Tuesday, 21 June 2016




As many of you know I have been preparing for the big move to our new home.  Cleaning, packing and purging have become buzz words around my house.  The excitement is raising as we take possession in just over two weeks and I cannot wait.  The new home is ever so pretty with shining wood floors and a backyard that is both private and extensive.  So we have decided the new house deserves a new kitchen / dining table set.  Something that is in better condition than our ratty old bar height table.  I’ve been looking online and locally and not much has peaked my interest. 


I’ve been re-watching Friends and by re-watching I mean total binge watching.  (I know this seems like a total ‘SQUIRREL’ moment but I promise it is all related) Monica has a wonderful kitchen set.  Four chairs, none of which match but they are conversational, funky and so trendy.  Even now twenty years after the show is done the set still intrigues me.  So I’m watching and I think to myself “That would be beautiful in our new home.”  Then I start to imagine it further, I start to sweat.  I find it difficult to breathe.   My brain wants the orderly, the balanced.  Four chairs that are all different is, to my mind, as hard to accept as fingernails on chalkboards. 


The mismatched chairs would be stunning in the home, but they wouldn’t do for me.   Some people are mismatched chair types of people and others need to have a matching set.  I kept thinking that I had to be the type of person who could live with an eclectic set of furniture.  In my mind, creative fun enterprising people have mismatched sets of furniture.  Rigid strict boring people have matching sets.  I tried to force a fit but even the thought of un-matching furniture set my teeth on edge. 


I am creative and I think I am fun, but I still need balance.  I can’t handle it when things on shelves are asymmetrical, as my family well knows.  Often they will rearrange things just to see how long it takes me to ‘fix’ the problem.  


So I don’t think it’s a black and white matter of mismatched chair people being the creative artists types and matching being the stuffed shirts.  I think being in a well-organized space can induce creativity as much as the funky disorder others love.  We all function within our spaces the best we can.  Embrace your inner organizer, if that’s what you need and let your freak flag fly if that’s what you need.  Whatever is necessary for you to find that spark within you – take it.  Fly with it.  Accept what you need as normal. 


It doesn’t matter if you are a matching chair person or a mismatched set.  What matters is that what you have makes you happy and lets you be you.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

What's in a name?

What’s in a name?


One of the things I pay particularly close attention to when I am writing (or at least in the plotting and planning stages) is names.  My main characters names are of utmost importance.  Sometimes they just come to me and no matter how hard I work to change them, the character inevitably has told me their names and they refuse to change.  Take Anna for example.  I woke up from a dream knowing her name.  I didn’t necessarily care for the name and tried to change it – but no.  Anna was having none of that.  She remained firmly Anna until the end.  Supernaturally yours was one of those inspired stories where I felt like I wasn’t writing the tale but rather letting the tale be told through me.  I was merely the conduit for the story to come out of. 


Other names I research meanings and repeat them to myself ad nauseam making sure they sound good on the tongue and have the right meaning and feeling.  Leeandra (Lee) was a combination of names, I liked the short form of her name and it sounded like a biker chicks name.   But Lee in and of itself wasn’t enough.  Even the toughest of girls can have a little softness about them.  And that is what I wanted when writing Liquid Fire. 


Kira was one of the only names I have ever managed to change.  Originally the main character of Becoming Kira was named Kate.  And the working title of the novella had been Kates Choice.  However apparently there was a fairly popular book in the 1970’s by that name and I wanted to avoid confusion, so I changed the title and the main characters name.  To me the main character was the everyday woman and so choosing Kate was obvious.  However things change and although her name became Kira I still feel the flavor and initial intent with the name came through. 


The BFF in any story has to have the feel of friendly and approachable.  This is mostly accomplished by the characters personality but the name can help.  Jenny and Avery, from Supernaturally Yours and Liquid Fire had the quality we all look for in a friends.  Someone who has your back and is supportive but will push the main character to do what needs to be done.  And perhaps most important is the ability for the main character to confide in someone. 


The ‘dude’ as I affectionately call the main male character.  His name typically needs to be strong and imbue a sense of modernity to him.  In Supernaturally Yours, I chose Nathan.  He is strong, a bit of a reformed dick who is struggling to live up to his potential.  From Liquid Fire,  Jeremy is a snob who can be overbearing and judgmental but Lee makes him rethink all his preconceived notions.  In Becoming Kira I had two men, Dominic  (Dom) and Michael, both had different qualities that their names seemed to be personified by their names.


Most of all my characters need to be believable and that means they have to be flawed.  As we humans are all flawed so too should our characters both male and female.  I love making my characters overcome their deficiencies and survive the aftermath. 

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

In the news.

I try not to be too political or talk much about current events.  Today I feel obligated to disregard my previous stance. 


I read with absolute disgust and a vomitous feeling of sickness inside me about the 20 year old Stanford swimmer who was found guilty of raping an unconscious woman after a frat party.  Random passersby had witnessed the crime and stepped in to help the woman.  He was found guilty, which should be the beginning to the best possible endings in a horrible situation.  BUT then in steps a judge who decides that his life might be TOO effected by a long sentence.  So the rising swimming star gets a whole six months.   


And then his father steps forward about how his son’s life was ruined for “twenty minutes of action”. 
Twenty minutes of action is a hell of a way to describe a blatant sexual assault.  Defending and believing in your child is one thing but at some point you have to say hey, my kid is now an adult and he needs to step up and take some responsibility for his actions.  AND HE WAS FOUND GUILTY SO HIS ACTIONS ARE IRREFUTABLE and undeniable.


The online, trolling comments and such only furthered my general distaste for humanity.  Women and men both asserting how she deserved it and probably said yes but since was drunk she doesn’t remember.  What part of UNCONSCIOUNESS implies consent?  Do these people live in a different world from the one I do?  Where a jury of twelve average men and women found this man guilty and yet in the court of online media he is not guilty?  Or at least not guilty enough, and she is guilty of at the very least behaving in a way that is not becoming of a ‘woman’.  Screw that!  It’s 2016 people, women have as many rights as men and if we chose to get drunk as skunks and parade naked down the street in front of the capital building… you know what?  WE STILL AREN’T ASKING FOR IT!


I read the woman’s victim impact statement with tears streaming down my face.  What a strong woman.  She amazes me.  If you are interested in reading it here’s a link…

The most powerful portion is at the end where she addresses other women in her situation.

“On nights when you feel alone, I am with you. When people doubt you or dismiss you, I am with you. I fought every day for you. So never stop fighting, I believe you. As the author Anne Lamott once wrote, “Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.” Although I can’t save every boat, I hope that by speaking today, you absorbed a small amount of light, a small knowing that you can’t be silenced, a small satisfaction that justice was served, a small assurance that we are getting somewhere, and a big, big knowing that you are important, unquestionably, you are untouchable, you are beautiful, you are to be valued, respected, undeniably, every minute of every day, you are powerful and nobody can take that away from you. To girls everywhere, I am with you. Thank you.” 


This woman has been through hell and yet she finds the courage, the pure strength to support others.  Beyond belief.  Add to the fact that her statement was read, by her, in front of the man who had brutalized her and taken so much from her.  Bravo.


I worry about the kind of world we live in.  I fear for the future, and the past.  “20 minutes of action”  How on earth can anyone in good conscious say that?  The poor survivor (I refuse the term victim because this woman is anything but a victim) she has to live with her abusers actions for the rest of her life why the hell shouldn’t he?  There are those who think that for some reason a CONVICTED CRIMINAL shouldnt be held responsible for his actions for longer than six months.  And they mourn the star athlete he may have been instead of mourning the random woman whose life his choices affected?


We have to do better.  Raise our children (and not just our boys but all our children) to respect others.  To understand that just because they “want” something doesn’t mean they can have it.  Responsibility and respect, things that should be taught from the time our kids can walk seem to have been left behind.  The best time to teach our kids about this is when they are young.  We can’t treat them like little princes and princesses for all their lives and then suddenly expect them to be adults who can function within society at a level that is required.  They need to understand and learn about consequences.  Little Jonny may be an adorable child but if he fails at class – it’s his fault.  No one else’s.  Not moms and not dads and certainly not the teachers.  The time has come for us to stand up and behave like we believe our kids CAN be capable adults.  Stop with the coddling and buying them any and everything they want.  Teach them if they play video games all night instead of studying for their test they will fail and it is their OWN DAMN FAULT. 


I am a feminist and proud of it.  I am not a man hater.  But until women’s futures and voices are heard equally with men’s - feminists are a necessity.  This case only punctuates the differences between men and women and how they are treated in the eyes of the law and the public opinion court.  I read something that said (and I am paraphrasing) “Women are judged by their past (what did you wear?  How many drinks had you had?  How many sexual partners? AND SO ON)  wherein men are judged by their Future. (their potential and how their future lives will be affected by this ‘incident’)”  This is a prime example of attitudes that need to change.  And until we change this the feminist movement and rights of women in general will not be equal to those who were lucky enough to be born with a penis.


To the woman who the focus of the story is.  I applaud you, your strength and resilience.  You will overcome.  Do not let this POS take any more from you.  Keep believing in yourself and be proud of who you will become.  Know that nothing you did caused this.  Nothing you did could have caused it.   On behalf of mankind I apologize for the shit storm you’ve been living.  I apologize for the misogynist society that holds his worth and value to be higher.  But know that while a judge may have believed that not everyone does.  We stand behind you and we are fighting to change the old boys club in every way we can.


To the POS judge, swimmer and his father.  Time for your precious boy to grow up.  He was found guilty.  I hope that he can reflect and grow and learn to take responsibility for his actions.  No one held him down and forced him to rape an unconscious girl.  No one force fed him the alcohol that he uses as an excuse.  Instead of giving lame excuses, stand up and say I’m sorry.  

Proud Mama coming through!

So proud momma moment.  I must share.  But first a bit of background information. 

For those of you that don’t know, Thing 2 was born with a heart condition which required surgery when she was five.  It was a serious enough condition that the surgery took place at Sick Kids hospital in Toronto.   She had started to show signs of heart failure when she was finally big enough to have the surgery (before you start fretting too much – she is absolutely fine- the surgery was a success and she is as ornery and normal as any other teenage girl around)  Anyways the staff at Sick Kids was wonderful and although the experience was harrowing and nothing I would wish on my enemies, she was well cared for.  I still remember the hospital, and have nightmares about the sick, sad children but, it was the best place for Thing 2 to be. 


Anyways that’s the background, fast forward to now Thing 1 is eighteen and Thing 2 is fifteen.  The other night I overheard the two of them talking, it goes like this:


Thing 2 “Don’t worry I’ll get you the money I owe you next week, when I get paid.”


Thing 1 “Okay, it’s on my credit card so I need the cash as soon as possible.”


Thing 2 “No problem.”


Hmm.  My ears perked up and the Mommy radar switched on to high.  What is Thing 2 buying that requires a credit card? And why did she ask her brother and not me?  Hmm.  Time to get to the bottom of this mystery.


So I call the kids in, and ask what’s going on?


This is the story as I got it from them. 


Thing 1 saw a post online looking for help.  It was $20 per month donation to the Sick Kids hospital. 

Thing 1 said since it was the hospital that saved his sisters life he wanted to help them.  And that he knew how much that hospital had helped his sister and he wanted to donate back to it.  He arranged the auto donation to come off his credit card once a month for the next year and when Thing 2 heard about it she also thought it was a great idea and wanted to contribute as well so she had him set it up for her.  Each child is donating $20 per month because they know what a great hospital Sick Kids is.  Thing 2 has memories, however vague of her time there and knew she had to give back to the place that had literally saved her life.


Both kids work part time and save fifty percent of their incomes for college, since we’ve always known that Mr. Gloria and I would be unable to pay for post-secondary education.  So their spending money is already limited and for the two of them to decide to donate a portion of that money to charity, and a charity that is so close to our hearts (literally) and I felt like The Grinch, my heart grew three sizes with the pride I felt. 


I had this moment of pure bliss, pure pride and joy.  A moment where I knew I had done well with my kids and they were genuinely good people. 


Thing 2 at Sick Kids enjoying some jello.


I’ve been really absent from the blog over the last little while.  It’s like my life exploded.  Everything that could change seems to have – within a few months.  I sold my store, got a job (supposed to be part time – but I haven’t seen that yet) sold my house, bought a new house, getting ready to move, sold my weekend getaway (also known as my trailer), Thing 1 has accepted his college admittance (eek!), Thing 2 is switching high schools.  *deep breath*  I can and will get through all the changes. 


I do not deal with changes all that well.  And here I am faced with seemingly insurmountable and constant changes. 


I’ve also had a period of severe reflection.  Self-doubt (always a close companion of mine) fear and depression have taken a serious toll on me.  Added to all the other stressors, and I haven’t been feeling creative in the two minutes a day I can call my own.  I want to write, I want to read and yet the depression has me macraméd to the couch watching old reruns of Glee.   in the last two weeks there have been some glimmerings of ideas rumbling around in my head and a slight creative nudge happening so hopefully I will be able to return to my normal self.  I am making a conscious effort to be more present and write more. 


I have been journaling a lot more (old fashioned journaling in a bound-paper book – *gasp* but trust me it’s nothing you would want to read about.  Mostly my overwhelming fears and doubts and allowing my inner whiner free reign.   along with some serious dark poetry not at all suitable for public consumption.


So I hope that everyone is having a good time and can forgive me for being an absent person as I try to sort out my life.

Hugs and kisses to you all.