Tuesday, November 24, 2009

So long, farewell

After two and a half years and about 120 profiles, it is time for me to take a break from the Muskoka Mosaic and focus more on my own fiction writing.

It has been a rare pleasure to get to know so many members of my community and to introduce them to their neighbours. Thank you to everyone who has suggested a person to profile, agreed to be a profile subject, or let me know that you were reading each week.

New Forester employee Pamela Steel will continue with my brainchild starting next week, and you will be able to read her profiles on the newspaper's website. I wish her well and look forward to learning more about the spectacular mosaic of people who make up Huntsville.

Thanks again.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Introducing Leslie Tempest

Physiotherapist Leslie Tempest (nee Jewell) is the owner of ProActive Rehab and Sport Injury Centre. To read her profile, click here.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Introducing Jeremy McClung

Jeremy McClung is the pastor of the Muskoka Community Church. To read his profile, click here.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Introducing Anita Denny

Anita Denny grew up in Huntsville and lives with her two older brothers in her childhood home, without running water or electricity. She is an active volunteer for organizations such as the agricultural society, Club 55 and Friends of Fairvern. To read her profile, click here.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Introducing Bonnie Harris

Bonnie Harris is co-owner of M and M Hair Place. The avid photographer and painter has been on several mission trips to Nicaragua and says they were life-changing. To read her profile, click here.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Introducing Andy McLean

Andy McLean of Mary Lake is a musician and co-founder of Toronto's North by Northeast festival, which promotes new and emerging Canadian musical talent. To read his profile, click here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Introducing Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith, owner of the mobile dental hygiene service Gentle Dental, loves to help others, both in her community and abroad. To read her profile, click here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Introducing Randy Spencer

Chef Randy Spencer has been the co-owner of Spencer's Tall Trees Restaurant for almost 10 years. To read his profile, click here.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Introducing Melissa Meystadt

Melissa Meystadt, owner of the Muskoka Music Academy, grew up in Port Sydney. Although she is just 31, this is her 20th consecutive year as a volunteer for Port Sydney's annual turkey dinner. To read her profile, click here.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Introducing Shane Connon

Shane Connon is a 17-year-old Huntsville musician who has already been strumming, singing and drumming in front of audiences for years. To read his profile, click here.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Musing: My biggest challenge yet

I'm about to profile someone who was recently diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's.

This isn't for the newspaper; very few people will ever read it. And it will be the most important piece of writing I've ever done.

I am honoured to have the chance to share this person's story: to hear about how her life has unfolded, to give her a chance to reflect on its themes and lessons, and then to weave a tapestry of words that reflects who she is and present it to her.

I hope the process will be valuable for her. I also hope that someday, when she can no longer tell her story, a caregiver or family member will be able to use what they learn from the profile to connect more fully with her. If so, I will have done my job.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Introducing Marjory Goodwin

Marjory Goodwin, known to many of her students as Mrs. Earl, spent her entire career as a teacher at Huntsville Public School. She is also an accomplished artist and has a great interest in local history and geneaology. To read Marjory's profile, click here.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Introducing George Anderson

George Anderson is an outdoor educator who has spent the past 28 years at the Yearley Outdoor Education Centre. To read his profile, click here.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Introducing Shannan Boothby

Port Cunnington native Shannan Boothby is a photographer and owner of the company Ripples Web Design. Her other passions are family, community and animals. To read her profile, click here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Introducing Wayne Stahls

Wayne Stahls does maintenance work for two churches and two dentists in town. He is well known as a lacrosse player and coach. To read Wayne's profile, click here.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Musing: Rejection

I’ve been turned down a lot lately. Especially by men.

I’m still getting many recommendations for profile subjects, but when I call to propose the idea, I often hear, “No, I’d rather not.”

The funny thing is, many of those who decline to be interviewed tell me they read the Muskoka Mosaic profiles every week and enjoy them.

I do understand the desire for privacy, and I respect each person’s right to decide whether they want to ‘put themselves out there,’ but after two years of hearing “yes” almost 100 per cent of the time, I find this trend puzzling.

Maybe it’s not a trend. Maybe it’s just coincidence. Time will tell.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Introducing Janice Berkenmeier

Janice Berkenmeier, owner of Florence's Flowers on Main Street, loves connecting with her community in various ways. To read her profile, click here.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Introducing Loris Buttus

Loris Buttus is the owner of That Little Place By the Lights. A trained gelato maker, Loris once made about 200 kg of gelato each day for the cafe he and his wife Annie owned in Italy. To read his profile, click here.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Introducing Jo Walton

Jo Walton is a Port Sydney mother of four who works as a program facilitator at several area Ontario Early Years Centres. To read her profile, click here.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Introducing Grant Wager

Grant Wager is a salesperson for a medical mobility company, a member of Huntsville's accessibility advisory committee, a husband and a father.

To read Grant's profile, click here.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Musing: People who have come alive

American author, philosopher, theologian and civil rights leader Howard Thurman said, “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive.”

This has become more apparent to me since I started profiling community members for the Forester. The people I find most inspiring aren’t those who have been successful in the traditional definition of the word, but those who truly love what they are doing.

They have come alive, and their enthusiasm (Greek for "the god within") makes its mark on the world in large and small ways.

People like that, if you look for them, are more common than you might think.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Introducing Olivia Cain

Olivia Cain recently graduated from Huntsville High School and plans to become a hair stylist and figure skating coach.

To read Olivia's profile, click here.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Introducing Ginger Davies

Ginger Davies was the manager of Flotron's on Main Street for about 30 years and is a member of the Huntsville Sports Hall of Fame in the builder category for his contributions to the development of both hockey and lacrosse in the town.

To read Ginger's profile, click here.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Musing: The things we don't know

There’s so much we don’t know about each other.

I’ve had the pleasure of profiling several people I consider to be good friends, people with whom I’ve shared so many conversations and experiences that I thought I could probably write their profiles without interviewing them. We sat down for interviews anyway, because if nothing else it was a good excuse to spend some time together.

I learned so much.

We think we know our friends and family, but how often do we set aside our mental story of who they are and ask them about the experiences they’ve had and what those experiences have meant to them? How often do we ask about their hopes and goals and what matters most to them?

Try it. I have a feeling you’ll be as surprised and delighted as I was.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Introducing Sue Barker

Sue Barker is a teacher at Riverside Public School who likes nothing better than helping her students to discover and explore their own interests.

To read Sue's profile, click here.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Introducing J.P. Ledez

J.P. Ledez is a Ministry of Transportation driver improvement counsellor whose top priority is keeping the roads safe. He and his wife moved to Huntsville 12 years ago.

To view J.P.'s profile, click here.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Musing: Why would you want to interview me?

The most common reaction I get when I contact people and ask to interview them is, “Why would you want to interview me? My life isn’t very interesting.”

Oh, but it is. No one else has experienced exactly what you have. No one else has exactly the same interests and gifts. Every life is important, and every story is worth telling.

As Mahatma Gandhi famously said, “What you do may seem insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.”

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Introducing Bev MacWilliams

Bev MacWilliams is a Huntsville native who, after a career in education, translated a love of his hometown into the successful business Muskoka Language International.

To read his profile, click here.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Musing: Life collecting as a practice

What started as a job has become a practice for me.

Each week, no matter what else is going on in my life, I interview a community member and write a profile for the Huntsville Forester. Slowly, this practice is changing me, making me more open and conscious.

I come away from interviews feeling different. Sometimes I’m inspired, sometimes touched, sometimes grateful. Always I’m present. Really listening to someone’s story makes me step outside my own head and recognize how we are all connected.

Writing the profiles deepens and broadens that feeling of connection as I sit quietly, hold the people in my mind and heart and do my best to capture who they are and what they are about in less than 700 words. Condensing the themes and lessons of a life like that makes me focus on what is truly important.

I am grateful to all the people who have shared their lives with me so far for reminding me to keep an eye on the big picture and to appreciate my own moment-by-moment experiences. After all, many moments make a life.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Introducing Martina Schroer

Martina Schroer is passionate about the beautiful things in life: flowers, books, music and children. While she is best known as the president of the Huntsville Assocation for the Performing Arts and the founder of the theatre program Through Children's Eyes, Shroer has volunteered her time for many other causes as well.

To read her profile, click here.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Introducing Dr. Lynn Sargeant

Dr. Lynn Sargeant is a retired physician and talented musician who has been an innovator in Huntsville for the last 50 years.

To read his profile, click here.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Introducing Deena Brock

Deena Brock is the mother of four, a managing business consultant at the Muskoka Small Business Centre and owner of Rose Petals, a shop filled with her homemade natural skin-care products.

To read her profile, click here.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Introducing Clarence Holinshead

Clarence Holinshead is a retired mechanic who farms the land on the shore of Fairy Lake which was first settled by his great-grandfather in 1867.

To read his profile, click here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Introducing Pam Carnochan

Pam Carnochan is the owner of the Morgan House Bed and Breakfast, a hobby farmer, mother and artist.

To read her profile, click here.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Introducing Don McCormick

Don McCormick is most known as a retired science teacher, athlete, and one of the people responsible for making Huntsville a triathlon destination. He is also a photographer, writer, tennis and ski instructor, traveller, volunteer, father and grandfather.

To read his profile, click here.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Introducing Marjorie Armstrong

Marjorie Armstrong grew up in Huntsville and was a 'farmerette' during the Second World War. She has had many struggles in her life, but hopes the story of her perseverance will inspire others.

To read Marjorie's profile, click here.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Introducing Terry Smith

Terry Smith, who grew up in Huntsville, has been a watch and clockmaker for the past 35 years. Not only does he do work for clients from all over Ontario, but he is also the person who ensures the smooth running of the town hall clock.

To read Terry's profile, click here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Introducing Karla Struyk

Karla Struyk is a 25-year-old with Down syndrome who volunteers her time and energy for many organizations in Huntsville. She has also found new purpose and independence through the study of Therapeutic Touch.

To read her profile, click here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Introducing Paul Spragg

Paul Spragg is a two-wheel enthusiast who works as the residential sales representative at ABC Overhead Garage Doors. He is also a dart player, Legion member and former employee of Hampton Lane Menswear.

To read his profile, click here.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Introducing Susan Lowe

Susan Lowe is the president of the Muskoka Literacy Council. A retired special education teacher, she is also an avid supporter of the arts and former gallery owner.

To read her profile, click here.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Introducing Sam Quan

Sam Quan is an employee of Panolam whose family came to Huntsville as refugees from Vietman (via Malaysia) in 1980.

To read his profile, click here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Introducing Kate Austin

Kate Austin is the event tourism coordinator at the Huntsville/Lake of Bays Chamber of Commerce. In her free time, her favourite things are riding her horse, working out, cooking and eating.

To read Kate's profile, click here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Introducing Dr. Ian Hastie

Dr. Ian Hastie has had a very full career. After 20 years as chief of emergency medicine at Wellesley Hospital in Toronto and a stint as president of the Toronto chapter of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning group International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, he spent 14 years in the Sultanate of Oman helping to develop the medical system there. Now he works part-time in the emergency department of Huntsville Hospital and teaches students of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine.

To read Dr. Hastie's profile, click here.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Introducing Ann Shorn

Ann Shorn is a native Serbian who was sent to a German labour camp during the Second World War and moved to Canada with her family in 1952. For many years, she provided childcare for Huntsville families.

To read her profile, click here.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Introducing John Finley

John Finley is the Town of Huntsville's economic development officer. Both born in Huntsville, he and his wife returned to raise their family here.

To read his profile, click here.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Introducing Marge Denis

Marge Denis is a process facilitator, an educator with a PhD in the role of intuition in learning, and an active volunteer.

To read her profile, click here.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Introducing Jay Neill

Jay Neill has been a member of the Canadian Ski Patrol at Hidden Valley for the last 17 years.

To read his profile, click here.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Introducing Kelly Holinshead

Kelly Holinshead is a photographer and owner of the Shutterbug Gallery on Main Street in Huntsville.

To read her profile, click here.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Introducing Brian Bennett

Brian Bennett is the Huntsville resident who keeps the area in front of Seven Main Cafe clean, summer and winter. He also works at Harvey's restaurant through Community Living's Supported Employment Program. Brian is a history buff, animal lover and movie fan.

To read his profile, click here.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Intoducing Nancy Waxl

Nancy Waxl is an active volunteer, both locally and internationally. She is also becoming more concerned and vocal about environmental issues.

To read Nancy's profile, click here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Introducing Ryan Burda

Ryan Burda is a 16-year-old Huntsville High School student who enjoys school, athletics, singing, acting and doing magic.

To read his profile, click here.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Introducing Violet Earl

Violet Earl is the mother of 15, grandmother of 36, great-grandmother of 34 and great-great-grandmother of two. She has also been a director of the Huntsville Agricultural Society for 45 years.

To read Violet's profile, click here.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Introducing Jay Osborne

Jay Osborne is a former forestry worker who has settled into a life that ebbs and flows with the seasons. His interests include organic gardening, triathlon training, volunteering backstage at the Algonquin Theatre, hosting international travellers, sailing, skiing, and modelling for life-drawing, sculpting and painting classes at the Haliburton School for the Fine Arts.

To read Jay's profile, click here.