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!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

With The Autumn Comes The Fall......


With the Autumn comes the fall, the fall in temperatures, the fall of leaves, and the descending length of daytime hours.

The familiar, early morning chill hits as you make your way across the newly fallen golden floor.

One season comes to an end, another begins, bringing with it, all kinds of possibilities.

A new season, a new chapter. Blank pages waiting to be filled with whatever adventures you deem worthy of the exercise.

With all that is happening around the world, both self-inflicted and at the hands of Mother Nature, it becomes even more blatantly clear that wasting time and energy on things that drain our joy is simply that, a waste.

Does that mean we never have to do things we don't like or make us feel uncomfortable? Of course not. Nobody loves scrubbing toilets or vacuuming juice soaked cheerios out the nooks and crannies of a car seat.

The joy sucking things to which I am referring are poisonous relationships, jobs that are a daily dread, toxic people who soak in negativity and create drama continually trying to pull you into the tub.

We all have rough patches in our relationships, that in and of itself does not make the relationship poisonous, I believe when there is poison, it eats away at who you really are, it can be subtle at first, go undetected, but, eventually will tear you down. A poisonous relationship will steal your shine, a healthy one will polish your star.

We all have bad days at work. But, if you are having to drag yourself to your job every single day, if the thought of going to work creates anxiety, headaches, and/or stomach issues on a continual basis, your job has officially qualified as a joy sucker. There is always another way to make a living. Life is way too short to do what you hate every day. Time to create a change.

We all have down days, but if you regularly hang out with a person or people who are constantly wrapped up in some kind of world-ending drama, where the word "hate" is used more than "the", that person may be toxic for you. Do you feel better or worse after spending time with them? On the flipside, be careful not to become a joy sucker, none of us want to be toxic.

Next chapter, new adventures, endless possibilities. Joy-sucker free, there is nothing to hold us back!


The past week included the Word on the Street Festival, an event dear to my heart. Not only does it lend an important voice to the literacy issues in our communities, it provides a great opportunity to meet people you may never otherwise meet. One such person, who particularly stands out, was a young man who moved to Canada about a month ago. He happened across the festival quite by accident, stopping by my booth. He's an aspiring writer who is frustrated by the hurdles his dyslexia puts in his path. When you are new to the country and English isn't your first language, trying to read and understand it would be challenging on its own, let alone when you throw dyslexia into the mix, adding in the desire to write, well, he's awesome. After answering a few questions, bouncing around a few ideas that might help him out, and some encouragement to do some exploring outside of the city limits, he bought a copy of "Once Broken" for "inspiration", shook my hand, and moved on.

Had I not been at the festival, I'd have missed meeting him.

A huge thanks to the countless volunteers, organizers, fellow participants, and all those who stopped by my booth to buy books, take photos, or just to say hi.

After a day working at the shop, the rest of the week was spent largely snotting, sweating, coughing, and generally phlegming up the place.

I think I've kicked it though, at least enough to be able to enjoy the upcoming days.....

Heading off to a two-day tradeshow in Unity tomorrow.....

Working shop.....

Get ready for Thanksgiving......



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

May the crispness in the breeze breathe life into your soul, renew your will, energize your spirit.
May you embrace the newness, the unknown, it's yours to do with what you will, don't fear it.

May you strip yourself down to your shine, then gather only what will boost the luster.
May any and all echoes of doubt dissipate, a fog lifting, the blue sky after a storm's bluster.

May you dance freely across the newly golden floor, bathe in the beauty, inhale the promise.
May you open yourself up, the pages are there for only you to fill, the future is flawless.


Until next time.......

Friday, September 22, 2017

Magic Baby Dragons.......

Over the past few weeks, Mother Nature has been on some sort of rampage. Hurricanes, record-breaking winds, rain, and earthquakes. The viciousness claiming lives, homes, and businesses, displaying her complete lack of mercy, exhibiting no discretion, making no exceptions for race, age, religion, or social status. An equal opportunity assassin.

When repeated momentous tragedies occur on such a huge scale it can be easy to get caught up in the statistics. How many billions of dollars in damage, the percentages of populations without power, infrastructure capabilities, or lack thereof, blah blah blah...

The people living in the thick of it must feel so lost.

Most of the problems the rest of us think we have seem like nothing, in comparison.

Our power was off the other day for about 5 hours.  Big Deal.

Had a couple of pretty challenging days at the shop. Big Deal.

Caught a nasty cold just in time for Word On The Street. Big Deal.

It makes it easier to put things into perspective when you allow yourself to take into consideration, all of the souls lost in the storm. When you think about it, most of our problems are not really actual problems, they are simply annoyances, inconveniences, nuisances, and disruptions.

As horrible as Mother Nature has been, she has now presented humankind with an opportunity.

World events have shown the devastation that we tend to inflict upon each other without hesitation. We rob, scam, bully, kill, finding new and more gruesome ways to terrorize each other each and every day. We are not shy about showing what we are capable of.

Now we have the opportunity to prove we are capable of so much more. Tragedy tends to breathe life into heroes of all shapes and sizes. Heroes aren't only the ones pulling people from twisted wreckage, they are organizing food drives, raising money, sending money, sending water, driving the trucks carrying the water, volunteering in shelters.....

Be a hero....

Maybe it's because there has been so much loss in recent weeks that the utter joy that emanates from our grandbabies seems to shine just that much brighter. They are oblivious to Hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes. The only monsters are those created by Disney, their only tragedy, being made to eat their vegetables.

Laney, in the photos above, lives in a world where unicorns aren't only real, but it's completely logical that she could have one as a pet. She lives in a world where grasshoppers are really magic baby dragons. She lives where stuffed turtles can talk, goldfish can bite, and cutting her own hair is simply a fashion choice that made her look more beautiful.
When her Daddy can't seem to decide what he should take to work for lunch and asks her to decide, her world dictates the menu should consist of talkaroni, which, in laymen's terms, is Mac & Cheese, cheerios, and pudding.

My heart breaks at the innocence stolen by Mother Nature's wrath. I hope that someday, they can, once again, find their magic baby dragons.


Well folks, the past few days included a concert in the park, working the shop, putting finishing touches on posters, and doing my best to stave off a stupid cold.

The concert was fun, the shop was super-busy, the posters are complete, and the cold... well it kinda sucks, but it's nothing some doses of dayquil can't fix, or at least tamp down.

As for the upcoming days...

We will be at the Word On The Street Festival.......

Working the shop.....

Prep for the two day tradeshow coming up next weekend.........



That about does it for now...

Until next week....

May you never lose the ability to find magic in the simplest of things.
May you forever hold the courage to give even your boldest dreams wings.

May you always walk through life being true to who you genuinely are.
May you see the beauty and power in doing so, it will carry you far.

May you cultivate your kindness, nurture it, let it shine, let it lead you on your way.
May you celebrate every milestone, create beautiful memories to lift you when the dark comes to play.

May you never lose the ability to find magic in the simplest of things.
May you forever hold the courage to give even your boldest dreams wings.


Sunday, September 17, 2017

Captain Underpants Dinner Party...Why Not?!


Well, this is what crafty type posters look like when a not-so-crafty type person and her hubby put them together. I have to say, I'm actually fairly impressed with us. There are those of you out there that have witnessed my ineptitude with the likes of a hot glue gun, a paint brush, or crayons, for that matter. Craft and fabric stores are on a very short list of places that can make me break out in a cold flop sweat, and it has nothing to do with the whole menopause thing.

It's like going to some exotic foreign land where you don't speak the language, and the landscape, although beautifully colourful, is filled with silken traps, pieces of glamorous puzzles without the completed pictures to use as a guide.

There are patterns, I suppose. Treasure maps written in some strange hieroglyphics, a code only to be deciphered by the magical people employed in these mystical, yet terrifying places. The magical people who know the actual names of all of the different thingamadoies, whatsamabobs and doomaflickies.

All of that being said, I think these posters will do the trick, their only job, attracting attention at trade shows. The beautiful faces of the #OnceBroken selfies, a sure-fire way to do just that.


I've been giving myself a bit of a news break for the past few days, feeling a little bogged down by the bad news overload as of late. I do feel it's important to keep abreast with what is going on in the world, but I find if I don't give myself permission to step away from all of it now and again, it can get to be a bit much.

So, for these few days, I tried to focus on happy things.

One guaranteed way to bring a smile to your face is to listen to an adorable three-year-old little girl sing "Let it Go" pausing, of course, to go through the painstaking motions of creating, in her mind's eye, the ice fortress that she has seen come to life on screen countless times.

Another is to host a "Captain Underpants" dinner party...I highly recommend it, especially if the guest list includes people the ages of 9,5,3 and 1.

Yet another, is to watch a tiny person, with barely a five-word vocabulary walk the room telling stories with the elaborate hand gestures and passionate inflection worthy of only the finest stage actors.

In a day or two, I'll be ready to, once again, face the news the world has to offer. but for now, Captain Underpants it is!


Well the past few days, along with Captain Underpants, came time spent at our nephew's wedding, doing our best to make sure everybody went home with their feet tired from dancing.

The shop is, as always, and gratefully, very busy.....

Rehearsal for the Park Concert tomorrow..........

Crafting posters.............

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

Concert in the park tomorrow.....................

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

Prepping for Wor On The Street..............


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

With happy news in mind.......

May you be serenaded by a toddler, building imaginary castles in the sky.
May you listen to nonsensical stories never questioning why.

May you suspend belief long enough to let superheroes save the world.
May you find the magic in a romantic dance, perfectly swayed, perfectly twirled.

May you find something silly to watch, allow it to make you giggle like you did when you were small.
May you give yourself permission to step back from the fray, take a beat, have a ball.


Thursday, September 7, 2017

Taking Steps......

Ahhhhhh, back to school.........

From the tearful first days of preschool, to the last first days of high school, and every stage of school in between, it's important to mark it. All of it.

Whether you choose to do so with photos, a special breakfast, or by simply taking a beat, a breath, a moment, to let it sink in. Don't let these days pass as 'just another day.'

Every grade represents a new chapter, a new adventure, a new challenge.

The first day of preschool is a big one. This is your child's first taste of the structure and discipline of a school atmosphere. This first experience plays a big part in setting the tone for how your little one feels about school for the long haul. Making it positive is pretty important. For the little ones, it may be a bit overwhelming, but mostly, incredibly exciting! Taking steps.

Allow them to begin to make little decisions, accepting the consequences, good and bad.

For the parents, especially if it's your first one, it can be tough. It's a big milestone. Your baby is taking their first real step into the world where you can't fully protect them. It's scary, rough, but necessary.

Listen to the stories about their day, every day.

For kids in the younger grades, the challenges, and adventures can feel a bit intimidating. They are no longer the little cute kids in school, teachers begin to expect more. More independence, more responsibility, more maturity. The material gets more challenging, requiring more thought, more depth, more time. With every success their confidence grows, with every setback, so does their character. They are getting better at navigating the world, learning how to handle different personalities and situations. Taking steps.

Allow them to make more meaningful decisions, accepting the consequences, good and bad.

For the parents, this can be difficult, as they have to begin looking at their little one through a different lens. It can be a tough thing, to not over-help.

Listen to the stories about their day, every day.

Junior high school. A tumultuous time of peer influences, pubescent drama, growth spurts, both physical and emotional. They feel a greater need for independence but can be intimidated by that same independence. Other than when they are toddlers, I believe this to be the time wherein children have to absorb the most information. Everything, including their own bodies, becomes weird and foreign. Their relationships with their parents, siblings, and friends are shifting gears at, what feels like, the speed of light. They can feel overwhelmed by what they can perceive to be an ever growing list of expectations. They are beginning to have to make real choices about how they want to be in the world, what kind of adult they want to become. Taking steps.

Allow them to make bigger, more important decisions, accepting the consequences, good and bad.

For the parents, it can be tricky waters to navigate. They need you, but, basically, don't want to admit it. They generally aren't as eager to share with you everything that is going on in their lives. You will have to listen harder. Nurture the independence in the most positive way possible, but don't forget you are the parent. They still need parents. Yes, they will mutter nasty things about you under their breath and to their friends. That's okay, it just means you're doing your job.

Make sure they know you want to listen to the stories about their day. Be sure to ask, every day.

The last first. This is the beginning of the bridge year. The bridge between childhood and adulthood. They, at this point, should be making the majority of the decisions affecting their life, taking your input into consideration in making those decisions. They've had practice, they've been making choices and decisions all along with increasing importance, accepting whatever consequence their decision lead to. They feel they are ready to be a grown up, that they know everything they need to know, often feeling that they know way more than their parents do. They still need you. Taking steps.

For the parents, the teaching of life skills during this year becomes much more important. The little chores and responsibilities they've had and done, the cleaning of their rooms, putting away toys, cutting grass, making their own lunches, doing dishes, having a bank account, have all lead to things they need to learn during their bridge year. They need to learn how to cook at least one full, nutritious meal, how to, and the importance of, paying your bills on time, how to do their laundry, and do it well. They need to learn the importance of being a good roommate, chances are they will need one at some point after they leave home. They still need you.

Listen to the stories about their day, every day, for this is the final year that you are likely to have that opportunity. You will miss it.


Well folks, it has been another crazy busy week at the shop, with some mobile jobs and grandbaby snuggles thrown into the mix. It's awesome!

It's been so busy, in fact, that I haven't had a chance to get the posters made for the upcoming trade shows!

Hopefully in the upcoming week.

Speaking of which....

We are off to play a for our nephew's wedding this weekend!!!!!!

It will be another busy one at the shop.....


Rehearse for the concert at the park we are doing on the 17th!


With back to school in mind, I'll leave you with this wish......

May you get through these hectic first days, finding your new routine, your new groove.
May nothing get forgotten, books, lunches, jackets, backpacks, may it all make it to the school.

May the excitement of a new year be carried throughout, never losing its shine.
May you know this is highly unlikely, that's why there are school breaks....and wine.

May you keep in mind that there is no such thing as perfect, no matter how perfect others' lives may seem.
May you find your own 'perfect' with your perfectly flawed crew, your perfectly amazing team.


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

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Little things...Precious Memories...

The heartache that has literally flooded many parts of the world over the past week has been gut-wrenching. The loss of life, the loss of ways of life, the loss of livelihoods, all of the utterly complete devastation has been horrible.

The people lucky enough to escape with their lives now live in limbo, unsure if they will have homes to go to when the worst is over. Some live in countries where governmental help is highly unlikely and will be on their own to rebuild.

It will be a long, tedious, back breaking, heart-heavy road to anything that remotely resembles recovery. My heart goes out to them.

When Mother Nature throws this kind of a temper tantrum, it is definitely humbling.

As humans, we get complacent. We consider ourselves the top of the food chain, believing we "own" parcels of the planet, enforcing borders that we invent. One swift kick in the butt from Mama Nature shows us just how powerless we are.

In the wake of all of the destruction, I, for one, felt the need for grandbaby time. A couple of phone calls later, a grandbaby sleepover did commence!

Some pizza, a visit to our local theatre to see the Emoji movie, a living room nest, some sleep, a bacon, egg and pancake brunch, some skateboard skill demonstrations, and bit of ladybug snuggling rounded out a pretty fun time. Little things. Precious memories.

My hopes of hopes is that on the other side of this devastation, those touched by these terrible storms can someday, in the to too distant future, get back to their own little things.


The past week has been another very busy one at the missed fishing trips!!!

As for the upcoming days.....

Tomorrow.... a day of laundry and football

A fast and furious week at the shop....

Put the finishing touches on music for a wedding on the weekend.....


Well, that about does it for now, until next time......

May the subsiding waters allow the healing to begin.
May you find a moment to take a breath to celebrate your incredible strength within.

May you celebrate your heroes, a title each soul has truly earned.
May you continue to reach out and watch out for your neighbour, stay concerned.

May we all remember the images of strength, generosity, and bravery as the nightmares fade.
May we continue to shine a light on the best of humanity, no need for tragedy as contrast, no need to keep kindness in the shade.

Until next time......

Friday, August 25, 2017

Privileged Problems...........


I often get asked what it's like to manage my life. The shop, the writing and marketing of books, the DJ/Karaoke, the hubby, the kids, the grandkids and all that each entails.

The fast answer? I have a great partner in crime, fantastic kids, an awesome extended family and wonderful friends. Oh......and coffee....a. lot. of. coffee. Oh.... and Yeah.

The slow answer? Sometimes my life is the top photo. Serene, simple, nothing but big, clear skies and fresh air.

Then, sometimes it's the bottom photo. Complicated, overwhelming, stressful, cluttered, with no room to breathe.

Boohoo, right? Talk about privileged problems.

I asked for it. All of it. It's mine and I own it. Proudly.

At the shop, there is no office politics, no drama. Our job security falls squarely into our own hands, we are no longer at the mercy of corporate lay offs, or fickle bosses, with others dictating our schedules.

With the books? It can be overwhelming, as there is always so much more to learn. It can be daunting because I feel perpetually underqualified to do what I need to do next. And there is always a next.

As far as DJ/Karaoke? Over the past 18 years, since, kind of, accidentally forming this business, it has, at times, been the sole source of food for our table. It began as a "let's see what happens" when asked to do a show at a ladies curling bonspiel, quickly evolving into something that has allowed us countless glimpses into the lives of families during weddings, anniversaries and family reunions. We have had a blast meeting such a variety of different people, charity organizers, club owners, and their patrons. We have been the last to leave at more Christmas and grad parties than your average grandparents, that's for sure. We step into every gig with the sole intention of making sure everybody has a great time. Besides, it's still fun, why would we quit?!

The hubby, kids, and grandkids? Well, it's quite simple, they are everything. They are the reason I was put on this earth. I know that above all else.

It kind of boils down to this. Be open to every opportunity, fight for what and whom you love and Never Quit.

For those who have asked? I hope you feel you've been answered.

It's not magic, and, in no way, perfect. Each endeavor presents its own challenges and rewards. Each has their position on the scale of balance. For the most part, I'm figuring it out as I go along, just like you.

I know I've said it before, but one of the best things you will ever do for yourself is eliminate any thought as to the existence of "comfort zones." They're just prisons disguised as shelter.


So, this week has been another crazy one filled with long days, not a lot of sleep, but a lot got done!

My hubby is really a super hero in disguise.

This week alone, he saved a mobile clothing store for seniors, kept one man from having to suffer from constant cold showers, made a young couple safe once again, after their bearings caught fire, and saved another man who was starting to believe he couldn't trust anyone to fix his fridge.

And that was all by Wednesday afternoon!

I do what I can to assist, I guess I'm the Robin to his Batman!

I also booked a few more tradeshows for this fall.......

As for the upcoming week.....

Working shop.....

Stretch my craft muscles.......

Time with a grandkid or four......


Thanks so much for taking the time to read these ramblings each week. I appreciate you more than you know.....

May you have serene, clear skies and fresh air.
May you see clearly your path from here to there.

May you stay open, for sometimes life hands you what you didn't know you wanted.
May you follow your instincts, fight for what and whom you love, undaunted.

May you throw aside everything you thought you couldn't do.
May you know that all you need, in any of it, is to simply. trust. you.

Until next time.....

Friday, August 18, 2017

Only An Incredibly Broken Soul........

Only an incredibly broken soul can put the value of one human being over another.

 I was really hoping I could skip this latest taste of the worst of humanity, but, as the week progressed, it became obvious to me that it would be impossible to do so. To be silent is like saying it's okay. It's not.

Worse than the fact that those brandishing Nazi flags are parading around North America like it's nothing. Worse than the racist and anti-Semitic chants. Worse than the torch-bearing, gun-wielding hatred that permeates from them, carrying the stench of the millions exterminated nearly eighty years ago. Worse than this, worse, is somehow differentiating between a white supremacist barrelling a vehicle through a crowded street with the intent of doing as much harm as possible, and an Isis supremacist barrelling a vehicle through a crowded street with the intent of doing as much harm as possible.

They hide their hate behind different veils, but if you pull the curtain aside, the fear, put forth as anger, is the same. Broken souls.

Something happened to each and every one of these individuals somewhere along the way. They weren't born this way. Not one child is born with the capacity to hate.

Perhaps they watched adults judge each other, heard homophobic and racial slurs. They heard, they watched, they emulated, they amplified.

So, as the week went from bad to worse, I found myself feeling overwhelmed and powerless. What can I do?

I'm not sure that there is any one answer to that question. One thing I do know for sure? One of the very few instances wherein there are absolutely no shades of grey are those involving Nazis, Isis members and their allies.

Some seem to have trouble verbalizing the clarity of right and wrong in this situation, but when it comes to this level of evil, we can't afford to be ambiguous. Any of us. In doing so, we are whispering an invitation to repeat one of the darkest parts of human history.

What to do?

Remain hopeful. I refuse to let the hate make me cynical. I know those that rise to this level of hate are few.

Create joy as much and wherever I can. Make someone smile, give someone a giggle, share the funny.

Stand up. If I find myself in the presence of intolerance or racism, I will no longer bite my tongue to be polite, internalizing the gut twisting, sickening feeling that overtakes me when it happens. The trick will be addressing it with diplomacy, as it's never the goal to escalate an already tense situation.

Do the very best I can to NOT help create any more incredibly broken souls.


Yes, this past week brought with it a lot of darkness, but it also carried a ton of light.....

We had the honour of having a small part in a beautiful wedding...

We had some grandbaby snuggles....

We had another very busy week at the shop.....

We were booked for a Halloween Karaoke show.....

I was booked for two readings, one in September, one in October.......

Booked a few more trade shows for the Fall.....


As for the upcoming week......

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

Work on some booth bits for upcoming trade shows.....

Laundry, and other glamour-filled things.....


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

May we allow the hatred to be screamed into the wind, with no one to listen, no one to hear.
May they march until their feet bleed, receiving no credence, left alone to steep in their fear.

May the broken souls find a way to heal, a way to once again feel the joy they knew before.
May they hear their words as they echo back, shards of the syllables cutting to their core.

May they come to understand that in attempting to diminish others, you only succeed in shriveling your own humanity.
May they see that trying to resurrect this evil leads to no good end, may they see it for its hollow import, its insanity.


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

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......