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My Gift to You; A Smile Continuing the current trend of large-scale mergers and acquisitions, it was announced today at a press conference that Christmas and Hanukkah will merge. An industry source said that the deal had been in the works for about 1,300 years. While details were not available at press time, it is believed that the overhead cost of having 12 days of Christmas and eight days of Hanukkah was becoming prohibitive for both sides. By combining forces, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re told, the world will be able to enjoy consistently highquality service during the fifteen days of Chrismukkah, as the new holiday is being called.

Jews will be allowed to use Santa Claus and his vast merchandising resources for buying and delivering their gifts. One of the sticking points holding up the agreement for at least 300 years was the question of whether Jewish children could leave milk and cookies for Santa even after having eaten meat for dinner. A breakthrough came last year, when Oreos were finally declared to be Kosher. All sides appeared happy about this. A spokesman for Christmas, Inc., declined to say whether a takeover of Kwanzaa might not be in the works as well. He merely pointed out that, were it not for the independent existence of Kwanzaa, the merger between Christmas and Chanukah might indeed be seen as an unfair cornering of the holiday market. Fortunately for all concerned, he said, Kwanzaa will help to maintain the competitive balance.

Massive layoffs are expected, with lords-a-leaping and maids-a-milking being the hardest hit. As part of the conditions of the agreement, the letters on the dreydl, currently in Hebrew, will be replaced by Latin, thus becoming unintelligible to a wider audience. Also, instead of translating to â&#x20AC;&#x153;A great miracle happened there,â&#x20AC;? the message on the dreydl will be the more generic â&#x20AC;&#x153;Miraculous stuff happens.â&#x20AC;? In exchange, it is believed that

H then th closed l d the th press conference by leading all present He in a rousing rendition of â&#x20AC;&#x153;Oy Vey, All Ye Faithful.â&#x20AC;?

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$)UHQFK&RQQHFWLRQLQ%UHQWZRRG%D\ by Derek Peach

It is now past the tourist season and time for restaurants to show they can provide good value for the local customers who will keep them in business through the months to come. Matt and his wife Cheryl (pictured) are doing exactly that, having taken over and transformed Piccolo from a Greek into a gourmet French restaurant as the Bistro Caché with both a new commitment and new cuisine. The couple relies on local producers, deals ethically with the planet, treats their customers in a warm and respectful manner and they cook an amazing diversity of incredible meals from Peninsula produce. The sidebar of their menu is really worth reading for an appreciation of a commitment to all those aspects of restaurant management. The food itself provides the assurance that these chefs can deliver on the promise.

and appreciated the fact that many were available by the glass. I like a fullbodied shiraz or cab-sav while Beverly has, with some regret, moved towards the lighter selections. We have never been disappointed by taste or price. If we have difficulty choosing between two items, we ask for a taster of each and are always accommodated – not only because we are old teachers! This is a place to share meals, a practice that allows us an appetizer of a great dish of savoury clams with double-smoked bacon, or calamari with hot and sour aioli and hot crusty bread that we can both enjoy. Different entrées allow us to sample the range

of accompaniments these skilled chefs use to enhance the generous portions of local beef, fowl and seafood. A hearty eater, I have always been willing to share slices of my rack of pork with caramelized apples and prune plum compote or steak with peppercorn sauce for helpings of Beverly’s spot prawns or fettuccine. We promise ourselves, however, that on one of our adventures we will choose only lighter fare, because as yet we have found no room to share any of the desserts. What is ahead for Bistro Caché? This is a young restaurant with great promise run by skilled entrepreneurs who are providing incredibly tasty food served in a friendly, inviting atmosphere. This is a place for some to mark a family member’s birthday, others to remember a season as a team, or for lovers of any age to find a quiet corner for a candlelit meal. For all, it is the sort of restaurant that is quickly earning itself a loyal following.

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It still takes us by surprise, in restaurants, check-out lines or even toll booths, when an attendant will look my wife Beverly or I directly in the eye, smile and ask if we are still teaching. I’ve given up trying to guess identities and simply respond with: “Who are you and when did I teach you?” It was that way a year ago in Brentwood when the chef came out to reacquaint himself with his former English teacher and I remembered him kindly as Matt from Parkland, but little else. I certainly didn’t know he would be doing such great things in the food business on the Peninsula.

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For Beverly and I, their main-street Brentwood Bay location is but a 10-minute drive, and, once there, the orientation of the building, tucked at the back of a small plaza, provides park views from the windows and front patio. Renovations inside have combined the best of the former decor with new fabrics and paintings. But, to the food and drink!

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photo courtesy Tim Irvin

The Black and White World of Spirit Bears by Chris Genovali, Executive Director, Raincoast Conservation Foundation The spirit bear’s white fur chest was covered in bright red blood, as if he’d been spattered with paint. The bloodred dye job was from the all the salmon he had been eating. With rapt attention, we had been watching him catch fish at river’s edge and then bring them back into the forest to consume. This veteran bear, legendary amongst wildlife viewers and researchers on B.C.’s central coast, was a prolific fisherman. He had a variety of angling styles, but the one that was most fascinating was his use of the belly-flop. There was a large swirling pool created by an assemblage of rocks amongst the fairly fast flowing water and the salmon were gathering in it before heading further up stream. The white bear

would launch himself from a rock, legs splayed out, and land with a thunderous splash. When all the spray and wave action stopped, he would emerge from the pool, fish in mouth, and would pad back up into the bush to feed. My Raincoast colleague Misty MacDuffee and I were in a small runabout, edged up to a rock in shallow water near the mouth of the river and quite close to shore. A curious black bear, with distinct phantom of the opera-like markings on his face, wandered down the rocky shoreline and strolled right across the bow of our boat as if it were just another boulder. The black bear circled round again. We were getting too far into the shallows, so Misty had hopped out of the boat and was bal-

ancing on a rock pushing us out into deeper water when the bear padded right up behind her to observe what was going on. In my most casual tone of voice I said, “Better not take another step backward.” When Misty asked why, I gestured to indicate she should take a peek over her shoulder. We both had to stifle the urge to laugh. The phantom of the opera bear would eventually chase the aging spirit bear off the prime fishing spot on the river, much to our chagrin. The spirit bear, or Kermode Bear (Ursus americanus kermodei), is a subspecies of the American black bear and lives only on the Pacific coast of Can-

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ada. About one tenth of their population has white colour variant owing to a unique recessive trait.

subject to trophy hunting.

Raincoast large carnivore expert Dr. Paul Paquet states that: “The Kermode was designated a subspecies independent of the white variant. It just happens that some Kermode bears are white. Genetic assessments have been carried out with more now underway. Whether the current taxonomic designation will withstand close genetic scrutiny remains to be seen.”

With the aim of halting the commercial trophy hunting of these recessive genecarrying black bears, Raincoast is now in negotiations to purchase a photo courtesy Chris Darimont 3,500 square kilometres of guide outfitting territory that encompasses the heart of spirit bear habitat. Contact us (donations@ raincoast.org or 250-655-1229) to find out how you can support this initiative.

Among the threats facing the spirit bear are a lack of protection for wild salmon – photo courtesy Tim Irvin its primary food source, habitat fragmentation and exploitation of the American black bear. It is illegal to hunt the Kermode bear, but the black bears from which its genetic trait derives are

Did You Know? Research by UVIC’s Dr. Tom Reimchen has shown that, owing to its white coloration, in daylight hours the spirit bear is 30 percent more efficient than a black bear at capturing salmon. Isotope analyses done by the Reimchen lab reveals that spirit bears are much more dependent on salmon than their black counterparts.

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(Mis)adventures in Holland â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Part II by Sharlene Coss

Longing to be in France but spending the summer cruising in the Netherlands isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t all bad. The process of selling up in Nanaimo, flying to Holland, buying a boat and then learning to drive it, while stressful, has also been an adventure of a lifetime. Ignoring family and friends who think we are nuts, crazy, seriously demented (pick an adjective or insert your own), we are two 65-year-old retirees having a hoot. Now that we had the basics of owning

and driving our boat, we were underway on the rivers and canals of Holland. Our cruising was based in the provinces of Friesland and northern Overijssel, the vacation mecca for the Dutch. Rivers, canals and lakes abound, filled with boaters of all types â&#x20AC;&#x201C; mostly Dutch and German but a few Aussies, Brits and one real Canadian couple thrown into the mix. We are known locally as the real Canadians, as opposed to the Dutch boater who moved to Montreal and then returned to Holland. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a small country with an amazing grape-

vine â&#x20AC;&#x201C; bridge and marina operators knew about us before we even arrived. Perhaps our misadventures along the way made us noteworthy and memorable. Was it the time we lost the stern in a huge lock, banging into a German tug and narrowly missing a 110-metre barge? Our little cruiser was perpendicular to the wall of the lock when it should have been parallel. A kindly Dutch couple helped haul us back into position while the Germans gestured and

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shouted. How humiliating! Or maybe it was the time, certain that we had it all under control, we tried to leave the Groningen Motor Club dock while still tied up on the starboard side. A frantic club member shouted and pointed to the offending rope until we stopped, unhitched the rope and backed out with very red faces.

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Or maybe it was the time we got lost on the Tjeukemeer â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a large lake by Dutch but not Canadian standards. Missing a marker buoy is crucial when the depth is well under a metre deep and our drag is 0.9 metres. We knew we were in trouble when a young boy off our port side was standing in the water and it only reached his thighs. The initial contact with a sand bar was terrifying but we managed to bump our way to the proper channel and crept into our mooring for the night.

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We soon developed a cruising philosophy along the lines of: Is anyone bleeding or dying? If not, then weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re good to go and weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll pick up more white and blue paint at the next chandlery. Now we were able to enjoy living like the Dutch holiday makers. Growing up surrounded by water makes the very young supremely confident boaters who, without life jackets or parents onboard (!!), drive their own 5+ HP motorized dinghies. Similarly, to see children as young as three years old biking alongside busy streets, without helmets, is astounding to our overprotective Canadian sensibilities. The abundance of bicycle paths makes it a major transportation method. We would think nothing of biking six kilometres just to have coffee in the next village and biking to the grocery store was a daily occurrence.

While we had issues with weather (the storm of the century ripped our cabriole off its mountings), expenses (our manifold blew the second day out), food (ham and cheese are staples) and the wind (it never stops), we had a truly wonderful summer and can hardly wait to get back next year. France here we come!

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Learning to speak Dutch was extremely difficult but most Dutchmen can converse easily in English. They are also very friendly and willing to help new boaters. One young man, on his day off, spent several hours teaching us to drive backwards. Not as easy as you may think if you have a right handed pitched propeller! Their kindness was solidified the day a bus driver, upon realizing that we should have purchased an â&#x20AC;&#x153;all-day pass,â&#x20AC;? didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t charge us for a return journey and even phoned ahead to the next route driver to tell him to let us board free of charge. Amazing!

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9


Fat Cats and the People Who Feed Them Fat Cats. These two words conjure up a variety of images. Are we talking about overpaid corporate executives or are we really talking about cats? In this article we are definitely talking about overweight cats.

by Dr. Ellen Guttormson cereal grains and vegetables. This dry cat food often sits in a dish which is constantly full so that cats are free to snack to their heartâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s content. This method of feeding results in many different scen-

Many of the health problems of overweight cats are similar to those seen in humans, and, just like in humans, the incidence of obesity in our feline friends has increased dramatically in the past 20 to 30 years. Not many cats eat fast food, so why are we seeing this increase in obesity? Much of the problem lies at the feet of their overindulgent owners. We are just simply feeding our cats too much of the wrong types of foods. Through their evolutionary development, cats ate a high protein diet of mice, rats, rabbits and birds. Now we feed them mostly dry cat food with proteins from a variety of sources, but dry foods also have a large carbohydrate component made up of various

arios depending on the individual cat and their particular metabolism. Cats are much like people in that there can be huge variation in metabol-

Beacon Cat Hospital Dr. Ellen Guttormson

ic rate â&#x20AC;&#x201C; just like us, some cats could put on weight eating air, while others can consume decent quantities of dry food and not put on weight. Also just like us, energy expenditure varies dramatically. Some cats are indoor only and are real couch potatoes, while others go outside and are very physically active. Remember the evolution of the cat as hunter â&#x20AC;&#x201C; often those little mouse meals were spread out over the whole day and required a lot of roaming and hunting to come up with the next meal. So how do we help our feline friends to keep in ideal physical shape and weight? Current research indicates that we should be feeding them as close to a natural state as possible, and this ideally means providing high protein tinned or moist foods and trying to cut out the â&#x20AC;&#x153;always full bowlâ&#x20AC;? of dry food. We need to closely monitor how much we are feeding and assess the results. In my veterinary hospital we ask that owners with cats on a weight reduction program bring their cats in for frequent weigh-ins and the results are tracked on the computer â&#x20AC;&#x201C; this is a very simple and effective way of tracking progress. Why are we so concerned with obese or overweight cats? Because the myriad of health problems produced by obesity in cats mirror those found in humans. Additional strain on the heart and skeletal system are very real effects.

The only strictly feline hospital serving the Saanich Peninsula

Probably the most important reason to watch your catâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s weight is that weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re seeing a real rise in the number of diabetic cats, and diabetes is not a particularly fun disease to treat in cats. Most cats have progressed to insulin dependent type 2 diabetes at the time of diagnosis, whereas if they are caught in the pre-diabetic state, diabetes can often be held at bay through feeding high protein moist food as discussed earlier.

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So we really need to think about how best to prevent diabetes in our cats â&#x20AC;&#x201C; we are the ones with the responsibility to help them keep a good lean body mass, just like we hope to do for ourselves! ()')1&)6


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Silent Night? Make Sure Everything’s Just Right by Jennifer Bowles As festive as Christmas is – sipping Baileys and coffee by the roaring fire, flipping through the crisp pages of your new book or breaking in the cozy new slippers you got – someone, somewhere is cooking a Christmas dinner; and if it’s you I’ll bet you’re not sitting by the fire breaking into anything except maybe a sweat. Christmas is that one occasion where your guests and families are bustling through the front door, presents in hand, your pets have had it with being told for the umpteenth time “Get away from that tree!” and your kids have their beautiful outfits on and are now systematically ripping off the bows and details quicker than backstage at a fashion show. By the time dinner rolls around you’re ready to say serenity now!

Take a breather. Here are my top 10 tips for an easy Christmas dinner, that will hopefully enable you to come out on the other side with all of your hair and a smile on your face!

Just follow along. 1) Organize! Decide what you’re going to serve, right down to the type of cracker for your antipasto.

Make a list of EVERYTHING you need, then get it all. Don’t say “oh they’re out of that so I will come back.” Trust me … you won’t be back and will find yourself on the steps of 7-11 Christmas day, begging the clerk to find anything that resembles cranberry sauce. 2) Don’t take a crack at a new recipe Christmas day. Want to try something new? Make it for dinner some night long before the “Big Day,” then play with it if need be or file under “works perfectly.” There is nothing worse than attempting something and having it not work – there you are with a table full of baby birds with their mouths open and all you have is something that looks NOTHING like the picture. 3) Have you got all your knives, forks, spoons, plates, napkins, gravy

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boats, glassware etc.? Set the table before the day, check out spacing, chair allowance, centerpieces etc. I once went to a Christmas party where the host didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have all her utensils quite organized, and I will never forget the vision of one guest eating their soup with a serving spoon â&#x20AC;Ś not pretty. 4) Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be too proud â&#x20AC;&#x201C; ask for help! Peeling, chopping and other prep that you can get done in advance will help you easily coast through. Can you freeze something? Then do! If you have extra idle hands put them to use.

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5) Remember to leave space in your fridge for wines, beer, mixes etc. Cramming that fridge on the day with dishes stacked on top of one another while you duct tape the door closed is not going to work. 6) Admit it; Christmas dinner for kids is boring, especially those under five. Be ready with fun pre-packaged snacks, easy drinks like tetra packs or cans of juice and an alternate dessert if you are only serving Christmas pudding. Storebought cupcakes will do just fine! 7) Brine that bird â&#x20AC;&#x201C; plop him in your biggest bucket, fill with cold water to cover, add a cup of Kosher Salt, 1.5 cups brown sugar, a handful of black peppercorns, some garlic cloves and anything else you think would taste good. Leave the turkey in the brine for one hour per pound. This produces incredibly sumptuous, moist, and delectably seasoned meat, worthy of every compliment you get! 8) Best mashed potatoes? Stir in some cream cheese. Chef Judith Stewartâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mashed potatoes are rich, creamy and velvety â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a total crowd pleaser. 9) Invest in a $40 hot plate. It keeps at least two dishes warm when all your elements are occupied and it is so worth it. 10) Relax! Carve out a 20-minute break and sit down, have a glass of wine and regroup. You will be way more productive in a collected state of mind than when you are flapping around in a panic! Merry Christmas Everyone! Email Jennifer Bowles at islanddish@columnist.com.

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Now Hear This! by Wendy Hacking Did you know that a hearing aid will float â&#x20AC;&#x201C; briefly â&#x20AC;&#x201C; in the toilet? I know this for a fact, having seen the phenomenon firsthand while watching â&#x20AC;&#x201C; in what seemed like slow motion â&#x20AC;&#x201C; my husbandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s brand new hearing aid tumble out of his ear, wobble every so briefly on his left index finger and execute a back flip with a tiny splish into the toilet. Said husband had been standing at the mirror in the bathroom, practicing insertion of said hearing aid. He clearly needed the practice. The journey to hearing aid acquisition had been long and filled with exchanges such as the following: Me: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m going to marinate the halibut.â&#x20AC;? Him: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re going to marry Nate Albert?â&#x20AC;? Eventually such conversational bon mots, together with our inability to agree on a volume for the television

that was under the legal limit for residential noise, fostered my husbandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s decision to acquire a hearing aid. Getting a hearing aid is easy, but using it isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t. There are plenty of businesses prepared to test your hearing, fit you up with the most appropriate bit of plastic and microchips, give you some lessons and then take your credit card. But the wearer of the hearing aid needs to gradually train his brain to re-hear the sounds around him. When my husband first wore his hearing aid at home, all of a sudden he heard â&#x20AC;&#x201C; for the first time in a long time â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the fan behind the baseboard heat-

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We turned off the heater and shut off the fan. I hung up my jacket and sat down quietly, holding the dog by his muzzle. My husband tried the hearing aid again. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I know I have to take this slowly,â&#x20AC;? he acknowledged, â&#x20AC;&#x153;but when did the world become so loud?â&#x20AC;? He bravely persevered. And then our dog ate the hearing aid. We had been warned, at hearing aid school, that dogs love hearing aids. The devices are small, smell good and crunch like kibble. Of course hearing aids are not good for dogs (our pup was fine) but dogs donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t go to hearing aid school. They should. Loss of his first hearing aid â&#x20AC;&#x201C; by dog or other malice â&#x20AC;&#x201C; was covered by my husbandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s insurance. He phoned the hearing aid office with a mea culpa and arranged for a replacement. In short order he had a new hearing aid, ready to continue re-training his brain. Remember what I said about the dog and hearing aid school? Remember what I said about dogs and their enjoyment of hearing aids? Can you guess what happened next? The phone rang; my still-learning husband plucked his hearing aid out of his ear to answer the phone and enjoyed a long conversation with his sister in Toronto.

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14

er, the hum of the refrigerator, the whir of the ceiling fan, the rustle of my Gortex jacket and the dogâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s toenails on the tile floor. â&#x20AC;&#x153;TOO MUCH NOISE,â&#x20AC;? he exclaimed, grabbing his hearing aid out of his ear.

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The dog never even looked guilty, unlike my husband who had to place call number two to the hearing aid office. No insurance, of course. As compensation, the hearing aid office faxed us a photo of a dog with the universal symbol for â&#x20AC;&#x153;NOâ&#x20AC;? stamped across it. Our dog, unfortunately, hasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t learned to read. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t even ask.


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Sidney waterfront in a gift card fresh flavours, casual comfort, genuine service

This holiday give the gift of a Sidney waterfront experience. The Sidney Pier Hotel & Spa gift card can be redeemed for a relaxing waterfront meal at Haroâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Restaurant + Bar, a marine inspired spa treatment 9805 Seaport Place, Sidney Tel: 250 655 9445 www.sidneypier.com

at Haven Spa or a memorable stay in one of our casually elegant suites. Purchase a minimum of $250 in gift cards and weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll give you a gift of a $25 gift card.

hark the haroâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s angels sing! Cozy up by the fire for a winter warm-up in Haroâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lounge. Every Thursday from November 26 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; December 17th from 5-7pm. Enjoy live Holiday favorites featuring Tom Watson and his Elves. Complimentary appies! Appy Hour on Thursday just got its jingle on!

For reservations: 250.655.9700 â&#x20AC;˘ www.sidneypier.com 16

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Put on Your Patience Pants This Holiday Season While the holiday season is supposed to be about family gatherings, friendship and good tidings, more often than not it becomes a season filled with stress, obligatory parties, overcrowding and endless traffic. This year Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m going to try a new technique to deal with the inevitable chaos that surrounds the holidays â&#x20AC;&#x201C; patience. Last summer I was driving from the Peninsula to Langford to take care of a friendâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s dogs for the weekend. The gentleman in front of me at the McTavish four-way stop was kind enough to let all the other cars have right of way â&#x20AC;&#x201C; twice. Then I was cut off by a truck as I merged onto the highway and into ferry traffic. With the traffic came impatient drivers zipping between lanes (but not really getting anywhere) and the â&#x20AC;&#x153;oh, look at the lovely lakeâ&#x20AC;? slowdown at Elk Lake. It took 20 minutes longer than expected, but I eventually made it to my destination. As my friends left to head up Island for the weekend I quickly remarked â&#x20AC;&#x153;put on

by Cathy Hanan your patience pants, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s one of THOSE days on the road.â&#x20AC;? We laughed at the thought and they headed on their way. When they returned on Sunday they said they had laughed all the way over the Malahat â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the traffic was chaos and they had needed their patience pants. I shared the phrase with my friend Sarah. She promptly used it with her young nephews, who thought it was funny, but understood the concept while waiting in line for ice cream. Not long after she was in the post office, waiting while the clerk carefully assisted a woman with the same task over and over. She turned to the woman in line behind her and whispered, â&#x20AC;&#x153;wow, she must have put her patience pants on this morning.â&#x20AC;? They both laughed, then chatted for another few minutes until the clerk was free. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a silly phrase but it reminds me to take a deep breath and put the whole situation in perspective. Is it really that important?

Will five extra minutes make or break my day? Our daily lives have become instantaneous and with it weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve lost patience. We expect everyone to have a cell phone, we demand immediate response to emails and weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re constantly searching for ways to make life faster and easier. As we enter the holiday season, remember itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s nobodyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fault the rain is pelting or the parking lot is beyond capacity. The overworked waitress is doing her best to get your meal quickly and the clerk behind the counter is not responsible for the debit machine being out of service. You probably canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t control the situation, but you can control how you react to it. Take the extra five minutes in line to chat with the person behind you. They are probably just as frustrated and your patience might rub off. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s all about how you look at it. So this year â&#x20AC;&#x201C; before you head out to shop, celebrate or travel â&#x20AC;&#x201C; stop and take a minute to put on your patience pants and have a happier, healthier holiday season.

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A Christmas Treat Station For Your Feathered Friends by Jennifer Hill Some of my fondest childhood memories include making birdfeeders out of recycled materials while attending summer camp. Toilet tissue rolls were transformed into peanut butter feeders, bleach bottles into seed feeders, grapefruit halves into fruit feeders and logs with bottle tops nailed to them into suet feeders.

ments and place the tree outside either on its stand or propped upright in a bucket of sand. Then let the children decorate it with any or all of the following: • Peanuts in the shell, popcorn, cheerios, dried fruit and/or cranberries strung on carpet thread, string, wire, or unwaxed dental floss;

This holiday season, rather than “chipping” your Christmas tree, why not recycle it into a feeding station for your feathered friends? Not only will the birds benefit from your largesse, the project can become a learning experience for your children or grandchildren (as well as an opportunity to clean out your cupboard of food past its prime)! Long after all the treats are gone, the birds will also benefit from the additional shelter the tree gives them from the winter elements and in the spring the tree may even become a nesting site in which the birds may raise their families.

• Cookies, rice cakes or bagel halves, hung with twist-ties (for extra protein, they can be smothered with peanut butter or fat drippings) ; • Doughnuts (especially stale ones that are a bit hard), are good due to their elevated fat content and can easily be hung using string or wire; • Cheese that has become dried and hard can be strung on colourful ribbon;

When the time is right, remove the lights and the orna-

The Victorian Bird House

• Leftover baked potato skins can be nestled among the branches; • A sunflower head makes a great topper and dried corn on the cob looks like icicles when tied to the branches; • Pinecones “packed” with raisins and “painted” with melted peanut butter or suet and dipped into bird seed or cornmeal can be either nestled in the branches or hung;

Sidney’s Only Wild Bird Store

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• Assorted nutmeats, hung in an onion net bag, along with pumpkin seeds or seeds from other melons or squash are enjoyed by many seed eaters; • Bone marrow from the butcher makes a great substitute for suet and can be hung on wire or string;

We only sell bird seed that is: • Canadian Grown • Top Quality • No Waste • No Filler

• Fresh fruit (e.g. orange slices, chunks of apple or pear, grapes, cherries) and coconut halves hung upside down are also good treats for our fruit eaters; and • Of course, don’t forget our hummingbirds. Fresh nectar every few hours is critical (especially at dawn and dusk) and, please, never make the solution too rich as it can lead to kidney failure. One cup of water and 1/4 cup of sugar is perfect: 1 to 1/3 for the evening feed is acceptable, but only for a short period of time, and only when the weather is extremely cold. Merry Christmas to all and don’t forget our feathered friends when the temperatures get really cold. Food and water are critical for survival!

2428 Beacon Avenue, Sidney, B.C. 250-656-5064 • www.thevictorianbirdhouse.com 18

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Photo (this month and last month’s) courtesy Stuart Clarke. My apologies to Mr. Clarke, who I missed crediting for last month’s photo.

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T H I S

C H R I S T M A S

Sidney â&#x20AC;˘ Central Saanich Visit thriftyfoods.com Order by phone at 250 483 1666 or 1 800 667 8280

Please note that we require 48 hours notice on all our trays


A Little Bit of History, a Lot of by Arlene Antonik In the early 1900s, Vancouver Island residents could proudly purchase Saanich brand canned fruit at the grocery store. The Saanich brand was a product of the Saanich Cannery Company, located at the foot of Beacon Street on the Sidney waterfront. Begun in 1905 by J.J. White, proprietor of the Sidney general store and post office, and later joined by C.C. Cochran, owner of the Sidney Trading Company, the Cannery started as a small enterprise to produce canned clams, but soon began canning fruit and berries grown on the Saanich Peninsula during the summer months. White and Cochran would hardly recognize the bottom end of Beacon today. The old canneries of a century ago have given way to the new Cannery Building and its eclectic mix of tenants including unique boutiques, a restaurant, a liquor store and whale watching tours. The Cannery Building is anchored by the Sidney Waterfront Inn, and is also home to the Ocean Palm Spa, Flush Bathroom Essentials and Papyrus Cards and Gifts and other fine stores.

Papyrus Cards and Gifts It’s looking a lot like Christmas at Papyrus Cards and Gifts – owner Janet Henly has filled the store with classy touches for your best and brightest holiday season ever. As many locals know, Papyrus is the place to find beautiful

cards in any season, but this is particularly true at Christmas time with embossed and foiled cards uniquely designed to send to your loved ones across the miles or just next door. Having a party over the holidays? Choose the perfect invitations and adorn your home or office with stunning and elegant ornaments and table decorations including seasonal napkins, place-card holders, lighting and festive ceramics. “I am always looking for new and different items,” Janet said with enthusiasm. “I want my customers to feel they have left the store with something special, something they won’t find anywhere else.” Just in time for Christmas, Papyrus is now offering custommade gift baskets filled with goodies from the store. They will be available year-round, upon customer request: to welcome baby, to give as housewarming gifts or as a group gift from the office staff to a departing colleague. Magic is in the air at this time of year. Visit Papyrus Cards and Gifts where Santa’s helpers are waiting to help you choose the perfect gifts and accessories this holiday season.

Flush Bathroom Essentials In January 2009, Laura McLarty’s parents retired and the family home décor store, McLarty’s On Third, closed its doors. But when a door closes a window opens, and Laura

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Celebrating the Season West Coast Style These DEPARTMENT 56 Ocean Ornaments are only a few of the many stunning finds at Papyrus

Papyrus Cards and Gifts

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Shopping; Sidneyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Cannery Building decided to open her own business. She realized that Sidney didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have a specialty bathroom store and Flush Bathroom Essentials was born! â&#x20AC;&#x153;This location is ideal,â&#x20AC;? Laura said, pleased with the storeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s quick success. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Cannery Building is tucked between two marvelous hotels, the Sidney Waterfront Inn and the Sidney Pier Hotel. They bring many visitors to town and the locals are discovering this end of Beacon Avenue has lots to offer.â&#x20AC;? The store is bright and shiny with a high ceiling giving a nod to the buildingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s past. Here you can find bathroom accessories and gifts of all kinds, including bamboo towel sets and 100-percent cotton velour or terry cloth robes that can be monogrammed for that personal touch. To give your bathroom the spa look, there are waterresistant bamboo, glass and chrome storage stands and heated towel racks. Spa-type, all-natural body care products are on display including soaps shaped like Christmas tree ornaments. Decorative and useful! Laura selects items for the store that are eco-friendly and locally made as much as possible. Bathrooms are â&#x20AC;&#x153;stepping outâ&#x20AC;? as showcase rooms in our homes. Give yours a â&#x20AC;&#x153;dressing upâ&#x20AC;? with stylish accessories from Flush Bathroom Essentials.

Ocean Palm Spa Christmas time is busy time, so what better time could there be to check yourself in for rejuvenation and relaxation at the spa? Luckily, we just happen to have the award-winning, fullservice Ocean Palm Spa on the second floor of the Cannery Building in Sidney. Six years ago, co-owners Lesley Langfield and Christopher Wootton were asked by Denis Paquette if they would be interested in being part of the redevelopment of the Cannery Building. It has proven to be a choice location for the spa. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Situated as we are just down the hall from the Waterfront Inn suites, we are able to offer in-suite services to the Innâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s guests,â&#x20AC;? Lesley noted. â&#x20AC;&#x153;One of our focal points for the New Year will be weekend retreats, both for guests of the Inn and for locals wanting a break from their busy lives.â&#x20AC;? Another new initiative, beginning in 2010, is the establishment of a mentoring program under Lesleyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s tutelage, a C.I.D.E.S.C.O.-certified spa professional. Spa certificates are a heavenly Christmas gift idea. For the month of December, the purchase of each $100 gift certificate will be rewarded with an additional $20 certificate towards spa services. The staff of fourteen employees, including two registered

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massage therapists available on weekends as well as weekdays, offers a wide variety of skills and techniques. Spa packages can be customized and men: there are special treatments for you too, such as the hot towel facial. There is a calm oasis at the end of Beacon Avenue â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a warm welcome awaits you at the Ocean Palm Spa.

Sidney Waterfront Inn and Spa The Sidney Waterfront Inn & Spa sits proudly at the eastern end of Beacon Avenue on the historic site of the original Hotel Sidney built in 1891 by Captain Bissett at the corner of First Street and Beacon Avenue.

16 or 17 years old,â&#x20AC;? reminisced Rolandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s son Denis, now manager of Development and Maintenance. â&#x20AC;&#x153;At 21, I applied to be a waiter in the pub and got the job. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re both still here looking after our guests.â&#x20AC;? The Inn of today, located just feet from the beach, consists of 26 mid-range hotel rooms in the main building and 10 deluxe suites located on the second floor of the adjacent Cannery Building with stunning views across the Strait of Georgia to Mt. Baker. Sidney-by-the-Sea is full of restaurants, bookstores and boutiques to explore. The Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre is right across the street from the hotel.

In 1963, Hotel Sidney, the only hotel in town at the time, was purchased by Roland Paquette and 46 years later his family continues to own and operate this Sidney landmark.

Diving and fishing charters leave from the Port of Sidney one block away, a short stroll along the waterfront walkway. Contact stay@sidneywaterfrontinn. com to book a room at the Inn over this Christmas season.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;My sister Roselyn and I started working at the hotel when we were

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23


Feeding the Souls of the Saanich Peninsula by Jim Townley Imagine for a moment that none of us could speak a language, not a single word … and the only way for us to communicate with each other was through the use of an instrument. Would your musical voice be soft and sweet like the sound of a violin, or loud and forceful like the sound of a kettledrum? Without question, music is the true universal language for all. It provokes various emotions based on the differences in tone and it’s appreciated by people of all ages and cultures. Have you ever known anyone who didn’t like music? For me, it’s been a dependable friend in times of need or inspiration. Over the past few months, I’ve had the privilege of getting to know some of the best local musicians on the Saanich Peninsula and learned a lot about the creative process that

goes along with writing a great song, but the really interesting part for me has been the discovery of the common thread in all of them; their innate desire to make a difference. I’m sure you’ve heard things like this being said before, but I must emphasize this point … they all see the pos-

sibilities of making their world better, even if it’s in their own backyard. We came together through what started as the weekly Thursday night Open Mic at Fresh Cup in Sidney, to share music first and bits of ourselves second. What ended up happening was we developed a deep founded friendship, the kind that

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happens when you get selected for an All-Star team made up of people from all over the place (if you’ve had this experience, you understand my analogy) who come together for a common goal. Our common goal was to help the Sidney Lions Food Bank raise money to offset the 50-percent increase in demand that they’ve experienced over the past year. While that’s what brought us together, it’s not what keeps us together. What has kept us together over the past year is the music, and the special moments of greatness; seeing two people who have never met sit down and jam away together on a song that maybe one of them knows better than the other, but both love just the same … or a group jam song that sounds amazing with nine musicians all playing at the same time! The “Feed The Soul” CD was my debut as a producer and I’ve quickly realized that making a CD is one thing – marketing it is another thing altogether. It’s kind of like carrying a baby to term … and then the real work begins! A big thank you goes out to Allison and Tim of Seaside Times and the musicians for their commitment all year long. There are a lot of great causes out there today; too many if you really think about it. We’re in a time where our community needs help from everyone to ensure families and individuals are nourished properly, and the 50-percent increase in demand on our local food bank over the past four months speaks loudly to the challenges that we’re facing together. I hope you consider buying the CD from one of the local retailers on the Saanich Peninsula and, if you do, you’re making a difference in your own backyard … or should I say “Our Backyard?” Visit www.feedthesoul.ca and stay tuned for Feed The Soul “Season 2,” with auditions coming this January.


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Č?É&#x2022;É&#x153;ȨɨČ? ČŁÉ&#x2018;ȨÉ&#x2022;É&#x153;ȚǸÉ&#x2022; É&#x201E; ĐżČ?Č?É&#x2022; by Steve Sheppard Happy Holidays in this third edition of â&#x20AC;&#x153;Smell The Coffee.â&#x20AC;? This monthâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s focus is â&#x20AC;&#x153;Special Christmas Coffees.â&#x20AC;? For some of you, entertaining over the Christmas season is a fun experience, particularly when you have the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Marthaâ&#x20AC;? touch, while for others itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s stressful when your style resembles more that of Oscar off the Odd Couple. No matter, the doorbell will ring soon as company starts to arrive for the holidays! Below are three coffee recipes that are easy to prepare for that after-dinner chat. The first rule of making Specialty Coffee is to try them out first before company comes â&#x20AC;&#x201C; donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t make your guests the guinea pigs! After rule number one â&#x20AC;Ś there are no more rules. Personally, I love to source local ingredients and combine stove-top espresso, made from only freshly roasted coffee. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the fresh coffee that always makes the difference; trust me on this! Drink #1: Lavender Honey Latte. This one sounds kind of eclectic, but the taste combination is fragrant. Start with pure lavender oil (Victoria Lavender Co. has small bottles): add one drop of oil into the bottom of the cup then add twothree teaspoons of honey. Pour 2 oz. of boiling water in and stir. The hot water awakens the lavender in the cup, while the honey adds a soothing sweetness. Add 4 oz. double strength dark roast coffee (or stove-top espresso which is my preference) then stir in 6 oz. of hot homogenized or 2% milk (or 10% table cream if calories are not an issue) and top with foam (if you have the equipment to steam milk). Garnish with a few lavender florets (Victoria Lavender sells food-grade lavender too). Serve in glass mugs whenever possible as your guests will be able to see the layers.

Marnier and let sit for one day. Once the alcohol has evaporated, take the candied rinds and grind them into a consistent mix (not too fine). Sprinkle one tablespoon (or more to taste) on top of your favourite freshly ground coffee before brewing and the sweet orange flavours will infuse the entire pot of brewed coffee. You can even sprinkle a few flakes directly into the coffee or on top of whip cream on mochas and hot chocolates. The idea is to enhance the coffee without making it taste like artificial flavouring was used. For a snippet of warmth, add an ounce of Grand Marnier! Drink #3: The Quick Standby. Take your favourite freshly roasted coffee (stove-top espresso is again my preference) and add it to your favourite liqueur along with a couple of ounces of boiling water. Adding the boiling water brings out the fragrance of the liquer and helps stretch the espresso into more of an Americano-style coffee as the base. Enjoy the Holidays, stay safe, and do something nice for someone you know â&#x20AC;Ś or donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know. See you in the New Year!

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Drink #2: Christmas Zest. This one takes a few minutes the day before to prepare, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s worth it. Start by zesting four to six large oranges. The peel is what youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re looking to keep here. Take the curls of the orange peels and soak them in 2-3 oz. of Grand

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The Universal Language of Shopping by Linda M. Langwith In our family we enjoy a regular stream of Japanese homestay students looking for opportunities to improve their English and gain an understanding of Western culture. From teenagers to university students, some on their first trip away from home, they arrive shy, jet-lagged and overwhelmed with the newness and strangeness of everything. Words often fail, and then we rely on a handy pad of paper and pen to communicate through funny little cartoon drawings and lots of giggles. Ultimately though, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve found the best way to cut through the shyness and linguistic challenges is by shopping â&#x20AC;&#x201C; that all-consuming passion that knows no cultural bounds and at Christmas takes on fresh intensity as we search out the perfect gifts for family and friends. Shopping on Beacon Avenue with our homestay students requires a huge amount of stamina, for it is a process not to be rushed. Everyone has a shopping style. The â&#x20AC;&#x153;grab and goâ&#x20AC;? type knows exactly what she wants, takes five minutes to check out the entire contents of a store, and either buys something or moves on. The â&#x20AC;&#x153;basking sharkâ&#x20AC;? will cruise the aisles, circling back and forth, unable to decide. She may leave the store with nothing then change her mind later and return for another look.

final store before our java fix at the coffee shop. Predictably, Yuri cruised back and forth among the displays, unable to decide, while Kayo, incisive as always, quickly selected some souvenirs. We waited hopefully as Yuri examined everything. She fell in love with a cute little stuffed toy from Where the Wild Things Are, one of her favorite stories when she was little. No way was she going back to Japan without it. Our foray into the delights of Beacon Avenue behind us, we treated ourselves to extra foamy lattes and muffins. With lots of giggling, Yuri asked me if I liked Japanese men. It was a funny kind of question to ask, as my experience of Japanese men was rather limited to say the least, but I realized her query came out of the wonderful friendship that was nourished by our shopping experience on Beacon Avenue.

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Our recent arrivals from Japan, two nursing students, were keen to shop. We worked Beacon Avenue like seasoned pros and along the way Yuri and Kayo evidenced quite different shopping styles. In the specialty tea shop Kayo chose the bitter orange tea straight off and with a little help from the owner Janet soon selected the perfect tea cozy as a gift for her mother. Meanwhile, Yuri struggled over which coffee mug to buy for her brother â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the one with the English sheep dog or the one with the spaniel. Just as well she showed little interest in the tea or weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d still be there sniffing samples.

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Janetâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s willingness to engage Yuri and Kayo in conversation took the shopping experience to a whole new level. It wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t just about choosing and buying something; it was about reaching across the cultural and linguistic divides and discovering how much we have in common. After all, shopping is a social experience, something we all do and as natural as eating and sleeping. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also the perfect way to get to know someone. We strolled down to the bottom of Beacon Avenue to the [[[WIEWMHIXMQIWGE

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Get Outfitted and Get Fit in Sidney! by Arlene Antonik Those of us living on the Peninsula don’t need to run – or drive – into Victoria to get fit; HyperSport Activewear and Bold Moves Fitness in Sidney have what it takes to get us moving. Ten years ago, Maria Ewen saw the need for a sportswear store in Sidney. She and her son, Anthony (above), opened their store at 2443 Beacon Avenue and stocked it with athletic shoes, sportswear and gear and have been outfitting the fit-minded ever since. The first thing a customer notices on entering the store is racks of running shoes on the right-hand side.

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Featured brands are Asics, Saucony and, the most popular right now, Skechers Shapeups. Sporting a curved sole, these shoes are designed to get us into shape while we walk by improving posture, toning muscles and losing weight all at the same time. “Once in a while something comes along that really hits,” Anthony noted. “This is the hottest thing right now. Our order came in a few weeks ago and they’re selling fast.” Sales of swimwear, which had been somewhat dormant, have taken off since the re-opening of the aquatic centre at Panorama Recreation Centre. Yoga mats,

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especially the ones that go in both the washer and dryer, are always popular. â&#x20AC;&#x153;People donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t pay a premium to shop here,â&#x20AC;? Anthony added. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are checking our prices all the time, and what we carry in the store reflects the advice we get from our customers as to what they want and need to keep fit and active.â&#x20AC;?

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One street over, at 2426 Bevan Avenue, certified personal trainer Meghan LeBlanc (opposite page) wants you to put those shoes and sportswear to good use at her 3,000-square-foot gym. Bold Moves Fitness is affiliated with CrossFit, a strength and conditioning program designed to work the body head to toe.â&#x20AC;&#x153;With CrossFit,â&#x20AC;? Meghan advised, â&#x20AC;&#x153;everyone participates in the same workout. The degree of exercise differs according to fitness level but the regimen is the same. I post the workout of the day (WOD) on our website at www.boldmovesfitness.com so there are no surprises â&#x20AC;&#x201C; well, maybe there are some â&#x20AC;&#x201C; like taking the workout to the park in the summer time!â&#x20AC;? Newcomers complete a six-week CrossFit elements training course before joining the regular classes. To encourage a new start in the new year, the fee for this course is waived for the month of January with a threemonth membership. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This is a different way to exercise,â&#x20AC;? Meghan was keen to point out. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Here you have a personal trainer working right along with you to set and achieve your goals. My other trainer, Casey Jones, is a hockey player and an athlete and together we offer a good balance for men and women.â&#x20AC;? Christmas is only weeks away and, after Christmas dinner, you may feel as stuffed as the turkey. January is the time to get outfitted and fit â&#x20AC;&#x201C; HyperSport Activewear and Bold Moves Fitness are close by to help you work it out!

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Time to Set Holiday Priorities Overwhelmed? Too much to do? Trying to be the perfect Santa or hostess? This is the time of year when itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s tough to juggle all the external and selfimposed demands and expectations. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get me wrong; the Holidays are a joyous time, full of merriment, music and magic. Special foods are also one of the treats that await us during December. Rich foods and lots of baked goodies are synonymous with parties and family gatherings. For the bakers and cooks this means lots of work on top of all the festivities and gift getting. December is the month with the shortest day of the year, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not just the shortage of daylight that brings on seasonal stress. There are just not enough days and hours in the month to accomplish all that needs to be done. Each year I take on too many tasks. My big problem is that I fail to make the time to really stop and think about what is most important during the Holidays. So, this year, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m making an early New Yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s resolution: I plan to make the time to set some priorities on holiday activities so that I can focus on the things and

by Sandy McElroy people that mean the most to me. I also give myself permission to take an occasional time-out during December to regain my perspective and recharge my physical and emotional batteries. I

am not the Energizer Bunny so I have to chart my course with restraint. We each have methods to reduce stress and regain focus that work for us. Some run, others sit quietly or read for relaxation.

Whatever we do, it is all too easy to skip these activities during the busy Holiday season, but omitting these pleasurable routines just adds more stress at this time of the year. To fully enjoy all the festivities this year I have made several promises to myself. â&#x20AC;˘ I will learn to say no to some invitations that overload my social plate with casual acquaintances at the expense of special friends and family. â&#x20AC;˘ I will make time to visit a quiet place like Island View Beach with a thermos of coffee to reflect on the real meaning of the Holidays. â&#x20AC;˘ As a list maker I will endeavor to rank my listed tasks in order of priority and strive to let go of some of the nonessential items. If I am able to live by these promises to myself during December then I know that I will have more of myself to truly give to the special people in my life. I will also have more time and energy to truly celebrate with family and friends. Photo: Solange Valiquette enjoys a peaceful Peninsula morning.

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Aries march 21 - april 19 Your focus will be on the distance. This can involve in-depth future planning as well as traveling. Global connections will be important. Brainstorming will benefit all involved. Have decisions made before Christmas. Retrograde mercury causes delays or cancellations.

Libra september 23 - october 22 The stars align for you from all angles this month. There will be some magical moments that should be captured for the future. Your social calendar should be full of fun and romance. Hook up with your mate or date. Travel is good.

Taurus april 20 - may 20 You seek out whatever will enhance your status or position. Increase your knowledge if that will help. You have high hopes. Base of operations or financing will be important. Relationships heat up in love or business. Pace yourself physically – it matters.

Scorpio october 23 - november 21 You have power or backing behind the scenes now. Make your move before others know what you are doing and you will come out ahead. “The Force” is with you. Visit others in private or handle confidential matters your way.

Gemini may 21 - june 20 The full moon in your sign adds focus to personal relationships. Things come to a head. Watch how you word agreements as it could bite you later. Intuition can be a helpful guide to navigate through this month successfully. It pays off.

Sagittarius november 22 - december 21 Project yourself forward. You can be showcased one way or the other. Two full moons, called blue moons, highlight relationships – personal or joint. Make choices regarding home or living arrangements. Love wishes can come true. Charming words can be taken as “flirting.”

Cancer june 21 - july 22 Things heat up behind the scenes. Take extra care with sensitive information. In-camera meetings will bring about positive changes where needed. Check health and mobility for yourself or loved ones. Wish on the “blue” (second moon) in your sign on the 31st.

Capricorn december 22 - january 19 Do what you can to cheer up others. You have a comic side to your nature that can be quite entertaining. Your financial situation improves or stabilizes. This can give you something to celebrate. Spend time with those you care for.

Leo july 23 - august 22 Enhance romance or make wedding plans. Relationships are key to your future happiness – personal or otherwise. Work out the fine points of an agreement to suit all involved, then slip away for some R&R with that special someone. It’s worth it.

Aquarius january 20 - february 18 You are an inspiration to others – near or far. Shine your light. Feelings become more intense in relationships and special words are spoken between you. Make sure you are on the same page. Connect with VIPs or power people.

Virgo august 23 - september 22 Organize what you can or bring matters to a point or closure before the last week of the month when your ruling planet Mercury goes into retrograde motion. You are headed for a better future, so don’t drag the past with you.

Pisces february 19 - march 20 You can be truly inspired to greater heights. You are inventive and creative now. Your status or professional standing is affected. The two full moons this month make the saying “once in a blue moon” work for you. Your confidence rises.

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“Bag-of-Wheat” Bunster: The Brewer Who Wanted Attention! Arthur Bunster first appeared on the local scene in the 1860s by establishing the Colonial Brewery in town. Before long, however, he was in trouble with the law, accused of selling beer without a licence. Following a brief court hearing, the case was dismissed. But Bunster always enjoyed the public limelight. Urged on by his friends, he was soon nominated for the Legislative Assembly. Political campaigning also gave him an opportunity to promote his beer!

by Valerie Green Members of parliament immediately began scrambling for samples of the wheat. It was estimated that “there were probably few districts in the Dominion into which some grains

Then in 1866, he entered the Victoria mayoralty race but lost to William J. Macdonald. He had frequent altercations with other politicians on the streets of Victoria where he could often be seen brandishing his umbrella while emphasizing a point. Despite having political enemies, Bunster also made many friends and was a popular dinner guest of Henry and Adelaide Simpson, owners of the original old Prairie Tavern on the Peninsula. On one occasion, at an Agricultural Society dinner in Central Saanich, Bunster decided to encourage hop growing by offering a prize of a farmer’s wagon with harness and draught horses to the value of $1,000 for the best two acres of hops grown on the Island within two years. He threw in another $100 and some of his own beer to the value of $50 for the best barley samples produced from 10 acres to be exhibited at the next agricultural show. Bunster was later accused of not honouring these promises and was even maligned in the press but this did not bother him. Even bad publicity served its purpose – it kept him in the public eye. Of all his many nicknames (such as “Better Beer Bunster” or “Beery Bunster”), the one he was most proud of was “Bag-of-WheatBunster” and this was as a result of a political incident in Ottawa when he made a speech in parliament protesting remarks made by the Honourable Mr. Blake, the Member for Bruce County. Blake intimated that British Columbia was nothing but a wasteland and Bunster was incensed. His feelings for his province were passionate so, in a fit of anger, he produced a bag of Saanich-grown wheat and proudly claimed it to be the best found anywhere. He then threw the bag at the member who had insulted his province.

Victoria and was honoured at a dinner for 50 guests hosted by the Simpsons at the Prairie Tavern. A jolly, good-natured fellow, with a large frame, enormous black, shaggy beard, and an outspoken manner, Bunster made an impression on everyone, even Sir John A. Macdonald himself. Sir John supposedly shuddered each time Bunster rose to speak in the House for fear of what he might say. When news came that Bunster’s 24-year-old daughter, Annie Lennan, had died of typhoid in California, Bunster and his wife were devastated and slowly began to withdraw from life. Bunster was no longer the peppery, political giant he once had been. Eventually he moved to San Francisco, and in 1891 suffered a sudden stroke while sitting on a dock overlooking San Francisco Bay, causing him to topple into the bay and drown.

of that bag of wheat were not carried.” Bunster had achieved his goal! He had brought attention to British Columbia and, in particular, to the agricultural achievements of the Saanich Peninsula. He returned in triumph to

A lamentable end for so colourful a character. Valerie Green is a local author and historian and can be reached at valerie_green@telus.net. Photo credit Topley Studio Fonds/Library and Archives Canada/PA-033582.

Two Locations: 1933 Keating X Road Central Saanich

250-544-6464 • 2072 Henry Avenue West Sidney

250-655-6454 • Monthly & Annual Rates • Packing Supplies for Sale • Heated & Unheated Units • Locks for Sale • Card Operated Security Gate • Professional Friendly Staff

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What THEY Said – a short story by Kyla Spelt This story strikes home for me because I had my sister in mind when I wrote it. Hearing her talk about school, and the things people say to her, I thought that a story like this was perfect.

dent, strutting around the school without thinking that others might find her weird. She was out there, not always sane. But she didn’t care and she knew she was beautiful, whereas I didn’t have that confidence.

My sister tries to please everyone without thinking about herself. So, this is me protecting my sister, telling her that she doesn’t need to worry. To stay strong, and that sometimes, waiting works.

High School was the bane of my existence. I trudged to my first class, ignoring the inevitable whispering; I was used to it. Sure, I didn’t know they were actually talking about me, but I had a hunch. I sat at my desk and stared at the floor.

* * * * “So,” she asked. “What’d he say?”

*

I sighed and flopped on her bed. Nina had been my friend for a few years, and I knew that my response would send her into a tailspin. “Promise not to freak out?” I wanted to check. Nina turned from the mirror and narrowed her brown eyes. “For the love that is all holy, just tell me what he said Phoenix.” “He said that I wasn’t pretty enough to go out with him,” I whispered. Nina stared at me. “He said what?! And why shouldn’t I march right over there and kick his scrawny little butt?” I was silent; Nina had no idea what it was like. She was confi-

“Phoenix, he is so wrong,” Nina explained. “You are pretty. You shouldn’t let a guy like Adam Embry get you down.” I nodded, but I didn’t believe her. Who would? I wasn’t pretty; everyone said so.

“Hey.” I looked up and saw that a boy was looking down at me. An actual, real-life boy! “Um, hi,” I said quietly – they never talked to me, never! What could he want to talk about? Maybe he wanted to ask me to the dance…although he’d never talked to me before. “You’re kinda in my spot,” the guy said. I blushed; of course that was the reason he was talking to me. They never asked me out. “I’m sorry,” I whispered and picked up my stuff, shuffling over one desk. He chuckled lightly: “I wasn’t serious!” I bit my lip, “Oh, well…” What was I supposed to say? He just stared at me. “I’m Matthew. Matt Richard,” he finally said. “Phoenix.” I stuck out my hand. He laughed and took it. It was the first time one of them had touched me, and I smiled. “What’s with the face?” Nina asked me with a grin later that day. I placed my tray on the cafeteria table, for once not even noticing the whispers. “Nothing,” I lied, pulling out a chair and poking at my “meat loaf surprise.” Nina sat too, still grinning. “I don’t believe that. I know you, and I know that something is up,” she said. “I don’t know why it’s called a meat loaf surprise,” I said, trying to change the subject. “We all know it’s just the leftover burger from last week.”

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“Stop stalling; it’s about a boy, isn’t it?” Nina asked excitedly. When I blushed she laughed: “Oh man, it totally is!” I smiled and looked at her; I didn’t have to say anything, she just knew. Matt called me that night while I was brushing my teeth. “Hey, Phoenix,” he said. I spat into the sink. “Matt???” “I never made a girl spit when she talked to me, but I’ll go with it,” he laughed. I could hear him shrug.

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“How did you get this number?” “Um…phone book?” he said innocently. I was at a loss for what to say. “So, why’d you call? Do you need help on the homework?” He paused, then said: “Um, no. I just wanted to talk to you.” “Okay then…” I trailed off, and he laughed nervously. As I looked in the mirror, I realized something; it didn’t matter what they said, I was pretty.

[[[WIEWMHIXMQIWGE


Christmas Service This is the children’s time of year Whatever age or size. We want them with us Christmas day, Not under foreign skies.

Home health care you can trust

May yours be safe at home with you Or, if where evil reign, May heart and mind in concert, bring Them safely home again. As teachers, soldiers, doctors, they Refused the easy life To face disease and hunger, pain, And ignorance and strife. Comfort calls to all of us Yet never satisfies; Who seek for satisfaction know A harder life there lies.

by Derek Peach

They know the raw imperative Compelling all who care: Stand firm against complacency Or drift, the winds know where. One woman spared the stones or knife, One teacher to inspire, One child restored to health to learn, May change the world entire. These now who serve in foreign lands, Who heard that higher call, Our children walk the future home, A shield of peace for all.

The most trusted name in home health care

A Saanichton Institution Looking for a friendly place to stop in Saanichton? How about trying Spelt’s Shell and Coffee Shop? You might not have been to Spelt’s lately (a fixture in Saanichton for 38 years), but things keep changing there! The family-run Spelt’s is so much more than a clean and convenient Shell gas station and fully-stocked convenience store; there is also a great coffee shop on the south side of the building with friendly staff (and some second- and third-generation Spelts) ready to serve you with whatever you hunger for. They happily pour “Direct Fair Trade” coffee that directly helps the coffee pickers and their families – and it’s roasted right in Saanichton! Looking for good old-fashioned friendly service to go with some big fresh donuts? Well, they have them at Spelt’s and they’re baked fresh daily. But Spelt’s Coffee Shop is more than coffee and donuts; they also have great food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Did I mention the big muffins, creamy soft ice cream and pie? at the corner of Wallace Drive & East Saanich Rd.

So why don’t you come on in and see what everyone is talking about and what’s new since you were here last – you’ll be glad you did!

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• Consistent caregivers • Trained and RN-supervised staff • Not-for-profit charitable organization; all proceeds go to improving quality of care • Companionship & housekeeping • Personal care & respite services • Hourly or 24-hour care • Providing caring assistance you would expect from friends or family

Sidney: 250-654-0444 Victoria: 250-385-0444 www.eldersafe.com • info@eldersafe.com

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>2/ 6+=> A9 < . Well, I don’t have any children, but I thought our readers (especially the moms) would like this letter. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season. Enjoy! Dear Santa, I’ve been a good mom all year. I’ve fed, cleaned and cuddled my two children on demand, visited the doctor’s office more than my doctor, sold sixty-two cases of candy bars to raise money to plant a shade tree on the school playground and figured out how to attach nine patches onto my daughter’s girl scout sash with staples and a glue gun. I was hoping you could spread my list out over several Christmases, since I had to write this letter with my son’s red crayon, on the back of a receipt in the laundry room between cycles, and who knows when I’ll find any more free time in the next 18 years. Here are my Christmas wishes: I’d like a pair of legs that don’t ache after a day of chasing kids (in any colour, except purple, which I already have) and arms that don’t flap in the breeze but are strong enough to carry a screaming toddler out of the candy

aisle in the grocery store. I’d also like a waist, since I lost mine somewhere in the seventh month of my last pregnancy. If you’re hauling big-ticket items this year I’d like a car with fingerprint resistant windows and a radio that only plays adult music, a television that doesn’t broadcast any programs containing talking animals and a refrigerator with a secret compartment behind the crisper where I can hide to talk on the phone. On the practical side, I could use a talking daughter doll that says, “Yes, Mommy” to boost my parental confidence, along with one potty-trained toddler, two kids who don’t fight and three pairs of jeans that will zip all the way up without the use of power tools. I could also use a recording of Tibetan monks chanting, “Don’t eat in the living room” and “Take your hands off your brother,” because my voice seems to be just out of my children’s hearing range and can only be heard by the dog. And please don’t forget the Playdoh Travel Pack, the hottest stocking stuffer this year for mothers of preschoolers. It comes in three fluorescent colors and is guaranteed to crumble on any carpet making the in-laws’ house seem just like mine. If it’s too late to find any of these products, I’d settle for enough time to brush my teeth and comb my hair in the same morning, or the luxury of eating food warmer than room temperature without it being served in a Styrofoam container. If you don’t mind, I could also use a few Christmas miracles to brighten the holiday season. Would it be too much trouble to declare ketchup a vegetable? It will clear my conscience immensely. It would be helpful if you could coerce my children to help around the house without demanding payment as if they were the bosses of an organized crime family; or if my toddler didn’t look so cute sneaking downstairs to eat contraband ice cream in his pajamas at midnight. Well, Santa, the buzzer on the dryer is ringing and my son saw my feet under the laundry room door. I think he wants his crayon back. Have a safe trip and remember to leave your wet boots by the chimney and come in and dry off by the fire so you don’t catch a cold. Help yourself to cookies on the table but don’t eat too many or leave crumbs on the carpet. Yours Always, Mom P.S. - One more thing … you can cancel all my requests if you can keep my children young enough to always believe in Santa. Editor-in-Chief

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Seaside Times December 2009b Edition  

Think of our publication as an extra dimension of our community space, a place where the West Coast culture is treasured and celebrated. We’...