Personal Best: There’s no place like home

Pat Black returns from her cross-Canada travels and finds home really is a place of peace, comfort and serenity

It is good to be home after such a long time. While travelling and experiencing new adventures is challenging and rewarding it creates a level of anxiety and activity not entirely conducive to serenity and comfort. Home, for me, is where I find my serenity, comfort and peace. Or at least I hope to after I take care of all the accumulative mail, phone calls and unpacking that I am still doing.

Summer is ending and while regretting the loss of hot, sunshiny days at this time of year I always feel the anticipation of new beginnings and the need to plan what I want to do for the fall and winter months. It reminds me of how I felt as a kid, sorry for the end of summer but nervously excited about going back to school, meeting my friends and finding out who my teachers would be.  As seniors living here in Vernon we are lucky to have so many opportunities to explore. The Rec Centre with all its programs, aquatic and otherwise, is available to us and is affordable because if you have a limited income you may apply for a reduced rate.

University courses are free for seniors to attend as well or you can participate through the Internet and not have to leave home. As we approach September just check out the listings of what is happening in this paper and you will be amazed at all the activities and opportunities that you can be part of. There is a program or organization to meet every need and interest of all seniors in this community. And most of them are free.

Another good news story is that the Heaven Can Wait cruises on Lake Okanagan, organized by the wonderful Okanagan Quality Life Society, is again up and running. The opportunity to spend a few hours on a lake cruise is available for seniors in long-term care facilities, people with disabilities and other non-profit groups and individuals in the Greater Vernon community. President Ron Heuman says that they have resolved the issues and complied with Transport Canada regulations and that they are once again providing on-water therapeutic recreational boat trips. He goes on to say that to date they have completed 75 trips on Okanagan Lake and the joy that the passengers have experienced is heartwarming to the 30 volunteer captains who operate the boat. Heaven Can Wait is off the beach and floating again from the Vernon Yacht Club. Thank heaven.

Speaking of volunteers, if you are looking for something to do in the fall and winter consider becoming a volunteer. When we help others we also help ourselves by increasing our self esteem, and feeling needed and worthwhile. It is also an opportunity to learn new skills, meet new friends and generally contribute to our community. Again, there are numerous opportunities to suit every interest and availability. Call the Volunteer Bureau and see the many opportunities available. Their number is 250-545-0585.

According to the David Suzuki Foundation, the average Canadian household throws away one in four produce items, costing about $600 a year. Here are some tips to keep your fruits and vegetables lasting longer. Take produce out of plastic bags because airtight wrappings suffocate fresh produce  and accelerate the decay process. Don’t wash produce until you are ready to eat it as moisture   encourages decomposition.  Don’t rip off fruit stems — keep whole as long as possible.  Eat perishable items first e.g., raspberries last a few days, while potatoes can last up to one month.

If you have any questions or comments I can be reached at 250-542-7928 or e-mail at

Pat Black writes on a variety of topics of interest to seniors in the North Okanagan, appearing every other Sunday.