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friends and family reunion road trip: day ten: berkeley to medford

Yesterday, we got a short list of car repair places in Berkeley that are open on Sunday. Allan went out to try to get the electrical issue fixed, while I packed up and took care of the pups. No joy: the garages were either closed or extremely busy. One place said they "might" get to it in a few hours. We made a sign "TURN SIGNALS NOT WORKING" and stuck it on the rear windshield. (Thanks to our wonderful Berkeley host and her incredibly well-appointed cottage!) We had a burger and a hotdog from S...
Tags: Travel, Dogs, San Francisco, Personal, Mission District, Portland, Berkeley, Travels, Allan, Bay Area, Dolores, Cookie, Medford, Ashland, Hitchcock, Nanaimo


friends and family reunion road trip: day nine: friends, dogs, and views, plus some thoughts about future travels

When we went to the BART station to pick up our friend D yesterday, there was an unexpected surprise: a market! It was the Berkeley International Flea Market. A vendor told me it's been going on every weekend, both Saturday and Sunday, for 47 years. I was immediately drawn to the first table I saw. There were two necklaces that jumped out at me; they appeared to be " ". I have a necklace and a bracelet made of these fun beads, which I purchased at an AIDS fair when we lived in Port Credit. Turns...
Tags: Travel, California, Oregon, Turkey, Personal, Prague, Canada, Egypt, Ronald Reagan, Alaska, Hawaii, Peru, Meyer, Berkeley, East Bay, Caribbean


friends and family reunion road trip: day eight: long-distance friends meet up in san francisco

Yesterday, after we dropped the pups at daycare, Allan and I took the BART into the city, but got off at separate stops. Allan was meeting a blog-friend (someone we have met before, and went to a game with the last time we were here, in 2010), and then had an appointment at Kayo Books, a mecca for collectors of pulp paperbacks. Allan always hunts down used book stores when we travel, but this was a special find, something he's wanted to do for years. (As usual, I had no idea of this until we pla...
Tags: Travel, Art, New York, California, Iraq, US, San Francisco, Noah, Personal, David, Mission District, Korea, Mission, Montreal, Berkeley, Travels


friends and family reunion road trip: day seven: dodgers vs giants!

Yesterday, family and friends from different areas of my life were brought together, through our plans -- and through baseball! We dropped the dogs at the daycare place in the late morning, then headed back to the BART station. (I noticed that regular parking is $3.00, which means the reservation service is double the normal cost.) We took the BART to the Muni Metro. From the train I saw many homes in Oakland with memorial murals for victims of police shootings, painted in ways that would be vis...
Tags: Travel, New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Personal, Canada, Baseball, Candlestick Park, West Coast, Oakland, Giants, Yankees, Red Sox, Travels, Allan, Bay Area


friends and family reunion road trip: day six: san francisco

Ah, San Francisco, how I love you. I love the energy of this city, its unique beauty, its mosaic of people and cultures and vibes. Just being here today was so fun and energizing. We had a late start and a frustrating morning (more on that later), but eventually had the dogs in daycare and ourselves on a BART train. It's an easy trip in, around 25 minutes. We bought Clipper cards, good for all transit in the region, which, if you can do it, is super convenient. We walked a bit downtown, heading ...
Tags: Travel, San Francisco, Personal, Canada, Berkeley, Golden Gate Bridge, Castro, Chinatown, Richmond, Travels, Bay, Bart, Alcatraz, Embarcadero, North Beach, Crissy Field


friends and family reunion road trip: a story about the digital divide

I separated out this story, because I didn't want to give the impression that it ruined our day -- and because I wanted to properly explicate it. The events were of minor consequence to us personally, but of major importance in the world at large. We hit a technology snag, and it was a perfect example of how the digital world -- and the absence of paper, analog options -- frustrates and excludes people. It was the kind of thing I see happen in the library all the time. This is about access, a...
Tags: Travel, New York, San Francisco, Personal, Travels, Allan, Bart, Nanaimo, Laura K, Becoming A Librarian, Poverty And Class


family and friends reunion road trip: some things I've seen

 Seen on many lawns and in many windows:   I saw a few in my mother's senior community, which made me happy. * * * * Seen on a front-yard fence near the Ashland Dog Park: Seen in the approach to every town and city so far: tent encampments. Whole villages of people without homes. [Author: laura k]
Tags: Travel, Human Rights, Activism, Travels, Bigotry, Laura K, Poverty And Class, Abuse Of Police Power, Ashland Dog Park


friends and family reunion road trip: day six: ashland to berkeley

This morning, after packing up the gear and the dogs, we went to my mother's place for a short visit before leaving town. She loves seeing Cookie and Kai, and it's great to see her every day that we're in the area.After more goodbyes, we headed to the Ashland Dog Park again. This time Cookie and Kai were yipping and whining with excitement as we pulled into the parking lot. Not quite the hysteria that accompanies trips to the beach, but still... two very happy and excited dogs.After some play an...
Tags: Travel, Oregon, Personal, Airbnb, Berkeley, Travels, Vrbo, Bay Area, Elmwood, Kai, Laura K, Ashland Dog Park


family and friends reunion road trip: day five: hanging out in ashland and talent

On Monday, we started the day at the Ashland Dog Park. Kai and Cookie had a great time. It was their second time there, and they were more comfortable and up for socializing. There were lots of beautiful dogs of all sizes, and people were friendly but not intrusive. Just lovely. It's also so wonderful to see our dogs are completely relaxed around other dogs -- no fear, no aggression whatsoever.We went into Ashland and met my mother, my sister, and two nieces for lunch. Unfortunately this meant l...
Tags: Travel, California, Oregon, San Francisco, Personal, New Jersey, Travels, Bay Area, Ashland, Laura K, Ashland Dog Park Kai


family and friends reunion road trip: day four: birthday party at a winery

This was another big family day, and a wonderful one. We took Kai and Cookie to a dogsitter who we found through Rover, the Airbnb for dogs. She has a sweet little older house with a big fenced-in yard, and was very relaxed and easy-going. I had already told her about Cookie (a/k/a She Who Cannot Be Contained), to be on the alert for digging, and to keep her double-collared on walks.This was the first time these pups have been left at someone's home, rather than a doggie daycare place where ther...
Tags: Travel, Dogs, Personal, Travels, Kai, Laura K


family and friends reunion road trip: day three: an amazing day in southern oregon

We've run out of adjectives to describe the day. Amazing, incredible, awesome. A celebration. A love-fest. It would have been special and meaningful any time, but coming after the pandemic, it was profound.After a quick breakfast in the cottage, we headed straight to my mother's place. She lives in a retirement / assisted living community in Ashland, about 15 minutes from where we're staying -- and more importantly, 15 minutes from the rest of the Oregon family (all transplants from the eastern ...
Tags: Travel, California, Oregon, US, Personal, Island, Mom, Travels, Allan, Clyde, Cookie, Alert Bay, Ashland, Vancouver Island, Kai, Laura K


family and friends reunion road trip: day two: everett, washington to talent, oregon

I am happy to report that today was far less eventful. The most important thing was to get on the road early. We know from past experience (our first trip to Vancouver and Oregon in 2016... where the idea to move west was born!) that there are two major traffic areas on this stretch of 5 South -- Sea-Tac and Portland. The plan was to get up very early, start driving immediately, and be past Sea-Tac before the major morning rush.This is not an issue for me, as I am normally up at 5:00 a.m. S...
Tags: Travel, Google, Dogs, Oregon, Personal, Portland, Vancouver, Sam, Tacoma, Travels, Allan, Cookie, Lakewood, PNW, Willamette River, Laura K


family and friends reunion road trip: day one: port hardy to everett, washington

Our epic road trip has begun! Excited? I'm over the moon. This was the trip we were supposed to take last year, but... covid. This year it's even better: a celebration of my mother's 90th birthday, with all her children, grandchildren, their partners, and her great-grandchild, all converging in southern Oregon to celebrate together. Thanks for coming along.On Thursday we were up early, packed the dogs and the car, and hit the road. Everything took longer than expected, as it usually does, but we...
Tags: Travel, Oregon, US, Personal, Vancouver, Victoria, Seattle, Travels, Allan, Everett, Nanaimo, Southern Oregon, Everett Washington, Pacific Northwest US, Laura K, Port Angeles Washington


indigenous peoples day at the kwalilas hotel in port hardy

On Indigenous Peoples Day, the day of the summer solstice, we attended a ceremony held by the local First Nations communities outside the Kwa'lilas Hotel, the beautiful Indigenous-owned hotel in Port Hardy. I purposely didn't bring a camera, thinking photography was prohibited -- only to discover that because this was a public demonstration, not being held in the Nation's Big House, photography was acceptable. I did take a few pics with my cell phone, but these barely count as photography.I am s...
Tags: Travel, Indigenous Peoples, Eagle, Vancouver Island, Big House, Port Hardy, Laura K, Life In A Small Town, Kathy O Reilly, Kwa lilas Hotel, Alert Bay These, Robin Quirk Robin


what i'm reading: the heartbeat of wounded knee: native america from 1890 to the present

  The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee is a fascinating nonfiction. Part hidden history, part contemporary journalism, plus a dash of personal memoir, this ambitious book offers a new perspective on the Indigenous peoples of North America, in both the past and the present.  Historian and journalist David Treuer, who is Ojibwe, has dug deep into a misunderstood past, and surveyed a nuanced present, to create an important narrative that will be new to most readers.  * * * * The book that is ec...
Tags: Travel, Minnesota, Washington Post, Senate, US, America, History, United States, Iowa, Jimmy Carter, Wisconsin, Indigenous Peoples, Michigan, North America, Indians, Ojibwe


"at your library" in the north island eagle: the library celebrates national indigenous people's month

Still catching up on posting my columns.The recent horrific discovery in Kamloops of the remains of 215 Indigenous children, buried in an unmarked mass grave, brought home the horrors of the Residential School system. Many people in North Island communities may be retraumatized by this news, and those who are not directly impacted may still experience profound grief, anger, and sorrow. I know I personally have, and still do.This chilling news came on the eve of National Indigenous People’s Histo...
Tags: Travel, History, Canada, Indigenous Peoples, North Island, Kamloops, Langlois, Port Hardy, Laura K, Becoming A Librarian, VIRL, Gwa sala Nakwaxda xw School, At Your Library" Column, National Indigenous History Month, National Indigenous People 's History Month NIPHM, VIRL NIPHM


"at your library" in the north island eagle: summer reading fun for all ages

Summer Reading Club is back, and it’s not just for kids. Children, teens, and adults can all find fun reading challenges – and prizes – at your library. Even infants and toddlers can get in on the fun.SRC is all about motivating kids and their families to read during the summer months. The reason is simple: kids who read in the summer do better in school in September! Reading keeps kids’ brains exercised, keeps them in learning mode. This is true no matter what they read – silly stories, comic b...
Tags: Travel, Src, Middle Earth, Summer Reading Club, Laura K, Becoming A Librarian, VIRL, At Your Library" Column


"at your library" in the north island eagle: a chance to win great prizes, just for reading

In my last column I highlighted incentives being offered by the Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) for kids to read, and for teens to stay engaged in learning, through the Summer Reading Club and the Teen Summer Quest. I briefly mentioned the Adult Summer Reading Challenge, and some readers of this column wanted more information. Nothing makes a librarian happier!The Adult Summer Reading Challenge (ASRC) is a fun and easy way to keep your summer reading on track, to branch out and read som...
Tags: Travel, Libby, Summer Reading Club, What I'm Reading, Laura K, Becoming A Librarian, ASRC, VIRL, Vancouver Island Regional Library VIRL, At Your Library" Column, Overdrive Libby


"at your library" in the north island eagle: summer reading fun for all ages

Summer Reading Club is back, and it’s not just for kids. Children, teens, and adults can all find fun reading challenges – and prizes – at your library. Even infants and toddlers can get in on the fun.SRC is all about motivating kids and their families to read during the summer months. The reason is simple: kids who read in the summer do better in school in September! Reading keeps kids’ brains exercised, keeps them in learning mode. This is true no matter what they read – silly stories, comic b...
Tags: Travel, Src, Middle Earth, Summer Reading Club, Laura K, Becoming A Librarian, My Writing, VIRL, At Your Library" Column


in which my plus-size clothing works for me one last time

I recently lost a lot of weight* and am selling all my plus-size clothing. Over the years I have donated many items and sold many others. Whether to donate or sell is just a quick gut-instinct decision, based on an item's condition, its resale value, our current finances, and my mood. Because I have to buy almost all new clothes, earning a bit of income through sales offsets some of that expense. It also reaches many more people than the one thrift shop in town can.Like any good re-sale transa...
Tags: Travel, Facebook, Craigslist, Ebay, New York City, US, Personal, Canada, Ontario, Kijiji, eBay Canada, Laura K, Life In A Small Town, Craigslist Freecycle Trash Nothing Kijiji


thoughts on not celebrating canada day #cancelcanadaday

If it wasn't clear why we should not be celebrating Canada Day this year, by now it should be. Three days after the discovery of 215 skeletons of children were found at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, the remains of approximately 750 adults and children in unmarked graves have been found near a similar site in Saskatchewan. A few days later, the remains of 182 people were found at the location of another residential school, in Cranbrook, BC. There are undoubt...
Tags: Travel, Human Rights, Guantanamo Bay, History, Canada, Indigenous Peoples, Nazi, Saskatchewan, Don, Kamloops, Cranbrook, Laura K, Canadian Culture


"at your library" in the north island eagle: stress reduction one of the top 10 benefits of reading

A regular reader of this column asked me, “I spend a lot of time reading, then I feel guilty because I’m wasting time. ….”Reading is many things, but it is never a waste of time! Here are the top benefits of reading.1. Reducing stress. We live in stressful times, when the complicated demands of work, family, and personal health can be great, and the news of the larger world can be distressing. Reading something engrossing and enjoyable lets you lose yourself in another world. This helps you rela...
Tags: Travel, What I'm Reading, Laura K, Becoming A Librarian, My Writing, At Your Library" Column


"at your library" in the north island eagle: celebrate asian heritage at your library

As I mentioned here, I'm posting three of these columns each week until I'm caught up.May is Asian Heritage Month in Canada, and the Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) invites you to celebrate. People of Asian heritage have lived in Canada since before Confederation, and have contributed to every aspect of Canadian society. This year’s Asian Heritage Month has special meaning, as there has been a sharp rise in acts of racism against Asian Canadians. Your library has curated many resources ...
Tags: Travel, Japan, Wills, China, India, Thailand, Canada, Vietnam, Duncan, Jessica, Michael Ondaatje, Hoang, Hui, China Europe, Thuy, What I'm Reading


what i'm reading: the cold millions by jess walter

There is an accepted wisdom that socialism and communism failed, and capitalism prevailed, because the former is bad, and the latter is good. That humankind rejected socialism and embraced capitalism, because socialism is unnatural and unsustainable, and capitalism reflects the natural human condition.This accepted wisdom, like so many others, is a lie. Jess Walter's novel The Cold Millions illustrates a slice of the truth that counters that lie. This excellent historical fiction illuminates o...
Tags: Travel, History, United States, Labour, Idaho, Socialism, Seattle, New England, Walter, Spokane, Flynn, Spokane Washington, Wobblies, What I'm Reading, IWW, Laura K


"at your library" in the north island eagle: more favourite e-resources, always free with your library card

More Favourite E-Resources, Always FREE With Your Library CardThe Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) offers so many “e-resources,” it can be difficult to remember them all! That’s why I’m always reminding you about the treasures hidden in your library card. Everyone with a VIRL library card has access to all these digital resources, and they are always free of charge. If you don’t have a computer, come to one of our branches and use ours. If you don’t have internet access at home, come use...
Tags: Travel, Music, ACORN, Laura K, Becoming A Librarian, What I'm Watching, My Writing, VIRL, Kanopy Kanopy, At Your Library" Column, CardThe Vancouver Island Regional Library VIRL, Naxos Music Library, Naxos Jazz Music


in which the cool coastal climate kicks my ass: my first #gardenfail

I decided to convert a small patch of the front yard, overflowing with plantings from the previous owner of our house, into a small garden. My experiences with my gardenettes in southern Ontario were all very positive. They were also very easy: buy seedlings, put them in the ground, feed and water them, and et voilá, vegetables.  This simple success has not followed me to my new home on the northern end of Vancouver Island. Unfortunately, there was more than one change, so I don't completely...
Tags: Travel, Ontario, Vancouver Island, Laura K, My Little Gardens


"at your library" in the north island eagle: three reasons to give virl virtual programming a try

Three Reasons to Give VIRL Virtual Programming a TryAmong the many victims of the covid pandemic have been library programs. Large libraries down-island – and in towns and cities all over the world – have moved their programs online. Many programs are offered live, through Zoom (or similar video-conferencing programs), and also recorded for future watching. This has been disappointing to many people, but for people in the North Island and other remote regions, it’s a very positive development! S...
Tags: Travel, Canada, Eden, North Island, UBC, Native Plants, Laura K, Becoming A Librarian, Eden Robinson, VIRL, Vancouver Island Regional Library VIRL, At Your Library" Column, COVID-19, Haisla


"at your library" in the north island eagle: booklists: we could use a laugh

As I mentioned here, I'm posting three of these columns each week until I'm caught up.Booklists: We Could Use a LaughI have one last booklist for you before I write about other things for a while. As the pandemic enters its second year, we could all use more humour in our lives, so here’s a list of funny books. Of course humour comes in many different flavours. A book that makes you laugh 'til you’re gasping for air may leave your friend totally cold – or worse, may offend them. Use this list wi...
Tags: Travel, New Orleans, Terry Pratchett, John Kennedy, Moran, What I'm Reading, Sedaris, Laura K, Becoming A Librarian, My Writing, Brosh, At Your Library" Column, David SedarisA, Tina FeyEssays, Allie BroshA, Neil GaimanTwo


how i resolved the feedburner (subscribe by email) issue: mailchimp

A while back, Blogger announced that it will no longer support the subscribe-by-email widget. This means readers who receive blog updates by email will no longer receive them. I posted about this, looking for input from other bloggers about how they are handling this. I must have been unclear, because I heard mostly from readers, telling me they don't subscribe by email, and so will not have a problem. That's very good! But didn't help my dilemma. The only email service I was familiar with ...
Tags: Travel, Meta, Mailchimp, Laura K


"at your library" in the north island eagle: booklists: hidden gems of historical fiction

Booklists: Hidden Gems of Historical FictionHere’s a booklist you may want to save: historical fiction. This genre brings history to life, by letting readers view it through the eyes of ordinary people. Sometimes there’s a romance or mystery set against a backdrop of an earlier time. Often there’s a mix of historical figures and fictional characters. Beyond the very popular titles, such as Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale and Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace (both terrific reads!) here are 10 title...
Tags: Travel, Boston, New York City, Toronto, Barcelona, United States, Vancouver, Margaret Atwood, Sarah, Tulsa, RCMP, Louis Riel, Calcutta, What I'm Reading, Laura K, Becoming A Librarian