Posts by Janet Dunnett

In search of the invisible army

Posted by on Jun 22, 2017 in Current Posts, Featured Slider Posts, General, Health & Wellness, Lifestyles | 1 comment

In search of the invisible army

I still serve in an invisible army. There’s no six star general to guide us but we have no doubt about our personal marching orders. I have a theory though. I believe that if our army acts together, we might shift  the culture of care just a smidgen. It could be a campaign of communication, and our army leading that charge is called Family Caregivers. One in four Canadians is on active duty. There are many services. Mine was caring for my aging parents, and was limited by their passing on after a decade of growing need.  A sudden death incident did not spirit them away, as they might have...

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Beach Bliss

Posted by on Jul 31, 2014 in Lifestyles | 2 comments

Beach Bliss

Noooooo!  Picture it. The family has gathered on the crowded Parksville Beach on a July Sunday afternoon. Off in the distance, kites are flying and some are even buzzing as they do somersaults over their thirty foot long tails. There is a rainbow-coloured pirate ship sailing in the azure sky. Listen to the sound of the live music coming from the gazebo and the hum of hordes of happy children. Look out over the mountains in the distance, rising above the perfect Pacific, and above, just few enough fluffy clouds to declare it a scorcher of an Island day. There’s a lot less sand on the beach...

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Vanished!

Posted by on Jun 30, 2014 in Lifestyles | 1 comment

Vanished!

Vanished! Last night I lost a treasure. More than 18,000 words, 40 pages of my gestating memoir, were vaporized into the cyber clouds by a stinker called Scrivener. At this moment of profound panic, the clock had already ticked past midnight and the reminder on my wrist buzzed angrily to remind me of my other goal for 2014, to get sufficient and sound sleep every night. So on two goals, I’m busted! My husband, snoring sensibly down the hall, did not hear my keening. There is a backstory here. I’ve talked about writing since the day I retired, almost a decade ago. Sure, I’ve done plenty...

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Coming in for a Landing

Posted by on May 29, 2014 in Lifestyles | 3 comments

Coming in for a Landing

I still feel guilty when I flush the toilet paper. That’s one thing that you must not do in Mexico!  But when my mind clears, I’m reminded that you don’t have to put the mucky wad in the garbage here. My common sense assures me that our plumbing can handle it all just fine, and soothes me to know I won’t be mopping up a stinky flood.   I’ve been home a month, and I am beginning to be able to flush without self-reproach.  But I’m also reflecting on “coming home”.   I’ve been a snowbird in San Miguel de Allende, right the middle of Mexico. Four months away from the...

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Home Exchange on the Beach

Posted by on May 1, 2014 in Lifestyles, Travel | 4 comments

Home Exchange on the Beach

The kayaks are dots on the horizon. They belong to our neighbours in the other trailer on Las Tortugitas, our private acre on the beach at La Manzanilla on the Costa Alegre of Pacific Rim Mexico. Brenda and Rico hail from an off-the-grid outcrop near Quadra Island. Today they are heading to spend the day on an even more private beach than the one we inhabit where, like true BC boomers, they can shed their clothes and lie around all day in hammocks. Ani introduced me to them, then sprinted off to catch the bus for her urban getaway in San Miguel de Allende. We are house swapping, and so...

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Butterfly Wings

Posted by on Mar 10, 2014 in Lifestyles, Travel | 3 comments

Butterfly Wings

Butterflies can make quite a racket. Not a big noise, but a persistent whir as they flap in the sunbeams, in the millions. When they start to flutter, the air is filled with orange flecks against the dusky beams of sun that filter through the pines. Observers like myself who have struggled up the mountain path to see them are transfixed as they land on a hat or an arm or on the ground around. Millions of Canadian expatriate Monarchs in a blizzard of colour. It’s a wonder of nature. Millions? Well, no one knows how many there are in this tiny acreage high in the forested mountains of Central...

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On the streets of San Miguel

Posted by on Feb 7, 2014 in Lifestyles, Travel | 2 comments

On the streets of San Miguel

The other day I was shocked out of my reverie as I walked to my teaching job. I missed it by inches. A tidy steaming pile left by a street dog. This is not an uncommon sight on San Miguel streets in the morning, until the Senoras can get out to clean up their part of the sidewalk. So it was an irritation avoided. Still, it made me think about my next blog instalment. “Hmm,” I mused, “Perhaps I should just describe my walk to work”. Because, feral dogs and all, the streets of San Miguel are fascinating. They are clean too. The town takes great pride in all its services, and that...

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Crafting a Second Life

Posted by on Jan 6, 2014 in Lifestyles, Travel | 8 comments

Crafting a Second Life

I’m back in San Miguel de Allende, living the second life I’ve crafted for myself over the last few winters to round out my Island existence. For four months, as the rain drips off the roof in Qualicum Beach, I’ll be living large here in Mexico. My agenda will be heavy on volunteer work and my own efforts to write meaningfully and for posterity. My life here will also be crammed with the particular joy of women friends. Though we come from all over and from all walks of life, we share a commitment to a journey of discovery of ourselves as creatives and as elders. So I will walk all over...

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A Walk on the Mild Side

Posted by on Dec 7, 2013 in Lifestyles | 1 comment

A Walk on the Mild Side

Once a week I take care of my grandson in Victoria. Six months ago, my attitude about that was, “I still have my life!” as the new identity of grandmother threatened to swamp my other emerging identities as writer, traveller, learner, keep fit senior, and friend. I was afraid of being taken over. I was edgy. My attitude has changed. It’s now “whatever it takes!” and I gleefully get in the car every week for the trek down Island. Someday neuroscience will prove that a grandparent’s brain is different from that of a garden variety elder. For now, what is true for me is that my...

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Ama’s Sleep Strategies

Posted by on Oct 21, 2013 in Lifestyles | 1 comment

Ama’s Sleep Strategies

Sundvik is empty. Cedar will have nothing to do with his new crib. He’s made that clear by instant keening the moment he’s laid in it, as if this memory foam mattress is a bed of hot coals. Sleep deprivation has set in, as night after night the battle of Cedar-slumber has been heroically waged. Now there’s a truce. For now at least, Cedar is co-sleeping. My son Jamie, and daughter in law Deirdre rationalise this solution as normal in most cultures. “Besides”, Jamie muses, “cave baby would never have become cave man if he’d not been cuddled all night by the fire”. He points out...

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Some Assembly Required

Posted by on Sep 9, 2013 in Lifestyles | 1 comment

Some Assembly Required

It’s long past all our bedtimes. We are prickled with sweat. My husband Ed is cussing. My son Jamie is about to drop. I’m aghast. Our long night has begun with a spirited “let’s get ‘er done”, but now this family project is in tatters. Sundvik doesn’t fit. Sundvik is a baby crib, from IKEA on the mainland, that will in due course be Cedar’s toddler bed. It glistens in solid beech, and matches the floor. After supper, Jamie and Ed manhandled the heavy slab up to the fourth floor condo, while I followed with the featherlight but unwieldy mattress carton. We need to put it up,...

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Over a pot of tea … flying solo

Posted by on Jul 29, 2013 in Lifestyles | 2 comments

Over a pot of tea … flying solo

The cell phone jangled. It was Deirdre, my daughter in law. “Well?”, I breathlessly answered, “how did it go?”. “We’re home!”, she chortled. “Easy peasy!”. She had met the biggest challenge of her motherhood so far, other than her labour of course, and travelled solo beyond Victoria’s city limits with Cedar, my grandson. Her mission? To visit her family in Chilliwack. Hers was a simple excursion really, a morning ferry from Victoria to Tsawwassen and some hours tootling along the Trans Canada through the Fraser Valley. But I had imagined every dreadful possibility. In my...

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Over a pot of tea …

Posted by on Jul 8, 2013 in Lifestyles | 4 comments

Over a pot of tea …

So what is grandmother Love, anyway?  I’ve left the part of my life journey called “the world I know” and am fumbling to find the trail head of a new path through a brand new territory, called Ama-land. Ama. That’s my grandmother name. I spent a long time dreaming it up, and part of the challenge was overcoming identity-shift aversion. I made sure my label came from me rather than anyone else’s imposition. I looked for meaning but also wanted a mellow sounding word. I insisted on something unique. Ama works. I notice that people don’t look at me weirdly when they call me that,...

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