Friday, August 11, 2017

Everybody Makes It To The Beach...

When you fix RV's for the majority of your living, you tend to spend a fair amount of time at lakes. Not for the same purpose most people do, but you're at a lake, nonetheless.

As my role in these situations is generally a supportive one, for the most part, handing tools and such, I often have time to people watch and snap a few photos.

There is always a lot of playing, giggling, fighting, and melt downs. And that's just the parents.

It's fun to watch the different family dynamics. They all have their own rhythm, their own vibe.

Some are super organized, you can all but smell the Tupperware containers of organic snacks that, if I peeked, are most certainly lined up neatly in the cooler which is being hefted to the beach by Dad. The kids are shiny in their perfectly laundered bathing suits, carrying their individual towels neatly around their necks, marching so nicely, following Mom, like a line of baby ducks.

Some are slightly less organized, Kids wearing a bit of the 'keep you happy in the car' snacks, an oversized, overstuffed, beach bag hangs from Mom's arm, overflowing with what looks like an assortment of towels, wet wipes, bug spray and sunscreen. Dad is pulling a cooler on wheels and is most dramatically ignoring the stowaway toddler stealing a ride, as he frantically pretends to look for said toddler. Not exactly a neat march, but they get to the beach, all the same.

Some seem to be surprised to have made it to the beach at all. Adults juggling/carrying snacks, towels, pool noodles and other seemingly random paraphernalia without the aid of any bags as kids leap from the vehicle and take off, heading for the water at lightning speed. Mom yells, kids slow down, allowing the parents to catch up, eventually, helping to carry some stuff. They, too, make it to the beach.

Everybody makes it to the beach at their own pace, in their own way, carrying their own stuff in whatever way they can.



The past week has been another whirlwind.......

Last weekend was filled with hanging out with family, meeting some great new people, taking in a great play, going to a movie or two, ending with a bonfire at our daughter's house.

The rest of the week was spent working the shop, setting up a couple more trade shows for the fall, finding new homes for more copies of "Once Broken," getting a jump on a booth idea for said trade shows, and putting the finishing touches on the prep for the wedding we are playing for tomorrow.

As for the upcoming days....

Wedding tomorrow, working the shop, start prep for next wedding, prep for trade shows, laundry, and other stuff.

Sorry to write and run, but I better get some sleep, I have a feeling tomorrow could be a late night....

Until next time...

May you find your way to the beach with help to carry your stuff.
May you draw your line in the sand, own it, you define your 'enough'.

May you build the castle of your dreams, knowing if it falls, another can be built.
May you build as many as you wish, however you wish, without a tinge of guilt.

May you balance all that you need, release what you don't, and gather tools along the way.
May you find that others opinions echo into nothingness, yours is the only one with weight enough to stay.

Talk to you soon..............

Friday, August 4, 2017

Foolproof Cure For The Hiccups............

Have you ever had one of those days?

You know, those days, the ones in which you find yourself asking.........really?!

Every day presents its own little challenges, issues, hurdles, and hiccups. With our shop, these presented themselves, this week, in the forms of wrong parts sent, delays in parts sent, incomplete parts sent, you know, the usual when it comes to retail/service.

One day, in particular, more than filled its quota of hiccups.

It should have been simple. Our car needed an update for Onstar, I needed to book a quick doctor appointment. Two birds, one stone, simple.


We all know, in Canadian, the word "summer" translates into "road construction". Well, "summer" is in super-full swing in good ol' Saskatchewan. There are a few different routes from where I live to where I needed to go, all of which are under various degrees of construction, I thought I picked the least of the evils. I was wrong.

You see, the plan was this:

1) Leave home by 9:15 (I live 90 min from car appointment)
2)Drop part forgotten by customer, in Outlook on my way to the city
3) drop car off for upgrade appointment 11:15am
4) take pre-arranged shuttle from dealership to doc appointment at 11:50
5) take same shuttle back to dealership, wait for car, go home.


You see, what actually happened was this:

1) Leave home at 9:15, as planned. ( I HATE being late)
2) get stopped for construction for about 15 minutes with about 40km to go.....still okay, had given myself extra time..not my first rodeo, I'm a local, I know the summer construction drill...
3) get led by pilot vehicle through 60km/hr zone (not a big deal, it'll be tight, but if we only do this for a few miles, I can still be on time)
4) Continue to follow pilot truck the entire rest of the way to the city.... (Only gonna be a few minutes late, not ideal, but not horrible)
5) The pilot truck pulls over, I can finally see past him... yay... a train.....(I'm screwed)
6) Call the dealership and get appointment changed to 12:30, head straight to doc appointment.
7) Get to doctor office early in hopes of making up a few minutes (don't could happen......but, it didn't)
8) Get in to see the doc at 12:10 out by 12:15, can still make car appointment if traffic isn't too bad.
9) Get to the dealership at 12:36, where, after being led to the service department, I overhear a service writer saying "Well, she had an appointment for 11:15, she's like an hour and a half late...."


10) After explaining to the nice young man that I had called and changed the appointment and encouraging him to look at his bookings one more time, my car was successfully dropped off.
11) After being told my car wouldn't be ready until at least 4:00, I asked if the same shuttle that would have taken me to my doc appointment could give me a ride to the mall. I figured I would catch a movie to kill time.
12) Get to the mall, resigning myself to see whatever movie was playing at that given moment. (My hip still yells at me if I mall crawl too long).
13) The new Spiderman movie, sure, why not? 3D was my only option. 3D movies give me motion sickness. My hip was yelling. Yelling hip trumps motion sickness.
14) After paying for my $12 ticket, buying my $20 popcorn, which was doing double duty as lunch (hey I made it healthy by adding almond m&m's...don't judge), I settled in to watch Spiderman with the spattering of tweens, who also apparently had a Tuesday afternoon to kill.
15) 30 minutes into the movie, I feel my phone buzzing. I step out to answer, and it's the dealership. My car is done. See ya later Spiderman. It is now 1:45. I felt bad for the shuttle dude.

So, as I was waiting for my shuttle driver guy outside the mall, mourning my abandoned, partially eaten popcorn, I checked my email. There was one from McNally Robinson. It was from the events coordinator, thanking me for choosing them for my launch and to inform me that "Once Broken" had made #2 on their bestseller list for the week.

Funny how one little piece of good news can cure the hiccups.

On the way home, there was no pilot truck, but there was the same 40km in which the speed limit remained at 60km/hr. The sky was a bit stormy, the breeze fragrant with the promise of rain. As "summer" now forced me to stop chasing the clock, I allowed myself to let the news in the email sink in. If I told you that a few tears of overwhelming joy never fell, I'd be lying.

I cranked the radio, sang along, and cruised home.

As for the next few days........

Spending a bit of time with some family.............

Attend a play that has a writing friend's fingerprints all over it.........

Work the shop to ensure fishing trips aren't missed.....

Prep for a wedding we are DJing next weekend.......

Well folks, that about does it for now....

May every hiccup be counterbalanced by a bit of good news.
May you slow your speed, crank the radio, grant yourself permission to just cruise.

May you allow the good news to go deeper than the bad ever could.
May you spend your time on doing more of what you love and less on what you should.

May you's okay, you've earned it.

Until next time.......

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Even Oscar Winners Stub Their Toes!

This week has been one filled with contrasts....

In the past seven days....

We were proud to watch our daughter participate in a fundraiser for the Children's Wish Foundation. The fundraiser took the form of dragon boat races, which, if you aren't familiar, are like giant canoes that hold about 22 people paddling like crazy against other such boats for about a half a mile, over and over again. It looked like a ton of fun, even though, I've been informed, it's a lot harder than it looks.

In contrast, we went from dragon boats to Shakespeare....

After the races, we were kind of cruising around, looking for something different to do, and decided to take a walk down by the river. where we stumbled upon the Shakespeare On The Saskatchewan Venue. I love Shakespeare and have been wanting to attend this Saskatoon summer staple for years, without ever being able to make it happen. This year, as we've been super busy, I hadn't even entertained the thought of attending, therefore, hadn't paid attention to the wheres and whens of it. Well, we had parked and were kind deciding in which direction our stroll would go when we came upon the venue gates...and they were open. We looked at each don't suppose..... we stepped through the gates and discovered that, although the production of Richard III had just begun, we could still get in, as long as we were super quiet. It was so awesome! My hubby is the best! Even though Shakespeare isn't exactly his cup of tea, he was willing to attend with me, actually enjoying it more than he thought he would.

With a leisurely weekend under our belt, it was time to hit the ground running when the work week began.

With camping season in full swing, we not only have a, gratefully, super busy shop to keep up with, but also have mobile repairs to take care of for our customers at different campgrounds. This means putting on a lot of miles, long days in the heat, and, when you add in hot flashes, a lot of sweating.

In contrast, I went from assisting with camper fixes, (fun fact: when the temp outside is 32*C, the temp inside a closed camper is about 44*) to full hair and make-up, glammed up for the McNally Robinson Launch of "Once Broken."

Launching my first novel in Canada's biggest independent book store.

Talk about a surreal moment.

When I allow myself to think about my children's stories being read to thousands of munchkins in different corners of the world, it's incredibly humbling, thrilling, and makes me especially grateful. I don't think the desire to create stories for this most precious group of humans will ever fade.

Other than the fact that doing a reading in front of grown ups rather than my usual crowd that rarely reaches the age of 9, made me nervous, I didn't think the over all feeling of doing so would be all that different.

I was wrong.

As I listened to the events coordinator read a short bio and introduce me, I walked down the short aisle, passing the grown-ups in the seats, under the grown-up lights, and stepped up to the grown-up podium.

Then it hit me.

I wrote a novel. An actual novel.

Holy Crap!

I was overwhelmed with a rush of emotion that threatened to steal my voice. It wasn't nerves so much as the fact that, in that moment, it was real.

I was about to read a portion of the thousands of words that had won the fight for their space on the page. I was about to read them to a group of adults, some of whom had already read the book, and, if the feedback is to be believed, enjoyed it.

I was about to read aloud to others, for the first time, in the voice and tone that echoed within me as the story took shape.

I wrote an actual novel.  I gave myself permission to accept and acknowledge what was actually happening, took a breath, and began.

The reading was followed by a Q&A. It was a definite departure from the questions I usually get at a reading. Nobody asked if my shoes fit, if I have a bed, or how old I am. No, they hit a bit deeper, and, to my surprise, I found myself getting a bit emotional in trying to find answers.

Although the story and characters are fictitious, I, for one, have found the process of creating, developing and writing these characters very personal. It's like you actually get to know them, care about them, and what happens to them.  I wasn't just writing about them, I was living it with them.

I wrote an actual novel. I look forward to doing it again.

In contrast, the next day, I was back at the lake, assisting my hubby, in the heat, sweating.

The contrasts in life are what keeps both our feet on the ground, and our chin up.

Oscar, and Pulitzer prize winners, rock stars, and presidents all stub their toes, get the flu, struggle in relationships and lose loved ones.

Stable hands, daycare workers, gardeners, those with hands and feet covered in calluses and blisters all celebrate birthdays, graduations, weddings, promotions, and other moments in the sun.

These are some of the common things that connect us in our humanity. The contrasts make the hardships easier to carry, while reminding us to remain humble and grateful in our highest moments of joy.


As for the upcoming days..............

Working at the shop....month end, and trailer assists..

Kill some dust bunnies and do laundry............

Start putting together ideas for Word On The Street........

Get a start on next Children's book..............


And that about does it for now. Until next time, I'll leave you with this wish......

May every valley be followed by a climb to the highest height.
May every struggle lead to a multitude of occasions filled with sheer delight.

May every blessing fill you with a sense of gratitude, never taking good fortune for granted.
May you be reminded that you reap what you sow, be ever mindful of the seeds you've planted.

May you take the time to step back, take a breath, accept and acknowledge how far you've come.
May you see that you've gained confidence and strength with every step, keep stepping, to your own beat, your own drum.

Until next time......

Friday, July 21, 2017

Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, Gen Z and Then?........

Introducing Gen Alpha.

Yup, Generation Alpha began in 2011 and will include all those born between then and 2025.

This is the generation that, as of now, has no labels. They are not the flower children or the MTV generation, nor are they hipsters. They are yet to be defined.

This is the generation that will never know life without smartphones, selfies, social media, digital music, and live streaming everything...all the time.

This is the generation that, with any luck, will be the one that finds a way to make peace more profitable than war, discovers a way to feed every living soul that roams the planet, finds a way out of this cycle of environmental self-destruction, cures every type of cancer, Alzheimers, MS, diabetes and addiction.

No pressure.

Even if this isn't that generation, it could be the one that replaces tolerance with acceptance, judgment with empathy, violence with kindness.

This generation, more so than any before it, has access to an infinite amount of information. Limitless recourses from which to learn. The ability to gain an education that has no boundaries. Our schools are no longer limited to what lives within the covers of whatever text books the budget will allow. The opportunity for global understanding has never been so attainable.

Imagine a world wherein the generation running it has grown up in a culture of acceptance, kindness, and an unlimited access to education, both formal, and not so formal.

We, the adults, the village, raising this generation, have the opportunity and the responsibility to foster the culture that could encourage Gen Alpha to be the greatest yet.

The future looks bright, all we have to do is allow it.


In the past week.......

It's been another super busy week at the shop, as the weather has been such that a trip to one of the many lakes in our area is dang near mandatory......

Did some prepping for a wedding we are playing for in a few weeks........

Processed the paperwork to participate in Saskatoon's Word On The Street Festival in Saskatoon (Sept. 24th)

Found more copies of "Once Broken" a new home.....

I think I figured out which section of "Once Broken" I will do at McNally Robinson, Thursday! (July 27th 7pm!)

As for the upcoming days...........

A trip to the city to watch our daughter in a dragon boat race...........

Working the shop........

Attending the McNally Robinson launch on Thursday @ 7pm! (Hope to see you there)

Well folks, that about does it for now....

With this next generation in mind, I'll leave you with this wish....

May you take the reins and run, surefooted and free, when your turn comes, be bold.
May you be confident enough to be kind, never stepping to arrogance, causing others to fold.

May you seize every opportunity that a limitless education affords.
May the understanding this brings, be paired with inspiration, reaping great rewards.

May you be the generation that finally learns from humanity's mistakes, ceasing to repeat them, once and for all.
May you be the generation that, instead of rejoicing at the misstep of others, steps up to cradle the fall.


Until next week.........

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Little Thrills.........

Ahhhhhhh the little thrills..........

Losing your first tooth, your first time playing in the rain, receiving a photo of a little one as they are about to be read one of your books, they are fantastic!

Some thirst for the thrill of jumping from a plane, bungee jumping, riding on the scariest possible rides at the amusement park, and/or many of the other activities that make you feel like you are tickling the edge of death.

Don't get me wrong, I like a good adrenaline rush as much as anyone, I guess, I'm one of the lucky ones who can achieve that without threat to life and limb.

The path to the thrill is the same, regardless of your adrenaline threshold.

*Anticipating the activity- when, at the mere thought of taking in the activity, your heart speeds up a bit, and excitement begins to build.

* When the time finally comes, your hands begin to sweat and you actually start to have second thoughts about doing it at all.

* As it begins,  there is no turning back, you are now all in, like it or not.

*The euphoria upon the completion- there is nothing like it. The sense of accomplishment, the feeling of being, at least momentarily, bulletproof.

It's kind of funny. The feelings we chase for an adrenaline rush, are the same ones we try to avoid when dealing with anxiety.

Humans are complex and weird creatures.

Yeah, some people need to base-jump off a cliff to achieve this feeling. Me? A scary movie will do the trick.

Little thrills.....

The little thrills in life, generally, don't take a lot of chasing. Life tends to supply them without much effort. All we have to do is take advantage of them.

Play in the rain.


The past week.....

Our girls pulled off a surprise bar-b-que and provided us with a nice hotel room stay to help us celebrate our 30th anniversary. We have pretty great kids.

Some quality time was spent at the shop, trying to make sure nobody misses a fishing trip....

Did some prep for my upcoming McNally Robinson event......

Included some glamorous toilet scrubbing, and car cleaning....

As for the next few days.....

A mystery adventure orchestrated by my hubby...

Working the shop..........

Prep for McNally event.......

Squeeze a grandbaby or 4...............


With little thrills in mind, I'll leave you with this wish.....

May your bungee bounce you back safe and sound, keeping you in one piece.
May your plane always fly, your parachute always open, your landing be filled with grace.

May your roller coaster stay on its tracks, providing crazy twists and turns without mishap.
May you soar from the cliff, falling with style, floating to the earth without so much as a scraped kneecap.

May you, no matter the size or path you take to seek your thrills, find them, seize them, savor.
May you enjoy the little thrills along the way, every accidental one, every kind, every flavour.

Enjoy your week! Until next time....

Friday, July 7, 2017

Just Keep Dancin' ......

The distance that divides these two photos is both a lifetime and a blink, thirty years and a minute.

We are living proof that you don't need a storybook beginning to have a happily ever after, that even if every statistic is stacked against you, you can make it, if you both want to badly enough. You don't have to have perfect or be perfect, you just have to be perfect for each other, and even then, there are challenges.

In in the summer of 1985 we met at a bar and danced...and danced...and danced.

In 1987, our vows took place on a mud-soaked day that pushed the limits of Murphy's law. I wish I was exaggerating. I would fill you in on all that happened, but, it honestly reads like a bad sitcom. Let's just say it involved car breakdowns, badly timed emergency dentistry, a flu bug, a tardy DJ, and cooking for people whilst wearing a wedding dress, and much much more. Regardless, by the end of the day, we were married.

As statistics go, we were 21 and 23 years old, we were two months from welcoming our second daughter into the world, we had only known each other for 3 months when we found we were going to be parents the first time. I had grown up in a very Catholic household, my hubby didn't have a religious background.

On paper, we should have been divorced within the first 5 years....if it took that long.

Yet, here we are, still dancing.

How? I can only tell you what has worked for us, as it's all I know.

*Hold each other's happiness as a priority, every day.

*Never hurt on purpose, it will happen often enough without trying.

*Kiss every day, not doing so can become a habit.

*Love your kids to death, but don't forget to be a couple, they need to grow up knowing what a healthy, loving one looks like.

*Have fun... even when you're broke, stressed, and the kids are driving you nuts.

*When you argue, and you will, don't do so in circles, get to the root, and find an answer.

*Hard times always get better if you let them, don't hold a grudge. Learn what not to do again, and move on.

*Keep promises....period. If you can't keep them, don't make them.

*Do nice things for each other for no reason.

*Hold on to each is a hell of a ride, holding each other steady, you can get through anything.

*Your spouse should never doubt, not even for a second, that they are your everything, and you are all in, every single day.

*Just keep dancin'.......


Well folks, our #OnceBroken Turbo Tour Road Trip is in the books!

Well over 500km driven, way too much junk food, and nine times setting up the car and tearing it down. We were pretty tired when we got home, but had a great day meeting new faces and catching up with some familiar ones. Thanks to all who gave some books a new home!

The rest of the past week has been a busy one at the shop, trying to get caught up on the dust bunny hunt and capture, and starting.

As for the upcoming days......

After a couple of cryptic phone calls and texts from various daughters, we will be heading to the home of our third daughter and her honey for something. We have no idea what. When I asked if we should dress "fancy", I was told, "You can dress as fancy as you like, but we aren't going anywhere. Oh and pack for overnight." This was followed by a text a couple of hours later..."Bring swim gear."

I'm intrigued. Whatever it turns out to be, it'll be fun, for sure.


Well folks, that about does it for now. With summer in full swing, I'll leave you with this wish....

May your sun-kissed skin feel every cool breeze as you sit with only the frostiest of drinks in hand.
May you find time to let your stresses go, play a game, squeeze your toes through the sand.

May your tent stay dry, your bathing suit wet, and the mosquitoes stay at bay.
May the s'mores be plentiful, and watermelon sweet, laughter filling every moment of the day.

May you, if a full-fledged holiday is not in the cards, get to enjoy every stolen moment in the sun.
May you take advantage of every possible second, and grab some friends for some summer fun!

May you watch some sunsets, some sun rises, and countless stars in between.
May you find a spot with big skies, warm blankets, and someone to hold, to enjoy the scene.

May your sun-kissed skin feel every cool breeze, as you sit with only the frostiest of drinks in hand.
May you find time to let your stresses go, play a game, squeeze your toes through the sand.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Happy Canada Day!

Hi and Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canucks!

Well folks, tomorrow we are embarking on a bit of an adventure. We will be making quick stops in nine different communities to sell and sign books. So, if you are interested in meeting us to pick up a copy of Once Broken, or any of my other books, or just to say hi, feel free check out my event on Facebook for all of the times and places.  #OnceBroken Canada Day Turbo Tour Road Trip 

It'll be a fun day that, I'm sure, will go by way too fast.

When you look at the world, the countries, the cultures, and the turmoil that seems to relentlessly torment some, celebrating Canada Day and how lucky we are to live here, takes on a bit more meaning.

We are free to love who we choose, live where we choose, vote for whomever we choose, believe in whatever we choose to believe, or not. We are free to go camping, take in concerts, visit museums, visit each other, play, work and live in a place where almost all of us move through each day knowing we are safe.

I say almost all because we are not perfect. Far from it. We have too many who are homeless, too many that live in poverty, too many that live under the threat of some kind of violence, too many. Any, is too many.

Do we have things to fix about how our country works? Yup. Are the issues fixable? Absolutely! At 150 years old, as countries go, we are barely a toddler. We'll get it figured out.

In the meantime, we are a country where there are more lakes than all other countries combined. We are a country where we have room to run, as we have fewer people than the state of California, and more room than everywhere except Russia. We are a country of many cultures, all of which are important in weaving the fabric of our flag. We are a country that can handle the deep cold, in fact, we seem to find new ways to play in it all the time. We are a country that is

Even with our faults, quirks, and incessant need to apologize, we are a country that's pretty awesome. I, for one, feel pretty lucky to call myself a Canadian.

So, tomorrow, wherever on this planet you call home, if you come across a Canadian, be sure to say hi, and wish them a Happy Canada Day!


So these ramblings are hitting a  bit early because of the aforementioned road trip.

The past few days were filled with a shits and giggles day with the hubby, last weekend, working the shop, working at home, an unexpected visit with a nephew and his munchkins, and the obligatory laundry, and dust bunny massacre.

After tomorrow, the rest of the weekend is up in the air... I kinda like those.

Then, it will be back to the shop, month end, and whatever gets thrown our way!


Well folks, that about does it, for now......

With our nation's birthday on my mind, I'll leave you with wish.......

Dear Canada,

May we find a way to care for you, helping you flourish, grow and thrive.
May we find a way to care for each and every citizen, allowing them to shine, not just survive.

May we find a way to harness your gifts, without damaging you at your core.
May we find a way to share these gifts, for they surpass our needs, and could provide for many more.

May we continue to be reminded that we are mere stewards of this land, we own nothing, we are but brief trespassers, here for but a blink.
May we do our best to be a beacon of kindness in the world, humanity is a chain, we must strive to be a strong link.

May we always remember, in this world that can easily fill with fear and hate, that is not who we are.
May we always remember we are Canada, tough, funny, kind, courageous, a fierce and loyal friend, with a warrior's scars.


Until next time......