Lies and Truth Revealed

The day cometh and now is… that I must admit to my “bald faced lies” and disclose the truth. Further to Tuesday’s post where I acknowledged receiving the “creative writer” award from Joylene Butler, I’m here today to reveal all.

Yea, Carol Benedict! You were the only person to guess correctly. #3 is absolutely true.

A summer camping trip took us through central Oregon and while sitting at a picnic table eating our supper in a state campground, we discovered a 3-1/2′ rattlesnake slowly curving his way towards the exercise pen that held our three Shelties. The men managed to reach over the far side of the pen and lift the dogs out in time and then we watched the snake in horrified fascination as it squeezed  its way through the bars into the pen, checked it out, and left via the opposite side. Neighbouring campers were from Arizona and insisted the snake could not be left to continue roaming the campground so “disposed” of it for us, and presented us with the rattle.

Wearing the nine foot python necklace happened at Vancouver’s Zoo while I was a playground director for the Vancouver Parks Board.  All directors were taken for an initial tour during which the curator brought out the python. He draped it over his shoulders and then asked for a volunteer to link hands with his so that it could crawl down his arm and up the other until it was comfortably hanging from the volunteer’s shoulders. I was the crazy volunteer. The snake hung to the ground on both sides of me. Unfortunately nobody had a camera handy.

Oh, and the mice? As a teenager I had pet white mice.

As for the lies:

  • My family loves camping and we’ve had a succession of eight different recreational vehicles (tent trailer, two travel trailers, two motorhomes, one fifth wheel and two campers) in which we’ve travelled on every major highway in Canada and the USA.

Lie. Yes, we’ve had eight RVs but our travel has only included most of the highways and byways of our home province of BC. We’ve driven across Canada from coast to coast once, but certainly didn’t get onto all the major highways. And when it comes to the USA we’ve only camped in Washington and Oregon .

  • I’m a natural brunette and have never dyed or bleached my hair. It’s liberally sprinkled with grey now, but I won’t be changing that anytime soon.

Lie. I’m a salt-and-pepper brunette all right, but back in the 70’s my mother and I decided to lighten our hair with blonde streaks, and I wore it that way for a couple years. At my age I’m not likely to do it again.

  • Snakes and mice don’t scare me. I’ve worn a 9’ python draped across my shoulders and have the rattle chopped from a 3’ rattlesnake that was looking to eat my dogs for lunch.

Absolute Truth. (see explanation above)

  • . Acting fascinates me almost as much as writing and I once played a small part in a movie that debuted at the Toronto Film Festival and went on to be listed as #6 in Time magazine’s ten top movies of 2000.

Lie. I have never acted in a move. However, as consultant  for the filming of the 2000 CastleRock movie, “Best In Show”, I was a crew member. It ended the year at #6 on Time magazine’s Top Ten list of movies, #8 top video rental, and #9 top DVD rental. (That was the same year that Margaret Atwood’s BLIND ASSASSIN topped the Time’s list as best novel. It felt great to have that special link with her.)

  • While visiting my daughter in the Yukon one February I got to watch the start of the 1,000 mile Yukon Quest dog sled race between Whitehorse, Yukon and Fairbanks, Alaska.

Lie. I did visit my daughter one February while she lived in the Yukon. I heard wolves howl and saw the northern lights while there, but I didn’t have an opportunity to watch any of the Yukon Quest.

  • I once drove a stockcar during preliminary time trials at the Digney Speedway in Burnaby, BC. The speedway was built by Andy Digney for the post-WWII midget racing boom and evolved to be a stock car track. It closed at the end of the 1958 season. Does that age me, or what?

Lie. I sat in stockcar #5, but never drove or rode in it. Sponsored by family friends who owned the Gateway Collision repair shop in Vancouver, and lettered by my uncle, it was driven by Roy Long in races at the Digney Speedway and elsewhere in the PNW. I attended the races with my parents.

  • Speed exhilarates me and I love riding the roller coaster at Playland in Vancouver. I attend the Pacific National Exhibition every summer and always take in at least a couple rides on the 50+ year old wooden structure.

Lie. Oh, BIG lie! (Sorry, Joseph.) I have attended the PNE occasionally but I rode this famous roller coaster just once. I was so terrified I swore I would never get on it again, and I never have… neither it nor any other one. I’m really not much of a speed freak.

That’s it, folks. That’s the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth! I hope you enjoyed these soul-baring revelations.

News ‘n Notes

I’ve been galavanting for the past few weeks, enjoying visits with family and friends in BC’s Kootenays and Okanagan. Precious times and lots of good memories, but it’s good to be home again.


Ten days ago there were grey skies and lots of clouds, but a blogging award from Joylene Butler definitely brought sunshine to my day.  We often speak of writing as being a very solitary pursuit. Blogging provides opportunities for feedback but even then we never really know how much (or how little) impact our words actually have. When someone surprises us with an award for being inspiring that in itself is inspiring, so thank you, Joylene, for sending the Sunshine Award my way. I’m smiling! 🙂


Tonight the star-studded Vancouver and Whistler Olympic Victory Ceremonies Concert will feature Trooper and Loverboy. I’ve heard some of it will be shown on CTV but it will also be broadcast live on MuchMusic from 8:00-9:00 p.m. PST. You can bet I’ll be watching! I may be family but I’m also a dedicated fan. Yay, Trooper!!! Timeless rock ‘n’ roll, for sure!


And now I’m off to watch the Olympic Canada-U.S.A. hockey game. It may be just a preliminary game, but I’m boldly waving my red and white.


Christmas Melodies

Love it or hate it, Christmas music is everywhere at this time of the year. Department stores, elevators, waiting rooms, hairdressing salons, even mall parking lot loudspeakers send out a non-stop loop of the familiar sounds of the season. Personally, I love the Christmas music — mostly the hymns and sacred songs; the tacky renditions of who the reindeer ran over, not so much.


Janna at Something She Wrote admits to experiencing caroling overload but drew attention to a catchy version of The Twelve Days of Christmas that’s just too good not to share. Thanks, Janna!

It’s Never Too Late to Try

Elizabeth Gilbert and I don’t have a lot in common. She’s widely travelled; I haven’t ventured beyond Canada and the USA. She has published books; I haven’t (yet). She’s blonde; I’m brunette. She’s young; I’m, uh, not. You get the picture.


So when I read her comment on age as it relates to writing I thought, “Oh, puleeeze!” She began by saying, If you always wanted to write, and now you are A Certain Age, and you never got around to it, and you think it’s too late…do please think again. I watched Julia Glass win the National Book Award for her first novel, “The Three Junes”, which she began writing in her late 30’s.” Since when is anyone in writing circles considered old in their late thirties? Or their forties or fifties, for that matter? Success in one’s later years may be an exception but it does happen. It happens in many of life’s arenas.


I smiled when I came across this video of Susan Boyle singing when she was 22. Her talent was obvious then, but it took her 25 years of persistence to gain recognition for it.


My aunt has been an artist for many years but has begun making beautiful hasti-notes and calendars from her original watercolour paintings in a new creative endeavour she calls “Never Too Late”.  She is in her eighties.


To give Elizabeth Gilbert credit, in her article she went on to say, “It’s never too late. Your writing will only get better as you get older and wiser. If you write something beautiful and important, and the right person somehow discovers it, they will clear room for you on the bookshelves of the world – at any age. At least try.


At least we agree on that. Regardless of your age, step out boldly, willing to fail in your attempt to succeed.


Taken For Granted

There are words that writers are encouraged to avoid, notably time-worn clichés that suggest a lack of verbal originality. ‘Taken for granted’ is a phrase that is terribly overused, but I suspect one of the reasons may be that no other words convey its meaning as aptly. It’s the phrase that leapt into my mind while I was browsing a cousin’s website this afternoon.

Ra McGuire is an extraordinary talent in a family with an abundance of talent. As I listened to a 1983 video clip of his that I’d never heard before it occurred to me that our families are probably taken for granted more than anything else in our lives.

We become accustomed to the presence of each other, and to everyone’s pursuits and accomplishments. In our household there has always been the expectation that we will all do the best we can with whatever abilities God has given us, and while any resulting achievements are acknowledged, it’s without a lot of fanfare.

It is only as I focus on the individuals in the various branches of our family and begin to enumerate their many gifts that I am struck by how remarkable our entire family is. It’s truly humbling — something not to be taken for granted — so I ‘count my many blessings’ and give thanks.

Contributing to the Statistics

Yesterday a TV report said that in Canada the average age of a video gamer is now forty. Forty! We’re told that systems such as the new “Wii Resort” and Microsoft’s “You’re In the Movie” are marketed to the middle-aged participant. Can you believe it?


The just released Entertainment Software Association (ESA) statistics say that thirty-five is the average age in the U.S.A. — not quite our forty, but still sort of middle age — and they add that one out of four gamers is over the age of fifty, that 40% are women and also that women age eighteen or older represent 33% of the game-playing population while boys age seventeen or younger represent only 18%.


I’m not sure why I’m surprised. Even business men play games on their PDAs between appointments and while travelling. But the stereotype of videogames being the exclusive domain of teenage boys persists. That is, until I acknowledge I play Solitaire on my computer. I’ve never considered that I contribute to the over-40 gamer statistic, but I do! That’s quite a revelation for very conservative me. 🙂