Archive for the ‘writer’s workshop’ Category

I am from a backpack covered in pine sap, from comforting hot chocolate and peaches with cream.

I am from the small white house with the black shutters next to the babbling creek, peaceful, beautiful—so fast in the spring that the noise would drown out the chatter of us little girls.

I am from the wild blue irises growing by the pond, the rocks covered in lush green moss. I am from the campsite among the towering pines in the backyard. I am from a marsh where stubborn marigolds showed their yellow blooms.

I am from making shortbread at Christmas time and being hot-headed, from Langmans and Templetons and Cunnings.

I am from the debaters and the reclusives. The creative ones.

From round about, round about, catch a wee mouse and a wee deoch an’ doris.

I am from the Presbyterians. Prayers and studying the bible while sitting on the top step. From Kings, where men wash dishes.

I’m from Guelph, Scotland, England, and France; from oatcakes, fish & chips, and potato scones.

From Paul and I baking a cake of tangerine orange plasticine in my Easy Bake Oven, the lightening that struck our chimney at five in the morning, and playing under Mommy’s quilting while she silently stitched.

I am from the top shelf of the closet under the stairs, the oak bookcase that has leaded glass doors with the catch that never quite catches, and the special drawer in the bedside table.

I am from warm cinnamon buns fresh from the oven. From hugs and Inuit kisses. I am from the hearts of Tobias and Kaia and Bryan.

I am from love.

Mama’s Losin’ It

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I’ve had writer’s block for a week. It happens from time to time. I am not entirely surprised, especially after having recently finishing the queries on my second manuscript and dealing with a teething baby. Thankfully, the Writer’s Workshop has come to the rescue and this week one of the choices was to “write about someone who made your childhood bearable”.

my Mom…

my mom

So many attributes describe my Mom. Love. Beauty. Grace. Selflessness.

I was a child constantly bullied as you may have gathered from previous writings on my blog. I was also very lonely, in part because of being the outcast at school and among my peers and because we lived in a rural community. I’d come home from school in tears. Some days it was because of the wad of gum one of the boys stuck in my thick curly hair and other days it was because the teasing was so cruel that I just couldn’t bear it. Mom was always there with a hug and encouraging words. Sometimes she wouldn’t say anything about what happened with the bullies—she’d just get me to help her with whatever quilt she was working on at the time.

One time, I think I was about 7, Mom took construction paper and fashioned an entire Hawaiian island complete with a volcano and a hula dancer. I’ll never forget it or the time she put into every detail. I was off school because I was sick. I was always getting “sick” to avoid going to school. Sometimes she’d let me get away with that, as long as I kept my marks up.

Mom was, and still is, a great teacher. She taught me how to bake, although, to this day, she still teases me about my childhood obsession with putting chocolate chips in everything. She taught me about the different tropical plants she grew and in the nicer weather she’d take me out in the garden and I’d learn about herbs and flowers. She taught me to throw myself into being creative or to lose my thoughts in a great book. Dad, Mom and I built a library in a room in the basement. I helped Dad with making the bookshelves and then Mom and I catalogued hundreds upon hundreds of books. I read many of those books especially the classics she suggested; Wuthering Heights, Lost Horizon, Robinson Crusoe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Jane Eyre, A Tale of Two Cities and the like.

My mother gave me the tools to take pleasure in the little things, like the sound of a cardinal, the smell of an orange, or the blooms of a rowan tree. She taught me that no one could take away my happiness unless I allowed it. She showed me that to live a balanced and simple life makes one content.

Mom, in her gentle way, got me through the torment and gave me something to look forward to every day—our time together.

Mama’s Losin’ It

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I like love the weekly Writer’s Workshop because it gives a bit of a break from some of the more serious topics discussed on my blog. It is also fun to write… especially this week. This one is sure to make you laugh at my expense. Feel free to comment—teasing is most welcome.

I was creating a brochure and website for a long-standing client, one whom I’d been working for over the period of a few years, but had never met. Bryan always handled the photography end of the contract and with becoming new parents; I would stay at home with our son who was 4 at the time. The office manager was a lovely lady named Cheryl and she decided that this would not do. Cheryl insisted that I come to the next shoot and bring Tobias. The plan was that we would go to their home and I could download the photos onto a disc and then she would make us a lovely dinner. I didn’t want to bring him because I thought it might hinder the shoot with a little one in tow, but anyone who knows Cheryl, knows that she is one persistent lady. So, I relented and said we’d love to come for dinner.

What happened next is something that I will never live down. Never. Dinner was to be a beautiful grilled chicken and mushroom dish. The smell was incredible—mouthwatering. I helped set the table and we sat down to this wonderful meal. Tobias was next to Cheryl and she asked him if he would pass the platter of chicken and mushrooms to me. He looked at her in sheer horror. I thought at first that he might have been worried that he would drop the plate when passing it to me, but then the words sprung from his mouth with the sort of innocence that only comes from a child.

“My Mom can’t have that! Mushrooms make her fart!”

Mama’s Losin’ It

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There is a weekly Writer’s Workshop that I thought would be fun to participate in. The assignment I chose out of the suggestions, was to write about something I do that drives my significant other CRAZY. Sadly, there is not enough space or time to give you the entire list so I will just write about one thing; something current. I went to prep some food for tonight’s dinner and that’s when it hit me… what really drives Bryan batty.

she drives him crazy…

We are having company and I am making a special African Chicken soup so I thought I would get the basis for the meal started. Then when our guests arrived I would merely have to heat it up and add in a few last minute ingredients, grill some pitas and we’d be good to go.

This is where the “drives him crazy” bit comes in. I prepared my kitchen so that I could start chopping the foods. Like a good cook, I got out all of my ingredients and proceeded to gather the tools I would need. Santoku knife, check. Garbage bowl for scraps to transferred to the compost bin, check. Veggie peeler, check. Apron, check. Gloves, che… an empty box in the pantry! Crap! Anyone who has chopped habanero peppers, one of the key ingredients in this meal, knows that you must wear rubber gloves. This is crucial being a contact lens wearer and, sadly or should I say painfully, a lesson I learned the hard way.

I immediately phoned Bryan and asked if he could pick up surgical gloves on the way home from work today. It isn’t the gloves, which I need to wear to chop the very hot peppers, that are behind my driving him crazy, but rather the fact that there are not many times I don’t ask him to stop on his way home for something. I don’t mean to, but I forget to add things to my list or I assume that I have them on hand. Part of this problem is that Bryan never throws out the empty package of anything he uses up. I won’t go there because we are not speaking about what drives me crazy now are we?

No matter how hard I try, there is always something and most often, it happens when we are going to be entertaining guests or I am on the deadline crunch for a recipe article or working on a book. Some days I wonder how Bryan ever survived my writing two cookbooks. Perhaps it is the good meal at the end of the day that keeps him from getting upset with me. I do drive him crazy and I am just happy that he loves me enough to overlook my idiosyncrasies.

Mama’s Losin’ It

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