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Copyright, Li Read, 2006
January 31, 2006.
Health care is well served on Salt Spring Island.
The Lady Minto Hospital offers excellent care.
Along with the traditional health options, offered through several doctors, there are also
alternative healing opportunities.
Acupuncture, aromatherapy, bodywork, chiropractors, counselling, feldenkrais movement
instruction, foot care, healing and rejuvenation options, herbalists, homeopathy,
kinesiology, massage therapists, meditation, naturopathic physicians, physiotherapists,
pilates, psychologists, shiatsu practioners, spas, tai chi, qui gong, yoga are only some
of the many opportunites for wellness that are available on Salt Spring Island.
A hospice service is available, as are elderly outreach services.
Various home care options are also available, as are several seniors organizations.
Support groups are represented.
Often called "the healing Island", Salt Spring's caring community offers many
opportunities for its citizens.
Contact Li for more suggestions and / or numbers to call.
January 30, 2006.
"What is an archer
Without a target?"
(Deng Ming-Dao: "Tao...Daily Meditations").
January 29, 2006.
What does it mean, to have become a "destination venue"? Several things!
It means that there is no longer a "local market" in play, as might have been the case,
for Salt Spring, back in the early to mid 1990s. The main buyer profile comes from
"elsewhere", which means, usually, from "out of the Province".
In this case, it means that purchasers are, in the main, buying a second or third home
In the end, when they understand the gem that Salt Spring "is", they may decide to make it
their principal residence address, but, to start with, it may be a second or third home
Before a purchase takes place, there may be several visits to the Pacific Northwest Coast,
generally, before a decision is taken to choose "for" Salt Spring Island.
Time lags, then, become a part of almost every sale.
Sellers and realtors must be patient!
If the buyer isn't on Island, then there can't be a sale. One has to wait for the buyer to
"arrive", physically, on Island.
Some realtors, who might have been in the business before this segue into a destination
venue description, might leap to the conclusion that price reductions will bring a buyer.
It's been proven that this isn't the case.
Such realtors, then, may have done their client a disservice, by "remaindering them" to
the marketplace, when there was no need to do so.
The market remains in favour of a seller, but the time lags before a sale occurs can
obscure this, often. Patience, patience, patience has taken over from the mantra of
location, location, location!
Along with the time element that has been introduced to a sale, we have the necessity of
advertising in areas where the buyer profile lives. Local advertising only becomes useful,
then, when the buyer is on Island, and it is not the vehicle to bring them "here", in the
Listings, then, become expensive to manage, and it's important for sellers to be loyal to
their realtor, if that realtor is doing their part, and is promoting the listing, at the
realtor's expense, in the "larger world".
One cannot hurry a buyer to respond, and so the seller's agenda is not the agenda of the
The buyer has endless choice, throughout the world, and the seller is finite in this
Again, patience, patience, patience!
In many cases, the seller is only on the market because there is a "need" to sell.
In a destination venue, this desire of the seller has no weight, as the buyer is, in the
end, the one in control.
No one "has to" move to Salt Spring Island; it's all "by choice".
Thus, time, again, becomes an element in all decisions, and, even when it's a traditional
seller's market (low inventory/high demand), it's always a "buyer's market" on Salt Spring
Island, as the decision to purchase remains at the buyer's discretion.
Big changes, in the past 3 to 4 year period; these changes appear to be "with us", for the
Salt Spring remains its essential self, underneath the superficial shifts, and this is the
reason why so many people would like to live here, even if they can only manage it "part
time", to start with.
The Salt Spring community is a jewel, and the Islands Trust's "preserve & protect" mandate
has made certain that growth will remain within proscribed boundaries.
This has also, though, created a marketplace that has escalated in pricings, particularly
over the past 5 years.
Many things are at play here -- the globalization of our society, the outcome of the
Trust's bylaws prohibiting growth, the wonderful "microclimate" in play on the Southern
Gulf Islands (Canada's Hawaii???), the pristine nature with all amenities that describes
Salt Spring Island, the sense of apartness with easy proximity to major centres, the
caring community of Islanders, the "hard asset" investment moment of this particular
historical time, etc. etc. etc.
A different Island, over the past 10 year period, but still a very special Island.
Explore, and enjoy!
Looking for real estate? Please call me, for the latest information and the very best
service! "See Li for Successful Solutions!" is my "logo".
RE/MAX Salt Spring
Top selling realtor on Salt Spring Island and Southern Gulf Islands for past 8 years.
MLS Gold Award, 2005.
RE/MAX Chairman's Club, 2005.
RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement.
May I be of service to you?
January 28, 2006.
"Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden
when the flowers are dead. The consciousness of loving and being loved
brings a warmth and richness to life that nothing else can bring."
(Oscar Wilde: "In Conversation").
January 27, 2006.
Don't forget! The Live Radio Theater production is "on" at ArtSpring, tomorrow night,
Live performers are re-enacting Authentic Radio Plays from the 1940s & 50s, complete with
live sound effects, live commercials, & live music! Jan Rabson, who is producing and
staging this terrific event, promises suspense! comedy! the future! & more....!
Tickets are $15 (students $12), & can be purchased at ArtSpring (1-250-537-2102). Show
starts at 7:30 p.m.
See you there!
January 26, 2006.
"Accomplish your visions.
Persevere in your ambitions.
Only then can you negate
Visions and ambitions."
(Deng Ming-Dao: "Tao...Daily Meditations").
January 25, 2006.
Salt Spring Blues...
Billie decided to go blonde. It was just one of those things, a dare, really, and, she was
as surprised as everyone else, when she saw her reflection in the salon's mirror.
At the same time, the short hair cut released the tangle of curls from the weight of all
that long hair.
She didn't look like herself.
She felt the same, though.
The outside was more like her younger sister had come to stay, and, instead of the heavy
coil of brown hair, stripped back from her forehead, neatly plaited next to her skull,
there was this froth of platinum blonde, tangling and fuzzing outward, like an auriole
around a sun.
She would catch a glimpse of this head reflected in store windows, almost disembodied,
above the familiar winter jacket, and the shock of it would make her recoil.
Without these sightings, though, her thoughts were the same, tumbling around the usual
track of her daily routines, until, there, right there, the hair caught her attention, and
she stopped, literally, and a blankness settled over her features.
Why had she done it? What on earth had she been expecting?
Yes, she had watched with fascination the t.v. make-over of a young mother, someone so
inured in her routine that she had lost herself somewhere over the high chair, feeding her
child. Afterwards, the husband had taken her dancing, and it was clear, from the glint in
his eye, that there might be another high chair before long.
No, that couldn't have been it.
Mike was never going to take her dancing, no matter what she did.
He was too busy creating whatever it was he did on that computer...he'd tried to describe
it to her once, but she hadn't understood, and it was too tiring to keep going over the
It was like learning bridge, she'd tried to explain to him, and four different and patient
people had given up, finally, at her inability to master the game.
He had shrugged, and gone back to his hunched position, over the keyboard, staring fixedly
at the screen, as if he might climb through it and be lost to her forever.
So, how did all that anxiety, that followed her through her minutes and hours and days,
end up becoming blonde?
Maybe it was the quote she'd seen in a newspaper, someone called Montaigne, who had said
that length of life wasn't life, or something like that, and she'd just walked in and made
the appointment and walked out, someone different, if not on the inside, then, where it
counted, where the outside would see her.
Did the viewing of another, staring back at her, make her different?
Was it true that blondes had more fun?
Well, she'd have to stop filling in these hours and minutes, with self- inflicted chores,
and go home. What would Mike say?
How long would it take to go back to normal?
She sat in the car, the dog, Buster Brown, jumping and hopping around it, confused as to
why she didn't get out, and go inside, throwing him a dog biscuit from the pail on the
Maybe she should just drive away, and come back later, much later, when it had all grown
Would Mike still be here? Would the house wait? Would Buster remember her?
Clearly, change was a bad idea, but she'd already known that....Buster's frantic barking
had brought Mike to the door, and his shadowed bulk peered from the screened porch.
Well, now or never. She almost reversed, and drove away again.
Slowly, she climbed out, her toque mashed to her head, the straying curls hidden. That was
it, she'd just wear the hat for the next several months.
Meanwhile...two guard geese at the farm down the valley patrolled their hedgerowed garden.
Meanwhile...the wraith of cloud cover peeled from Mount Bruce, and feathered across the
Valley. Meanwhile...two children in blue overalls jumped in and out of puddles, splashing
mud and rainbow water over themselves. Meanwhile...Polly, at the north end, poured a
stream of pink paint in icy rivulets over the canvas she'd stretched between four
clotheslines, and the trailing splotches solidified into thick veins...yes, she muttered,
yes, exactly that, and turned to the pot of blue/green sultry paint. Meanwhile...Carter
strolled his vineyard, grapevines stripped to stalks of sleeping sap, sun stored in the
roots, awaiting Spring's engine of growth....
Meanwhile...the Island swam in that middling wave between winter's death and spring's
genesis, with mists and rainbows and icy mornings and false warmth of late
afternoons...brooding and flooding into a new year....
January 24, 2006.
".... It is all capsulated in the popular variant on Robert Browning: "A man's reach
must exceed his grasp or what's a metaphor." All media are active metaphors in their power
to translate experience into new forms. The spoken word was the first technology by which
man was able to let go of his environment in order to grasp it in a new way. Words are a
kind of information retrieval that can range over the total environment and experience at
high speed. Words are complex systems of metaphors and symbols that translate experience
into our uttered or outered senses. They are a technology of explicitness. By means of
translation of immediate sense experience into vocal symbols the entire world can be
evoked and retrieved at any instant.
In this electric age we can see ourselves being translated more and more into the
form of information, moving toward the technological extension of consciousness. That is
what is meant when we say that we daily know more and more about man. We mean that we can
translate more and more of ourselves into other forms of expression that exceed ourselves.
Man is a form of expression who is traditionally expected to repeat himself and to echo
the praise of his Creator. "Prayer", said George Herbert, "is reversed thunder." Man has
the power to reverberate the Divine thunder, by verbal translation.
By putting our physical bodies inside our extended nervous systems, by means of
electric media, we set up a dynamic by which all previous technologies that are mere
extensions of hands and feet and teeth and bodily heat-controls -- all such extensions of
our bodies, including cities -- will be translated into information systems.
Electromagnetic technology requires utter human docility and quiesence of meditation such
as befits an organism that now wears its brain outside its skull and its nerves outside
its hide. Man must serve his electric technology with the same servo- mechanistic fidelity
with which he served his coracle, his canoe, his typography, and all the extensions of his
physical organs. But there is this difference, that previous technologies were partial and
fragmentary, and the electric is total and inclusive. An external consensus or conscience
is now as necessary as private consciousness. With the new media, however, it is also
possible to store and to translate everything; and, as for speed, that is no problem. No
further acceleration is possible this side of the light barrier."....
(Marshall McLuhan: "Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man").
- first printing: October, 1966.
January 23, 2006.
"Never jump out of the same hole twice."
(Deng Ming-Dao: "Tao...Daily Meditations").
January 22, 2006.
Robbie Burns Day celebrates the Scottish poet's life and writings.
A key figure in the pre-Romantic movement, Burns' compilation of songs and stories, in the
Scottish vernacular, plus his call for equality among men, carries this poet beyond his
life's timeframe of the 18th Century, and makes of him a voice of "now".
The Burns Day evening is celebrated with a Burns Supper, featuring Scottish songs and
dance and a traditional Scottish country dinner of tatties, neeps, and haggis. The Toast
to the Haggis is the highlight of a Burns Supper. Scottish country dancing and the
bagpipes are a great part of the festivities.
On Salt Spring, there is an annual Burns Supper at the local Legion, and it's a well
If you've never been to one, make sure you get your tickets, and enjoy the fun!
For one night, "everyone" can be Scottish!
"My love is like a red, red rose,
That's newly sprung in June:
My love is like the melodie
That's sweetly play'd in tune.
So fair art thou, my bonie lass,
So deep in love am;
And I will love thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry.
Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun:
And I will love thee still, my dear,
While the sands o' life shall run.
And fare thee weel, my only love!
And fare thee weel awhile!
And I will come again, my love,
Tho' it were ten thousand mile!"
(Robert Burns: "A Red, Red Rose").
January 21, 2006.
Salt Spring Blues...
First, there was the fencing to finish, up on the third pasture.
The rhythmic percussion of the posts, slapping into the earth, lulled his mind. The
regularity of movement, going beyond thought, propelled his imagination.
What would happen, here, if he left?
Behind him, in the valley, smoke tendrilled from the kitchen chimney. Mattie would be
there, elbows on the table, overseeing the homework for Bobby and Chris.
Home schooling had become her passion, and she was determined that the twins would not be
stifled by any teacher's insistence on the bare bones of the curriculum. Enriched learning
was her watchword.
Peter was worried about the social side, but Mattie insisted that going to the children's
theatre group, and to the soccer matches, and to the riding club would make up for not
attending the local elementary school.
A hawk rode the air above him, catching a downdraft, gliding across the mountain and
disappearing... easily...suddenly gone.
Sweat pooled at the small of his back, and his breath puffed white in the morning cool.
How had he ended up here, with his mortgage payments, and this family dependent on him,
and these manual chores that sounded great, from the city, but which had just turned out
to be dull hardship and plodding work.
Today, the light shimmered around him, but it was just as likely to have been a sodden
rain, cloud on the ground, further isolating him on this sliver of a farm, pushed into the
hills above the Valley.
Mattie was happy.
The kids were in good shape, he had to admit that.
Mattie belonged to the fibre artists group, totally absorbed in the carding and spinning
of her wool, the dying and the creating of toques and sweater vests, and this whole thing
of sheep to sweater, the "natural" way.
She was a beautiful knitter and had won a prize at the last Fall Fair.
Leaning on a post, Peter stared down the hill, towards the newest vineyard on the opposite
hillside, and past it, across the lower valley, towards the sea.
He wondered if Stefan was still moored at the government dock. Now there was a
life...Stefan, living on his sailboat, casting off whenever he felt like it, and moving
on...only the chores of the sea, brief interruptions in an endless day of whatever time
would deliver...yes, there was a life, a life of a gypsy...not this endless round of same
old/same old, trailing endlessly behind him, never finished, never different..."I've
turned into a maintenance man", Peter mulled. "I'm like those sheep, following each other
in a single line to the butcher's knife".
A bell tolled him to attention.
Mattie had separated their day into neat segments, "so we don't lose track", she'd said,
and, true to her word, their day was organized in predictable portions, all the more
Peter spat, his saliva disappearing into a clump of moss.
The hawk had it right...he'd gone, already, over the other side of the hill, where it
might be day, it might be night, but it wouldn't be decided ahead of time, each minute
could still be a surprise.
If this went on much longer, he'd be crazy...he'd be like the hitchhiker no one would pick
up, muttering to himself at the sides of roads, walking the Island, ceaselessly
walking...he'd have to talk to Mattie. He couldn't remember when he'd said he'd be a
farmer, but it had to stop, and stop now.
Look at that...all of the undone things stared back at him, mute and accusing, as he
plodded the muddy trail back to the turn of the century farmhouse that Mattie had
described, in such detail, over the phone, and he'd bought into her dream, her vision, her
desires...she'd always been able to talk him into anything.
Not this time!
He opened the door, pulled off his boots, and dropped them beside the woodstove. The twins
looked up, then went back to their workbooks. Mattie was stirring one of her pungent home
made soups. A log snapped and sparked in the stove. The CBC announcer was giving the
weather reports, for the province. Another lunchtime, another day. He'd speak to her
tonight, after the twins were in bed...this couldn't go on.
Meanwhile, an Orca pod was steaming and blowing its way up Trincomali Channel, and only
five people were looking seaward, to see the whales on their journey north.
Meanwhile, a weather system from Hawaii was blowing across the Pacific, to soon deliver a
"pineapple express" to the Coast, pummelling with monsoon rains.
Meanwhile, the cast of the radio theatre show were rehearsing their parts, and looking for
1950s clothing, for the one night performance.
Meanwhile, the construction crew at the townhouse development were breaking for lunch, and
the waitress at Oystercatcher was setting a surprise table for a birthday celebration.
Meanwhile, the jazz group was practicing for their Friday night gig at Treehouse South,
and, up at the North End, lambs were frisking in their farm field, while a man with three
dogs, all on leashes, a Jack Russell, a Corgi, and a Lab, stood at the road's edge,
staring at the lambs abandoned joy.
Meanwhile...the Island drifted, in sun and fog and rain and January calm, awaiting
Spring's rowdy emergence.
January 20, 2006.
Canada's Federal election is being held on January 23rd., this year.
The incumbent party, the Liberals, and the Conservatives (an amalgam of the former
Progressive Conservative Party and the Reform Party), and the NDP (New Democrat Party) are
running, and the Bloc Quebecois is running on a platform of representing the Province of
Currently, the seat for Saanich and the Islands is held by a Conservative candidate.
The seats per province are not designated on representation by population.
Usually, the outcome of the Federal vote is decided by the vote count in Canada's two
central provinces, Ontario and Quebec.
Historically, these areas were known as Upper and Lower Canada, and much of the nation's
history is a history of central Canada.
B.C. (known, in Canada, as "the Coast"), and Alberta (known as "the West", along with
Saskatchewan and Manitoba) often do not vote in synch with central Canada.
After an extremely lengthy return to office, in several previous elections, the Liberal
party, dogged with scandal, seems, this time, to be running a second to the Conservatives
(latest polls). The NDP, however, could help either of the two "main" parties to achieve a
majority, in forming a government, and so the outcome of the election might be more
interesting this year, for a B.C. resident, than has been the case in previous elections.
Except for the West Coast, with its benign climate, most of Canada is in a winter mode,
and this may cause problems on election day, too, depending on the variations in weather
Technically, Canada is a part of the parliamentary system that England "exported" to her
colonies, in the historical past. It's a very different system from that in the U.S.
Locally, all candidate meetings are a part of the Island's January rhythm, this year, and
an interesting adjunct to a more "passive" off season time.
January 19, 2006.
Come new beginnings.
To gain strength,
Renew the root."
(Deng Ming-Dao: "Tao...Daily Meditations".)
January 18, 2006.
Conventions are offered, by all companies, including real estate companies. They are great
opportunities to learn new things -- new technological items, new referral contacts, new
ways to advertise to attract buyers, new ideas in the marketing of real estate.
It's always important to "keep up", to be able to be "leading edge", so that one offers
the very best ideas for all clients, whether sellers or buyers.
RE/MAX International has a huge global presence, today, and both Canadian and U.S. realtor
representatives, plus the global community, attend real estate conventions.
In 2006, RE/MAX Western (B.C., Alberta, Sask., and Manitoba) is hosting its annual
convention in Vancouver, on the first weekend in February.
I have been invited to speak on a panel, with another RE/MAX Western realtor (this
time, from Whistler, B.C.), on the best ways to position luxury real estate offerings.
As a member of RE/MAX International's Advisory Board, for the RE/MAX Renowned Properties
division, I am pleased to be able to be on this panel, and to share what I have learned,
to date, in this specialized marketing field.
I've also taken a booth for the duration of the convention, and will be highlighting all
of my listings, at this venue. To be there, and to speak with interested clientele, and to
attract referral business from top producing realtors in the rest of B.C., and in Alberta,
Sask, and Manitoba, as well as from the Toronto area (the Western convention always
attracts realtors from RE/MAX Atlantic) is a true benefit to all of my listing clientele.
I will be handing out lots of marketing material!
I believe in the personal approach, in real estate marketing, and so am looking forward to
this weekend's events.
On the final evening, at the awards ceremony, I will be recognized for achieving the
RE/MAX Chairman's Club award level (the top sales award in the RE/MAX organization), for
2005. It's always a pleasure to be recognized by one's peers.
At this convention, there is an auction to raise money for the Children's Miracle Network,
one of my main charitable causes. Every year, I put together a "gift package", including a
weekend on Salt Spring, floatplane flight to and from, two nights accomodation, meals,
gourmet dinner one evening, Salt Spring Dollars for spending on the Island, etc. etc.
etc., and this has, in past years, brought a good "bidding war" to the event, and has
raised a lot of money for this worthy cause. I look forward to repeating this, at this
year's annual convention.
I work in a strong "people business", and meeting one's peers, and learning new things, is
the best feature of attending any convention.
January 17, 2006.
Looking for some ideas of what to do, how to meet the "locals", etc.??
Joining a like minded group is one way of learning the local customs, and meeting the
It's also a way of encountering new ideas, new paths, and a wonderful way to welcome in
the "new year".
Here are some "suggestions", on Salt Spring Island:
* Island Paddlers (canoeist and kayakers of all levels of expertise). * Off Centre Stage
Society. * SS Community Theatre. * SS Concert Band. * SS Conservancy. * SS Badminton Club.
* Readers' Theatre. * SS Basketry Guild. * SS Centre of Yoga. * SS Community 4-H. * SS
Antique & Classic Car. * SS Festival of the Arts Society. * SS Garden Club. * SS Golf &
Country Club. * SS Historical Society. * SS Mountain Bike Association. * SS Music Guild. *
SS Painters Guild. * SS Pipers and Drummers Association. * SS Power and Sail Squadron. *
SS Rod and Gun Club. * SS Sailing Club. * SS Salmon Enhancement Society. * SS Scottish
Country Dance Club. * SS Singers. * SS Soccer Assoc. * SS Tennis Assoc. * SS Trail and
Nature Club. * SS Weavers and Spinners Guild. * SS Woodworkers Guild. * SS Writers and
Friends. * Salty Wheels Square Dance Club. * Stagecoach Theatre School Society. * Taoist
Tai Chi Society of Pacific Canada. * Theatre Alive! * Toastmasters. * Waterbird Watch
Collective. etc. etc. etc.
Lots to do and to "be". Welcome!
January 16, 2006.
Looking to lose weight, to gain flexibility, to become more "fit"? Lots of choices, on
Salt Spring, for the "work-out" moment!
* North End Fitness has been in business on Salt Spring for the past 16 years, and they
offer full programmes. 250-537-5217.
* Curves has an outlet on Salt Spring, in the Upper Village Centre, and their programmes
are designed specifically for women. 250-538-5575.
* Living Strong Fitness Studio offers a private setting, with supervised weight training
* Ganges Yoga Studio offers classical instruction in yoga, meditation, pranayama & yoga
philosophy. Also, certified Nia and Pilates instruction. 250-537-2644.
* Aromatherapy at Salt Spring Lodge & Spa, Leslie Andrews, certified aromatherapist,
massage practitioner. 250-537-9522.
* Island Massage Therapy & Acupuncture Clinic. 250-537-5233.
* Aroma Crystal Therapy. 250-538-1833.
* Eight Branches Holistic Health Centre. 250-538-1701.
* Skin Sensations (by the sea), Day Spa & Healing Arts Centre. 250-537-8807.
* Salt Spring Centre of Yoga (yoga, health, & workshops). 250-537- 2326.
There's also that brisk 30 minute walk, on a daily basis, rain or shine!
It's the consistency that counts!
January 15, 2006.
"Pattern and creativity
Are the two poles of action."
(Deng Ming-Dao: "Tao...Daily Meditations").
January 14, 2006.
In January, statistics from the previous year come into real estate offices.
In 2005, just as in 2004, RE/MAX Salt Spring was the top selling office on Salt
Spring Island, by a substantial amount. This is based on mls statistics; "exclusive"
listings are not counted in this report.
I feel very fortunate, too, to have achieved the top salesperson placement for 2005, on
Salt Spring Island, and this is based on both mls and "exclusive" listing sales.
Recently, at the close of October, 2005, I had placed 14th, in sales, for an individual
realtor, in all of Canada (real estate teams are a separate category).
For the eighth consecutive year, then, I remain the top selling realtor on Salt Spring
Island and the Southern Gulf Islands (verifiable statistics).
Current sales awards include MLS Gold Award for 2005 (the top 10% of the entire Victoria
Real Estate Board area), and the RE/MAX Chairman's Club for 2005 (the top sales award in
the RE/MAX International organization).
Awards are a recognition, by one's peers in the industry, of good customer service and
consistent concern for the client's welfare in every transaction.
A portion of every commission I earn is gifted to the Children's Miracle Network, which is
the RE/MAX organization's main charity, and one that I am very pleased to help to support.
In B.C., all monies raised go to the B.C. Children's Hospital.
Several hundred Salt Spring Island and Gulf Islands families have been helped at the B.C.
Children's Hospital, over the years, and so this is really a "local" charity, too.
I also believe in supporting the local schools/students, on an ongoing basis, as this is
I am very appreciative of the superb customer support that has enabled me to achieve this
top placement sales level, for 2005, and thank all of those people who have helped me to
succeed in this demanding world of real estate sales.
This is not a career that can truly be done "alone", and I recognize all of the help that
I've received, over the years, and the mentoring that helped me to arrive at this moment,
Thank you, to all of my valued clients, and to my helpful family & friends!
January 13, 2006.
Here's something different to do, for the "winter blahs" -- for $55, for two days, 1 to 4
p.m., both days, you can learn the art of tea leaf reading. To take part in this workshop,
contact Tanya Lester, at 250-538-0086. The dates: January 15th and 22nd.
"Don't let a thread fall without noticing it.
Don't rake dry brown leaves carelessly.
Think how difficult it was
For something to take this existence".
(Deng Ming-Dao: "Tao...Daily Meditations").
January 12, 2006
Salt Spring Blues...
Florence Foster opened the letter at eight-thirty in the morning, over her second cup of
coffee, and just after she'd waved goodbye to her two children, Kelly and Morton.
The ticket was enclosed.
Who could have sent it?
To Buenos Aires, gratis, from an admirer of her Tango.
To take lessons from the master, in Argentina, because of her soul on display, with every
step. A pressed rose petal fell from the folds of the letter.
Florence hugged the letter, and did a small dip and swirl around the kitchen. Dance was
her passion....first, the line dancing, and then the ballet, and now the Tango, with all
its smolder and innuendo.
Florence the fiery, Florence the passionate, Florita the intangible, the soulful, the one
and the only...she couldn't go, of course. Who would make sure that Morton took his shots,
and looked after his diet? Juvenile diabetes, unresolved, led to death via blindness and
amputation, everyone knew that. Who would make sure that Kelly did her homework and kept
her eye on the future, the path to university, to success and a way out of this household
of single mother with two children and never enough money.... Who had sent those tickets?
Who had watched her dance her life into existence?
She dialed Kathie's number. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. There!
"You'll never guess!"
"Florrie, I'm in the middle of something here...I'll call you back!"
"Right away. Emergency!"
One, two, three, four...ring, ring, ring. "Hello!"
"Ok! What is it! The ewe is lambing!"
"I have a ticket."
"A ticket? For what!"
"Are you all right? What do you mean, Argentina?"
"It's for the dance classes, with Julio Moreles, the ones the instructor talked about...I
have a ticket, and instruction with him. It's all paid for!"
"Are you kidding? I didn't know that you could afford this!"
"I didn't buy it! That's what I'm trying to tell you! I just opened the envelope, and
there it was!"
"Wow! Look, I'll have to call you back, we're in the middle of things right now, with
lambs dropping all around us. We'll talk!"
"Please, please, I know you're busy, but call...I'm going to go nuts here!"
"So who's your benefactor? Is it that cute doctor that you talked about, at the last
"Don't joke! It can't be...he has a girl friend."
"Yeah, but that doesn't mean he can't dream...maybe you're girlfriend # 2. Look, I'll call
you later...I have to go!"
Florence stood, staring out the window at the dead stalks of the lavender, at the birds at
the feeder, fighting for the seed, at the probing fingers of the crocus bulbs and the
daffodils, pushing out of the earth below the kitchen window.
Argentina. The name evoked passion and sun and incredibly handsome men who all danced the
Tango, the dance of love, with rhythm and passion not known on this sleepy northern
climate Island...isla pacifica...passive island...her blood drummed and dreamed...she must
go, must go, must go....the future beckoned.
Meanwhile, the eagle brooded from the fir above Grace Point Square, and the seal rippled
across the Harbour in front of the Coast Guard dock, and the geese flew in formation above
Sisters Island, and the tide rose and fell,slopping against the pilings off Moby's Marine
Pub. Isla Pacifica...brooding in the pearl gray light of very early Spring, very late
January 11, 2006.
Real estate on the Southern Gulf Islands and on Salt Spring Island has reflected the
change on the Islands to "destination venues".
The buyer profile remains a mainly "out of province" purchaser, and these buyers are from
all over the U.S., from Alberta and Ontario, if Canadian, and from the U.K. and other
"long distance" areas.
In many cases, these buyers have other homes, and their "main residence" address is
elsewhere -- their Island home, then, is a second or third home option.
In moving to this kind of resort based/destination venue marketplace (this shift began,
about five years ago, and was evident to all about two years ago), we find huge time lags
between a list and a sale, in the marketing process.
The buyer has to first "hear" about Salt Spring or the Southern Gulf Islands, and then has
to arrive, physically, on the Islands, to view what may have attracted them off a print ad
or from the internet.
Often, though, this buyer has never been to the Pacific Northwest Coast region, and will
want to view more than one area, "just to be sure". It often takes two to three visits,
then, to any particular Island, including Salt Spring Island, for a buyer to "decide for"
It may even take three or four visits to narrow that first decision, about the Island as
the choice, down to a particular property on that Island.
It can take, then, anywhere from three weeks to three years to market any property, on any
Gulf Island. There is, effectively, no "local market", and one has to wait for the buyer
to "turn up", and then "to choose".
When a property does seem to sell quickly, it usually just means that someone had returned
to the Island, for the second, third, or fourth time, at the same time that someone
listed...that's called "the luck of the draw"! The majority of properties, though, wait
for that exposure and arrival time, from the out of province buyer.
Sellers and realtors have to take their patience pill, and remain creatively presented to
the marketplace, but, in the end, it's always a "buyer's market", on any Gulf Island,
including on Salt Spring Island, as no one "has to" move here, and it's all by choice.
There is no propeller to action, then, for a buyer, and time is always on their side.
Just one of the subtle changes that I've noted, since I've been selling real estate in
this area (since 1989), and which has been a pattern, especially on Salt Spring Island,
since about 2002.
It's a big world, and Salt Spring & the Southern Gulf Islands, though totally beautiful
and totally accessible, are just a tiny portion of what's "out there"!
It's true, though, that, once on Island, this does seem like the "centre of the universe",
just like the decal (that can be purchased at the local gift stores) promises!
For current market updates, on Salt Spring Island and the Southern Gulf Islands (Galiano,
Mayne, Penders, Saturna, etc.) contact me (Li Read), at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Look forward to hearing from you!
January 10, 2006.
"I love this lake,
Basin of heavenly tears,
Tilted from lunar pull
Jostling its shore.
I love these mountains,
Stark rock outcroppings,
Scupted by the oceans,
Lifted at some unknown time,
Isolated in a field of vetch,
Cleaved by silver falls.
A sentinel owl regards me unblinkingly,
And beyond, alpine forests form a cadence
To a distant moon."
(Deng Ming-Dao: "Tao...Daily Meditations").
January 9, 2006.
Salt Spring Blues...
The rumour started about one p.m., on a sleepy Saturday in the sleepy month of January. It
was Casey Thompson who first reported it to Emmy Springer, and then it went like wildfire.
On February 14th, it was definite, Mick Jagger was going to be on Island, and he was
looking for property.
His helicopter would be landing at the Harbour House Hotel, he'd be staying at Hastings
House, and he'd be looking at that 160 acre property with the creek and the lake.
At the Roasting Company, several people claimed insider knowledge. They'd heard from
someone who'd heard from someone else that Mick had already bought a property, that he'd
been here for three years, at least, and someone had seen him on a motorcycle, heading up
Beddis Road, and someone else had seen him licking an ice-cream cone, waffle cone at that,
on the Boardwalk, outside Oystercatcher.
Vera Bolton, with her hair pale purple this week, told her friend, Martha Creske, that she
had an appointment for an interview, for the school paper, on February 15th.
Martha snorted her disbelief, and continued with her quest to braid her horse's mane with
silk and straw ribbons. Martha only cared about winning each and every competition she and
Queen Juliana entered. So far, there was an entire wall of trophies.
Mikey Harris, though, was struck at the thought that his chance had arrived. He had won
the Rock Star Look Alike Contest two years running, with his rendition of Can't Get No
Satisfaction, and he craved an introduction to his idol, Mick.
His Dad, Kevin, laughed, and then flicked on Star Choice, to catch Larry King on CNN.
Rumours flare, like spores, flying off in all directions, landing, taking root, and
fluffing into full bore continents of interpretation.
After awhile, no one checks. It's been said, at least forty times, and so it must be true.
Mick's coming, by helicopter, by sailboat, no, it's on a B.C. Ferry, he wanted to sample
the Sunshine Breakfast, no, no, he's on his own floatplane, he's shooting a film, and the
Island is in it, what, the whole Island? Forget it! It's all a joke, it's not April Fool's
yet, but this isn't real, it's all a joke....
Meanwhile, the swans at Fulford Harbour glide in a serene line, up one side, across, and
down the other, waiting for their daily feeding, the same pick-up truck arriving, at the
same time, to spread grain for them. Meanwhile, the donkey, the two goats, the llama, and
the horse, plus three geese and several ducks, wait at the blue farmhouse, to be fed.
Meanwhile, the meals-on- wheels volunteers make their rounds. Meanwhile, the tarot card
reader holds court at the metaphysical store. Meanwhile, reputations are scissored and
repasted, at the three coffee houses in town. Two people decide to weed the park, because
it needs it. Someone drops off a spray of roses to a deserving hospital volunteer. A
developer paces the hallway of the Trust office, hoping that his plan will be approved. An
artist raises his brush and stares at the tree he's just delimned on the rice paper
backdrop...when it works, it's "there". Cars line up at the ferry terminal, while an eagle
Just another sleepy day in sleepy January, with fields fallow, and an expectant pewter
glow over the Island's world.
Mick's coming, though, on February 14th....
January 8, 2006.
Don't forget the auditions, today and tomorrow, for Jan Rabson's one day "radio show", at
ArtSpring, to be held on the 28th. Contact Jan at 250-538-1812, for more details!
He's looking for announcers and actors, and is also hoping for some "angels", too.
See you there!
January 7, 2006.
The recent tragedy in the coal mining accident in West Virginia, in the U.S., points out
the dilemma of our "immediate" world, now that we are so digitally connected.
In the past, time was an element of communication. Now, with the totally wired/totally
"always" / totally immediate communication network (the true impact of the internet world
of the Twenty-First Century), there is no "space" for clarification.
It happens / it's "known", immediately, no editing function. Later, if it's "incorrect",
it will be "fixed", but the initial news is raw, uncensored, unedited, "as is".
It requires, then, that the audience of all this immediacy is somehow "edit prone", with
all their attennae "open" but not "committed". A healthy sense of disrespect for any
immediate news should be fostered, and schools should be teaching the basic skills of
The editing function may turn out to be the prime shaper of this new century. If not, then
it's like flotsam on an ocean, wave action in control, and flotsam just being pushed
To edit is to shape and to give meaning and to pursue, hopefully, "the truth".
January 6, 2006.
Today marks the celebration of Epiphany, and, if one follows the English tradition of the
Twelve Days of Christmas, it is the end of the Christmas "season".
It marks the journey of the Wise Men, with their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
In the Christian tradition, it is also the beginning of the Season of the Evangel.
Traditions have grown up, over the centuries, for this Feast of the Epiphany -- again, in
the English tradition, a special cake was baked, with a coin within it, and the person
with the coin in their slice was considered "lucky". The Christmas Tree would be taken
down, and all Christmas decorations, too, on this night.
Each culture has their own tradition, and, for some, Christmas is actually celebrated on
this date, as they follow a different calendar.
January 5, 2006.
"Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present."
(T.S. Eliot -- "Burnt Norton").
January 4, 2006.
For several years, now, I've been interested in the potential of an arts centre on Salt
Spring, along the lines of the Banff School of Fine Arts concept.
The "right" property might offer both teaching spaces/seminar spaces, and also
accomodation for "students". There are some property options on the market, right now,
which would lend themselves to this kind of creative endeavour.
There are lots of models for this, in various other places -- writers retreats, holistic
philosophy approaches, fibre arts venues, etc. On Salt Spring, on smaller scales, there
are weekend retreats and "shows", already.
I'm thinking more of an actual destination venue, for a "centre", and it might be able to
offer two to three week classes, with instructors in various fields -- the humanities, the
arts, writers, digital options, painters, film opportunities, and also sustainable
forestry/agriculture/fisheries interests. The entire "soft footprint" world could be
represented, here -- bioneers, take note!
There are many talented and creative people, on Salt Spring, all of whom know others who
would be interested, perhaps, in offering courses at the Salt Spring Centre for the Arts.
Perhaps the time has come to put the ideas into action?
January 3, 2006.
Salt Spring's Great Radio Caper will be "live", from ArtSpring, on January 28th.
Auditions for parts will be held on Jan. 8th, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., at Crofton Hall -- near
Lady Minto hospital, on Corbett Street -- and on the 9th, same place, from 6 to 9 p.m.
Auditions are for actors and announcers.
If you've always wanted to be in the "hot medium" of radio, here's your chance!
Contact Jan Rabson, at 250-538-1812, for more details!
Sponsorship help is also welcome!
See you there!
January 2, 2006.
In the Eastern system of astrology, based on a 12 year cycle, with each year named after
an animal "totem", we are now in the Year of the Dog.
The hallmarks of the Year of the Dog have been described as:
"You'll be pessimistic, anxious, and worrying about your future. You'll be on the
defensive all the time -- but full of generosity and good-will too.
A year with plenty of political action. Things veer suddenly towards a more liberal
approach. Idealism. Possibility of revolution.
A year, in fact, favourable to the Left, to grandiose schemes and to disinterested,
For children born this year, it is better not to be born at night. Those who are,
ceaselessly on the alert, will stay that way for the rest of their lives....".
(Paula Delsol -- "Chinese Horoscopes").
This kind of "forecasting" is good fun! Will be interesting to check out this brief
"overview", at the close of the year!
January 1, 2006.
Happy New Year!
Entries from Past Months
Contact Li Read at RE/MAX Salt Spring, 131 Lower Ganges
Road, Salt Spring Island, BC, V8K 2T2, Toll-Free 1-800-731-7131