Authors at the Astor

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Today

I was just outside drinking coffee, listening to birds, watching lobster boats puttering around in the bay and old fellas driving along our road at neck breaking speeds of 25 kph. They do that here, many of them twice a day, coming to a full stop if they see an unfamiliar car in the neighborhood before heading to the wharf for a yarn with their salty pals.

I sat contemplating the idea of blogging. Today as well as last week  I woke up with a familiar feeling of, not so much dread, but some nagging anxiety around having an assignment due and not having any idea how to do the thing.  I think I might have blogging-phobia.

I have learned a few things about myself. One of which is that I love structure. I love projects with a beginning and an end and a little elbow grease. I have also learned that I do not like routine. A little is okay, like cleaning on Mondays, but other than that, not so much.

Another thing I know is that when I try to be funny or entertaining, I am generally not. I succeed only at being annoying. Bringing me back to the blogging thing on Sundays… I don’t feel like it is working. Not to say that I don’t like writing. I love it. But I love it when I sit down and write with no deadlines or expectations. Like when I was in school, yes I know that was eons ago, let it go, but the idea of some skirted woman standing in front and ordering me to write something almost gives me chills. Like I stated I would retell a story about a Geranium, and then didn’t do it. Why? Not sure.

Okay, maybe because I have a guest here. This is day five of the Liverpool International Theatre Festival, and last night we attended plays number 9 and 10. Today at 1:00 we go see Egypt perform. The festival is non short of amazing,  but also the kind of thing I cannot begin to describe adequately. Last night we saw a play from Poland; four women preforming around the theme of journey and femininity … I can’t begin to do it justice, but one part had one woman grating a head of cabbage and flinging it everywhere while two others dressed in aprons and kerchiefs danced around with wooden spoons and mixing bowls slinging flour all around the stage. And that was one small scene of a mix of Rocky Horror Picture Show, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and the Grapes of Wrath, all in Polish. Following that, a company from the USA did a rendition of Charlie Brown with all manner adolescent issues including bullying, homosexuality and suicide. First Snoopy was put down because he got rabies and killed Woodstock. Charlie Brown visited Lucy in jail, who was serving time for lighting the red headed girl’s hair on fire, Charlie Brown kissed Beethoven,  Pig Pen broke Beethoven’s hands and Beethoven committed suicide.  Friday we saw Noah and his wife build and ark onstage and bring forth a multitude of animals, all in German. After that  four women ate real chicken with cuttlerly from plates suspended by wires from a wooden frame, the plates suspended not in the way they would sit on a table, but in the way they would hang on a clothesline…while they gesticulated wildly, discussing issues around four generations of abandonment, single parenthood and alcoholism… in Romanian.

And that is just a tiny tiny tip of the iceberg, pardon the cliche. I could go on and on…

It all makes me re-realize the mind-boggling creativity which exists. There is so much talent out there and it seems so many people are exploring and contributing in one way or another. Through acting, singing, writing….

So much to see, to hear, to learn.

And so many bloggers.

If I want to profess to be a writer, I have to admit I write sporadically, and I do believe I am not so much a writer as a storyteller, if that makes any sense. And I would rather write another book during my inspiring moments of wanting to be at one with the keyboard.

So maybe blogging isn’t for me. I’m still not sure. Having said that I don’t really feel comfortable with a ‘weekly’ thing, it may be that I do. Or maybe not.

We’ll see. That too I know. That we will see. And perform, preform? I really should have listened more in high school. I fear if I took grade 10 English right now I would fail. And I didn’t even proof read this, not that that would change anything, but the sun is shining.

Maybe I shall jabber on next week, or maybe next Thursday. Or the Tuesday after next. We’ll see. In the meantime, there are millions of blogs out there…

Have a great week. And celebrate all the talent out there.

It’s nothing short of amazing.


And the winner is…

Seems I’m a little behind. I saw that inside a birthday card once. On the front was a rear-view drawing of a tiny naked boy, with peachy buttocks. The caption on the front said, ‘Sorry I forgot your birthday.’

First, thanks so much to all of you who did a review for Mennonite Girl on Goodreads.com. I was waiting for my husband to return from Newfoundland early Sunday evening  so he could help me do the draw. He was late due to a malfunction and them needing to get another plane to fly. When he did get home, we did what we always do. We sit with a beer and he gives the play-by-play of his time on ‘the rock’.  I ask him to start with his arrival at the Halifax airport. He started talking. 45 minutes later he was still talking about the guy he was sitting next to on the plane. Which was great because he was a really interesting fellow. Two hours later he was through with the 4 day synopsis. I love every minute of it and this is all to say why I didn’t announce the name yesterday. Just got sidetracked.

The other thing I was going to do yesterday, in honor of Mother’s Day, was to tell a story that my mother told in church one Sunday many years ago. This was during ‘children’s time’, when all the children all called forward during the church service.

Don’t worry. It isn’t actually a church story because there are no Biblical characters in the story. It’s  about a little old widow who lived alone. The widow doesn’t even attend church. She’s a recluse.

The story is called, The Geranium. But right now, I am needed elsewhere. I will finish and post the story sometime soon. This week. But I shall now do the name draw and at least get that done. But due come back later in the week for the story. And next week, I shall try to post on time.

And the winner is Janet Schmidt. Congratulations Janet!!!

Thanks again to all of you who did post ratings and comments.


What’s A Mennonite Girl To Do?


This may look like an ordinary pile of rocks on the beach, but look closely … very closely. If you are a sea glass collector you will see a jackpot of sea glass. And if you aren’t a beach glass collector and want to be, look carefully at the colors and shapes, and you should begin to be able to pick out the whites. They are sort of frosted. Another thing before I continue, picture that this is one very small section of a harbour I stumbled upon. In other words, there was loads of glass on this beach. On most beaches you can walk for five minutes before you find one piece of glass. Imagine sitting down and picking up a bread bag full of the stuff. So that was the situation I found myself in.

Thing was, we were in Stornaway, Scotland. This is located in the Outer Hebrides. Islands way out there.

Backtracking a wee bit. About 10 days.

Naw, I won’t tell you ten days worth. Short version. It was May. A wild windy May, and if you think you’ve experienced wild windy Mays, go to the northern parts of Scotland. I thought I had experienced extreme weather changes, but this was something else. Suffice it to say, all of our clothing was well used, and thank goodness for Mountain Equipment Co-op clothing. Layers and quick dry became deeply meaningful to my heart.  Maybe I’ll just show you one picture so you can see how nice it was at times.

Aren’t they cute??

But we were in a rental car, traveling many roads, and at the time of finding the mother lode of sea glass were in Stornaway, as previously mentioned.

How we happened to find the beach was this. We had arrived on the ferry, toured the Isles of Lewis and Harris, by the way the white sand beaches to the south are stunning. Arrived at our B & B hungry after all the beach walking, but on the way out the front door to find a restaurant heard boisterous talking and laughter from behind the closed door that said ‘lounge,’ so in we went to seek advice regarding food. Inside we found six people, sitting with open Scotch bottles and weeny glasses and trays of lovely little food spread on the coffee table. I know this sounds corny, but these six people live about 140 km away from us in Nova Scotia. Yes. We sat for a while and had a wee dram to warm our appetites for food.

Off we go and found a pub on the harbour. Very nice. Not very busy.  Big fancy restaurant upstairs. We order a pint, decide to sit a bit before ordering food to enjoy the atmosphere and listen to the  accents of the locals. The moment comes when we need food. Right away. We flag the waitress and  I ask twelve or thirteen questions about items on the menu before choosing. This used to drive my husband a bit crazy but he’s grown tolerant.

She leaves, but returns shortly with bad news. An extremely large party at the restaurant upstairs, which is where the kitchen is, has just ordered their meals. Oooh. Very bad timing on our part.

We wait and wait, and wait. Meanwhile my husband gets up to go for a little walk outside, to stretch his legs. He returns about 5 minutes later with a big grin on his face. No the food hasn’t arrived. But he has good news for me. He tells me he stepped down into the harbour, and as he has learned to do, since my sea glass fetish began, looked down, and so discovered the abundance of glass.

I’ll skip the part of us wolfing down the food.

The next day, we came back. And I filled two bags in very short order. That was all fine. We had a car. It went into the trunk. And the glee on my face was a site to see.

Fast forward to going home. We flew with Air Canada. They only allow one bag these days, unless you pay. My husband has Scottish roots, so he had been busily collecting Scottish things to take home to give to family. So his bag was full and heavy. After the Scottish part of my adventure, I was going to spend a week in Cambridge, England with my smart-as-a-whip niece who studies there, and two other lovely women. From there we were heading to Florence, Italy.  That is all relevant because I did not want to lug around two bags of sea glass. The stuff is heavy.

So herein lies the dilemma. What to do?

I love the glass. I want the glass. It is free. But now what?

Royal mail to the rescue. But this decision is made after careful consideration. I always carry a little calculator but still manage to get confused with local currencies.

The bottom line is, I couldn’t really pass up the opportunity. Sea glass. I didn’t need it. I wanted it. I mailed it. It arrived at our post office several weeks later.  In two boxes. And when the assistant post mistress picked one of  the boxes to hand it to me her face went gray and her eyes grew wide.

“It broken!” she said, looking at me.

I just laughed.