Sunday, June 28, 2015

Gratitude List #11: A Feast of Food, Friends, and FUN!

Pizza sign at Bowen Island Pizza Company

Today's gratitude list is on the themes of food, friends, and fun (not necessarily in that order)!

* Listening to music while working and bouncing on my ball while working
* Great music and musicians, example Roger Hodgson, co-founder of Supertramp
* Great views when I walk uphill in my neighbourhood
Pizza menu: we had pear & brie special

* A night out with female friends sharing a movie, pizza, and a drink
* Bowen Island Pizza Company at the Quay in North Van
* Friends, especially female friends (at this time in my life)
* Foreign movies: Monsieur Lazhar (filmed in Canada)
* Gelato on a hot day or evening
* Buskerfest, a showcase of buskers in Vancouver

Kutapira, a cool troupe playing Afro-Cuban and West African percussion

* Storing food in my landlady's fridge and freezer: mine was on the fritz
* Air-conditioned venues and transportation such as the seabus and cars
* A day trip to Bowen Island (not where I got the pizza from!)
* Shared summer fruit such as cherries and blueberries
* "Accessing Your Soul's Direction", a husband-wife team-lead workshop
* Canela Michelle Meyers and Steve Clippingdale co-facilitators
* Gorgeous sunsets with various hues
* Seeing bright, beautiful Venus pulsing, twinkling in the sky
* Singing in choir - rehearsing and singing on the same day

What is on your gratitude list today?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wordy Wednesday: Camping Candle

Today's picture prompt is attributed to B-A-R (Blog-A-Rhythm) member, writer, and blogger Parul Kashyap Thakur.

I met Parul online via the April A to Z challenge where I was impressed by her fervent writings on pressing women's issues that I could tell were dear to her heart (and wish were on everyone's heart).

Parul writes about "Everything about my idea of happiness, food and a lot of food for thought!" according to her site's home page (

Her recent post, a tribute to fathers on Father's Day is an easy-to-read post mostly made up of infographics with some rather interesting statistics about fathers:

I find Parul to be a kind, warm, compassionate being expressed through her writings in terms of what she blogs about. I highly recommend you consider reading her blog: I doubt you will regret it as you will probably learn something new at least!

The Kampers loved to camp (and not just because of their name). Their favourite pastime was lighting a fire to sing campfire songs, tell stories (especially ghost stories), and roast marshmallows.

Sometimes they would camp afar, sometimes closer to home, and even at times in the event of inclement weather on their house deck.

It was this one impending storm that drove the Kampers to their deck. They gathered round in their cozy hoodies and blanets, hot drinks in hand, not around their usual campfire unfortunately.

Instead, one lit candle stood tall and glowed, sheltered by glass as if from potential harm. It occasionally flickered at first, and eventually more fervently where the flame tossed mercilessly as the wind gathered force.

The wind howled picking pace and along with it anything on its path. The Kampers fled to their basement in fear, forgetting the lone candle standing there, at least for now.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Gratitude List #10: Fresh, Refresh and Refreshment

Serbian dance at Centennial Theatre's Folkfest in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Today's gratitude list is on the themes of fresh, refresh, and refreshment! In no particular order, here it is:

* Folkfest: a multicultural showcase of dance and music/songs
* Free admission - cash donations accepted for the show
* Centennial Theatre, not too far from home (I can even walk it!)
* A night out with female friends for the show and dining afterwards
* Being treated for a refreshing drink and appetizers after the show
* Dances of Universal Peace to refresh my soul
* Anne MacDonald Studio (an old church hall made into a rehearsal space)
* Summer solstice and an event to celebrate it
* A father with principles and lives with good standards
* Reading outside in a nearby park with tall pine trees
* Gelato and other ice cream on hot days for refreshment
* Refreshing rain one evening
* An end-of-the-season potluck BBQ with choir members
* A brisk night walk in fresh air with a friend along West Vancouver's seawall
* Fresh produce at a local farmer's market
* Lots of fresh fruits and veggies in my fridge
* Another sunny weekend
* Another weekend for fresh air-dried laundry
* A beautiful breeze to air dry my laundry
* Recycling non-blue box items
* Thrift stores for second-hand items
* Dropping off donations for abused women at a local thrift store
* A wicker laundry basket

My 'new' second-hand laundry basket

* Crocs (shoes) for outdoors/gardening and indoors
My new crocs in two styles and colours

What is on your gratitude list for today and/or from this past week?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Wordy Wednesday: The world is a small place

Today's prompt is attributed to B-A-R (Blog-A-Rhythm) member, writer, and blogger Usha Menon nicknamed 'eccentric grandmum'.

Her blog, 'Kuch Khatta Kuch Meetha' ( means 'Some sour some sweet' as life is like that, certainly not always a bed of roses!

Usha is retired and loves to write and does so daily if she can, otherwise almost daily (

She has participated in a number of blog challenges and has won a number of awards, including 'Best Blog of 2013' - that's quite an accomplishment!

Sometimes, or do I imagine this, she pokes fun at herself in her writings. However, with compassion, sincerity, and warmth - at times humour too - Usha writes a combination of fiction in the form of stories and non in the form of poetry, primarily haiku, a very short form of Japanese poetry (

I am always amazed at her writing of haiku: I think Usha is a natural! It seems to just roll off her tongue, er I mean off the tip of her pen, or rather computer keyboard. Oftentimes, you will notice several of her haiku in one post!

I hope you enjoy reading her posts, haiku and all! If you do, please bless her writing with a comment. It only takes a moment and she not only deserves it, she will also surely appreciate it.

I could challenge myself in writing fiction about this, but I change my mind.

I have had many small world experiences, especially since moving from Toronto, Ontario to Vancouver, British Columbia years ago.

One instance stands out for me in particular as follows (written to the best of my recollection):

Not too long after moving here that rather tickled my funny bone was an ad I saw in a local newspaper. I can't recall the heading nor the ad for that matter though it had something to do with friendship or dating.

Believe me or not, I actually KNEW immediately who it was when I read it: no kidding!

With playful humour, I responded somewhat coyly with no clues as to who I was. I believe I emailed in question form similar to his questioning as if I was questioning him (if memory serves me correctly).

Well, the day came where we met over a cup of coffee or tea.

I smiled quietly outwardly though hugely inside attempting to keep my secret for as long as possible: he didn't seem to recognize me at all which somewhat surprised me, though it had been a few years since I had seen him last.

When I finally told him who I was after about five minutes or so and some guessing, he laughed. He was both shocked and surprised, yet delighted to meet someone from his past.

We ended up having a great discussion reminiscing about people we both knew from the church we used to attend and our lives since then.

The world is a small place after all
! Isn't it?! ;)

Epilogue: A number of years later, I attempted to re-establish contact with him as I moved into the region he used to live in. Unfortunately, I lost all contact with him as his information had changed. Too bad!

P.S. I couldn't figure out the share buttons...almost but not quite (enough)!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Gratitude List #9: More of Free and Freedom

Sci-fi book cover: Kéthani by Eric Brown

Today's gratitude list predominantly continues on the theme of free and freedom from last week ( as well as the outdoors, in no particular order as follows:

* Reading an interesting sci-fi book: didn't think I was a fan of science fiction!
* Relaxing and reading in a nearby park with lots of trees, including tall pine trees
* Creating colourful and tasty salads with organic vegetables and fruit
* Free samples including that of food
* Fridays Shipyards Night Market in North Van
* Gelato! Especially on a warm summer evening - oh, spring!
* Free music outdoors and great bands
* Free vocal session (introductory)
* Free coffee after so many stars/points collected
* Free/donation luncheon
* Being able to air dry laundry again outside on a sunny weekend
* Walking the neighbourhood nightly, usually around sunset (before/after) sometimes alone, sometimes with a friend
* Beauty whether homes, gardens, neighbourhoods, and vistas
* Living in North Vancouver: I love it here!
* A walk by the ocean in picturesque West Vancouver
* Eyesight: being able to read and see lovely vistas

P.S. I changed my photo on last week's gratitude of the side of this Bavarian Alps home.

And now your turn, what are you grateful for? Today and/or this past week and/or in general?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Wordy Wednesday: Powerful yet graceful

Today's Wordy Wednesday prompt - Oops! I just realized I accidentally initially titled this with "Wordless" rather than "Wordy" and now wonder for how long did I do that?! Perhaps that was for a photo prompt? I just came back from checking and luckily only last week was incorrect. (Thank goodness!)

Anyway, as I was starting to say, today's prompt is attributed to B-A-R (Blog-A-Rhythm) member, writer, and blogger 'Eloquent Mind' as she calls herself. She writes a blog entitled, "Life! As it is...experiences, writing, poetry, and more..."

Eloquent Mind writes both fiction and non-fiction, poetry, and stories to spice up the flavours and enliven her blog posts.

I hope you enjoy reading her posts as much as I do as she has an easy writing style and thus makes for easy reading which I so appreciate. Hope you do too!

In line with Eloquent Mind's love of ballet dance, I write similarly as 'ballet' came to mind - actually the image of a leg came first - with her phrase prompt, powerful yet graceful.


Her feet twisted outwards, knees bent in plié, the young girl exerted all her effort into holding that position. [Note: For those of you who aren't familiar, this is a common ballet pose where a dancer bends the knees and straightens them again, usually with the feet turned out and heels firmly on the ground.]

So easily a pose come by the other similar-aged dancers she saw around her. But then they weren't like her. No, not at all!

For she had a formidable strength and an indomitable spirit unlike others who would more than likely fail from resigning firsthand, given her circumstances. But little Chloe knew what she had to do, what she wanted to do, and channelled all her strength, energy, and willpower into whatever she undertook, particularly in her passion for dance.

Chloe was what others - some - would term "special" as in "special child." She had been born healthy with exceptional progress in the first few years of her life when tragedy struck.

The doctors weren't 100% sure, not just yet, what with the myriad of childhood illnesses and diseases - as many it sometimes seemed as likely questionable causes - mother's health including her diet and that of her child's, environmental toxins in food, water, clothes, homes, and the like, as well as vaccinations and a host of other possibilities - that were rampant everywhere.

The wee lass though had started dancing from a tender age showing a natural inclination due to her zest. Both her parents knew instinctively to sign her up for lessons, though eventually they ended up being held at home.

Her parents shielded her from possible ridicule in the form of shaming and bullying. They were protective of Chloe not wanting to worsen her condition anymore, whether physical, mental, or emotional.

Yet Chloe was charmed with not only a resolute determination, she also possessed a natural poise, a grace beyond measure. In fact, because of her persistent attention to her movements, especially that of her arms and legs, you would say she was powerful yet graceful.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Gratitude List #8: Free and Freedom

Bavarian Alps style home

Today's gratitude list is on the theme of free and freedom, neighbourhood and mice as follows:

* Free training for public speaking via my work
* Free exercise class focusing on legs, bum, and tum
* Sunny hot weather this weekend to air dry my laundry :)
* About an hour nap due to a few early mornings, late nights, and allergies
* Making time to read (and enjoy) a book
* Spending some time outdoors: farmers markets, reading, walks
* Going for walks in my new neighbourhood
* Farmer's markets on the North Shore, including a few in North Vancouver
* Having an abundance of food in my fridge including lettuce/salad & fruit
* Meeting the owner of a Bavarian Alps style home: love that look!
* Meeting a neighbourhood cat just down the street where I live
* Scenic views from up on high (on the streets in Upper Lonsdale)
* Two mice caught in the hall/storage area between the outer and inner doors
* A dog upstairs with a keen sense of smell: he found the second dead mouse - I had heard the snap of one mousetrap ...hmm, wish I had a cat or dog! ;)
* Found a loonie (a one-dollar coin)

Mouse traps: old and new styles

Though I had SO wished for the mouse to escape outdoors to freedom - thought I had only one mouse (unless another came in in the meantime) - to go back outside harm-free, my landlord had tried various means including mouse-friendly traps where they would be caught alive.

Nothing seemed to work and thus she resorted to old, traditional mouse traps which I did not wish in my home. Thus, they were placed in the corridor between the outside door and my apartment door.

What are you grateful for today and/or this week?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Wordy Wednesday: SCREAM!

My story today is a word prompt challenge (

Today's word prompt is "Scream." 'Scream' makes me think - pardon the aside - of the following childhood rhyme: "I scream. You scream. We all scream for ice cream."

I'm going to take the liberty and morph "scream" into SCREAM! (in all caps and with an exclamation mark). I hope you don't mind though I am sure you can understand why, right?

This word prompt was submitted by B-A-R (Blog-A-Rhythm) member, writer, and blogger Inderpreet Kaur Uppal (

I have come to know Inderpreet through Blog-A-Rhythm where I have read some of her Indian book reviews which sound rather intriguing. She also writes reviews on American, Australian, and European books as her travels take her around the world. Her other writings include fiction based on blog prompts and non-fiction for articles such as where she writes as "indywrites."

You can check more about her writings here:

Now, onto my story ...
She moved recently. Was it two or three weeks ago, already?!

At first she thought it was the crackling of the new thermostat-controlled electric baseboard heaters she had in her new studio suite, two steps below ground level of a house. Then she thought it might be the rain outside, strumming against the window panes and cement pathway.

One night there was no rain and no heater on. Yet there it was. The distinct sound of something. Something rustling. In the nook acting as storage were a number of boxes filled with various items, some with brown wrapping paper, bubblewrap, and the like. Somewhere in there. Over there.

Oh NO! Oh dear! What was it?! She let out a blood-curdling SCREAM!

Note: This is based on a true story of me except that I actually didn't scream. ;)