Summer is drawing to a close here on Vancouver Island. You can hear it in the low moan of morning fog horns and in the crackle of russet leaves falling in the forest. You can smell it in the jammy scent of over-ripe blackberries drifting through the afternoon.

It’s been a different summer for me. No long holidays away camping or backpacking or kayaking. This was a summer interrupted, a holiday season without long stretches where we could get away. It was a summer spent close to home, enjoying time with overseas visitors, attending weddings, spending time when we could get it with the two oldest boys, both of whom have busy lives.

It was a good summer. Just different. We’re in a different season.

I’ve been thinking about those seasons as I put the finishing touches on my book,  An Alphabet of Men: Dating my way from Adam to Zak.  Married for more than two years now, I feel as though my years as a single mom in her forties were a long time ago.

But the stories about my adventures in online dating demanded to be written. Every time I put the stories away, deciding they were too self-indulgent, somebody else would ask when I was going to write that book. They wanted to know how I did it, how I got through that period in my life with my sanity and my sense of humour intact.

So I wrote the book. And revised it. Sent it out to beta readers. Sent it off to an amazing editor. Spent another six months rewriting and revising entire sections.

And finally, it’s finished!

I’m ready for this next season, for fall to arrive and for me to turn my creative energies toward getting this book out into the world.











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A Love Letter to My Boy at 16


Dear G___,

As you turn 16, I watch you venturing out into the world, my heart filled with pride for the young man you are becoming and with fierce mother-love for that part of you that will always be my little boy. You are an amazing kid and it is so lovely to have you around the house.

brothersYou have no idea how much I appreciate and enjoy your sense of humour, your easy-going nature, and your extraordinary patience, especially with the two 11 year-olds in the house. They appreciate you most for your willingness to play video games with them and your ability to pass gas on demand. I hope that as time goes by they come to understand how lucky they are to have in you someone so kind and so generous. Our home is a happier (but stinkier) place with you in it.

brothers2I have seen so many of your strengths reveal themselves through your participation in team sports, especially rugby. Over the years, I’ve watched you practice in July heat and in the bitter chill of November rains; you never complain. I watched you stand on the side lines for most of your first season of club rugby, the most junior and least experienced player on the team.  That year, I never heard you complain either. I’ve watched you focus on the drills at practice, working your hardest, determined to improve, to excel. And even after the hardest sessions, I’ve watched you stop before leaving to thank your coaches.

In games, I’ve watched you score beautiful tries and impossible penalty kicks. And while I am happy that you are becoming such a skilled player, what really counts for me is watching you encouraging your teammates. What counts is seeing you playing hard until the last second of a game, even when a win is beyond imagining. What counts for me is watching you stop to check on a fallen opponent before joining your team to celebrate a victory.

futureYou have heart, my love. You have courage and loyalty and determination. You have compassion and humility. I see it on the rugby pitch. I see it here at home and I know you show it at school. I see it when we’re out in the wilderness, with our backpacks on.

And it’s these qualities that will bring you contentment and success. These qualities will serve you well throughout your life.

As you turn 16, I want you to know how grateful I am to have you as my son, and how very much I love you.





To whom would you like to write a love letter?

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Crafting Loveliness

  The summer breeze gently shakes the cedars, cools me as I rock slowly in the hammock and play with words. I’ve been writing out here practically every day, spending hours crafting sentences and scenes. Who knew that I could find inspiration in this space? 

This is the summer I finish the book I’ve been working on. I’ve made myself the promise. I have the time, and I’m following Julia Cameron’s advice just to “fill the form.” I’ve written on planes, in parking lots waiting for my son’s karate class to finish, at my dining room table, in bed. But I have to say that I’m liking the hammock! 

I’m filling the form.

Showing up. 

Every day. 

And making that commitment fills me at once with a sense of power and a sense of peace. There is power for me in the focus, in the routine, in the satisfaction of seeing the word count build day by day. And there is peace – and joy- in creating, in spending my days doing this thing that I love. This summer, hanging out in the hammock, I’m crafting loveliness.

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Splash Magic

We arrive at Victoria’s inner harbour early in the afternoon, and already the crowds are growing. We search out our friends, who arrived at dawn in order to secure the best seats, a section overlooking the water and directly in front of the floating stage. They’ve put out camp chairs for us too. We’re here for one of my favourite summer events: Symphony Splash.

Every year over the BC Day long weekend, the Victoria Symphony performs an outdoor concert on a barge in the inner harbour. It’s an event that’s been running for 26 years now, and one that draws thousands of people, young and old, local and from out of town.
 Throughout the afternoon, we watch the crowds along the causeway grow, as every seating area, every spot of grass is claimed. One of our friends, a talented horn player, is performing in the opening act with “The Midnights,” a high-spirited and popular local R and B band. In some years, David has played with the symphony, but it’s more fun to watch him dance and groove (and actually play!) with this band.
 The Midnights signal the beginning of the concert, and the boaters begin arriving, mostly people in kayaks and canoes, but a few small power boats and a few very brave paddle boarders! (Our favourite paddled in wearing a suit and tie!) By the time the symphony begins, the area in front of the stage will be filled with boats, rafted up together, side by side.
 The mood at Symphony Splash is much livelier than at a concert hall, and we watch in delight as people get up to dance to a waltz by Strauss.  Throughout the evening we are encouraged to dance and to clap and to fully enjoy the evening.

We are treated to an evening of wonderful music , including an amazing performance by a young accordion player, who plays two pieces with a gorgeous, old-world, European  feel. Pure loveliness!

The finale, as it is every year, is Tchaicovsky’s 1812 Overture, accompanied by canons, operated by the sea Cadets, and by a spectacular fireworks display. And in the hush that follows, a haunting version of Amazing Grace, with bagpipes, a performance that always leaves me in tears.

What better way to celebrate mid-summer?

What are your favourite summer events in your community?


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Cape Scott Magic

The fog is so thick when we wake that we can’t see the ocean from our campsite on the beach. The air is heavy and damp, and fine droplets of mist form rivulets down the side of the tent. It’s hard to believe we’re in the midst of a heatwave and that when the fog burns away we’ll be seeking shelter from the sun.

But this morning it’s foggy as we head out along trails green and lush, across deserted stretches of white, sandy beach, through forests filled with old growth spruce and hemlock, cedar and Douglas fir.

Our destination this morning is the Cape Scott lighthouse, at the northern tip of Vancouver Island. We’re four days into a five day backpacking trip, and despite sore feet and blisters, I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather be.

Its 25 years since I was out here last and the place is every bit as spectacular, every bit as wild and desolate as I remember it.

And this time, I’m here with my middle son, backpacking more than 50 km of trails over five days, just the two of us, out in the wilderness together.

 This is pure magic for me: the challenge of the hike, the wilderness, the wild majesty of the forest and ocean, and this precious time with my boy.

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    For most of his fifteen years, my middle son has been perfecting the art of pushing his older brother’s buttons. He is masterful. Nobody can send my eldest into orbit so quickly or so decisively.

In case you might have been admiring the affection and love between my sons, think again! Their dad caught this moment as our middle guy came off the pitch at the end of a rugby game yesterday. Hot and very sweaty, he ran over to his older brother, who he hadn’t seen since Christmas, and wrapped him in a wet, stinky hug.

It’s lovely to know that some things never change!


Where is the loveliness in your day?

Photo by L. Sandner

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Time With My Boy

  My eldest son has spent the past year in Ottawa, attending university and working as a page in parliament. It has been one of those, amazing, life-changing kind of years for him, the kind of year that sets one’s course in unexpected new directions. 

I couldn’t be happier for him. But Ottawa is a long way away and we haven’t seen each other since Christmas.

And so it’s lovely to have him home for a few days.

His short trip home coincides with the provincial rugby championships,, so he’s actually not home. We’re in Vancouver for the weekend, watching his brother play. 

But there’s lots of time for catching up, for hearing his entertaining stories about parliament, for troubleshooting with him about finances and courses and roommates, and for listening to his dreams. 

It is so lovely to have some time with my boy.


Where is the loveliness in your weekend?

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