Monday, April 30, 2018


She posts her profound thoughts on Facebook. By profound, I mean profound like a teenager’s journal. Not a profound teenager – an angsty, never-paid-attention-in-English-class teen. Like Jack Handy profound. She gets a hundred likes and fawning comments with each deep thought. I shake my head and click on the link to my friends’ blogs.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Madame R.

I ran into my French teacher in the hallway of the high school almost thirty years after I graduated. Do you still keep in touch with L. and Y, she asked, remembering me and the girls I hung with all those years ago. And what is G. up to these days? (My brother.)

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Michelle McNamara

The official word is no, her exhaustive research and posthumous book was not a factor in yesterday’s* arrest of Joseph DeAngelo. Maybe that’s true, but they unwittingly acknowledge her by calling him the Golden State Killer**. I like to think knowing she was coming for him gave him a lot of sleepless nights.

*I’m a couple days ahead on this, so it has now likely been 3 days since the arrest.
**Because he was known as the East Area Rapist and Original Night Stalker (EARONS) before she renamed him for her book.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Another S.

She owns a local pet shop. I buy her high-end dog food. In return, after a year, she learned my name. When my sweet little Rudy began peeing on my bed at night, she diagnosed dominance; I needed to talk to her in-house trainer. Now. The vet rolled her eyes and diagnosed leptospirosis.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Montana Banksy

S/he is like the original Banksy, but even better. S/he leaves works of guerilla nature art on the banks of the Yellowstone River to be stumbled upon by unsuspecting hikers. Imagine the joy of discovering one of his/her pieces. MB follows me on Instagram. When s/he likes one of my pics, I swoon.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018


She’s hilarious, and I didn’t get much work done when we shared an office. She juggled 2 teenage boys, an ass of an ex-husband*, and a young daughter profoundly affected by autism. While laughing. Now she tends goats and chickens and vegetables in a haunted farmhouse in the country. She is still hilarious.

*and a prince of a second husband

Tuesday, April 24, 2018


I remember her tragic story vaguely – a Shoshone girl, kidnapped by another tribe, sold to a French trapper, translator for the Lewis and Clark expedition. But I don’t trust white historians. I don’t trust the voluntary nature of her service. I don’t trust that her death at only 25 was by natural causes.

Monday, April 23, 2018


She was the first student with whom I shared an office. I marveled at her cockiness at such a young age. Where does one get that confidence? She was a woman in the still male-dominated field of computer-science. When she left us, it was to move to England to accept her Rhodes Scholarship.

Sunday, April 22, 2018


For several years she was a 2,600-year-old Egyptian princess, daughter of Xerxes, married, perhaps, into an aristocratic Persian family. But here’s the problem – Persians don’t mummify their dead. And Egyptians use hieroglyphics, not cuneiform. It turns out she isn’t an ancient princess, she is a twenty-something murder victim. And she died in 1996.

Saturday, April 21, 2018


She didn’t get much from me. That glorious red mane is the legacy of a long-dead ancestor. Clear skin through adolescence? Not me. Beautiful singing voice? Definitely not me. Ruthless minimalism? Nope. I’m learning that from her. She got my nose (sorry, Kiddo). And somehow, despite all her gifts, she got my self-doubt.

Friday, April 20, 2018


I had to unfollow her on Facebook. I couldn’t stand her endless right-wing vitriole. Millenials are all worthless. Liberals are snowflakes. She slams people for not giving Trump a chance while mocking her own Prime Minister’s children. But in person, when we don’t talk politics and focus on our dogs, I like her.

Thursday, April 19, 2018


I’ve never listened to him, other than snippets that appear in podcasts. Sometimes I see him quoted as a source on Twitter. How does one make a living like this? How do you spread lies and foment division so effortlessly? I assume there is a sexual component to the pleasure it brings him.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Richard, the worst

Richard III certainly murdered his two young nephews, Edward and Richard, in the summer of 1483, ensuring his ascension to the throne, and ensuring he is still reviled 500 years later. Like all deplorable and narcissistic leaders, he loves the sound of his own voice, and continues to sow dissention through twitter.


Tuesday, April 17, 2018


After the initial worry of whether we could find enough work for them, most summer students endeared themselves to us and we missed them when they were done. Lori was a belly-dancer. She attended squat-ins and never learned to drive. She was a sociology major who worked the word hegemonic into daily conversations.

Monday, April 16, 2018


Our friendship ended in grade 10. She was angry one day, and wouldn’t tell me why. Decades later we got together over a coffee. Now we meet regularly for breakfast with L., sharing laughs, secrets and disappointments. I still don’t know what caused the estrangement. We don’t talk about it. It never happened.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Mrs. R.

She was wiry and at least 100 years old when I was in grade two. She wanted to be a dancer, but her parents insisted she teach instead. She retired a legend, looking forward to quiet years with her husband. Instead, at two hundred, she is raising two FASD-affected grandchildren for her daughter.

Saturday, April 14, 2018


My friend has endured many tragedies, and at 53 finds herself living with her mother, a hoarder*. She has gathered up bags full of garbage that her mother won’t let her toss. There are three bedrooms, but months into this new living arrangement she sleeps on the couch. She hasn’t uncovered a bed yet.

*It feels like a betrayal to tell something she told me in confidence, but I know this is a safe place to repeat her story.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Humboldt. A post about many people

I played hockey years ago. So did my husband. Neither of my kids were interested, so we don’t have hockey sticks around the house, or I would put one on the porch in memory of the 16 Humboldt Broncos who died last week. I ache for the mothers. I ache for the town.

*I'm not sure if this is a story outside Canada. Here is a link:

Thursday, April 12, 2018

A grade three teacher who really wanted that stupid pizza for her class.

On hat-day, I spotted one of the grade-three students in the hall, hatless*. Recess, his teacher descended upon me, shrieking that no student of hers had been capless all day - I was obviously a liar. Her class won, zero violations. She congratulated my honesty. I'll congratulate her on being an intimidating bully.

*I was on student council. Our job that day was to find students without hats. The class with the fewest violations won the pizza.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018


George was in my grade-one class. His twin brother was in the other class. They were Haida children who attended the school with us army brats. George was slow. His brother, quite bright, was expected to have an equally bright future. Ultimately, their IQs didn’t matter. Both died in a house-fire in 1971.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī - 1207-1273

“A deep grasp of his original poetry requires excellent command of modern Persian, and an equally good command of Islamic prophetic traditions, and the Qur'an.”* I don’t anticipate having time to master any of those things. Instead, I’m happy to be mesmerized by the dancing of the whirling dervishes, founded in his honour.

*Shamelessly cut and pasted, word-for-word, from the Wikipedia entry.

Monday, April 9, 2018


His daughter was a baby when he died. She’s grown now, with children of her own. She posts loving missives to him on Facebook. She can’t remember him but his death left an aching hole in her heart. Sadly, the loving father she misses bears no resemblance to the unkind man he really was.

Sunday, April 8, 2018


Her pictures have been in my facebook and twitter feeds. Her name was Czesława Kwoka. Fourteen. Polish. Jewish. Her Auschwitz mug shots have been recolourized, bringing her back to life. Look into her frightened eyes, knowing there is nothing you can do to lift her from that place and save her from that horror.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

That person... you know... did anyone think to get a name?

There have been some hella smart people in our lifetime… Einstein… Hawking… but 5000 years ago, someone figured out how to manually move giant stones weighing 25 tons from 150 miles away to create Stonehenge, a feat we can't duplicate despite all our modern cleverness. We don’t know a name, but man she was smart.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Let's call her Annie

Let’s say she woke up early, August 24. She smiled as the baby poked at her from the inside. At 8:00, the first unusual plume atop Vesuvius became visible. By noon, it was too late to escape. 1900 years later they were found, entombed in ash, forever an expectant mother and unborn child.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

La Doncella

La Doncella was never meant to live long. Her death from exposure likely occurred when she was already heavily drugged. She lay frozen in time for 500 years, and is still preserved by ice centuries after those who decided an innocent young girl should be sacrificed to her Incan gods have turned to dust.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Betsy McCay: 1819

Betsy joined seventeen others that day and took the overloaded skiff across the water to the Hay Bay church. The young people sang hymns as they approached land; the boat took on water. Weighed down by the heavy skirts and layers of the early 1800s, Betsy and nine others drowned while the congregation watched from shore.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Teenage boys can be such dicks.

He consumed my every thought in the mid-eighties. Finding my drab-wagon hitched to his shining-star, I fought a losing battle to keep him at my side. When it ended, I was crushed, blaming myself for everything, blaming him for nothing. Years later I learned about gaslighting, a term that defines my first romance.

Monday, April 2, 2018


What is she? Sixteen? Seventeen? Facing a crisis I can’t imagine, she rose, threw her fist in the air and shouted, NO MORE. Those who wrap themselves in the flag and claim moral high ground call her a crisis-actor. One tweeted Short bald lesbian. Keep spewing your vitriol, losers. Emma is ignoring you.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Willy Wonka

Years ago I belonged to a writing website. One of the big personalities on the site provided much-desired critiques. He loved the first thing I posted. I glowed. He eviscerated the second, criticizing my writing and me personally. I cried. Eventually I realized he was just a bully, and this was his M.O.

Catching up day 3

May 21, 2018 My grandparents were the first people I knew to own a microwave oven. Theirs was brown*, had a tiny wind...