Family Bike Ride

Family Bike Ride 2012
photo by C.Fowler

Earth Day is a pretty good excuse to tune up the bike.

For the past couple of years Saanich hosted a Cycling Festival.  My favourite part of it is the BIG Family Bike Ride.

With the city on board, the police close off some streets & let the cyclists take over.  Mayhem   🙂

Family Bike Ride 2012
photo by C.Fowler

In truth it’s not craziness & it’s not a total closure.  They call it a ‘rolling closure’.

Cyclists get 1 or 2 full lanes, just for the length of time it takes us to get through each section of town. It feels pretty good.

Family Bike Ride 2012
photo by C.Fowler

It’s kinda like when the Queen comes to town.  There are Police Motorcycles up front…
and just behind that is her cavalcade (only this time it’s US)…
and then it’s wrapped up with more Police & Emergency Vehicles at the very  back.

Family Bike Ride 2012
photo by C.Fowler

Oh yeah, and we can’t forget the hoards of cheering fans.  No seriously, there were folks cheering from the side-walks & everything!  Not a lot.

Okay: SOME PEOPLE were on the side-walks.

They were cheering.

I liked it.

Family Bike Ride 2012
photo by C.Fowler

I also really liked cycling down the Shelbourne & McKenzie thoroughfares without worrying about being side-swiped by that motorist who doesn’t realize his passenger-side-mirror really does stick out further than he thinks it does….

Family Bike Ride 2012
photo by C.Fowler

Since I’ve been an active commuter cyclist for a couple of decades, I figure I have nerves of steel.  So it was interesting for me to notice I revelled in the feeling of safety.

I’d though cycling in a big group might have some tension of its own.  Like in a peloton… Local boy Ryder Hesjedal, has REAL nerves of steel  – – enough for cycling in one of those crazy-close-packs of racing cyclists …. have you ever seen one of those crashes?

Family Bike Ride 2012
photo by C.Fowler

Well, I didn’t see anything like that on the Family Bike Ride.  It was pretty laid back.

The choice & variety of bikes was incredible.  Road bikes, mountain bikes, recumbents….
Bicycles with baby seats… with trailers…
Bicycles built for two… or more….
I even saw a little kid with a wooden bike.  How cool is that?

Family Bike Ride 2012
photo by C.Fowler

After a turn out like this I can understand why we’re called the Cycling Capital of Canada.

Family Bike Ride 2012
photo by C.Fowler

© SVSeekins and Garden Variety Life, 2013


My Happy Daffodil Campaign

daffodils in James Bay
photo by SVSeekins

The daffodil is the symbol of hope for the cancer awareness – – so yes, fair warning: this is about my personal experience with the “C” word.  It’s a happy story. By sharing it, I hope there’ll be even more happy stories.

Ironically, when the real daffodils were blooming this spring, it happened again.  I noticed a little brown spot on my ankle.  No big deal, but…

This spot had grown a bit since the first time I’d noticed it 6 months ago.  Again, not alarming, but…

the mole on my left ankle
photo by D J Seekins

  The most common place for melanoma (skin cancer) on women is on the ankles.  

It makes sense really. I’ve often protected my face & arms with sunscreen, but only glossed over my lower legs.   How many times have I gone out in a skirt, shorts, or even 3/4 length pants without thinking at all about sun exposure on my ankles?  Many many times.

This time I decided to take action.  I consulted a dermatologist.  Although he really wasn’t that alarmed by the spot either, there were more factors to consider:

daffodils 3
photo by SVSeekins
  • The ankle doesn’t have a whole lot of extra skin on it – – so it’s tricky to remove a patch & pull remaining skin together to mend. 
  • Plus healing an area that moves & stretches so much is very slow.

 I wanted the mole gone before it got any bigger. He understood my insistence, & arranged a simple office surgery the next week.  Easy-peasy.

my left ankle - after 1 day
photo by DJ Seekins

A local anaesthetic numbed the area, & after a few minutes the incision had 3 tidy stitches.    The scar won’t even be noticeable in a couple of weeks.  🙂

Potential crisis averted.

It’s not easy for me to be so assertive with doctors, but considering my experience with skin cancer, I know my best health advocate is me.

daffodils around Mt. Tolmie
photo by SVSeekins

In 2005 I went to a dermatologist for advice about a mole on my right ankle.  I was told not to worry, and given a pamphlet with photos of danger signs.

I was relieved  – – and a little embarrassed I’d made a fuss.

By 2007 friends were expressing concern. I pooh-poohed it,  but began to realise the changes weren’t good.  By the time the dermatologist was able to see me, in 2008, the spot had changed even more.

my RIGHT ankle - 5 years after
photo by DJ Seekins

He took immediate action.  It was proven melanoma, stage 4.  A wider & deeper surgery was needed. That meant a skin graft to patch up the wound.  Not so easy-peasy.  (read: 3 months in bed.)

How could a little spot cause such havoc in my life?

A 2nd surgery followed, removing lymph nodes in my groin area.  (read: Another nasty scar, nerve damage in my thigh, and a perpetually swollen foot.)

Three years later, I’m off my oncologist’s ‘Watch Closely’ list.   Life is good. Crisis averted.

I’m getting better at practising assertiveness.

I’m not hiding the scars either.  Awareness is far more important than vanity.  I want more happy stories….

© SVSeekins and Garden Variety Life, 2013

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daffodil meadow in Beacon Hill Park
photo by Barbara Hansen

some sources of information:

Fighting Melanoma
Melanoma Facts
BC Cancer Agency

Meadow Blooms 4 – Fawn Lily

How could I have missed this?   For years I lived right across from Beacon Hill Park!  I celebrated their fabulous meadows every spring.  Daffodils & tulips in March & April; later the camas meadows in May…. But somehow this Fawn Lily meadow had eluded me – until now!

Fawn Lily meadow at Beacon Hill Park
photo by SVSeekins

I first became aware of native fawn lily when a naturalist pointed them out during a spring wild flower walk around Elk Lake.  The fawn lilies grow along the forest edges of the walking paths there.  I was particularly charmed by the leaf pattern: dappled spots just like the back of a fawn.   (Aw…  Bambi flowers…)

Fawn Lily bloom & leaf CU
photo by SVSeekins

Since then I’ve noticed fawn lilies along the trail around Cedar Hill Golf Course, too.  Later, I was delighted to discover them growing wild in the backyard at the Cedar Hill Road house.

Of course when we planned our move to the Richmond house, it was IMPORTANT to bring some of those fawn lilies with me to the next yard.

They had such long taps (6 inches or more) that led down to thin, elongated bulbs.  They were really tricky.  Most broke off & stayed rooted where they grew, but I did get a few.

Only a couple survived the transplant trauma.  The 2 successful specimens are in the border near the driveway.  For the first 3 years they just produced leaves.  Last year one bloomed!  I’m coddling them (go figure).

3 x fawn lily at Beacon Hill Park
photo by SVSeekins

I’ve also been buying seeds from the Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary & scattering those willy-nilly.  So far, no luck, but I have dreams.

One gardener from the Native Plant Study Group tells me that she seeds them into trays & lets them sit outside for a couple of years.  That way they’re easier to identify when they come up, & she doesn’t weed out the tiny babies by mistake.  She’ll eventually be able to move them into her beds to naturalize.

I might just have to do that myself – – if I can muster the patience.  I have lots of dreams, but little patience.    🙂

© SVSeekins and Garden Variety Life, 2013

P.S.  Here’s some other meadow faves:

Meadow Blooms 1 – crocus
Meadow Blooms 2 – chionodoxa
Meadow Blooms 3 – english daisy
Meadow Blooms 5 – camas