visiting friends in Switzerland

4 Calgarians got together in Switzerland.

Meet-ups like this on the road are always fun.

Tam had come to Europe with her daughter who’s doing a semester in Spain.

Cal and Maria are starting their 3rd year living in small villages near Bern.

The first two years they lived in Solothurn, a lovely place popular with Swiss but almost unknown by foreign tourists. Population is about 17,000 with 20% of those being resident foreign nationals.

St. Ursus Cathedra, Solothurn.

We enjoyed a terrific meal in Solothurn. It  was Tam’s farewell. She flew home to Seattle same day.

I stayed the night with Cal and Maria, learning much about Switzerland. It’s a unique place which many other nations should study.

Cal showed me a fantastic book called Living and Working in Switzerland: A Survival Handbook by David Hampshire. It’s hilarious, must reading for anyone moving there to work.

North Van beach dinner on a perfect evening

Long a tradition of the Shewchuks, who have now spent well over 20 years on the left coast.

It was just me and Rockin’ Ronnie this night.

We picked up some Asian deli food at Osaka Supermarket in the Park Royal mall.

Enjoyed a perfect evening. No wonder Vancouver is so often rated one of the best cities in the world.

barbecue at the Shewchuks



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Grilled eggplant

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Cous cous with caulifower rice

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Golf with Rockin’ Ronnie

For some reason Ron’s gotten back into the Game. He dragged me to gorgeous Northlands.

I quit golf about 20 years ago. Too expensive. Too time consuming.

But I did enjoy ruining a beautiful walk on this beautiful day.

We had fun golfing with Chief Gibby Jacob, Executive Operating Officer of the Squamish Nation. Very personable. Very funny. Very patient with my lousy game.

My highlight was skipping lunch and driving over to C-Lovers Fish & Chips for deep fried homemade battered mushrooms instead of the 19th hole. Ron and I always had deep fried mushrooms after Golf at Kokanee Springs Golf Course when we were kids. #nostalgia

Jill Prendergast obituary

In Loving Memory :

Margaret Monica Jill Prendergast  

 April 18th, 1937 – May 7th, 2018

             … Vibrant to the end !

       A Crescent Heights Gymnast & Miss Calgary runner-up, Jill Verdi married a Calgary Stampeder football player, raised 3 children with un-conditional love ( and many a puppy too ). Jill dedicated herself, not only to Her children, but to all Her family.

       She debuted the Calgary Drift Races, instructed Aerobics Fitness classes (even before before Jane Fonda). Jill was the Head Judge for Canadian Women’s Gymnastics for a period, and dedicated Her career to the Alberta Gymnastics Federation. Among Her activities : Jill skied, snow-shoed and walked the paths of Calgary City and Provincial Parks. She was a keen adept, right to the end, of yoga, line-dancing, and skating ( Jill skated at Optimist Arena with her oxygen tank at 80 ). She loved Her garden and bird feeders. Up ’till recently, She volunteered as a Bluebird Nesting watcher along the Millarville roads.

       A society lady without pretensions, Jill could always recognize anyone with qualities of heart. Her many friendships spanned the social kaleidoscope and often endured for a lifetime. Unbending in honesty, fidelity & integrity, She shared, helped and gave to others. She grieved the loss of a daughter. Family and Friends feel nothing but gratitude and privilege to have been graced by Her presence in our lives. 

                              For a True Lady … We All Cry!

Published in The Calgary Herald on May 23, 2018

your black friend is embarrassed for you

I grew up in a city with very few African Canadians.

I recall the first black kid I met. He became a school hero after a math teacher we disliked was fired for some racist comment.

Later my black friend Dave Green became assistant coach at Altadore. He was mostly embarrassed for me. Dave was cool. I was not. 😀

disclaimer – that’s NOT Dave Green. But he is embarrassed.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

related – 7 things black people want their well-meaning white friends to know.

Oh CHRIST … let us adore him

Rockin’ Ronnie turns 60 today.

I knew Rockin’ Ronnie before he was famous.

Before he was the self-proclaimed King of Barbecue, in High School Ron was Safeway’s produce guy.

Of my friends, he was the first foodie.

He cooked the first truly great hamburger I’d ever eaten.

Alcohol abuse?

AA refused him membership, I seem to recall. Irredeemable they called him.


Now that Hef is gone, Ron is one of the few old harassers not yet under police investigation. 🙂

I first met Ron in Grade 7. He and family were already producing radio dramas on tape. An early podcaster.

He was into music too at a young age. I vividly recall the day he phoned to tell me to cycle over as fast as I could. He’d acquired Queen II (1974) – “Side White” and “Side Black”. He rightly called them genius.

Ron convinced me to buy a subscription to Rolling Stone.

Though I was the jock, Ron Shewchuk certainly took part in some epic athletic adventures. Hiking, cycling and very long runs out of Rocko’s farm.

cliff jumping an alpine lake

Ron Shewchuk has been one of the 3-4 people who influenced me most over my lifetime. I do appreciate that. And I do want to wish him a HAPPY BIRTHDAY WEEK.

He should be a wreck by New Year’s Eve.:-)