Your August 18 Weekend Lift

Meet author Janita Van de Velde.

Your August 18 Weekend Lift
Roaming through the prairies - photo by Bogdan Vlad / Unsplash

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Leader Profile

Janita Van de Velde - Author

I will publish the full interview on my website on Monday and feature it again in next week's Weekend Lift. Janita simply had too much to share and I didn't want to cut out all of the hilarity.

Janita Van de Velde holds a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural economics from the University of Manitoba, and worked for Farm Credit Canada for 27 years, after starting there as a summer student in 1994.

Janita is a former Grainews columnist and author of the award-winning travel memoir Postcards Never Written. Her book was the recipient of the Saskatchewan Reader’s Choice Award in 2008 and was also listed by CBC as one of the top funny books in 2009. In 2010, Janita was inducted into the 100th anniversary edition of the Canadian Who’s Who publication.

She is known for her candour, her sense of humour and her generosity – she donates a portion of all proceeds from the sale of her book to charity, most notably to World Vision and FCC’s Drive Away Hunger Campaign. To date, those donations have exceeded $30,000.

Janita is currently working with the Regina Foodbank, along with the Regina Public and Catholic school divisions, to find a way to create an Angel Fund to support kids in every elementary school throughout the city. She’s convinced that we’ve been given more than we’ll ever need in this lifetime, and a firm believer that the line-up of people willing to help, should always be longer than the line-up of those in need. Even better, she believes a world like that is possible.

What’s your ideal start to a Sunday?

I don’t differentiate between days of the week, so my ideal start to any day is about the same. Quite often a Sunday morning might be the most hectic with 3 kids in multiple sports, so you can find me in a constant state of prayer that I find the right hockey rink, and have brought along the correct child. Small wins, really.

My ideal start to any given day is being the first one up in the house, usually around 6:30am, where wrapped in the cocoon of silence I get caught up on pre-market activity, read about political and economic events that may shape the coming week and impact my stock portfolio. I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to supply and demand charts, and I thoroughly enjoy the art of investing and finding bad things that have happened to good companies.

Your current TV/Podcast/Blog or book obsession.

I don’t watch TV, and I have yet to listen to a podcast. That leaves us with book obsessions, of which I have plenty, as I tend to burn through 2-3 novels a week. I gravitate towards dark subject matter and humour, things that lay waste to pretentious bullsh*t and get right to the heart of the matter, which for me is the raw beauty of being real, and not being afraid to talk about the flaws of the human condition. I’m attracted to uncensored honesty, like a moth to flame. I’ve been known to re-read my favourites every few years; for me, it’s like a sacred visit with an old friend. When God Was A Rabbit, The Summer That Melted Everything, We Need to Talk About Kevin, The Lovely Bones, Fates & Furies, Freedom, Pillars of the Earth, The Way The Crow Flies, The Hour I First Believed, Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls, Me Talk Pretty One Day, The Dovekeepers, The Museum of Extraordinary Things, East of Eden, A Complicated Kindness, All My Puny Sorrows, Fall On Your Knees.

What’s your morning drink of choice? Favourite local café?

Instant Nescafé…this is likely your first clue that I’m not in it for the coffee. Admittedly I enjoy a little too much sugar in each cup…it’s basically hummingbird water… but hey, who’s counting other than my Doctor, who has recently taken to handing me brochures on Type II diabetes. He seems entirely uninterested in my theory that this is a step up from when I used to start my days with a tall, cool icy glass of Coke. He’s a tough nut, but I’ll crack him.

My favourite local café is Brewed Awakening, mostly for the egg salad sandwiches. All they’re missing really, is a giant community bowl of Tang. Then I’d basically live there.

How do you take care of yourself during the weekend?

I look at taking care of myself as I would taking care of an old, used car. My motor still runs, I can get from point A to point B, although at this stage it takes more maintenance, and admittedly I’m a little less confident at what will happen when I go to turn the key. So, I do what needs to be done daily to avoid any glaring red “check engine” lights. On any given day, you can likely find me strapping on my ankle weights from the 90s, and heading out on a 5 km power walk. I will then stretch, do yoga and swing a kettlebell (and pray nothing in my arm rips) for approximately 15 minutes. That’s it. Nothing fancy.

What are your plans for the summer?

My plans hinge around the philosophy that summer is meant for making no plans. When your entire year feels structured and scheduled to within an inch of each calendar week, I’d like to think that summers are meant to fall off the face of the earth; it’s that one glorious fold in time to be as feral as possible without the cops being called. Think bush wolves roaming through the prairies, padding through fields of gold under majestic blue skies, likely up to no good but nevertheless, on the hunt to find joy in every moment. That’s us in the summer, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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