Design template using Canva

In the beginning I began thinking and reviewing concepts in my mind of what kind of blog I wanted. I had this idea of a art piece on canvas filled with news and graphics. I reviewed the top five website builders for 2019:

  1. WIX
  2. Squarespace
  3. SiteBuilder
  4. Site123
  5. WordPress

The only one I did try briefly was, but decided to use WordPress for the challenge and because our instructor in Digital Media class talked about WordPress.

I found the space of WordPress like equations without solutions and frankly that left me so frustrated that I felt like I was drowning the first day of working with WordPress. I am not one to give up, so I took the weekend to dive right in and tried several themes. I tried newspaper theme, then another and another. In my desperation Bonnie from my digital media class sat with me and helped me find an easy to use theme design that could work with the type of content I had, and that was Shawburn in WordPress.

so much work of redesigning, customizing oh my!

The platform enticed me. I spent more time in the ‘design’ section under ‘customize’ than any other area because I couldn’t get my posts linked to the menu’s.

I had this vision in my mind of what my blog should do and it wasn’t matching my dream of what I imagined it to look like. This was when I would spend most of my nights and weekends working on customizing and designing, tagging and adding to make the platform of my blog easy to navigate for those who read it.

Setting up menus was another frustrating time of much needed breaks, after diligently working through the problems in my background and what the reader may see.

Evolution of Space: I wanted my website to have a clean and fresh look. When someone clicks into my space, I visualize the look to be tactile to the touch of what touch would be perceived to be, because its online how can one touch… but to visually look at the images and buttons, and make it look so real! The rest of the blog wanted it to be smooth, water colored texture mixed with bold colors to visually captivate the audience and for the look and feel of the blog would be non threatening. I also didn’t want my blog to be overly busy that the reader would be confused.

Analytics and Social Media

The beauty I incorporate here is the fact that WordPress has a jetpack that allows an analityc study of my blog stats. At first the stats were zero no views, no target areas on the map of the world. I started to use social media to the mix and tagged and placed buttons of social media to my blog. The ratings went up slowly. Then I wrote a community profile in my blog about Shannon and her Service Dog my ratings went up.

This is not the end of my blog because the semester of classes are over for the fall term. I will edit and re-edit I am sure, and perhaps even redesign my blog at some point. For now I will keep blogging, exploring as I journey.

Interesting Observation

“When you do the things that you can do, you will find a way.”
― A.A. Milne

The projector didn’t work in class last Friday, and our instructor found a temporary solution and asked us to gather around in a circle, in order to view the videos he had chosen for his lecture. We all moved tables and gathered around in a large circle. For the first time EVER since I started classes at OK College, I never experienced a lecture sitting in a circle to which I was surprised over what occurred once we fixed the layout of the classroom and moved our chairs.

What I observed was rather uncanny. Students that normally I have never heard speak before, began engaging to the questions in the lecture. All of us it seemed to me were more engaged with our instructor. We were able to actually see each other whereas the layout of our desks before we never really engaged much with each other because we were all facing the front. I wonder if anyone else in the class observed the same thing? I grasped the discussion more fully, instead of the instructor talking at us, in the ‘circle’ it felt he was talking to us.

I haven’t had time to look at the layout of classrooms pedagogy study or anything but I did find it interesting to see the transformation in my fellow students in class.

Here is a video I found to further think about seating arrangements:

Reflections on the Tools for Design

As you can see from the above links, I used a few tools. In fact I went tool crazy trying to figure out which one I would like, and frankly I didn’t like many of them. If I had more time to learn the mechanics of the applications, I believe I would enjoy them more.

The application I chose to use to create my poster for my blog post: ‘Meet Ripley, A Therapy Dog’ was from That was the easiest design platform for me. I enjoyed viewing all the choices of designs. I had fun picking a template that I could incorporate for the profile interview I am going to do with Shannon and her therapy dog. I chose the poster template with dog foot prints because the colors were perfect. The text enhanced the image I wanted to portray that is eye catching and bold.

The rest of the tools that I used I explain below in the chart on their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The video I created using Lumen5 was a free video, I was challenged and frustrated with trying to get the video to link in WordPress, which I finally accomplished!

Overall, great experience and I am excited to work with and see how that platform of ‘story’ goes.

Meet Ripley, a Service Dog

Ripley is Shannon’s ‘miracle’ dog, since she has arrived into her arms.
“I have much more confidence, she hears what I cannot hear even with my hearing aids, when there is lots of noise or if the music is loud, Ripley hears what I can’t pick up. My stress is significantly better.


There are three kinds of service dogs:

  1. Service dog
  2. Emotional support dog
  3. Therapy dog

Ripley is a service dog because she has two purposes:

  1. DIRECTIONAL HEARING: If I hear an alarm or an assault where I work, I can’t tell if the sound is left or right, or front or back.  Ripley will alert me as to the source. If I tell Ripley to take me to the source she will.
  2. PROTECTION (SAFETY AND SECURITY): She’s in training to be a personal protection dog because I work in a vulnerable environment.  At home she does not have her working service vest on, but she goes wherever I am 24/7.
Ripley Watching my feet as I walk around


Ripley already uses her trained skills to tell me which doorbell someone is approaching. If someone approaches me she can alert me where they are coming from. She is currently being trained for being a ‘protection and hearing dog’.

I got communicated with a girl at work who has a service dog through the Lions Club, ( )but at the time there was a 2-year wait, and PADS (Personal Assistance Dog Service) ( which had a 4-year wait-list.
I decided to find my own private breed. I researched, studied and found a breeder:  her name is Melody Whitrow from Vista Rolls, ( ), for Shar pei’s she is considered number one in Canada.  She is a full registered breeder.  I interviewed the breeder and in prayer I found the right breed for my needs.

The Shar pei breed has 3 attributes that I was looking for:

  1. Size
  2. Loyalty
  3. Intelligence
  4. Physical appearance, because she will grow to look muscular rough and tough

After picking the Shar pei puppy, I had to consult how I was to get her to British Columbia from Saskatchewan.  I had to pay for her.  She is $2,000 for the price of the dog.  I didn’t have the funding but an anonymous donor provided for part of the funds. Through prayer she knew that she would be more lenient with the process.  Melody agreed to deliver the puppy to me because of my physical challenges.

The breeder knew what type of service I needed and started to work with Ripley since birth to receiving her with house training and socializing. There was an instant connection at the airport.

Shannon, Ripley, Melody Whitlow


I went through the Government:

Ripley is still in training and abides by all the rules.  I have a service dog card, the License cost may vary. The proper training and education is ongoing as needed until she is properly skilled.

This is Shannon’s Service Dog Card
at Gellatly Bay Waterfront


Immensely, my husband at first tried to ignore her, because he knew that she needed to be my service dog, but she melted everybody’s hearts. It is important that she has a bond with someone else other than me in the case of an emergency and I am gone she needs to not be lost.  So we have to have that plan in place. 

Shannon’s husband with Ripley


Ripley wants to be friends with the other pets but they are afraid of her because she is big and makes funny sounds and looks bigger than them. Ripley is very routine oriented. She goes to bed every night at 8:15 PM. I make sure I give the other pets extra when Ripley is asleep or having a nap. I take that opportunity to make sure my other pets have my attention and time.

Next year I will be able to go back to work and Ripley will be going with me but for now I am on stress leave and Ripley and I will be going back in slow increments of hours to start with.

Shannon and Ripley


Only if the person is fully committed 24/7, 365-day relationship with their partner, and they are very well educated on what they are in for because it is a lifestyle change. You have to be able to take the dog wherever you go, public places non public places with that dog you have to be able to trust they can behave and handle the environment. That is why she has to wear a service vest.

She knows that she is working when her work vest is on she is a working dog. When her work vest is off she is a regular puppy. 

Ripley at home without her working vest on

Dogs can be more than just a part of the family, they can be a part of a solution to those who suffer from illness or other challenges and this makes for a healthier life.

The Focus for My Blog

“Life is a Journey to be experienced, not a problem to be solved”, Winnie the Pooh

When I think of community, I think of a culture of people who live in the same town who communicate based on culture, interests, inspirations and social connections.

I focus my blog on the communities where I live. The Okanagan Valley View is the literal focus representing my views linguistically to connect with a broader community here in the Okanagan and the community on the Web.

I belong to a community of faith that has enriched my life from the ground up. I have experienced many facets of people I’ve come to know by serving in my local church family. I know that we hold so much as people that we can’t all place life in a snapshot and discuss it in depth over everything, so my focus is brief encounters that make a difference

where I am

there you are.

I am challenged in College life, by diverse experiences that open my eyes to another culture, the culture of the young, and the culture of the community within the walls of education. These experiences move me to come outside of my comfort zone into students’ and instructors’ educational system that may test my views, and expand my knowledge at Okanagan College.

I hold the truth in my heart.

And the learning systems of knowledge I embrace.

There you are.

My views can be controversial at times. Not only to raise awareness for you reading my blog, but it also raises awareness in me in ways that I share, care and express. My blog is not a journal. It’s the views I have of what is going on while I drive, walk, witness, experience, taste, touch, and live. There is a vast amount of family in community, friends, and acquaintances, advertisements, that I think to myself, wow, this is amazing, and interesting to share? How else can we get to know each other unless we get a little vulnerable.

To see what’s inside

And know I’ve shared an experience

where you are

The community profile section I bring to my blog is those in my faith community, my college community, those in our town, and the surrounding area I sense is something to share and available to be read.

The profiles I bring to you can be conversational pieces of literary language that let others step inside a room where we view others who have something to say and to come away thinking, hmmm, exciting, or I didn’t know that.

To see you here

hear what you say

And move on your way changed for the better part of the day.

My blog’s content may interest be related to the local news, the writing and digital community, the tourism industry of the Valley and beyond; however, my blog is too new for this to be anything but a window of parts that I haven’t developed.

My blog is where community meets my feet

where you are

where we meet.

Where Does the Extra Parking Money Go, When It Doesn’t Dispense Change Back?

My friend paid $3.00 for parking at the Museum in Kelowna but the ticket meter’s total was for $2.50. I was surprised that she was losing .50 cents.

“You know some meters in Kelowna are like this one, where they don’t give change back.  I wonder what the city does with all that extra money? ” my friend Maria asked.

I started thinking about that.  I called the City of Kelowna’s Parking Coordinator, Andrew Wilson today to get some information about where the accumulation of funds go from all the parking meters that keep the change. I’m glad I talked to him, it put to rest some misgivings for me.

“The department isn’t funded under taxation, to build parking structures, we rely on reserves. The extra monies that we accumulate goes towards the reserve funds and then used towards the purchase of land, and maintain the city parking areas. There are different ways one can pay for convenience, there is the pay by phone app where you can be anywhere and pay for extra time on your parking meter or there is also the credit card option,” said Wilson.

I don’t park much downtown, and if I do, I usually pay at the parkade or I usually park after 5 PM or on holidays when I am in Kelowna.  Now that I am more informed, I can easily download the ‘pay by phone’ App on my phone for convenience.

When I looked further into what the city has for Kelowna’s parking structure on this particular issue, I found a document that is online called, ‘City of Kelowna Parking Policy Framework’, this was a final report dated on March of 2013. One of the goals the city mentioned in the document was to reduce transportation demands while ensuring adequate parking to support businesses.  The other goal was to reduce automobile traffic to support Kelowna and the community. (31)

You can also take a peek by clicking the below link, titled ‘Parking Policy framework’, page 27 where the city shows how much parking revenue was made. Meetings 2013%5C2013-05-13%5CRegular AM/Agenda Package – Regular AM Council Meeting_May13_2013.pdf?#Page=8

Events Coming up to watch for:

My Sociology Professor shared an event that Mind of Mine Foundation is putting on a Mental Health Forum on January 29th. There are wonderful speakers and it is well worth attending. Student Services has tickets. I am going to try to attend!

photo by Christine Reeves

My Digital Media Instructor shared a documentary movie showing here in the Okanagan Valley at different locations and different times throughout the Interior. I am going to go to this screening, it took 10 years to make!  The documentary movie is called Us and Them.

You Touched Me!

I wonder, how you would react if this happened to you?

I drove to school, the traffic was light and I parked my car with ease. After my first class I was walking towards the library from the courtyard, then something extraordinarily strange happened. A student slipped his hand in mine and walked with me a few steps. I turned to him and said, “What are you doing, do you think I’m someone you know?” That was the only thing that I could think to say. He said it was for his psychology class. Another one of my random moments that made me giggle and think, ‘how peculiar’.

My curiosity was peaked, so I found an article online that I read and found it interesting called, ‘Why Holding Hands is important, According to Science’ by Sarah Wolstencroft, (2017) . I would never have looked that up if it weren’t for this strange encounter.

The Occasional Smile

“”I always get to where I’m going by walking away from where I have been.” Winnie-the-Pooh”

I believed I could dig all the way to far away countries just by a shovel digging In the sand at the beach. Now, we can look at the world where we are and not have to travel to experience culture and new friends by allowing ourselves to be open and engage not so much by using a shovel in the sand to try to reach another world but by a click we can walk in a garden of beautiful people.

Today, I was walking on campus, there were milliseconds of moments where I glanced at random passersby, smiled engaged with others and went on my way. Then something unexpected happened, I accidentally walked up the steps to the library on the wrong side, so it was me, dodging students, smiling and trying to get up safely, It was awkward, but, I received many awkward smiles back. People are very gracious. It’s in these kinds of humbling moments that make me giggle even in brief encounters of sharing an occasional smile.

This is my footprints on the Web

I write about people in the Okanagan Valley and beyond who capture my interest while I’m on the move. 

I work in the community as well as I attend full time studies at Okanagan College. I am progressing more towards engaging more fully in our community by bringing awareness of what I see that’s worth sharing.

  • Unpacking learned views and ideas from those who have touched my life.
  • Engaging in dialogue via interview/conversation with others on issues and points of interest– places not always seen,  to the public eye but worth exploring.

Bear with me; this is my first attempt at blogging, which started from my digital media class, and this is such a great experience for me to learn and work through and continue.

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