Ainsley (left) and Rosie Dottermann play among the sculptures at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market
on a recent Saturday morning. (Photo by Sandy Hutchinson)
When it comes to mental health, please don’t suffer in silence

Bell Let’s Talk Day is Jan. 30.
When it comes to mental health, there are 365 days a year when we should talk, and 366 days in a leap year. It seems the discussion has come a long way over the years, thanks to people who have shared their stories. There is a long way to go.
I suffer from anxiety and depression, and have never been afraid to admit it or talk about it. As I have written before, anxiety ruled my life, and still does to some extent. Unlike 30 years ago, I now understand it. That doesn’t always make the panic attacks easier to get through, but now, for the most part, I know I will.
I started noticing something was wrong or different when I was in my late teens. I couldn’t understand how I could go into a movie theatre feeling great and suddenly be running for the door. It happened in restaurants and at sporting events and in malls. It happened just about everywhere, actually.


Percy Hoff:
A gift to Saskatchewan soccer

Percy Hoff easily qualifies as South Africa’s greatest gift to Saskatchewan soccer.
Since arriving in Saskatoon in 1987, Hoff has been a powerhouse coach at youth and university levels, a mentor to other coaches, a developer of technical programs and the ultimate volunteer.
He has earned awards at every level, capped in 2016 by induction into the Saskatoon Sports Hall of Fame and by winning both the Canada Soccer Award of Merit and the Canada Soccer President’s Award. He’ll add another on Feb. 1 when he receives the Saskatoon Kinsmen Sportsman of the Year honour at the annual sports celebrity dinner at TCU Place.
It is certainly more than a hop, step and jump from South Africa to Western Canada, but Hoff managed to conquer some challenges and land in a city where he fulfilled business and sports achievements.

Looks like Chris Jones is slip-sliding away (like me)

On the same day we, the public, learned that Saskatchewan Roughriders coach Chris Jones was headed south, I almost wiped out downtown. More than once.
Hurrying from appointment to Coles to resto to bank and back, I covered a fair amount of YXE downtown sidewalk. The streets, of course, were out. Too much traffic, and slippery besides. Everywhere, except one spot (see below), it was impossible to hit my stride because of ice — either coating the cement or lying there in patches, ready to take your freedom by broken hip or wrist or back.
I assume, because I’m frankly too frightened to wipe out my patience reading the endless pages of the city’s website, that it’s up to building owners to clear the sidewalks in case of freezing rain, as it is when it snows. This is no mean feat. You’d have to start with a razor blade, kneeling on the hard surface, to crack it open. Not sure what to do next, but scraping, salt and sand would be good ideas, no?

Music that will warm our souls

American singer Colbie Caillat once said, “A great song should lift your heart, warm the soul and make you feel good.”
Given the frigid weather we’ve been experiencing in Saskatoon lately, all of us could use something to warm our souls and to lift our spirits. My prescription? A dose of music therapy, to be given at one of our city’s upcoming concerts.
Here are just a few suggestions for some feel-good shows. Enjoy!
Acclaimed Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq is coming to Saskatoon as part of the annual Winterruption festival, which runs from Jan. 23-26 and features a stellar lineup of acts, including David Braid, Royal Wood, Hawksley Workman, Begonia and many more.

Saskatchewanderer initiative needs to better represent the faces of the province

Last week, scrolling through Twitter, I came across a picture of the Government of Saskatchewan’s latest choice for Saskatchewanderer.
Launched in 2011, the program was originally a summer student position, then became a year-long appointment in 2014.
Today, the program runs as a joint initiative between Tourism Saskatchewan and the Ministries of Agriculture, Trade and Export Development, and Parks, Culture and Sport. The objective of the marketing program is to send the Saskatchewanderer to locations across our province while he or she blogs, creates videos and posts social media content about his or her experiences.
According to the government website, 2018’s Saskatchewanderer produced “more than 60 videos, visited 122 locations, attended 143 different activities and events while travelling 44,342 kms.”

The Rush Hulk
Kelvin Ooms gets the crowd going at Rush games

You can’t just say Greg Hargarten is a painter. Or a musician. Or a graphic designer or video producer. He is all of the above.
How he manages his multidimensional artistic life is a mystery to the average mind, until you dive into the minutiae of another talent: organization.
In one studio, he paints canvases reflecting the beauty of tree, crag, lake and sky. Tubes of paint lie arranged on one surface; an easel stands to the side, and a few finished works line one wall.
In another studio, muffled from exterior noise, he records music and splices together videos. Instruments, computers and microphones are tidily arranged.
In yet another space, business is conducted and graphic designs created.
For Hargarten, art creation is not a flash of creativity, some genetic gift from parent or God. It’s work. It’s problem-solving. It’s fascination, and constant learning — how to navigate around the curves that lead from conception to completion.


I miss my brother who took his own life

One campaign I support fully is Bell’s Let’s Talk Day on Jan. 30.
It’s a day when Canadians are asked to talk about mental health. It sounds like a simple thing, but for people going through depression that simple talk could save their lives.
A hug, a kiss on the cheek or an “I love you” could help a person who may be contemplating suicide.
My youngest brother took his life. I didn’t see it coming. He was in his late 20s and married with four beautiful daughters.
He was a lone wolf who would spend his leisure time alone. His favourite thing was fishing. I once went with him to his fishing spot. I can see why he liked the place; it was peaceful.
Tall evergreens surrounded a slow-moving river. One day he went fishing and never came back.