The SPIRIT CHALLENGE

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A few months back, you may recall my brother, Spirit (aka James to his big sister) played a sold out crowd at the Old Firehall in Rossland BC.  The show was a great success and the crowd was suitably impressed.  Meanwhile, Spirit was working on a very big project, the description of which follows….in his own words.

“I’ll always think of myself as a fortunate person. Why? Because I have the opportunity to live my passion by performing music for a living and share this gift with others. As an “Acoustic Live Looping Artist”, I am excited about performing and growing as an Artist, but also feel I should give back to society and to my community on many levels as I become more successful. This event will definitely be on a new level for me!

The recognition of these gifts I’ve been given starts with my parents, both of whom I lost to Cancer. They were an integral part of my musical beginnings – which I’m sure they knew. That being said, one level that I continually give back to my community is by raising donations for the Canadian Cancer Society. Because my parents dealt with Cancer, I’m under the impression that this disease could be fairly genetically prominent to me.

Moving forward, I will raise funds for the C.C.S. by way of a 6 day musical marathon. Yes, that’s right, I will be playing guitar for a period of 125 hours to break the Guinness World Record set in 2008. The 6 day event will take place at River Rock Casino Resort from Monday, May 7th, 2018 to Saturday, May 12th 2018. Great Canadian Casinos have been a strong supporter of my performances, and they have stepped up in a big way to support this event, for which I can’t thank them enough. I also have many people in my life who challenge me and respect the unique aspect of this event. I’m grateful to have them by my side!”

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OK…so scrolling forward…not only did he complete the Challenge, but he also raised over $10,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society!!!!  

What a week it was!  Our brother, Joe, also a musician, came out from Toronto to manage the event.  He had numerous friends also participate and support him.  I drove down to Vancouver on Thursday to give Joe a break and I always enjoy listening to my brother play!

There were many memorable moments….at one point, a young woman with a guitar and a backpack came up to the stage to check out the scene.  She told me her name was Sarah Wheeler and she was waiting for the bus to go to a recording studio in the Gulf Islands.  AND she was a cancer survivor!  Spirit invited her up on the stage to play a few songs with him!

9B6501A0-7733-45CA-8067-CF87FA24B182At the big finale, there was an elderly woman, kind of reminded me of my mom, watching the show.  I spoke with her briefly, she was so impressed…the whole scene was so surreal and so very emotional!

If you are interested in Spirit’s music you can check out the following links…

http://www.spiritcool.com

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Leaving Winter…Entering Spring!

The snowbirds have flown over the mountains and landed on the Sunshine Coast! We were delayed a day getting on the road due to a very heavy snowfall in Rossland on Saturday! So when we awoke on Sunday morning and the roads had been cleared of snow, we jumped into the ready packed truck and hit the road, Jack! Yes, we arrived home late on Sunday night April 8. Roads were dry and we had some sunny warm weather….it was especially beautiful in Horseshoe Bay where we could appreciate the daffodils and flowering plum trees while we waited for the ferry.

It was pure joy to wake up Monday morning in our own comfy bed to the sounds of the songbirds and chickadees! Everything is soooo green here! No dirty snowbanks! And, as usual, we had kale growing in the garden and Swiss chard in the greenhouse!

Getting back into our spring routine here on the farm….

Swiss Chard Stir Fry

Winter happenings!

Winter for me is a time to rejuvenate! Try some new activities…especially learning something new! A very social time….connecting with my many ‘winter friends’ here in the BC Kootenay Mountains.

We have had an inordinate amount of snow here this winter, which has made the skiing fantastic!

This winter I have been learning/practising French and taking online courses in cell biology and the gut microbiome. Then there is our annual Winter Carnival, where I volunteer to decorate the Ice Bar with lights.

And for the past month, I have been organizing and promoting a local performance for my brother, SPIRIT, right here in Rossland at the Old Firehall…and which I have to say has been the highlight of my winter!

The show was a huge success and many thanks to Rossland Rotary, John Premier Chef Services, and, of course, the fabulous talents of my Bro!

Some of the compliments I received…

“What a fine musical night!  We really enjoyed it. James is a very talented performer.  We would have liked to talk to him personally after the show but we didn’t get a chance before we had to get Rolo home to bed.  Please pass along our appreciation to him and let him know how much we liked the show.  Well done on the venue and all the work you did to put it together but judging by your big smiles and laughter it was well worth it. ” Rolo and Hobbi, Rossland, BC

“Thank you thank you for involving Ed and I on the “know” of such a FABULOUS evening listening to your brother last night!  What talent, what a voice, just WOW.   We had such a wonderful evening being part of this great venue.  You had such a proud look on your face as the big sis for your little brother….and rightly so!” Rachel, Juneau, Alaska

 “What a wonderful evening yesterday. Jaap and I enjoyed it soooo much. Your
brother is really awesome. You did a good job getting him over to Rossland. The
organization of the evening was perfect. You can be proud. “  Simone, Hilversum, Netherlands

 

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We also got to spend time with my brother, cross country skiing, playing music, eating great food, and just chilling.

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Checkout my bro’s website….www.spiritcool.com

And you can sample some of his original tunes on YouTube…https://youtu.be/HkaNDxQt7O8

Now it’s time to get back to the maps…for next year’s trip!

 

Some sad news…

 

99047876-BC7C-4059-8721-50D85AF4304C.jpegWell it seems that while we were all celebrating the coming new year, my 20 year old Kitty Belle passed along into Kitty Heaven.  Interestingly enough I had been thinking about her and recounting her longevity to a friend as we walked along the snowy streets to our midnight bonfire.  Kitty Belle loved sitting with us in front of our own bonfire by our pond.  I will really miss her sitting on my cold feet in the mornings when we sit on the deck with our morning coffee!  Mark and I both agree that she was our Best Cat Ever…so loyal and loving…even when we returned from our travels…she was always there to greet us!

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Many thanks to all our friends who visited and cared for Kitty Belle over the years, Murray who looked after her broken leg incident, and especially Ken and Marj (and Buddy), our good neighbours who were always there.

She will be missed!

Settling in for the winter…

OK so we didn’t sit around our lovely home on the Sunshine Coast for too long.  We were barely over the jet lag when we hopped on the ferry over to Vancouver Island(Comox) to spend a few days with Mark’s Mom which is always like a bit of a holiday for us.  The weather was good and it is always nice to get out on the Salish Sea…

We arrived back home a few days later and, after looking at the weather predictions for the coming weekend, decided we had better start packing the truck for the trek over the mountain passes to the Kootenays where our winter home awaited us.  After a long dry spell for the first 2weeks of December, there was snow coming and we needed to get ahead of the storm!  We were ready to go the next day and caught the ferry (south) at 3:30, and kept going through Vancouver and on to Abbotsford where we spent the night.  We made it to Rossland the next day all the way on nice dry roads!

So here we are again with our beautiful ‘winter family’ and snow falling all around.  The Christmas tree is decorated and lots of lights inside and out to brighten our evenings.  We have been to a few of our favourite trails for cross country skiing and checked out some of the runs on RED Mountain.  The snow is still a bit thin in places, but snow is falling as I write this.

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL….and stay tuned for the next chapter!!!

The Homecoming!

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Hard to believe, but here I am this morning at 5 am PST drinking my first bulletproof coffee of the day sitting in front of a roaring fire listening to the raindrops on the roof…and not a croissant in sight!  Sad and happy at the same time.  Another chapter to close in order to open a new one.

The final week of our adventure was just as much fun as the first one with some sightseeing in Montpellier and biking and walking in Holland.  After saying ‘au revoir’ to our dear host and friend, Celine, we had a quiet and uneventful train ride from Narbonne to Montpellier …no bicycles to load and unload!  However, I did miss my trusty steed when I had to carry my panniers to the hotel from the train station!

In Montpellier it was sunny and windy…good for wandering amongst the historical buildings and bustling plazas.  It was the weekend, so lots of folks out and about. The  main square…La Place de la Comedie…had market stalls set up which is always interesting and had some great local entertainment and a very cool light show…

Sunday morning we walked over to the Botanical Gardens which are undergoing a renovation…so the greenhouses were closed…it was a quiet place for a stroll amongst some lovely big trees and fountains.  On our flight over France that evening we could see the lights of so many villages!  We arrived back in Hilversum where we were greeted by our dear friend, Connie, Simone’s mother who was instrumental in helping us with our adventure in that she was the receiver of our packages and bicycles when we sent them from France.

Monday morning was wet and cold with a promise for the rain to stop by 1 pm.  A few coffees later and I hopped on my bicycle… I don’t think I have mentioned this, but she does have a name…GIGI.  Off to the village we went for some fresh croissants at the French bakery!  And some delicious Dutch cheeses!  The rain clouds caught me on the way ‘home’, but I was tightly wrapped in my ‘cocoon’ and arrived warm and dry.

That evening we welcomed Jaap and Simone back into their lovely home from their month long trip in Southern Spain.  It was a fun evening sharing stories and jokes and talking about our upcoming ski season in Rossland.  We will see them again in one months time!  Tuesday they took us on a beautiful walk through forests and fields, stopping by an organic farm for some cheese and apples.  We were whisked off to airport on Wednesday morning….and arrived in Vancouver on Wednesday afternoon!  Sounds crazy now…but here we are with some great memories (and jet lag)….sitting in our dearly missed home dreaming about our next adventure!

 

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Another Rail Trail!

Well it appears that today might be our last day of warm and sunny weather with no wind.  We headed off to the north west of here back into the ‘Montagnes Noirs’ of the Central Massif but this time for a cycling adventure on the ‘Passa Pais’ voie verte (an old converted rail bed).  We started in St. Pons de Thomiere and headed east…although a bit chilly when we started out, it warmed up throughout the day until we were down to T-shirts again!

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We made it to Olargues on the Juar River (which runs just below the trail) for our picnic…an ancient city inhabited at one time by the Visigoths, Vandals and then Romans.

The vistas from the trail were beautiful…and yes, you can see Mount Caroux in the background which is where we hiked in the Gorges a few days ago.

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The bees were busy in this late blooming heather…

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