Better than afternoon soap operas

A couple of weeks ago, my folks in Whitehorse sent me this “bald eagle cam” set up over a nest beside the Yukon River just at the edge of town. The nice people at Yukon Electric built this tall stand so the eagles could nest there. They do so happily every year. When Mom and Dad sent me the link, there were 3 eggs. Then there were two, and finally none as they morphed into these frightfully homely eaglets. This is a live cam, but you can go back and check out the storyline from earlier in the day. Now and then, Mom or Dad (theirs, not mine) flies in clutching a fish or some other hapless creature for dinner. Fascinating! Them babies is some ugly but their parents don’t seem to mind. I dare you not to get hooked on this.Image


A little slice of Avalon

I mentioned we spend some time on Catalina Island, a place where I can happily lug my camera around all day and night and always find something new to shoot. Antonio’s Pizza is just down the block from the little cottage we rent. It’s always good to go back time and again to a place you love and find that some things stay wonderfully the same. A slice of cheese or pepperoni, straight out of the oven and handed over on a paper plate; you sit out on a bench to watch the community go by. The best.Image


Amazing face

I think I’ve raved before about my favourite photographer, Heather Fritz, who is based in Saskatoon. Awhile back, she met our son Jim and asked him if she could photograph him for her Amazing Faces section on her website. Have a look on her blog. He said okay, and she followed him around the house as he got ready for the day, had breakfast, picked a few tomatoes in the garden, and stood around looking handsome. Here’s just one example. She got him.


Saskatoon Express coverage

This week’s edition of the Saskatoon Express features coverage of the 32nd annual YWCA Women of Distinction Awards. You can read the digital version or get an old fashioned paper kind to read about all the women selected. Still seems a bit surreal. Thank you to everyone who has been so kind with congratulations. A few days after the win, Rick, Jim and I were at Early’s getting some lawn fertilizer and a woman I didn’t know congratulated me. Cool! Here are a couple of photos our friend Barry Brown took that evening. Thanks Barry! That’s Carolyn McLeary of Scotiabank, the sponsor for the Arts, Culture and Heritage category up on the big screen. I think the last was when I said I didn’t dare look at my table since everyone would be waving their arms, saying, “They didn’t call YOUR name! Get off the stage!”


An elegant evening with some wonderful women

Last night was a bit of a surreal experience for us. I had been nominated for a YWCA Women of Distinction Award in the Arts, Culture and Heritage category. We attended the gala last night at TCU Place. I know people just say it’s an honour to be nominated and they don’t expect to win – but that’s really what we all thought – so when they announced my name, the stomach did quite a lurch given that I’m a bit of a terrified public speaker and the win required a speech. I’d also met Heather and Bonnie, the other two wonderful women nominated in the category, so I really had settled into just enjoying the evening from our table.  I vaguely remember floating up to the stage and following some notes I’d written just in case. It is a huge honour, and I again want to thank Scotiabank for sponsoring the category, and Heather and Bonnie – I’m quite sure my name was simply drawn out of a hat. It was an inspiring evening and it was a privilege just to sit back and listen to the contributions these other 33 women have made to the community. Thank you so much to Dr. Barry and Yvonne Brown, Jane and Danny Vaughn, my nominators Jocelyn Richardson and Cynthia Block (who couldn’t attend), and old friends Carol Glazer and Jane for letters of support, and Dr. Ron Marken and Liv Marken for being there for the evening. And to my lovely husband Rick and stalwart son Jim. And to our dear cat Ed who barfed on the carpet this morning to really bring things back to normal.If you live in Saskatoon and know of a woman who is making a worthy contribution to the community, please nominate her for the 33rd YWCA Women of Distinction Awards.


The best barber and sweetest man on the planet

Meet Lolo Saldana in his barbershop, aptly named Lolo’s Barbershop, on Catalina Island. At 83, Lolo opens his shop every day to a steady stream of heads that need clipping and beards that need his still steady hand on a straight razoer.  He can hardly get through a sentence without calling out a greeting to someone walking by the open door. We met a few years ago when I was working on my book, Flourish: People with Disabilities Living Life with Passion. Lolo introduced me to Tony, a young man who lives in Avalon. He comes by Lolo’s shop to chat, sometimes to get a haircut, to work out problems and, most importantly, to put up and take down the flag that hangs by Lolo’s spinning barber pole. “It’s an important job,” Tony says, “because people feel happy when they see the flag.”


We stop in to visit whenever we go to Avalon and each time, I am drawn to make photos of Lolo at his labour of love in his eclectic shop. We love the consistency of the man and the place. Lolo always laughs and wonders when I’ll have enough pictures. Lolo was born on the island; his father worked for William Wrigley Jr., the gum guy. Lolo knows everything about the island and almost everyone on it. He is still an avid golfer and we were happy to see him a few times on this trip; the following week, he was heading ‘overtown’ to go golfing for several days.

It’s a rare breed, this kind of barbershop – as is this type of kind and generous man. Rob Hammer is a photographer in San Diego who wants to capture this cultural gem –the old fashioned barbershop before it disappears. See his collection so far. Coincidentally, the photos of Lolo that appear in Rob’s collection feature a younger version of Matthew, the serious young man being tended to on the day of my recent visit.


See you next year, Lolo!