May 2008


SELF
This week’s theme for Photo Hunt is a photo of yourself (or a part of yourself if you are shy). Usually I don’t post recent photos of myself on this blog, for obvious reasons. While not recent, this one I like and I call it my funeral photo. It’s a very candid snapshot taken at an engagement dinner for a friend and for some reason it is me. I was in my late forties, still with copper-brown coloured hair, probably retouched a bit, still with a face covered in freckles which were the bane of my existence when I was a teenager.

Anyway I have told everyone I want this photo displayed at my funeral, plus I want Amazing Grace played on the bagpipes. I’ll maybe get around to planning the rest someday. Much later I hope.


Sorry the quality is not brilliant. It did not scan as well as I had hoped. Click
to enlarge if you wish to see those freckles!

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND EVERYONE

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SELF
This week’s theme for Photo Hunt is a photo of yourself (or a part of yourself if you are shy). Usually I don’t post recent photos of myself on this blog, for obvious reasons. While not recent, this one I like and I call it my funeral photo. It’s a very candid snapshot taken at an engagement dinner for a friend and for some reason it is me. I was in my late forties, still with copper-brown coloured hair, probably retouched a bit, still with a face covered in freckles which were the bane of my existence when I was a teenager.

Anyway I have told everyone I want this photo displayed at my funeral, plus I want Amazing Grace played on the bagpipes. I’ll maybe get around to planning the rest someday. Much later I hope.


Sorry the quality is not brilliant. It did not scan as well as I had hoped. Click
to enlarge if you wish to see those freckles!

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND EVERYONE

This post is more for me that my blog readers but in case you are interested the commemorative afternoon tea for my friend who died was a great success. Eighteen people in all gathered to remember him, while some colleagues from the Faculty of Pharmacy sent a lovely floral decoration which was a total surprise and took pride of place on the dining room table. I was too busy to take photos of the table set for tea, but the photo below was a collage put together by the “old scientist” for the event. They are photos from the time my friend was four years old until several years ago.


I used the photo on the bottom right for his obituary in the newspapers. In a suit, as almost always, looking relaxed and happy, I thought this represented him very well.

Almost everything now is in the hands of the trust company. All that remains of this family is in a small public storage locker and will be sold off, as were the contents of his house several years ago. Everything was carefully appraised and auctioned off and frankly it brought a very small amount of money in comparison to what it all had cost. Several things I bought myself since I knew that they meant something to him, especially his grandfather clock, which he carefully wound each week and kept in excellent working condition until his later years. I bought it for my son and we had it repaired and now it has pride of place in his home. He remembers it from when he was young and we used to visit my friend’s house. I also bought a large oil seascape by a local artist which now hangs in my dining room. He loved this painting and I could bring myself to let it go to the auction.

The other day I gave the trust company officer his Rolex watch which somehow I ended up keeping for him. His initials are engraved on the back, which actually lowers its value quite remarkably, but this was his last personal possession. I put his framed degrees and framed awards in the storage locker and they too will be discarded along with the photos and the family bible. Almost every trace of my friend and his wife, who was my friend, will disappear.

We spend so much of our life acquiring things. But we can’t take them with us and no one else values them the way we do. When we no longer have use for them they are discarded or sold to someone else for a song, to someone who sees only the bargain and not the special meaning this object had for us. I am realistic enough to realize that even my children will not value some of my possessions as I do. They are just things that appealed to me or someone, a treasured friend perhaps, gave to me and thus gave the item meaning. So that’s why now I tell people, don’t give me anything I have to dust, just consumables thank you. I already have too much stuff which will go for a song or into the landfill when I am gone.

So the above photo collage and the two photos below are all that are left of my two friends besides the items I mentioned.

My friend at 19, in 1943, in his RCAF uniform. The other is his wife, my dear friend, in her fifties. This photo usually hangs on my bedroom wall.

But I have one last thing left to do. When my friend’s house was being cleared out of the “junk” we found his wife’s ashes in a cupboard in the basement. I had no idea that he even had them. Now I have them and while my friend’s ashes were taken care of by the funeral home, I still have this to take care of. I have decided that I will take them to the Botanical Gardens at the university and scatter them there. Both my friend and his wife were involved in the set-up of the Physick Garden there so it does have some meaning for them. I have checked and while it is not officially allowed they turn a blind eye and told me to come at the end of the day when there are few people about.

This is the last in the series of posts about my friend and his journey with Alzheimer’s disease which I shared with him. Thank you for reading and my fervent wish is that may none of us be so afflicted.

This post is more for me that my blog readers but in case you are interested the commemorative afternoon tea for my friend who died was a great success. Eighteen people in all gathered to remember him, while some colleagues from the Faculty of Pharmacy sent a lovely floral decoration which was a total surprise and took pride of place on the dining room table. I was too busy to take photos of the table set for tea, but the photo below was a collage put together by the “old scientist” for the event. They are photos from the time my friend was four years old until several years ago.


I used the photo on the bottom right for his obituary in the newspapers. In a suit, as almost always, looking relaxed and happy, I thought this represented him very well.

Almost everything now is in the hands of the trust company. All that remains of this family is in a small public storage locker and will be sold off, as were the contents of his house several years ago. Everything was carefully appraised and auctioned off and frankly it brought a very small amount of money in comparison to what it all had cost. Several things I bought myself since I knew that they meant something to him, especially his grandfather clock, which he carefully wound each week and kept in excellent working condition until his later years. I bought it for my son and we had it repaired and now it has pride of place in his home. He remembers it from when he was young and we used to visit my friend’s house. I also bought a large oil seascape by a local artist which now hangs in my dining room. He loved this painting and I could bring myself to let it go to the auction.

The other day I gave the trust company officer his Rolex watch which somehow I ended up keeping for him. His initials are engraved on the back, which actually lowers its value quite remarkably, but this was his last personal possession. I put his framed degrees and framed awards in the storage locker and they too will be discarded along with the photos and the family bible. Almost every trace of my friend and his wife, who was my friend, will disappear.

We spend so much of our life acquiring things. But we can’t take them with us and no one else values them the way we do. When we no longer have use for them they are discarded or sold to someone else for a song, to someone who sees only the bargain and not the special meaning this object had for us. I am realistic enough to realize that even my children will not value some of my possessions as I do. They are just things that appealed to me or someone, a treasured friend perhaps, gave to me and thus gave the item meaning. So that’s why now I tell people, don’t give me anything I have to dust, just consumables thank you. I already have too much stuff which will go for a song or into the landfill when I am gone.

So the above photo collage and the two photos below are all that are left of my two friends besides the items I mentioned.

My friend at 19, in 1943, in his RCAF uniform. The other is his wife, my dear friend, in her fifties. This photo usually hangs on my bedroom wall.

But I have one last thing left to do. When my friend’s house was being cleared out of the “junk” we found his wife’s ashes in a cupboard in the basement. I had no idea that he even had them. Now I have them and while my friend’s ashes were taken care of by the funeral home, I still have this to take care of. I have decided that I will take them to the Botanical Gardens at the university and scatter them there. Both my friend and his wife were involved in the set-up of the Physick Garden there so it does have some meaning for them. I have checked and while it is not officially allowed they turn a blind eye and told me to come at the end of the day when there are few people about.

This is the last in the series of posts about my friend and his journey with Alzheimer’s disease which I shared with him. Thank you for reading and my fervent wish is that may none of us be so afflicted.

Yesterday, as a member of the Museum of Anthropology I received an update on the situation regarding the theft of the Bill Reid art objects from there this past weekend. It did indeed include the box I featured in my post yesterday along with 14 other objects, photos of which can be found here and the image below comes from that site. This is a wonderful example of his work which combined his talents as an artist with his skills as a jeweller, his earlier profession.
MOA ID: Nb1.702
Object Title: Bracelet
Artist Maker: Bill Reid
Materials: Gold
Description: Bracelet with grizzly bear design
Date made: 1958

Since the theft included three gold Inca necklaces, along with the twelve works of Bill Reid, I am sure that many people believe they were taken for the gold content. With that in mind the University of British Columbia has offered a reward of $50,000 for information which leads to the recovery of the stolen items.

While they are valued at $2 million dollars as art works they have a total gold content worth a mere $15,392 at current gold prices, which is a quite sobering thought.

“The theft of these art objects is a loss of cultural patrimony for the whole of Canada,” MOA Director Anthony Shelton said today. “We are working with the RCMP as they conduct their investigation, and are hopeful that these cultural treasures will be recovered safely.”

To this end, the University of British Columbia is posting a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the safe return of the stolen artworks in their original condition and the arrest of any suspects involved in the theft by June 30, 2008.

Referring to one of the stolen Bill Reid pieces, an extraordinary gold box with a sculptured, three-dimensional eagle on top, Shelton said: “This theft is the equivalent of a kidnapping aimed at one of the signature pieces of First Nation art that carries and communicates the creative genius of the whole of the Canadian people. The perpetrators must realize it is the Nation that will be their judge.”

Of course perhaps the thieves already had in mind a buyer who would quite happily hide them out of sight, keeping their beauty for himself alone. Let’s hope they are not already melted down. Someone, somewhere, will know something. Hopefully it is not too late and we will see them returned to their display cases in the rotunda at the museum where Bill Reid’s monumental carving of the Raven and the First Men resides.

I look forward to giving you a final update on this situation with the good news that they have been recovered. We all know that the Mountie (RCMP) always gets his man and may this not be an exception to that rule.

Yesterday, as a member of the Museum of Anthropology I received an update on the situation regarding the theft of the Bill Reid art objects from there this past weekend. It did indeed include the box I featured in my post yesterday along with 14 other objects, photos of which can be found here and the image below comes from that site. This is a wonderful example of his work which combined his talents as an artist with his skills as a jeweller, his earlier profession.
MOA ID: Nb1.702
Object Title: Bracelet
Artist Maker: Bill Reid
Materials: Gold
Description: Bracelet with grizzly bear design
Date made: 1958

Since the theft included three gold Inca necklaces, along with the twelve works of Bill Reid, I am sure that many people believe they were taken for the gold content. With that in mind the University of British Columbia has offered a reward of $50,000 for information which leads to the recovery of the stolen items.

While they are valued at $2 million dollars as art works they have a total gold content worth a mere $15,392 at current gold prices, which is a quite sobering thought.

“The theft of these art objects is a loss of cultural patrimony for the whole of Canada,” MOA Director Anthony Shelton said today. “We are working with the RCMP as they conduct their investigation, and are hopeful that these cultural treasures will be recovered safely.”

To this end, the University of British Columbia is posting a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the safe return of the stolen artworks in their original condition and the arrest of any suspects involved in the theft by June 30, 2008.

Referring to one of the stolen Bill Reid pieces, an extraordinary gold box with a sculptured, three-dimensional eagle on top, Shelton said: “This theft is the equivalent of a kidnapping aimed at one of the signature pieces of First Nation art that carries and communicates the creative genius of the whole of the Canadian people. The perpetrators must realize it is the Nation that will be their judge.”

Of course perhaps the thieves already had in mind a buyer who would quite happily hide them out of sight, keeping their beauty for himself alone. Let’s hope they are not already melted down. Someone, somewhere, will know something. Hopefully it is not too late and we will see them returned to their display cases in the rotunda at the museum where Bill Reid’s monumental carving of the Raven and the First Men resides.

I look forward to giving you a final update on this situation with the good news that they have been recovered. We all know that the Mountie (RCMP) always gets his man and may this not be an exception to that rule.

This is not the style of post which usually appears on this blog, but I am shocked and heartbroken that the Museum of Anthropology has been broken into this past weekend and a dozen gold items by the famous Haida artist Bill Reid have been stolen, along with several Incan gold bracelets and necklaces.

Because they were so difficult to photograph in situ the only item I tried was this small gold box when I did my series of posts on this, my favourite local museum, here and here. The works are priceless for Bill was a master goldsmith. He trained first as a jeweler and later became a carver.

Obviously the security system in place at the museum was not adequate to stop this burglary and I’m sure many questions will be asked. Apparently it is not known how the thieves entered but perhaps the surveillance cameras will be of some help to the RCMP, UBC detachment, who are investigating the break-in. I’m sure the art community are as shocked as I am and one can only hope the pieces are not melted down for the gold content and will eventually be recovered, although I suppose that is fairly unlikely. More detail can be found here.

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