Category Archives: life

Enbridge Oil Spills Inevitable


Our governments have to reject this scheme.  It will result in environmental disasters.  Our land, streams and ocean, and the organisms that rely on them, will be devastated.

Write to your MP and MLA and ask them to use their political power to prevent this.  Thank you.

One such disaster (my emphasis):

“As of Oct. 31, 2011, more than 1,139,000 gallons of oil are estimated to have been contained in the contaminated waste streams generated by cleanup work. These waste streams include oily water, soil, sediment, and debris.

EPA, working with state and local agencies, has directed Enbridge’s oil recovery efforts since July 26, 2010, when a pipeline rupture near Marshall, Michigan, caused the largest inland oil spill in Midwest history. Government efforts ultimately prevented the oil spill from reaching Lake Michigan.

At the height of the response activities in September 2010, more than 2,500 EPA, state, local and Enbridge personnel and contractors were working along 35 miles of impacted river and shoreline. EPA continues to lead the effort and more than 400 people will continue to work on the cleanup over the winter.”

Enbridge will be required to repay the government for all response costs.

And from Wikipedia (my emphasis)

“Using data from Enbridge’s own reports, the Polaris Institute calculated that 804 spills occurred on Enbridge pipelines between 1999 and 2010. These spills released approximately 168,645 barrels (26,812.4 m3) of hydrocarbons into the environment.”


No Pipeline, Please


The land and waters of the Great Bear Rainforest, on BC’s north and central Pacific coast, is home to humpback whales, wild salmon, wolves, grizzly bears, and the white spirit bear. This unique environment is threatened by Enbridge, who plan to bring an oil pipeline and supertankers to these fragile habitats.

This proposal is opposed by first nations people along the coastline whose land and way of life are also being threatened.

If you care about this amazing, spectacular part of the world, please help to prevent this pipeline and the tankers that are planned, from destroying it.  You know that it will.  You know that there will be an oil spill.  And you know what that will do to every living thing in that area for years afterwards.  This is a bigger issue than you can imagine.  Please join in the movement to prevent it.

Go to

to watch the video that will inform you if you don’t know about it.


What I Mean by Happy New Year


This year has seen good friends passing away and others just hanging onto life. It has also seen our family increasing and decreasing. Things we can’t control beset us, and all we can do is learn how to “keep on Keeping on.” Thank you to my dear husband Joel and other dear people, young and old, without whom it would have been much harder. I hope I will do a better job of accepting life’s inevitable sorrows in the year ahead. I hope all of us will embrace the joys and bear with the pain and become deeper and stronger in spirit. That’s what I mean when I wish you all a “Happy New Year.”



Why Do I Write?


I was asked this question today.  I always find it hard to answer.  I can imagine that if you asked a baseball player why he play baseball he’s say it was because he enjoyed it.  I can predict that if you asked a doctor why she practices medicine, she might say it was because she wants to help people.  These are just conjectures.  But while I can speculate about others, I don’t find it simple to imagine what answer people expect from me.

I suppose I write because I have to.  Just like a runner needs to run, I feel a strong need to create entire realities that express my values and my imagination.

I also write for other people.   I love to hear from my readers who tell me they enjoyed my books, saw themselves in them, recognized feelings they have had, enjoyed the little world I created.  I like reading to school classes and listening to their ideas and responses afterwards.

I also hope that someday my descendants will know a little more about the real me.  My grandchildren are too young to read my books now, but someday they’ll e able to.  Maybe my son and daughter will be able to see into their mother’s imagination and get to know me a little better, too.

I need to tell my stories.  I guess it’s as simple as that.


Brain Work-Outs


After graduating from university in my early 20s, I promised myself I’d never write another paper or exam. I was wrong. I started writing research papers in my 40s just for my own satisfaction, because I was interested in things and wanted to study them to the nth degree, and then went back and got my MA when I was 50 because I wanted to work my brain really hard, among other things. Some people have a need to work out physically (not me) and others can’t go to sleep till they’ve had a great mental workout (me.) At 22 or 33 I never knew that about myself.
I wonder what drives us to do brain work.
When I was in a very difficult part of my life, as these things go, with kids at the leaving home stage and a mother getting to the needing care stage, I made a life-changing decision.  I decided to get a graduate degree.
You might wonder why I would choose this path, the path of academia, but I had simply discovered that working hard with my brain had given me a sense of competence and control that I wasn’t finding in the rest of my life and I wanted to feel competent and in control just then.  My world was changing and I could no longer take on all the problems my loved ones were having to cope with.  I was no longer in control of my little patch of the world.
Some people join gyms or run.  I knew I had to study.  I had to learn new things and find out where they fit into my mental geography.  I had to weigh, measure and compare ideas and see how they could find application in my life.
I guess it’s no surprise that I chose to take my degree in counselling, since it was in the realm of the mind that I was feeling the loss of control.  I wanted to expand my knowledge and understanding of human behavior and things about the human brain’s workings that I didn’t know, and learn what the great psychologists saw as the way we work and think and feel and relate, and how their views differed and what was true for me.  I gave myself over to studying for two years, and at the end of it I had a Master’s Degree and I also had a mind that I could rely on for clear thinking and deeper understanding of the human condition.
I’m someone who needs to exercise her mind.   Some of you jog.  I don’t.  I solve problems when I can, whether in my work or at leisure.  It makes me feel good.
And the bonus is, I became more effective in my life and can pass on that knowledge to others.

Another Thanksgiving Dinner That Couldn’t Be Beat


Is there anything better that Thanksgiving leftovers?  Possibly.  But whenever I fill a plate with yesterday’s Thanksgiving feast I feel doubly thankful.  After all, not only do the meal taste even better warmed up, but I didn’t have to cook it. It’s just there, in all its ravaged splendour, waiting to be enjoyed.

I have to agree with Arlo Guthry in Alice’s Restaurant,  It was another Thanksgiving dinner that couldn’t be beat, today, the day after Thanksgiving.

Happy feasting, everyone.

Steve Jobs said it


“There comes a time in life where you have to let go of all the pointless drama and the people who create it and surround yourself with people who make you laugh so hard that you forget the bad and focus soley on the good. After all, life is too short to be anything but happy.”

What do you think of this quote?  I read it and loved it right away, but I’ve been thinking it over.  On the surface it sounds very liberating.  But I wonder about the people you leave behind.  I agree that “pointless drama” should be avoided.  If there isn’t a point to the drama, then by definition it won’t lead to a new understanding or point.    And I agree that the people creating the pointless drama are to be avoided, at least at times, if you can’t remain positive in their presence. But this should not mean we write them out of our lives.

Although this quote sounds liberating, it’s a liberty gained by retreating.  Sure, you can surround yourselves with happy-go-lucky friends who make you laugh.  I bet it would be a lot of fun.  But what about those other people in your life that are not so happy?  Do they deserve to be abandoned because they don’t make you feel good?

I don’t think life is too short to be anything but happy, if it’s at the expense of other people.  Call me a do-good-er, but I love my friends even when they’re sad or angry, depressed or confused, and I like to hang out with them even if they don’t make me feel like laughing.

I think Steve Jobs is expressing a selfish attitude.  You’re number one and only things that make you happy are worth doing?  Right?  I don’t believe that.  I think relationships are sometimes very difficult, and when we’re in those relationships it sometimes becomes dramatic.  Sometimes it feel pointless.  So what?  Do you think it’s better to tear families and friendships apart because you just want to feel happy all the time?  Are you entitled to a life of pure happiness?

To me this is a selfish attitude, and frankly, one that is juvenile.  I hope we all have deeper relationships with people than what’s implied in that quote, that we care enough about others to stay with them through rough times, when they might be stuck and trying to work something out.  Don’t give up on them because they don’t bring a smile to your lips whenever you’re together.

You’d want a friend to do the same for you.