Spinning Thoughts & Tales ~

Archive for the ‘it’s good times’ Category

Writing connections ….

Or…connections writing as in meeting wonderful people while taking creative writing classes or a workshop or a conference or an on-line course or a podcast.   On Tuesday, I had lunch with one of my all time favorite instructors, Stephanie, and a core group of great writers.   Stephanie, funny, full of life, she encourages, cajoles, she’s a  poet, writer and inspiring teacher.  (more…)


I met a Betty…

Last week was a joyful week.  Not only did the Big Guy and I spend a week celebrating my birthday by riding bicycles over the Golden Gate bridge, eating great food and sipping excellent coffee, I met a Betty.  Not just any Betty…but the fabulous Julie, also known as Lunar Betty.  We are known as the Tall Canadians because we are just a bit taller than Julie.    Thinking about it now, we should have taken a photo of the four of us, Julie, Me, Dan and the Big Guy, totem pole style.  I wore platform sandals just to add a bit more height.  I want to be taller so I cheat sometimes.  Julie called me on it.


Joy in the writing sandbox…

I have found joy in writing.  It takes me off the current roller coaster ride which is my life this year.  I have taken the same creative writing course over and over at UBC.  I love my instructor and many of my classmates have become writing friends as well as being great writers.  Every Thursday afternoon for two months I play in the writing sandbox.    It is joyous.  It is music to my soul.  It is inspiring.   And, I forget my troubles for two and half hours.

This session, I submitted a personal essay, “How I Write” and a series of “Letters to my Siblings and God” and a poem.  I love my “found”  poem.  It was short and sensual without being clichéd.   (more…)

Long weekend with books…

Everyone needs a little time away so we took to the train to Portland or P-Town.  I’m not sure the fine people of Portland call their city “P-Town” but  we heard it a few times.  Great place to visit for a long weekend plus there is no sales tax and the dollar is slightly in our favour.   The food is very delicious.  There was music.  And the book store.  You must go to Powell’s Book Store on Burnside.  Also, known as the biggest bookstore west of the Mississippi.  It is bookstore heaven.  New, used, and rare books on four levels stretching one city block.  Across the street is the sciences bookstore.  There is something for everyone.   Every price point.   I spent hours every day, e-v-e-r-y day wandering the aisles.  Used books, new books and baby books for three little people.  I found a  Robert McKee’s STORY, a rare used copy of Georgette Heyer, three research books, a couple of Brennan Manning, and a  Nouwen, Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor’s book, My Stroke of Insight, wonderful baby books, two novels by  favourite authors, and a lovely little book on the art of the personal letter.    Book. Heaven.   Now to make time to read and write after work.

Book Store Heaven

Stay safe and loved.

Tattoo for his birthday…

Today is his birthday, my darling boy.  Our youngest son was born just after 6 in the morning, 32 years ago.  His loud cries announcing his arrival have mellowed into one of the greatest laughs you will ever hear.  We love to celebrate birthdays with well-chosen gifts.  Last year money towards a new surf board.  This year, he would like to get another tattoo.  He has two and wants another one or to change the first one.   



Every November 1st, I buy two or three poppies to wear until November 12th.  I always loose one or two.  Wearing a poppy is a tradition for me.  Reciting “In Flanders Field” is another tradition.  Every school child, as far as I know, learns John McCrae’s poem.  How many of you can recite the poem?  Psalm 23 or the Lord’s Prayer or your nation’s anthem probably roll off your tongue with the same ease. 

Today is Rememberance Day.  We spend a leisurely morning, reading the paper, eating a great breakfast, and buying our tickets for the Vinyl Cafe. 

As the eleven o’clock hour neared, I wondered if there would be a moment of silence or business as usual.  It was business as usual.  I found that quite sad.   No moment of silence to remember and honour those who have fallen in the wars or have served, fighting for our freedom.  No reflection on the courage of veterans.  No thankful hearts.  No bowing of the head.  No standing up as a sign of honour.  Sad.  Very sad.  I think the managers should have stopped the music for the one minute.  An acknowledgement.  Perhaps, people did have their moment of reflection.  We had our moment of silence and giving thanks to every man and woman who fought for freedom.

My daughter in law send me a part of an email, her sister send; “A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to ‘Canada’ for an amount of ‘up to and including my life.’……  that is Honour and there are too many people in this country who no longer understand it.”

I hope people remember the cost, to risk one’s life fighting for freedom.  It is my hope, people will honour first responders too, not just veterans, but, those who serve our countries, our cities, and our towns, keeping us safe.

Do you know or knew someone who wrote the check made out to your country? 

Stay safe, warm, loved and thankful.

Words to live by…

Yesterday, I was looking through my card box for an appropriate card.  I found one with a photo by Alfred Stieglitz.  It is a photo of a street sweeper.  I don’t know why I bought it as it is very grey, perhaps, it was for the words inside, to encourage someone in need.

From this hour I ordain myself loos’d of limits and imaginary lines. ~ Walt Whitman

Ever tried to loose yourself of limits and imaginary lines? 

I like this sentence.  It speaks of freedom from all the self inflicted constraints and responsiblities one can live under.    I had a little “aha” moment just reading it.   The possiblities are endless if one is able to achieve the freedom from the imaginary lines and limits.  

Yesterday, we attended a memorial for a childhood friend’s father.  He was 91.  His motto was “never be a quitter.”  Wilf had lost his left hand in a mill accident when he was twenty-one.  It never stopped him.  He was a pilot, inventor, author, mentor, lumberman, philisopher, naturist, businessman, humanitarian, musician, and father.   “He learned to do things in different and inventive ways, everything from tying his shoes to playing music to peeling an orange with one hand.”  I saw him peel an orange many times. He lost his eye sight in his eighties.  He fought off an attacker with his white cane.  He perservered.  He carried on.  He did not let physical limitations or imaginary lines stop him.

My first plane ride was in a four seater, prop engine Cessena with my friend, Lynn and her dad, Wilfred Joseph Leboe.  Last week he took his last flight home, surrounded by his three daugthers and grand-daughter.  Lynn told me his breathing changed and he sat forward, extending his left arm, and appeared to be reaching out.  Wilf had a tremendous faith in God and told the girls he saw the pearly gates a week before he passed.  He asked Beckie to cut his hair.   He said he wanted to look his best.  Lynn said, she would not have missed their last days together.  I believe it is an honour to care for and love someone to the very last breath.  It is a hard thing to do, knowing it is the end. 

In honour of Wilf  and Walt Whitman, new words to live by ~  I will loose myself of limits and the imaginary lines.  I am not a quitter.

Stay safe.  Stay warm.  Stay very much loved.

Gracie & Mac, Airedale update…

My cousin Geri and husband, Ken adopted an Airedale from Calgary last year, rescued her from neglect.  Gracie is a beauty and a little skittish around strangers.  She will bark upon meeting you for the first time, not sure of who you are or if you will be a threat.  And don’t wear sunglasses.  She likes to see your eyes.  (more…)

…Big Ride 2010

... very proud family & FAT TIRE pale ale ...

Today is an auspicious day to remember good men, fathers and one good man – my sons’ Dad.  The Big Guy is a very good man and a great dad.  He is also a survivor of cancer, that insidious disease . Three and a half years ago, he was diagnosed with bladder cancer.  Last year we were cheering him on as he crossed the finish line of the Ride To Conquer Cancer 2009, the two-day ride from Vancouver to Seattle.  There were tears, cheers, and Fat Tire beer to celebrate his big ride.  Chad and his dad are cycling in the Ride To Conquer Cancer 2010 this weekend.  Cheers to Chad and Doug.

This year is the Big Ride Galloping Goose Trail edition with the sons and daughters-in-law.  They were a happy group at the end of the trail.  Here is to good men and fathers everywhere, enjoy your day. 

When we do this again, the girls and I go to the spa.  The boys ride with their Dad and have a couple of beers at the pub, at the end of the trail.

…another milestone of happiness…

…another celebration…

The place – Canadian Memorial United Church.  The city – Vancouver.  The moment – the marriage of our first-born son to the beautiful Aleha.  The year – 1999.   They are very happily married.  Together they completed two bachelor degrees, one master degree, two-three month trips to Europe, including Italy both times, why, yes, we all love Italy, one World Cup U20 in Malaysia, countless camping trips on which mama never goes, countless family dinners, several really great family vacations, and the best Christmases ever.   There, all true. 

It was a very beautiful wedding in a church, build to commemorate the end of WWI.  The stain glass windows and the pipe organ, very traditional setting.  .  The rich words resonated.  The joy was palpable.  Steve wrote a poem, which was read at the end of the ceremony.   A wonderful day.

.. joy & laughter ..

It is amazing to see ones first-born become a strong, compassionate, funny, man find the love of his life.  They are so great together.  We are very blessed to have such caring young sons find beautiful, strong women.  Thank you, God.