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.