It’s late November and the fall chrysanthemums in my blue ceramic plant stands outside are dead and gone. Time to replace them with cute four-foot spruce trees cut from Dad’s woodlot—it’s the suburban thing to do.
The second of Lawrence Hill’s writing prompts is now posted on the Canada Writes website and this time it involves writing dialogue. Dialogue is my favourite thing in the world. I read today that you should write for yourself first and nobody else and in honour of such a great sentiment, I’m jumping in, though [...]
Here in Canada, we are not used to lingering over our food. Even though afternoon talk shows and news items about healthy eating emphasize the importance of enjoying homemade meals round the family dinner table, people rarely partake that way.
A couple of weeks ago I woke one morning after dreaming about houses. I dreamed that in addition to the house we own currently, my husband and I bought an additional house. It was the first house we ever owned and lived in for nine years in another community.
Mr. Milner was my grade four teacher and he had the loveliest handwriting. On the chalkboard, I admired the way he wrote in flowing, classical strokes and perfectly straight lines. By grade nine, when I had him as a supply teacher in science class, I didn’t worry so much about perfection.
Do you wonder what Christmas is all about sometimes? Other than a pile of self-indulgent gifts, high-caloric intake and a credit card bill to choke on in January, I mean? I’m about to tell you.
I am by no means a professional artist, but in the last eight years or so I have taken great pleasure in painting. I love to fill my free time with it and even though my hands can’t do what I see in my mind’s eyes, it doesn’t really matter. That’s a big thing for a perfectionist to say.
Last Saturday, I attended a couple of workshops in Woodstock presented by the Writers Federation of New Brunswick during their annual WordsFall festival. Not that it matters, but I had to venture out from Moncton in the rainy darkness at 6:30 am to get there on time. Details.
Trailing, draping, curling, twisting tendrils of flowering or fruiting vines—I love them, running riot over fences, arbours or trellises. Just a few streets over from my place is a brick house covered in wisteria. In springtime, the vine fairly explodes with dangling purple blooms.
Trea (pronounced Tree-a) was 11 years old when we put her to sleep this morning. She was a purebred Cairn terrier complete with an award-winning lineage and papers.
Tonight, as my oldest daughter graduates from high school, I realize my most significant period of influence in her life is over. The thought strikes me with force. If I failed to live in the moment in all the years prior, now I must live in the past.
I was not embarrassed by my mother often. Most of the time, her existence didn’t collide with mine at all. But with each rare incident, I remember feeling that her words or actions somehow reflected poorly on me, that she lacked decorum or diplomacy on some level.
Do you have at least one special Christmas memory? Was it a gift you really wanted, or a memorable activity, or a visit by someone special? The year you got stuck in the snow on the way to visit relatives, the year you got a pair of skates or took a hayride, or received tickets to a rock concert?
I was sitting on my bedroom sofa this morning, as is my daily writing ritual: pad and paper in hand, coffee mug perched on the windowsill.
A young guy, dressed all in black (with a piercing in an unusual place), walked up to my book signing table at a local store tonight to say hello. He picked up my book and turned it over.
I believe all parents have the right to embarrass their children. It’s going to happen anyway, so why not plan for it? To this end, I’ve recently begun peppering my language with a few four-letter words.
It was a difficult pregnancy. Not only was I continually nauseous, but I had back pain. I was sleepless, every night tossing and turning in an effort to find a comfortable position. The baby was pressing on my sciatic nerve, making sitting down or standing up an excruciating process. But I muddled through.
This morning, my oldest child headed out to her last-first day of high school. It’s hard to believe she will graduate this year, and even though I still have two more children with plenty of growing left, it makes me feel as though the biggest chunk of my life is quickly drawing to a close.
This past weekend, an elderly relative died of cancer. He had made it clear that upon his death there would be no funeral and no visitation. Since the family is not close, it didn’t surprise me, but I was still disappointed. His wife, who had died a couple of years before him, had stipulated the same thing.
A couple of months ago I attended a screening of the locally-produced film “A Question of Beauty” (first released in May, 2010) at a fund raising event for Project Under the Tree, a charitable Christmas function hosted by the Moncton Business and Professional Women’s Association. Seen through the eyes of female artisans and writers, the [...]
I’m going to confess something now that will reveal once and for all how cranky I really am, but I can’t hold it back any longer. Please hear me, grocery store clerks, gas station attendants, librarians, food servers and retail sales associates: I am not your “dear,” nor am I your “sweetheart.” Those terms are [...]
If you’re a student of nature, and interested in Canadian conservation and environmental causes, you’ve probably heard of Mary Majka. Sanctuary: The Story of Naturalist Mary Majka, published by Goose Lane, is an authorized biography detailing the life of this important figure to New Brunswick’s Bay of Fundy.
I just finished reading Syd Field’s book, “Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting. A Step by Step Guide from Concept to Finished Script.”
Have you been holding your breath waiting to hear the end of the story? Well, we’re finally finished, and it’s all thanks to my husband’s sudden burst of ambition during this summer’s “staycation.”
Just like any other artistic endeavour, creative writing can be a relaxing tool and a powerful outlet for personal expression. No matter what we spend most of our time doing, it’s beneficial to flex our creative muscles.
Sadly, my beloved Merriam-Webster dictionary (affectionately called MW) split in half this morning after I dropped it on the floor. I knew it was just a matter of time. I bought it in 1985 in the college bookstore, and it’s been with me ever since. I have to tell you, I’m feeling a little weepy.
I was about eight years old when my father invited an overbearing work colleague, along with his wife and son, to visit our summer cottage on New Brunswick’s Richibucto River. Cottagers are usually happy to share their little-piece-of-heaven with friends and family. But for my mother, even a relaxed cottage welcome had its limits.
I find stories about the Good Ugly Girl immensely entertaining. It’s a buttery-popcorn night at my house when I can watch the angst arising from shallow relationships and wicked step-sister plots transform into joyful self-awareness and dream-fulfillment. This includes Good Ugly Girl landing the object of her affection, Handsome Boy. He usually has the happy [...]
I’ve always hated The Giant Monster. And in some inanimate way, I know The Giant Monster hated me too. I’m no animist, but I’m convinced it kicked me in the back on the way out the door for spite. The Giant Monster (TGM) is a set of bunk beds we purchased eight years ago for [...]
I confess, I’ve been lax. My bedroom organization plans came to a screeching halt just before Christmas, along with my industrious blog posts, but I have a good excuse: Santa left me with no budget.
Picture this: a business networking event where plenty of entrepreneurs are wandering around with wine, cheese, business cards and a nametag. It’s a small city…lots of people already know each other, and lots of people wish to be known.
For those of you who’ve been following my foray into the world of bedroom organization, I thought you may appreciate this short video produced by “Lava Lamp Productions,” (a video production company consisting of my husband, a hand-held Panasonic video camera, our kids, editing software, and an amazing sense of humour).
We did it…we purged our closets. We separated clothing into a blue plastic bag–what someone might want–and a green plastic bag–what nobody would ever want. Technically, we’re performing Steps 3 and 4 simultaneously: The Sort and The Purge.
I had no idea he was doing it. After completing my kitchen chores this evening, I came upstairs to find my husband unloading the contents of his closet. “If you’re going to blog about it,” he said, “at least say I was awesome enough to start by myself.”
A few months after we were married, I threw out my husband’s blue baseball cap. He’s never quite forgiven me for that faux pas. But folks, trust me when I say it was a really ugly, dirty, floppy, smelly hat. I stuffed it into the center of a blue garbage bag filled with items bound [...]
I suppose the clutter wouldn’t be such a problem if I crawled out of bed in the morning and didn’t see it again until I crawled into bed the next evening, but I work in my bedroom. (No, no—don’t be silly, I’m a writer.) I know I’ve broken the cardinal rule of organizers and Oprah’s [...]
I just celebrated my 18th wedding anniversary. I was 23 and my husband was 21 when we got married on a sunny day in October, 1991.A recent article in Chatelaine suggests if we were married today at that young age, our marriage would likely not last 18 years. Author Kate Fillion reports in “The case [...]
Last Friday I took my middle-aged van to be serviced in preparation for our family vacation…you know, change the oil, adjust the fluids, tighten up this and that. I decided to kill time at the drug store across the street and got lost in the girly skin-care and cosmetics department where I was secretly hoping [...]
Because my Maritime childhood was filled with whole summers spent at our family cottage, I have an emotional connection to coastlines and crashing waves. Dad built our summer residence 40 years ago on the banks of the Richibucto River, in Upper Rexton, New Brunswick. The isolated beach, with its brown sand and seagulls, became a [...]
Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett both died yesterday, and I’m sitting here pondering why the media is spending as much time broadcasting news of Jackson’s demise as they did on 9/11, which in my opinion, was a much bigger story. Poor Farrah…Jackson’s death has completely overshadowed hers, much like John F. Kennedy and my literary [...]
Don’t get me wrong, I love my Grandma Louise, but she turned up at our summer cottage at the worst possible time. My best friend Gail turns seventeen this week and I’m going to miss the party because Gram brought someone “my age” to “spend time with”—aka entertain.
I recently painted a 30 by 60 inch canvas from a photograph of one of my daughters at ‘The Dunes’ in Bouctouche, New Brunswick last summer. She is standing just inside the water’s edge, looking at her feet submerged along the shoreline. What a nice August day it was, sunny but cool and breezy by [...]
I want to tell you about my kids. Everything they do and say teaches me something. Parenting is the stage of life where there’s barely time to stand still and fart, let alone contemplate the meaning of life, but somehow I manage to glean wisdom from daily experiences, and I wanted to tell you. Maybe [...]