Friday, November 17, 2017

The 2017 Snowman Migration Begins!

Well folks, before now, I imagine you were unaware of the fact that snowmen migrate. Well, they have officially begun their annual journey from the basement. It seems, every day, a few more make their presence known.

My family loves to tease me about my fascination with these little guys, but, honestly, how can you look at them and not feel at least a little bit of holiday spirit seep in. Though, what is featured in the photos is a thin representation of the whole, it is more than worth the teasing when tiny people visit my home, and after taking it all in, with wide eyes and huge smiles, inform me with conspiratorial whispers that "Christmas lives in your house."

I'll take the teasing, gladly.

With office parties revving up, the constant stream of what to buy for that perfect gift, the wishlists to Santa taking shape and 'Elf on a Shelf ' back on facebook, there is no denying that the holiday season is here.

Inevitably this triggers the narrative that there is some conspiracy to stop people from saying "Merry Christmas."

Over the years, I have put forth a few of my own experiments on this very subject. In a variety of different crowds, in several different places in the presence of people from multiple cultures I have, in rotation wished people either Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, and Happy Quanza. The only reason I didn't include more, is that I'm not completely confident in the specific names of the twenty plus other observances that happen during the month of December.

This is what I came away with........

I never came across one single person who was offended by any greeting. Neither did any person correct me or try and stop me.

What I think?

"Happy Holidays" seems to be the most inclusive greeting. It's not because "Merry Christmas" or other greetings offend or anger anyone, it's the simple fact that "Happy Holidays" excludes no one, and personally that, as far as I can tell, best aligns with the spirit of the season.

No one will be offended by you sincerely wishing them well. Happy greetings cost nothing, feel free to be generous with them.


The past week included some grandbaby snuggles, a superhero movie marathon, giving my hubby a haircut, some prep for future book promotions, dust bunny hunting, laundry, Christmas shopping, and fighting with some weird cold/laryngitis thing that, in turn, had me helping out with the shop as best as I could from home.

 Life is running at its usual crazy pace. Trying to take time, make time, to let the bits of downtime soak in.

The upcoming week....

Tradeshow in Swift Current on the 18th......

Work the shop..............

prep for tradeshow on the 25th.....

Assist in the snowman immigration........


Until next time......

May you revel in the beautiful chaos that this season of giving provides.
May you sustain your sanity, take a beat, let it be fun, let any anxiety subside.

May you release the vision of perfection that can overtake the joy.
May you realize the magic, for your little one, does not live in any toy.

May you see the real magic comes from the fun, the laughter, making a decoration, nibbling a special treat.
May you see wish lists change from year to year, toy trends fade, enchanted memories remain forever sweet.


Thursday, November 9, 2017

Let's Honour Their Sacrifice...All Of It

Remembrance Day

Her heart stopped as the dark car pulled up and halted feet from where she and her three young children were raking and playing in the freshly fallen leaves.

She knew what was to come even before the first car door closed. Her initial instinct was to shield the kids from the horror that was about to assault them, the pain about to ooze from this heavily decorated man.

Someone was distracting the kids, the person in front of her was speaking. "I'm so sorry to have to inform you...."


The young boy broke away from the grip of his Grandma's hand to be closer to the flag-draped casket as it was slowly lowered into the ground, the 21 gun salute still ringing in his ears. He had blissfully little understanding as to how much his life tragically changed in that moment, what it would be like to grow up without his Mom.


The haunting images of the blood, the loss, the chaos, the gut-wrenching smell of death, it all followed him home. How could he pretend that he was the same when that was impossible. It was there every time he closed his eyes, in every firework, in every car backfire. It was in the eyes of every other vet he met. How would he ever find normal again.......


We should honour those who fight for our freedoms by honouring our freedoms. Let's stop wielding said freedoms as daggers, twisting them to suit our prejudices, contorting them to fit our agendas. Let's honour them in the spirit in which they were won. Our flags are not meant to be raised as a weapon against our fellow citizens, they were not created to divide us, they, indeed, were created to give a sense of belonging, of unity, a proud symbol of that unity.

Let's take a beat to truly think about the sacrifices made by our military and their families. All of it. The uncertainty, the missed birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, births, deaths, school plays, basketball games, swim meets, first steps, first words, first girlfriends, first dates, all of it. And those are the lucky ones.

The lucky ones who get to come home and try to make their old "normal" fit once again, try to make sense of what they've been through, trying to transition to their somehow familiar, yet very strangely, new reality. Trying to once again embrace the life that once was, the exact kind of life that they enlisted to protect in the first place.

Then there are the unlucky. The ones who are forever missed and mourned by those they left behind.

All of it.


In deep appreciation to those who fought and continue to fight the fight that allows me and mine to live the pretty fantastic life we live, thank you.


The past days have been spent goofing off with some longtime friends, bookkeeping, story writing, presentation prep, doing laundry and other domestic engineering.

In the upcoming days.....

A weekend spent at home, watching movies, puttering, and sneaking some grandbaby snuggles....

Taking part in a trade show here in Milden on Wednesday.......

Working the shop.......

Prep for tradeshow in Swift Current.......



Until next time.........

May you know we appreciate your sacrifice, your time, everything you give.
May you know we understand it's because of you, we live the lives we live.

May you recognize that "thank you" is all we have, knowing full well it's too small.
May you see there are not enough words to express our gratitude, even in giving them all.

May you make your way home, and be able to put your head to pillow in peace.
May your soul become quiet, your surroundings serene, may every turmoil cease.

May you know we see you are not always treated as the heroes you are, or with the respect that you deserve.
May you, I hope, still see us as a people, an ideal, a community representative of what prompted you to serve.

Until next time......

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Don't Let The Frenzy Get You!


Well. Halloween has come and gone, treats and a few frights were handed out, now come the tummy aches that inevitably follow an overindulgence in sweets. Conversations ensue,  explaining why Twizzlers are not a good idea for breakfast each and every day, and how the peanuts in a Snickers bar don't count as vegetables.

It was awesome seeing all of the costumes on social media, kids and parents alike. It was a well-needed respite from the seriousness the world carries these days.

As the evening wore on, the weather took a decidedly wintery turn. It began innocently enough as rain, which quite quickly became sleet, then, just as quickly, snow. As of November 1st, we have snow, and if you listen to the forecast, it's pretty much here to stay. If it does, it's going to make for a very long winter. Very. Long.

But, there's absolutely nothing we can do about the weather, so we might as well make the best of it.

Heck, a bunch of people I know were chomping at the bit waiting for this, snowmobiles and skis at the ready.

Just goes to show you, the same news can be perceived as good to some, not so good to others, but that doesn't change the fact it's the same news. Snow is still snow.

And now, if you are paying attention to ads and storefronts, we flip the switch from skeletons to Santa. I literally saw a display that had an inflatable spider and an inflatable snowman occupying the same shelf.

I sometimes get the feeling that retailers are scared to let us, the consumers, breathe. As though allowing us to take a beat between feeding frenzies will somehow grind the free world to a complete halt.

It's all of the December Gift Giving Holidays, then the "after holidays sales", then Valentine's Day, Then St. Patty's, Easter, Then all the "have tos" for Summer, then comes "back to school", then Halloween, and then we are right back to Christmas.

Don't let the frenzy get you. There is time. Breathe.


So the past days included doing a Karaoke Halloween Bash, which was a blast, catching up on some dust bunny hunting, laundry, and some much-needed housework.

The upcoming days will include more of the same, working the shop, and spending some time with some people near and dear to my heart.


Until next time.......

May you find joy in the changing of the gears, stepping to the beat of your own drum.
May you give yourself permission to breathe, you write the rhythm, determine the outcome.

May you create and embrace your own traditions, or not, there are no rules it's your holiday season.
May you have Turkey or Tacos, Pies or Pizza, Rum, Hot Chocolate or both, it's your rhyme or reason.

May you allow yourself to enjoy, there are no criteria, just loved ones and fun.
May the holidays bring you the joy they are meant to, breathe, your rhythm, your drum.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Happy Halloween! Time To Let Your Goofy Loose!


Well, that time of year is upon us!

Yup, that time when we dress up our kids, let them knock on strangers' doors and beg for candy. When you stop to think about it, it's kinda crazy, but, it's also a ton of fun!

For adults, I think it's a great stress reliever. Although our logical minds understand we are basically playing a grown-up version of dress-up, the simple act of putting on a costume brings with it a sort of freedom.

It gives permission to, for a few hours, be silly and goofy, and blame it on whatever character we are dressed as. Some of us don't necessarily need a costume to let our goofy loose, but some do. I think it's an awesome way let go of those day-to-day stresses, and blow off some steam.

Over the years, including and especially those that have involved karaoke shows, we've tapped into all kinds of themes for costumes, a few of which are sampled above. We've angel/devil,  Las Vegas lounge singers, cop/robber, Gomez and Morticia Addams, and so on, and so on......

This year, well, our show is tomorrow night, so I'll have to let you know.

With all the negativity hanging so think thick and heavy in the news these days, it's important to let our goofy loose, now and again.


So, these past few days have been awesome. I had the honour and pleasure of visiting a great school and a fabulous library.

The school was in Watrous, where I had the privilege of hanging out with an incredible group of Kindergarten to Grade 4 munchkins. The kids were enthusiastic, fully engaged and had fantastic questions.

The next day, we paid a visit to the library in my hometown. It was great to see familiar adult faces surrounding the new faces of their children and grandchildren. This reading was also followed up by some great questions.

When it happens that my life, as it is now, rubs up against my past, it becomes a bit surreal. It, at once, feels like yesterday and a lifetime ago. There I was, reading books I have written to the kids and grandkids of the people I went to school with.

The pinch me moments never stop. It's pretty incredible.


The upcoming days will be spent participating in a tradeshow tomorrow from 10-3, followed by putting on a karaoke show tomorrow night.

The rest of the week will be spent working the shop, running errands, prepping for, and handing out candy to various ghouls, goblins, Disney princesses, and superheroes.

Until next time........

May you receive your neighborhood masked munchkins kindly, handing out treats with a smile.
May you be spared the toilet-papered trees, and other tricks, for to clean up, always takes a while.

May you let your goofy loose, let it fly, even if it's just for a night.
May you find the perfect costume for your mood, be it for a laugh or a fright.

May you find the willpower to step away from your munchkins' tempting, sweet loot.
May you, if you can't, find a reasonable, believable explanation, for their reaction won't be cute.

Take Care..........

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Small Town Bar And Sushi!


Gotta love life's little adventures.

We went on a bit of a road trip last weekend to go to Gravelbourg, Sk. for a trade show.

On the way there, we came across what looks like the beginnings of a wind farm. There are about 9 or so of these huge turbines out in the field. One thing is certain, Saskatchewan will never run out of wind. The sheer size of these giant twirlygigs is a bit deceiving, as it's not until you are up close and personal that their towering stature is put into perspective. They look like they could be the playthings of the guy who resides at the top of the beanstalk.

The show itself was a blast. As it was held in an arena, and we had a corner spot, we had all kinds of room for easels and posters, which was pretty awesome. The Grandpa instincts of my hubby are never far from the surface, so I had to share playtime with our new little friend whose Mom (a fellow vendor) needed a break now and then over the course of the 13 hour/2day show.

There were times when the crowd would thin for a bit. During one of these times, my hubby got a bit bored and decided to take advantage of the glitter tattoo talents of the vendor next to us. He promptly thereafter, texted our freshly four-year-old grandbaby to get a critique. She, of course, loved it. I think Grandpa's cool factor jumped a bit.

After the show was all said and done, it was time to wind down with a  nightcap and a snack. Who would have ever thought that the bar in Gravelbourg Saskatchewan would make incredible sushi?!!
The snack turned into a full-on sushifest!  It was delicious!

Sooo, some interesting roads, a great weekend of sending books to new homes, some new landscape, and a couple of ferry rides later, we were home.

I am continually grateful for the opportunities that have become part of my life since this writing journey began.

When you take aim at a dream, it's impossible to predict the fantastic bits that will attach themselves to the quest. When obstacles are thrown in your path, when there are days where more is going wrong than right, these little gems go a long way to help you through.

The rest of the past week was spent working the shop, doing laundry, running errands.

Over the next week, I'll be heading to Watrous Elementary School to hang out with some munchkins. Saturday, we'll be heading out to Denzil Library to take part in their Fall Festival events. During the rest of the week, we'll be working shop, prepping for the tradeshow in Rosetown on the 28th and rehearsing for the Halloween Bash Karaoke show we are doing that same night at the Milden Hotel.

As for now, I have to write and run, until next time....

May your every dream bring with it a bounty of beautiful barnacles.
May you take the time to notice each and every one, enough to fill deep chronicles.

May you take advantage of every unpredicted adventure along the way, allow many paths to intertwine.
May you find joy in every side trip you take, even if they are not part of your original design.

May you embrace the tidbits of chaos that tend to litter the path, as they are rarely, simply, coincidence.
May you hold on every lesson the chaos brings, for they tend to teach flexibility, strength, and diligence.

See you next week!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

You Don't Have To Put Up With It!

This is typically what happens when I try to get a photo of my four grandmunchkins. They immediately prove their pedigree, providing endless goofiness, and general smartassery. Although this means the likelihood of me ever having a formal, serious photo of them is slim to none, at least in the foreseeable future, if their moms and aunties are any indication, I will take it. Gladly.

They are happy, healthy, and live without a care in the world. I'll live with goofy pictures.

Sooooo I had hopes that we could make it through a week without a news story that made my skin crawl. I was wrong.

Harvey. Not just a hurricane, but a movie mogul. A guy using his power, both physical and professional, to bully women into sexually vulnerable situations. Forcing them or attempting to force them into doing things they didn't want to do. Some were able to escape physically, others weren't so lucky. None escaped emotionally.

I wish we could chalk this up to being a "Hollywood" thing. But we all know we can't. I doubt if there is anyone reading this who hasn't been sexually harassed or assaulted, or that at least, doesn't know someone who has been sexually harassed or assaulted.

The grabbing, the groping, the inappropriate words, the intimidation. We've all had to deal with it at some point. Why? Because some of the males of our species were never taught respect. They've been taught to treat us as a sum of our parts, not people.

We need to teach our sons, brothers, grandsons how a real man behaves and speaks toward and to and about women and girls. How do we do that? By example.

As men, it's your responsibility to be that example. Be the man we need future men to be.

As women, stand up, speak up, hold each other up. You don't have to put up with it. Say something, throw the lights on, evil can only hide if you let it. Don't give them permission to make you feel like a victim, or hold you responsible for their lack of impulse control. No matter what you wear, where and how you walk, if you like to party, don't like to party, are a smartass, or are timid, if you like to have sex with a different guy every night, or are a virgin waiting for perfection, you get to decide. Not one iota of any of this gives them any right to your body in any way shape or form.

If it's your boss, get a lawyer. Most only get paid if you do. You can afford it.

If it's a co-worker, tell. You don't have to put up with it.

If it's a stranger in a crowd, call them on it. You don't have to put up with it.

If it's catcalling in the street, ignore it. They are idiots.

If, God forbid you are raped. Tell. Report it. No matter what the rapist said or did, this was NOT your fault. It will be hard, it will be terrifying, you may never be able to prove it. But, to stay silent will eat at you for the rest of your life. Talking about it, bringing it out in the open, fighting for justice, is what helps a victim become a survivor. It allows the scars to fade. The shame is not yours to carry, it's his. You're not allowed to keep it, it's not yours. It's NOT yours.

I'll never forget one work situation I had where I was warned ahead of time about a co-worker. "He likes to grab butts, but he's harmless." My answer "Well, that's bullshit."

Sure enough, before the day was done he decided to give it a try. Right in front of my female boss. He had the audacity to be indignant, as he picked himself up off the floor. I explained to him in short little words that if he tried that again, I would be more than happy to knock his ass out.

Imagine my surprise when the admonishment from the boss was aimed toward me instead of him. I explained my position once again, making sure she clearly understood as well. I worked there for three years after that, with only one other incident with this co-worker, after which, long story short, he needed a new pair of glasses. Just to be clear, I quit that job for unrelated reasons, it had nothing to do with him.

Everyone is wired differently and, therefore, handle situations differently. Just know, no matter what, you deserve to be treated with respect. You don't have to put up with it!


This past week was filled with time with family, a trip to the menopause circus, prep for the tradeshow this weekend.

As for the next week.....

Tradeshow in Gravelbourg.....

Work the shop........

Prep for school visit on Friday the 20th....


Prep for library visit on Sat the 21st....

Rehearse for karaoke show booked for the 28th......


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

For the Harvey's of the world.............

May you be given the opportunity to truly understand the consequences of your actions.
May you experience each and every indignity you apparently felt compelled to bequeath, with no exception.

May the power you wield, that poisonous sword, be stripped, may you know what it is to be helpless.
May you change your core beliefs to include that women are actual people, not faceless playthings, somehow, less.

May you understand true restitution is impossible, for dignity carries no price, but every value.
May you know, none of this should be news, if you had decency, there would be no need to tell you.


Friday, October 6, 2017

It Honours No One To Live In The Dark......


This week humanity was, once again, shaken by the absolute horror unleashed by someone broken so entirely, it's inconceivable to the rest of us.

I feel like these acts of inhumanity are kind of a trap. The number of people who suffer first hand from these tragedies is multiplied and amplified by all of us who care. The family and friends of 58 more people are swallowed by grief, our hearts breaking for them.

These horrors trap us into a perpetual state of shock and grief. It seems like we barely have time to process and digest one terror when we are hit by another.

It's like any sense of peace and happiness we are able to settle into is constantly being hijacked.

Although my heart cries for everyone affected by this latest hijack, for my own sanity, I have to step away for a little bit and dive into some happy things. And by dive, I mean cannonball.

Tomorrow, my house will be loud and rowdy, filled to the brim with kids and grandbabies. There will be lots of laughs, some football watching and plenty of food, including a pastry encrusted favourite involving the granny smith delights depicted in the above photo.

We cherish these times, maybe now more than ever before. We need to.


Last weekend we took part in a tradeshow in Unity, Sk. It was a great show. I think a lot of people underestimate the amount of work it takes to organize these things. I applaud all these fabulous people in a big way.

I was delighted to find out "Once Broken" was the subject of their local book club. I'm so grateful for the awesome feedback this book is getting.

The shop, thankfully, remains very busy so days fly by there.

I had to drop off more copies of my children's books at McNally Robinson, as they were sold out of a few titles. (That is something that never gets old!)

As for the upcoming days,

Tomorrow will be awesome.

The rest of the week will be too, just in a different way.

There will be a ton to do at the shop, and the week will conclude with a trip to Gravelbourg, Sk. for a tradeshow! I've never attended one there before, new place, new people, it's gonna be a blast!


With Family in mind, I'll leave you with this........

May you hug a little tighter, maybe a little longer, make sure they feel your heart.
May you find the courage to say it, all of it, never assume they know, they need the echo when you're apart.

May you give yourself deep permission to feel joy, for it honours no one to live in the dark.
May you see it's essential to shine, even now, especially now, add to the light, be a spark.

May this be the last hijack of our peace, the last broken act, the last, let us catch our breath.
May this be the last evidence of the worst of humanity, the last malicious, senseless death.

May you hug a little tighter, maybe a little longer, make sure they feel your heart.
May you find the courage to say it, all of it, never assume they know, they need the echo when you're apart.

Happy Thanksgiving!