Dateline Victoria: The ferry to Sidney is running again!

San Juan County council members Bob Jarman (left) and Rick Hughes join the town crier from Duncan, BC to celebrate the first ferry run of the spring from the mainland US and San Juan Island to Vancouver Island.
San Juan County council members Bob Jarman (left) and Rick Hughes join the town crier from Duncan, BC to celebrate the first ferry run of the spring from the mainland US and San Juan Island to Vancouver Island.

Victoria, BC – OK, we’ll admit it: it’s been tough not having the easy ride to the island, the last three months. Josie & I think of things to do, plays to see, people to hug, and the Sidney/Anacortes/Friday Harbor ferry hasn’t been scheduled since early January…but now it’s back.

Friday Harbor Town Council member Farhad Ghatan visits with Mountie Jessica, who is on hand to welcome the first ferry of the season.
Friday Harbor Town Council member Farhad Ghatan visits with Mountie Jessica, who is on hand to welcome the first ferry of the season.

One of the parts I like is the opening of the run, around this time. For years now the city of Sidney has put on a nice event to welcome the first ferry of the spring, and this year was no exception.

(Here’s the TV news report of  the welcoming ceremony, from CHEK news, in Victoria.)

Yesterday, we drove up from Victoria in time to see the ferry come around the corner, and to see the first ferry passengers in three months disembarking to the sounds of a bagpiper. The mayors of Sidney, Anacortes & Central Saanich (just below Sidney), as well as members of the county council & town council from San Juan Island spoke to their commitment to keep the ferries running between our two countries.

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Boyd & Lovel Pratt brought a sign to remind folks that San Juan Island is part of the state’s Scenic Byways – wahoo!

Since I moved to Victoria 15 months ago, I’ve been surprised how many friends have come to visit & say, “I had no idea how easy it is to get here.”

Ferries between friends...
Ferries between friends…

I’m betting that’s what you’ll say on your first visit as well. And you can leave the car at home (way cheaper that way!) because the bus runs from Sidney straight to Victoria…or stay & visit Sidney, which among other things has more bookstores per square inch than anyplace, as well as a beautiful walk along the harbour.

And…for Americans, the exchange rate is pretty good right now. Good time to cash in.

Glad to have the ferry back! See you soon!

Ian Byington, foreign affairs reporter for the Update

Yes, it's springtime in Victoria & everything's in bloom...that's Beacon Hill Park in Victoria. All photos by Ian Byington.
Yes, it’s springtime in Victoria & everything’s in bloom…that’s Beacon Hill Park in Victoria. (Click to make it bigger!)  All photos by Ian Byington.

Dateline: Victoria – ho, ho, ho

Peace & season's greetings from Government Street in downtown Victoria. Photo by Ian Byington.
Peace & season’s greetings from Government Street in downtown Victoria. Photo by Ian Byington.

This is part of a continuing series by Update reporter Ian Byington to explain the ways of Canadians to my brother & sister San Juan Islanders, so that you think it’s a good idea to get on the ferry, ride for an hour & ten minutes, and wahoo! you’re in a cool new place that’s all of eight miles from San Juan Island.

It was fun to see Dan Millman's book at Dark Horse Books, with art by San Juan Island artist Taylor Bruce (I love her stuff!)...photo by Ian Byington
It was fun to see Dan Millman’s book at Dark Horse Books, with art by San Juan Island artist Taylor Bruce (I love her stuff!)…photo by Ian Byington

Here are some things you’ll like, and differences to watch for – reporting from Victoria:

• Drivers are more considerate than any place I’ve ever driven. If anyone is in a rear-end fender bender, it’s because they slowed up to let someone go ahead, in front of them. This is very easy to get used to….

• There are math things.

A kilometer is about .6 of a mile. All the signs are in kilometers for distance & speed, so just check your speedometer for the other numbers.

Meanwhile, it’s exciting for San Juan people to see the gas price – at $1.15 presently, that looks like a deal. Problem is, even compared to Friday Harbor pump prices, sharpen your pencil on this one: Vancouver Islanders actually come to Friday Harbor for cheaper gas. That’s because it’s $1.15 per liter (there are nearly four in a gallon – it’s about a quart), so it’s nearly $4.60/gallon here right now.

And yes, Canada is the largest oil supplier to the US. Just don’t keep enough for themselves.

Coffee should be measured metrically, but it’s not – you’ll see the usual ounces, with 12, 16 & 20 being the regular sizes. But not so with stuff in the produce department – fruit, veggies & meat are usually either offered in 100 gram (that’s a quarter pound) portions, or in pounds & ounces…far as I can figure, they use whatever sounds cheaper.

Canadians are bi-lingual & bi-metric, so this causes no fuss, particularly.

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Canadian space hero & rock star Chris Hadfield came by the other day to sign his new book for over 1500 folks at a local bookstore, so we dropped by to wave at him. Woman next to me fainted - thought she was waving at her, but he was saying hey to me. I just know it. Photo by paparazzi photographer Ian Byington.
Canadian space hero & rock star Chris Hadfield came by the other day to sign his new book for over 1500 folks at a local bookstore, so we dropped by to wave at him. Woman next to me fainted – thought he was waving at her, but he was saying hey to me. I just know it. Photo by paparazzi photographer Ian Byington.

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• It’s great to see folks from San Juan Island around the Inner Harbour, looking at the boats. It’s fun to watch the locals here say, “Wanna buy a boat f’ya’self?” to the sage reply, “Got one. ‘S enough. Cheers.”

• OK, you didn’t believe me when I told you Commander Hadfield was a rock star.

Here’s proof, singing with the Barenaked Ladies & The Wexford Gleeks.

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In Victoria, we've gotten to know some of the coolest people in the streets - we'd seen his chalk sidewalk drawings for the past few years, and now have finally met Ian, the guy who creates such amazing work...photo by Ian Byington.
In Victoria, we’ve gotten to know some of the coolest people in the streets – we’d seen his chalk sidewalk drawings for the past few years, and now have finally met Ian, the guy who creates such amazing work…photo by Ian Byington.

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One of our favourite stores, with one our favourite attitudes. Photo by Ian Byington.
One of our favourite stores, with one our favourite attitudes. Photo by Ian Byington.

•  There are lots of things to do in Victoria, starting with shopping.

This time of year leads naturally up to the Greatest Shopping Day of the Year: Boxing Day, the day after Christmas. Much like Black Friday in the US – crowds, pushing & shoving, early lines, and ridiculous penalties for misconduct. Like hockey.

• Canada tried to have Black Friday this year, by the way. Forgot everybody’s at work that day. Sometimes imitation is the sincerest form of flattery; sometimes it’s just silly.

• The way things happen: Josie & I went into five places that were too crowded for breakfast on Saturday, and all five took the time to tell us 2-3 other places to go that we would like. Cheerfully.

That was cool.

• I hope you get a chance to come along from San Juan Island to Victoria & see it all decked out for the season…it’s bright & sweet & warm, even with the cold. Hurry – the WSF ferry to Sidney quits running for three months (early January to the first week of April), so this is your big chance.

And…walk on! Don’t drive! You can catch the city bus (be sure & get the express one) to Victoria (it’s 16 miles, or 1600 kilometers, or half the distance to the moon.) Only $2.50, and cheaper if you’re a senior. Or a kid.

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Looking at The Empress across the Legislature's Lawn, during the Great Blizzard of 2013. You almost certainly have more frost in your freezer.
Looking at The Empress across the Legislature’s Lawn, during the Great Blizzard of 2013 two weeks ago. You almost certainly have more frost in your freezer. Photo at dusk by Update weather reporter Ian Byington.

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Travel correspondent Ian Byington’s special reports to the Update are posted whenever the prose is clear, the photos crisp, and the weather nice enough to go out & play in. He & Josie currently live in Victoria, BC after nearly two decades on San Juan Island. You can visit his new blog at The World According To Brother Ian.

Review: Jill’s “Two Room Flat” is a winner!

Jill Urbach
Jill Urbach

It’s always fun to read someone’s first novel, if only because you feel you know them a little better after finishing it. Islander Jill Urbach has put together a sweet story called Two Room Flat which spotlights two people who know each other’s losses too well, and are thrown together by fate and opportunity. She tells a story in which the plot’s twists help you understand her characters better, with a page-turner’s skill that makes the reader care how things are going to turn out. Jill tells a good tale.

Jill knows her stuff: she addresses the inside world of writers, aviators, publishing, and more with an authority that adds to the authentic voice you hear. You’re going to like this one.

I caught up with Jill and had the chance to ask a few questions. Here’s what I learned: 

Q. It’s fun to follow Claire’s adventures in the writing world, as well in the “learning how relationships work” world. How much of this is autobiographical?

A. Since Two-Room Flat is my first book, very little of Claire’s writing experiences are autobiographical. Rather, I based her experiences on anecdotes of other writers I have met. Claire’s early book-signing experiences are all too realistic, with nobody showing up except her family.

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Now available to order, online!

I completely made up the characters at Robbinswold Publishing in London. I’ve never met anyone like Sir Malcolm, but wouldn’t he be a hoot? And in real life, sexy Steven, the marketing director, would be more of a publicist, hired by the author. But I wanted Steven to work for the publishing company, so I fudged things a bit. Also, the whole process of publishing a book takes longer than it did in my story.

As for Claire’s agent, Flo, I loosely based her on a manager I had when I was an actress in L.A. However, when I attended the Pacific Northwest Writers Conference, I met a New York literary agent who was exactly like Flo. (The book was already written.) I called my husband immediately and said, “I just met the real-life Flo!”

Q. The book traces two people’s paths to healing after great loss. What do you think is the key to arriving at the other end of that path?

A. Hmm, that’s a tough one, and possibly different for everyone. Continue reading Review: Jill’s “Two Room Flat” is a winner!

Islanders in stories from around the ‘Net….

It’s fun to see friends from the island pop up in stories – let’s check them out:

Jess & Matt in Seattle, discussing the missing statue....click here to play the news story from the broadcast.
Jess & Matt in Seattle, discussing the missing statue….click here to play the news story from the broadcast.

You know how Jessica Oldwyn has been wrestling (and winning!) with that brain toomah for the past three years (check her incredibly well written blog for the latest).

Well, last week, she had the Buddha statue from her front yard swiped, and it was cool that the TV folks at KOMO 4 News wanted to make a little story about the former FHHS (’99) grad.

Here’s Jess’s backstory, and click here to see the news story itself.

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Emree, that girl from Friday Harbor....
Emree, that girl from Friday Harbor….

Meanwhile, it wasn’t surprising to see Rhiana Franklin (FHHS ’12) in a music video – she’s been making friends in Nashville with her singing & playing, so she’s making the connections.

She appears in this one by The Cavalry, without singing, and does a good job – check it out!

These days she’s going by Emree Franklin (the name Rihanna’s being used by another performer, as you may have heard).

Last month Guitar Center featured her in its October newsletter, in which she talks about guitars & sings a song….if you haven’t heard Emree before, check this out & you’ll get an idea of why she has a whole island behind her as she moves ahead in the music business – way to go!

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Glenna Hall
Glenna Hall

It was cool to see our Internet/phone trials & tribulations from two weeks ago written up by Glenna Hall for The Atlantic magazine (here’s the essay, called “A Parable of Disconnectedness.”).

Glenna was appointed to the OPALCO Board last summer, so she’s got a front row seat for electrical & connectivity matters here.

A little bit about Glenna:

Glenna retired as a judge of the King County Superior Court in 2008, and currently serves as Judge Pro Tempore for the San Juan Superior and District Courts. She earned her J.D. at the University of Washington School of Law, her M.A. in Political Science from Northwestern University and her B.A. in Political Science with Highest Honors from Douglass College, Rutgers University.

She has served in a variety of judicial, academic and mediation/arbitration roles and has held public office for the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission (Chair and Commissioner) and the Seattle Board of Park Commissioners (Chair and Commissioner).

Since moving full-time to San Juan Island in 2008, she has served on the San Juan Island Library District Board of Trustees and is active with the San Juan Pilots Association, San Juan Singers and Islands A Cappella.

Herbicide to be Used to Benefit Rare Butterfly

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The National Park Service plans to apply herbicide to Canada thistle infesting critical habitat for the island marble butterfly at American Camp, an area of critical importance to the island marble butterfly, announced Superintendent Lee Taylor .

The treatment will target 1.5 acres east of Pickett’s Lane and one acre south of the Redoubt Road. This step is one part of a broad strategy to restore habitat for the island marble butterfly (Euchloe ausonides insulanus), a federal species of concern.

“The island marble butterfly population is dwindling and American Camp is their final stronghold,” Taylor said. “We must take action now to improve and expand habitat for these creatures or they will not survive.”

Herbicide use will help combat nonnative, invasive thistles that compete with island marble butterfly host plants for habitat. Island marble butterflies rely on just a few plant species as a source of food and as a location for laying their eggs.

No road closures are anticipated during the treatment, although a few trails in the immediate vicinity may be closed for a short time. Caution signs will be posted along road ways and trails near the project. Park visitors are urged not to stop along the roadway or enter the area while herbicide operations are taking place.

Herbicide use is the only effective method to control certain invasive species. Annual or biennial weeds in low densities can usually be controlled by pulling if the entire root is removed. With perennial species, such as Canada thistle, which reproduce by fragmentation of roots or shoots, herbicides are necessary to ensure death of the entire plant. Manual or mechanical removal exacerbates thistle infestations because new growth occurs from portions of the plant left in the ground.

“We’ll be using the safest herbicide possible in a focused way on a small area,“ Taylor said. “I believe it is worth it to accomplish the goal of saving a species on the brink of extinction.”

For questions or comments please contact Chief of Integrated Resources Jerald Weaver at 360-378-2240, ext. 2224 or
jerald_weaver [@] nps [.] gov

Free Willy, twenty years ago this year! What have we discovered, what have we learned, what’s left….

It was twenty years ago, today....(actually, July 16th....)
It was twenty years ago, today….(actually, July 16th….)

Do you remember where you were, the first time you saw Free Willy? For me, it was in a movie theatre in Eugene, OR, with a packed house that screamed & cheered & clapped when Willy gets away at the end (see the poster at right, for spoiler). It was a football game where the home team won, a fairy tale that wasn’t Grimm, it was a tale of justice, unpeeled. It was awesome.

Then, during the filming of Free Willy 2 (do you remember this?) there were discussions with the Town Council (in’95) to ask the film’s producers (while they used Friday Harbor for the movie) not to mention the name of Friday Harbor – there were concerns (gasp!) that too many people would come to the island.

Those were the days.

One of the byproduct events of the movie was the eventual real-life release of the whale who played Willy, a captive killer whale named Keiko. Was this a good idea? Did it work out? Did humans learn anything from the experience about orcas, or about themselves?

I got to shake David Kirby’s hand last summer when he was passing through Friday Harbor (WA) on a promotional tour for his new book, Death at SeaWorld. I found him thoughtful, articulate, and an impassioned warrior against marine mammal captivity. Reading Death at SeaWorld made me want to read the article linked below.

He shares his take on what we could have learned, what we missed, and perhaps what lies ahead in this penetrating essay. Let me know what you think.

Here’s the link to David Kirby’s remarks about Keiko on the 20th anniversary of Free Willy.

And…. here’s the trailer for the movie, back then.

Former islander Joe Bongiorno’s new album – it’s out!

Solo piano player Joe Bongiorno
Solo piano player Joe Bongiorno

When I first heard Joe Bongiorno‘s new release, The Flight of a Dream earlier this month, I knew that he had a winner on his hands. I’ve listened to it now maybe six million times…but that’s been a couple of weeks, so I had time. It’s great! (Click here to hear samples – you’ll get it!)

Joe graduated from FHHS in ’87, and lived here for ten years before moving first to Seattle & now Sedona, AZ, where he records internationally known pianists at his home studio…he’s on the rise.

I discovered that he had put a song called The End of the Road (Mabel’s Song) on the album, and although I know Joe well, I didn’t know of anyone named Mabel in his life. His response touched me deeply:

Been asked ALOT about the story behind this song from the new album…. You might remember a post of mine about 9 months back.

This song was inspired by that experience. Here it is from Feb 3rd of this year:

The new album...
The new album…

The doorbell rang this morning. A sweet elderly lady standing there with a worried look. I greeted her and she asked for Mabel. Mabel was the lady who lived in our house previously (we had just moved in four months before), and I knew she had passed away.

I really didn’t want to bear this news to the kind lady. She then told me that she had driven two days from Texas to come to the house to see her. She had written Mabel a letter and it had been returned to sender.

I remember this letter coming before the holidays. She had no other way to attempt contact than to come in person. With a frog in my throat, I let her know that Mabel had passed away. She sighed, as if almost with relief that what she feared was true, and then her eyes welled up sadly.

She looked to her husband still sitting in the car and shook her head sadly. He understood the look & turned away as if to hide his emotion. I invited her in for a little visit but she said sweetly, “It’s time to go home”.

Perhaps this is a reminder to me to reach out more often to friends and family. It’s a reminder, too, that life can change at any moment, for any of us… for someone my age, I have lost very few people who were dear to me.

I am quite sure that I’ll get my fair dose of this in the days to come….

Here’s the song (click here to listen).

Dateline: Victoria…check our neighbour out in the fall!

When you go to Victoria, be sure & take a walk along Dallas Road, along the water, looking south to the Olympics across the strait & up at the hang gliders....photo by Ian Byington.
When you go to Victoria, be sure & take a walk along Dallas Road, along the water, looking south to the Olympics across the strait & up at the hang gliders….photo by Ian Byington.

I was hoping to impress on you how autumn-like it was in Victoria, so I chose the warmest week of the year – this week it hit over 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 C.), with people I meet in the streets saying, “Is it like this all the time, here?” Since I want them to know the truth, I mention that surveys have shown that great numbers of Canadians hope to retire here, as this is known as the warmest, most temperate place in the country. Take that.

Anyway, it’s pretty warm this week, if you ask me.

Here are some other things going on, which I’m telling you about because I hope you’ll come over from the island & visit, soon. I miss you!

Sea
Similar to Popeye the harbor seal down at Friday Harbor’s marina, people go to Fisherman’s Wharf in Victoria to feed the harbour seals there, who are generally quite roundish by the end of the season. Photo by Ian Byington.

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When you come, you’ll want to say stuff that makes it sound like you read a book about “How To Talk Canajun.”

Eh.

 

You already know that it’s a washroom, not a bathroom, that the $1 coin is a loonie (it has a loon on it, for easy reference), the $2 coin is a toonie, and the $5 bill is called a five dollar bill.

It’s kilometres, not miles (here’s an easy reference for converting, using the Fibonacci sequence), and it was fun when someone asked how long Josie & I have been married, and we said nearly five years, or 7.2 in metric.

You know how the Mighty Seahawks have a “12th Man” when the crowd makes itself part of the game – CFL teams have a 13th Man, since there are 12 players.

You know how when you get a “brain freeze” it feels, when you drink something cold too quickly – here it’s called “Slurpee Head.”

And, like San Juan Island, if it’s cool outside it’s probably summer & if it’s hot it’s probably spring or fall. References to “June-uary” and “Fog-ust” are kinda universal.

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Literary types like Karly abound - she was selling tickets for the Shakespeare shows at the Moss Street Market. Photo by Ian Byington.
Literary types like Karly abound – she was selling tickets for the Shakespeare shows at the Moss Street Market. Photo by Ian Byington.

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There was a dog show over at he Delta Hotel, across the harbour...this little guy was a finalist for best prepared for a motorcycle ride, I think. Photo by Ian Byington.
There was a dog show over at he Delta Hotel, across the harbour…this little guy was a finalist for best prepared for a motorcycle ride, I think. Photo by Ian Byington.

It sure was cool that islanders Tom Schultz & his daughters Emily & Alaina dropped by Victoria the other day – great to see how well everyone’s doing & to catch up on stories from the island….

Earlier this week, I got to visit with the Road Scholar group that was visiting Vancouver Island. Group leader Adele Grover was there, too, with the program that is sponsored by Skagit Valley College/San Juan Center. And…they were having a great time!

I hear Brenna Woods will be over this way this weekend, and that the Yacht Club is bringing some 70 people over to the Inner Harbour this weekend as well….

That would be speed bumps. Photo by Ian Byington.
That would be speed bumps. Photo by Ian Byington.

So far, I’ve heard that a lot of islanders have discovered the Royal Scot as an affordable place to stay, just a block from the harbour & a block from the Clipper to get here (if you don’t come on the ferry, which drops you in Sidney, a few blocks from the bus which takes you near the hotel for $2.50)…check it out, especially later in the fall!

And yes, hockey season starts a month early this year, because of the Olympics….the NHL shuts down for nearly a month in the middle of the season so that players can play in the Olympics. So, instead of the end of October, the Canucks have their first game on October 3rd this year…..

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Or...you can just keep going! Vancouver Island is long & seems to just keep going...here's a grey whale decked out with a little kelp that we saw north of Tofino, earlier this year.....photo by Ian Byington.
Or…you can just keep going! Vancouver Island is long & seems to just keep going…here’s a grey whale decked out with a little kelp that we saw north of Tofino, earlier this year…..photo by Ian Byington.

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Travel correspondent Ian Byington’s special reports to the Update are posted whenever the prose is clear, the photos crisp, and the weather nice enough to go out & play in. He & Josie currently live in Victoria, BC after nearly two decades on San Juan Island.

Gearing up for the next 40 years – Go, Wolverine football!

 

The
Memories from the seventies: Celebrating the guys who got it all started, including (from left, in purple) Mike Goff, Pat Sandwith,  Mark Brewer, Craig Blakeway, Ken Franklin (green shirt), Keith Guard (yellow), and Gene Wilson. Photo by Marilyn Goff (thanks, Marilyn!)

Saturday afternoon brought sunshine, a football game with Anacortes High, and a flood of memories as the Wolverines celebrated 40 years of football at Friday Harbor High School.

It was great to see the guys who helped get the program going & cheer for them, and see the Wolverines come oh-so-close as they dropped the season opener to the non-league SeaHawks 20-19.

Around the island

It was
It was great to run into islander Alice Hurd on the ferry to BC – with her was Joe Ngo, who plays Hortensio in this summer’s Island Stage Left production of “The Taming of the Shrew,” which has its final weekend this weekend at Wold Road. Don’t miss it!

It was cool to get a chance to drop by the island for the past few days – during the visit, I ran into folks who had stories to share. Here’s a quick rundown:

Janet & Merritt, in Friday Harbor a few weeks ago.... (Photo by Ian Byington)
Janet & Merritt, in Friday Harbor a few weeks ago…. (Photo by Ian Byington)

Last month, Merritt & Janet Olsen came back to the island to visit, so it wasn’t too surprising to run into them at the Community Theatre – they’ve been in South Dakota since June a year ago, but you could tell they were happy to see everyone on the island…good to see them, too!

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I love what former islander Paige Schmidt (FHHS ’06; UW ’10) posted the other day:

Some 440 photos grace the Fairgrounds' Building's photo display - be sure & drop by & see it! (Photo by Ian Byington)
Some 440 photos grace the Fairgrounds’ Building’s photo display – be sure & drop by & see it! (Photo by Ian Byington)

just looking at kay nielsen’s illustrations for ‘east of the sun and west of the moon.’ wow. i wouldn’t want to live in a world without artists!

I couldn’t agree more…I got the chance to help out on Tuesday with the photo exhibit in the middle of the Fairgrounds Building, and it was great to spend the day saying “Wow!”

There are pictures by folks from all the islands, of all ages (the kids are taking some great ones these days), of all sizes…you’re going to love seeing how much talent there is, all in one place. When everything was done, over 440 framed photos were hung.

So – I agree with Paige. These artists with cameras have shared magic…check it out!

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Darryl flew by Mount Rushmore three weeks ago
Darryl Swenson flew by Mount Rushmore three weeks ago on his way home – he flew his plane from Washington state all the way to eastern Canada (Prince Edward Island) and came back home over the USA, some six or seven thousand miles total, he tells me.
Jonah!
Jonah!

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Three days ago, we got a new islander, as Katie Fleming & Jesse Visciglia welcomed Jonah Patrick. He was born on Tuesday, August 13th at 3:30 pm (7 lbs. 5 oz.).

Everybody’s healthy and happy to be at home relaxing!

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This is the 40th year! Kris Brown has a way for you to help remember island football: 

SUPPORT FRIDAY HARBOR HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL!: Be a part of the 40 Year Celebration Commemorative ProgramWe still have black and white banner ad space available or can talk to you about other advertising options. See this link for details of banner sizes and their costTo pay on-line go to www.purplegoldfh.org or you can also bring your form, ad copy/picture, to Printonyx with your payment.

Fair notes: Can you help? Are you ready? You in, baby?

The Fair is right around the corner - photo by Rebecca Leff, last year.
The Fair is right around the corner – photo by Rebecca Leff, last year.

The Fair starts on Wednesday….you ready?

Ready for the rides! Photo by Kevin Holmes, last year.
Ready for the rides! Photo by Bob Stavers, last year.

Here are some things to check off your list:

• Have you signed up for the 8.8K (that’s 5.5 miles!) Loop Run for Saturday? Here’s the scoop with Island Rec – sign up today!

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• The Trashion Fashion Show is Wednesday night at 8pm….when you signed up (the deadline was last Friday), they reminded you the walk-through was on Tuesday at 6pm. This is me reminding you! Here’s the rules.

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• Last week on the eighth (Thursday) was National Zucchini Day. If that didn’t fire you up to get ready for the Zuke Races, nothing will….

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• Kevin McCullough tells me the PTA needs more volunteers in the PTA Pie Booth. you know, and I know, that you can live for 20 years on the island before you can be called an islander, but it doesn’t count till you do at least one shift, one year in the pie booth. Just sayin’….

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• Remember last year you could give money to the Community Foundation & it would match the donations? Worked great – here’s the story.

They’re doing that again this year – I know because the Friends of Lime Kiln (FOLKS) told me (they’re one of the cool beneficiaries!) Stop by & give a hand!

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Did you hear? The Fair reports:

The San Juan County Fair is pleased to announce that through a generous donation we are able to offer Youth Exhibitors free entrance into the 2013 County Fair. The Youth Exhibitor fee (ages 5-16), which is normally $5.00 for entrance all four days, will be waived this year.

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• Besides the Food Court, here’s the food lineup at the Barbecue Pit:

Join us for one of our nightly BBQ’s:
Wednesday – Paideia Classical School will be serving Paella
Thursday – Dollars for Scholars will be serving BBQ Ribs
Friday – Lions Club will be serving Salmon
Saturday- Purple and Gold will be serving a steak dinner

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Dizzy yet? Photo by Kevin Holmes.
Dizzy yet? Photo by Kevin Holmes.

Dateline: Victoria, with islanders dropping by

It's a common sight - folks feeding the ducks & geese & occasionally gulls at Beacon Hill Park, in the middle of Victoria.
It’s a common sight – folks feeding the ducks & geese & occasionally gulls at Beacon Hill Park, in the middle of Victoria.

It’s so close, isn’t it –  as the crow flies, it’s only 10-11 miles from Friday Harbor to Victoria, and almost as easy, taking the ferry. When you get on the 9:45am ferry from here, you’re in Sidney, BC less than a hour & half later. From there it’s an easy bus ride or car (if you take it) ride to Victoria, a city of over 400,000 folks.

And there are a lot of things to like – let’s look around.

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That's Caroline from the Good Lovelies, playing in Victoria last week....
That’s Caroline from the Good Lovelies, playing in Victoria last week….

Last spring, one of the highlights of the year was the appearance at the San Juan Community Theatre of Canada’s Juno-award-winning folk group, The Good Lovelies. When I visited with them after the show, the most common question I hear folks ask them was, “When are you coming back?”

The Lovelies have a new album out, and are on a Canadian tour that brought them to Victoria last week for a sold-out show that left people smiling & laughing…you can check out their site & hear their tight three-part harmonies on their site and on YouTube….Sue, Caroline & Kerri do an awesome job!

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clark-ian
It’s always good to see friends from San Juan on the ferry on the way to Victoria – last month we ran into Ian & Laura Bolton (left) then watched Shelly & Clark Gilbert shoot selfies on the way to a day on Vancouver Island.
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The gulls get excited when the fishing boats come back to the Inner Harbour, and the crew cleans the catch….
crowd1
It was a month ago (on July first), but Canada Day in Victoria is a great thing for you to put on the calendar for next year, with tens of thousands of red-clad revelers in the street, music on the legislature’s lawn, and fireworks to end the day.
darleen
How cool is that? Josie & ran into island bead artist Darleen Nixon coming back from a trip to Vancouver Island with her college buddies Debbie (left) and Lolly (right) – they all got together for a little college reunion, as they all went to Texas Christian University….

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How cool is that? We caught up with Wendy & Carl on the way to camping on Vancouver Island.....
How cool is that? We caught up with Wendy & Carl on the way to camping on Vancouver Island…..

There was a little Canadian kid, maybe six or seven years old, on the ferry to Friday Harbor yesterday…I was watching him studying a guy who was stretched out & napping on the boat, who then reported to his mom: “They get to sleep on their ferries. Why can’t we?”

I liked it when the ferry folks made an announcement that we were landing in Friday Harbor, and he said, “Hey, Mom! Who’s Freddy Harper?”

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One of the things you’ll want to do is take your evening walk down by the Inner Harbour & watch the sun go down, and the colours of the day soften…beautiful way to bring the day to a close…

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Kinda like Canada Day, BC Day (which was a three day weekend, last week) includes lots of music downtown, including the Victoria Symphony playing on a barge (yellow arrow) in the harbour for people on the Empress' lawn & the grass in front of Parliament...the fireworks at the end shook our windows, a mile away from the water.
Kinda like Canada Day, BC Day (which was a three day weekend, last week) includes lots of music downtown, including the Victoria Symphony playing on a barge (yellow arrow) in the harbour for people on the Empress’ lawn & the grass in front of Parliament…the fireworks at the end shook our windows, a mile away from the water.

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My six month study of this is complete: research shows it to be true.
My six month study of this is complete: research shows it to be true.

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Travel correspondent Ian Byington’s special reports to the Update are posted whenever the prose is clear, the photos crisp, and the weather nice enough to go out & play in. He & Josie currently live in Victoria, BC after nearly two decades on San Juan Island.

 

Review: “The Taming of the Shrew” is amazing!

"The Taming of the Shrew" plays tonight & finishes its run next weekend.
“The Taming of the Shrew” plays tonight & finishes its run next weekend.

It’s always fun to see people smiling at the end of a show as they’re walking out, and there was a lot to smile about with this summer’s production of Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” by Island Stage Left.

The story is set in Italy in the first place, but director Helen Machin-Smith kicks it forward to 1955, with more up-to-date lutes & dress & James Dean hair & glasses. The setting complements the story, adding a romantic air (Jonathan Shue’s song in the middle of the show gets people dancing – nice touch) with a splash of modern stylishness…and it works.

The cast takes it from there, creating distinct people who work hard to get what they want: Petruchio (David Foubert) is looking for a wealthy bride, and is okay with looking past occasional (well, frequent) shrewishness; Bianca (Kimberly Wood) & Lucentio (Jonathan Shue) wend their way through deceit & swapped identities to find love, together; father Baptista (Daniel Mayes) gets himself the two sons-in-law that he was seeking; and Katherine (Kathyrn Metzger) discovers ….well, just wait till the end. She’ll tell you.

One of the challenges of this script is to make Petruchio somehow sympathetic, beginning with his big, brash entrance – David does a good job presenting himself to his future father-in-law with a nice mix of bold earnestness & humor, and shows he’s Kate’s match as he first meets her & quickly, head-spinningly marries her right away.

It’s fun to watch David appear to soften as he turns away from his clashes with Katherine to address the audience, with a resolute grin as he outlines how he hopes to tame the shrewish part of her:

This is a way to kill a wife with kindness,
And thus I’ll curb her mad and headstrong humor.
He that knows better how to tame a shrew,
Now let him speak; ’tis charity to show.

Similarly, Kathryn’s Kate undergoes an evolution from bad-tempered (even her dad is betting against her) to someone you can imagine wanting around. David & Kathryn create a compelling, entertaining dance between their characters, and it’s great theater. It was fun (from where I sat) to hear people laughing through the whole show, except for the parts where they were just chuckling.

The rest of the cast is strong, with Helen’s pacing keeping the show energetic & well-paced, without sacrificing clarity. The subplot with three suitors after Kate’s younger sister Bianca keeps surfacing, as everyone involved pretends they are something they are not (in marked contrast to Petruchio & Katherine, who are straightforward & direct, what-you-see is what-you-get folks).

Each of the “minor” characters plays a major role in holding the story together.

Of special note: ISL regular Alan Geddes’s Grumio is a perfect foil for his master Petruchio, both as the butt & object of his master’s anger and as the person who explains his master to the world; his reactions to the craziness around him are spot on, in one of Alan’s strongest performances to date. Dan’s Baptista is a super mix of respectful elder, slightly dotty parent, and determined dad – he might be a little confused, but he knows what he wants.

Kimberly’s Bianca is delightful, so you can see why the guys like her, and bratty enough for us to see that it’s a two-way street with her sister Kate. I liked the way servants Graham Crawbuck (Biondello) & Jason Marr (Tranio) cheerfully create the confusion that unravels at the end – they are totally likable characters, in a totally likable show.

The play runs tonight at 8 at the Wold Road stage, then next weekend on Friday-Sunday, at 8pm for its last weekend.

This is one you don’t want to miss. I’m going again tonight, and I hope to see you there!

Helping Cathy out….

Proud mom Cathy was all smiles at Jens' FHHS graduation in 2008....photo by Ian Byington.
Proud mom Cathy was all smiles at Jens’ FHHS graduation in 2008… photo by Ian Byington.

It was sad to hear that longtime islander Cathy Cavanagh has cancer, but she’s getting treated at the hospital here on the island with the cheerful but determined attitude she brings to most things. I’ve know Cathy since I came to the island, and it’s easy to feel she has the spirit for this.

Friends of hers have pulled together a way you can help, too – here’s more:

Many of you know that our beloved CPA, community volunteer and wonderful friend has recently been diagnosed with cancer.  A fund to assist Cathaleen Cavanagh with her “out of pocket” medical expenses for cancer treatments has been set up at Islanders Bank at 225 Blair, Friday Harbor or the Orcas Branch, 475 Fern Street, Eastsound.

Checks should be made out to the “Cathaleen T. Cavanagh Cancer Fund.” The proceeds from this fund will be used only for the direct medical expenses not covered by Insurance.  Any donations that exceed Cathy’s out-of-pocket expenses will be gifted to “Peace Island Volunteers” to help them continue their mission in assisting our local Peace Island Medical Center patients with their clinic and other medical needs.

The family and many friends of Cathy sincerely appreciate your concerns, good wishes financial assistance.

Sincerely,
Family and friends for the Cathy T. Cavanagh Cancer Fund 

Just married – congratulations, Judy & Ellen!

In yesterday's ceremony at the Community Theatre, brides Judy Lingerfelt & Ellen Roberts listen as Rabbi Sarah Newmark sings, under the wedding canopy (chuppah) designed by Judy for the evening, representing the home they have built together.
In yesterday’s ceremony at the Community Theatre, brides Judy Lingerfelt & Ellen Roberts listen as Rabbi Sarah Newmark sings, under the wedding canopy (chuppah) designed by Judy for the evening, representing the home they have built together. (Photo by Ian Byington)

Sometimes you’re lucky….that’s how I felt when Josie & I attended our good friends Ellen & Judy’s wedding ceremony at the Community Theatre last night.

The brides were beautiful, family & friends were plentiful, the ceremony was both moving & uplifting, and folks left with that glow that comes from attending something special. Together for 18 years, the two were able to tie the knot after the right to marry for same-gender couples became legal in Washington state last fall (previous stories: in December & after the election in November). Here’s more, in remarks prepared by the family:

Judy (left) and Ellen enjoy the reception in the Theatre's lobby with music, food, cake & friends & family. (Photo by Ian Byington)
Judy (left) and Ellen enjoy the reception in the Theatre’s lobby with music, food, cake & friends & family. (Photo by Ian Byington)

This was a first for the San Juan Community Theatre, hosting a wedding on the patio of the Steele Memorial Garden.  About 100 relatives and friends gathered from around the country and Canada to celebrate with Judy Lingerfelt and Ellen Roberts at their wedding.

Rabbi Sarah Newmark of Gig Harbor performed the ceremony under the chuppah that Judy designed and created. Angel Michaels sang Dodi Li, a traditional setting of the verse, “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.” The reception featured music sung by many friends of the couple, accompanied by Jim Collado.

Ellen and Judy moved to the island 11 years ago, after Judy retired from teaching elementary school in Vancouver, WA. Ellen worked until retirement here as a social worker. Why did they choose to be married at the theatre? Ellen says it is her “home away from home,” where she volunteers primarily as a stage manager. Judy and Ellen love the arts. The active community theatre, along with scenic beauty and the quiet lifestyle, attracted them to live in Friday Harbor. Judy and Ellen love the supportive community with so many opportunities to contribute their time and skills to improve the lives of others. They volunteer through Soroptimists and other local organizations.

Spreadin’ the love: Aaron on Q13 last night, with support from Pat O’Day….

Aaron D'Errico's dreams are on the move!
Aaron D’Errico’s dreams are on the move!

Pretty cool when you have a dream (as reported here last week), and you have a Rock n’ Roll Hall of Famer like Pat O’Day behind you. The TV station did a nice story about Aaron, his background, his challenges, and what he has ahead. This is awesome….check it out!

Here’s the video from the Q13 report – and it’s inspiring!

Way to go, Aaron! We’re proud of you!

Remembering a memorable Fourth…..

Lots of folks have their own angle on the Fourth….Josie & I came over for the holiday (it’s a holiday week, with Canada Day last Monday for a long weekend, as folks say in Canada) & it was great to get out all over the island & see people, swapping stories & hugs & lots of smiles…. here’s a little bit to share of a beautiful sunny day…great to see you!

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Arrrrgh! There be pirates, in the parade on the Fourth! And they snagged the Judges' Choice award in the parade....
Arrrrgh! There be pirates, in the parade on the Fourth! And they snagged the Judges’ Choice award in the parade….

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Longtime islander Sam Buck (with Barbara) served as the parade's Grand Marshall for 2013.
Longtime islander Sam Buck (with Barbara) served as the parade’s Grand Marshall for 2013.

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The American Legion's Uncle Sam made an impressive appearance again this year....
The American Legion’s Uncle Sam made an impressive appearance again this year….

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The Community Band...awesome again this year!
The Community Band…awesome again this year!

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Tim Lance and the Tease fired up the crowd at the Pig War Picnic.....
Tim Lance (on mike) and the Tease fired up the crowd at the Pig War Picnic…..

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The log rolling contest was an all-age affair, as sisters Soma & Fela square off at Roch Harbor's festivities.
The log rolling contest was an all-age affair, as sisters Soma & Fela square off at Roche Harbor’s festivities.

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Smiling in the Fourth of July sun, as Lindsay takes the family picture at Roche Harbor.
Smiling in the Fourth of July sun, as Lindsay takes the family picture at Roche Harbor.

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Vote early & often: Two islanders look for support for their art

Well, it looks like two islanders – a writer & a cartoon artist – are moving ahead in their work, and the recognition that goes with it. Both are in contests now, and you can help them by voting for their work! Let me tell you about this, starting with Wendy Wiegert & continuing with Aaron D’Errico. Here’s the scoop:

Wendy
Wendy

Wendy told me about her contest three weeks ago, and she has made it into the second round. She tells me that the prize is getting her book published (wahoo!) and now that she’s in the semi-finals; by my count, there is only she & six others still standing.

Here’s the deal: The contest involves writing one’s story around the title of a song, and Wendy’s is “In Walked Love,” which is even cooler after you read her synopsis.

Last round, people voted for the different contestants’ synopses, with voting ending last weekend & Wendy moving to the semis. This round, she & the other contestants share the first 300 words. People vote on that every day till July 7th (yep, the contest says you can vote every day! I did!)

So, here’s the link to the contest (Wendy’s story is “In Walked Love”) – see what you think (not to influence your vote, but I read the others, and liked Wendy’s the best)…and vote!

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Ammon...the cover. Art by Aaron D'Errico.
Ammon…the cover. Art by Aaron D’Errico.

That could lead to Wendy’s story coming alive in print. Meanwhile, my good friend Aaron D’Errico is aiming for getting his first comic book made, as he explains in this detailed note about how you can help. He placed in the top 20 of three different Stan Lee Talenthouse art contests, so he’s been chosen by Talenthouse to launch his own global art contest to find an illustrator to draw the 22-page comic book for his soccer-hero, Ammon©.  

His success story was featured on TalentHouse’s blog – you can read it here. (Wow!)

He says:

I was wondering if you you would help me get the word out about my contest, because by me getting enough participation for my contest I could be sponsored and have my first comic book made.

Here’s the link where artists enter my contest, via Talenthouse. Here how it works, and I’ve also included the contest info/guidelines below as well.

Aaron (hat) with his twin brother Adam....photo by Ian Byington
Aaron (hat) with his twin brother Adam….photo by Ian Byington

“Calling ALL artists!”  Have you ever dreamed of illustrating a superhero comic book?  Now’s your chance!

Local award winning artist and writer Aaron D’Errico is hosting a global art contest via Talenthouse.com to find a great artist to illustrate the origin story of his futuristic soccer superhero: Ammon!

Artists can download the five page comic sample script I wrote for Ammon, as well as art references of my character designs.

I was selected to be a contest host after placing in the top 20 of three different art contests for Talenthouse, hosted by legendary Spider-Man co-creator, Stan Lee.

The goal of the contest is to get as many artists involved as possible.

By getting enough interest from artists participating in my contest on Talenthouse, I will be sponsored by Adidas, Nokia, or Vitamin Water. Continue reading Vote early & often: Two islanders look for support for their art

Dateline: Victoria – what’s going on across the water?

Among tens of thousands of other folks, we caught Miss Canada (Melanie Williamson) in the Victoria Day Parade....she was waving to me, I think, and Josie, and a hundred people on the sidewalk with us...
Among tens of thousands of other folks, we caught Miss Canada (Melanie Williamson) in the Victoria Day Parade….she was waving to me, I think, and Josie, and a hundred people on the sidewalk with us…

It’s been a while since you & I checked in.

I’m happy to report that Victoria remains THE tourist destination for you, this summer. Only $6.90 to walk on the WSF ferry, and $2.50 to ride the bus from Sidney to Victoria, which leaves plenty of money for ice cream.

Ann Larson dropped by for the weekend with her friend Kyle....it was good to catch up with them to drink tea (that's what I had, anyway) and look over the harbor....
Ann Larson dropped by for the weekend with her friend Kyle….it was good to catch up with them to drink tea (that’s what I had, anyway) and look over the harbor….

Tens of thousands turned out for last week’s Victoria Day Parade through town, and a mob was here last weekend for the Swiftsure boat races….make your plans, and come over….you’ll be glad you did.

In other news:

The provincial elections were last week, with the Liberals (who are the more conservative lot) beating the New Democrats (the NDP, who are pretty liberal) in an upset, as the NDP were expected to bump the Libs out of control of the legislature. The Green Party surprised people by winning their first seat ever, and the Conservatives (more conservative than the Liberals, hence the name) surprised folks by getting nearly 5% of the vote; less of a surprise, they won no seats, just like last election..

The Royal Scot is an awesome place to stay, if you're looking for a place, and their bear will rub your head if you ask.....
The Royal Scot is an awesome place to stay, if you’re looking for a place, and their bear will rub your head if you ask…..

There’s a new frozen yogurt place in Cook Street Village that I’ll take you to, if you come to visit.

It’s fun to bump into Friday Harbor folks on the streets…we saw Ann Larson last week, the island’s Road Scholar program (with trips to Victoria) begins next week, and we see San Juan Island’s George Smith around the neighbourhood, too.

The next great party here is Canada Day (July 1st), with music all day & night, and fireworks over the harbour, and people in the street all day….awesome. Make plans!

Currency: The US dollar is near par with the Canadian dollar (it was $1US = .97CAD earlier today), so it’s easy to budget for the visit.

Here are a few pictures I took for you, to show you a bit of what’s up here.

Yep, that's Darth Vadar playing the violin for tips, downtown on a sunny weekend day....
Yep, that’s Darth Vadar playing the violin for tips, downtown on a sunny weekend day….
The birds & flowers & kids are all running around Beacon Hill Park this spring (those are Canada geese, not Portuguese....)
The birds & flowers & kids are all running around Beacon Hill Park this spring (those are Canada geese, not Portuguese….)
Caught this last week - someone put this blownup elephant on this tough guy's motorcycle while he was getting a cuppa at Starbuck's....fun to watch everyone in the place watch him go back to his bike....
Caught this last week – someone put this blownup elephant on this tough guy’s motorcycle while he was getting a cuppa at Starbuck’s….fun to watch everyone in the place watch him go back to his bike….

Travel correspondent Ian Byington’s special reports to the Update are posted whenever the prose is clear, the photos crisp, and the weather nice enough to go out & play in. He & Josie currently live in Victoria, BC after nearly two decades on San Juan Island.

Congratulations! Emily & John get married last weekend!

Emily cuts the cake as John looks on - someone in the crowd yelled, "It ain't surgery, John!" b ut the cake was cut very precisely, anyway.
Emily cuts the cake as John looks on – someone in the crowd yelled, “It ain’t surgery, John!” but the cake was cut very precisely, anyway. That’s them in miniature on the cake, in the plane. Photo by Ian Byington.

Great news!

The sun came out & the sky cleared for the event: longtime islanders Emily Reed & John Geyman were married Saturday, and met up with a couple hundred well-wishers for a reception at Ernie’s, which ended with John flying Emily in his plane around the island, to the delight of the cheering crowd.

Emily came to the island in the seventies after serving as dean of students at Berkeley, coming to work as counselor at Friday Harbor High before producing her well-known “Emily’s Guides” of the San Juan Islands, as well as editing other folks’ books and usually juggling a bunch of projects at one time, including working as a group leader for the Skagit Valley College Road Scholar program.

Most folks know John from his years as a doctor at the medical center up until his retirement. He too is a writer.

Congratulations, you two!

John & Emily head to the plane.....photo by Nancy DeVaux
John & Emily head to the plane…..photo by Nancy DeVaux
John & Emily head for the plane....(it's behind the one in the picture....)
John & Emily on the tarmac….(it’s behind the one in the picture….)…photo by Ian Byington, wedding photographer (not! 🙂 )

Dateline: Victoria – springtime notes, eh?

A street perfomer who makes balloon animals takes a quick iPhone break, on a sunny weekend day near the Empress Hotel on the Inner Harbour.
A street perfomer who makes balloon animals takes a quick iPhone break, on a sunny weekend day near the Empress Hotel on the Inner Harbour.

I thought I would take a moment to report in from 7 miles away that Victoria had a sunny summer–like weekend just now, just like you. I see it is my purpose in life to report to you what I see in the streets, so here goes:

•  Hockey isn’t going very well. Our beloved Canucks lost their playoff series last night with San Jose, but people will still crowd the bars, taverns, and pizza places, to see the other guys play. Meanwhile, it’s nice to see that the Mariners are playing Victoria native Michael Saunders regularly in the outfield, and using Jason Bay (Trail, BC) a good bit lately.

The music scene is quite diverse in lower-island Vancouver Island, as you can tell from the way this used CD shop is organized.
The music scene is quite diverse in lower-island Vancouver Island, as you can tell from the way this used CD shop is organized.

• Someone asked me 2 months ago if it was a good idea to come see Butchart Gardens, with the rainy late-winter weather and all.

I’ve seen the gardens in all four seasons, and there is no bad time to catch them. However, the next few weeks are a brilliant time to take that short ferry trip from Friday Harbor to Sidney to visit, with all the springtime blooms. Since the twice a day ferry doesn’t start until mid-June, that means you’ll have to spend the night, but I’m pretty sure you’ll be glad you did.

It was fun to run into Princess Leia at a used DVD shop downtown.... photo by NASA photo contributor Josie Byington.
It was fun to run into Princess Leia at a used DVD shop downtown…. photo by NASA photo contributor Josie Byington.

• People asked me what music is like here in the Victoria area, and I can say with assurance that it’s alive and diverse, with Sting, Leo Kottke, Steve Miller, and other famous groups dropping by, while the coffee houses and taverns seem to have someone playing somewhere nearly every night.

It was cool to see 25-year-olds cheering for classic rock band at the Irish Times the other night, older folks at the sky Festival last summer, and a mix of all kinds of music set for the summer program in Beacon Hill Park. Sounds good.

It was cool to run into islanders James Krall (he's teaching in Alaska these days), Nancy Young (she's selling real estate on the island), and grandaughter Jenny MacDonald (she's at the University of Victoria) all getting together to take Nancy & James' mom Ann to dinner for her 80th a few weeks ago in downtown Victoria - James flew in just for the occasion, and it was great to see a surprised grandmother. Happy birthday, Ann!
It was cool to run into islanders James Krall (he’s teaching in Alaska these days), Nancy Young (she’s selling real estate on the island), and grandaughter Jenny MacDonald (she’s at the University of Victoria) all getting together to take Nancy & James’ mom Ann to dinner for her 80th a few weeks ago in downtown Victoria – James flew in just for the occasion, and it was great to see a surprised grandmother. Happy birthday, Ann!

• One of the interesting things about living on this side of the water from the island is discovering that folks have concerns about looking after the area, just like islanders do.

Local islander Steve Miller has a date in June in Victoria.....
Local islander Steve Miller has a date in June in Victoria…..

We’ve attended protests at the legislature addressing forest use, attended lectures that speak to the Kinder Morgan pipeline, heard about what people think about coal trains, and found a number of folks ready to work hard to be good stewards of the province’s resources.

To go with all that, the provincial election is in a week, and presently the NDP (liberal) folks are expected to take control of the legislature from the Liberals (middle-of-the-road), with the Greens hoping to win a few seats (they were only 3 percentage points from winning a by-election in November), and the Conservatives (called the Tories) expected to cut into vote totals, but only a bit…the Tories presently don’t hold a seat in the 85-seat legislature, and so far I haven’t seen one of their signs anywhere, although I’m guessing they’re putting their money into other parts of the province, where they have a better chance.

If that seems unbalanced or something, consider that Alberta next door has 87 seats, and only nine are NDP or Liberal there.

Spotted in Cool Street Village, just a few blocks from downtown....take what you you need!
Spotted in Cool Street Village, just a few blocks from downtown….take what you you need!

Travel correspondent Ian Byington’s special reports to the Update are posted whenever the prose is clear, the photos crisp, and the weather nice enough to go out & play in. He & Josie currently live in Victoria, BC after nearly two decades on San Juan Island.

Don’t weight!

Shelly
Shelly

It’s time: Don’t weight any more!

Last year, I knew something had to give….I had gone over the 200 pound mark, and plain felt bad.

I knew that Shelly VanSkyhawk was working with folks with weight issues, and I was hearing about good results. So I called Shelly, and in three months, had left 37 pounds behind. I was pretty pleased…

This sounds like one of those testimonials, I guess, but I just want to say I really enjoyed working with Shelly – she has a cool, calm, professional but warm manner that was a key part to the success I had. Here’s a little writeup of her process, and check her website for more about the coaching services she offers. You’ll be glad you did!

Thanks, Shelly!