Reconciliation: Our Journey Begins
The rain was torrential on November 14th but it did not discourage participation in a Reconciliation gathering that T’Sou-ke Nation hosts Rose Dumont and Linda Bristol convened with Edith Newman and Margaret Critchlow at the Band Hall on Lazzar Road. The circle of chairs grew from 12 to 20, expanding until it included 50 people.
As everyone introduced themselves, both the diversity of our backgrounds and our common purpose became apparent. The gathering included indigenous elders, writers, musicians; representatives of the Sooke School District Aboriginal Education program; medical practitioners, Transition Sooke, Harbourside Cohousing, and representatives from religious organizations including: Sooke Baptist Church, Holy Trinity Church, and Pacific Christian School.    
Monique Gray Smith’s reputation preceded her and was reflected in the large turnout. Monique’s website ( describes her as “a mixed heritage woman of Cree, Lakota and Scottish descent.” She spoke proudly of her fourteen-year-old twins whom she is raising in Victoria. Monique is an award-winning author and an engaging speaker. Her indigenous name, Little Drum, is a tribute to her ability to remind people of their heartbeats. She did that with grace in the Band Hall on that rainy day, inviting us to open our hearts and embark with resilience on a reconciliation journey. She defines this as a restorative journey to heal and “revitalize the relationship between the indigenous and non-indigenous citizens of Canada, as well as the Nation-to-Nation relationships with the Government of Canada.”
Monique told the story of writing her new book, Speaking Our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation (Orca Books, 2017). The organizing metaphor for her presentation and her book is a three-stranded braid of sweet grass representing honesty, love and kindness. The initial chapters on the theme of honesty ask: Where have we come from? The next chapters focus on love: Where do we stand today? Finally, through kindness and reciprocity, Monique asks us to consider where do we go from here?
Participants enjoyed the opportunity to purchase and have Monique sign her new book as well as two of her earlier children’s books, Tilly and My Heart Fills with Happiness. Copies are available for purchase through
Orca books.
The next monthly gathering of the Reconciliation Group is planned for Tuesday, Dec 12th from noon to 2:00 pm at the T’Sou-ke Nation Band Hall. All are welcome. Admission is free, with the opportunity to make a donation to support future sessions. Bring your lunch, your curiosity, your questions and an open heart. We will be discussing the book, Speaking Our Truth, and how it relates to our own reconciliation journeys. Please contact Edith Newman or Linda Bristol if you want to more information or Margaret Critchlow or to be added to our contact list.  (Margaret)
Learning how to ask for help

It was billed as a Fireside Chat about how we ask for help. And it evolved into a full-blown discussion of our goals as a community. We were reminded that we exist as an extended family, as ‘fictive kin’ so to speak. Everything we do together and for one another helps us build ‘social capital’. We saw the value in moving from the need to reciprocate every act of kindness towards the fostering of a general atmosphere of generosity and kindness. We were reminded of the gift to the giver as well as the receiver when we can help one another.
Learning how to ask for and how to offer help was discussed. If help is offered as part of a normalized policy of support in situations of need, it is usually easier to accept. The value of some kind of buddy or comrade system was recognized as a way of building trust on a more intimate level. Our awareness of one another on a daily basis was seen as an important way of keeping track of each other’s wellbeing. And so it was suggested we send out a group email if we were planning to be away for a period of time. (Arlene)
Co-Care --- what can it mean?
Since co-care is one of the tenets on which Harbourside is founded, we are actively engaged in working out what this can mean in the daily lives of those of us seeking to age-in-place at Harbourside.
Our Co-Care team formulated this statement about their role.

"We feel that it is very important to make it clear that one of our foundational values is that as a community we are committed to offering each other neighbourly, voluntary, and mutual support as we age in place. We want to encourage that special kind of spontaneous response arising out of our caring and compassion for each other’s well being.
The job of the Co-Care team is to provide coordination of our efforts to respond to the needs of any Harboursider requesting assistance.
The Co-Care team will not and cannot carry this important function alone. It requires the whole community to contribute whatever each of us can offer to the wellbeing of everyone. This is the heart of our cohousing venture together."
Mystery at Harbourside
 So, this is what I know: On November 13th David spent a rather unpleasant day with his dentist. And as is his custom, he went by transit to and from the appointment, in the pouring rain. Wet, cold, likely in some pain, David eventually arrived at his door to find …. a gift of delicious pumpkin soup, requiring only a quick run through his microwave. He ate, enjoyed, felt thankful and wondered … who had dropped by in such a timely manner? But did that really matter? It was yet another random act of kindness from one to another … and we can all reflect once more on the joys of Harbourside Co-housing.  (Jane)
Jennifer's Hallowe’en dinner gift
By Saturday, we had 18 people who said they wanted to come to Jennifer’s impromptu Hallowe’en dinner, by Sunday we had 21, but by Tuesday night, word had spread and 30 showed up! Luckily Jennifer always prepares extra because the worse thing she says is running out of food!
So the cats and witches, devils and penquins, cowboys and foreign dignitaries, doctors and alpine yodelers, grandmas and grandpas gathered for Jennifer’s generous gift of beef stew, buns and plum crisp. Drumming began shortly after 7 o’clock as many pitched in to help with the final cleanup. A big THANK YOU to Jennifer for her generosity of spirit!  (Arlene)

Remember, remember!
The fifth of November.
The Gunpowder treason and plot.

Led by our intrepid group of Britons and New Zealanders, Harboursiders celebrated Guy Fawkes night in fine style on November 5 -- complete with bonfire, an effigy of the Guy, and plenty of merriment. We were observing the anniversary of the failed 1605 plot to blow up the English parliament buildings by a group of Roman Catholics protesting against Church of England domination of public life. Guy Fawkes, one of the plotters, was subsequently arrested and hanged for treason. Harbourside's direct link to the Gunpowder Plot comes though Robert Catesby, leader of the conspirators and an ancestor of our own Susan. (Bob)

Another milestone birthday celebration

Our monthly "Meal and a Movie" celebration, dreamed up by Jean to honour birthday celebrants each month, was all for Jean this month as we helped her celebrate her 80th birthday with a feast of Ukrainian food. We had head cheese (I had to ask the name of this dish!), cabbage rolls, and pierogies with sour cream followed by Wynn's famous birthday cake. Jack brought Jean a special musical candle that played Happy Birthday until blown out..... 
Hank and Bob call it a draw after playing a match on Warren's beautiful hand-crafted chess board. 
Did you spot Doug in the Sooke News Mirror revealing his plans for the holiday season?
Have you noticed the "Bird House for a Bird House" outside Paivi and Phil's place and Doug's "Sunken Garden"?
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