Entrepreneurial spirit – with beer

Cling, clank, smash – the noise at Edmonton’s Strathcona bottle depot is deafening. The small building is stuffed with noise, bottles and people. My husband and I have picked the worst time to bring back our recyclables: right when students are cleaning out their homes. Twenty-five years ago, I was doing the same thing. The line-up today, a rainy Saturday, …

Chipping inn

A Facebook meme went around last week asking people what restaurants they remember from childhood and if the joints are still around. I remember the usual because they were unusual in many Nova Scotia towns in the 80s. (There was no McDonald’s in New Minas in the Annapolis Valley until the mid-eighties.) The other night, another restaurant popped into my …

Firsts and forgets

I love seeing people’s “first day of school” photos (especially those of my niece and nephew). While I was home in Nova Scotia last week, Acadia University students were moving into residence, some for the first time. It has been more than 20 years since I was a student at Acadia, set on changing the world. I was going to …

Then to now

I recently returned from a vacation that took me to Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea. It was my first time landing in Malaysia and Singapore but not South Korea. I had been an English teacher in Korea almost 20 years ago. When I was there, I wrote a bi-weekly column for a Nova Scotia newspaper about my experiences. I’m doing …

Time travel

Time travel boggles my mind. Yet, as a memoir writer I do it almost every day. One thing different about my continuum is physically I stay in the same place. But sometimes something happens and I’m transported, both body and mind, to a different era. My husband gave me a book about Alex Colville for Christmas. Colville was an artist …

Acadia: not only about book learning

Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia is celebrating 175 years of education and innovation. It asked for alumnus to share stories from their Acadia days to mark the anniversary. Here is my contribution that was recently published in the Acadia Bulletin (on page 48: http://bit.ly/1cSLv7b.) I don’t remember many of my classroom lessons at Acadia. Of course, the knowledge my …

Adding memories to photos

“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” ~Ansel Adams I’m adding memories to my Newfoundland photos. Putting in some of the little details that can’t be seen by looking at the pictures. I’m capturing the uncaptured frozen in time. The orange cabin we stayed in in Bauline East. Did you know some places in Newfoundland are named twice? Portugal …

A beast of the wild

I’m not afraid of spiders, big or small (I’ve lived in Africa and seen both). I’m not afraid of mice or rats. I’m not afraid of snakes. I’m afraid of squirrels. Hate those fuzzy bastards. Why? I read a news clipping about 20 years ago that told the story of junkie squirrels in New York City’s Central Park. They were …

Springing back into university

Spring has sprung – officially. Unofficially most days in Calgary feel like they’re struggling to understand their new seasonal identity. They haven’t shed winter yet and it’s been snowing and cold for a few days now. There was one day last week when the temperature hit 18 and we could believe warmer weather was coming. That day also reminded me …

Happy New Year’s from Germany

In 1993 I spent part of New Year’s Eve in a small mountain town near the Black Forest in Germany. The other part of the night I spent in a hospital. It was an evening to remember although not one of revelry. I was in Germany for two weeks visiting my friend who was attending the University of Freiburg on …