Here is another excerpt from my book “The Long Game”, a memoir told in one page short stories.


I stalk my half-sister.  Facebook and Google have made this easy. She has no idea I exist.

Even better, her husband has no restrictions of what he puts up on his pages.  I’ve seen the whole family. I’ve looked at pictures of a nephew I share dna with.  I know his birthdate. My bother–in-law probably thinks he has nothing to hide.  Why would anyone ever stalk him?

I know my half-sister teaches Zumba. I’m not a big fan of Zumba. Funny, she is a little chubby.

As far as I can tell we look nothing alike.

I wonder how she will handle it when she finds out I exist.

One day I will admit I have been stalking her for years.

How could I not?

Only once has my sister put up a picture of her mother, yes, my birth-mother, on her Facebook page.  I think it was to celebrate Mother’s day. This is the only time I’ve seen my mother’s face.  It took my breathe away.

We look nothing alike. How sad.  How appropriate.

And do you want to know an embarrassing fact.  If my mother and her family looked rich and successful I might be tempted to contact them sooner rather than later.  I’m being completely honest here.  If it looked like there was some money involved I might not be able to hold back the temptation to milk that puppy.

But they look average.  From the holiday shots I can see they have an older car and trailer.  They go camping and take trips to the generic holiday places with good but basic sights to see.  Nothing exotic or fancy.

I wonder when the stalking will end.  I will not be surprised to read of my mother’s death on a Facebook update.  This is what it is to live in the world today.

Nothing really remains a secret.  My mother must live in fear each and every day.  Does she scan her daughter’s postings and pray family details aren’t released.

Will everyone be shocked when the truth comes out?

And yes, the truth will come out one day.

Not because I’m mean or vindictive or even curious.

The truth will come out because I’m sick and tired of being discounted.


Buddha and I agree…

There is a famous quote attributed to Buddha “Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and common sense.”

I am finding the need to repeat this sentiment more and more these days. In doing this I have not always been kind.

The trend these days seems to be towards “trusting” and giving power to the people around us and not listening to our own gut. Even worst, giving power to people not remotely connected to us. There are plenty of “experts” out there with proclamations on what’s best, but do you have to take their every word as gospel?

When did we all start listening to the so-called experts and hey, wait a minute, how come there are so many experts? And why do they all seem to think they know the answer?  Even more infuriating they think they know what’s best for me!  Wait. Maybe I’m taking this a little too personally.

I will admit, few people are telling me what to do. (Who would dare?)

Many of my friends and clients ask my opinion on the advice they are given.  (And when I say advice I mean when they are told to do something) My caution is always the same… get a second opinion, do some research and most of all, trust yourself.  That last one is the key.  Listen to the voice inside your head.

I may have an over-inflated affection for the people around me.  I believe most of them are brilliant. They should inherently know what’s best for them. I have faith in their judgment.

We tend to go astray when we give away our power.  So stop doing that. Know thyself. Trust thyself.  Give yourself the benefit of the knowledge you’ll know what’s right and wrong.

Buddha also said, “Be kind”. So I’ll back away from the computer and stop my rant… for now.


My Great Friend

My friend, the famous Andrew Mockler, moved out of my home today.

He’s stayed with me for the last ten weeks while he established himself back into Vancouver’s creative world.

It’s been ten weeks of intense work, hysterical improv sessions, gallons of Starbucks, private concerts, sushi, road trips, long chats, too many Dairy Queen Blizzards and so much more.

If you ever need a break from reality to put yourself in touch with where dreams are possible, open your home and heart to an “Andrew”. Then step back and watch magic happen.

“Andrew” stories feature heavily in my book and some of our adventures together make for compelling essays.

I can tell you our current undertakings have a follow up book brewing on the outer syntax of my mind.  With Andrew you can never guess what is just around the corner.

Trust me, if you want an interesting life, vow to take a leap with a friend like Andrew.  It might scare the crap out of you but you will also know what it is to truly live.

Life can get boring and predictable. Don’t let it. Move towards what might have the power to make you happy.

I’m sure you still have dreams. Follow them.

People come and go in your life. Even friends come and go in your life. Some will leave a huge mark; some will pass with only a whisper. All are valuable.

Some people may be the catalyst to change everything.

There is no end to the “Andrew Chronicles”… it is just the turning of the page with the anticipation of “What next?”


End Of Summer

On August 30th I finished writing the first draft of my book, “The Long Game”, a memoir written in one page short stories. The following is one of the final pieces added into the mix…

End of Summer

Yes, you’re right, nothing new has happened.  So why does today hurt more than yesterday? Why at this particular time does the pain have the power to overtake me?

It just does.

Some days are worse.  Some hours are unbearable.  The loss of the children screams louder at certain times.  It hurts everything and comes in uncontrollable waves.  I did not expect the violence of these assaults to carry on. Will they ever stop?

I don’t search out thoughts or circumstances to rip open the wound. Give me some credit; even I’m not that cruel.

My life without the children has become the new norm.

It’s the milestones that remind me this is not normal.

And yes, I should have seen it coming.  This week marks another event I will miss.  The annual visit to the country fair.  A tradition the kids revered. The rollercoaster, cow milking, deep fried Mars Bars, the Super Dog show. Ian’s first taste of Perogies and the year we sat for two hours to watch a calf being born.  Jake having the thrill of seeing the RCMP Musical Ride and meeting Data from Star Trek.  And Ricky, well she loved it all, but her growing love of baby goats meant hours spent in the petting zoo. They all loved the pig races. Each day had to include those crazy pig races.

For four years I spent three days at the end of each summer with some of the best one-on-one bonding time with the kids.  One day each.  Yes, for me a repeat of many of the fair’s classics, but seeing it from each of the triplets eyes made the day unique.

This is how I welcomed them home from their summer at the cottage back east. How we reconnected and deepened our bond. There will be no reconnecting this year.

The fair is on and I’m not at the pig races.

So you’re right.  Nothing new has happened.  And that is what has re-broken my heart.  Today there should have been hours of new memories made with the kids.  Instead I have the task of pretending my heart isn’t being cracked wide open again.


The Extra Mile

The keyboard on my phone was screwed. I didn’t know if the problem was it or me, so the simplest solution was to stop by the Rogers store. That’s where the young man who initially set up my phone works. He is brilliant and helpful. Luckily he was there and spent an hour helping me.  I came away with a newly installed keyboard and a huge savings on my monthly bill.  Have I mentioned I love this guy?

Well actually, I did mention I loved this guy.  And by the way, his name is Ally.

Back in February, when I first got this new phone, Ally was the sales rep I dealt with.  He was incredible. Everything a non-tech person like me wishes for when I have to dive into another realm of this fast paced, technology based society.

I wrote Rogers’ head office to tell them about my experience with Ally.  Besides a short call from the “President’s Office” to thank me for my letter, I never heard anything more from them.  As Ally fixed my keyboard problem he filled me in on what happened with the letter.  Apparently it went viral throughout the company.  Head office sent it out to some managers, they sent it out to staff, and it grew from there. Hundreds of people heard about this amazing man and how he helped me.

It was a good letter.  But more important, Ally is a good man and he got the recognition he deserved.  The whole scenario is serving him well.  He was blown away that I took the time to write. “Nobody does that anymore.”

Yesterday I watched a friend execute a perfect plan to thank someone for helping him. A surprise gift.  He wanted them to know how much he appreciated what they did and what they continued to do for him.  It’s a huge gesture and will probably be remembered forever.  As I say… a perfect plan.  And a perfect payback.  I was impressed and a little in awe.

That’s what we should be striving for.

Go the extra mile to let the people around us know they are cherished.  Don’t assume people “get it”… spell it out to them.

The ripple effects can be huge… and in ways you may never expect.

Don’t miss an opportunity… do yourself a favour, go make someone’s day.


The Ultimate Haircut

Women and their hair.

I’ve just booked my next haircut and the dilemma of wondering if it’s time for a change always comes up… luckily for me I have done the ultimate with my hair so anything I do these days pales in comparison…

I wrote a story about it… this became the story that kicked off my “writing career”…


Today I am a forty year old bald woman.

Yesterday I had long black hair down to my shoulders.

Today I notice my ears are too big for my face.

Yesterday I looked like everyone else.

Today the wind on my bare scalp chills me to the bone.

Yesterday I still had all my hair to hide behind.

Today people stare at me.

Yesterday I walked into my hairdressers and had my head shaved.

The first step was to cut the bulk of my long hair with scissors.  I was spellbound sitting there watching my reflection as my cherished locks fell away.  The next step came as he used the electric razor for a close crop.  You could now see the shape of my head.  Thank God I had no strange lumps and bumps.  That would have been too much!  Then finally the razor blade to finish the job. There were no tears, just the reflection of a forty year old bald woman looking back at me.

Today I visited my bald client with breast cancer.  She is bald from the chemo and was excited about my gesture to shave my own head to support her journey.  Today she quietly tells me she can’t stand to look at me because it reminds her how sick she is.  She doesn’t want to look at the face of another bald woman.  I am banished.  She tells me to leave and not come back.

Yesterday I was a person embarking on a symbolic gift for a friend.

Today I am a forty year old bald woman.


My radar has never been wrong.

I’m sure this is alarming for most.  I find it a comfort.

For years I have been open about being a victim of sexual abuse when I was a child.

The topic is not for general conversation but it is interesting how often I make reference to the fact.

For many people the subject is still taboo.

This is strange when you understand how many are afflicted.  One in three females.  One in three.

I don’t know the stats for men.  I have a feeling they tend to keep their secrets.

But the damage is the same.

We are all broken.

Some are never repaired.

Then I reflect… none of us are completely repaired.   The scars remain.

As for my radar?

I usually know when I meet a victim.  Some minute hint throws a shadow. I can sense it more than see it. But it’s there.

It’s not my place to ask for a confirmation.  And it’s none of my business.

This might be the reason I’ve been more open about my past. If I talk about it many in turn talk to me. I’ve heard so many stories. Secrets have been shared in whispered words and tears.

I believe my radar also works for the abusers. Too many times my skin has crawled when I’ve met someone.  Too many times I’ve looked at a person with the intent to let them know I know. Send them a message with a mix of hate and disgust meant to warn them. If you cross the line and I find proof my Buddhist vows will not hold me back from the pain I will cause you.

I trust my radar.

So far it has not been wrong.

Trust your own gut.


“I wish Winifred was here listening to this.”

It was the only time during the evening I thought I might cry.

My oldest client will turn 96 next week.  A truly lovely man and an iconic Vancouverite.  Winifred was his beloved wife.  I am his personal trainer.  We met in the elevator in his building. He hired me on the spot. He wanted to keep physically fit. We laughed at our first meeting and have laughed during every workout session since.

During the past year things have become more difficult for Charles.  The aging process is horrendous and cruel. Even music has slipped from his life.  He has not played his ukulele and sang to me for months.

There is a pallor of sadness and resignation filling his room.

“I have a friend staying with me, he’s just moved here from the UK, he’s a musician and actor. I’ll bring him over to sing with you.”

Charles agreed.

So last week I got to sit with Charles as Andrew pulled out his guitar and started to play.  With the first notes Andrew sang I witnessed Charles’ face light up. And I swear I watched the colour return to the room.

At the end of that first song Charles applauded the performance and proclaimed, “He’s marvelous!”

Andrew coxed Charles to join him and before I could have predicted there were both strumming along together. Sheet music appeared and the concert began.  The joy oozed from Charles even though his voice was weak. Andrew was the perfect catalyst to make the songs singable.  They sang together for the next hour.

When Charles said, “I wish Winifred was here”, I knew Andrew had made magic happen.

It’s rare to get the chance to bring someone true happiness.

And I got to witness it all.

Andrew and Charles - card


Morally Wrong

When is laughing at something “morally wrong”, wrong?

When my friend uses “hand quotes” to warn me that his next comment or sentence will be “morally wrong”, why do I laugh even harder?

Am I morally wrong?

When did our society become so politically correct?

Or maybe so incorrect?

I can sit here in the privacy of my own apartment and laugh until I cry at my friend’s off coloured jokes and commentaries.  He’s a creative man with the ability to do spot on accents.  Get him started on a topic and his knack for improv will take over and no one can predict what comes out of his mouth.  Appalling, hilarious, cringe-worthy and side-splitting.

I would hate for anyone to know what we are laughing about.  Most topics hedge on something considered “morally wrong”. Or maybe just things we have heard about and would never voice, repeat or laugh at.  Some themes go over the line.

Yes, “morally wrong”.

As I write this, part of me is still giving a little giggle as I recall the look on his face when he makes those hand quotes and gets the twinkle in his eye before he speaks.

Is it like when we were children and swore for the first time?  We were doing something forbidden. Say a naughty word and then fall into gasps of laughter.  But also afraid an adult would hear and we would be in trouble.

Maybe we never grow up?

The “politically correct police” are all around and ready to pounce.

Sitting at home and busting a gut over something “morally wrong” is a little wrong.

And I’m OK with that.


“I don’t want you to send me a picture of your junk.”

I found that sentence scrawled on a scrap of paper with a line crossing it out.  If it’s crossed out that means the story has been written and added into my book. It’s done. Is this what it is to be a writer?

I laugh as I recall writing the piece… I laugh even harder as I remember the incident that motivated the story.

These things happen when you know young people.  Or older vain people.

You not only hear things you would rather remain secret, but you see things you know should remain secret.

None of us need to be looking a random people’s junk.

Well maybe random junk would be OK.

I don’t want to look at a casual acquaintance’s junk.

No matter how impressive it might be.

Keep your iphones and androids out of your pants.

Don’t post.  Don’t email.

But if you do and if I think it will make a humorous story don’t be surprised if I write about it.

You’ve been warned.

At least I won’t name names or post pictures.

I’ll say it one more time, “Please…no junk mail.”