homes have been abandoned and have no market value. We also saw what the power of a modern economy can achieve; Singapore is a fabulous experience: neat, organized and harmonious. Canada claims to be a multicultural nation; Singapore oozes
multiculturalism. I will never forget eating lunch in a Chinese shopping centre in Singapore, sharing the table with two fully covered Muslim women, while Bing Crosby sang “White Christmas” and “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”; the whole interior was drizzled with decorative lights and Christmas icons just like here. Yet Singapore is only about 10 per cent Christian! We learned their maxim: go out and celebrate everyone else’s festivals too. Quite a lesson! “What were the most overwhelming lasting impressions of those experiences?” Even today, as Jackie and I mull over the answers, we realize the wealth of our jointly held memories and count ourselves as lucky to have shared so many: good, bad and ugly. Most often, people want to know about our worst moments: it’s as though our descrip-
tion of being faced with Storm Force 11 winds (about 115 km/h) and waves higher than the mast justiﬁes never taking the risk. Yes, a storm in the southern ocean is terrifying, but such experiences made us plumb the depths of our own courage. In an entirely different way, we were overcome by grief when we witnessed, ﬁrsthand, the total destruction caused by the 7.4 earthquake in
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Page 10, Early retiree Malcolm Holt sails into Sydney Harbour, Australia. Page 11, Jackie Holt’s Microlight ﬂight in Cambodia. Right, Jackie explains a house layout to villagers in El Salvador who were rebuilding after an earthquake. The Holts stayed for a year to assist in their efforts. In return, the villagers named their village after Jackie. “El Milagro de Jaquelin” – The Miracle of Jacqueline. Below, In traditional Indonesian wedding outﬁts.
El Salvador in January 2001. Seeing locals wandering around their streets like bewildered zombies when we were among the ﬁrst people into their community as part of a relief convoy was a tear-jerking moment. Equally powerful is the lasting impression of global poverty; the inequality of our world, and the need to address factors that underlie the misery and hunger experienced by about one third of the world’s population. Most of us never manage to witness it, but it is a shattering experience to realize that for us it’s a momentary experience. It’s possible to walk away from it; whereas for others, it lasts a short lifetime. And when our recollections become too negative, we try to remember the sheer bliss of a night passage, sailing on a glinting rippled sea under a crystal clear Milky Way, leaving a trail of luminescent wake about 200 metres long. Or, the magic of a green ﬂash at the moment the sun sets on the western horizon and counting more than 100 shooting stars during a four-hour watch. The collage is endless. We have tried to place a monetary value on our experiences, since it “cost” us the fortune that we might otherwise have made with our increased collateral and income had we never departed. On the one side of the calculation, we can total up the hard costs: the price of the boat, maintenance, our monthly cost of living, the cost of land travel when we left the boat in a marina, air fares and accommodation costs associated with visits to landmark destinations. Against that outlay we can price the alternative – those costs we would otherwise incurred: a series of package holidays to Tikal, Macchupicchu, Easter Island, Cuzco, Tahiti, Bangkok, Angkor Wat, Prambanan, and another 20 or so famous destinations, and add to that a nominal cost for overnight accommodation and food when we lived aboard our boat. And, guess what? We owe the boat a fortune. We could never have afforded all of those visits if we had paid someone else to plan it for us. Further, we had the privilege 12
SENIOR LIVING VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND
of staying for weeks, even months in those different places; we were pilgrims not vacationers, with the added pleasures of getting to know and understand different places and cultures, and the option to spend time with local families – sharing meals in their homes or aboard our boat. Against that, we became members of the international cruising fraternity – a ﬂoating community of people who operated on the friendliest, most interdependent set of principles imaginable. So, we are able to rationalize the ﬁnances and outlays of our adventure heavily in our favour. With the boat sold in Malaysia to a young Brit who intends to continue sailing west, we now look back fondly at those years of freedom from the pristine “security” of a patio home in Courtenay, with neatly trimmed grass and regimented shrubs and a view of the Comox Glacier. Jackie is happily ensconced as the Administrator of Berwick Comox Valley, and I have “retired” to domestic life and writing. We are frequently asked if we would do things differently. Our reply is always the same: “No.” Figure out your dream, and pursue it at the earliest opportunity. Don’t wait for the perfect moment because it will never happen. And before you think it costs a fortune, I’ll share a wonderful story about an American man living in Baños, Ecuador. He had a serious interest in orchids and undertook to hunt new species down in the Andes (they grow proliﬁcally there). After settling in this mountain paradise, he eventually narrowed his study to blossoms under two inches. We were there in 2002, and at that time, he had more than 50 previously unknown specimens ofﬁcially named after him – his name included in the Latin name. The moral of the story: you don’t need a boat or a fortune. You just need the courage to follow the dream. And if you have someSL one with whom to share it, you’re rich beyond measure. Jackie has recently published her travel/cook book called Recipes From The Sguiggly Line. In it, she tells of her adventure through her food experiences in 25 countries. The book retails for $29 and contains many colour pictures of memorable and unusual places; each recipe includes an memoir introduction. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
FOREVER BY WILLIAM THOMAS
Thanks to Cholesterol, I’m Leading a Fat-free, Fun-free Life
o, my good friend Dave “The Doc” calls one evening. He says he’s uncorking a bottle of Lagavulin and could I come over. I scared him when I pressed my face against the glass of his kitchen window while he was still holding the phone, waiting for an answer. As we sit at the table overlooking the lake, Dave pours a splash of the Islay Gold into a snifter. He swirls it and tastes it. “Outstanding,” he says. “Where’s mine?” I ask. “You don’t get any,” he says. “Your cholesterol’s too high. That’s what I wanted to talk to you about.” When it comes to cholesterol, Dave is one gigantic pain at the end of the alimentary canal. In these parts, Dave is known as the “Cholesterol Killer.” When Dave enters a room, even the little globs of cholesterol in other people’s bloodstreams scream and squirm, then they run for cover in a small cave behind the pancreas. Dave proceeded to tell me that my recent blood test showed my HDLs or good cholesterol to be outstanding, one of the best he’s ever seen. But my LDLs, in a moderate risk position two years ago, are now over the top. In its simplest form, this cholesterol thing is like life: your HDs or Happy Do-gooders swim through your blood stream minding their own business but under constant attack from your LDs or Lowlife Dweebs. When there are more bad guys than good guys, evil triumphs and you die. When there are more good guys than bad guys, the HDs win a stay of execution and you die later on. “But Dave,” I protested, “I play tennis and I walk Jake 10 or 12 hours each week.” “That’s great,” said Dave. “Your dog is going to outlive you. Now, here’s what we’re going to do.” So, Dave outlined what I can and cannot eat and drink for the next couple of months, or the rest of my life, whichever comes ﬁrst. And I must say it’s incredibly easy to distinguish between what’s good and bad for me. The rule is, if it has ﬂavour or is in any way appealing – I can’t have it. Everything else, including bottled water and lettuce baked
in sesame oil is ﬁne. Oh, and I can have any “meat on the hoof” because as Dave says, I probably can’t catch it and kill it anyway. I can have one ballpark hotdog a year, provided I’m strapped to the gurney in the ambulance at the rear exit of the stadium. “What kind of milk do you drink?” asked Dave. “I’m down to 2%,” I said. Dave laughed for the ﬁrst time since I walked in. “No, no, no, skim milk from now on,” he said. That’s the bluish, slightly white water that looks and tastes like bluish, slightly white water, but is clearly stamped “MILK” on the carton. “Well gee, Dave,” I said, “why don’t I just take some blackboard chalk, dissolve it in water and drink that?” He thought about it and said: “No. It’s too high in calcium.” Man, this guy’s tough! As he made a knife and fork cutting motion, Dave said: “It’s simple – you cut this stuff out, or I will.” Summer, the time of year I would normally be scouting for a cheap ticket to some southern European destination, imagining hiking up to a cliff by the sea and hauling out bread and cheese, hard sausage and smoked ham from my knapsack. Instead, I’m looking at an all-inclusive package in the States to – I’m not making this up – a fat-free, lowcost Seventh Day Adventist health farm in Utah. Boy, if you think I’m irritable now, wait until I’m healthy, sober and religious. One good shot of larceny and I’m a televangelist! Okay Dave, we’ll do it your way. And I’m starting by destroying my personal single malt Scotch collection, one snifter at a time. And let this be a warning to all men over 60 years of age who have enjoyed the good life – your arteries are the only part of your body getting harder, okay? P.S. One barbecue for sale; few accessories but many SL memories. Cheap. William Thomas is the author of nine books of humour including Margaret and Me about his wee Irish mother. www.williamthomas.ca DEC 2008 / JAN 2009
Platz, Portzelky and Plumi Moos
Photos: Frank Hajer
BY MARY ANNE HAJER
love eating out in Vancouver. It’s a tremendous adventure. I can explore the world, gastronomically speaking, without leaving the city. If I wanted to I could dine on Japanese sushi Monday and enjoy Indian curry on Tuesday. On Wednesday and Thursday, I could feast on Greek moussaka and Thai satay, respectively. On Friday, I might fancy Mongolian hot pot. But what if, on Saturday, I was in the mood for a bowl of plumi moos with a side order of glums koki? Or roast pork with downhome schmeer kohl? And what if I really, really craved warm, sweet, raisin-studded portzelky for dessert? I’d be out of luck, because no restaurant serves any of these traditional Mennonite dishes. I would have to make them myself – and, occasionally, I do. My husband, Frank, and I are ethnic Mennonites. Centuries ago, our ancestors ﬂed religious persecution in Switzerland and Holland to settle in eastern Europe, primarily Poland, Russia and Ukraine. There, they agreed to develop often inhospitable tracts of land agriculturally in return for permission to live a lifestyle that followed their religious beliefs. They established their own schools, hospitals and churches, spoke their own language (a Low German dialect), and developed a distinct culture that included a unique culinary tradition. As colonies became crowded, groups left to establish new 14
SENIOR LIVING VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND
settlements, taking their recipes with them. Some travelled as far as the New World, to both North and South America, but wherever they went, they served bubbat with their chicken and ate sausage and platz at Faspa. Traditional Mennonite food reﬂects their early connection to the land. They raised and butchered their own meat, primarily pork, and smoked their own hams, bacon and sausages. Ah, those sausages – those rosy, crisp-skinned, juicy, perfectly seasoned sausages! We love them baked, boiled, fried or barbecued. They are now sold in many supermarkets under the name of farmer sausage, but for a long time they were only available in communities with a high Mennonite population, such as Clearbrook, B.C., or Altona in southern Manitoba. There, tourists have been reported buying old suitcases at thrift stores and ﬁlling them with hundreds of pounds of delicious sausage to take back home. Mennonites grew all their own vegetables, and my husband remembers a lot of potatoes, carrots and cabbage on the dinner table. His family made their own sauerkraut, and we still have the ceramic crock they used, although its function is now purely decorative. They also loved fruit and, in the Fraser Valley, cultivated huge ﬁelds of strawberries and even larger ﬁelds of raspberries for the commercial market, helping to turn Clearbrook into the raspberry capital of Canada. Most farms boasted apple, cherry, plum and pear trees. Much of the fruit found its way into pies and jams, but a signiﬁcant amount was used in the making of platz, a kind of coffee cake with a fruit and streusel topping. Any fruit would do, but rhubarb was a frequent choice. In fact, rhubarb was so prevalent in Mennonite cuisine that, when a Mennonite literary magazine was launched, it was given the title Rhubarb. Mennonites understood the reference immediately. Wherever the climate was suitable, Mennonites grew wheat, so it is no wonder the women excelled in baking of all sorts. They baked their own bread, of course, but their piece de resist-
ance was a type of bun called zwieback (not to be confused with the dry rusks sold as zwieback in supermarkets). Mennonite zwieback had a unique form, and making them properly required practice. A piece of dough the size of a walnut was pinched off and placed on a baking sheet and then another smaller piece pressed down on top. Because of their high butter content, they were very rich, but, like potato chips, it was impossible to eat just one. While my mother excelled at making zwieback, my husband’s mother was a whiz at streusel kuchen. This is a type of coffee cake made with yeast. The dough is spread out on a baking sheet and covered with streusel, a mixture of ﬂour, sugar and lots of butter. The sight and smell of a slab of streusel kuchen cooling on the kitchen counter, golden and sweetly yeasty, can still make my husband weak in the knees. Christmas, everywhere, is a time of feasting, and Mennonite women pulled out all the stops. Besides the usual buns, squares and pies, they baked special
cookies with ingredients never used at for an entire batch of cookies. any other time. There are almost as many recipes for Of these, peppermint cookies are these cookies as there are Mennonite my family’s favourite, and, although women, and every one is delicious. I, of my recipe makes six dozen cookies, I course, use my mother’s recipe, which often have to bake two batches. They calls for two cups of whipping cream, but are made using baking ammonia (am- only two tablespoons of butter to mitimonium carbonate) as a leavening gate the calorie count and fat content. agent, which gives them a unique smell Few Mennonites cook in the old way and taste. I also use peppermint oil, not anymore. Most have left the farms and extract, as ﬂavouring. The oil is much live an urban lifestyle now, enjoying 08-1471 WR SeniorLivingHolidayGreeting:07-0359 VAN SeniorsLiving .eps 11/13/08 stronger than extract, with half a tea- take-out pizza, backyard barbecues and spoon providing plenty of minty ﬂavour dim sum, like everyone else. My family
Gatreat any age
An Invitation to all Seniors to experience
Visit an Amica Community near you! Call to arrange your personal tour.
Mainland Communities Amica at Arbutus Manor 2125 Eddington Drive Vancouver, BC V6L 3A9
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1850 Rosser Avenue Burnaby, BC V5C 5E1
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Daily, December 1 - January 6 (except Dec 25, Jan1) Includes Festival of Trees, BC Ferry fares, Butchart Gardens, Christmas Lights & return coach transportation
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Daily, December 1 - January 6 (except Dec 25, Jan1) 1 night in Victoria, return coach transportation, BC Ferry fares & Butchart Gardens Christmas Lights.
from $156.50 per person/dbl
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Dickens Christmas in Victoria 2 nights/3 days, December 24
Includes hotel, many meals, BC Ferry fares, return Coach transportation, Butchart Gardens Christmas Lights.
$390.00 per person/dbl
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Wellness & Vitality™! From all your friends at Amica Mature Lifestyles DEC 2008 / JAN 2009
loves eating internationally, too, but I know that as long as I am the principal cook in our home, farmer sausage will appear on our table at least once a month, and every Christmas we will enjoy peppermint cookies with our after-dinner coffee. And, I am proud to say that my daughter, Lisa, an artist and architect, bakes excellent streusel kuchen!
Platz (Mennonite Streusel Cake) This recipe from Johanna Burkhard’s wonderful book, 400 Best Comfort Foods, is my favourite for platz; the recipe was given to her by a Mennonite family from Niagara, Ontario. 2 cups ﬂour 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1 tbsp. baking powder 1/4 tsp. salt 1/3 cup butter, softened 1 egg 1 cup half-and-half (10%) cream (I use milk) 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla 4 cups fresh or frozen fruit (any kind)
1. Combine ﬂour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter to make coarse crumbs. In a separate bowl, beat together the egg, cream (or milk), and vanilla. Add to dry ingredients. The batter will be thick. 2. Spread the batter evenly in a greased 13 by 9 inch pan. Top with a single layer of fruit. 3. Crumb Topping: Combine ﬂour and both sugars. Cut in butter. Sprinkle evenly over the fruit. Bake on the middle rack of a preheated 350 degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes until the crumb topping is golden. Cool. Enjoy!
Peppermint Cookies (my mother’s recipe) 2 cups sugar 2 tbsp. butter 2 cups whipping cream 1/2 tsp. peppermint oil 5 cups ﬂour 1 tbsp. baking ammonia (The peppermint oil and baking ammonia can be purchased at a pharmacy.) Cream the butter and sugar. Add whipping cream and peppermint oil, and then the ﬂour mixed with the baking ammonia. Chill. Roll out to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into shapes with holiday cookie cutters. Bake at 350 for 12 to 14 minutes. The undersides of the cookies should be pale brown. Cool. Spread with a thin glaze made from icing sugar and milk. Decorate with colourful sprinkles. If not eaten immediately, freeze unSL til wanted, as they’ll go stale quickly.
Crumb Topping Namche Bazaar. ekking at ﬂour 1 cupTrall-purpose 1/2 cup packed brown sugar 1/2 cup butter, softened (I also add a package of vanilla sugar.)
Explanation of Mennonite food terms:
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Our services include recreational activities, social outings and Assisted Living care to meet your needs.
Come for a personal tour, and have lunch on us.
Call 604.531.7470 15340 - 17th Avenue White Rock, BC V4A 1T9 www.SunnysideManor.com Retirement Community A member of the Unicare Group of Companies • White Rock • West Vancouver • Nanaimo • Kelowna • Edmonton
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Plumi Moos – a sweet soup usually made with dried fruit, although sometimes canned fruit is used. Glums koki – cottage cheese pancakes Portzelky – lumps of rich yeast dough studded with raisins, deep fried, traditionally made for New Year’s Schmoor kohl – stewed cabbage with fruit Bubbat – a baked accompaniment to meat, especially chicken, somewhat similar to biscuit dough and contains raisins Platz – coffee cake with a fruit and streusel topping. Zwieback – very rich buns, formed by pressing together two balls of dough. Streusel kuchen – coffee cake made from yeast dough topped with streusel Faspa – a light meal of buns, sausage, cheese and baked sweets, usually served on Sunday evening
Visit Senior Living’s Online Bookstore Discover a Selection of Books by Senior Authors and on Topics of Interest to Seniors
TO MOVE OR NOT TO MOVE?
A Helpful Residential Options Guide for Seniors
If you are a senior who has been wondering lately whether you should consider moving - then this is the book that can help you ask the right questions and ﬁnd the solution that is right for you. Published by Senior Living. 128 pages.
By Valerie Green
REFLECTIONS, REJECTIONS AND OTHER BREAKFAST FOODS
A collection of Gipp Forster’s published columns in Senior Living magazine, with other unpublished writings thrown in for good measure.
EMBRACE THE JOURNEY - A Care Giver’s Story The very personal story of her own journey as a care giver to her elderly parents. Relevant for numerous adult children who are faced with a similar challenge. 96 pages.
by Gipp Forster
NUDE ON A FENCE by Eliza Hemingway
Fourteen short stories about people in compromising situations similar to being caught nude on a fence. Some are humorous, others poignant. Published 2006. 269 pages.
THE SPOILS OF ANGEL’S WAR IDENTITY THEFT: In Your Good Name by George Greenwood
One in four Canadians has been directly affected or knows someone who has been a victim of identity theft. The best prevention is to be aware of the problem and how it is carried out. 173 pages.
By Dave Sheed
The story unfolds in England at the beginning of WWII. Angela Gibson, affectionately known as Angel, ﬁnds out that it isn’t always the plans that we make for our life, sometimes it’s the plans that life makes for us that determines the course of our life. Published 2007 by Publish America. 144 pages.
The search for the truth behind the reported death of the mother of top model Annie O’Hanlon. Annie receives an urgent call from journalist Dermot Moore who believes her mother Jacqueline is still alive. Their hunt for answers almost costs Dermot his life. Published 2005 by Publish America. 195 pages.
Les MacNeill and Marcia Stromsmoe spent 6 years sailing the South Paciﬁc. In 2001, a brutal attack left Les with 8 skull fractures, severe brain trauma, and a ruptured eye. Although not expected to live, he wrote this story of the trip, his recovery, and how he lives with his injuries. Published 2007. 100 pages.
by Gipp Forster
A collage of over 150 anecdotes and insightful ruminations on life’s experiences, ﬁrst aired on C-FAX radio, now provided in print format for your reading enjoyment. Published 1989. 188 pages.
NATURE’S BOUNTY: Why certain foods are so good for you by Dr. Bala Naidoo
Articles on fruits, vegetables, beverages and other topics, covering the health beneﬁts of ﬁbre, omega-3 fats, folates, antioxidants and other phytonutrients. Reduce the risks of heart disease, cancer, type-2 diabetes and obesity by choosing your food carefully. 176 pages.
MY PATCHWORK LIFE
NATURE’S BOUNTY: More about foods for a longer and healthier life
THE SEARCH FOR JACQUELINE
By Patricia O’Connor
GIPP FORSTER’S COLLECTED RAMBLINGS
By Les MacNeill
by Patricia O’Connor
After training as a fashion model in Dublin Patricia O’Connor travelled Europe and the US, working for many top designers. An audition led to several years as a popular TV presenter, followed by a career as a stockbroker and real estate agent. Published by Starcast Publishing. 182 pages.
by Dr. Bala Naidoo
Articles on fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices and other foods. It shows how, by choosing your food properly, you can reduce the risks of heart disease, cancer, type-2 diabetes and obesity. Published 2005. 168 pages.
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Get to Know Nanaimo N anaimo, the harbour city, invites you to a short getaway. The community is full of interesting corners and surprising attractions waiting to be discovered. The natural setting along the protected east coast of Vancouver Island makes for mild weather year-round – yes, it rains there, too, but that doesn’t mean the fun stops! In recognition of the community’s commitment to nurture culture and the arts, Nanaimo was named one of Canada’s Cultural Capitals in 2008. The local scene heats up over the course of the “off” season (October-March) with live theatre, concerts and art exhibits. One of the key winter events is the Maple Sugar Festival held in late February each year. Another local festival is the Vancouver Island Children’s Festival in the spring. This festival makes for a great grandparent/grandchild activity. The best part is it gives you a great
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SENIOR LIVING VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND
excuse to play! In fact, Nanaimo has lots to offer kids of all ages – great recreation centres (including the largest wave pool west of Edmonton), hundreds of parks, indoor activity centres, Wildplay Element Park and more. Birding is one of Canada’s growing hobbies, and Nanaimo offers many “hot spots.” Some of the more popular viewing locations include: Buttertubs Marsh, Hemer Park, Morrell Sanctuary, Neck Point and Pipers Lagoon Parks. One of Vancouver Island’s premiere birding specialty stores, Backyard Wildbird & Nature Store is a great resource for birders of all levels and offers a weekly tour at one of the local sites. Discover Nanaimo’s fascinating history and modern day contributions to Canada’s West Coast in the new 16,000 sq. ft. museum located in the Vancouver Island Conference Centre. Phase 1 of the new facility allows you to stroll through time in the main galleries as you get a sense of what life was really like for Nanaimo’s earliest settlers. You will not only uncover the secrets of a thriving 19th century mining town, you will also witness the community’s evolution into the 21st century. A work in progress, you will soon be able to hear the stories of the Snuneymuxw First Nations and feel what it was like below the surface in a replica coal mine. Watch for exciting travelling exhibits and, of course, you don’t want to miss the Bastion, an original 155-year-old Hudson’s Bay Company fort. Visit www.nanaimomuseum.ca for location and hours of operation. Nanaimo has a well-deserved reputation as a shopper’s dream. You’ll ﬁnd all the major retailers you’ve come to love and a great selection of unique boutiques and specialty stores to add to your list of favourites. Perhaps the most important part of a perfect shopping day is ﬁnishing with a hearty meal. Nanaimo has an abundance of restaurants, cafés, bakeries and pubs to choose from in all areas of the city. Check out www. tourismnanaimo.com or call 1-800-663-7337 for the shopping and dining guide. Centrally located on Vancouver Island, Nanaimo makes for a great getaway from the hustle and bustle, any time of the year. You’ll ﬁnd Nanaimo offers all the services and amenities you expect of a modern city, but the proximity to nature and other Vancouver Island gems is what makes this community extra special.
Parksville and Qualicum are only a short drive away. Both of these quaint communities make for wonderful afternoon outings with beach strolls and gallery tours and, of course, a stop at the famous “goats on the roof” market (Coombs Market). A bit further along is the impressive Cathedral Grove, a stand of some of British Columbia’s oldest and largest Douglas ﬁr trees. Nanaimo is located approximately 111 kilometres north of Victoria. Crossing from the Mainland is cruise-like with vehicle and passenger service aboard BC Ferries. Seaplanes and Air Canada Jazz provide air service from Vancouver and other points. For information about visiting Nanaimo, contact Tourism Nanaimo at 1-800-663-7337 or visit www.tourismSL nanaimo.com
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NANAIMO VANCOUVER ISLAND “IT’S AMAZING WHAT YOU CAN DO HERE”
Spend some time in Nanaimo, The Harbour City. Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere that fuels the imagination and ﬁres the spirit. Take in our vibrant cultural scene, amazing culinary options, and fabulous shopping. Satisfy your hunger for adventure hiking, paddling or sailing. If you prefer a peaceful stroll, enjoy the scenic harbourfront walkway. Explore the harbour city, Nanaimo, and discover the secret to island life.
CONTACT US TODAY FOR YOUR
1 800 663 7337 www.amazingnanaimo.com DEC 2008 / JAN 2009
EUROPE BY RAIL STORY AND PHOTOS BY JOAN W. WINTER
e had never considered train-hopping around Europe as a holiday option. It’s what young people do. Backpackers. But when my sisterin-law, Shirley, announced she was planning to have hip surgery in Brussels, Belgium, we worried. She and her husband, John, would be alone thousands of miles from home. What if there was a medical emergency, something John couldn’t manage alone? What if he became sick? Wanting to be close by but not intrusive, we decided an adventure holiday “in the neighbourhood,” would be fun. Our planned October visit to my folks in England, which almost coincided time-wise, could be extended. We’d ﬂy to Europe and satellite around Brussels for a couple of weeks until after the surgery. Perfect! Finding our way around Britain was no problem, I was raised there, but Europe was new to us. How would we travel? Where would we stay? Would we experience language barriers? There was much to learn. To keep track, I recorded all relevant information in a logbook, a decision that proved invaluable. Days, dates and times of travel, hotel names, addresses and reservation conﬁrmation numbers, expenses, places of interest to visit, recommended restaurants – everything. The Netherlands and France border Belgium. After ﬂying from England, with Amsterdam as our start point, we decided on a four-stop loop – Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, Brugge, and then back to Amsterdam for our ﬂight to Canada. Flying between cities, or renting a car and driving, was neither time nor cost-effective, and we’d probably get lost. 20
SENIOR LIVING VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND
Towns and cities in Europe are not laid out grid-fashion like in North America. Roads are narrow and, especially in cities such as Amsterdam where they are interspersed with waterways, appear to wander off in all directions. Travelling by rail would be quicker, less costly and more direct. The Internet provides instant up-to-date information; so researching train times and prices was no problem. A complex but efﬁcient railway network links 25 European countries; High-speed trains such as Thalys, which provides service to France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, and Eurostar, which provides service to France, Belgium and Great Britain, run up to 300 km (186 miles) per hour, allowing travellers to move from one country to another in a relatively short time. We discovered a variety of Eurail ﬂexi-passes are available to visitors, and can be selected to suit individual needs. Some passes, such as Eurail Global, are valid in 20 countries, while Select allows passengers a choice of three, four or ﬁve countries. There’s a Single Country pass, and a Regional one, which allows various country combinations. Rail packages, Drive-n-Rail packages, Discounted Senior and Youth passes are also available. Being informed about the advantages and possible pitfalls of rail travel before we left home did much to reduce the possibility of stressful situations and unhappy surprises. Checking all travel documents on receipt is very important. We averted a potential disaster by double-checking our rail package. Our travel agent had not included our stay in France, creating a last-
Inside the Lo uvre
. Paris, France
minute pass-changing scramble. Rail passes, we learned, must be purchased prior to arrival in Europe. They are not available after. Passes must be validated with passport identiﬁcation on the ﬁrst day of travel in the station before boarding. Also, a pass-holder must enter the chosen date of travel each day on the pass before boarding the ﬁrst train of that day. Passes for high-speed trains do not guarantee a seat on any particular day – we had to reserve our seat for the day and time we wished to travel. We became very adept at leaping on and off trains with our handy Eurail ﬂexi-pass, but had to work at ﬁnding the appropriate stations. Station names are unfamiliar and many cities have more than one railway station. After one daunting experience, we found it particularly helpful to keep names of stations where we needed to transfer in our logbook. Unsure where we were, and making a last-minute decision to alight, Bruce was hurling suitcases off the train as the whistle blew for immediate departure. I was on the platform petriﬁed I was going to lose him – that he’d be slam-dunked by the door and gone forever as the train disappeared down the line to places unknown. To save time and taxi fares, we chose stations nearest our accommodation. Hotels and street addresses can be very difﬁcult to ﬁnd in a strange city; after dark, taxis were the only way to go. As self-appointed accommodation-ﬁnder for our trip, searching the Net for accommodation that met our criteria of location, amenities, price, availability and cleanliness was fun, and worked out well. I booked through various online agencies, carefully reading guest reviews for each facility. While there is always someone whose expectations were not met, most reviewers, together with the star rating system, provide a plethora of useful information. We chose middle-priced accommodation (three-star rating or higher), located near points of interest we most wished to see. For example, in Paris we were within walking distance of the Eiffel Tower, the Invalides, Champs-Elysee, Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre. The latter was quite a hike, but well worth the effort. When distances were too great, we used local transportation – a trolley or bus. European hotels and guesthouses are often small by American standards. Some have narrow hallways, steep stairs and no elevators. We didn’t mind; without exception the places we stayed were charming, but we were glad we travelled light when it came to manoeuvring luggage. Travelling light is a must. For both air and rail travel, we discovered small suitcases with wheels, light for placing in overhead bins, are best. Rail travel is immensely popular in Europe, for residents and visitors alike. Particularly during commuter rush hours, trains are often crowded almost to capacity. Not having to wrestle bulky suitcases up and down aisles is a plus. Weather in Britain and Europe can be variable, so careful selection went into planning our travel wardrobe. Fortunately,
Lille, France, where the main street is lined with elephants.
both Bruce and I prefer layering, which works well in any climate – casual pants, topped by vests, sweaters or ﬂeeces overtop of blouses or shirts. A waterproof jacket is a must, as are comfortable walking shoes. I always take an extra pair in case one gets wet or starts to rub, and a comfy pair of slippers, dark and discreet, which I can wear aboard an aircraft or train for ultimate comfort. One crease-resistant dress and light jacket works for evening. Security announcements over the railway PA system, reminded us to watch out for pickpockets and to keep valuable documents and money secure. While the purse I carried was
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good for maps, make-up and sundry items, my passport, travel documents and small amount of cash were all kept safely hidden about my person. Due to high risk of theft, railway staff discourages leaving suitcases unattended in luggage compartments. Passengers are requested to keep their belongings with them at all times. While Britain has retained the GBP (Great Britain Pound), in most, but not all, European countries the Euro is the accepted currency. Traveller’s cheques, we learned, are no long-
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SENIOR LIVING VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND
European Railway Links: www.eurail.com www.raileurope.com www.britishrail.com
Photo: Bruc e Winter
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er popular or even accepted, except by some banks. Debit and credit cards are generally welcomed, and ATMs are plentiful. Language was not a problem. We were in awe of almost all service staff – hoteliers, waiters, railway attendants et al, who could slip without hesitation into at least four languages – French, Dutch, German and English. We spoke to one lady in the lace museum at Brugge, who spoke eight; she admitted to having a slight problem with tenses in Japanese. Wow! Food was an adventure. We enjoyed sampling the culinary delights of each country we visited, although we did ﬁnd some countries, such as France, rather expensive. We quickly discovered, however, the joys of sandwich/coffee shops where we could purchase freshly-made delicious French baguettes. Breakfasts included with an overnight stay package were often most generous (sometimes huge – a breakfast buffet), and kept us satisﬁed until dinner. Most railway stations have restaurants or coffee shops. Snack food is offered on longer journeys, and some long-distance trains have dining cars. Seeing Europe by train was an experience we wouldn’t have missed for the world. Fast-tracking through countryside at breathtaking speed, we explored some of Europe’s ﬁnest towns and cities. Amsterdam bustled with every mode of transportation imaginable: cars, trolleys, buses, bikes, motorbikes, scooters, boats and even horse-drawn vehicles. It also boasted picturesque canals, museums, art and culture. Brussels included a fun jump-on-jump-off sightseeing bus tour, a visit to the world famous Atomium (a monument built for Expo ’58), and some memorable visits with family members after our sister’s successful surgery. Paris left us with memories of the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower and magniﬁcent architecture. Brugge, Belgium was quaint, with cobbled streets and quiet waterways, ﬁne shops, Eiffel Tower an ancient marketplace, Belat night. gian chocolate and handmade lace. Europe successfully blends the splendours of the past with modern standards of today. We SL loved it all!
BBB Better Better Better Better
Business Business Business Business
Bureau Bureau Bureau Bureau
BY LYNDA PASACRETA
Phoney Grandchild Emergency Scam
etter Business Bureau (BBB) is warning seniors to be aware of an emerging telephone scam preying on grandparents across North America. BBB has recently received reports about grandparents who’ve been swindled into giving thousands of dollars to con artists, when they thought they were helping a grandchild in an emergency situation. The scam generally works like this: The grandparent receives a distressed phone call from someone who they believe is their grandchild. The supposed grandchild typically explains that they are travelling and have been arrested or involved in an auto accident and need the grandparent to wire money to post bail or pay for damages. The scammers’ basic tactic is to pose as a grandchild and let the unsuspecting grandparent ﬁll in the blanks. For example, the caller might say, “It’s me, your favourite grandchild,” to which the grandparent will guess the name of the grandchild it sounds the most like, and the call proceeds from there. While many seniors have reported the scam without falling prey to it, unfortunately, many others have been victimized. One well-meaning grandmother sent $15,000 to a con artist, thinking she was helping a grandchild who had been in an auto accident. This scam preys on the emotions of grandparents who want to help their grandchildren. People need to take a step back when they are called and verify that this is a real relative. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Call Centre is reporting a signiﬁcant increase in complaints for this scam. In 2007, the Centre received 128 complaints; since the beginning of 2008, over 350 complaints have been ﬁled. To protect yourself from becoming a victim of this scam, consider the following tips: • Conﬁrm identity. Never send money to anyone without being convinced you know with whom you are dealing. If a distressed
relative calls in need of money, check with another relative ﬁrst to conﬁrm the situation, before you send it. • Wiring money is a red ﬂag. Any request to wire money through Western Union or MoneyGram should be seen as an immediate warning that the call may be part of a scam. Funds sent via wire transfer are hard to track once received by scammers and are usually not recoverable by law enforcement or banking ofﬁcials. • If you are a victim, report it. For anyone victimized by this type of “distressed loved-one call,” report the incident immediately to local police and contact PhoneBusters at www.phonebusters.com or by phone, toll-free at 1-888SL 495-8501.
Lynda Pasacreta is President of the Better Business Bureau of Mainland B.C. For conﬁdence in marketplace transactions, contact the BBB to check a company report or Buyers’ Tip before you purchase or invest. www.bbbvan.org or 604-682-2711. To contact Lynda Pasacreta, e-mail her at email@example.com
DEC 2008 / JAN 2009
Senior Living Vancouver & Lower Mainland Distribution Locations
ABBOTSFORD A&W - FRASER DOWNTOWN BUSINESS ASSOC ABBOTSFORD REC CENTRE ABC RESTAURANT - MARSHALL FAMILY RESTAURANT - ESSENDENE FV REGONAL LIBRARY FV SENIOR’S RESOURCE CNTRE GREYHOUND BUS STN IGA MATSQUI REC CENTER MEDICAL CLINIC - S FRASER HWY MEDICHAIR MSA GENERAL HOSPITAL PEOPLES DRUG MART SEVEN OAKS MALL SHOPPERS DRUG MART TRIANGLE COMMUNITY CENTRE WALNUT GROVE COMM CENTRE ZELLERS ALDERGROVE ALDERGROVE MALL EXTRA FOODS BURNABY ABC RESTAURANT AMICA @ RIDEAU MANOR BRENTWOOD SKYTRAIN STN BOB PRITTIE PUBLIC LIBRARY BONSOR COMMUNITY CENTRE BRENTWOOD MALL CUST SERV BRENTWOOD SKY TRAIN STN BURNABY GENERAL HOSPITAL CAMERON RECREATION CENTRE CHOICES MARKET IN THE PARK CONFED COMM CNTR FOR 55+ EASTBURN COMMUNITY CENTRE EDMONDS COMM CENTER FOR 55+ EDMONDS PUBLIC LIBRARY EDMONDS SKYTRAIN STN EILEEN DAILEY FITNESS CENTRE GILMORE SKYTRAIN STATION HILTON HOTEL HOLDOM SKYTRAIN STATION IGA KENSINGTON COMM REC OFFICE LANCASTER MEDICAL LAKE CITY SKYTRAIN STATION LOUGHEED SKYTRAIN STN MCGILL PUBLIC LIBRARY MEDICHAIR METROTOWN BUS LOOP MULBERRY SENIOR’S RESIDENCE NORBURN MED CENTRE OLD ORCHARD MEDICAL CLINIC PATTERSON SKYTRAIN STN PRODUCTION WAY SKYTRAIN STN ROYAL OAK SKY TRAIN STN. SAFEWAY SFU LIBRARY SPERLING SKYTRAIN STATION STATION SQUARE MEDICAL CLINIC TIM HORTON’S
VANCITY - 2991 LOUGHEED VANCITY - 5064 KINGSWAY WILLINGDON COMMUNITY CENTRE WHITESPOT CLOVERDALE CLOVERDALE LIBRARY COQUITLAM ABC RESTAURANT BREAD GARDEN CITY CENTRE AQUATIC CENTRE COQUITLAM CITY CENTRE LIBRARY COQUITLAM LIBRARY DOGWOOD PAVILION GLEN PINE PAVILION MEDICHAIR POIRIER COMMUNITY CENTRE PARK & RIDE SHOPPERS DRUG MART SOCIAL REC CENTRE SUPER VALU DELTA AUGUSTINE HOUSE KENNEDY SENIOR’S REC CENTRE LADNER COMM CENTRE LADNER PIONEER LIBRARY LADNER PUBLIC HEALTH UNIT MCKEE SENIORS RECREATION CENTRE NORTH DELTA HEALTH UNIT NORTH DELTA REC CENTRE PINEWOOD LEISURE REC CENTRE SOUTH DELTA RECREATION CENTRE SUN GOD AQUATIC CENTRE WINSKILL AQUATIC CENTRE VANCITY FORT LANGLEY FORT LANGLEY LIBRARY IGA LANGLEY A & W - 6241 200 ST A & W - 19705 FRASER BROOKSWOOD LIBRARY CASTLEBAY COFFEE HOUSE DOUGLAS REC CENTRE ESQUIRES COFFEE FORT LANGLEY SPORT PLEX GLOVER MEDICAL CLINIC LANGLEY LIBRARY MARKET PLACE IGA PORT KELLS PUB LIBRARY TIM HORTON’S TIMMS COMMUNITY CENTRE WALNUT GROVE COMM CENTRE WALNUT GROVE LIB MAPLE RIDGE MAPLE RIDGE HOSPITAL MAPLE RIDGE LEISURE CENTRE MAPLE RIDGE LIBRARY VANCITY
SENIOR LIVING VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND
NEW WESTMINSTER 22ND ST SKYTRAIN STN BRAID SKYTRAIN STATION CARE POINT MEDICAL CENTRE CENTENNIAL COMMUNITY CENTER CNTR OF INTEGRATION FOR AFRICAN IMMIGRANTS CENTURY HOUSE COLUMBIA ST STN NEW WESTMINISTER QUAY NEW WESTMINSTER LIBRARY QUEENBOROUGH COMMUNITY CENTER QUEENS PARK ARENEX ROYAL COLUMBIAN HOSPITAL TIM HORTON’S
CAMBIE PUBLIC LIBRARY GARDEN CITY MED CLINIC GATEWAY THEATRE HAMILTON COMMUNITY CENTRE IRONWOOD LIBRARY MINORU AQUATIC CENTRE MINORU ARENA MINORU SENIOR CENTRE PEACHTREE PANTRY SEAFAIR MED CLINIC SHOPPERS DRUG MART SOUTH ARM COMMUNITY CENTRE STEVESTON COMMUNITY CENTRE THOMPSON COMMUNITY CENTRE WEST RICHMOND COMMUNITY CTR
NORTH VANCOUVER 2ND NARROWS BUS LOOP BREAD GARDEN CAPILANO COLLEGE CHURCHILL HOUSE LION’S GATE HOSPITAL LONSDALE QUAY LYNN VALLEY MEDICAL CLINIC MEDICAL CLINIC - 1940 LONSDALE AVE MOUNT SEYMOUR MEDICAL CLINIC NORTH SHORE COMMUNITY RESOURCES NORTH SHORE NEIGHBOURHOOD HOUSE NORTH SHORE WINTER CLUB NORTH VANCOUVER CITY LIBRARY NUTRITION HOUSE PARKGATE LIBRARY PEMBERTON & MARINE MEDICAL CLINIC SEA BUS TERMINAL QUEENSDALE MARKET SILVER HARBOUR MANOR SUPER VALU WAL MART WESTVIEW MEDICAL CLINIC WHITE SPOT
SURREY ABC RESTAURANT - 7380 KING GEO ABC RESTAURANT - 2160 KING GEO ABC RESTAURANT 10410-158TH ST. A&W AQUATIC CENTRE BINO’S RESTAURANT BLENZ COFFEE BREAD GARDEN - 152 ST BREAD GARDEN - GUILDF’D TN CTR BOUNDRY PARK MEDICAL CLINIC BUY RITE FOODS CLOVERDALE LIBRARY CLOVERDALE REC CENTRE CLOVERHILL MARKET ESQUIRES COFFEE - 1959 152 ST ESQUIRES COFFEE - 16011 FRASER FLEETWOOD COMMUNITY CENTRE FLEETWOOD LIBRARY GATEWAY SKYTRAIN STN GEORGE MACKIE LIBRARY GUILDFORD PUBLIC LIBRARY KING GEORGE SKYTRAIN STN LONDON DRUGS MEDICAL CLINIC - 12818 72 AVE MEDICHAIR NEW HOPE CHURCH NEWTON ARENA NEWTON GENERAL NEWTON LIBRARY NEWTON WAVE POOL N SURREY PUBLIC HEALTH UNIT N SURREY REC CENTRE OCEAN PARK LIBRARY PEACE ARCH COMMUNITY CLINIC PEACH ARCH PROFESSIONAL PHARMASAVE 10654 KING GEORGE PHARMASAVE 9558 - 120TH ST RICKY’S RESTAURANT SCOTT RD SKYTRAIN STN (N) SCOTT RD SKYTRAIN STN (S) SEMIAHMOO PUBLIC LIBRARY SHOPPERS DRUG MART SOUTH SURREY INDOOR POOL SOUTH SURREY REC CENTRE STRAWBERRY HILL LIBRARY SURREY MEMORIAL HOSPITAL
PITT MEADOWS PITT MEADOWS REC CENTRE PITT MEADOWS LIBRARY SHOPPER DRUG MART PORT COQUITLAM PORT COQ REC COMPLEX/ WILSON REC CENTRE TERRY FOX LIBRARY PORT MOODY EAGLE RIDGE HOSP PORT MOODY ARTS CENTRE PORT MOODY COMM SERVICES PORT MOODY LIBRARY PORT MOODY SOCIAL REC CENTRE ROBI’S DONUTS RICHMOND ABC RESTAURANT BRIGHOUSE LIBRARY BUS STOP - 6390 #3 RD CAMBIE COMMUNITY CENTRE
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MAINLAND DISTRIBUTION LOCATIONS - CONTINUED SURREY CENTRAL SKYTRAIN STN THE CHEMISTS PHARMACY TOM BINNIE PARK COMM CENTRE VANCITY - 7380 KING GEORGE VANCITY - 1293 KING GEORGE VANCITY - 15175 101 AVE WHALLEY LIBRARY WHALLEY MEDICAL CLINIC WHITE SPOT YMCA SURREY VANCOUVER 411 SENIOR’S CENTRE AMICA AT ARBUTUS MANOR ARBUTUS MALL ARBUTUS CLUB ARTS CLUB THEATRE BARCLAY MANOR BC WOMENS HOSPITAL BLENZ BREAD GARDEN - 889 PENDER ST BREAD GARDEN - 1040 DENMAN BRITANNIA COMM CENTRE BRITANNIA LIBRARY BROADWAY & BURRARD WALK IN BROCK HOUSE SOCIETY BURRARD SKYTRAIN BUS STOP - 750 BROADWAY CAPERS - 2285 4TH AVE CAPERS - 1675 ROBSON ST CARE MEDICAL CENTRE CARE POINT MEDICAL CENTRE CARNEGIE CENTRE LIBRARY CENTRAL MARKET - 830 THURLOW CHAMPLAIN HEIGHTS COMM CNTR CHAMPLAIN HEIGHTS LIBRARY CHOICES MARKET - 1202 RICHARDS CHOICES MARKET - 1888 57 ST CHOICES MARKET - 2627 16 AVE
CITY SQUARE FAMILY PRACTICE COLLINGWOOD HOUSE COLLINGWOOD LIBRARY CROFTEN MANOR DENMAN COMMUNITY CTR DENMAN MALL DIAMOND HEALTH CARE CENTRE DOUGLAS PARK COMM CENTRE DOWNTOWN LIBRARY - 2ND FL DUNBAR COMMUNITY CENTRE DUNBAR PUBLIC LIBRARY FALSE CREEK COMMUNITY CENTRE FAMILY FIRST DENTAL FIREHALL LIBRARY FRASERVIEW LIBRARY GARDEN CAFE GF STRONG REHAB CENTRE GRANVILLE MEDICAL CLINIC HARBOUR CENTRE HASTINGS COMMUNITY CENTRE HASTINGS PUBLIC LIBRARY HEALTH CENTRE - 1282 HORNBY ST JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTRE JOE FORTES LIBRARY JOYCE SKYTRAIN STN KENSINGTON COMMUNITY CENTRE KENSINGTON LIBRARY KERRISDALE SENIORS CENTRE KERRISDALE LIBRARY KEVIN JAMES DAY PHOTOGRAPHY KHATSALANO MED CLINIC KILLARNEY COMMUNITY CENTRE KILLARNEY MARKET KITSILANO COMM CENTRE KITSILANO NEIGHBORHOOD HOUSE KITSILANO PUBLIC LIBRARY KIWASSA NEIGHBORHD HOUSE LANGARA - 100, 49TH AVE W LEGATO COFFEE
LITTLE MOUNTAIN NEIGHBOURHOOD HOUSE LONDON DRUGS - 1187 ROBSON MAIN & MARINE MEDICAL CLINIC MAIN ST SKYTRAIN STN MARPOLE COMMUNITY CENTRE MARPOLE LIBRARY MAYPOLE MEDICAL CLINIC MEDICAL CLINIC - 1280 GRANVILLE MERCADO MALL MID-MAIN COMM HEALTH CENTRE MT PLEASANT COMMUNITY CENTRE MT PLEASANT NGHBRHD HOUSE OAKRIDGE LIBRARY OAKRIDGE SENIOR’S CENTRE O’KEEFE SENIOR LIVING APT RAYCAM COMMUNITY CENTRE RENFREW COMMUNITY CENTRE RENFREW PUBLIC LIBRARY RILEY PARK COMMUNITY CENTRE RILEY PARK LIBRARY ROBSON PUBLIC MARKET ROUNDHOUSE COMMUNITY CENTRE ROYAL CENTRE MEDICAL RUPERT SKYTRAIN STN SEABUS TERMINAL SHOPPERS DRUG MART SORRENTO MARKET STADIUM SKYTRAIN STN SINCLAIR CENTRE S GRANVILLE SENIOR’S CENTRE SOUTH HILL LIBRARY ST PAUL HOSPITAL STRATHCONA COMMUNITY CENTRE STRATHCONA LIBRARY SUN LIFE PLAZA SYMPHONY CAFE TOURISM VANCOUVER THUNDERBIRD COMMUNITY CENTRE
TROUT LAKE COMMUNITY CENTRE UBC HOSPITAL VANCITY - 2233 4 AVE VANCITY - 5590 VICTORIA DR VANCITY - 501 10 AVE VANCITY - 4516 10 AVE VANCITY - 1675 COMMERCIAL VGH EMERGENCY VGH MAIN ENTRANCE WEST POINT GREY PUBLIC LIBRARY WEST END SENIORS NETWORK WEST END AQUATIC CENTRE WHITE SPOT - 580 GEORGIA VANCOUVER COMMUNITY COLLEGE YMCA COMMUNITY SERVICES WEST VANCOUVER BUS STOP 2002 PARK ROYAL BUS STOP 2051 PARK ROYAL CAPERS - 2496 MARINE GLENEAGLES COMMUNITY CENTRE HOLLYBURN HOUSE SUPER VALU WEST VAN MEMORIAL LIBRARY WEST VANCOUVER COMM CENTRE VANCITY - 1402 MARINE DR WHITE ROCK BUENA VISTA LIBRARY CAFE ON THE BEACH CHOICES MARKET GROC STORE - 1300 JOHNSTON RD KENT SENIOR ACTIVITY CENTRE PEACE ARCH MEMORIAL HOSPITAL SHOPPERS HOME HEALTH SKYLINE MARKET W ROCK/S SURREY PUB HEALTH UNIT
Now distributed at all Pharmasave stores throughout BC.
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We Are Gathered Here “Hello. You say you want to be married? Congratulations! And have you decided on the date, time and place? Okay. Hang on a second and I’ll check to see if I’m busy. “No, I’m not. Do you have your marriage licence because I can’t marry you without one? “Yes, and you must have two witnesses, as well as the licence, otherwise you’re not legally married. “Call Vital Statistics and they will give you the names, addresses and phone numbers of marriage licence issuers. “No, you don’t have to be a resident of B.C. and there is no waiting time or blood test. The licence, which you can obtain immediately, costs $100 but that also includes the price of your certiﬁcate, which is your legal proof of marriage. After the ceremony, I will mail your licence to Victoria and they will forward your certiﬁcate. “Yes, I do rehearsals, but it costs another $25 on top of the cost of the ceremony, which right now is $78.75. “We’ll speak again before the Big Day. Bye until then!”
s a Civil Marriage Commissioner, I’ve answered similar calls (or replied to e-mails) since l982. I’ve performed thousands of weddings in venues as varied as the couples. Some weddings were sad, most were happy, a few were odd and others I thought were absolutely wrong (although I couldn’t say so!). As fate decreed, the ﬁrst ceremony I performed was in northern B.C. (where I lived at the time) between a man and woman with two children. She was pregnant at the time and wanted desperately to be married before the third child was born. The groom was a kind man but an alcoholic and arrived for the ceremony inebriated. Now, there are a few “don’ts” in marriage commissioning. One is that we aren’t allowed to marry people who are obviously under the inﬂuence of alcohol or drugs. I knew how much the bride-to-be wanted their union to be legal, so she and I spent two hours walking him around the block until he was sober enough to know what he was doing before I married them. That was my initiation. After a few more weddings in the North, I relocated to Vancouver where couples married in fancy restaurants, golf clubhouses, and locations that featured mountaintops or beaches, cruise boats and street corners. At the street corner wedding, the bride and groom had initially met when she’d been ﬁrst on the scene of his motorbike accident and tended 26
SENIOR LIVING VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND
Photo: Leanne Asante
BY NADINE JONES
Marriage Commissioner Nadine Jones (right) with a newlywed couple.
to him before the ambulance arrived. I married them at that intersection. Another was in an alley beside a dumpster because they had met while taking out their garbage. And whether in an alley or the most expensive location, as Marriage Commissioners, we can’t allow our own feelings to surface; we must keep our cool and be discreet. For instance, at one ceremony, a few years ago, the bride’s water broke during the ceremony. Thank goodness, it was on the grass in a backyard ceremony. I whispered, “Do you want me to keep on?” She whispered back, “yes.” So, I did. I was told later the baby was born within a few hours of the ceremony. We try to attend, at all times, to the matters at hand, because sometimes we are overseeing the smoothness and diplomatic efﬁciency of costly affairs with hundreds of guests. But, sometimes, we are thrown a curve ball at the last minute. At one very swanky, 300-guest wedding in a well-known Vancouver hotel ballroom, a man approached me seconds before the ceremony and said, “I was married to her last year.” I tried to ignore it and not question the sincerity of her vows as I married her. At all the weddings, when I perform the ceremony, I have tried to remain uncritical. But thoughts do cross my mind: the prospective length of the marriage I just performed; what kind of a step-parent the bride or groom will be if children are involved; the sadness of the bride’s mother seeing the girl’s father sitting with a younger woman in the
front row; and the concern of parents at interracial or interreligious unions. All of these things portend problems, but they are not my business. Mine is not to question why. Some problems I wish I could ﬁx, but I can’t. At one wedding, on a hot summer day, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a three-tiered wedding cake slowly slide off the table onto the grass. I don’t stop for such emergencies. Marriage Commissioners must be emotionally uninvolved, but it was difﬁcult for me when I had to perform a ceremony at the bedside of a dying person who wanted to make a longtime relationship legal before death. I’ve had to stiﬂe tears. But laughter, too, has its place. At one of my weddings, the groom’s best man had over-indulged at the pre-wedding night bash. During the ceremony, he became grey around the gills and ﬁnally his knees sagged and he sank to the ﬂoor just as the bride and groom were about to exchange vows. The bride’s dad was a pastor and when he realized what was happening, he raised his arms to the sky and said, “Lord, look after this our son,” and with that, the rest of the groomsmen carried the best man outdoors for fresh air. I carried on with the next in line substituting for the best man. I have married older women to younger men and, much more often, older men to younger women. At one ceremony, when the bride was much older than the groom, her children cried during the ceremony. And at another,
between two older seniors, the bride phoned me the next day and said her groom had died during their wedding night and could she have the wedding annulled? I told her there was nothing I could do about it and suggested she call her lawyer. Although there had been many variations on the theme before that date, on July 8, 2003, the B.C. Government legalized same-sex marriages. No matter what our personal opinions on the subject, we were told that same-sex marriages were now law and that we could not refuse to legitimize such relationships without the threat of dismissal. After years of having to be non-judgmental, I didn’t have the same problem as a lot of other Commissioners accepting the change. Since then, I have performed many same-sex marriages and I have found that same-sex marriage partners are the same as heterosexual marriage partners – some are nice and some aren’t. Half will stay married for life, and half won’t – according to Canadian statistics. I felt a little apprehensive at my ﬁrst same-sex ceremony, but so did the couple – two women university professors from Texas who couldn’t get married in the States, but who had been together for many years. I told them it was my ﬁrst such ceremony, and they said it was their ﬁrst such marriage. We all had a good laugh. Overall, it has been a wonderful 26year career. Most of all, it has been a genuine privilege to have been part of SL other people’s happiness.
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STORY AND PHOTO BY KEVIN MCKAY
keep up his many workplace friendships. For her ﬁrst six years of grade school, Eileen attended a twoclassroom schoolhouse in town before being bussed to Enderby for Grades 7 to 12. In those years, Eileen’s agreement with her mother was that as long as the temperature was -15 F or above, she would get on the bus, but if it was -16 F or below, she could stay home. This meant many chilly walks to the bus stop one mile away. Years later, Eileen met her Grade 4 and 5 teacher. He told her he still had a copy of her story, “Molly in Mouseland,” her takeoff on “Alice in Wonderland.” While living in the girls’ dormitory at UBC, Eileen gained more than a diploma and an education. She also met her future husband, Patrick Kernaghan. “I was living in the dorms, the men were living in huts, but we all ate together in the dining room and [Pat and I] started eating our meals together.” Eileen studied the arts for one year, but switched to education when she surmised there was no money to be earned with an arts degree. The young couple became engaged, but did not marry right away because Pat took a year-and-a-half journey through Europe, and Eileen started teaching in Sicamous. After Pat’s return to Canada, they married in the fall of 1959 and settled in the Kootenays. Pat found work at a co-
THE STORYTELLER A
proliﬁc writer, Eileen Kernaghan, in addition to contributing to a number of poetry collections, has published eight fantasy novels including some award winners and a non-ﬁction writer’s handbook. Born in Enderby, B.C. and raised in the tiny community of Grindrod, Eileen started writing stories almost as soon as she could read. A natural storyteller, she’s been involved with writers and writing for much of her adult life. “My mother taught me to read when I was ﬁve,” she recalls, “and as soon as I could read I was making up stories.” Growing up on the family-owned dairy farm, she remained there until moving away to attend university. Her mother, born in England, was supposed to make the voyage to Canada with her family aboard the Titanic. Events conspired against them (or in favour of them) and they were unable to secure passage and had to wait for the next ship. Although Eileen’s father didn’t mind working the farm he inherited, he “was a very social man who loved people” and was one of the founding members of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation political party, which would later become the NDP. After Eileen left home, he sold the farm and went on to be a loans ofﬁcer for the credit union in Salmon Arm. After retirement, he wangled a job watering the plants there so he could 28
SENIOR LIVING VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND
op in Revelstoke while Eileen took a teaching job at a school in a small town; now under water after a dam was built in the region. “It was a terrible year,” says Eileen. “The kids all fought with each other, the parents all fought, no one got along.” An escape was made possible when the co-op went broke, leaving Pat jobless. The couple moved to Vancouver, settling in Kitsilano before it became a haven for hippies. In 1963, Pat found work at Oakalla prison and the family, with two children now, moved to Burnaby for a long stay. When all her children were school age, Eileen went back to work as an elementary substitute teacher. On the days she didn’t teach, she wrote, completing a short story called “Star Cult.” Galaxy Magazine bought it and featured it as their cover story, her ﬁrst professional sale. “I thought I was a writer, so I quit my substitute teaching job.” Over the next little while, she wrote several more stories and sent them out to various publishers. They were all rejected. Many writers experience similar results, but for Eileen, it led to a monumental decision. “I decided I can’t sell my short stories, so I’m going to write a novel.” Pat suggested she base her story around Stonehenge because, at that time, very few ﬁctional stories about the legendary place
time hosting book signings, autograph parties, sidewalk sales and readings. In the early 1990s, Eileen inherited a couple of writing groups, one in Port Moody and one in Burnaby, and she still teaches at both. “I really enjoy the classes. There are some great people in both of them.” In fact, one of her students has had two young adult books published. Along the way, Eileen’s The Snow Queen won an Aurora Award for Canadian Fantasy and Science Fiction in the category of Fantasy Novel. Her books The Sarsen Witch and The Alchemist’s
Daughter were also nominated for Auroras. The Alchemist’s Daughter was shortlisted for a BC Book Prize. Songs from the Drowned Lands won a Canadian SciSL ence Fiction and Fantasy Award. Eileen’s latest book, Wild Talent is on sale now at bookstores everywhere. For more information about the author, check out www.eileenkernaghan.ca or look up her blog at www.eileen-kernaghan.blogspot.com. Most of her earlier stories can be found on various book sale websites.
Reﬂections, Rejections, and Other Breakfast Foods Reflection��s,�������� t and Other Breakfas
Limited Edition!! A collection of Gipp Forster’s published columns in Senior Living magazine, with other unpublished writings thrown in for good measure. A unique blend of humor and nostalgia, Gipp’s writings touch your heart in such an irresistible way, you will want to buy not only a copy for yourself, but as a wonderful gift for friends and family members. 128 pages Softcover • Published by Senior Living
& Unpublished Writings A Collection of Published nist Gipp Forster by Senior Living Colum
“Reﬂections” MAIL-IN ORDER FORM
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had been published. She took his advice and wrote a fantasy novel called, Journey to Aprilioth, which was bought by Ace Publishing, the second publisher she sent it to, and published in 1980. Susan Allison at Ace asked Eileen for a second book, but this took some time to write because Eileen was swamped with work as Co-ordinator of the Burnaby Arts Council. Still, she eventually found time to write Songs from the Drowned Lands in 1983. Her third book, The Sarsen Witch did not do as well as the ﬁrst two, primarily because of a market glut in fantasy and science ﬁction at the time. Largely because of this lack of success, Eileen could not ﬁnd a buyer for Winter on the Plain of Ghosts and, after sitting on it for 14 years, self-published the book in 2003. In the meantime, she branched out to the ﬁeld of young adult fantasy, ﬁnding a publisher in Thistledown Press in Saskatoon. They have published four of her novels now, including her latest, Wild Talent. Eileen sets all her stories in the real world, but adds an element of magic. “I take pride in getting the details right,” she says. “I tried to make each of them as accurate as possible to the historical real world.” One might think painstaking research would be the difﬁcult part of writing a book, or the part a writer dreads, but not Eileen. When studying the arts in university, her interests were English and History, and this has served her well over the years. “I enjoy doing the research,” she says. “The writing is the hard work and I ﬁnd myself tearing my hair out. I often think I write the books as an excuse to do the research.” Eileen starts with the setting and then creates a main character. “I turn the character loose in the setting and confront him or her with a challenge or a problem and see what happens. I always write with some idea of the ending and I plot about two or three chapters ahead, but as I am doing the research, this often inﬂuences the story and the direction it takes. As the character encounters a new place, I discover it too!” In addition to writing and her work with the Burnaby Arts Council and Burnaby Writers’ Society, Eileen also helped Pat run Neville Book Store for more than 10 years. She claims they never made any money, but they didn’t lose either. And they had a great
DEC 2008 / JAN 2009
Photo: Jason van der Valk
BY GOLDIE CARLOW, M.ED
Dear Goldie: I am in my mid-eighties, a grandmother and great-grandmother of a large family. Every Christmas, I am invited to the home of one of my children for the holiday season. I know I am very fortunate to have a loving family, and I enjoy watching the children open their gifts. It’s an exciting time, but I really feel tired of all the noise and celebration. What I would like to do is stay in my cozy apartment, read and listen to music and attend a Christmas church service. Am I being selﬁsh? I know many people would love to have a big family Christmas, but I ﬁnd it overwhelming. What should I do? –L.O. Dear L.O.: It sounds like you are looking at your situation sensibly.
W NEJULY 2008 VANCOUVER ISLAND
Housing Guide for Seniors
Up-to-date listings of senior housing facilities throughout Vancouver Island, including Independent/Supportive Living, Assisted Living and Complex Care. This guide is an indispensable resource to:
• seniors looking for alternative housing • seniors moving to Vancouver Island from other parts of BC or out of province • children of seniors who are assisting their parent to select a housing option • professionals who work with seniors or their families • businesses that provide services to seniors
Listings include addresses and contact information, housing costs, number of units in the housing complex, hospitality services, optional home care services, amenities and security features. Available at most libraries and senior centres. Call (250)479-4705 for a location near you. Now Available at all Island Pharmasave stores.
It is wonderful to experience the love and companionship of your family, and it is equally important to look after your health and well-being. Clear communication promotes understanding. Explain your feelings to your children. I am sure your health concerns them too. They will miss you over the holidays, but will realize your limitations. Don’t delay, share your feelings with your family and have a wonderful restful Christmas! Dear Goldie: I am getting on in years (mid-seventies), and I realize I am carrying some old emotional wounds as a result of family feuding. Most of my family has passed on, but one sister remains and we keep in touch. We have always got along well. I feel sad that I never made peace with other siblings before they died. Is there any way to heal myself? –V.A. Dear V.A.: There is a way to heal your wounds, but it would be difﬁcult to do by yourself. You need professional help, such as a clinical counsellor or even a Senior Peer Counsellor. Empty out bad feelings by writing how you felt at the time of the incident and how you feel about it now. By examining the residual feelings, you will become aware of remaining problems. Your counsellor will then guide you in working on solutions. James Pennebaker, a psychologist in this ﬁeld, found that expressing or writing about it could improve both the emotional and physical health of the client. Have a discussion with your medical doctor about your SL worries. He or she can refer you to counselling.
Senior Peer Counselling Centres (Lower Mainland) New Westminster 604-519-1064 North Vancouver 604-987-8138 Burnaby 604-291-2258 Richmond 604-279-7034 Vancouver West End 604-669-7339 Coquitlam – Tri-Cities 604-945-4480
OR have a copy mailed direct to your home...
Please mail a cheque for $5.25 ($5 plus GST), along with your name, phone number and address, to Senior Living, 153, 1581-H Hillside Ave., Victoria BC V8T 2C1. We will mail you a copy of this resourceful housing guide upon receipt of payment. 30
SENIOR LIVING VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND
Goldie Carlow is a retired registered nurse, clinical counsellor and senior peer counselling trainer. Send letters to Senior Living, Box 153, 1581-H Hillside Ave., Victoria, BC V8T 2C1.
R UVE O C VAN AND ISL ON I EDIT
To Move or Not to Move? A Helpful Guide for Seniors Considering Their Residential Options
To Move or Not to Move?
To Move or Not to Move? A Helpful Guide for Seniors Considering Their Residential Options
Published by Senior Living October 2007 REG. PRICE: $
Buy it now! ONLY
If you are a senior who has been wondering lately whether you should consider moving - either because you ﬁnd the maintenance of your current home more difﬁcult due to diminishing ability or energy, or you simply want a lifestyle that allows you more freedom and less responsibility - then this is the book that can help you ask the right questions and ﬁnd the solution that is right for you. • What residential options are available? • Deﬁne your current situation - What residential option is right for you? • How to research and assess Independent and Assisted Living residences. • What do Independent, Assisted Living and Complex Care facilities have to offer? • How much does it cost to live in an Assisted Living residence? What subsidies are available? • Thinking of moving in with family members? Questions to consider before making your decision. • Are there any other residential options besides Independent, Assisted Living and Complex Care facilities? • If you choose to stay in your own home, what are your options and what should you plan for? • Who can help you decide what you can or cannot afford? • Funding sources available to seniors - tax deductions, housing subsidies, home care subsidies, equipment loan programs, renovation grants, etc. • Selling your home - how to ﬁnd the right realtor or relocation services to assist your move. • Downsizing - Where do you start? How do you proceed? • Adapting your home to meet your mobility needs - tips and suggestions • Hiring home care services; do it yourself or hire an agency? • Legal matters - how to make sure you receive the care you desire should you not be able to communicate due to some incapacitating condition • AND MUCH MORE Advice from professionals who are experts in the area of assisting seniors with their relocation
questions and concerns. A handy reference guide for seniors and their families wrestling with the issues around whether relocation is the best option. This 128-page book provides helpful, easy to read information and suggestions to help seniors and their families understand the decisions they need to make.
ORDER FORM - “To Move”
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DEC 2008 / JAN 2009
Reﬂections THEN & NOW
BY GIPP FORSTER
ONLY AS A CHILD
t is the Christmas season again. That time of soft music and, for some, softer memories of peppermint dreams when imagination held court for that brief time of expectation and wonder. I know of the true meaning of Christmas. Of the Holy Child – the star and the manger. But, over the years, man – both believer and non-believer – have sprinkled a brightly coloured garland around its perimeter. That sometimes calls forth the innocence of true faith and the splendour of “if only” and “maybe.” Many call it the season of the child meaning a time set apart for children and childish dreams. But that is not really what the season of the child means. The season of the child is singular and hails the birth of the Blessed Child, the Peace Child, the Christ Child. I, for one, do not let the celebration, the feasting, the gift-giving, the decorated trees and houses get in the way of that; but neither do I condemn or stand apart from it. I love the magic with which we have surrounded Christmas. I love its possibility! I don’t feel that God is overly upset by how many of us have fashioned Christmas in our own image. I think God is bigger than that. It is not the out-
side, but the inside God looks at. The innocence of “being” and the faith of “believing.” I think He smiles more than frowns. After all, are we not all children who, throughout our whole lives, play the game of pretend? As I mentioned last month, next Christmas, my wife and I will spend part of the season visiting Germany and Austria. “Christmas on the Danube” it is called, and you are invited to join us, if you like. Nuremberg is the toy capital of Europe! When I think on that, for some reason, I see Geppetto in the 1940 Walt Disney animated ﬁlm Pinocchio. I see the toy shop, the clocks ticking on the walls, the toys, ﬁnished and unﬁnished scattered about the room, and Figaro and Cleo feeling safe, warm and secure in that fantasyland where good shall reign over evil. I have the ﬁlm and watch it often when I want to escape the rapid pace of insecurity trying to pass itself off as security and promiscuity demanding equal time on a revolving stage. It’s an escape to innocence, if you like. And that is what Christmas allows us, brieﬂy, once a year. A time of innocence when impossibility becomes possible, and children stop to wonder. A time
Order your Gipp Forster books or CDs today from Senior Living’s Online Bookstore
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Also a thoughtful and inspiring Christmas or Birthday gift for family or friends. CDs - Gipp Forster’s Christmas Vol. 1 $16 - Gipp Forster’s Christmas Vol. 2 $16 BOOKS - “Gipp Forster’s Collected Ramblings” $10 - “Reﬂections, Rejections and Other Breakfast Foods $14.95 GST and Shipping Costs will apply. Allow 2 weeks for delivery.
SENIOR LIVING VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND
when the older ﬁnd that little child again that once was their reality. Still there and still alive in the depths of their souls. The Christ Child, grown to a man, would say: “Only if you be like these little children can you enter into the kingdom of heaven.” “Only if you be like a little Child.” Each year, we are given the opportunity to be like a child. A season to cuddle memory and a time to embrace innocence once more. A time of love: demonstrative love that is not embarrassed or ashamed. I ﬁnd volumes of innocence in toys. Not monsters, robots, dinosaurs or spaceships, but in toys of old. Stuffed toys, wooden soldiers, dolls with ringlets, whose eyes open and close, soft toys that are not afraid to be toys. Toys like Geppetto made that, in the end, could be real and bring further joy to an aching heart. Yes, Christmas is many things, but without innocence, it is simply another holiday. Oh, to return to the time of that holy birth. I would love to seek out the Christ Child and give to him a gift. Not of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, I would like to give him a stuffed toy to snuggle up against and a gentle story to lull him to sleep. I would tell him of things he already knew: of the distant future of brightly lit houses and trees and sacred music playing and smiling people exchanging gifts. How the dreariest month of the year would suddenly burst forth in colour, singing, laughing and hugging; a time of sharing when innocence called SL the world to listen.
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