Tuesday, 2 October 2012


I love pens. I especially like those with ornamental or novelty heads at the end. I have a few that are squishy for those moments when the pen is willing but the paper is blank. I can get inspired squishing the alligator's head so his cheeks and eyes bulge becomingly. Truthfully? It doesn't really inspire any great thought, just creates a bit of fun distraction. I also have a pen that, if you bash it against the palm of your hand, its green bulb flashes on and off. Another distraction for a few moments. My favourite had a goblin head but it fell off one day when I was writing like fury. The replacement pen with the squishy monkey head and pink rubberized hair wasn't quite the same. And the weight of the head made the pen feel top heavy so that writing was a chore. My bug-on-a-green-leaf is cool but it feels awkward when I write so I tuck it in my Snoopy pen cup, along with a few others. I have three different pen cups, all stuffed with pens of fine, medium and thick tips, markers, highliters of various colours, permanent pens for writing on tapes and dvd's. The list goes on.

I find pens are important. You can never have too many because when you need a pen in a hurry, there they are--ready when you are. And, have you noticed when someone lends you a pen, it somehow ends up in your pocket or purse? Or, vice-versa.

Recently, I bought a pack of regular pens--these were the Bic's ultra-round sticks with an easy glide. I like these pens because they start immediately--no scritching on scraps of paper to get the ink started. I've left several lying around but they seem to mysteriously disappear, so someone else must be enjoying them too.

Of course, with my collection of pens, I have to have my pads of many colours. Notepads not only come in a choice of lined or unlined pages but now comes in different motifs, colours and cute slogans or messages. I liked "Sex is Better Than Coffee But Chocolate is Best," or "Don't Tell the Boss, Send Him a Memo," or my favourite phone message pad with "Monkey Business Only." My stickly notepad has a message too.

The other day, I had this crazy inspiration and just had to write it down before I forgot it. I wrote the few lines on my lime-green sticky pad and tucked it in my purse. This morning at the bank, while searching for my bank card, my sticky pad fell on the teller's counter. Prominently across the top, in big black letters was "This is a Stick-up" and in much smaller letters, directly below, "Stick Me on Anything!" Thank goodness the teller didn't panic and had a sense of humour!

Okay--enough of these distractions--back to work. . .

Monday, 1 October 2012

Manual Woes

There is nothing I dislike more than having to read a manual. It's probably not that big a deal, but when this issue comes up, it's a biggie for me.  Most times, I don't have to read any manuals unless it becomes absolutely necessary--at which point, I become thoroughly traumatized.

Hubby and I have devised a system (of sorts) over the years--Hubby does the assembling and fixing. When needed, I read these folded bits of paper or booklets with the instructions and important information in sixteen different languages. Sometimes the assembling instructions are quite detailed, but stated in an unique mode of English that defies interpretation, especially if the article is made in some place like Outer Bhurkistan. And conversely, there are the English instructions and information that are quite sparing in words, leaving you to fill in the blanks.

The worse is when the instructions comes in pictures, sometimes hand-drawn.  I know, I know--it's suppose to supersede sixteen translations when pictures are assume to be universal. Hubby has a fantastic grasp of what is needed to be done as he can imagine which part fits where. However, I can never figure out the pictures, no matter which way I turn the diagram.

The one and only time I didn't mind reading the manual was when we were assembling my desk.  This project had a perfect manual. The instructions clearly showed every nut, bolt, screw and washer included. Each piece and part was labeled clearly. The desk was packaged to be assembled in sections that had to be done in a specific order. It was a "dream" project and one that went smoothly and frazzled-free.  Best of all, the instructions were written in clear, concise and real English. To this day, I'm still using the desk which has held up well.  But I digress.

Manuals were never part of my genetic setup. I'm the type of person who likes to watch how various stuff is put together and then do it. My brain does not absorb the printed words or pictures of a do-it-yourself manual. I always figured the good Lord did not put me on this Earth to nut-n-bolt stuff unless it was something edible. And in that situation, I can out-perform anyone.

But it's not just popping the pieces together in the how-to section. It's the other part of the manual that explains the what-for's, why-for's and where-for's. I really don't need to scare myself knowing these things, since the only time I'll dive for the manual is when something goes terribly wrong. And hopefully, Troubleshooting will give me the answer or the 1-800 number for Customer Assistance. For now, I'll just stack all these booklets and bits of paper together and file them under "M" for manuals.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Pass It On

In this century of disposables, fast foods and Google, it is so easy to accept the conveniences and take it all for granted. But you know what?--the simple day-to-day courtesies can just as easily fall to the roadside. Genuine smiles and a few sincere words cost us nothing and should be passed on more often.

Sometimes I like to gift the full mega-watt smile to someone with the sternest or the most grumpiest face.  You know, that's the smile where the eyes and face truly reflect the joy you are feeling and want to share. And when you pass Mr. Sourpuss, you give him eye contact and a happy nod as if to say, "Hey, I hope you're having a great day too!" and keep walking.
But if you ever glance back, you will see a most astonishing phenomena ninety-nine percent of the time. Mr. Sourpuss suddenly feels so good at receiving this mega-watt smile from a total stranger, he passes it on to the next lucky recipient.  Mission accomplished. At least, I hope that's what happens--I like to think so.

Department stores have stream-lined their services a lot. Certain "Customer Service" centres (or cashiers) are placed strategically throughout the store allowing customers to pay for their purchases wherever they happen to be, unless of course, it hits coffee breaks or meal breaks. The hot weather, coupled with the frustrations of long line-ups due to a shortage of "Opened" cashiers, can make the gentlest of customers, the snarliest. The unfortunate cashiers who must deal with all of this definitely need "combat pay." It's easy for us to gift them a genuine smile and a few words of appreciation, acknowledging their stressful day. But more often than not, people like to add more stress by acting like total jerks.

Not only the simple courtesies of "please" and "thank you" but a note or card of appreciation for a gift received or a job well done is worth more in good-will than any monetary value. Most young kids today are more likely to email or text their appreciation--snail-mail doesn't apply in their electronic techie world. If you do have nieces, nephews or grandkids who do this, be thankful their parents are teaching them the niceties of life. Kids who take the time to write or text a few words of thanks will always have that advantage of knowing Life's simple courtesies. These kids will be caring, considerate and kind, treating others the way they, themselves like to be treated. These are the kids who will keep the legacy going--passing along mega-watt smiles and kind words where needed.

Have you smiled at someone today?

Monday, 13 August 2012

Oh, Spam

The other day, an article on Spam caught my eye--that's Spam, the canned meat, not spam, the unwanted internet junk mail. Later that evening, the local television mews anchor-person briefly mentioned the resurgence of the WWII food ration, Spam.  Today, I picked up my mystery novel and one of the characters was pan-frying a slice of Spam with his eggs.  Wow, I have now encountered Spam three times in the last 24-hours. I had to find out more about this amazing food product that has grabbed my attention and been around for the last 75-years. Other brands have disappeared over the last years or have merged with giant conglomerates, yet Spam lives on.

Spam was officially launched as a trademark by Homel on May 11, 1937.  According to its website, www.spam.com, all fifty states in America sells Spam with Hawaii being the biggest consumer of this ham/pork shoulder meat product. The K-rations the military provided its soldiers durin g WWII included the familiar rectangular tins. In fact, the soldiers felt they were eating Spam at every meal, despite the military cooks doing their best to be inventive. Spam and other foods were shipped to Allied countries as part of the lend-lease program. Ironically, soldiers in Europe, hoping to escape Spam by going for a nice restaurant meal, would still find Spam on the menu!

Is Spam healthy for you? According to the Spam website, "one 12-ounce can contains six servings.  A single serving has 16 grams of fat including 6-grams of saturated fat.  This single serving of Spam also contains 33% of your daily recommended sodium as well asd a hefty dose of cholesterol."  A generous Spam serving would not be a healthy idea if low-salt, low cholesterol foods are suppose to be on your menu.

I checked my local supermarkets the other day to see if Spam is on their shelves.  It still is.  Happy 75th Birthday, Spam. I missed your official birthday in May but you know what?  I really think a Time Capsule for this century should have had a couple of tins of Spam enclosed.  Maybe it did.  We may be reduced to healthy dehydrated miniaturized foods before this 21st century is over and it would be nice to show the Future why a can of pressurized ham and pork shoulder, loaded with fat and salt, tasted so darn good a hundred years ago!

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Frivolous and Frothy

I've been told my blog pieces are "frothy," whatever that means. I think my critics mean it's quick to read, easily absorbed and fast to forget!  Yep, I think "seriousblogger" felt my last blog regarding my enthusiastic read of "The Innocent" by David Baldacci, was too frivolous to even consider as a serious book review, not that I had intended it to be a book review. I merely reported on a very enjoyable thriller--a riveting Baldacci attention-grabber of a book.
I liked it.

As for frothy, I enjoy writing down my random thoughts or opinions on various topics and putting it online for anyone interested in reading it. Current events in the newspapers or on radio/television, even a chance comment made by someone or perhaps an observation could trigger a creative urge--or maybe not.

Writing is often based on observations, chance comments, an unforgettable experience. How many of us have incorporated something we have encountered into our writing?

Anyway, thank you "seriousblogger" for your comment. It's nice to know several people are taking the time to read this blog. Feedback is always important, good or bad. If constructive criticism is taken in the spirit it is intended, it can make the difference between a writer and a good writer who wants to be better. I want to be a better good writer.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

I Love You David Baldacci

I love David Baldacci. His books never disappoint and these include his Camel Club series with their unofficial ex-military leader, Oliver Stone plus his Sean King/Michelle Maxwell series and all the "stand-alones." Whatever David sets his imagination to, his books deliver a darn good plot, tough but believable characters and lots of "hit-em-hard-knock-em-out-and-run-like-hell" action.

David's latest book, "The Innocent" is the story of Will Robie, a hitman employed by the U.S. government and a 14-year old foster care run-away named Julie Getty. When Will refused to kill his designated target and used his own backup plan to escape a trap, that was the day his world and Julie Getty's collided explosively. Someone is trying to kill them--Who? Why?

I love books that grab you by the eyeballs and holds you in its clutches. "The Innocent" is definitely one of those page-turners that keeps you glued to your chair.  As you press on to the final pages and the shocker it holds, who cares if you have a permanent crick in your neck and shopping bags under your eyes. You had to burn the midnight oil to find out the 'who' and the 'why.' 

I love you David Baldacci. I bet you'll write a future book featuring Will Robie again. And, I know it'll be just as exciting, thought-provoking, timely and fast-paced as all your other books. I'm looking forward to your next one.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Technical What?

Technology sucks! Yes, you heard me. I'll say it again. Technology sucks big-time. And, I'll tell you why.

The other night, just as my husband and I were settling in to enjoy a program we had recorded two nights ago--this part of technology is good--the t.v. screen went dark and the dreaded message of "No signal" appeared in the lower right corner. We didn't know that this was one of those irrational times when the telephone/cable company goes through a process called "initialization," affecting everyone's reception.
No message from the cable company appeared on screen to explain what was happening, so resorting to pressing various buttons on the remote which didn't do anything, I had to do what I always hate to do--phone the company for help, specifically "technical support." I hate this next part with a passion.

A computerized voice offers up a menu with seven choices, numbered 1 to 7. In the past, as soon as I heard my choice, I would immediately press that number and be connected. This doesn't happen anymore. You are doomed to listen to the full menu before you are allowed to make your selection. And, if you are two seconds too slow, a cheerful voice will gleefully say, "I'm sorry. I did not hear your selection" and proceed to give you the complete menu again. After the third unsuccessful attempt at punching in the proper number and being ignored, I finally resorted to yelling my choice. My spouse just sighed and muttered, "You're yelling at a machine" but miraculously, the voice response worked!

Successfully connected to "Technical Support" doesn't necessarily mean you get instant assistance. You are now doomed to listen to elevator music while put on hold forever. You can't hang up because this would mean phoning back and being on an even longer "hold." So, I held on while my smart hubby crawled behind the t.v., unplugged the cable and replugged it back.  Immediately, the screen came to life just as a real person finally came on the phone.

The lesson learned is that the pull-the-plug-and-put-it-back method works 99% of the time. If it doesn't work, then you really have a problem requiring "technical support."
Good luck in your mission. . .

Tuesday, 3 July 2012


Last week, Summer lingered for more than a day. We enjoyed the rare two days with its gentle breezes, azure sky with a wisp of white clouds, bees flitting happily among the lavender and roses, birds chirping noisily inside the neighbour's thick leafy bush--the one we dubbed the "Condo Bush." I always visualized at least five bird families nesting in there.

Victoria, BC. on the West Coast, has always been known as the "Florida" of Canada because of its warm mild weather in the winter. It is also known as the "Garden City" and for its annual "Spring Flower Count" each year. But this year, Victoria's reputation has suffered. The City's normally mild Winter had been extremely cold, stormy and wet. Spring finally arrived and Summer--well, I think we're still waiting.

Summer has been a teasing flirt. One day, she's hot and sweaty, teasing with short shorts, barely there tops, barbecues, beaches and beer.  The next day, she leaves you cold and bundled in sweaters, warm pants and jackets. See?--a capricious coquette. 

I think we're being punished for crowing over the years about our great weather:  mild Winters, early blooming Springs and Summers arriving in April and staying until October. All that bragging is bound to cause an effect. Meanwhile the wardrobe choices has been a challenge--tank tops or woolen knits? Oh well, there's always next year to grab back our boasting rights.

Saturday, 30 June 2012

The Dress

Shopping for clothes is definitely at the top of my "need-to-do-but-don't-want-to-do" list. Twenty years ago, clothes shopping was a fun project. There were enough choices in both colour and style that most women were comfortable with what was available. Today, the styles seem destined for a slender, younger figure rather than a fuller, more mature body. Would your 50+ body wear the style meant for a 30+ person?  Of course not. Mind you, some of the colour, fabric and style choices are tempting enough to try on, but Mother Nature strongly vetoes this. The clothing markets have yet to catch up to the fact that Baby Boomers have now graduated to "Gray Power." We want to look good, not cute.

I had a 40th anniversary dinner to attend in three weeks. Knowing what I would be facing in the dreaded dress search, I had procrastinated until three days before the event. Now the pressure was on to find a suitable dress.

These are the truths I uncovered in my search:
1) Desperation does not necessarily mean success in finding the perfect dress.

2) Changing a hair style to appear younger does not mean you can wear a dress style meant for a younger body.

3) Joining a "Boot Camp" for three days does not guarantee any weight loss in those three days. If anything, there will be a mysterious weight gain and a desperate need for chocolate.

4) Rather than succumb to a virulent virus the night before the event, check your closet again. Remember, most of the attendees are in our age group (we hope). Most of us have elasticized waistbands in our dress slacks and skirts. AND, we all have a glitzy top or two. Success--a fabulous, co-ordinated outfit!

Who needs a dress?

Wednesday, 20 June 2012


It's funny what we remember about our childhood. It's not the momentous occasions the adults made such a fuss over. Usually, it's some small moment the adults dismissed as normal or routine but to a little person, it's an important event in his/her life. Tricycles, bicycles and Saturday matinees were big events in mine.

When I was two, I remembered gleefully riding my little tricycle and following my big brother, who was riding a bigger one, around this potbelly stove that was set in the centre of this large room. My parents were amazed that I remembered this.

When I was seven, I watched my childhood friend riding his shiny new bicycle and marveled at how easy it looked. Daring me to try, I impulsively hopped onto his two-wheeler with no idea how to ride it. Unfortunately, the bike was pointing down the steep driveway and took off with me desperately hanging on and screaming in fear. Luckily, Dad was close by and grabbed the bike as I wobbled past. Art never offered his bike again.

Saturday matinees with my big brother were special events. We grew up loving cowboy movies, Tarzan movies and adventure movies with lots of sword-fighting. I loved musicals, often tap-dancing out of the theatre. My brother suffered through these movies with mouthy comments and would walk a distance away from me when I started dancing down the street. He loved animal movies but I disliked watching any dog or horse movies because I knew I would cry buckets of tears. Some never had a happy ending.

Dad would give each of us 25-cents--15-cents for the movie and 10-cents for the ice cream bar,  candy bar or soft drink. Sometimes, my brother and I would walk down to the "Nuthouse" which was two doors down from the theatre, pool our money together and buy a bag of cheese popcorn, caramel popcorn, hot butter popcorn or a bag of salted nuts. We would come home, stuffed to the gills. Once in a while, I would have someone's bubble gum stuck in my hair. It's a wonder I wasn't traumatized with my weird haircuts when I was growing up!

Memories are fun. The bad ones tend to get forgotten while the good ones remain. It's great fun when someone would say, "Remember when. . .?" and we would all chime in with our version of what really happened. Childhood memories and each of our life experiences contributes to the family tapestry, an entertaining verbal history passed along to our children. It's hilarious to discover that stern Great-Uncle Stan and grumpy Aunt Martha were once "hell-on-wheels" in their younger days. Or that my serious paternal uncle who had a distinguished 40-year career as a law-maker was once a pot-smoking, college drop-out!

Thank goodness for our treasure chest of family memories!                           

Tuesday, 12 June 2012


This morning I was thinking about friends and friendships. All of us have made friends over the years. Some we lose contact with because marriages, change of jobs or major moves have happened in their lives. Others, we try to stay in touch with occasional lunches or get-togethers or celebrations such as weddings and anniversaries. But, like everything in our lives, changes occur and a few more friends get lost in Life's constant shuffle.

There are several levels of friendship which we all encounter in our day-to-day routine. There are casual friends like the friendly cashiers at the various shops you frequent because they recognize you and always exchange pleasant chit-chat; the wait-persons at your favourite eatery, who knows your likes and dislikes by persuading the Chef to do a substitution; the people in your gym class who suffers through the agonies of the work-outs with you; all the people who pass through your life until the next time you see them.

There are friends we do things with--going for meals, going for walks, going to classes with; enjoying concerts and even, going on occasional mini-vacations. They are more than casual friends but not the first ones you go to if you need help.

Then, there are the few friends who are truly friends in every sense of the word friendship. Even if you have only one true friend or if you're especially blessed to have more than one, that person is worth his or her weight in gold.

Often, we don't realize we have a True Friend (TF) until years later, that person is still in our lives. Through good times and bad times, this friend has been there for us, no matter what. This TF is there if we need help or a shoulder to lean on; he/she is a great listener and knows just when to say nothing or what to say when you're finally able to listen. Most of all, a TF is honest enough to tell you what your head doesn't want to hear but your heart knows is true.  A TF has the power--where family doesn't--to make you listen to the truth.

The amazing thing about TFs is that even if you've seen each other just a few days ago or a few weeks or months later, it's as if time hadn't passed at all. Conversations and matters of importance are picked up as if it was only yesterday that true friends got together. True friends recognize instinctively nuances in words left unspoken, the body language or subtle signs of happiness or trouble.

Such special friendships have to be nourished and maintained. To keep a True Friend, you have to be one too.  And, I hope I am.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012


Life can change in a blink of an eye. Sounds trite doesn't it? Some changes are planned but there are any number of times, something happens causing that unexpected bump on Life's road that either makes us stronger or leaves us defeated. How we manage to navigate through those bumps shows what kind of "guts" makes up our characters.

Some changes can be as simple as moving from one home to another. I lived at the same address for 25-years until I met my husband and moved to his house. Since then I have moved four more times in the sixteen years we have been married. I think I have adjusted to moving.

Death and illnesses can be major bumps in our road. The loss of my father due to failing health was traumatic, even though it was expected. The loss of my only brother who embraced life and was much too young, was both traumatic and devastating. Yet despite all this, Life moves on and the pain eventually heals. The loving memories of earlier times will always be there.

Marriages and births herald good changes. After all, Life is a balance of bumps and burps, smiles and tears, good and bad. Just as seasons come and go, Life's bumps can be tiny, causing barely a ripple or medium-size, causing a tremour. But, once in a while, there comes a bump the size of a mountain and Life seems to come to a grinding halt. All the changes in your life and how you dealt with them; all that experience comes to the forefront and you know--even as you push your way through this emotional jungle--that, this too will eventually come to an end.

Changes prove you are living life and not just passing through. Life should always be embraced between the bumps, enjoyed to the fullest and celebrated. Despite the bumps along the road, Life definitely goes on. In the words of Robert C. Gallagher: "Change is inevitable--except from a vending machine."

Tuesday, 22 May 2012


It seems we spend a great deal of our time waiting--waiting in lineups, waiting to be served, waiting to speak to someone, waiting for an appointment. The list goes on. This morning I had to go for my every-so-often blood tests. Normally, it takes 5-minutes from the time you appear at the reception desk to the time your blood sample is taken. On busier days, the wait would be 10-minutes. Today it took 50 minutes which was mind-boggling especially when others ahead of me were waiting just as long.

The lab had changed its procedure. Before the change, people were required to take a number, wait to be called and with medical card in hand were processed through the computer in the order they had arrived. Now we line up at the desk with requisition and medical card in hand where a staff person enters you in the computer in the order of your arrival. After a lengthy wait, another staff person enters all pertinent data including name, medical card number and type of test requested into the computer. Another lengthy wait before your name is called and you finally have your blood taken. The purpose of this whole new system is supposedly a survey to assess which days/times of the week are heaviest, requiring extra staff and which days/times are lightest, moving staff where they are needed. Today was the first day after a long weekend and would be one of the heaviest days.

Public relations for these private labs in my hometown will probably reach rock-bottom by the time the survey is completed. Hospital outpatient clinics wouldn't have this crazy waiting time but the convenience of walking to your nearest private lab for bloodwork far outweights any inconvenient bog-down. Normally I bring my notepad, pen and a good book. Usually, the wait time is so short, it isn't worth carrying the extra weight, so I stopped.

Today, I did something I haven't done in a long time--people-watching and eavesdropping. As a writer, it was a worthy exercise and a most entertaining one. I learned about lake fishing, an impending divorce and the best weight-loss program ever. If I hadn't been called, I would have heard the entire secret to keeping a man interested in the bedroom. Mom never told me anything like that! Just remember, waiting room conversations can be entertaining but are definitely not private.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Allergies in Bloom

Everywhere you look, Spring has definitely arrive--warm, sunny days encouraging blossoms and blooms to burst into vibrant colors. Good ol' Spring--season of new growth, new hope and new life. BUT, let's not forget, it's also the starting gun for allergies.                        

After a cold, wet winter, Spring is a welcome season. However, the first signs of cherry blossoms, magnolias and freshly cut grass may also bring headaches, red itchy eyes, constantly runny noses and those non-stop sneezes. Allergy sufferers know what I mean--all the symptoms of a nasty cold but it's only allergies. How many times do we hear it or have said it ourselves?

We may as well wear a sign proclaiming "Not a Cold--It's Allergies!" Or, better yet, a tee-shirt or sweat-shirt with those words boldly marching across your chest. In any type of line-up, as part of an audience, at the malls or anywhere there are more than two people in close proximity to you--even in a tiny elevator space--have you noticed a clear space around you?

I love Spring. It's such a beautiful time of new growth, new life. Nature's colors are spectacular as the bright yellow daffodils, shy violets, vibrant tulips and clusters of snowdrops mingling with purple hyacinthes, all vie for attention with the majestic magnolias, magnificent rhododendrons and boulevards of pink cherry blossoms.        

Nature's canvas--a sight for sore irritable eyes. For all Spring allergy sufferers, this will eventually pass unless you're a Summer allergy sufferer. . .

Friday, 23 March 2012


Okay, call me a dinosaur but technology sucks big-time. Remember the good old days when having a tv remote and using it was simple? No more, my Friend. There are now remotes that can operate every appliance and electronics in your house by pressing specific
buttons on one operator. It can probably do everything plus cooking an elaborate dinner for fifteen hungry people.  My Mom's remote is simple--an on/off power button, an up/down channel changer, an up/down volume button, a pause button, a mute button and a return-to-last-channel button. That's it. Nice and simple. I really like Mom's remote. Easy to use and uncomplicated.
I recently upgraded the guts of my PC which meant learning an alien program that refused to recognize old commands. Talk about teaching an old dog new tricks! With the painful learning process came the horrified discovery there was also a new mail service. No more familiar Outlook Express but an unfamiliar Live Essential Mail. Sending a folder of photographs to my Editor became a major catastrophe similiar to the combined catastrophe of a tornado, a nuclear bomb and an erupting volcano.  Taking the photos was child's play compared to the so-called elementary act of sending them. Finally, after four agonizing hours, the e-mail message, along with the attached photos, was sent off. I think somewhere in that nebulous hinterland of nano bits and bytes, my message is still out there--the problem is where as I have yet to hear back from my Editor.
That's why I say technology sucks big-time. Don't get me wrong. I do appreciate changes that do help--dish-washers, microwave ovens, washers and dryers and refrigerators. These are helpful. But please leave my computer alone. I like simple! I don't want my PC to do wonderfully convoluted tasks. I just want my PC to do its normal tasks of e-mail,word processing and filing. I want my files where I can find them. I don't want to remember seventy-seven passwords to retrieve them. I don't want stuff hidden. I don't want a computer who thinks it can out-think me. Remember, computers are just machines that have been programmed by humans. When the going gets rough, just pull the plug.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Fitness Queen

My name is Sammee and I'm a "gym junkie."  Well, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration--more like I'm  a "wannabe gym junkie" who completed this twice weekly, 4-week course on how to manoeuver confidently around the cardio equipment and weight machines.  Thanks to my trainer, Tracey, I can step gracefully on and off the treadmill, Stairmaster, stationary bike and elliptical machines without looking like a total klutz. I know where to sit and place my feet on the vertical bench, pec dec, ab machine and seated leg press.  I have "worked out" in both public and private gyms. I would like to share with all of you my list of "gym facts" I have noted in all gyms.

1) Why are there so many skinny, spandex-clad blondes tackling the treadmills that conveniently face the huge front windows while their tight, sexy butts face the rest of us poor "shlobs" sweating on the incumbent bikes?

2) Why are the TV sets tuned to the Food channel at the Ladies Fitness Gym and tuned to the Sports channel at the "Guys 'n Gals" gym?

3) Why is it always my luck to follow behind a 7-feet, muscle-bound hunk of testosterone who lifts or pulls 300 pounds?  AND, leaves the machines set for his body and not mine!

4) The time limit on the popular equipment is 15-minutes and 5-minutes of my time is spent adjusting the height of the seat, the length of the pulley and the drop in weights. Hey, it's not my fault if one of the knobs on the "thingy" fell off while I was adjusting the seat to my 5'2" height.

5) Guys can be so macho when they do that male strut in the bar-bell corner. They love an audience even though they pretend they don't.

6) Why do we always feel soo-oo good after working our way through the "circuit," then spoiling it by treating ourselves to a warm "Jammy Doughboy" even though it is accompanied by a healthy carrot juice cocktail? 

7) Gals can do anything the guys can do especially when we have the advantage of spandex.  All that bending and stretching is great for the body, terrific eye-candy for the guys and most important of all can be distracting enough to give us extra minutes on our favourite machines! Hey, I never said we were stupid. . .See you at the gym.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Under New Management

What makes a good writer? I was thinking about this today because of my favourite place for breakfast. This place usually serves fluffy omelets loaded with saute diced ham, baby shrimps, mushrooms, chopped celery, parsley and sweet onions with a generous side of chunky panfries--the kind that's crispy on the outside and tender inside--plus the ubiquitous thick slice of toasted nutbread accompanied by a pat of butter and mini-pot of peach jam. Needless to say, my friends and I had our mouths and stomachs ready for this memorable feast, starting with the generous mug of fresh brewed coffee. The sign on the window should have warned us: "Under New Management." Our highly anticipated breakfast was "memorable" but definitely not in a good way!  Which brings me back to my original question, "What makes a good writer?"
There were some books I had high expectations on because of the writers' reputation. However, these books should have had a sign attached: "Under New Management."
I think even a well-established writer can have an "off" day.  I enjoy reading books written by a familiar name because I expect the books to be a few hours or days of terrific "escapism." How disappointing when you anticipate a good--no, a "great" read--and it isn't. I like to think even best-selling authors/writers can have a bad day at their computers.  I feel it makes them more "human"--even a tad more "humble" because the stress of producing something as good or better than their previous book plus their readers expectations--must be horrendous.  I like to think that the "not-so-good" pages that were painfully filled that day would be ruthlessly re-read the next and just shredded.  And, if it miraculously got to their editor's desk, then that person should have been honest--not awestruck--and sent it back.  Readers know what they like.  Surprisingly, we are loyal to our authors and if we have to wait a year or two or even three before the next book appears, then hopefully it will be worth the wait.  I appreciate the hours, days and months putting the right words together.  To be able to "grab" the readers by the eye-balls with the first few sentences; to  maintain that level of expectation we seek from the author; to satisfy our anticipation; that feeling of wanting more when the last page is read--then that truly is a good writer.  

Friday, 27 January 2012


Grandkids are a combination of deja vu and reality.  Marveling at mine, I realize nothing really changes as each generation passes.  Kids are still kids despite their vast knowledge of technology which their grandparents and great-grandparents are still grabbling with.  Reality is seeing how the gene pool from all the family members manage to create a little person who is still exploring their world. I truly marvel that my two older grandkids--one is away from home, feeling his independence at his first year of University while the second grandchild turned 16 and has her learner's license to drive a car.  The 5 year old is completing her year of kindergarten while the baby, who will be 11-months in a few days, is figuring out her domain and learning how to navigate with her fast crawl--but, soon, she will pull herself up and let go of any supports and finally walk on her own.  I watched as the little ones interact with the seniors who took an avid interest in everything they did.  When I brought the baby over to visit them, all the ladies immediately responded and had the baby laughing. Grandkids are a wonder--they really know how to push the limits with their parents.  And, they definitely know their grandparents have different expectations.  But always, grandkids are a ray of sunshine and a source of joy.  They are also honest as they have yet to learn diplomacy

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Another Windy, Blustery Day

Being in the supposedly warmest part of Canada doesn't necessarily exempt Victorians from a week of cold temperatures, ice and snow.  But, being where we are also proves that a week of the wintery blustery weather other parts of Canada may suffer, doesn't last either--a night of heavy rain washed away any memories of the icy white stuff!  Today is a day of blustery winds that threatens to blow you over.  This is definitely a good day to snuggle inside with a good book, a pot of hot coffee and the warmth of a cozy fire.  Today is also the eve of the Chinese New Year and the powerful Year of the Dragon.  With such a blustery start, the Dragon year will surely be an auspicious one for everyone!  This is my first blog on this site and I look forward to hearing back from anyone out there.  If you're also a writer/story-teller, drop by and say "Hello!"