105!

My 105th blood donation. I’ve issued a challenge to my boss, Amanda Soulodre. I’ll post one of her when she does the deed!

blood donation 105

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Baba Alice, the good gardener

I had the delightful pleasure of interviewing Baba Alice Kripki and her sister Vicki Chunik in 2013 for an article in Saskatoon HOME magazine’s spring issue about their big side by side gardens. It was called The Quintessential Baba Garden – Old Country Know-How Still Flourishes. She was 96 then, and Alice loved her garden. She told me, “You need to get your hands dirty – and your feet!” She grabbed my arm and sang me little Ukrainian slightly off-colour ditties about calling your husband an ox. She was given to little fits of laughter. The secret to abundant growth? “I like to sing in the garden. Do the work, that’s all.” She, and sister Vicki, her more stoic straight man, were delightful and inspiring. It was one of my most memorable interviews. I saw Alice’s obituary today and it brought back such great memories of meeting her and Vicki, and spending a wonderul afternoon knee-deep in their garden produce in the back yard. “Will I have garden next year?” Alice responded to my question then. “Oh, sure. My kids don’t want me to work so hard.” She grinned. “But we’ll see.” Alice was 101 years old when she died on June 9th, my mother’s birthday; I guess that means gardening is a good prescription for a long life. My best to the family. I will always treasure that afternoon with the baba sisters.

Joni

Jim and I attended a memorable event on Sunday afternoon. We caught the bus on Broadway with Mayor Charlie, and watched from on high the celebration of Saskatoon’s hometown girl Joni Mitchell. Her childhood friend Sharolyn Dickson spoke on Joni’s behalf (black and pink shirt). I ran into my old business mentor Leslie Bell (striped shirt), who went to school with Joni and another frield, Joan Chapman (scarf). The event was led by former premier Lorne Calvert, one of the leaders in the efforts to offer an appropriate tribute that has seen its share of stumbles over the years. But this time, everyone’s happy, including Ms. Mitchell, who watched the live stream of the celebrations with a gaggle of friends in Los Angeles. She was even honoured with a Saulteaux name, presented by Harry Lafond from the Yellow Quill First Nation. When she renews her driver’s license or passport, she can use Sparkling White Bear Woman. And the occasion was enough for me to go dig out my prized autograph; Joni signed an Air Canada barf bag for me years ago as we decended into “Saskabush.” Her word. Wonder if that will make it into a song?

 

Farewell, and a new beginning

I’ve always loved the Third Avenue United Church in the heart of downtown. Ever since I was a bridesmaid for Gary and Ginny in the early 1980s; the magnificent interior sorta took my mind off of the really, really poofy (did I mention poofy?) light blue bridesmaid dress I was floating down the aisle in. Jim and I attended the farewell gala concert last night. A packed house and a reassuring speech by Eric Anderson, the new owner, who says the building will live on as an arts centre. Audible sighs of relief by everyone who fought for heritage status. Such a memorable concert. I just wish Rick could have been there. He’s in Whitehorse helping my folks pack up and sort their house for a move to Saskatoon.

HOME is here

Just out! We’re all proud of the Summer issue of Saskatoon HOME magazine, and looking forward to hearing what readers have to say. It was my honour to handle the cover story about the transformation of the late Courtney Milne and his partner Sherrill Miller’s Grandora acreage. While new owner Ted Cawkwell has made significant changes, there are still mystical elements to this “sacred place.”

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