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The Return of the Sea Lions

The Return of the Sea Lions

For a week I had been hearing a colony of sea lions barking across the Bay and although I had viewed them from the dock I also was eager to observe them from the water however the weather was not cooperating with my plan. The winds had been playing havoc on the waters and the temp was near freezing so I waited impatiently for the weather to be more agreeable for a paddle.

Yesterday was picture perfect!IMG_7837

The sun was shining, the winds ceased blowing, the water was flat and my kayak was beckoning.
Each year the sea lions come for a visit. They just inexplicably appear, stay for a couple of weeks and then depart as mysteriously as they arrive. I find these winged foot mammals fascinating.

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Top Ten Sea Lion Facts

• Sea Lions enjoy relaxing and basking in the sun
• The males are called bulls and the females are called cows
• Males are massive and can weigh from 1,500 pounds to 1 ton in exceptional cases and can also be up to 11 feet long
• Females are smaller with an average weight of 700 pounds
• Female Sea Lions become part of a harem with a male that protects them
• They give birth to pups, which are born on land and can weigh up to 50 pounds at birth
• A Sea Lion is able to dive up to 600 feet for food in the water
• They can remain under the water for up to 40 minutes before surfacing for air
• They can swim at up to 25 miles per hour but generally they only move about 10 miles per hour unless they feel threatened
• The average life span in the wild for a Sea Lion is 20 years1

A link to Pacific Ocean Sea lions:
http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=pacific+ocean+sea+lions&qpvt=pacific+ocean+sea+lions&FORM=IGRE#a
Are you a nature lover? What excites you about the outdoors?

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6 Comments

Posted by on December 7, 2013 in Open for Discussion

 

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DANCING IN THE KITCHEN

DANCING IN THE KITCHEN

In years gone by we would go out dancing. I loved dancing and considered it a much needed work out as much as a way to connect with others. When I think back, this was a fitting attitude for me to employ since I lacked any rhythmic or dancing talent. However lack of dancing ability never held me back. With arms flailing and feet gyrating, in beat or not, I threw myself into the fast moving heat of the moment. We would dance until we literally worked up a sweat, resting a moment, refreshing ourselves with cocktails and rehydrating with water and then joining back with the other frenzied dancers under the shimmering mirror ball on the dance floor of the disco. I wasn’t kidding when I said ‘in years gone by’.
disco ball
At most dances there was little to no conversation as I recall as the booming music was deafening loud. Once we outgrew the discos we would still join others and kick up our heels at a community dance or at a house party. Dancing the night away was a great way to spend time with friends and to work off those extra calories. Nowadays we don’t go out dancing much however after dinner we do crank up the music and let loose with our uninhibited and unrestrained moves. Some nights we groove to oldies, other nights we dance close and lovingly sway to old romantic favorites.

After dinner at our daughter’s home her kitchen also becomes a dance floor. She, her husband and two kids amuse us with their astonishing and exceptional smooth moves. The songs are often sung or belted out karaoke style, sometimes a budding musician pounds out a mysterious tune on the piano or guitar, mostly our daughter chooses pop tunes of her era and we all shake our booty while the kids command the dance floor and put on the real show.
076air guitar 5kids dancing
We all join in during clean up and perform the quick step as we clear the table, bebop our way to the dishwasher, hip hop as we scrape leftovers into the waste bin, or slow dance by the light of the open refrigerator.
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One festive evening not too long ago there was cause to celebrate a birthday. Following dinner, our son-in-law Rob went into the kitchen to light the abundant candles on the birthday cake. The dancing music proceeded in full force and young and old were shaking and gyrating with vigour. Some with more enthusiasm than others, some with smooth moves and others taking calculated risks that involved injuring others. (Caution, dancing is not a spectator sport and can cause injuries.) Meanwhile one song ended, another began. This new song Bohemian Rhapsody happened to be a big favorite of Rob’s. The words of this song are gruesome,‘Mama I Killed a Man’ but has become an all time favorite and is sung at most celebration dinners. Why that song? Honestly I don’t know or we just can’t remember.

However, the lit cake was left abandoned on the counter as Rob wholeheartedly grabbed center stage (a coveted floor space dividing dining room and kitchen) and danced off his entire meal plus amazed us with his innate aptitude at playing air guitar! While directly behind him scores of small fires were glowing brightly, smoke was curling upwards, candles were delicately melting and a coconut topped cake was browning. The aroma of the toasting coconut alerted us to the kitchen being ablaze mere seconds before the fire alarm drowned out the blasting music. You can see the burning cake in the background of the following picture.burning cakeG Bday Cake 2011
Much to our hilarity the cake was presented and enjoyed, melted candles, toasted coconut and all. It was a night of dancing not to be forgotten…

A few notes…
Dancing is all about letting go of your inhibitions so don’t try to look cool because dancing is all about having fun. Following are my personal three commandments of dancing:

1. Thou shall let go of restrictions and allow the music to draw you in
2. Thou shall just relax, get up off that chair, feel the music and bend your knees, one leg at a time while channelling your natural fun seeking and creative impulses
3. Thou shall not light birthday candles until the song ends…

Following is a youtube link that teaches you how to dance to Lip Gloss by Little Mama

 
14 Comments

Posted by on June 15, 2013 in Open for Discussion

 

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SWEET SPOT

Sometimes when I’m curled up on the couch with a cup of tea, comfortably relaxed and enjoying one of my favorite things which is reading, the sun shines down from the skylight like a spotlight, glowing, sparkling, warming me and gently illuminating the words I am reading.  I call this the ‘sweet spot’.sweet spot

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2013 in Bits & Bites

 

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Take a Hike!

Take a Hike!

“You cannot travel the path until you become the path itself”
Ancient Buddhist saying

What’s the best way to enjoy a day outdoors?

HIKING, of course!

Mt. Tzhouhalem

Cairns on Mt. Tzhouhalem

Samsun Narrows Bluff Hike

Samsun Narrows Bluff Hike

Besides being healthy and invigorating for me it’s always been a pleasurable way to spend time outside. Hiking provides a physical challenge as well as a break from today’s hectic living and offers the tranquility of the forest as well as the thrill of connecting with nature.
Vancouver Island is rich with hiking trails and a moderate climate, allowing for year round opportunities of hiking where we can observe unique ecosystems and an abundance of wildlife and wildflowers. The pleasures promised by a hike on one of the many trails never fail to tempt me to strap on a pack and lace up my hiking boots. The scenery at the top of a mountain is without a doubt well worth the effort it sometimes takes to climb there. Rock outcroppings offer rest spots with breathtaking vistas, eagles soar overhead and birdsong fills the clear, brisk air. The rewards are immeasurable.

There are no guarantees that the wilderness you’re hiking today will still be there tomorrow, therefore when it comes to sharing and enjoying nature a little consideration is crucial. More people are finding pleasure in the outdoors and the evidence of public recreation and the effect on the environment is becoming increasingly apparent. Even one hiker can have an impact on the fragile wilderness and hopefully we can retain the essence of the outdoors by using good ethics and practicing ‘no-trace hiking’. Carrying out everything we bring into the forest, treating the forest and the trails with respect and leaving “only our footprints behind”.

Genoa Bay HikeCairns on Mt TzhouhalemMaple Mountain View of Maple Bay

So strap on a packsack, lace up your boots and hit the trails.

But before you head out here are a few significant points to keep in mind.
• Insure that you are physically prepared
Carry a fully stocked backpack
• Break in your boots before the hike
• Wear wicking socks
• Research your hike and be familiar with the area
• Leave a detailed note as to where you are hiking and when you are expecting to return
• Carry the ten basic essentials

TEN BASIC ESSENTIALS

1. Water and plenty of it
2. Food including high energy snacks
3. Rain gear and change of socks
4. Hat and sun block
5. First aid kit
6. Waterproof matches or lighter
7. An extra layer of clothes
8. Whistle
9. Pocket knife
10. Compass and map of area

Once you are on the trail you will experience the inspirational rewards of embracing the wilderness, just watch your footing, respect the environment and enjoy the moment.

Happy Hiking!

When did you last go on a Hike?

What are your thoughts on development versus green spaces?

Interested in more hiking tips?

Click on this link to review a hiking book called:  Hiking With Marianne

Hiking Book Hiking with Marianne

Hiking Book
Hiking with Marianne

 
6 Comments

Posted by on April 28, 2013 in Open for Discussion

 

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Random Acts of Kindness

Random Act of KindnessGarden Fairy or Random Act of Kindness?

We enjoyed an amusing surprise this morning after spotting an intruder positioned in our rock garden.  Standing tall stood an iron lily that had not been present the previous day.  After accusing each other of planting this arrangement of non perishable flowers in our garden, and each in turn adamantly denying the act, we came to the consensus that a benevolent and fun loving garden fairy must have stopped by in the night.   The lily adds interest and color to a drab garden and also added some curiosity and color to what could have been a drab morning!

What acts of kindness or generosity have you committed or been accused of lately?

 
9 Comments

Posted by on March 24, 2013 in Open for Discussion

 

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NO BULLY ZONE

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This wood sign was inspired by Maila Moon

Two years ago, for a period of approximately 6months, my granddaughter a happy, loving, kind hearted grade two student was bullied by a classmate.  She was subjected to a number of significant and violent incidents and the bullying was finally resolved by the removal of the bully from her classroom.   But not before she was emotionally and physically scarred by the bully.

Bullies are cowards and they get their power from hurting others.

In my granddaughter’s words “It doesn’t feel good to be bullied.” With the support and encouragement of her parents she used her experience to gain additional strength, determination and empowerment. She began attending a Ju Jitsu class to work on her physical prowess and she also created a bullying video which allowed for emotional strengthening as well.

Maila Moon’s video which she created two years ago was chosen for an award and is attached below. Creating the video and receiving support from all those who love and care for her has helped Maila Moon to recover from this bullying experience and aid in healing her emotional wounds. She has experienced firsthand the harm that comes from being bullied and does not want anyone else to suffer as she did.  At the end of her video Maila Moon asks “When Will Bullying Stop?

Do your part and intervene, don’t be a passive bystander.

Together let’s stop supporting bullying behavior!

Link for video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5xIbKWlYvU&feature=related

Note:  According to a study by the University of British Columbia, based on 490 students (half female, half male) Canadian Bullying Statistics show that 64 percent of kids have been bullied at school and 12 percent are bullied regularly (once or more a week).

Pushing, shoving, punching, teasing, excluding people from a group, or encouraging others to “gang-up” on selected persons, are all forms of bullying.   In the majority of cases, bullying stops within 10 seconds when peers intervene, or do not support the bullying behavior. So herein lays the solution. We must identify bullying behavior, empower our children with anti bullying techniques and encourage adults to intervene and not be passive bystanders.

We must work together to stop supporting bullying behavior!

 
3 Comments

Posted by on March 22, 2013 in Open for Discussion

 

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DON’T BLEED ON THE WOOD!

DON’T BLEED ON THE WOOD!
An Example of one of the Carved Lintels

An Example of one of the Carved Lintels

DON’T BLEED ON THE WOOD!

Some years ago, following my urge to cut, carve and gouge, I became one of a group of apprentices participating in a Community Center Carving Project. The group project was led by George Norris, a celebrated artist, sculptor and wood carver. I longed to learn carving from a master and our task was to carve intricate details in broad wooden lintels that would be placed throughout the Community Center. George shared many insights, from his rich career of carving with the group, among which was an important lesson: Don’t bleed on the wood as it penetrates the grain and unfortunately there is only one way to remove blood stains from wood and that is by removing the blood stained area, hence the wood itself.

Carvings on Yellow Cedar Posts

Carvings on Yellow Cedar Posts

I learned this important lesson by experience while blood spurted wildly from a hand wound, caused by my ineptness with a lethal weapon aka the number seven carving tool. I mention that it was a number seven so that anyone who is aware of carving tools can appreciate how hazardous this tool can be in the hands of a beginner. Anyone who can’t imagine the damage that it can cause may want to check out my scar, a rather large one, to validate this.

Carving Exercise Block

As you might imagine I yelped a little when I stabbed my own hand, drawing the attention of the master carver who quickly came to my side to observe, not my wound, but the lintel where I had unknowingly leaked some blood. While I stanched the flow of blood as best I could, George quickly drew up a plan to remove the bloodied wood and in haste created an altered carving design to accommodate the removal of the bloodstain. There was no denying that my bloody wound came second to the importance of the lintel being carved.

Artists and artisans often recall with fondness the words of wisdom from a mentor and for me the words I remember most fondly as my first words of professional advice were

DON’T BLEED ON THE WOOD!

What words of wisdom do you recall from a mentor?

 
4 Comments

Posted by on March 13, 2013 in Bits & Bites

 

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