Why We Should Talk to Strangers More – The Atlantic

So many of us have been raised to see strangers as dangerous and scary. What would happen if we instead saw them as potential sources of comfort and belonging?
— Read on www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2021/08/why-we-should-talk-strangers-more/619642/

This could explain some of the appeal of smaller places like Hornby Island.

How ‘The Buzz’ Started at Her Independent Living Facility | Next Avenue

She started The Buzz to keep residents informed about COVID-19 spread at their independent living facility when management failed to do so. Read more here
— Read on www.nextavenue.org/the-buzz-covid-19/amp/

Love #grassroots

Walktober 2019: Finding beauty wherever you go

Walktober 2019: Finding beauty wherever you go

https://breezesatdawn.wordpress.com/2019/11/03/walktober-2019-finding-beauty-wherever-you-go/
— Read on breezesatdawn.wordpress.com/2019/11/03/walktober-2019-finding-beauty-wherever-you-go/

This is a virtual meet up of bloggers. It is so touching to hear and see everyone’s walks. And the bloggers is a gifted writer.

Summer Reading on Hornby Island

Summer on Hornby is too busy for reading or blogging.  Since the rare rainy day has occurred, it is time to refresh my blog.  My reading of the past year has been trapped in the world of grade 7 fantasy books for on online book club for 9 students in Ontario.  This was a spin off from my reaching English as a Second Language online.  I ended the semester with The Handmaids Tale which did not go over well.  Although we had done several dystopian novels, The Handmaids Tale did not rank up there with the Hunger Games or Heartless.  My personal favourite from the book club was Heartless by Marissa Meyer.  It was a prequel to Alice and Wonderland. It has a good plot, good character development and kept the action moving.  Unfortunately, none of these grade 7 students had read Alice in Wonderland so they missed some of the literary allusions.   Sad commentary on children’s reading but there are so many books to choose from it’s hard to pick recommended reads.  I found it challenging to pick books for the book club. Many libraries have lists, Amazon and Goodreads have lists, there are so many lists, I had to make a spread sheet of the lists.  Their favourites were:

  • Little Brother
  • Replica
  • Rebel of the sands
  • Heartless
  • Maze Runner
  • Divergent
  • Hunger Games

The downside to the book club was that I spent my time reading grade 7 books and not my own picks. So I was pleased to have been introduced to some adult reading over the summer.

The first book I was introduced to was Adventures in Solitude by Grant Lawrence at a reading on Hornby Island.  Grant has had a pod cast on CBC about some characters he knew from spending summers in Desolation Sound, north of Powell River and only accessible by boat.  His stories brought back memories of a sailing trip I had to Desolation Sound in 1985.  I could imagine the scenes in his stories.   Grant wrote about the loss of people’s mental health from extended periods of time in the wilderness.  I sometimes wonder if the strange hats people wear on Hornby might be an early warning sign.

The next reading I went to was by Amanda Hale.  I was not familiar with her work but was intrigued by her fictionalized memoir of her father’s internment in England during WWII.  After the long drought of adult reading I welcomed The Mad Hatter.  I couldn’t put it down.  The reference to the mad hatter is indirectly related to Alice and Wonderland and you might think this is my theme for today.  Amanda’s book is being published in Sept 2019.

My third read was picked from the annual Hornby Island book sale.  It was a mystery set in Ireland called The Likeness by Tana French.  She has written a series around a group of Irish detectives.  I enjoyed the Likeness, it kept me reading late at night.  I did however find some inconsistencies in the story line.  I’m interested in reading more of her series. The story has an oddly similar theme to the Replica.

The next reading I went to by Dr Gabor Mate who also lives part-time on Hornby.  I haven’t read any of his books and his reading was from a book he is writing.  The reading was a sell out which is a measure of the wide spread interest in his topic of personal development and spirituality.  In keeping with the mad hatter theme, he did talk about the use of Iowaska, the drug used in Peru to generate deep personal experiences.

I feel fortunate to have attended the wide variety of readings here.  It only takes me 5 min to get there and I don’t have to find or pay for parking for which I also feel grateful.

Links to my reads on Amazon.

Grade 7 reads

My reads

Gabor Mate books on Amazon

 

What have been your summer reads?

 

My adventure with standup comedy.

comedy club smallMy debut as a stand up comedy was a couple of weeks ago here on Hornby Island.  I am hesitant to write about it because I may generate more notoriety for myself. The experience further supports my feelings that I have found my Happy Place on Hornby Island like so many people here.

Our teacher was Jenny Brown who is a Hornby part-timer from Portland Oregon. She broke it down into simple steps and encouraged everyone regardless of how awkward they were. Stand up comedy is a lot like drawing…. people think they can’t do it,  but once it is broken down into steps it is do able by everyone.   The class started out with about 15 people which quickly dropped to 5 courageous souls.  webteaser 6

When people learned I was doing the comedy class the standard response was ‘’oh how scary”. It did not turn out to be scary at all. Once I got up on the stage and people started laughing at my reflections on life on Hornby I felt like I was on a roll.   It was just like joking around with friends which I do all the time. So the only difference was I had to stick to my script.

The downside to doing a public show is that people recognize me around town. I am used to going about my business in total anonymity.   I am still adjusting to my new found celebrity.. small as it is on the island. I have been deeply touched by the feedback I have had from people who recognize me and are so kind to tell me how much they enjoyed my comedy set. There was an audience of about a 100 which was a sell out for the venue and it raised money for someone getting a liver transplant.

I regret waiting to do this until I retired. I should have done it sooner.   Adventures abound close to home and you don’t have to fly to Zanzibar.  My adventures on Hornby have surpassed my Mexican and European adventures with the added advantage of not having to get on a plane or pass through customs. Don’t wait until you’re retired to get outside your comfort zone. Try it out for yourself like Theatersports on Granville Island in Vancouver and elsewhere.

Comedy graphics by Bee Wolf Ray

 

What I’m doing in Retirement

Ok so it took me all morning to write this.  So that is one of the things I am doing in retirement but I am trying to stay away from the computer as much as possible.  The weather has been so cold and rainy this spring in Vancouver I regret not going to Costa Rica where my brother has been spending the winter. I kept thinking it would warm up soon and it did not. I had a two week March break from my teaching gig and so I tried to make the most of it with some local mini adventures. For me an adventure often involves meeting new people. So, I have met quite a few interesting new people over the past week. The first group of people I met were at the Meet-Up Group for Women 55+. There are four of these groups in Vancouver who meet at different locations. I was delighted to meet a retired Richmond school French teacher who was originally from Quebec City so we had several points on intersection as I learned French as a child, am now teaching English as a second language and I also lived in Montreal. Another woman I met was a retired surgeon. When there was a pause in the conversation, I threw out the question “ are all very well established women in Vancouver who have lived and worked here for many years.. why are we all now having to seek out friends through a Meetup Group?” Well that launched a lively conversation. Some of the comments were around the lack of time to socialize when working. IMG_4144

The second francophone I met this week was at one of the French language Meetups and she was from Oromocto New Brunswick. Since I grew up in Saint John we had a lot in common and we had both worked in Ottawa. I talked to here about my conflict between wanting to work at my teaching gig and go south to Costa Rica or Mexico. She remined me that I have a sense of adventure that I have not been tapping into that staffing of the teaching job is not my responsibility! I felt so inspired after talking to her. I also had long interesting chats in the French language Meetup with a young man from Spain who kept try to switch me to speaking Spanish and an older man who told me about his experience work in one of the “stans” in Central Asia. I began to wonder if my tribe is the Francophone tribe in Vancouver.

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The third Meetup I did was the Sketching Group who met at the Vancouver Art Gallery. I once again encountered another charming person, this time a young lady from Vancouver who is living in Halifax. She was in town to complete her book of sketches of Vancouver which is a follow up to her book of sketches of Halifax. We chatted at length on the culture of Vancouver vs Halifax. Then we set to work to do some sketching around the Gallery.

Then yesterday I went to a move at the Vancouver International Film Festival Theater which I think is the new “go to” place for seniors in Vancouver. The gentleman who plonked himself down beside me was very well informed about the arts and fashion community as I discovered at the end of the movie about a Belgian fashion designer Dires. I also went to another movie at the Film Festival this week called “C’est La vie” which is the funniest movie I have seen ages.

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The only downside to the week was a yoga class I went to that was Level 2. I hadn’t read the fine print in the class description. $ 14 for the class and $ 5.00 for parking made this an expensive mistake. I managed a few walks but am still wearing my down parka and toque and I see many others dressed the same way. So I will add a few photos of my walks around Vancouver. The cherry trees are starting to blossom, but my cherry tree pics are from last year.

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