Bagels with smoked salmon and cream cheese with sun-dried tomatoes

Savoury Foods

Bagels with smoked salmon and cream cheese with sun-dried tomatoes

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From Rockies to Wild west coast…

August, as usual in beautiful British Columbia is the month of great outdoors. The options for outdoors activity are endless. I’ve been trekking, mountaineering, fishing or paddling for more than 30 years in BC or neighbouring regions. I have been blessed with friends two groups of long term friends who enjoy various treks into the wilderness. One group prefers paddle trips the other backpacking and mountaineering. We’ve been at this summer adventuring together for 25+ years now. The Pacific Northwest is a stellar part of the world to secure friendships and discover our amazing outdoors.

Our Rockies trip this year was less adventure but full of spectacle. We hiked the beautiful area of Lake O’Hara, Yoho National Park. It may just be the best alpine venue anywhere. We started it off with the daunting climb to Abbott Pass where we met many fascinating people at the Alpine Club of Canada (ACC) hut. The hike up is full of eye opening vistas but includes a grinding scramble up a steep rocky scree chute that can be dangerous. I took a falling rock off the knee so helmets are essential gear. 

The hut sits teetering on the great divide straddling BC and Alberta border. It’s a busy but wondrous alpine haven. This year the stars and meteors were a treat! 

After slugging it back to OHara campground, we trekked the alpine circuits above the gem main lake. We averaged 15km/3000 vertical feet per day it the vantage points are spectacular. The Rocky Mountains and many Canadian parks offer so many mountaineering trips from simple hikes to world class climbs. The traverses near Banff are spectacular. Although very busy and sometimes crowded, the Lake OHara area is truly stunning. There is something for everyone- not a typical case.

After returning home for a few days, I headed out to the west coast to kayak the remote and beautiful Broughton Archipelago. We took the safe and convenient option of water taxi across the Queen Charlotte strait. The traffic, currents and wind make the crossing hazardous so we chose to keep it simple departing from Port McNeil. 

After setting up a wilderness camp on an outcrop of rock , we enjoyed the remote west coast surroundings. We struck out late each morning, waiting for the fog to lift. We can manage our navigation, via chart readings, compass and a GPS , but it’s more enjoyable if a paddler can see. Broughton is a beautiful area with its multiple islands and tidal areas. Waterfowl, sea lions and humpbacks were around. Paddlers need to plan or be willing to rough it because beaches are very rare. 

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The humility of flyfishing

I recently spent a few days trout fishing in the Nicola plateau area of Brirush Columba. It’s in my back yard but I only have made the extra effort of exploring the area properly since retiring. I’ve been a flyfisher my entire life yet now, after thinking I was an ‘expert’ but now realize I’m only experienced. Nothing like not catching trout when the aquatic marvels are boiling all around you!

One spectacular ‘fishy’ day on the pretty Bluey Lake near Apen Grove, nymphs were hatching, birds were feeding and  fish were rising everywhere. I could not get the correct fishing combination;moreover, when I did, I broke 2 large rainbows off at the boat! Urrgh!🙂

Nevertheless, what a divine few days. Birds of every kind busy foraging, the forest busy with chipmunks dropping cones on my tent and deer walking through my camp apparently aware I had no rifle. A real treat was a gaggle of Canada geese numbering in the hundreds flying overhead with a very boisterous chorus I wasn’t sure what it was initially. It was like a gigantic black kite soaring above the tree tops. 

The real joy was falling asleep to sound of trout rising so I suppose, it’s nature blissful justice that I call it a day on a BC lake with only potatoes and stew for dinner.🙂

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Be a teacher, please be a teacher.. 

Grad speech by Tim Minchin, U of Western Australia. 

A poignant and very funny transcript.



Six: Be a teacher! Please! Please! Please be a teacher. Teachers are the most admirable and important people in the world. You don’t have to do it forever but if you’re in doubt about what to do be an amazing teacher. Just for your 20s be a teacher. Be a primary school teacher. Especially if you’re a bloke. We need male primary school teachers. Even if you’re not a teacher, be a teacher. Share your ideas. Don’t take for granted your education. Rejoice in what you learn and spray it. 

Seven: Define yourself by what you love. I found myself doing this thing a bit recently where if someone asks me what sort of music I like I say, “Well I don’t listen to the radio because pop song lyrics annoy me,” or if someone asks me what food I like I say, “I think truffle oil is overused and slightly obnoxious.” And I see it all the time online – people whose idea of being part of a subculture is to hate Coldplay or football or feminists or the Liberal Party.

We have a tendency to define ourselves in opposition to stuff. As a comedian I make my living out of it. But try to also express your passion for things you love. Be demonstrative and generous in your praise of those you admire. Send thank you cards and give standing ovations. Be pro stuff not just anti stuff.

Eight: Respect people with less power than you. I have in the past made important decisions about people I work with – agents and producers – big decisions based largely on how they treat the wait staff in the restaurants we’re having the meeting in. I don’t care if you’re the most powerful cat in the room, I will judge you on how you treat the least powerful. So there!

Nine: Finally, don’t rush. You don’t need to know what you’re going to do with the rest of your life. I’m not saying sit around smoking cones all day but also don’t panic! Most people I know who were sure of their career path at 20 are having mid-life crises now.

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The man who knew-911 Frontline

PBS Frontline episode The Man Who Knew. 

As an FBI agent who specialized in counter-terrorism, John P. O’Neill investigated the bombing of the American embassies in Africa, the USS Cole in Yemen, the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, and the first attack on the World Trade Center. O’Neill came to believe America should kill Osama bin Laden before Al Qaeda launched a devastating attack, but his was often a lonely voice. A controversial figure inside the buttoned-down world of the FBI, he was forced out of the job he loved and entered the private sector – as director of security for the World Trade Center.(pbs)

John Patrick O’Neill (February 6, 1952 – September 11, 2001) was an American counter-terrorism expert, who worked as a special agent and eventually a Special Agent in Charge in the Federal Bureau of Investigation until late 2001. In 1995, O’Neill began to intensely study the roots of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing after he assisted in the capture of Ramzi Yousef, who was the leader of that plot.
He subsequently learned of al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, and investigated the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia and the 2000 USS Cole bombing in Yemen. Partly due to personal friction he had within the FBI and federal government, O’Neill was pushed out of the Bureau in 2001. He became the head of security at the World Trade Center, where he died at age 49 in the September 11, 2001 attacks. In 2002, O’Neill was the subject of a Frontline documentary The Man Who Knew, and cast as the protagonist in the television miniseries The Path to 9/11 and the 2003 book, “The Man Who Warned America by Murray Weiss.”


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Bronte, Dawkins, meme

An essay on the struggles for Faith or lack there of…From Maria Popova ‘BrainPickings blog …

People wish to be settled,” Emerson wrote in his spectacular 1841 essay on character and the key to personal growth, “[but] only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them.” Exactly a decade later, Charlotte Brontë (April 21, 1816–March 31, 1855) — a mind at least as brilliant as Emerson’s and a spirit at least as expansive — tussled with this vital and vitalizing interplay of hope and unsettlement as she faced one of the most momentous frontiers of the human experience.”

“And so, with sturdy self-awareness and crystalline coolness, Brontë goes on to articulate the reason so many people believe — choose to believe — in the truth of “God” even when it clashes with the facts of reason and reality:”


“Charlotte Brontë.” – Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 30 July 2016. 

“Charlotte Brontë on Faith and Atheism.” Brain Pickings. 14 May 2015. Web. 30 July 2016.

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Congrats Dayna/ Teacher/Librarian Year 2016

Congrats to my friend and colleague Dayna Hart of CNB middle school , SD23. for her BCTLA TeacherLibrarian Year Award! I’m so humbled to have worked with other Kelowna winners: Joan Eaton, Kay Treadgold, Sharon Bede and Misty Smith! 5 recipients in BC from Kelowna is staggering good news. 

The people of SD23 should be so grateful our colleagues have set such a standard of excellence. Our children are served so well to have such superior school library programs. I’m honoured to have worked with them all! Bravo! 


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