Archive for October, 2009

In Memorium – Happy 60th Birthday Yves Loran!

October 17, 2009
It went zipping by so fast a few days ago, the tweet from @sarahpetrescu. It would have been her dad’s 58th birthday, so to honour him she was going to the union meeting, then to light a candle, and toast.

That’s when it hit me – my late husband’s birthday , October 17th, was fast approaching – quick calculation; it would have been his 60th today. And I forgot!

So, in honour of Yves Loran….

Yves was a lover of single malt Scotch, judo, horses, jazz, Victoria BC, his kids and me (not necessarily in that order).  He grew up just after the Second World War, working class, in a small French village that later went on to become one of Georges Pompidou’s famous “new cities” or “villes nouvelles”.

As was not uncommon for the era, he left school at 14 to work first as a delivery person and then later as an apprentice butcher.

We met because he volunteered at a stable where I took my kids from the group home for therapeutic riding.  Back then he rode in Civil War renactments and broke and trained the most obstinate of horses.  His passions extended to the local judo dojo where he was completing his first degree black belt.

Married, it soon became evident to us that we did not want to raise a family in a country with very rigid social conventions and norms; a country where working class was always working class, and most definitely, not middle class.

Moving to Vancouver Island , my home, we settled in Victoria. Over the years Yves worked in the hospitality industry, in building maintenance, and finally as the owner of a landscaping business.

Family and community were his two foci – he volunteered as a sensei (teacher) at Victoria Judo Club, at École Victor-Brodeur, with Childrens’ International Summer Villages (CISV), the Saxe Point Residents Association (SPRA), the Upper Room, the Mustard Seed and Francophone Scouts .

He could be counted on for any event involving food – the hot dog barbecue at school, deboning 100s of turkeys for the Mustard Seed Christmas dinner, making crèpes for over 200 at the Scouts’ Maple Sugar Dinner (dîner de sirop d’érable), dishing out salads and cake for our neighbourhood’s July 1st Block Party.

He was proud to continue his progression from 1st degree (nidan) black belt to 3rd degree (sandan) and see his sons join him at the club.  As a dad he was involved, long before it became fashionable; we made a great team in so many endeavours. His quiet presence, guarding my back, allowed me wide ranging freedom to explore my own passions.

In life he was at ease among people, whether the Lieutenant Governor of the province, the mayor of our municipality (Esquimalt) or people he served at the soup kitchen – he saw people on an equal footing, and they appreciated him for that.

Injured in a serious vehicle incident as a young man, and confined to a wheelchair for two years, he was told he would always be a “cripple”. Stubborn, he continued to dance with the Breton folkdance troupe, and took up first aikido, then karate, and finally judo.  Being so close to death so young, he approached life as a grand adventure. His favourite saying was “every day above ground is a good day”.

Thanks for the constant reminders of a life well lived.

Yves Loran 1949-2001


October 8, 2009

Today is my sixth month Twitter anniversary! Appropriately, it was also the morning of our regular #victoriatweetup.

I remember being introduced to Twitter and thinking “this isn’t for me, it’s just another time waster”. Then, I went to a business breakfast where we discussed  social media. One of the participants @Susan_Low mentioned that twitterers in Victoria were actually meeting face to face at spontaneous tweetups.

Something went “Click! – I can use this tool to increase my network  in Victoria.”

From that very humble beginning in April 2009, I have found a new community in Victoria. Together we meet for business networking sessions and for fun. We’ve organized a Twitter fundraising festival – Twestival Victoria @yyjtwestival – and raised $5000 for Power To Be Adventure Therapy Society.

We teach and mentor people who are new to Twitter, we do business with one another; some of us are members of Social Media Club Victoria @smcvictoria an organization dedicated to social media literacy, knowledge and standards.

Projects initiated through Twitter, #victoriatweetup and Social Media Club Victoria include @yyjWordCamp, #vicChangeCamp and a Twitter based winter food drive (more details coming soon).

This morning’s breakfast included:

@Babes Go Bare –  a fundraising calendar for the BC Cancer Agency initiated by Trish Caddy

Christopher Loran –  the Q’s roadie #1 son to @lacouvee

@Rod_Phillips – buyer for Liquor Plus stores – the cork dork

@FootButterGuy – Scott McDonald, Rocky Mountain Soap Mayfair

@Ahkonsu – John Overall, Fire Dragon Hosting

@matvic – Mat Wright, the Wright Result, Web & Graphic Design

@ScottGarman – Scott Garman, realtor with Sutton Group

@_hipples – Jeremy from @HempandCo, Hemp and Company

@oceanrivervic Brian Henry , Ocean River Sports

@gapowell – Graham Powell , Ocean River Sportss

@sosaut – Bill Broughton, SOS Automotive

@CWCDVan – Dan Dobbie, City Wide Coupon Directory

@jodie_nodes – Jodie Gastel, In Jodie’s Brain

@josealbis – José Albis, marketing manager, Morriss Printing

Stan Gielewski – photographer & website development

@DustypupVI – Cathy O’Connor, volunteer extraordinaire

@LawlessBrownKrista Lawless, mortgage broker

@B_West – Chris Burdge, BWEST Interactive

Randy Waldie – employment counsellor, Worklink and musician

@ArtofCocktail – Kathy Kay, general manager the Victoria Film Festival

@mikevardy – Mike Vardy, Eventualism (and operations manager the Victoria Film Festival)

@CJStephensonCindy Stephenson, communications professional

@hedyhear – Hedy Senz, director of meetings & events at Carlson Marketing

@NancyFraser – Nancy Fraser, Nota Bene Consulting

@margarethansonMargaret Hanson, graphic designer

@lacouveeJanis La Couvée, financial services professional (me!)

Thanks to everybody who has been a mentor and collaborator in the past six months on this fantastic journey of community building in Victoria, BC.  There is definitely more to come.