All posts by tanya58

In the name of those with PAWS

September 17, 2017

Animals in our homes add so much to our lives.

Those who work to make sure that dogs and cats as well as others that have pet potential are given a place to stay in a home environment do wonderful work. Often it takes one person with a vision and passion to begin such a group.

The following is a story about one such organization:

Gulf Islands Driftwood — Penders Edition

Wednesday, August 9, 2000

In the name of those with PAWS

by Tanya Lester

Despite Karin Campbell’s recent appearance around the Driftwood Centre and at the Farmer’s Market with a little creature in a baby sling, there is not a new addition to her family.

The fuzzy little one was only a temporary visitor at Campbell’s home on its way to being adopted. Still, for the short time it was fostered by Campbell, there is no doubt it got lots of tender loving care.

The creature was not a human baby but a kitten. Campbell, as a founding member of Pender Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), firmly believes that all animal species are equal and should be treated with the same respect.

When two kittens were found at the Corbett Farm, PAWS paid for their medical check-up, vaccinations and deworming. Members then fostered them while a search for a permanent home was conducted.

The shyer of the two spent four days with Campbell. During that time, the family worked hard to socialize with the animal. Campbell took the kitten with her in a sling as she went through her daily routine.

“When she first came home with me she could cower in her cage and growl at me,” Campbell said. “By the end of her stay here she would come out of her cage by herself and explore and play and sit around with us on the couch and purr. It was the first time I have done any fostering and it was very rewarding.”

Campbell added that she is happy a home was found for the kittens and grateful for donations made to PAWS by the Penders community. “If no one had adopted them or we didn’t have the funding we would have been forced to take them to the SPCA in Victoria where they would not have had a very good chance of being adopted.”

Founded in 1996 by a former Penders veterinarian, PAWS fills some of the functions the SPCA meets in more populated areas. The non-profit organization’s mandate is to help domestic animals , which have no apparent owners, and wildlife in distress.

It also assists animal owners who are financially or physically unable to care for their animals. PAWS’ third goal is to seek the reduction or prevention of harm to animals through education.

Over the last year, PAWS — whose directors are Campbell, Marti Tilley and Maureen Stone — has assisted in the medical care, spaying, neutering and adoption of 19 cats and dogs as well as eight wild animals including birds.

PAWS urges animal owners to spay or neuter pets because “one plus one equals six.”

The organization has also helped pay for the euthanization of injured deer when the veterinarian is called to give the animal lethal injection.

Also, it brought in Linda Wells from the Island Wildlife Natural Care Centre on Salt Spring to give a presentation and made a small donation to the group.

Campbell is involved in PAWS volunteer work simply because she cares about animals. When she lived in a boarding house while attending university in Victoria, she kept a pet rat as she was not allowed to have a bird or cat.

Probably her most unusual pets were two Amazon parrots which she has adopted out with one still living on the Penders. Her family cat is more suitable for Campbell now that she has two small children.

“For me, I just find them absolutely fascinating and good company and they always love you,” said Campbell.

“They’re much better listeners than people are. I believe it’s absolutely necessary to have pets. They provide emotional support that humans don’t. Also, I really believe that animals have every right to be here and have to be respected as much as people are.”

Sometimes, Campbell thinks she would like to own a hobby farm. Then she remembers that caring for an animal is a big responsibility. For example, Amazon parrots live to be 80 or 90 years old.

PAWS has received donations from many individuals, who often give money after being aided by the organization. The Pender Island Community Services Society has also generously contributed to PAWS…..etc.





Fire hall occupies fire society’s time

September 16, 2017

Anyone who has ever seen a Douglas fir or Sitka spruce will immediately understand why fire fighters and fire halls are of great interest to anyone who lives on B.C.’s Gulf Islands.

One of those trees catches on fire on any of the Gulf Island and that island has to be evacuated quickly; extremely quickly before the entire island goes up in flames.

Here is a story about possible fire hall construction on North Pender Island:

The North Pender Fire Protection Society has hired one contractor, partially declined a volunteer offer and started the search for a construction manager.

According to society chairman Dave Wightman, the call has gone out for a construction manager in the event that residents vote in favour of a new fire hall building in the September referendum.

“This person would be our agent to look out for our interests because we don’t have the expertise on the board,” Wightman said.

Six individuals have been asked to bid on the job. Three are based on Pender; the others are from the Mainland.

Wightman speculated that it is likely that local contractors will opt to wait for contract work on the fire hall as whomever is hired as manager will not be eligible to bid on that work.

The manager would be there to “protect the budget” for the society.

Wightman said Ian Heslop’s offer to head up a volunteer crew to construct the new fire hall, after being seriously considered, has been partially declined. The society has to use a registered coordinating professional because it is using tax revenues and must build to earthquake preparedness standards.

It is hoped the volunteer crew can be used in some aspect of the project.

In the meantime, Stonebridge Construction Ltd., on South Pender has been awarded a contract to do $4,600 worth of repairs on the existing North Pender fire hall.

In compliance with a Workers Compensation Board inspection order, a door frame to one of the equipment bays must be repaired. A supporting post will be installed in the hall’s main room under one of the beams and a staircase outside the hall will be torn down and removed.


To read more of the posts in this blog of eclectic stories and subjects, go to and

Tanya’s books are: Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader, Friends I Never Knew (both are available for purchase from the author or from, Dreams and Tricksters as well as Women Rights/Writes. There are copies of these books in several libraries.



Friends I Never Knew

September 9, 2017

I have written four books. I have self-published three and had one published by a publishing company.

Anyone who thinks this is ‘a piece of cake’ has never attempted to write a book.

Trust me on this one.

Here is the promotional blurb that gynergybooks/Ragweed Press personnel used for my book,  Friends I Never Knew:

New Books by gynergy books

Spring 1992

Friends I Never Knew

Tanya Lester

Tara has exiled herself on an island, away from all that is familiar. She is resolved to finally write about the extraordinary women she has known through her work in the women’s movement, and whose stories she has jotted down, over the years, in her green notebook. But as she pieces together and labours over the scattered fragments and sketches, she finds herself telling another, unexpected story: her own. ‘Friends I Never Knew’ is an eloquent testimony to the power and necessity of storytelling.

Tanya Lester’s stories, reviews and articles have been widely published, and she has worked as an editor and playwright. ‘Friends I Never Knew’ is Tanya Lester’s first novel. She lives in Winnipeg with her son Luke. (Blogger’s note: I did at the time of publication).


Tanya’s books are Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader and Friends I Never Knew (available for purchase from the author or from as well as Dreams and Tricksters and Women Rights/Writes. These books are also available in many library systems.

To read more posts on this blog of Tanya’s stories on a wide range of topics go to and

Tanya works as a psychic specializing in tea leaf reading, tarot and mediumship and instills her divination with reiki energy as well as housesitting. For more information, go to her web site: or her pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google and Twitter. Her email is and her phone number is 250-538-0086.


Single parents: A societal realit in need of support

August 22, 2017

I think in a lot of ways, it is still quite difficult to be a single parent and to not be lumped in with criminals.

What I mean by this is that while society might now be okay with having sex outside of marriage, it is not okay if there is visible proof of it in the form of a child.  Then, the single mother’s morals are questions and can be even confused with her seen as being a criminal.

Bizarre, isn’t it?

Read on:

Canadian Dimension?


Single parents: A societal reality in need of support

by Tanya Lester

On a recent CBC Radio Sunday Morning report, a journalist repeatedly lumped single parenting among Chicago’s black “underclasses,” together with social problems such as poverty and drug addiction. Yet one single parent said she decided to become a mother because she believed it would make her life more stable and help her stop taking drugs.

Whether the young woman was able to meet these personal goals was not explored in the report.. But the point is: in an age when sex outside of marriage and divorce has become  quite acceptable, an increasing number of women and men are not ‘ending up’ as single parents; they are choosing this role. Lone parent families reached 853,640 in 1986, which is up 139,630 over the 1981 Census of Canada figures. For many of us, the choice we made is not the problem; society’s failure to accept us is. This lack of support is a key factor contributing to our isolation, overwork and poverty.

When we decide to listen to the ticking of our biological time clocks or free ourselves from partnerships that are no longer working, single mothers are confronted with the question: ‘But what about a male role model?’ We even ask it of each other.

Male Role Model?                                                                                                                                    My father is my child’s male role model. He sees my son, Luke, regularly once a week. That is m’ore often that I sometimes saw my father when I was growing up. One single mother pointed out to me that male role model should not be confused with ‘positive’ male role model. Another said he husband never parented their six children when they were married. Some find the father lives up to the parenting image more effectively in a joint custody situation. One told me she spent a lot of energy protecting her children from her partner’s physical abuse when they were together.

But somehow the picture of the family is not complete without a husband. “The only thing I noticed that bothered me during my pregnancy was people not accepting I was a single mother,” says Suzanne Mitchell in Being Pregnant by Daphne Morrison. “Like telling people I was pregnant, in stores…they’d say ‘what do you and your husband want? and I’d say, ‘I’m not married,’ and they’d say, ‘Oh, ‘ that sort of quiet, ‘Oh, I see.’ End of conversation…In the hospital , calling me Mrs. Mitchell, constantly, even though I would correct them and say my name was Suzanne Mitchell…that I wasn’t married. They totally ignored me.”

For me, it was when I took Luke on holidays last summer. The travel agent insisted on “Mrs. Lester and infant” for the airplane tickets. Single mother Pat Rawson mentioned the irritation “Mrs. Rawson” from telephone solicitors.

“…Just from watching my parents fight, and my mother’s friends and their fights,” Mitchell continues. “They’d come over and cry on each other’s shoulders about their shitty, rotten husbands, and how they wished their husbands would die. So I decided that I would have kids… and that I would never get married. I didn’t feel bad about that part, I just wanted people to accept it.”

So let’s accept single-parent families and let’s admit that the perfect family: two parents with 2.5 kids living in harmony in the suburbs– never has been the reality for most of us…


Tanya’s books are: Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader, Friends I Never Knew (for purchase from the author or from, Women’s Rights/Writes and Dreams and Tricksters. All these books are available in some library systems.

Tanya now works as a psychic and is a fulltime housesitter as well as reiki master. To getting a reading or find out more about her work , go to or her pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google. You can also contact her directly at or 250-538-0086 cell.

To read more posts in this blog of eclectic previously published writing, go to and















Pender man offers different take on HIV and drug use

August 8, 2017

I think a lot of people frown at the idea of having safe sites staffed with health care workers for people who want to inject heroin and other drugs.

The following story might help them change their minds on this:

Gulf Islands Driftwood — Penders Edition

Wednesday, August 23, 2000

Pender man offers different take on HIV and drug use

by Tanya Lester

Two weeks after his 19th birthday on July 31, 1981, Ernest Standing was diagnosed HIV positive.

Standing, who has lived on North Pender Island since January, had marked his entry into adulthood by injecting himself with heroin for the first time.

In those days, said Standing, discriminating medical system called HIV “gay-related infectious disease.”

The man who passed on the life-threatening condition was dead six weeks later. Before he died, he confessed to sharing needles with 120 people over a two-week period.

Standing said he is the only one of the 100-plus still living. Attending funerals has been part of his everyday life since.

He believes there are three steps to surviving HIV.

The first is to get real, he said. This means getting to the point where telling a lie is physically painful and why he said he will not lie about what he is doing to save himself and others.

He points out that the body is made up of the trinity — the physical, the spiritual and the psychological — and they all need to be in sync.

Secondly, Standing said, the person’s behavior pattern that led to getting HIV has to end. He quit using heroin with the help of marijuana. He also quit being angry with the man who passed HIV on to him. After about a year, he faced up to himself. “You’re a coward,” he said he told himself. “You’re the one who put the needle in your arm just like someone else has (had anal sex) without using protection.”

Personally taking responsibility for his actions has become important to his staying alive and well.

The key, though, is to monitor everything that goes into one’s body and to maintain its purity. Standing said he has created a healing environment for himself, which includes eating organically grown vegetables from his garden. The meat he eats is chemical-free from cattle raised by his uncle in southern Alberta where he grew up.

It also means sitting in his sweat lodge or steam bath for up to four hours each day to remove toxins from his body. This, along with meditation and doing energy work, through which he visualizes every cell fighting the disease, has maintained him.

Another part of his battle with the disease in ingesting a lot of marijuana each day in it purest organically-grown form. (Standing believes hydroponically grown marijuana is carcinogenic.) He believes, as well, that pharmaceutical drugs, including AZT, are toxic soups for HIV patients. He points out that AZT had been used for cancer patients but was banned in the 1980s. Pharmaceutical corporations have now found a new market for it among those with AIDS.

Each day Standing consumes copious amounts of marijuana and drinks a concoction called “bhang” which contains the plant’s basic ingredients. He said he does not feel “stoned” from it but feels balanced health-wise.

He also credits it with helping him beat his heroin addiction a number of years ago.

Some people would say he has traded one addiction for another, but Standing’s response is: “I can quit tomorrow. The only difference is I will be dead.”

In 1996, he did quit taking marijuana because his wife felt he was using his HIV infection as an excuse to smoke marijuana.

When his immune system responded by shutting right down, he said, both his doctor and wife advised him to resume cannabis use.

Being a strong proponent of marijuana use has brought a lot of attention to Standing. He expects to be back in court in December on charges related to operation of the Lamb’s Breath Café in Vancouver, where he sold marijuana for medicinal purposes.

He is also applying for an exemption from being charged with marijuana possession in the future. Recent legislation changes make it possible for an individual to apply to the federal Minister of Health for an exemption that will allow him or her to grow and use marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Standing wants the drug to come under the auspices of agricultural regulations as an herb. He does not want it legalized or decriminalized because he feels this will cost taxpayers a lot of money.

Neither does he advocate its use among children or teenagers because he knows it interferes with the learning process.

Standing said if his six-year-old daughter Britnny sees someone light up a marijuana cigarette, she thinks that individual is sick and will tell them to go to her father’s sweat lodge.

Brittny is the reason Standing granted a rare interview to the Driftwood, although other media had sought him out repeatedly over the Lamb’s Breath Café issue.

Since moving to North Pender, Standing has begun to think that rumours about him could hurt his daughter.

He stresses that Britnny is not responsible for her father contracting HIV because he made the mistake of using heroin as a young man. Standing said he intendes to live to be 120. This may be an exaggeration, but he is serious when he says he wants to go to the Supreme Court to prove the Canadian government could have implemented policies that would have prevented many deaths through AIDS.

Since contracting the disease, Standing said, his spiritual growth has intensified, making him a “religious person” in the truest sense of the word.

“HIV is my foxhole,” he said. “When we’re faced with mortality, we all turn to God.”


To read more posts from this eclectic blog of previously published stories by Tanya, go to and

Tanya works as a psychic ( specializing in tea leaf reading, tarot, mediumship, psychic channeling, gypsy card reading) and is also a reiki master and a housesitter. To find out more go to her web at or her pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google. You can also contact her directly by calling or texting 250-538-0086 or emailing her at 250-538-0086.

Tanya’s books are: Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader, Friends I Never Knew, Dreams and Tricksters as well as Women Rights/Writes.












Unemployed Women Needed: UUW

August 8, 2017

I would like to paraphrase an expression that was popular among the women’s movement in the 1980’s, I think: I’ve come along way, baby.

Actually it was made popular by a cigarette company, I think, who wanted to lure more women into smoking the cancerous weed.

But over the years, I have come a long way when it comes to work. I am absolutely happy to have been self-employed as a psychic, who specializes in tea leaf reading and tarot, for the last 21 years and to housesit fulltime to make ends meet.

I think God/dess was probably always telling me that 9 to 5 or any other eight hour shift is so wrong for a person like me.

It is probably wrong for many.  This might be the silver lining in the new technology age. With fewer 40 hour week jobs available, more and more of us are following our own passions and creating our own businesses.

I even suspected this in the 1980s but felt I had to go with my left leaning loyalty that made me want to express solidarity with workers’ unions and the 8 hour daily grind:


July 1983

Unemployed Women Needed: UUW

by Tanya Lester

To be unemployed today is an extremely serious problem. But to be unemployed and a woman is even worse.

“Women and minorities are even more disillusioned than white men are with unemployment if you want to put it in those black and white terms,” said Susan Spratt, Equal Rights and Opportunities Committee chairperson of the Union of Unemployed Workers (UUW).

Even when women are employed, Spratt explained, they tend to work in non-unionized, low-paying, ghettoized positions with no pension plans, no health care, and no dental plans.

So when women are fired, they often do not have a union to take up a possible grievance. And because they work at lower paying jobs than men (women, on the average, earn 60 percent less than men), unemployment for women automatically means receiving lower unemployment insurance (UIC) benefits, according to Spratt.

An unemployed man, who was making eight dollars per hour, can hold out for a better job while continuing to receive UIC benefits, while women who worked at a lower salary would be required to accept a lower paying job or be cut off from her benefits.

Spratt fears a rebirth of the 1930’s sentiments that “when unemployment is really high then women shouldn’t be working anyway” and ” really all you’re (women) good for is making babies and making bread”.

For these reasons, Spratt welcomes unemployed women to participate in the UUW. Her plans for the Equal Rights and Opportunities Committee include organizing specific workshops resourced by the Women’s Employment Counselling Center, and Women in Trades. “The big thing is a lot of women don’t know how to get jobs,” she said and added the same types of workshops could be set up for Native and other minority group members of the UUW.

Spratt also wants to develop a support system within the UUW. For example, if a woman is turned down when applying for a job, the group might be able to help her to explore the reasons behind the job rejection and determine whether they were justifiable reasons. If not, the UUW could take action on her behalf.

Although Spratt realizes women might not want to join the UUW because a “union to a lot of women represents patriarchy”, she believes involvement in the UUW cab be a positive experience for both the male and female members. “I think it’s good for men to learn about the problems women and minorities face,” she said

As well, Spratt believes the UUW, being a vocal group, can help women speak out and continue to if they enter a unionized job or in other job situations….


To read more posts in this blog of eclectic stories, go to and

Tanya can be contacted to give tea leaf readings, tarot, mediumship, etc. by texting or calling her at 250-538-0086 or emailing:   For more information on what she does as a psychic, reiki master and housesitter go to

Tanya’s books are Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader  and Friends I Never Knew (both available through or from the author) as well as Dreams and Tricksters & Women Rights/Writes. All of these books are available in some library systems.










Delay concerns school trustee

July 22, 2017

Anyone who thinks governing schools is a ‘piece of cake’ needs to think again. Times that by at least 3 (me thinks) when it comes to the Gulf Islands.

If you do not really understand what the following article is about, you are not alone. I wrote it and I do not understand what it is really about:

Gulf Islands Driftwood — Penders Edition

May 3, 2000

Delay concerns school trustee

by Tanya Lester

School trustee Russ Searle has a problem and does not think the Gulf Islands School Board should have to solve it.

Pender Island School teachers voted to postpone the 2000-01 accreditation program. They were among 200 of 270 schools which decided to put accreditation “on hold” as recommended by the BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF).

Searle’s problem with this is three-fold.

The first concern is governance. He points out that the accreditation program — in which teachers, parents and school trustees review a variety of the school’s educational aspects from strengths and deficiencies — is an educational regulation and, in his opinion, must be adhered to.

Searle has an April 4 letter from Charles Ugerleider, the Deputy Minister of Education, to back him up on this.

In the letter addressed to all school superintendents, Ungerleider writes that the “School Act, the School Accreditation Regulation and the Student Learning Assessment Order place a positive duty on school boards and teachers to actively participate in school accreditation and the foundation skills assessment.”

Searle believes the Ministry of Education,, for political reasons, is hesitant to force teachers to participate in the process, and wants school boards to do it for them.

On the other hand, teachers want to exercise more control by using a form of evaluation called STAR, said Searle. It, however, would be a more expensive process.

Secondly, Searle believes that teachers are opposed to the accreditation process because it might highlight teaching deficiencies. This can make teachers feel vulnerable, especially in a small school.

Teachers should be open to such an assessment, said Searle, because “the whole purpose of teaching students is to do the best for the students.”

The Pender trustee adds that it’s a bit of a moot point on Pender since there are “far more excellent that poor teachers” at the school.

Thirdly, he sees local teachers getting caught up in the provincial scene, having made the decision to do “what the union wants.”

On the first point, Pat Beitel, co-president of the Gulf Islands Teachers’ Association (GITA), said Searle “could be quite true” in his premise that the Ministry of Eing ducation is shifting responsibility onto the school boards.

If it is, the Gulf Islands School Board is not committed to shouldering it.

Board chairwoman May McKenzie said the board will first meet with GITA representatives to “begin dialogue” on the accreditation issue.

Concerning the STA process, Beitel said the BCTF took it to the provincial government and it has been rejected at that level.

Beitel said Minister of Education Penny Priddy has now agreed to set up a committee with the BCTF to “come to terms with better accreditation.”

The GITA co-president said teachers are opposed to the present accreditation system because it is cumbersome and often duplicates goals that the administration and teachers set for themselves each year.

Teachers see time spent with the students being eroded in this way.

She disagrees that teachers are afraid to have their deficiencies pinpointed. “You review and reflect on your practices all the time,” she said.

Beitel said teachers want the accreditation process to be more streamlined to individual schools. For example, an inner-city Vancouver school might have different challenges than a rural school does.

On the issue of the BCTF directing teachers as to what to do, Beitel said the idea to review accreditation came from the the membership’s grassroots.

Within the Gulf Islands district, Fernwood Elementary School on Salt Spring also voted to postpone the accreditation process.